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1990 350 Brougham (The cruiser), 1988 Mark VII LSC (The DD)
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Discussion Starter #1
Since Chad started the thread detailing his debacle about what to do with the S-class, I have been giving my own vehicular situation a thought. I am pretty sure I have worked out all the problems with my Brougham and we are now getting along nicely, so it will be around for a while. It is the first car I have ever had that commanded respect. I get comments daily about how nice and clean and it has a way of making you feel damn good.

However, my Fleetwood is what I am torn over. The car is in average condition having just started to show bubbling under the paint on the rear quarter panel just under the trim. There are also several scratches on the trunk and the giant hole in the front shock tower, but otherwise it is in good shape. I have a long list of issues I need to deal with over the next few months including brakes, EGR issues, wheel bearings, VCC solenoid and the A/C and a few I probably forgot right now

I can fix most of those myself (no way in hell will I drop the trans in my driveway) for around $500-$700. The repairs are no big deal to me. I have the money, the parts are easy enough to find and I have a car to drive while this one is out of commission. However, I would like to have two completely functioning cars, instead of one good one and one that is always broken. Honestly, I don't much mind the constant repairs and the car will be able to preform its main duty (winter driver) without any problems, but after a while they become rather annoying. It is also the first car I owned, so it has certain sentimental value.

It is a great car and once I fix all the issues it has now it will be fine for years to come, but it would be nice to have a car I don't have to worry about. I would really like to be able to walk out my door and have my Brougham as my summer DD/road trip/passenger hauling vehicle and also have a car that I can get in at anytime and go where I wanted without a second thought. Basically I want an all weather vehicle that I can take when I don't want the bulk of the Brougham.

Anyway, I have been browsing around at a possible replacement for the car. I thought about a DHS but that left quickly as I thought about replacement costs. Ranger and a few others have had great luck with theirs, but there is so much potential for disaster. I also thought about another '95 DeVille and if the chance arose where I could get a Concours for a good deal I would buy it in a heartbeat.

Then I started thinking about how much fun I had in my Isuzu. It was nice being able to throw it into 4wd and do whatever. It was fantastic in the snow and the ability to throw my tools/bike/dog or whatever else into the back without worrying whether or not the trunk would close (don't worry, the dog went in the back seat) or if I would scratch the paint getting the stuff loaded. An SUV would be nice, but being the freak of a teenager I am I want luxury over the toughness that many SUVs offer. I mainly want something that has climate control, a nice sound system, leather seats and most of all, great ride quality.

I started thinking about possible luxury SUVs. I thought about a Blazer LT like my Mom's, but they are still a utility SUV and ride rather rough. Plus, the interiors are less than spectacular. Lexus RX, no. Its fugly and too popular meaning they are out of my price range. I also thought about an older Eddie Bauer Explorer as they have all the features I want, but they do not look all that hot IMO. My last consideration was a Jeep, but after riding in a fellow student's '04 Grand Cherokee, I decided that the build quality was even worse than the Blazer's. There were squeaks and rattles EVERYWHERE.

So, to those of you who are actually still reading this, what do you think of the QX4? I have found several '97-'00 models in my area with around 100K miles for $3000-$5000. I know they are based off the Pathfinder, so reliability should be high, right? They look great and have all the features I want. I saw the MotorWeek test of it and they liked it. It is slower than hell but other reviews I have read online said it has ample power for both off roading and every day driving. I am probably one of only a few people that would take a luxury SUV, which usually have superior 4wd systems anyway, off the beaten path and have a little fun with it.

The interiors look splendid for an SUV and some even have heated rear seats. The MotorWeek test I saw said the seats were comfortable and the ride was unexpectedly pleasant. Interior noise was only 67db at highway speed! My friends all think I am retarded (they all like muscle cars) but they though the Brougham was retarded until the five of us had to travel to Rockford. So, what do you all think of them? Do you have any other suggestions about a car I might consider?










 

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I don't know much about Infinitis, but I always liked the QX4.

What about a similarly aged Tahoe or Yukon? Too big? Heated seats might be hard to find, but leather wouldn't.

Dare I say Land Rover Discovery? !!! Maybe not...
 

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I would avoid a pre-2001 QX4 like the plague.

The 3.0L engine that is otherwise FANTASTIC in the Maxima is a pile of GARBAGE in the QX4 and Pathfinder. It is wheezy, slow and downright awful.

2001 brought the MUCH needed 3.5L to the Pathy and QX4 and of course my favorite addition... Xenon Headlights.

You can probably find a 2001 Pathfinder LE for what a 2000 QX4 costs.

Aside from this, they are great trucks and I drove an '01 with 148k a few months ago... The damn thing rode and drove as if it were brand new.
 

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Heh, Massey Cadillac, my '93 Coupe had a badge from them on it.

If you want a fully loaded SUV with all the things you mentioned, may want to check out a Rodeo LSE, or a top level Trooper (Limited IIRC?) They've got all those features, but IMO better stuff for what really counts, and can be had for much cheaper.

Beyond that... what is the point of a luxury SUV anyway?

In case that confuses some people.... it isn't a luxury car, and it isn't a real SUV. Besides the whole "I like sitting up high" thing, why? All those things you said you liked about your old Isuzu, you probably wouldn't do in a shiney luxury SUV.

If you feel that you need AWD for winter weather, then I'd look at a Subaru wagon, get 90's versions cheap and some of the upper end ones had the features you like.

But, if you are not going to be using an SUV for SUV stuff, hauling (large/heavy things) towing, wheeling etc... then why bother with one, and the ~16mpg you may get from it when an AWD wagon would be a better choice.

Part of the joy about simple/rugged vehicles is that you can do the things that you mentioned... but one of the luxury versions.... now it's like using your Brougham as a beater work car.

Just my thoughts. As far as the Nissan/Infinity, I can't offer information to them. Although it seems the old (early 90's) Pathfinders were quite reliable.... like most Japaneese trucks/SUV's of that era. Just saying, get a vehicle based on what you think most of your use would be, if you think you could do all those things you liked doing with your old Isuzu, while still enjoying the luxury features of the higher end model, then it may be the best choice for you.
 

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Discussion Starter #6 (Edited)
Heuterm: A Tahoe is a little more than what I am looking for. We have a family friend that has been trying to sell his '93 454 K2500 GMC Suburban. It is truly a bad ass truck that has been converted to be the ultimate trailer towing machine. It has a custom interior with seats that look like they came out of a private jet. Its nice and has been well maintained, but it is just too big and thirsty. The later models also had no climate control and the same cheap, plastic interior of the Blazers.

As for the Land Rovers, there may be something there. I was looking around and there are several ones for cheap, but how are they on reliability? I just found a 2000 Discovery II with 52K miles for $6000. http://chicago.craigslist.org/sox/cto/1143533411.html Another great example but the low price for the year and mileage makes me think there is a reason for the horribly low resale. http://chicago.craigslist.org/nwc/ctd/1149246165.html


Ian: I understand that they will be slow but otherwise are they reliable? Speed really doesn't matter, as long as it can get out of its own way. The MotorWeek test said it ran a 17.9 quarter mile, which is about what my Dad's van runs and I think that has plenty of power for everyday driving.


Jesda: I know they are skinny on the inside, but that is kind of what I want. I drive huge everyday so something smaller would be nice once in a while. The Rodeo was the same size inside as they were practically the same car (MU Wizard platform).


Rick: I understand what you mean about the luxury SUV class. It is kind of an oxymoron. An SUV is supposed to be a work vehicle where you can throw your tools/dogs/hunting rifle, among other things, in the back and have it be sealed from the rain and at the same temperature as the cabin. Did the Rodeo's ever have automatic climate control? Call me a spoiled pansy, but I am so used to it that I hated having to manually change the fan speed on my Rodeo. It was just so much work. :)

I do not plan on towing anything but I would like to have the ability to haul things easily, mainly my bike. It fits in the truck of the Brougham but it is an acrobatic act getting it in there and making the trunk close properly. I would also like to take my dog with me on trips out to my grandparent's place. Like I said, I am probably one of the few people that would actually use a luxury SUV as a true utility vehicle. I may not be as risky with my offroad adventures as I was with the rodeo (the paint already sucked, I didn't care what happened) but it would leave asphalt now and then. If I were to splurge for this car ($5k is about 2/5 of my yearly salary and I could probably get $2k for the Fleetwood) I would keep it until the bitter end, so I would have no qualm about throwing greasy car parts or tools in the back. In my mind it is a utility vehicle that simply has a few more options than a base ute.

As for the Subaru thing, the only ones I really like are the newer Legacy models, and they don't have climate control.
 

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John, I saw you mentioned to Adam Goff a few days ago that you really desired a Grand Wagoneer. You could probably get a nice late model one for less than you'd pay for a QX4 Infiniti.

Elias's wife Nicole had a QX4 for a while. I don't think they had the best of luck with it, but I may be wrong..
 

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Buy my Astro! They don't call it the bangbus for just any reason.



Nothing says "Watch out world, here I come!" Like a Chevy Astro with bad rear springs, a misfire and bald rear tires.
 

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My neighbor has a QX4 for his wife's car. It's ok I guess, but it doesn't look like anything next to my sweet Deville. :cool2:
 

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Discussion Starter #10
John, I saw you mentioned to Adam Goff a few days ago that you really desired a Grand Wagoneer. You could probably get a nice late model one for less than you'd pay for a QX4 Infiniti.
I could not drive one of those through the winter here. They are too rare and it would make me feel horrible. Plus, parts for them are a PITA. They literally contained parts from all of the big three. GM trans and steering column, Ford engine controls and carb, AMC engine. Nothing says "I wish I lived in Tennessee" like a Brougham and a Grand Wagoneer in the driveway. :)
 

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As for the Land Rovers, there may be something there. I was looking around and there are several ones for cheap, but how are they on reliability? I just found a 2000 Discovery II with 52K miles for $6000. http://chicago.craigslist.org/sox/cto/1143533411.html Another great example but the low price for the year and mileage makes me think there is a reason for the horribly low resale. http://chicago.craigslist.org/nwc/ctd/1149246165.html
Run Like Hell.


If you thought my car was expensive to maintain, this is a whole different game. Atleast my car has been relatively reliable. You do know what they say about British electronics...
 

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I was only joking on the Land Rover -- they are a NIGHTMARE.
 

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'90s LAND CRUISER!!!



It is the (reliable) Japanese version of the Land Rover. Big torquey six cylinder (I think it was like a 4.5L I-6), full list of luxury accoutrements, and possibly the most capable full size SUV off road for it's era. I think it, along with the Wrangler and Land Rover, complete the trifecta of old school fully capable SUV's that are still around today. If I'm not mistaken, the Land Cruisers first came around in the '60s in a small body like a Wrangler, but during the '80s sometime, they got big and luxurious.


Here's a good read on the truck. 1990-97 was the generation you'd want. 1998+ got a lot more expensive and complicated.
http://consumerguideauto.howstuffworks.com/1990-to-1997-toyota-land-cruiser.htm
 

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I know a kid who had a 2000 Disco. Nice as hell with leather seats, dual sunroofs, etc. It ended up blowing a HG, had a major oil leak, and needed ton of electronics worked on to make it driveable again. Now I don't know about you all, but this sounds all too familiar here...
 

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Discussion Starter #16
This is the only local Land Cruiser I found. I hate to see what the other car looked like...




I may look into the Rodeos again. After you mentioned it Rick I had a look around and found several '00+ models with low mileage for $3k-$4k. I also looked at the Troopers and I am starting to like them. I found this one. It has a 6-disc CD changer, heated seats, a HUGE sunroof, climate control, heated mirrors and much more. Plus it has Torque On Demand. http://chicago.craigslist.org/wcl/ctd/1149147730.html
 

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My neighbor has a 1990 Pathfinder 4x4, V6, 5 speed. Has 540,000 miles on it, said he had to replace the orginal engine at 490k. Still looks nice too, somehow the factory paint hasn't faded or peeled, interior looks amazing, hardly any wear on the driver's seat.

I'd also look at 96-02ish Pathfinders, you could get them with leather, electronic climate control, etc.

My favorite option is the 96-02 Toyota 4-Runner. Rock solid reliable trucks, plus I think they look great. Some of them had really nice, supportive bucket seats that wouldn't be out of place in a sports car. You could also get them with fancy pants options, but they are kind of pricey.
 

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What if you expanded your search horizons John? I have a feeling that the Land Cruiser is gonna be your best bet. Japanese reliability, luxury accoutrements, extremely torquey four and a half litre I-6, proven offroad track record.

The Isuzu Troopers are kinda neat too...almost like a poor man's version of the LC. They even look kinda similar...tall, boxy. They have luxurious interiors and a large V6 too.
 

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QX4s and Pathfinders are perfectly reliable, but no, trust me... I had a '95 and it did not feel like it could "get out of it's own way". I always had the pedal mashed to the floor in that thing. Hated every minute of life with it.

For your price range you'll be looking at Land Cruisers at or near the 200k mark. This is not a bad thing as they will run forever but be prepared to maintain the 4WD systems, various joints and transmission.

No offense but I don't think the Rodeo/Passport holds a candle to the QX4. The Trooper and Acura SLX however are VERY VERY nice.
 
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