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Help Me Choose!



  • 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.
  • A few posts back someone wanted a good, reliable family sedan with V6 and good resale, but not much in the way of frills. He wanted to stay in the ballpark of an Accord LX V6. As oppossed to an Accord LX V6, people have suggested the Alero, Impala (base), Malibu, and 300M. They are fine cars, but he said reliable and good resale. A 2000 base Impala carries a trade in value of about $9566. A 2000 Malibu has a trade in of about $7417, an Alero GLS is worth $11,442, a 300M will trade in around $18,003. A 2000 Accord LX V6 has a trade in of about $14,107. The 300M carries a new MSRP of $28,340 and a new Accord LX V6 has a MSRP of $22,600. The 300M dropped $10,337 in value to the Accord's $8493. As far as reliable goes, the 2000 base Impala had no recalls, but 111 Technical Service Bulletins written for it. The 2001 Impala did better with still no recalls, and only 52 TSBs. The 2000 Malibu also had no recalls, but 104 TSBs. The 2001 Malibu improved to only 55 TSBs. The 2000 Alero GLS had no recalls and 115 TSBs. The 2001 Alero GLS improved to only 53 TSBs. The 2000 300M had 4 recalls and 36 TSBs. The 2001 300M improved to 1 recall and 20 TSBs. The 2000 Accord LX V6 did have 1 recall, but only 36 TSBs. The 2001 Accord LX V6 had no recalls and 6 TSBs. I guess Honda figured out what went wrong with the 2000 model. Again, I think these other cars are fine, but the Accord LX V6 definately meets his requirements better.
  • splattsplatt Posts: 328
    I do agree, that for the money, the Accord is the best value around. Personally, I'd say the VTEC 4Cyl engine. It's several thousand less and has enough pickup for day to day driving.

    However, it's got one problem - even as Edmunds posted for several years ;) It's got the personality of Al Gore. My wife almost got one, but she just wanted something with more looks.

    If you are concerned primarily with resale, Honda or Acura are great. Toyota's not too bad, but the fully loaded Camrys go well over $30k nowadays.

    As for the discounts - there are all sorts of special promotions going on now for the M. $6-7k off sticker should be easy. You could prolly get up to $8k if you push it. Try some of the online places to get quotes - edmunds has one they link to. Plus the 0% is a big savings.

    I'd just recommend you drive one. You'll either hate it or love it :)
  • jpelderjpelder Posts: 235
    I am confused as to your obsession with the Accord. As I mentioned clearly in my post, Accord clearly has higher resale value than the cars I recommended. However, I have compared the cars side-by side and offered some real-world insight. I assume that is what the person with the question was looking for.

    For example, although I would not choose the Malibu, it is the closest match to the Accord. While it's resale is not as good, it also costs a cool $5,000 less (with rebate). For a person looking for a no-frills car, it saves you serious money up front and still offers superior cargo capacity (extra 3 Cubic feet).

    While the Malibu has fewer recalls and more TSB's than the Accord, I do not feel it is unreliable due to the experience of my peers. TSB's, while quantifiable, are not absolute indicators of your ownership experience. My 1993 Ranger had more TSB's than all of these vehicles, yet I have not been to the shop once.

    Personally, if reliability and resale statistics are your main criteria, I would take a Camry over the Accord. In addition to it's known quality and high resale, it offers more cargo capacity and better looks...all for the same price.
  • I'm not married to the Accord. I just think it's the best fit to the requirements. I don't even own a Honda myself. Just trying to help.
  • I am the mother of two boys, ages 5 and 3. My mother just bought a Volvo S40 that has a very cool feature in it, integrated child booster seats. The rear seats fold up and eliminate the need for a booster seat for children who are too big for a car seat, but not large enough for adult size seat belts to be safe.

    I will be in the market for a new car in the near future (I currently drive a 1991 Honda Accord with 204,000 miles on it), and I want to know why more manufacturers don't offer this booster seat feature. Also, it doesn't appear as one of the options on the Edmunds' site for the 2002 Volvos. Does Volvo even still offer it? If the answers to these questions are no, does anyone have any idea why?
  • jpelderjpelder Posts: 235
    Good question magerber! I seem to remember this being offered on Dodge caravans a long time ago. I remember thinking this would spread and become standard equipment one day. I look forward to anyone's insight on this.
  • I don't know why they seem to have disappeared. I don't think Dodge and Chrysler have offered them for a while. My mother-in-law has one in her Buick. I guess they died off because people realized they had a limited "shelf life" and decided to to pay for them.
  • They were dropped because they did not sell that well. My brother had them in their 98 Grand Voyager, but does not in his 2000. His 4 daughters outgrew them, I guess.
  • I meant to say "decided NOT to buy them." I figure you could have guessed that. With the Grand Voyager, I think that's exactly it. It was like a $200 or $250 option and they can't be used very long. You can buy 2 car seats for less than $250.
  • sebring95sebring95 Posts: 3,225
    Alero: you said it had more cargo room than an Accord. That's true on paper, 14.1cu vs 14.6. On a recent trip to the airport, I easily fit all our luggage into the trunk of a Camry (14.1cu and nearly identical trunk design of the Accord). However, when we arrived my Alero rental wouldn't hold it all. If I remember correctly, the Alero had a very low shelf in the back and I couldn't stack my bags as I had in the Camry. Just a little tidbit because .5cu isn't much especially if the entire design isn't user friendly. I really liked the Alero though otherwise. It was loaded with leather, cd, moonroof, alloys. Nice car. Could've used some more oomph, but not bad. Kinda noisey, but alot of the roads in HI are grooved so it's hard to compare. Drove more like my wifes Galant V6 which is to say more entertaining than the Camry/Accord.
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