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Discussion Starter #1
Hi all,

Wanted to get your thoughts on a decision I’m about to make. We have a 2016 Volt on lease which is due to end next month. The residual is $18.5k. The car is in mint basically new condition, no accidents, and only 20k miles on it. We love the car. It’s been awesome.

But here’s the dilemma. We bought this car when my wife was commuting 30 miles round trip. Now the commute is only 4 miles round trip so this car only will only get around 1k miles per YEAR on it. It just feels like $18.5k is way too much money to justify driving 2 miles at a time.

Anyway, so I’ve come across a 2014 Volt in also fantastic condition. Owner seems very honest and the car drives perfectly (I’m still going to get a PPI done of course). All maintenance was done regularly with receipts from the dealership. However, the car has 106k miles on it. KBB on the car is $9k and I can get it for $7k.

What do you guys think? I know I’ll be losing some features going from a Gen2 to Gen1. But $18.5k vs $7k too. Money is a priority so I’m leaning towards the Gen1 but am I missing something with reliability on these Volts? I’ve researched here and I didn’t see much issue (have also read about the 300-400k mile Volt) but want to get your thoughts anyway. Is this is a good enough deal for a Gen1 to bypass keeping my own Gen2?
 

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Hi all,

Wanted to get your thoughts on a decision I’m about to make. We have a 2016 Volt on lease which is due to end next month. The residual is $18.5k. The car is in mint basically new condition, no accidents, and only 20k miles on it. We love the car. It’s been awesome.

But here’s the dilemma. We bought this car when my wife was commuting 30 miles round trip. Now the commute is only 4 miles round trip so this car only will only get around 1k miles per YEAR on it. It just feels like $18.5k is way too much money to justify driving 2 miles at a time.

Anyway, so I’ve come across a 2014 Volt in also fantastic condition. Owner seems very honest and the car drives perfectly (I’m still going to get a PPI done of course). All maintenance was done regularly with receipts from the dealership. However, the car has 106k miles on it. KBB on the car is $9k and I can get it for $7k.

What do you guys think? I know I’ll be losing some features going from a Gen2 to Gen1. But $18.5k vs $7k too. Money is a priority so I’m leaning towards the Gen1 but am I missing something with reliability on these Volts? I’ve researched here and I didn’t see much issue (have also read about the 300-400k mile Volt) but want to get your thoughts anyway. Is this is a good enough deal for a Gen1 to bypass keeping my own Gen2?
I would not consider a 2014 Volt with such high mileage. For such a short commute what are the options for car pooling to work or using public transportation? A used Gen 1 Leaf, even with a degraded battery, will travel 4 miles.

Unless you will only consider an EV or a vehicle with a plug a station car would fit your needs. A station car is any older vehicle that runs that can be driven a few miles back and forth to the train station, occasionally used for short distance weekend errands. If the station car breaks down, it is not a big deal as you can always walk home or get a ride from family member or neighbor. It does not matter if the radio is broken or the AC does not work. As long as the car operates and the steering and brakes work it is good enough for its intended purpose. Also, station cars tend to have lots of rust and dents, not likely to be damaged while parking or be the target of thieves but these days you never know.
 

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I think the Gen 1 is a good deal. At 106K miles it's barely broken in. While you don't know what the future holds for either car, $11,000 pays for a lot of servicing, especially if you never need it. I had a similar decision when I bought mine. $18,000 Cdn all in for Gen1 w/60K miles or $40,000 all in for new Premium Gen2. I chose the Gen1. Didn't need phone play, auto park assist or need to know I was following the car ahead by 1.5 seconds, not that toys aren't fun to play with but that $22,000 could be better spent elsewhere (retired, no daily commute).
 

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Find out the warranty on that volt first, just to know what you're getting. If you're in a CARB state and the Volt has a certain ultra low emissions designation (can't recall which one offhand), you might have a 10 year/150K warranty against battery degradation--which could be very useful. Keep in mind it's a very limited warranty (NOT a Voltec warranty). Worth knowing at least, if you're in a CARB state.

Otherwise, might even be worth looking around for a used Spark EV or some other ultra-low priced EV. With a 4 mile commute, you'll be burning gas every other month just for fuel maintenance, which could get very annoying.
 

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There's quite a few of the California compliance cars out there that are available that may work well for you (Spark EV, Focus EV, Fiat 500e, etc), that are really cheap on the used market. You might have to have one shipped, but they might be a better choice so you don't have to maintain an ICE if you are truly don't need something that can go over 70-80 miles in a day.

For example, a 2016 Fiat 500e with 20-40,000 miles, sells for between $8k and $12k. I had seriously considered getting one for my teenager, since it's modern, safe, and cheap, and he doesn't need to much more than 10 miles in a day, but I ended up getting my parents old car instead.
 

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I would never buy a car with over a 100K miles on it.
 

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With that commute, a pure BEV would be perfect. I agree with everyone else that a Focus EV or Spark EV (even shipped from out of state) would be a much better vehicle for that usage case. In fact, if anything ever happened to my Volt, I'm personally ready to have an E-Golf shipped to Michigan from California.

I don't think 100,000 miles is as big of a milestone as it once was. I bought my 2013 Volt with 98,000 miles on it, and now it's at 140,000. One oil change in that time, and a lot of driving. I also live on a dirt road that I have to drive down every day, but everything is holding up very well for the mileage. The Gen1 Volts are considered to be tougher than most since back in its day it was GM's saving grace, and that for the Gen2, everything was built to the same standards as the rest of GM's lineup (which is good, this isn't the old GM). If the extra features of the Gen2 aren't worth it to you, I'd get the gen1 and call it a day. It'll take quite a while for repairs on the Gen1 to eat up the price difference of getting the Gen2, and with how few miles you'll be putting on it...
 

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You can get used Nissan Leafs for very good prices anywhere, and they are great cars except for the limited range once they are over a few years old. But for your needs, the range will be more than fine. And maintenance costs should be even less (no oil changes, no fuel maintenance, etc.) compared to a Volt. And compared to a compliance BEV, the Leaf is high volume, so you will be able to get it repaired or easily re-sell it years into the future.
 

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But here’s the dilemma. We bought this car when my wife was commuting 30 miles round trip. Now the commute is only 4 miles round trip so this car only will only get around 1k miles per YEAR on it. It just feels like $18.5k is way too much money to justify driving 2 miles at a time.
To me, you're in the best of all possible positions - You have the opportunity to buy a very nice, very low miles car that you know the history of for about half the original sticker price. Obviously you love the car and in your current position, the car may very well last you for another 15 or 20 years. What's not to like?

I only buy what I like and I've owned several cars for more than 10 years, a couple of them for 15 and I just sold my Miata last week after owning it for 20 years - It only had 60K on it when I sold it and I got a very good price for it . . . . more than half what I paid for it 20 years ago

Personally, I don't think your expected use of 1K per year has much of any bearing on your decision . . . . other than a positive one. The buyout payments can't be much more than you've been paying to lease it, are they? 10 years from now, it may only have 35 or 40K on it and it should still be a very reliable car . . . . and you won't have had a car payment at all for several years

On the other hand, you could buy the 100K car now and who knows what it will have cost you to drive for the next 10 years - You don't know that car like you know the one you have now and in my past experience, buying a pig in a poke with 100K on it seldom works out to be the low cost option you hope it will

Don
 

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I'd get the Gen 1 Volt - no question. Our 2014 Gen 1 has been super reliable and we are at ~124K miles right now with no plans to sell it anytime soon. The Gen 1 battery is proven to have VERY little desperation and the maintenance is low with tires every so often and an oil change every 24 months.

While 100K is about a third of the overall life of a ICE, the EV parts will go on far, far longer. We plan on keeping our Gen 1 to use as a BEV-like commuter until the wheels fall off, then put them back on and drive some more. Your cost per mile would be very low and as long as you get the ***-sensor thing bypassed, you have nothing to worry about. A car is a depreciating asset - go inexpensive and use the cash for something better - like home renovations or investments for early retirement.
 

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I would never buy a car with over a 100K miles on it.
When I sold my (bought new) '71 Javelin with 180,000 miles it didn't burn any oil and had no problems that weren't self induced (needed new rear leaf springs).

When I sold my (bought new) '91 Integra with over 137,000 miles on it, it was like new condition except for replaceable capacitors in ICU.

I've know another car like it in same condition at 217,000 miles.

At 100,000 miles a modern car is just broken in unless a) you don't take care of it. b) you got a lemon. c) you bought a car that was not well engineered.

There are always those kids who had broken their Christmas toys by Boxing Day. I had a cousin who was one.
 

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I would get the gen1. You will save a ton of money and still have a car that serves your needs just fine.

Besides, yesterday I parked next to a gen1 at the YMCA and quite frankly I have to admit the gen1 is certainly more unique and interesting in the looks department.


Sent from my SM-G930V using Tapatalk
 

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With the choice between the two, I would get the Gen1. There's simply no reason to spend the additional money or have the extra features of a Gen2, when driving 4 miles a day.

Unlike a used Leaf or Spark, if the work situation changes it's capable of doing more. My only advice would be to keep a minimal amount of fuel in the tank, ~2 gallons, so you don't hit the fuel maintenance trigger (to burn up the old gas), or carry the extra weight. Before my driving pattern changed, I was adding 1 gallon at time to my Gen1.
 

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I personally would avoid that Gen 1 because the mileage is too high but depending on how it was driven (e.g. % of EV vs. ICE) you may get many trouble-free years from it. That being said, they have been pretty reliable (especially the '14 and '15 models).

Depending on your needs you can also look for the following:
1. A Gen 1 with less mileage (may be closer to $10-12k but still better than $19k for the lease buyout). At least you will have the Voltec warranty if needed for a bit.

2. As others mentioned - a used Gen 1 Leaf can be found in the < $10k price range and will handle the small commute.

3. Perhaps a Spark EV which would fall in the same price range although they are harder to find.
 

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I personally would not worry about the fact that the car has 106K miles on it. The main reason that most people would hesitate to buy a car at that mileage is because after driving it for say 3 more years, it would have 140K - 150K miles on it and at some point it will just be worn out (I'm not saying a Volt wears out at 150K, but extend the math to whatever mileage you estimate for useful life). But in your case, after 3 more years, you will *still* be under 110K miles, which is still a very reasonable number. Heck, drive it 10 or 15 more years like that and the mileage will still be reasonable. At your intended use, you are not going to be adding any significant mileage, so you can afford to use a slightly higher mileage car. Just make sure it is currently in good working order.
 

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The 2014 is out of the 100K mile battery warranty. One issue with the battery will cost $5-$10K. Keep the Gen2 and enjoy the car. I just traded one of my Gen 1's with 95k miles in for a 2018 and we are pleased with the larger more comfortable car. I feel like I'm still taking a risk with my 2012 gen1 which has 79K miles on it hopefully. Hope to have it paid off before it has battery issues.
 

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I would buy that gen 1 if I was local to wherever you are and then you wouldn't have to think about it anymore. 7k seems like a great deal. For anyone who thinks 100k miles is a big amount, you should go look at used pickups that frequently have 250k+ on them and the sticker is still well over $20k, often still over $40k.
You could also get a bike, or moped, etc. for your dinky commute.
 

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Discussion Starter #19
Thank you all for the feedback. Much appreciated.

We are in CA so I’d still be under the Voltec warranty. We’re never going to come close to 150k miles on this car anytime soon, so we’ll have that warranty until the time limit runs out, which I think is 10 years from new.

I think with this Volt being at just $7k, we’re going to pull the trigger on this one. As of right now, it drives very well, has no issues, and has been dealer maintained. As long as the reliability of these is good and even with some regular maintenance or minor issues down the road, I think we’ll come out way ahead. Just hoping to avoid any major catostrophic failures that aren’t covered by warranty.
 

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Thank you all for the feedback. Much appreciated.

We are in CA so I’d still be under the Voltec warranty. We’re never going to come close to 150k miles on this car anytime soon, so we’ll have that warranty until the time limit runs out, which I think is 10 years from new.

I think with this Volt being at just $7k, we’re going to pull the trigger on this one. As of right now, it drives very well, has no issues, and has been dealer maintained. As long as the reliability of these is good and even with some regular maintenance or minor issues down the road, I think we’ll come out way ahead. Just hoping to avoid any major catostrophic failures that aren’t covered by warranty.
As you would do with any used car.
 
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