TTAC commenter Sobro writes:
Insert friendly greeting and small talk here. I was lucky that Sajeev is a sunroof enthusiast as well as a Ford fanboi when he promptly answered my question about the clunking roof in my wife’s 2003 Lexus ES300.
At 170,000 miles, her glorified Camry is nearly as grounded to the ground as it ever was. However, she is starting to get antsy about driving a 13-year-old car. She prefers a sedan with a worry free, quiet, comfortable ride. I prefer she drives the wheels off this car (or it goes to 250,000 miles, whichever comes first) and we pay the occasional $1,200-1,500 non-maintenance repair bill.
We have been hit with the first one already: a busted rear main seal. Sadly, my opinion is not being polled.
With six more years of commuting left until retirement (which, incidentally, would put this car right at 240k), can you recommend a worry-free Certified Pre-Owned (CPO) sedan that would make her forget the ES, or should we start looking for a new car?
I won’t rule out any non-German model. It just has to have the same quietness and sofa comfort of her current ride. Oh, and I don’t want to spend more than $35,000 new or $20,000 used. KBB says the 2003 ES trade-in value is about $3000. Its value to me is incalculable.
I was incredibly excited to get this e-mail — until I realized that it was from Sobro, and not Kevin Sorbo. That’s alright, though. I’ll still gladly answer your question, even though you are neither Hercules nor a Pokemon, because it’s my first opportunity to become an automotive “Eskimo Brother” with Sajeev.
You’ve given me a rather large set of parameters to work with, so I’m going to do my best to narrow it down somewhat and provide you with some good options for your lovely wife, who deserves to drive toward retirement in comfort and style. I’m also going to assume that she’d like to continue enjoying the accoutrements of a near-luxury brand, or a top-level trim at the very least.
The easy recommendation would be to go get another Lexus. A new ES350 isn’t too far outside of your price range (around $38,000 before the wizard negotiators of the B&B work their magic), and I can virtually guarantee that your wife will like it. However, that’s the safe, easy (dare I say settling) way to go, and people don’t write to Bark for safe and boring recommendations! OH YEAAAAHHHH!
Since it sounds like you’re looking to keep the car about six years, there’s going to be a mild difference between going new or CPO when it comes to the slope of the depreciation curve that you’ll be experiencing. Your e-mail leads me to believe that you’re a practical man, and every dime saved in those years leading up to retirement is valuable, so I’m going to focus on CPO offerings.
Again, we could do a certified 2010-2011 Lexus ES350 for right at $21,000, and that’s not a terrible option at all. If she doesn’t need the L on the hood, newer, lower mileage Avalons are in your range. But since we’re open to other ideas, let’s see what other options might exist for your better half.
A CPO 2012 Lincoln MKZ with low miles book out right at $20,000 retail, and I think your wife would find the ride to be very similar to that of the ES300. As we’ve discussed in these pages before, the Lincoln CPO warranty is a very strong offering, and would cover your wife for the remainder of her commuting days. If the badge isn’t that important to her, there are 2013 and 2014 CPO Ford Fusion Titaniums available in the $20,000 range, too.
Another near-luxury option would be the Buick LaCrosse. 2013 models can be found within your price range. While the General’s CPO program isn’t as strong as those offered by Lincoln or Lexus, the LaCrosse should be a fairly bulletproof car. She’d get a little bit more space and a lot more power in the big Buick than in the other options in her price range. Believe it or not, the LaCrosse and the ES350 are cross-shopped against each other all the time in the real world, but you can get a much newer and lower-mileage Buick for the same price as a ES.
There are other options in your range (Acura TSX, Chrysler 300) that some in the B&B might ultimately recommend, but based on the little information I have, they don’t seem to fit her definition of comfort and style.
So, WWBD? At the risk of sounding like a Ford shill (yet again), I’d let her drive a newer ES350 and MKZ back-to-back and let her pick the winner between the new and the familiar. After all, happy wife equals happy life — or so I’ve heard.
[Image: © 2012 Alex Dykes/The Truth About Cars]
Are you unsure as to why Ford is the greatest company ever to grace the human race with its presence? Or maybe you just want some car-buying advice (BOOOOOORRRRRING)? Write to Bark at [email protected] or use your thumbs to find him on Twitter at @barkm302.