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Chronic Car Buyers Anonymous

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  • roadburnerroadburner Posts: 6,892
    Here is a column I wrote a couple of years ago discussing trading cars to save money on fuel:

    DON'T PANIC!- With talk of $5.00/gallon gasoline making headlines I thought I should revisit and update an issue I discussed about one year ago. I'm already starting to hear "screamer" ads on television and radio telling people to "TRADE IN YOUR OLD GAS GUZZLER FOR A NEW XYZ MOTORS SEDAN- WITH 40 MPG ECONOMY!!!" And I'm sure you've heard people say, "Gas prices are eating me alive, I just have to buy a new car."
    The fact of the matter is, high fuel prices are no excuse for making a poor automotive purchasing decision. The last time gas prices spiked I remember people were buying those terribly mediocre Smart cars for list price- or even higher. These "shrewd" buyers were then stuck on a waiting list- and by the time their Smart car arrived gas prices had settled down and they were stuck with a tiny car that really wasn't suited for anything more than urban commuting. That is why I always say that you have to do the math.
    Here's an example: I recently found a very nice 2010 Mini Cooper for sale. It had less than 10,000 miles on the odometer and had every option I wanted. The Mini gets 39 mpg while my 2007 Mazda averaged about 23 mpg. After doing a little research I determined that I could probably get the Mini by trading in my Mazda and paying $10,000. Great deal, right? An almost-new car that gets 15 more mpg for "only" $10,000. As it turns out, running the numbers showed that it wasn't a great deal. Let's assume gas is $5.00 per gallon and that I drive 20,000 miles per year. The Mazda's annual fuel cost will be $4,348 while the Mini would use $2,564 worth of gas- an annual savings of $1,784. Fantastic! The only problem is the fact that I have to pay $10,000 in order to "save" that money. Dividing the purchase cost by the annual fuel savings shows that I would have to drive the Mini for 5.6 years before I actually started saving money. And if I drove 15,000 miles per year I would have to drive the Mini for almost 7.5 years just to break even! Also note that I'm not taking into account the cost of interest on a car loan, increased insurance costs, or higher property taxes due to the Mini being a newer vehicle. As it turns out, I started utilizing some smart driving habits and discovered that I was able to increase the Mazda's average fuel economy to 27 mpg- which at $5.00 per gallon saves me $644 outright. Now, I'm certainly not saying that you shouldn't consider a vehicle's fuel efficiency when buying a new or used car, but I AM saying that trading a car solely to save money on fuel costs almost never makes financial sense.

    Mine: 1995 318ti Club Sport 1975 2002A 2007 Mazdaspeed 3 1999 Wrangler 1996 Speed Triple Challenge Cup Replica Wife's: 2009 328i Son's: 2004 X3 2.5

  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    did you guys see the the new Auris Touring

    They should replace the Matrix with that here IMHO.
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    I'd take an XV over a Juke (ugly, way too small) or a FWD Countryman ($$$, FWD?).

    Fitzgerald Subaru in Gaithersburg (MD) has the 2014 Forester in their showroom right now. No test drives yet, and it's not for sale.

    I keep mentioning Subarus but that's because I like cars and she's leaning toward a crossovers, well Subies are the most car-like ones out there...
  • tjc78tjc78 JerseyPosts: 5,025
    RB,
    I had that same discussion with someone not that long ago. I had to show them the numbers, in order to make them believe buying a more FE car didn't make any sense.

    1999 Chevy S10 / 2004 Merc Grand Marquis / 2012 Buick LaCrosse

  • michaellnomichaellno Posts: 4,300
    Here is a column I wrote a couple of years ago discussing trading cars to save money on fuel:

    Oh yes, I remember this article well. The wife has said that the amount of money we are underwater with the Mazda would buy a lot of gas.

    However ---- we will just have to wait and see where this all leads.

    FACT: Her new job is paying 20% less than the one she is leaving.
    FACT: The Mazda takes PUG and I've insisted that we stick with Shell V-Power.

    Theoretical budgets don't survive well when you're shelling out $50-65 in real money for each tank.

    The tipping point may come if we have to fill the tank more than once every 7 days. Given that the commute itself will be 220 miles per week, that doesn't leave a lot of range for the other incidental driving she will have to do.

    If - and it's a big if - I can get her into a more fuel efficient ride for less than we're paying now for the Mazda - payment, insurance, fuel - then we might do the deal.

    May not happen now. May happen 6 months from now - when she thinks its the better course of action.

    And, she may decide that a "regular" car (Mazda 3i GT, for example) might fit the bill.
  • michaellnomichaellno Posts: 4,300
    I'd take an XV over a Juke (ugly, way too small) or a FWD Countryman ($$$, FWD?).

    Fitzgerald Subaru in Gaithersburg (MD) has the 2014 Forester in their showroom right now. No test drives yet, and it's not for sale.

    I keep mentioning Subarus but that's because I like cars and she's leaning toward a crossovers, well Subies are the most car-like ones out there...


    The last time she test drove a Subaru was 2005, I think. Test drove both the NA Outback and the Outback XT - she loved the power of the XT but, at the time, wasn't keen on the fact it took PUG.

    Now look where we are .... :D

    While she is not a lead foot, she likes having a large stable of ponies available, which doesn't help fuel economy. I was surprised that she felt the 155HP 2.0L SkyActiv engine was peppy enough for her.

    Her last 3 daily drivers have been an '05 VUE (250 HP Honda 3.5L V6), '08 VUE (257 HP 3.6L V6) and the current '10 CX-7 (244 HP 2.3L turbo 4).

    Does the new Forester still have the 2.5L engine? Will it have a CVT? Might be an OK compromise.
  • breldbreld Posts: 1,452
    Breld -- no disrespect to Subaru, but didn't you have issues with the Audi A5 ? Do you think you will be happy in a Subaru ?

    Well, the only issue I had with the A5 was it wasn't a BMW, so I took care of that by trading it on the 335 :) .

    All in all, my 530i as my second car is in most ways nicer than any of these cars I'm looking at - it's just that once I bought the 335, I have 2 sporty BMW sedans, each with a different character but much more alike than they are dissimilar. With the luxury of splitting time between two cars, I'd rather have more variety.

    So, took some time at lunch today for some contrasting test drives.....

    2011 BMW 535xi - 2015 GTI - 2008 A3 - 2009 Ody

  • breldbreld Posts: 1,452
    Honda CR-V - great car for the easy, comfortable drive and roominess, but felt like I was driving my Odyssey. That's not necessarily a bad thing, but not what I'm looking for.

    Mazda CX-5 - I intentionally drove one with the 2.0l as opposed to the newly available 2.5l to see if I'd be okay with it (and save some money). Certainly could use some more power, but I much preferred it to the CR-V in any case. Felt much more like a larger hatchback versus a small SUV.

    Mazda3 - drove the MT a few months ago, but wanted to see how I'd like it with an auto. Still a great hatch, but I think my strong preference for it had a lot to do with the slick-shifting manual. Apples to apples, I didn't think it drove all that much better than the Elantra GT, so I think I'd take the fresher look of the Hyundai if I went for a traditional hatchback. Now, I wasn't pushing it very hard, so maybe the Mazda's chassis is better at their limits, but for "normal" everyday driving, the Hyundai seemed just as tossable.

    XV Crosstrek - knowing full well it's just a raised Impreza, I nevertheless wanted to see how I'd like it. It's certainly quirky (in a Subaru way), but I like the look of it - it fits right in with all these mini-SUVs around. I won't be off-roading or anything like that, but the step-in height, as well as the load height at the hatch are welcome. For the most part, it's a nice drive, performing like the small hatch that it is, but there are definitely situations where the drivetrain strains to get up to speed. I didn't bother with the shift paddles - so that probably would have helped.

    Impreza - for direct comparison I also drove the "regular" Impreza. Obviously drives pretty much the same, but like I said, for about a $1k premium, I think I'd go with the Crosstrek.

    So, ruled out the CR-V for sure. Surprisingly, I may have ruled out the Mazda3 in favor of the Hyundai if I go that route. But the CX-5 is definitely my favorite, with the XV Crosstrek not too far behind.

    2011 BMW 535xi - 2015 GTI - 2008 A3 - 2009 Ody

  • jpp5862jpp5862 Wilmington, NCPosts: 377
    How many miles did you get per year? If the c250 is available with bluetec when my lease is up I'd definitely consider it. Not sure if/when it's showing up though.
  • mark156mark156 Posts: 1,992
    edited February 2013
    Well, it was time for the four year service for my 2009 Bentley Continental GTC, 11,000 miles. The service light said 'service now'. With only 11,000 miles on the odometer, I was not expecting to have a 'big' service done but they of course recommended it.

    The service included changing the spark plugs (12 cylinder), radiator flush, differential oil change, engine oil change, all filters including air filters, etc. Total cost $2,200. It was recommended that I change the tires too as the fronts were down to the wear bars. Bentley service flubbed up and didn't rotate them at 5,000 miles. The Pirelli racing tires only have a 15,000 mile life max. The rears were acceptable but the front were too worn to be put on the rear.

    So, tire shopping I went! The replacement Pirelli tires were $494 each at the dealer, $380 at America's Tire (zero mile warranty)... and Michelin's were $282 each with a 45,000 mile warranty so that's what I had put on. WOW, the difference is amazing, so smooth. The worn Pirelli's were causing the car to follow the grooves in the road and I didn't realize how bad until driving with the new Michelins.

    She's like new again! :blush:

    Mark156

    PS. Fintail.... CONGRATS on the new Mercedes! :D
  • corvettecorvette United StatesPosts: 4,222
    Ouch! Radiator flush is probably due after four years (as well as brake fluid, if it's never been done), but the diff fluid change seems a little questionable.

    I like Michelin tires but I'm surprised they were less expensive! Glad you're still enjoying the Bentley.
  • roadburnerroadburner Posts: 6,892
    the diff fluid change seems a little questionable.

    Agreed; my track rats only get the transmission and differential oil changed every 30,000 miles- and my street cars wait 60,000 miles between changes...

    Mine: 1995 318ti Club Sport 1975 2002A 2007 Mazdaspeed 3 1999 Wrangler 1996 Speed Triple Challenge Cup Replica Wife's: 2009 328i Son's: 2004 X3 2.5

  • mark156mark156 Posts: 1,992
    edited February 2013
    I pulled the invoice out of the glove box...
    Four year maintenance:
    -Engine oil and filter change
    -Radiator fluid check/change
    -Wiper blades
    -Remote key battery change
    -Pollen filters (2)
    -Air filters
    -Spark plugs
    -Brake fluid change
    -check brake pads (OK)

    Labor $1,140
    Parts $1,050
    Sub total $2,190
    Taxes $83.81
    Total $2,273

    My mistake, no differential fluid change. He must have said brake fluid change and I misunderstood. My bad. :sick:

    Mark156
  • boomchekboomchek Vancouver, BC, CanadaPosts: 5,108
    Does MB offer free maintenance for 4 years like BMW does (at least here BMW does). I can imagine this will be better on gas than your E55 and probably cheaper to operate maintenance wise. If you add up your monthly costs you might even be ahead in terms of costs compared to your E55. :shades:

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

  • boomchekboomchek Vancouver, BC, CanadaPosts: 5,108
    Yeah, speed was never a high priority for me. I just wanted enough power to be comfortable passing when needed, to safely make left turns, etc.

    With our restricitve speeding laws I'm not keen to get caught although I like the power when I need it. Today when driving with my wife I mentioned how much I enjoy the 328 every time I get behind the wheel. Just the power and handling to pass others and avoid hazards without losing control and that solid feel of the car.

    Our new speeding laws in British Columbia basically let the cops impound your car for a week (you pay impound and storage fees + ticket) if you get caught speeding 40km/h (25mph) over limit. With our artifically low speed limits and a ton of speed traps it's easy to get busted just being in a rush.

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

  • boomchekboomchek Vancouver, BC, CanadaPosts: 5,108
    I like MB's ash interiors. The color holds up very well over time.

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

  • boomchekboomchek Vancouver, BC, CanadaPosts: 5,108
    $2k is not so bad for a Bentley 4 year service if you don't drive it much.

    I remember when working at Ferrari last year and seeing people's bills for a timing belt change on pre F430 models (360 Modena, 355, 348). It was a week long $20k job because the engines had to be dropped and while the engine was out a bunch of other preventitive maintenance was done as well.

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

  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    Yes, the 2014 Forester will keep the FB25 engine and now gets a CVT.

    The FB25 is nice - timing chain, separate coolant flow to the heads, and easy access oil filter at the top of the engine. Could use DI to make a bit more power, though.

    32mpg highway for the AWD model will be best in class.
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    the CX-5 is definitely my favorite

    The new 2.5l model is nearly as efficient as the 2.0l, which I found made lots of noise when you floored it but few results. Go for the big engine - why else go Zoom Zoom at all?

    Pile 4 people and luggage and then drive up a steep incline and it's going to struggle getting up.
  • ronsteveronsteve Posts: 435
    the CX-5 is definitely my favorite

    The new 2.5l model is nearly as efficient as the 2.0l, which I found made lots of noise when you floored it but few results. Go for the big engine - why else go Zoom Zoom at all?


    Can the 2.5 be had with 3 pedals?
  • fintailfintail Posts: 34,338
    Yikes. Short spark plug life, and the tires make me wince - although given the size and profile, not too surprising. Guess you gotta pay to play :shades:

    The new car has runflats, which many loathe (no spare, thanks to "bluetec" occupying the tire well), but the sidewall height makes a world of difference compared to the old low profiles. I bet they'll last more than ~22K miles, too.
  • fintailfintail Posts: 34,338
    Nope, but I prepaid the maintenance into the lease - half price if you do it that way. So either way, I am pretty much just making the lease payment and fuel, as tires and brakes should be OK for 20K miles. The peace of mind is worth something. E55 had been solid for the past few years, but I was always a little worried about it coughing up a window regulator/suspension part/transmission etc. Insurance is equal, gas might not be huge as I don't do a big mileage, but the tech is worth something. Drove it to work early this morning, headlights are amazing.
  • fintailfintail Posts: 34,338
    edited February 2013
    I only did 10K/yr - I live close to work. I will make up the rest with road trips.

    We'll be getting the E250 next year, the C250 seems like a no-brainer - I hope. Smaller and lighter, so quicker - cheaper too.
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    No, only the 2.0 comes with a manual, I believe.
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    The new car has runflats, which many loathe

    Interesting - Sienna owners hate them.

    How is ride quality? I'm guessing M-B would engineer the suspension to accommodate that.

    Also, what about replacement cost? Won't be cheap, then again neither were the AMG tires I bet.
  • michaellnomichaellno Posts: 4,300
    Can the 2.5 be had with 3 pedals?

    No - only the FWD Sport with the 2.0 SkyActiv engine can be had with a stick.

    However, the Mazda automatic is actually a nice transmission ... does drop down a gear without prompting under specific circumstances.
  • fintailfintail Posts: 34,338
    Compared to the relatively harsh E55, it rides like it is on a cloud. Seems identical to the gas E350 I drove months ago, which had conventional tires I think. I bet they are cheaper than the $1300 set the E55 needed a few years ago
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    I dunno, run flats on a Sienna run $800+ a set, and I'm sure yours are better and more expensive.

    A co-worker just spent $1030 on tires for an A3. Ouch.

    Mine were $360 installed but I got a close-out deal. :shades:
  • roadburnerroadburner Posts: 6,892
    Interesting - Sienna owners hate them.

    Ditto for a large segment of BMW owners. That said, my wife's 3er came with Conti run-flat summer tires. When I bought winter tires and wheels I chose the BMW Approved Blizzak RFTs. The ride may be a bit more brittle than with "go-flats", but not to an objectionable degree. The jury is still out with respect to wear of either set.

    Mine: 1995 318ti Club Sport 1975 2002A 2007 Mazdaspeed 3 1999 Wrangler 1996 Speed Triple Challenge Cup Replica Wife's: 2009 328i Son's: 2004 X3 2.5

  • fintailfintail Posts: 34,338
    edited February 2013
    Sadly, I don't even remember what model of tire is on the car :shades: Only 17" wheels though. Hopefully in 20K they will still be fine. I don't see the ride quality being a problem. It's not a sports car.
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