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Used Vehicles Best Values



  • tidestertidester Posts: 10,059
    Isn't it interesting that resale value often has very little to do with build quality?

    Quality, like beauty, is in the eye of the beholder. People are getting the quality they want and they are willing to pay for it.

    Quality is "comformance with customer requirements" so to say that a vehicle is "under-appreciated" or "overvalued" simply means that your requirements differ from those willing or not willing to pay a given price.

    tidester, host
    SUVs and Smart Shopper
  • jipsterjipster Louisville, KentuckyPosts: 5,618
    Quality, like beauty, is in the eye of the beholder

    Does this mean I can cancel my subscription to "Consumer Reports" and "Car and Driver" magazine? :P

    Quality can be measured... no? Fit and finish, gaps between body panels, noise levels, efficiency of engine, frequency of repairs. Most automotive experts, including myself, put Hyundais build quality as equal to Honda or Toyota's. Yet it's resale value is abysmal in comparison. So, in doing a vehicular comparison, it would be fair to discuss a vehicle being under or "overvalued"... no? :)
  • tidestertidester Posts: 10,059
    Quality can be measured... no?

    The best measure of quality is to know who is buying and who is not. :shades:

    tidester, host
    SUVs and Smart Shopper
  • oldfarmer50oldfarmer50 Posts: 12,785
    "...I can cancel my subscription to "Consumer Reports" and "Car and Driver"..."

    I wouldn't expect anything but Honda to get the nod from CR. So if you like Hyundais I would cancel that one. :cry:

    P.S. I think Isell writes all their reviews.

    2019 Kia Soul+, 2015 Mustang GT, 2009 PT Cruiser, 2004 Chevy Van, 2000 Chrysler Sebring convertible

  • Well put. Of course quality can be measured!

    Perception defines reality in resale value, and this creates many opportunities for buyers.

    It is interesting how long our memories can be!

    While it is no doubt true that owners of older Infinitis saw the typical sales prices of these vehicles increase during the continuing G/M launch phases, a brand like Hyundai will have a longer time lapse in pricing adjustment due to the abominable quality of their early years.

    On the other hand, VW's high resale value is largely a product of the rabid brand loyalty they enjoy. Understanding these oddities in the marketplace is how buyer consultants and advisers can help their clients stay on the right side of depreciation.
  • mogal1mogal1 Posts: 9
    Hi all. I have NO used car buying experience and would really appreciate any help from the experts.

    My mother (83 yrs young) just surprised me with a 99 Lexus RX 300 (89k miles) she bought for $8k from a deceased friend's son to replace my 92 Camry (143k miles).

    I'm very concerned about the cost of gas for this car; I really don't need a large vehicle. Also I had it inspected at the Lexus dealer and it may soon need a few thousand in repairs/maintenance (timing belt, front strut mounts, etc.).

    I'd like to flip it for something more practical before any maintenance issues come up. Assuming I can get the $8k back ( :confuse: ) my budget is about $11k-$12k. I found an 04 Acura TL (I like this car) for just under $12k but it has very tall miles (117,300) which worries me.

    Does anybody have any recommendations for good used car values in that price range or opinions about buying such a high mileage TL? I need something not too small, in the size range of an Accord or Camry or TL, but not an SUV or big boat type car either, and I wasn't impressed with the prices or selection at Carmax.

    Appreciate all advice!
  • suydamsuydam Posts: 4,006
    For good gas mileage and reliability, I would recommend either an '04 or '05 Toyota Matrix/Pontiac Vibe, or a newer 4 cyl. Camry than what you have now -- maybe '02 or '03. Those should fit your price range.
    '14 Buick Encore Convenience
    '17 Chevy Volt Premiere
  • oacoac Posts: 1,594
    Hello all:

    My wife and I are trying to decide on a good USED car for our 16-yo daughter starting to drive. We have a budget of $6K cash to buy the car.

    What do we want in the car - good handling, solid build, entry-lux, sedan or 2-door sport/coupe, cheap on gas, no more than a 6-cyl, did I say CHEAP? cost to maintain "reasonable", cost to insure "reasonable", mileage no higher than 120K miles on the odo, safe car to drive (with safety gadgets)...

    What type of car is of interest to us? we'd consider BMW, Audi, Infiniti or Lexus... in that order. If there are any other I am leaving out, kindly suggest for our consideration. I should mention we already have several Toyotas and Lexus(es), so we'd try to go in a different direction if possible.

    Question: How truly scary are high milage BMWs? I am talking over 100K miles, in an E30 or E46 model years? Are these cars scary to own as money pits or actually more reliable than the newer models? How about Audis? Are Infinitis truly overpriced as used cars? What overall is the best car for our money within these class?

    Will truly appreciate your help on this.
  • lilengineerboylilengineerboy Posts: 4,116
    European vehicles and CHEAP don't typically go together.
    If you look at the Audi in that price range, the A4, you will see there is a front end service that requires replacement of the entire front suspension, running about $2k. The 1.8t motor has susceptibility to oil sludge. The pre-"new world" Audis (4000/5000.80/90,100/200) have their own issues (mostly electrical it would seem) and spotty parts availability.
    If looking at an E30/E36, you should be aware of the differential mount issue, the rear control arm bushing and mounting issue, plastic impeller water pump issue. etc.
    A pre-purchase inspection is pretty much mandatory as are maintenance records. Neither gets what could be considered world class fuel economy. That said, I would very much like an E36 BMW, but I am also very hands on and mechanical and my ability to do my own maintenance would offset some of those costs.
    Toyota/Lexus, Nissan/Inifinity, or Honda/Acura seem to be easier to maintain, get better mileage, and might be easier for a new driver to handle in bad weather due to front wheel drive.
    I think buying an "inexpensive" European car will backfire on the value equation when the maintenance schedule is included.
  • kyfdxkyfdx Posts: 117,001
    I have to agree with lilengineerboy...

    If your budget is $6K, then you are looking at the wrong cars.. penny-wise and pound-foolish...

    For a new driver (and your daughter won't want to hear this), you should be looking at mainstream japanese imports that are 5-8 years old...

    '01-'03 Mazda Protege would be a good choice... Fairly reliable, decent gas mileage.. solid handling, and cheaper than a Toyota or Honda.. Nissan Altimas from that time frame (or a little older) would probably fit the budget, as well...

    To get a BMW for that amount of money, you'll have to go back to the '92-'96 time frame, and those are notoriously high-maintenance years...


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  • gussguss Posts: 1,181
    Great advise from the previous two posts.

    If you must go luxury nameplate try the Infinity I30 or for something a bit sportier ,an Acura CL.
  • plektoplekto Posts: 3,738
    Don't listen to them. 6K will buy you a fantastic car, provided you buy the right one.

    My choices:
    1:1993 Volvo 240. This is old, but well built and completely impossible to kill short of driving it off of a cliff. No, literally. It's slow, safe, solidly built, cheap to repair, gets good gas mileage, and the wagon version is fantastic for hauling their crap around. I'd get one with manual of course - less to repair and it's a good skill for her to learn. Yes, she CAN learn, and should, since 90% of the rest of the world's cars are only available with manual and she's very likely to travel or work overseas at some time in her life. $3K on one. Put the rest aside for repairs. That should easily last you 5-6 years worth of repairs.

    Oh - 1993 they made R134a air conditioning, ABS, and airbags standard. Last year of one of the best cars ever made. There are so many models out there with 400 and 500K miles that Volvo stopped issuing the 100K and 200K grille medallions. My last Volvo, a 240, had 250K miles on it when I bought it and it was in mint condition. I drove it for two years and it had *zero* problems. For a Volvo 240, up that reasonable mileage limit to 200K and concentrate on it being as close to mint as possible.

    2:Next on the list is an old Toyota 4 cylinder 4x4 truck. A Tacoma. Also as indestructible as the Volvo. 4x4 for the reason that they hold their resale value very well and in bad weather, it's great to have. 25-30mpg highway and tons of fun. In this case, you would buy as new as you could manage for 5-6K. Avoid heavily modified ones - go with a clean stock or mostly so version(bars and lights and minor mods are fine) in good condition. Manual is preferred. I have a truck like this and it has 350K miles on it, mostly due to the extreme structural and mechanical simplicity. Again, 200K is a safe limit here.

    Avoid the V6 models like the plague. 2.7L 4 cylinder only. It has more than enough power and gets fantastic gas mileage. A mid 90s 4Runner with a 4 cylinder engine also is essentially the same vehicle.

    Safe in a crash, too, as they come in at 4,000lbs with a shell and typical front and rear bull bars and such added(these are good as they add tons of protection in a crash. 3 inches of steel at a typical car bumper's height makes for good side impact protection ;)

    3:Get a big slow Buick. No, really. As a first car, you want slower and safer for a reason, and the first two follow this philosophy. This, though, is different because of build quality and depreciation. 6K can easily get you a 4-5 year old GM car. Get something with the 3.8L engine in it. No other engine, as this was the ONLY engine they made that can be excepted to last 200K miles or more. At least that they put in their cheaper cars. I like the Regals, but a LeSabre is also a fine car.

    A Pontiac Grand Prix also would work, for instance. These are all automatic, but the GM 4 speeds are among the cheapest to repair and the cars have about 170-200HP and tall gearing, so it's hard to get into trouble as a new driver. Build quality is decent. Since you're buying used, you want something that has huge depreciation and decent mechanical quality. Its job is to start, move, stop, and not much else for a new driver. Expect it to get used up and thrown away or end up in an accident. So big, safe, heavy, and slow are the goal, IME. Yes, this is counter to what YOU would want for yourselves, most likely, but I'd never put a new driver in anything I didn't fully expect to need that extra protection and that could easily go over 80mph.

    I can get a one year old ex-rental Grand Prix with 20K miles and a factory warranty of 4 years still remaining for 12K all over town. 6K for a couple of years older is easy to do. This is a good option if you want something only a few years old. Drive until it is about 10-12 years old and toss it. 40-60K is about as high as I'd go, used, though.

    Oh - about manuals - I forgot one other thing. It's nearly impossible to do anything other than drive as a new driver with manual since both hands are fully occupied. You also have to pay attention to the car and when to shift. Less talking, less on he phone, less eating while driving... Good driving skills get learned from the beginning.
  • jipsterjipster Louisville, KentuckyPosts: 5,618
    :Get a big slow Buick. No, really. As a first car, you want slower and safer for a reason, and the first two follow this philosophy. This, though, is different because of build quality and depreciation. 6K can easily get you a 4-5 year old GM car. Get something with the 3.8L engine in it. No other engine, as this was the ONLY engine they made that can be excepted to last 200K miles or more. At least that they put in their cheaper cars. I like the Regals, but a LeSabre is also a fine car.

    Agree a Buick is a good choice. But, my 1999 Buick Regal LS is neither big nor slow. The 3.8 200 hp engine is both quick and fast... for a family sedan. The 3.1 engine in the Century is quick off the line, but midrange and upper range torque isn't that good. I do think the Century would be a good choice though.

    I bought my titled in Dec. of 99 Regal in April of 2004. It had 54,000 miles, in very good condition... paid around $6,500. It's been a very good car.
  • oacoac Posts: 1,594
    To everybody for their generous contribution and suggestions to my enquiry. You have made me re-think the entire exercise and direction I set out with, and I will be considering ALL of your suggestions going forward. This is an excellent service by Edmunds, and even more so, of contributors who give generously of your precious time to help others.

    Thanks so much everyone. Truly appreciated...
  • lilengineerboylilengineerboy Posts: 4,116
    Don't listen to them. 6K will buy you a fantastic car, provided you buy the right one.

    I don't think anyone was suggesting a great ride couldn't be had for $6k, I think people were suggesting that a European $6k car might not be the best choice without a maintenance background and know-how.

    1:1993 Volvo 240.

    I have yet to see an "Old World" Volvo with 4 working window motors, door locks, or door handles. The interiors also seem to self destruct leading to IPD's cottage industry of random interior plastic bits. I agree that the motor's bottom end is relatively bulletproof, but the head and cams are not, nor is the distributor. Like other European manufacturers, Volvo didn't see the need to wait for a new model year to change various architectures so you have to parts shop by VIN number...

    2:Next on the list is an old Toyota 4 cylinder 4x4 truck. A Tacoma.

    Cars Put To The Rollover Test
    2003 Toyota Tacoma Gets Worst Rating In Government Evaluation

    High center of gravity + young inexperienced driver = not so good

    3:Get a big slow Buick.
    This sounds pretty good, so long as you don't get carried away on big. Any domestic vehicle will fit this bill. Something midsized and ubiquitous will be easy on insurance, have enough metal around her without being overly cumbersome, and have some semblance of fuel economy. I would think a 07 or older Taurus would be in here too.
  • suydamsuydam Posts: 4,006
    A great first car. Don't get anything either of you will fall in love with, as it may get dented in a high school parking lot or worse. A Buick Century or Regal is a good bet. Fuel economy, decent safety features, and low maintenance should be your main priorities. I would not recommend a truck as they do not handle as well as a sedan for young drivers, and the fuel economy is not that good.
    '14 Buick Encore Convenience
    '17 Chevy Volt Premiere
  • steine13steine13 Posts: 2,684
    I agree with the other boys who suggested the domestic 4door. The only reason to go import would be to snag a 5speed.

    A 16-year-old in a BMW is a really bad idea on several levels. It's like being complicit to the notion that she'll be anything but a lousy driver the first few months out. We all were, and those of us who knew it improved the quickest.

    For my 9-year-old, I'm thinking when the time comes, the '07 Vibe with the 5speed and the radio disconnected just might fit the bill... Driver's Ed is 5 short years away. Ouch.

    If it's meant to be an automatic, I'll second the 5-year-old Regal or Taurus idea. There's plenty of time for sexy later in life.

    Cheers -Mathias
  • plektoplekto Posts: 3,738
    Heh. No, they aren't slow like a VW bug, but they are certainly no 3 series. With their slow steering and soft suspension, they give you tons of warning that you need to slow down. It's the car you loathe to drive as a teenager, but the one that you need to learn in. (grin)

    Pontiac Grand Prix, Buick Regal, Chevrolet Caprice (the smaller, 5-6 year old model) - all work fine as long as you stay away from the supercharger equipped models. But it's automatic...

    As for the 240, you need to find one in good condition and 1992 or 1993. By then they had worked out every last bug. And, yes, you will need 2-3K for repairs over the next 5-6 years, due to bits and pieces needing attention, but it is a great car. European handling, good reliability as far as mechanicals go, and fun to drive if it has a manual transmission.

    Still, it's cheaper in the long run than a 6K used car. A Volvo 940 is the same car with different sheet metal and a bit better options. They made this for a couple of extra years and it's also extremely good. I found both to be very BMW or VW like in their driving position, visibility, and direct feedback.

    The Tacoma is a *truck*, to be sure, but they also forgot to mention that it also is the most reliable one that you can buy. You can also add in a roll bar inside and side sliders/nerf bars for added side impact protection. My 4Runner has both and I'd feel safe rolling it while off-roading as a result. I'd rather roll over than cave in in a side impact.

    Here's what you'd want in a Tacoma:
    2005, standard cab, normal bed. As short a wheelbase as possible, actually. This helps handling and makes it easier to park. 4x4 models sit an inch higher, but also are about two inches wider - bigger tires. And it gives you tons of warning that you are going fast, since it's a RWD truck with quite a bit of lean and understeer - unlike a lot of AWD SUVs that try to feel like a car and lull you into a false sense of complacency.

    With only 167HP from that 2.7L engine, and a 5 speed gearbox, it's never going to get fast enough to roll over, anyways, thanks to really short gearing. ie - 3K rpm at 70mph in 5th. 26-27mpg on the highway, but it won't comfortably go over 70-75mph, much like the GM cars won't. Or at least if you ARE going that fast, you know it since the engine is complaining.

    In my truck, btw... 0-60 is at least 12 seconds including time shifting. (1-2 is dreadfully slow - heh) There's nothing quick about it. But it WILL go over anything in bad weather. :P

    In a BMW, you can fly past 90mph in 4th and not honestly notice it. Nothing changes other than the scenery suddenly is going by quicker.

    From that page the previous poster linked to, btw:
    "Automakers have been critical of NHTSA's rollover tests, since the agency uses a mathematical formula instead of a moving test to predict rollover. NHTSA stands by the test as a good predictor of vehicle behavior."

    I bet a lot of SUVs would fare much worse, like the Xterra.
    The new 2005+ ones are more than 6K, but they also got 5 stars. Rollover rating for the newer ones is 4 out of 5 stars. The things are tanks, to be honest. they certainly won't be on the receiving end if a SUV hits them, unlike a Yaris, which basically saves you the cost of a coffin - just bury you in it instead of taking it apart to get what's left out.

    But... they also run 12K for 4x4 and about 10K for 2WD. Still, 4x4 do depreciate very slowly. It will be worth 7-8K or more in another 5 years, while a ten year old Buick will be worth whatever you can donate it for.

    And, yes, a boring Taurus would also work, but for those years, they aren't as nice or reliable as a GM, which you can buy, drive into the ground, and toss.
  • jipsterjipster Louisville, KentuckyPosts: 5,618
    Anything you can get for $6.5k that comes with stability control and side curtain airbags? All good choices noted in posts earlier. But, these are two safety features I would prefer be on my kids first car. Maybe a Hyundai Sonata with above average miles?
  • qbrozenqbrozen Posts: 25,613
    don't forget the 740. :)

    Pretty much any volvo with a 4 in the middle is a good bet (i think... unless i'm forgetting something).

    HOWEVER, all of those are RWD. Depending on where she lives, maybe not a good idea. Yes, many of us learned on RWD because used FWD cars weren't common 20 years ago ... but we also learned with far fewer people on the roads.

    I think the Protege is an excellent suggestion, as is the Buick. I'm not really feeling warm and fuzzy about a truck for a teenage girl. Call me crazy.

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

  • fezofezo Manahawkin, NJPosts: 10,357
    Good advice all around for the most part. I'd lose the truck as well.

    I like the slow and boring. For about that money I got my daughter a 99 Camry. As it turned out I found the one 4 Cyl Camry with a motor issue but things happen. If I'd been driving it I would have seen the problem before it became a big issue. We fixed it and she loves the thing. NO explaining taste... It is the quietest car in the stable.

    Volvo issues are exactly as stated. You can't kill the cars but eventually all the doors will stop working and you won't be able to get into the car, If you can it will run however.

    A Century would be great. So would a Protege or Altima. All good choices.

    Good thought on punting on the original choices.
    2013 Mazda 5 Grand Touring, 2010 Toyota Prius IV. 2007 Toyota Camry XLE, 2004 Toyota Camry LE, 1999 Mazda Miata
  • plektoplekto Posts: 3,738
    RWD cars are good, actually, and stability control actually isn't optimal for a learner. You want the car to scare them a bit from time to time and force them to properly control it. ABS, though, is a must-have. Side airbags are nice, though, but they weren't standard until at least 2000 on most models.( Volvo 850/960 in 1995 were the very first, ever to offer it, btw)

    The gearing on any of the manual Volvos is perfectly spaced for city traffic and as a result, it drives like a much smaller car. ie - performance was everything, economy wasn't. That said, the 4 or 5 cylinder engine does get about 30 highway.

    A Volvo 850 non-turbo does 0-60 in 8.8 seconds. The 960 in 8.9. A 940 or 240 in... 9.2 These aren't fast by todays standards, so they make for good choices as they will always be a bit slower than the surrounding traffic, yet their Autobahn capable suspension and 32-24 ft turning radius doesn't mean that they aren't safe. I dodged stuff in the 240 I had that most cars wouldn't have had a hope avoiding. ABS and BMW 3 series handling makes for excellent avoidance handling. Yeah, it's no 3 series in terms of power, though. The 4 cylinder models make a whopping 120 HP or so. (hence the get a 4 and manual suggestion)

    Plus, the retro boxy look is actually an "in" thing right now.

    I like to think of late 90s Volvos as the European Buick - just done right. Same power to weight ratio and reliability. But worlds better safety, features, and handling. A 240, 850(non turbo), 940, or 960 - all are decent choices with tons of safety features.
  • qbrozenqbrozen Posts: 25,613
    I'd avoid the 960, personally. The 6-cyl just didn't seem to be as reliable as the others. Oh, and there is something up with the timing belt and tensioner on certain years. Can't remember exact details, but I believe it is suggested to change them every 50k (although factory didn't think so, leading to many destroyed heads).

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

  • isellhondasisellhondas Issaquah WashingtonPosts: 20,225
    The others have given you good advise. By all means DO NOT even think about buying an Audi or any european car. They don't age well and they will cause you nothing but expensive trouble.

    the chances of finding a 240 volvo are almost nil and I disagree about how reliable they are. Wonderful engines and tough bodies but as they age, the electrical problems will eat you up.

    Hondas and Toyota make the most sense but they hold their resale values so well that 6000.00 won't get you much.

    I agree on the Buick or Pontiac but ONLY with the bulletproof 3800 engine.

    I've also found that a well taken care of Saturn can be a lot of car for the money.
  • tkcoloradotkcolorado Posts: 39
    Buick LeSabre gets my vote. We just bought a used 2000 Limited with 48,000 miles on it, one owner all records, about 8 months ago through a dealership. The car was in like new condition (the seats still were firm, the tag from the airbag was still inside it, etc.) I paid $7k for it. You could get them for less private party. Its got the 3.8L engine (gas mileage has been about 20mpg in town and 34ish on the highway. Although the other day on the highway since they have switched to nonethonal icky gas I averaged 37.4mpg on the highway.. go figure).

    The thing is LOADED. Heated mirrors, electrocramtic (sp?) mirrors (great for night driving), rain sensing wipers, side impact air bags, front air bags, traction control, heads up display, homelink, daytime running lights, automatic lights, dimming feature for interior and exterior lights, auto climate control, steering wheel controls, rear air conditioning vents, key fob with alarm and trunk release, compass on the mirror, the power seats are GREAT they adjust UP and Down which can come in handy when driving on the road with SUV's, heated seats, cd, cassette (which will accept a mp3 player adapter), etc. Im sure im forgetting something.. OH.. and good crash test ratings (which you have to remember are bit misleading because they are only applicable if you hit something the same size as you are. Could you imagine the damage of a corrolla hitting a lesabre.. nuff said).

    Plus it has the 3.8L engine which is low maintenance and easy to fix. That Hyundai is expensive to repair, my friend has one and frankly the ride is NOTHING compared to the Buick and the Hyundai felt cheap to me and not as comfy. My Buick is going to my daughter in 5 years when she is ready to drive and im buying the newer version with the 3.8L engine (by then the car will have 100,000 miles on it and still have many more years left). Im sold and im not OLD either, im 30 years young.

    I LOVE my car and know a couple of people who had the same engine that lasted WELL over 200,000 with no problems (one sold their bonneville with 242,000 miles on it about 4 years ago and its still running, only major problem was water pump failure and some sensor, the car still had the original spark plugs in it at 242k).

    If they want a little sporter car you could look into the Chevy Impala LS (3.8l engine), Pontiac Grand Prix, or the Buick Regal. My mechanic said to stay away from the Century.

    The engine has power, so be careful. It would be really easy to get into trouble with any of these cars but in situations when you need to move the car moves.
  • isellhondasisellhondas Issaquah WashingtonPosts: 20,225
    Are you sure about those spark plugs?

    Makes me wonder what other maintenance they skimped on and it still went 242,000 miles!

    The 3800 engine has a long history. It's been much modified but it came to life in 1962 in Buick Specials.

    Buicks like most domestics depreciate liuke a rock so they can be a great buy as used cars.
  • plektoplekto Posts: 3,738
    If they want a little sporter car you could look into the Chevy Impala LS (3.8l engine), Pontiac Grand Prix, or the Buick Regal. My mechanic said to stay away from the Century.

    The Century came with the 3.4 and 3.1 engines for the most part. With GM, it's either a 3.8L engine or a V8 Northstar. Nearly every other engine they make has problems. But those two are Toyota reliable.

    I recommend the Grand Prix.
    1:Less expensive initially.
    2:More rental models, which means more depreciation/cheaper used cost)
    3:Better suspension. The LeSabre is very soft and will annoy most drivers who are used to anything better.
    4:Better shifter layout. The typical Grand Prix has a shifter between the seats. IT's automatic, but it's all in a single row, so 1, 2, 3, or 4 is just a matter of bumping the shifter up or down a notch. Much easier than the stalk on the column.
    5:While it can be had with supercharged engines and such, the base model is rated at about 180HP or so, which is the lowest HP model of the 3.8 engine currently sold. It won't get you into trouble nearly as quickly.
    6:Less bling. No need for leather or whatnot if the kid is going to slowly kill it..
  • ...on this thread! A lot of folks really don't understand how much car they can get for $6k or so.

    I always lean towards the Camry/Avalon options at that price point, but my favorite ideas here are definitely the various Buick suggestions.

    I found a Regal for a client that looked, smelled, and acted as though it had never been driven, loaded up with everything, 47k, 2001, under $7k. Of course, this was a professional adult looking to make a different kind of statement than a 16 year old, but still...what a pleasure to find it!
  • robbiegrobbieg Posts: 342
    I think you have to make a choice about whether you want to buy a car that a kid wants (BMW, etc.) or buy a car that is a good car to learn to drive on. At the onset of this line of discussion, the poster stated he/she wanted a eurpean car, which is pretty far from a front drive Buick. The smart choice would be a Buick because of reliability but remember there are a lot of people that want something more than reliable transportation and instead buy a older less reliable performace oriented car.
  • tkcoloradotkcolorado Posts: 39
    A grand prix would certainly be more kid oriented, but I think their crash test ratings are lower than the impala and the buicks... I could be wrong..

    The buicks certainly have a softer ride than the impala and grand prix. The Impala and grand prix have more of a harder ride (sportier???). I actually liked the Impalas exterior look better (oh the kids around here trick them out and they look really nice with rims).

    Supercharged engines.. I would be REALLY careful with these. Somewhere in my research I found that these have some serious problems with the intake manifolds due to higher heat and the manifolds being made of some type of plastic material. I would stick with the base model 3/8l engine its got plenty of power for a 16 year old.

    Of course they could go get a Honda Civic that has about 120k miles on it thats about 10 years old and has none of the safety features for the same price. Kids want what kids want.

    I certainly can't judge because my first car was a Pontiac Fiero. Not exactly a old persons car. It was a great little car, cheap to drive, fun to drive, nice looking, it had 40,000 miles on it and it cost $1200 used. My how the cost of cars has increased, lol. Funny how I ended up with a car based on reliability, insurance costs, and comfort. ha
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