Author Topic: Car Advice Needed  (Read 7454 times)

Threshkin

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Car Advice Needed
« on: September 02, 2014, 01:50:50 PM »
We need to replace our 2003 Audi A6.  The maintenance is starting to add up and we want to get rid of it before something big(er) fails.

We have a few constraints that may finding a replacement car not as simple.  Here they are:

  • Cannot be Japanese or Korean brand (Political issues) European brand strongly preferred
  • Must be 4-door (business requirement)
  • Must be automatic
  • Wagon or SUV style strongly preferred
  • 4 or AWD desired but not mandatory
  • 2004 or later
  • Needs to portray a "successful" image (non-mustachian but needed for Real Estate side gig)
  • Under 100K miles
  • Price range up to $16K (We will pay cash)

Any suggestions?

Thanks!

RWD

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Re: Car Advice Needed
« Reply #1 on: September 02, 2014, 02:40:10 PM »
Possibilities, in my personal preferred order that should meet all your criteria:
Saab 9-2X
Volvo V50 or V70
BMW 325xi or 530xi Sport Wagon
Mercedes C320 4matic (wagon)

DangleStash

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Re: Car Advice Needed
« Reply #2 on: September 02, 2014, 03:03:39 PM »
Technically the 9-2x is a rebadged, saab-ified WRX, not sure of specific origin (but a well regarded vehicle).

Along the same saab lines, you can probably snag a saab really inexpensively now:

http://www.ebay.com/itm/Saab-9-3-Aero-SAAB-9-3-AERO-Wagon-2-8L-Turbo-53-500-miles-/161408259877?forcerrptr=true&hash=item2594ae9725&item=161408259877&pt=US_Cars_Trucks

In case that link doesn't work, it's a 2008 w/ 54k for $11,500 OBO.

You can probably find a newer/lower mileage one for less.

RWD

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Re: Car Advice Needed
« Reply #3 on: September 02, 2014, 03:15:36 PM »
Technically the 9-2x is a rebadged, saab-ified WRX, not sure of specific origin (but a well regarded vehicle).

Along the same saab lines, you can probably snag a saab really inexpensively now:

http://www.ebay.com/itm/Saab-9-3-Aero-SAAB-9-3-AERO-Wagon-2-8L-Turbo-53-500-miles-/161408259877?forcerrptr=true&hash=item2594ae9725&item=161408259877&pt=US_Cars_Trucks

In case that link doesn't work, it's a 2008 w/ 54k for $11,500 OBO.

You can probably find a newer/lower mileage one for less.

Which is one of the reasons I recommended it. You get a European brand with the reliability and affordability that comes with Japanese underpinnings.

The Saab 9-3 is nice, but doesn't get as good fuel economy as the the others I listed, unfortunately.

RWD

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Re: Car Advice Needed
« Reply #4 on: September 02, 2014, 03:20:26 PM »
Technically the 9-2x is a rebadged, saab-ified WRX, not sure of specific origin (but a well regarded vehicle).

Along the same saab lines, you can probably snag a saab really inexpensively now:

http://www.ebay.com/itm/Saab-9-3-Aero-SAAB-9-3-AERO-Wagon-2-8L-Turbo-53-500-miles-/161408259877?forcerrptr=true&hash=item2594ae9725&item=161408259877&pt=US_Cars_Trucks

In case that link doesn't work, it's a 2008 w/ 54k for $11,500 OBO.

You can probably find a newer/lower mileage one for less.

Which is one of the reasons I recommended it. You get a European brand with the reliability and affordability that comes with Japanese underpinnings.

The Saab 9-3 is nice, but doesn't get as good fuel economy as the the others I listed, unfortunately.

I should also add that the 9-3 you linked to is a FWD instead of AWD version. Supposedly they are rated for the same fuel economy (at least for the 2.8 turbo engine).

Reddleman

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Re: Car Advice Needed
« Reply #5 on: September 02, 2014, 03:30:23 PM »
RWD's list pretty much matches my own.  Gotta love Mustachians!

If you have an independent shop that services Saabs, it is a decent option.  Repairs will be in line with Audi costs, but probably slightly less frequent. They are definitely very inexpensive these days and parts availability should be very good for at least the next 5-10 years. 

The other benefit is that while they are a "nice" European car by any measure, they tend to fly under the radar.  In my experience, wealthier people tend to think of it as a solid, if quirky choice.  At the same time it doesn't have the same snob factor that may people associate with Audi/BMW/Mercedes.  My wife has a 2002 with over 280,000 mi. And it still has the original engine, transmission, turbo, clutch, etc.  very well built if maintained properly. If you get a 2.0 or 2.3l model, the mpg should be slightly better than the other cars on the list- the V6 is thirstier.

The 9.2x, aka Saaburu is 80% Subaru WRX, so it has awd and can be serviced by a wider range of garages, and cheaper.  Honestly the refinement is not as good as other Saabs, or up to the standard of other European cars, so it depends on how picky you or your clients are. 

V-series Volvos are also good, but the awd systems are weak, and the newer models are nowhere near the reliability of older models.  Then again, almost nothing ever made was, so there you go.

I would be tempted by a Mercedes E-series awd.  Very well engineered, and a good awd system. They also are very reasonable used because people assume they are really expensive to repair. 

As always, any of the list above can be great cars, it's more about their prior maintenance.



DangleStash

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Re: Car Advice Needed
« Reply #6 on: September 03, 2014, 07:20:56 AM »
I'll agree with both posts above me, my main suggestion about 9-2x being a subaru was based on the anti-japanese requirement.

I owned a 1999 9-5 and loved it, but maintenance is brutal on at least the older Saabs, not quite sure on the newer ones.  In all honesty, I would probably shy away from them due to the fact that the brand basically doesn't exist, and parts are expensive. 

How long are you planning on keeping this next vehicle, and on average how many miles do you think you'll do per year/over the life of it?  I ask because you may want to consider something with a naturally aspirated (non-turbocharged) engine for simplicity.  It's not that turbo'd cars are unreliable necessarily, but that it's just one more large, expensive component that could fail at some point.

alsoknownasDean

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Re: Car Advice Needed
« Reply #7 on: September 03, 2014, 08:00:52 AM »
Volvo wagon probably isn't a bad choice.
Would you consider one of the 'higher end' American cars? Probably easy to find one that's cheap enough.

sleepyguy

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Re: Car Advice Needed
« Reply #8 on: September 03, 2014, 08:55:33 AM »
Going with a full MMM mindset... Pontiac Vibe :)  or you still consider that Japanese?  You could probably get a yesteryear one for under $4k, investing the other 12K into that doesnt' depreciate.

MayDay

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Re: Car Advice Needed
« Reply #9 on: September 03, 2014, 09:05:07 AM »
What kind of real estate are we talking?  Million dollar mansions?

We have worked with a few different REA's and the ones with fancy cars were turn offs.  Giant SUV's seem more common though.  But we are buying under 300k houses, so maybe that isn't your target market. 

I am no help on the car.  I have just always been puzzled by why a fancy car is a good thing for an REA.  To me it says "I am taking way too much of your money in this transaction".

Threshkin

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Re: Car Advice Needed
« Reply #10 on: September 03, 2014, 09:05:26 AM »
How long are you planning on keeping this next vehicle, and on average how many miles do you think you'll do per year/over the life of it?  I ask because you may want to consider something with a naturally aspirated (non-turbocharged) engine for simplicity.  It's not that turbo'd cars are unreliable necessarily, but that it's just one more large, expensive component that could fail at some point.

We would expect to keep it for around 10 years, longer if it keeps running well and some new technology does not kill petroleum fuel engines.  For mileage, currently around 10-12K/year expected to drop significantly within the next 5 years are we ease into FIRE.

RWD

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Re: Car Advice Needed
« Reply #11 on: September 03, 2014, 09:12:12 AM »
Going with a full MMM mindset... Pontiac Vibe :)  or you still consider that Japanese?  You could probably get a yesteryear one for under $4k, investing the other 12K into that doesnt' depreciate.

I thought about recommending that. It has an AWD version which gets slightly better fuel economy than the others I listed (25 mpg vs 23 mpg combined compared to the Saab 9-2X with 2.5L engine). However it doesn't meet the European brand preference and I doubt it portrays a "successful" image.

If you (original poster) are looking for something similar in size to the Audi A6 I would recommend leaning toward the Volvo V70, BMW 530xi, or Mercedes E-Class. All of these should be more than spacious enough to cart around clients. These should give off a classy and refined image without being too flashy or wasteful (especially when purchased used).

Threshkin

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Re: Car Advice Needed
« Reply #12 on: September 03, 2014, 09:15:33 AM »
What kind of real estate are we talking?  Million dollar mansions?

We have worked with a few different REA's and the ones with fancy cars were turn offs.  Giant SUV's seem more common though.  But we are buying under 300k houses, so maybe that isn't your target market. 

I am no help on the car.  I have just always been puzzled by why a fancy car is a good thing for an REA.  To me it says "I am taking way too much of your money in this transaction".

General residential sales.  Some investment properties.  We are in a moderately low COL area where the bulk of the single family properties are $250-500K.

We need to be able to take couples and families out house hunting without cramming them in too badly.  We also need to be able to carry open house and listing signs plus small staging items.

I agree with you on the ostentatious "brand new luxury vehicle" image issue.  We don't want or need that.  We need something that looks decent but can be up to ten years old.

Another option we are going to check into is the hail sales going on right now.  This area has had several significant hail storms this summer and the dealers are dumping damaged inventory, new and used.

Threshkin

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Re: Car Advice Needed
« Reply #13 on: September 03, 2014, 09:29:45 AM »
How about a M class Mercedes?  I did not find any E class in the local listings but there are a few M class available that meet the general criteria. 

Most have a little over 100K miles (110-130K).  Is that a worry? 

Prices range from $7500 for a 2005 M-350 with 162K miles to $13100 for a 2006 M-350 with 111K miles.

No BMW 530s are listed.  There are a bunch of X3s.  Thoughts?

I looked for Vibes, none listed in the area or even near by.
Saab and Volvo are also pretty rare.

No one has mentioned Volkswagen.  Bad choice?

Timmmy

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Re: Car Advice Needed
« Reply #14 on: September 03, 2014, 09:46:01 AM »
What about a VW Jetta TDI Wagon?  You could keep it the rest of your life if you took decent care of it. 

You should (I haven't checked) be able to get one in your price range and most of the other requirements.

RWD

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Re: Car Advice Needed
« Reply #15 on: September 03, 2014, 10:47:58 AM »
How about a M class Mercedes?  I did not find any E class in the local listings but there are a few M class available that meet the general criteria. 

Most have a little over 100K miles (110-130K).  Is that a worry? 

Prices range from $7500 for a 2005 M-350 with 162K miles to $13100 for a 2006 M-350 with 111K miles.

No BMW 530s are listed.  There are a bunch of X3s.  Thoughts?

I looked for Vibes, none listed in the area or even near by.
Saab and Volvo are also pretty rare.

No one has mentioned Volkswagen.  Bad choice?

The M-Class gets significantly worse fuel economy than the wagons. The 2005 ML350 is rated for 15 mpg vs 19 mpg for the 2005 E-Class 4matic wagon. It is estimated by fueleconomy.gov that the M-Class will cost $5.32 per 100 miles more than the E-Class in fuel. The M-Class is very heavy (~4800 lb).

The BMW X3 is a little better at 17 mpg combined, but it is much smaller than the other options. It is similar in size to the Saab 9-2X (just taller).

A Volkswagen will likely be similar in upkeep to an Audi. Otherwise the Passat wagons should be fine (the Jetta wagons don't have AWD, as far as I know).

There is a wagon version of the Cadillac CTS, but I don't think it was offered until 2010, so it would be quite hard to find one within your budget.

RWD

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Re: Car Advice Needed
« Reply #16 on: September 03, 2014, 11:12:43 AM »
Some more options, with combined EPA fuel economy ratings listed:

2005-2008 Audi A4 Avant [2.0L] (22 mpg)
2004 Volkswagen Passat Wagon 4motion [2.8L] (21 mpg)
2007-2008 Mercedes ML320 CDI (21 mpg, diesel)
2007-2008 Audi A6 Avant [3.1L] (20 mpg)

Threshkin

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Re: Car Advice Needed
« Reply #17 on: September 20, 2014, 11:12:39 AM »
Here is what we are considering (We bumped our max price a bit)

2009 Audi A3 4dr HB AT S Tronic 2.0T FrontTrak S Line, 39,200 miles - $18,872
2014 VW Jetta SportWagen 4dr Auto S PZEV, 26,500 Miles - $22,073
2015 VW Golf 4dr HB TDI S, New - $24,235

  • The Golf includes the full factory warranty - 3yr/36K miles (only the years matter to us)
  • The Jetta has both the remaining factory warranty and a 2 year dealer warranty.  Total is 47 Months/33,500 Miles
  • The Audi is as-is, no warranty.

Of the three I am leaning very slightly towards the Jetta, my wife prefers the Golf a little more than the others.  The car is for her but she wants me to research and decide. 

Opinions?

Mr. Frugalwoods

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Re: Car Advice Needed
« Reply #18 on: September 20, 2014, 11:35:51 AM »
I owned a 1999 9-5 and loved it, but maintenance is brutal on at least the older Saabs, not quite sure on the newer ones.  In all honesty, I would probably shy away from them due to the fact that the brand basically doesn't exist, and parts are expensive. 

My dad had a Saab that he loved dearly but he sold recently because of repair/parts cost.  His saab mechanic told him to do it, his stockpile of older Saab parts was running low and he knew the open market is brutal.  Dead brands quickly become labors of love.