What kind of car would you suggest to buy? What do you drive? Why

56 Replies

I was wondering what kind of vehicles most investors drive. Considering that cars are typically the second most expensive things people own. Are you motivated by the fuel economy/MPG? The appearance/style? The brand/reputation? The price/cost? 

I'm currently driving a 2009 Chevy Silverado and debating on selling it for something more economical. Although, for a truck it gets a fair mileage (20-22mpg). The truck is completely paid off but I think it would make more sense to have something less. 

Hey @Ethan Schneider , fuel efficiency, utility, and reliability are my top two! Your vehicle doesn't sound like a bad choice at all, but if your monthly is too high for comfort, you could try going for an older and less expensive model. If you never use the utility of a truck, I'd spring for an early-mid 2000''s Honda/Toyota or the like and get 50% more fuel efficiency.

Just study your vehicle expenses and know your utility needs, and you'll know what direction to go. Cheers!

@Ethan Schneider I use a couple of different cars. Depending on the reason for the car. I have a car that is "average" for the neighborhoods I buy houses in. Meaning, I have better negotiating power with the seller if I don't "flash my cash" driving down the street. I learned that early on when one of the sellers that I had bought a house from but hadn't yet been through escrow, wanted more money because "I could afford it" and he mentioned my very nice car. So, I keep the very nice car for taking the Mrs. out to very nice restaurants and use the "average" car for meeting with sellers. Also, if you do buy a car, try to pay cash. It helps when you go to a lender and there isn't a $600 a month payment on your credit report and you are trying to borrow money for the next real estate transaction. Make your money first, buy the nice car later.

I drive a chevy Silverado only because I need it for my two businesses for hauling rock, lumber and furniture. Plus I have a travel trailer. If I didn't need a truck I would have kept my boring but reliable Mitsubishi Galant that was reliable and cheaper to drive.
As a side note most people in America care most about the price off gas and not the mpg, because remember when gas was $4.00 a gallon not that long ago, no one wanted SUV's and trucks but stood in line to buy Prius's. people claim they were buying them to be green but in reality it was about gas prices. If it really were peoples intent to be green then the sales of Prius's would still be high which they aren't and you can get them for a very cheap price. Sales of SUV's and trucks are at an all time high.

I "drive" a trek road bike that I bought from a co-worker a few years ago. Gets great gas mileage. Puts dollars in my pockets, and takes fat out of my stomach.

If I need to go more than a few miles or the weather is horrible, I also drive a Toyota Corolla. They last forever, get great gas mileage, and the newer ones are indistinguishable from luxury vehicles as far as the driving experience goes. My 2014 model has a touch screen, great sound system, lots of legroom, and surprising storage. It can take the car from over 100 degrees to almost cold in just a few minutes (and I was an idiot and got a BLACK car that gets absurdly hot), but takes a bit longer to warm up and defrost in the winter.

I can easily fit three people and all the necessaries for skiing in mountains over an hour and a half away. With snow tires, the front-wheel drive corolla is capable of handling all but the most absurd terrain mountain. I don't see why anyone that works an office job and does modest real estate work on rental properties would need a bigger or fancier car in a flatter or less snowy part of the country than Colorado, and I feel that even my 2014 corolla is a lavish choice, when a 2007 or even earlier model would get the job done just as effectively. If I had lots of children to haul around, I might go for a minivan, also a honda or toyota. Of course, if I were needing to haul around lots of equipment on a weekly basis, I might then go for a pickup or van as well.

Regardless of the fact that I own a fairly efficient vehicle, biking is still the better option and the main reason why my auto transportation costs are low.

I drive a '09 AWD Subaru in a winter (7-8 months in interior Alaska) and a 06 RWD Lexus IS350 the rest of the year. The Subaru is worse in every way (comfort, heat/AC, acceleration, build quality, ride, interior noise etc.) but I need it for the long, cold (-50F to -30F) winters and pure ice roads. People think the Lexus is a new year or a few years old, but it almost 12 years old!

When I was younger I drove more expensive cars, but now each of my cars are less than 1% of my net worth in their present value. That said, I think that people who brag that they drive crappy cards but are otherwise well off financially are rationalizing. Very few males in their 20s or 30s wouldn't enjoy driving a nice car day after day and have a better quality of life. If they tell you otherwise, they are lying.

@Ethan Schneider

I drive a Toyota Prius and have been for the last 5 years. At first it was a blow to the ego at the time of purchase because I was used to driving fun sporty-type cars and the mere thought of driving something "uncool" was hard to swallow. However I bought the car when gas was at an all-time high (think $5+/gallon), and the monthly gas expenses easily paid for the car payment at the time - it was a no brainer situation to switch cars for me. 

Fast forward a few years later, this has been my favorite and reliable car to date. It's comfortable, gets great mileage (50+ mpg), and is super easy on the wallet. At this point in my life, I'd rather go with a utilitarian vehicle that will get me from Point A to Point B. I have the freedom to drive as far as I want without worrying how much cash I'd have to shell out to get to and from. 

At the end of the day though, I think it depends on your goals and what you are actually needing the vehicle for. For me, I found myself needing to commute 100+ miles per day to get to work for a few years, and driving a sporty car that got me less than 20 MPG would have been horrible. Had I kept my old car, I would be further away financially from my investing goals. 

I absolutely LOVE my Chevy Volt 2nd generation.   I bought it brand new when it first came out.  MSRP was $35,000 but here are the discounts I got

$35,000

- $1000 GM rebate on new cars

-$1000 online  GM coupon (not sure it's still available)

-$2000 (costco pricing)

-$750 (Costco cash card for using Costco autoprogram)

-$1000 off haggling

- $7500 fed tax credit

-$1500 California clean car rebate

Final price $20250 + tax + destination charge!!!   on a brand new Chevy VOLT.

It's the most modern car I've ever driven with lots of TECH.   The only thing missing is adaptive cruise control (which is available in the newer models).

Gas savings is incredible.   there is NO range anxiety since after 52 miles of EV driving, almost 290 miles of gas driving is available and you can fill up your car at any gas station.

The car is ZIPPY due to 100% electric motor driven car.   The gas engine only charges the battery/electric motor.

Very reliable - no issues after 30,000 miles so far.

Battery is holding up quite well.  I see almost no degradation whatsoever.

The only other car I'm interested in is the Tesla Model 3.    I will be trading in my Chevy Volt in about 8-10 months when I get my Model 3!    

I would suggest anything that you can pay cash for, it doesn't matter.  Utility is the main thing.  We have 3 kids so my wife has an 08 Honda Odyssey.  I have a 05 Nissan Murano.  I have wanted a 4 door truck for a long time.  Prices are outrageous for pickups.  I put a $100+ hitch on my Murano and bought a utility trailer from Lowe's for $1000.  Best decision I ever made.  I've probably used it 30 times this summer.  Now when my Nissan dies, I'll just look for a used SUV.  Most are rated to pull 3500 lbs.  Plenty for me.  I have never had a car payment my entire life, and I never will.  

@Ethan Schneider Anything you like that you can buy ALL CASH, is preferable.

I Own an 02 Dodge Durango, everyday driver, replaced engine with one that had 100k miles on it. Runs great, gets about the same gas mileage as yours. I will drive this one until the wheels fall off.

When we made a little money, I bought my wife an 02 Acura MDX with 3rd row seats. I have 3 kids so this works out great. Also she picked the car, as she didn't want a minivan.
Cost was $3,000 cash. No financing.

I bought myself an 04 Mercedes S-Class. It's pretty nice, and I always liked Mercedes. I felt I needed a reward but I felt I didn't want a car payment, as it eats up Cashflow and if you mess up, it's gone after putting all kinds of money into it. It was for sale at $8k. Thought it was a good price as it retails around $12k-$15k. I bought it for $3k cash, after I drove it and felt a slight pulling/jerking motion on the highway test drive. He said he bought all new Control arms etc. I looked and he was right, it's all new. I told him if I took it to a dealership, they would probably charge me through the roof to fix it. I told him I would only take it for $3k as I wasn't sure what the problems were. He agreed on that. After purchase, I took to the Mercedes dealership. They wanted to replace everything for $4k. I decided I needed to look at it myself, having a mechanic background, having turned a couple wrenches with my father, as a child and a teenager. Jacked it up, and found that whoever did the work, didn't properly tighten everything down, that's why there was play in the system. After tightening everything, it runs Great. Saved me $4k by not getting scammed by the dealership.

All that aside, i paid cash for all of my vehicles. It's too easy to lose a car on payments, and it always makes more sense to pay cash, as you have the power to lower the price. Never buy above your means. Yeah I could have put money down and bought a brand new car, but then I would be pushing my monthly bills up, and losing out on all that extra money that could be invested.

I've driven a '13 Honda Civic Coupe for 4 years now. When I got into real estate, I realized I needed a truck so I was going to buy a old beat up one. Well my step dad gave me his trailer and with a $60 hitch setup, I'm saving on Taxes, repairs, transportation, etc.

But I differ from a lot of people, I WILL get a Lamborghini before I am 28. cause fast. and sexy.

@David Zheng I love the fact that you pull a trailer with a Civic. You're inspiring me to put a hitch on my Prius. Put that thing in turbo mode and I'm haulin... lol

@Ethan Schneider Everyone else has gotten the point across. You're in the South, so owning a truck is the thing to do. I've had to just accept the fact that i won't ever own a truck. My whole family is in construction and drives trucks. Thanksgivings are full of poking fun at me for driving a Prius in a blue collar(ish) family. I won't drive a non-economical or expensive car because i care too much about my financial freedom goals. 

Thanks for creating this thread. I enjoy reading others thoughts on the matter.

-Zac

Depends on my mood.

  • Harley Ultra Limited
  • Yamaha Royal Star
  • Yamaha R6

I enjoy 'em, I arrive happy, and I work too damn hard to let traffic make me miserable. Plus, my main job is as a remodeler, and middle-aged suburban women get a little wet when a tattooed guy with tools shows up on a bike to talk about renovating the kitchen. "Sign here, ma'am, and we'll get you on the calendar."

There's a beat-up old truck out back I drive when it's pouring rain. My gf wishes I'd trade it for a newer one, but I'd rather spend the money on another house.

2005 Escalade that I purchased through a wholesale friend 4 years ago for $6,500 cash.  It has 280,000+ miles on it now, and I'll drive it until it starts having major motor issues, and then buy another one for under $10K cash.

I would definitely recommend driving what you can afford to pay cash for.  The only reason to maybe consider buying newer or on payments would be because of the tax advantages.  There are times when purchasing a new SUV, and taking advantage of bonus depreciation, could save you a ton of money on taxes. 

I drive an 07 Expedition EL for the following reasons from least to most important:

-It holds all of my tools and materials for rehabbing and working on properties.

-It goes forwards AND backwards, at varying rates of speed depending on how far I push the accelerator.

-It starts when I turn the key.

-it holds all of my kids safely in their car seats.

-I don't have a car payment so that I can buy more real estate. I really dislike car payments.

I have a similar conundrum right now. I'm a big heavy guy 6'4" and my wife is 6'1' former college basketball player. My daughter is 10 and is already 5'4. So we need legroom. Between my day job and my rental (currently renovating) I drive 60 miles a day minimum. I currently drive a Mazda CX-5 with manual transmission which gets very good gas mileage. I also tow a 5x8 aluminum trailer when I need to haul something. Great trade in terms of cost per mile and avoiding a gas guzzler. $$$$

All that said I will NEVER do another remodel without a pickup truck. So a used Chevrolet Avalanche is in our future. Powerful enough to tow heavy rental equipment and roomy enough for a family of tall people for weekend driving. The Mazda will remain my daily driver once the renovation is complete in a few weeks and the truck will be my weekend and service vehicle when we all ride together.

The cost per mile is even better with a Ford Flex as a single vehicle (most rear legroom of any vehicle on the planet) but i still won't have solved the pickup truck issue. And the Mazda is paid off. So in five years my daughter will get it with 200k miles or so and I'll hope for a used Bolt EV at that time in addition to keeping the Avalanche.

Originally posted by @Account Closed I use a couple of different cars. Depending on the reason for the car. I have a car that is "average" for the neighborhoods I buy houses in. Meaning, I have better negotiating power with the seller if I don't "flash my cash" driving down the street. I learned that early on when one of the sellers that I had bought a house from but hadn't yet been through escrow, wanted more money because "I could afford it" and he mentioned my very nice car. So, I keep the very nice car for taking the Mrs. out to very nice restaurants and use the "average" car for meeting with sellers. Also, if you do buy a car, try to pay cash. It helps when you go to a lender and there isn't a $600 a month payment on your credit report and you are trying to borrow money for the next real estate transaction. Make your money first, buy the nice car later.

Totally agree with this. Perception is everything. I drive a rusted out old Honda Ridgeline from my racing days, to all my deals, but my daily driver is a Benz SL550. If you roll up in a car that is worth more than most people's homes, it's hard to sell them on why you need it so cheaply... they don't understand economy of scale. I'm eyeing an old 1970's Ford F150 to replace the Ridgeline, classy, but old and cheap looking, best of both worlds!

2004 Nissan Titan crew cab 4WD for rental business purposes - 145k miles. 2013 Kia Soul for commuting to W2, 100k miles. Both owned. 

The key to keeping old cars is to keep them up. As soon as you start ragging it out, you start convincing yourself you need/want/deserve a new car. I fix virtually everything on my cars, short of minor dents, dings, paint scuffs, etc, and keep them looking as reasonably good as possible, so I postpone those feelings :)

2010 dodge caravan with stow and go seating, purchased last year. I have owned them for 20 years and generally pay under 10K to buy a good used one that will last 7-8 years. Best all round vehicle for the self managing property investor.

04 Honda Civic...190,000+ miles on the odometer.

She drives a 09 VW Rabbit.

Bought the car when I was 20 years old with 17,000 miles. I just can't bring myself to replace it. It's always been a temptation at the back of my head to go buy an Audi or something. But investing is my priority, not impressing people I don't even know.