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Help selecting a new non-European used car

Help selecting a new non-European used car

Old Jun 11th, 2005, 05:57 AM
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Help selecting a new non-European used car

I know this is off topic but you Fodorites know everything and I think my dilemma is probably not uncommon. I have always owned a European car (VW, BMW, Jag, Volvo). But the old Volvo station wagon is on it's last legs and we need a replacement. With gas prices soaring, I'd like to get something that uses regular (not premium) unleaded, is awd or 4 wheel drive and economical to maintain. I've resisted the SUV route. First choice would be a wagon. What are some good used car options?

If you've got some website recos I'll take those too. I found a decision matrix but only for new cars. I want something 2-3 yrs. old. Thanks in advance for any info or personal experiences.
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Old Jun 11th, 2005, 06:29 AM
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www.kbb.com
www.edmunds.com
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Old Jun 11th, 2005, 06:31 AM
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Subaru Outback wagon...we loved ours. Fun to drive, dual sunroofs, regular unleaded, great gas mileage, tons of space!
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Old Jun 11th, 2005, 06:39 AM
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I wouldn't think of buying a non-European car (wagon or otherwise), but if I had to, then, it would have to be a Subaru station wagon or Forrester.
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Old Jun 11th, 2005, 06:55 AM
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No question, Subaru. [I have had a WRX and a Legacy 2.5GT.]

The Outback (not Outback Sport, which is a different model) is based on the Legacy, with slightly higher ride-height and different trim/options.

If you don't care for those, you can just get a Legacy wagon.

The Subaru 2.5-liter flat-4 uses regular unleaded, and makes 165hp. It's not the most powerful, but is reasonably peppy. I believe fuel economy is about 22/29 or something close to it. Not bad for a AWD vehicle.
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Old Jun 11th, 2005, 10:59 AM
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Have you tried looking at any of the millions of auto websites. there are reviews of all new and used models - including consumer reports - all the details you need - and the info you need to figure out a fari price to pay.

IMHO - you're always better with a Japanese car - with Honda/Acura, Toyota/Lexus you get much more for your money and quality is at least as good and problably better - than with a european model - unless the BMW etc logo is a key selling point.
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Old Jun 11th, 2005, 11:42 AM
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http://www.canadiandriver.com/news/050314-1.htm

Best wishes,

Rex
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Old Jun 13th, 2005, 10:46 AM
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Thanks all for the help. Nytraveler I had looked at some of those millions of websites (Kelly's blue book, edmunds, nada, yadda, yadda, yadda) which is why I asked the question. Information overload.

Rex, I'm intrigued by the Hyundai option. I sort of wish there were an American option (I really like the Chrysler Pacifica but it's too new). :-?
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Old Jun 13th, 2005, 10:50 AM
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DH was looking at the subaru wagon and in the end bought the volvo xc 70--wagon, *not* SUV--and has been grateful every day he went w/volvo!!
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Old Jun 13th, 2005, 12:15 PM
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We have experienced only minor repair with Camrys. My 1987 has had repairs only to the transmission and the a/c and the CV joints at 130,000 miles.

Other than that: mufflers, tires, brakes, and batteries
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Old Jun 13th, 2005, 12:45 PM
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Mclaurie---while seeking experience and recommendations on autos from people on this forum will give you specific pro's and con's, the individual experiences should not take the place of the mass of statistical information that is available free to you from several sources. Persons on this forum will give you their own specific ideas, but for every record of a wonderful car of XYZ make, I can find a specific tale of lousy experience with the same car. So I'd suggest you go back to your broad sources of information rather than relying on a few tidbits out of the millions of car owners whose data is available from the other sources.
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Old Jun 13th, 2005, 02:17 PM
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Mclaurie,

Why don't you pose your question to the boys on "Car Talk" on NPR Saturday morning?
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Old Jun 13th, 2005, 04:28 PM
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The reason why I (and others) can answer mclaurie so readily with Subaru is that it's basically the only "right" answer.

Non-European + station wagon + 4WD = Subaru.

There's no other alternative.

BTW, the Volvo XC90 is definitely a SUV. You can call it whatever you like, but it's as typical a SUV as one can find. If you want a traditional wagon, Volvo has several good ones. The V70 can be ordered with a powerful turbo engine too...
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Old Jun 13th, 2005, 06:47 PM
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HI rkkwan--I was referring to the 70, I was just afraid that if I did not clarify that I was not referring to the SUV, I would confuse someone. I find it confusing that both models--wagon and SUV--use the designation "XC", so in my attempt to be clear, I was not!! Of course the 90 is an SUV. We have the XC 70 AWD wagon w/turbo assist and DH says it drives like a dream!!
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Old Jun 13th, 2005, 06:57 PM
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socialworker - Sorry, my bad... Yes, you did say the 70.

Speaking of Swedish brands, how about the Saab 9-2X? It's built by Subaru in Japan, as a clone of the Impreza wagon. That'd be a little "different", But you still get the reliability, AWD, and regular gas if you pick the non-turbo "Linear" model.

But that's a relatively new model, and I doubt you'll find any used ones, and nothing 2-3 years old.
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Old Jun 13th, 2005, 07:14 PM
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Turbochargers rarely give give long-term owner/buyer satisfaction. They usually fail after a few years and the repair bills are often staggering.

Mclaurie - with your wish for 4 wheel drive, I say shop for a Subaru.

Coming from left field however, is that 4 WD Jaguar sedan (Jags take such a beating in the used car market, that it is worth checking prices.).

As always, when buying a used car, a thorough inspection by a professional mechanic is a must.
 
Old Jun 13th, 2005, 07:32 PM
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I totally disagree with Doble. Saab, Volvo and Audi have been using turbos in many of their cars in the last 20+ years. While none of the brands is the most reliable overall, their engines are all very solid. I haven't heard of many engine failures - it's usually other stuff like electronics that fail those cars.

And I'll give you another example. I bought a used 1989 Toyota Supra some years ago. I bought the naturally-aspirated model when so many people around me told me "turbos are not reliable, blah blah blah...". Well, the Toyota 5M-series inline-6s are extremely well-built; and while some engines do have bad head gaskets, they affect the turbo and non-turbo just the same. Some tuners in Japan get up to 1,000hp from these engines with moderate modifications.

Now, I sold my Supra because it's not fast enough. If I had the turbo version, then it would be easier to upgrade the turbo, increase boost, etc... But to do that with the non-turbo version, it'd mean big bucks. So, I would have much higher long-term satisfaction with the car if I had the turbo engine.

Or ask someone who's driven a Subaru with the 165hp naturally aspirated 2.5L and then the 250/300hp turbo version which car will give them long-term satisfaction?

Modern turbos are better designed with increased oil-flow - and therefore cooling - so premature death is basically history. Well, sure one can still cook a turbo if you race the car and then shut it off immediately; but with just small precaution, it's really a non-issue.
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Old Jun 13th, 2005, 07:49 PM
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Ditto Subaru Outback Wagon - but it's really hard to find one in my neck of the woods (for resale).
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Old Jun 13th, 2005, 09:10 PM
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Well I know this is on-topic, so excuse me.

Not for someone looking for a non-European used car, but for someone looking for an economical, safe, affordable new non-non-European car, think about Volvo's overseas delivery program, the one that throws in a couple of tickets to Sweden and a night in lovely Goteborg as well as a savings of a couple-three grand on the cheapest Volvos. Look at the V50 AWD - not a bad rig.

Details at http://www.volvocars.us/FinancialServices/Overseas/ - look at individual models for pricing, and at the "special offers" for air promos.
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Old Jun 13th, 2005, 10:29 PM
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Gardyloo - You might want to look at the Audi A3. About the same prize range as the V50. I test drove it a few weeks ago, and it's sweet. The new 2.0T engine is very strong, especially with the 6-speed manual. The current Car & Driver has a favorable review.

Don't know if Audi has a European delivery option, or if the A3 is covered.
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