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Time to buy a replacement car
Old 04-12-2011, 04:52 PM   #1
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Time to buy a replacement car

We are FIREd for 4 years now. We weathered the rollercoaster ride and are still within our comfort zone (i.e things are going as planned).

Here is the issue;
We have a 1998 BMW that we bought used about 8 years ago (to the best of my recollection). It's probably worth about $4K or so. The problem is I just got my mechanic to look at it due to the check engine light coming on. He said no problem found on the check engine light, but I had 2 leaks (minor and drive-able) that would cost around $1500 to fix. For the last few years, I have been tossing in about $1K each year for 'stuff that broke' and maintenance. My mechanic agreed with me that it would probably not be worth it to put the 1500 into this car.

He suggested that I buy an Audi A6, as the newer beamers do not have a good reliability record (like the old ones did ). He also said that the Volvo S60 would be a good car to look at, although not as luxurious as the Audi. I am thinking a used car in the mid 20's range.
So a 2007/2008 something. Also looking at Acura RL, since consumer reports says it's a good reliable luxury car. We'll probably keep the thing for 10 years or so. We drive about 3000 miles a year.

Any experiences on these cars (Audi, Acura, Volvo)

Please refrain (if you can) from lecturing on buying green or American or downscale cars. One likes what one likes. DW likes a bit of heft and luxury when she drives ... it's one of our few vices.

Thank you.
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Old 04-12-2011, 05:04 PM   #2
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Which car do you like ? That's all that matters.

It goes without saying that the Audi and the Volvo will be less reliable than the Acura. But there's more to owning a car than a few repairs.

Drive what you like.
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Old 04-12-2011, 05:10 PM   #3
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Consider the total cost of ownership.

Look a the consumer reports ratings on the used cars you are considering. Check to see if there are known problems (quality or durability issues that are causing costly maint).

My experience has been that European cars seem to be a little more expensive for upkeep and parts.
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Old 04-12-2011, 05:18 PM   #4
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Consider buying another BMW with an extended warranty. I got one a couple of years ago that was one year old with an extended warranty with 5 years to run.
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Old 04-12-2011, 06:19 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by megacorp-firee View Post
Any experiences on these cars (Audi, Acura, Volvo)
Please refrain (if you can) from lecturing on buying green or American or downscale cars. One likes what one likes. DW likes a bit of heft and luxury when she drives ... it's one of our few vices.




Thank you.
I've owned an Audi TT, a BMW 325, a Volvo 850 and four Honda's (Acura).
  • The Audi was a great car and reasonably reliable, but when maintenance was required it was pricey, about like the BMW I had. Better driving experience than a Volvo or Acura, but not night and day.
  • I had lots of problems with my Volvo, partly dealer issues but one major AC design issue that surfaced in warranty that Volvo patched and stuck me with outside warranty. I'll never buy another Volvo, but that was 10 years ago and I acknowledge bias from one very bad experience. Volvo today is most likely a completely different car.
  • I've known two Acura owners and have owned four Honda's - head and shoulders more reliable and more reasonable cost of repair when needed. Acura's are great cars too.
  • Surprised you didn't mention any Lexus, but not your cup of tea which is fine.
My 2˘...and choosing a car involves many more factors as you know.
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Old 04-12-2011, 06:33 PM   #6
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My 2˘...and choosing a car involves many more factors as you know.
I concur...

If you only want a low cost car, your list is all wrong. If you only want a reliable car then something like a Corolla would be best.

But see how they drive, see how you fit. You'll be spending way too much time in it for those two not to be OK. Throw away those "guides" as they just don't matter.

All that matters is what you think and how you like the car. What we think is irrelevant.
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Old 04-12-2011, 07:08 PM   #7
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If you have to have one of the three, get the Acura.
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Old 04-12-2011, 08:10 PM   #8
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No question the Acura will be much more reliable than the Audi or Volvo. Why not get the TL? It's basically the same size as the RL but cheaper.
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Old 04-12-2011, 09:53 PM   #9
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I drive a 2002 Volvo S60 T5. Bought it used in early 2005 with 52k miles. It has been a great car and now has approximately 150k miles on it. I hope it lasts for another 10 years. I was tempted by the new S60 with 5 years of free maintenance but I have no excuse to get rid of mine.
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Old 04-12-2011, 11:11 PM   #10
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The Audi models from the early 2000s had poor electronics. If the LCD wasn't fading (replaced under warranty), the windows were bouncing mysteriously or the cruise was stuck (warranty). Make sure that those problems have been fixed in the later models (they probably have but I haven't followed).

Parts are expensive but you can buy aftermarket parts and they're often better quality than the OEM ones (metal v. plastic impellers, etc.) My 2002 low-mileage Audi has needed very little maintenance past the warranty period.
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Old 04-12-2011, 11:22 PM   #11
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We've had only the Acura and it's been great, so I'd vote for that, but that doesn't mean the Volvo and the Audi wouldn't have been great too.
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Old 04-13-2011, 07:09 AM   #12
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Maybe this is a stupid question, but why not a non-luxury marque? There are plenty of fine, serviceable, reliable cars out there in your price range that do not carry the luxury car price tag.
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Old 04-13-2011, 07:53 AM   #13
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Bought a Used 2001 Acura TL in 2004 w 26K miles. Now has over 175K miles and runs great. I still love driving it. Hope I can get 300K miles Just routine maintaince. Looked at buying another for DW a while back along with Lexus and the Lexus had it great points.
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Old 04-15-2011, 12:32 AM   #14
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Thanks to all for your tips and comments. These will help in our search.
I also think that we will have to walk the lots and try them on for size.

... the real answer will be, whatever my DW wants
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Old 04-15-2011, 01:02 AM   #15
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I owned a '98 Audi A4 and now drive an '05 Acura TL.

The Audi had a more luxurious interior, no rattles, far better driving feel, and was the car that I LOVED to drive. However, it had little things go wrong with it, including intermittent cooling issues that the dealer could not easily diagnose. I put about $1500 into repairs and parts and labor are very expensive.

My '05 TL now has 105K on it and still runs great. It's had almost nothing done to it other than the usual brakes, tires, and battery. It has a nice interior and drives decently. But its interior is not up to Audi level and it has had many rattles. It is nose heavy and the nose kind of wallows a bit in spirited turns. It just feels a bit more *cheap*, even though most people would say its interior and handling are quite good. But I was spoiled. It does not inspire much passion, unlike the Audi. However, I have no doubt that the Acura will easily go 200K with little maintenance cost.

Boy I still really miss that Audi, though.

If you favor reliability and lost cost more, go with Acura.
If you find passion in a driving experience or a really nice interior, and are willing to pay for it in $$ and some inconveniences, go for Audi.
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Old 04-15-2011, 06:58 AM   #16
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Acura RL is a great car, and larger than the TL. Also, Lexus and Inifiniti make reliable cars too..........

a TL is a "gussied up" Accord, same platform.......
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Old 04-15-2011, 12:09 PM   #17
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Here's a free site that collects reliability data from over 66,000 vehicle owners (full disclosure: I'm a [free] participant).

It lets you do searches on makes, and models and also shows comparator vehicles.

TrueDelta Car Reliability and Gas Mileage Information

omni
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Old 04-15-2011, 03:43 PM   #18
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We purchased a CPO 2007 Mercedes C-280 w/14K miles in Dec. Our first luxury car and the more we drive it the more we love it. Just finished driving it x-country to our summer home where we keep a '01 Volvo. What a clunker compared to the Mercedes. Now I see what refined driving is all about.
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Old 04-15-2011, 03:50 PM   #19
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We purchased a CPO 2007 Mercedes C-280 w/14K miles in Dec. Our first luxury car and the more we drive it the more we love it. Just finished driving it x-country to our summer home where we keep a '01 Volvo. What a clunker compared to the Mercedes. Now I see what refined driving is all about.
Make sure you buy an extended warranty and KEEP up on the maintenance Mercedes recommends............just saying, not like I had a horrific experience with a Benz or anything..........
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Old 04-15-2011, 04:21 PM   #20
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We had a Volvo 244 from 1980 to 1988. It was a good car and other than the air conditioning gave us little trouble. The car was built like a tank and felt like one of the safest cars we have ever owned. Not sure why I transitioned into Hondas, but that is what we replaced the Volvo with and without a doubt they are the most reliable cars we have ever had. We now own a 2007 pilot and other than oil changes has had no maintenance required.

Now I don't think this will do you much good as I have no clue how good or reliable the current Volvos are.
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