I am currently shopping for a used vehicle. I am hoping to spend between $10,000 and $16,000 CAD and looking for something that will be reliable and low cost.

My current vehicle is a 2009 Mazda 3. When I bought it, the car was around 3 years old with 70,000km on it. It is now 11 years old with 200,000km on it. My mechanic has advised me that I have around $2000 of repairs and that I should look for a new car.

When I purchased my last car, I used the Lemonade series of books to evaluate different options. In the book, the author does an in-depth analysis of every car's reliability, costs, safety, etc. Unfortunately, this resource isn't published anymore.

The main question I am trying to solve is "What car should I buy". In order to address this question, I am interested in answering these questions:

  • What will the cost of owning for 10 years.
  • How much effort will it be to maintain? How frequently will I be stranded?

I have looked at:

  • CAA Driving Costs Calculator - This seems to provide interesting data. One limitation is that estimated costs are for a 5 year period. I am interested in reliability over a longer window.

  • Edmonds Cost of Car Ownership - Problem with this data is that it is US-centric. Car costs vary quite largely between Canada and the US. Additionally, in Quebec we have difficult winters and salt our roads which introduces different maintenance problems.

  • I don't know the answer but if I have a question I'll be asking you. You already know the insurance, parking, registration, fuel and approx. maintenance costs for that class of car, use, and location. The difference between that and a civic or cruze etc. is a coin toss.
    – brian
    Sep 27, 2020 at 20:04
  • @brian - I have some data for those things, but I am unsure of the reliability of the data provided by CAA & Edmonds. I am also unsure whether a 5 year time-frame will translate cleanly to a 10 year time-frame or if there are other things that I should be considering, but am not. Sep 28, 2020 at 14:40


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