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Used Reliable Luxury < $7k

Is it reasonable to get a used, reliable, luxury car with at least 8 yrs life left for $7k or less including cost to buy, fix, and repaint, or whatever it takes to make it look 95% new?

If so, I'm hoping when I get done the car will be at least somewhat trouble free (barring regular maintenance), and get at least 25mpg freeway mileage.

Basically, looking for something that looks great, drives well, don't care if it's used as long is it's in good shape. Sedan preferred, but coupes and convertibles are considerations too.

Am I off the mark? I'm willing to have nearly any part of it fixed/repainted/interiored upto about $7k or so. After that, I figure, I might as well get a 3yr old Acura RL or something.

Thoughts, opinions, and anything else you can think of let loose.

John

Comments

  • BushwackBushwack Posts: 258
    It is reasonable to find a car mechanically sound that when properly maintained, should last 200,000+ miles. The caveat is that your wallet will not allow you to get that far because the electrical/electronic issues of modern cars will bleed you dry; which is one reason why my next car(s) will be leased and/or not owned beyond the warranty period.
  • ghuletghulet Posts: 2,628
    So, you want a car that's 'luxurious', costs $7k or less, will be 'reliable' and get 25 mpg? Good luck!

    You could buy an older Acura (maybe an early RL), quite a few Cadillacs or Buicks, a '98-99 Volvo S70, some much older (I'd say '96 or so) BMW 5-series or Mercedes E-class for around $7k, but as for them being all that 'reliable', I wouldn't count on it. Ditto for the 25 mpg...have you considered something a bit less dreamy, like, say an Accord EX or Camry XLE...those with four-cylinders will get 25 mpg easy, should be reliable, and are reasonably luxurious. They won't break the bank with repairs, either. How about a Buick Regal with leather? I dunno.
  • Thanks folks for the replies!

    Basically, when I say luxury car, it's in reference to when the car was new.

    Personally, the current age of the car doesn't bother me so much as the condition I can get it in, how much, and how long I'll be able to keep it running before the bills get out of control. If you consider the cost of a new car, even overhauling the engine can seem like a small amount, assuming that's all it needs, and it doesn't need it every other year or something.

    I'll take a look at some of those cars and see. Do you happen to know of any "lemon" years on those cars you mentioned?
  • zodiac2004zodiac2004 Posts: 471
    Some cars that come to my mind - in varying degrees of luxury - are

    Lexus ES300 (any year you can afford)
    90-94 LS400
    95-97 Oldsmobile Aurora
    90-96 infiniti Q45

    Of course the last 2 on the list have a history of higher maintenance/repair cost than the first 2.
    Find an independent mechanic and ask him for cost of normal maintenance items before you buy any car.
    If ongoing maintenance is a concern - pretty much the only luxury car you can buy is the Lexus ES.
  • ghuletghulet Posts: 2,628
    I think a Lexus ES is a GREAT choice in this price range; it is little more than a gussied-up Camry (which isn't a bad thing), though you'll pay Lexus rather than Toyota repair costs, but they should be reliable and won't break down much....keep an eye on things like climate control systems (a luxury car pitfall, they're all electronic) and electric items, the engine and trans should be fairly bulletproof.

    The last three are decent choices and fairly inexpensive, but you're never going to get 25mpg in one unless it's turned off running downhill.

    I'd still look at some of the GM big cars with V6s, though it's a stretch to call most 'luxury' cars. Check out Buick Regal, LeSabre and Park Avenue (3.8 V6 gets upper 20s mpg on the highway and are fairly torquey), Pontiac Bonneville, Olds Intrigue and Aurora (3.5 only).
  • zodiac2004zodiac2004 Posts: 471
    though you'll pay Lexus rather than Toyota repair costs

    Not at all.
    Just take it to a Toyo dealer, if you must take it to a dealer at all for maintenance.
    It's the Camry's V6 after all. Most quicky lube places can do fluid changes on it.
  • geobluegeoblue Posts: 71
    So, you want a car that's 'luxurious', costs $7k or less, will be 'reliable' and get 25 mpg? Good luck!

    You could buy an older Acura (maybe an early RL), quite a few Cadillacs or Buicks, a '98-99 Volvo S70, some much older (I'd say '96 or so) BMW 5-series or Mercedes E-class for around $7k, but as for them being all that 'reliable', I wouldn't count on it. Ditto for the 25 mpg...have you considered something a bit less dreamy, like, say an Accord EX or Camry XLE...those with four-cylinders will get 25 mpg easy, should be reliable, and are reasonably luxurious. They won't break the bank with repairs, either. How about a Buick Regal with leather? I dunno.

    BUY A TOYOTA.
  • geobluegeoblue Posts: 71
    You can get a 2000-2003 Camry or 1995-2000 Avalon for around 5-6,000 dollars.

    Camry would be the best choice if you ask me.
  • One thing to think about is the general user profile of the car you are buying. Are they likely to have babied the car and kept all the maintenance in tip top shape? Might they have ignored things like oil changes along the way?

    How many people have owned it, etc etc.

    Here are my top cars that would be considered luxurious for their "as new" condition, have fallen into your price range and what you might expect to find...ymmv

    03 Acura TL - 90-120k miles, sporting V6 that could pull 27 mpg highway. Was a top pick when new for many reasons...none of them any less relevant today.

    03 Acura CL Coupe - 90-120k miles...same as above with many a touch more sporting look. Was last year for this style - but coupes are always a tough sell...the car is solid.

    03-04 Audi A4 - hi mileage 04 to low mileage 03. Reliability is a question mark on 9 year old Audis...but if you get one that was not handled roughly and spent its evenings in a safe, warm garage and not the back parking lot at the 'chic condo' complex on the edge of the city - you should be able to keep up with maintenance...have a mechanic look.

    02 BMW 328i - 100-130k miles, If you can find one that was sub-100k and has a similar ownership experience to the A4 above, you should be able to enjoy a great performance car that has delivered award after award for being just that much better than the competition.

    04-05 Lincoln LS - lower miles, RWD, nice ride...not sporting so much as just handling its business. Not a 3-series, but then an 05 328 would run you $11-12,000

    05 VW Passat - 70-100k miles, The Baby Audi was the cost-effective way to get a European sedan with a mix of luxury and sport. It is still a good way to gamble on the used car side. Younger car with lower miles reduces risk and has plenty of luxury touches. Reliability is hit and miss (think the same as the A4) but a well-loved and maintained car would hold up well...maybe almost as well as a 03 Acura. :)

    04 Volvo S60 - 80 - 110k miles, if you have a quality mechanic that can handle this marque, then you can pick out some nice rides. Volvos are solid cars - but you have to stay on top of maintenance.

    which one should you pick? what is your comfort level? If reliability is the primary concern, I might lean to the Acura, but it is hard to resist a 3-series if the car runs solid.

    Good luck.
  • wwestwwest Posts: 10,706
    I find myself mildly surprised that there is no Lexus LS on your list, at the top no less.

    Back about 10 years ago I purchased a used 1992 LS400, 125k miles, for $6,000, added new tires and it's still going strong today. Turned it over to my Grandson, 11th grade, 2 years ago and he is extemely happy with it.
  • brucebadbrucebad Central Coast, CAPosts: 6

    I agree with wwest, I recently bought a 1996 ls400 for $8400--I know that is a bit high, but it only had 67K, was owned by a car guy--all records, kept inside, CA valley car, etc. As I write this, the dealer is replacing the timing belt (71K, but 18 years old), water pump, a loose bearing, and anything else down under, bill: $1500 including tires balanced and Mobil One synthetic oil 10/30 and filter. Still, buying any car used is a gamble, but I like the odds, and in the long run you will probably save $$$. I just drove mine 500 miles, ran like a dream, and averaged 25.5 mpg highway. I recommend the ls400 95--98, good luck.

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