So your friend just bought a brand new Subaru XV Crosstrek, and you’re super jealous. But you don’t want to have to spend your days eating ramen and skipping nights out with friends to handle the payments. So what do you do? You buy a used car that’s just as cool, and useful, for a fraction of the price, that’s what.
Whatever car you’re lusting after, chances are great that there’s a used car that’s just as fun, just as capable, and maybe even cooler, just waiting to take its place in your heart—and your driveway.
Take that Subaru XV Crosstrek, for example. It’s a funky-looking hatchback with all-wheel-drive, geared for a sporty lifestyle. Fortunately, there are a number of alternatives you could consider that have all those features, plus the fun of a slightly retro design, maybe even more interior space, and—for the right kind of buyer—maybe even a little patina that says this car has already lived a fun life.
What are the alternatives? Well, first up is the XV Crosstrek itself—some of the earlier models are already three years old, and are available for much more affordable prices than the new ones—and they look just the same. If you’re looking for something a little more affordable, there’s always Subaru’s own Impreza or WRX, which can pack a lot more sport in a very similar body style, also with all-wheel drive, and plenty of room for your dog, your gear, and your friends. The WRX and Impreza have been on sale in the U.S. since the early 2000s, and even very good examples can be frequently found under $7,000.
At the funkier/older/rarer end of the spectrum, you have cars like the Toyota Tercel 4WD Wagon or the Honda Civic Wagon with RealTime 4WD. Both are small on the outside but surprisingly big on the inside, both offer all-wheel drive, and both get killer gas mileage. These 1980s cars might be just as old as you (or even a little older), but they are notoriously reliable, well-built, and cheap to fix when they do need repairs. Plus, your friend with the XV Crosstrek will totally want to drive them.
This is just one example of how older cars can take the place of newer ones in terms of function, style, and fun-to-own qualities. No matter the new car, all it takes is a little homework to find a used car that might just suit you even better—and fit your budget just right, too.
automotive freelance journalist