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What's the best vehicle for my needs?



  • yeah the only thing I can say to the unknown factor is the mercedes I saw the carfax for and it had a very clean history except for one battery change; I did have the 86 mercedes for about 8 yrs reliably (and it wasn't in the most ideal shape when I got it since it had been leaking coolant and oil for years) and it was only around the 22-23 year mark I started having problems

    so I would hope these cars if in without any problems right now would last at least that long, I suppose there is also the option of spending a bit more money and upgrading to something newer however
  • I've driving a lot of miles these days and my gas bill is getting pretty high. I have a 2006 Toyota Tacoma V6. Gas mileage isn't terrible as trucks go, but I'd like to get some sort of sedan that gets 30+ highway miles. Don't want to spend anymore than I can get for the truck. Need something reliable and good for hauling two kids around. Doesn't need to be pretty. Was thinking of something like a mid-2000s Accord but that's just because it's the first thing that came to my mind. Would love to hear suggestions from knowledgeable folks. Thanks!
  • suydamsuydam Posts: 882
    For reliability you can't go wrong with a mid-2000's Accord or Camry. Camry might have a larger back seat and bigger trunk if kids and hauling are objectives. The 4 cyl. Camry easily gets 30+ mpg highway. Higher used cost than domestic cars but I think it's worth it.
  • qbrozenqbrozen Posts: 16,895
    edited October 2011
    Tough to get too specific without knowing what you can get for you truck.

    Are you thinking of doing an even trade with a dealer or selling the truck privately first? What kind of money are we talking about? How old are the kids?

    '13 Stang GT; '86 Benz 300E; '98 Volvo S70; '12 Leaf; '08 Town&Country

  • sebring95sebring95 Posts: 3,225
    Assuming your Tacoma is a 4x4, the demand is usually pretty high. Agree on the Accord as well. It doesn't sound like you're too picky just make sure you get the 4cyl as the V6 isn't as reliable or efficient obviously.
  • fushigifushigi Posts: 1,217
    If you're talking a mid-2000's midsize sedan, not just Accord and Camry, but pretty much all of the offerings are decent. Fusion/Milan, Sonata/Optima, Malibu, and so on can all be good options in 4 cylinder guise.
  • robbiegrobbieg Posts: 323
    I am all over the place with cars. Initially, was thinking SUV but lately I am thinking AWD sedan. Want to go used and pretty new 2009-2010. Since, I am going used Subies are out. So, what is left? The way I look at it a new Legacy can be had for about 22,000 so I want to spend less than that. The only car that I can think of is a Fusion/MKZ and I don't know if an MKZ can be had for that price. Am I missing something? Most AWD cars are more expensive brands BMW, Audi, Infiniti, etc. The only other options are a Taurus but man are those things (the new body style) pricey, or the Chrysler 300 but that is pricey too. What else is there?

    Now, I know that snow tires on a FWD car are better than a AWD with all season tire but my wife wants AWD which means that I need AWD.
  • sebring95sebring95 Posts: 3,225
    I've been all over this one too as I could get by with a car a lot more often than I do if I went AWD. My biggest problem with the AWD cars is the horrendous gas mileage. I mean for what you give up they're not much better than SUV/Crossovers. But if you want the performance increase the car obviously wins out. I won't buy a Subaru new or used and they've pretty much got the market locked up. I think they're good cars and the awd is far better than most of the run-o-the-mill AWD's...but I just don't like anything they have to offer.

    I think the Fusion/Milan is about the only choice in that age/price range. I would want to hold out for the 2010 on that model. The MKZ is still a little pricier and I can't see paying extra for the same car with a Lincoln name on it unless there's a specific feature you want. Gas mileage is a stinky 17/24 (for a mid-size V6 it's stinky).

    If I do it I'm really leaning towards the Charger RT. It's expensive but I get the performance I'm looking for and mpg is 15/23. V8 under the hood of a bigger better performing vehicle and I'm ok with a 1-2mpg penalty. In the end...I'll probably just keep pumping gas into my Pathfinder. Performance isn't bad and I don't have to dump $30k+. I'm getting cheap in my old age.
  • sandman_6472sandman_6472 Coral Springs, FLPosts: 2,578
    Not cheap, just a bit more practical. Everybody has a different point where it pays to swap out a vehicle over keeping the curent ride. We're in a similar situation...the wife's '05 Mazda 3s is almost at 97.4k miles and we had to decide to keep the car and buy new shoes for it or to trade it in on a new car. She needed new tires like "now" so we had a decision to make...keep it & buy tires or plunk down about $20k or so on new. Problem is that the supply of cars she'd like isn't there and she has a pretty good short list to test drive. And we hate to rush into this big of a decision and to spend that kind of $ on when she hasn't tried everything and have a chance to discuss it with me.

    So we decided to buy the new shoes and keep the car for another year at least. Hopefully nothing big will happen where the car needs some major $ thrown at it. We'll do the 100k mile plugs and radiator service and possibly a tranny service. But nothing else and hope we can get her a 2013 model. By that time supply will be back up and we'll have test driven everything on the short list. Time to think while accumulating more $ in the bank to purchase it outright, unless they bring back the 0% financing.

    This is the practical, financially smart thing to do to achieve the ultimate result of purchasing her a great new car. And then, by 2015 or so, it'll be my turn. With the way I'm putting on mileage now, my Civic should have under 50k miles and there will still be pretty good value left for the next owner...they will be getting a very sweet, well careed for ride. A win/win for everyone concerned!

    The Sandman :) :sick: :shades:

    2014 Hyundai Tuscon SE/2005 Mazda 3s/2008 Hyundai Accent GLS/2009 Nissan Versa SL hatch

  • explorerx4explorerx4 Central CTPosts: 9,447
    I had an '07 Fusion AWD until about 6 months ago.
    It was one of those 80/20 cars.
    I liked that it did not feel front driveish and was very smooth on the highway.
    The engine sound was bad, especially when started cold.
    After that it was pretty quiet, although nailing the gas didn't sound that great either.
    The interior showed some obvious cost cutting, but the back seat had plenty on legroom and headroom for a 6ft+ adult, even with sunroof.
    Mine was rated 18/27 under the old rating system and on a long trip I could hit the highway rating. Overall, I averaged 22.25 mpg.
    The MKZ has a larger 3.5 engine.
  • hambonecampanahambonecampana Posts: 7
    edited December 2011
    I'm looking to purchase an inexpensive, older convertible (ideally a 2 seater) that I can keep for years to come as a second car. I'd like it to be reliable, fun to drive, won't plummet in value, and a car that, if something breaks, there's information out there to teach me how to fix it. I'm pretty young, and I don't know a whole lot about cars (although I am pretty handy), but if I learn on the way that's great. I don't want it to start out as a project car, but if over the years it gives me some projects, I'm okay with that. I'm thinking about an older BMW Z3. According to edmunds prices a 96 would should come in at about 4-5k. I'd also consider the Honda S2000, although the entry price seems to be about double what I could get a Z3 for (although it would be a newer car). I thought about the MR2 Spyder but heard that it has an unpleasant exhaust note, the Audi TT, but given Audi's reliability that thought concerns me, and the Miata really doesn't do anything for me visually. Are there any other cars I should seriously consider? Would appreciate thoughts from some that have gone before me. Thanks all!
  • qbrozenqbrozen Posts: 16,895
    edited December 2011
    Well, since you shot down the miata, the z3 is your car. Unless you want to spend the dough on the Honda, the bimmer is the only other reliable and easy to work on model. Stick with the 6 cylinder, IMHO.

    '13 Stang GT; '86 Benz 300E; '98 Volvo S70; '12 Leaf; '08 Town&Country

  • colin_lcolin_l Posts: 591
    Totally agreed-- the early year 4 cylinder Z3s were terrible. Compare the inline six to the S2000s and see what you find out. I doubt the gap is as wide as you think, and the S2000 is a much faster, more sporty car than any except the M Z3 which I doubt is on the table.
  • plektoplekto Posts: 3,706
    You absolutely want the S2000. The resale value on BMWs is poor because they are pretty sad things used, especially the original Z3s. The Boxster also has similar engine and repair cost issues. Both drive great, but they aren't simple or basic cars. ie - they are a 2-seater convertibles and not really a light and agile roadster.

    Plus, the reason S2000s don't depreciate is because they really were instant classics.
  • qbrozenqbrozen Posts: 16,895
    Well, if we are comparing old ones, it doesn't amount to a whole hell of a lot. And s2ks certainly do depreciate.

    2000 z3 2.5. Original msrp 31,300. Current trade-in value with 100k miles is $4900. 15.66%
    2000 s2000. Original msrp 32,000. Current trade-in value with 100k miles is $5800. 18.13%

    That seems to hold pretty steady through the years. An '04 s2k, for instance, is worth a grand more than an '04 z4 2.5. Both were right around $33k new.

    '13 Stang GT; '86 Benz 300E; '98 Volvo S70; '12 Leaf; '08 Town&Country

  • plektoplekto Posts: 3,706
    But you'll note that almost all of the lower-priced Z3s are automatics. The repair costs will also crush your wallet. And to add insult to injury, I've seen old Buicks with better interiors than a typical 10 year old BMW. They seriously don't age well. Mind you, Mercedes are also similar, so it's not specific to BMW. The S2000 is so simple that there's nothing to really break. And the engine is pretty close to bulletproof.
  • qbrozenqbrozen Posts: 16,895
    I don't know why you think the repair costs are any more than a Honda. I've had both and find no difference. Of course, I don't go to the dealer. Anybody who does go to the dealer has no right to complain about the cost.

    As far as "typical interior," well, I guess the one I have is completely atypical. The 30-year-old bimmer we had had bad seats, but that is typical of any convertible with black leather. They were actually still in better shape than my 30-year-old Italian leather (Alfa). I have no interest in any buick of the past 30 years, so I have no idea what those tend to look like.

    Don't know if I would call the S2k simple. Anything with a redline that high is actually fairly complex. Oil burning issues aren't terribly uncommon with the early cars. They are both fine cars. I would say their reliability is virtually even. You also stand a better chance finding a z3 that wasn't raced. The s2k is better looking, though.

    '13 Stang GT; '86 Benz 300E; '98 Volvo S70; '12 Leaf; '08 Town&Country

  • lemmerlemmer Posts: 2,676
    edited December 2011
    I agree with the majority of your posts, but good grief. BMW maintenance and repair costs suck compared to a Honda. I've had a few of both. For starters, my BMWs seem to trash their brake pads and rotors every 30K miles. On my Hondas and Acuras, I tend to average about 100K on a set of pads. I've never driven one long enough to wear out the rotors. BMWs are horrible on consumables, from brake light bulbs to tires to just about anything as compared to a Honda. Plus, BMWs require more frequent and usually annoying repairs.

    Plus, I can reset the darn maintenance light on a Honda without a special tool.
  • lemmerlemmer Posts: 2,676
    As for the interiors, specifically in a 3 series, the E30s are really durable, the E46s are somewhat durable, and the E36s have crap interiors.

    I base this on my personal experience, looking at tons of used cars, reading Bimmer, reading BMW specific forums, etc.
  • plektoplekto Posts: 3,706
    And the E36 is the platform that the Z3s were based upon, especially when it came to electrical and interior construction. They really do tend to be worn-out and full of problems as they age. And what a miserable piece of Tupperware the interior is. The Z4, that's a whole other animal, though. But even then, it's really expensive to own one. I would have suggested a Mercedes SLK as well, but they are incredibly expensive to fix. $2000+ clutch jobs and so on.

    A 30 year old BMW or Mercedes? They were still making them with a lot of quality, especially for the upper-level models. So they really can't be compared to the newer models.

    A S2000 is as simple and straight forward as a Miata. But it drives and looks a whole lot better. Nobody cares about a Z3 but you will get some looks with a S2000. ;)
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