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Help Me Choose!



  • plektoplekto Posts: 3,738
    1 - avoid anything European unless you are willing to go much older and more "classic" like a 318Ti or similar E36 series BMW, possibly. Or a late 90s Volvo 850 or a Mercedes C class of the same vintage. (before they got all round and plastic). The main reason is because spare parts and aftermarket clubs and support are easy to find, and they aren't complicated to the point where you can't fix them yourself.

    2 - Lincoln/Ford makes exactly one car that would fit your criteria, the Grand Marquis. Make sure that it's in dark blue or dark red if possible and has the luxury trim package so that it doesn't look like a cop car. (white, black, and tan are NG). They are inexpensive and actually are quite reliable. Parts are cheap as well. Huge trunk as well.

    3 - GM makes a good car for you. It's NOT the Cadillac. It's the same thing with a Buick badge on it for thousands less. Ie - a Buick Lucerne. These can be had for around your price range with the V6 engine. It's basically a Toyota Avalon clone, though, so it's not really "luxury". And while it's as reliable as a tank, it unfortunately handles and accelerates like one. Comfy but sedate would be the way I would describe it.

    My top pick, though, is actually something completely different. I'd give serious consideration to a vehicle with sporty and luxury feel and driving while not being a massive boat that gets 18mpg. This leaves, as I mentioned, an older BMW, Volvo, or Mercedes, or something good from Japan. Which there are tons of cars like this for sale. For instance, a used Lexus IS300 is an excellent choice. A bit of luxury and a bit of sporty at the same time. Reliability is decent and it is quite fun to drive.
  • plektoplekto Posts: 3,738
    edited February 2013
    Would a sporty 4 door work as well? I'm not talking GM crap, but more Euro sedans like a BMW or Mercedes. IME, it pays to just go to these sorts of cars if you are buying used, and just do it right. Everything else will simply be a sporty looking exterior with a rental car soul.

    My top pick would be a late (1998 or so) BMW E36. Chose your body style, they're all the same fantastic car underneath. Also, Mercedes made the C230K (sedan and coupe) that got 30mpg and could be had with a manual (thereby avoiding the one major problem area, the automatic transmission). Volvo makes real sleepers sometimes. The 60 series cars were/are excellent and on nobody's radar. But put a manual in it, and it's old-school European fun all over again. VW made the (new)Jetta around that time as well, that could be had with a V6 (VR6) engine. Very nice and very quick. Avoid the 4 and turbo models of that era, though.

    Repairs aren't that cheap, but you do get a fantastic driving experience. (actually the last time I got a part from Toyota for my 4Runner, it was more than I'd paid two years earlier for a similar part for my Mercedes)

    For Japan, really only one vehicle shines as a European clone/competitor in that price range. That is the Lexus IS300 Sport. To me, it had that magic weight distribution and performance that just made it a joy to drive. The IS350 lost that and became more like everyone else's muscle car, and the IS250 was... too slow and heavy. If you've ever driven an old BMW or Volvo (240 turbo or similar), you'll feel like it's a modern version of the same idea. Light, agile, and very well composed.
  • backybacky Twin CitiesPosts: 18,907
    An alternative to an Accord coupe is the Camry Solara. Kinda rare in this price range, but would be reliable and would have a decent trunk. Looks pretty sporty even if it doesn't DRIVE sporty.

    The Celica would be a good choice also, esp. in hatchback form... no, not a true coupe then, but two doors and the hatch would be more versatile than a coupe.
  • kyfdxkyfdx Posts: 64,720
    Another vote for a Celica hatchback...

    Very hard to find an Acura RSX under $10K... no way to get an RSX-S for that..


    Prices Paid, Lease Questions, SUVs

  • boomchekboomchek Vancouver, BC, CanadaPosts: 5,314
    Very hard to find an Acura RSX under $10K... no way to get an RSX-S for that..

    There is a ton of them on Craigslist in Vancouver right now that are under $10k (82 to be exact), some being the Type S model.

    When going to the US to shop for groceries I pick up those car dealer flyers at supermarkets and noticed that US prices for used cars are same or more than in Canada recently.

    It used to be the other way around 5 years ago with a ton of people importing US cars up here to save a few bucks.

    2007 BMW 328i Sports Pkg

  • kyfdxkyfdx Posts: 64,720
    Well... I have to admit, I haven't shopped in Canada.. :)

    In my area, an RSX-S doesn't drop below $10K, unless the mileage is over 140K miles...


    Prices Paid, Lease Questions, SUVs

  • So over the past few months I've researched and test driven a few cars and I'm still at a standstill in the conclusion. My top choices are as follows: 2009-2012 BMW 3 series (328i,330i,335i), Dodge Dart limited, or 2009-2012 Audi A4.

    I don't know all the differences with the BMW series but I love the sleek fine design they have and the prestige reputation of comfort and reliability. Any owner reviews or suggestions would be appreciated. I'd be looking into purchasing a used model, what's the best year 2009-2012?

    Audi A4 is along the lines of the BMW series but I don't see what makes them different than BMW besides slight price range. Better than BMW?

    The Dodge Dart Limited, I know, seems crazy to be compared to the other giants, however after test driving a few darts I was surprised how much they bring to the table when fully loaded (costs approx. 27,000 loaded)

    What I'm looking for in a vehicle:

    1. $30,000 price range, new or used

    2. Coupe or Sedan with comfortable front seats, back seats do not matter no comfort. (I am 6 foot tall)

    3. Comfort, for long and short rides

    4. Fuel efficiency 26+ MPG combined

    5. Premium audio system

    6. Reliability for 5+ years

    7. Insurance costs: anything not labeled a "sports car"
  • sebring95sebring95 Posts: 3,238
    I've seen some Dart's on the road and the look decent. Kind of reminds me of 1994 when the go-cart-ish Dodge Neon hit the streets....and was quite the hit for awhile. Dodge has a history of some very trendy cool cars....for a few years then they age quickly and fade. I'd hate to drop $27k on one though regardless....I think it will be worth next to nothing in five years.

    I think either the 3-series or A4 would be a decent vehicle. Should be relatively reliable but you will spend a lot on maintenance and even minor repairs. If you really like the cars can be worth it. I would much rather buy a used 3 than a new Dart for the same money. If we're talking $20k then perhaps it's a different story. MPG on the germans likely isn't going to hit your target even if the EPA says so. The Audi turbo doesn't do as well as the EPA sticker says. One other neg to the germans is that insurance will likely be pricey if you're younger (as it sounds).

    Just to throw out another worth checking out....Altima V6. Should be right in that price range loaded out, good performance (not Euro-worthy but not bad), decent features, cheaper insurance, mpg should be close, and should be a smooth five years in the maintenance/reliability category.
  • tifightertifighter WAPosts: 1,895
    Dart? First model year? And $27k? I'd rather have someone else take that plunge.

    If I'm really serious about reliability over a 5 year period, I'd be leery of any used Audi too. A CPO 3 series would be a better bet; I had a solid BMW experience but the maintenance is higher.

    I like sebring's Altima suggestion and I'd throw out the new Accord as well; you can get a Sport model (even with a 6sp MT!) that has received great reviews, looks good and it seems like a stupid good value for the money. You can get a V6 like the Nissan, too.

    15.5 XC70 T6 / 16 Soul EV / 17 Toyota 86

  • qbrozenqbrozen Posts: 22,093
    Have you driven a 335? I think if you do, you would instantly forget about the others.

    Only problem is, 26mpg is the highway number. I get under 24 with 80% highway driving in my 135.

    '17 F150 Crew 2.7; '67 Coronet R/T; '14 Town&Country Limited; '09 LR2 HSE. 44-car history and counting!

  • boomchekboomchek Vancouver, BC, CanadaPosts: 5,314
    I'd skip the Dart as well. In 5 years you'll be lucky to get $5k for it on trade. Just look at what 07 Calibers (Dodge's small car back then) are trading selling for. Actually look at what 10 year old Neons (SX 2.0) are selling for vs 13 year old BMW's. Even though you're getting an older BMW for the money it will depreciate slower than the Dart. Also expect a few hundred thousand Darts to go into rental and lease fleets for 4 years and once they come back onto the market the values will drop.

    I'd only get a Dart if it's on a dirt cheap short term (24-36 month) lease.

    Audi and BMW sounds nice but from personal opinion the 3 series will have better handling and reliability than the Audi.

    I have an 07 328i and absolutely love it. If you do get a 3 series I'd strongly recommend extended warranty or buying a Certified Pre Owned model with factory warranty that covers everything (bumper to bumper). It's well worth the money so much so that when mine ran out I bought another 2 years of warranty at the dealership I worked at. I've been in the car business and saw what problems can cost on these cars.

    With my BMW the only problem I ran into was a vavle cover and some that warped and some tensioners that needed to be replaced at around 100,000kms (60k miles) which would have cost me about $2k if it wasn't for my warranty.

    Otherwise the car's been great but maintenance will cost you more than a Dodge or Honda. Oil changes run about $200 here in Canada but they last about 9 months to 1 year. These cars also have runflats which are expensive to replace if bought from the dealer and there is no room in the trunk for a spare. These 3 series don't even come with a jack believe it or not.

    However the driving dynamics and handling are among the best of almost any car out there. If you do go for a 3 series, look for one with the Sports Package. These will have 1/2 inch lower suspension, different steering wheel, and deep bolstered seats, also among the best of any car on the market.

    Good luck!

    2007 BMW 328i Sports Pkg

  • benjaminhbenjaminh Posts: 2,876
    edited February 2013
    What about a brand new BMW 320i? It has a less powerful engine, but is still plenty of car. Lots of equipment. And look at this price I just copied from the BMW web page:

    34 mpg hwy*
    180 horsepower
    2.0-liter, inline 4-cylinder engine
    Rear-wheel drive
    $32,550 MSRP

    With new you get full warranty, plus BMW's free maintenance for 4 years. You should be able to get maybe a grand off of list, putting it close to your 30k mark.

    Or, you could get a loaded V6 Accord for that...
  • qbrozenqbrozen Posts: 22,093
    Well, actually, we just traded my sister's Caliber SXT and it wound up working out pretty well for them. Bought it when they first came out for $16k, had it for near 6 years, didn't take good care of it, and traded it a few weeks ago for $4500. So roughly $2k/yr in depreciation. That's actually pretty damned good for buying new.

    Of course, it was a cheap car, which limits the downside significantly. I wouldn't suggest paying $27k for a Dart. I'm sure you are right ... that would hurt in the end. But loading up a car with options usually does.

    '17 F150 Crew 2.7; '67 Coronet R/T; '14 Town&Country Limited; '09 LR2 HSE. 44-car history and counting!

  • boomchekboomchek Vancouver, BC, CanadaPosts: 5,314
    Exactly. If you were to trade a loaded Caliber that had $5k of extra options it would probably have been worth about $5k-$5.5k. So a fully loaded domestic compact at full sticker will result in higher overall depreciation to to the higher initial cost.

    2007 BMW 328i Sports Pkg

  • Thank you for the advise. After reading some comments Ive concluded its either BMW or Audi for me. However I want a AWD vehicle which I should have noted in the original post, does the 320i have an option of AWD?
  • benjaminhbenjaminh Posts: 2,876
    edited February 2013
    Yes, you can get a BMW 320i with AWD, but it adds $2000 to the price, which puts you at $34.5k before options or TTL.

    What about a BMW X1? This is a really neat looking little SUV. Very good handling. A couple of thousand less than a 320i:

    My X1 xDrive28i Details
    2.0-liter, TwinPower Turbo, inline 4-cylinder engine
    xDrive, intelligent all-wheel drive
    See all standard features
    $32,500 - - spx
  • benjaminhbenjaminh Posts: 2,876
    The completely free maintenance for 4 years is a really nice added value with a new BMW. From their website:

    Compare the true cost of other luxury vehicles to the exceptional value of a BMW.
    With BMW you get a well-equipped model along with our no-cost maintenance program - and with many models, our no-cost BMW Assist™ Safety Plan - for the first four years or 50,000 miles. Not to mention a selection of vehicles that consistently receive top honors from the automotive press.

    It's a vehicle so advanced, it even comes equipped with peace-of-mind at no additional fee. So when comparing costs, a competitor's low monthly payment, may not be so low after all.
  • sebring95sebring95 Posts: 3,238
    Your mpg requirement will go out the window with AWD as well. I'm amazed at the horrible mpg of many awd cars....not much advantage over trucks/suvs.
  • tifightertifighter WAPosts: 1,895
    I've seen used Infiniti G25x here in the bay area for $24k, and that was without shopping around. Could be another option.

    15.5 XC70 T6 / 16 Soul EV / 17 Toyota 86

  • bhmr59bhmr59 Posts: 1,601
    What do you mean by "extra options?"

    Won't any new car bought a full sticker have higher depreciation?
  • boomchekboomchek Vancouver, BC, CanadaPosts: 5,314
    By extra options I meant base model vs a fully loaded model with $5k of extra (base Caliber SE vs loaded Caliber SXT with every option). In the end it's still a Caliber and few years down the road they will be similiar in value, hence the fully loaded model will depreciate more than a base model.

    2007 BMW 328i Sports Pkg

  • If anyone can I really want to buy an altima found one near me for great price but with great price comes great risk can any help me check the vin? 1N4AL21E58N537839 if you can reach out to me I have a brand new daughter and want a good car to drive her around in thank you in advance! :confuse:
  • boomchekboomchek Vancouver, BC, CanadaPosts: 5,314
    You might as well set aside the money for
    a: a CarFax membership so that you can check more than one car you're looking at and
    b: a pre purchase inspection at a local mechanic

    Is this car sold privately or at a dealer? Did you see it in person?

    2007 BMW 328i Sports Pkg

  • Dealer... It's up in Phoenix and I'm in Tucson so wanted to see if anyone already had the unlimited carfax don't want to spend the gas to drive up if its not worth it :surprise:
  • dash5dash5 Posts: 421
    I need to start to research a new Sedan or SUV. Current car is having issues (transmission fluid leak) and that is strike two for it. One more strike and it's out so I'm starting to look now.

    Must have for the new car: quiet, smooth, powerful, stylish, tech, fits 2 kids, under 40k. BULLETPROOF.

    Quiet cabin: able to have a conversation at highway speeds. Isolated from road noise. I think of Mercedes Benz when I think of this.

    Smooth: Handles bumps in the road well, shrugs off potholes, not too firm without being 'floaty'

    Power: Hard to quantify, my car has ~270 hp / 270 ft/lb torque. 0-60 6.5 or so. At least close to that if not more. 300+ hp would be great but not a deal breaker.

    Stylish: eye of the beholder so whatever you consider a good looking car. Sporty, lux-sport, SUV, whatever.

    Tech: Back up camera, bluetooth, ipod connection, controls on dash, push start, auto lights, decent stereo. Would love a voice control system like Ford SYNC or similar.

    Under 40k. Ideally under 35k, or as little as I'd have to spend to get these features. Would consider pre-owned.

    Fit's 2 kids. 1 car seat and 1 booster seat.

    Oh I forgot one of the most important things: Bulletproof. Reliable, low maintenance. I dont mind taking it in for regular service, but I need to know things will (probably) not break.

    Any suggestions?
  • sebring95sebring95 Posts: 3,238
    edited February 2013
    I think it would help a lot if you could narrow it down to an SUV or a Sedan first...there's a pretty big gap between some of your wants...for example 270-300hp in an SUV doesn't typically get you 0-60 times in the 6.5 range. In fact, SUV choices with that type of acceleration performance isn't common at all. The cash also doesn't go nearly as far on an SUV....$35-$40k is very low-end of the luxury scale. You'll even find some non-luxury brands pricing well beyond that.

    In the car world...I would look at the Acura TL with Tech pkg. I think it hits all your buttons and should ring up around $38k for new. All-wheel-drive is also available if that's something you found desirable about the SUV.
  • dash5dash5 Posts: 421
    Thanks Sebring,

    I would prefer a sedan but I just didn't want to eliminate an SUV. If the consensus is I'd need to spend over 40k to get those needs I'll have to consider it, or lease.

    I do live in the NE so I've been thinking AWD or FWD. The 2004 Infiniti G35 I had was horrible in the snow, that's my only experience with RWD.

    This would pair with my wifes Honda CRV so we already have a family hauler, but mine needs to fit 2 kids occasionally.

    A last note would be I dont put many miles on my cars. Sub 10k per year, usually around 8k.

    TL is a good suggestion and one I looked at last go around. Thanks!
  • So I test drove the Volkswagen Passat TDI SEL yesterday and really liked it. Felt spacious, nimble, and much more upscale than I expected. Much bigger than the Audi A4 which I thought was too compact. Fuel economy rocks. And the price was under $35k. What's the scoop on this car? Given that Lincoln seems unable to deliver the MKZ I crazy or s this a great alternative? :shades:
  • benjaminhbenjaminh Posts: 2,876
    What about the new top-of-the-line 2013 Accord Touring.

    Has adaptive cruise control, lots of other fancy features, a V-6 that gives slightly faster acceleration than a BMW 3 series, and Honda reliability—all at a list price of about $34k.
  • tifightertifighter WAPosts: 1,895
    The Accord V6 is fast, I think 0-60 is in the upper 5's. All the Touring is missing is the badge (another plus, IMO).

    15.5 XC70 T6 / 16 Soul EV / 17 Toyota 86

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