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Help Me Choose!

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  • If you had good luck with your Intrepid, why don't you get another one? It is certainly a good looking car. The Impala would not be a bad choice, either. FYI--the Camry is an American made car, as per your requirements.
  • I am planning on buying used (financial reasons). Would like to keep it around 10k. So far I am considering:

    Newer Honda Civic or Toyota Corolla
    95-97 Toyota Camry or Honda Accord
    Also looked at Nissan Altima and Mazda 626.

    I will be driving this car for 5-8 years so reliability is a must.
    I would prefer to buy from a dealership for the warranty. Been burned buying from a private party before, BUT someone else might have had a more positive experience, and if so, what advice can you give me on dealing with private sellers. Also, how negotiable are dealer prices on used vehicles? Which cars would you recommend (or not) from my list above. THANKS in advance for your input.
  • I think the TL gets redesigned for 2003 MY so
    that could hurt the resale of the TL's with
    the previous design.

    Accord and Camry are near the top of the most
    stolen cars in the US.
  • don't mistake certified used cars to mean never
    hit or repainted. I have looked at many a "perfect" car in a toyota and ford lot, only to
    have a friend in the car repair business to tell
    me the car has been repainted all over the place.
    When you look at a car always have it checked by
    someone who knows body work. Just because they
    sell new cars does not mean they sell better used
    cars. The only thing that you get from buying
    it on a dealers lot is you can get a lemon law
    to make them buy it back if it doesn't run after
    being repeatedly fixed. The law is very specific
    and I'm not sure how often they actually have to
    do it. Sometimes I think the dealers have better
    body shops that can hide the work they do better.
    Also, I think they can make alot more profit from
    buying "hit" (as long as it is not frame damage)
    cars and fixing them, then to buy a car in great
    shape to begin with. The cost to them is lower
    so the profit is larger. Just my thoughts.
  • rx7r1rx7r1 Posts: 17
    OK, I'll look into the Impala SS. People are asking crazy money for them though:( Do I need stiffer springs/shocks for the back of the SS? It seems that the SS already sits low, and if I hook up 3700 lbs of stuff to the back end, that the car might not sit level while towing?
  • Are you sure the Impala SS is designed for towing? What about Caprice or Crown Victoria?
  • rx7r1rx7r1 Posts: 17
    Yeah, I guess either would work...and I can scare all the other motorists who think I'm a cop;)
  • fjk57702fjk57702 Posts: 539
    I think that the Impala SS came with most of the towing package as standard equipment. I can look at my Edmunds buying guide from then. The caprice would have the towing package if it has the 5.7 (or 350) engine. I told you the SS was a limited production car and so will cost a bundle. I think that both the Chevys and the Buick Roadmaster are limited to 5000 lbs, only the towing package Fleetwoods are rated 7000 lbs. Towing packages were options that most cars do not come with. Most of what you get with the towing pkg is a heavy duty radiator and perhaps a different axle ratio. The radiator is an easy add on (I think) and would easily make any used car a tow vehicle.

    I nearly forgot suspension upgrades. If you add superlift shocks, you can probably get most of the suspension upgrade with them. At least they will let you level the car.
  • patpat Posts: 10,421
    Please see pat Nov 24, 2001 8:39am Feel free to contact me off-line with any questions.

    Thanks.

    Pat
    Host
    Sedans Message Board
  • rx7r1rx7r1 Posts: 17
    OK, what are "superlift" shocks? Are they like "booster" shocks that jack up the rear-end...I hope not, that would make the SS look GOOFY when not towing! As I said, the SS would be a daily driver for commuting, and serve as a pull vehicle that would tow my trailered Rx7 to-and-from various road racing circuits around the country.
  • fjk57702fjk57702 Posts: 539
    Superlift shocks may not exist anymore, but are air ajustable. I had them installed on a 71 riviera. The user can add air like a tire and so with a heavy load all you do is add air till the car is level again.

    I did look at my 95 edmunds new car prices book. The Impala came with a 3.08:1 axle ratio (good for towing) and heavy duty cooling. Also has a "special suspension" which was to improve handling, but should also be better for towing. I am not sure about auto-level control (in which case you already have "superlift" shocks. Does this help?

    I also took a look at fords RWD sedan and new ones do not seem to offer a towing pkg. That doesn't really mean much though.

    Since you are looking at getting an older used car to use for towing, you should find something that you think will work and try it. If you buy a used Chevy (Caprice or Impala) there are heavy duty radiators available that can be added if cooling seems a problem. With the Caprice sedan, if it has the 5.7 liter (350 cubic inch) V8, it should have the towing pkg. The wagon came standard with that engine and does not have the towing pkg unless ordered. The tow pkg did have the 2.93:1 axle ratio (I think) instead of 2.56:1 (???).
  • jpelderjpelder Posts: 235
    YEs, the superlift shocks do still exist and are an inexpensive way to boost load capacity. My dad loves his...but you need to be careful not to overload it. My dad boosts his load capacity (pickup truck) by a good 750+ LBS. Personally, I think he is pushing it, but he hasn't had any problems in 8 years of use.

    Regarding American cars, I think the 2002 Alero GX with 5 speed and sport package is an incredible value (invoice of $16,000. Lots of features and 5 year warranty. If you can afford more, the Intrigue is also a great deal. Get one while you can.

    I haven't driven the new sebring, but they look nice.
  • sebring95sebring95 Posts: 3,233
    I'd surely pick the Intrique/Alero over the Sebring. Much more refined vehicles. Coming from owning several Toyotas, usually I dred renting a car because I get stuck with a Taurus/GrandAm/Stratus. On a trip to HI once, I got an Alero loaded up with leather, moonroof, pretty much everything. Thought is was a very nice car and comparable to the "imports" in quality. Smaller than a camry though, as I couldn't get all our luggage in the trunk that had fit easily on the way to the airport in the Camry. The intrique is bigger though. I'd consider one over a Camry/Accord.
  • I would check with the dealer or manufacturer on towing with an SS. Often the tow rating is lower with the special models due to suspension or wheel issues. You may need to replace the aluminum wheels, they may be too fragile for towing heavy weights. I would bet a regular Caprice would be better to alter for towing, changing an SS may destroy it's collectibility value too much (and they are very collectible even today)

    Ford dropped the towing package option on the Crown Vic a few years ago, probably stole sales from more profitable trucks. No wonder everyone buys trucks for towing now.

    As far as a new vehicle, I would definitely look at the Intrepid as well. I own a 2000 R/T, and it is a great car. They are dealing on them big time as well. Also, Passats have never had the reliability reputation of the Accord/Camry.
  • rx7r1rx7r1 Posts: 17
    I secured a sponsor for my racing endeavors. The sponsor will trailer my Rx7 to all my track events. It's a nice setup too--Big Dodge Ram Diesel Dualie (large cab) with 500 lb.ft torque--more than enough to pull my car and all the track accessories. The trailer is an open design complete with a tire rack, large tool box, and shelves for fuel jugs. We'll be testing my new wheel/tire setup next Saturday at Putnam Park Road Course. Thanks to those who responded.

    BTW, I don't think the Impala SS is a collectible. Impala owners might think their cars are, but anyone silly enough to pay what Impala owners are asking, needs a sanity check!
  • rx7r1rx7r1 Posts: 17
    Hmmm definitely BMW 740i Sport. I've always found the BMW 7 series to have the perfect proportions of length to width to height. The 4.4-L BMW V8 pulls with integrity, although the V-12 would be even better. I don't like the L versions--L stands for long wheelbase (or for "Limousine" in Germany). I guess if you have tall relatives to cart around on a regular basis, perhaps the 740iL is useful?...

    What is the fascination with FWD sedans? I don't get that. Back in the 70s-80s, everyone drove RWD sedans with no problems. How did American car buyers get sold on FWD sedans? FWD is just so darned inferior with regard to ultimate performance.

    My wife has a small Saturn SL-2 sedan. In the wet, I can't launch the car from a stand still without wheelspin--I'm talking moderate launch from a traffic light, not a drag strip light tree! On the freeway off/on ramps the car understeers vehemently when driven with fervor (real drivers LOVE on/off ramps!). Forget about driving through the twisties in anything other than a sedate pace!
  • fjk57702fjk57702 Posts: 539
    I thought you didn't want a truck. Or you didn't want to own it? Do you still need a car?

    As for the Impala SS: If the owner feel the car is worth something, then they have good reason to hold out for whatever they can get. And there are people collecting a lot of "junk" so who knows what is or isn't collectable. I think cars are for driving but what other people is OK too. The time to have bought the Impala was when it was new or at least in production.
  • rx7r1rx7r1 Posts: 17
    The sponsor provides the transport (truck and trailor) for my car. I don't own the truck or trailer. The sponsor was also willing to store my car at their garage, but I drive the car daily so...

    Each car culture thinks their car is worth something. There are folks on the Rx7 list that think 3rd generation Rx7s ('93 to '95) are collectible. While I think my car IS beautiful and performs at a level that far exceeds the car's market value, I really don't think my Rx7 is a collectible (which is why I race my Rx7). IMO, very few Japanese cars are collectible.

    It really depends on how badly you want to sell your car for cash. If you want to just keep the car and pretend it's worth something, sure--ask the moon for the car. No one will buy it, and you'll feel like your car's worth something... If you really want to sell the car for cash, then market forces will determine the selling price.
  • fjk57702fjk57702 Posts: 539
    Edmunds used prices for 1995 caprice and impala models suggest that the impala has a $3000 to $4000 premium over the caprice. This is based on market value (actual sales). So the owners have some reasonable expectation for getting a premium for their impalas.
  • fjk57702fjk57702 Posts: 539
    Ford kept their RWD big cars. GM, in the mid 80s went to FWD on full size cars to downsize them, improve CAFE, and still have big car room. My 86 Electra was a very nice car and weighed about 3200 lbs. But GM realized at the end of the 80s that they had overdone the downsizing, but everything was FWD. The exceptions were the old Chevy caprice and Fleetwood cadillac. So they upgraded the FWDs, but with bigger cars came more weight. Heavy FWDs are not so good (over 3500 lbs). My Aurora does not spin much even on ice (if I take it easy) and have not noticed any problems on wet roads.

    GM is moving back to RWD with the sigma chassis. With traction control and other stuff, RWD is probably nearly as good as FWD on slippery roads. The cost of maintaining FWD is higher I think than RWD because of the work needed just to get to the parts to fix.
  • My '87 Old Calais threw a rod while commuting and punched a quarter size hole in the block; Enough said; I've considered these two vehicles, '01 Grand Marquis vs '00 Town Car; At dealers around here there's a $3000 difference; Is the TC worth the difference? Also, does one handle better than the other in the snow? Thanks!
  • I am looking into buying a new (un-used) family car to replace my Buick century. I want to limit my budget for this new car to the price of a V6 Accord. The main citeria for me are the engine quality, safety, maintenance cost, and re-sell value. I am not interested in additional options like sunroof and leather seats. So, I would be grateful if someone could give help me narrow down my choices and which cars I should focus on.
    Thanks a lot.
  • From what I understand, the Town Car, Grand Marquis, and Crown Victoria are all basically the same car. The TC has a 3" longer wheelbase, but they all use the same engines and transmissions. Therefore, they are pretty much identical, mechanically anyway. I'm sure the TC has more luxury features--and certainly looks more upscale, IMO. That being said, if you consult Consumer Reports, get the TC. They say a 2000 Town Car should have about average reliability, while a 2001 Grand Marquis should have worse than average reliability. They say the biggest problem on the 2000 TC is body hardware. Between 5-10% of respondents with 2000 TCs had problems there. That's it--everything else was very good. The 2001 Grand Marquis has its beiggest problem with body integrity issues. Armed with this information, which has better miles (not fewer miles, best annually)? Which do you like driving more? Which seems more like you?
  • I think you answered your own question. I think the Accord LX V6 will offer everything you ask for the best. This is the last year of this body style, so you may be able to get a little better deal on one right now. This being the last year of a proven winner should have no bugs (of course there are no guarantees). Consumer Reports, Car & Driver (10Best yet again), Auto Week, everyone says the Accord is the best mid size sedan. If the looks are a little too boring for you, try the Altima. First year, so who knows about reliability and bugs, though? If you truly want low maintenance, high reliability and high resale, you certainly won't go wrong with Accord.
  • jpelderjpelder Posts: 235
    I too am buying a family car and have looked exhaustively for the past 6 months. I have spent considerable time during business trips driving various rental cars to get a feel. While I too looked at the Accord due to it's consistent popularity with "experts", I was disappointed in it's lack of room (very small trunk)and blandness.

    I have come to the following choices in the Accord price range:

    1. Chevy Impala (base) : I like the combination of room, quality ride and gas mileage. After driving it, I had to wonder why you'd I should settle for a smaller car with this power and gas mileage. I must not be alone, since it has been selling like hot cakes and is hard to get. However, if you like a stiffer, smaller car ride, you may not like this car.

    2. Buick Century (custom) : This is a great highway cruiser. Definitely the quietest ride available for this price range. Very solid, good engine and again, great mileage. Stereo acoustics are awesome. High owner satisfaction, but styling is definitely NOT sporty. The regal is more sporty, but more dinero as well.

    3. Olds Alero : A bit smaller, but still more cargo room than the Accord. If you like the sportier handling of the Accord, you will like Alero. 5 Year/60,000 Bumper to bumper warranty is a plus.

    I also drove Chrysler (PT Cruiser was great, but needs a v-6) and Nissan products, but wasn't impressed with the long term rides. (I have not driven a 2002 Altima.) Although I liked their looks better in some cases, they just didn't impress me.

    I was a bit surprised that I preferred the GM models, since I haven't owned a GM product for about 10 years.

    I drive many highway miles, so I place a premium on a smooth, quiet ride. You may want to consider a Malibu. It has a great engine, roomy interior, huge trunk (4 cubic feet larger than Accord). However, I didn't like the Malibu interior and intrusion of road noise.

    I have not had a chance to drive a Saturn L series, as rental fleets do not seem to offer them. It seems like a nice combination of an accord with a huge cargo area (17 Cubic feet). THe only Ford car I like the looks of are the Mustang and THunderbird...not family cars.

    I know people that own all of these cars, and they have been very reliable. The only drawback in your case is the resale value, which is not as strong as with the Accord. However, I keep my vehicles for many years, so this is not a concern to me.

    Good luck, and keep us posted on your thoughts while looking around.
  • But he specifically mentioned high reliablility and high resale. Malibu may have a larger trunk, but that'll be all it has over Accord. I admit it isn't the most excting car to look at, but it didn't sound like he was looking for exciting. What kind of resale will the Alero have when Oldsmobile shuts down for good?
  • jpelderjpelder Posts: 235
    I agree about the resale point. I do not think the Alero will lose much resale value since it shares a platform with the Grand Am. As far as the Malibu, which I am not a big fan of, the torquey 3.1 V-6 (standard)will leave an accord in the dust. Not that I like to burn rubber, but the malibu engine does make for surprisingly fun driving.

    Since I know people who own these cars, I am not concerned about their reliability...especially the Century. GM has made great strides in quality (except with the cavalier). Therefore, it comes down to everyday usefulness vs resale. When I need to carry a stroller, portacrib and other family essentials, I need room. In this area, the cars listed earlier give more real world bang (room and power)for the buck.

    If resale is the most important criteria, perhaps you should look at a Toyota?
  • splattsplatt Posts: 328
    Well, I'll throw in a couple points about the Chrysler 300M for annous ;)

    It's not all that much more than the Accord V6 if you get an 01 since they're offering 0% as well as up to $7-8k off sticker.

    For the family - it's roomy. I can seat 3 adults in the back of mine. Very comfortable ride. Lots of amenities, as it is in the lux/near-lux group.

    For the driver - very sporty. For a car that size to go 0-60 in under 8sec is pretty good. Handles very well - for $500 there's a performance package that has a little stiffer, but sportier ride depending on what you need.

    Thought I'd just mention it :)
  • jpelderjpelder Posts: 235
    7-8K off of a 300M? How do you do that? I figure the minimum price for one is about $27,000. I agree the 300M is an awesome car, but let me know your buying secret and what they should cost.
  • Dealers are getting cash to subsidize leases, not sure how they are applying it to purchases.

    I have seen a 02 advertised for $6,500 off list, it was loaded, and not sure if it was a demo or not. I would find one with a low advertised price, and then e-mail all the area Chrysler dealers and see what they counteroffer. I believe this includes the warranty, but not the 0% if you take the cash.

    I got my 2000 Intrepid R/T for $6,500 off list, thought it did have some miles, as it was driven by the dealers' owner for a couple of months.
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