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Time to get a car: Lexus IS300? '00 or '01 Passat? Or something else...?

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by Jonathan Burk, Jul 23, 2002.

  1. Jonathan Burk

    Jonathan Burk Second Unit

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    It's time to invest in a new set of wheels, and I'm having trouble deciding which car to get.
    I'm looking for a sporty 4 door sedan. I kept my last car (an '89 Accord, bought in '95) for 7 years and 200,000+ miles, and I plan on going the distance with my next one, so reliability is a huge factor. I don't like to spend extra time at the fix it shop.
    Here's my preferences, in order of most important:
    • reliable
    • fun to drive/ kind of sporty looking, but still a nice business car
    • quiet interior
    • safe
    • $15-30K
    • 2-4 years old (I'd like to buy used, so the IS300 is iffy)
    • easy/ cheap upkeep; easy to find parts and repair.
    • good stereo, or easy to upgrade; easy to add CD/MP3 player (either in-dash, or portable)
    So far, I'm drawn to the Lexus IS300 (haven't really looked at other Lexus models) and the '00 or '01 Passat (can't get good statistics about the reliability, but it looks like a great car from what I've read).
    I don't know a lot about cars, so any recommendations would be appreciated about where to buy. I'm thinking I'll probably end up at CarMax, becuase of their huge selection, guaranteed quality, and web-accessible inventory.
     
  2. Josh Lowe

    Josh Lowe Screenwriter

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  3. Jared_B

    Jared_B Supporting Actor

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    I'd recommend the Infiniti G35. It starts at 27k, is very sporty and fast, and has plenty of room. Infinity was recently ranked #1 in a Consumer Reports reliability article. The IS300 is also a very good choice. The interior is a good bit smaller than the G35, but still livable.

    Also, why used? New cars are priced very competitively, and the financing is great right now. If reliability is a big concern, getting a good warranty should be as well. Used cars won't have much of a warranty left.

    In my opinion, if you're looking at a sporty car, the Passat won't come close. Drive the IS300 (if you haven't yet). That car handles like it's on rails. The Passat will feel like a caddy after that.
     
  4. CharlesD

    CharlesD Screenwriter

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    Subaru Impreza WRX.
    Four doors, all-wheel drive 227 hp/ 217 lb/ft torque, 0-60 in 5.4 seconds. Excellent crash test ratings, front and side air-bags. Good stable handling (although the AWD can have characteristics of both FWD and RWD cars, so it pays to get used to the car before taking it to the limit which is something you should do on the street in any case [​IMG] )
    Its by no means a luxury car but has all the basic amenities, and it is a practical, fast "driver's car". [​IMG]
     
  5. NickSo

    NickSo Producer

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    I'd firstly recommend the Infiniti G35... Its very sporty (it beat a BMW 3-series in a M/T review recently!), yet very executive-looking.

    Then i'd recommend a used BMW M3 purely for the sportiness...

    i woudl've recommended the WRX except i dont see it as "a nice business car", rather a fast, cheap, weekend-thriller car
     
  6. Cam S

    Cam S Screenwriter

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    I'll second the WRX. With a few upgrades your in ZO6 eating territory.
     
  7. Justin Doring

    Justin Doring Screenwriter

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    I've never been an advocate of buying used cars, because with some skillful negotiation you can get a new car for not much more than a year or two old used one. If you don't believe me, check out prices on two to four-year-old BMW 3 series. Also don't forget that there are some great financing options currently available on new cars, and the great warranty just sweetens the deal.

    New cars today are better than they've ever been, and the fierce competition in the "near luxury" category has recently produced some fabulous automobiles.

    Personally speaking, while the IS300 is a competent performing sports sedan, I couldn't imagine having one for a daily driver. It looks like a modified Civic, the interior is cheap, and interior noise is unacceptable in a $10,000 car, let alone a $30,000 one.

    My next automobile will be a BMW 330Ci, but if I had to transport people regularly, I would probably opt for the Infiniti G35 instead. For under $30,000 (leather edition with the sport package) you get a very well equipped sport/luxury sedan that has more room, more power, and better reliability than the BMW 3 series. Build quality, aesthetics, handling, breaking, and driver to automobile communication isn't quite on par with the 3 series, but the G35 is a great car for the money.

    Of course by all means check out the BMW 325i and the Audi A4 1.8T Quattro in addition to the G35.
     
  8. Chad Ellinger

    Chad Ellinger Second Unit

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    I just got an Acura RSX Type-S and love it. Looks great, it's a blast to drive (200 hp, 6-speed), plus Honda's 4-cylinders last forever. It's a little noiser then some of the more expensive cars mentioned above I'm sure, but that lets you hear its screaming 7900 RPM redline [​IMG]. All for about $22K + TTL.
    Edit: Oops, just reread your original post. You said you're looking for a sedan. Sorry!
     
  9. Philip Hamm

    Philip Hamm Lead Actor

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    If reliability is paramount there's nothing more reliable than the Japanese Honda, Toyota, Subaru, and Nissan. Mitsubishi and Suzuki are also good but not on par with the above. Also, German cars are very reliable but not like the Japanese I don't think.

    A great many cars fit your criteria.

    I have an A4 which I've been happy with, you may want to look at those as well. My fiance just bought a new Passat and it's a great car, definitely take a look at those.
     
  10. Mike__D

    Mike__D Supporting Actor

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    As far as sporty, the A4 is much more sporty than a Passat. Many people think they are the same care because they share the same platform and parts, but they are very different.

    German cars aren't reliable as Japanese, and can be costly to repair in the long run. But 5 years down the road, a Japanese car will show it's wear & tear, where as a German car will still retain it's "newness", as long as it's taken care off.

    Mike D.
     
  11. Chris Smith

    Chris Smith Stunt Coordinator

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    If you're looking at the IS300 do yourself a favor and look at the Acrua TL type S (I just got one).

    It's a four door sedan and a lot bigger than the IS300 but faster, if you ask me. Bigger is important when trying to get people in the back seat. And if this is an issue for you, as it was for me, steer WAY clear of ANY of the 3 series BMWs. I have more room in the back of my g/f New Beetle than I do in my friends 325i. Why they even bother making a four door version is beyond me.

    I like the idea behind the G35 but think it is ugly as anything. But it comes in a 6 spd which is really nice, if that's your thing.

    Besides, you're an Accord fan (or so it seems). The TL has Honda's same reliablity with a nicer ride and MUCH more power.
     
  12. Tim Markley

    Tim Markley Screenwriter

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  13. Jonathan Burk

    Jonathan Burk Second Unit

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    Thanks for the awesome feedback. The BMW M3 looks hard to find in the price range I am looking for; I guess there aren't a lot of people selling theirs. I'll keep my eyes open, but I'm not too hopeful. It looks like a sweet car, and I'd love to have one.
    I'm starting to have reliability concerns about the Passat (at least compared to the Japanese cars), and I've heard bad things about Audi reliability, so I'm going to steer clear of the A4.
    I think the Lexus IS300 won't fill the bill, because I have two childseats for the rear (even though they are usually in the family car, I occasionally need to use them), so rear seat room is a concern. Also, it looks a little small, although I'll test drive it to see if it feels small. If I want small, I'll just get a Mini [​IMG] .
    The Infinity G35 looks great, but I don't think I'll be able to find a used one, and because of its popularity, I don't think dealers would want to go down on the price. Correct me if I'm wrong. Since there are probably other (used) cars that would make me just as happy, it's not a serious contender.
    I think I'm going to try to find an '00 or '01 S-type Acura TL. It looks like the closest match to my criteria, and I really like the styling.
    I haven't considered buying a new car, since my only other car I bought from a friend, and I just didn't think I could get a good deal at a dealership. If anyone has any good advice about getting an absolute killer deal at a dealership, I'd be willing to give it a try.
    I'm going to go to CarMax and give some of these vehicles test drives, just to get a personal comparison. Unless I just absolutely fall in love with a different car, I'll probably end up with the Acura.
    Please add anything you think I should know, as I'm still researching and looking.
     
  14. Graham Perks

    Graham Perks Second Unit

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    My wife and I followed this faxing approach to dealers when we bought a Honda Accord. It worked very well; we turned up at the winning dealer, signed the papers and drove off. Zero hassle, great deal.
    http://www.fool.com/car/step12car.htm
    Check out www.edmunds.com or www.kbb.com for pricing.
    In the middle of 2001 the Passat was upgraded "the 2001.5 model" and reliability has gone from poor (1998 ish) to excellent (2002+) according to Consumer Reports.
    I really like the TL Type-S I test drove.
    I think I'll be going with a 2003 Passat Wagon for about 23K or so... 4 year warranty on them now!
     
  15. Mike__D

    Mike__D Supporting Actor

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    As far as Audi/VW reliability, it's not bad. Check out Audiworld There are alot of people that "chip" (the chips increase performance by remapping air/fuel mixture, increase turbo boost, etc) their cars and have many trouble free miles with them.
    The problem with the A4 is it's backseat is so small, but children should not have a problem back there. Child seats shouldn't be a problem unless you happen to be really tall and need your seat way back.
    I'd recommend taking one for a test drive at least...
     
  16. NickSo

    NickSo Producer

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    Are you absolutely dead set on getting used? Coz like it was said earlier for $3k under your price cap, you can get a base G35. It'll come with the new car smell, and the new car warranty, etc.
    Who knows, you might be able to talk the price down.. just search for that thread that talked about haggling at car dealerships [​IMG]
     
  17. Jared_B

    Jared_B Supporting Actor

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    Totally agree with NickSo.
    Do you just want to feel like you got a killer deal, or do you just want to stay within your price range?

    I can say that I'll probably never buy a used car again. It's just not worth the hassle to me. You never know how that used car was treated.
     
  18. Tim Markley

    Tim Markley Screenwriter

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    I highly recommend that you go out and test drive all of the cars listed here and any others that you have even the slightest interest in. Just make sure that the car you test drive is equipped the way you want it. There's a big difference between a car with a sport package and one without. It costs you nothing to test drive and your opinion of the car may be vastly different from what you've read here or anywhere else. Good luck in your search!
     
  19. Philip Hamm

    Philip Hamm Lead Actor

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  20. Brian Kleinke

    Brian Kleinke Supporting Actor

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    The passat is a very nice car, I almost bought one till I drove an Audi (I don't need the big back seats)
    Passats are very safe, and I believe are quite reliable. Checkout www.vwvortex.com for lots of info on VWs.
    I do agree the Edmunds is an awsome site. Great when buying new or used cars.
    Brian
     

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