By on September 8, 2009

600 to 1500 miles a week. Some of you may consider this travel excessive, or, perhaps, bordering on the psychotic. In the auto remarketing business it’s a way of life. Wholesalers, auctioneers, ringmen, and managers of varying stripes all have to spend their time on the road. Auctions are often separated by several hours and states. Not to mention that the folks in the Great White North often have to travel to different provinces, upwards of 2000 miles a week, to get where they’re going. That’s a lot of time with a seat, a dashboard and a radio. You may think that a Camcord or some type of hyper-efficient vehicle would be the car of choice for so much travel . . . but you would be dead wrong.

The domestics completely dominate this unique niche of this business. It’s not even close. Why? Because when it comes to large cars, SUVs and pickups that are inexpensive to maintain, Ford and GM (not Chrysler) still rule the kingdom. A lot of travel time equates to a greater need to stretch out and avoid the fatigue of the road. A reasonably quiet interior. Power when you need it. Room to kick the psychosis of claustrophobia. All of this plays into the hand of the road warrior.

The most frequent road warrior for ‘keepers’? It’s not a Crown Vic although they’re among the brethren. It’s not a Town Car although that’s sometimes chosen if the price is right. Suburbans and Silverados also make their presence known as do Avalons. The most frequent vehicle I see is a full-sized GM midsized sedan with the 3.8L V6. Why? Power is plentiful with anywhere between 200 to 240 horses. Fuel economy can hit at or close to 30 mpg which is far better than the real world performance of old V8s. Maintenance is cheap. Depreciation is steep, and despite Buickman’s pontifications, Pontiacs and Buicks have not been embraced by the fashionable media elite.

Bonnevilles, LeSabres, Park Avenues, and Impalas may not be the cars that lubricate the dreams of the gearhead, but they are an exceptional deal for those folks that buy their cars with anywhere between 50k to 100k miles and keep them on the highway until they hit 200k to 250k. Once the intake manifold gasket is replaced (an absolute must), the powertrain that propels these vehicles is among the best in the business.

The ‘traders’ in our business fall into three unique categories. There are those who prefer a certain range of vehicles. Before I became a keeper, I changed cars on a weekly basis. More often than not what I drove was a variant of the Volvo 850/S70 or a Subaru Legacy. I knew a lot about them and sold them by the dozens over the  years. These two models were predominantly bought by folks who brought their cars to the dealer and were willing to pay a premium for diligent maintenance. In the case of the Volvos, most of the buyers drove their cars conservatively which is a huge plus in an auto auction world that has more than its share of cars that are more worn out than an old mop.

The other two categories are the large wholesaler and the independent dealer. The former drive whatever vehicle strikes their fancy. The same can ring true for the large independent dealer. A surprising number of them will actually keep a Mercedes or Lexus if they’re within a metropolitan area. Several independent dealers will drive cars with niggling problems, title issues, or what we call ‘selling issues’. Most dealers have to deal with diagnostic issues that can be more tricky than a politician at a town hall meeting. Others can throw too much money into the rabbit hole of repair and ultimately surmise that it’s better to just drive the thing since it’s been practically rebuilt.

Finally you have those cars that have cosmetic issues and were bought on the cheap, and those that have title issues that require a bonded or court order title to resell. In certain instances the cars can be driven another 100k with $0 depreciation to show for it.  Obviously, the best cars to drive are those that ‘make’ you money; but once you’ve polished a car with too many personal greenbacks or setbacks, it can often become a companion instead of a commodity. In our business we call it ‘getting married’.

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51 Comments on “Hammer Time: Road Warriors...”


  • avatar
    ohsnapback

    I have an uncle who has owned about 5 consecutive Buicks, and I can’t recall (nor, more imporantly, can he) the last time he has had to pay for a major, non-maintenance related repair.

    He sold a 1999 Park Avenue with 188,000 miles on it and zero problems; not with the motor, transmission, electrical system, nada…

    He had a 2004 LeSabre he sold with 134,000 miles on it, and again – not one major problem.

    He now has a Lucerne, circa-2007. So far, so good.

    He is in the real estate business, so he isn’t driving as much these days, but as recently as a year ago, regularly put 25,000 miles per year on a car.

    The Buick sedans I’ve seen have all been bullet proof. It doesn’t hurt that they have loads of room, comfy seats, dispatch with rough pavement quite easily, are quiet as a library inside and cost half or less what a “proper” German car does.

  • avatar
    NickR

    Being 6 ft 4 and something of a genetic freak (my skeletal structure is proof neanderthals disappeared due to interbreeding) these cars have a lot of appeal. I drove one until fairly recently. Then I downsized with my recent daily driver…what a mistake. I hope that the new Buick Allure is roomy enough to allow me to drive 4 and 5 hours comfortably. I refuse to buy a _UV, I like CARS and don’t want to meet my maker at the hands of blood clot.

  • avatar
    Polishdon

    I disagree with your statement:

    “Because when it comes to large cars, SUV’s and pickups that are inexpensive to maintain, Ford and GM (not Chrysler) still rule the kingdom.”

    I drive in excess of 700 miles a week just to and from work(almost 40K in the last twelve months). My wife drives around 500 a week. Both of us drive Chrysler products: her a 2006 Town and Country Minivan, me a 2007 Dodge Magnum SXT. Both have been just about bulletproof, with only regular maintenance.

  • avatar

    I dunno, my friend and her mother’s experience with the GM 3800 has been miserable. Her mom’s 3800-powered Impala has been a disaster — first, the hydraulic lifters began to fail just out of warranty (naturally, Chevy refused to help, even though it was only about a thousand miles after the end of the warranty coverage), then the replacement lifters collapsed, the ignition coils started failing, and it continued to drink oil like Hunter S. Thompson drank Wild Turkey. They’d done all the maintenance — at the dealer, in fact — so it hadn’t been neglected, and it was being driven by a little old lady. My friend called me in a rage and said, “I thought you said they’d been making this engine for 40 years! Haven’t they fixed all this shit yet?”

  • avatar
    PeregrineFalcon

    Oh, so it’s you bastards who keep poaching the supercharged 3800 steeds, rather than letting them out onto the lot where enterprising folk like myself can pick them up for a song? I knew it.

    @argentla – I think you’re just the unlucky one there. While we’re trading anecdotes, my sister had an older 3800-engined Buick. She beat the hell out of it, neglected maintenance, routinely drove it up and down the Rockies with a full load of cargo and crew, and it still soldiered on for years until finally meeting its maker at the hands of a Sequoia – the SUV, not the tree.

  • avatar
    impreza_13

    The most abundant “road warrior car” that I see crusing the freeway at any given time during the morning/evening commute(in and around Milwaukee anyway) is the Hyundai Sonata. More often than not, most of them have Illinois plates on them.

  • avatar
    Robstar

    Hm, I remember watching “King of Cars” about the dealership in Fl (Miami?).

    I remember the look on their faces when a 2 year old pickup with 250k+ miles came in….I believe it had ALASKA plates.

    What does a dealership give for tradein a pickup with 125k miles/year? What would it go for at auction?

  • avatar
    highrpm

    Mr. Lang,

    I’m going to have to disagree with you here. I also visit the auction lots here in MI. From my experience with the bigger bodied Pontiacs/Buicks/Lincolns at the auctions, the cars tend to have a lot of problems beyond 100k miles. Sure, you can fix the stuff if you want to. Plastic intake manifold leakins, power steering leaks, broken a/c, engine leaks, iffy transmissions, all kinds of broken power locks/windows, etc.

    But why should I bother, when I can just bid on a Camry that has nothing wrong with it?

  • avatar
    Banger

    ohsnapback:

    “I have an uncle who has owned about 5 consecutive Buicks, and I can’t recall (nor, more imporantly, can he) the last time he has had to pay for a major, non-maintenance related repair.”

    You know, I’ve had similar experience out of the engine/transmission combo in this car. However, the electrics of the 2004 LeSabre you mention have given me nightmares. My mother-in-law’s 2004 LeSabre blows head- and taillights like nothing I’ve ever seen.

  • avatar

    I’m finding that about one driver in a hundred drives 30k+ miles per year. Down the road I’d like to post separate reliability stats for this group, to see which cars really handle a ton of miles the best.

    So far there’s no clear pattern. Some people seem capable of driving just about anything to 250k and beyond. No doubt driving style and driving conditions play a role.

    That said, one member with 270k on his 2002 Subaru asked if a circa 2004 Saab or Volvo might be a good, more upscale, somewhat fun-to-drive replacement. I had my doubts about these.

    http://www.truedelta.com

  • avatar
    ajla

    From my experiences, I find that Bonnevilles, Impalas, Eighty-Eights, and Intrigues are way better than their Buick sedan counterpart.

  • avatar
    vrtowc

    A voice from Europe…

    To start with: I best 600 miles EVERY week and I do not even commute every day. And not on a highway but mostly on twisty mountain roads. If these numbers look normal to someone living in Slovenia, one of the smallest EU countries, I thought they should make an American laugh. Well obviously I was wrong.

    In turn, while such numbers undoubtedly call for a certain level of reliability, just about anything on the EU market today should sufice. So it really makes me ROTFL to hear about special reliability required to take such a “heavy abuse”. None of my cars in the past years gave any problems beside maintenance. And as I prefer “la bella macchina” the list differs little from the proverbial but fundamentally flawed “least reliable cars on earth”. From 1996 on I drove: Fiat Punto Sporting Mk1, Alfa Romeo 155 1.8 TS, Fiat Stilo MW 1.9 JTD, Lancia Lybra SW 2.4 JTD, Lancia Phedra 2.2 JTD. Never had a problem with any of them. Most of them purchased second hand (30k-80k miles on the counter) and then sold with 150+k miles.

    If I am to believe the author, this is yet another proof of how unbelievably low standards USA holds for cars.

  • avatar

    I have an uncle who has owned about 5 consecutive Buicks, and I can’t recall (nor, more imporantly, can he) the last time he has had to pay for a major, non-maintenance related repair.

    Lucky you. My wife’s Buick (pictured above, same color even) was the biggest POS I have ever suffered through dealing with.

    John

  • avatar
    jmo

    Never had a problem with any of them.

    Please define “never” and “problem”.

  • avatar
    ohsnapback

    vrtowc:

    European badges have among the worst reliability and customer satisfaction in the world, by the confessions of Europeans themselves.

    The defect rate for Fiat, Rover (yes, yes, Tata owns it), Peugeot, Renault, Skoda (yes, yes, VW owns it)…..is HORRENDOUS.

    Surely, you jest.

    Even here in the states, I’d bet any day on a Buick not leaving me stranded compared to ANY Volkswagen/Audi product, and you can make that twice on Sunday.

  • avatar
    FreedMike

    There is definitely an advantage to GM’s disadvantageous old designs: they worked all the bugs out while Bush – the first one – was in office.

    But if you’ve got a hankerin’ for a premium road warrior ride, I’d suggest a Mercedes E320 Bluetec. I don’t know how the reliability is, but with 600+ miles of range on the highway, your bladder will burst before you have to refuel.

  • avatar
    beken

    I had a Buick. Not particularly powerful, nor did it have handling prowess, but as a long distance highway cruiser, it was quiet and comfortable.
    Besides routine maintenance, things that needed replacing after expiration of warranty: wheel bolts, fuel pump, alternator, battery cables, lots of lightbulbs until we found out it was the plastic sockets that were melting and shorting them out, gauge cluster, head gaskets, audio head unit, steering rack,…we got rid of the car when we were told the head gaskets were leaking again.
    That’s personal experience even though I kept hearing from everybody about how reliable and trouble free Buicks are.

  • avatar
    vrtowc

    Please define “never” and “problem”.

    never: not a single occurrence in last 13 years

    problem: an event requiring a non-planned (vehicle maintenance plan) servicing of the vehicle, excluding changing tires, braking pads, punctured exhaust and repairs following a crash

  • avatar
    twotone

    “…a full-sized GM midsized sedan…”

    It this a new class of cars?

    If I had to do 2,000 miles/week I’d get a Cessna 182.

    Twotone

  • avatar
    vrtowc

    “European badges have among the worst reliability and customer satisfaction in the world, by the confessions of Europeans themselves.”

    That’s exactly what’s puzzling me. I attributed this to high mileage in USA. But according to this article this is not so. 40.000km/year (approx 25.000 mi/year) is really not a lot. As I said I do it regularly and a friend of mine (driving only Alfas btw) regularly does three times that. If what you say is a fact, he should spend more time in the garage than on the road. And yet he is not.. Something smells a bit fishy…

    But I know better than believing internet hype more than my own experiences.

    Additionally: I had a chance to sit in a few USA car products. Admittedly just a glimpse here and there and I can not even name the models. Sorry to say but at least the interiors are bellow anything deemed as acceptable for my tastes. Simply not a nice place to be in. A subjective judgement by all means, but that counts a lot when talking about cars.

  • avatar
    jmo

    European badges have among the worst reliability and customer satisfaction in the world, by the confessions of Europeans themselves.

    Even when you poll Europeans you find that:

    The Which? survey rates new cars on users happiness, taking into account breakdowns, faults and even niggles, which are guaranteed to get the buyer of a new car cursing.

    Japanese cars fared the best, with supermini the Honda Jazz coming second with 98% alongside the Daihatsu Sirion, also with 98%, these were followed by the Hyundai i30

    The Which? survey was not good news for those who have opted for style and speed over a less inspiring dependability, with the A5 being joined by the Jaguar XF (78%) and Alfa Romeo 159 (79%) in the four least reliable.

    http://www.thisismoney.co.uk/bargains-and-rip-offs/motoring/article.html?in_article_id=488819&in_page_id=53949

  • avatar
    Gardiner Westbound

    I am happy the author has good luck with GMs. In my experience, when the warranty expires so does the car.

    A parade of $300 to $500 repairs, with the occasional $1,500 one, kept me running to the repair garage. I rationalized fixing the POS is cheaper than car payments but, dammit, a car should be reliable for more than 50,000-miles! Just when I thought everything that could go wrong already had, it was deja vu all over again.

    It’s galling that GM invests time, effort and money into engineering components to fail at 50,000, so consumers will buy a new car. I did, but not from them. I bought Japanese. I will never, never, never, buy another domestic; won’t even look at ’em.

    GM’s Big Bet on Quality

  • avatar
    vrtowc

    jmo:

    as always, beauty is in the eyes of the beholder:

    A JD Power poll in Germany paints a different picture:

    http://www.autonews.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20090624/ANE02/906249993/1193&AssignSessionID=273347846039135&AssignSessionID=273347846039135

  • avatar
    Autosavant

    Look at that picture of the Buick. Nothing offensive, smooth styling, but, if you want to do 100,000s of highway miles, what a TINY wheelbase, and what awful-looking overhangs! This thing must be more than 200 in long (I believe the park Avenue was 207 or so, but has a pitifully short 112 or so inch wheelbase! While my 98 “Magnificent 7″ BMW 740iL has more than 120 in (and the current 750iL has 126, and the Rolls Ghost based on the new 7 has 129”!), and I can assure you it is a far superior highway cruiser, in fact I bought it for that purpose back in 05, and kept my old Accord coupe for around town driving, but had to donate it to charity in 08.

  • avatar

    vrtowc : That’s exactly what’s puzzling me. I attributed this to high mileage in USA.

    I’m still puzzled at your reliability with Italian iron when even Europeans tell me they are expensive and high maintenance.

    BUT…to answer your question: horrendous parts costs, marginal service at the dealer and little knowledge of foreign makes outside of dealerships. Granted, the Internet can help today, if we still had Lancias in America…and yet European cars still have the highest costs after the warranty runs out.

  • avatar
    Autosavant

    “Gardiner Westbound :
    September 8th, 2009 at 3:35 pm

    I am happy the author has good luck with his GMs. In my experience when the warranty expires so does the car.”

    A close friend bought a Park Avenue 96 back in 2004 or so, with less than 100k miles. The car looked in good shape, but he only paid $1,825, and it cost new more than $30k, maybe 40 with options! And that when the US $ was worth something, now it is worth half that! Why such a huge depreciation?

    My friend soon found out. COntinuous problems, everything and its mother-in-law breaks down all the time. I am amazed that some Surveys say Buicks are reliable.

  • avatar
    mikey

    If you read Mr Langs article,and then you read all of the comments,one can understand why we have a perception gap.

    The “we hate anything domestic” crowd,will not even entertain the thought,that the domestics are
    incredibly reliable.

    Yet in the real world of used car people,the domestics are the vehicle of choice.

    These people can buy Huyadais and Toyotas all day long for peanuts,on the wholesale market. I guess,the truly informed,don’t buy into the myth.

  • avatar
    jmo

    These people can buy Huyadais and Toyotas all day long for peanuts,on the wholesale market.

    A 5yo Avalon vs. a 5yo Buick at auction – the Avalon is going to be worth thousands more.

  • avatar
    mikey

    The 5yo Avalon is going to be worth thousands more jmo? Right you are,but the smart buyer will buy the Buick.

  • avatar
    mdensch

    impreza_13 :
    September 8th, 2009 at 1:55 pm

    “The most abundant “road warrior car” that I see crusing the freeway at any given time during the morning/evening commute(in and around Milwaukee anyway) is the Hyundai Sonata. More often than not, most of them have Illinois plates on them.”

    I’ll throw down a $10 bet that those Sonatas are airport rentals.

  • avatar
    jmo

    Right you are,but the smart buyer will buy the Buick.

    You get what you pay for.

  • avatar
    geeber

    My parents had a 1999 Park Avenue. The engine required a rebuild at 114,000 miles, thanks to the infamous intake manifold gasket problem. Up until that point, it had been very reliable.

    My parents kept it until 158,000 miles, by which point it was requiring about $500 a month in repairs, and had left each of my parents stranded once. So I’m not so sure about taking one of these cars to 200,000 miles.

  • avatar
    mikey

    You get what you pay for? Not with the Avalon,your paying for the myth.

  • avatar
    mikey

    @ geeber With all due respect to your parents,thier mechanic should of caught the manifold leak,before it smoked the engine.

  • avatar
    gslippy

    My brother-in-law recently bought a 4-cylinder Accord for just this kind of service. He’s driven just about everything available in the rental fleet, and chose to put his personal money into the Honda (CFC, by the way).

    GM and Chrysler weren’t even contenders, and Ford barely was.

  • avatar

    vrtowc: “…Alfa Romeo 155 1.8 TS, Fiat Stilo MW 1.9 JTD, Lancia Lybra SW 2.4 JTD, Lancia Phedra 2.2 JTD.”

    How are those JTD engines? Especially compared to the VWAG 1.9 TDI. Ever run them on BioDiesel?

    I’ve been seriously jonesing for an Alfa Spider with the JTDM mill. Not that we’ll ever see one in America, but should Fiat-Chrysler bring Alfa back to the US, then grey-marketing a JTDM-equipped one here will become infinitely easier, and significantly less costly.

    –chuck

  • avatar
    dkulmacz

    I have to agree with mikey . . . it seems that according to this article a subset of buyers with a lot of knowledge and very demanding requirements choose traditional domestic iron and are happy.

    What am I missing? Are the majority here calling Mr. Lang a liar?

  • avatar
    Fritz

    You got to expect a highway driven car to last better than something driven stop and go in the city. At 150K miles it is years younger than a city car. You say 150k in 6 years. Most cars with that many miles are a full decade older. Nothing like the number of warm up cycles in the highway car. So these types think the Buick is more comfortable on long trips. That is why they put the miles on them. What is to talk about?

  • avatar
    vrtowc

    How are those JTD engines? Especially compared to the VWAG 1.9 TDI. Ever run them on BioDiesel?

    Personally can’t praise them enough. Never run them on pure Bio but if I’m not mistaken diesel sold here usually has round 5% of bio mixed in. Never had a problem with winter cold starts (used to be an issue especially for older VW diesels), very quick pre-heat cycle, started even if you forgot about it. Lively ride with plenty of low-rev torque. MJTDs also feel almost like petrol engines as they like higher revs than usually. Performance-wise (including consumption) I’d say there is no major difference between JTDs and TDIs. But JTDs feel and sound much less tractor-like compared to VAGs offerings. 2.4 5 cylinder JTD is especially smooth. 2.2 JTD I am currently driving in my Phedra is actually not a Fiat unit (car itself is a joint venture with PSA) but PSA-sourced HDI unit and is by far less lively compared to JTDs. I know of no issues with JTD engines, apart maybe from their sensitivity to low-quality fuels, requiring cleanup of injectors (or even replacement in some cases). I don’t believe I ever had to add more than a liter of oil in course of 10.000 kms. I usually change oil at 15.000 kms instead of planned 20.000. a word about costs: When I had my Lybra serviced at 100000 km (replacing cam belt, tensioner, coolant pump, all filters and oil) the sum was below 500€, Independent garage using original parts of course. And consumption figures: Lybra with 150ps 2.4 JTD averaged at 6,2 l/100 km (38 mi/gallon).

  • avatar
    bolhuijo

    This may be the only place I can admit to being barely 40 and loving my ’99 Park Avenue. I’ve driven it cross country twice and it’s way more comfortable than my ’98 528 was for long trips. Of course the handling isn’t there, but I live in the land of long straight roads and have a toy car for when I want something that handles corners. Put me down for “hardly any problems” at just over 100k.

  • avatar
    ihatetrees

    Yes, GM’s 3.8 sedans can be highway comfy.

    My preference, and I’m no SUV fan, is a V8 Exploder (especially 4×2) with the better interior/seats. And I think they’re better long term keepers.

    And, is it me, or are GM and Fords 4×2 pickups and SUV’s noticeably quieter than similar 4×4 (or AWD or select-track) models? or is it the tires?

  • avatar
    Stingray

    I’m still puzzled at your reliability with Italian iron when even Europeans tell me they are expensive and high maintenance.

    Sajeev, Fiats here are usually very cheap to keep on the road. If course, we get mostly “simplified” (if such notion is possible in a european car) brazilian models, but still. My mom’s 98 Fiat Siena has since new 330K kms. Original engine. I have changed only minor stuff, and very reasonable costs.

    600 to 1500 miles… a week. Some of you may consider this travel excessive. Perhaps bordering on the psychotic.

    Naahhh… I do more or less between 375-400.

    I agree with your “selection” of cars. The thing is, the only GM W-body we got here was the Impala. There are very few Taurus, and SUVs are expensive. They all fall in the “luxury” area, and are not very suitable to those jobs. But I bet something smaller, like a Neon, would be just the ticket for me.

    The relaxed drive of an american car is WIN when travelling huge amounts of miles.

  • avatar

    Thanks for the info vrtowc!

    –chuck

  • avatar
    Steven Lang

    I think this will give you a grasp of the price differentials…

    2004 Models: Average Wholesale w/ 80k

    Pontiac Bonneville SLE $6900
    Buick Park Avenue (non-SC) $6175
    Chevy Impala LS $5425

    Toyota Avalon XLS $8100

    Keep in mind that it’s easier to bottom feed with the common and generic GM vehicles while the Toyotas and Hondas are really impossible to find at below average price if they’re in good condition. The competition is stiff due to the finance fodder factor (premium pricing) and most of the domestics that I see on the road are usually bought around the $4k to $5k mark.

    A lot of the final decision has to do with your lifestyle and your relationships. An auctioneer who does a lot of county auctions may go for a CVPI that belonged to a county official. While a wholesaler who buys/sells vehicles with a Chevy or BPG dealership may opt for a trade-in from an older fellow with low miles.

    I drive a 1st gen Honda Insight. But that’s only because I got lucky and a lot of my driving is on roads that go no higher than 60 mph. So long as I keep it 70 mph or below it’s a pleasant ride and I average 55 mpg.

  • avatar
    50merc

    I can testify that a Park Avenue is a great turnpike cruiser. The older I get, the more I appreciate Buick’s traditional virtues.

    But it’d be terribly costly to have that 3.8 engine’s intake manifold gasket problem. What year did GM finally get that fixed? And if the problem hasn’t shown up by, say, 100K miles, can an owner stop worrying about it?

  • avatar
    Brian P

    My own road-warrior choice is a VW diesel, and I know quite a few others who made the same choice; there are plenty on the roads around here. Sold my last one at 462,000 km still running decently. Current one is at 248,000 km.

    The fuel cost here tips the balance well in favour of the diesel, and on top of that, I hate dullness. I have had my share of GM rental cars and I have yet to encounter one that I didn’t dislike. Automatic = dull, numb steering = dull, overly soft and ill-damped suspension = dull.

    Friend of mine has an Impala with the 3.4, and it’s been in the shop a lot more than my Jetta has …

  • avatar
    npbheights

    @ Steven:

    The Avalon XLS is the full boat model. Leather, Sunroof. Every bit a Lexus ES, but larger and with a slightly different badge. The Avalon XL might be a better comparison. Cloth seats. Probably no sunroof.

    A Chevrolet Impala LS is the bottom rung model. Better equipped is the LT, but comparison to an Avalon of any stripe is a bit of a stretch. The Bonneville and Park Avenue maybe, but those are orphan models that are not made anymore. That helps kill their resale value.

  • avatar
    ajla

    @npbheights:

    IIRC, In 2004 the trim levels for the Impala went “Sedan” “LS” and “SS”. There was no “LT” or “LTZ” designation.

    Obviously, the basic ’04 Impala LS needs lots of option boxes checked to reach the equipment level of the ’04 Avalon XLS. However, I still bet that you’ll see a $2000+ difference between the up-optioned Chevrolet and the big Toyota.

  • avatar
    gimmeamanual

    50merc,

    Basically, no. The big enemies of gaskets are time, temp, and chemical attack. If there is a known issue, then adding more of those will not help. That it is still ok may be due to a variety of factors, and is not a guarantee of continued survival.

  • avatar

    Brian P, I’m with you on that. I’m on my 4th VW Diesel since 1980. Put well over 150k on each one. Great cars. My operating costs are well UNDER a dime a mile.

    –chuck

  • avatar
    TRL

    What he said,

    “ohsnapback :
    September 8th, 2009 at 3:10 pm

    ……Even here in the states, I’d bet any day on a Buick not leaving me stranded compared to ANY Volkswagen/Audi product, and you can make that twice on Sunday.”

    After two A6’s I switched to a Lucerne in 2007 for my 35,000/year and I say at least twice any day and three times on Sunday. He was being kind to VW. In 70,000 miles the Buick has been to the dealer one time and I define one time as 1 time. Period.

    My fun car is a Mini Copper so it’s not like I don’t get to see that dealer often to balance it out as it suffers from the standard BMWitis.

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