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Hi! I'm buying my first car and I'm on a rather tight budget. I've narrowed it down to 2 cars but I'm not sure which to get. All things being roughly equal in terms of overall condition and price, which is a better car - a 91 Toyota Celica with 125k miles or a 94 Geo Prizm with 103k miles? I'm looking for a car that will last while without having to sink a lot of money into maintaining it. Thanks! Jame

Answers from the Automotive Experts

Amy Mattinat, Owner and Author at Auto Craftsmen Ltd Hi Jame, 2 questions you need to have answered: 1. Which car better serves your wants and needs? The Celica is a two door sports car. The back seat is really uncomfortable for passengers and there is not a lot of storage space. If you live somewhere that has snow during the winter, this is not a great car for sloppy road conditions. But it sure looks great and is really fun to drive. I had one for a summer and loved it!!! The Prizm is not as much fun to drive as the Celica, but has 4 doors and is a great basic sedan. The back seats are do-able for passengers and the truck holds a good amount of stuff. I had a prizm once and took it on a road trip with a friend. We had kayaks on the roof, bikes on the back and lots of gear inside the trunk and back seat. I could not have done this same road trip in the Celica. 2. Which car is in better shape? To determine if a vehicle is a good buy or not, you need to have them looked over on an individual basis. Have a trusted, trained mechanic do a thorough used car inspection on the vehicle of choice to determine what repairs it needs and what service work needs to be done to make it safe and reliable. Remember, all most all used car needs something! "I*m looking for a car that will last awhile without having to sink a lot of money into maintaining it." Sorry Jame, a car that old with those many miles does not exist! You need to understand that parts wear out and the vehicle needs maintenance on a regular basis. When vehicles reach 100k, they go through a repair cycle. You will have to sink some money into it over and over again. I suggest you set aside a least $80.00 per month in a car fund so "when" it needs work, you have the money to do it. All My Best, Amy Mattinat

Lori Johnson, Owner and Instructor at Ladies Start Your Engines Dear Jame, I*m still driving my 1988 Toyota truck with 267000 miles on it. I can*t say enough good things about it. Lori Johnson

Susan Givens, Publisher at Auto Success Magazine - System Publishing , Inc. I've always had really good luck with Toyotas. They seem to go on forever! Susan

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