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What Car is Right For Me? Help Me Choose!

patpat Posts: 10,421
edited April 2018 in General
Need help choosing your next vehicle?

Tell us your price range, are you thinking New or Used, buying or leasing, what features are must-haves, what other thoughts are on your mind, and let us give you a hand! Tell us your criteria as specifically as you can.

You'll find lots of helpful folks here who can give you useful suggestions.



  • I'm buying a "new" car by the end of the year and my first choice is a Nissan Maxima. I've read that they are very reliable and hold their value well. My budget is probably going to allow for a 98-99 and I was wondering if it's worth buying a car that's almost 3-4 years old. Any suggestions or comments would help a lot.
  • dindakdindak Posts: 6,632
    Buy a 2001/ 2002 Oldsmobile Intrigue. It's one of the best sedans on the market with great handling and one of the best V6 engines around, a 3.5L DOHC producing 215HP. The deals should be great this year as it's the last on for Intrigue and the warrany on them has been extended to 5 years. The car is recommended by most magazines (including Consumer Reports), but is unfortunately over looked by most consumers. It is the sleeper of all sleepers on the market in my opinion.
  • peteri1peteri1 Posts: 21
    Am looking at 1 of 4 choices to replace my 99GS400. I've read everything here and on other forums and have seen much conflicting info:
    4 options:
    Lexus LS430 with custom/luxury package
    Infiniti Q45 with premium pckg
    Audi A-6 4.2 loaded
    Audi A-8 not stripped, but not loaded

    Chicago winters--had Blizzaks on the GS--worked fine. My 95Q was pig in snow, but I'm sure 2002Q is a world away from that. I've heard Audi has some QC problems, but I like their maintenance being included. I'm a happy Lexus driver. The Q appears to offer the most for the $$. Will lease and in this economy, I would think I could command an attractive package. Can I go wrong with any of the 4? Am I missing something?
  • mrdetailermrdetailer Posts: 1,118
    Generally a 3-4 year old car range is a good one because they are basically sound. If possible get one that is still under warrenty. But if not, make sure that a trusted Maxima mechanic goes over it thoroughly. Their V-6 is one of the best rated for over 10 years.

    Personally I am amazed at the great strides in American Quality recently, so the Olds may not be a bad idea other.
  • dindakdindak Posts: 6,632
    Maxima and Intrigue are both excellent choices for midsize sedans.
  • canadianclcanadiancl Posts: 1,078
    If I had that kind of budget, I would go for the A6 4.2 - - best combination of sport and luxury amongst the 4 choices.
  • qbrozenqbrozen Posts: 25,937
    Actually, I was about to agree with the A6, but I just looked at the specs here on Edmunds. Both the A6 and A8 are 4000 lbs, and considering the A8 gets a bump in HP over the A6, I don't think performance difference is an issue. So, considering that and the fact that the A6 would possibly be to small for you based on the rest of your list, I say go for the A8. I think you'll find the AWD to be the best addition to a car you could ever have hoped for.

    '18 BMW 330xi; '67 Coronet R/T; '14 Town&Country Limited; '18 BMW X2. 47-car history and counting!

  • I'd pass Intrigue only for one reason: crash test results are terrible...
  • paulo3paulo3 Posts: 113
    I would recommend the Honda Accord or Toyota Camry as my choices for a sedan. The new Nissan Altima looks impressive but I would wait until the reliability of the 2002 is proven.

    The new BMW 525 is another nice car and is rated highly by many auto publications.
  • The only way to figure out what car you like is a test drive. And theres no reason to not test drive every car on the market :)

    But dont just test drive one car and say "oh, i like it" cause if you dont test drive the best cars and all the cars in your price range even (or out, helps as well), then you dont have any reference :P
  • peteri1peteri1 Posts: 21
    LS, A8 and the Q feel larger than the A6. To get an A8 similarly equipped to the Q or A6, the sticker would balloon to $73,000. The LS would come in at $63,000, the Q at $59400 and the A6 at about $56,500. Also, the A8 interior, although classy, looks dated compared to the others. It looks like for 2002, the A6 has dropped its ambitions, atmospheres options.

    The Audi's best color combination (in my opinion)is limited to the S6 Avant Wagon. After re-reviewing all the specs, I'd rank them A6, Q45, A8 and LS430. However, I consider them all great. Whoever deals will get the nod.
  • jdbtensaijdbtensai Posts: 122
    i'm thinking of getting an audi s4 in the near future. anybody have one? what did you compare it with? anybody think of getting one and not get one? why? what did you get?
  • stgreenstgreen Posts: 74
    I looked at S4 and 330xi. i liked s4 interior and exterior better, but ride was harsh as a daily commuter (17" summer tires and wheels) and sport suspension as well. also, as a lease, i was going to have to purchase 4 snow tires (actually 5 - one for the trunk), because i live in new england...

    but, i really liked driving the s4. if it was for around town with little commute day in day out, i would have opted for s4..
    hope it helps.
    ps- i may ultimately get out of bmw lease early due to car having VERY little space and go for loaded passat GLX - what some call an audi A5...
  • qbrozenqbrozen Posts: 25,937
    So why not go for the S6 Avant? I think that is a great car. Are you just not ready for that switch to a wagon? ;)

    '18 BMW 330xi; '67 Coronet R/T; '14 Town&Country Limited; '18 BMW X2. 47-car history and counting!

  • peteri1peteri1 Posts: 21
    My wife's got a Trooper and two of three kids are gone and the one left has his own wheels, old, but running. My mid-life crisis mentality won't let me get a wagon. A four door is a business need, which I don't mind--wouldn't get a coupe anyway.

    I can't understand why no one's buying the new Q. It's got the most equipment for the dollar, although Motorwerks in Barrington, Illinois claims to be selling their Premium-equipped Qs at sticker. Their Lexus mindset isn't putting many Qs on the road. There is always 3-4 Premium Qs on the lot.

    I hope to have a couple brands competing. When I got my GS400, I ended up travelling 40 miles for the best deal and never established a relationship with the dealer. The local Audi dealer is building a huge new showroom. They'll have to sell a lot of steel (or aluminum) to pay for it.
  • dindakdindak Posts: 6,632
    This topic is way too broad. People are in at all different price points and vehicle types.
  • qbrozenqbrozen Posts: 25,937
    Well, considering yours is only the 17th message in the last 2 weeks, I'd have to say that breaking the topic up would be downright silly. I wouldn't worry about the diversity until it starts getting out of hand. Its more than manageable now as far as I can see.

    '18 BMW 330xi; '67 Coronet R/T; '14 Town&Country Limited; '18 BMW X2. 47-car history and counting!

  • qbrozenqbrozen Posts: 25,937
    Well, obviously, you gotta get what you'll be happy with. You can't fight your urges, I certainly know that.

    Personally, the sheer power and performance of the S6 would make me overlook the fact that its a wagon. My conscience would keep me awake at night if I chose a slower sedan just because its a sedan. But that's me. If it bothers you then stay clear. You have to be happy in your choice.

    good luck.

    '18 BMW 330xi; '67 Coronet R/T; '14 Town&Country Limited; '18 BMW X2. 47-car history and counting!

  • I'm thinking of trading up to a new car next spring. Although that's quite some time away, I'm considering my options now in preparation for my decision. I have a Camry LE V6 that I'm reasonably happy with, but I would like better handling and more attractive (and less common) styling. I'd also like a few more "luxury type" features than I have now. I haven't had any problems with my Camry so far, but I'm drawn to the Passat, which has everything that I'm looking for. My only concern with the Passat is reliability, which the Camry has without a doubt.

    I recently test drove the Passat GLX and the Camry SE V6 and while I liked them both, I liked the ride of the Passat better. I also drove the Camry XLE but it felt heavy and sluggish, with even softer handling than my LE. The SE (having a sport suspension) had better handling than my car but a rougher ride than I'm used to. The Passat's handling and ride was between the two. Better handling than my Camry LE and a smoother ride than the 2002 Camry SE. However, the Camry SE comes with a certain assurance of better reliability. Pricewise, the Passat is more expensive, but it seems to have better lease terms. The Passat may also be a slightly safer car, I don't think the 2002 Camry test results are in yet.

    I have plenty of time, which is good, because this is a hard choice if I decide to trade my current car. My husband thinks I'd be crazy to trade in my reliable Camry for a Passat. However, I really like the Passat better, even than the newly redesigned Camry. Whatever car I'm driving, I would like it to be reliable (of course).

    How does one choose between two excellent automobiles? I have posted on the Passat forum as well as the Camry forum, but I would like to see what comments this topic generates, given the title.


  • merckxmerckx Posts: 565
    Silvercrown,trading in your Camry anytime soon will be a bad idea,financially. This might be a little too practical,but how about keeping the Camry for a while longer and be good about saving/investing what would be new car payments? Then,in say 18 0r 24 months,buying your dream car,a BMW525i? If necessary,get it stripped. I LOVE my new Passat. And as much interest as you seem to have in cars,I would really suggest you consider a 5-spd. manual. It really adds a lot of fun to a daily drive. You've really got to master it to understand what I'm saying,and it IS easy.
    I considered a BMW 525i,but the Passat actually has a bigger back seat. The ride has a pleasing softness. And I was a little worried about my first stickshirt car being an expensive one,in case I hated shifting and needed to trade it in.
    But you've been talking of a fairly loaded Passat.
    If you got the Beemer with vinyl and no sunroof,It would be more affordable than you might think.
  • ghuletghulet Posts: 2,628
  • merckxmerckx Posts: 565
    Yes,but once you get it,I suggest keeping it for so long that all that matters when you sell it is if it rolls. Or,when it's so old you doubt its reliability,it can make a great hobby,weekend car.
  • One of the pluses for the Passat is the Tiptronic clutchless manual shift. I've only driven automatics my whole life, although I've been curious to learn how to drive a stick. I haven't had the opportunity to do that as of yet. But the Passat w/Tip would give me a chance to get used to that style of driving without being "married" to a car that I may not be comfortable driving. It's a great option.

    Although I may not trade my car in next spring, I don't think I'll want to wait 2 years. While I'm fairly practical (usually), I guess I'm just not that patient. :-)

    However, a 5 Series Bimmer would be sweeeeeet ......
  • merckxmerckx Posts: 565
    It really is nothing like a manual shift. After most play with it for a week or so,they usually just leave it in D...
    A manual Passat would be fairly easy to sell,as A large number of prospective owners would want the manual shift.
    The pedal modulation might seem daunting,but it really is easily learned.It is a lot of fun!
  • gerapaugerapau Posts: 211
    I agree with merckx in that it is nothing like shifting gears yourself. With the Tiptronic you can have more fun then with a regular auto tranny but as merckx said, most who buy Tiptronic (or whatever each manufacturer calls it) tend to play with it for a short period of time and then never touch it again.
    Also of note, most cars with Tiptronic type trannies actually accelerate quicker if you actually leave them in drive instead of trying to change gears yourself.
  • canadianclcanadiancl Posts: 1,078
    all these manumatics are a waste of time. Just a gimmick. In the year or so that I've had my CL-S, I think I've used the sportshift 4 times. Somehow, as a driver, you're programmed to either drive an automatic with total non-involvement, or a stick for which you have to invoke hand and foot. A manumatic, being in between, screws up your internal programming. I find when I use it, I have to consciously think about when to upshift, and when to downshift.
  • qbrozenqbrozen Posts: 25,937
    Not to defend the manumatic, but not ALL are a waste of time. We're talking about cars that, frankly, are on the low-end when it comes to this kind of technology. I really wish I still had that link, but someone on one of these boards quite some time ago posted a link to a BMW that was being developed with a manumatic that performed better than any previously produced transmission (manual or auto). Microsecond shift times and the ability to rev before engaging first, among other features.

    The Acuras, the Audis, and pretty much every other current mass produced car that can be had by the regular working man offers a manumatic that IS, as canadiancl put it, a gimmick, but that doesn't mean that a good one doesn't exist.

    '18 BMW 330xi; '67 Coronet R/T; '14 Town&Country Limited; '18 BMW X2. 47-car history and counting!

  • peteri1peteri1 Posts: 21
    After exhausting all of the info in all of the topics and having absorbed as much info as I can stand, I've eliminated the Q45 and the A8. The Q, as loaded as it is, just doesn't hold up to a $59K plus price tag. If you slapped a Lexus or BMW badge on it, you probably couldn't find one. With the Infiniti emblem, they just don't sell.
    The A8, feature for feature, IMO, shouldn't command the added $$ over the A6. Why pay more for aluminum? The interiors are almost identical.
    It's down to the LS430 and the A6 4.2. Two different cars--quattro vs. the Lexus experience. I'll be interested to see if Lexus' residual value will make it price competitive vs. an Audi which will sticker for $6500 less with no cost maintenance to boot.
  • qbrozenqbrozen Posts: 25,937
    Ah, I was wondering if you had decided yet. Interestingly enough, there is a comparo in this month's Motor Trend for these "entry luxo sedans" (as they call them). And, they brought up a car that I can't believe I didn't think of (considering I drive one, its even more absurd) - the Volvo. All of the testers in that article picked the volvo as the best. They only used the S60 2.4T in their comparo, to boot. My suggestion is to check out the S60 T5. I think you will be impressed. (I drive a '98 S70 T5 and it is amazing.) And, as they also pointed out, its one of the cheaper of the bunch as well.

    '18 BMW 330xi; '67 Coronet R/T; '14 Town&Country Limited; '18 BMW X2. 47-car history and counting!

  • "I've eliminated the Q45 and the A8. The Q, as loaded as it is, just doesn't hold up to a $59K plus price tag. If you slapped a Lexus or BMW badge on it, you probably couldn't find one. With the Infiniti emblem, they just don't sell" - peteri.

    So what? This sounds like an ideal situation for you. A manufacturer (Nissan) has put together an attractive, capable car that has not caught on with the buying public. Right now should be a good time to deal. Don't be fearful of a product line just because the "masses" don't like it. Be unique and get the new Q (of the four cars you're looking at) - it seems to be quite a pleasant car.

    If it were me, I would look at the new, top-of-the-line Audi A4.
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