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#1 of 20 Old 01-20-2011, 06:58 PM - Thread Starter
 
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We have finally decided to sell our 2004 Nissan Murano. We still owe $12,000, but we can get that on a trade in or selling it outright. We are doing the Dave Ramsey thing and have concluded that this vehicle is not the best choice for getting out of debt and being a long-term vehicle. We still have 3 years left to pay on it and we want something that has 1-2 years of payments (no money saved up to purchase a different car outright). The cost of maintenance is not economical either. The tires are very large and expensive on this vehicle, 15-17 mpg in town, and because it's so heavy it goes through a lot of wheel bearings and breaks. Not cheap to fix. So, here is what I am wanting. An older vehicle (1999-2002) that costs us no more than $8,000. My preferences would be (although haven't test driven yet):

 

Volkswagon Passat or Jetta Wagon

Subaru Outback or Forester

Volvo V70 or V40

 

I have a 6 year old daughter so I am definitely concerned about safety. I want something solid. I also want something that is going to last me forever, like 200,000-300,000 miles.

 

We have been talking to a local small dealership that called us today to tell us about a vehicle that he thought would be perfect, although I would have never considered it before. It is a 1998 Infinity QX4, which is an SUV. It has 115,000 miles on it and he is asking $7,000 for it. We test drove it today and it was immaculate. It totally looked new. It had only one owner. BUT, the gas mileage is not good, around 15-16 mpg. Yet, it meets all of our other criteria: less debt, going from a $12,000 loan to a $7,000 loan, and it would potentially be less maintenance, and according to my research it will drive forever because it's an Infinity.

 

Ok, so I need your feedback. What should I do? Skip the Infinity? Do I test drive the Volkswagon, Subaru or the Volvo, which I am well aware that the cost of repairs can be sky high. That is why I would find one that is one owner that has taken care of the vehicle.

 

~sigh~ This car buying business stresses me out!!!dizzy.gif

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#2 of 20 Old 01-20-2011, 08:22 PM
 
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I'd skip the Infiniti. I had a 2006 Infinit that we purchased new and I loved it but maintenance and upkeep was so expensive. We ended up selling it and bought a *drumroll* 2005 Nissan Murano. Maintenance and upkeep is far cheaper on the Nissan. Tires on the QX4 will probably be more expensive than the Murano, as well.
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#3 of 20 Old 01-20-2011, 09:40 PM
 
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I'm a big VW fan because they're just so awesome to drive and last forever and it seems you can always find older ones cheap that are in good condition.

 

While the infinity is at your doorstep now, I'm not sure that's the change you need (doesn't seem all that different from where you are). It's still at the upper limit of what you want to spend. If you just need to get through the next couple of years I'd try your luck with more of a $2,000- $3,000 car...that's $4,000 less you'll have to pay back later.


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#4 of 20 Old 01-20-2011, 09:57 PM
 
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Have you thought about a Honda Accord? Its the textbook car for longevity and also gets great gas mileage. We drove our last (94) Accord to about 250K and still managed to sell it for $1000. We now have a 96 Accord with about 70K that we figure we will have forever (or until I sell it LOL since we never use it. I love my Honda Element more). Anyways they are great cars.
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#5 of 20 Old 01-20-2011, 10:47 PM
 
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We bought a used Forester, 8 years old and it is the BEST family car I've owned.  Good mpg, great room for packing up the family on road trips, just right and runs great.  I'd keep your eye out for one of those if you can :) I do not think the car the dealiership is offering you is the best idea. 

 

 


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#6 of 20 Old 01-21-2011, 05:58 AM
 
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I don't see how the Infiniti is an improvement. Yes, it's $5,000 less, but it's also 6 years older. Maintenance won't be cheap, and at 115K miles, it will start to need maintenance.


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#7 of 20 Old 01-21-2011, 10:57 AM
 
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The infinity doesn't sound like a good deal to me. That's a lot of money for a car with so many miles on it even if it's in great condition otherwise.

Is there a reason you need a bigger car? Could you get something compact? We have a Mazda 3 which fits two young children and all the gear and stuff we need for them just fine. It's a very safe car and we get about 27-30 mpg. That's double what the SUV is going to get you. 


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#8 of 20 Old 01-21-2011, 12:27 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I have been looking and looking for a Subaru (since several people told me these are really good) and I can't find one that is in good shape for around $8,000. I am being told that it's very hard to find Subaru's that are used because people hold on to them. The ones I am finding have 120,000+ miles on them and are still expensive. Now I'm wondering if I shouldn't just raise the amount of money I want to spend to get into a car that will last me forever. I believe the Subaru would be more economical (much better gas mileage) than my Murano and would probably outlast it. Is it smart to go ahead and spend 15,000 on a newer Subaru, even though it's defeating the purpose of getting out of debt quicker. Thoughts???

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#9 of 20 Old 01-21-2011, 07:00 PM
 
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It sounds like you may have already passed on the idea of getting a Volvo, but I came in here to say this-  Volvos are good, safe, dependable cars, but VERY expensive for maintenance and repairs.  Also, they only use premium gas. 

 

Oh, and another thing I just thought of because you mentioned the expense of buying tires.  I don't know if your current car is 4WD/ AWD, but I know most Subarus and Volvos are- you can't just replace one tire, you have to buy 4 at a time.  Saving up for that right now with my Jeep, eek.

 

Just thought I'd throw that out there for you, good luck with whatever you choose!


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#10 of 20 Old 01-22-2011, 09:01 AM
 
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I just wanted to throw out my opinion on Volvos.  I have one and it's not any more expensive to maintain than our Toyota Camry.  It's also not 4 wheel drive.  Mine is a '94 sedan and I haven't had to do anything to it except change the fluids for years (except I think I had the belts replaced maybe 2 years ago).  And it has 180,000 miles on it.  My dad drives an '82 Volvo.  My mechanic has a 240 with over 400,000 miles on it.  Of course, he's a mechanic!

 

I feel less enthusiastic about newer models, though. 

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#11 of 20 Old 01-23-2011, 05:26 PM
 
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No matter what you buy, have a trusted mechanic look it over before you buy it. 

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#12 of 20 Old 01-23-2011, 06:45 PM
 
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Well I'm not sure how much I can contribute here since I know next to nothing about the cars you mentioned. I'm going to throw off the whole thread with a different opinion. I tend to stick to all american cars Chrysler or GM because I don't care for Ford, specifically Dodge, Jeep, Chevy or GMC here. Hubby knows how to do all the work to these and the parts are generally cheap and readily available for maintenance. We don't do Ford because they are notorious for needing specialty dealer parts to be replaced with specialty tools. I have always heard good things though about Honda, Nissan, and Toyota for lasting forever and having generally good gas mileage depending on the model. I personally wouldn't mess with anything else. 


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#13 of 20 Old 01-23-2011, 06:51 PM
 
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Passats also require premium gas. We had one(a wagon, an 04 I think). Those are expensive to maintain and repair as well. 

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#14 of 20 Old 01-23-2011, 06:52 PM
 
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*deleted* accidental double post :)


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#15 of 20 Old 01-24-2011, 04:51 AM
 
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Originally Posted by RooRooDog View Post

It sounds like you may have already passed on the idea of getting a Volvo, but I came in here to say this-  Volvos are good, safe, dependable cars, but VERY expensive for maintenance and repairs.  Also, they only use premium gas. 

 

Oh, and another thing I just thought of because you mentioned the expense of buying tires.  I don't know if your current car is 4WD/ AWD, but I know most Subarus and Volvos are- you can't just replace one tire, you have to buy 4 at a time.  Saving up for that right now with my Jeep, eek.

 

Just thought I'd throw that out there for you, good luck with whatever you choose!

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by SubliminalDarkness View Post

Passats also require premium gas. We had one(a wagon, an 04 I think). Those are expensive to maintain and repair as well.

 

I had 2 Subaru's (04 WRX, 06 Tribeca) They both required Premium gas also.  I would assume the Forester and Outback suggest it too.  The repairs were really expensive (tires and whatnot) Luckily most of the repairs that they needed were still covered under warranty because we bought new.  But even the regular maintenance was really expensive (probably would have been cheaper if we went to a mechanic, not the dealership though)  Unfortunately, we kept growing out of the cars because our family was expanding so I don't know how they would have held up long term.

 

 

 

I think if you're really looking to save money I'd downsize from the suv/crossover to more of a mainstream a sedan type car.  They're still solid :)  You'll pay less initially, spend less on gas, and it will be cheaper to maintain since you'll have more option on parts/mechanics.  Some may even last the 200,000-300,000 miles you're looking for, I think that's partly luck and being really diligent about keeping up with the maintenance.  It seems like the cars your looking at now do have a reputation for lasting a long time, which is awesome...  But you may not be so lucky and may end up with a car that needs a lot of work down the road and because of the type of vehicle it is, it could end up costing way more than expected to repair.  I also think because of the car brands you're looking at you're going to end up getting an older model with more miles on it because you're looking to save on the purchase price and because all 3 of those car brands tend to hold their value more than other brands the prices are going to be generally higher even on the older model cars with already high miles on them.  I think you could find a newer used car (probably even newer than '02) with less miles on it that will still last the time you're looking for if you change the search criteria.

 

Good luck, and I hope you find a new car you love :)

 

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#16 of 20 Old 01-24-2011, 05:26 AM
 
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I'm super short on time, so have to admit to only skimming all the responses, but want to encourage you to look at the Matrix.  I was a long time Subaru driver (we need 4WD here) and it was hard for me to make the plunge, but we bought a 2006 Matrix new in 05.  It cost us 16 grand off the lot.  I have no idea what a used one would run...  please note they make AWD and standard front wheel drive in this model.

 

Suffice it to say, we get 33 MPG and have had ZERO repairs needed.  Tires are nominal.  Fantastic family car, small compact in many way, but at the same time you can lug ll your stuff and also use like a truck bed if no kids are in the back- all seats fold flat so ladders, etc fit in easily.  Versatile, economical, fuel efficient, great records of repair.

 

The VIBE is the exact same car mind you...

 

SIL found hers on ebay for CHEAP!!! and loves it as well.

 

HTH


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#17 of 20 Old 01-24-2011, 06:20 AM
 
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Not sure if this is helpful, but we have an older (96) Volvo that we really love.  It's got a lot of miles on it, but it also has a lot of life left.  Regular gas, decent gas mileage (my dh commutes in it, and it gets upwards of 23ish mpg), and it's just a comfortable, zippy car to drive.  And it's a wagon, so not especially small.

 

We do have a good, trusted Volvo mechanic, which helps, but the cost of maintainence isn't any higher on the Volvo than for our 2003 Suburban.

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#18 of 20 Old 01-24-2011, 07:46 AM
 
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Originally Posted by eirual View Post

I'm a big VW fan because they're just so awesome to drive and last forever and it seems you can always find older ones cheap that are in good condition.


I will second this.  We have a 99 Passat (it's a sedan though, not a wagon) and it's an awesome car.  We've had it since 2004, we use regular gas, take it to a regular mechanic (not a dealership), have found both parts and cost of repairs to be easily accessible and reasonably priced.  And goodness the things we can fit in this car!  We've moved our dining room table in the backseat and can get an 8-9 foot Xmas tree in with the trunk closed.  I joke that it's a little car on the outside but big on the inside. ;)  We are looking at a hybrid for our next car, but a Jetta or Passat wagon was next on our list.  I would consider a Volvo also, though I believe they are more expensive to buy.

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#19 of 20 Old 01-24-2011, 08:51 AM
 
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I had no idea I was supposed to be putting premium gas in my Subaru.  Ooops.  It has 234,000 miles on it, so I guess it has ran okay on regular.  DH only puts premium in his Nissan, though I don't know if that's required (it's a pathfinder).  I had a volvo that also was still running with a lot of miles, so I'd recommend either of those brands.  I'd stay away from the Infinity, personally.  No experience with VW, but it seems like a lot of people love theirs. 

 

I'm also looking to buy another used vehicle, so it's good to read everyone's responses. 


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#20 of 20 Old 01-25-2011, 07:52 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Well, we test drove a 2005 Subaru Outback and I fell in love with it. The problem is that we can't get enough on a trade in for our Murano, so we have decided to pay down our Murano another $2,000 and then start looking again for an Outback. I was so disappointed when I couldn't get that one but at least I decided what vehicle I want. Thanks for all the advice!

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