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Car Shopping - cellophane
the story of an invisible girl
Car Shopping
Should I buy this car? It's a 2001 model, with all the bells and whistles possible I believe. Under 50000 miles.

Or I am thinking about a 2007 ION Quad Coupe. I've wanted one of those for years. Huge storage capacity for such a small car. Free onstar for a year. Cool backdoors.

Also in the running is Ford Focus 3 door. Nice, comfy, has heated seats and mirrors.


read 45 comments | talk to me!
aiela From: aiela Date: January 23rd, 2007 12:09 am (UTC) (Link)
Promise to get it painted? :P
renniekins From: renniekins Date: January 23rd, 2007 12:28 am (UTC) (Link)
Really? :(

I think yellow would be a fun color. Plus, easy to spot on the road, which might possibly mean less people running into me....
aiela From: aiela Date: January 23rd, 2007 01:47 am (UTC) (Link)
Maybe it's my monitor, but that picture make it look day-glo green
johnridley From: johnridley Date: January 23rd, 2007 02:07 am (UTC) (Link)
That's what it looks like on my monitor too. I wouldn't touch it, it's cool! Heck, if I was getting a car painted, I might go for that.

I've always liked bugs. I used to own a '73. Plus they get great mileage.
renniekins From: renniekins Date: January 23rd, 2007 02:44 am (UTC) (Link)
No, it's just a cheery yellow. Of course, that picture was taken with my treo-phone, at nighttime, under gas station lights. So perhaps not the best photo quality.

Maybe this stock picture is better?
aiela From: aiela Date: January 23rd, 2007 03:15 am (UTC) (Link)
Oh yes, that's much better. Dave and I are relieved.
jeffreyab From: jeffreyab Date: January 23rd, 2007 12:16 am (UTC) (Link)
The Beetle seem to have the same reliability problems as the VW Golf, check with MJO about how he has done with his, although its hard to check and see what a previous owner has already fixed on it.

Lemonaid also does not like the reliability of the Ford Focus.
Car and Driver although has put it in their Ten Best Cars for 2007, they do not like the 2008 though:


Here is the most recent review of the ION:


It is nicer than the Lemonaid review which rates it below average.
johnridley From: johnridley Date: January 23rd, 2007 02:10 am (UTC) (Link)
Are these reliability problems with the Focus historic or recent? I understand they had some serious issues the first few years, but I thought they'd pretty much fixed that.

The one thing they apparently haven't fixed is for some reason Ford uses a crappy DP sensor in the EGR system on their smaller cars that fails regularly. A friend with a Focus says he goes through them like candy; he's on his 4th one in 5 years. On their larger cars they use a more sturdy model.

You'd think they'd fix the stupid thing since it seems everyone knows about this problem. But they're pretty cheap ($40 or so) and easy to replace (10 minutes with a ratchet and a pair of pliers), and the dealers need something to do I guess.
jeffreyab From: jeffreyab Date: January 23rd, 2007 03:41 am (UTC) (Link)
That problem you describe could be part of the reason they are marked down.

Lemonaid tends to mark you down until your model has had a few trouble free years. Also it may bot be all versions of your model. Forinstance they marked down the Honda Accord because the 6 cylinder version had problems with out saying that the 4 cylinder did not have the same problems.
cannibal From: cannibal Date: January 23rd, 2007 05:16 am (UTC) (Link)
Oh, I thought the 2008 Focus was the european one... the european one totally rocks, some friend of Rennie's had a German one, and I drove it, but we may not be bringing that over here until later.

I still want her to get a Fusion, it gets top Consumer Reports quality numbers, which is something we really wanted, nobody can buy that with ads (unlike car&driver). Or a Volvo, also tops in quality & safety. Actually, the insurance company fatality numbers (I used to know where to find them on the web, but she can ask at work) are a lot more important than any magazine review.
specialagentm From: specialagentm Date: January 23rd, 2007 12:41 am (UTC) (Link)
The ION coupe is definitely something I looked at when car shopping. I really liked that car, I came very close to getting it, and I know many happy Saturn owners.

My sister and brother both got the Focus when their leases ran out a few months ago. They were touting it over the weekend when I saw them, so there's at least two votes for it :-).
jer_ From: jer_ Date: January 23rd, 2007 12:49 am (UTC) (Link)
I loved my Saturn, and if I can possibly manage it, I will get one when next I buy a car... but that's because I can't afford a Beetle! (Oh, and I'm a guy, but mostly the afford thingie)

So one vote for the yellow Beetle over here!
jenx From: jenx Date: January 23rd, 2007 01:02 am (UTC) (Link)
Am I the only person who had not one, but TWO unhappy Saturns? I had a '95 that threw a rod bearing, and my 2000 started burning oil last year, so I replaced it.
jer_ From: jer_ Date: January 23rd, 2007 01:10 am (UTC) (Link)
Ahh, mine did ultimately start burning oil... after about 150,000 miles. It wasn't a big burn, and I considered it a pretty good trade-off overall. I have heard a small handfull of horror stories though. :)
jenx From: jenx Date: January 23rd, 2007 01:11 am (UTC) (Link)
Mine did it at about 70K. I was irritated. Now I have a MINI.
jer_ From: jer_ Date: January 23rd, 2007 01:18 am (UTC) (Link)
Oooh, another fun car that I can't afford! :P hehe
jenx From: jenx Date: January 23rd, 2007 01:22 am (UTC) (Link)
Waitaminnit - did you take my picture as I was pouring beer in Consuite this weekend?
jer_ From: jer_ Date: January 23rd, 2007 01:29 am (UTC) (Link)
Ummm, possibly... any pictures I took were on my camera phone, so if some bearded dude took your picture with a camera phone... it mighta been me :)
jenx From: jenx Date: January 23rd, 2007 01:32 am (UTC) (Link)
You are now describing 3/4 of the males at Con . . . were you dressed as a pirate on Saturday night? I just remember being really busy and sweaty and a flash went off and I sighed internally as I knew I was lookin' rough.
jer_ From: jer_ Date: January 23rd, 2007 01:35 am (UTC) (Link)
Hehe, nope, definitely not me then... I was un-costumed ... this time...
jenx From: jenx Date: January 23rd, 2007 01:38 am (UTC) (Link)
Dammit. Now I have to start over . . .
shadowriderhope From: shadowriderhope Date: January 23rd, 2007 03:31 am (UTC) (Link)
My '94 SC1 has been (mostly) good to me - she's now over 198K miles and still *knock wood* going strong. She has the typical geriatric 'oil consumption' (I love that expression, it makes them sound like sensitive Victorian ladies) problem, which means that I check the oil whenever I fill up with gas and usually add a quart of oil every other gas tank.

But it's been my favorite car so far... of course, compared to my previous cars, this one is a luxury mobile. ;)

jenx From: jenx Date: January 23rd, 2007 01:00 am (UTC) (Link)
I was really disappointed in the quality of the Saturn ION I drove. Maybe it was just the price point, but it seemed cheap and smarmy.

C loves his Beetle.

Are you interested in driving the MINI, just for comparison?
hannunvaakuna From: hannunvaakuna Date: January 23rd, 2007 02:25 am (UTC) (Link)
Beetle? sure. six year old Beetle? not unless you have a really good relationship with a mechanic. [ahhhh, how i miss Pro Auto sometimes!]

good luck making a decision (:

renniekins From: renniekins Date: January 23rd, 2007 02:54 am (UTC) (Link)
Yeah, six years old... but under 50k miles! My 2003 had 47k when it died. Also, it was driven in West Virginia mostly, by a little old lady. No really! Okay I don't know if she was little, but she was definitely a grandmother-age. The guy is selling the car for his mother-in-law. I'm not sure...but it's CUTE!

I miss Professional also. ):

I hate decisions! But I'll be figuring it out soon.
jeffreyab From: jeffreyab Date: January 23rd, 2007 03:48 am (UTC) (Link)
If you are buying it off a lot get a AAA mechanic to look it over for you.

You can also search the cars history to find out if it has been in an accident for instance. Here:


The Beetle looks cool and I like yellow too, but I would buy a new one to get the three good years about 60,000 km of mileage.
From: numignost Date: January 23rd, 2007 02:31 am (UTC) (Link)
We have a 2001 Golf, which did need a cylinder job recently but has otherwise been reliable. My father in law has a 2004 Beetle which I also drive; it's a lot of fun once you get used to not being able to see your own hood. The ESP adaptive anti-lock braking works quite well in the snow -- not sure what year they added that.
renniekins From: renniekins Date: January 23rd, 2007 02:58 am (UTC) (Link)
How many miles on your Golf?

Cool, thanks for the input.
From: numignost Date: January 23rd, 2007 08:05 pm (UTC) (Link)
The Golf has 80,000 miles. Our particular production run had some engine problems -- other people leaked lots of oil and got their cylinder jobs for free, but ours was borderline enough that we had to pay for it. But even counting that, the maintenance has been reasonable over the years.
bunjamin From: bunjamin Date: January 23rd, 2007 02:51 am (UTC) (Link)
Can i ask .. why the focus on 2 door vehicles?
renniekins From: renniekins Date: January 23rd, 2007 02:57 am (UTC) (Link)
I like small(er) cars. I'm a small person, and I'm usually driving by myself. It seems silly to surround myself with enough machine for a family of five, when it's just me... plus, they are cheaper (or you can get more options for the same price), they tend to get better mileage, and I think they are generally better for the environment.
bunjamin From: bunjamin Date: January 23rd, 2007 03:26 am (UTC) (Link)
mmk :)
susmadel From: susmadel Date: January 23rd, 2007 03:05 am (UTC) (Link)
OK. I have to root for the Ford, cause well, I work for them. Just make sure that you have any used car checked out for things like rust and stuff. I wouldn't even know what to look for, but do you know someone that knows loads about that stuff? New cars are nice too, but then you have to worry about them all the time.

Take your time. I know you will find something you really like.
thatguychuck From: thatguychuck Date: January 23rd, 2007 04:47 am (UTC) (Link)
I like the beetle. :)

(Ok, I'm totally biased. It's really cute and befitting you. I can't think of a cuter/better/neater car with you in mind.)
cannibal From: cannibal Date: January 23rd, 2007 05:39 am (UTC) (Link)
I disagree, the new beetle was cute in the late 90's, when Yan and Mike got them, but someone said they're tired of it now, the old classic beetle looks better.

I can think of lots of cuter cars... the new Saturn Sky / Pontiac Solstice, though it is too small and I want to see her in something safer... the MazdaSpeed3, the new Miata MX-5 with the retractable hardtop, the RX-8... and that's just new cars. The Austin Healey Bug-eyed Sprite, the Ford Anglia, the MGA MarkII 1600, the Fiat Spyder, the Sunbeam Alpine... and overseas the StreetKa and my Microsport.

Of course, if you just want the cutest thing ever, you can take a Focus and put an incredibly cute paint job on it... Susan wants a Speed3 with a Hello Kitty paint job, I know it.
hannunvaakuna From: hannunvaakuna Date: January 23rd, 2007 06:16 pm (UTC) (Link)
i'm with you on the safer is better than cute. i know renniekins wants a small car, as she's a small person. it makes sense. BUT... if it's *too* small it *won't* protect her like the Cavalier has, twice. and that's scary to me.

i've personally had enough harrowing incidents/accidents in various vehicles, either as the driver or a passenger that i personally won't go smaller than something like the Fusion (though after the auto show, i'm in LOVE LOVE LOVE with the Volvo C30 that will be out here in the US this fall!). i don't think i'd ever go larger than the Ford Escape, either.
cannibal From: cannibal Date: January 23rd, 2007 09:43 pm (UTC) (Link)
Yeah, I'm very very concerned about that. Maybe I should let her have my Escape, it is small and cute, gets great gas mileage, drives like a normal car... and if I paint Kermit the Frog on the back of it like I've been wanting to, it'll be even *CUTER*.

If you read those Insurance Institute for Highway Safety reports, they say that despite the fact that a small car may get decent government crash test results, "overall crashes involving mini cars are twice as likely to result in death compared to midsize and large cars. This surely falls in line with the laws of physics... the smaller a car is, the less safe it is statistically". Inertia, crumple zones, etc. http://www.iihs.org/

When I was 16, I was riding in the front passenger seat of a Pinto when a drunk came across the center line and hit us head on with an Oldsmobile. The Olds was deflected slightly and ran into a ditch, but was still driveable. The Pinto spun around backwards three times and was totalled, and all of us had some injuries... it is just surprising that nobody was killed. I was wearing my seatbelt or I would have been dead... because of the greater inertia, bigger, heavier car, none of the drunks in the Olds was even hurt.
radiantsoul From: radiantsoul Date: January 23rd, 2007 11:07 am (UTC) (Link)
Looks pretty good.
netmouse From: netmouse Date: January 23rd, 2007 11:55 am (UTC) (Link)
When I bought my VW Jetta I was deciding between it and a Beetle, and I still find myself wistfully watching a Beetle go by from time to time. I really like the look of them. I also like my Jetta, of course.

I think the color on that one quite suits you. :)

good luck deciding!
jebra From: jebra Date: January 23rd, 2007 12:29 pm (UTC) (Link)
Beetles are very Jebra-friendly. And MJO-friendly. They have amazing amounts of headroom, due to the nice, arching roof.

In other words, "Yes."
pi3832 From: pi3832 Date: January 23rd, 2007 01:47 pm (UTC) (Link)
Very cute. I think you'd enjoy "all the bells and whistles."

Talk to a mechanic that specializes in VWs about the 2001 Beetle to see if there are any known issues. If you're still interested after that, take the car to have the mechanic do an inspection. He/she can give you a better idea of what kind of repair costs/hassle to expect.

For example, find some place like EuroTech Motors. (That's in Ann Arbor--may be a little far for you.)

If the current owner won't let you have the car inspected by an independent mechanic walk--no, RUN away.
From: (Anonymous) Date: January 23rd, 2007 05:22 pm (UTC) (Link)
Heh; we're both car shopping at the same time! ;)

(How about the Honda Fit?)
operatic From: operatic Date: January 23rd, 2007 05:23 pm (UTC) (Link)
Whoops! That was me. ;)
renniekins From: renniekins Date: January 23rd, 2007 11:07 pm (UTC) (Link)
Hmm, interesting looking car. Looks a little bigger than I'm looking for. Are you looking to buy new or used?
joline From: joline Date: January 24th, 2007 02:52 am (UTC) (Link)
wow, you got a lot of comments! you probably don't even need mine: andy's beetle has given him nothing but trouble. we were smitten with it, but it's had everything from a dead transmission to every knob breaking off the dashboard. it's a 99.
read 45 comments | talk to me!