New or Used: The Beating of His Hideous Heart!!!

new or used the beating of his hideous heart

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.

We have two young boys that I will occasionally be called upon to pick up/drop off, so I need something with a decent sized back seat. I am an attorney and occasionally clients will see my car so image is somewhat important. At the same time, I can’t go overboard because my clients are not wealthy. I definitely want a car (or wagon), and something that gets good mpg. I need it to have the latest tech offerings so that my commute is tolerable. I looked at used but almost seems cheaper to buy at this point so I am looking to buy. While I would love to say that fun to drive is high on the list, my commute offers little opportunity for fun driving and my busy life prevents much recreational driving, so an all around car would suit us best. We will finance the car and probably pay off in five or less years and then sell shortly thereafter. Probably will average 15k miles a year.

Audi is high on the list. We had a 2004 Audi A4 years back that we loved, although there seems to be a short supply of new A4’s in the configuration I would want due to popularity and they are not the best deal. Also concerned about reliability. I like the looks of the Volvo S60 T5 and love the free maintenance but the backseat is just a bit small and it’s not very exciting. I test drove a TL and it has all the creature comforts and holds its value well, but my wife thinks it is hideous. 3 series is too small while 5 series more than I want to spend. New C-Class is interesting but probably too small inside. Hyundai Genesis is intriguing but it’s a Hyundai and I can’t get past the Hyundais of old. I have not driven one so can’t speak to how the car drives. I love the Jaguar XF but reliability and mpg turns me off. Lexus CT200h would be an interesting choice but the thing is tiny inside. Budget is 30-45k.

Steve Answers:

This is the classic case of trying to kick the bucket before the bucket is full.

The Infiniti FX35 is perfectly capable of handling your needs as it stands. It has been given great reviews by an awful lot of owners. The styling is still contemporary for our time and, as ol’ Leonard McCoy would say if he dealt with Yuppies instead of Vulcans, “Good God man! You’ve only driven this thing for 52,000 miles and you want to sell it! Get a hold of yourself and buy some tires!”

That’s my advice. Your clients will not appreciate a new upscale luxury car. The commute you have is a fairly miserable one as far as enthusiast driving goes. You seem to always be pedaling on the debt treadmill… and use fuel economy as the excuse du jour to get into debt some more.

Just stop it. Really.

Don’t spend money. Don’t buy anything. Except top quality tires and perhaps a Sirius/XM upgrade if you don’t have one already. Those two moves alone should make your commute far better than it is at the moment.

Sajeev answers:

While I agree with Steve, I also have a friend who tends to get new cars for the most trivial of reasons, including needing new tires. No really, he has no problem with his current ride other than the fact that it needs tires. So it’s time for a new car!

I get it, even if I don’t.

My advice? Stop buying and start leasing. Aside from the very likely (cough) tire replacements on 2-3 year leases, everything else is covered. You can buy whatever looks right for you, projects the right image to your clients, and when the “ticking time bomb” sound turns into the Edgar Allen Poe’s Tell Tale Heart…well, the lease should probably be up before that time.

My gut feeling? I’d lease something Volkswagen. Maybe the CC, or one of their crossovers…fully loaded! It doesn’t really matter, they all have the right image and I’m fairly certain you’ll love it for 24 months.

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4 of 43 comments
  • GS650G GS650G on May 16, 2012

    This is a non-problem, the FX35 is a reliable and proper vehicle, a set of tires is not too much to do for it.

  • Mcw Mcw on May 16, 2012

    I am the (now former) owner of the FX35. Ended up selling it privately for $17,500. Bought it for around 20k, so it depreciated $2500 in five+ years. Purchased an A4 with no money down which we financed at 1.9%. (Lease rates from Audi have not been competitive so it made no sense to lease). Used the 17.5k received from the Infiniti sale for a house remodel we had planned, so we are essentially financing the house remodel over 5 years at 1.9%. I could have paid cash for the Audi or home remodel but can earn more than 1.9% with investments. I absolutely love the A4 and could not be happier with my choice. Having the latest tech and a great sound system on my long commutes has made the drive that much better and made it easier to make client calls, etc.. Mileage has been 30+ on the highway. Car looks great, handles great and is a blast to drive. The FX 35 was affectionately known as "the beast" in our house and after driving the Audi it was an appropriate name. Did I make the most "practical" choice? Of course not, but if everyone made practical choices their would be no luxury car market. I don't regret my decision for a minute.

    • See 1 previous
    • Mcw Mcw on May 16, 2012

      @Tummy I didn't have the tech package, so no navigation, no rear dvd,etc.. I thought the Bose system was good, no complaints about that. The integrated bluetooth is fantastic on the A4 and the ipod integration works well.

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