By on October 11, 2016

Katt Williams

sportyaccordy writes:

Hey Bark,

My current ride is a manual Civic sedan, which I’ve modified but in which I’ve lost interest. It’s just not powerful enough, and I think I want something a little more relaxing for the daily grind. I commute about 400 miles a week and offspring are hopefully coming in the near future. I’ve grown to accept that my next car may break my all-stick-shift streak (six since 2003). I don’t want or need all-wheel drive as I live in the South.

So what do I want?

Well I definitely want a sedan; preferably a smaller one. I definitely want something with six cylinders and liters no less than three by the Lor’t’s decree. I also don’t want to spend more than $20,000, so it will obviously be used. It wouldn’t hurt to have a decent aftermarket—I want to lower the car and put an intake and exhaust on it. The obvious choices to me are the Infiniti G37S, followed by the previous-generation Lexus IS 350 and BMW 335i.

Still, I just can’t shake the idea of at least checking out a 2015+ Chrysler 200S. Why?

  • UConnect is way better than the infotainment options offered by the G37S, old IS350, and E90. I don’t know specifically what’s available for each car, but I know some of the G37s don’t have Bluetooth. I’m sure the navigation systems are ancient as well, which will suck for road trips.
  • The other midsize mainstreamers have zero appeal to me. I don’t want another four-banger. I’m a man of means, and a red-blooded (naturalized) American. That automatically rules out the Mazda 6, Hyundai Sonata/Kia Optima twins, Chevrolet Malibu and Ford Fusion. I’m content to resign my automotive exuberance, but not all at once; ditching the stick is enough of a big deal.
  • The Honda Accord, Nissan Altima, Toyota Camry, Volkswagen Passat, and Subaru Legacy six-cylinders are just a bridge too far, and most likely always will be.
  • I don’t want nor need the extra girth of a full-sizer. I’m alone in the car 90 percent of the time.
  • My car won’t be the main offspring carrier, but I’d like to install an infant seat just in case. That may actually knock the IS out of contention, though I’ll have to see how bad it is in real life.

It doesn’t hurt that I can afford a 200 that still has some of its factory warranty left. Consumer Reports shows a mixed bag for reliability and says the car is poor overall, but all the specific data suggests the 200 is excellent. The only legitimate fear I have regarding the 200 is its nine-speed automatic, though I’ll see for myself how bad it is on a test drive. Actually, another bugaboo is the nearly non-existent aftermarket. All I see for the 200 is a set of coilovers from a company called Scale and who knows if they will even be around next year or how their stuff will hold up.

Still though, the thing looks and sounds good in and out, does the quarter in the low 14s, gets mid-20 miles per gallon combined and can hold an infant seat with room to spare — for well within my budget. I’m a lifelong import guy and my mother-in-law had a last-generation 200 convertible that was complete garbage. Still, I just cannot shake the idea of checking out a new 200.

What would you do? Please talk me out of this.

Thanks,
sportyaccordy

Interesting question. Once again, it goes to show that, in the real world, car buyers can and do cross shop everything. Ev-er-y-thang.

2015-chrysler-2001

I don’t think you’re crazy for considering the 200S. If it had a Lexus badge on it, you’d probably already own it, right? It checks off every box that you’ve listed as being your primary care-abouts. The Pentastar motor is no joke in that car, either. I’ve seen my dear brother put the similarly motored and platformed Avenger R/T squarely up the ass of some much more prestigious cars on track.

That being said, there’s a pretty big performance gap between the other cars you’re considering and the 200S. Let’s put up some performance stats of the cars you’re considering, and we’ll play “match ’em up” just like we were reading “Highlights For Children.” Man, I miss that magazine.

  • 0-60: 6.2 sec 1/4 mile: 14.4
  • 0-60: 4.7 sec 1/4 mile: 13.4
  • 0-60: 4.9 sec 1/4 mile: 13.3
  • 0-60: 4.8 sec 1/4 mile: 13.3

Not hard to pick out the 200S, is it? (For the record, it’s 200S, E90 335i, G37S, IS350.) Also, the 200S’s handling prowess is going to lag fairly far behind the other, more performance-oriented cars.

You mentioned the aftermarket, but there’s nothing more distasteful than a car that’s been modified that wasn’t really intended to be modified. Where an E90 can look mighty bad-ass lowered and tinted, a 200S is just going to look … I’m trying very hard not to say a word that would cause the PC police to report me to the nearest Ministry of Love. I think most people’s first reaction would be to giggle a bit.

You’re right to be worried about the nine-speed transmission, too. It really is that bad. Every time I’ve driven a car equipped with the ZF-sourced nin-speed automatic, I felt as though any other transmission would have vastly improved the car.

You also wrote that you felt that the Accord/Camry/Altima would be going too far away from your enthusiast roots. From the perspective of somebody who wouldn’t consider any of the midsizers (with the exception of the Fusion Sport), I have to ask: what makes the 200 any better? From a performance standpoint, it’s worse than all the cars you listed. A Camry SE would embarrass a 200 on track. Of all the midsizer six-cylinder offerings, the 200 is slowest to 60 miles per hour and slowest in the 1/4. There’s a pretty good amount of aftermarket support for the V6 Accord, too. You could even go Accord Coupe and keep a manual transmission — and I believe that Baruth the Elder has put an infant seat in his many times.

Finally, the most damning evidence I can give you against the 200S is I’ve had them as rentals at least three or four times, and I’ve never even felt compelled to write a review of one. It’s just that blah and boring.

So while I’m normally a supporter of the oddball choice, it doesn’t make a bit of sense for you in this case. If I were making this buying decision, I’d go in the following order:

  1. Lexus IS 350
  2. Infiniti G37S
  3. BMW 335i
  4. Honda Accord V6
  5. Toyota Camry SE
  6. Lots of other things
  7. Chrysler 200S

Hope that did it for you, my friend.

Bark M. is generally better at talking people into bad decisions than out of them, but send him your questions anyway! Mail those electronic letters to [email protected] or follow him on the social platform of your choice

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212 Comments on “Ask Bark: G37S, IS350, 335i, or … Chrysler Two Hunnert?...”


  • avatar
    PrincipalDan

    So I decided to play with AutoTrader and our OP said he’s from “the South” but was very non-specific. I picked Hotlanta for arguments sake. I’m seeing V6 200s that are brand spanking new advertised for $21,XXX. Forget CPO, he might be able to do his deal on a new car.

    Just sayin’…

    • 0 avatar
      CoreyDL

      To paraphrase Clarkson:

      The problem with buying a 200, is that you end up with a 200.

    • 0 avatar
      NormSV650

      I was going to say the sane thing on a new 200 V6, warranty and price is only going to close to luxury samples after almost 4-years old.

      The 200 would be a big step up from a Civic.

    • 0 avatar
      MoDo

      200S is AWD with a 60% RWD bias. And I am doubting Bark actually had an S as a rental, he probably had base 4 cylinder fleet 200’s. 335i for the same money will be a well beaten and put away wet multi-owner nightmare – unless you are buying a direct off-lease I would stay far away. MAYBE the Lexus, but it’ll have been passed around too. I’d go for a brand new 200S AWD if commuting that much.

      The g37 is a gas pig, I am talking worse mileage than most of the bigger V8’s. I had the VQ35 in a Maxima and it was brutal on gas – worse than the 6.4L Hemi SRT8 I had last year!

      • 0 avatar

        Yeah, because it’s not like they embroider “S” on the fucking seats or anything.

        I rent 40+ times a year. I don’t get the same cars as the GP.

      • 0 avatar
        gtemnykh

        “is AWD with a 60% RWD bias”

        I don’t think this is a correct way to present it. The system runs in FWD by default, and can shuttle up to 60% rearwards if the situation calls for it. As quick as modern sensors are, this is still not the same as having a true 40/60 front rear default split IMO, it’s a reactive system.

        EDIT: I guess there’s a Sport mode, atleast on the “S” variants to set the split to have a default rear-heavy split. Not bad!

      • 0 avatar
        tooloud10

        The 200 AWD system is “up to” 60% rear bias, which is meaningless. I’ve rented an S several times, and it was complete junk–especially the 9-speed transmission.

        Also, not sure why you got such poor mileage with the VQ35. My ’15 Altima with that engine is rated at 22/32 and I average about 30mpg. To compare, the 200 V6 is rated at 18/29.

    • 0 avatar
      28-Cars-Later

      Bishop Dan, the issue is you’re paying 21K for a 16K vehicle which will be worth mid 12s a year later.

      Resale isn’t everything, but jeez. Either buy it wholesale or spring for the Camcord.

      MY16 Chrysler 200S V6 FWD

      01/19/16 Manheim Detroit $16,100 8 Avg SILVER 6G A No
      09/20/16 Manheim New Jersey Regular $16,700 2,142 Avg GRAY 6ET A Yes
      08/23/16 Manheim Orlando Lease $14,000 3,276 Below RED 6G A No
      10/04/16 Manheim Baltimore-Washington Lease $17,500 9,672 Above WHITE 6ET A Yes
      08/16/16 Manheim Georgia Lease $13,900 25,788 Below RED 6G A Yes
      10/04/16 Manheim Georgia Lease $15,000 28,513 Avg WHITE 6G A Yes

      MY16 Chrysler 200S V6 AWD

      10/06/16 Manheim Detroit Regular $18,000 2,451 Avg WHITE 6ET A Yes
      09/20/16 Manheim New Jersey Regular $18,800 2,851 Above SILVER 6ET A Yes
      08/30/16 Manheim Ohio Lease $19,400 4,332 Above WHITE 6ET A Yes
      08/10/16 Manheim Utah Lease $14,700 6,407 Below WHITE 6ET A No
      08/10/16 Manheim Riverside $17,000 8,420 Avg BLUESTRK 6ET A Yes
      08/23/16 Manheim Denver Lease $18,600 10,083 Above WHITE 6ET A Yes.

      MY15 200 FWD V6

      Mean:

      Oct 11-18 2016
      Clean: $14,300
      Avg: $12,650
      Rough: $11,050

      NOV ’16 EST
      $12,600

      NOV ’17 EST
      $11,950

      • 0 avatar
        PrincipalDan

        @The Most Reverend 28

        Hey I was just spitballing. I’m not like the OP that I change cars all the time. I’ve more or less settled on new for my next ride. I don’t get bored easily and I’ll drive it into the ground. After the loan is paid off and 250,000 miles who gives a crap what resale value is?

        • 0 avatar
          28-Cars-Later

          @PD

          I was speaking in general terms, my bad if you thought I thought a 200S was in your future (rest assured there would have been a Church intervention)

          “After the loan is paid off and 250,000 miles who gives a crap what resale value is?”

          I think for most people this is true, although for some things it might matter (mostly trucks or modified trucks/suvs). If most vehicles even make it to 250K, they are usually at end of life while trucks are rebuilt or kept going.

          @mopar4wd

          My issue with those is their drops are too steep before an equilibrium. So you buy at actual valuation at 18ish, its still worth 12,5 in a year to 18 months. But say once its year 4/10K it will still bring say 9 from then to high miles, that’s when I buy. By then you’re long out of warranty which is why a solid drivetrain is so essential in such a strategy and why turbo’d and other magic combustion gnomes are an issue for the buy and holder.

          • 0 avatar
            PrincipalDan

            @28-cars-later

            I guess all I really meant was that the B&B tend to obsess about things like “resale value” when you can never say how much it matters to the individual consumer. If you are someone who gets a different car every couple of years, then yeah it matters.

            If you drive cars to the end of their life then what does it matter if you buy a Camry or a 200 or a Malibu? Might as well not pay the Toyota Premium if you are going to “use it up” anyway.

      • 0 avatar

        I see CPO 200S for 18k sometimes here in New England.

  • avatar
    whitworth

    The IS350 is going to be too small (IMO) if you eventually plan on carrying children in a car seat with the stroller and everything else. You will trade it out the first time you try it.

    I love the lines on the Chrysler 200, but I just wouldn’t trust Mopar quality, and very few people are going to try and make the case it’s a sporty ride.

    Of the ones you listed, I would choose the Infiniti G37.

    • 0 avatar
      kerilrus

      I own a 2010 G37S sedan with a stick, LSD and all the good stuff. For me it is the only way to go with the sedan and completely transforms the car into a very well balanced sports sedan that is firm but won’t beat you up like the coupe. The automatic in that is just not the same. And by the way, the rear doors open to a near 90 degree angle which makes putting a car seat in very easy. Back seat is also roomier than competitors. I have a no nav version and I added Bluetooth from a company called GROM audio. just $0.02 of a very satisfied owner.

      • 0 avatar
        Rochester

        I also own a G37S 6MT Sedan, going on five years now. Because of its shared platform with the 370Z, the aftermarket support for this car is huge. It’s a truly fantastic driver’s car. However, the gas mileage does suck. There’s no getting around that.

  • avatar
    Arthur Dailey

    Hyundai Genesis sedan?

    Even in Southern Ontario you can get a 6 cylinder model for less than $20k with relatively low mileage and some manufacturer’s warranty left.

    • 0 avatar
      notwhoithink

      Nice “sport sedan” choice, but not really something with aftermarket support.

      Plus, the 2015/16/G80 model looks orders of magnitude better. I have such a hard time considering the previous generation knowing that the newer one is out there.

  • avatar
    CoreyDL

    The G37 will have Bluetooth if it has navigation (same package), which from what I see most of them do. The S in particular is almost always well-equipped. If you don’t want nav, you can’t have Bluetooth – in case that’s a deal breaker for you. IMO the ride on the S is just too firm and annoying. The regular model rides well enough, and does not have silly metal trims.

    “I want something a little more relaxing for the daily grind.”
    “I want to lower the car and put an intake and exhaust on it.”

    These two statements are in direct conflict, and you must resolve this before proceeding further. Do you want to be a tuner, or do you want to be a relaxed commuter? Right now it’s sounding like you need two cars.

    Edit: In any case the 200 is rather a joke, and should be stricken from the list. Not even the CEO of the company which made it could muster saying it was any good.

    • 0 avatar
      gtemnykh

      “I want to lower the car and put an intake and exhaust on it.”

      Seems like an activity more befitting of a teen with their first car and not someone with kids to be honest, then again here I am hunting down parts at a junkyard for a 20 year old Japanese car when one could easily argue my time would best be spent on other endeavors.

      I agree though that ‘sikk modz’ seem rather odd on a commuter, I’d just buy the sporty variant of whatever sports sedan you had in mind to begin with, and avoid the hassles of aftermarket parts.

      • 0 avatar
        CoreyDL

        Plus, modzz sort of ruin the respectable look and make you seem like an adult wanko niño.

        And they ruin the car’s resale prospects later.

      • 0 avatar
        Quentin

        As a dad who once had 3 same-color Siennas parked around me at the drop off circle of my daughter’s pre-school, I have to say that I’m simultaneously embarrassed and in love with my FR-S. It has gold-painted Enkei PF01 wheels, Conti DW tires, TRD exhaust, and TRD intake. It is loud… audibly and visually. So, that portion is somewhat embarrassing. But, goodness, it is such a fun car and my daughter says to “move the stick to make it go fast” — referencing the shifter, haha. I always drop the kiddo off well dressed and on time, so that has to count for something, right?

    • 0 avatar
      Dekone

      I’m confused as to how one pre-determines mods like an intake before you even know what car you’re going to buy?

    • 0 avatar
      sportyaccordy

      These are not conflicting objectives. Where I live, the roads are smooth, so worries about ride quality are nonexistent. I thought my old 350Z’s suspension was smooth, for reference. I quickly learned otherwise when I took it to the Northeast for a road trip. Lowering the car would mostly be for looks and would have no effect on daily drivability.

      Intake/exhaust are not bad either. We are not talking straight pipes here. Just something to give the car a little more throat when I get on it. The main bugaboo for daily drivability noise wise is tire/road/wind noise in my experience, which all the cars I’m looking at are way better at than my Civic. Which is the other big point- we are looking at increasing daily drivability from the Civic, not relative to each other. The worst car in this group will *literally* feel like a Lexus by comparison.

      • 0 avatar
        CoreyDL

        Well then I join the other commenter in saying you should drive the G37 a while if that’s your selection, before adding louder exhaust. It’s growling and rowdy sounding as-is.

        • 0 avatar
          sportyaccordy

          I’ve had numerous VQ cars, this is not my first rodeo.

          And a lowered G37 would still ride better than a 350Z, which was perfectly comfortable down here in NC. A lowered G37 basically IS a 370Z, which I have also driven and which was perfectly fine down here, as is my lowered Civic.

          Just because I’m a ricer doesn’t mean I don’t know what I’m talking about. Your snark is without merit.

      • 0 avatar
        6MTforlife

        Sporty accordy,
        I’ve owned a rare first gen IS300 5MT for many years and finally sold it to buy a TL SH-AWD once I became a parent. IS350 rear seats will definitely not fit car seats well. TL is heavier and larger but its suspension tuning and 6MT short gearing make it drive much smaller than it looks.
        I average 23 mpg in town and 27 on highway yet can reach the 1/4 mile before 14 seconds elapse. TL swallows car seats easily. Road/tire/wind noise is very low with TL and the bolstered Milano seats in the Tech package are very soothing for daily commutes. I also drove and considered G37S and 335i, but noise and reliability, respectively, nixed those otherwise great cars. It took a year to find a mint post-2012 refresh TL but after over a year owning it, I have zero regrets.
        I previously owned final gen TSX and RSX Type S, loved both but can’t match torque of today’s cars. Drove 06 Red badge Accord V6 sedan and 15 Accord Sport, which sealed the deal for finding the torque and sound of a J37 engine.
        Have also driven a rental Charger 5.7 for over 1,000 miles this year due to Takata recall and was very impressed with Uconnect and Hemi. The ’15 is worth a test drive. It’s large though.

        • 0 avatar
          bd2

          This – the IS will be too small at the rear for larger car seats.

          I’d say the G37S or if willing to go older, the 3G TL which is still the best looking sedan that Acura has done.

          Last model yr for the 3G TL was 2008 – so if can find a relatively low mileage one in good condition.

      • 0 avatar
        Scoutdude

        Lowering the car enough to have an effect on the looks will cause a degradation in ride quality, don’t try and kid yourself.

        • 0 avatar
          CoreyDL

          Shh, he said the roads have no bumps!

          • 0 avatar
            JohnTaurus_3.0_AX4N

            You know, Corey, maybe some people are okay with things you’re not, that doesn’t make them wrong because you disagree.

            You can both be right, as in you are right that lowering any car usually causes worse ride quality, and HE is right in that he doesn’t care as it doesn’t matter as much to him.

            He did not ask for advice on lowering his car.
            He asked advice on which car to buy.

            You’re being like this Canadian moderator on a silly Aerostar forum I was on when I had my 96. He kept on telling me I need to get it rust proofed. Um, I’m like 100 or so miles from the Gulf coast, we do not use salt down here. Sometimes I go to Washington State (and I did in that van), no salt there either. My van had 0 rust and I wasn’t trying to spend money unnecessarily when the van needed other things. He kept beating me over the head with it, even weeks after I said I had no reason nor intention to rust proof a van I don’t really intend to keep (and I didn’t). He even sent me private messages saying the vans had “factory rust”. I don’t care man! The vans are not that rare, there are plenty western or southern rust-free examples. Many with less miles and in better shape than that one.

            Lol if someone says they don’t need the advice you’re giving them, get over it. Its not personal.

        • 0 avatar
          White Shadow

          Disagree. Depends how you do it. Worst thing you can do is cut the stock coils. That will definitely negatively affect ride qualify. Best thing is a sweet of quality coilovers. This week give you improved appearance and equal or better ride quality than stock, depending upon the application.

  • avatar
    Lightspeed

    I’m a Lexus guy (GS) and want you to have the reliability and quality of a Lexus, but that IS is tiny inside, especially for putting kiddie seats in. The G37 sedan is definitely bigger in the back seat, and the Nissan V6 is a known performer, go with the G37.

    • 0 avatar
      JMII

      Sporty once owned a Z, so he knows he wants the G37S… it is calling him.

    • 0 avatar
      sportyaccordy

      GS in my price range is soooooooooooooooooooooo ugly to me. No thanks.

      If I could expand the budget to $30K I would mess with the current body style IS/GS for sure. New GS sounds like it’s right up my alley and I’m a huge fan of Lexus’ current interior design language. I have heard horrible things about its infotainment interface though.

      • 0 avatar

        I’ve got a new series IS350 (2014) which I’ve owned for three years. The infotainment is annoying, but it works and still has enough buttons that the only think the screen is used for is for nav and bluetooth operations. So while I’d say that the infotainment is not its best feature, virtually everything else about the car is superior to the 335i I traded to buy the IS. It is quiet, fast (enough), reliable and just large enough to carry four to dinner. It’s not a four-adult vacation car, but if I wanted one, I’d rent a minivan.

      • 0 avatar
        6MTforlife

        2013 GS is worth the wait to save up $ mid-20s. I’ve driven 13 (6 gears) and 14 (8 gears), and the 2013+ GS is head and shoulders better in nearly every way compared to 2011 and older, including styling. Space is much wider than IS for both front and rear occupants. Handling is finally competitive with a pre-2011 5-series. Be sure to find F Sport or Luxury package so you get the adjustable dampers (in Sport mode, a valve electronically closes to slow down the flow of oil inside the piston). With smooth roads, drivers appreciate the transient response or go back to comfort mode. The ride is excellent in both modes. The Sport+ mode really wakes up the transmission programming.
        I drove a 2013 GS 350 service loaner for a week and got used to the infotainment setup pretty easily. It takes more than one day or one test drive to adjust to a mouse controller but it actually does work well.

        • 0 avatar
          sportyaccordy

          14+ GS350 is definitely on the list for the NEXT car purchase, but it will be up against some really stiff competition. F30 335i, TLX V6, CTS V-Sport, and if my situation enables booster seats, coupes like the 997 Carrera, M235i, Rustang GT Vantage etc. GS350 would be in the running if I found out in 4-5 years I still need a huge back seat. I do like them though.

          • 0 avatar
            Lightspeed

            OK, if you are a GS fan, then be an iconoclast and get the last year of the 2nd gen a GS430. The 3UZFE is pretty much bulletproof, no silly infotainment systems yet, bigger backseat than an IS and the interiors are very durable. There’s likely a few cream puff examples still out there. You’d have money leftover for a used G35 coupe to flog.

  • avatar
    psarhjinian

    The 200 isn’t nearly as good as people seem to think it is. It’s cramped, doesn’t drive well, doesn’t have particularly much power and doesn’t ride all that well.

    Either the initial reviews were softballed (or paid for), or people want to believe it’s a better car than it really is. It isn’t really terrible in the way it’s predecessor was, but putting aside the reliability issues, it just isn’t class-competitive.

    • 0 avatar
      CoreyDL

      A man who is also a fox creature will be here soon to thrash you with words.

    • 0 avatar
      JimZ

      TIL that 300 hp “isn’t particularly much.”

      • 0 avatar
        danio3834

        I don’t think he actually ever drove a new 200. I’m in the 95th percentile and I don’t find the 200 cramped. The rear door opening requires a bit of a duck for the swept roofline, but once inside there’s a good amount of room. Certainly more than the other cars sporty was originally considering.

    • 0 avatar
      notwhoithink

      ” It isn’t really terrible in the way it’s predecessor was, ”

      I think that this is the key to the good reviews. Everyone expected the current 200 to be the same crap that the previous 200 was, and they were surprised at that it ended up being so much better. Sure, it’s not as good as everything else in it’s class, but it’s up for a “much improved” award, or would be if they weren’t killing it off.

  • avatar
    phreshone

    zero $ down, zero % financing is your friend –

  • avatar
    dal20402

    I just can’t understand what you see in the 200 that you don’t see in every other FWD midsizer out there. It’s slower than, doesn’t handle as well as, and won’t respond to modification as well as an Accord V6. The styling is bulbous and dowdy. And the interior build quality isn’t even up to the segment’s fairly low standards.

    But, honestly, given your budget and your need for reliable everyday transportation, your priorities sound to me like they would be met best by looking as hard as you can and finding one of those rare stickshift G37 sedans. Much more reliable and somewhat roomier than a 335i, a usable back seat (unlike the IS350), a good aftermarket, and you get to keep your third pedal. Spend an extra thousand bucks to fly/drive or transport one from somewhere else if you have to.

    Edit: Here’s one in Georgia that could probably be negotiated pretty close to your budget:

    https://www.cars.com/vehicledetail/detail/679737422/overview/

    • 0 avatar
      Scoutdude

      To me it sounds like he is interested in the 200 because he can get a one year old model with all the bells and whistles in his price range that still has a reasonable amount of factory warranty left. With those other cars he would be looking at a older base version at best,with little or no remaining warranty, in that same price range.

      • 0 avatar
        burgersandbeer

        There isn’t really a ‘base’ version of the 335i, and I doubt it for the G37S and IS350 as well. BMW packages the strongest engine with more equipment. This doesn’t mean it has everything available, but none of those cars are going to have pleather-covered base seats with a terrible sound system.

        Anyway, he said E90 335i, which can be found under $20k all day. Many under $15k.

    • 0 avatar
      sportyaccordy

      I don’t know why, but I think the 200, at least in higher trims, is easily the best looking midsizer, both outside, and more critically inside too, which matters even more to me. I’m not really looking to extract max HP… a low 14 second car is plenty quick. Quicker than my old 350Z actually.

      • 0 avatar
        dal20402

        Fair enough; looks are subjective. But I still think you’ll be happier in the long run with something that’s Japanese and has more driving chops.

      • 0 avatar
        SunnyvaleCA

        I’m with dal20402 on this. Get a stick shift. I once bought a fabulous (AMG) car with an automatic … and was sad for the next 8 years. Now I have a car with less power, much less torque, no beautiful V8 burble, and less luxury, but I’m much happier because it’s a stick shift.

        If I were making your choice with your budget and were willing to consider the FWD 200S, I’d be more likely to consider the Fusion ST. It’ll be hard to find a 2-year-old one at your price, but if you buy a new one for $25k you can get factory financing and the full warranty.

        The Accord Sport 6 speed manual would be another option, but probably harder to find in manual transmission than the Fusion ST. Plus, it’s down considerably on power verses the ST.

  • avatar
    ajla

    From your list I say G37.

    But why not look into the mid-sizers? A GS350 or naturally-aspirated I6 5-series is in your price range.

    Another idea is the TL or TSX V6 as you seem to like Honda.

    I don’t know your feelings on GM, but I’ll throw a nod to the last gen CTS too. With the right options those perform pretty good.

    • 0 avatar
      Dingleberrypiez_Returns

      I like the Acura idea. A TL with SH AWD would be a blast. The IS is too small and the G37 has a mediocre interior (like all Nissan/Infinitis).

      • 0 avatar
        Kyree S. Williams

        The TL with SH-AWD is a great idea. I’m ashamed I didn’t think of it.

        Not to mention that the IS and the G37 are both college-douchebucket cars, in my experience. The TL, OTOH, is as likely to be driven by a depressed middle-manager as a jerk, and so it escapes that reputation.

        • 0 avatar
          doublechili

          I was going to suggest the TL. Several months ago I traded in my ’06 Civic SI sedan for a 2013 TL SH-AWD 6MT with under 15,000 miles as an Acura CPO, and as a bonus with .9% financing thru Acura. The price was under $30k and I really like the car a lot and feel like I did pretty well on the deal. It handles great, although you can feel the weight a bit in the turns as compared with the SI. However, it’s a whole different class of car. And the engine pulls like crazy and sounds great doing it.

          BTW, I know some people have issues with the styling of the car, but the last couple of years they tweaked the styling to solve some issues. Mine is white, and IMO the car is downright attractive in that color.

          • 0 avatar
            6MTforlife

            Double chili, we have the same model and year. Rare, low volume of production. I too enjoyed owning that 2006 K20 motor like your Civic had, but in an RSX, and later needed the space for kids. Try Pirelli P Zero Nero All Season Plus (revised 2016 compound) after the Michelin OEM tires wear out. Enjoy!

        • 0 avatar
          zamoti

          I have searched high and low for a TL-SH AWD with a 6mt and they’re not easily found. When they are, they’re ALWAYS more than 20k. I found one somewhat near me from a private party for 21k. Excellent choice if you can spend the extra.
          To the point that people cross shop everything, I started with Civic Si, then Mazdaspeed3, Accord v6 MT, not finding anything worthwhile, I’m looking at AWD automatic fords/lincolns and now looking at Taurus SHO. Being picky makes life difficult.

          • 0 avatar
            doublechili

            6MT, good stuff about the cars. It’s been really fun going from the SI to the TL. The engines kind of share some basic characteristics, except the TL’s is like the SI’s bigger, stronger brother. And thanks for the tire tip. I’ve already checked the anticipated lifespan of the OEM tires and was sad to see how long they’re supposed to last. I might have to accelerate the process a bit. :)

  • avatar
    ajla

    Reasons to buy FCA:

    1. 6.4L
    2. Hellcat
    3. Cummins
    4. Viper
    5. Wrangler
    6. Cheapest minivan
    7. Diesel half-ton
    8. Quattroporte GTS (?)

    If you are not getting something listed above, then go elsewhere.

  • avatar
    2drsedanman

    “6. Lots of other things”

    I’m gonna throw the Avalon into this category. Quick, rides good, not too big, reliable, roomy, etc. And buying one used is a good bet since people who buy these new tend to maintain them (full disclosure, I bought a 2015 Avalon new).

    I would also echo what others have said: the Chrysler 200S would seem to lag behind in all the above characteristics when compared to an Accord, Camry, Mazda6, etc. Honda Accord Sport with a 6 speed manual would also be a contender, although no V6 (sadly).

  • avatar
    Kyree S. Williams

    I would absolutely nominate a V6 Accord Coupe over a 200S, even if you’re buying used. The Honda might have a higher cost of acquisition, but it’s a far better car (except for maybe the OEM brakes).

    Between the three of those, I’d probably pick the 335i if you want something a little more refined, and the G37 if you want something raw.

    Also, since you’re already considering an FCA product, would you be opposed to a Charger or Challenger? Those cars can provide a lot of fun for the money, and are pretty reliable.

    • 0 avatar
      burgersandbeer

      +1 on the Challenger. I haven’t checked pricing or availability, but you could in theory keep the manual transmission. Plus you would have a V8, so exhaust modifications might actually be worthwhile.

      A little bigger than you want and only two doors, but you aren’t getting everything in your wish list for less than $20k.

    • 0 avatar
      sportyaccordy

      My buddy has a Challenger SRT8. I was impressed with it- interior is nice, clutch and stick worked well. But it felt like I was driving a basement apartment. I like my cars as small as feasibly possible; Chrysler LX cars are just too big for my tastes.

    • 0 avatar
      Wheeljack

      I just turned in my 200C lease and bought a Challenger SXT plus. As much as I wanted the V8, I needed something that would get semi-decent mileage in the 60+ miles a day I put on my car. The key to the SXT V6 Challenger is to order it with the “Super Track Pak” option, which nets you a shorter axle ratio (3.07) and makes the V6 accelerate smartly for a car this big & heavy. You trade off a little fuel economy with the shorter axle, but it’s a nice compromise between the V8 and a base V6 with the 2.62 axle.

      And FYI – I put 44,000 trouble free miles on my 200C. The only thing I ever took it in for other than normal maintenance was a buzzy speaker. The 9-speed shift quality improves as it learns your driving style.

  • avatar
    MostlyNormal

    Our humble question asker forgot about the Fusion Sport. 320 hp and 350 lb-ft twin turbo V6 and all wheel, I’d bet they plummet in price over the next year on the used market.

    Sounds like a winner in my book. Definitely better than a 200.

    • 0 avatar

      He said less than $20k. Fusion Sport won’t be under $20K for at least three years.

      • 0 avatar
        zamoti

        Taurus SHO; some come in under $20. Perhaps a bit piggy, but he said commuting comfort and it’ll have it in spades.

        • 0 avatar
          gtemnykh

          Taurus ergonomics are just plain weird IMO. It drives really big (poor sightlines, weird seat placement relative to B-pillar) and it doesn’t ride particularly well IMO. Seat cushions are curiously short as well. I could never find a position in terms of seat angle/distance where I felt comfortable in the car.

          • 0 avatar
            Featherston

            I did a 1,000-mile road trip in a rental Taurus Limited and liked it on the whole. There were some oddities:
            – I think one of the vents was fixed. I could alter the volume of airflow from it but not the direction. Weird.
            – The bunker design isn’t great, but in no way did I find it, say, Camaro bad. It’s merely “most vehicles on the market today” bad.
            – While interior room isn’t great relative to one’s expectation based on the car’s exterior size, it still is quite roomy in an absolute sense. It’s a little unfairly maligned in this regard, I think.
            – I found the seating quite comfortable. I think the lesson is that there are bad seats, there are Swedish seats, and there is a vast middle ground of seats that work for some people but not others.

            I’m not yet sold on the long-term durability of the EcoBoost, but if I swapped cars as frequently as sportyaccordy, I’d be interested in the SHO. Per his comments about size though, a Taurus wouldn’t fit the bill.

    • 0 avatar
      LUNDQIK

      There’s also the Ford Fusion Sport’s sister car in the Lincoln. The MKZ is available with the same engine in older examples. Or the N/A variant depending on what model year.

      Having owned a 2007 G35S 6MT (which was the 1st year of the new body style) AND a 2008 MKZ – I can say the MKZ does luxury touring better…oddly enough. The CPO warranty on the Ford at the time was 100k and covered a lot (we used it on a few small things). There’s more luxury in the MKZ and the sync system blew anything the Infiniti had out of the water. Depreciation is high on these cars, so they are a heck of a value.

      And this is coming from a Nissan / Infiniti fan. I’m also an adult tuner of sorts – with kids. I ran UpRev and a CAI on the Infiniti. It was a 6 speed manual and it was plenty quick. Though I never was a fan of the G’s clutch. It was stiff and had a lot of chatter. And still, even in sedan form, it wasn’t a great kiddo hauler. Also, I didn’t care at all for the high belt lines and poor visibility.

      The MKZ doesn’t have a TON of aftermarket support, but since it shares parts with the Fusion sport (and in some iterations the Mazda Speed Sport) there’s enough to mildly modify it. We have a Steeda intake, Mazda Speed Suspension parts, and an SCT tune. Plenty of power and fun enough in the twisties.

      I also like that its a little bit of an oddball – and no one ever suspects a tuned MKZ.

      I’d give that a look. Its also a great kiddo hauler. Fits rear facing car seats even better than Nissan SUV.

      • 0 avatar
        LUNDQIK

        Oh, and folding rear seats on the MKZ, which I didn’t have on my G. Comes in handier than you might think.

      • 0 avatar
        zamoti

        2010 MKZs are a good deal; the Ecoboost examples are less of a deal, but the Duratec 35 that the NAs used was reasonably fast. It’ll certainly be faster than an old Civic.
        The sore spot was the PTU on AWD models. The fluid would sludge and then puke out of the vent, the PTU would dry out and you’d be left with a FWD car. It happened to my CX9 and is common on most Fords that use their in-house AWD system (only early MKZs and the Taurus SHO got a Haldex). Change the PTU gear lube frequently and there aren’t issues.

        • 0 avatar
          LUNDQIK

          Yep, we had the PTU (power transfer unit) done as a CPO item. They evidently updated the seals and supposedly it isn’t a problem anymore. (Both on the repair of our 2008 model and at the factory on newer 2010? versions.)

          The unit wasn’t “supposed” to be serviceable. I guess that’s what you get with “lifetime” fluids.

      • 0 avatar
        Kyree S. Williams

        The Fusion Sport that MostlyNormal is talking about is the new top performance trim of the current Fusion, equipped with the 2.7-liter twin-turbo V6 and AWD (essentially the sedan counterpart to the Edge Sport)…*not* the old 2010-2012 CD3 Ford Fusion Sport.

        However, the latter is a good car in its own right.

  • avatar
    s_a_p

    I say the two hundy just because I want to see how ridiculous it would look “stanced”

  • avatar
    JimZ

    that’s one problem with Consumer Reports. Their “overall” rating often times doesn’t seem to be justified by the individual ratings.

  • avatar
    nels0300

    I was in the same boat, I have two kids, one still in a rear facing child seat.

    DON’T get anything that can’t fit a REAR facing child seat comfortably behind BOTH front seats.

    The Lexus IS will be too small unless the people riding up front are very little people.

    The Camry was a bridge too far for me as well. I also come from a long list of manual transmission cars.

    I went to the Honda dealer to buy an Accord Sport 6 speed manual, drove it, and it felt weak and a little tinny.

    Ended up with the Camry which was about the last car I would’ve thought I’d end up with….because:

    -Huge incentives

    -Awesome V6, No VCM (Honda), no DI, and no turbo. 2GR-FE is rock solid.

    -Big back seat

    -It’s a Toyota……when you have offspring you’ll have plenty to worry about without worrying about your car.

    -Service and parts easy to find

    You can easily find a 2014.5 V6 SE (better looking than the new ones) with low miles in your price range.

    • 0 avatar
      Arthur Dailey

      @Nels0300; When you wrote: “I went to the Honda dealer to buy an Accord Sport 6 speed manual, drove it, and it felt weak and a little tinny” you surely assured yourself a spot on JB’s enemies list.

      • 0 avatar
        nels0300

        What can I say? It’s not like I don’t like Hondas, I’ve owned 4 of them.

        I was coming out of a 2006 Accord red V6 badge, six-speed sedan, which probably ruined me for the newer Accord Sport.

        The earth dreams 4 cylinder was no match for the mighty J30A4.

    • 0 avatar
      gtemnykh

      I’m slowly losing some confidence in how Toyota screws these newer Camrys together. My fiance’s ’12 SE had a battery crap out last fall (ie made it only 4 years, admittedly through 2 polar vortexes), and now it needs a driver’s side front wheel bearing at 63k miles. Not horrible, and she does drive on some pretty poor roads to work, but I still feel a bit let down. Interior has a minor upper dash(?) rattle and creaks something awful if you rest your knee on the lower dash corner. Certain interior plastics have felt sticky after the car sits in very hot weather as of this past summer. Not sure if it’s just my own confirmation bias.

      I don’t mean to feed into ponchoman’s troll stories, but when we have two 20 year old Toyotas sharing the same driveway space with said ’12 Camry, the difference in the ‘small things’ adds up starkly.

      • 0 avatar
        CoreyDL

        Well does Toyota make the battery themselves? How long do batteries last these days?

        *I ask because I bought a new one last night for my Tahoe, and the old Advance Auto brand “Gold” whatever 3-year battery had a sticker date of 1/13 on it and was going out.

        • 0 avatar
          Scoutdude

          No Toyota doesn’t make batteries themselves the put the low bidder battery in the car from the factory. Getting 4 years out of the OE supplied Toyota battery is actually very good, 3 years is more the norm.

          Top of the line batteries from a reputable mfg on the other hand can last 10 or more years when treated properly.

          The last study I saw quite a few years ago by a battery mfg association showed that the average replacement occurred at 5 years but the average battery life expectancy was 6 years.

          • 0 avatar
            CoreyDL

            Oh, and yesterday I picked a Duralast Gold.

          • 0 avatar
            Wheeljack

            Believe it or not, my ’02 Wrangler is on it’s OEM installed battery. Still starts right up. I do keep a trickle charger/tender on it when not in use. My Dad also got 14 years out of the OEM Motorcraft battery in his 1996 Explorer, and he never used a tender. Unfortunately the cheap Wal-mart replacement he bought barely made it 5 years.

      • 0 avatar
        nels0300

        My 2014.5 has been pretty good, 33K miles and nothing wrong yet, knock on wood.

        Battery and wheel bearing doesn’t seem that bad in 60K miles. The wrong pothole will take out a wheel bearing.

        My Dad bought a 1992 Camry V6 brand new. So called “Golden age” of Toyotas. In that car’s first 30K miles it had a bad fuel injector, and interior water leaks, while my 2014.5 cheap, cost cutter Toyota has been perfect. Toyota fixed Dad’s car and it ended up being a great car, but just sayin’.

        • 0 avatar
          Jagboi

          Agreed, all it takes is a bad pothole. I hit one at low speed turning into the junkyard entrance and it blew the tire and about 1000 km later the wheel bearing was singing.

          It was winter and the pothole had filled in with drifted snow so I couldn’t see it.

          Battery life really seems to depend on the climate and how the car is driven. Really cold and really hot seems to shorten the length of a battery quite a lot, especially short trips in really cold weather when the battery can get drained quickly even with the car running.

          • 0 avatar
            gtemnykh

            Jagboi I hit a pothole with my old MPV hard enough with the left front wheel that in one fell swoop:

            broke the front swaywar link mount (rusty), blew the strut (original 160k mile unit), ruined the balljoint (cheap replacement part done about 5 years prior), and ruined the wheel bearing. Now that’s what I call a pricey pothole! A gut wrenching jolt when I hit it, I was so mad, I felt the sloppy balljoint within minutes.

      • 0 avatar
        ajla

        Yea, I agree, Toyota does seem to have a few issues (especially with tactile quality).

        Seems like you need to go 4Runner or up (or buy a Lexus) these days.

        • 0 avatar
          gtemnykh

          ajla even the Lexi aren’t immune. I’ve mentioned here before how relatively downmarket my fiance’s father’s ES300h feels in terms of stuff like lower and rear door panel finish and such compared to my 20 year old ES. I have carpeting covering the underside of the dash under the steering wheel, just one of the ways they went well above and beyond in places the buyer might not even ever look.

      • 0 avatar

        I think it has slid somewhat. I’m a little surprised by the wheel bearing almost makes me want to scour forums for reliability info.

        • 0 avatar
          gtemnykh

          mopar I’ve been curious to look around as well. I actually recall Ponchoman mentioning wheel bearings failing in one of his well worn rants against these Camries.

          I’ve got a fresh Timken bearing on Amazon Prime order (re-boxed Koyo or NSK if amazon reviews are to be believed), will have my brother swap it. I actually did the unthinkable act of taking it to the dealer for the initial diagnosis as it doesn’t sound like a truly failed bearing (rumbling, varying with load), sounds more like a weird tire thing at higher speed. When they quoted me $672 and also insisted that the rear brakes were sticking and wanted to replace both calipers+rotors+pads (total bill with labor came to just under $2000) I almost burst out laughing. To their credit they didn’t charge me for the bearing diagnosis which I confirmed in my own driveway by jacking the corners of the car up one at a time and putting it in drive (chocked up, TC off, handbrake on).

          It’s still a good car overall, good ride/handling balance in SE trim IMO, with an impressive amount of stick on on-ramps. Excellent lifetime mpg(30-31 overall in mixed driving), 2.5L/6A is well tuned and feels plenty sprightly. Tons of rear passenger room and well shaped/sized trunk. I’d strongly consider a refreshed ’15+ Camry XLE V6 for commuter duty if I were in the market for such a thing and willing to spend the money.

          • 0 avatar
            JMII

            “I actually did the unthinkable act of taking it to the dealer for the initial diagnosis as it doesn’t sound like a truly failed bearing (rumbling, varying with load), sounds more like a weird tire thing at higher speed.”

            When the wheel front bearings in my Z died the sound was very similar to a tire issue. Everyone claimed it was easy to check by jacking up the car and checking for play in the hubs. They were solid and noise-less. However under load, especially turning, the noise was very noticeable. Turns out the fix was new bearings. They are pretty easy and cheap to replace provided you have a puller.

  • avatar
    gtemnykh

    As I recall sporty has owned an older VQ-equipped Maxima in the past, and a 350z. Seems like a Infiniti G sedan is the obvious choice, unless he’s wanting to try a different automotive ‘flavor’

    I haven’t driven a new 200 so I can’t honestly judge, but from everything I’ve read, it’s a car that sounds like a great value when reading a spec sheet/options list, but falls short on actual execution. I’m a bargain hunter myself so I understand the temptation of ‘getting a deal’ but it seems that the market has spoken loud and clear on these Chryslers.

    EDIT: what about a lightly used Maxima of the just-discontinued body style? It certainly has comfort in spades, meets the budget requirement, has enough room, and is just a hair slower than the RWD sport sedans to 60. It’s a question of what sporty thinks of CVT transmissions.

  • avatar
    pb35

    I’m partial to the Infiniti as I owned a 2004 G35x for 8 years. It was reliable, but not Toyota reliable. There were some common issues but nothing too serious. I traded it in 2012 for a Charger R/T Road and Track which I traded for a 2015 SRT 392 which I kept for about 4 months and traded that for a 2015 SS. Don’t ask, it’s a long story.

    Two things I would like to mention; Uconnect is one of the best infotainment systems available and GM MyLink is terrible. I was spoiled by Uconnect. It was intuitive, reliable and I didn’t need to go through 3 different menus to do what I wanted to do. My Infiniti had no infotainment to speak of as it was a 2004. It had a sweet cassette player and a 6 disc changer which was one the things that failed. The early G35 IPs were not converted for LHD so all of the audio and climate controls were backwards; it was bizarre but I got used to it. Finally, if you do decide to go with the G37, I would strongly suggest not putting an exhaust on it without hearing it first at least. I put a Stillen exhaust on my G and it ruined the car for me. It was a loud, droning, annoying choice. The main reason I did it though was because I backed into a low brick flower thing one night and bent the rear muffler pretty severely. Since I had to replace that, I thought I would just go for the whole exhaust. Big mistake!

    Anyway, as any rational person would suggest, find nice examples of all of your potential choices and take them all for a nice ride. A new 200 with a long warranty is tempting but how much will it be worth in 4 years? Also, FCA does not provide loaners (not where I live, at least) so you’ll be renting a car or riding on the wagon train, aka the courtesy shuffle.

    Good luck! Oh, I also purchased a new Mazda 6 wagon in 2005, v6/5-speed manual. It was a ton of fun but the doors were paper thin, it had a ton of wind noise and the dealer could never get the clutch sorted. Traded that for a new 2007 Volvo XC90 V8 Sport which is still in the garage.

  • avatar
    dividebytube

    As much as a BMW fanboy as I am – I’ve got two of their products in the driveway – I wouldn’t recommend a used 335i unless you’re ready to throw down some money on repairs. The I6 is a wonderful engine – smooth and refined – but hooboy did I have a hard time tracking down a check engine light issue with my previously owned 325i, which was a real stripper car.

    Add in the extra turbo charging plumbing and … yikes.

    Still the 335i (or 340i) is a car I would like to own – but as a lease or a nice warranty.

    For my list of next car, I’ve got the Lexus GS350 and *LS460 on there along with an Infiniti G37. I too would love to stay with a stick so we’ll see how that shakes out.

    *and yes I know the LS460 never came with a manual. Automatics seem to “work” with big cars but I don’t care for ’em in smaller vehicles.

  • avatar
    Nick 2012

    Rear-facing infant seats and two doors are not the best combo. If you had kids that were out of them and could ride forward facing, it is no problem, but trying wrestle a recalcitrant little bundle of joy back there with no lateral access is a challenge.

    I had an Accord Sport that was an excellent family hauler, just keep in mind that the stock stereo is terrible.

    With the driving you do, don’t discount the importance of adaptive cruise and lane keeping assist. I have a similar commute, and can go 30 miles at a time (including through towns) and not touch gas or brake. This is really nice after a long day.

    Also, a quick search of Carmax for cars <$20k with <40k miles shows plenty of Hyundai Genesises(?), 13-14 Fusion Titaniums, and even a brand-new stick-shift 2017 Toyota Corolla SE.

    Apparently Toyota puts adaptive cruise and lane keeping assist as standard on every Corolla, along with LED headlights. Those options would cost you more than the entire Corolla on a German brand.

  • avatar
    klossfam

    This is easy:

    RWD – G37

    FWD – Accord V6

    These are the best performance values and both are pretty much bullet proof…and adults can even ride in the back seat.

  • avatar
    319583076

    What about a C300 Sport?

  • avatar
    sportyaccordy

    OK, a couple of responses/points of contention:

    Quarter mile times: I like to keep it all from one source… C&D is easiest.

    200 V6 FWD- 5.7/[email protected]
    G37X (only auto I could find)- 5.3/[email protected]
    335i 6AT- 4.9/[email protected]
    IS350- 5.1/[email protected]

    The two most realistic options are also the 2 slowest. And for reference,

    Civic 1.8 5MT- 7.7/[email protected]

    Dinging the 200C for being slower is picking nits IMO. 15 MPH faster through the trap is not far off from 20MPH faster.

    Why no stickshift? I’ve failed to teach my wife in the 9 years we’ve been together and I just want to try something different. Looking for something that will relax me. Also I really hated the stickshift in pretty much every Nissan I’ve owned or driven. Heavy, long, vague clutch; heavy, notchy shift action. No thanks. There’s no penalty anymore besides driving engagement, which I’m not sure is as big of a deal to me anymore. That’s part of what I want to find out with this purchase.

    Why no Camry/Accord V6? They look boring outside; Camry is OK inside but I don’t like the Accord interior. Irrational but it is what it is. That said, I’m laughing as I say this, but the pre-facelift Camry doesn’t look bad lowered with decent wheels. Just not sure how it will drive.

    Fusion = 4 banger

    Avalon/Genesis/Chrysler LX cars = too big and no good in their own ways. Avalon is too squishy. Genesis in my price range is ugly and has that chintzy Coby radio silver radio trim that makes my skin crawl. Chrysler LX… don’t like the image, visibility sucks too.

    Lexus GS = in my price range, hideous IMO. I would look at 2nd gens before the 3rd gens honestly but they would require a lot of mods to bring into the 21st century. 5AT is a little weak IMO too.

    Acuras = I seriously considered the ILX, but passed. TL SH-AWD has AWD which I don’t want and I’m feeling like 5 speeds in the AT is not enough. Interior is a little busy and low rent as well. Same story with TSX V6. Truthfully of all the Acuras I like the TLX but again too much $$$.

    Maxima = CVT, aka DOA. Bridge way too far. Also a lot about it reminds me of the Titan in a bad way- that big pickup truck nose and that bizarrely upright center console.

    I’m not committed one way or the other but I think it’s down to the 200 and G37, specifically the G37S 7AT. IS back seat is nonexistent and the 335i is too much of a crapshoot, plus there are like 5 in my job’s parking lot vs no Gs or 200s. I’m still not swayed from the 200 though. All I’m hearing is that it’s not as good as the others….. OK. But it’s still significantly better than my Civic for the daily grind. I’m still not convinced it doesn’t at least warrant a test drive.

    • 0 avatar
      ajla

      I think you should get the 200. It sounds like that is the one you actually want.

      Buy it, enjoy it, and screw what the internet says.

    • 0 avatar
      dal20402

      By all means, test drive the 200 and a lightly used G37S 7AT back to back. I think that will make you feel good about a G37 purchase.

      • 0 avatar
        28-Cars-Later

        I know he would feel good about an LS purchase, although this isn’t what he’s after.

        • 0 avatar
          dal20402

          Eh, he likes the handlings too much.

          Speaking of the LS, it’s too long for the garage in my “new” (built in 1953) house. So it’s currently parked along the curb, with the C-Max in the (small) driveway where there are electrons. Far from ideal, even though parking is not crowded on this street and battle scars are unlikely.

          I could tear down some built-in shelving in the garage and make it just big enough to fit the LS, but with almost zero storage space. Or I could sell the LS and buy something small enough to fit around the built-ins, like a Golf R. I’m still deciding what to do.

          • 0 avatar
            sportyaccordy

            Garage space is another issue. Our garage is a decent size, but it’s packed with tools and other stuff we use. I keep my bike in it in the winter as well. Another reason to rule out mammoth rides like the Avalon and Taurus.

            Truthfully if the previous GS weren’t so hideous it would be perfect.

          • 0 avatar
            dal20402

            Have a look at a few pictures of lightly modified 3GSes. My former neighbor had one in black with tint and some nice wheels and it turned out pretty well that way. I agree the 4GS is far, far better looking stock, both inside and out.

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            “Or I could sell the LS and buy something small enough to fit around the built-ins, like a Golf R.”

            I’m sorry Dave, I’m afraid I can’t do that.

            Where did you put your Legend?

          • 0 avatar
            dal20402

            My Legend remains in a relative’s garage. It wouldn’t fit in this garage either for the time being, although it would only be 3 or 4 inches too long.

            It’s amazing how few truly premium cars are short in length. The GTI/Golf R are by themselves in a class if you don’t count rattly unreliable garish overpriced Mini crap. Then there’s a class about 8 inches longer than the Golfs that includes the 2-Series, A3, and (shudder) CLA. After that the cars start getting really big, to the point where they don’t feel that much smaller than my 199″ Lexoboat.

          • 0 avatar
            Kyree S. Williams

            Damn. I feel bad for you guys. My current house has a 3 car garage, and I had enough room to take in my best friend’s uncle’s car (he’s a trucker and is always on the road)…which is a 2014 Mustang Convertible V6.

          • 0 avatar
            dal20402

            Such is life when the goal is to live close to work in the downtown of one of the most expensive cities in the country. I could have had two of these three things:

            – Big house
            – Desirable neighborhood
            – Close to work

            I chose not to buy a big house. But I’m very happy with the neighborhood where I ended up, and tonight I walked home from work (although it took about 45 minutes).

          • 0 avatar
            gtemnykh

            Boy I wish I had a three car garage! I have a very 1940s-sized single car unit that’s attached to our 1942 bungalow. With some snow tires, yard tools, and toolbox my fiance’s Camry can just barely fit inside. The 4Runner has an easier time as it is shorter. The driveway is single-width and fairly short as well, it can just fit the Camry+4Runner nose to nose. When I go to my friend’s house in a subdivision outside the beltway, I’m always jealous of the three car unit he’s got (fantastically equipped with air tools to boot).

            Longer term my dream is to live out in a more rural area where I can build a dedicated shop with a lift.

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            @dal20402

            Does your firm have a WFH policy? Unless one is going to court on a regular basis, I personally see no reason to not have one.

          • 0 avatar
            Scoutdude

            @Dal, definitely a nice neighborhood you ended up in. I’d say you got a pretty good deal for that neighborhood. I would peg the price several thousand over what you paid.

          • 0 avatar
            dal20402

            @28

            I can work from home a lot, but I have meetings with others in the office most days, and even beyond the meetings there are two factors keeping me in the office: 1) face time is good for career and 2) it’s much less distracting than a home with a toddler and lots of unpacking and repairs still to do.

            @Scoutdude

            I was pleased. The house is ordinary, but the lot and location are absolutely the best we came across in our price range (or close to it, actually — we stretched a bit for this one). The assessor agreed with you; the assessment came back $10k over our sale price.

            That money, though, ended up going into the usual Seattle hole (literally) of side sewer repair.

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            @dal

            Those are good points. Next job, whenever that is, will be 100% remote for me. Its only been five weeks but I’ve had enough of society.

    • 0 avatar
      gtemnykh

      Agreed on Maxima center stack, it’s grotesque.

    • 0 avatar
      Eiriksmal

      I’ll sell you my ’05 6MT Maxima for a song. ;) I just dropped a few grand into it to get it smog-ready for California, which means I’ll finally have to give up my VQ35DE license plate.

      I don’t understand (because I’m dumb), how you ever gave up the VQ’s torque. My next ride will definitely be a G37S 6MT, the question is whether I can convince the wife to let me get the coupe over the sedan. What else has such a glorious engine strapped to a six-speed, replete with not-German reliability?

    • 0 avatar
      Dingleberrypiez_Returns

      Nice reply. This really shows the little nitpicky things that can make a seemingly objective decision highly personal.

      I know I already touted the SH AWD TL, but have you driven one? I was very surprised by how capable and fun they make the car. It’s less about all weather and more about performance. I’ve never driven a G37 at the limits, but from what I remember it was very numb and dull to drive, especially compared the G35 that preceded it (drove both back to back). I’m kind of blown away that you prefer the G37 interior to the TL, but I supposed that’s subjective.

      • 0 avatar
        6MTforlife

        Dingleberry, I too am surprised and disagree that the G37 interior beats TL. Try driving both of them with over 100k miles on the odometer and reassess the interior quality and noise levels. I drive 100k+ mile versions of cars I want to buy to see how they hold up. Even if not keeping it to 100k, it shows what falls apart. It can be revealing. In this case, the G37 powertrain seems to hold up much better than its seats and dash as creaks and groans set in.
        SH-AWD will drift out the rear of a TL (or MDX). Very easy to see this in one test drive. G still has better rear drive dynamics, even in AWD, but Acura tuned the overdrive function of outside rear wheel well.
        I’m guessing most commenters have never driven SH-AWD in 6spd, whether auto or manual.

      • 0 avatar
        sportyaccordy

        I am just speaking on Google Image looks.

        Been hearing a lot about the TL…. one huge ding against it is what looks like pretty abysmal gas mileage. The Z averaged 20-22 in my driving. Looks like the TL would be in the high teens. For that kind of thirst I’d rather fully throw caution to the wind and get an E39 M5….

    • 0 avatar
      Wheeljack

      Drive the 200. I just turned in a 200C lease with 44K on it and the only issue I had was a buzzy speaker.

      Be aware that the transmission is adaptive and over time it will learn your driving style and react differently for different people. I drive fairly aggressively and mine learned my “habits”, and it snapped off downshifts fairly rapidly with any prodding of the accelerator. Every once in a while you could catch it at just the wrong time and get a fairly “rude” shift…this was typically at lower speeds and mostly if you tipped into the throttle then had to back off because traffic in front of you had to slow down. This happened maybe a dozen times in 44K miles and I have felt other cars react this way to indecisive throttle inputs, so I don’t think it’s necessarily a problem specific to the ZF unit.

      Although everyone is suggesting an “S”, personally I’d go with a “C” because it has laminated glass and more sound deadening to make the commute a bit more peaceful. I don’t think you’ll notice much difference in handling between the two in all honesty.

      I know a lot of people on here are bagging on the handling of these cars, but it’s not bad. There is some body roll, but it’s predictable and consistent – once you know what to expect you can react accordingly. Remember this platform actually has a decent pedigree coming from the Alfa Guilietta, so the basic bones are sound.

      I you have any questions, feel free to ask. I actually would have gotten another 200, but I’ve been wanting a Challenger for some time and the 2015 interior upgrade finally addressed the major issues I had with the car. The timing just worked out right to finally go for it and get one.

      • 0 avatar
        sportyaccordy

        This is encouraging. I saw your impressions earlier up in the comments. My *only* reservation about the complete lack of aftermarket suspension options. I know it seems silly and ricey but I have never kept a car at stock height, and I don’t plan to this go round. I’m weary about those coilovers. I would have to take it for a drive to really see.

  • avatar
    nels0300

    “That said, I’m laughing as I say this, but the pre-facelift Camry doesn’t look bad lowered with decent wheels.”

    In my biased opinion, the 2012-2014.5 Camry SE V6s are good looking from the factory, one of the best looking Toyota/Lexus vehicles in recent memory (I know, not saying much).

    You can find certified 2014 SE V6s with around 20K miles for around $20K all day long on auto trader.

    • 0 avatar
      gtemnykh

      I vastly prefer the ’15 refresh just for the interior center stack improvement, but I like the Japan Inc. look of the rear a lot as well. The C-pillar treatment? Not so much but I’ll live with it.

      • 0 avatar
        nels0300

        I could’ve bought either a 2014.5 or a 2015 brand new, and I got the 2014.5.

        I do like the interior better on the 2015, but I just couldn’t do the Cutlass Ciera C-pillar.

        • 0 avatar
          gtemnykh

          “Cutlass Ciera C-pillar.”

          Haha I just heard that description pioneered a few days ago by either you or someone else, and it’s the perfect descriptor.

          For me it’s interior every single time, since that’s where I sit and what I look at all the time.

          • 0 avatar
            CoreyDL

            By the way Gtem I have a special present for you.

            http://newyork.craigslist.org/brk/cto/5801457476.html

          • 0 avatar
            gtemnykh

            Hah! Awesome! Now that’s a mountain goat of a car right there.

            The post text is a bit Freudian though:
            “For inflammation #”

          • 0 avatar
            dal20402

            “For inflammation #”

            Inflammation is what I’d feel trying to get parts in the US.

          • 0 avatar
            gtemnykh

            dal it’d actually be pretty fitting to own a Soviet car in the US and have to experience the very familiar situation of having to track down unobtanium spares, as it was in a command economy back then. People who lived through that know of the concept “dostat” that is “to get.” Not “to find” or “to buy” but specifically “to get.” My dad’s friend got him motor oil for our old Zaporozhets by stealing it by the pailful from a construction site (oil was meant for Kamaz diesel trucks). Our battery (located in the front ‘trunk’ on our rear-engined ride) was from a T72 main battle tank, similarly ‘gotten’ from a military base. My dad gave that one back for fear of potential consequences.

          • 0 avatar
            dal20402

            That might be a bit more authenticity than your modern Internet-coddled owner is prepared for.

            I think we have a nice if a bit formal English equivalent of that Russian word in “acquire.”

          • 0 avatar
            CoreyDL

            In English you’d have to raise an eyebrow as you said it for the same effect.

            “I need to acquire…”

  • avatar

    I haven’t drive a v6 200 yet so I can’t say much on how they drive but really if I were looking for a sedan the deals out there would definitely have me taking a test drive.

  • avatar
    DaPlugg

    Where is the accord aftermarket? I have a j35y and have been struggling to find anything good

  • avatar
    nels0300

    Ooooh, I thought of another one.

    If you’re willing to go FCA, why not VW?

    I drove a GLI before I bought my Camry and thought it was fanstastic, but I’m scared of VW.

    The Jetta GLI back seat is pretty big and it will fit a rear facing child seat with a 5’11 driver at the wheel…..I know, I checked.

    Yes, it’s a 4 cylinder, but it sounds GOOD, almost old Audi 5 cylinder-ish.

    On paper, it might not be much faster than an Accord Sport, but it feels MUCH more powerful.

    Check it out.

    • 0 avatar
      sportyaccordy

      Peak VW was, is, and always shall be 4 door GTI. I will give one of those and a Focus ST a test drive for due diligence, but my heart is not in a hot hatch right now.

      • 0 avatar
        nels0300

        Not sure about the new MQB GTI, but the last gen GTI had a smaller back seat than the GLI and was a no-go for a rear facing child seat.

        • 0 avatar
          sportyaccordy

          New one is a good bit bigger in the back, but IDK if the rear facing infant seat will work.

          Strangely enough someone randomly left a rear facing infant seat at our house. Might be a convertible, IDK. Gonna see how it fits in the Civic tonight

          • 0 avatar
            Kyree S. Williams

            I don’t believe the seats in the GTI are different from those in my Golf SportWagen TDI SEL, which does fit a rear-facing infant seat behind the driver or passenger. The Golf SportWagen is no bigger in the cabin than the standard Golf / GTI; only the cargohold is larger.

            I would *always* test any potential ride, but in my experience, the Mk.7 Golf does fit a rear-facing car seat nicely.

    • 0 avatar
      gtemnykh

      “but it sounds GOOD, almost old Audi 5 cylinder-ish.”

      That’s the fake exhaust sounds you’re hearing, for what it’s worth. I thought the warble was so strange for a turbo I4, I went home after a test drive back in ’12 and looked it up online, that’s how I found out.

  • avatar
    28-Cars-Later

    Sportyaccordy keeps the Faith, may he be blessed by thy holy Torque, O Lord.

  • avatar
    28-Cars-Later

    I think I might go G37 over IS350, its a tough decision I’d have to do some extrapolations. Failing those, I’d probably roll the Accord Coupe, which is especially apt in your case.

  • avatar
    WRohrl

    Buy what you want, sounds like you want the 200. You’re a self-proclaimed “man of means” so who cares about resale. In any case you’ll be trading it in again within 9 months of having the first baby and realizing just how bad it sucks to heft Junior in and out of a low-slung backseat with low door frames and then somehow crouch in the back and do up his safety belts. Might as well just keep the Civic for now until you realize this.

    You will NOT able be able to discern the difference between a 13 and a 14 second 1/4 mile time without actually being at the dragstrip and seeing the big flashing lights.. You probably can’t even tell the difference between those and a 16 second time with any accuracy. What you will notice is the noise level. The loudest one will seem to be the fastest (to you).

    Anyway, after your back starts to ache from hefting the kid you’ll be writing Bark again and he can finally recommend what he somehow (First time ever?) was able to refrain from doing this time around: That being a Ford, in this case either a Flex, Escape, or an Explorer.

    Of course, this all depends on if that raise comes through. At this point you have NO realistic idea of how much of your previously “disposable” income will now be going towards diapers, wipes, cute outfits from BabyGap that get worn once, daycare as well as a million doctor co-pays for every sniffle (and this is all best case stuff).
    This is the time to hoard money, not to spend it on something that is barely more practical than the current ride.

    • 0 avatar
      sportyaccordy

      We live in a 2 car household. The car being automatic would enable my wife to drive it if for whatever reason I needed to take the kid somewhere on my way to work. Back seat would really be for emergencies only; her car (a crossover) will be the main family ride. I still want it to be usable for that purpose though.

      As for the rest, life is too short to be this miserable. Lighten up and stop crying.

  • avatar
    Carrera

    Yes, Bark is the voice of reason.

  • avatar
    burgersandbeer

    G37 is not what I think of when looking for a relaxing ride, though I guess everything is relative.

    How old and untrustworthy are we willing to go here? You could consider an ’08 550i m-sport with money left for repair. You might eventually turn up a stick shift, though I think most sellers ask too much for them.

    An E60 535i gives you slightly better odds of finding a manual.

    An M45 would also be something to consider that would probably reduce your time chatting with the mechanic’s cashier.

    Depreciated mid-size luxury sounds like a good match for what you are looking for, although I’m not clear on what your tolerance is for maintenance and repair.

  • avatar
    Lorenzo

    Small Car? Six cylinder engine? I hear there’s an AMC Pacer in good shape available…

  • avatar
    MPAVictoria

    What about a Buick Regal GS? Should be pretty easy to find a low mileage used example in your price range. Plus you could even, theoretically at least, get it with a manual.

  • avatar
    nels0300

    Man, the more I think about it, the more I’m thinking GLI or GTI.

    If you’re not scared of an orphaned FCA product with a less than well received, unproven 9 speed transmission, then taking the VW leap should be nothing.

    The new GTI is awesome.

    I know your “heart” isn’t feeling the “hot hatch”, but I can’t imagine driving a Chrysler 200 and a GTI or GLI and coming away preferring the 200.

    If I wasn’t such damn wuss, I’d have a GTI or GLI.

    • 0 avatar

      Big difference between FCA and VW.

      FCA Somewhat indifferent dealer $500 bill

      VW Outright hostile dealer $1,500 bill.

      At least that’s been my families experience.

      Although I do have a relative who managed to get a MKIV jetta 1.8T to 200k miles with surprisingly little repairs.

      • 0 avatar
        nels0300

        I don’t know, I have a co-worker that has put an ungodly amount of money into a not that old Chrysler Town & Country. All kinds of weird electrical problems, sensors, and it eats brakes.

        At least with a new GTI, you’re getting something for your potential troubles, a really good drive, and an Audi interior.

    • 0 avatar
      sportyaccordy

      I’ve had nothing but good luck with my wife’s Rabbit. One of the most reliable cars I’ve ever owned. But I would kind of rather not press my luck. Buddy of mine had a similar vintage GTI and it gave him nothing but problems. Still though, VW aside, it’s kind of the perfect car. And I was thoroughly smitten with the Golf TSI rental I had about a year ago. More torque, more engagement and a stickshift OR DSG sounds really tempting.

  • avatar
    75brick

    Long time lurker, first time poster on the site.

    The wife and I were shopping the mid-size segment a little over a year and a half ago when the transmission gave out on her 07 Impala. Due to my supplier discount, we were looking at the 200, Fusion, and Malibu. We test drove all three and liked the 200S the best. It is a good balance of features, performance, and price (even better now). It was actually the feel of driving it that sold us on it in the end though.

    The 200S suspension is plenty comfortable on Michigan roads year round. The AWD is a blast in S-mode which sends a lot of the power to the rear wheels. We currently have a toddler, and have had no issue getting him in and out of the back seat.

    I have found no issue with the 9-speed. After a couple weeks, the transmission control adjusted to our driving style and has been extremely smooth ever since. We have put 20,000 miles on the car without a single issue, not even a trim rattle.

    For reference, I currently drive a ’11 Fusion Sport, which I enjoy. However, given the choice between the two, I would take the 200S. I also have a modified ’95 Firebird and a ’75 Bricklin that I am rebuilding. Also, I am a dreaded millennial that owns two mid-size sedans…

    If you have any specific questions about the car, I’d be happy to answer.

    • 0 avatar
      gtemnykh

      Good input 75brick, nice to hear an owner’s feedback. I’m curious, how many miles were on the Impala?

      • 0 avatar
        75brick

        It was at about 117,000 miles, and was an LT trim with the 3.9L. I didn’t have the space (taken up by my Bricklin at the time) or the time to repair the car myself. That, coupled with the myriad other issues the car had, convinced me to sell it to a friend who would use it for parts for his other W-bodies. If I remember correctly, he ended up moving the drivetrain from one of his other ones to the one I sold him because the body was in better shape.

        • 0 avatar
          gtemnykh

          Ouch, less than encouraging. What all else was going wrong, if it’s not a secret?

          • 0 avatar
            75brick

            It was one of those times when a lot of little things go wrong so it was hard to keep up with. Wall of text inbound…

            I was replacing the actuator for the heat control almost once per year (the teeth kept getting chewed off the little plastic gear). I replaced the water pump at 95,000 miles. The harness on the power mirrors with defrost burned up, so I had to replace those. I had to replace the motor for the power seat, which was critical because I am 5’11” and my wife is 5′. The window actuator died in the passenger door. The rear defrost stopped working because the pin in the harness connector burned up. It developed a nasty oil leak through the gasket between the oil filter neck and the block (which is not easy to get to btw). Finally, the cylinder deactivation was starting to act up and throw various engine codes that would turn off on their own (typically something to do with the engine running rich).

            When the transmission gave out, I was pretty much through with the car. I spent more time trying to keep it serviceable than I did on working on the two cars I enjoy working on.

          • 0 avatar
            gtemnykh

            Thanks for breaking things down for me. Yes I’ve heard less than favorable things about the W-body’s door lock actuators and HVAC control, as well as issues with AFM on the 3.9L, and transmission woes as well.

            Classic GM where it’s death by a thousand cuts, unfortunately the end came by way of a major repair on top of all the little things.

          • 0 avatar
            75brick

            Exactly, I found while repairing some of the electrical issues, such as the rear defrost, that GM could have avoided the issue by using thicker gauged wires. Seems to be a recurring issue with GM, seeing as the solution to the window regulator issues in my Firebird was thicker wires.

  • avatar
    danio3834

    The 200S is a good value. I wouldn’t worry about the transmission much, they don’t really have mechanical failures, the complaints were about the drivability which has been dramatically improved through software over the last few years. If the vehicle in question is up to date on it’s flashes, it’ll probably drive just fine.

    As for people dissing ride/handling of the 200S versus the segment, I’ve driven all of them and it doesn’t give up much if anything. If you’re comparing a 200LX to a sport model whatever, then there will obviously be a difference. As far as interior quality goes, most other cars in the segment are notably worse save for luxury models. Again, base LX to a full pop? The S and C have nice appointments, especially the C.

    • 0 avatar
      Wheeljack

      This.

      And if you’re worried about reliability, with all the money you saved you can buy a lifetime Mopar extended warranty.

    • 0 avatar
      geozinger

      I was following this thread yesterday and wanted to respond. The 200S is on my list to replace my wife’s car, I’d love one of these with the AWD and Pentastar V6. We’re empty nesters with the occasional need to transport people around town (out to dinner or sporting event), this car should be just fine for that.

      The other thing that comes to mind about the 9 speed tranny is that everyone’s opinion is stuck in late 2014; there’s been updates to the trans programming since then. No one ever p!sses and moans immediately about the same trans in Acura when that car is mentioned.

      I’d say go for the 200S, but keep it stock. I think the performance envelope on the higher optioned versions are far more than one would need for commuting duties.

    • 0 avatar
      75brick

      We purchased a 200S to replace my wife’s car, and I completely agree on the value proposition. Also, we both like the Pentastar motor better than the 2.0T in the Fusion.

  • avatar
    JohnTaurus_3.0_AX4N

    Man, I believe you will be happiest in a Honda Accord V-6. I hear they’re sporty. Lol, I kid, but I am serious about the Accord. Even if you go with an automatic. I would seriously consider a coupe, but that’s on you.

    Good luck with what you decide!

  • avatar
    Silver Bullet

    Why the need for speed in a commuter — especially with children? We drive a 300, with the 3.6, and the biggest challenge is staying under the radar. The eight speed performs heavenly. Zero repairs.

    • 0 avatar
      nels0300

      I know he says no “big” cars, I don’t like big cars either, but if I were considering a Chrysler sedan, it’d be 300 for sure.

      Had a new 300 with the 3.6 as a rental and it was REALLY nice. Not that sporty, but neither is the 200, and the 300 rides beautifully and feels solid. Good looking, big, RWD, “American” sedan, if I lived in the south with no winter, I’d look at it for sure.

  • avatar
    Maymar

    Probably not what you’re looking for, but Volvo S60? Good seats, straight six, and it’s a little unique, but a bit lower in the excitement department (unless you, like me, find those Prancing Moose stickers exciting). There’s a bit of aftermarket support as well, through IPD. Looking in NC (I seem to remember you saying you’re there), there’s even a couple R-Designs in the low 20s, under 60k miles.

  • avatar

    GTI, my man.

    Or at least try an Accord V6, and look for rims.

  • avatar
    amancuso

    Due to the amount of VW hate here, I’m not surprised you forgot to mention the 0-60 of the V6 Passat which offers the most interior room despite it’s size compared to the other cars. It’s 0-60 is 5.7 seconds compared to 5.8 of the Toyota Camry.

  • avatar
    Pch101

    The problem is that your budget doesn’t match your tastes.

    I would suggest that you learn to live with the Civic until your tastes or budget change.

    • 0 avatar
      sportyaccordy

      Please elaborate….

      I have never bought a new car. I do all my own maintenance and am mechanically/diagnostically savvy (I am an engineer). I could (but won’t) buy this car cash and be OK. What are you talking about?

      • 0 avatar
        Pch101

        “$20k” and “late-model 3-series” don’t belong in the same sentence unless “I own a repair shop” or “I am dating a mechanic” are also included.

        You want luxury cars for non-luxury car money. It seems that you’ve defaulted to the 200 because it’s the only cheap new 6-banger on the market, yet that is ultimately a compromise that you are reluctant to make.

        So save your money and learn to live with the Civic.

        • 0 avatar
          sportyaccordy

          Ehhh, I’m not going to take a $20-30K depreciation hit to appease the baseless financial assumptions of some random guy on the internet. A 3-5 year old VQ equipped car (if you bothered to read the comments you’d see I’m between the 200C and a G37) easily has another 5-10 years in it. I know because I and people I know have owned dozens. Take your advice trolling and stuff it. If I wanted a wannabe Dave Ramsey they’re not hard to find.

          • 0 avatar
            Pch101

            You should grow up and learn that someone who disagrees with you isn’t trolling, particularly when that someone is trying to do you a favor (although I can see now that you aren’t worth the bother). Buying a $20k 335 could be a painful and costly mistake, so don’t whine about it if you do and it doesn’t work out.

          • 0 avatar
            sportyaccordy

            I welcome productive disagreements. It’s the baseless accusations, pissy tone and assumptions about my finances I find annoying.

          • 0 avatar
            Pch101

            You’re the one who claimed to have a $20k budget. I was working within your budget.

            But whatever, go buy what you want. I don’t honestly care that much, and I certainly care less now than I did before.

        • 0 avatar

          Seems a bit harsh he wants to spend 20K and he is mechanically able or has cash for repairs really no big deal. I daily drive a 15 year old Luxury car (2001 XC70) I paid $3500 bucks for if you know what your doing go for it. Really if I had 20K to spend I would do the same thing.

        • 0 avatar
          ajla

          Someone has owned too many German cars.

          A G37 is closer to a non-crappy Maxima than a “luxury car”.

    • 0 avatar
      Dingleberrypiez_Returns

      What a rude and baseless comment from Pch101.

  • avatar
    Snavehtrebor

    Low-mile off-lease CPO 335i with some factory warranty left for your peace of mind. It took me 6 months, but I found a manual coupe with only 19,000 miles. Sport exhaust, enough power to get in trouble, and fit and finish that I believe exceeds the others on the list (yes, I’ve driven the G and the IS). I see everyone hammering BMW for reliability/repair expense but (so far) my N55 has been trouble-free, and delivered 24 mpg on average.

  • avatar
    sportyaccordy

    200C is still cool but I’m digging more into the Camry V6… it’s intriguing. All the FWD V6 transmissions are interchangeable and have the same 1-6 ratios, but different final drives. So a shorter FD is a quick easy swap away (if the ECU doesn’t mind). Aftermarket is surprisingly decent. And I can stomach the looks of the 2007-2014 in SE + lip kit + lowered garb

    • 0 avatar
      gtemnykh

      V6 Camry is a solid choice IMO. Not exciting, but very competent, does all the practical things very well (passenger and trunk room, comfort, mpg, resale). The 2GR V6 is a gem and still relevant more than a decade after its release with only minor revisions. The problem is resale on the used cars, and just how few of the cars sold are V6s.

      http://www.cars.com/vehicledetail/detail/677726573/overview/
      Here’s a nice one in your price range, although maybe your sporty bent is more XSE territory.

  • avatar
    DougD

    Advice from PE: Heck, why not test out a 200 if it’s interesting? Rent one for a week and test out the commute. If it’s going to work for a while do it and scale back the enthusiast for a couple of years. You’re about to be busy in ways you never dreamed of. Then when things settle down once the kid(s) are in school you can ramp up the fun. And if the 200 grates on you after a couple of years, PE can probably take the depreciation hit.

    Don’t mod a 200, the other engineers will snicker.

  • avatar
    maxxcool7421

    Take the 335 OFF the list… *UNLESS* it is a 335D. The gasser version that you will afford will likely have been raced at some point, and is subject to the walnut shell BS that you will pay out of pocket for every 40k miles. top that off with the fact that you will also endure other older 335 electrical charms you will spend MUCH more money over time for a 335-gasser.

    the only 335 I would buy would be the diesel. with tuning it’s beastly (but not race car beastly.) and will get stupid good millage.

    The is350 and the g37s are good.. but not great gas cars. but they will NOT suffer intake ‘coking’ that any other DI v6 will suffer. So buy them instead.

  • avatar
    cirats

    To SportyAccordy: I just bought a car to replace my 2008 G35s sedan w/6MT, Nav, Bluetooth, etc. (which I still have). It’s not a G37, but it has only 68k on it, has been bulletproof reliable, and would be so far within your budget you’d have plenty of room leftover for mods. It is bone stock right now. You may not still be checking replies on this so I may try to find another post of yours on a more recent topic to reply to.

  • avatar
    Grenade

    I made the same decision recently, and chose a 2012 G37S.

    http://i715.photobucket.com/albums/ww158/bhs729277/IMG_0179.jpg

    Manual of course. I had to drive a couple hours away to find one, and I didn’t get to choose the color (’twas as red as the one Jon Snow drives in the commercials for the new cooopay) but I Love the car and Love it more every time I get in it to drive anywhere. I constantly get compliments on it. It stops, turns, and scoots like nothing I’ve driven before. Plus my two rug rats fit inside just fine.

    Make sure you get a manual S model. You’ll get a true LSD rear, huge Akebono brakes, sport seats, and a slightly different fascia and trunk lid.

    Downsides, it doesn’t have a decent cupholder, and the clutch take up is abrupt, but OH em GEE does that V6 sing the song of my people.

    As a 39 year old IT professional, I think it fits in the parking lot at work much better, yet has subtle undertones of a a true performance car.

    • 0 avatar
      cirats

      Funny – almost the same exact situation as me 6 years ago when I bought my G35s. 39 year old professional, looking for something genuinely sporty with a manual that would hold my kids and not look out of place at the office. After 6 years was basically looking for more of the same and just bought a 2014 Audi S4. Hopefully it will be as reliable! Problem now is finding the right buyer for the G35s – there just aren’t as many enthusiasts out there as you’d think or as there should be.

  • avatar
    sportyaccordy

    I did the right thing and got a G37S this weekend.

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