first car hard choice

Discussion in 'Community Discussion' started by muffinman, Aug 15, 2007.

  1. muffinman macrumors 6502

    muffinman

    Joined:
    Jun 1, 2005
    Location:
    San Diego, California
    #1
    I am going to purchace an used car. Right now, my budget is about 5000 dollars. These are the cars I am considering:

    1992 BMW 325i Automatic- $4000, 70,000 miles
    1996 Volkswagon Jetta GTS- $3000, 90,000 miles
    1999 Saab 9-5 2.3T Sedan- $5000, 103,201 miles
    1995 Saab 900 Convertible- $1,800, 150,000 miles

    I do not know much about older cars. How reliable are BMW/Volkswagon/Saab cars when they are this old? Are these prices reasonable? How much am I looking at when it comes to maintainance? Gas mileage?

    Thank you so much
     
  2. it5five macrumors 65816

    it5five

    Joined:
    May 31, 2006
    Location:
    New York
    #2
    I don't know how reliable in general the '96 Jettas are, but my dad still drives his, about 300k miles on it. So far all he has had to replace are a few of the automatic window motors.
     
  3. poopyhead macrumors 6502a

    poopyhead

    Joined:
    Jan 4, 2004
    Location:
    in the toe-jam of greatness (Fort Worth)
    #3
    I have had a couple of saabs one a 9000 from 1988 with a couple of hundred thousand miles on it
    both were very reliable and fun to drive. however, beware of repair bills
    also if you are looking at those cars in that price range have you considered an Alfa Romeo maybe a spider, milano platinum verde, 164, or gtv-6 if you can find one
     
  4. 103734 Guest

    Joined:
    Apr 10, 2007
    #4
    wow crazy I have the same amount of cash and im looking for a car to, I just sold my 1968 mustang, I couldn't afford to keep it with gas prices and I just don't have the money to put into a project car.
     
  5. techlover828 macrumors 68020

    techlover828

    Joined:
    Jun 28, 2007
  6. ErikCLDR macrumors 68000

    Joined:
    Jan 14, 2007
    #6
    I would probably get the Jetta.

    Out of the bunch it is probably the the most reliable, though VW's reliability now is questionable.

    Second choice would be the Saab 9-5. My friends parents bought him an '04 Aero 9-5 and its a really neat car and fun to drive. I would pick this because it is newer than the rest and will have fewer age related problems.

    I would stay away from the 1992 BMW, although it has only 70k miles, it has 15 or 16 years of environmental wear. Sure it wasn't driving a lot, but things rust, hoses dry up and break, etc. A BMW being a BMW will have very high repair costs, though there are plenty of used parts out there. Still, I wouldn't get it.

    Although the 900 is cheap, I would stay away from it too, especially if its a turbo, they are the worst. Old saabs are very quirky and are known to be unreliable and expensive to fix. If you get this one though, be sure to get a a set of torx wrenches.

    All these cars have high repair costs, which is part of the reason as to why their resale value is so low. With age comes more problems, with more problems comes the need to spend more money.

    1) VW
    2) 9-5
    3) probably the BMW because of low mileage
    4) 900 because of milage

    My mom had a 1993 S(L)AAB 9000 turbo, she liked it but she said it was pretty unreliable and expensive to fix. Parts also took a while to come in. She kept it for 3 years and then bought and Audi.

    ---
    In used car buying for a US teen there are 3 choices in the average $5000 price range
    1) Old European car with a fair amount of miles, fun to drive but unreliable and expensive to fix
    2) 5 year old low milage US car that's built like crap, not particularly fun to drive, but will never have any huge problems and will run until you want to get rid of it because its too old or until you get into an accident
    3) A somewhat old high mileage japanese car- built well, good reliability, but have high resale value
     
  7. yg17 macrumors G5

    yg17

    Joined:
    Aug 1, 2004
    Location:
    St. Louis, MO
    #7
    I don't think I'd buy anything with that high mileage, and see if that 5 grand could be better spent on a slightly less used Civic, Corolla or the like.
     
  8. nbs2 macrumors 68030

    nbs2

    Joined:
    Mar 31, 2004
    Location:
    A geographical oddity
    #8
    Because of the maintenance costs, I would suggest one of the latter two options. A Saab/VW/BMW would be lots of fun, but it's going to eat a lot of cash. If this is a short term thing or you plan on selling it when it gets long in the tooth, I'd go Japanese. For mid term or driving until it dies, I'd go American.
     
  9. muffinman thread starter macrumors 6502

    muffinman

    Joined:
    Jun 1, 2005
    Location:
    San Diego, California
    #9
    Some of my friends have been telling me that saabs break easily and eat up gas. I am apprehensive about purchasing a saab now, in retrospect.

    What I want is a respectable car that does not need too much maintainance. I will probably be driving this car well into my sophomore/junior year in college (I'm a senior in high school now), and I know that the college I am going to requires a car to get around (even for freshmen).

    I know I am basically asking for a dream college applicant car, but does anyone know of any other cars I could look up that are under 5000 dollars? Thank you!
     
  10. simsfanatic macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Aug 15, 2007
    #10
    All I know is that SAABs last longer and are nice cars. As for mileage I don't know, sorry! :cool:
     
  11. RugoseCone macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Aug 22, 2002
    #11
    Research everything at http://www.edmunds.com/

    The website is an awesome resource for both new and used cars. I used it extensively when I was purchasing a vehicle in 2002.
     
  12. poopyhead macrumors 6502a

    poopyhead

    Joined:
    Jan 4, 2004
    Location:
    in the toe-jam of greatness (Fort Worth)
    #12
    lexus sc300 or sc400
    acura vigor
    mazda millinea
    infiniti j30

    all are very reliable, fun to drive, and pretty good on gas
     
  13. steamboat26 macrumors 65816

    steamboat26

    Joined:
    May 25, 2006
    Location:
    Arlington VA
    #13
    OP- go with the Volkswagen, in the 90s they still made pretty decent cars.
    A family friend of mine bought a used Saab, worst mistake she ever made.
    For the BMW, repair costs would be high if it ever needed any servicing.
     
  14. simsfanatic macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Aug 15, 2007
    #14
    True :eek:
     
  15. Abstract macrumors Penryn

    Abstract

    Joined:
    Dec 27, 2002
    Location:
    Location Location Location
    #15
    Why? Used Civics and Corollas keep their value well, and don't depreciate quickly. I think you'd pay too much for a used Civic.

    From that list, I'd pick the 1999 Saab, then the 1996 VW (even though it's not much of a choice). I'd avoid the BMW and the Saab convertible.
     
  16. muffinman thread starter macrumors 6502

    muffinman

    Joined:
    Jun 1, 2005
    Location:
    San Diego, California
    #16
    Is this too good to be true?

    2002 Acura RSX Type S Supercharged K20A2 - 5000 dollars
    Miles: 63239
    Doors: 3 doors
    Transmission: Manual
    Interior: Black
    Year: 2002
    - 20" Edge Zenith Rims with 225/30ZR20 BFGoodrich KDW2 tires which are 20% worn.
    - Jackson Racing Race Supercharger: with upgraded 7 lb pulley, Hondata Computer and 440 fuel injectors.
    - Jackson Racing Header with test pipe
    - Greddy Cat Back Exhaust
    - AEM V2 Air Intake
    - AEM Fuel Rail
    - Unorthodox Crank and Alternator Pulley
    - Nology Spark Plug Wires
    - Club RSX Oil Pan Baffle
    - Neuspeed short shifter
    - Ground Control Coil Over Springs
    - 2 Gauge Pod with Autometer Boost Gauge and Air Fuel Ratio Gauge
    - 2 Alarms: Viper alarm with car pager and factory alarm
    - Aftermarket Spoiler
    - Wings West wiper cowl
    - Flip out 7" Clarion touch screen with CD player
    - Factory fog lights
    - Interior titanium trim kit with titanium shift knob
    - Sunroof visor
    - Acura body kit
    - Upgraded Enjo motor mounts
     
  17. Xfujinon macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Jul 27, 2007
    Location:
    Iowa City, Iowa
    #17
    get a Toyota

    A Camry will run like a champion for about 275,000 if it is maintained well. Ours is pushing 200,000 and it still looks and feels mostly new (although the engine has slightly more grumble than it did about 9 years ago...).

    I also endorse Honda, Civics can also run for an insanely long time.

    Jettas are really nice, but not the newer ones (maintenance/quality control issues).

    Good luck!
     
  18. Sun Baked macrumors G5

    Sun Baked

    Joined:
    May 19, 2002
    #18
    You can probably get a newer Mercury Sable with lower miles for 5k, and save on the insurance while retaining some so-so mileage.

    Mercury still suffers from old-fart syndrome at the insurance companies, so they tend to run neck and neck with Buick for some of the lower rates.

    Can look some of your used vehicles thoughts up here...

    http://consumerguideauto.howstuffworks.com/used-car-prices-reviews.htm

    Then click on the "full/complete reliability summary" for the vehicle which will give some of the common problems, some of the fixes for them -- and estimated prices for some of the common repairs.
     
  19. steamboat26 macrumors 65816

    steamboat26

    Joined:
    May 25, 2006
    Location:
    Arlington VA
    #19
    I'd say yes. Given the upgrades and low(ish) miles, I would definitely check the VIN number on it, in case its stolen or a certified lemon.

    I am also looking into buying my first car, and oddly enough have about $4000 to spend. I have been looking at Toyota's and Honda's but keeping getting worried about high miles. I was also wondering, is the only advantage of buying from the original owner potentially having all the service records, and having a seller who knows the car? Most of the Toyota's and Honda's i have found in my area have been passed around a lot.
    Also, Japanese cars are generally reliable, but what about makes like Mitsubishi and Subaru? I know Mitsubishi's get mixed reviews, and Subaru is owned by several different companies; so does the reliability history extend to all Japanese makes?
     
  20. Sun Baked macrumors G5

    Sun Baked

    Joined:
    May 19, 2002
    #20
    If the Mitsubishi has an automatic, run very fast.
     
  21. iGav macrumors G3

    Joined:
    Mar 9, 2002
    #21
    The only way they'll get $4k for a '92 BMW is if they're sporting balaclavas and baseball bats.
     
  22. true777 macrumors 6502a

    true777

    Joined:
    Dec 30, 2000
    Location:
    California, Austria, Arkansas
    #22
    I would also go for the Jetta or the 1999 Saab, but I also second the opinion that it would be more prudent to buy something newer (2000 onwards) and lower mile (less than 70k) that's smaller and not a luxury make -- Ford Focus, Honda, Suzuki, Hyundai, Scion, Mitsubishi, etc.
     
  23. Abstract macrumors Penryn

    Abstract

    Joined:
    Dec 27, 2002
    Location:
    Location Location Location
    #23
    Um......yes, unless your hometown is a place called Disneyland. Otherwise, magical deals like this won't happen, no matter how hard you try to believe it's true. ;)
     
  24. adroit macrumors 6502

    adroit

    Joined:
    Sep 28, 2005
    Location:
    Victoria, BC
    #24
    At 90,000 miles, the VW isn't even broken in yet.

    but my choice in that list is the BMW by a LONG shot. I can't believe someone would compare an A3 Jetta to a 325, wow.
     
  25. ErikCLDR macrumors 68000

    Joined:
    Jan 14, 2007
    #25
    Be patient, the more you are the better car you will probably end up getting. I looked at 4 Grand Cherokees, 1 Infiniti QX4, 2 4Runners, and 4 Land Rover Discoveries before I found my car.

    And thanks to the OP, now i have that stupid song going around in my head...

    Do you know the muffin man, the muffin man, the muffin man....

    gah!
     

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