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Help Me Choose!

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Comments

  • markcincinnatimarkcincinnati Posts: 5,084
    Personally, I wouldn't weigh CR's comments on cars very heavily.

    Dishwasher, sure.

    Cars, not much -- rather get my input here from you folks directly.

    I know some folks swear by CR.

    While I may not swear AT them, generally I find their conclusions (often as expressed here since I long ago let my subscription lapse) off the mark. Now, if you look at a car as an appliance, well, perhaps they're OK.

    Otherwise, not so much.

    BTW -- the Subaru mentioned above ought to merit strong consideration unless you find its appearance not to you liking.
  • goodegggoodegg Posts: 905
    You mean to say you wouldn't weigh their comments very heavily unless they pick the Subaru?
  • markcincinnatimarkcincinnati Posts: 5,084
    No, I mean I wouldn't weigh anything they say as more than a footnote.

    I don't care if they love or hate the Subaru or any other car -- I simply believe (and this may be unique and totally personal, kinda like Common Sense -- which is ONLY Common to ONE person) that cars are perchased significantly for emotional, right brain reasons. All of us attempt to rationalize these purchases.

    Now it is true that some folks, and I only know of ONE for certain, care not what the car looks like and beyond a certain basic minimum, don't care much about amenities, ride, handling or fit and finish unless the lack or inclusion thereof materially influences reliability and cost. Progressively this person gets ever less expensive and, to my tastes, stripped down unappealing cars. He does always get new ones and he does not abuse them.

    He simply eschews all the right brain trappings.

    Now he has never had one of those really hideous Pontiac Aztechs or whatever they were called, but that, I am certain, has more to do with their quality and reliability and durability (in some combination) than looks, performance, sound system, power accessories, cruise control, etc. He could care less if the car is, and I choose this carefully, hideous looking. He is aware, or so it seems, of his cars perceived (by others including his wife, children and the larger society's) pulchritude.

    If the most beautiful car in the world met his criteria, I think he would go with that.

    The rest of us buy out of a huge dose of passion.

    CR does little to talk to that part of most folks, IMHO.
  • kurtamaxxxguykurtamaxxxguy Posts: 1,721
    CR does respect and praise cars with good handling and performance (many of their bests match what Car and Driver picks!).
    But they also look at practical aspects to balance things out, which are of less importance to a car enthusasist.

    Take an Audi A3 Quattro or a Lotis Elise. Pros: Excellent drive train, Fine handling, nice (Audi) interior, tons of image. Cons: burns premium gas, hard ride, weak reliability, few dealers to get service at, costs a bundle. Right brainers love those cars. CU, which had good things to say about them, takes a more balanced look.

    Perhaps the 2 cents here is research, try, buy, and enjoy!
  • taxesquiretaxesquire Posts: 681
    think you make valid points. CR's opinion often coincides with mine. I'm actually proud to say that my last 2 cars ended up being CR recommended picks. Probably b/c I look for cars that are a blend of luxury, performance, affordability and safety.

    I imagine anyone with a significant imbalance towards performance would find CR less helpful.
  • thegraduatethegraduate Posts: 9,731
    If you are after pure value per dollar (which, from what i read, you are) then you should look into a Corolla CE. You can get great deals on them right now, since a new Corolla is due out pretty soon (going for $13,500 here in B'ham, AL). They get 30-40 mpg and have great resale value. They are nothing fancy though.
  • dacs1dacs1 Posts: 8
    I'm new to the board and I'm having a terrible time deciding between these two cars. Both the BMW and Mercedes have 50,000 miles. I'm wondering which one is more reliable and easier to maintain. Any and all opinions would be greatly appreciated! imageCT. native
  • z71billz71bill Posts: 2,000
    Just a thought - find out how much an extended warranty for each car will cost - this will tell you two things.

    If the MB warranty is $3,500 and the BMW's is $2,900 (made up numbers) then the expected cost of repairs on the MB must be higher.

    Even if you do not buy the warranty (I never do) it gives you some idea what to expect in future repair costs - although the actual could be zero or MUCH higher.

    I would also - give both BMW & MB service a call and ask them how much they charge to replace some common part - like a starter - or alternator - this will scare the heck out of you and you will decide to buy a different car.
  • dacs1dacs1 Posts: 8
    Thanks for the reply. This will confuse things more.
    The MB comes with a 5yr/50,000 mile warranty, bumper-to-bumper. Cost is about: $2400
    The BMW comes with a 3yr/38,000 mile warranty, bumper-to-bumper. Cost is about: $1500.
    Both are after-market warranties and two different companies, two different dealerships.
    I will definitely call about a replacement part.
    I do know that here in CT. It is less expensive when the 50,000 mile service is done. MB is a savings of $200.
    Many thanks again for your reply.
  • patpat Posts: 10,421
    You might find helpful the discussion at this link: BMW 325 or MB C240?
  • dacs1dacs1 Posts: 8
    Thanks Pat! I never thought going from a Eldorado to a foreign car would be such a difficult decision.
  • markcincinnatimarkcincinnati Posts: 5,084
    . . .the new Hyundai Azera, or what ever it is named, looks like an almost too good to be true car for under $28K.
  • dacs1dacs1 Posts: 8
    Thanks but my decision is between a 2003 BMW 325xi or 2003 Mercedes Benz C240 4matic. I want something that will retain its value in the years to come.
  • slate1slate1 Posts: 84
    "I want something that will retain its value in the years to come."

    Hope you factor in your repair costs during your ownership period... especially with the Mercedes.
  • markcincinnatimarkcincinnati Posts: 5,084
    I overwhelmingly prefer German cars. Of the two cars you have specified, my preference is further strengthened by virtue of the fact that I am biased in favor of All Wheels Driven on a scale of 1 - 10 at an 11.

    Having said all of these things, however, the only reason that either of these German cars might SEEM to retain their value is that they have probably depreciated substantially already, so the relative reduction of value in absolute terms will be, on a go forward basis, low, or "low-er" than perhaps it would be were the cars in question current MY and new vehicles.

    Having said this, it is my belief that leasing either a 2006 BMW or Mercedes AWD vehicle will quite possibly cost less than paying the breathtakingly expensive costs to keep either of these German beauties running.

    And, despite my bias for AWD, my second preference remains FWD and the Hyundai will have a bigger and longer safety blanket with its warranty and I would suspect will not be any worse than the BMW or Mercedes in terms of loss in value especially when coupled with what will certainly be your out-of-pocket costs to keep the Germans running.

    If you want something that will probably retain its value for years to come, well, it isn't going to be a car unless it is a collector's item or exotic.

    These two vehicles that you have chosen will, I can imagine, become breathtakingly expensive to own in less than two years.

    I don't have enough money to afford a 3 year old car is kind of the point, especially with BMW's (for instance) 100% free maintenance and heavily heavily subvented lease programs.

    There are many factors that may make my conclusions less valid and perhaps completely invalid for your situation. I would encourage you to consider the maintenance and repair expenses on either of these 2003 models plus the acquisition and money costs (if any) before I pulled the trigger on two cars that may be less than "admirably" reliable.

    Just a thought, or two. . . .
  • dacs1dacs1 Posts: 8
    I have been dealing with these questions for some time...
    too long say some friends. I made a few calls and found out that where I live (CT) the cost and maintenance is less on the Mercedes. Insurance is also less. I have always had high end luxury cars and know they can be expensive to fix. I just wanted a few outside opinions.
    I can't thank you enough for replying. Sincerely...D
  • patpat Posts: 10,421
    Edmunds' True Cost to Own tool is very helpful. :)
  • dacs1dacs1 Posts: 8
    Thanks again Pat! I already visited this site.
    Funny, the quotes I got locally varied somewhat from
    what was posted. I wish I was more opened minded about what to buy. My last car was a 1996 Eldorado. Great car until it hit 100K...everything started to go wrong with it.
    Not to mention the gas cost!!!!!!!! Thanks...D
  • cneumancneuman Posts: 55
    markcincinnati:
    The Azera is the top car on my short list at the moment. I'm trying to decide between buying new toward the end of the model year, the Azera or, VW Passat 3.6. Or used, something 2-3 years old, a BMW or Lexus. I know these choices are all over the place, but my main criteria is price point, about $25-30K and reliability. I see from your earlier posts, that if reliablilty is a persons main want, that you wouldn't recommend European. Do you think the reliability issue would be that big? What do you think about these choices? Any opinions from all would really be appreciated.

    Thanks...cn
  • From my test drive of the Azera I can tell you that the car is a nice vehicle.....but it lacks the feel and soul of a German car, or even a TL or G35. I think of Oldsmobile with the Azera. Basic vanilla. Nothing special.
  • bmf_rrhbmf_rrh Posts: 7
    Hi all. I am in the market for a new car sometime late this year or early next year. I would like a car that get good gas mileage, handles the bumps well, quiet inside, and looks sharp. Right now i drive a 2000 Volkwagon Passat w/ 87k. Have not had one problem with the car, just looking for a change.
    I am looking at a used BMW 3 series(01-03), Toyota camry(02-04), Honda civic(new), Hyundai sonata(new), and a few others. Could you guys give me your opinions on which way you would go. I know these cars are hard to compare, but would appreciate your input.

    Thanks

    Robert
  • master1master1 Posts: 340
    You are comparing vehicles of different categories and completly different cars. Bmw, Hyundai, Toyota, Honda, used not used - try to be more specific with what category. Hyundai's do not have good quality, and used cars are not the best for quality too, but can be good. My best suggestion would be a new Civc. It has many safety features and Day-time running lights so your insurance will also be cheaper. A camry is a great car, but that is a different category. I would narrow it down to Honda Civic, and Camry.
    Also, think about a used Accord
  • kurtamaxxxguykurtamaxxxguy Posts: 1,721
    It would also help if you can decide whether you want:

    1. Reliable Transportation
    2. Enthusasist Driving Enjoyment
    3. Both in roughly equal proportions

    Out of cars you listed, closest matches to above seem to be:

    1. Camry
    2. BMW and VW (latter should have "sports suspension")
    3. Honda
  • rdm29rdm29 Posts: 1
    I'm in the market for new car.. BMW 330xi or Lexus IS 250 AWD. I'm drawn back by BMW's reliability history but the engine power seems better than the IS. All the extra technological features that the IS have are very alluring but then again it is still a refined toyota. Which do you think is a better car?
  • master1master1 Posts: 340
    BMW - Flashy, performance
    Lexus - Excellent reliability, probably performs well too

    My suggestion is Lexus although the BMW probably handles better. Test drive it
  • From my experience, you don't want an old sports car (or anything even remotely sporty). You don't know how the previous driver(s) handled it, and a lot of issues might come up later that won't necessarily be caught if you have a mechanic look over it before you buy it. The same is true for any car, but people are particularly hard on sports cars. That being said, I wouldn't suggest a 5 yeard old BMW.

    I also wouldn't buy a Sonata. Yes, they have long warranties. But you're going to need to use it - OFTEN.
    Stick with something more reliable.

    I have a 2002 VW Passat, and I test drove an '05 Camry. NOT a good transition. The Camry felt too big and sluggish compared to the Passat. The Civic seems small in comparison. If I were you, I'd wait and get an '04 Acura TSX. It's slightly smaller than the VW Passat, has more power, and looks sleek.

    Overall, try not to get anything more than a couple of years old, and with low miles. That way, you'll get a considerable discount (versus a new car), and it shouldn't have too much wear and tear.
  • You just told this guy to NOT buy an old sports car, but then told him to buy an old sports car - the 04 TSX. How do you know how that car was treated? A TSX is engineered to perform at the redline of the tach. That's plenty of potential wear and tear.

    Get a new TSX.
  • Let me clarify: When I say "old," I'm talking about anything with more than 2 years of driving on it, i.e. a 5 year old BMW. I didn't say not to buy a used car. A car that's one or two years old with low miles, from my experience, can be checked out sufficiently to know if there's anything wrong with it. I've never had any problems with cars that I purchased that were 1 or 2 years old. I also check to see WHEN they were first purchased (i.e. if it's an '04 but it was first purchased at the end of 2004, it would have less than 1 1/2 years of driving on it, vs. an '04 that was purchased at the end of '03 and therefore has 2 1/2 years of driving).
  • kurtamaxxxguykurtamaxxxguy Posts: 1,721
    ..is to consider only certified cars (Audi, BMW and VW have good inspection programs), or to get the vehicle from CARMAX (which does good job offering vehicle records and is pretty selective about what they well).

    I'd definitely stay away from any first year sports car (even if the spiel is "but it's been in (wherever) for 3 years before it came here". There are bugs anyway, and even Toyota and Lexus, kings of reliability, have to find and fix first year model glitches! Give the manufacturer a year to fine tune their USA verison.
  • markcincinnatimarkcincinnati Posts: 5,084
    While I agree with your conclusion "Test drive it," I think the Lexus is Flashy or Flashier than the BMW.

    Just another point of view.
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