Robert Farago
by Robert Farago
10 sales dogs you must buy now or not

We’ve already reported that Forbes thinks buying a new SUV from just about anyone in these time of killer depreciation is a damn fine idea. Apparently, the mag’s enthusiasm for vehicles with barge pole marks also extends to other advertisers unloved automobiles. “ Cars Worth A Second Look” can be roughly translated into “Four-Wheeled Dogs You Can Get for A Song.” Poster child for this ten worst best list: the Saab 9-5. “It’s not that the Saab 9-5 is a bad car, ‘it just doesn’t flow well’ with some people, says Stephanie Brinley, auto analyst at AutoPacific, an industry research and analysis firm. The interior is a little bit ‘off center’ with the ignition located on the center console and not the steering column or dash board, which is appealing to ‘a little different buyer with a little different personality,’ she adds. The fact that it sits on an ancient (i.e. decrepit) platform has nothing to do with it. This time out, Jacqueline Mitchell (for it is her) factors crap sales (sub-10k), safety (“acceptable” crash rating or better), EPA mileage (17 – 20mpg) and five-year cost of ownership (including depreciation!). [Mitsubishi Outlander, Mazda Tribute, Mazda5, Volvo S80, Audi A6, Hyundai Veracruz, Hyundai Entourage, Acura RL, Audi A3 (captioned A2 in the slide show), Saab 9-5]

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  • Areitu Areitu on Sep 24, 2008

    willbodine: I lived in Palm Desert up until 3 months ago. The A3 count rises and falls with the snowbird count. On a side note, have you spotted the Rolls Drophead that wafts around La Quinta yet?

  • Davey49 Davey49 on Sep 24, 2008

    Where's the Astra? Consumer Reports likes the Outlander and Mazda 5 quite a bit. The Entourage has reported poor reliability according to CR.

  • Steven Lang Steven Lang on Sep 24, 2008

    Hmmmm... certain used models come to mind here.. Minivan: Mercury Monterey 90+% of the public don't even know what it is, and the rest pretty much ignore it after reading the new car reviews. It surprisingly won the J.D. Power Durability Study. Wholesale is usually the mid-5's but I've been able to buy them well into the 4's and in surprisingly good shape. Midsized: Dodge Intrepid The 2.7 and 3.2 engines are garbage. The only engine worth it's time is the 3.5L and the 2003 and 2004 models are the best by far. Bought a 2004 model in early January 2007 for only $3000. It was a surprisingly good car. Sold it for $5k. You can find plenty of them with reasonable miles for under $5k. Luxury: Lincoln LS You can get these models for near the price of an Accord and Camry. They are actually very worthwhile if you're someone who has to drive a lot of miles over the course of the year. The V6 isn't anything special but the V8 has gobs of power, far better durability, and matches the powertrain quite well with minimal fuel economy loss. Full-Sized: Pontiac Bonneville Along with the police interceptors, these are the most frequently purchased vehicles for auto auctioneers and fleet lease managers. They ride very well, have an exceptional power / fuel economy combo with the 3.8, and are very reasonably priced in the used car market. The Pontiac interior and exterior aren't for everyone, but I've known plenty of friends who have bought them at 60-80k, drove them to 225k-250k, and then found another one. The SLE trim is by far the most popular version overall. Compact: Mazda Protege While the 3 gets all the accolades, the Protege is treated as the automotive equivalent of Finland. It's subtly neglected and often ignored in the used car market. I think the Protege was a great buy throughout it's history. They always offered plenty of room with surprisingly strong fuel economy to boot. The final generation in particular was better to drive than the overwhelming majority of it's competitors, and could easily hit 35+ mpg and 200k miles if it's kept up. Subcompact: They're all crap Rio, Aveo, Accent... unless you live in a place that needs small cars you're better off buying a compact that's 2 years older. Anyone else???

  • JuniorMint JuniorMint on Sep 25, 2008

    Every time I see an article like this, I get excited. "Wow, great deals on cars! Finally, the terrible new-car market becomes my benefit!" And then I read the actual list of cars, and it's like "...oh. THOSE cars." It's like raiding the discount bins at Marshall's - you get a good look at the 70%-off XXL paisley sweater, and you suddenly realize WHY nobody's purchased it. :6 With a few notable exceptions. I'm still pushing my brother to resist the lull of the Fit and buy a g-damn Astra already, since it's just as much car for $2500 cheaper. This afternoon, the Saturn guy called us and took another thousand off. Soon, my pretties...!