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February 04, 2011 8:52 pm MST

I Need A New Car

  • by: MADCO

Well, I want a new car….no, I need one…well….  Ok, I can’t tell the difference any more, so let’s just say I’m going to get a car.

What do I get?

And when I say “new” I mean new for me.  I usually much prefer to buy used – cheaper and less painful depreciation.

I know for a lot of drivers, this is pretty easy.  And it has been for me in the past, but not now.

I live in a two car house. Well, one for now.  My 1989 euro trash car finally died.

Some would say it died some time ago, maybe when the trans started slipping. Or perhaps when the rear brakes required a rebuild (the front is where most the brake action comes from.) I decided to wait until the head gasket blew.  350,000 miles (approx- the odometer has been inop for some time)

So what do I need:

reliable, safe, reasonably efficient (I don’t drive a lot) vehicle that can carry 4 sometimes, 3 often.


electric, convertible,

So recently the one working car was in the shop and the loaner was a 2010 Suburban with tow package.  I haven’t driven an American V8 is awhile- and I gotta say that was fun.  That nagging feeling of irresponsibility was assuaged by it being only temporary.  But 14mpg is not practical or exciting.

So, the car I want does not exist.  

There are a few electric cars – Leaf, Volt – but I need a car now, not in 12-18 months.

And none of them are topless.

So I’ve stirring the budget, needs, and wants (which i can’t always distinguish) together, I’ve boiled the choice down to:

– 5 yr old Civic (gasoline or hybrid- doesn’t matter)

– 10 – 12 yr old BMW or Volvo convertible

– something else

thoughts are welcome.



33 thoughts on “I Need A New Car

      1. how Neil Young lost his warehouse last year??

        Having said that MADCO, you can’t go wrong with a Civic, or any Accord.  Great cars.  My oldest kid’s car (and she’s no maintenance stickler) is the family’s old ’96 Accord that’s gotten her through high school, and most of college in Gunnision, with 200K miles and no problems whatsoever.

        I would have loved to have recently found a 5-year old, or so, Accord or Civic in decent condition for my youngest kid (in high school).  Nearly impossible, people aren’t letting their’s go.  If you find one, grab it.  (We did finally decide on a very low-mileage used 2010 Ford Focus that I actually do like and think will do well — plus its under warranty for another 24 months — but it my be a little small for your needs and you’d have to settle for the sun roof.)

        Expensive and difficult maintenance on the old BMW and Volvo — pass.  

      1. Nice concept of Neil’s.  Still working out a few kinks as with the small problem of it catching fire in his warehouse, taking out some of his collection.

  1. Front wheel drive vehicles are the Great Satan of Western Civilization.

    Unfortunately the choices are few for RWD.

    Leaf is all electric – strictly an urban car

    Volt is $42,000. Enough said.

    Love the 59 Caddy Ralphie, RWD. Unfortunately gas is no longer 23 cents a gallon.  

    1. You can afford $3/gallon gas.

      Of course you’re talking to a guy who sold his ’91 Geo Metro (42 mpg 3-cylinder engine) just before gas went thru the roof last time.  I wish I had waited.

  2. But I’ve heard that the hybrid engines tend to lose efficiency over time. Depending on the mileage on the used one you’re looking at, it might not be worth as much if the MPGs are declining.

    If you’re really into reliability and good mileage, you might want to consider adding Saab to your BMW and Volvo list. My mother-in-law drives a Saab convertible and she loves it. Don’t know if they make it without a turbo though, as that is exciting, but not really all that practical.

    1. but why are you guys still calling GM “Government Motors”…didn’t they pay all the money back already?

      Or does the government still own stock in GM?  

      1. as of the end of January 2011.

        In 2008 and 2009 GM received at total of $50 billion in government loans, then went bankrupt. In bankruptcy most of those loans were converted from debt to equity (stock) so at that time the US government owed 61% of GM stock.

        GM’s first public stock offering after bankruptcy in Nov. 2010 reduced the US governments share to about 33%. But in addition to that, the Canadian government still owns GM stock as well(I don’t know how much)

        GM made a big deal about paying back their government loans, but most of the loans were converted to stock in the BK, they only paid back the small amount that wasn’t converted.

        Therefore many thought that claim somewhat disingenuous.  

  3. my wife has a 2006 Sentra.  Good gas mileage, great pickup, 4 door, just enough room (although low to the ground).  

    It is super-super low maintenance.  I have had a Maxima, X-Terra and now the wife has this Sentra.  Nissan makes very good quality cars, and VERY VERY low maintenance. Again, they are just built well.

    Good luck hunting !

    1. we’re still driving a ’95 Sentra that gets good mileage although cosmetically is a little rough.  Have no idea how many miles are on it – over 250,000 with no engine problems or noticeable loss of compression.  When it was on the highway more, a few years ago, I’d regularly get over 40mpg for highway driving.

        1. with more, little to no care, and all in about four years.

          Good little car.

          T-boned by a Jeep Cherokee. Side doors weren’t very strong, but otherwise a good little car! 🙂 And yes, I’m fine and yes, I know I was fairly lucky.

  4. Problem with hybrids is too much weight because of the battery. Designers have to look at making cars lighter, not heavier. Lighter weight batteries are in R & D now, but they’re not here yet.

    Check out the 4 seat Veloster by Hyundai just unveiled at the Detroit Auto show. Will be in showrooms this summer.  Not a hybrid, but a very efficient direct injection 1.6 liter engine and a weight of only 2600 lbs. 40 mpg. Starting price in the $17,000 range.

    Honda just came out with the hybrid 2 seater CR-Z coupe. It gets 39 mpg. Starting price at $ 20,000.

    Why spend $3000 more for a hybrid that isn’t any more efficient ?

    I think Hyundai’s on the right track. This company has been doing very well.  

  5. For great performance, and excellent fuel economy, coupled with comfort, try a

    VW Jetta Diesel.  I have one, 60K miles, and still get in excess of 40mpg all the time.  On road trips, the mileage goes up to about 44 or 45.

  6. I’m with David. In the last few years I’ve bought an ’02 Chrysler Sebring convertible, an ’05 Mercury Mountaineer V-8 SUV, and, last year, an ’04 BMW 325i with about 87,000 miles on it. Bought each of them “gently used,” and never experienced any significant mechanical problems with any of them. They all have pluses and minuses, but the convertible just wasn’t a practical mid-winter car and the SUV was, predictably, a gas hog. The BMW is comfortable, practical and dependable. Cost about $12K.

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