first car hard choice

muffinman

macrumors 6502
Original poster
Jun 1, 2005
394
0
San Diego, California
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
 

it5five

macrumors 65816
May 31, 2006
1,220
1
New York
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.
 

poopyhead

macrumors 6502a
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
 

103734

Guest
Apr 10, 2007
723
0
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.
 

ErikCLDR

macrumors 68000
Jan 14, 2007
1,795
0
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
 

yg17

macrumors G5
Aug 1, 2004
14,888
2,480
St. Louis, MO
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.
 

nbs2

macrumors 68030
Mar 31, 2004
2,713
485
A geographical oddity
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
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.
 

muffinman

macrumors 6502
Original poster
Jun 1, 2005
394
0
San Diego, California
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!
 

simsfanatic

macrumors newbie
Aug 15, 2007
19
0
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
All I know is that SAABs last longer and are nice cars. As for mileage I don't know, sorry! :cool:
 

steamboat26

macrumors 65816
May 25, 2006
1,123
0
Arlington VA
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.
 

Abstract

macrumors Penryn
Dec 27, 2002
24,378
110
Location Location Location
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.
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.
 

muffinman

macrumors 6502
Original poster
Jun 1, 2005
394
0
San Diego, California
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
 

Xfujinon

macrumors 6502
Jul 27, 2007
304
0
Iowa City, Iowa
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!
 

Sun Baked

macrumors G5
May 19, 2002
14,874
57
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.
 

steamboat26

macrumors 65816
May 25, 2006
1,123
0
Arlington VA
Is this too good to be true?

2002 Acura RSX Type S Supercharged K20A2 - 5000 dollars
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?
 

true777

macrumors 6502a
Dec 30, 2000
659
1
California, Austria, Arkansas
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.
 

Abstract

macrumors Penryn
Dec 27, 2002
24,378
110
Location Location Location
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
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. ;)
 

adroit

macrumors 6502
Sep 28, 2005
271
132
Victoria, BC
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.
 

ErikCLDR

macrumors 68000
Jan 14, 2007
1,795
0
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!