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#1
sapporo

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Hello,

Am trying to look for a used car in Hokkaido and was wondering if anyone had any experience buying a used car in Japan?
I'm looking to buy an SUV (enough space for me, the Mrs, the dog, the boards and gear).

Any advice on good / bad car dealers?
Any advice on good / bad used SUV's?
Any advice on what documentations i might need?
Any advice at all?

Would love a Landcruiser...but out of my price range at the moment.... looking at Xtrails, Airtreks, Pajeros....

Thanks

#2
Mr Wiggles

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Diesel X Trail is the cheapest, decently sized SUV to run by miles. About 9-10 yen a km for fuel. A bit plasticy inside, if that matters. I think you can get one for about 1.3 million or so.

If you or the mrs is a bit of a worrier, a fair few s/h cars at a fair few dealers can be bought with a three-year, unlimited mileage warranty. New ones often only come with a five year one, so you can save a fortune buying used and still have peace of mind. Basically what happens is that you pay extra and the money minus commission goes to an insurance company that handles the warranty, not to the used car dealer themselves. On an SUV I reckon a three year warranty is going to be somewhere between 70,000 and 100,000 (based on 5-million-when-new-but-now-about-1.5 million Harrier Hybrids I've been looking at). One of the companies offering an extended warranty is the Car Sensor used car website. The hybrid Alphard we bought last year had a brakes problem this year that took Toyota two goes to fix, and I think it would have cost upwards of 250,000 if we had had to pay. We bought it from a Toyota U car dealer and got their three-year warranty called the "long run hosho". After this experience, I don't think I'd pay very much for a s/h car without a warranty, even though I have bought privately from complete strangers (i.e., not even dealers) in the past.

fwiw, if you're looking for space, you'd get more out of a van than an SUV. I bet most of the vehicles you'll see in Car Danchi videos aren't SUVs.
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#3
Black Mountain

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Used 4WD Toyota Cardina for the win! I bought one of those used and then put 120,000kms on it without having to make any repairs at all. The seats fold into the floor and a single futon fits perfectly in the back.
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#4
Black Mountain

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Also, be aware that you'll usually need to add about 100,000¥ to the sticker price when you are buying from a second dealer because of paperwork fees and taxes.
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#5
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I had a Suzuki escudor before the Delica I got now. It was the model before the latest one, which actually I prefered over the newer shape.
That is a 4WD suv very capable off road and in the snow and big enough to carry a reasonable amount of luggage.
You can pick up a decent second hand one of them for probably 1.5m with quite low miles and not to old. Go a bit older or a few more miles and you could be talking 1mil.
Depending on your budget of course.
They are pretty tough cars and will put up with a lot of abuse.
Will far outdo any standard 4WD, not maybe in the land cruiser or Delica class, but still very good.
I did over 100,000 with it and never put a spanner to it, just regular oil changes.

As well as what BM said about the taxes, etc, you will also need to get a signed document from the local police or ward office, I forget which to say you have sufficient parking space at your house which you need to submit when you purchase a car, not a major problem, easy enough to do but another thing to remember.

Also like Mr. Wiggles said a van will give you more space, a big reason why I went for a Delica.

The older ones of them may be in your budget and are also worth considering, especially the D5 like I have, the seats will go full flat and you can sleep in it.
Skis will fit in the back so to will all the luggage and you can still get 5 adults in.

It will also go almost anywhere. Actually last year I drove it through 60cm deep snow.

A decent second hand will probably set you back about 1.5 -2 mil or more though.

If you buy a dealer serviced one it comes with 10 year parts and labour, so even one 4 or 5 years old will still have 5 or 6 of the 10 years parts guarantee on it.

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#6
Big Al

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Mrs. Big Al's Honda CRV (don't know if it's got the same name in Japan) is the duck's nuts! :D

Pretty good space inside - best in class for medium SUV's - and a super sweet engine.

You see plenty of the previous model, and pre-previous and pre-pre-previous models on the roads in Brissie so they seem to last the pace which backs up word-of-mouth testimonies.

Must admit to being a huge fan of the late great Soichiro Honda. Studied him a bit during my business Masters Degree and he came across as not only a compulsively industrious dude but a real "out of the box" thinker:

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#7
Mr Wiggles

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To take over the new car warranty when buying second hand, there is paperwork, a small fee, and I think the car has to go to a dealer of the manufacturer. If you don't do it, you don't get it. I bet loads of people don't, and many U car dealers don't go out of their way to help you do it. It would mean the manufacturer looking at the car they've just sold.

If you pay for the s/h warranty yourself, you can buy an older car which will be much cheaper. Japanese wiki says most new car warranties in Japan are five years, though it does depend on the manufacturer. We got our three year warranty on a car that was 10 years old with 135,000km on it. It was about a fifth of the price it was when new. A two year old second hand car with three years of the original new car warranty left on it would about three times what we paid, which is a lot to pay for very minor changes in design.

When buying second hand, a car with options like leather seats, a sunroof, premium sound etc. may only be 50,000 yen than the base model. When new, that would cost ten times that. In terms of price second hand, white (pearl) cars are worth the most, followed by black.
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#8
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Another car worth considering is the Toyota Rav4, it is a medium sized SUV and with plenty of them on the road should mean you can pick up a decent second hand one for under 1 million, I would guess.

I have never owned or driven on, so cant tell you what they are like, but out of all the cars mentioned here the Rav 4 is (maybe) the easiest to get a hold of.
Not so much space for luggage, but with a roof rack or box it may suit your needs.
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#9
sapporo

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Thanks for all the valuable input!

The mrs has put a million¥ cap on my budget, meaning finding something under ten years old and with under 60,000 kilometers on the meter is quite hard to find at the moment.

I'm guessing April might be a good time to find something perfect (taxes due, work transfer season), but I want to try find something before the winter kicks in, and according to the weather forecasts, that'll be next week (start of the ice age??).

What's the average Shaken for a car older than 10years? It's a shaken every year after its ten years old right?

#10
Black Mountain

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10 years or older you'll be looking at ¥120,000ish. It's still every two years. I think one year shaken is only for cars designated as work vehicles.
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#11
Mr Wiggles

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It's still two years. The only change for older cars, which I learned from Metabo, is that the yearly car tax starts to go up. In terms of total cost of ownership, it makes very little difference. Its just a nuisance intended to make people think badly of their old car so they buy a new one.

Shaken is just something you have to suck up. Again it's pitched as something that costs a fortune for old cars, but most of the cost is taxes and you pay the same ones when you buy a new car. The test itself isn't strict and you can often get through with very minimal maintenance if that is what you insist on (this can have consequences in the longer term). Our Alphard was under 80,000 and that is bigger than a midsize SUV. Its a 2003. In our case, any consequences from a "just get it through" shaken are mitigated by us having two years of warranty left on the car.

fwiw, I doubt that many ten year old s/h cars on Hokkaido will have under 60,000 km without someone clocking them. I think you'd be better off looking for up to 100,000km (only 60,000 miles) but getting something with a warranty. Both Nissan and Toyota do three year ones on the second hand cars they sell. Our car was advertised as having one year, but I asked for three and the guy instantly gave us it for nothing. He was just happy to shift a car with 135,000km because most buyers who go to dealers won't touch them. People prepared to buy high mileage (by Japanese standards) u-cars go to cheaper second-hand car merchants, not to dealers.

Standard practice in Japan is to change the timing belt (if the car has one) at 100,000km (overseas it sounds like its 100,000 miles) and that is usually a 10 to 15 man job, depending on who does it and how much dismantling has to be done. They usually change the water pump, a very cheap part, at the same time because of the dismantling involved. A lot of cars started switching to timing chains in the 2000s, so you can avoid a big maintenance cost at 100,000km by choosing one of them instead of a car with a timing belt.

If you must have low mileage, here's a Toyota Kluger (Highlander) with 41,000km. Its full size, so the fuel economy will hurt, but hey, you can kip in it and it comes with a set of studless and at SUV size they are pricey! Tell them you want the three year warranty for nothing.
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#12
Metabo Oyaji

     

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View PostMr Wiggles, on 18 October 2014 - 09:45 PM, said:

It's still two years. The only change for older cars, which I learned from Metabo, is that the yearly car tax starts to go up. In terms of total cost of ownership, it makes very little difference. Its just a nuisance intended to make people think badly of their old car so they buy a new one.


It used to be that after 10 years, shaken went from every other year to yearly. That changed a few years ago (don't remember exactly when), and yes, now the only car-age difference is the 13-year tax increase (Bar Mitzvah present, if you will). But still, that tax increase is less than 10%, so doesn't in itself justify buying a new car.

A bigger factor (for me, at least) would be mileage/燃費. A hybrid SUV or minivan would seem ideal to me for ski trips.

#13
TubbyBeaverinho

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On a non car but semi related subject......what is a bar mitzvah?
(I know it's a Jewish thing)
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#14
Mr Wiggles

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View PostMetabo Oyaji, on 19 October 2014 - 09:53 PM, said:

View PostMr Wiggles, on 18 October 2014 - 09:45 PM, said:

It's still two years. The only change for older cars, which I learned from Metabo, is that the yearly car tax starts to go up. In terms of total cost of ownership, it makes very little difference. Its just a nuisance intended to make people think badly of their old car so they buy a new one.


It used to be that after 10 years, shaken went from every other year to yearly. That changed a few years ago (don't remember exactly when), and yes, now the only car-age difference is the 13-year tax increase (Bar Mitzvah present, if you will). But still, that tax increase is less than 10%, so doesn't in itself justify buying a new car.

A bigger factor (for me, at least) would be mileage/燃費. A hybrid SUV or minivan would seem ideal to me for ski trips.


My Hilux must have turned 10 years old in about 2003-4ish, so it must have been before then.

For total cost of ownership, yeah fuel economy is huge, especially for bigger cars. Our Alphard hybrid saves us 200,000 a year compared to our old van. We've also put 115,000km on a hatch Prius. In terms of cost per km to drive, I think the most affordable to drive, decently sized car with 4wd is the diesel X Trail at 1.3million up. 2 million will get you the king of 4wd fuel economy, the Fit Hybrid 4wd. It only came out last year so there are no cheap s/h ones. For a sub 1 million roomy car with good fuel economy and 4wd, look at the Estima Hybrid, or an stick shift or cvt station wagon like a Legacy, Wingroad etc. Automatic ones get 10%+ worse economy.

If you want the cheapest car to drive in Japan, 1.2 million will get you the electric Nissan car, the Leaf. They cost about 2 yen a km to drive, but they are 2wd and limited to whatever the range is. They only came out about three years ago and were 3 million yen, so the value of them has fallen through the floor. At two yen a km plus one yen a km for tyres, I reckon that is cheaper than walking (!!) unless you do it barefoot with no shoes to wear out. Its certainly cheaper than walking in running shoes.

For real world fuel economy number from actual drivers in Japan, see the websites "e-nenpi" or "minkara".
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#15
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2 yen a km!

Interesting reading all the numbers.
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#16
Chriselle

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2 yen a km...? Nah.....
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#17
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Ski...If you like numbers like that... I've got A LOT of numbers...!! :omg:
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#18
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My yearly shaken is next month again......tears...!!
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#19
Mr Wiggles

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6km per kWh of electricity for the Leaf, overnight electricity is 12-13 yen a kWh, so 2 yen a km to drive. If you charge the car during the day, the electricity cost goes above 30 yen/kWh, so you're up to about 5 yen a kilometer, only just ahead of the most economical hybrids. In that case, the hybrids are only more expensive because the tax on fuel is higher than the tax on electricity.

Electricity and especially daytime electricity is much cheaper in the States, which is why there is so much interest in Tesla and their electric cars. You'll also get way more juice out of solar panels in the States, so electric cars make more sense over there, notwithstanding the huge distances some Americans drive.
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#20
sapporo

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So, got a car!!

Nissan X Trail.

Now, which insurance to get and from which company? Any advice?




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