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Throatwarbler
Nov 17, 2008

Oct 3, 2016 00:06: SO I'm also in 1st year classes and it's going pretty well I think.

Dec 9, 2016 15:46: Well I just took my first law school final exam. I think I've made a huge mistake.

If you mean the Holden Captiva, it's not the same car as the Equinox, which is on a newer (Theta 2) platform and is much larger with a 6" longer wheelbase. The Captiva is still sold in the US too, but only to rental fleets.

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jtsold
Jul 6, 2004
dlostj

Proposed Budget: Up to $30k. Preferably around $25k
New or Used: Looking at new, but will also consider one year or two previous year models
Body Style: Smallish SUV/crossover (I drive a sedan now; want to upgrade to something more powerful, but I don't want to go full-sized SUV.)
How will you be using the car?: 20-mile round trip daily commute, around the city, driving in the mountains in the winter to go skiing
What aspects are most important to you? Doesn't struggle up the mountain; but doesn't have terrible mileage; preferably AWD.

I've been looking at the 2013 Ford Escape ES (either of the 1.6L or 2.0L turbos)and 2012 Toyota RAV4 (either the 4-cyl or 6-cyl). I've test-driven the 2.0L Escape and both the RAV4's. I haven't yet test-driven the 1.6L Escape. I'm ~6'4", and I only 'kinda' fit into the RAV4 (leg bumps against the steering wheel, but it's no worse than my current car). I fit into the Escape just fine.

I'm not convinced I need the more powerful 2.0L Escape or 6-cyl RAV4. I'm not a particularly aggressie driver, so as long as it doesn't blow out the engine when I try to push it up the mountain, it's probably powerful enough. (That's not to say I didn't like the extra power. I might prefer the 2.0L Escape or 6-cyl RAV4 over their weaker counterparts, I think, but only if the extra cost is worth it, as well as the size of the corresponding hit to fuel efficiency.)

The cargo area in the RAV4 seems bigger, but the Escape's still seemed sufficient. It kind of galls that Ford needs an option package of $400 to get a roof rack (a necessity for ski season), whereas it's standard on the RAV4.

Another concern is that the 1.6L Escape has already been recalled for engine fires. Ford has advised owners of the 1.6L Escape to not drive their car at all until it gets fixed (ETA next week). Apparently it's just a glitch in their cooling system's computer that's being reprogrammed, but it's kind of off-putting that the car's already catching fire before it's even off the lot.

Any thoughts or suggestions? My current feelings are that the Escape and RAV4 are awfully similar, each with its tradeoffs, so it might just come down to whichever one I can get for cheaper with comparable specs and options. Any factors I'm not considering but should be (better reliability, which company has a better warranty, expected depreciation, etc.) that could (or should) sway my decision one way or the other? Or should I scrap these two lovely cars and look at something else entirely?

jtsold fucked around with this message at 05:42 on Dec 13, 2012

Throatwarbler
Nov 17, 2008

Oct 3, 2016 00:06: SO I'm also in 1st year classes and it's going pretty well I think.

Dec 9, 2016 15:46: Well I just took my first law school final exam. I think I've made a huge mistake.

jtsold posted:

Proposed Budget: Up to $30k. Preferably around $25k
New or Used: Looking at new, but will also consider one year or two previous year models
Body Style: Smallish SUV/crossover (I drive a sedan now; want to upgrade to something more powerful, but I don't want to go full-sized SUV.)
How will you be using the car?: 20-mile round trip daily commute, around the city, driving in the mountains in the winter to go skiing
What aspects are most important to you? Doesn't struggle up the mountain; but doesn't have terrible mileage; preferably AWD.

I've been looking at the 2013 Ford Escape ES (either of the 1.6L or 2.0L turbos)and 2012 Toyota RAV4 (either the 4-cyl or 6-cyl). I've test-driven the 2.0L Escape and both the RAV4's. I haven't yet test-driven the 1.6L Escape. I'm ~6'4", and I only 'kinda' fit into the RAV4 (leg bumps against the steering wheel, but it's no worse than my current car). I fit into the Escape just fine.

I'm not convinced I need the more powerful 2.0L Escape or 6-cyl RAV4. I'm not a particularly aggressie driver, so as long as it doesn't blow out the engine when I try to push it up the mountain, it's probably powerful enough. (That's not to say I didn't like the extra power. I might prefer the 2.0L Escape or 6-cyl RAV4 over their weaker counterparts, I think, but only if the extra cost is worth it, as well as the size of the corresponding hit to fuel efficiency.)

The cargo area in the RAV4 seems bigger, but the Escape's still seemed sufficient. It kind of galls that Ford needs an option package of $400 to get a roof rack (a necessity for ski season), whereas it's standard on the RAV4.

Another concern is that the 1.6L Escape has already been recalled for engine fires. Ford has advised owners of the 1.6L Escape to not drive their car at all until it gets fixed (ETA next week). Apparently it's just a glitch in their cooling system's computer that's being reprogrammed, but it's kind of off-putting that the car's already catching fire before it's even off the lot.

Any thoughts or suggestions? My current feelings are that the Escape and RAV4 are awfully similar, each with its tradeoffs, so it might just come down to whichever one I can get for cheaper with comparable specs and options. Any factors I'm not considering but should be (better reliability, which company has a better warranty, expected depreciation, etc.) that could (or should) sway my decision one way or the other? Or should I scrap these two lovely cars and look at something else entirely?

The RAV4 is getting replaced the next model year with a new model, this year will be the last one so you should be getting a very substantial discount on them.

Yes you should scrap these two lovely cars and look at something else. Honda CRV and Kia Sportage both get 5 stars all around on the NHTSA safety test so start from there.

nm
Jan 28, 2008

"I saw Minos the Space Judge holding a golden sceptre and passing sentence upon the Martians. There he presided, and around him the noble Space Prosecutors sought the firm justice of space law."

jtsold posted:

Proposed Budget: Up to $30k. Preferably around $25k
New or Used: Looking at new, but will also consider one year or two previous year models
Body Style: Smallish SUV/crossover (I drive a sedan now; want to upgrade to something more powerful, but I don't want to go full-sized SUV.)
How will you be using the car?: 20-mile round trip daily commute, around the city, driving in the mountains in the winter to go skiing
What aspects are most important to you? Doesn't struggle up the mountain; but doesn't have terrible mileage; preferably AWD.

I've been looking at the 2013 Ford Escape ES (either of the 1.6L or 2.0L turbos)and 2012 Toyota RAV4 (either the 4-cyl or 6-cyl). I've test-driven the 2.0L Escape and both the RAV4's. I haven't yet test-driven the 1.6L Escape. I'm ~6'4", and I only 'kinda' fit into the RAV4 (leg bumps against the steering wheel, but it's no worse than my current car). I fit into the Escape just fine.

I'm not convinced I need the more powerful 2.0L Escape or 6-cyl RAV4. I'm not a particularly aggressie driver, so as long as it doesn't blow out the engine when I try to push it up the mountain, it's probably powerful enough. (That's not to say I didn't like the extra power. I might prefer the 2.0L Escape or 6-cyl RAV4 over their weaker counterparts, I think, but only if the extra cost is worth it, as well as the size of the corresponding hit to fuel efficiency.)

The cargo area in the RAV4 seems bigger, but the Escape's still seemed sufficient. It kind of galls that Ford needs an option package of $400 to get a roof rack (a necessity for ski season), whereas it's standard on the RAV4.

Another concern is that the 1.6L Escape has already been recalled for engine fires. Ford has advised owners of the 1.6L Escape to not drive their car at all until it gets fixed (ETA next week). Apparently it's just a glitch in their cooling system's computer that's being reprogrammed, but it's kind of off-putting that the car's already catching fire before it's even off the lot.

Any thoughts or suggestions? My current feelings are that the Escape and RAV4 are awfully similar, each with its tradeoffs, so it might just come down to whichever one I can get for cheaper with comparable specs and options. Any factors I'm not considering but should be (better reliability, which company has a better warranty, expected depreciation, etc.) that could (or should) sway my decision one way or the other? Or should I scrap these two lovely cars and look at something else entirely?

As a tall guy as well, don't buy a $30k car that you barely fit in unless it is really cool or really fast.
That said ford is having a number of issues of late. I'd look at something else.

WESTW0OD
Nov 26, 2012


I was under the impression it was the same chassis, just with an updated body and interior for the American market... My bad. I should have done more research, but it is still a fairly poor choice compared to a Subaru Outback.

Friar Zucchini
Aug 6, 2010



:cawg: A diesel Equinox? Even better, an Equinox that's not located in or between parking lots? A C-class wagon? Whaddya think this is here, Yurop? Three things we can't get here in America are domestic-branded off-road SUVs (other than Jeep), diesels that aren't either German or big trucks, and wagons that aren't sold covered in gray plastic and labeled "SUV".

...Well, there are some legit station wagons, but if my count is correct, the total number of models for sale currently is four - three of which are a premium brand and cost way too much.

Speaking of wagons that are covered in gray plastic and labeled SUV, go buy an Outback. Not as much gray plastic as, say, a Volvo XC70, but more than the Legacy sedan. Tons of ground clearance, reasonably reliable, it's a station wagon, slightly ugly, reasonably priced. Oh, and AWD.

Friar Zucchini fucked around with this message at 03:51 on Dec 14, 2012

Throatwarbler
Nov 17, 2008

Oct 3, 2016 00:06: SO I'm also in 1st year classes and it's going pretty well I think.

Dec 9, 2016 15:46: Well I just took my first law school final exam. I think I've made a huge mistake.

Friar Zucchini posted:

:cawg: A diesel Equinox? Even better, an Equinox that's not located in or between parking lots? A C-class wagon? Whaddya think this is here, Yurop? Three things we can't get here in America are domestic-branded off-road SUVs (other than Jeep), diesels that aren't either German or big trucks, and wagons that aren't sold covered in gray plastic and labeled "SUV".

...Well, there are some legit station wagons, but if my count is correct, the total number of models for sale currently is four - three of which are a premium brand and cost way too much.

Speaking of wagons that are covered in gray plastic and labeled SUV, go buy an Outback. Not as much gray plastic as, say, a Volvo XC70, but more than the Legacy sedan. Tons of ground clearance, reasonably reliable, it's a station wagon, slightly ugly, reasonably priced. Oh, and AWD.

The Jetta Sportwagen isn't a premium brand and starts at $20k. Unfortunately it's also a Jetta Sportwagen.

WESTW0OD
Nov 26, 2012


Friar Zucchini posted:

:cawg: A diesel Equinox? Even better, an Equinox that's not located in or between parking lots? A C-class wagon? Whaddya think this is here, Yurop? Three things we can't get here in America are domestic-branded off-road SUVs (other than Jeep), diesels that aren't either German or big trucks, and wagons that aren't sold covered in gray plastic and labeled "SUV".

...Well, there are some legit station wagons, but if my count is correct, the total number of models for sale currently is four - three of which are a premium brand and cost way too much.

Speaking of wagons that are covered in gray plastic and labeled SUV, go buy an Outback. Not as much gray plastic as, say, a Volvo XC70, but more than the Legacy sedan. Tons of ground clearance, reasonably reliable, it's a station wagon, slightly ugly, reasonably priced. Oh, and AWD.

Euurfg. Ok, the Equinox in Diesel flavour doesn't exist. C-Class wagons,while being incredibly popular in Europe and incredibly unpopular in Australia (To the extent that you can't buy them anymore) also don't seem to have made it to 'Murka's shores.

The original Subaru Outbacks, until 2007, looked like someone had picked up a standard legacy wagon, dipped the bottom half in a vat of molten plastic and then fitted some jacked up suspension under the guise they were selling a fully-fledged 'off-road' car.

The new ones look excellent!... Well they look OK. The styling (I always found questionable) is now just Legacy wagon-esque, with bigger wheels, uprated and heightened suspension, agressive off-road tires and a complex AWD system (possibly stickered on the side). As a result, the Outback is a very capable car for those who don't want to make the jump all the way to an SUV. And I'm sure they can find one within budget.

Now that you mention the XC70, I've heard nothing but good things from the XC50 and latest-gen XC70. I've got no idea on the state-to-state used car market in the USA so I'm not going to guess whether you can find one sub $25k. But they are an excellent, premium alternative to the Outback.

Or you could just buy and ageing S-Class, slam it and fit some spinning-chrome rims. (Snow-chains for the winter.) It would look more tasteful than a half-plastic Volvo.

WESTW0OD
Nov 26, 2012


Throatwarbler posted:

The Jetta Sportwagen isn't a premium brand and starts at $20k. Unfortunately it's also a Jetta Sportwagen.

I'd rather have a Jetta sportwagen than some crappy, underpowered, plastic GM-Chevy Equinox.

nm
Jan 28, 2008

"I saw Minos the Space Judge holding a golden sceptre and passing sentence upon the Martians. There he presided, and around him the noble Space Prosecutors sought the firm justice of space law."

WESTW0OD posted:


The original Subaru Outbacks, until 2007, looked like someone had picked up a standard legacy wagon, dipped the bottom half in a vat of molten plastic and then fitted some jacked up suspension under the guise they were selling a fully-fledged 'off-road' car.

The new ones look excellent!... Well they look OK. The styling (I always found questionable) is now just Legacy wagon-esque, with bigger wheels, uprated and heightened suspension, agressive off-road tires and a complex AWD system (possibly stickered on the side). As a result, the Outback is a very capable car for those who don't want to make the jump all the way to an SUV. And I'm sure they can find one within budget.
I strongly suspect the new OB isn't any better than the last gen off road. No real improvement to clearance anywhere and the diffs (icld AWD system) are basically the same. In Australia, you also got some fancies optional diffs on the last one (and maybe the current one) that I'm sure 12 people optioned.

WESTW0OD
Nov 26, 2012


nm posted:

I strongly suspect the new OB isn't any better than the last gen off road. No real improvement to clearance anywhere and the diffs (icld AWD system) are basically the same. In Australia, you also got some fancies optional diffs on the last one (and maybe the current one) that I'm sure 12 people optioned.

It doesn't need to be much better offroad, as the majority of its life will be spent on the black stuff. But I understand the AWD system is slightly more sophisticated than the previous generation after the Subaru lineup got an overhall back in '07. So I reckon Subaru would focus there efforts on making it more of a dynamic drive where it'd spend most of its life, ON-road!

Ground clearance will be pretty much the same as the previous gen, but you do get a few inches on just a standard Liberty/Legacy wagon along with some cheap plastic sills... which is nice of them.

I'm sure you can option locking diffs, but the likelihood of it going dune bashing or driving on anything other than a driveway with some leaves on it is very slim, so I pity the fool who ticks the box on the OE form.

Aside, its a good allround, allroad car but it's certainly not a thru-and-thru offroader... Not that it intended to be. I like it.

Friar Zucchini
Aug 6, 2010



Throatwarbler posted:

The Jetta Sportwagen isn't a premium brand and starts at $20k. Unfortunately it's also a Jetta Sportwagen.

Right, that was the one that isn't a premium brand. And it's the only goddamn one.

...Speaking of which, the Outback is the standard Legacy wagon. Has been for a few years now. Remember that thing about wagons? Not counting the ones that are sold as crossovers or SUVs, there is currently a grand total of four of them for sale in the States: the VW Jettawagen, the Euro-spec Honda Accord Acura TSX, the MB E-class, and the soon-to-be-killed Cadillac CTS wagon. And there really aren't that many that are jacked up and covered in gray plastic like an XC70 for that matter.

Really, if they were as easy to get here as they are in Europe or Australia, there wouldn't be a need for a whole goddamn thread about them.

Friar Zucchini fucked around with this message at 17:53 on Dec 14, 2012

Bank
Feb 20, 2004
I paid five bucks and all I got was this custom title.

Proposed Budget: 12k
New or Used: Used
Body Style: SUV
How will you be using the car?: Going to be used to go about 30 miles round trip every day for school. The car is for my brother in law who is going to school in the Bay Area. He's not going to haul things or people, just wants the SUV because he's a big guy.
What aspects are most important to you? Reliability a first and MPG a close second. Not afraid to work on cars myself.

I've been looking online for cheap SUVs and early 2000 Ford Escapes seem to fit the bill, but there are so many options I don't really know where to start. Is there a "go-to" SUV that fits this category?

Throatwarbler
Nov 17, 2008

Oct 3, 2016 00:06: SO I'm also in 1st year classes and it's going pretty well I think.

Dec 9, 2016 15:46: Well I just took my first law school final exam. I think I've made a huge mistake.

Bank posted:

Proposed Budget: 12k
New or Used: Used
Body Style: SUV
How will you be using the car?: Going to be used to go about 30 miles round trip every day for school. The car is for my brother in law who is going to school in the Bay Area. He's not going to haul things or people, just wants the SUV because he's a big guy.
What aspects are most important to you? Reliability a first and MPG a close second. Not afraid to work on cars myself.

I've been looking online for cheap SUVs and early 2000 Ford Escapes seem to fit the bill, but there are so many options I don't really know where to start. Is there a "go-to" SUV that fits this category?

Go test drive a Prius.

Applebees Appetizer
Jan 23, 2006



Bank posted:

Proposed Budget: 12k
New or Used: Used
Body Style: SUV
How will you be using the car?: Going to be used to go about 30 miles round trip every day for school. The car is for my brother in law who is going to school in the Bay Area. He's not going to haul things or people, just wants the SUV because he's a big guy.
What aspects are most important to you? Reliability a first and MPG a close second. Not afraid to work on cars myself.

I've been looking online for cheap SUVs and early 2000 Ford Escapes seem to fit the bill, but there are so many options I don't really know where to start. Is there a "go-to" SUV that fits this category?

If he's a big guy look into a Town Car/Crown Vic/Grand Marquis. They depreciate a lot the first few years so you can get them cheap in almost new condition. Excellent reliability and comfort with mpg that match or better most SUV's. Highway mileage is actually really good for a big heavy car with a V8.

Or get a Prius if mpg's are more of a concern.

[edit] also, stay away from Ford Escapes, the transmissions are garbage.

nm
Jan 28, 2008

"I saw Minos the Space Judge holding a golden sceptre and passing sentence upon the Martians. There he presided, and around him the noble Space Prosecutors sought the firm justice of space law."

Bank posted:

Proposed Budget: 12k
New or Used: Used
Body Style: SUV
How will you be using the car?: Going to be used to go about 30 miles round trip every day for school. The car is for my brother in law who is going to school in the Bay Area. He's not going to haul things or people, just wants the SUV because he's a big guy.
What aspects are most important to you? Reliability a first and MPG a close second. Not afraid to work on cars myself.

I've been looking online for cheap SUVs and early 2000 Ford Escapes seem to fit the bill, but there are so many options I don't really know where to start. Is there a "go-to" SUV that fits this category?

As a really big guy, the "I need an SUV because I'm big" is crap. I fit better in a VW Golf than many large vehicles.
The Prius (which is what I drive at work) is bigger than people think, though i find it a touch cramped. Most small cars these days are designed with much more of an eye to usable space and ergonomics than SUVs. SUV interior designers do a universally terrible job, largely I think because they think "I have a lot of space, who cares?"
I'd check out a MKV TDI Golf/Jetta. They're goddamn huge inside. VW's not the best brand for reliability, but the TDIs aren't terrible as long as you make absolutely certain you put the right oil in it (goes beyond 5w-40 or something, you need fancy VW dino juice).
That's if he doesn't fit in a Prius. If prius is comfortable, buy it.

I also fit fine in a Smart, but don't buy a smart, they suck. I'd note that I actually find the crown vic a touch weird ergonomically, though most of the one's I've been have plexiglass and a console mounter computer which might impact that.

Throatwarbler
Nov 17, 2008

Oct 3, 2016 00:06: SO I'm also in 1st year classes and it's going pretty well I think.

Dec 9, 2016 15:46: Well I just took my first law school final exam. I think I've made a huge mistake.

Crown Vics also get worse fuel economy than a Ford Explorer, being a giant BOF V8 and all, so I'm not sure why anyone concerned with MPG would bother.

powderific
May 13, 2004



Grimey Drawer

Unless you really like Panther series cars I don't think Crown Vics are that great of option for almost anyone outside some killer deal. I drove a Grand Marquis for several years and, while I liked it fine, it didn't actually hold THAT much for such a large vehicle. The back seat isn't particularly spacious, and the shape of the trunk makes large loads really awkward to get in and out since it's really deep instead of long (plus you can't fold down the seats.) Much of the largeness is coming from a ridiculously long front end that does nothing to increase useable space.

sticksy
May 26, 2004




Nap Ghost

Proposed Budget: $25,000-35,000
New or Used: Used, probably 2010-2012 models
Body Style: mid-sized sedan, most likely luxury brand like Audi or Acura
How will you be using the car?: Would be my daily driver, about 10 miles round trip on suburbs/city streets in Phoenix-area. Probably wouldn't take many long trips
What aspects are most important to you? Reliability and low cost of maintenance is pretty important but I'd like to think that with the relatively little amount of daily driving I do, this wouldn't be so much of an issue. The practical side of me hates to say it but this comes down to more of a style and fun-ish to drive but doesn't need to be super-sporty.

I've been driving a 2004 Toyota Camry for the past 5 years and it's fine but my wife's car is a bit older so figured it was time to get a newer one. My goal would be to spend around $30,000 - I'm fortunate that I could probably pay in cash but might be willing to take a small loan if I could get a much nicer car for a bit more (dream car would be an A7).

I've primarily been looking at Audi A4's from 2010-12; I really like the ones that have the curved HID driving/headlights like this one but I haven't seen anything definitive as to what option/packages they would be under:


From this link it appears that it would at least be on Premium Plus package but those are tough to find used, and I've seen those on regular Premium models (I'll ask in the VAG thread as well.) The downsides I foresee on the A4 are I'm 6'3" and the A4 did seem slightly cramped bc of the moonroof when I've been in them but not terrible. Also concerned about the general reliability although it seems that VAG has improved somewhat the last couple of years.

If not the A4, I'm looking at the Acura TL. I really like the body style of the 04-08 models but not so much the latest design. Also considering the previous year's Lexus ES although I know it's just a fancier Camry that my parents should drive, not me, and the Infiniti G sedan.

Finally I'd prefer used/CPO because of the widely acknowledge immediate new car depreciation but am open to new - I'm definitely intrigued by the new 2013 Ford Fusion and have read positive things. Another factor is that my company has some sort of program with several major automakers, Audi being one, for 6% off MSRP before destination charges. I don't know if I would get a better deal using that for a new one or not?

Applebees Appetizer
Jan 23, 2006



Throatwarbler posted:

Crown Vics also get worse fuel economy than a Ford Explorer, being a giant BOF V8 and all, so I'm not sure why anyone concerned with MPG would bother.

Well honestly fuel economy has nothing to do with SUV's, so it's kinda dumb to want both because it's not possible.

Also the difference in mpg between a Crown Vic and Explorer is negligible.

charliecantsurf
Jun 17, 2005



I need a car reccomendation.. sort of. I have it narrowed a bit but further input would be wonderful.
Proposed budget: $2-3k
New or Used: Used.
How will you be using the car? Occasional daily driver, mountain people hauler. I have a work vehicle so this is primarily a spare time/ durable adventure vehicle. I need something with very few trail/road limitations within reason; Think hosed up forest service roads/washouts, not crawling.

Which aspects are most important to you
Reliability, simplicity. I need to be able to depend on it in the middle of know-where, cheap parts and easy fixes are a major plus. I can do a good deal of my own mechanical work within reason.

Capability, I need it to be durable and capable with possible aftermarket support.

Fuel Economy: Its difficult but I would prefer better than 15MPG if possible. Range is good, and paying for premium gas gets old. Not interested in diesel.

Carry people and stuff, 2+ seats minimum.
Engine power: I can sacrifice on this, barring the vehicle being underpowered to the point of being unsafe.

I have a few in mind.
First generation Toyota 4runner 22re etc. 90+ Jeep Cherokee with the 4.0 6Cyl. Maybe a second generation 4runner but I'm wary of the 3VZ-E, I would consider a wrangler but XJ's seem to be a better bang for the buck in my low, low budget.

Really leaning towards the first generation 4runner. They look kind of goofy but they are okay on gas, seem pretty drat capable. My dog would like the rear window. My girlfriend wouldn't want to be seen in one-- Ha.

for reference: I'm in the mountains quite a bit, my Subaru doesn't have the ground clearance or ability to use lockers that I may be interested in.

powderific
May 13, 2004



Grimey Drawer

For that budget I'd be looking for XJ's. Gas mileage is a little rough, but they're such a bargain on the used market. Plus the engines last a million years, parts are cheap, there's a vast array of resources and info on fixing any issues that might come up. You could also ask people in the 4x4 thread what they think about it.

PharmerBoy
Jul 21, 2008


Proposed Budget:$3500-$4000
New or Used: Used
Body Style: Sedan, Coupe preferred, but mainly just no need for a large vehicle (truck, SUV, etc.)
How will you be using the car?: Mainly daily commute (~30 minutes each way), semi-regular longer trips to visit family (about 4 hours each way, about once a month).
What aspects are most important to you? Mechanical reliability mainly, cheap (just want to get from A-B reliably), followed by gas mileage.

Buying a vehicle with my wife to share for the time being. We're both current college students, 1 semester away from graduation. My classes are actually on site work 40 hours/week, she's still on campus for classes. We live next to campus, so we're going to be sharing it for the next few months until after graduation at least.

Funds-wise, we've got a max of $3700 cash in hand that we can contribute to the costs of the car. Income is hit or miss, but I work during my vacation periods from class, and should have another $1200 by mid March for further payments. Her current job is regular, and could contribute probably a max of $100 per month if need be. We'd much prefer to pay cash. We've a cash buffer on top of this, but we'd prefer not to dip into that pool. Post graduation, I'm looking at income of $50,000/year after loan payments are taken out. Her's is a bit sketchier. Tough job market for her field right now, no job lined up, and $40,000 would be probably the max she'll see, but she doesn't have any loans so anything she does bring in would be bonus.

Right now, our main options are a 95 Buick LeSabre, 94,000 miles at $3899 and a 2001 Ford Taurus, 58,700 miles at $2750. The Taurus seems like its a "too good to be true," so I'm pretty wary. Blue book is listing something like that at $6500. Only mitigating factor is that its out of an estate sale. I want to take it to a mechanic before going for it, but if it checks out its a great deal. The Buick is a car I'm familiar with. I drove the same year and model until it hit 200,000 miles (about 7 years worth), and I know I like the car. This one is just way less miles than the one I drove previously.

Thoughts on either of those two options, or is there I third choice I should start looking around for?

charliecantsurf
Jun 17, 2005



Any particular reason you chose the LeSabre and Taurus?

Seems like you should be able to get a solid Accord/Camry/Maxima for that kind of cash-- what area are you in?

I would steer clear of the LeSabre at 94k, and the Taurus and get something japanese with mileage over the 100k mark, or around 50k-- so you either get it before or after some of the major servicing should have been done-- timing and other stuff.

If you are hoping to stick with US cars: seems like you could probably get a decent little Ford Focus in that budget, just avoid the first few years.

charliecantsurf fucked around with this message at 01:32 on Dec 20, 2012

Grumpwagon
May 5, 2007
I am a giant assfuck who needs to harden the fuck up.



charliecantsurf posted:

If you are hoping to stick with US cars: seems like you could probably get a decent little Ford Focus in that budget, just avoid the first few years.

Agreed, but even the first few years are fine if you get the Zetec engine (the ZX3 has it standard, it's a somewhat rare option on the sedan).

Throatwarbler
Nov 17, 2008

Oct 3, 2016 00:06: SO I'm also in 1st year classes and it's going pretty well I think.

Dec 9, 2016 15:46: Well I just took my first law school final exam. I think I've made a huge mistake.

The Taurus price sounds about right, since the transmission is a ticking time bomb.

http://www.aa1car.com/library/transmission_ford_ax4s.htm

It may not be all that bad though, the 3.0l Vulcan engine is less problematic (because it only had 155hp) than the bigger 3.8l, I'm not sure how well it held up with the 3.0l Duratecs. It's not a bad choice if you keep in mind that you might need another $2k for a new trans at any time.

The LeSabre sounds kind of expensive for the year, and for those years the 3.8l engine had the intake manifold gasket leak problem. So figure you should have another $1k or so lying around for that, otherwise it's a 15 year old car and reliability will depend on the condition, so if you know the car well you'll just have to go over it for leaks and wierd noises.

Japanese cars are expensive and I doubt you'll find anything better at this price range.

You could also look into the 3rd Detroit option, a Chrysler LH car. I bought a 2004 Intrepid with the 3.5l SOHC a few years ago for about $4k, did all maintainance (trans fluid, timing belt) proactively and it's been very reliable. Chryslers around this period are pretty decent as long as you stay away from the 2.7l V6 and keep an eye on the transmission fluid.

EDIT: AI meets BFC: Ask which late 1990s/ealry 2000s domestic full size sedan is the least bad for you.

Engineer Lenk
Aug 28, 2003

Mnogo losho e!

Is there anyplace reliable that'll help figure out what the estimated usable life is on different makes and models?

We have a '97 Geo Prizm with ~180k miles - I found a number of anecdotes about Prizms and Corollas making it to 400k+ with regular maintenance, but I feel like we should be saving for a replacement car just in case.

Sticky
Jan 1, 2006

Pornhub. XTube. I know these names, better than I know my own grandmothers.

Proposed Budget: 15-22K
New or Used: I'd like to buy a new car but realistically its going to be used.
Body Style: Looking for a midsize sedan or crossover/wagon. Needs to have 4 doors.
How will you be using the car?: It'll be my daily driver. I have a short work commute usually but I do travel a bit for work and sometimes on my own. Because the area where I live is fairly remote to anything its usually a minimum drive of an hour or two to anything. Also the region I live in is prone to some fairly harsh winter weather so having something that can handle that would be a plus.

What aspects are most important to you? Reliability and versatility are big. I'd like to get something with good MPG but understand thats not always possible especially if I get an AWD vehicle. I also really would like to have bluetooth in the car.

I currently drive a 2003 Forester which is ready to kick the bucket and I had been planning on buying a new car before the end of 2013 but now with the looming possibility of the engine making GBS threads the bed quite soon I need to do this sooner than later. Most of the vehicles I had looked at are kind of out of my price range now so I'm looking more at used cars. My father seems to be pretty focused on getting me a used Malibu or Fusion simply because they're cheap but I'm a bit leery of American cars and maybe I'm getting the wrong information but they seem a lot less reliable. I wouldn't mind getting another Subaru as the ones I've test driven feel really familiar and handle nicely. I've also looked at Hyundai and Kia as they seem to be in my price range and have longer warranties.

cars I've looked at and the year range I'm looking at;

Chevy Malibu 2012-2009
Ford Fusion 2012-2009
Chevy Cruze 2012-2011
Subaru Outback 2012-2010
Subaru Legacy 2012-2010
Kia Sportage 2013-2011
Hyundai Sonata 2013-2011

Throatwarbler
Nov 17, 2008

Oct 3, 2016 00:06: SO I'm also in 1st year classes and it's going pretty well I think.

Dec 9, 2016 15:46: Well I just took my first law school final exam. I think I've made a huge mistake.

Most of the AWD cars in this range are going to get fairly competetive MPG figures because they are all "part time" AWD that only engages when the front wheels are slipping, so don't be afraid to go for one. The exceptions are Subarus with either the manual transmission or the 3.6l H6 engine. Older Subaru automatics like the Forester also get bad fuel economy because they used 4 speed automatic transmissions while pretty much all the competition has moved on to 5 or 6 speed ones. If you want a Subaru go with the newer models with the CVT transmission.

The Fusion is availible with AWD but only with the V6 which isn't what you are looking for if you want good fuel economy. Also I would stay away from the 2010 model year Fusion, because it was the first year of the joint GM/Ford transmission and they had a bunch of teething problems with it.

The Hyundai 10 year powertrain warranty is non-transferable, I think, so if you buy a used one you don't get it.

Most surveys out there say the general build quality on Japanese cars is still better than American, but at this point the difference is basically something like "you have a 30% h higher chance of having 3 problems over 5 years instead of 2" or something like that, I wouldn't skip an American car I otherwise like just based on that. Except for well known stuff like the 2010 Fusion.

You should always check out 2009+ model year Chryslers, like the Dodge Avenger/Chrysler 200, or the small Jeeps if you want AWD. They're not objectively the best cars in their segments but are usually quite cheap used and will get you to work reliably. If there's a Mitsubishi dealer near you there's also the Mitsubishi Outlander.

Leperflesh
May 17, 2007







Sticky posted:

I currently drive a 2003 Forester which is ready to kick the bucket

Throatwarbler hopefully addressed your actual questions, but I always like to second-guess people who think their older cars are done. Your Forester is only 10 years old, so I'm curious as to why in particular you think it's ready to kick the bucket.

Of course if you're just tired of it or want something newer, that's fine, but would you still want to spend $15k+ if spending $1k a year would keep your current car running for another ten years?

powderific
May 13, 2004



Grimey Drawer

New foresters, imprezas, and the crosstrrek are around the top end of that budget if you look at base models. They all get pretty good gas mileage.

Edit: the above is a good point though, it takes a whole lot of repairs to make a knew vehicle the best option.

powderific fucked around with this message at 00:17 on Dec 24, 2012

Throatwarbler
Nov 17, 2008

Oct 3, 2016 00:06: SO I'm also in 1st year classes and it's going pretty well I think.

Dec 9, 2016 15:46: Well I just took my first law school final exam. I think I've made a huge mistake.

Is there a powertrain combo on the Passat CC that isn't terrible? I really like the looks and the VR6 does have 300hp which is no joke, but it's got direct injection so I guess it's going to have carbon buildup problems.

Sticky
Jan 1, 2006

Pornhub. XTube. I know these names, better than I know my own grandmothers.

Leperflesh posted:

Throatwarbler hopefully addressed your actual questions, but I always like to second-guess people who think their older cars are done. Your Forester is only 10 years old, so I'm curious as to why in particular you think it's ready to kick the bucket.

Of course if you're just tired of it or want something newer, that's fine, but would you still want to spend $15k+ if spending $1k a year would keep your current car running for another ten years?

Between gaskets/belts and catalytic converter and the rest of the exhaust I am well outside my field of knowledge. Brakes and Oil changes are one thing but this is something else entirely. Plus one of my wheel bearings is starting to go. Its like an everything at once kind of thing.

powderific
May 13, 2004



Grimey Drawer

There's a giant subaru thread in AI full of people who could give you some idea of what it'd cost to fix and how bad it is.

Sticky
Jan 1, 2006

Pornhub. XTube. I know these names, better than I know my own grandmothers.

Yea, I posted over there. I've also been to a couple places to get estimates. Its not pretty.

powderific
May 13, 2004



Grimey Drawer

Ah, yeah, I remember seeing that now. Along with the others listed, the Jeep Patriot, while mediocre in a lot of ways, supposedly has an impressive AWD system for a crossover: http://www.expeditionswest.com/equipment/reviews/patriot/index.htm I don't know if you'd really need it even for bad winter weather, but they might be available pretty cheap used.

If you like the Subaru though, there are a few models in your price range new.

Throatwarbler
Nov 17, 2008

Oct 3, 2016 00:06: SO I'm also in 1st year classes and it's going pretty well I think.

Dec 9, 2016 15:46: Well I just took my first law school final exam. I think I've made a huge mistake.

Yes the "Trail rated" version of the Patriot is a real Jeep, gets real Jeep fuel economy too.

KYOON GRIFFEY JR
Apr 12, 2010



Runner-up, TRP Sack Race 2021/22

Throatwarbler posted:

Is there a powertrain combo on the Passat CC that isn't terrible? I really like the looks and the VR6 does have 300hp which is no joke, but it's got direct injection so I guess it's going to have carbon buildup problems.

If you like the VAG 2.0T and DSG then that is a pretty good combo, but if I remember correctly you don't care for the 2.0T.

KYOON GRIFFEY JR
Apr 12, 2010



Runner-up, TRP Sack Race 2021/22

For all of you wanting a Forester replacement, my mom just went from an 01 Forester to the Crosstrek thing. The Crosstrek is pretty good. Good ground clearance, returns good gas mileage (30+ in mixed so far), and I think the power and responsiveness feels better than the Forester despite being down about 20hp. Chassis is much tighter as well. The only thing I don't like is the instrumentation. CVT is pretty good.

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Throatwarbler
Nov 17, 2008

Oct 3, 2016 00:06: SO I'm also in 1st year classes and it's going pretty well I think.

Dec 9, 2016 15:46: Well I just took my first law school final exam. I think I've made a huge mistake.

KYOON GRIFFEY JR posted:

If you like the VAG 2.0T and DSG then that is a pretty good combo, but if I remember correctly you don't care for the 2.0T.

Have they fixed all this poo poo yet? If so then I only have to worry about the defective piston rings/oil consumption and the intake carbon build up then? :rolleye: I read the manual transmissions on these are poo poo too, defective throwout bearing/clutch fork or something. If I want a good looking 2.0T FWD with a manual I'll take a Buick Regal.

Surely the VR6 is better, I mean it doesn't have a turbo so that should eliminate half of the problems right there. I can't find any systemic issues with it so I'd like to think that it's a nice used buy, but they probably never sold that many of them in the first place.

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