artphoto by splunge
artphoto by TheophileEscargot
artphoto by Kronos_to_Earth
artphoto by ethylene





Mecha Wiki

Metachat Eye


IRC Channels



Comment Feed:


01 November 2009

used car buying opinion needed please So I sold my car (2000 328i) a couple weeks ago. Now I can't decide what to get to replace it. [More:] I need opinions because I am stuck between two. First a few facts. 1. I don't have children (and will not have any) only 2 small monsters of the pekingese and chihuahua varieties. They don't take up much room. 2. in the three years I had my last car I averaged around 7000 miles per year. 3. I want to spend between $10-12000. 4. I rarely have more than one person in the car with me so back seat space is not a deciding factor.

The 2 contenders: 2005-2007 Mustang or 2005-2006 Mazda 3 (2.3L version) I am finding both in my price range with less than 60k miles. I am finding the colors and style that I want in both. I am even finding Mustang's in the convertible version in the price range.

I tried making a list with pro's and con's. I tried polling my friends and family. (the fun ones pick Mustang, the practical ones picked the Mazda3) I just don't know what to do.I am afraid if I pick the Mustang (which I have dreamed of having since I was very young) I will regret not making the practical smart choice in buying the Mazda. I'm afraid if I buy the Mazda I will regret not getting the car I have always dreamed of getting. The practical people say that the Mazda gets better gas mileage, but I don't drive that much and I have driven a 6cyl for the last 8 years. They say the Mazda has 4 doors and more room, I don't think the Mazda back seat is very roomy. They say the Mazda will run for 200k or more miles. At the rate I drive it would take me 20 years to drive the 150k miles to make 200k. I don't think I would keep any car for that long. My BMW had 207k miles, my dad has a Chevy with 300k miles and a Jeep with 200k+ miles so I don't think that the Ford would not last as long as a Mazda. The fun people say the Mustang is hawt and I am a single chick who should drive a hawt car. I guess I am afraid no matter which one I pick it will be the wrong one. So now I am asking you wonderfully opinionated people to help me. Do I decide on the zippy practical car or the sexy muscle car?
Have you actually driven a mustang? My brother had a convertible mustang (would have probably have been the 2005 version) that I drove the last time I visited him. I HATED the way the car handled. Nothing about the way the car handled felt right to me - didn't like the way it went around corners, didn't like the way the brakes felt, seemed loud to me, etc.
posted by fluffy battle kitten 01 November | 20:40
I find that people who drive Mustangs are jerks. Why did you give up the BMW? That's what I would go for if you want a fun car. Maybe a used Z3?
posted by YouCanCallMeAl 01 November | 20:43
The Mustang is infamous for oversteer, which probably accounts for fluffy battle kitten's experience. It's something that actually appeals to certain types of drivers, though. (Maybe jerks. Or maybe just having to handle the oversteer turns you into one ...)

To me, I'm not sure you're the Mustang type, even if you've dreamed of one for years. I would think a little more about what it is that appeals to you about that car and see what other cars could give you that along with the reliability and safety and such of a Mazda.
posted by dhartung 01 November | 20:49
Even from a "fun to drive" perspective, I think I'd pick the Mazda, especially in a manual. They handle like go-karts.

What about a Miata?
posted by mullacc 01 November | 21:13
Yes, I drove one last week. It felt heavier than the BMW felt, but then again it is a heavier car. I know it handles differently than a performance car. I had never heard of that oversteer thing. I didnt really drive it on a curvy road, I guess I should do that.

My BMW started leaking from the window or antenna thing, and sensors were starting to go bad, one after another which meant at least $800 every time it was in the shop. In other words it was starting to show its 207k miles. I just couldn't afford the repairs. Leaving the BMW line is probably most of my problem because I keep comparing other cars to it and other cars just don't compare. If I go with another BMW it would have at least 100k miles, I don't think I want another high mile car.

I like the sporty look of the Mustang, I like the dash and radio area of the Mazda (ok so I am easily distracted by the pretty lights)

I liked the look of the Eclipse but I didn't like the muffler sounding so loud. I like the look of the Chrystler Sebring conv but have read nothing but bad reviews about it.

The Miata is a bit too small. I looked at a Crossfire but it was too small too.
I really do appreciate all the opinions.
posted by meeshell 01 November | 21:24
I've had my 2005 Mustang for several years now, and it's the best car I've ever owned. Driving it is like playing a videogame. I'd recommend you stick with the 6-cylinder version (not the GT/8-cylinder); it has plenty of power, and is better on gas. Mine's the very basic version, with none of the fancy options, and I wouldn't change a thing about it.

I'm also not a jerk.
posted by BoringPostcards 01 November | 21:25
I ended up going with something else, but my true love was the Mazda3. What a fantastic car. Mazdas are underrated - even their economy cars are sportier than most theoretically sporty cars. Go Mazda. It'll last you longer, too.
posted by Miko 01 November | 22:56
Do you live somewhere that gets snow? I wouldn't imagine the Mustang would be a lot of fun to drive in it.
posted by box 01 November | 23:43
Why did you sell your BMW? Those E36s are nearly perfect cars - I just sold mine last month, and I'm still sort of on the fence about it, because I'd had it 9 years and never had a problem with it.

Anyway, knowing that might help to understand which direction to go next.
posted by ikkyu2 01 November | 23:45
OOoh, I like your taste in cars. Don't worry about oversteer, and for goodness sakes, don't go looking for it in a car you don't own. The 3 series also has a reputation for being tail-happy; if you've never had the back end step out (or lit the "stability control" light on the dash) with the way you drive now, you likely never will. When you do want to learn, do so in a large, empty parking lot, preferably on a wet Sunday. The truth is, given the choice between the two evils of over- and under- steer, all untrained drivers are better off dealing with understeer, and so most (all?) manufacturers bias their cars so they understeer when flogged hard. You have to spend extra money to get a car that will oversteer. All front-wheel drive cars understeer - which is one of the reasons they're popular with manufacturers - they fail safely, relatively speaking.

Coming from a BMW, a Mustang is going to feel awfully agricultural. Every Mustang I've ever ridden in (never driven one) has seemed rattly with poor quality surfaces and cheap switchgear. Mustangs are all about good (base V6) to big (GT V8) to Awesome (Shelby, etc...) power in an affordable package, and the budget corners have to get cut somewhere. That being said - I think Ford is currently making some of the best vehicles they've ever made, and when the consumer ratings people say they are directly competing with Toyota on quality, I believe it. But they're competing with Toyota, not BMW. If you get serious about the 'stang, rent one for a week before you buy. You can find out if you really want to scratch that itch for $200, plus you'll have no foolish salesman yapping at you from the passenger seat while you decide.

The Mazda has a reputation among many car geeks as a fantastic hot-hatch - especially the Mazdaspeed 3, which was a awesome sleeper until the recent facelift gave it the boy-racer look, and gave away the secret that it's a very fast car. I've not driven it, but the Mazda 3 is at the top of my list for replacing my current Audi. If they made the Mazda3 with all-wheel or rear-wheel drive, I'd be all over it in a heartbeat. I know a guy who is a very good driver - decided not to go Pro, but had the chance - and he regularly embarasses BMWs and Porsches in his Mazdaspeed 3 at trackdays in Seattle. It can be a very serious car in the right hands. The regular 3, or the speed would be great choices. There's also the Mazda 6, and the rare Mazdaspeed 6, if you want something a tad larger.

Other cars to consider: Toyota MR2 Spyder (Sssshhh... don't tell anyone about the MR2 Spyder. It was sold until 2005 - a small, convertible, mid-engine sports car with a cockroach-durable Corolla engine and an optional paddle gearbox. It's basically a reliable Lotus Elise for 1/3 the money, and they're already at the bottom of their depreciation curve. however - small, like a Miata) Others are: Audi TT or A3. VW GTI. Mercedes C230 hatchback, Merc SLK. BMW Z3 Coupe (the rare-ish hard-top Z3) Scooby WRX and Legacy GT, Saturn Astra (it's a european Opel design; it doesn't suck) Saab 9-3, and the 9-2x Saabaru. Volvo C30 ($$?), and in deep left field - Are early Porsche Boxsters down to $12K yet? A scruffy Boxster might fit your budget, but cheap Porsches never are, amirite?

(on preview: ikkyu2, you sold the M? I'm sorry to hear! Near-perfect car, indeed... because it followed the perfect E30! ;-)
posted by Triode 02 November | 00:40
ikkyu2: I had a hard time deciding to let go of my beemer. The back window area had started leaking when it rained and I was starting to replace sensors quicker than I could afford. The next thing that was needing to be replaced was the mass air flow sensor thingy and a fuel filter thingy, in other words a $1000 repair. It had 207,000 miles so it makes sense that things were starting to need replacing. I really loved my BMW I just don't make enough money to repair it now.

I live in East TN, we rarely get snow, when we do, its gone by noon. I don't drive in it when it does snow. These idiots around here can't drive when its not snowing they are even worse when it does.

Triode: would the Scion tC be similar to those you mentioned? I am afraid to get another high end high miled car due to the cost of service and parts. The tC is made by Toyota. I really hadn't looked at it before but something dhartung said made me look around again and it caught my eye. I am going to drive one today. There aren't many of them available around here. I found an '08 with great carfax records in GA for the same price as an '06 with the same miles here. The only one used I have found online around here is a 5 speed, the '08 is an automatic. Both are 2.4L cars. It has a really cool moon/sun roof and mp3 is standard.

If I end up going with Mazda I will go with the manual Mazda3 2.4L it was fun to drive.
posted by meeshell 02 November | 11:15
I drive a BMW. Everything else in a similar price range is going to feel like shit in comparison. Sorry.

That said, I like the look of the Mazda 3 better than the Mustang. In fact I considered getting a (2007) Mazda 3 before I found my (2003) BMW 325i. They were the same price, and I have no regrets.
posted by desjardins 02 November | 22:51
I've never sat in or driven a Scion tC. They're a front-wheel drive platform, which I generally dismiss as uninteresting. I've owned 5 different front-drivers over the years, and I'm kinda bored with 'em. Worse, I'm biased against Toyota because they strive to make soulless appliances, and they achieve their goal. (It must be noted that the vast majority of the car-buying public *wants* a soulless appliance, which is why Toyota is the biggest automaker on the planet, and I haven't sold a single Triode-mobile.)

So much as it may be fashionable for car enthusiasts to pooh-pooh Toyota as boring, the cars are cockroach-durable, and if you're feeling weary of BMW repair costs, the tC will probably run for years without much more than gas, oil and tires. Not a bad choice, overall.

What about the Saab 9-2x? Nicknamed the "Saabaru" because it's really a Subaru with a nicer interior. It's an all-wheel-drive, decently powerful, fun to drive car. If the underlying Subaru Impreza platform has a weakness, it's a tendency for noise, vibration and harshness. (NVH in car lingo) Allegedly, the Saab version adds a lot more sound deadening, so that's a good indicator. Saabs tend to have awfully steep depreciation curves - good when you buy a used one, bad when you sell it later on. They didn't sell very many of them, but you might turn one up with some searching.

Or perhaps a Honda Fit (aka Jazz in europe) A bit more economy oriented, but cheap to run and decently fun to drive. On paper, I should dislike the Fit, but in fact I rather like them. My mom loves hers, and I enjoy driving it when I'm there to visit.

posted by Triode 03 November | 01:39
oh my gosh desjardins I am having that same problem. Nothing seems to catch my eye. I drove the Scion last night, so far I liked the way it drove the best out of all of them. The salesman said the tC used to be the Celica, I drove one of those in high school. Even though I liked it ok, I was not really sold on it.

I am now back to considering another BMW, I am finding 2004 325i's in the price range. I am also considering the Infinity G35. The pictures of those look nice. Is it better to go with a newer car with 50k miles or with an older 2004 BMW or Infinity type car with 75-100k miles?

Triode, I never really looked at Saabs, I really didnt know much about them. My dad and brother are both die hard Subaru (or "roob-a-doo" as my dad refers to them) fans. I never looked at them just because they are not at all my style. That one looks pretty nice, and I can find them with around 50k miles in 2007 models in the price range. I wish the fit came in more of a car version rather than the hatchback.
posted by meeshell 03 November | 12:39
Give me hope || The Japanese always get cool things first