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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hello, I'm new to the forum and have enjoyed reading all of your informative posts. I appreciate all the time the members take to give objective advice and feedback. I'm hoping to get a few questions answered as I'm now in the market to purchase a terrain. Thanks for your time and help in advance.

I guess I'll offer some background and explain a little bit about why I'm purchasing a terrain. I've never considered myself a car person -- I have never been in love with a car and could never understand why someone would look at a car as an investment. I have been driving a used ford focus since I graduated high school (endearingly I call it my ****us). It's gotten me through college and through my first few years of teaching. I didn't really mind driving it, although it's slightly embarrassing that many of my students drive nicer cars than me (ha!). Now, however, after a test drive in a new terrain, I'm finding myself loathing my focus every time I look at it! I am sooo IN LOVE with the terrain that I begrudgingly get into my focus everyday wishing it was a terrain. I have researched this car so much, my boyfriend says I’m borderline obsessed. I’m anxious to get into a new car, but I want to make a smart decision and not rush into anything.

I’ve been to a few dealerships and have been in contact with dealers through email about purchasing a 2012 SLT-1, 4cylinder FWD. I want the remote start and heated seats that the SLT-1 comes standard with, but I would also like to add on the option of a sunroof. I want the 7inch back up camera that the 2012 comes standard with as well, that’s why I haven’t really been looking at any 2011s or 2010s. If I had an extra $2700, I would probably go with the SLT2 because I think the chrome finish is amazing, but the extra features in the 2012 (power liftgate, memory seats) don’t seem to be worth the money.

The best price I have gotten on the SLT-1 with sunroof has been $28,500. With taxes, title, etc, I will be over $30,500. I’m ok with that price, but it makes me slightly uncomfortable going from a car that’s worth roughly 2k, to one that’s worth 30k. I’m sure I’ll get over that quickly though :).
During my search for new vehicles, I also have been looking at used terrains. I haven't really come across too many used terrains for sale, and if I do, they are usually pretty close in price to a brand new terrain, or they lack some of the features I'm looking for. I found, however, a private seller who is getting rid of his 2011 SLT2. He pretty much got every upgrade in his terrain, except the V6 and the AWD. He has navigation and the entertainment package with the rear seat monitors in addition to all of the other upgrades I wanted. If I was buying new, I wouldn’t really care for the navigation or the entertainment package, but I'm not gonna lie, it would be pretty sweet to have those features in this vehicle! The terrain has around 37,000 miles on it, mostly highway, according to the seller. He has only had the vehicle for 11 months and is looking to trade it in for a truck with more towing capabilities. I don’t know how many miles he will end up putting on it in the next month or so, or if he has stopped driving it altogether, but I imagine it could be up past 40k in a few weeks. He has posted the terrain for $30,000 (with an original MSRP around $33k). I told him I’d want it for 26k, and he told me he wants at least $28k for it.

So, after a lot of writing, I’m finally getting to my question -- which is the better purchase? I won’t be paying taxes or dealer fees if I go with the used vehicle, and it has more options than the SLT-1. However, the mileage makes me a little uneasy. Maybe if it were a four year old vehicle with that many miles I wouldn’t even have an issue. Should I be concerned about the mileage? What is a fair price for this used vehicle? Most of the terrains I have found are lower trim levels with a lot less mileage, and worth considerably less. Some of the (very few) used SLT-2s I’ve found are priced around 28-30k through dealerships. I think most of these are certified pre-owned. I’m a little nervous about not having a warranty on the vehicle if I purchase through a private owner. I don’t want to lowball this guy, and I don’t want to pass up a good deal either, so at what price would you purchase this terrain? I should mention that the used terrain has some damage to the rear bumper. I haven’t seen any pictures of it, but he described it as minor damage and he got a quote to fix it for around $500.

Thanks for taking the time to read this lengthy post! I really appreciate any and all help!
 

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I would compare his price with what you can find as value of the car on either Edmunds.com or some other site. Without checking, it seems a bit (actually a lot) high of a price. Remember, you can get some discount when buying new. As far as sales tax, does your state NOT tax used car purchases - NY taxes everything that moves, and some things that don't.

Are you married with kids - otherwise do you really need rear DVD ? If not, then maybe you should treat yourself to new car - quite frankly, there is nothing like owning a new car - you studied hard, got a job job and teaching is tough profession - time to reward yourself for a job well done !

Good luck with whatever you do. Plus 40K is past the BtoB Full Warranty, so let the buyer beware !

Rit
 

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We have had the wife's 2011 Equinox for 21k miles now and it has been ok.Typical GM quality issues that come up.Now I am a car person and will advise you to wait for the Mazda CX-5.You will get more goodies for less money and much better build quality.Just my opinion.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Thanks for the help - I hadn't checked Edumunds yet and I'm glad you mentioned it. I had checked out Kelley Blue Book on the car and the private seller's $30k price was basically right on the bluebook's estimation, so I figured his price was a little high but not too far off its actual value. Edmunds gave a much more descriptive estimation and priced out a trade-in value, a private seller value, and a dealer value. They priced the car at $26k for a private sale, which is what I wanted to pay for the car. I will hopefully use this to my advantage when/if I negotiate with the private seller.

As far as buying a use car, I'm pretty sure I would still have to pay taxes on a used car if I bought it through a dealer, but on a private party sale, it's a lot like buying something off of craigslist. You don't have to pay taxes on something that's already been taxed once.


I am still looking into purchasing new, I just wanted to see if, at some price, it became a better deal to buy the used terrain. I don't need all the upgrades in the used terrain, but it sure would be nice to have....it would be nice to have a new car as well though! Too many decisions!

The warranty or lack of a warranty is also something I will be considering, so thank you for mentioning that as well!
 

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dadavis3 said:
As far as buying a use car, I'm pretty sure I would still have to pay taxes on a used car if I bought it through a dealer, but on a private party sale, it's a lot like buying something off of craigslist. You don't have to pay taxes on something that's already been taxed once.
In NY, when you buy a vehicle from Craigslist, you do not pay the seller any Sales Tax, BUT, when you resister the vehicle at DMV, they get you for the Sales Tax - I would check with your local DMV to see if that is also the case in your State. Yes, the same car keeps getting taxed until it finally dies - just like us - we pay income tax, and then pay a sales tax using the money that was already taxed - what a great Country we live in !
 

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I wanted all the same features as you (including sunroof) but found it was much cheaper to get an SLE-2 with the "convenience package", which is remote start, heated seats, etc. as well as the chrome package, for significantly cheaper. I had to say goodbye to the sunroof but I'm not too torn over that since I saved thousands. Ironically, I picked it up the same day they were delivering an SLT-1 without chrome and mine looked nicer when they were side-by-side and had more features, and was cheaper!

As for the mileage issue, I wouldn't be too concerned as the seller insists they were mostly highway miles, which is "easiest" on a car's engine/drivetrain. If it was 40,000miles and being used as, say, a delivery truck/taxi or something that's always stop-go-stop-go, then it would be different. The other nice thing about having a Terrain with mileage already put on it is that you won't have to go through the Terrain's notorious use-tons-of-gas-break-in-period that we all seem to have gone through here on this forum (do any search for "gas mileage" on this forum and you'll see that brand new Terrains don't get anywhere near their advertised mileage until the 10,000 mark or more :)). All that being said, however, asking only $3K less for a one-year old vehicle with almost 40,000 miles on it is outrageous. Like another user said before, look up comparible vehicles online and show this seller the prices of them. I've seen used Terrains that were 1-2 years old being sold for 50-75% of their original price. He'll have to lower his asking price considerably if he wants to sell it. Plus if you buy a used car you won't have to cringe as soon as you drive off the dealer parking lot knowing that your car's just lost thousands of dollars in value ;)


Just my .02
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Thanks for the feedback!

I ended up buying (last night!) a 2012 SLE-2 with convenience package, sunroof, and chrome. The dealer is also going to install leather as well, which basically makes the SLE-2 an SLT-1 now, with the added bonus of the chrome. I think I got a GREAT deal for the car, and an even better deal on my trade in. I'm really happy I decided to go brand new, and although I know it has a long break-in period, I can handle the 22 mpg I got on my way to work for a few months. Can't believe I drive such a nice looking car!!! LOVE IT!
 

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Perfect, you'll think about the money you spent once, but love the car every day !

Congrats !
 
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