Friday, January 23, 2009

Here in My Car, I Feel Safest of All

UPDATE: Jill and I went out and bought our new hoopty this afternoon. Details anon.

I need a new car. I have a few ideas about what I'm going to buy but I'm curious about how other people feel about their rides.

So here are my questions for you:

1) What do you drive?
2) Do you like it? If so, why?
3) Would you recommend it?

The floor is open!


Gino said...

hyundai santa fe
absolutely like it.
it's quick, handles very well, takes steep hills as easily as flat land. 25 mpg hwy, bumper to bumper warranty for 100k.

drawbacks: not a 'macho image' car, and most likely not comfortable for big fellow like yourself. the dimensions just happen to fit my physical measuremnets as far as control panel,radio, mirrors,etc...
that was the deciding factor for me.

Night Writer said...

I can give you some tips on what I/we drive, but the one thing we DON'T do is buy new cars. The depreciation is just too much and for the price of a new "economy" car you can get a very nice late-model premium car.

The Mall Diva is currently driving a '93 Gran Marquis that we bought in '98 when it had 66,000 miles. The car now has over 220,000 miles and is rusty and needs a ring job, but still runs great and the interior is still very nice.

That car cost less than $10k; in fact, I don't think we've bought a car that has cost more than 9k or 10k in the last 10 years. I had a '93 Dodge Dakota for several years that was reliable and very useful. I got a wild-hair one time and sold it so I could buy a used Trooper II that was probably one of the most fun-to-drive vehicles I've ever owned. The 13 mpg, however, led me to finally trade it for an 03 Saturn L200, which came with heated leather seats and only 29,000 miles. The Rev. Mother now drives this since I bought my dad's pick-up ('98 Dakota) after he died. If you're a homeowner with a yard you've really got to have a pickup truck. You may only need the hauling space a handful of times a year, but when you need it, you really need it.

Also during this time we bought a '95 Cadillac STS for the Rev. Mum; it was a very classy car with a big V8 that matched her style perfectly. She loved that car, and it ran great even though maintenance was expensive. It ultimately needed some bodywork and was up around 150k miles I think, when we donated it to Prism Ministries back in December.

Net result, we've had nothing but good experiences buying used cars, especially premium models. If we're in the market we look for cars 3-5 years old and 50-60k miles or less. There's some great values out there, and with Carfax and Google and other resources you can really learn a lot. The Gran Marquis', by the way, are still a fabulous value if you need a big car. Because of their "old people" image (or "classic" styling if you will) they don't carry a premium price but the quality, reliability and all-around performance is first-rate.

Mark Heuring said...

Thanks for the recommendations, guys. I should have mentioned a few things:

1) Like NW, I'm highly disinclined to buy a new car – I'd rather have someone else eat the depreciation.

2) I don't plan on spending much more $15K.

3) Whatever the vehicle, it should be big enough to hold 4 adults comfortably. Our kids are getting older -- they aren't adult-sized yet, but they will be soon enough; especially the incredible expanding 13-year old.

Brad Carlson said...

The best thing about our Saturn Aura? I can lock all my doors. Its the only way to cars.

OK, I couldn't resist continuing the song lyrics. :-)

Seriously, we got a Saturn Aura (it's a mid-size car) last year and absolutely love it! The safety features are top notch (i.e. anti-lock brakes, traction control, etc.) and the V6 engine is a serendipity. Fits four VERY comfortably.

W.B. Picklesworth said...

Currently I use the city bus or the Mall Diva's Grand Marquis. Both are quite roomy, but the company is much better in the Mercury. ;)

Gino said...

just heard chrysler is having an 'employee price' sale. thats as good as buying slightly used, plus they are offering 0% financing on top of all that.

might want to check out those options as well.

Right Hook said...

Vehicles are very much a personal choice and highly subjective to personal preferences and past experience. Whether or not you intend to do the wrench work yourself can also be a major influence.

As a fellow big guy I recommend the largest SUV or pickup built on a true truck platform (i.e. mininum 1/2 ton body-on-frame construction) that you can get away with on the domestic front.

The ride height and seating position in such vehicles is definitely more comfortable than in silly little cars or minivans and body-on-frame truck construction is much safer than the downsized passenger cars for you and your passengers if you are involved in an accident (ask G-man about this).

Four wheel drive is also nice from a safety perspective as if you drive with any common sense at all you will not get stranded by poor road conditions. I personally prefer a stick shift, not only aesthetically but they are generally much more rugged than the automatics (besides, if God meant for you to drive an automatic you would not have been born with a left leg).

My wife really likes her mini-van and they are very practical in terms of room, comfort, fuel economy, and being easy to park in an urban environment. If you are considering one be aware that your kids are getting close to the age where they will soon refer to it with derisive terminology like "loser cruiser" or "penalty box" if that makes any difference to you.

Whatever you get definitely find clean used one to avoid the depreciation.

kingdavid said...

I think you only have one option:

Save the Planet.

Anonymous said...

I think that you should buy a Prius and reduce your carbon footprint, you buck toothed varmint. Love Goose

Mark Heuring said...


That is one sweet ride!


The only carbon footprint that matters is the one attached to the boot that will be applied to tuchus of anyone who tries to cram me into a Prius.

I was actually looking at a couple of cars this morning. More anon.

Anonymous said...

Take a good look at the Ford Fusion. A really nice car. Ford was moving in the right direction. It holds 4 comforatably, and gets decent mileage. I'm betting you could get a used one coming off of a lease for a decent price.

Mark Heuring said...

Thanks to everyone for the advice! Jill and I went out and bought our new hoopty this afternoon. Details anon.