As the resident car enthusiast in family, I’d appreciate your input on the following situation I’ve been asked for my input on.
My parents (in their late 60s) are currently looking to replace one of their two vehicles with a new small crossover. Their current vehicles are as follows:
- 2000 Chrysler 300M w/sport package, 80k miles, virtually all city miles
- 2003 Chevy Impala, 110k miles, virtually all highway miles (my dad was a salesman and bought the car for peanuts after he used it as a company fleet vehicle)
Both cars are in excellent condition and are maintained faithfully by my retired father, including religious fluid changes and twice-yearly waxings. Both garage-kept from new and no rust. As expected with two older vehicles, there have been a few issues over the years:
- Transmission was replaced early on (20k miles) under warranty after getting stuck in second gear; no further issues with new tranny
- Weak A/C that needs to be recharged yearly to maintain cold air
- Various minor electrical problems that my father addressed himself: window regulators, power seat motor
- Something with the steering rack that was replaced by the dealer
- Again, weak A/C that needs to be recharged yearly
The value of both cars is about equal. The car that is kept will likely be kept for quite a while and driven very little by my father who only drives about 2,000 miles per year at this point.
I honestly don’t know which car to recommend they keep. My father wants to keep the 300M because it has lower miles, and it’s much better equipped and nicer to drive than the Impala. However, the lower miles on the 300M have been much harder city miles, and the Impala is three years newer. Plus I feel that any future repairs on the Impala will be cheaper to fix than on the 300M. Quite the quandary.
Would love your opinion on which vehicle would be more reliable for the long haul.
Considering the 300M is a somewhat impressive sports sedan and that Impala is generally a horrid place to do business…AND your Dad will barely use it, the Chrysler 300 is the hands down winner.
(balloon drop, flashing ChryCo message on-screen, audience applause)
I’d change my tune if the 300M had more miles. And if your Dad drove more often. It’s still a safe bet that the Impala is a far superior value proposition in many other ownership scenarios. Oh, and before I forget, my apologies to that one guy on TTAC who loves him some W-body Chevy.
My parting shot: why punish Mom and Dad with the dark ages of General Motors’ design if, more than likely, the superior Chrysler LH stablemate’s style/design won’t completely fall apart under Dad’s care?
Send your queries to sajeev@thetruthaboutcars.