Piston Slap: Avant Time; What's the Beef About Medallions?

Sajeev Mehta
by Sajeev Mehta
piston slap avant time what s the beef about medallions

Kevin writes:

I currently own a 2000 A6 Avant, and I’m moving from college to Chicago soon. I do love my car, except when it comes to paying the repair and gas bills. I’ve given up on anything even pretending to be sporty and I’d rather rent a car for track days.

I’m a consultant so I have to drive regardless of weather conditions, but maintain a sort-of-professional look (I’m afraid an F-150 won’t make it). My budget is less than $15,000 (2nd hand cars), and looking for a safe, reliable vehicle that doesn’t need lots of visits to the mechanic.

Sajeev responds:

I would recommend getting a Japanese or American sedan/CUV for maximum durability, efficiency and ease of finding cheap replacement parts. Steven Lang has mentioned that Toyotas, Hondas and some Detroit models fare well in the used car market. Which is good for you too: a last-gen Accord and the Ford Fusion have been reliable (in whatever short term evaluations I’ve seen) and are quite fun to drive to boot. One of my friends is a consultant (for one of the big firms) and his Accord EX fits the bill nicely.

Not all family sedans are created equal, so go drive some and see what tickles you. If you want smaller, you might get a kick out of the smaller imports and the Focus ST or Cobalt SS. When you consider the fun-to-drive factor of their aftermarket following, you might really like it. And you’ll have no problem finding a buyer on Craigslist when promotion time comes. Just service it per owner’s manual recommendations and you’ll be good to go.

One sedan I would definitely take off your list is the Renault Medallion. Here’s why:

Daniel writes:

I am not so much purchasing as receiving A 1988 Renault Medallion LX. I just have some questions.

1) It was sold as an Eagle briefly. Does Chrysler still maintain a parts network?

2) I know the car that preceded it (the Alliance) had a dreadful reputation for reliability. Was this model any better? (I can’t find information on it).

3) What are the known trouble spots with the Medallion?

It seems to run and drive well (Clutch is good, No abnormal noises, rides well etc.) but I just want to know if I should take it or look for something else. Thank you.

Sajeev responds:

It was also sold as the Dodge Monaco which is the preferred name when the guy at the parts counter asks, “WTF is a Renault Medallion?”

I remembered the Medallion being junk from day one; even MotorWeek ripped it a new one. And AutoZone doesn’t list a 1988 Renault (don’t forget, it’s a Dodge Monaco!) in their online catalog. So I called a Chrysler dealer to verify: they cannot order any parts for the Monaco, nor do they stock them. But RockAuto.com does show signs of life, if you want to take the plunge on a 21-year-old French sedan.

But you should not. Granted, I am all for preserving vintage metal from the “aerodynamic wedge” era of car design, but this one’s better off going to the junkyard the moment it gives you trouble.

I’m sure it’s worth $200 or more in scrap. That pays for a month of gas in another, far superior vehicle, right?

And back to you, the Best and Brightest: what are your thoughts on these two situations?

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2 of 49 comments
  • Cleek Cleek on Mar 04, 2009

    Kevin if you're self employed with sufficient income, and your accountant concurs, consider a Mazda '08 cx-9. you can get into one for the mid 20's and since the GVW is 6K+ lbs, you are eligible for a great tax deduction. The tax law allows you to claim the $25,000 Section 179 writeoff plus the "regular" 20% first-year depreciation writeoff. As an aside, I was wondering what my first impression would be of a consultant who drove up in a 20 year old Renault Medallion.

  • Beelzebubba Beelzebubba on Mar 04, 2009

    For $15k, you can get a 2006 (or perhaps 2007) Ford Fusion SEL V6 AWD. You might have to do some searching to find one, but they are out there. I just found 35 in metro Atlanta using AutoTrader (limit it to only All Wheel Drive models of the Fusion).

  • Dusterdude @El scotto , I'm aware of the history, I have been in the "working world" for close to 40 years with many of them being in automotive. We have to look at situation in the "big picture". Did UAW make concessions in past ? - yes. Do they deserve an increase now ? -yes . Is their pay increase reasonable given their current compensation package ? Not at all ! By the way - are the automotive CEO's overpaid - definitely! (That is the case in many industries, and a separate topic). As the auto industry slowly but surely moves to EV's , the "big 3" will need to be producing top quality competitive vehicles or they will not survive.
  • Art_Vandelay “We skipped it because we didn’t think anyone would want to steal these things”-Hyundai
  • El scotto Huge lumbering SUV? Check. Unknown name soon to be made popular by Tiktok ilk? Check. Scads of these showing up in school drop-off lines? Check. The only real over/under is if these will have as much cachet as Land Rovers themselves? A bespoken item had to be new at one time. Bonus "accepted by the right kind of people" points if EBFlex or Tassos disapproves.
  • El scotto No, "brothers and sisters" are the core strength of the union. So you'll take less money and less benefits because "my company really needs helped out"? The UAW already did that with two-tier employees and concessions on their last contract.The Big 3 have never, ever locked out the UAW. The Big 3 have agreed to every collective bargaining agreement since WWII. Neither side will change.
  • El scotto Never mind that that F-1 is a bigger circus than EBFlex and Tassos shopping together for their new BDSM outfits and personal lubricants. Also, the F1 rumor mill churns more than EBFlex's mind choosing a new Sharpie to make his next "Free Candy" sign for his white Ram work van. GM will spend a year or two learning how things work in F1. By the third or fourth year GM will have a competitive "F-1 LS" engine. After they win a race or two Ferrari will protest to highest F-1 authorities. Something not mentioned: Will GM get tens of millions of dollars from F-1? Ferrari gets 30 million a year as a participation trophy.