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Help Me Choose!

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  • boomchekboomchek Vancouver, BC, CanadaPosts: 5,096
    My mom had a Saab 9-3, I think it was an 04 model. When Saab shut its doors, only one place remained in our city to get anything fixed and to get any parts. Parts took a while to arrive because they wouldn't order one part, but rather in bulk, after they had enough orders for a specific part, so it took months for parts to arrive.

    Then when it was time to sell it, everyone was scared to buy it because of parts availability and small network of repair shops to fix the cars.

    Volvos are decent but I do't trust them personally. Every Volvo I ever came across in my 10 years of auto sales, whether it was a 10 year old Volvo, or a 3 year old Volvo, had some sort of an electronic issue.

    Looks if you want reliability and luxury, then go for a Lexus, but otherwise if you choose anything European, prepare to spend a good coin on upkeep and maintenance.

    2007 BMW 328i Sports Pkg, 1993 Honda Accord EXR (my 33rd car).

  • nicolaipnicolaip Posts: 4
    I've been hearing that about Saab from everyone unfortunately :/ (damn I really liked their logo!)

    Any suggestions of an affordable domestic car that can meet some of my "wish list"?
  • qbrozenqbrozen Posts: 16,886
    Well, let's see... I think one of the toughest of your requirements is uniqueness. You certainly aren't unique in a TL. I would suggest a 3-series, but, again, not unique by any means.

    In any case, for your price cap, you'd have to go to a pre-'04 TL, which I believe only came with an auto trans that has reliability issues.

    I'd also suggest avoiding the spec V. It has a fatal flaw where the precat can spit debris back into the engine and destroy it.

    And, as previously pointed out, you can write off Audi and Saab if you want trouble-free motoring.

    So we have the aforementioned 3-series if you can overlook the commonality of it. An '04 325i is actually cheaper than a TL. A base model with under 90k could be had for about $7k retail, while a more loaded model would push $9-10k. Snow isn't an issue with snow tires.

    NOW, a VW... you could feasibly get an '07 GLI very close to your cap. That would be the far more reliable 2.0T. There are a couple of issues to be on the lookout for, so you'll want to get it checked out. The biggest being the fuel pump cam follower. If it was ever let to wear through, it can score the cam. It can easily be inspected prior to purchase and then its just a matter of checking it periodically and changing it once in a blue moon.

    Another suggestion? WRX. Or even a Legacy 2.5GT, although neither of those will return very good gas mileage.

    '13 Stang GT; '86 Benz 300E; '98 Volvo S70; '12 Leaf; '08 Town&Country

  • qbrozenqbrozen Posts: 16,886
    Oh, thought of a few more.

    A G35 or a 3.5 Altima. Only the manual trans because, while gas mileage still won't be great, it is far better than the automatic in the real world. Will be tough to find, though.

    I'd also suggest trying out a 2.3 mazda3 5-spd. While not exactly speedy, it is a very fun car. Or, if you can manage to find one, a low-mileage mazdaspeed protege. That will be a bit older, of course.

    '13 Stang GT; '86 Benz 300E; '98 Volvo S70; '12 Leaf; '08 Town&Country

  • sebring95sebring95 Posts: 3,225
    I agree with where gbrozen is going with this...the TL and Sentra from that gen is not the most reliable....nor are any of the others on the list. The 3 can have issues...but a good indi mechanic should drain the account too much...but I would still recommend something a little more main stream. The altima is a good choice but you might also look at the Acura TSX. Fairly fun to drive too.
  • boomchekboomchek Vancouver, BC, CanadaPosts: 5,096
    You might want to look at 2006 and up Chrysler 300 or Dodge Chargers. They're decent cars but won't have great fuel economy but you should be able to find them at under $10k now.

    2007 BMW 328i Sports Pkg, 1993 Honda Accord EXR (my 33rd car).

  • nicolaipnicolaip Posts: 4
    But aren't Chargers RWD? I love the look of those cars, but idk how it would do in the snow here in Chicago :/
  • qbrozenqbrozen Posts: 16,886
    RWD is not an issue with snow tires, like I said. When my wife was pregnant with our 2nd kid, I drove a RWD '91 Benz with no electronic nannies but with snow tires through, not 1, but 2 different snowstorms to the hospital and back. The only issue I had was squeezing past all the other cars that were stuck on on and off ramps on the highway. My FWD volvo with snow tires doesn't even do as well since the front tires have to do the steering and acceleration.

    '13 Stang GT; '86 Benz 300E; '98 Volvo S70; '12 Leaf; '08 Town&Country

  • suydamsuydam Posts: 876
    Stick with front wheel drive. Make life easier on yourself. Snow tires are another expense you don't need if you get Front wheel drive which are the majority of cars nowadays for a good reason.
  • qbrozenqbrozen Posts: 16,886
    which are the majority of cars nowadays for a good reason

    yes, because they are cheaper to build.

    '13 Stang GT; '86 Benz 300E; '98 Volvo S70; '12 Leaf; '08 Town&Country

  • boomchekboomchek Vancouver, BC, CanadaPosts: 5,096
    Yes I forgot, but a few of the Chrysler 300's came in AWD.

    2007 BMW 328i Sports Pkg, 1993 Honda Accord EXR (my 33rd car).

  • kreuzerkreuzer Posts: 113
    edited March 2013
    I'm looking for a small used truck, reg. cab, 2wd, auto, A/C and my price range would be no more than $6000. Some things I do know that I don't want are the following: chevy s10 4cyl models (tested a couple out and the truck can't get out of it's own way), no manual shift, the lower the mileage the better, that's about it.
    I know toyotas are very good but they want a lot of $$ even when they have close to 200,000mi. on them. I'm considering all brands with the exception of the s10 4cyl. I would consider the s10 with the 4.3 v6.
    All suggestions welcomed. Thanks!
  • sebring95sebring95 Posts: 3,225
    I'd stay away from any of the GM options...S-10 or Colorado/Canyon. You're looking at a very old vehicle with the S-10 and the Canyon/Colorado is garbage from all my experience. So there's not much to pick from once you eliminate the Toyota...and there's usually a reason they command the money. So I guess Ford Ranger is about it. Good luck finding a 2wd V6 Ranger that's not been beat to death...they're famous as fleet vehicles.
  • suydamsuydam Posts: 876
    Nissan Frontier? Extremely basic so maybe cheaper.
  • plektoplekto Posts: 3,706
    Stick with front wheel drive. Make life easier on yourself. Snow tires are another expense you don't need if you get Front wheel drive

    This is simply not true. While you can muddle along at slower speeds without snow tires or chains with a front wheel drive car, you will in no way come close to the performance that you'll get with any car with snow tires. It's exactly like wearing a pair of Converse high-tops to do hiking. Regular tires are simply the wrong tool for the job.

    In fact, snow tires will even beat an all wheel drive car with all-seasons on it.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GlYEMH10Z4s
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JGfvyPtYR0Y
    Comparisons of different tire types

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=STaximkaQxo
    4WD and normal tires vs RWD and snow tires. The "trick" that everyone in Europe uses is that they have snow tires on all of those German cars which are RWD. Only in the U.S. do we see people who simply ignore reality and figure that they can make due with normal tires wherever they go.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9BXupo38Pew
    Subaru with all-season tires vs a Mini with snow tires.

    When they say "prepare your car for winter" they mean swap the tires and rims when it's going to start snowing. Most people should keep a separate set of winter tires to swap out in their garage. It's a larger initial cost, but given that the each set are only getting used for half the year, it's no more expensive in the long-run.

    Or, you can end up on Youtube like this. Your choice:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Wp2sqrfGSPI
  • suydamsuydam Posts: 876
    I have lived in Ohio for 30 years and have had front wheel drive for every car but one, and my daughter made it thru 4 years in Beloit ( 1 hour from Chicago) with a Toyota Camry. We've done fine. The majority of cars in the east are front wheel drive because people like them and they get good fuel economy. That said, if the poster wants a Rwd car I would recommend what he/she wants. My impression was the leaning was towards a fwd vehicle with good mileage. Hence I am simply pointing out that that is perfectly doable on Chicago.
  • benjaminhbenjaminh Posts: 1,621
    Useful stuff. Thanks!!
  • plektoplekto Posts: 3,706
    edited March 2013
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=65UfKUS9-mQ

    Summer tires actually turn hard at temperatures below 45F. (ouch - that's 1/3 of the year, even in California!) All-seasons are a bit better and are good down to 0C. But beyond that, they are essentially as dangerous as summer tires. It got down to 28 degrees a month ago. And I'm in Los Angeles. All-seasons sort of work in a pinch if there's no snow or if it's cold and the roads are perfectly dry (since the road friction will warm them up just enough after a few minutes), but if there's actual snow or ice, it's way too cold even for "all-seasons".

    Note - they really should be called "three season" tires. Winter is simply not their place.

    http://www.discounttire.com/dtcs/safetyBelow45.dos
    Watch the little embedded video. It's not the snow that's the real problem so much as the winter tires stay soft enough down to about -20F. Below that, of course, you really do need chains or studded tires.

    Of course, the opposite is true as well. Above 45F, winter tires are basically racing tires and wear incredibly quickly. So most people use all-seasons in the spring through fall and then switch to winter tires when the first snow comes.

    Note - if you have a truck and are running Mud Terrains on it, they are essentially snow tires compound-wise. Which is why you typically get 30K out of a set. This is why a lot of SUVs also end up in the ditch. All-terrains are the same rubber as all-season tires. And while they will work a bit better due to bigger treads, the tread blocks also get rock-hard when it's below freezing. This is why you see all serious off-roaders just running with MTs on all year round and dealing with the need to swap their tires every other year. They aren't as good as dedicated studded snow tires (tend to pack with snow quickly), but at least won't get hard when it gets below freezing.
  • if mostly big city, and cheap little car. EV are nice but pricey, and have not been proven. I hate plug in's.
    Escape is self generating (good idea) but once your USA govt starts cut backs on incentives, look out.
    Or maybe a bicycle.
  • kreuzerkreuzer Posts: 113
    I appreciate both of you replying with opinions/suggestions. I haven't any experience with the ranger 4cyl. and may try them out. Hopefully, they have more grunt than the s10's I've tried!

    One more question: Would it be wiser to buy a Toyota with 170,000mi compared to a domestic truck with 100,000mi?

    Thanks again for any replies!
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