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New(er) Car
Old 07-13-2005, 04:56 PM   #1
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New(er) Car

Folks,

I respect the economic wisdom and disciplined frugality of the board, so I thought I'd ask for some opinions on the purchase of a new(er) car to replace my 1994 Honda Accord. Specifically, because of my professional obligations as an attorney, I'm looking at 3-year old used "near-luxury" cars, namely, Acuras and Infinitis. Anyone have additional suggestions? I'm looking to try and spend no more than $20k, so feel free to tell me that's just not possible.

Thanks in advance.
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Re: New(er) Car
Old 07-13-2005, 05:09 PM   #2
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Re: New(er) Car

I'd go with a slightly older Lexus.
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Re: New(er) Car
Old 07-13-2005, 05:13 PM   #3
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Re: New(er) Car

There's a thread here somewhere written by a guy who regrets buying a 700-series BMW. Send him a PM.
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Re: New(er) Car
Old 07-13-2005, 05:37 PM   #4
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Re: New(er) Car

This is going to sound crazy, but why not buy American.
You will find a new Chev Impala is actually a very fine car.* The new Ford 500 is nice as well.* Some of the Buicks stand up very well in the ratings.* Would give you a chance to buy new.
A used Lexus is probably OK, but get a bad one and you will pay and pay and pay.
A little side story here.* A lawyer I know always drives very modest cars,* like those I mentioned above.* I was ribbing him about his unlawyer like choice of cars a few years ago and he replied::
Just because those other guys are pompous jacka$$es doesn't mean I am.* Of course I told him "really, you could have fooled me"
Truth is, this guy was a master investor and would not for a minute think about spending big bucks on a frivolous set of wheels.* He also had a habit of dressing down as much as he could get away with.* I think that made more people (clients) feel comfortable with him.* Like he was actually human :
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Re: New(er) Car
Old 07-13-2005, 06:28 PM   #5
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Re: New(er) Car

I have had good results with my certified used Lexus. I bought a '97 ES300 in 2002. It had 47K miles on it. It came with a bumper to bumper warranty for 3 more years or 100K miles, whichever came first. The car has been great. I have had a couple of warranty items that would have cost me $1800 taken care of completely. I paid $21K for the car in 2002. I doubt you could get a similar car for $20K now though.

My wife has a '95 Toyota XLE that we bought as a certified used car in '98 with 26K miles for around $17K. Had similar warranty as above. Still runs great.

Good luck.

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Re: New(er) Car
Old 07-13-2005, 06:32 PM   #6
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Re: New(er) Car

Quote:
Originally Posted by JPatrick
This is going to sound crazy, but why not buy American.
You will find a new Chev Impala is actually a very fine car.* The new Ford 500 is nice as well.* Some of the Buicks stand up very well in the ratings.* Would give you a chance to buy new.
A used Lexus is probably OK, but get a bad one and you will pay and pay and pay.
A little side story here.* A lawyer I know always drives very modest cars,* like those I mentioned above.* I was ribbing him about his unlawyer like choice of cars a few years ago and he replied::
Just because those other guys are pompous jacka$$es doesn't mean I am.* Of course I told him "really, you could have fooled me"
Truth is, this guy was a master investor and would not for a minute think about spending big bucks on a frivolous set of wheels.* He also had a habit of dressing down as much as he could get away with.* I think that made more people (clients) feel comfortable with him.* Like he was actually human :
Damn, I completely forgot- - -that will be $300
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Re: New(er) Car
Old 07-13-2005, 06:49 PM   #7
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Re: New(er) Car

I think an Infiniti would be perfect for this sort of thing. You get a very nice Japanese luxury car with all the reliability but without the Lexus premium. For some reason Infiniti has just not caught on that well. You could probably squeeze into a 2003 G35 for around 20k. Nice car! I drove one as a loaner once.

I have a 2000 G20 which was the low end "starter" back then. They don't make it any more. Only had one problem with it and that was covered under warranty.
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Re: New(er) Car
Old 07-13-2005, 07:01 PM   #8
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Re: New(er) Car

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jay_Gatsby
Folks,

I respect the economic wisdom and disciplined frugality of the board, so I thought I'd ask for some opinions on the purchase of a new(er) car to replace my 1994 Honda Accord.* Specifically, because of my professional obligations as an attorney, I'm looking at 3-year old used "near-luxury" cars, namely, Acuras and Infinitis.* Anyone have additional suggestions?* I'm looking to try and spend no more than $20k, so feel free to tell me that's just not possible.

Thanks in advance.
Cadillac

JG
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Re: New(er) Car
Old 07-13-2005, 11:26 PM   #9
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Re: New(er) Car

Quote:
Originally Posted by JPatrick
Truth is, this guy was a master investor and would not for a minute think about spending big bucks on a frivolous set of wheels.* He also had a habit of dressing down as much as he could get away with.* I think that made more people (clients) feel comfortable with him.* Like he was actually human :
Our cars, our clothes, and our home reflect our values-- not our net worth.

Would you feel you were getting good value by paying a guy who wears expensive suits?
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Re: New(er) Car
Old 07-14-2005, 05:20 AM   #10
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Re: New(er) Car

I don't want to get too much into whether buying the type of car I'm contemplating reflects good or bad values. Then again, perhaps that's the point Nords was trying to raise, namely, good value for the money (or maybe not )

I've looked at used Lexus and BMW, but there's such a premium for the brand name. Infinitis and Acuras give you much more car for the same or less money. What I don't want to do is purchase a near-luxury car with 1/3 of its useful life (and arguably the best period), and yet pay 2/3 of the new car price. While paying such an amount would make sense from a proportionate standpoint, it doesn't take into account the 20% loss the minute you drive the car off the lot.

I'm not looking forward to handling (or being handled by) car dealers. No-haggle dealers like Carmax aren't any better, since they build in a nice little $1,500-2,000 guaranteed profit into their "no-haggle" pricing. What ever happened to finding a guy with several of the cars in stock, offering him $1,000 over what he paid (to take into account things like reconditioning for sale and the commission), and shaking hands over the deal?
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Re: New(er) Car
Old 07-14-2005, 06:56 AM   #11
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Re: New(er) Car

My recollection was that a guy on the TMF boards (BuildMWell) used to buy very nice luxury cars cheaply via estate sales in FL. He would scan classifieds, etc. for the car he wanted and usually end up dealing with an executor who was happy to sell at a bargain price provided it was a cash deal and the least aggravation possible to dispose of the car. Might be worth checking out as an alternative to a dealer.

I have to agree that Infiniti and Acura seem to be good choices. I'd probably lean toward the Acura, myself, but that it personal preference.
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Re: New(er) Car
Old 07-14-2005, 07:08 AM   #12
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Re: New(er) Car

What about an Audi?
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Re: New(er) Car
Old 07-14-2005, 07:36 AM   #13
 
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Re: New(er) Car

Quote:
Originally Posted by yelnad
What about an Audi?
Not near as good as Japanese reliability. - Expensive Maint. - Pretty much the same for BMW
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Re: New(er) Car
Old 07-14-2005, 07:51 AM   #14
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Re: New(er) Car

Quote:
Originally Posted by Cut-Throat
Poor reliability. - Expensive Maint. - Pretty much the same for BMW
That's what I've heard as well. On the flip side, I've heard Audis and BMWs are fun cars to drive (if you're into that sort of thing).
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Re: New(er) Car
Old 07-14-2005, 07:51 AM   #15
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Re: New(er) Car

I had a Mercedes once. *Bought it brand new and had it 6 years. *I don't even want to talk about the $$$$$ *I spent on it. *Things went wrong a LOT and cost a LOT to fix. *I am not hard on cars (only put 65K miles on it over the years), and am diligent about regular maintenance, but that car was ridiculous. *Not to mention horrible in snow! *After that car, I swore off EVER buying a luxury car again. *When I traded the Mercedes in, I traded it for a new 1994 Honda Accord (isn't that where this thread started??) *I'm still driving the Honda, and have never had a single problem with it. *It has 126K miles on it, looks great, runs great. *I'm planning to keep it another 10 years if I can get away with it!

If image is what you are after, then do what you have to do. *But even though it may be a less-expensive used car, you still may end up paying out the nose to maintain it if it's one of those luxury things.

You might also want to look at Consumer Reports reliability ratings on used cars.

Good luck!
CJ
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Re: New(er) Car
Old 07-14-2005, 07:55 AM   #16
 
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Re: New(er) Car

Jay,

If I were in your position, I'd look for a 3-4 year old Acura RL. The smaller Acuras TL etc. are sought after by kids that soup them up. The Acura RL is a bigger car their top of the line and you may get a better price on a used one.

As far as JG Caddy reccomendation, your clients might think that you have not entered the computer age yet. It's an Old Man's car.
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Re: New(er) Car
Old 07-14-2005, 08:37 AM   #17
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Re: New(er) Car

Quote:
Originally Posted by cj
I had a Mercedes once. *Bought it brand new and had it 6 years. *I don't even want to talk about the $$$$$ *I spent on it. *Things went wrong a LOT and cost a LOT to fix. *I am not hard on cars (only put 65K miles on it over the years), and am diligent about regular maintenance, but that car was ridiculous. *Not to mention horrible in snow! *After that car, I swore off EVER buying a luxury car again. *When I traded the Mercedes in, I traded it for a new 1994 Honda Accord (isn't that where this thread started??) *I'm still driving the Honda, and have never had a single problem with it. *It has 126K miles on it, looks great, runs great. *I'm planning to keep it another 10 years if I can get away with it!

If image is what you are after, then do what you have to do. *But even though it may be a less-expensive used car, you still may end up paying out the nose to maintain it if it's one of those luxury things.

You might also want to look at Consumer Reports reliability ratings on used cars.

Good luck!
CJ
Good advice. Image is important, at least in the image-conscious area in which I live. OTOH, an Acura would probably be the best choice under the circumstances, since it would have comparable reliability rating to Hondas, if not better.

Cut-Throat: You may be right, but an RL with less than 40k miles is outside of my price range. I doubt kids are going to be interested in modding the pre-2004 TL, since it's a bigger and heavier car. They're mostly focused on the RSX, which for all intents and purposes is a reborn Integra. The TSX offers many of the same advantages as the TL, but for $$$ less. In regards to the Inifiniti (i.e. the G35 sedan), it's RWD and doesn't handle that well in rain, slush and snow.
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Re: New(er) Car
Old 07-14-2005, 09:51 AM   #18
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Re: New(er) Car

A friend of mine is the service/parts manager at a big Honda car dealership, and he says it isn't uncommon to see Civics and the like come in at 200K miles for a major tuneup and then go back out for a lot more miles.

I suspect that probably is true for most any of the current Japanese manufacturers.

If you are buying for the long term I'd suggest that you look closely at how comfortable you are in the car. See if you can take it out for a couple hour drive. Buying a car that has your back screaming on a longer trip is a bad decision. And "comfort" doesn't mean "wallowy old-style Caddy ride". You can have a well controlled suspension so the thing handles OK that still gives a good ride. Seats are your major interface with the vehicle - lumbar adjustments and the like are something to look for. Also, seats wear out along with the rest of the car, especially the drivers seat. Just because the cover looks OK doesn't mean that the springing/padding hasn't sacked out.

cheers,
Michael
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Re: New(er) Car
Old 07-14-2005, 10:23 AM   #19
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Re: New(er) Car

Lexus is on my watch list, but has anyone had experience with the Lincoln LS? It really catches my eye.

I have a VW/Audi, from synthetic oil required, highest octane required, and tune ups being double the cost of my Jeep, it's not a "value". But it is fun to drive.
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Re: New(er) Car
Old 07-14-2005, 12:03 PM   #20
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Re: New(er) Car

Quote:
You might also want to look at Consumer Reports reliability ratings on used cars.
Consumer reports is fabulous -- both for reliability reports AND for their pricing reports -- you can buy a report on the car(s) you want that will tell you what has been selling for in your area. Also go to KBB (Kelly Blue Book) for similar information.

As to what car -- I bought a Toyota Camry for 10K out the door 14 years ago, just sold it for 1K. Best 9K I ever spent. Took it on washboard roads on camping trips, halfway across the U.S. and back any number of times, and worst of all, into San Francisco Bay area stop-and-go commute traffic. I'd put rolled-up rafts in the back seat when we went on river trips, and loaded it to capacity with bricks when I couldn't borrow a truck. Never had a SINGLE problem with it. Absolutely bullet-proof.

I'd have kept it forever except that I wanted airbags. You just cannot go wrong with anything made by Toyota.

Caroline



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