Which car is best to buy now?

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Submitted by NicMM on December 8, 2010 - 2:58pm

My 8 years old Passat needs big repairing, costing over $3000. I bought it brand new. In the first five years, it was under warranty and I only paid the maintenance. But in the past three years, I had spent over $800 per year on repairing. Is it worth to keep it?

If not. Do Piggs have any recommendations for a family sedan under $30,000? A one or two year old car is ok.

-NicMM

Submitted by Coronita on December 8, 2010 - 3:00pm.

Passat CC.

Submitted by an on December 8, 2010 - 3:01pm.

If you plan to keep it for a long time and don't want to worry about cost of maintenance after the warranty is over, I suggest sticking w/ the Japanese brands. They are usually very reliable and relatively inexpensive to maintain, even by the dealer. If you want to go cheap, you can always bring your Acura to Honda's dealer, Infiniti to Nissan's dealer, and Lexus to Toyota dealer and they'll maintain it for you.

Submitted by NicMM on December 8, 2010 - 3:04pm.

I am thinking about Japanese cars too. Even with several recall scandals, they still seem to be more reliable than other cars.

AN wrote:
If you plan to keep it for a long time and don't want to worry about cost of maintenance after the warranty is over, I suggest sticking w/ the Japanese brands. They are usually very reliable and relatively inexpensive to maintain, even by the dealer. If you want to go cheap, you can always bring your Acura to Honda's dealer, Infiniti to Nissan's dealer, and Lexus to Toyota dealer and they'll maintain it for you.

Submitted by Eugene on December 8, 2010 - 3:04pm.

Three year old Hyundai Accent is hard to beat in terms of bang for the buck.

Submitted by NicMM on December 8, 2010 - 3:43pm.

How much would it cost? Will a Hyundai maintain its residual value? And why three year old?

Eugene wrote:
Three year old Hyundai Accent is hard to beat in terms of bang for the buck.

Submitted by NicMM on December 8, 2010 - 3:53pm.

How about leasing a car? Right now Lexus Escondido has a special to lease a 2011 IS 250 Sedan for $269/month and $6500 due at delivery.

Submitted by an on December 8, 2010 - 4:32pm.

NicMM wrote:
How about leasing a car? Right now Lexus Escondido has a special to lease a 2011 IS 250 Sedan for $269/month and $6500 due at delivery.

I rather not lease, since if you decide to buy the car after the lease end, you'll end up paying more than if you just buy the car from the beginning. If you don't plan to buy it, then you have nothing to show for it after the lease ends.

Submitted by Oni Koroshi on December 8, 2010 - 4:57pm.

The Hyundai Sonata is a great family car. They just released a new model this year which made Car and Driver's top 10 list so the previous model should see a nice price drop.

Submitted by Eugene on December 8, 2010 - 5:01pm.

NicMM wrote:
How much would it cost? Will a Hyundai maintain its residual value? And why three year old?

You should be able to haggle a low mileage automatic down to $7k. Residual value does not matter. Three year old because it already lost a fair bit of value but it is still in a good shape. 36 mpg freeway.

Submitted by AK on December 8, 2010 - 5:48pm.

Oni Koroshi wrote:
The Hyundai Sonata is a great family car. They just released a new model this year which made Car and Driver's top 10 list so the previous model should see a nice price drop.

I'd look at the current year Sonata -- owners are reporting 35 mpg highway in the real world. Direct injection engine and ludicrously low-drag body.

Submitted by briansd1 on December 8, 2010 - 7:18pm.

$800 per year maintenance is cheaper than buying a new car in the same class. Even $1,500/year would be more economical.

Submitted by LAAFTERHOURS on December 8, 2010 - 8:18pm.

6500 dollars due at lease signing is nuts. I wouldnt put any money down on any lease. You wreck that car and bye bye to that down payment.

Id look at a 2006 or new lexus sedan. ES rides like a couch. GS rides like a sports car. The genisis by hyundia has been out a year or so and those started loaded in mid 30s. you could probably find one under 30K. Acuras got redesigned in the past two years so you can probably score the earlier design for good value and those are solid rides.

I would stay away from used bmw and mb bc of the upkeep costs but thats me.

Submitted by Coronita on December 8, 2010 - 9:03pm.

NicMM wrote:
How about leasing a car? Right now Lexus Escondido has a special to lease a 2011 IS 250 Sedan for $269/month and $6500 due at delivery.

Sorry...imho, Lexus is the suck....
If you're going to do that route, might as well go for a stripped BMW 328 with 0.9%apr and 1500 cash back, 4 years of free maintenance.

If you want a good value for the money... Hyundai Sonata...
If you want a little more pep...Hyundai Sonata with the 4 cylinder turbo....

I also like the latest subaru legacy. Starts around $20k

Submitted by scaredyclassic on December 8, 2010 - 9:23pm.

I think click and clack usuallya dvise keeping the old car. I don't mind paying 1000 maintenance now and again to avoid higher registration, sales tax etc. He'll I haven't paid comp/collision on my car for over a decade because it was a beater back then. I've probably save. Tens of thousands just keeping the same old car. Same goes for divorce but more so.

Submitted by paramount on December 8, 2010 - 10:00pm.

If you want a good estimate of what a car will cost you, check out Edmunds.com True Cost of Ownership (TCO).

Submitted by jstoesz on December 8, 2010 - 10:17pm.

I am really hard on cars, and I have been more than impressed with honda. I have owned a CR-V for 7 years (bought 3 years used). I have 180k miles, and I have not done anything but fluids and brakes. Sure the transmission is not what it used to be. But it has been the cheapest car...ever. I have now had a honda accord for 2 years (bought 5 years used) and it has 80k. It has yet to have any problems.

Hell I am still on original shocks, and it has only seen 3 sets of tires. So even usual maintenance items seem to go longer than my friends toyotas. Maybe I have just been lucky, but I am all about honda.

I can not stress enough. As long as you change the fluids, get a tune up now and again, and are not rally racing them. A honda should last you for 150k miles without thinking, likely to 200k, and if you baby it, I would not be surprised with 230k.

Submitted by CafeMoto on December 8, 2010 - 11:56pm.

my wife is in your camp, her car needs a little love but nothing major.
sometimes you just want a different car after 8 or in her case 9 years.
its taken me up until this year to realize how expensive automobiles are.
ask yourself what is most important to you (practicality/performance) and a buy a used one of those.
if you at all like your passat, keep fixing it at an indie shop.
my wife has seen the light and is keeping her 2001.
now she can buy all the shoes she wants as far as I am concerned ;)

Submitted by bearishgurl on December 9, 2010 - 12:09am.

walterwhite wrote:
I think click and clack usuallya dvise keeping the old car. I don't mind paying 1000 maintenance now and again to avoid higher registration, sales tax etc. He'll I haven't paid comp/collision on my car for over a decade because it was a beater back then. I've probably save. Tens of thousands just keeping the same old car. Same goes for divorce but more so.

scaredy, you're absolutely right here, on all counts ;=)

Submitted by nocommonsense on December 9, 2010 - 8:38am.

briansd1 wrote:
$800 per year maintenance is cheaper than buying a new car in the same class. Even $1,500/year would be more economical.

I'd agree with him on this one. I was faced with the same conundrum a few years ago. I did the math and realized as bad as $1000-1500 a year repair cost sounds, it's still more economical than buying a new car.

That said, buying a good low mileage used Japanese car would be the best solution. But you never know if you're getting a lemon or not. In my case I bought a new Honda at a price cheaper than most used cars ($16K).

Submitted by nocommonsense on December 9, 2010 - 8:41am.

paramount wrote:
If you want a good estimate of what a car will cost you, check out Edmunds.com True Cost of Ownership (TCO).

I've always found their TCO to be artificial and worthless. My maintainance cost is way lower than theirs and deflation, which is a big factor in their formula, is irrelevent to me because I'm keeping the car for a long time.

Submitted by nocommonsense on December 9, 2010 - 8:44am.

nocommonsense wrote:
briansd1 wrote:
$800 per year maintenance is cheaper than buying a new car in the same class. Even $1,500/year would be more economical.

I'd agree with him on this one. I was faced with the same conundrum a few years ago. I did the math and realized as bad as $1000-1500 a year repair cost sounds, it's still more economical than buying a new car.

That said, buying a good low mileage used Japanese car would be the best solution. But you never know if you're getting a lemon or not. Wait, scratch that. Make that "a good Japanese OR American car". We owned a new Checy Malibu and loved it. Very reliable car.

In my case I bought a new Honda at a price cheaper than most used cars ($16K).

Submitted by Coronita on December 9, 2010 - 9:29am.

Sorry folks, but for those that say just fix the car and be done with that...Trust me you don't own a VAG product (Volkswagon/Audi group)...
Passats are pretty much like Audi A4's when it comes to maintanance. Anything slightly above a routine oil change requires significant labor.
Parts are cheap, labor (teardown cost is expensive).

Need an alternator, new belts, water pump, or have gasket leaks....Expect at least 4-5 hrs of labor..Simply because the way the car is, most moderate jobs require you to take off the front end (bumper, radiator, etc)...That's why if a good mechanic will tell you if you're getting your t-belt done, replace everything else at the same time (water pump, pulleys etc), because labor costs will kill you if you go there again.

This is were japanese and koreans auto excel... Built with serviceability in mind.

There comes a point when the VAG product is worth less than the repair bill on it.

Submitted by FormerSanDiegan on December 9, 2010 - 10:08am.

go electric ... Nissan Leaf
(no engine, just an electric motor, no oil changes)

or sort of electric : Chevy Volt
Prius plug-in hybrid.

Submitted by Ren on December 9, 2010 - 1:11pm.

As a 30-year car enthusiast, the brands I would pick purely for long-term reliabilty are Honda/Acura and Toyota/Lexus. Mazda, Subaru, and Nissan/Infiniti all take second place to Honda and Toyota, although I've owned 3 Mazdas and have been very happy with them. The most noticeable difference is that with a Mazda or Nissan, things will start to feel "off" after 70-80k miles. Niggling little problems will appear - an LED display gets wonky, a gear grinds sometimes, etc. A Toyota will feel, sound, and drive EXACTLY the way it did when you drove it off the lot. This is coming from someone who had to lemon law a Toyota truck (on average they are great).

If my life depended on a car lasting 200k miles and having very few problems getting there, I'd buy a Toyota, one that isn't the first year for the model. If my life depended on pure performance and impressing friends with the fit and finish, I'd buy German. If you put a gun to my head, I wouldn't buy American. I rent them periodically, and they are always astoundingly bad ergonomically and in materials quality.

The maintenance costs of an older car may not equal the cost of a new car, but there's a lot to be said for peace of mind.

Submitted by poorgradstudent on December 9, 2010 - 2:22pm.

You can still get great deals on Toyotas right now thanks to the beating they took from the recalls.

Submitted by briansd1 on December 9, 2010 - 2:41pm.

Ren wrote:
As a 30-year car enthusiast, the brands I would pick purely for long-term reliabilty are Honda/Acura and Toyota/Lexus. Mazda, Subaru, and Nissan/Infiniti all take second place to Honda and Toyota, although I've owned 3 Mazdas and have been very happy with them. The most noticeable difference is that with a Mazda or Nissan, things will start to feel "off" after 70-80k miles. Niggling little problems will appear - an LED display gets wonky, a gear grinds sometimes, etc. A Toyota will feel, sound, and drive EXACTLY the way it did when you drove it off the lot. This is coming from someone who had to lemon law a Toyota truck (on average they are great).

If my life depended on a car lasting 200k miles and having very few problems getting there, I'd buy a Toyota, one that isn't the first year for the model. If my life depended on pure performance and impressing friends with the fit and finish, I'd buy German. If you put a gun to my head, I wouldn't buy American. I rent them periodically, and they are always astoundingly bad ergonomically and in materials quality.

The maintenance costs of an older car may not equal the cost of a new car, but there's a lot to be said for peace of mind.

That's exactly the way I feel.

BTW, I think that a Japanese car made in Japan is superior to a Japanese car made in USA. Something in the plastics made in USA, the headliner coverings on US made cars always fall apart after some years.

Submitted by GH on December 9, 2010 - 8:22pm.

I own a 2004 Toyota Camry (V6) with 140K miles. To be honest I drive it hard and have had problems with the Rack and Pinion steering - $2200 out of warranty. Apart from that it still runs and looks like a new car. I do intend to buy a new car next year (CASH!!)
Perhaps a 4Runner V8 from last year?

Submitted by bearishgurl on December 9, 2010 - 8:48pm.

GH wrote:
I own a 2004 Toyota Camry (V6) with 140K miles. To be honest I drive it hard and have had problems with the Rack and Pinion steering - $2200 out of warranty. Apart from that it still runs and looks like a new car. I do intend to buy a new car next year (CASH!!)
Perhaps a 4Runner V8 from last year?

GH, the best *used* 4Runners are those *rare ones* which are the *Limited-Edition* models. I drive in the Sierras in the winters and have been looking into the AWD model of this vehicle. I currently drive an older Lexus sedan (with tire cables in snow) and the Lexus (AWD) "RX" models are too expensive for me *used.* I am NOT a purchaser of brand-new vehicles.

Many late-model "Limited-Edition 4Runners" not only have AWD, they also have lighted running boards and some also have DVD players facing the back seat(s) and other handy travel accoutrements, such as a "navigation map" on the dash.

I, too, have had a "Camry LE" in the past wherein I have had to replace the rack and pinion steering mechanics (behind the back seat) but it only cost me just over $800 at that time, IIRC. This would have been in the nineties. Overall, Toyota products are generally worry-free.

You are making a good choice by opting to purchase a new(er) Toyota product. They are the most worry-free vehicles on the planet.

Submitted by paramount on December 9, 2010 - 9:02pm.

The value in edmunds TCO is not how accurate is vs. your personal experience, but in relation to other cars on TCO.

VW's: They look nice, probably drive nice but are unreliable as I understand.

Honda: Great cars, but they also seem to burn oil when they get older.

Toyota: Bulletproof.

BMW: Not sure, but I have thinking seriously about buying a 335xi.

Submitted by bearishgurl on December 9, 2010 - 9:08pm.

poorgradstudent wrote:
You can still get great deals on Toyotas right now thanks to the beating they took from the recalls.

You mean, the beating they took on all the "recalls" they did on false pretenses, lol.

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