I am looking to purchase a car to use for one year and to sell again. It'll be used mostly for driving around a suburb, but with a few extended road trips as well. My wife and I have three elementary aged kids.
I've done this once before as was dissatisfied with the result. We bought a 10-year-old minivan for $3,000, put about $800 into it over the course of a year, and then sold it for about $1,800. (Or perhaps I'm just being cheap? Perhaps $167/mo isn't too bad.)
How do I make this decision? Factors I can imagine being important are:
- Certain models/brands will have different resale values. Are there any to avoid or seek out?
- The age of the vehicle — newer is more expensive, but older will presumably mean more repair costs
- Fuel mileage. A minivan is a bit of a gas guzzler. But smaller cars raise the issue of...
- Comfort. Is it plausible to fit a family with luggage into anything smaller than a minivan?
Recognizing that there are going to be trade-offs to any decision, and that the balance between any of these factors will be a matter of personal preference, I would appreciate any concrete suggestions about how to evaluate these criteria.
(This will be a cash purchase. This is in the United States.)