Gimme a hand, por favor

2017-Kia-Soul-Clear-WHite_o
What I want. A new Kia Soul.
honda
What I have. A 2009 Honda CR-V.

I AM ON THE horns of a dilemma. Feel free to chime in.

I’ve been thinking of buying a new car, but I can’t come up with a very good reason to do so other than it would be nice to have a new car. Does that justify the financial outlay? Not really.

The 2009 Honda CR-V we have owned for almost a decade runs great. It’s never given me a lick of serious trouble. Honda makes wonderful cars.

In the last year or so, two large plastic covers have come loose beneath the car. They were easily and cheaply reconnected, but is that a hint of more serious trouble ahead?

I’m concerned about the airbags that have been packed tightly in there somewhere for 10 years. Will they still deploy correctly if needed? Mexicans drive like lunatics, so airbags are wise south of the border. It was the primary reason I bought the Honda in 2009. Our previous Chevrolet Meriva lacked airbags.

There is the matter of the Honda depreciating every year, and a new car increasing in price every year. Would it be cheaper to switch now? Most likely.

The Blue Book value of the Honda currently sits at 125,000 pesos. The price of the car we would buy, a 2018 Kia Soul EX TA, is 332,000 pesos. The difference between those two at today’s exchange rate is a bit over $10,000 in U.S. bucks. I would use dollars from above the Rio Bravo.

The exchange rate is very favorable now due to Trump and AMLO, and may it continue that way at least until January.

I would have to wait till January to make a purchase due to Gringo tax issues. The 2019 Kias would be available then, one supposes. Maybe I can get a deal on a leftover 2018.

What would you do in my spot, and why? Gracias in advance.

50 thoughts on “Gimme a hand, por favor

    1. Ricardo: There is that, which I did not mention in the post but which is a factor. The tech advances are significant. Our 2009 Honda seems almost prehistoric in that respect.

      There is also the matter of insurance. About 18 months ago, I toyed very briefly with the idea of buying a new Mazda. That idea went up in smoke when I asked my insurance agent how much full coverage on the Mazda would be. It was astronomical. I just checked with him again, and the insurance difference on the new Kia is just the peso equivalent of 150 U.S. extra. No big thing.

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  1. About the Kia, pay special attention to the interior finishes. I’ve only driven a Kia Rio, a rental, which was very uncomfortable in the driver’s seat.

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    1. Carole: Remarkably, the front seat of the Soul is as spacious or perhaps more so than the Honda’s. I sat in one a couple of months ago at the dealership. I was really surprised.

      The Rio is quite different from the oddly named Soul. Also oddly, while at the dealership, I climbed into the Kia Sportage, a significantly larger car, but I cracked my skull on the upper door frame getting into the thing. Meanwhile, slipping into the Soul was a piece of cake. I’m quite tall.

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  2. If it was me, Felipe, I would stick with the Honda. Run it until the wheels fall off. I have had three Hondas and loved them. Kias I have not heard anything good about. Had a few friends who’ve owned them with not a lot good to say. Besides, a few repair costs sure beat payments or a large sum of cash up front. Just my two cents.

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    1. Mike: Your approach appeals to me, and I might (likely will) do just that. As for the Kia Soul, it gets spectacular reviews, and its safety features are first-rate. Time will tell.

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  3. If Honda makes wonderful cars, why are you leaving the brand for some Korean floozy? The Kia Soul will rank up there in the annals of ugly vehicles with the Pontiac Aztek. Have you looked at what Honda has to offer? No, you haven’t. Hie yourself over to Honda Altozano, tell them I sent you, and look at Honda first.

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    1. Ms. Shoes: If I wanted to spend lots more money, which I don’t, that is exactly what I would do. Actually, I would go to Nissan. The issue here is money, and the Soul has spectacular reviews, and it’s very comfortable up front where I would sit. As for its appearance, I like the quirkiness.

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  4. My 2 cents. You don’t drive to CDMX any longer. You have said you are bored with going to the beach. Recently you asked for suggestions for a substitute destination to San Miguel but not too far away. Do you NEED a new car or WANT a new car? You have also said you would like to visit Colombia and Chile and other places inside Mexico. You almost cannot kill a Honda. Keep it and use the 10 grand to do some of the things you have said you want to do. Do it while you still can!

    Best, Daniel

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  5. Based on the kind of driving you do, I would keep the Honda. We get ours serviced at the new dealership at Altozano and have had no issues at all. I know it is always nice to slide into a new shiny car, but financially between the insurance increase and money gone, you should delay the temptation until really needed. But then thinking about it, with all your funds you have , it’s a drop in the bucket for you, go for it!

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    1. Tancho: With all the funds I have! Ha! You have me confused with Ms. Shoes. As for getting it serviced, I quit messing with the dealerships in the capital city as soon as the warranty expired. I have a very reliable place right here in town. Costs far less than any dealership too.

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  6. I don’t like these kind of dilemmas bothering my mind; so if it were me in this situation, and I was hankering with the thoughts of a new set of wheels, and I had the CASH in hand ready to spend, and I was edging towards the unattractive Soul … then I’d go do it pronto. No more bothering thoughts, the CASH is now history and no longer to be concerned about, and there sits an unattractive but NEW car under the portico. The fresh smell of new leather can’t be beat.

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    1. Leisa: Unattractive? Dem’s fighting words. You sound like Ms. Shoes who also disparaged the appearance of the Honda when I bought it almost 10 years ago. I think the CR-V looks just fine, and the Soul is quite sporty, very imaginative. I would look very good in it. As for the CASH in hand, ready to spend. Well, the cash won’t show up till January, and I’ll never be ready to spend. I’ll have to force myself due to being basically a tightwad. But you are right about one thing: Once cash is spent for something, whatever, its absence pales before the attractiveness of the thing purchased … usually.

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  7. Personally, I do not believe in “wasting money.” When we were younger, I thought I needed the newest and best. Now, I am perfectly happy with my money in the bank and drive my perfectly fine used car. Are repairs expensive in Mexico? Hondas should outlive you.

    I agree with the previous poster’s comment, safe the money for travel.

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    1. Beverly: I too loathe to waste money. The motivation for the thought of changing cars is far less than having something “newest and best.” I just don’t want to get stranded on some stretch of highway. Too old for that crap. But I do have a pickup service as part of my insurance policy. Need to remember that. Are car repairs expensive in Mexico? Since it’s been almost two decades since I’ve done a car repair above the Rio Bravo, I don’t have anything to compare it to, but my garage here in town always seems very reasonable to me, sometimes even cheap. Yeah, I know Hondas last a long time. A commenter here on the previous post about this topic, a year or so ago, said something that stuck in my mind, that if I’m waiting for the Honda to wear out, I’ve got a long wait ahead of me.

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  8. Go rent the Kia for a month, and drive it all over the place. Then come home, have the CRV detailed professionally, then sit back and count your money. In 10 years, they’ll both be worth the same or very close.

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    1. Phil: Nope, not gonna rent a Kia for a month, but I may get the Honda detailed and sit back and count my money. I like to count my money. Thanks for the suggestion.

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  9. You left out one very important metric here: mileage (or kilometrage, in your case). How many miles does the Honda have? And how many miles per year do you drive?

    The fact of the matter is that you save the most money by keeping your cars for the long term. If you drive as little as I suspect (<5K MI/yr), then you are certainly financially better served by keeping the Honda. If you're worried about the airbags, you can probably replace the front ones for less than $1,000 USD, though I'd do some research on the question first.

    As an aside, I drive two rather elderly Mercedes ('99 and '01). Both have stickers telling me I should have replaced the airbags years ago. But I did some research, and that suggested that fears of airbags going bad have not generally been realized. So they are probably fine, and I'm certainly not going to pay Mercedes rates for new airbags. Your airbags are probably fine too.

    So my best advice to you is to simply hang onto the Honda. Oh, and the Forex market is now seemingly beginning to think that AMLO isn't the end of the peso as it's rallying pretty sharply today. So by January it may be back to a 17 handle. Of course no one can know that with any certainty.

    In any case, I like the suggestion to get the Honda detailed, and then you can laugh all the way to the bank.

    Saludos,

    Kim G
    Redding, CA
    Where we generally try to hold cars for a very long time. Salt is our sworn enemy in this effort.

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    1. P.S. if you drive as little as I suspect, you also have to consider then how little pleasure you’ll actually get out of a new, little-used car.

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      1. Kim: Yeah, mostly I drive the 15 minutes downtown once a day, and the 45 minutes to the state capital once a week. Not all that much when you ponder on it. We used to drive more.

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    2. Kim: The Honda has about 175,000 kilometers on it. We drive less now than we used to, however. As for getting the car detailed, I’ve thought about it. Never done it. I did have it waxed recently, the very first time. The difference was quite noticeable. And I recently bought new floor mats. The tires are one shade shy of the borderline point. When they get borderline, I’ll buy new ones, which ain’t cheap, and that will reduce considerably the chances of my trading it in. Maybe I’ll get it detailed to give me the feel of a new car at a fraction of the price. I like the idea of laughing all the way to the bank.

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      1. So you’ve got about 109,000 miles on the Hellacious Honda. These days, with proper maintenance, that’s not all that much. You should be able to go 200K miles with no problem, possibly farther. If you decide to keep the Honda, you should have the transmission fluid changed if you’ve never done so. Also wouldn’t hurt to flush the brake system, replace the coolant, and flush the power steering fluid. These are all maintenance items that generally get overlooked, but save you money in the long term, especially the transmission fluid. As for tires, keep in mind that the rubber loses its flexibility over time and that tires that are over 5-7 years old are dicey.

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        1. Kim: I’ve done all the recommended servicing on time. I’ll check to see if those items were on there. Some were, I know. And yes, I’ll likely be getting new tires before much longer.

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          1. If the transmission service is not recommended, do it anyway if you’re going to keep the HH for the long term. Some car companies are touting “service-free” transmissions, but new fluid from time to time (50-80K miles) will really pay off in the long term.

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  10. Felipe: Have you checked to see if there is a recall on your airbags? Last year my brother’s lease on an Acura was running out, and he decided to buy it. The dealer presented him with a 7 page waiver due to the airbag recall, and told him it wouldn’t be done for 18 months. Apparently cars in hot climates have more problem with those faulty airbags.

    The major upgrades to cars in the last few years have mostly to do with automatic braking, warnings for straying out of your lane, etc. I doubt most of them are available on a Kia unless you really load it up. I bought a Camry in 2015, expecting it to be my last car. The dealer constantly harasses me about trading it in. My mechanic, who changes the oil and does required service, because he’s cheaper and closer than the dealer, recently asked if I was going to get a new car. I told him “If I planned on buying a new car every three or four years, I wouldn’t have bought a Toyota.” Honda and Subaru are similar. It’s not an exciting car. It’s comfortable, reliable and economical. All I have spent in 50,000 km. is oil changes, filters, and I just put a new set of tires on it to replace the square rocks it came with.

    The only reason it isn’t a Honda or Subaru is because I wouldn’t buy a car with a CVT transmission. Mazda is a more “driver oriented” car, but I wouldn’t consider buying one for long term because they aren’t as sturdy, and here in Canada they rust.

    You can probably guess that I would just keep driving the Honda until the repairs cost the equivalent of a car payment, then sell it and buy a new one. Quirky and different as they might be, I don’t think Kia is in the same league as Honda. It will fall apart before you have it 10 years.

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    1. Kris: No, I have not checked on any airbag recall. Now you’ve given me another thing to worry about! The good thing is that I do not live in a hot climate at all. Maybe I’ll stop by the Honda dealership and inquire, or probably could do it online, eh? As for the CVT transmission, it appears my car does not have one. I read something about it recently, or maybe it was in the comments the last time I wrote on this issue about a year ago. My transmission works fine. Dang, the whole car works fine. As for Kias, they apparently get better every year, and now are quite good. At least, that’s what I’ve read. Reviews on new Souls are almost uniformly spectacular, and so are safety ratings.

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      1. The airbag recall is not simply a Honda issue. The Japanese company that makes a large number of the airbags used by most/all auto companies made them for years and kept the problems that they were causing owners secret. Many people died. That company is now in bankruptcy. However, many still remain in cars. All of them were not faulty, but who knows which are or are not faulty. Keep the Honda & your pesos, amigo.

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        1. Smoke: Since my car was sold in Mexico, I cannot use Honda’s U.S. website to check if there was a recall. My VIN does not register with them. And I cannot find a comparable website in Mexico. I’m going by the dealership next week to ask. After the feedback here, I have pretty much decided to stick with the Honda. Thanks for weighing in.

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            1. Ms. Shoes: You are of immeasurable value. There are four recalls on my car. Two from 2015 involve the two front airbag inflators. Another from 2015 involves the door lock on the driver’s side. Another from 2011 says the transmission software needs updating. Who knew? So I’ll be doing those. I’m assuming that recalls are done free.

              As for Señor Cotton being my amigo, sure, he is. He’s just a weirdo. That’s all.

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  11. I’m in the keep-the-Honda camp. I’m not one to worry about impressing someone at a traffic light as evidenced by my current motor pool: 2001 Dodge Caravan and 2008 Saturn Vue. Paid $2500 for each of them many moons ago (+6 years). Both have over 200K miles on them. If someone dings the door, I don’t care. Both are very reliable. The maintenance has been cheap even here NOB. Can pay a lot of mechanic’s bills vs. a monthly payment. Probably have no trouble finding someone in Patz who can work on it, but the newfangled stuff may be a different story.

    In my (our) day in your hometown, Pop would start unloading a car when it got to around 70K miles because they died at a 100K, it seemed.

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    1. Steve: Good points. I had not thought about the fact that I’d have to start lugging the thing to a dealership in the nearby capital city for servicing until the warranty runs out, and I think the Soul has a seven-year (!) warranty. Now I just drive a mile down the road here and leave it at a trustworthy and inexpensive garage I’ve used for ages. Thanks for the input. Again, good points.

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  12. Buy the new car at the earliest possible opportunity. Spending money is always good. Especially, at our ages. We may not have long to fully enjoy the fruits of our labor.

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  13. For best economy, of course, keep the Honda. We bought a 2012 CR-V with 65,000 km. last year, and we love it. It will probably be the last car we will ever own in Mexico. However, you have some things on your Honda you have hated. How much do those things they still bother you?

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    1. Patzman: I wouldn’t say those were details I hated. I did dislike them, however. They were design elements that only affect the driver. Passengers would not notice. In time, I’ve gotten used to them, but I would take note when buying a new car.

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  14. I am just curious. Would you pay cash or finance this purchase? What kind of payment plans are common in Mexico? In the U.S, there may soon be a stiff tariff on imported autos. In which case, now would be a good time to buy. But I am unsure about how things will work out in Mexico.

    Personally, at my age, I am reluctant to enter into a six-year payment program. Will you live long enough to pay off a new vehicle? And if you don’t, can your widow handle the payments? It is really none of my business, but I just wondered.

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    1. Señor Gill: One can ask me anything. The answer in this case is that I don’t do debt. I owe nobody a dime or peso, and haven’t since I bought the house in Houston in 1986, which was paid off in 1995 after my last wife dumped me. That was my last debt, over two decades ago. My credit card balances are paid in full automatically via my checking account every month. I’ve bought four cars, all new, since I moved to Mexico, and I paid cash for each of them. Were I to buy the Kia Soul, which I’ve decided not to do for now, I would pay cash too. So I have no idea what kind of payment plans are common down here.

      Funny you mention your reluctance to get into a six-year plan on a new car. I do something similar. As you may know, when you subscribe to things online, they often set it up to renew automatically. When they do that to me, I immediately go and cancel the auto-pay, and I do it for the same reason. I usually use PayPal, and my wife would have no idea how to cancel it. My bank account would be charged forever.

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  15. To one and all: I really appreciate the feedback on this post. It has led me to decide to keep the Honda for the foreseeable future. Perhaps most important of all, is that I’ve learned, via Ms. Shoes, that four recall notices have been sent out since I bought it, and two involve the airbags. I had no idea, and I will be seeing to that ASAP.

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  16. Ah, the benefits you enjoy via this blog, señor. Any time you get tired of political posts, you can turn to purchase choices for the ultimate in responses from your followers on the web.

    And, by the way, despite my post on this matter, I would be firmly in the “drive it ’til the wheels drop off” camp. You can buy a new one when you need it.

    Best to you, sir.

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    1. Ricardo: Yes, there are benefits. Mostly, it’s just fun. Yes, I have decided to keep the Honda, and yes, I can buy a new car when it’s absolutely necessary. However, there’s also the fact that the Honda will continue diminishing in value, while new cars will continue increasing in cost.

      Oh, well.

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  17. Felipe,

    I’m late to the party but will still add my two cents. I think you made a wise decision to stick with the Honda. I will echo what someone else said, spend the money on a trip to Colombia.

    Regards,
    Troy

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