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Best Used Car
Old 07-27-2006, 02:16 PM   #1
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Best Used Car

I have to get a new car.* I'd go with a Crown Vic or Grand Marquis but need something with front wheel drive, or all-wheel drive because I have to deal with ice and hills.* I want something safe, reliable, and cheap, and preferably without any cachet -- something I can leave parked at an airport for a month with no worries that it'll be stolen.

Any favorites?
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Re: Best Used Car
Old 07-27-2006, 02:22 PM   #2
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Re: Best Used Car

I've always been of the belief that if you have a decent set of tires on your car, it doesn't matter what wheels power it. BTW, any fairly recent Crown Vic would have ABS and most likely traction control, and those two features go a long way towards making a RWD car more easy to deal with in the snow.

FWIW, I have a 2000 Intrepid and a 1985 Silverado. I can actually make the Intrepid spin out in nasty weather than I can the truck!

If you're set on FWD though, and just want something fairly cheap and reliable, I'd say just about any GM mid- or full-sized car with a non-supercharged 3.8 built in the last 15 years should do the trick. Something like an Impala, Regal, LeSabre, etc.
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Re: Best Used Car
Old 07-27-2006, 02:41 PM   #3
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Re: Best Used Car

Some of the larger cars and smaller suv's are going so cheap these days brand new, you might consider that option. Unless you're looking for REALLY cheap.

Some of the small to mid size 4WD SUV's selling used are even better bargains. If you're in the crown vic/marquis area, gas mileage probably isnt your biggest concern

Heck, I just looked at CarsDirect.com and they're offering a brand new grand marquis for 17,544 marked down from 25,555...

16,244 and change for a brand new hyundai sonata...decent mid size car with good reliability records, and nobody's going to give it a second look in an airport parking lot.

Used, you cant go wrong with the standard Camry/Accord fwders.
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Re: Best Used Car
Old 07-27-2006, 02:59 PM   #4
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Re: Best Used Car

Quote:
Originally Posted by Andre1969

If you're set on FWD though, and just want something fairly cheap and reliable, I'd say just about any GM mid- or full-sized car with a non-supercharged 3.8 built in the last 15 years should do the trick.* Something like an Impala, Regal, LeSabre, etc.
Yup, or a Mitsubishi Galant. Lousy resale value, but high reliability marks and front wheel drive.
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Re: Best Used Car
Old 07-27-2006, 03:05 PM   #5
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Re: Best Used Car

Subaru!

....and Click & Clack The Car Guys are fans too.
We wouldn't steer you wrong
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Re: Best Used Car
Old 07-27-2006, 03:09 PM   #6
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Re: Best Used Car

I think the only problem with something like a Camry/Accord is that you don't save much buying a used one, so you might as well just get new. And nobody's perfect, not even Honda/Toyota. So in the event that you do get a used one that turns out to be a piece of junk, then you've just gotten screwed twice. First, because you paid a premium for the name value. Second, because now you're shelling out for expensive repairs.

And then you have to live with the disbelief of others who will swear up and down that there's nothing wrong with your car or "if there is you must have done something mean and evil to it!"

Mistubishis have always scared me because they've been marketing to sub-prime buyers for years now, which tend to be the types that buy a car, abuse it, and then get it repossessed, or swap it and roll the negative equity into something else. So while the cars themselves may be okay, I just worry that the type of buyer they tend to attract means you have to really look the car over with a fine tooth comb. I think Hyundais and Kias are kinda like this, too. They're cheap to buy, and migth be reliable, but the owners just tend to not take care of them.

Another thing that used to bother me about Mitsubishi is that back in the 80's, it seems like they sold their worst junk to Chrysler. Like if you saw a minivan blowing smoke it most likely had a Mitsubishi 3.0 V-6. Or if your K-car ate its 4-cyl engine, chances are it was the Mitsubishi 2.6 "Silent Shaft", and not the Mopar 2.2, which was designed by the same guy who did the famous Slant Six and actually pretty reliable and easy to work on.
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Re: Best Used Car
Old 07-27-2006, 03:55 PM   #7
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Re: Best Used Car

Quote:
Originally Posted by Daneboy
Subaru!

....and Click & Clack The Car Guys are fans too.
We wouldn't steer you wrong
Definately won't get stolen if you buy a non-turbo, but maybe not so cheap.

Another thought: Chrysler minivan. Cheap, reasonably reliable, safe, and NOBODY is gonna steal it...
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Re: Best Used Car
Old 07-27-2006, 04:04 PM   #8
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Re: Best Used Car

Thanks for all the advice.* I'm not much of a shopper, and usually don't spend a lot of time on stuff like this, but you're stuck with a vehicle for years usually -- my wife still has her 93 Cavalier that we bought new (mostly for the ABS)-- so it's worth a bit of thought.*
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Re: Best Used Car
Old 07-27-2006, 04:31 PM   #9
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Re: Best Used Car

Buying a car is such a personal decision. Just cause someone else likes a car doesn't mean that you should (and vice versa).

safe/reliable/cheap - Those terms are somewhat mutually exclusive.

- Nonetheless here's my two cents...

- late models (say 2002 on) Ford Taurus have reasonable reliability, 5-star crash test scores and can be had for close to nothin'. This car is somewhat legendary for cheap miles.

- Japanese cars are probably more reliable but also probably not cheap. Some people think that Japanese cars should be only bought new cause used ones just cost too much.

- I like a previous posters idea of the big SUV's that can be had for not too much these days cause everyone wants to unload them. Maybe an Excursion or a Tahoe would fit the bill.
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Re: Best Used Car
Old 07-27-2006, 04:56 PM   #10
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Re: Best Used Car

Chevy Impala!
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Re: Best Used Car
Old 07-27-2006, 06:19 PM   #11
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Re: Best Used Car

I have fond memories of a Chevy Impala, but maybe I'll try to snag a bargain on a gas guzzler SUV or big car.* I don't care about fuel economy at all.* Maybe I could even take over a lease from someone who has to drive a lot and wants to get out of it.*
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Re: Best Used Car
Old 07-27-2006, 06:23 PM   #12
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Re: Best Used Car

Quote:
Originally Posted by MasterBlaster
- late models (say 2002 on) Ford Taurus have reasonable reliability, 5-star crash test scores and can be had for close to nothin'. This car is somewhat legendary for cheap miles.
I'm with Blaster on this one. Safe, reasonably reliable, easy to find a bargain on one and even if you leave it unlocked with the keys in the ignition, odds are it will still be there when you get back.

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Re: Best Used Car
Old 07-27-2006, 08:05 PM   #13
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Re: Best Used Car

Life is too short to drive a shitbox car. Buy something you can keep for 10 years.
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Re: Best Used Car
Old 07-27-2006, 08:14 PM   #14
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Re: Best Used Car

It's funny, but the more money I have the less I care about the status of my wheels -- although it's nice to drive something that handles well and has some zip. I remember test driving a jaguar that was in my price range, many years ago, and nearly buying it even though the odometer steamed up while I was driving it; never seen anything like that, but old jags were pretty creative, as I recall, in giving their owners nightmares.

Also, it might not just be me. I'm thinking wheels have less status now than formerly, unless you drive a Maybach (sp?) or something.
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Re: Best Used Car
Old 07-27-2006, 11:24 PM   #15
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Re: Best Used Car

Quote:
Originally Posted by Cransten
It's funny, but the more money I have the less I care about the status of my wheels -- although it's nice to drive something that handles well and has some zip. I remember test driving a jaguar that was in my price range, many years ago, and nearly buying it even though the odometer steamed up while I was driving it; never seen anything like that, but old jags were pretty creative, as I recall, in giving their owners nightmares.

Also, it might not just be me. I'm thinking wheels have less status now than formerly, unless you drive a Maybach (sp?) or something.
It's really just different strokes for differnet folks. I spend alot of time behind the wheel living in LA. I need a comfortable car that is reliable. I would rather drive my 6 year old 740I than anything new today. It drives like a dream and will depreciate slowly. I bought it new and plan on keeping it for at least another 6 years. Its fully paid for and the registration is about 200 bucks a year. Like I said before, For me, life is far too short to drive a sh*tbox car.... It has nothing to do with status, its comfort.
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Re: Best Used Car
Old 07-27-2006, 11:46 PM   #16
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Re: Best Used Car

I think slightly used (2-4 years) car on the high end of mid or even near luxury is the way to go. Just as long as the service record is good. A used Lexus gives you that.
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Re: Best Used Car
Old 07-27-2006, 11:52 PM   #17
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Re: Best Used Car

Quote:
Originally Posted by Laurence
I think slightly used (2-4 years) car on the high end of mid or even near luxury is the way to go.* Just as long as the service record is good.* A used Lexus gives you that.
When buying a used vehicle, it is best if about 40-50% of the depreciation has already taken away in a 3 year old car. In several years of looking at the market, there have been no used Japanese vehicles that I know of that are good buys..as has been mentioned a number of times in this thread already. The OP wants cheap, safe and reliable....and cheap is definitely not Japanese.
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Re: Best Used Car
Old 07-27-2006, 11:56 PM   #18
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Re: Best Used Car

I would think that an American car about 2 to 3 years old would fit the bill. They seem to lose at least 50% of there value by that point.

If it's still under 36K and 3 years old you can get the new car factory warranty to 7 years from the original in service date.
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Re: Best Used Car
Old 07-28-2006, 08:55 AM   #19
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Re: Best Used Car

Sounds like you want a bigger car. On the cheap, get a 96-99 Toyota Avalon with 60k miles for 8k. FWD, luxury ride just like a Lex, good on gas, reliable to 175k-200k miles.
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Re: Best Used Car
Old 07-28-2006, 09:30 AM   #20
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Re: Best Used Car

Yep avalons a pretty nice car for the dough. Everybody wants a camry, so the larger avalon slips though the net on occasion.

Re: Lexus depreciation...now you know why I didnt mind buying one for the wife. We'll keep it for 7-10 years, maybe a little longer, and I'll end up getting back half or more of what I paid since the new ones will be over 100k by then

She's got 1462 miles on it in six months. Do the math.
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