More car talk - looking for a car ~ 4 years old/50K miles.

Discussion in 'After Hours Lounge (Off Topic)' started by Philip Hamm, Jan 22, 2004.

  1. Philip Hamm

    Philip Hamm Lead Actor

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    I'm looking for a nice car about 4 years old with about 50K miles on it, willing to spend about $17K.

    I would like something upmarket, but that's not an absolute requirement. I am replacing a loaded Audi A4 2.8 Quattro (sport suspension) that is a wonderful car but just too damned expensive to maintain.

    I would prefer a standard transmission, but an automatic is possible.

    I prefer all wheel drive. Will settle for FWD or even RWD.

    Must be reliable as hell and relatively cheap to own.

    I like a little power and sharp but not bone-jarring handling (I drive an A4 2.8 - if you're familiar with the car you know what I like). I do NOT like a choppy ride like I get with my A4 Sport.

    Like sedans and wagons.

    I test drove a 2001 Infiniti I30, expecting to love it. On paper I should really like it, great engineering, comfortable ride, nice V6 engine, etc. It's OK. I could learn to love it, but it does not grab me like the A4 did when I first drove that. Not even close. ...Then again after 3 hours on a road trip I hate the way the sport suspension on the A4 "grabs me"....

    I am leaning towards looking for a used Subaru Legacy 5 speed. (wagon preferred)

    I am specifically looking for a car that has poor value retention. I am hoping to drive this car into the ground, and buying used, so poor value retention is a plus for me, it means I get more for my dollar, hence looking at Infinities. My 5-speed preference should help in this matter as well.

    Give me more options, car people.
     
  2. Todd Hochard

    Todd Hochard Cinematographer

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    Honda Accord? Boring, yes.

    Able to be driven into the ground? YES.

    I have 9.5 years, 126K miles on my '95 Accord EX, and I've dropped not quite $100 in corrective repairs to it. One cooling fan motor (that took FOUR months to correctly diagnose in hot FL weather, because the cooling system is apparently way over-engineered[​IMG] ), and front brake pads. I got 114K out of the front pads before replacing them.

    For normal preventive maintenance, I spent $550 having someone do the timing belt (I was too busy traveling for work at the time), all drive belts, and the water pump at 93K miles (belt interval is 90K). I only did the water pump as a hedge- I wasn't sure it would last ANOTHER 6-9 years, and ANOTHER 90k miles, and it's accessed by taking off all belts, and the timing belt. So, maybe you want to count that as corrective?

    Outside of that, oil changes, coolant changed twice, and trans oil (5-speed) changes. I do all this work myself, so labor cost is nil.

    Everyone thinks this car is a 50-60k miles car. They do not believe the odometer. I fully expect it to FAR outlast my desire to own it (in fact, it already has[​IMG] ), but I shall drive it onward anyway. I'm thinking 250k and 20 years service, minimum (I'm only going about 9-11k/year now).

    Todd
     
  3. Shane Martin

    Shane Martin Producer

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    Most if not all Honda techs recommend this at that time.

    Phillip,
    What about an Acura Tl/CL Type-S. I don't think you can get a Type-S 6 speed for 17k(last one I saw and should have bought was $22k), but you should find an auto for that. Tons of power. Honda reliability and an upmarket feel to it. Their value retention isn't low though.
     
  4. Philip Hamm

    Philip Hamm Lead Actor

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    I don't like Hondas, but I should look at them at least I guess.
     
  5. Bill Cowmeadow

    Bill Cowmeadow Second Unit

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    Philip,

    Take time to check out a used two/three year old Chrysler 300M.
    They are great cars with a great reliability rating.
    You should be able to find one in your price range.
     
  6. Philip Hamm

    Philip Hamm Lead Actor

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    300M? It is a nice looking car, but isn't that a big granpa car? I'm looking for a sporty 5 speed.
     
  7. Craig

    Craig Second Unit

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    I'd look at a Maxima SE. It's not really an upscale car, although they can be had with a lot of amenities, a 5 speed has always been available (6 speed in the current model).
     
  8. Steve Schaffer

    Steve Schaffer Producer

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    Philip,

    Reliability/low maintenance and high depreciation are pretty much mutually exclusive.

    If you liked the Infiniti I30 except for the ride/handling equation may I suggest the Nissan Maxima SE? The Maxima and I30 are essentially the same under the skin. The SE model of the Maxima, as opposed to the GXE or GLE models has a suspension tuned more toward the handling side of the equation than that of the I30. The Maxima SE was also one of the rare V6 midsize Japanese makes available with a manual transmission. The Maxima has very recently undergone a complete revision, so the previous model will have an extra depreciation hit vs some other cars in it's class.



    The 300M is Chrysler's sports sedan version of it's largest body shell,not a grandpa car at all. It's actually shorter than the other variations of this shell, about the size of the Maxima/I30, actually smaller than the Toyota Avalon (the Avalon is a real Grandpa car).

    While not up to Japanese standards for reliabity it should be better than most European makes.

    According to Consumer's Unions frequency of repair data accumulated from polling of their subscribers the Japanese are still most reliable with American makes catching up and European makes dropping.
     
  9. Philip Hamm

    Philip Hamm Lead Actor

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    I've pretty much decided that the car for me is a 5 speed Subaru Legacy Outback. Thanks for the input and keep it coming. The I30 felt very floaty to me, but I did like the feel of the engine, I'll bet it rocks with a 5 speed. The value retention of an Outback is outstanding, so I won't be able to get as much "car for the money", but it's a damn good car.
     

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