What Car is Right For Me? Help Me Choose!

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  • twilliatwillia Member Posts: 29
    I am looking at getting a new car but I cannot decide between an Audi A4 3.0 and a Volvo S60 2.4T. I think they are both great cars and the way I have priced them out they are both about the same, appx. $35K.

    The pros about the Audi are that the HP is better than the volvo (220 vs 197), I can get Xenon lights and there's a little more room in the back seat. The cons about it are bad cup holder and concerns over quality.

    The pros about the Volvo are a more distinctive look, better cup holder, great reputation for safety and some past personal history (my parents have had 3 of them). The cons are the lack of Xenon lights, the 197HP vs 220HP, the cramped back seat and the black door guard along the sides, front and rear.

    The Audi looks like the better car, but I really like the way the Volvo looks. Any thoughts?

    Thanks.

    Tony
  • claywaterfillclaywaterfill Member Posts: 534
    Get what you like--what is most important to you. Is looking good more important than fun to drive? It seems to me that you put a lot of emphasis on power, the rear seat and Xenon headlamps. All of these point you to the Audi. If you check the July 2002 issue of Road & Track, these two cars (in slightly different form) are in the group of 11 tested cars in the cover story. If it matters, you can see why they placed the S60 9th and the A4 5th. One suggestion, have you tried the Infiniti G35? Similar price tag with much more power and a biger back seat (and trunk) than the A4--whose back seat you preferred because it was the bigger of the two. Good luck!
  • lawman1967lawman1967 Member Posts: 314
    Sounds like you've made up your mind. Things like ease of cup insertion, lateral can grip, cup holder depth and of course, the ever-important cool-factor of watching spidery arms on viscous joints extend to greet your drink are the true measure of what is and is not a great luxury car.
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  • suburbank2500suburbank2500 Member Posts: 29

    Vor da money for a puny little kar, you kan get a veally BIG FORD F350 Crew Cab Dually 4x4 with a diesel or a V10 motor!

    Seriously consider a truck; they're great!
  • oldsman01oldsman01 Member Posts: 1,203
    If your going to get a big diesel, don't get that stinkbox Powerstroke Ford uses.
  • jsylvesterjsylvester Member Posts: 572
    Many of the cars they lowball in the paper may not be demos per say, but most have a couple of thousand miles on them. At least that is the way it is around here.
  • Kirstie_HKirstie_H EdmundsAdministrator Posts: 11,132
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  • verozahlverozahl Member Posts: 574
    My Dad's an individual investor. He's not in the market for a new car now, but it seems he has given up on any dreams of another BMW... he says that the Infiniti G35 looks pretty good to him in specs and price.

    Now, for my dad to say such a thing, the market must really have him concerned!!! >:(
  • bavarianfreakbavarianfreak Member Posts: 6
    Hey guys,
    I need some help. I'm 17 years old and I'm shopping for a car that I'll get in 5-6 months. My parents are buying the car for me. I'm different from my peers, I don't want some garbage Fast and Furious Car, I want Bavarian Autosport(We already have a Benz '99 Turbodiesel-torque, torque, torque!!!) Well anyways, my parents are giving me a range of $35k and under. Honestly I prefer to get used so I can get a better car. I want a lot of performance, but my parents won't let me get a stick, my mom can't drive stick(Bye bye M3...) I have a couple of options-540iA, I want that 282 hp engine, Porsche Boxster, Benz SLK, and anything else German(No Audi-not a big fan). I'm in between Benz, Bimmer, and Porsche, so please make some suggestions..Thanks a lot and good luck on those downshifts to pass...I wish I could!
  • verozahlverozahl Member Posts: 574
    Well, Audi is definitely Saxon, so no real Bavarian would want to be seen in one. And, of course, no real Bavarian would want to be stuck with something coming out of Stuttgart, scratch the Benz off your list.

    German under $35K? Audi A4 or BMW 3-Series. New, of course.
  • claywaterfillclaywaterfill Member Posts: 534
    Since Audi is not an option, the 325i is the way to go. I guess a 325Ci may be preferable. However, a BMW is not a BMW (3er, anyway) with an automatic and no Sport Package. Anyone driving a 3er with a slushbox messed up and meant to buy an ES300 or TL instead. Either it's high time your mom learned how to use her left foot; or, you need to be looking at 4 or 5 year old 5-series models if you're stuck on Bavarian.
  • bavarianfreakbavarianfreak Member Posts: 6
    any opinions on the 540i...and can you guys explain how the steptronic works...when i test drove a 530 the guy shifted the gears and wouldn't let me...bimmer service :(...also, why the 3 series if i can spring for the 5er..and also would u reccomend Audi, i heard they aren't reliability, but i think the A6 is a luxorious yet tasteful choice..and also i'm not bavarian, i just love german cars so sorry for the political incorrectness..maybe i should be munichfreak :)
  • jagboyxtypejagboyxtype Member Posts: 241
    Well, if you're becoming MunichFreak, then Audi is out, otherwise you'd be IngolstadtFreak. Has a nice ring to it, doesn't it. :-)
  • porknbeansporknbeans Member Posts: 465
    Another suggestion, and take it for what it's worth, is a '99 - '00 MB CLK. You are a young guy, probably doesn't have to haul a great deal(?), one helluva budget and great taste in vehicles. IMO, its a nice looking car that isn't a BMW (which has already been suggested).
    Porknbeans

    Grand High Poobah
    The Fraternal Order of Procrastinators
  • lawman1967lawman1967 Member Posts: 314
    Get a used 530i. I agree with porknbeans that you have both exceptional taste and an equally exceptional "first car" budget, but at age 17, you also lack the experience required to handle a high-performance car without wrapping it around a tree.

    A number of years ago I drove a base model 525i automatic (slower than the 530i), and honestly it was a wonderful car in every sense of the word. It had more than enough power, delightful handling, and something else VERY important to any young driver, it didn't attract the attention of every cop looking to write tickets.

    What you want in a first car is something with very predictable handling, responsive controls, and no nasty surprises. A good driving course, such as Bondurants, is also a VERY good idea.
  • verozahlverozahl Member Posts: 574
    My friend enjoys his 1995 Audi 90... he's not exactly an "Ingolstadtfreak" but the car and price were right. Car has been problem-free for over a year (as long as he has had it). Oh - another note - the whole "you're just 17" scream is typical here. Get used to it...

    I'm quite interested in the Infiniti G35... I'd like to see Audi and BMW answer "why should I get your product over that of Infiniti's?" ... !
  • porknbeansporknbeans Member Posts: 465
    Just like some have to get used to the "you're too old to understand" rant. ;)
    Porknbeans

    Grand High Poobah
    The Fraternal Order of Procrastinators
  • rayscarrayscar Member Posts: 70
    I want to buy either a 2003 540iA or a 2003 Mercedes-Benz E500. I was leaning toward the BMW until I learned the new 5 series will not be released until next year as a 2004 model. I think the BMW is the better car but am hesitant to purchase a car in that price range in its last year of production. The E500 on the otherhand is brand new (granted small exterior changes from 2002) and has a 306hp engine. It also has a slightly better resale value and both cars have the same cost/mile operating expense. Both are great cars. Please help me to decide!
  • verozahlverozahl Member Posts: 574
    Buy the classic Bimmer look before Bangleization hits the 5-Series.
  • bavarianfreakbavarianfreak Member Posts: 6
    hey thanks for all your help. Today I went to the Audi dealer where the guy was dying to sell me a 2003 A6 with every single option thinking i was really dumb and my brain cells were made from testosterone. I quote him by saying, "You know since your young, you will need a sport package with the chrome rims so everyone sees you in the school parking lot." No i want the sport package because of the stiffer suspension and then he tries to dump every option-sunshade and 10cd changer, not 6-these dealers are quite stupid while underestimating that people do they're homework before they walk in...anyway i found out over the weekend while going to service the MB that my dad does know that the 540 has 324 lb-ft and 282 hp, so bye bye 540...
    Lawman-525 seemed good-hmmm-if you had your choice what would you pick between these and don't worry i'm not going to, "fast and furiouize" these cars
    RaysCar-I have(parents) 99 Turbodiesel(E300)..service, depends where you are, i would go with benz...only service though...its known that with new model years, benz has some problems(we drove the 2000 C-class as a loaner and it was kinda screwy) also remeber back in 96 when the E-classes were recalled(airbag warning)..but then again the new E looks great...the bimmer has a small rear seat...If i could spend in low 50k range, i would go with a Pre Owned Certified 740iL because of its timeless look, but if you want to keep up with the jones', go with a used S-class(to keep the german motif) and you'll look great for another 2-3 years..sorry this post was so long and thanks for your help!!!
  • bavarianfreakbavarianfreak Member Posts: 6
    i forgot some things:
    porknbeans-CLK is an awesome car....but the new E is out and that means a new CLK which means a lower price for the CLK..so thanks for the idea

    also theres one of two ways this plan is going to work

    A:) My dad gets a 2000/01 740iL and uses that for somewhere around 45k...he thinks thats too good and reasonably understood..he keeps that and I get some car I want for under 35k

    B:) I get something that he likes (which I probably will either way) and we can't find a 740il so I get an A6(oh yeah-what do you guys think thats better a twin turbo 2.7t or 2.8/2.7t has horrible mpg) or a 5 series...basically either way I win, but I don't want to make a stupid decision.
    and I think I should change my name to:
    Stuttgartfreak
    Munichfreak
    Inglostadfreak
    Germanfreak..etc
    Thanks!!!!
  • ghuletghulet Member Posts: 2,628
    Bavarianfreak, you're saying below $35k, so why are you looking at new A6s (loaded ~$50k). If it were my $35k, I'd definitely check out a new 325i or A4 1.8t, they both start at $27k and with a few options (get the sport package and sunroof on either, at least), you're right around $30k. Add another $1000-1500 for automatic trans and bingo. Oh yeah, the red leather BMW offers right now looks kinda hot.

    Also, the A6, to me, is not a 'young guy' car. I kinda think of it along with the E and the 5-series. My mom has a 300E (she's 53). A bit too big or something.
  • porknbeansporknbeans Member Posts: 465
    rayscar - Honestly, go with your heart on this one. Both are awesome cars with the performance edge to BMW and the sentimental/traditional one going to the MB (in my opinion). There may be problems with the new MB because of the model change and from what I've heard the new 5 series will resemble the new/current 7 series. Personally, I think the resale, when it is all said and done, will be a marginal difference. What it boils down to is have the dealer do a search for a current 540 (even if that is a 2002). You like it better and the wait and new styling may be too much.

    bavarian - ghulet gave a great suggestion on the A4. You would still be able to get the 3.0 liter with quattro for the price your looking at. Nice car, nice size for you and not real flashy for the police to track you (not that I condone such behavior). ;)

    BTW, do you need a brother? How about a really good friend of the family? :)
    Porknbeans

    Grand High Poobah
    The Fraternal Order of Procrastinators
  • ghuletghulet Member Posts: 2,628
    I have a twelve year-old POS Saab that desperately needs replacing.

    I don't think an A4 3.0Q can be had for under $35k. I think 'in theory' it can, but good luck finding one light on the options (fully loaded including automatic, they're around $39k).
  • porknbeansporknbeans Member Posts: 465
    Touche! on the decontented A4 3.0Q.

    Bavarianfreak, you may have an easier(?) time finding the 3.0 w/o the quattro which will save about $3k (according to Edmunds).
    Porknbeans

    Grand High Poobah
    The Fraternal Order of Procrastinators
  • rwmiller80rwmiller80 Member Posts: 3
    I have an unusual problem in finding a car. My wife is tall (6'1" with long legs) and has problems in both knees that make it hard for her to bend them. We need to find a car (a nice sedan) that she can get in and out of without hitting her knees on the steering wheel or bending them too much.

    We have done some test fitting recently and the Passat was pretty good as well as the Avalon and Altima. She won't fit in a Maxima, I35, Q45, Pathfinder, Camry, and Highlander.

    Any other cars of equivalent quality that we should be looking at?

    Thanks for your help.
    Bob
  • coolguyky7coolguyky7 Member Posts: 932
    It sounds like you are wanting quality along with luxury. If that is the case, narrow it down to the Avalon and Passat. The Avalon is very luxurious, quiet, and smooth.
  • bavarianfreakbavarianfreak Member Posts: 6
    very funny...btw i do have a brother and he gets the MB. I was referring to the A6 because unlike Benz/Bimmer, Audi doesn't have spectacular resale value-its goes down sharply for 2 years then levels out. I found out at that dealer and other dealers that the standard price fore a 2-3 year old A6 is a little under 30k plus the guy straight up told me that they get a 10% profit so my dad could knock down at least 2k from making 2 or more dealers fight. Also I need some more room because I'm a big guy...so I don't mind somewhat of a "Soccer-Mom" car..
    rwmiller-don't mind me asking, but what is your price range, because the first thing you're looking for is an accomidating front seat and reliability(its for your wife)-perhaps you could go for an Accord
    I need you guys to check out this site called swapalease.com-people swap their leases and i thought it was cool...thanks a lot!!!
  • rwmiller80rwmiller80 Member Posts: 3
    Thanks for the input - we tried the Accord and it also did not work. We also tried the Acura 3.2TL last year and it was tight.

    I am looking to go as high as the low $30's to get the car I want.
  • porknbeansporknbeans Member Posts: 465
    It is kind of painful for me to suggest this, and it certainly flies in the face of the vehicles that you have been trying, but have you considered an "American" luxury car? For example, the Ford Crown Vic, Mercury Grand Marquis (or Marauder), Lincoln or Cadillac? The reason that I suggest them is because they have a larger and easier entry/exit than most foreign vehicles. It may not be your cup of tea and your wife may feel like she needs to go and get her hair died blue/grey, but it is another suggestion.

    If I had to go with what you offered, I agree with coolguyky7 and go with the Avalon. Not as "sexy" as a Camry/Passat/Accord/Altima, but a nice car that does offer easier access with comfort.
    Porknbeans

    Grand High Poobah
    The Fraternal Order of Procrastinators
  • coolguyky7coolguyky7 Member Posts: 932
    The 2003 Avalon was just refreshed. It now has red/white tail lights and a "sportier" grille. Remote control navigation, rain sensing windshield wipers, air filtration and a driver side electrochromic auto-dimming outside mirror are now available or standard on the Avalon XLS. The XLS has this multi informational displacy screen standard. It's an easy to read screen on the dash showing information like direction, temp, average fuel economy, instant fuel economy, miles left and other stuff. It's kind of cool.
  • rwmiller80rwmiller80 Member Posts: 3
    porknbeans - thanks. I had been thinking about that but she really doesn't like driving the "big boats". But I will still check them out.

    I will also be relooking at the 2003 Avalon.

    Please keep the suggestions coming. :)

    Thanks,
    Bob
  • bavarianfreakbavarianfreak Member Posts: 6
    i know i am a little biased(check my name) but i think your may like a use Pre Owned Certified MB E-class...and lucky for you-its the perfect time to buy that car. You should get a '97 or '98...don't look at edmunds TMV now because the redesigned version comes out this year so the old style should drop in pricing...i hope this helps!!
  • srd1srd1 Member Posts: 13
    Hi:

    Please suggest how to go abt finding appropriate board for inputs on 'buying a used sedan'?

    My budget is around $6000, no plans to re-sell, 4dr sedan, automatic transmission in CA??

    (used a brand new 1999 Honda Accord, want to try different one now)

    Thanks
    srd1 ([email protected])
  • ghuletghulet Member Posts: 2,628
    Try to find one of the following:

    96-98 Mazda Protege (roomy, economical, fun to drive and cheap)
    96-99 Geo Prism (same as Toyota Corolla but cheaper; also check Chevrolet Prism on some searches)
    Honda Civics are nice, but expensive (for $6k, you're probably not going to get newer than '96)
    Nissan Sentras are good cars, but terribly bland
    Later model Ford Escort or Chevy Cavalier probably isn't a bad bet, though they're also bland. You can probably find a '98-99 for $6k easily.

    Good luck.
  • poodlemamapoodlemama Member Posts: 2
    Okay, my brain's about to burst from reading and researching and driving the options for a 4-dr. luxury sedan. Help.

    I'm considering:
    - Pre-owned BMW 525i
    - Pre-owned Lexus GS300
    - New Lexus ES300
    - New MB C240
    - New Volvo S60 2.4T

    I realize these are all not in the same "class," but here's what I value: a car that will last reliably for 8 years (I'm buying), some fun to drive around curves and with some "oomph," and something that will eventually be good for family. I'm 31, married, no kids yet, but will in the next few years. The ES300 seems perfect on paper, but it may be a little too "old" for me right now. I didn't love the Infiniti G35 interior. I currently drive a Volvo S70. Thoughts?
  • sandman46sandman46 Member Posts: 1,798
    This is the car that I'd go for if I was in your situation. I recently drove my cousins '98 ES and it was quite a car! Never once did I feel the car shift and it drove really smooth over all kinds of roads. Driving it on I-95 felt like driving on a cloud, simply outstanding! And when I found out the kind of dealer service she gets, I really wanted one myself. Unfortunately, we live on more of a Camry budget.
    Just my $.02 here. Good luck!

    The Sandman :-)
  • porknbeansporknbeans Member Posts: 465
    Here's my take on your choices:
    BMW 525i - Great drivers car for interstate and twisties, classy, power, good family car, but probably not 8 years of trouble free reliability.
    Lexus GS300 - Great drivers car for interstate and good for twisties (even with the I-6), classy and stylish (IMO), good power, good family car, great reliability.
    Lexus ES300 - Great drivers car for interstate and adequate for twisties, ok styling (IMO), good power, good family car, great reliability.
    MB C240 - Great drivers car for interstate and good for twisties, classy and stylish (IMO), adequate power, good family car but probably not 8 years of trouble free reliability.
    Volvo S60 - I don't know all that much about this one but would think similar to the others with again questionable reliability for 8 years.

    My opinion is to go with the GS300. A little more fun than the ES without the possible maintenance problems of the BMW.
    Porknbeans

    Grand High Poobah
    The Fraternal Order of Procrastinators
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  • claywaterfillclaywaterfill Member Posts: 534
    You say the ES300 looks perfect on paper. You also say you want something fun to drive. Now, I have not driven a new ES300, but I have never heard anyone describe the front wheel drive ES300 (fancied up Camry--and I don't say that to be mean, just look at it!) as "fun to drive."

    I think your answer was not on your list. You are considering a used BMW 5-Series or new M-B C-Class. The answer:a new BMW 3-Series. I know, you're thinking they are too small. I used to think that as well until I looked at one and compared the numbers. The 3-Series is larger than the C-Class. It has the same leg and head room as a 5-Series--the 5-Series has about an inch more hip room over the 3-Series, and that's about it. Make sure you order the Sport Package to get the good tires, better wheels and sport seats. It will meet your fun to drive requirement for sure (IMO).

    I assume you want an automatic since you like the ES300. You should be able to get a 325i with auto, premium package and sport package in the $34k range--and an equally equipped 330i around $39k. Good luck in your search!
  • poodlemamapoodlemama Member Posts: 2
    Thanks to all for your thoughts. It helps to speak with objective folks about this. I'm test-driving the GS300 tonight, and think I can find a 1999 with fairly low miles for around $30k, a little less than a new ES300. And I'm going to look at a 3-series this weekend to judge the backseat space. Onward!
  • sandman46sandman46 Member Posts: 1,798
    If you are willing to spend about 30k for a car, wouldn't it make more sense to buy a brand new one than a 3 year old car? Just for argument sake, you get a car with like 0 miles and a full warranty and knowing that no other driver drove it. The peace of mind, for me at least, would be priceless. And one never knows how the original owner drove the car.
    Like to play devils advocate every so often. For that amount of cash, please choose wisely!

    The Sandman
  • claywaterfillclaywaterfill Member Posts: 534
    Although I agree with you, I guess if you get a Certified Used car with the warranty out to 100,000 miles, then you might be okay. However, I would like to get new myself for that kind of money.
  • claywaterfillclaywaterfill Member Posts: 534
    Have fun driving as many cars as you can--that's the fun part of the buying process. I would be surprised if the back of the 3-Series was not adequate--as compared to the ES300. The 3er gives up an inch of head room and about 1-1/2 inches of shoulder room to the ES300, and that's about it.

    Plus, the ES300 does not carry the Edmunds' "Editor's Most Wanted" or "Consumer's Most Wanted" logos as the 3er does. The BMW dealers here in Atlanta usuallu go about 5% above invoice, so see what they can do. I figure a 325i with auto, Premium Package, Sport Package, metallic paint, Xenon headlights and the Harmon/Kardon premium stereo should be abut $33,700 at 5% above invoice. Good luck!
  • porknbeansporknbeans Member Posts: 465
    Claywater does bring up some good points, especially the one about driving as many cars as you can for as long as you can. :)

    For me the 3-series IS too small. I'm not all that tall (6'-2"), but I also have 2 kids and know that they can take up more room than I can sometimes imagine. The GS does give you more interior room with a larger trunk. It also gives you better hp/weight ratio than the 325. It may not be as glamorous, but go with your gut after you've driven them all.
    Porknbeans

    Grand High Poobah
    The Fraternal Order of Procrastinators
  • rayscarrayscar Member Posts: 70
    From the pictures I've seen of the new E500 and from the things I've read, it seems like a great car. My only concern is MB quality in a first year car.

    How much should i be concerned about potential problems with a new design? My second choice would be the 2003 BMW 540iA.

    Any thoughts?
  • claywaterfillclaywaterfill Member Posts: 534
    If I'm not mistaken, the 5-Series will be all new next year as well. If not next year, then 2004 for sure. If next year is the last year of the current design, and you don't have 3 kids to haul around, get the 5-Series. The interior of the M-B will be larger if space is more important.

    One other thing about the 540i; do you really need all that power--especially since you are not getting the manual transmission? I only bring it up because I believe the Inline-6 has more reliability, does it not? I do know that the 2002 BMW 530i was Consumer Reports' highest rated car ever.

    I don't think you could go wrong either way, though. Drive them both and see what you think. If you go 540, give the 6-speed a test run before you settle for the slushbox!
  • rayscarrayscar Member Posts: 70
    Thanks for the feedback claywaterfill. I do have two kids but you make some good points. Thanks again.
  • black_tulipblack_tulip Member Posts: 438
    Have you tried the Acura TL?
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