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Q: 2002 Grand Prix or 2008 G5?

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Hello, I am at a crossroad as to which used car to buy. I am going to college in the fall and will be driving about 50 miles round-trip every weekend, throughout Wisconsin winters and summers. Both of the cars have the same price, new tires, and both come with a 1 month warranty. Both are in absolutely excellent condition, despite the years on one of them. First option: 2002 Pontiac Grand Prix Coupe, V6, 54,000 miles, remote starter/foglights/sunroof, drives fantastic and under the hood looks almost new. Same owner for 14 years and no accidents on the carfax. Second Option: 2008 Pontiac G5, 4 cylinder, 65,000 miles, sunroof, excellent condition. Was a rental car for 2 years and leased for 6 in Florida, then auctioned to Wisconsin. If you had to choose a car for your son, which would you choose? Thanks!

A: Hi there. I was actually in this situation ...

Hi there. I was actually in this situation last month helping my college-bound daughter choose her car for Colorado driving.

At first glance, based on your description of needs, commute, living in Wisconsin, and looking at both vehicles stats, I’d choose the 2002 Grand Prix that was owned by the owner for 14 years. Although many former rental cars might appear to be good bargain’s, and are well-maintained by the fleets, it’s hard to tell what type of abuse they both took.

Something you might want to consider is having a local mechanic complete a pre-purchase inspection before you make the decision. This way, you can be aware of any issues that may appear with the car in the near future. Good luck on your car purchase and in college!

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