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Need Car Suggestions
Old 10-09-2012, 01:03 PM   #1
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Need Car Suggestions

Some may remember that my car was totaled about a month ago. Well, I was hit about a month ago; it took the insurance company a while to see reality and total it. The criminals/car thieves/hit and run drivers were never caught as far as I know, but I now have a nice check for my 2006 Subaru Impreza wagon. In 7 years, it depreciated less than $5000. I have been walking/bussing for this month, and I still have not completely decided whether to buy another vehicle or just to rely on busses, walking, cabs, and zip car.

By design I find myself living where almost all my real needs can be met walking, it's nightlife and also carrying anything that I might need beyond groceries and clothing and stuff I can get from Amazon. Even most tools I can get from Lowes or HD on a bus. It is less handy for sure than driving, but not impossible. But social life is harder, as I am not really thrilled to have 1 1/2 to 2 hour busrides home at night, and that's when I can coordinate a good schedule. As it gets colder, standing downtown in a gale coming off the Bay waiting for my 10' bus ride home is minimally appealing, but walking through some questionable areas at 12:30 even less so.

I have always liked cars; I drove a Volvo 122S for 340,000 miles, a VW Dasher for 325,000, and my wife drove a Taurus for over 200,000. And we drove 2 assorted used pickups and a VW Dasher Diesel and a couple Saabs and a Citroen for maybe another 120,000. Much of the upkeep on all these cars I did, and I more or less enjoyed it.

But that is over! I have no place to work on cars now, no place to keep tools, and no longer any real desire to get dirty and skin my knuckles when bolts break.

I see 3 main possibilities- buy another new Impreza ~$20-$22; buy a used car, or continue carless.

The Subaru is pretty well bulletproof, and has been well proven in a meaningful crash. The carless option is what it is.

My other possibility, and one that I know little about is buy a used luxury car. My kids will laugh at me.

I would want either all wheel drive or rear wheel drive. The little driving I did in Seattle in FWD cars made me never want to do it again. Steep downtown streets, sometimes brick paved, and rain, make a very bad combo for FWD. You sit there spinning your wheels, and please, don't even consider turning when you are stopped on a hill.

Snow is not a big deal for me, as I just stay parked in snow. Even with AWD I am likely to stay parked, to minimize risks of others sliding into me, and possible salt damage. If I get eager for some social life, the buses are OK.

I mention luxury cars because I definitely do not want anything loved by young performance oriented men, or a typical car driven by budget constrained people. Gas mileage is not important, as I drive little, (< 5000/yr). So a low mileage and fairly new rwd or awd high end car, intermediate or full size, foreign or domestic, typically driven and cared for by amiddle aged to older man who takes good care of the car inside and out might be just right. If this costs as much or more than the Impreza, I might just get an Impreza. Yet, since I have been clobbered twice in 7 years by careless or impaired drivers, I may be ready to go big.

I know many here really have good car knowledge, what might be some suggestions?

Ha
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Old 10-09-2012, 01:28 PM   #2
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I like the idea of a used Subaru in your situation. You can have it maintained professionally by a local shop as needed, so there isn't an imperative to buy a new one. I'd replace the crashed one with one about 3-5 years old in your situation.
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Old 10-09-2012, 01:48 PM   #3
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I got a used infiniti last year, been very pleased with it. It was an '07 with only 26k off lease, got it a CARMAX. The econobox prices aren't so good but lux/semi-lux can be a good buy in the 3-4 yr old with low mileage. You can search their inventory for the features you want like AWD.

The new Impreza will probably win out on price though. The imports are pricier( MB, BMW,lexus) domestics are cheaper used ( caddy, mercury )
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Old 10-09-2012, 01:57 PM   #4
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I just bought a new accord, the 2012 models are priced to sell with the new redesigned model coming in.
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Old 10-09-2012, 02:03 PM   #5
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I bought a 2008 Subaru Legacy GT for abut $20k last December and have really enjoyed it. Zippy little thing when I want it to be but plenty practical too. I like the smaller size of the last generation Legacy compared to the current more mid-size generation.

Audi TT Quattro or an Audi A4 Quattro would be contenders if I was going to splurge.
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Old 10-09-2012, 02:05 PM   #6
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Ha, with your luck in getting hit, I would probably go find the biggest, heaviest, safest thing I could find for 20k. Hard to get safer than a minivan, but somehow I don't think that is your idea of fun. Subaru outback? Used Subaru Tribeca? One of the larger crossovers?
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Old 10-09-2012, 02:21 PM   #7
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A good small SUV, like a Subaru Forester, is higher off the ground so the driver is better protected vs a sedan, and Subaru is the best at all wheel drive.
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Old 10-09-2012, 02:33 PM   #8
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Ha,
A big(ish) luxury car would be comfortable and safe, but it sounds like you do a lot of urban driving and parking, which takes the fun out of owning a land yacht.
Maybe a 4-5 YO Infinity or Acura Sedan? Many are AWD. Very safe, cushy, reliable. Typically over 4000 lbs curb weight, so definitely won't get tossed around in an accident.
Or, go with the Subaru. Sounds like you enjoyed the one you had.
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Old 10-09-2012, 02:49 PM   #9
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Ha,

Consider taxis and rentals (when you REALLY need them). Some agencies will even come to you.

I know your town, and it is possible. Even if the costs might possibly be more, the simplicity has a strong attraction. It may be possible to do in Seattle as we do in Baku: find a driver who you like and give him your business. You may need two or so.

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Old 10-09-2012, 02:50 PM   #10
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I bought a 2008 Subaru Legacy GT for abut $20k last December and have really enjoyed it. Zippy little thing when I want it to be but plenty practical too.
I drove one of these before I bought my Impreza. I decided to go with the Impreza, purely on price. I was in hurry, as I still lived outside the city and was driving a rental thanks to my penultimate total loss.
That car you bought is really a bomb. Do you think that most of them around the used market will have been driven pretty hard? I am not certain, but tremendous acceleration might have enabled me to escape from this last criminal who seemed to be trying to kill me.

To all- I like the suggestions, thanks. Any experience with BMWs, Mercedes, I'd like to hear about any of these cars. I thought the Infinitis were all FWD, glad to hear that is not true. These are very nice cars. How about the sporty Caddys, like STS, etc?

I think Town cars and Mercs may be too big, I doubt I could even get into my slot at home.

Ha
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Old 10-09-2012, 03:08 PM   #11
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The maintenance on the german imports is pricey, $100+ for an oil change. Parts costs more too. Infiniti a lot can be done at a nissan dealer since parts are the same.
Caddys like most GMs have poor repair history.

Maybe check a lincoln MKZ, about the right size, it's FWD but comes in a AWD version. Usually can get those at good price. Not the boat size like town car
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Old 10-09-2012, 03:11 PM   #12
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I drove one of these before I bought my Impreza. I decided to go with the Impreza, purely on price. I was in hurry, as I still lived outside the city and was driving a rental thanks to my penultimate total loss.
That car you bought is really a bomb. Do you think that most of them around the used market will have been driven pretty hard? I am not certain, but tremendous acceleration might have enabled me to escape from this last criminal who seemed to be trying to kill me......
I think it depends on the former owner - if it was a young male the I would be cautious that it may have been driven hard and would be less concerned if it was a young female (they tend to be more responsible) or someone more middle aged. Mine was owned by a young female and I don't drive it very hard but it is nice to know the pickup is there for passing or for a little fun on an occasional set of curves.

Earlier this summer I was behind a souped up Miata and we were going out of town and I was playing around and hanging with him real well and looked down at the speedo and we were doing over 100!!! (very rare for me).
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Old 10-09-2012, 05:11 PM   #13
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I don't know much about cars, but I've always been very happy with Volkswagens and today have been drooling over one of these (a white one with Herbie decals). It looks wicked.



Here's the official site: Volkswagen Beetle
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Old 10-09-2012, 05:53 PM   #14
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Ha, with your luck in getting hit, I would probably go find the biggest, heaviest, safest thing I could find for 20k. Hard to get safer than a minivan, but somehow I don't think that is your idea of fun. Subaru outback? Used Subaru Tribeca? One of the larger crossovers?
Maybe one of those old Buick boats? A little bondo and grey primer patena will strike the fear of god in only the most drunken driver.
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Old 10-09-2012, 06:17 PM   #15
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You said suggestions, not good and useful suggestions.
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Old 10-09-2012, 06:20 PM   #16
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Maybe one of those old Buick boats? A little bondo and grey primer patena will strike the fear of god in only the most drunken driver.
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Old 10-09-2012, 06:20 PM   #17
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Ha,

Consider taxis and rentals (when you REALLY need them). Some agencies will even come to you.

I know your town, and it is possible. Even if the costs might possibly be more, the simplicity has a strong attraction. It may be possible to do in Seattle as we do in Baku: find a driver who you like and give him your business. You may need two or so.

Ed
+ 1 on the rental car option.

Taxis...Anytime I had to travel for w*rk to a larger city, for weeks at a time, I used taxis heavily. I obtained the cards of a few of the drivers so I could call them a few hours ahead of time for the pickup. I arranged the return trip pickup time on the spot. It was more cost efficient for the short distance, infrequent driving I needed to do for the period of time I was there.

Is carpooling with a neighbor (who owns a car) a possibility ? Just hand over some gas money when there is a common destination.

If you can evaluate your actual driving needs (frequency and distance), the solution may become clearer.
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Old 10-09-2012, 06:22 PM   #18
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Seriously - hoopties rule. When I met Mr. A., he was driving a 1971 Buick LeSabre with a big dent in the side that he'd bought off a friend after Mr. A.'s divorce left him a bit light in the wallet. The car didn't go too well with Mr. A.'s tailored suits and expensive wing-tips, but that was all part of his appeal (to me)...and nobody, absolutely nobody, got in our way when he was driving it. We kept the beater till it died and then sold it for scrap.

So you see, Mr. Ha, if you had a hooptie, you might end up with a much younger girl friend. Although if things go the Amethyst way, you'd also end up married and a dad again...which may be more than you bargained for!

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Maybe one of those old Buick boats? A little bondo and grey primer patena will strike the fear of god in only the most drunken driver.
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Old 10-09-2012, 06:39 PM   #19
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Forget practical ! This may be your last car purchase so go with the gusto . My choice is economical but fun !
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Old 10-09-2012, 06:48 PM   #20
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I now have a nice check for my 2006 Subaru Impreza wagon. In 7 years, it depreciated less than $5000. [...] By design I find myself living where almost all my real needs can be met walking, it's nightlife and also carrying anything that I might need beyond groceries and clothing and stuff I can get from Amazon. Even most tools I can get from Lowes or HD on a bus. It is less handy for sure than driving, but not impossible. But social life is harder, as I am not really thrilled to have 1 1/2 to 2 hour busrides home at night, and that's when I can coordinate a good schedule. As it gets colder, standing downtown in a gale coming off the Bay waiting for my 10' bus ride home is minimally appealing, but walking through some questionable areas at 12:30 even less so.
Just to provide a completely different perspective....

I'd suggest trying life without a car for a year or so. If you need one for a date, get a rental using part of the money you have saved on car insurance and maintenance. I can envision you as being very happy without a car. Actually, I have always wondered why you have one, with all the walking that you do each day.

Seems like you live in an ideally walkable location. We have discussed the cost of living in your area before, and what it seems to come down to is that while it costs more than some areas, there are advantages to living there as well. One of the big advantages that I see from your descriptions is that everything is right there, close by, making a walking lifestyle very attractive.

If you plan to spend about half the nights out on dates, I guess renting a car would be impractical. Maybe you could get a bicycle for riding home from GF's house, or small car for taking her to events.
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