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Old 07-07-2008, 12:58 PM   #141
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Heh, I am happy to see crossovers on the road, but what I'd really like to see are station wagons.
IMO, one of the absolute best deals out there right now, are 2000-2003 Mercedes E320 Wagons. MBZ has it's share of high maintenance and/or unreliable vehicles, but the W210's from this time period are not amongst them.

Reliability is top notch. They don't drive like crossovers or SUV's - they handle beautifully. Visibility is excellent. Few vehicles offer greater safety. The back folds down perfectly flat, resulting in massive amounts of storage, or sleeping space - we carry stuff up top in a cargo carrier, and sleep in the back quite comfortably at rest stops. Do-it-yourself maintenance is easy and cheap. Creature comforts are up there with most new vehicles. If you need it, the 4-Matic AWD option is every bit as good as a Subuaru, and results in a minimal mileage hit. Gas mileage is very respectable for a car this size...on my last road trip, with a cargo carrier on top going 75 on I-5, I averaged 26.5 MPG - the cargo carrier results in a 1.5 MPG hit. Ours is AWD - a 2WD wagon would get another 1.5-2 MPG.

These vehicles sold for upwards of $60K new - picked ours up last year for $14K, in excellent shape with low miles.

The down sides: Finding one that hasn't been abused, might take a while. Unlike MBZ sedans, many of which can be found in spotless condition with great service records, the wagons are typically kid/dog haulers. I looked at 10 or so, over a period of a couple months before finding the right one. They also require premium fuel, negating some of the decent mileage figures.
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Old 07-07-2008, 01:08 PM   #142
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you must drive all highway and no cargo, in NYC my Matrix averages around 25 mpg. only time i had it average 33 was on I-95 going opposite of traffic.
90% highway traffic, slowing down to about 60 MPH, very little starting and stopping.

That's up from about 30 MPG when gas was cheaper and I was mostly driving 70-75.
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Old 07-07-2008, 03:47 PM   #143
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What frustrates me is that nobody offers an "on-road" suspension option for a crossover. I own a Murano. I'd be much happier with it if the factory offered a suspension that drops the ground clearance to about 5.5 inches, and uses the lower center of gravity to improve the ride/handling. It would still look a little strange, but it would handle like a station wagon.
What you're describing sounds like my Chevy HHR......low-slung, low center of gravity, and rides & handles like a dream. About 24 mpg in stop & go traffic in town, and 30+ mpg on the highway (if I don't drive like a lunatic ). On a recent expedition out of town, I got 34 mpg (w/o a tail-wind or going downhill ) Base price starts at $17,370 or go fully loaded with every available option for $26,910.
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Old 07-07-2008, 03:52 PM   #144
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IMO, one of the absolute best deals out there right now, are 2000-2003 Mercedes E320 Wagons. MBZ has it's share of high maintenance and/or unreliable vehicles, but the W210's from this time period are not amongst them.

Reliability is top notch. They don't drive like crossovers or SUV's - they handle beautifully. Visibility is excellent. Few vehicles offer greater safety. The back folds down perfectly flat, resulting in massive amounts of storage, or sleeping space - we carry stuff up top in a cargo carrier, and sleep in the back quite comfortably at rest stops. Do-it-yourself maintenance is easy and cheap. Creature comforts are up there with most new vehicles. If you need it, the 4-Matic AWD option is every bit as good as a Subuaru, and results in a minimal mileage hit. Gas mileage is very respectable for a car this size...on my last road trip, with a cargo carrier on top going 75 on I-5, I averaged 26.5 MPG - the cargo carrier results in a 1.5 MPG hit. Ours is AWD - a 2WD wagon would get another 1.5-2 MPG.

These vehicles sold for upwards of $60K new - picked ours up last year for $14K, in excellent shape with low miles.

The down sides: Finding one that hasn't been abused, might take a while. Unlike MBZ sedans, many of which can be found in spotless condition with great service records, the wagons are typically kid/dog haulers. I looked at 10 or so, over a period of a couple months before finding the right one. They also require premium fuel, negating some of the decent mileage figures.
What does service and repair cost you? I woudl entertain the thought of a luxury car on a used basis, but the thought of shelling out big time for parts and service is something of a turn-off.
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Old 07-07-2008, 04:54 PM   #145
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Escalade? Glad everyone's pitching in to reduce our dependence on foreign oil and reduce carbon emissions...
pffffft. Each disposable diaper uses 1/2 pint of oil to produce. If parents would go back to using cloth diapers, the oil crisis would be over.
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Old 07-07-2008, 05:02 PM   #146
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The article says "could", not "will". These articles are notorious for being way wrong.
Well, considering there are people getting conversions to turn their Prius into plug-ins which will get 100mpg, I think 80mpg is conservative
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Old 07-07-2008, 05:24 PM   #147
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What does service and repair cost you?
RE service - I do my own routine maintenance, which is easy and cheap. For example, there is no easier vehicle to perform an oil/filter change on - it can be done from under the hood in 15 minutes. I don't even get into my grubbies - just toss on a pair of disposable gloves. Costs about $60 every 10K miles. I mail order the oil and parts, and have curb-side recycling - so it's actually quicker and more convenient than taking it in, not to mention about 1/2 the cost. Several other filters need changing at 20-40K intervals - all are inexpensive, and easy for the moderate DIY'er.

Brakes take a little more mechanical aptitude, but not much...a complete brake job with four new rotors, pads and sensors, runs about $400 in parts, every 40K miles or so. Takes a backyard mechanic with a floor jack and a few hand tools, perhaps two hours - my mechanic would charge about $200 in labor.

Can you encounter an expensive repair bill? Absolutely...but on this particular model/range of years, it's the exception on well maintained vehicles. Given the prices they are going for (I see low mileage 2WD wagons listed for $8-10K routinely), one needs to encounter many unexpected issues before even approaching the price of a new Honda/Toyota. Which of course...drive like Hondas and Toyotas. Not that there's anything wrong with that.

There are two expensive repair issues I've seen mentioned with any regularity, but I wouldn't call them frequent. Per my mechanic, catalytic converters should last 75-100K miles, but they can and do fail sooner - about $2K when they do. Another occasional report one sees for this model are instrument cluster failures - also about $2K. Still - even if one encounters both of these problems, it's still a lot of car for the money.
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Old 07-07-2008, 06:02 PM   #148
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What you're describing sounds like my Chevy HHR......low-slung, low center of gravity, and rides & handles like a dream. About 24 mpg in stop & go traffic in town, and 30+ mpg on the highway (if I don't drive like a lunatic ). On a recent expedition out of town, I got 34 mpg (w/o a tail-wind or going downhill ) Base price starts at $17,370 or go fully loaded with every available option for $26,910.
Isn't the HHR based on the Cobalt? I drove a rental Cobalt and thought it was fine. I was doing 75 on I-4 and found the ride to be nice and quiet. Pick up could be a bit faster with the 4-speed auto, but then again, gas mileage would have suffered. The only strange thing I found is that the ride is sometimes very serene but sometimes, like on the Ft. Myers to Tampa stretch of I-75, to be kind of noisy. The car supposedly has Quiet Steel, so I'm surprised that different roads can make such a difference.
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Old 07-07-2008, 07:25 PM   #149
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What you're describing sounds like my Chevy HHR......low-slung, low center of gravity, and rides & handles like a dream. About 24 mpg in stop & go traffic in town, and 30+ mpg on the highway (if I don't drive like a lunatic ). On a recent expedition out of town, I got 34 mpg (w/o a tail-wind or going downhill ) Base price starts at $17,370 or go fully loaded with every available option for $26,910.
Way back when PT Cruisers came out, I thought that would be a good car for me. When I tried one, they just seemed too "crude" compared to the mid-sized sedans I had been driving. I've never tried an HHR, but the little I've read about them made me think it would be very similar to the PT. I've thought about something that size, but I think I'd do a VW Rabbit/GTI quicker.
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Old 07-07-2008, 07:31 PM   #150
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pffffft. Each disposable diaper uses 1/2 pint of oil to produce. If parents would go back to using cloth diapers, the oil crisis would be over.
I used to wear cloth diapers, but I kept sticking myself with pins...
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Escalade misnamed.
Old 07-07-2008, 07:38 PM   #151
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Escalade misnamed.

GM misnamed the EscalaDe. They should have called it the EscalaTe. Escalate your payments, escalate your depreciation, escalate your repairs, escalate your insurance premiums, escalate your registration fees, escalate your fuel bill, escalate your dependency on foreign oil, escalate your carbon footprint, and escalate global warming. Oh yeah, I almost forgot, escalate your prestige among those who still think Cadillac is a prestigious brand.
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Old 07-07-2008, 07:41 PM   #152
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pffffft. Each disposable diaper uses 1/2 pint of oil to produce. If parents would go back to using cloth diapers, the oil crisis would be over.
True. Problem is, most people don't want to deal with the poo on such a personal basis.
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Old 07-07-2008, 09:02 PM   #153
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True. Problem is, most people don't want to deal with the poo on such a personal basis.
When I was a new mother in San Diego (in 1978 ), we didn't have much and we couldn't afford anything but the cheapest, thinnest of cloth diapers. I felt sorry for myself and pretty tearful about it until I met an wrinkled, wise older Mexican woman in the park. She sympathized with me and gave me a hug, and at some point later in the conversation she mentioned that when she was young, she had had to wash her babies' diapers in the river, pounding them with rocks until they were clean.

After that I was ashamed of myself for whining about cloth diapers! At least I had a washer and clothes line.

Now, back to the topic. I read recently that even Toyotas and Hondas aren't selling that well right now. Nobody wants a new car because they need the money for gas. That sure makes it great for anyone who needs a new car right now!
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Old 07-07-2008, 09:32 PM   #154
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Now, back to the topic. I read recently that even Toyotas and Hondas aren't selling that well right now. Nobody wants a new car because they need the money for gas. That sure makes it great for anyone who needs a new car right now!
Not entirely true, Honda Accord will probably set an all-time sales mark for the Accord, nearly 500,000. The Civic is selling even better than that, only 20 days inventory for the WHOLE USA........

Toyota Priuses are on 6-month backorder. However, the Toyota Tundra and Honda Ridgeline and Pilot are NOT selling well..........
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Old 07-07-2008, 09:46 PM   #155
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Isn't the HHR based on the Cobalt? I drove a rental Cobalt and thought it was fine. I was doing 75 on I-4 and found the ride to be nice and quiet. Pick up could be a bit faster with the 4-speed auto, but then again, gas mileage would have suffered. The only strange thing I found is that the ride is sometimes very serene but sometimes, like on the Ft. Myers to Tampa stretch of I-75, to be kind of noisy. The car supposedly has Quiet Steel, so I'm surprised that different roads can make such a difference.
I believe you're correct about the HHR and Cobalt being the same basic chassis or whatever. Also, I've never really noticed any difference in noise level from one type road to another......well, except gravel naturally.
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Way back when PT Cruisers came out, I thought that would be a good car for me. When I tried one, they just seemed too "crude" compared to the mid-sized sedans I had been driving. I've never tried an HHR, but the little I've read about them made me think it would be very similar to the PT.
A friend of mine had a PT shorlty after they came on the market. I rode in it several times, and thought the ride was pretty rough....kinda like a buckboard wagon. I'd looked at them before that, and had considered trying one out, but after riding in his I decided "NO way!" "Crude" is a good description.

I didn't think the HHR would be much different, since the same guy that designed the PT for Chrysler, designed the HHR for Chevy. Obviously he learned from his previous mistakes, and made the HHR much better. The ride and the handling are smooth, takes the curves great, and doesn't even flinch in crosswinds at highway speeds. Also you don't have to climb down into it, or climb up into it....you just get in and sit down. BTW, HHR stands for High Head Room.......and it has it! I'm 5'10" and easily have about 5" to 6" of spare head room. Also plenty of shoulder/hip/leg room....good thing for me! With the passenger-side back seat and front seat folded down, I can haul a bunch (dozens) of 8' dimensional lumber (2"x4", 2"x6", 1"x4", etc) with the tailgate closed! It can't handle 4'x8' sheets though. With all the seats in normal position, I can still haul a dozen or so 2 cu.ft. bags of mulch in the cargo area behind the back seat, or a passle of pavers or stepping stones, or an over abundance of plants.

I realize that the HHR isn't the car for everyone.....but it deserves a closer look by many. I think most car dealers still let people take free test drives.....that's how I decided it was the vehicle of choice for me.
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Old 07-07-2008, 09:50 PM   #156
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pffffft. Each disposable diaper uses 1/2 pint of oil to produce. If parents would go back to using cloth diapers, the oil crisis would be over.
and each cloth diaper needs to be washed at least once a day, dried and ironed. how much oil does all that use?

my wife's grandmother tells me stories of her ironing my wife's diapers until 1am back in the day.
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Old 07-07-2008, 09:52 PM   #157
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Is that really true about diapers 1/2 pint? Holy crap!

Um why would you iron a diaper..

Just keep a garden hose handy..Wash off..slap on a diaper..easy peasey

Sorry too easy..
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Old 07-08-2008, 05:37 AM   #158
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and each cloth diaper needs to be washed at least once a day, dried and ironed. how much oil does all that use?

my wife's grandmother tells me stories of her ironing my wife's diapers until 1am back in the day.
Not "once a day" - depends on how many you have/how many you (the baby) uses.

My son (born in 1970) used cloth diapers. Why? Because we could not afford the "throw aways". When you are "poor", you do what you have to.

At least we didn't have to pound them on a rock on the river's edge (as others noted).

BTW, the old ones make good cloths for dusting/polishing cars (everything is recycled ).

- Ron
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Old 07-08-2008, 04:05 PM   #159
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Interesting article comparing buying a new Pruis versus buying a used econo car.

Is it more energy-efficient to buy a used car than a brand-new hybrid? - By Brendan I. Koerner - Slate Magazine
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Old 07-08-2008, 05:02 PM   #160
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Not "once a day" - depends on how many you have/how many you (the baby) uses.

My son (born in 1970) used cloth diapers. Why? Because we could not afford the "throw aways". When you are "poor", you do what you have to.

At least we didn't have to pound them on a rock on the river's edge (as others noted).

BTW, the old ones make good cloths for dusting/polishing cars (everything is recycled ).

- Ron

pretty good as swaddles as well

they have these new cloth diapers where they have these cartridge like things you put in a pant and easy to change and wash with no ironing. my wife counted up that we would need at least 8 or so pants and 200 or so of the cartridges and the cost was about the same as regular Seventh Generation diapers. too much work
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