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the story of an invisible girl
renniekins
renniekins
Car Accident
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pi3832 From: pi3832 Date: January 12th, 2007 01:17 pm (UTC) (Link)
It sucks to be forced into buying a new car, but trust me, you're better off in the end. Dealing with having your car repaired is a royal PITA, and it's never quite the same after that.

And for researching your new car, I recommend Edmunds.com. Personally, I love car shopping. Unfortunately, I only buy a car every 7-10 years, so I don't get to do it very often. Meaning, if you give me your criteria for a car, I'd love the chance to dig through the data and put together some recommendations.
thatguychuck From: thatguychuck Date: January 13th, 2007 04:37 am (UTC) (Link)

Criteria

Well, you offered. :) Before heading to sleep, I decided to ask Rennie what it was she wanted in a car. Here's generally what came out.

Somewhere between $8,000-$10,000, leaning more toward $8,000.
A small nice car, not a small little econo-thing.
2 door. (She likes the Quad Coupe idea the Saturn Ion has, but it's only neat.)
Used. But she's nervous about something dependable and that works. In theory, a new car lasts longer, but I've offered to take a look at any car she's interested in buying. I also suggested taking it to a mechanic for a verified "once over."
Not a sedan.
Not blue. ;)
She's leaning away from Chevy, but just for change.
Must:
Cruise control
Power Locks
Anti-lock brakes
Remote entry (keyfob)

Would be nice:
Heated seats
Sunroof
Something with a warranty


What she hasn't said yet, but she'll probably think is nice:
Good gas mileage, or at least not crappy.
Not 4 billion horsepower, but not an econo crapbox either.
Remote start. This is Michigan, after all.
A personal valet. (Ok, she'll think it's nice. Don't think it's a factory option.)
Something easy to maintain. She doesn't care about this, but I think it's important. I'm sure I'll at least be tinkering with it occasionally.

And of course, everything else I've forgotten. :)

Mike, thanks for your offer. She'd never be able to ask this of you herself, so I am. :) You rock, my friend. And I hope next time you're near this side of the country you give me a call first. If you're going to be in Michigan next weekend, you're going to have to come to ConFusion, you know. If you weren't planning on it already but decide to, I've got your membership for you. Hope to see you there.


pi3832 From: pi3832 Date: January 14th, 2007 01:16 pm (UTC) (Link)

Re: Criteria

$8000 ain't much money for a car. Not that I don't think Rennie is right for not wanting to spend a bunch of money for one, but it limits the possibilities--more specifically, it pushes up the age of the car. So, I mostly looked older models, since a number of 2-door coupes (which are unfortunately rare in the U.S. car market anymore) have prices on Edmunds.com in the $8,000-$10,000 range.

This is the obvious car for Rennie. They had Rennie's picture on the wall when they designed it. The flat-out obviousness of it, however, may cause her to reject it. It can be disturbing to be read so well by a major corporation's marketing department.

Comes standard with remote entry, but a manual transmission, so an automatic may be a little harder to find. As is the TDI engine. Of course, Rennie may not want to deal with finding diesel. However, the 48 mpg on the highway would be nice.

The Beetle wearing different clothes. Those clothes make it rate below "painfully" on the "cute" scale, unlike the Beetle. Otherwise, we're looking at the same basic vehicle, though apparently the Golf has a better suspension, and more cargo space than the Beetle.

AWD might actually be useful in Michigan (though not as much as many people seem to think). The RS is more expensive than the L, but comes with ABS. The "Boxer" 4-opposed-cylinders engine is as smooth as you'd expect (I test drove a Subaru a few years ago). And it's got a certain funky style, though it tends toward the Ricer look.

No, no, really. If Rennis can tap into Ford-Family pricing, I think she could get a brand-spankin' new Ford with AC and ABS for $10,000-$12,000. Yes, that's beyond the prefered budget, but it is a new car, with all the warranties that implies. I think it's worth looking at.

You never know. Should Rennie decide she wants a sporty car, the Eclipse GT might fit the bill. It's got bucket seats... in the rear. That says a lot about the design criteria of a car. This is not a sensible car. But, personally, I think it's got a lot of potential to be loved.
jeffreyab From: jeffreyab Date: January 14th, 2007 05:07 pm (UTC) (Link)

Re: another source

The recent Subaru's are having head gasket problems, my sister just had to have hers rebuilt. Last weeks Tornoto Star also mentioned the problem.

There is also http://www.caranddriver.com/custom/kbb/

Many new car dealer's now have certified used car programs with limited warranties.
renniekins From: renniekins Date: January 19th, 2007 12:44 am (UTC) (Link)

Re: Criteria

Coooool, thank you for the research. Very interesting!

A bug!! I hadn't even thought about that! You're right, they seriously are rennie-cars. They even have a little flower vase! That would be a fun car to own.

Although I'm not sure that it would accomodate my skis well. hrm. There is also the Jetta, I've heard good things, though I don't know much/anything about it.

I'm not sure if it makes more sense right now to buy a new car or used. I keep going back and forth. If I want used, then much more than 10K seems silly, because I can get a NEW car for not much more... of course, once I start adding on options it looks like it would be over 15K.

I have 8.5K insurance settlement. So I could do a "lateral" move, essentially buy a 4-year-old car similar to the one I just lost, and I'd be in much the same position I was before. That's where the 8-10 range comes from.

Or I could go with a new car. More money, and money I hadn't planned on spending right now, but there are certainly advantages to a new car... warranty, more trustworthy, and generally spiffier too. I could afford it, but do I want to?

New cars, I have access to a discount through GM and Ford. So those would probably be the way to go, financially. (Sadly that means that fun cars like Beetles and Minis are less of a good idea then, unless they are good enough to beat a discount.) Saturn ION Quad Coup and Ford Focus ZX5 are my current contenders I think.

If I go used, I can pick from unlimited make/models, even foreign ones! (gasp!) Except I wouldn't want to spend toooo much.... I test-drove a yellow beetle monday, which was a nifty car. But he wants 11.5, not sure if that's worth it or not. There are other VW cars to look at. I could also get an earlier model Focus or ION. Or look at... well other stuff... I don't even know. (:

I think just strolling around a used car lot would be good for me; I started to do that today during my lunch hour but it was cold out. And the Saturn guy took a long time -- but I did managed to test drive a new ION, and I found that I quite liked it. Not much different from my Cavelier as far as comfort and driving goes, but it's got the cool doors and it was silver.
pstscrpt From: pstscrpt Date: January 19th, 2007 03:39 am (UTC) (Link)

Re: Criteria

Are there any Ford or GM models that might be acceptable that are in their last model year, or close to it? That's how I got my pretty well equipped new SunFire for $12,600 when Mel worked at GM.

Also, if you can develop a taste for stickshifts (which seems likely, considering you enjoy motorcycles), they make 4-cylinder subcompacts much more responsive and they cut the price of your options drastically. On the other hand, it makes it hard to get cruise control, you don't automatically get traction control with ABS (if the model was like that, otherwise), and if you want remote start, you have to sign a waiver that you won't try to use it when you've left the car in gear. And traffic jams can get uncomfortable.

My parents just got a Saturn ION Quad Coup with a stickshift a couple months ago and they seem pretty happy with it.
pi3832 From: pi3832 Date: January 19th, 2007 03:24 pm (UTC) (Link)

Re: Criteria

I'm going to add another car to the list, just because I love it so much:
I came within inches of buying one of these when I lived in Austin. Meaning, if the interior space around the driver had been a few inches larger, I would have bought it. I'm guessing that your space requirements are significantly lower than mine, and therefore the 318ti might work for you.

The gnifty standard features include:
  • Fog Lights
  • Power Heated Mirrors
  • Lighted Entry System
  • Sport Suspension
  • Tinted Glass
  • 16 Inch Wheels
  • Alloy Wheels
  • Traction Control
  • 4-Wheel ABS
  • Driver and Passenger Front Airbags
  • Front Side Airbags
In Austin, I spoke with a mechanic that specialized in BMWs, and he said there where no known issues with the 318tis.

Which brings up the question of repair. Repairing a BMW is going to be more expensive than most other cars. However, on the up side, there are mechanics that specialize in BMWs.

This can be a very good thing. A mechanic that repairs all cars may be competent, but he's not going to be an expert in a given car. He won't know the little details. Like, when I was in Austin, I found a mechanic that specialized in Jeeps. He told me that platinum-tipped spark plugs were a bad idea, since they actually decrease performance in the Jeep 4.0-HO engines, and didn't last as long as advertised. No run-of-the-mill mechanic would know a detail like that.

A quick search shows a '96 318ti with 63,000 miles for sale in the Detroit area for $6,500. (link)


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