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i agree 100% about the TSX, i drove a 08 TL type S yestersday and while that may be a WHOLE other animal, the build quality was AWESOME
 

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1992 Town Car Cartier & 2014 Accord LX MTX
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Discussion Starter #23
Chad, what about a '00-'05 Impala? I know someone who has one with 160K miles on it (its his work and personal car) and it does great. It is surprisingly spacious and I fit very comfortably in the back seat. The seats are comfortable, it greats great gas mileage and it has some power to boot. His is the very base model but the suspension is great and soaks up all sorts of bumps but also allows you to whip it around corners if you wanted. In that 160K the only problems he has had is a clogged CAT and a broken exterior door handle (they are just plastic) but he found one at a junkyard for $10.
Ugh...more mediocre GM crap. IF I was gonna go with something with the 3800, I'd probably go with a GTP or Park Ave Ultra. Atleast they're a somewhat cool car.

dirt_cheap_fleetwood said:
Also honorable mentions, Lincoln Town Car, Grand Marquis and Crown Victoria. Around here the municipalities use Crown Victorias as general vehicles, not for police duty so you can get them in good condition (they REALLY take care of these cars) with decent miles for a great price. My old high school sells their driver's ed cars, which are Crown Vics, every 5 years or so and they are great. The schools wants to keep the kids safe so maintenance is a top priority and the cars are never beat on because new drivers are afraid to take chances.
I'd rather pound an xacto knife through my left testicle than own a Crown Victoria/ Grand Marquis or Town Car. If I didn't like the way the big RWD GM cars drove, then why the hell would I buy Ford's offering? LOL

Out of those I'd definitely lean towards the GTi. Don't forget VW gives you a 4 year/50,000 mile basic warranty, and a 5 year/60,000 mile powertrain warranty. I'm actually considering a gently used 2008-09 R32 for my next car. Just read a ton of reviews, test drive another, and decide if it suits your needs better than the Hondas.
The GTi is more fun to drive, but the Honda is more practical, reliable and cheap to own. Nobody ever talks about their unreliable, problematic Honda.

http://www.daveramsey.com/etc/lms/drive_free/player.cfm

'Nough said.

Buy a $3000 car. Put $100 a month into a savings fund for repairs.

Brian
Damn. He's got a good point. Now just find me a nice car up my alley for $3,000. Any sort of compact car would be shit for that price range. Pretty much the only decent cars at that price are big domestic boats....and I'd like something smaller and more nimble than that now..

But like you guys experienced with Ruthie's deVille...what if you buy what seems to be a nice car, but only to pick up a lot of someone else's problems, drive you CRAZY, prove to be extremely problematic and unreliable, and cause you hundreds of dollars.

Since you mentioned them earlier, I'd also suggest you test drive an Acura TSX that's a year or more old. You might be able to get a certified used one for a good price. It's going to have that smaller nimbleness that you liked in the Civic and the VW, but a more luxurious feel, plus Honda reliability.

Don't let the Acura badge scare you off. The mechanicals are all Honda, so it's not going to eat you alive for parts and service any more than the Civic would. Probably less than the VW, too. I'm always a bit leery of turbos anyway. I like my power the old-fashioned way.
I'll still take a look at those.

The thought of the small econosports on the long flat Mid-west highway stretches leaves me a bit wishing for something a bit more compatible with the environment in which you find youself. I don't see you in a "blahmobile" or a "geezer's delight" either. The VW GTi is a great driver, fun and capable of covering long distances comfortably .... but let's face it, their reliabilty and other problems are an expense, not to mention a time consumer to get put right.

So my suggestion is a good clean late model Pontiac GTO. There are plenty of low mileage cars around at pretty low prices. The build quality was decent and the engine pretty much bullet proof, most of the accessories were not unique to the model so they should be cheap to come by. While the 6 speed would be fun, I'v driven the automatic on several ocassions was completely happy with it. Well that's my 2 cents worth, best of luck selling your Merc ....... maybe an add in the Pan African Gazette might find a young dictator's subaltern who'd love to have it. I'll be interested to hear what you end up replacing the S Class with in the coming months.
The GTO sounds like a fun car, but I can't do something RWD with that power in MN...I'd need a secondary FWD car and then I've gotta spend more money...

I almost bought a 2005 GTO.. but for the same price you can get a loaded Infiniti G35 Coupe with Navigation, Xenons, and so much more than the GTO offers.


Seriously though, I can't see you in a GTi. My brother traded his DTS on a new Passat CC VR6 (all maintenance paid for 3 years). Now that I can see you in :thumbsup:





He got 1.9% APR for 60 months too! It is a really nice car and he doesn't miss the DTS one bit.


But seriously, before you buy a Civic; buy another Deville or something!! .. or you WILL lose your man card!
The CC is nice, but it's a $28,000 car, and that's it's base MSRP, which puts it out of my price range. I've always kinda liked the GTi's...they're much more normal for a single guy my age. They're fast and fun to drive, yet still comfortable and still very versatile and usable as a DD. I've always liked how VW's feel, but their reliability record scares me.

Are those G35's pretty solid and reliable? I could do one of those just as long as it's the X model for MN snow...

.. oh, and how much are you selling the S320 for?
Probably $9,000ish.

Personally, I think you're looking for an excuse for a new car. I know because I've been there and done that, regretted it later (Range Rover) and if that weren't bad enough, have to hear Dave Ramsey call me out on it every day on the radio. If the S Class has a comprehensive warranty I'm not even sure what you're so worried about.

WITH THAT BEING SAID... Obvious choices... 2003-05 E46 BMW CPO, or 2003-05 Cadillac CTS. 15-17k will get you a perfect CPO and those things are both solid as a rock.

So stop crying your heart out, you don't think you'll miss your S Class now, but once it's gone it'll feel as if it's half the world away. :sneaky:
I still do like the W140 a lot. It'll probably be the nicest, most exclusive, most luxurious car I'll ever own. I don't WANT to get rid of it, but I can't afford it. The S Class's warranty expires in about 2000 miles, so once that's over, I'm done.

When I got the car, I wasn't sure if I was gonna keep it once the warranty expired, or sell it. I mean the car is amazing to own, but it's beyond my means when it comes to repairs and maintenance. The insurance isn't bad though. And it's actually pretty reliable, but whenever something goes it's an arm and a leg.

The E46's are pretty good you say? Do they have any problem areas? How's the CPO program work?

Chad, what's the latest with the A/C problem??
The blower motor was shot. That cost $1070 to replace, and that was after the EXCELLENT service department cut me a nice discount. The low freon was caused by a (very small) leak in the compressor. The dealer wanted $1700 to cover that, and my warranty didn't cover that because "they didn't see any leaks" so I had my dealer add dye and recharge (at no cost to me! Feldmann Imports rocks!!!) and we'll check again before the warranty expires in 2000 miles.
 

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Are those G35's pretty solid and reliable? I could do one of those just as long as it's the X model for MN snow...
I test drove a 2005 G35 sedan once and was pretty impressed by it. The steering feel/handling is amazing. My only complaint was it lacked in elbow room.
 

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94 FWB, 93 SDV, 94 FWB (sold), 90 Brougham (sold)
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But like you guys experienced with Ruthie's deVille...what if you buy what seems to be a nice car, but only to pick up a lot of someone else's problems, drive you CRAZY, prove to be extremely problematic and unreliable, and cause you hundreds of dollars.
Worst mistake I ever made.....getting excited about a car we knew had problems on the test drive, and thinking to myself, "I can live with that," or "I can fix that." Looking back on it now, I would have searched for a different Caddy. But one POS car out of a slew of awesome rides.....

85 Parisienne - $1100. Had her for 3 years, in that time, a few brake jobs and tires (which would be done on a new car), a new carburetor, and a new catalytic convertor. For 3 years (July 01 to December 04), we spent about $1400 in repairs). $2500 in 39 months.......$64 a month. Donated Dec. 31st 2004, wrote off $3000.

90 Brougham - $2495. Had her 3 years, put a new transmission in. $2250. $300 for a new knock sensor. I spent about $800 on the stereo (thank you ebay!) and a few hundred on the interior, but I won't count those, because they weren't repairs. $5045 for 27 months.....$186 a month. Sold March 17th 2007 for $2600.

94 FWB - $3000. Had her 8 months, front brakes. $150 for pads and rotor/hubs. Sold for $2600.

Brian
 

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Discussion Starter #28
Brian, I didn't particularly like the Roadmaster I drove yesterday, mainly because I'd already had one, and in 5 minutes I remembered why I sold it four years ago, but on the other hand, it would be more reliable, simple and cheap to own than a 4.9 deVille, a car that overall I like a LOT more than the Roadmaster. Maybe a Fleetwood would be my best bet? It's simple and reliable like the Roadmaster, and I've never owned one, and it's still got the status of the Cadillac. It wouldn't handle or steer like a 4.9 deVille, but it wouldn't give me the headaches...

You can always swap out the steering box and shocks on those for a sportier feel right?
 

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One of my friends Dad just bought an '07 G35 Sedan as his work car to replace his '96 5 Series with 185k miles. He's had it for 2 weeks now and is really liking it. 306 HP, paddle shifters, built in Nav, XM, hard drive and all the rest of the goodies. Took it for a quick spin around the block(well maybe a couple blocks) and it was very fun and spirited to drive, went where you told it, had great brakes, and the paddle shifters were all kinds of fun, as well as being just as comfy and quiet as my 03 STS. Think it was roughly a 23k car when it was all said and done.
 

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I currently drive an 05 VW Passat TDi, wagon, and will most likely be buying an 2010 2 door Rabbit/golf TDi when they release them this fall, I would suggest that you drive a base rabbit just to try it out, my Passat has 50k on it

and I need to change my avatar line, I sold my Eldorado this weekend
 

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I highly recommend Infiniti products. We are on our third one (I30, QX4, M45). All well made and very reliable.

The G35 has always been compared to the 3 series in terms of power & handling... but it offers better reliability.

Customer service is top notch too, we always get a G35 or M45 loaner when we drop ours off for any service.


http://cgi.ebay.com/ebaymotors/07-G...ryZ43914QQssPageNameZWDVWQQrdZ1QQcmdZViewItem
 

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Chad, if you want a cheap, reliable, fun import with a great track record, what about a Maxima SE???
Lots of toys (heated steering wheel, sunroof and windows opening at the touch of your fob, etc).

The Maxima is fast, decent on gas, has a world class motor (Ward's Top Ten), and best of all, depreciate at about
twice the rate of a Lexus.
Model years 2000 to 2003 are still really cheap.
Up my way, you can grab one of these for about $4-5k USD.

I have a 98 Maxima GLE as a third car.
188000 klm, and its dead solid reliable, and still fun to drive fast.

If you get $9k for the Merc, will it cover the balance of your loan?

Good luck with your choice ... I don't think I'd live with the Merc if it's out of warranty.
I major repair would be catastrophic.
 

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Discussion Starter #35
I owe $5616 on the car, so if I could get about $9,000 that would be ideal.

I like the late '90s Maximas a lot, but I seem to remember reading something about them going through injectors fairly frequently.
 

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Maybe a Fleetwood would be my best bet? It's simple and reliable like the Roadmaster, and I've never owned one, and it's still got the status of the Cadillac. It wouldn't handle or steer like a 4.9 deVille, but it wouldn't give me the headaches...

You can always swap out the steering box and shocks on those for a sportier feel right?
Go test drive a few Fleetwoods or maybe some 5.7L Broughams if there are some in the area. The biggest gripe I have with mine is fuel mileage, which is about 14-16 for me but I knew it wouldn't be great when I bought it and I really don't care. If I have to put a little extra gas in to drive a car that I enjoy, it is worth it. Repairs are something that every car needs. Even with all the horrible luck I have had with my Fleetwood I still have only $2500 invested in a car with 68K miles in decent condition. Once I am finished with the stuff I need to fix this spring the car will be as good as new and will last for a long time, I hope. Parts are also rather cheap now for early '90s and late' 80s cars. Last time I went to Elias's house he informed me that the front shocks for my Brougham are $13 each at the dealer and I just looked up front calipers for my Fleetwood, $13 a piece at Napa.

A D-body Fleetwood is the same as a B-body Caprice or Impala, just stretched a little bit so just about any upgrade you can find for a Caprice or Impala will fit the Fleetwood. This is a subject to consult Elias on though.
 

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Discussion Starter #37
The Broughams are a great car, don't get me wrong, but I don't wanna buy a car (albeit a reliable, durable one), then have to spend a bunch of time and money on it to make it what I wanna drive. I don't really want a super soft riding car anymore....I want something more nimble, lithe and sporty.

Another part of owning a Brougham that worries me is finding replacement parts for them. Not so much engine & drivetrain work but interior and exterior pieces. Do they still make them? Is it readily available? If you need to buy any mechanical pieces can you go in to a Chevrolet or Buick dealer and tell them you have Roadmaster or Caprice and get the prices cheaper?



I did some searching on Auto Trader for any car I'd like under $3,000 and most of the Cadillacs I found were 4.9 deVilles, higher mileage Northstars and Cateras. I like the 4.9 the most but they all had atleast 160k on them. The other car that I seemed to have fairly good luck with was the early '90s Park Avenue Ultras...there are a few out there for $3,000 with 100-150k on them..


I'd like to thank everyone for their advice and help. It's reasons like this that I stick around. :) :)
 

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What about one of those Fast and the Furious type Subarus -- at least it would be 4x4.....
 

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Hey Chad, I was just searching the local Craigslist for some Park Aves and I thought of something else. What about a Lincoln LS? They are RWD, they look AMAZING, you can get them with a V8 and even a 5spd if you were so inclined. We have both a Park Ave and a LS at my tech school and they are both great cars. I was very impressed with the LS the first time I had to drive it and if I were in the market for a newer car that would probably be one of my first choices.

I also recommend finding cars off Craigslist instead of autotrader. I have gotten all of my cars off there so far and have had great experiences with all of them. You may have to search a little harder and it takes longer to find the car you want but you get way better deals than what comes from a dealer. Just make sure you search lots of stuff. I have huge problems with people spelling deville as two words, de ville, so it screws up searches.

http://chicago.craigslist.org/nwc/ctd/1106798642.html

http://chicago.craigslist.org/nch/ctd/1105365060.html

http://chicago.craigslist.org/wcl/ctd/1106406216.html
 

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Discussion Starter #40
Jeez you guys got a LOT of nice cars for good prices down there. We don't have half as many good ones up here...
 
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