Reader Question: Keep the Old Accord – or Buy a New Hybrid?

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Here’s the latest reader question, along with my reply!

Troy asks: I have listened to you speak with David Knight on air for many years now. I really appreciate your libertarian slant on the issues. Here’s a car question for you. I have just inherited a 2015 Honda Accord with 40K miles on it. The car was driven by an elderly woman who babied it, so it’s in great shape. I had been planning on getting some kind of a hybrid vehicle (not a plug-in vehicle) prior to receiving this gift. Now I’m debating whether I should trade it in on a new hybrid (I should be able to pay the balance of the hybrid with cash, so no interest lost paying off the new car).

My dilemma is whether I should just keep the Honda and drive it or go trade it in on a brand new hybrid SUV (probably a Toyota RAV4 or one of the lower-end Lexus hybrid SUVs). My reason for wanting a hybrid is the gas savings, as it seems we are in for a long spell of high gasoline prices. I anticipate I’ll be driving 10K to 12K miles a year. A hybrid with decent range should result in gas savings over time, as I would plan to keep the hybrid until the wheels fall off. Plus there’s the additional storage available in a SUV. What do you anticipate with regard to the availability of parts for a 2015 Honda Accord in 3 to 5 years?
My reply: You have just acquired a low-miles, excellent condition Honda Accord  . . . for free. This car ought to provide you with reliable/low-maintenance transportation for another 200,000 miles. Which, for you, would be the next 15-plus years.
For free. Excepting the cost of gas. Less the much lower cost to insure this 2015 (vs. new) vehicle, which will cost you at least $30k (the base price of a new hybrid RAV4). How much gas would half that sum, buy you?
I can imagine no scenario in which you spend less to own/drive the new vs. the ’15 – especially when you take into account the depreciation losses attending the purchase of the new vehicle and also the likely cost of having to replace the battery pack, if you were to buy a hybrid and “drive the wheels off.” Hybrid battery packs last longer than pure EV battery packs, but not forever. And they are not cheap.
There is one other thing, too.
Your ’15 Accord is much freer of “advanced driver assistance technology” – i.e.. obnoxious driver pre-emption “technology.”
I recommend driving the Accord for a few weeks and seeing how you like it. Then maybe test drive one of the new models you’re considering and see how you like all of the “advanced technology” it has…

. . .

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  1. If Troy’s reading this, then keep the Accord.

    Less crap to fix in the future (Simpler powertrain), use the savings you don’t spend on monthly payments on Gas, and don’t have to feel like a tool driving a Lesbian’s crossover (Rav4) or Jewcedes (Lexus).

    With everyone marking up everything, your trade in value wouldn’t do ya much favors, and if you gotta deal with bad weather, tires make a world of difference. As far as parts, it’s a Honda, not a Isuzu there’s always gonna be stuff available for it, so don’t fret.

    Whatever the car doesn’t have, the Aftermarket can provide, and in this day and age, sedans are cooler than crossovers, plus the gas mileage would be similar due to the aerodynamics and weight

    Just my 2 cents, take it and don’t look back

  2. Stupid question. People are so keyed to having the next new thing when what they have works perfectly well. Guy deserves to be in endless debt, apparently doesn’t bother him.

    • Hi Condor,

      I think the questioner isn’t a “car guy” and so doesn’t understand/know about some important factors, such as the degradation of hybrid/electric car battery packs and the cost of replacing them. The “media” does not tell people about that and while I agree that due diligence is an obligation for us all, I have sympathy for knowledge deficits, as we all have them. And this guy was trying to make a sound decision by asking questions. That said, I agree with you in general. The willingness of so many people to spend money they haven’t got astounds me.

  3. The only reason to get rid of the accord is if you need something bigger.
    If I were looking to save money and gas I’d sell the accord for 20k and buy an older used manual honda fit or gen1 insight for half the sale price or less.

  4. If you decide to trade it in on a new whatever hybrid, I will pay you more than the dealer offers as a trad-in. According to Edmond’s, the trade-in value for your car in my area is $15,805.00 for “outstanding” condition. Private party is 20,144.00, Dealer retail is $23,731.00. If you decide trade it. I will give you at least 3K more than the dealer. Depending on where you are etc. I am in SE Michigan

  5. I found this old lamp and rubbed it, and this genie came out and said he’d grant me 3 wishes. I want to know if I should trade it for a pack of gum.

  6. A no brainer on this one. Keep the 2015! Blue chip model, low miles, well kept (guessing garaged) for FREE! Driven by grandma to church and the grocery, it’s about as good a used car can be. Most people would love to have a not very used car like that, let alone for free!

  7. Hi Troy,

    I have to agree with Eric 100%. If you sell the Accord, you could probably receive about $25K for it. A new Toyota RAVA4 would set you back at least $35K. Even with not having to pay interest you are out a minimum of $10K. As Eric pointed out add in the difference of auto insurance for a 2022 vs 2015 automobile and higher personal property taxes (if you live in a state that collects them) that could easily add up to extra $1500 per year.

    The Honda Accord gets roughly 25 mpg and the hybrid RAV4 gets about 40 mpg. If you drive 12000 miles per year you would roughly save $900 a year or $75/month. This doesn’t even cover the additional insurance and PPT costs. Even if we omit this extra cost, it will still take you over 11 years to break even for the purchase of the SUV.

    As Uncle Joe would say “C’mon man.” 😉


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