Help me choose a car...

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madmax
madmax Posts: 12,434
edited April 2 in Clubhouse Archives
So I'm driving home last night and my transmission quits shifting. No 2nd, 4th or reverse. This is on top of trying to make a place for myself in a new company (the one that bought out my old one), the home owners assoc says the house must be painted and a bunch of repairs done, all on top of working a few extra jobs trying to pay up on the house. Crap, I got no time, money or patience for this...

So, eff it, I'm going to pick up something for $8K to $16K. What do I want?

A jeep wrangler? Always wanted one. 4WD is semi important but I could get by with a normal car.

One of those little toyota or honda econo-cars? Dont drive a lot but could save maybe $40 a week in gas over what I pay now.

Maybe a VW jetta or similar? Not much of a VW fan...

Low line Mustang? The Camaro would probably be laughing at it all the time...

Suzuki (mini jeep sort of thing) ?? Mileage and cheap?

Little fast and furious type car? I'm not 16 any more...

Pickup truck? Had one and liked the blazer idea better.

Another Blazer? Too boring after already having one.

Mini van? Don't need one but they seem sturdy and fairly good mileage.

Hummer h3? Friend has one. Seems like a better looking blazer.



What group am I missing? Man, I just don't know where I want to head. Any help out there? A 4wd or awd may win out just because a few times a year (maybe 1, maybe 5) I can't get to my house in a car. Have to walk a quarter mile or so.

madmax
Vinyl, the final frontier...

Avantgarde horns, 300b tubes, thats the kinda crap I want... :D
Post edited by RyanC_Masimo on
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Comments

  • Willow
    Willow Posts: 10,929
    edited November 2006
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    What about Xover types like Matrix, vibe....and so forth...best of both worlds good on gas and hauls like an SUV
  • janmike
    janmike Posts: 6,146
    edited November 2006
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    Sounds like a reality check for the budget. Knowing exactly what you can afford will make things easier. I would be doing the small, easy on gas model. The Jetta is a great car, but service is $$ compared to domestic. If you go through a dealer, work in a service agreement over a period of time. Good Luck.
    Michael ;)
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  • exalted512
    exalted512 Posts: 10,735
    edited November 2006
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    what about an allwheel drive car? Used Evo's arent too expensive
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  • MSALLA
    MSALLA Posts: 1,602
    edited November 2006
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    The VW jetta is a great car that will run forever. You can pick them up used for cheap. Not a fancy car, but they handle great and ride nice.
    Michael


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  • ohskigod
    ohskigod Posts: 6,502
    edited November 2006
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    I think you still have that transam for fun right? I would go with this car being bulletproof transportation on a budget.

    After driving Dave's Toyota Yaris to South Carolina, I have a newfound respect for that car. 15000 and change fully loaded (power windows and locks, Cruise, etc). I'm 345 lbs and 6 feet tall and I fit in this thing comfortably enough to pull off a 4 hour driving shift with ease. If my budget was less for a car, I would consider it as a daily driver with no regrets whatsoever.

    lowest gas mileage we got on the trip was 35mpg, and the best 38. This was driving in a fassion where optimizing gas lileage was not on our list of priorities (well over 80 on the highway)

    Its a toyota, so you know reliability aint an issue

    I can say great things about the Matrix and corolla, since My wife had a 2003 corolla we recently traded for a 2006 Matrix. That corolla held its value in spades!!!! I bought it in 2002 with a sticker of 18700 (fully loaded, sunroof, et al) and traded it in 5/06 for 12500.00. Thats four years of driving (the 26000 mile odo helped, but only for less than a G)
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  • Jstas
    Jstas Posts: 14,754
    edited November 2006
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    You need to go and get yourself a Subaru. They all come with AWD and you can probably even find a used WRX or Impreza Outback for your price range. They are reliable and fairly fun to drive while delivering good economy. The Outback comes as a small wagon so you still get Blazer like utility but car-like economy and performance. They do great in foul weather of any kind. There is also a pretty stout aftermarket and the enthusiast following is knowledgable and willing to help out a fellow Scooby owner.
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  • ohskigod
    ohskigod Posts: 6,502
    edited November 2006
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    I say go new, looks like you got a full plate, and dealing with possibly getting a used car with potential problems might not fit in with your needs.

    Jstas has a great point with the Subaru's. I was upset when i drove the outback and just didnt like the feel of it, because from a logical standpoint, I really like the Subarus.

    try a new, smaller imprezza. the entry level non WRZ's seem to be reasonably priced, and still all wheel drive if I'm not mistaken.
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  • daniel_paul_
    daniel_paul_ Posts: 189
    edited November 2006
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    I love my subaru wrx wagon. I would watch out for used wrx's though. Most people beat on them and the turbo's lower reliability.

    A lot of people I know have had irritating problems (windows falling in, seat, mirror problems) with their VW's. ALL have gotten rid of them.

    Jeep is a piece of ****. Ranglers have terrible problems. By neighbor has a new diesel liberty and has it fixed at least once a month (glow plug, computer, something with the cylinder, etc.)

    The dodge neon feels cheap but is a great car(wife has one)

    You should also talk to your Insurance agent before you by a car. I saved $3800 on my sport bike because I did not get the SuperSport level. Turbo's add to the insurance also.
  • madmax
    madmax Posts: 12,434
    edited November 2006
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    Are outbacks slow or have the feel that make you drive them slow? I think every time I've seen one it seemed to be holding everyone up. Never paid a lot of attention though.

    I'll take a look at the yaris on their website.

    What is an Evos?
    Vinyl, the final frontier...

    Avantgarde horns, 300b tubes, thats the kinda crap I want... :D
  • F1nut
    F1nut Posts: 50,086
    edited November 2006
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    On the other hand, $2K for a rebuild of the tranny vs $8K-$16K. Big difference.
    Political Correctness'.........defined

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  • audiobliss
    audiobliss Posts: 12,518
    edited November 2006
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    A lot of people I know have had irritating problems (windows falling in, seat, mirror problems) with their VW's. ALL have gotten rid of them.
    It does seem to me that there are a few common problems that seem to crop up with VW's, but we haven't had any trouble out of our Jetta TDI. 48mpg and good handling sure is fun! :D
    Jeep is a piece of ****. Ranglers have terrible problems. By neighbor has a new diesel liberty and has it fixed at least once a month (glow plug, computer, something with the cylinder, etc.)
    Now that is a gross overgeneralization!! I'm sorry for whatever experiences you or your neighbors have had with Jeeps, but for the most part they are very reliable vehicles. Now, I'm not going to stand up for the Libery...I think it's pathetic. However, I know the Cherokee is a very strong car, and I've never read anything to the contrary about the Wranglers.
    Jstas wrote: »
    Simple question. If you had a cool million bucks, what would you do with it?
    Wonder WTF happened to the rest of my money.
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  • ohskigod
    ohskigod Posts: 6,502
    edited November 2006
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    wranglers are allways rated as unreliable, but its hard to guage, because you know EVERYONE that owns a wrangler beats the snot out of it. its what the car is designed to do.

    I would avoid the 4 cylinder wrangler, and opt for the 4.0 litre inline 6 (no longer made, can only get it in 2006 leftover models if going the new route)

    that 4.0 is a friggin tank. sure, if you beat on it, things like an alternator will go, yada yada, but the engine itself? block, cylinders, etc just cant be killed by conventional means. that said, I dont know why anyone would get a wrangler unless they plan on at least moderate off road use, not just snow.

    yes Madmax, Outbacks, to me, seem very underpowered. throtle response was one of the things I did not like about it. if you test drive it, you will probably know as soon as you leave the lot wether you consider it tolerable or not, for me, it was a resounding no. shame to, because for all other intents and purposes, it seems like a cool well built car.
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  • ohskigod
    ohskigod Posts: 6,502
    edited November 2006
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    oh yeah, avoid the wrangler automatic LIKE THE EFFIN PLAGUE!!!!!
    get stick, with either engine....new or used. The 3 speed auto trannie is a friggin dog
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  • ND13
    ND13 Posts: 7,601
    edited November 2006
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    Buying an automatic Wrangler is like buying an automatic Stang....it's for women or wusses.:p
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  • bobman1235
    bobman1235 Posts: 10,822
    edited November 2006
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    Gah, whoever keeps saying Jettas will run forever, I don't know what planet you're from. VW is just getting worse by the year in build quality. If you plan on keeping the car more than 50k miles, avoid anything VW (or German in general) like the plague. Might as well play Russian Roulette. They overengineer everything so there's twice as much garbage to break. About half the people I know with VWs that have them for more than 2 years end up spending twice what the car is worth in repairs. My dad works with mechanics all the time and even VW mechanics tell him they hate them.

    I'll throw another hat into the Subaru ring, although you won't find one new in your price range. But even a two-year-old Scooby is a great car. I think they're fun to drive, and it's almost impossible to find a road condition they aren't solid in. Throw in the fact that they are well-built and you're golden.

    PS I always wanted a Wrangler, too, but considering all of the other things you have to worry about from your initial post, I would say the Wrangler probably isn't your best choice. Kind of a no-frills fun-machine, but a bit of work to keep up with, from what I've read.
    If you will it, dude, it is no dream.
  • MSALLA
    MSALLA Posts: 1,602
    edited November 2006
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    If you look into the background of any car you can find a weak spot for repairs. Dodge trucks; bad trannies. BMW 5 series; weak cooling systems. I could go on all day. I might agree not to buy an automatic in a jeep but as far as someone saying this car is known for this and that car is known for that, I wouldn't worry about it. If it's new it will have a warrenty. If you buy used, find one certiffied and GET A WARRENTY!!! For the money you want to spend, there is no reason you should be without a warrenty.
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  • ohskigod
    ohskigod Posts: 6,502
    edited November 2006
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    Msalla, your right in saying any mark has its inherent issues to watch, but thats not to say Bobman doesnt hit the nail on the head with the german cars. Mercedes and VW single handedly brought the german automakers reliability numbers below the USA. Hapenned last year I believe.

    its a shame too, I drove a jetta and they handle amazingly well, but there issues range beyond typical. there reliability is shockingly bad. maybe the new Jettas will break the mold. hell, I hope they do, since they are supoosed to be very fun cars to drive.

    Mercedes reliability took a nosedive since they merged with Chrysler. which is funny, since the Chrysler marks have increased in reliability since the merger.
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  • bobman1235
    bobman1235 Posts: 10,822
    edited November 2006
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    Agreed on the VWs being fun to drive. I had an older Passat a few years back and when it was running, it was just an amazing ride. Unfortunately... it wasn't running often enough.
    If you will it, dude, it is no dream.
  • madmax
    madmax Posts: 12,434
    edited November 2006
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    Thanks for the help guys. I came here this morning ready to buy something at lunch time. After a lot of thought I'm going to listen to the voice of reason first (thanks f1nut) and if it looks like it is going to be around 2-3K I might take my chances with it. Now, if that doesn't work out I'm liking several options I've heard here. Something like the yaris for $10,200 new would do, possibly. Maybe a used jeep with the 4L and std trans. (I can easily fix cars, just wont do major stuff like replacing trans or engine). I still like the subaru idea too. If nothing else, my outlook has changed...
    Thanks!
    madmax
    Vinyl, the final frontier...

    Avantgarde horns, 300b tubes, thats the kinda crap I want... :D
  • PolkThug
    PolkThug Posts: 7,532
    edited November 2006
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    Wait, was it a Blazer that the tranny went out in? That is a huge problem for those things.
  • ohskigod
    ohskigod Posts: 6,502
    edited November 2006
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    put me in the dont blow the wad on a rebuild camp. if the rebuild was cheaper like a g or a g and a half, then maybe. I feel it better to roll the money in a new ride that you can finance. yeah, you'll have a monthly payment, but you will also have reliable transportation. whereas, who knows what will go wrong on an older car after a rebuilt tranny.

    blown engine, tranny can go again, if the tranny builder is incompetant (hey man, it happens)

    depends on the car too, if the tranny went on my full size pickup, I might fix it, becasue I like having a pick up. not on my primary transport car though, different ballgame to me.
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  • madmax
    madmax Posts: 12,434
    edited November 2006
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    You take your chances either way. That is why my delima exists. The main problem with blazers is the cooling system, which I changed out myself. Haven't heard much about transmission problems.

    I don't normally finance vehicles, I pay myself after the fact and then next time, when I see the end is near I start looking for a deal. Keeps me from spending more than I can afford. This time was a surprise though.
    madmax
    Vinyl, the final frontier...

    Avantgarde horns, 300b tubes, thats the kinda crap I want... :D
  • MSALLA
    MSALLA Posts: 1,602
    edited November 2006
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    ohskigod wrote:
    put me in the dont blow the wad on a rebuild camp. if the rebuild was cheaper like a g or a g and a half, then maybe. I feel it better to roll the money in a new ride that you can finance. yeah, you'll have a monthly payment, but you will also have reliable transportation. whereas, who knows what will go wrong on an older car after a rebuilt tranny.

    blown engine, tranny can go again, if the tranny builder is incompetant (hey man, it happens)

    depends on the car too, if the tranny went on my full size pickup, I might fix it, becasue I like having a pick up. not on my primary transport car though, different ballgame to me.

    I'm with you on this. I used to put new motors in our work vans when they blew. Problem is 2000 for the motor and then the trans blows. You just put 2000 into it so you do the trans for 1000 because you don't want to make the 2000 a waste. Then the rear goes, etc,etc.
    All you get is a run down car with a new motor, bad joints, bad rear, etc.
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  • hearingimpared
    hearingimpared Posts: 21,137
    edited November 2006
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    Okay let's here from the old man . . . 1997 I had a 70 miles, one way to work, trek from Media PA, to Princeton NJ. I was pretty much able to afford anything I wanted at the time in the BMW class. I worked with a guy who had a wife and kids and was raving about the Ford Taurus. After much research, I bought a brand new 1997 Taurus figuring I would beat the heck out of it driving 140 miles round trip a day and if it died after 5 years I got my moneys worth. It got 30 miles to the gallon on the highway which is what I drove pretty much from the exit of my condo complex, route 1, the Blue Route, PA turnpike, then the NJ turnpike and back. I put 36,000 miles on it the first year. To make a long story short I still have "old faithful" 9 years later, she has 136,000 miles on it. She has a leak in the cooling system that is going to cost me about $60 to get fixed. Other than that, I just have been paying routine maintenance and up-keep. Great car, glad I bought, glad to still have it.

    Joe
  • MrNightly
    MrNightly Posts: 3,370
    edited November 2006
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    Wait a second. You have no money, therefore you are buying a new car? Hmmm, what did I miss here?

    Best of luck my man. Car's are money pits. I have a 98 ranger, and it's paid for, and I'll drive it til it falls apart! Fix your car, and you'll probably have another 100K miles outta it.
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  • bobman1235
    bobman1235 Posts: 10,822
    edited November 2006
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    Okay let's here from the old man . . . 1997 I had a 70 miles, one way to work, trek from Media PA, to Princeton NJ. I was pretty much able to afford anything I wanted at the time in the BMW class. I worked with a guy who had a wife and kids and was raving about the Ford Taurus. After much research, I bought a brand new 1997 Taurus figuring I would beat the heck out of it driving 140 miles round trip a day and if it died after 5 years I got my moneys worth. It got 30 miles to the gallon on the highway which is what I drove pretty much from the exit of my condo complex, route 1, the Blue Route, PA turnpike, then the NJ turnpike and back. I put 36,000 miles on it the first year. To make a long story short I still have "old faithful" 9 years later, she has 136,000 miles on it. She has a leak in the cooling system that is going to cost me about $60 to get fixed. Other than that, I just have been paying routine maintenance and up-keep. Great car, glad I bought, glad to still have it.

    Joe


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  • Fireman32
    Fireman32 Posts: 4,845
    edited November 2006
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    Madmax being that i was on a tight budget myself and wanting somthing afforadble and reliable you cant go wrong with a toyota. I was quite suprised with the Yaris. The car is very comfortable and roomy for being a subcompact. I'm 6'1 and cant fit behind the wheel of most small cars without my legs hitting the steering wheel and i not only fit but i have alot of headroom as well. For 15K fully loaded and 11K to start off with a base model I would recomend looking into it. You cant beat the gas mileage for the price, it does better then most hybrids on the market now. I did not care as moch for the 3 door model but the sedan has great looks and its a toyota so if you take care of it, it will last you forever. Good luck with the car search
  • hearingimpared
    hearingimpared Posts: 21,137
    edited November 2006
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    bobman1235 wrote:
    The last Taurus just rolled off the assembly line last week. They discontinued the model this year.

    I would jump on it!
  • SCompRacer
    SCompRacer Posts: 8,406
    edited November 2006
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    Just rip it apart, check for service bulletins and fix it Chuck.
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  • MSALLA
    MSALLA Posts: 1,602
    edited November 2006
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    SCompRacer wrote:
    Just rip it apart, check for service bulletins and fix it Chuck.

    I take it that the trans in the picture was out of a car that was raced. That thing is wasted.
    Michael


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