New Or Used? : A Twofer… And One For "The Bossth!"

Steven Lang
by Steven Lang

I have three choices for a “New or Used?” column today.

#1 Is a real estate agent from San Francisco who is looking at spending $13,000 on her next ride. She needs something ‘nice’ to shepherd around her clients.

#2 Is the owner of an Acura RSX Type-S that has 108,000 miles. He is looking at whether to spend about $1500 in new tires and suspensions components. Or whether to blow the budget and spend $40,000 on something new.

#3 Is Baba Booey

Hi there. I’m a guy who lives right outside of New York City and the winters here can be brutal. For a guy like me that leaves work at 4:30 in the morning, temperatures can sometimes be in the low single digits.

That’s why I’ve always had a remote starter on the car. I need my next car to be one that can heat quickly, has good handling on icey roads, and strange as it sounds, a small glasshouse area. Every car I have ever owned tends to fog up whenever I drive it in the middle of the night; regardless of how strong the defrost is. This is why the contours of the windshield and surrounding windows are a big pet peeve of mine.

I would strongly prefer a car with flat windows and good visibility all the way around. Just about every two months, I also need to put some Windex on the windshield to clean it up, and a large one with hard to get to corners results in a cloudy, foggy build-up over time that I just don’t like.

My budget is about $30,000 and I’m buying new. What out there represents the best combination of great heat, solid handling on slippery roads, and easy to service windows?

Steve Says

#1 Should get the second to last generation Infiniti Q45. They are unique in the marketplace, incredibly luxurious, and a well-kept one will only cost about $7000. The right color combination can exude all the luxury and prestige you would ever want in an older car, and I can easily see a silver one with a dark tan to black interior exuding all the upward mobility you need for your customers who are trying to get that little edge in the real estate market.

#2 should visit the RSX forums and see what they have to say about tires and suspension upgrades. There would really be no point in spending $40,000 or even half that amount on another car. For less than $2000 you can have a car that can ride like new and continue to give you all the fun you ever wanted back. The RSX also has a solid long-term reliability record. So I would just keep what you have and look at the upgrades as a healthy investment.

#3 just described every new Scion that is currently selling for less than $20,000.

A Scion iQ would have the advantage of finding parking spaces in the traffic congested areas of New York City. All the windows are easy to access and the front-wheel drive should be a nice plus on the open road. Plus you can buy two of them in different colors and mess with the minds of your co-workers.

Then there is the Scion xD which is a Yaris on stilts, and the xB which is a Corolla on stilts. With both these models you would get better crash protection than the iQ. However I would say that the best deal on the road for what describing is a late model Ford Flex. I know… don’t want to buy used. Would you consider a Kia Soul?

I’m sure the folks here will have plenty of good recommendations. Any thoughts?

Steven Lang
Steven Lang

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2 of 88 comments
  • Lorenzo Lorenzo on Jan 25, 2014

    For the realtor, first choice is leasing, and if a used car is chosen, put aside some money for a professional detailing. The RSX owner should keep what he has and invest in the upgrades. It doesn't get much better than what he's got, and he's far from approaching the end of its useful life. Baba Booey should not blow $30,000 on a car in the rust belt. There are plenty of reliable throw-away cars available for much less. Plan on keeping the car only through the warranty period and then getting another throw-away.

  • Olddavid Olddavid on Jan 25, 2014

    I have had nothing but good luck with Nissan engineering. Their products are built with care and seem to be home wrench friendly. However, I haven't owned anything newer than a 1987 300ZX, so the sample for my opinion is skewed and possibly irrelevant. I drove a 95 Q45 for a two week span while a friend was overseas and really enjoyed the feel and manners. And, no one can say the styling is derivative. I am always in the camp of keeping a beloved machine in the family, so the RSX advice is echoed here. As to the defroster challenged, may I suggest a ragtop? That way the temp is always equalized, and seeing is never a problem. Get a good Langlitz jacket and some goggles, and presto - no more difficult windshields. Gloves will be mandatory.

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