A few years ago, I provided 20 reasons to drive a 20-year old car. Thousands of people have read that post, and the only clear takeaway is that people either love or hate older vehicles. If you haven’t yet read that post, check it out first.
Since publishing that post, Vanessa and I have purchased a 2015 Mitsubishi Mirage (picture above) and sold the 1996 Saturn. This post will provide some rationale for that decision.
15 Reasons to Purchase a Newer Vehicle
- Reliability – The 20-year old Saturn was a great car, but it was beginning to show its age. Mechanical parts tend to have a finite lifespan, and 20 years is a long time of use. Our 2015 Mirage is obviously much newer and should provide many years of maintenance-free use.
- Longevity – Another reason to prefer owning a new(er) car is being able to take proper care of it. Older used cars have been driven for many years, and sadly, are often abused by previous owners. There is no way to know when (or if) the car was serviced, how it was driven, or if the oil has been changed regularly. I drive my cars carefully and cautiously. I’m gentle on the brakes and the engine, which makes them last far longer.
- Safety – The Saturn was equipped with 2-3 airbags of unknown quality, but nothing else. Our 2015 Mirage has additional safety features, and generally, there have been continual engineering improvements that have improved the safety features in newer vehicles.
- Comfort – The old Saturn got us from point A to point B, but we never claimed it was a comfortable ride. The Mirage drives nice. It has better suspension components. It has tinted windows that provide insulation and better climate control. The passenger seat reclines completely, allowing for a comfortable nap on long road trips. And the list goes on.
- New Looks – In our opinion, the Mirage is much easier on the eyes. Most people mention how “cute” it is. It’s so cute, that Vanessa named it ‘Lil Tex, and the name stuck.
- Better Gas Mileage – This isn’t true for all newer cars, but the 2015 Mirage has a really nice 3-cylinder engine that offers better gas mileage than the Saturn. We average close to 40 MPG in mixed driving.
- The Sale Was Right – We sold the Saturn for $1,500 on Craigslist, which is $200 less than I paid for the car 6 years ago! More importantly, if we wanted to keep the Saturn, it would have required a few repairs. Three tires needed to be replaced soon, the windshield was cracked, a faulty oxygen sensor confused the check engine warning light, etc.
- The Price Was Right – Our 2015 Mirage set us back $6,300. The car was in near perfect condition and had 8,700 miles. It had been rear-ended, and was professionally repaired by the Mitsubishi dealer. The seller sent me photos of the wreck and the repair invoice. After thoroughly checking everything out, we bought it. It looks and drives like new, and was a steal at $6,300.
- Little Depreciation – Because I shopped around extensively and found the Mirage for $6,300, there is little to lose on this purchase. Much like the Saturn, our new Mirage should last several years. When we are ready to sell it, it won’t be worth $6,300, but the market value should depreciate slowly.
- Less Maintenance – All auto repairs are expensive, but the Mirage maintenance schedule is attractive when compared to many other vehicles. For example, the Mirage uses a modern timing chain (should never need to be replaced under normal wear and tear) instead of a timing belt (need replaced several times over the life of a car – often costing north of $1,000 for labor and parts).
- Cheap Insurance – Liability insurance coverage is cheap for the 2015 Mirage. This is a result of low mileage, a really small engine, and improved safety features.
- Practicality – The Mirage is a hatchback with ample space inside. It feels much larger and should accommodate more passengers, not to mention it offers plenty of room for our groceries.
- Technology – More technology can mean more potential problems. But it sure is nice having a new CD player with a smartphone connection, better speakers, automatic windows, automatic locks, and all of the other standard features found in new(er) vehicles.
- Simplicity – New cars are often complex, with computers controlling every aspect of the car. The Mirage we purchased is extremely simple for a 2015 model. The engine and other mechanical parts are straight-forward and easily accessible. As a result, maintenance costs should be reasonable.
- Perception – I see nothing wrong with driving an old car. Vanessa and I admire other individuals who make that choice for financial reasons, as we did with the 1996 Saturn. However, that’s not the norm. Many Americans pass judgement if they see someone driving an old car. As my professional responsibilities continue to increase, this hatchback makes for a very “socially acceptable” vehicle.
Overall, we have been pleased with our decision to upgrade thus far.