By on May 17, 2016

lincoln town car cartier

Adam writes:

Hey Bark,

I’m currently driving a car that’s outlasted jobs, girlfriends, friendships, an Obama presidency and a Harper administration. I am rolling in a 1998 Lincoln Town Car Cartier — and boy do I love my ride!

From my pic, you can see “Mitzi” is a well taken care of lady. 446,000 kms later, I still love her as much as I did when I bought her. However, after 18 years, the undercarriage (despite yearly rust proofing, thanks southern Ontario winters) is becoming brittle and I feel like I’m getting repairs on a bi-weekly basis. If not for this being my first car, I would have moved on a long time ago. Aside from heated seats, a gold dash analog clock, a six-CD changer in the trunk and an unmistakable ride, it offers little else (aside from being insanely dependable for most its life).

My question: What should I get next?

My only stipulations:

  •  $15,000 or under
  •  2010 or newer
  •  Reliable
  •  Comfortable and spacious
  •  Fuel economy on par or better than my beloved Town Car
  •  Lack of intensive, obstructive, or complicated technology

Some technology is okay. I can handle UConnect on a bad day and Cadillac’s CUE on an exceptionally good day with all the time in the world.

I’d buy another Panther in a heartbeat, but they’re difficult to find in good condition.

Help!

Careful, sir — your little lady hasn’t outlasted Barry S. yet! Martial law could yet be declared if The Donald wins PA, OH, and MI. Also, words cannot describe how creeped out I am by the photo above, which you attached to your e-mail.

Looks like you’re writing to us from the Great White North, what with all those mentions of kilometres and whatnot. I assume, therefore, that you’re talking Canadian dollars. I used my Canuckistan-to-Freedom calculator to determine that $15,000 Canadian equals about $12,000 American, so that’s the barometer I’m going to use for my recommendation.

You’ve also provided an interesting set of qualifiers. I figure that your Town Car probably gets a combined 19-20 mpg, based on the data available from Fuelly. So what’s less than $12,000 USD, gets decent mileage, is comfortable and spacious, has non-invasive tech, and rolled off the line during this decade?

One car immediately springs to mind — but before I get there, let me go through a few options with you.

If you’re willing to go back to the beginning of the decade, a 2010 or so Subaru Outback might be a good way to go. I would imagine these hold their value very well in Southern Ontario, but in my home state of Kentucky, 2.5i Premiums can be had with less than 100,000 miles right around that $12,000 target. You’ll get all-wheel drive for those lonely Canadian winters (I assume that they’re lonely), and the fuel mileage should easily exceed that of your Cartier. They’re plenty spacious and comfortable, too, and the tech is completely non-invasive. However, it won’t be as luxurious as your Panther.

For good fuel mileage and great value on a relatively unloved car, why not look at a second-generation Scion xB? You’ll get a bulletproof motor, a spacious interior, and just enough tech to make life a bit more modern. Not only that, you can find extremely low mile examples within your price range — maybe even low enough to help you get another two or three presidents out of a car (more if Hill-dawg kicks it, fewer if she declares herself emperor). However, it’s going to be a pretty low-powered car, and won’t chauffeur you around in the style in which you’ve become accustomed.

You could even go with your car’s spiritual successor. A 2010 Ford Taurus Limited can be had under your target, and while they aren’t rear-wheel drive, or spacious, or great on gas … actually, never mind. That’s a terrible idea. Nobody should buy one of those.

So what’s my obvious answer? The W-Body Chevrolet Impala V6 LT/LTZ. They’re so cheap. LTs or LTZs are available in your price range with low miles and leather interiors. You’ll get that big, floaty American car vibe that you’ve loved for a long time, and you’ll have 305 horsepower to boot. You’ll be able to coax 31 mpg out of one on the highway. Most importantly, there’s no reason to suspect that car won’t be on the road for decades to come. The W-Body is low tech, and everything that can break on it is a relatively easy and well-documented fix. (Not to mention, you’re buying local. The Impala Limited, which is the previous-generation W-Body Bark is talking about, is still built in Oshawa. —Ed)

If you choose to go that route, there will be an endless supply of them available, so you can afford to be picky and get exactly the color/package combo you want — but beware the fleet vehicles! I’ve personally hooned the hell out of some V6 Impala rentals. They can break the front wheels loose from a standstill without much effort, so any rental is likely to have seen some abuse.

I think once you get behind the wheel of a W-Body, it will feel very much like home to you. Send Mitzi off with a proper celebration, and then go Impala shopping.

Not sure which ride is right for you? Ask Bark! He literally has nothing better to do than advise you. E-mail him at [email protected] or slide into his DMs at @barkm302

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235 Comments on “Ask Bark: Time to Cart Off the Cartier...”


  • avatar
    87 Morgan

    +1 on the Impala. I have had several as company issued vehicles. Put 75k on them, rinse and repeat. zero issues ever. The factory Goodyear tires suck, a set of blizzaks or like unit and you are good to go in the snow.

    I think the w-body represents the best value for the dollar out there in terms of reliable, long lasting, quiet, big enough transportation.

    • 0 avatar
      tonycd

      Haven’t a lot of people criticized the Impala for lacking seat comfort on long drives? Is the leather seat better in that way?

    • 0 avatar
      alexndr333

      Wouldn’t the spiritual successor to the Town Car be a 2011 Cadillac DTS? They can be had for about 12K and have the floaty ride, large interior and easy technology – with winter-friendly front drive to boot.

      • 0 avatar
        28-Cars-Later

        That’s true.

      • 0 avatar
        86er

        Always forget about those… I guess the Legend of Northstar creates a cognitive blind spot.

        • 0 avatar
          28-Cars-Later

          Prob better to not take the risk. I just checked Manheim’s results for 06-11 Devilles, and although there are a chunk of mileage champs the majority of the 300 or so cars were right around 100K or lower back to MY06. I’d say it appears Northstar was “fixed” but at the same time there aren’t many examples past 120K miles at all for some reason, with maybe a dozen to fifteen in the 150K range. I’m thinking either this model really isn’t being driven much nationally, or the cars are getting junked after 100ish in many cases. Conversely, Town Cars in MY08 for example are putting up 250K like its nothing (livery, but still).

          Deville

          MY09

          NYMETSKY $2,900 240,977 1 $2,900 $2,900

          MY08

          05/11/16 KC Regular $4,200 175,049 Below PURP 8G A Yes
          05/04/16 NJ Regular $2,300 176,303 Below BLACK 8G A Yes

          MY07

          BIRMINGH $2,300 298,413 1 $2,300 $2,300

          MY06

          05/11/16 LAKELAND Lease $800 167,650 Below GOLD 8G A Yes
          05/02/16 CEN FLA Regular $1,800 167,669 Below WHITE 8G A Yes
          05/11/16 NY Regular $1,900 170,506 Below GREY 8G A Yes
          04/28/16 DFW Regular $1,400 171,979 Below SILVER 8G A Yes
          05/03/16 BIRMINGH Regular $1,850 174,463 Below SILVER 8G A Yes
          04/22/16 DALLAS Regular $950 183,482 Below TAN 8G A Yes
          04/27/16 NJ Regular $2,000 188,252 Below RED 8G A Yes
          04/20/16 SF BAY Regular $2,500 192,816 Avg BLACK 8G A Yes

          Town Car

          MY08

          05/21/14 NY Regular $6,900 236,647 Avg BLACK 8G A No
          10/21/14 BALTWASH Regular $4,100 255,769 Avg BLACK 8G O No
          11/11/14 BALTWASH Regular $4,500 246,841 Avg BLACK 8G A No
          01/15/15 FRDKBURG Regular $2,700 266,608 Avg BLACK 8G O No
          06/03/15 NJ Regular $1,400 235,323 Avg Black 8G A No

          12/09/14 NEWENGLD Regular $5,850 113,609 Avg BLACK 8G A No
          03/19/15 TAMPA Regular $14,200 72,600 Avg L TAN 8G A No
          12/04/15 PA Regular $15,750 54,393 Avg BLACK 8G A No
          03/30/16 NY Regular $600 305,869 Avg BLACK 8G A No

          • 0 avatar
            86er

            Electrical/electronic gremlins and depreciation?

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            I’m not sure, normally the Northstar dies and that sinks nearly every Cadillac after 1995. If the Northstar suddenly had reasonable reliability the last G-body Deville should become the new Park Avenue lasting many years and miles beyond its intended lifespan. They must suffer from some other malady, or perhaps owners just don’t drive them whereas many Townies are used for livery and interstate travel.

          • 0 avatar
            alexndr333

            His TC has about 277,000 miles now, so I’m guessing he’s looking for something with well under 100K. Most of your examples are already pretty well past done. EBay has a couple of 2011 DTS’s with 40 to 60K on the odo for around $15K. Those are 10 to 15 thousand mile-a-year cars that might be worth a look.

  • avatar

    Too bad Lincoln can’t build a car that awesome any more.

    Your best option is an S-class. Parts steadily cheapen after 5 years.

    • 0 avatar
      VoGo

      He doesn’t want a $12K S-class.

      • 0 avatar
        I've got a Jaaaaag

        The question is which is a worse idea a $12k S-class or a $12k XJ8?

        • 0 avatar

          W222 and W221 are reliable cars produced in high enough numbers that parts are easy to get.

          • 0 avatar
            zamoti

            I just traded off my S55 a few months ago because it wasn’t reliable and the cost of maintaining it was awful. Even though I did my own work to lower the cost, the biggest issue was parts availability. When the fuel line diaphragm started leaking fuel (fine German engineering) I could not find one in town and had to have one shipped. Three days that Merc sat dripping fuel in my garage while I waited. Then the tiny metal clip that holds the thing in (part did not come with a new one) pinged off in the ether as I dropped it. My fault for being a butterfingers, but it cost me two more days to get a special clip shipped in from Kentucky. Five days that thing sat because of a simple repair. When the ABC died, it took me four days to have a pump shipped in from Canoga Park. The thermister that controls the HVAC died and if you buy the official part, it’s $800 for the upper console/sunroof controls/light. In reality a $0.37 part was needed which I mail ordered in and soldered into place myself.
            A $12,000 Mercedes is so the wrong answer; mine only had 75k on it, cost more than $12k but STILL had a lot of problems, none of which were AMG specific.
            Please don’t buy an old Mercedes unless you buy a Civic to drive when the Mercedes is up on stands waiting for parts.

          • 0 avatar
            Sigivald

            A $12k S-Class is probably a bad idea.

            A $12k C-Class, probably not so bad.

            But I’d say go with the Impala over either, honestly.

            And I say this as someone who’s owned and loved an old Mercedes.

        • 0 avatar
          heavy handle

          Which is a worse? A $12K Maserati Quattroporte!

          • 0 avatar
            VoGo

            BTW,
            Cool car, and great job running it for 300K miles! They don’t make ’em like that anymore.

        • 0 avatar
          28-Cars-Later

          I’d probably go X350 or X358 over any S-Klasse after about 1995.

        • 0 avatar
          Hogie roll

          Avoid the 308. I’ve learned the hard way but mine has lived to 160k miles with some effort.

          Afaik the next gen with the 4.2L didn’t have the fatal flaws of the 4.0. Plus it’s all aluminum and much lighter. It just isn’t as pretty.

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            I love the 308 but I’ve learned through the sage advice of others to avoid it.

          • 0 avatar
            Hogie roll

            I think the best of both worlds would be to swap the supercharged 4.2L into a really nice 308 XJR. Apparently it’s straight forward, just needing the front cover from the 4.0 swapped to keep the sensors.

            And presto you no longer have head gasket, timing chain, and cylinder liner concerns! Plus it’s got 50hp more! All in the prettier car.

            I’d like one in that nice light blue color.

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            Ut oh, now you’ve done it. You got me into the 308s again.

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            Regarding a 4.2 swap, would the new motor mount to the old ZF 5 speed correctly (and shift correctly) or does the 6 spd ZF from the X350 have to come with it?

          • 0 avatar
            Hogie roll

            Stick to the XJR with the Benz 5 speed. The ZF has some issues as well.

        • 0 avatar
          Kyree S. Williams

          The XJ wasn’t built as well, but there was less to go wrong. However, by the time any modern S-Class gets to $12K (the worst of the W221s are headed that direction), you can bet it’s going to be a losing proposition for all but the most well-heeled buyers…who’d just buy a newer S-Class anyway.

        • 0 avatar
          redliner

          Having owned a last gen XJR, I can tell you that it was very reliable. It never once left me stranded. HOWEVER, “reliable” does not mean “inexpensive to operate”. I spent thousands on routine maintenance and general upkeep.

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            How is routine maintenance four figures, off the top of your head?

          • 0 avatar
            Hogie roll

            Gremlins on my 308 are mostly door pull and locking mechanism related.

            Every window and sunroof issue I had could be fixed by resetting the all the BCM’s by touching the pos and neg battery cables together.

            The ABS module is toast and needs to be rebuilt. I had a bad throttle body (fly by wire). I also had the timing chain tensioners done right when I got it.

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            Thanks for the list, in my mind most of those aren’t routine maintenance issues.

      • 0 avatar
        gtemnykh

        This is such a preposterous idea that the only way to reply is in Trump Tweet (TM) format:

        Brain-dead @BTSR thinks heavily depreciated Euro-trash is a good replacement for a Panther! Sad!

    • 0 avatar
      PeriSoft

      “My only stipulations… Lack of intensive, obstructive, or complicated technology”

      “Your best option is an S-class”

      Welcome to the world of Internet car advice.

      • 0 avatar

        No one is saying he has to buy a LOADED s-class.

        He can get a W221 with basics for cheap and be certain it will run for a while. My only thing is I’d want the naturally aspirated V8 over the twin-turbo.

        • 0 avatar
          FreedMike

          Right, you can always find a strippo S-class…no air, crank windows, vinyl seats…

        • 0 avatar
          Toad

          There is a reason the depreciation curve on high end luxury cars looks like a cliff face: the operating/maintenance costs are astronomical, especially compared to a Panther.

          BTSR, you have to be pretty obtuse to suggest any S class, or for that matter any luxury import, to a person looking for low cost, low tech transportation.

          Buying well worn luxury cars (with the exception of Lexus) is how poor people stay poor.

        • 0 avatar
          Kyree S. Williams

          As much as you advocate responsible spending—or, more accurately, berate people who spend above their means—I’m surprised that you would recommend an S-Class to someone looking to spend subcompact car money. Not to mention that a $12K W221 is well below market value, suggesting that one at that price would have something seriously wrong with it.

          • 0 avatar
            tonycd

            Hell, if luxury at a low upfront price is the only criterion, might as well go all the way over the edge and recommend a Phaeton.

          • 0 avatar
            Kyree S. Williams

            Beat me to it. I was going to recommend the Phaeton as well…lol. But you can’t get the wimpy V8. You have to go for the W12 model because…reasons.

        • 0 avatar
          Sigivald

          The cheapest W221 within 200 miles of where I live is $19k – and that’s with 140kmi on it.

          Terrible idea.

    • 0 avatar
      Maymar

      How did you, of all people, pass up the opportunity to recommend an LX?

    • 0 avatar
      smartascii

      Now you’re trolling. You know as well as I do that anyone accustomed to the reliability and maintenance/repair costs of a Town Car will be driven absolutely insane by even an early W221, which is a stretch at $12k. And if U-Connect bugs him, the earlier versions of COMMAND will have him taking a hammer to the dash in frustration. This man wants a Lucerne or Impala. Actually, I take that back. He wants an Avalon.

  • avatar
    seth1065

    Good recommendation on the Impala , also a Avalon might fit his wish list as well, and maybe another Lincoln a MKZ or a zeppelin ( I think that was what they were called for a few years, not sure how many there would be in Canada but I have no idea how many town cars there would be in Canada also. They are pretty cheap and less likely to be beaten on.

    • 0 avatar
      Kyree S. Williams

      I’ve always liked the current Avalon, but I’m really starting to appreciate the previous-generation one as well. I sat in a 2011 the other day that reminded me of what Toyota does best: soft, well-built, reliable, floaty creampuff cars.

    • 0 avatar

      Well, why not another Town Car? If he loves what he’s got, a 2010 is a much better version of that car. As long as it has air ride he’ll love it. It’s quicker, handles better and rides like he’s used to. And it’s not hard to find a garaged low mileage Town Car. They’re often owned by octogenarians that don’t drive much anymore.

      • 0 avatar
        Scoutdude

        They may not be on every street corner but it certainly seems like a well kept newer TC could be found for the stated budget.

        • 0 avatar
          Arthur Dailey

          Airline limo companies buy these up.

          I have a friend that drives a Town Car and he is constantly stopped by airline limo drivers asking if it is for sale.

      • 0 avatar

        I see see gorgeous Town Cars and other Panthers here in Greenville SC. Not too hot, not too cold, never any salt. My son-in-law has my aunt’s 2006 Grand Marquis, loves it to death. I can’t believe I let him have it.

  • avatar
    NormSV650

    Do you know how difficult it is to go from luxury car a economy car?

    Honestly I would never recommend a Subaru unless the oil consumption issues were identified and documented that they were fixed. We received our class action suit letter on our long traded 2012 Forester. Though it probably sucked down a case of my finest synthetic oil, we never documented it at the dealership nor kept our receipts. But knew it wasn’t going to stay long in our stable, so we didn’t bother with it.

  • avatar
    -Nate

    Is it foolish to consider going South to buy a nice rust free used car ?.
    .
    -Nate

    • 0 avatar
      mason

      Not at all, and he could probably find a nice clean Lincoln to replace “Mitzie”. He’d even have a good parts car.

      Love the setting for this picture. Very fitting for a vehicle destined for its own cemetary in the near future.

    • 0 avatar
      psarhjinian

      “Is it foolish to consider going South to buy a nice rust free used car ?.”

      The exchange rate makes this pretty unfavourable.

      • 0 avatar
        Sigivald

        Plus I’m led to believe there can be some import hassles, too.

        Not insoluble, but it starts to add up to “not worthwhile”.

        • 0 avatar
          Jagboi

          The speedo will have to be changed to one in KM, daytime running lights added, probably child seat anchors changed, French labelling added, plus out of province inspection fees and fees for import to RIV.

          All doable, but lots of paperwork and nickling and diming to death.

      • 0 avatar
        Lou_BC

        Agreed. 30% exchange sucks. Apparently Canada is loosing a lot of good used vehicles to the USA though.

        • 0 avatar
          mason

          “Apparently Canada is loosing a lot of good used vehicles to the USA though”

          Can you elaborate on that?” I am close to the border and I’ve never heard of anyone going north to buy a vehicle. Anybody that wants a rust free vehicle goes south, out of the rust belt.

  • avatar
    EAF

    Subaru? S-class? He just came out of a bulletproof Towncar and you guys are feeding him unreliable junk!

    Adam, go buy yourself the cleanest, best taken care of, lowest mileage example that $15k could buy you – of either;

    #1. Toyota Camry
    #2. Honda Accord

    You’re welcome.

    • 0 avatar
      06V66speed

      EAF, this man is coming from a Panther.

      The universal rule of “Buy a Camry/Accord” doesn’t just not apply here, it’s also sacrilege.

      It’s a comforting notion but there ain’t no way this man wants a V6 OR FWD.

      It’s like telling your son who builds Fox-platform Mustangs to go buy a Miata. Good luck with that.

      • 0 avatar
        EAF

        Adam’s list of stipulations does not preclude FWD nor v6/i4 ownership. I would dare to say he could make the transition easily enough.

      • 0 avatar
        Kyree S. Williams

        He might be fine with a FWD floaty car. I like the Avalon suggestion; that’s probably the best one I’ve heard here other than the W-body Impala, which is known for being an inexpensive and comfortable mode of transportation.

        • 0 avatar
          tonycd

          Problem with Avalon is, he’d love the car but hate the price. There’s no way a well-maintained late-model example comes anywhere close to the $12k price bogey.

          • 0 avatar
            30-mile fetch

            Exactly. Even 4-pot Camry XLEs have about 6 years and 100K miles on them at the OP’s max price.

  • avatar
    Nick 2012

    A W-Body Impala is absolutely the spiritual successor to the Panther. With the 3.6L SIDI LFX V6, you’ll never get bored mashing the go-pedal. I had one as a rental last week, and my coworker’s frown turned into a big grin when we were hauling the mail between tollbooths on the way into Chicago.

    Bark’s brother wrote a good piece on the appeal of the 3.6L W-Body. https://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2012/07/avoidable-contact-two-chevrolets-enter-one-leaves/

    • 0 avatar
      Truckducken

      These are fun rentals! One question, though: is the LFX the new 3.6 version that allegedly addresses the exploding timing chain issue? Or don’t we have enough data yet?

      • 0 avatar
        Nick 2012

        Some quick Googling indicates the timing chain issues were fixed in 2010-2011. Our town runs Impala squads and a family member routinely works with my local PD and fleet services. She’s not aware of any unusual issues with LFX in the Impalas even in severe duty (aka idling for hours on end).

        http://www.gminsidenews.com/forums/f53/gm-3-6l-timing-chain-problems-99141/index21.html

      • 0 avatar
        ponchoman49

        Have yet to see an LFX with a bad timing chain and that includes a few 2012 Impala law enforcement examples.

  • avatar
    northshoreman1

    A 2011-2012 Charger/300 might help meet his RWD nicely equipped expectations. Several good, relatively low-mileage examples were on EBay–although at the upper end of his price range–and a CPO examples might help mitigate reliability concerns. (Although YMMV, I’ve had great service from my last 3 Chryslers.)

  • avatar
    Felix Hoenikker

    Agree on the W body Impala. I would have considered on during my last car purchase, but wanted higher highway mpg for commuting. Also, GM changed over to the new model in 2014 and bumped up the price significantly.
    As for Subaru, used ones in good condition go for stupid high money around here. Last week, my son’s GF was involved in a chain accident, that resulted in her 2007 Forester being totaled. She looked at a 2013 2.0L Impreza Sport with 36K miles, pleather seats and a sun roof at a local dealer who wanted US $19.9 K for it. To me, that’s just too close to a new one. When asked for advice, I suggested closer to $15K, but they said the dealer would only go down $200. Now she’s going to look at new ones without the pleather and sun/moon whatever roof.

  • avatar
    Flipper35

    I have ridden in several Panthers as cabs and the ride and room is great, but after seeing them fold up like a wet taco on Mythbusters (Lethal Surfboard episode) I don’t think too much of them safety wise. The Impala would be much better for safety and fuel mileage and the ones I drove are decently comfortable.

    • 0 avatar
      DeadWeight

      Jack & Danger Girl were severely injured riding in a Panther when it was HIT BY A SONATA (IIRC the Sonata fared much better, too).

      • 0 avatar
        28-Cars-Later

        Yeah those don’t fare well in a side collision. 60 Minutes’ Bob Simon was actually killed in what sounds like a side impact crash in a limousine, although in Panther’s defense he was not wearing a seat belt.

        http://www.cnn.com/2015/02/11/us/bob-simon-dies/

      • 0 avatar
        Kyree S. Williams

        To be fair, if you’re going to be involved in a T-bone collision, you want to be the car doing the T-boning (get your mind out of the gutter), not the one getting T-boned. So that exacerbated the problem. The front of a car is absolutely better-designed to take impacts than the sides.

        But the Panthers’ structural safety is probably only on par with cars from the eighties and very early nineties. I wouldn’t recommend one for anyone who had safety as a primary concern.

        • 0 avatar
          FreedMike

          Did the later models have side curtain airbags? Those seem to be a big help.

          • 0 avatar
            Scoutdude

            No curtains in a Panther, they had seat mounted air bags that only protect the front seat passengers. In some ways that is better because they protect the torso and head while curtain bags are only designed for head protection.

        • 0 avatar
          Scoutdude

          The Panthers were at the middle of the pack in overall crash safety when they were discontinued. When the last model was introduced in 2003 it was near the top of the ratings. So no their structural safety is not only on par with a car from the 90’s. I’d say they are still probably at least average or better compared to the other cars on the road today. Dollar for dollar assuming that both vehicles are in similar condition and miles I doubt you can find a car that beats a later Panther on safety. Yes there are safer cars but they are newer and more expensive. So you would have to compare say a 2010 Panther to a 2000ish Camcord where the Panther will come out on top.

        • 0 avatar
          30-mile fetch

          “The front of a car is absolutely better-designed to take impacts than the sides.”

          This is true, but since side impact performance is independent of vehicle weight, my tincan 2008 Yaris sedan would fare better in a side collision than that wet noodle of a Panther.

      • 0 avatar
        Scoutdude

        Jack’s collision was far from a normal T bone incident in that J ack was sliding sideways into the oncomming car. Hard to say just how much either car slowed but IIRC it was a road with a 50mph speed limit so the closing speed was probably in excess of 70mph.

      • 0 avatar

        My 2003 Town Car was t-boned by a 2001 F-150 doing 40 MPH back in February of this year. Driver’s door hit and I got the up front and personal view as I was driving. It did NOT total the car. It did total the pickup. Car had a bent fender, smashed drivers door and a small bend in the A-frame which was easily corrected.

        It was a very hard hit.

        I think Jack’s crash was an anomaly and I’d bet that if the same crash happened in the car he replaced it with things would have turned out worse. Much worse.

        • 0 avatar
          86er

          I was appalled at the amount of people on here so quick to blame the car for the injuries sustained. Human decency precluded me from commenting on it but really am sick of this old canard being trotted out gratuitously.

          Many people also missed the part where he stated he hadn’t yet installed his winter tires.

        • 0 avatar
          Kevin Jaeger

          Overall car safety is a complex topic and it’s always a mistake to draw too many conclusions from a single incident.

          Arguably with the latest in electronic stability control he might not have ended up sideways in oncoming traffic in the first place, so the side impact protection would be moot. Or better tires. Or FWD. OR…

          Personally, I’d be perfectly fine with driving a Panther in a Canadian winter, but then I’ve spent many years driving vehicles that were much worse.

    • 0 avatar
      danio3834

      “but after seeing them fold up like a wet taco on Mythbusters (Lethal Surfboard episode) The Impala would be much better for safety and fuel mileage and the ones I drove are decently comfortable.”

      Did they also test an Impala under the same circumstances?

  • avatar
    mechimike

    An Impala would be a fine choice. My in-laws rock a 10-year old example, as spotless as the day it rolled off the showroom floor, that just ticked over 250,000 miles. I’ve rented a few, and they are everything Bark has described them to be.

    That said…the obvious choice would be a 10-year newer panther. He knows the cars, he likes them, what’s missing? “Grandma Keys” are lousy in Florida, buy a non-rusted example with 50,000 miles on it and have it shipped north. My grandfather recently passed away, leaving behind a 2012 Grand Marquis, fully loaded, with 40,000 miles, that my dad ended up practically giving away as no one in the family wanted it. (IIRC, he sold it eventually for about $9,000 US). Deals like this abound.

  • avatar
    28-Cars-Later

    Florida Lex LS. Nuff said.

    • 0 avatar
      VoGo

      +1 on the LS400.

    • 0 avatar
      dividebytube

      ^this

      I was looking at an ’05-’06 LS430 with ~99k miles. They can be had for around $10KUSD.

      V8, RWD, luxury, plus Toyota reliability.

    • 0 avatar
      Nick 2012

      This LS430 even comes with a Landau top.

      http://www.autotrader.com/cars-for-sale/vehicledetails.xhtml?zip=29901&endYear=2017&modelCode1=LS430&showcaseOwnerId=66965923&makeCode1=LEXUS&startYear=1981&firstRecord=0&searchRadius=25&showcaseListingId=427269973&mmt=%5BLEXUS%5BLS430%5B%5D%5D%5B%5D%5D&listingId=423350466&Log=0

    • 0 avatar
      30-mile fetch

      Holy crap, I was about to question your sanity for suggesting he could get an LS in his price range until I just consulted the Autotrader. Sure enough, quite a few mid-2000s models with ~100K on them are available at $12K or under. 4 cylinder 2010 Camry XLEs with similar mileage list for the same price.

      LS is the answer. Blows a 3 yo rental spec Hertz Impala out of the water.

      • 0 avatar
        gtemnykh

        One needs to consider the cost of owning/maintaining an LS, however. Sure, compared to an S-class they are a breeze to keep running right, but it’s still all relative and a Lexus flagship is not a Camry. Timing belt change on the UZ V8 is something to keep in mind, worn suspension bushings/control arms, some occasionally wonky interior electrics (steering wheel tilt motor, etc). That 100k mileage is right when that maintenance shoe might drop.

        • 0 avatar
          dal20402

          What gtemnykh said. The LS is very reliable, but it’s a luxury car, and maintenance and repairs cost luxury-car prices. Parts are expensive and mechanics will seek to charge for more labor. Any 100k example is going to cost a fair amount of money to keep running in the fashion that will get it to 500k.

          Would not recommend an LS in this poster’s price range to this poster. If he were looking in the ~30k range, he could get one that would work better for him.

          • 0 avatar
            30-mile fetch

            Hmm. You both raise good points. It would be interesting to see running costs of such an LS and a 2013 Impala side by side for the next 150K miles.

          • 0 avatar
            Dingleberrypiez_Returns

            Yep, also agree with gtemnykh. To add some anecdotal evidence, a friend of mind recently sold his 2001 LS430 with 130k. He’s reasonably well heeled, so I’m sure he took care of typical maintenance, but he did skimp on small things; among what he knew of, the factory amp didn’t work and locks didn’t work in the extreme heat. The potential buyer took it for a PPI, they found well over ~$10k in repair needs. Most of these were related to very specific LS equipment (including the steering wheel tilt motor gtemnyk mentioned), others were just typical repairs (including suspension issues also mentioned by gtemnykh), all involved expensive parts. Granted, the car still ran pretty well, but if you want one that functions just as designed, you’re going to pay for it. It’s not a 4 cylinder Camry.

          • 0 avatar
            dal20402

            The other thing to consider with an LS (which I forgot in my previous comment) is brake and tire wear. Like everything in the luxobarge class they are very heavy, and just like the Germans the suspension is tuned for the best ride/handling balance with no regard to tire wear. You can expect to do brake jobs every 30k and you shouldn’t expect tires to last even that long. Most LS460 owners on the forum seem to go through tires around every 20k. My LS460 with 47k is a few thousand miles into its third set.

          • 0 avatar
            30-mile fetch

            Alright, I yield. F*k that. Get the Impala. But the moment you get a significant repair bill on the disposable-feeling Chevy or see a sparkling LS430 sailing serenely down the interstate next to you, you’ll be wondering “what if…”

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            I imagine the Impala would win out, unless there is some common high dollar repair on the new GM drivetrain I’m not aware of.

          • 0 avatar
            gtemnykh

            30 mile, I’d contend that a well kept older ES300 might be a good compromise, although yes it lacks the presence and proper RWD layout of the LS. The first gen ES300s in particular are just so fantastically overbuilt and full of nice touch features. Imagine a “fat” 92-96 Camry on steroids, and you’ll have a 1st gen ES300. The problem is that they’re just so old now, and clean low mile units are damn near impossible to find. Updated 2nd gen cars made through 2001ish are okay, but not quite there. The swoopy gen3 that turned into a ES330 just lost the plot completely.

          • 0 avatar
            30-mile fetch

            28,
            Probably. But you cannot put a dollar cost on looking like a mid-level state bureaucrat every time you are behind the wheel.

            gtem,
            I like the lines on those first ES300s. But you’re right, I haven’t seen a clean one on the road for some time. The ES330s may be graceless wallowing blobs, but for an ex-Town Car owner perhaps it is just right.

      • 0 avatar
        burgersandbeer

        LS430 is a nice choice, but you are ignoring the 2010 or newer criteria. I’m pretty sure a 2013 Impala is going to be cheaper to run than an ’05 LS430, especially since Adam is likely to hold the car long enough for depreciation to be a moot point.

    • 0 avatar

      OP wants 2010 or newer. Y’all should read the posts sometimes.

      • 0 avatar
        30-mile fetch

        We do, but sometimes our personal bias gets in the way of one of the criteria. Kind of like when you dismissed the Taurus even though it meets every item on his list :)

        • 0 avatar

          I dismissed it because it’s bad.

          Again, if you’re not going to take the OP’s consideration set into account, then why bother reading the post? Just recommend your favorite car to everybody.

          • 0 avatar
            30-mile fetch

            No, you dismissed it because you don’t like it and cannot backtrack from your rental review. It meets all his criteria.

            That smiley face emoticon indicates a tongue-in-cheek comment. I dislike typing it but do anyway because everyone takes everything too seriously if you don’t. Reading and responding to criticism of the columns you write is probably irritating, but try chilling out a bit.

          • 0 avatar
            brn

            Gonna have to agree with 30-mile on this one. You either got a lemon or your review is just bunk.

            You called the Taurus week and under powered. The 3.5L gets it to 60mph in 6.3 seconds. You claimed the Flex was well powered, but it pulls to 60mph in 7.2 seconds. Come on, you should have stopped yourself right there!! You know your claim doesn’t make sense.
            You said the Taurus “feels like” a 8 second 0-60 car, but made no attempt to measure. I can tell you that the Taurus is much faster than it “feels”. That’s a good thing, not a bad thing. Perhaps, you’re just not used to a vehicle that rides so well?
            You can’t work a car with electric assist steering, so you constantly over adjusted. You’re the only one.
            You claim poor braking, but again never bothered to measure. Even Consumer Reports says the Taurus stops quickly.
            You called the suspension wishy washy. On the Limited, it’s the opposite. The car corners surprisingly flat.

            Why was your review so poor? I have a guess. You weren’t in your environment and were unable to be objective. I bet if you grabbed another and drove it back to back with your Flex, you’d feel bad about how you reviewed the Taurus.

            This is why the only reviews on this site worth reading are those of Alex Dykes. He actually has a method to how he reviews.

          • 0 avatar

            The market has spoken on the Taurus. Sorry that you disagree with the whole world. I have previously sung the praises of the SHO and the MKS. The Limited sucks. Again, sorry.

          • 0 avatar
            ajla

            “The 3.5L gets it to 60mph in 6.3 seconds.”

            That is probably a little optimistic.
            _________________
            MT had the Taurus as the slowest car in their test:

            motortrend.com/news/the-big-test-2013-2014-full-size-sedans/
            _________________
            Back when it was introduced, it also came in with last place acceleration during a C/D test. Granted this was back with the 263hp version but I don’t think the power bump would move it to 6.3

            http://tinyurl.com/jvfbrvt
            _____________________
            Here was a solo AWD 288hp test that was also far off 6.3:

            caranddriver.com/reviews/2013-ford-taurus-sel-awd-instrumented-test-review

            There might be some test out there where a 3.5L Taurus ran a 6.3 but on that same day an Impala would do a 5.9 and an Avalon would do a 5.7.

            That said I personally don’t think the V6 Taurus is “underpowered”. But, it is kind of dull. And I don’t fit in it very well.

          • 0 avatar
            brn

            ajla,

            It probably is optimistic. It was taken from Automobile Catalog. I made sure I pulled all the numbers from the same source, so they’re consistent relative to each other, which was the key point.

          • 0 avatar
            brn

            Bark,

            Ah, “the market has spoken” argument. Same could be said for your Flex, which you seem to prefer. The “market” would also suggest no one makes better hamburgers and McDonalds.

            I’m not sure how the Limited “sucks”, while the SHO and MKS are great. Sure, they’re better than the Limited, but it’s unreasonable to believe the difference is anywhere near what you indicate.

            Again, a rental experience is an experience, but it does not a professional review make.

          • 0 avatar

            Motor Trend’s “professional review” had it as the slowest car in the segment, the worst at braking, and gave this quote about its handling:

            “That soft, floaty ride contributed to massive body roll in corners that, when combined with quick turn-in, tossed occupants around more than we’d like.”

            They summed up the Taurus by saying “In acceleration, braking, and handling, the Taurus brought up the rear of the pack.”

            But I must be biased. Especially since everyone knows how much I dislike Fords.

          • 0 avatar
            brn

            Bark,

            I never called you bias. I was hopeful that if you tried the vehicle again, under more familiar circumstances, that you’d retract your prior observations. I said that because I believe you are not bias against Ford.

            I agree that the Taurus is not a performance king, but it’s not exactly a slouch either. The Motor Trend article referenced took the time to measure. Let’s look at those numbers.

            They had the Taurus doing 60mph in 6.6 seconds, 0.4 seconds slower than the quickest car in the pack. 6.6 seconds is anything but “weak and underpowered”.

            They had the Taurus stopping from 60 in 125 feet, 10 feet longer than the quickest stopper in the group (no numbers given for the other cars tested, which is very odd). 125 feet for a 4000lb non-performance family sedan is pretty good. Far from “braking suffers badly, too. You plow past your desired cornering apexes in turns”

            As much as Motor Trend slammed the Taurus, the numbers weren’t bad. In general, those that review the Taurus give it kudos for handling.

            If you’d called your first article an “experience” rather than a “review”, I’d have been less critical. If you hadn’t referenced that article in this article with the conclusion of “Nobody should buy one of those.”, I’d have been less critical. If you hadn’t responded to that criticism with terms like “The Limited sucks.”, I’d have been less critical.

            On a side note, I came across this: http://www.autoblog.com/2011/02/11/every-car-is-now-a-performance-car/
            It states that in 2010, when the Gen 6 Taurus came to be, the average 0-60 time was 9.5 seconds. By those standards, the Taurus is monster. I’m also pretty secure with the belief that the average hasn’t dropped by three seconds in the last six years. By today’s standards, the Taurus is quick.

      • 0 avatar
        Dingleberrypiez_Returns

        Lol, from the guy who recommends a Subaru to someone coming from a Panther, and who otherwise constantly trolls…

        • 0 avatar

          I recommended an Impala. LOL

          That apparently passes for discourse in your neck of the woods.

          • 0 avatar
            Dingleberrypiez_Returns

            I’m not going to comb through past posts to identify all the ridiculous recommendations you’ve made… let’s just say the Subaru one isn’t the first. You can’t just troll with ridiculous suggestions, then whine when someone deviates from one requirement with a totally suitable LS430 suggestion. Or maybe that’s how things work in your neck of the woods?

          • 0 avatar

            Options don’t equal recommendations. If you just want me to give one option for each question, that works GREAT for me! It would be a huge time-saver.

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            I think its important for you to meet the stated requirements in your suggestion, but I would phrase it as: “this is what I recommend based on your wants, but this is also something else you could do”.

      • 0 avatar
        28-Cars-Later

        Specifications are not always accurate or even realistic once they are broken down and discussed. Such a meeting of minds sometimes produces a better set of specifications based on stated needs.

      • 0 avatar
        burgersandbeer

        To be fair Bark, recommending something five years older than speced from a reliable manufacturer isn’t on the same level as the people recommending pickups and minivans to someone looking for a sports car.

        You generally cover the easy answers in your response. Ask Bark would be a failure if we couldn’t bend the rules a little bit; there wouldn’t be other options to discuss. You handle the layups, the comments show what might be possible if the OP is flexible on parts of the criteria.

        Of course, when I say bending the rules, I do not support recommending an S-Class to someone looking for a reliable, low-tech car. That is annoying and not helpful.

  • avatar
    heavy handle

    Looking outside the Big 3, he can find a Mercedes C300 or a Volvo S80 in his price range. They are safe, solid and durable.

    • 0 avatar
      Truckducken

      S80? Enjoy the annual transmission replacement.

      • 0 avatar
        heavy handle

        Isn’t that just the 1st-gen S80 with GM 4-speed automatics?

        $15K Canadian will get you a late-model S80 with a 6-speed. Do the later ones have transmission problems?

        • 0 avatar
          Kyree S. Williams

          That was the early “T6” version with the 2.9-liter twin-turbo and the GM transmission, yes. The early XC90 T6 also had the same powertrain and maladies.

          • 0 avatar
            pb35

            I have a 9 year old Volvo purchased new that’s probably worth somewhere in the $10-$12k range at this point. It’s not for the faint of heart (or wallet). It’s a V8 (XC90) and I replaced the trans last year.

  • avatar
    DeadWeight

    Freddy “Tavarish” Hernandez asks “[W]by buy a remotely reasonable vehicle when you can rock a 2007 Maserati Quattroporte for 1/2 to 1/4 the price?”

    Doug DeMuro adds make sure to buy the CarMax extended warranty that will pay for repairs in the amount of 2.7x the purchase price of the Quattroporte.

  • avatar
    JimZ

    Who is “Barry S.”?

    • 0 avatar

      Barry Sotero (Soetero), the President’s birth name.

    • 0 avatar
      DeadWeight

      Barry Sotero aka Barack Obama aka according to Bark, the Kenyan-born, communist POTUS who is tied to many global, historical scandals of massive repercussions, and who was groomed from birth by leftist globalists as a “Manchurian Candidate.”

      AKA Bark trolling Pch101 and others.

      • 0 avatar
        28-Cars-Later

        Taking out the whole foreign born “Manchurian Candidate.” angle, who has more ties to many global and historical scandals of massive repercussions, Barry or Killary?

        I say Killary by a mile, Barry is a Boy Scout in comparison.

        • 0 avatar
          DeadWeight

          My humble opinion is that Hillary Clinton has lusted after political power since st least her junior year in high school, and has arranged everything else in her life to facilitate and expedite that goal, much in the way that many career sociopaths/politicians (it’s essentially proven that politicians trend much more towards sociopathic inclinations than the general population) do.

          In other words, neither Hillary Clinton nor Donald Trump differ that much from each other at their psychological roots, nor differ much from Tom Delay, or Richard Nixon, or Jack Abramoff, or George Wallace, or Woodrow Wilson, or Abram Piatt, Jr., Henry P. Davison, Charles D. Norton, Benjamin Strong, A. Vaderlip, Paul M. Warburg, Mussolini, Jeffrey Dahmer, etc.

          http://www.theatlantic.com/health/archive/2012/07/the-startling-accuracy-of-referring-to-politicians-as-psychopaths/260517/

          The main female character in the movie “Election” does a fantastic role playing the close-to-real-life personification of Hillary Rodham Clinton, I’d suggest.

          • 0 avatar
            30-mile fetch

            “it’s essentially proven that politicians trend much more towards sociopathic inclinations than the general population”

            And CEOs. Sounds about right, really. Kurt Vonnegut made the observation a year or so before his death that: “There is a tragic flaw in our precious Constitution, and I don’t know what can be done to fix it. This is it: Only nut cases want to be president.”

          • 0 avatar
            dal20402

            The most important of the many differences between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump is that Hillary has made more than zero effort over the years to inform herself about the issues a president faces. Those who like Trump tend to confuse ignorance (which he, oddly, shows off with pride) with authenticity.

            Anyone who runs for president has been thinking about the presidency, or at least getting into some position of power, since high school. That’s just the way the top executive position is going to be in any nation larger than, say, Kansas. Trump is no different in that respect.

          • 0 avatar
            operagost

            Thanks for repeating Obama’s recent talking point, dal20402. I’m sure he needs more mouthpieces.

          • 0 avatar
            dal20402

            Sometimes Obama is right. This is one of those times.

          • 0 avatar
            Lou_BC

            Sociopath and Psychopath get used interchangeably but are different on many levels.
            Sociopaths would not make it in politics as they tend to be jittery and don’t do to well in social settings.
            Psychopaths on the other hand do not feel human emotion or care about other’s feelings but tend to be extremely adept at hiding their true natures by mimicking empathy. They also tend to be very charismatic.

        • 0 avatar
          FreedMike

          Yeah, this is going to be a great election.

          One candidate with so much baggage she needs a 747 to tote it all around in (good thing the presidency comes with one of those), versus the world’s foremost Internet troll.

          And about a billion bucks in ad money to spend.

          I’m just going to disconnect my cable from July to November. Netflix only.

    • 0 avatar
      Nick 2012

      Barack Obama (Barry = Nickname; Soetoro = Stepfather’s Last Name).

  • avatar

    Any and all 2.5 non-turbo Subarus built before the current redesign (2011? 2012?)…shall…

    S H A L L !!!!!!!!!

    …need new head gaskets by 100,000 miles. Unless you followed their secret cooling system conditioner ritual that apparently only a few people ever knew about. The folks at Day Subaru on West Liberty Avenue in the Dormont section of Pittsburgh certainly never told us.

    Nice there’s a 110,000 mile timing belt service on the maintenance schedule, you can get that done when the head gaskets fail and while you’re in there, replace the water pump.

    INSIST on aftermarket gaskets like Fel-Pro; the factory replacement parts will inevitably fail should you try to get 200,000 out of your Outback.

    Better yet, just buy the Impala. That 3.6 will leave a smile on your face every time.

    • 0 avatar
      28-Cars-Later

      Ah, Day Subaru, the folks who after 45 minutes would never talk to my brother and I just last year. Day Chevrolet also screwed a friend of mine after be purchased a *new* MY09 Camaro SS in 2010 (something about doing custom stripes on the hood wrong which he paid out of pocket to have corrected elsewhere).

      They didn’t make my Day.

      • 0 avatar
        zamoti

        Blech, visiting any scuzzbag dealer on West Liberty is a bad idea. I used to sell at Saturn of West Liberty (RIP). What a dead zone, and a miserable place to go for test drives. Only place worse is 51 south with every disgusting trailer shack selling the trash that won’t go at auctions; it’s the automotive equivalent of dumpster diving.

        • 0 avatar
          28-Cars-Later

          My father purchased both our Z-Body SL2s from Saturn of West Liberty and I used to work at one of those disgusting trailer shacks which sold that trash (it was owned by the now defunct dealer next to Leopardi further up, which in turn was owned by the mafia).

          • 0 avatar
            zamoti

            My condolences on all accounts. Prolly worked with a white haired fellow named Jerry. He was the only guy who could move move that plastic.

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            Thanks but wasn’t all bad. I put 167 on the ’98 and sold it running, my mother still has the ’02/101K.

    • 0 avatar
      heavy handle

      Don’t forget to replace all the timing belt pulleys at the same time. They aren’t made to last to the second timing belt replacement.

    • 0 avatar
      dal20402

      This is just wrong. Subaru addressed the worst of the head gasket issues for 2005. EJ25s after that point should have much less risk of a head gasket issue.

      That said the Outback recommendation is an odd one for someone who loves a Panther.

  • avatar
    06V66speed

    Buy another Panther. There is no exception.

    And that “buy an old S-Class” recommendation…??

    L.
    M.
    A.
    O.

  • avatar
    Arthur Dailey

    Why the Impala is a good suggestion, an Oshawa produced Buick may be a better suggestion. The ride and interior should be closer to what he is used to.

    Or as some others have suggested a Charger (or even a 300?). Both manufactured in Brampton.

  • avatar
    DenverMike

    F-150 Lariat. While not exactly the same, why not just move on, son? And where do I go after my MR2?

    • 0 avatar
      06V66speed

      Why, by golly, because he loves “her”!

      I mean… he named it. He named his car. Lol, ’nuff said.

      Movin’ on ain’t easy when it’s all you know AND love.

      • 0 avatar
        DenverMike

        I loved my MR2 with a passion. But if it was true love, he’d find another or rebuild/restore his. Sounds like he’d rather have something newer, up to date, in the Panther spirit/style/etc.

        My MR2 was stolen and still missing. I haven’t found a suitable replacement I can afford, but I will.

  • avatar
    laserwizard

    Wow. Going from a Lincoln of that body on frame construction to anything Japanese will be a total let down. All of those will ride like a NASCAR racer compared to the Lincoln and will never be as quiet or roomy inside.

    If he were stateside, you could replace that Lincoln of that vintage with substantially less mileage for under $10k and be totally picky only selected the best of the best.

    I was looking on CarMax to get an approx selection of $15k luxury vehicles and this gentleman could easily replace his 1998 Lincoln with a 2005 version with under 40k miles. While CarMax is giving you the full retail buying price, this is a quick starting point to see where the market is.

    His problem is that he is in salt land so Japanese products don’t do well there and are rust buckets – particularly Toyoduh trucks which have significant salt damage frame rust through issues at the rear suspension mounting areas.

    If I were him I’d eschew everything recommended here and use an online source to see what the pricing is for models and use their tools to build a list of potential vehicles in a vintage and then to find the best one in the best condition with the lowest miles.

    • 0 avatar
      28-Cars-Later

      I don’t think you’re too familiar with the Lexus LS, it’s not normal.

    • 0 avatar
      gtemnykh

      I remember test driving an ’04 Crown Vic LX (30k miles) back in 2012, high on the lore I read on TTAC about the cushy ride and other accolades from the ‘believers.’ I’ll be honest, I was mightily let down, particularly by the ride. It simply isn’t as soft or isolating as one might think (Lincoln with air ride is probably better). Secondly, legroom front and rear was rather poor considering the exterior proportions of the thing, worse than something like a Camry. Blame the high floor (BOF), and not-that long of a passenger compartment.

      There is a similar subset of car shoppers in Russia who insist on driving Volgas, the Panther (minus BOF) of the Soviet Union/Russia. Most of the chassis underpinnings (reinforced unibody) are the original ones from 1970, and even some of the stampings such as the roof were never changed, right until production ended in 2009. RWD with a solid rear axle, classic three box proportions with a long trunk and hood, and a ride that will put most Panthers to shame. Super cheap parts that you can find in any small hamlet, and the cars themselves were cheap to buy ($8000-9000 new, the same as a fwd Lada).

      • 0 avatar
        28-Cars-Later

        Volga car is best car.

      • 0 avatar
        Ryoku75

        I was disappointed when I opened the hood, how the heck do you access sparkplugs on a 4.6? Oil filters?

        I like the Lexus idea, but Lexus parts might not be cheap should the OP require any.

      • 0 avatar
        ajla

        The appeal of the Panther to me is that they are super cheap to buy/insure, generally quite easy to work on, parts are plentiful/low cost, you can smash them over stuff if you want, they had an actual tow rating for many years, and they look like “normal” cars instead of today’s Angry Sea Demons.

        They don’t ride that great, but I’d put P71 stuff on mine anyway. Interior space is enough for my needs.

      • 0 avatar
        dal20402

        Where a lot of people feel “cushy,” I’ve always just felt “uncontrolled and wallowy.” I’ve never been a Panther fan, and the reasons why are

        1) ride/handling
        2) horrendous packaging
        3) very poor interior material and build quality
        4) safety

        • 0 avatar
          Ryoku75

          A Camry is “cushy”, a Panther is just a big late 80’s-early 2000s Ford with all the great engineering that ensues.

          I suppose parts are cheap, but then you’ll end up using your spare money on gas or your 8th window regulator.

  • avatar
    gasser

    Let’s try to answer the question that Adam asked. He wants an old land barge type car, not SUV, not CUV. Only two ways to go: Impala or Panther.
    For your $$$ (USD or CAD) buy the newest one you can find locally, with the equipment you want.
    Or get on the Internet and start looking in South Florida for a used cream puff Panther. Troll Craig’s List, local dealer ads and Autotrader. Then find a cheap plane ticket to Miami or environs.
    I have owned several older model Mercedes and their repairs put my mechanic’s kid through dental school. (Sadly, I’m not kidding.)
    As far as the Lexus/Toyota suggestions, in my experience with multiple Lexus vehicle, the RWD ones are solid cars when older. The FWD ones (RX300,350 and the Avalon) have not, in my hands, been trouble free after about 7-8 years and 70K mileage.

  • avatar
    Acd

    Volkswagen Passat TDI or 1.8T. Checks at least five of the six boxes and who knows you may get lucky and check the sixth (reliability) box as well. My 2013 TDI has been completely trouble free in 9,000+ miles over the past three months. It’s roomy, comfortable, fun to drive and the little bit of technology it does have works flawlessly. Nice examples are readily available for under $15k.

    • 0 avatar
      FreedMike

      Question is, though, how’s it going to run AFTER the emissions fix? That’s the 900-pound gorilla in the room with these TDIs.

      • 0 avatar
        Acd

        For those not willing to roll the dice on the TDI the 1.8T gas will still get 30+ mpg with more performance and can be bought for even less than the diesel. The 2.5 5 cylinder has been trouble free but isn’t particularly powerful and doesn’t get nearly as good mileage as the 1.8 turbo but they can be bought for even less than the other two. As for my particular car I don’t plan on having it fixed until absolutely necessary if at all. It’s too busy racking up miles every week.

        • 0 avatar
          FreedMike

          It may ***become*** necessary unless your state doesn’t have emissions testing.

          • 0 avatar
            Acd

            I’ll cross that bridge when I get to it; realistically nothing will have to be done for at least 6 months to a year and I will have put another 25-50k on it.

        • 0 avatar
          28-Cars-Later

          The valuations will continue to crater -probably to scrap value- until some permanence is brought to the situation. I think its wise to stay away for now.

          • 0 avatar
            mason

            I would gladly take as many as I could at scrap value.

          • 0 avatar
            Acd

            There are surprisingly few TDI Passats for sale for under $10k which should bode well for long term resale. 2005’s with 130k miles+ are still listed between $7 & 8k in my area. In two years if I could get $6k for my then 5 year old 130,000 mile TDI I would be more than satisfied.

    • 0 avatar
      30-mile fetch

      He ran his 18 year old Panther for 250K miles. 9000 miles and 3 months of trouble free operation from a 2013 means nothing compared to his previous experience.

      • 0 avatar
        Acd

        9k is just my personal experience; yours may vary. Apparently I misunderstood and thought this was a place to throw in my two cents–my bad. BTW I intend on keeping this thing another two years and expect it to have around 125k at that point.

        • 0 avatar
          30-mile fetch

          My tone was a bit harsher than I intended, sorry about that. But I think a TDI or 1.8T Passat is a quite a gamble over 200K+ miles. That diesel engine is very complex and seems to have some expensive maintenance and failure points.

          • 0 avatar
            Acd

            There are plenty of 2.5 Jettas still running strong with 180k+ miles so a 2.5 Passat could be an option if the prospect of a TDI or 1.8T seems too scary.

  • avatar
    CaptainObvious

    Older Lincoln MKZ – AWD – FTW.

  • avatar
    86er

    I don’t know how anyone could be satisfied going from a Town Car to an Impala (Classic). As someone who’s had a great deal of seat time in an older Continental, Crown Vic and Roadmaster, after having a rental Impala for a week I found it to have none of the “barge-like” features of the aforementioned three.

  • avatar
    SlowMyke

    What in the goddamn hell is up with these half-screen ads all of the sudden? This is the sort of crap that drives traffic away. Good grief,I can’t even read the stories anymore.

  • avatar
    ponchoman49

    After having owned 3 Impalas I would highly recommend either an LS for best ride comfort or the LT. The LTZ rides much harder and the 18″ tires are not only noisier but more expensive to replace and inferior in any type of foul weather with slippery road conditions. The LFX has been very reliable in my 2013 and highway mileage will easily surpass any Panther and put a smile on your face when the “go” pedal is punched to the floor.

  • avatar
    FreedMike

    Has anyone actually driven one of these late model Impalas? I mean, damn…I can pick one up around here with around 20,000 miles, CPO, leather, sunroof, heated seats for around south of $15,000.

    Are they decent to drive?

    Also, does anyone know if they have Bluetooth connectivity?

    • 0 avatar

      Yes, hence my recommendation. They’re a hoot to drive, and Bluetooth is available.

      • 0 avatar
        FreedMike

        It’s kind of a stretch from what I have been thinking about (sport-ish compacts), but wow, are these a bargain.

      • 0 avatar
        87 Morgan

        They do not have Blutooth as far as I know on the old body style. I have never seen the option in any rental or one that I had provided to me for work purposes. I had a 2013 LTZ for awhile, leather sunroof, heated seats, alloys, spoiler. Actually was not a bad looking car. Drove great, decent economy. I never got the 30 mpg on the 13′ that is claimed (might be my taking advantage of the 300HP under the hood, that part is real), did on my 08′ LT.

        Bose speakers is all in terms of infotainment.

        But as the OP stated, he would like to *not* have the hi-tech gizmos.

    • 0 avatar
      gtemnykh

      I had an 18k mile rental example about a month ago, and I was reminded of why I both love and hate these cars.

      Suspension is needlessly sloppy for the jittery/rattly feeling the car has over even mildly bad pavement. This feeling may be due to lack of chassis stiffness rather than actual suspension tuning. For comparison, a rental Jetta SE was absolutely unperturbed over the exact same stretch of road.

      the V6 pulls hard, but has to overcome SUPER tall gearing first. Conversely, that tall 1st gear allows for effortlessly smooth roll-outs from lights. I tried really hard to drive as efficiently as possible, and managed only 26mpg with cruise set to 70-72mph and no a/c use. Pretty strong crosswinds that day though so I’d like to try it again to see if it’d do better. Again, by contrast I recently road tripped out to K.C. in a rental 1.8TSI Passat that knocked down 40mpg (38mpg calculated by hand), and was actually roomier and more comfortable for the long haul. The 6spd auto in my Impala seemed TOO eager to drop a gear when I gave it a bit of gas to crest a hill. You’d figure the torque converter could stay locked up and in 6th, the motor has plenty of torque.

      I personally really like the ‘mouse fur’ interior upholstery, I’d rather have that than the thread-bare and harsh cloth seen in many other cars (like that Jetta above). The dash is also pleasantly low and unobtrusive in the W-body, and I like the cheap-as-hell woodgrain. It breaks up the otherwise drab interior nicely. One more thing: wbody rear view mirrors are damn near useless.

      Now, factor in just how cheap a 1-2 year old W-body can be had, and how cheap and available parts are, and it makes sense in a bang for the buck kind of way, the way maybe an ex-fleet DN101 Taurus used to (but much better). I personally just can’t quite get over the old bones that creak and rattle over rough pavement, and how even fairly fresh examples already feel like the door hinges are sagging.

      My personal suggestion would be to find an old retiree with a low mile Avalon, before the current generation where they stiffened up the ride. You will get the W-body LFX power and soft ride, but in a much more refined way.

      • 0 avatar
        FreedMike

        Good suggestion on the Avalon, but I don’t want to spend that kind of money.

        • 0 avatar
          gtemnykh

          Yeah looks like you can’t touch a 2010 Avalon for less than $15-16k USD.

          However! I’m seeing a ton of creampuff 05-07ish cars (presumably an older person’s last car) with 30-50k miles right in the OP’s price range here in the US, not sure about Canada. This is like the second coming of low mile H-body Lesabres and Park Avenues, but with better build quality and fewer niggling issues (and a higher price tag, to be fair). There is no reason at all to be spooked by a ten year old Avalon with low miles IMO. Sure it might need some preventative maintenance done (fluids, filters, hoses, tires) but I cannot forsee any nasty or unexpected surprises from one of these. I’ve heard of occasional EVAP system related CELs on V6 Toyotas of this era, along with some VSC module issues. But in the grand scheme of things, they are commendably reliable.

      • 0 avatar
        dal20402

        gtemnykh nails it again. I agree with everything in his review, particularly the note about the jittery/rattly suspension feeling. I’ve never liked driving W-Impalas. There are several reasons but the biggest one is the feeling that the ride is very crashy and bumpy given the lack of body control.

        I’ll add another couple of notes.

        Do not buy the leather. It is the worst leather you’ll find in a post-2005 car. Most modern fake leather is more satisfying.

        The “dual climate control” is manual climate control, just with two temperature dials. Actual automatic climate control has never been installed on a W-Impala to my knowledge.

        The dash typeface and lighting almost looks like GM was intentionally trying to produce a cheap-looking product.

        The steering is vague, transmitting not much feel, but does transmit big bumps through your hands.

        I’m not a fan, but for a lot of the same reasons I’m not a Panther fan. If you like Panthers you will probably like the W-Impala too.

      • 0 avatar
        montecarl

        I also rented a Passat with 1.8 turbo engine…That car got every bit of 38 mpg on the highway…The car was comfortable and it handle the road nicely..

      • 0 avatar
        sgeffe

        And the INSIDE rearview, if you get an ex-rental or one without OnStar, which will get you the tiny, ovoid one with the two map lights in the bottom! That, coupled with the YUUUGE rear headrests, means no visibility out the back, and when combined with the vestigial D-pillar windows (and large blind spot), makes lane-changes a “hit signal, make sure there’s nobody alongside, then FLOOR IT” prospect!

  • avatar

    Look for a 2012 or so Hyundai Azera. Haggle. It meets your requirements, if I’m not mistaken.

    • 0 avatar
      FreedMike

      Good idea.

    • 0 avatar
      Astigmatism

      I immediately thought of the Azera, but then looked on Autotrader.ca and found it to be seemingly rather rare in Canada.

      But I then looked up the Genesis, and found a half-dozen examples in the Toronto environs from 2010 that slid under $15k Canadian – for example, this 2011 specimen: http://wwwb.autotrader.ca/a/Hyundai/Genesis/Scarborough/Ontario/5_27337081_20110425074844325/?ursrc=hl&showcpo=ShowCPO&orup=5_15_60

      If a Genesis is available, how is it not the obvious answer?

  • avatar
    RS

    A Buick LaCrosse would be closer to Cartier than the Impala.

    • 0 avatar
      Kevin Jaeger

      Yes, an Impala is a fine option but I’d bet the depreciation curve brings the Lacrosse down to Impala-type pricing pretty quickly. If he liked his Cartier, he’d probably prefer a LaCrosse.

  • avatar
    Roberto Esponja

    “Also, words cannot describe how creeped out I am by the photo above”

    LOL…Photoshop the guy from Phantasm onto that image, and it would be perfect.

  • avatar
    Ryoku75

    I’m going to call it, despite the many suggestions given in the comments the OP will jist get another Panther.

    Also, I really need toget adblock on my phone, can hardly read things past massive pop up ads.

  • avatar
    rocketrodeo

    I am going to sort of disagree with Bark here on the Taurus, but only because there are better D3s available. Instead of the D258, I’d go with the D385. The MKS has significantly better interior room with a smaller, narrower console, bulletproof drivetrains, and like the Cartier is likely to have been originally purchased by someone who could afford to maintain it. It is also the direct descendant of the Town Car. Meets age and price range criteria. I’ve logged several thousand miles in these cars and it’s my favorite FoMoCo vehicle to cover distance in, save perhaps for an F150.

  • avatar
    06V66speed

    Are those… “vogue tyres”??

  • avatar
    VW16v

    Late model used Ford Taurus. Coming from Lincoln Town Car he could feel right at home in a Taurus. Durable auto with optional awd.

    • 0 avatar
      JohnTaurus_3.0_AX4N

      Except everyone here hates the Taurus. My parent’s love their 2012, and its been mechanically perfect since day one. Good mpg, the 3.5 is reliable, it has a decent ride and responsive handling. Unless you’re over six feet tall, ignore the “not roomy” and “console too big” nags. It has more usable space than a Panther and its far quicker (non-EcoBoost 3.5L).

      • 0 avatar
        VW16v

        Yeah, maybe he should buy a Miata. LOL

      • 0 avatar
        rocketrodeo

        MKS would be even better.

      • 0 avatar
        gtemnykh

        ” Unless you’re over six feet tall, ignore the “not roomy” and “console too big” nags.”

        No, the console is stupidly wide and intrusive. My Civic seriously has more leg-splaying room than a Taurus.

        Signed, a pretty trim 5’11” guy.

        • 0 avatar
          brn

          “My Civic seriously has more leg-splaying room than a Taurus.”

          I completely agree that the Taurus is not a modern marvel of space optimization. It’s poor in that respect (the wide console is a good example of that, crazy thick doors are another example).

          That doesn’t mean it’s small! It’s still a large car and still very roomy. It’s simply unreasonable to suggest a Civic is in the same class.

          • 0 avatar
            gtemnykh

            Try it sometime! The 9th gen Civics have a very low/minimalist center console, and the lower dash is likewise tidy and far away from the driver’s right knee. Fords of this platform, including Explorers, have a very built up dash that pushes well into the driver’s knee space. The Taurus has its fabled tall and wide center console to contend with on top of that. Some people like it, but I hate the cocooned ‘cockpit’ feel.

  • avatar

    A 3.6 Impala LTZ is an excellent choice. Basically the official car of non-Toronto southern Ontario (at least in my experience, growing up in Huron County). You’d also be wise to consider a Hyundai Genesis sedan — lots of good ones out there, with either engine, for well under fifteen large.

    That said, why aren’t we talking about the Chrysler 300? They’re cheap as chips, nicely equipped, and everyone and their dog has an LX, so upkeep should be relatively inexpensive.

    http://www.kijiji.ca/v-cars-trucks/markham-york-region/2011-chrysler-300-touring-low-kms/1164384173?enableSearchNavigationFlag=true

    I don’t know how this isn’t the obvious answer already.

    • 0 avatar
      burgersandbeer

      +1 on the 300. It will be a little harder to find a 2010 or newer in Adam’s price range, but it is the most similar to the car he has enjoyed for the last 18 years.

      Despite that, I think the Impala wins due to cost and availability. A 2010+ 300 for <$12k is hard; you can find Impalas in this price range all day – soem of them have to be worth buying.

  • avatar
    dal20402

    Mark, I see you put in a couple of obligatory bits to anger the liberals.

    So consider this your obligatory angry comment in response.

    Although, truthfully, that stuff is more cliche and boring than anything else. It subtracts from what is otherwise an interesting response.

  • avatar
    danio3834

    There are lots of 2012 Chrysler 300s of various levels of equipment and mileage available for 15k CDN asking. The 3.6L is pretty solid, powerful and gets good fuel mileage with the 8 speed trans. The Hemi will get about the same fuel mileage as your Town Car did. Seems like a nice fit.

  • avatar
    johnsonc

    I’m not seeing any love for Buick Lucerne. Floaty? Check. Old school dash? Check. Mileage? Meh. Price range? Probably. Spacious? Oh yes. My 06 CX is my DD and just turned the clock. Love getting in it every day. The 3.8 series III and the 4T65E transmission are pretty common and reliable. The ’10’s and ’11’s use the 3.9L so I’m not as familiar with those. A town car for a guy with less money.

    • 0 avatar
      dal20402

      Functionally pretty similar to a W-Impala. The ride’s a bit better (still floaty, but not nearly as crashy), but neither engine can compare to the 3.6. The 3.9 is torquey down low and very reliable but it has no top end and is the single coarsest V6 of the modern era.

      • 0 avatar
        gtemnykh

        Actually I’ve heard a lot of buzz about the AFM system causing the 3.9s to burn oil, also a higher than average incidence of blown headgaskets on both the 3.5L and 3.9L (although not catastrophically high). As leery as I am of DI issues down the road and some worry about timing chains, I’d actually prefer to pony up for a LFX equipped W-body.

        • 0 avatar
          ajla

          The 3.9L used in the Lucerne didn’t have cylinder deactivation.

          That said, the 3900 is kind of an engine without a nation. If you want an anvil get the 3800 and if you want some power get the 3.6L (or the N* or LS4 if you hate having money).

  • avatar
    Kenmore

    Some good suggestions here.
    Just don’t get another Mary Kay Cadillac color!

    (Do Canadians capisce Mary Kay?)

  • avatar
    Lou_BC

    If you like big spacious interiors and body on frame then get a pickup ;)

  • avatar
    Maxb49

    I can’t believe nobody has suggested an later model, low mileage Town Car. That’s the obvious choice. A later Grand Marquis wouldn’t be a bad idea, or even a slightly older Marauder if the mileage was right.

    /Discussion

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