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Once in a while, it’s good to look back on the things you have bought and decide if it was actually worth it. It’s been a year since we bought our brand new 2015 Toyota Highlander. This was our first new car that we bought as a couple. Prior to this, we always bought used and our goal was to get a used Highlander as well. It just didn’t work out that way. 🙁

Tired of Waiting

Smile! You're in debt!

Smile! You’re in debt!

When we decided that the car we wanted was a Highlander, we start searching online for a used one. We set up alerts on several sites. Contacted dealerships. Scanned the used sites. This went on for 8 months. We saw a few of this car but there were always the same issues.

The cars for sale were either from elsewhere in the country, and almost all of them had been in some sort of accident. The ones that didn’t were gone the very next day.

This showed me that this car was easy to resell and in high demand. Both pluses for me.

The other thing was the price that the cars were selling at. The ones that were a year old were only $3000 less than new, 2 years old were $5000-$6000 off the price of new. Not great discounts considering these vehicles had been damaged.

Why Buy New?

Given the history of how the cars were depreciating. It seemed to make sense to go new. Since we buy most things with a long timeframe. All of the used vehicles we found online had damage and the cost of the car after depreciation per year looked to be around $3000 each year.

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So it was a matter of buying new and paying the extra amount but knowing it’s a new car with a warranty or going the used route and not knowing what you are getting. While most of the things I buy are used (seriously you save sooo much moolah doing this), we decide to go new.

Why Go Big?

The car we got rid of was a 2003 Cr-V and we needed the space. Our other car is a 2004 Sienna minivan and while it’s got a few more years of driving left,  we weren’t comfortable using it for long road trips like our one last year to Calgary and the mountains.  We could have gotten away with something smaller but this was a minimum 10-year purchase decision so we figured having the extra space made more sense.

Could we have gone smaller?

Yes but I think it would have cost us at some point. When you are camping or going on a long road trip more space definitely makes for a smoother and enjoyable ride. Especially when you have two kids in the back seat.

Was it worth it?

Autopsy of a purchaseI still really like this car. With the first year of it in the books, I still love to drive it and really enjoy it. I would imagine at the very least, we still have 10 to 15 years of use on it. At that point, it will most likely be a commuter car or something for my kids to learn to drive on.

Our 30 hours in it over a 2-week road trip last summer was very pleasant and I think a lot had to do with the car’s space and the ride. Plus, doing that much driving in our old van meant I would have been on edge the whole time, always thinking “Is something going to break?”. Plus we are already gearing up to head back to the mountains this summer and I’m looking forward to the 14-hour drive, which is kind of crazy.

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I guess that’s the difference of having a car that you actually enjoy.

Final Verdict

While I love the car and the features, the fact that I’m still paying it off drives me nuts. I look at what we owe on it and all I can think is “Please die debt, just…die already”

Do you have any big purchases you regret or that you think were the right choice? Let me know in the comments below.

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  1. Reply

    Yes buying used is generally a good idea, but in your case, it looks like you’ve made a good choice buying it new.

  2. Hannah


    We just bought a brand new vehicle also. We have 2 kids and decided more room would help. Our plan is to drive this one into the dirt. I want to pay it off and have it paid off for a long time! Truthfully, this is the first vehicle that we are planning to pay off – new way of doing things. It helps that we have some cash in the bank now for repairs later on down the road.

    • Reply

      Hi Hannah! That’s been our approach to cars lately. I can justify driving a new car if I’m driving it from birth to death. I hear you on wanting to pay it off. It’s the next thing we are focusing on. Way to change the way you look at things and trying something new!

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