Cactus521

New wheels

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Not quite as much fun as buying an airplane, but I replaced my Toyota Camry with a used Chevy Malibu today.  Car checked out great, the dealer was great, best car buying experience I ever had.  I used carfax to hunt down the car, been using it to research over the past several weeks.  Now I can drive to Socal, easier than flying, and also visit the new Aquarium they just added here in Phoenix up in Scottsdale.  Planning my next vacation as a car vacation, seeing things from ground level will be a good change from my long haul flights to and from London this year.

Curious what type of cars simmers prefer?  I have always purchased Japanese until today, I've always bought either sedans or small SUV's.  I prefer sedans because the rides in modern sedans are limo like.  The car I bought today drives very similar to the Camry and has always been a close domestic competitor.  The Malibu has always gotten decent reviews over the past decade, as had the Ford Fusion, its domestic rival.  The interior has some nice woodgrain inlays on the dash and for a used car looked quite new.  The engine purrs strong, has ample acceleration with the required AC we need here in Phoenix, and the brakes have a good feel.  Treated myself to a nice Italian dinner once I had everything wrapped up.

John

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I like the 1988 to 1991 fourth generation Honda Civics. I have had 5 of them over the years and still keep one as a weekend runner. Those cars last forever and easy to keep them running. 

We also have newer vehicles and to be honest the newer models have more problems then the old Civics. Our VW Golf is always having troubles. The old Civics are far more reliable 

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28 minutes ago, Matthew Kane said:

I like the 1988 to 1991 fourth generation Honda Civics. I have had 5 of them over the years and still keep one as a weekend runner. Those cars last forever and easy to keep them running. 

We also have newer vehicles and to be honest the newer models have more problems then the old Civics. Our VW Golf is always having troubles. The old Civics are far more reliable 

The Civics have historically been good cars.  Honda makes a nice, solid engine, gets lots of praise in car reviews.  For me though a Civic was a bit too small, a bit rougher ride due to its size.  I wanted something more spacious in case I have passengers which I often have with my daughter's friends.

There was more legroom in the back for passengers than the Civic, which was also on the lot today.  The Civics there had more miles and were priced higher due to the name and reliability factor.  My Malibu received very positive reviews for the year it was made and for being eleven years old, it looks and drives like new.

 It was a one owner car, no accident history.  I learned my lesson from buying new cars, they dive in value the minute you drive them off the lot, and you don't learn their shortcomings until you've driven 40 or 50K miles.  My Camry always had a shimmy on the right side since it was new, as was my Toyota Highlander before it.  Seems like the cars weren't balanced right for one driver on the left side.  That was the first thing I checked on my test drive today, the car drove straight and true.

 

John

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We had an '02 Civic that we just recently sold after putting nearly 250,000 km on. Never had a single issue with it. Great car. It had been my wife's commute car for the last 4 years and she finally decided she wanted something newer, so she's now driving a Nissan Nismo Juke. A bit er.. unique... but she likes it, and it's sporty enough that I don't mind driving it on occasion.

However, I'll be much more sad when the day comes to part with my '07 Toyota FJ. It's absolutely been my favorite out of any vehicle I've ever owned. 185,000 km's and it still feels every bit like a new vehicle; a testament to proper Japanese quality. The fact that they were hand assembled in Japan really shows - there's not a single squeak or rattle in the whole truck, and I'm a bit hard on my vehicles. I've taken it all over in all conditions, through some pretty rough country. Being ten years old, I get the thought from time to time that I should upgrade, but they stopped importing them a couple of years ago. As a result, the last ones imported in 2014 are still fetching close to the same price as they were brand new.

Our company vehicles are generally domestic though, and some of the experiences we've had... you could never convince me to buy a new domestic truck or SUV. I doubt I'd even accept one for free, some of them have been that bad.

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3 minutes ago, Jimmy RFR said:

We had an '02 Civic that we just recently sold after putting nearly 250,000 km on. Never had a single issue with it. Great car. It had been my wife's commute car for the last 4 years and she finally decided she wanted something newer, so she's now driving a Nissan Nismo Juke. A bit er.. unique... but she likes it, and it's sporty enough that I don't mind driving it on occasion.

However, I'll be much more sad when the day comes to part with my '07 Toyota FJ. It's absolutely been my favorite out of any vehicle I've ever owned. 185,000 km's and it still feels every bit like a new vehicle; a testament to proper Japanese quality. The fact that they were hand assembled in Japan really shows - there's not a single squeak or rattle in the whole truck, and I'm a bit hard on my vehicles. I've taken it all over in all conditions, through some pretty rough country. Being ten years old, I get the thought from time to time that I should upgrade, but they stopped importing them a couple of years ago. As a result, the last ones imported in 2014 are still fetching close to the same price as they were brand new.

Our company vehicles are generally domestic though, and some of the experiences we've had... you could never convince me to buy a new domestic truck or SUV. I doubt I'd even accept one for free, some of them have been that bad.

I would not buy a domestic truck.  It's only the cars that domestic makers built to compete head to head with the foreign sedans that I have interest in.  A trend with increasing quality started back in 2006 in what I call the Camry rivals and for the first time the domestic cars could compete in that arena.  But go a niche down or a niche above, and the experience can be bad.  For instance the Ford Fusion and Chevy Malibu do good in reviews but their lower end cars are hit and miss. 

It just seems the domestic car builders tried hardest in mid-sized sedans, don't know why they put so much effort there.  I use my ears to judge an engine, I listen for binding, bad ball bearings, anything that disturbs smoothness.  It's what my dad taught me, you can just tell by the way the engine sounds whether it is straining or good.  And here in the desert, we drive our cars harder with the AC on, I tell my friends to always buy a car in the summer so you know how it handles the heat.  Just as I would pre-flight an aircraft, I listened closely to the engine to see whether it was struggling or not.

John

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I'm more into SUVs as I'm 5'12", and I struggle to fit in most sedans. Also prefer to have four-wheel drive. First car I had was a 2006 Toyota RAV4 that used to be my mom's, and for a small SUV, it was quite powerful, as it came with a V6 engine (they did away with the V6 option in 2013). It had 114,411 miles on it before it got hit by a dump truck on January 18th, 2013. My friend made it out of there with no injuries. I was not so lucky, as I have permanent back injuries as a result. The car that ended up replacing the RAV4 was a 2003 Acura MDX that used to be my dad's. As of now, this one has over 181,000 miles, which is more miles than three of our previous cars combined (we've had more cars, but that's beside the point). Whether this one will still continue to drive or not is dependent on whether the house stays intact or not from the hurricane, as I jumped on a plane and got out of there two days ago.

The next SUV I'd like to get is one that I'm hopefully going to go off-roading with.

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My parents almost always bought GM, so me too.  They did have two Lincoln Town Cars, which I drove to Florida with my mom a couple times from NJ.   I  had a Saturn SL2.  I really disliked not having cruise control and perhaps more importantly, when it snowed somehow snow got stuck in the Springs leaving you no shock absorption until someone blasted it out with hot water.  That got old quick.  

So I got a black 1997 Grand Prix (four doors).  That was a great car.  I didn't care for the front grill-it was that early model flat /no grill.  I then got a 2002 Grand Prix GT (two door coupe).  The stereos were pretty good in them.  The bass was very good. https://www.amazon.com/photos/share/raqi4Nlv0ZbLUBwigMjlkcj44h1kfKUW6heQfyWWw2O

One day I was going up a snow covered  hill in New Jersey and started sliding, I thought I had enough of that.  Also, I was kind of tired of feeling like I was sitting on the road as it was kind of low to the ground.  I also had some back problems, so any movement was wrenching my muscles.  I knew I wanted a car that had a smoother ride like the Town Car, but needed some sort of AWD.  So, I got a Cadillac  CTS4 (All Wheel Drive).  It's like a tank in the snow.  My mom always wanted a Caddy, but my dad shied away due to the transmissions issues.  I hope she is riding with me.  The Bose stereo lacks bass so I added an 1,000 watt mono amp and two 10" Infinity subs.  Gas mileage is good at 31 on the highway.  My next car is either ATS4 or a used CTS4 again.  If I didn't have to drive to work, I'd get a hybrid like the Volt

My wife  has a Corolla S.  The S has a tighter suspension so going around curves in our Jersey hills makes for some fun driving.  She had some Mitsubishi in Brooklyn, but got rid of it quickly as it's soo expensive to have them there and she could get around on buses and trains.  

 

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When my 1995 Mercury Grand Marquis was caught in a multi-car, low speed crunch about 18 months ago, I had to get another car as the cost of repair was simply too great.

I found a single-owner 1998 Toyota Camry with only 92k miles on the odometer. It had always been garage kept, and when the elderly husband died, the wife asked her cousin (who owns a used car lot) to sell it for her since she doesn't drive. I arrived at the car lot looking just the day after it was put on the lot.

I sat in the driver's seat for about 15 minutes, and the lot owner was beginning to wonder what I was up to. He asked me, "Is there a problem?" and I simply smiled and told him, "No, I'm just thinking about how I can install my ham radio gear in this compact space!" :biggrin:

Honestly, it's been the best car I've ever owned! I drove from Chicago area to the FlightSimCon in Windsor-Locks, Connecticut and back and averaged better than 32 mpg. The only expense other than gas and oil was a $500 tuneup on the engine before my long trip.

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When I used to work up in Lake Tahoe and lived down in Gardnerville, me and my Nissan Sentra would crawl up Kingsbury grade, a 4000 foot vertical climb, into Tahoe.  During my first snow I was driving on US 50 and I swear I just tapped the brakes.  Suddenly I was spinning, everything went to slow motion as I helplessly sat there in my car waiting to impact oncoming traffic, a lightpole, something.  But I was spared, after a couple of spins the car righted itself and I was able to get to work.  One of my employees saw me and she had a good laugh about it.  Next day I bought studded snow tires and had no more problems with the snow that season, I could make it up the mountain while the SUV's were stuck in the snow.

John

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4 minutes ago, n4gix said:

When my 1995 Mercury Grand Marquis was caught in a multi-car, low speed crunch about 18 months ago, I had to get another car as the cost of repair was simply too great.

I found a single-owner 1998 Toyota Camry with only 92k miles on the odometer. It had always been garage kept, and when the elderly husband died, the wife asked her cousin (who owns a used car lot) to sell it for her since she doesn't drive. I arrived at the car lot looking just the day after it was put on the lot.

I sat in the driver's seat for about 15 minutes, and the lot owner was beginning to wonder what I was up to. He asked me, "Is there a problem?" and I simply smiled and told him, "No, I'm just thinking about how I can install my ham radio gear in this compact space!" :biggrin:

Honestly, it's been the best car I've ever owned! I drove from Chicago area to the FlightSimCon in Windsor-Locks, Connecticut and back and averaged better than 32 mpg. The only expense other than gas and oil was a $500 tuneup on the engine before my long trip.

Can't beat the Camry.  It's a good car, mine was involved in an accident and it spared me injury, kept me safe even though the SUV I collided with was going about 40 mph.  After repairs it was good as new and served me for a couple years' afterward.  I drove it on three cross country trips, once from Phoenix up to Glacier Park and back, once to Roanoke VA, and once to Nashville TN.  It had 130K miles on it when I gave it to my daughter.

John

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I'm driving an all-wheel drive Acura; had the TL and now the TLX.  I'd never go back to two wheel drive, especially up here in Canada in the Winter.  Now, another question is, who makes airplane sounds while driving?  :-)

 

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Another vote for Honda's bulletproof reliability - I'm in a 2007 Acura TL-S.  Low mileage and it's never given me a moment's trouble.  I've thought of replacing it with something smaller - most of my driving is urban, and the Acura is a bit big and drinks a lot of gas.  But I like everything else about it and it's fully paid off.  So chances are I'll hang onto it for another few years until the infrastructure is in place that I can switch to electric.

Only strike against the Acura is that thieves love them for parts - which explains why a few years ago, somebody broke into my apartment building's garage and made off with all the bodywork forward of the firewall.  Hood, fenders, lights... everything gone.  There was nothing but the engine hanging out there naked in the front clip.  The tow truck guy insisted on taking a picture of it after he got it up in the harness because he'd never seen anything like it.  Only positive is the thief (or thieves) left me my front license plate, propped on the windshield.  They were clearly pros.  

So technically, I'm driving an '07/'08 model - the new front-end bodywork is '08.

I moved soon afterward, BTW.

It was an aggravating experience, but by no means the worst thing that can happen to you in a car.

 

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23 minutes ago, Alan_A said:

Another vote for Honda's bulletproof reliability - I'm in a 2007 Acura TL-S.  Low mileage and it's never given me a moment's trouble.  I've thought of replacing it with something smaller - most of my driving is urban, and the Acura is a bit big and drinks a lot of gas.  But I like everything else about it and it's fully paid off.  So chances are I'll hang onto it for another few years until the infrastructure is in place that I can switch to electric.

Only strike against the Acura is that thieves love them for parts - which explains why a few years ago, somebody broke into my apartment building's garage and made off with all the bodywork forward of the firewall.  Hood, fenders, lights... everything gone.  There was nothing but the engine hanging out there naked in the front clip.  The tow truck guy insisted on taking a picture of it after he got it up in the harness because he'd never seen anything like it.  Only positive is the thief (or thieves) left my my front license plate, propped on the windshield.  They were clearly pros.  

So technically, I'm driving an '07/'08 model - the new front-end bodywork is '08.

I moved soon afterward, BTW.

It was an aggravating experience, but by no means the worst thing that can happen to you in a car.

 

Where I used to live I heard a commotion out in the street.  Knowing it sounded odd, I peeked out the window and saw some teens stealing the hood and doors off of someone's compact car.  I called the police, but they were too slow to respond.  They asked for a description of the young punks who vandalized the car, but I could not see them and their getaway car clearly enough.  The police asked why I did not go outside to look--hmmm, risk getting shot or knifed doing what the police are supposed to do.  We moved from that neighborhood shortly after that even though it was filled with nice, single family homes.  It was too close to the poorer part of town and prey for vandals and thieves.

John

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My episode was in the DC suburbs - Bethesda area - nice surroundings but right on the Metro, which made it accessible to visitors.  And the management company - big multistate operation - didn't want to pay for security.  Just after we left, burglars broke into an apartment on what had been our floor, then tunneled through the coat closets to clear out five other apartments.  Like with our car, I've got to give points for professionalism and inventiveness.  This wasn't just street randomness - some skillful predators really sized up the property and then went to work.

I keep thinking that when it's time for my next car, I need to pay more attention to theft patterns and insurance costs.  We're in a very low-crime setting now, but you can't be too careful.

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1 hour ago, Cactus521 said:

.....The police asked why I did not go outside to look--....

With that attitude I'm surprised they didn't expect you to call 1911 instead of 911 !! Obviously that depends upon particular State laws on carrying firearms etc. not to mention the willingness of an individual to risk such a confrontation in the first place, gun or no gun. AND when it's not your own property.

Good call, John.

 

FWIW I drive a 2001 Land Rover Discovery 2 TD5. Parts are relatively cheap, as long as I get the time to work on the car. She's fairly reliable so far. My daily commute is just over 5 miles of country roads each way, but no buses. At 27mpg she's not bad for a two and a quarter tonne brick! The added advantage is the odd day when the weather turns really bad :biggrin:

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