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Shifty Needs Your Help in Buying a Car

24567

Comments

  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaPosts: 64,490
    I use wide open throttle from the get-go on a new car...good way to break in the engine...I DON'T go to redline on a new engine but I will go WOT in the mid-range. Seems to work. My Scion is very peppy compared to my friend's identical car. He even thinks so when we switch.

    Bad thing about buying used is I have no idea what the previous owner did in the past 15,000 miles.

    But on the other hand, 15K is not a lot of miles so maybe there was no chance to really screw the car up.

    I always worry about sludge for instance, caused by cars being driven for short hops at slower speeds.

    It also seems weird to put a 15K miles car through an entire full-blown diagnostic and inspection.
  • andre1969andre1969 Posts: 23,496
    I use wide open throttle from the get-go on a new car...good way to break in the engine...I DON'T go to redline on a new engine but I will go WOT in the mid-range. Seems to work. My Scion is very peppy compared to my friend's identical car. He even thinks so when we switch.

    It took me a little while, once I got my Intrepid, to realize that it was okay to floor it from a dead stop. It's just that in the past, with just about every car I've ever had, doing that would either make the car stall out or spin out...either way, you weren't going anywhere!
  • Doesn't do burnouts because the TC doesn't have the power to do em :)

    Now.. Baron von Stockbroker OTOH...

    Bill <--Fan of Nigel's for YEARS
  • There must be some kind of old person's joke that I am not getting going on here. :confuse:
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaPosts: 64,490
    Nigel would not attempt a burnout on a TC, or even a polite tire chirp, because Nigel knows that TCs break their rear axles with alarming regularity.
  • bumpybumpy Posts: 4,435
    I use wide open throttle from the get-go on a new car...good way to break in the engine...I DON'T go to redline on a new engine but I will go WOT in the mid-range. Seems to work. My Scion is very peppy compared to my friend's identical car. He even thinks so when we switch.

    Some of that is break-in, and some of it is the ECU adapting to your driving style. If you reset the computer and let your friend drive your xA for a month, your car would be nice and loafy when you got it back.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaPosts: 64,490
    Egad...what a horrible fate.
  • andre1969andre1969 Posts: 23,496
    Some of that is break-in, and some of it is the ECU adapting to your driving style. If you reset the computer and let your friend drive your xA for a month, your car would be nice and loafy when you got it back.

    At what mileage does the ECU usually stop adapting, and finally get set in its ways? For instance, at 135,000 miles, the ECU in my Intrepid wouldn't still be "learning" anything, would it?
  • bumpybumpy Posts: 4,435
    at 135,000 miles, the ECU in my Intrepid wouldn't still be "learning" anything, would it?

    Not from you, unless you decide to start driving differently. From a fresh reset, I think it's something like a few weeks for the computer to fully "adapt" to you, mostly by picking out which fuel maps to use in which conditions.
  • fezofezo Manahawkin, NJPosts: 10,370
    A little late to the party, but put me in the camp on choice #1. Sounds more like what you really want, has fewer miles than choice 2 and you know its history.

    Brentwood said a lot of the same. This is not surprising. While I never own as fun cars as he does I generally agree with his opinions.
    2015 Mazda 6 Grand Touring, 2014 Mazda 3 Sport Hatchback, 1999 Mazda Miata 2004 Toyota Camry LE, 1999.
  • jrosasmcjrosasmc Posts: 1,711
    I'm going to say my brief piece. As with the others in this forum, I say go for choice #1- I think you'd feel comfortable with it.

    But I have a suggestion of my own- how about a nice, pre-owned 2004 or 2005 Volvo S60 2.4? Large compact, but small enough so that it feels sporty. Reasonably priced, as well. I know, I'm advocating Volvo since I drive one, but I think an S60 would be your type.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaPosts: 64,490
    Thanks for the suggestion but I'm not really a sedan kind of guy and besides, the S60 is kinda heavy for 168HP. That's the same HP as the MINI with 600 lbs extra weight. I think I'd find it very nice and comfy but too sedate. I already own sedate. Also S60 is a bit gas-hungry, or will be once I get a ahold of it.
  • Joe,

    Friend of mine out in Cali is selling a very nice 89 M3 with the Turner 2.5 conversion... he wants realistic money too... why not buy that? :D
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaPosts: 64,490
    What's the Turner 2.5 conversion. I have to tell you I don't have a lot of confidence in older M3 engines. They weren't very long-lived.
  • I've never had that problem with S14s.. Friend of mine ahs one with 244k on it that's strong as an Ox!

    The big problem with them was poor maintinence, few people know how to properly service the valves and people run 10W30 oil in them which is a huge no-no.

    The Turner 2.5 is basically a lower-end rebuild kit that is sold by turner motorsport.. it converts the engine to Sport Evo specs.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaPosts: 64,490
    It is a stroker motor?

    Yeah, weak top end, that's what I remember about the early Ms.

    Most of the ones I see are trashed, because they really don't bring collector car money. The owners think they do, but the market doesn't agree. It's hard to push an old M3 at a classic car auction. They are best sold "by hand", privately to the few who really appreciate them.

    What body style is that M3?

    RE: MINI -- I'm going for my across the board MINI test drive tomorrow....new, used...base models and S models.
  • benjaminhbenjaminh Posts: 4,323
    It'll be good to hear about your test drives. Having read the comments of owners, I'm now in favor of one of the options you may have ruled out&#151;a new Mini Cooper S (but a base S without options). The list price for this car is 21.8k. There's an ad in this week's New Yorker that has the following stats: Base Mini, 118 hp, 0-60 8.5; S 172 hp, 0-60 6.7 seconds. So, the S is almost 2 second faster 0-60&#151;that's huge, and well worth 3k I think.

    More than that, I think for the road you drive it might be a safety feature. I was an undergrad at UC Santa Cruz in the 1980s (and not only did I graduate, I now have a good job, but anyway...) and I used to drive that wonderful and somewhat dreaded 17 a good deal. That's a road where sometimes you need to pass and sometimes you need power.

    I think there's a good chance you'll keep and S long enough (because you'll be satisfied with it) that that 3k over, say, 6 years, only comes to $500 a year. Not a big deal in terms of $, I don't think, but a big deal in terms of performance.

    And why I argue for new is that the new generation of Mini seems significantly better. Here's the comments from one owner of an S who posted on Edmunds:

    "2007 MINI Cooper S 2dr Hatchback (1.6L 4cyl Turbo 6M)
    Review
    Compared to the 2002-2006 MINI cooper S the current MINI is leaps and bounds ahead. Providing quicker 0-60mph and overtaking times. The engine is a major improvment and one can see and feel that this is actually a BMW designed vehicle."

    Another one:

    "2007 MINI Cooper S 2dr Hatchback (1.6L 4cyl Turbo 6M)
    Review
    Have owned my Mini for three months now. It gets a lot of attention and questions from curious people. People even roll down their windows and ask questions when I'm sitting in traffic. Can't believe how smooth and fast the car accelerates. Torque steer on this car can be a little scary if you punch it hard. Very comfy for two people. Great on gas, averaging 32 MPG with combined city/highway and can go almost 400 miles on one tank. Had a Murano try to follow me through the twisty bits a couple weeks ago. That was funny. The ride can be a little harsh over bumps and is probably not for everyone. Probably the most irritating thing about this car is having traffic in front of you.
    Favorite Features
    Acceleration. Seats are classy and cradle driver. Great gas mileage without having to give up performance. Nice quality interior. Good looking exterior. Handles well. No turbo-lag...six speed is easy to drive."

    The great thing about the S is that the peak torque of 177 lbs comes at 1600 rpm! That sounds like fun. You don't have to rev it up to 4000 or 5000 to make this thing really go.

    Shifty, for what it's worth, I really think you should splurge for the the new Mini Cooper S.
    2018 Acura TLX 2.4 Tech 4WS (mine), 2018 Honda CR-V EX AWD (wife's)
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaPosts: 64,490
    Compelling arguments to be sure, but I just can't afford it. By the time one adds a few options to the S and adds T&L (premium package, sports seats, sunroof, arm rest, fog lights) you're in $24K + T&L and docs and you're pushin' $26.5K. Even throwing $5K cash at the deal, that $420 a month car payments for 5 years....scares me. I really need to stay around $300 or under.

    ALSO (now don't be shocked) I'm not real fond of turbo cars--I mean the way they behave....from meow to YOW in a split second. With a FWD car (or a rear-engine car) this can be tricky. I really like a "steady climb", ala like a non-aspirated torquey motor might give. I think an SC gives you both worlds in a sense, don't you?
  • That is my big concern with the turbocharged PSA engine. I liked how the triton SC engine in the MkI MINIs behaved. Yeah I know it was a little down on technology but it was a good solid motor and because of the parts sharing that went on with DCX you could get some after market hop up parts cheap.

    I am going to wait to drive the MkII MINI when the Clubman comes out then drive them both back to back. That should be about the time I will be looking to get a new car anyway. My wife and I are planning a cross country trip for next July/August and we are going to buy a new car right before then. If it was going to be a car just for the long trip and then a fun car for me the decision would be easy but that is not the case. After the trip the car will be my wife's daily driver to replace her Jeep and she will just use the Jeep when the snow is bad.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaPosts: 64,490
    Okay, here are the results of the All-MINI drive-a-thon!

    The overall results not quite as expected!

    Test #1

    2003 Cooper S:

    Great fun but with the Run Flats and Sport Suspension the ride is B-R-U-T-A-L. This car will need (as far as I'm concerned) 4 brand-new Go Flat Tires and 4 smaller diameter wheels. (it sports 17s) So....$$$ has to be spent from the get-go to square this car away for my needs. Probably a thou to make it right.

    Test #2: 2005 base Cooper manual trans:

    Not a likable car. Rides better than the S above but the transmission is gnarly and the engine feels very unsophisticated indeed. Kind of gutless, too. Not a contender under any circumstances. No way. Get me out of here.

    Test #3: 2007 Cooper (base) hatchback, 6 speed Getrag with premium package:

    Well, quite a surprise here! Nice ride, smooth tight engine, and very peppy if you know how to work the gearshift to advantage. Vastly improved version of the 2005 in every way. Stronger engine than the Scion xA, quite rev-happy, smooth transmission, great seats. This is a much better engine than before.

    Test #4: 2007 Cooper S:

    No surprises here---fun car in that turbo kinda way. Performance to spare...but again...a bit harsh with the run flats...car felt "hot" after a hard run...could smell coolant when standing outside the car. Sure was fun, though. Downside? $4,000 more than the well-optioned base model by the time I'm done. Fast little car.

    CONCLUSION: I hate to say it, but now I'm leaning toward the 2007 base model with options. It comes in the colors I want, with the full warranty and full free service and roadside assistance. Tempting even though that turbo urge isn't there. The S is just plain expensive for a little hatch.
  • Nice!

    The S is a nice car, but I would think even a base new one is peppier than an XA.

    Just be forewarned about the "free" servicing, it's a load of nonsense... they pay for a fraction of what the car truly needs but you knew that I know :)

    Hey, whatever happened to your 164LS?
  • hpmctorquehpmctorque Posts: 4,600
    Thanks for your input. Your conclusion seems to be in virtual agreement with my earlier comments.

    Is the '07 base Mini sufficiently more satisfying than the xA to justify the cost of trading the xA in? How do the ride and handling of the two cars compare? The reason I ask these questions is that, regarding the power advantage of the Mini over your xA, I believe Scion sells a supercharger for the Scion, which might give the power advantage back to the xA, at a lower cost than trading the xA for the Mini. Of course, adding a supercharger wouldn't address the image issue, which you indicated mstters for your work.
  • benjaminhbenjaminh Posts: 4,323
    Nice report. It turns out my first suggestion may have been more on the mark. I have no doubt that not only does the base Mini have more power, but also better handling. And then there's the matter or style. The Mini is still rare, and really good looking. I'm sorry to say but the xA is one of those cars that only a few beyond a mother could love. I happen to think that even the xB (original) looks better. The new xB is awful. Anyway, style is part of the need here, because Shifty is in the car biz. An xA, in my mind, has minimal street cred, while a Mini, even a base, is really classy and good looking vehicle. And, because it's not a turbo, you'll probably be getting in the high 30s for mpg&#151;not that far from a Prius.
    2018 Acura TLX 2.4 Tech 4WS (mine), 2018 Honda CR-V EX AWD (wife's)
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaPosts: 64,490
    Good comments from you all! Very interesting!

    Well yes, the xA could in fact be made into a credible MINI Cooper; however, a supercharger would add at least $3,500 to the cost AND would immediately void the warranty, at least on the drivetrain.

    So essentially, as I see it, I would be turning the xA into the exact same situation as the used 2003 S -- a car that costs me more but still has no warranty protection.

    Without modifications, the MINI is clearly superior to the xA in handling, even after I've put on sway bars and strut bracing. The xA could be further improved in handling with new tires and wheels, lowering springs, and different struts...so perhaps $2,000 to make the xA a real handler. Not an unreasonable alternative.

    To do Supercharger + handling package, well over a $5,000 investment, seems pointless, as I could just buy a new MINI, put $5,000 down on it, and have basically very similar car payments to what I have now.

    If the xA had an engine equal to the base MINI, I might very well just modify the suspension and be happy enough.

    But you can really notice that the xA's low end power is from gearing, not from torque. The power curve seems to flatten out rapidly, while the MINI's power curve feels quite broad.

    Of course, ultimately, none of us "needs" a new car or a good-looking one. We could all grit our teeth and drive beat up ten-year-old Corollas and get to where we need to get to.

    Natch, I don't want to show up to a client's fine home in a beater; but the Scion doesn't "lose" me any business I don't think. Probably it just requires me to spit out a little more car nomenclature to assure the client that I really do know the difference between a Ferrari and an Odyssey.

    Bottom line? I'm in a car sometimes all day for 200-300 miles. I need AC, I need satellite radio, I need fun, I need gas mileage, I need legroom, I need to scoot, scurry, dodge and dart.

    Now really, what car does all that?

    Exactly.
  • oregonboyoregonboy Posts: 1,653
    Woo Hoo!!! Sounds like Shifty's off to buy a new Mini. Please fill us in on the purchase details. :shades:

    james
  • It's a tall order but it makes perfect sense. Now.. the 88 527i that I am building does all of that for about a $3,000 investment, but then again, I am absolutely insane.

    If a small car works for you, I think the Mini is absolutely the ticket.. I have heard good things about the 2nd generation ones but am holding off personal judgement until I get seat time in one.

    Also, it's a really "cool" car, especially for someone in the car business.. it's the kind of car that car people will respect and appreciate so I think it's a good image car for you.

    Now what happened to your Alfa Romeo???
  • fezofezo Manahawkin, NJPosts: 10,370
    "It's a tall order but it makes perfect sense. Now.. the 88 527i that I am building does all of that for about a $3,000 investment, but then again, I am absolutely insane."

    No Argument there.... ;)

    The Mini is a great choice. Very hard to go wrong. Unfortunately when I was kicking tires at a local car lot (one that has nice toys but overpriced and hasn't figured out that not everyone wants an automatic) with my 15 year old daughter in tow she spotted a sweet red and white Mini and decided that would suit her just fine. Fortunately she's the sort that if I buy a relatively new American car that has has all the depreciation wrung out of it she'll be fine with it come time. I admire her taste, though.
    2015 Mazda 6 Grand Touring, 2014 Mazda 3 Sport Hatchback, 1999 Mazda Miata 2004 Toyota Camry LE, 1999.
  • hpmctorquehpmctorque Posts: 4,600
    Yeah, your logic makes perfect sense. Trying to convert an xA into a new generation Mini would be like trying to make a silk purse from a sow's ear, or something like that. You'd not only never recoup the expense, or even come close, but the end result wouldn't be too satisfying.

    On the other hand, you could look for a pristine '05 Acura RSX "S" 6-speed... Naw, you've got to put a value on your time. A new Mini's the way to go.
  • oregonboyoregonboy Posts: 1,653
    OOOOhhhhhhhoooo, an RSX. Now that's a whole new can of worms. :surprise:

    RSX

    james
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaPosts: 64,490
    That RSX looks like a car one could have fun in. But often I have trouble fitting in a Japanese svoopy-doopy coupe with sunroof. MINI has lotsa headroom and ridiculous generous amount of legroom. So we like that.

    Oh the Alfa 164? That went away to a friend. I told them what to expect (lots of clutches and electrical glitches) and that proved to be true. Fun car but I really do need absolute reliability these days. I'm often out in the boonies (California farm country) and a long way from home base.

    SO ANYWAY--dealer tells me in the showroom that there's no bargaining...I say okay, let me sleep on it...well today they call me and maybe there IS some bargaining...heh...heh...
This discussion has been closed.