By on August 26, 2012

Anonymous writes:

Last year my Ranger blew up on me and all I had to my name was about $500 and a motorcycle. I’d gone through a string of bad cars and decided to go the new route, trading in the motorcycle (it was impossible to sell, no bites) and getting a 2011 Honda Fit. It’s a great car, and as it’s brand new, has needed no maintenance. I’m now making a loan payment of $230, with an extra $60 in insurance. (Read More…)

By on August 16, 2012

  Anonymous writes:

I picked up a Forester for a song and a dance ($500) this past summer, and did brakes and an oxygen sensor. We have less than $750, total, into it. It presently has 256K miles (another reason I don’t really want to use it as a daily driver!) (Read More…)

By on August 11, 2012

 Ian writes:

My wife drives a 2007 Lincoln MKX in need of shrewd replacement. The good lady finds the Mark Ten a chore to use around DC: clumsy, hard to see from, and very thirsty for all the enjoyment she gets from it. It also lacks exactly the features that she prizes: a sunroof, and up-to-date bluetooth – iDrive – voice/nav goodies. After a 16-month test drive of this very kind gift, it’s time to trade it towards something more suitable. (Read More…)

By on July 25, 2012

I currently drive a 2005 MINI Cooper S convertible. I’ve been swapping winter/summer tires for the past few years but I was thinking that this year I might get a beater car for the harsher weather months. The combination of FWD and wear and tear on the fabric roof are my main reasons for these considerations.

I live in NJ, so most of my driving is on the highway but as part of my job as a systems admin in a datacenter, I’m occasionally called into work at times when even the highways haven’t been plowed.

Do you think it’s possible to find a cheap (around $1000), preferably AWD car that would work well for winters in the northeast? Craigslist searches so far have turned up a handful of Subarus, Volvos, and Audis Quattro.

(Read More…)

By on May 15, 2012

Michael writes:

Love the website. Here is my conundrum:

My wife and I have two cars. A 2007 CR-V that I use mostly for a 75 mile round trip commute several days a week to San Francisco and a 2004 Infiniti FX35 with 52,000 miles. While the CR-V has a ton of utility, I am tired of driving it. It has quite a bit of road noise, the sound system sucks and frankly it’s kind of a female car. The plan is to keep the CR-V and let my wife drive it, and use it as our family car while we sell the Infiniti and I get something for that daily commute. The Infiniti was purchased from a friend and is in great condition, but I feel like it is a ticking time bomb and want to sell it now to take advantage of high used car prices. Plus the mpg is horrific, it doesn’t have satellite radio and the tires are still original and will need expensive replacing shortly. (Read More…)

By on October 27, 2011

 

David writes:

Hi Sajeev,

My family of 5 (1 spouse, 2 four year olds, 1 2 year old) shares 3 cars.  A 2003 Passat Wagon, purchased used with 30,000 miles is our primary family car.  It gets good mileage (33 mpg on the highway!), fits three kids seats across the back row, and carries a ton of luggage (more than many SUV’s).  It handles reasonably well and has good driving dynamics and comfort (and a tight turning radius).  Our second car is a 1996 Honda Civic two door hatch, which gets great mileage, was purchased with 8000 miles on it, and was recently declared a rolling hazard with the head gasket ready to fail at any moment.  It gets driven 10-15 miles a week at speeds below 35 mph.  Our third vehicle serves the dual purpose of track/date car, a 1995 BMW M3 Lightweight, purchased with 60,000 miles on the clock.  These three cars have been more than adequate for our family’s needs for 5 years.  Until now.  We need something that carries 7.

(Read More…)

By on October 7, 2011

 

(courtesy: Jan London Band)

Hman writes:

Howdy,

Long time reader, first time emailer. (Except for two published Ur-Turns.) Anyway, I’m in a two-piece “rock” band and we are doing a 6-week tour in April and are shopping for a van. I’ve long been a Toyonda/Hondota fan, but alas, they make no full size cargo vans, so I’m forced to go domestic.

A prior band of mine used a Ford E250 to great effect, and I’ll admit I’m partial to the brand. Craigslist is chock full of Econolines of all trim and year. I’d like to solicit the advice of the B&B here at TTAC ASAP! I.E., years to avoid, brands to avoid, etc. All suggestions welcome.

Mr. Singer/Songwriter/Guitarist has $3-4 grand to spend, so lots of miles is expected. All told we will have three people, one drum kit w/trimmings, three vintage Fender tube amps (Hi, Jack!), two guitars, one bigass pedal board, t-shirts, cd’s, vinyl, and clothes.

This will be a coast-to-coast-and-then-some trip, so reliability is paramount.

(Read More…)

By on September 20, 2011

Thomas writes:

Hi Steve and Sajeev,

Currently I own a 1999 Accord -2Dr V6 with about 76,000 miles. The interior looks good- the leather is in good shape I’m still quite happy with the stereo system I installed in it years ago. However, the exterior is a different story. 9 years of Arizona (un-garaged) sun has not been kind to it. The paint is looking *rough*. Peeling clear coat on almost all the horizontal surfaces. I won’t mention the hack paint job I did on the trunk lid with my Harbor Freight air compressor and E-bay spray gun in my shed. It’s also sporting a tweaked front bumper/light/hood from a tiny fender bender 11 years of parking lot door dings. So it’s UGLY. The Accord has its 75k mile service is coming up, $200 SRS light is on, $800 timing belts have yet to be replaced, and the rubber bits are falling apart (latest is a cracked $300 Shock boot).

In the other corner, the object of my desire: 2003 Infiniti M45 88k miles 4.5l V8 $10k

Family future-proof with 4 doors, fast and classy. I’ve always loved that body style. I figure the difference in premium gas and my commute would hit me for about $400-500 a year (not a deal-breaker) According to the VIN the dealer picked this up for about 7k, I’m guessing I could nab it for 8000-8500 and grab 4k on the trade-in. Thoughts??

(Read More…)

By on September 14, 2011

 

 

William writes:

My wife is currently in the market for a new car. Our current garage consists of her 2008 Ford Explorer XLT Ironman Edition V8 that gets a dismal 16 MPG in mixed driving, and my beloved 2010 G37S 6MT that I love in every way, and gets a decent 22 MPG in mixed driving when I’m not laying into the throttle. The Explorer is paid for, and while I mentioned selling it to buy whatever she wants, she’s having none of it, as we do tow with it every now and then and she has an attachment to Explorers. This is her second Ex, RIP 2002 Explorer @ 210k miles. Currently we’re looking at a few cars. She needs room, so a hatch is preferred.

Mini Cooper S Countryman
Lexus CT200h
Toyota Prius

Any suggestions? Price isn’t an issue and we plan to keep it for a while. Many Thanks. Bryant S

P.S. No, we don’t want a Panther :)

(Read More…)

By on August 30, 2011

Steven writes:

Sajeev and Steve,

I have a 2001 Volvo XC wagon, that has about 175 k on it, the car is in pretty good shape, had the tranny replaced before I got it, I have put about 4k in since Jan, the real problem is it gets about 22 MPG with 90% highway, all wheel drive and Turbo=bad gas mileage, I drive about 40,000 miles a year and betwen the gas and the upkeep I am getting killed, hence time for a new car.

(Read More…)

By on August 19, 2011

Intrigued?

 

Evan writes:

Hi Sajeev and Steve,

I’m looking to find a safe car in the $5 to $7k area to serve as a teenager’s first vehicle. My wife and I want to make sure the kids are safe. We have 4 children, so we’re looking for 4 doors. The kids will be paying for the gas, so we’re probably looking for a 4-cylinder sedan for the mileage…plus, we hope that an 8 to 11 second 0-60 time will slightly discourage hoonery (though it didn’t when I was 16). Trouble is, used car values are so high right now that not many cars seem to fit the bill. Where is the “best” safety and reliability trade-off between the cars that hold value well (accord, civic, camry, corolla) and those that are newer/ lower mileage? Can you, Steve, and the B&B help?

Thanks,
Evan

(Read More…)

By on August 17, 2011

(www.americanfamily.com)

 

Sokhom writes:

Sajeev and Steve,

I’m almost done with my tour here in Korea and it’s time to return to “America-land.”  That means it’s car shoppin’ time!  So if you’ll remember, I still have my S2000 that my father-in-law’s taken care of but I don’t want to use it as a DD.  And my wife wants a car of her own as well.  We’re going to Ft. Huachuca, AZ and lots of road trips to TN and other lands are in our future.  I want a spacious (read: wagon and AT) highway cruiser for the wife and something cheap and cheerful (read: MT) that I won’t mind baking in the AZ sun.

So here’s the ROE (rules of engagement):
Wife’s car: $30K-$40K, wagon-y, AT, luxo-ish
My DD: $10K max, MT, beater-ish

(Read More…)

By on August 10, 2011

 

coloradomountainlimo.net

 

Pete writes:

Hi guys,

I’ve got a tough set of requirements for you. I’ve been driving a 1996 Honda Civic Si for many years and it’s time to retire the old girl.

I live in Denver and I love to play in the mountains. I ski, backpack and rock climb, so I need a vehicle that can handle icy I-70 and rough forest service roads (need some ground clearance). I don’t need a large vehicle and I’d like to get at least 25 mpg highway. But I also really enjoy going quickly through the twisty bits, so handling is important too!

I’ve been considering the Kia Sportage SX, although the fuel economy in the AWD model isn’t great and I’ve read the Sportage steering leaves a lot to be desired. Still, the new 2 liter engine sounds fun. I’m mostly looking in the $25-30k range. For something really nice I could probably go up to $35k.

I feel like there must be some other options out there, but I haven’t had much luck finding anything!

(Read More…)

By on August 4, 2011

(www.blogography.com)

 

Terrance writes:

I will be moving to Poland with my wife and baby son in July. We will need a car, and trying to calculate value is tough for me, knowing very little about the Polish market.

I don’t know how much we intend on driving, but probably the occasional couple hundred mile trip on the weekend. I would like to keep my purchase price below 5,000 dollars and have something that is easy to fix where I can maybe take it to the guy down the street who operates out of his house’s garage, and not be too afraid of the guy not being able to get parts, not having too many special tools, etc.

The other aspect of European cars is the use of natural gas. It looks like “lpg” is big in Poland as many of the cars I checked out on allegro.pl have the natural gas option. Does this add to the complexity of maintenance? Will this provide more value per mile than a diesel engine?

The car has to be relatively safe, and a wagon with the room would fit our style as a growing family. There seem to be a lot of 10+ year old German cars that can be had pretty cheaply (allegro.pl). So far I like the Mercedes and BMW wagons from the early nineties. But something tells me that a 5 year old Honda Jazz would be a much smarter choice even if it might cost more upfront.

(Read More…)

By on July 28, 2011

 

 

David writes:

Hi Sajeev and Steve,

I’d like your take on a replacement form my 2003 Honda Accord coupe. It has a 4 cylinder and a 5 speed and has been a pretty good car.  But I miss rear wheel drive.  In my younger days, I’ll be 60 next year, I had a Porsche 912, a Cortina GT, various Volvos and VWs before I ended up with pick up trucks before the current Honda.

I like the Honda, I just wish it was a bit lighter and rear wheel drive.  What are my options these days for a RWD car that doesn’t break the bank, gets decent fuel mileage and is dependable?    I’ve been thinking a used Miata or S2000, but would prefer a coupe.  I’m not really into BMW’s for various reasons.  What do you two think?

As a replacement for the Honda I’d spend $15,000 to $25,000.

(Read More…)

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