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Used Vehicles Best Values



  • plektoplekto Posts: 3,733
    Get a 1999 Celica GT Convertible. KBB retail/mint condition value is just a bit over $7K.

    Done. Nothing will work better or cost less to keep running in your price range.
  • I have found some 2004 eclipse with 65k miles for $8k and some sebring for $7k. Clean carfax and everything. I just wanted to buy a car with doesn't give too much problem. Some cars model just don't last very long. Hence the questions.
  • igozoomzoomigozoomzoom Waleska, GeorgiaPosts: 790
    Consumer Reports has Owner Satisfaction ratings, which are actually more useful than most any other test. The question owners are asked is "If you had it to do over, would you definitely purchase this same vehicle again"?

    Here are the percentages that said YES-

    Mazda Miata- 86%
    Volvo C70- 70%
    Chrysler Sebring- 51%

    The median/average percentage for this class of car (convertibles) is 72%. The Sebring was by far the lowest rated with barely half of the owners saying they would buy it again....which implies 49% aren't happy campers.

    The reason you find more late model Sebring convertibles at dirt cheap prices than any other model is because they depreciate worse than any other car on the road! On a brand new one, at 36 months it's only expected to be worth 28% of the original price and at 60 months, just 18%. In comparison, a Mustang convertible will be worth 57% at 36 months an 44% at 60 months. I truly pity anyone who a Sebring convertible new...can you imagine buying a car with a $28k sticker price and, just one year later, it's barely worth $10k!!! But very few individuals buy a Sebring convertible brand new, the overwhelming majority are sold to rental fleets. And I can almost guarantee that the used ones you're finding are former rental cars...

    I still think your safest bet in terms of mechanical reliablity, reasonable maintenance and repair costs, decent fuel economy and driving dynamics (comfortable, easy to drive, plenty of power) is the Toyota Camry Solara Convertible. I found several within 300 miles of my zip code that are in perfect condition and being sold privately by their original owners! A one-owner private party sale is always the best way to go with any kind of vehicle. If you can locate one that you like and you either have cash or can arrange a loan thru your bank or credit union, you'll get the best and most car for your money...

    I found a 2002 Solara SLE conv for $8200 from a private seller in VA. It's silver, has 85k miles and the leather interior looks like it belongs in a Lexus. Just do a search on and use zip code 23602 (that's where the car is located).

    I also found an identical looking (silver with gray leather) 2001 SLE conv in Florida in pristine condition. It only has 68k miles and priced at $7900. Clean Carfax history, but not sure if it's the original owner, but it is private sale.
  • qbrozenqbrozen Posts: 17,150
    edited October 2010
    As the above post states, just forget the Sebring. Put it out of your mind. It may or may not hold up mechanically for you, but it really falls apart elsewhere. If you are so inclined, go ahead and take a look at a used one or two. You'll find that they are worn out and beat up. I can't say why. Could be because they weren't treated well or, more likely, it is because the materials are subpar and just don't hold up.

    I just went through this same search myself, but my limit was $6k. I did not find one Sebring that didn't look like it had been through a war. I couldn't locate a Mustang GT that fit the bill, nor a C70. Wound up with a '99 Saab 93 SE with 120k in very good condition for $4500.

    You aren't getting much feedback on the Eclipse because most folks don't know anything about them. They are rather unpopular cars.

    '13 Stang GT; '86 Benz 300E; '98 Volvo S70; '12 Leaf; '14 Town&Country

  • oldfarmer50oldfarmer50 Posts: 6,228
    "...hold up against each other?..."

    Sebring for the price because they depreciate quickly. Roomy for a convertible. Eclipse for reliability and not too bad performance. 2005 Mustang V-8 for performance and looks (forget the V-6) 2004 Mustangs and earlier were built on an obsolete 1970's frame and are less desirable.

    2009 PT Cruiser, 2008 Eclipse, 1995 Mark VIII, 1988 GMC Van

  • plektoplekto Posts: 3,733
    edited October 2010
    The Solara is also a good choice if the Celica is too small.

    Basically it's a Camry and a Corolla - Convertible. And as reliable as a normal Toyota. Oh, FYI - my last Toyota I finally sold a few weeks ago with 375K on it. And it still ran just fine. Anything else will just simply cost you a LOT more to fix and maintain.

    The MR2 also qualifies, but it's dangerously small and underpowered, IMO. The MX5 also has this problem - I just can't physically fit in the seats and it's asking to get punked in a crash. Yes, it's a blast to drive, but tiny is no good these days, especially when slightly larger convertibles and roadsters work almost as well but might save your life in a crash.

    Note - if you had 10-12K, I'd recommend a 1996 Corvette. It's a world better than most of the competition and is a serious deal for the money. The LT1 engine is about as bulletproof as it gets and repairs are pretty reasonable as long as the car isn't used up and worn out.(note - most are - shop carefully)

    Why get this specific year? It's the last year of the fourth generation run and isn't as flashy as the new models. It's a good "sleeper" option and is under-appreciated. The replacement model didn't have a convertible option until 1998, and it's still 15K for a good example.

    Not too bad looking, actually. Even better in black.
    A typical private party example.
    Don't take my word on it, either. This is a solid choice and has a soon to be "classic" look as the new models keep getting more and more like a giant jellybean.
  • I checked some reviews and consumerreports reviews and the Toyota convertibles came up pretty high in the ranks with Solora and Celica in mid range of ranks and followed shortly by Mitsubishi with Eclipse rated as best car for Mitsubishi.

    However, when I checked online and craigs for sale, the only Solora or Celica convertibles close to 8k with less than 80k miles were 95-99 models. Anything that was 2000+ had either 95k+ miles or had accidents on its carfax. Eclipses on the other hand were ranged 6.7-8k for 2000+ models with less than 75k miles. I do need a FWD for the snow and do not want to buy a seperate winter car. Hence the focus on these cars. Have found hardly any other FWD convertible in this area.

    I do want to buy the Toyota due to the good reviews for its dependablity, but the extra 2.5-3k is confusing me a bit since the Eclipse doesnt seem to have bad reviews by itself and even had good reviews in some places. Hopefully, some research or a good car selling in my area will resolve this.
  • oldfarmer50oldfarmer50 Posts: 6,228
    "...but the extra 2.5-3K is confusing me..."

    Used Toyotas and Hondas go for way too much in my opinion. Look up reviews of the Eclipse on Motor Trend's website. They reviewed the latest generation in a long term test and had ZERO problems after 40K miles and the car was faster and handled better at the end than when new. Toyotas may or may not be better cars but you're going to pay plenty for the PERCEPTION that they are.

    As for all the Sebring bashing going on, I owned the sedan version of that car which I bought used and got well over 100K miles with minimal repairs before I sold it.

    Have a mechanic check any car you plan on buying and then make your own decision based on the cost-benefit TO YOU.

    2009 PT Cruiser, 2008 Eclipse, 1995 Mark VIII, 1988 GMC Van

  • steine13steine13 Posts: 2,411
    As for all the Sebring bashing going on, I owned the sedan version of that car which I bought used and got well over 100K miles with minimal repairs before I sold it.

    The sticky wicket here is that the "Sebring" sedan was, at least at one time, a thinly disguised Mitsubishi, and the "Sebring" convertible was a Stratus with a softtop. A totally different car, totally a Chrysler, and not very good.

    Maybe that's no longer true for the more recent ones, but that's what I remember from ~ 10 years ago.

    FWIW, the Solara ragtop is waaay too flexy according to the reviews I've read. Plus the Solara sedan it's based on is one of the boringest cars out there .. but at the same time a great road trip car because it's solid and quiet... my guess is you're giving up the coupe's main strengths to get the convertible.

    The Eclipse is starting to sound better all the time.

    Cheers -Mathias
  • plektoplekto Posts: 3,733
    edited October 2010
    However, when I checked online and craigs for sale, the only Solora or Celica convertibles close to 8k with less than 80k miles were 95-99 models.

    This is *exactly* the model that you want to be looking at - the 98-99 ones. They stopped making convertible Celicas after that and the Solara is basically a convertible sedan(nothing special)

    Though, I'd still save a bit more and get the 96 Corvette(last year of that style). The LT1 engine is really close to bulletproof and yes, purists go on about how they hate the automatics, but it's really easy to find a mint condition one with Automatic for a very reasonable price. 300+HP and automatic is still a shockingly fast ride.
  • oldfarmer50oldfarmer50 Posts: 6,228
    "...Sebring sedan was...a thinly disguised Mitsubishi..."

    Well, not really. The sedan and the convertible were built off either the Chrysler JA or JR platform (depending on year) while the coupe was based on the Mitsu Eclipse. To confuse things more the sedan/convertible used either a Mitsu or Chrysler engine. My '97 sedan had the Mitsu 2.5L engine which was the smoothest running motor I'd ever had. It took my son driving it 10 miles with no oil to destroy it. The rest of the car was above average as well.

    Strangly enough, a Toyota I owned was the worst car I ever had. That's why I suggested to the OP to have a mechanic check over any car he considers. To me a domestic car like the Chrysler would be worth it if cost was my main criteria. That's what I perceived his question to be. He might also consider the Eclipse and get a combination of Japanese quality with steeper depreciation than the Toyota.

    As always, you get what you pay for.

    2009 PT Cruiser, 2008 Eclipse, 1995 Mark VIII, 1988 GMC Van

  • I am also in the market for a mid level luxury car to replace my 1996 Infinity I30. I had bought this used car from a private seller and the car performed like a champ with no issues. Even today with 150K miles the car runs great. I am a person who prefers to buy used rather than a new car....just because I think that provides you with a better deal.

    So here is my dilemma...when I look for used car, with my search criteria there are 150+ E350 (2008/2009) available in the market compared to < 50 for Infinity M35 (2008/2009). It seems to me that people usually lease German cars where as they buy Japanese that because of reliability issues....which leads to cost of ownership? So far as design is concerned, I definitely like the styling of E350 better than M35.....though I really like the styling of M37.....but then it becomes a new car. I would like to know the opinion of other E350 owners regarding the reliability of the car? Are there frequent issues that costs a lot to fix? Also is there a peace of mind buying a CPO E350.... The deals that I have are....2008 E350 26k miles (CPO) with prem Pkg 1 for 34k + T&T,......same car without CPO costs 30K...... Thanks for the help Kaushik
  • plektoplekto Posts: 3,733
    The new Mercedes are very nice. But I've driven both and the Infiniti M is almost S Class in quality. Of course, it also drives like a big luxo-barge.

    The car that impressed me the most for the (extremely small amount of) money was the new LaCrosse.
    1 year old, certified, and the top model with everything on it. Domestics are also much better than they used to be, and the money you save can basically pay for a lifetime of repairs before you even get to the price of a used German vehicle. And have you priced a repair on a Mercedes? :P
  • qbrozenqbrozen Posts: 17,150
    That's asking price on the E, right? Cause you should be able to get that CPO for $30-31k. Trade-in value is only $24,500-$25k.

    A comparable '08 M35 is worth very similar money. However, I'm willing to bet you could get a CPO Infiniti for less than a CPO Benz. This is directly related to the extended warranty cost the dealer pays when certifying a car. Although I don't KNOW, I have a FEELING the warranty on the Infiniti is far less.

    '13 Stang GT; '86 Benz 300E; '98 Volvo S70; '12 Leaf; '14 Town&Country

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