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Best vehicle for $40,000

calidavecalidave Posts: 156
I want to consider new and USED vehicles, in this analaysis (gasp!).

What would you buy if you had 40k burning a hole in your pocket? Your needs are: sporty, yet comfortable on the highway; 4 seats minimum; over 28 mpg. (yes, we also want reasonable reliability)

Our discussions always focus on new cars, but shouldn't our discussions START with price (and thus include used cars, as well)?


  • fljoslinfljoslin Posts: 237
    I dont think that many if any vehicles at the price you have are going to give you real mileage over 28 mpg. I would look at some of the smaller sedans. Good luck.
  • calidavecalidave Posts: 156
    true - it doesn't seem that there are ANY cars at the $40k price point that offer >28 mpg, though some do come close

    Do I really have to drive an econobox to get >28 mpg? I want to drive something NICE!!!
  • fedlawmanfedlawman Posts: 3,118
    1997 Porsche 911 Carrera (the kids will fit, really!)
    2002 BMW M3
    2004 Audi S4
    2006 Subaru STi (and treat yourself to a '97 Miata with the change!)
    2006 Volvo V70R (don't forget the 3rd row jumpseat option!)
    2006 Pontiac GTO (see the STi note above)
  • calidavecalidave Posts: 156
    nice work digging out a few used cars!!!
  • If you consider HWY MPG vs. total MPG, I'd think that a 2003 530 might do the trick. I get 30-31 MPG on road trips at 80+ MPH. Mine has been faultless over the 3 years I've had it and is a joy to DRIVE. A low-mileage off lease car that has been CPO'ed might fit on your list...
  • calidavecalidave Posts: 156
    great suggestion

    do you think a 2003 530 is a better value than, for example, a 2006 CTS or Acura TL?

    We so often get sucked in by the new cars, that we forget that just a year or two ago we were raving about a car that is no longer on our radar screen.
  • I would. Most of the front-end depreciation has occured in this terrific and highly rated car (2003 530). It is also the last year of the e39 platform, which was engineered to perfection... even CR gave it glowing reports.

    Find an off-lease low-mileage CPO'ed car and just take it for a drive. It will answer your CTS/TL question. To me, still the finest interpretation of what a BMW sedan should be... well, the new 3 and 5-Series are really nice ;)
  • fljoslinfljoslin Posts: 237
    The Honda Odyssey Touring Model is very close to $40,000 and get a rated 28 mpg highway.
  • Talk about a large range of cars...vans, cars, SUV's?
  • calidavecalidave Posts: 156
    well, I can't imagine buying a van, I admit. But what's the real difference between a Lexus RX400H and a 3-year old 5-series BMW? They'll both be fun to drive, though the BMW will be more fun. They both will have decent luxury. There aren't any SUVs in this ballpark other than the RX400H.

    And this really isn't about ME. It's as much about what you folks think of cars that might be close to meeting this set of parameters. I might not have thought of a3-year old 5-series if one of you had not pointed it out, for example.

    I'm not sure there is that much worth driving that gets this high MPG. I likely have to lower my MPG figure to 25 mixed. That will give me way more cars to choose from.

    but I'd really like a high MPG vehicle

    I just don't want to give up all the performance (and comfort)

    I guess what I am wanting is an entry-level luxury performance sedan (or coupe or oncvertible) that gets really good MPG.

    the only car that meets that need may be the RX400H, which is more than 10 grand too much.

    (then again, I'd be buying it for the long term, planning to plug it in within 5 years, and then getting some great miles/$$)

    so....a used 525?

    I'm too mature for a 3 series. ;) I have toyed with a used 3-series convertible, but my buddy wouldn't sellhis below high blue it's sitting in his garage waiting for me to love $38K???)

    the Accord hybrid piqued my interest, but I've heard mixed reviews (from owners, not simply from naysayers)
  • fedlawmanfedlawman Posts: 3,118
    The RX400h?

    It fits the entry-level luxury description, but it is a far cry from fitting the performance or sedan category.

    Really just an overpriced Toyota Highlander, isn't it?
  • calidavecalidave Posts: 156
    A buddy of mine just bought one and he loves it. Everyone that drives them seems to love them. And it's gonna be a whole lot nicer than what I'm driving now. But, no, I don't expect it to be the same driving experience as the 5-series. But in a few years I WOULD be able to download a software patch, change ot some batteries, and plug right into to my house and get a lot lower cost to run the beast. Then again, by the time I can do that with the 400H, there will be a much cooler hybrid (perhaps the GS?), and that could be wired from the factory to be plug-in, if desired. I just find it very hard to believe fuel prices won't be going up, short-term and long-term, so I want to get decent mileage, but I don't want to give up a decent ride.
  • ezshift5ezshift5 West coastPosts: 853
    >I just find it very hard to believe fuel prices won't be going up, short-term and long-term, so I want to get decent mileage, but I don't want to give up a decent ride.

    .....realizing this is a Honda Accord thread.....(so ultimately you just might expect something like this....):

    ...for 40 large, the well-engineered, extremely fuel efficient (see my two-week AcDuTra to Luke AFB transit: Gila Bend to Yuma, AZ segment) AV6 6MT remains at the top of my list.

    ..The BMW unquestionably remains a fine automobile. Personally, the reliability/longivity aspect carries such importance that I must forego the pleasure.........

    ....and the 15 large surplus? Spend it any way you want. Call it an incremental reward.

    all the best, ez......

  • patpat Posts: 10,421
    Just a quick note - this isn't a Honda Accord thread, it's about all the vehicles listed at the top of the discussion, and ultimately, about $40,000 vehicles. :)
  • haefrhaefr Posts: 600
    2006 Sport sedan? BMW 330i
    2006 Luxo sedan? Mercedes-Benz C280

    Anything else is an also-ran wannabe. ;)
  • calidavecalidave Posts: 156
    When you say AV6 6MT, do you mean the Hybrid or the normal V6?

    Am not sure why the HAH (hybrid) hasn't been successful as the Prius or Civic. I always thought there'd be a market for hybrids outside of the traditional green market, but that doesn't seem to be the case. At least not yet.

    I found your Gila post - 39 mpg - nice. That's got to be the hybrid.

    I odn't know if the Accord Hybrid will be "sprty" and "luxurious" enough for me. I need to go drive one.

    Will it drive nicer than an RX400H?

    Of course, I could add a lot of bling to a V6 HAH with the money I'd save by nt buying an RX400H. (25 grand?)
  • calidavecalidave Posts: 156
    will the 330i or the C280 approach 28 mpg?
  • I get 30MPG in my 2003 530 on the HWY at extra-legal speeds!
  • ezshift5ezshift5 West coastPosts: 853
    When you say AV6 6MT, do you mean the Hybrid or the normal V6?

    I have a "normal" (which is to say - IMHO now - far above normal) Honda Accord V-6 EX Six-speed manual shift coupe........

    I found your Gila post - 39 mpg - nice. That's got to be the hybrid.

    Honest man (I double checked the calcs....); this "normal" V-6 actually performed as posted.......

    I tried again: Castaic to Stockton calc'd out at 37.99.

    ..upon my word of honor as an officer and gentleman.......

    holidays best, ez..........
  • calidavecalidave Posts: 156
    ez: given your results with the regular V6, I wonder if the hybrid would bet you over 40 (more likely the hybrid would help more in the stop and go driving)
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