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September 30th, 2005

This Old Car

So there are rumblings around our household that we might get rid of our car. (Put this Ping together with my last one and you can tell, I suppose.) The issue becomes, though, do we get something newer that gets great mileage (and end up paying for it for 5 years, meh) or something older that gets great mileage and own it in much less time?

The compelling argument for a newer car is, well, it’s new. If it’s a foreign car, odds are very high it’ll run forever (or at least until 2050.) That’s a huge plus. And, you know, creature comforts. Most newer cars include all the goodies like power locks, power windows, and radial tires. Older cars? Not so much – but there’s that whole “it’s so cheap we’ll own it in short order” angle that’s appealing.

But that made me wonder if anyone in Pingville has essentially swapped a newer car – ours is a 2001 – for something older in order to kill off car payments and diminish time at the pump. I’m also just curious as to what everyone drives, so feel free to throw that out there, too. (We have a 2001 PT Cruiser.)

Posted in Cars

DATE: Friday September 30, 2005 -- 8:29:49 am
Wife - 2001 Mazda MPV
Me - 1997 Mazda 626 (just rolled over 100K a couple of weeks ago)

IMO, there is never a good financial argument to buy a brand new car. Buying a dealer certified used car with 36,000 miles and you still get a good warrenty but the price will be 50% less.

FROM: Ryan [E-Mail]
DATE: Friday September 30, 2005 -- 11:08:53 am
Wife - 1989 Ford Mustang (~ 119k on it)... decent mileage, considering.

Me - 1998 Kia Sephia (~114k on it)... surprisingly good mileage, regularly over 30 mpg

I bought the Kia new, but hey -- a new Kia is still pretty cheap.

FROM: Rob [E-Mail]
DATE: Friday September 30, 2005 -- 1:41:38 pm
I drive a 2000 Saturn LS1 with about 78k miles on it. I bought it used in November of 2001 when it had about 23k miles on it.

I think buying used is the way to go. Sarah bought a certified used Honda Accord LX for MUCH less than a new one would cost and it runs great and probably will for a very long time. No problems so far and she's owned it for, I think, 2 years now. Maybe 3. I forget.

Time makes me giggle.

FROM: Paul
DATE: Friday September 30, 2005 -- 2:18:29 pm
I'll second and third the emotion that used is the way to go. I bought the PT new (during "PT Fever" in 2001), and chances are high it'll be the last all-new car we ever buy. If we do go "newish" it'll be a 1-3 year old car, for sure.

FROM: Terry M.
DATE: Friday September 30, 2005 -- 3:54:03 pm
My three cars ...

- 1995 Nissan Altima (212 K miles and counting) - leaks oil and transmission fluid and every other liquid than can leak, every piece of the body has at least 2 severe dents, major rust damage, or is just missing altogether, but runs great, A/C is arctic cold (and has never been repaired/recharged), and gets 30 MPG.

- 1996 Chevy Blazer (110 K miles) - in good condition and runs fine but A/C doesn't work and gets about 22 MPG.

- 2004 Nissan Maxima (7 K miles) - doesn't even start, battery won't hold charge for more than a couple hours and I need to jump it start with Altima whenever I want to drive it, and I can't turn ignition off anywhere but home lest I be stranded. LOL.

DATE: Friday September 30, 2005 -- 11:14:12 pm
toyota corolla

FROM: jk
DATE: Friday September 30, 2005 -- 11:27:32 pm
2002 last 5 cars were new VWs. I am highly opposed to buying a pre-owned car. Won't do it, ever. Love my warranty and love knowing I am not driving something someone else mistreated.

Come on, German car owners--speak up!

My lease is up in February and to appease my dad, I will test-drive an Acura TSX.

The new Jettas and Passats look like Toyotas. The Jetta is downright ugly, far uglier than when it was a Teutonic box.

FROM: Merle [E-Mail]
DATE: Saturday October 1, 2005 -- 4:22:12 pm
Hmm. I'm the wrong person to comment on this.

'97 Acura Integra. Maybe 23K miles on it. I just don't drive much.

I'd love to trade it in for a hybrid, or something more fuel efficient -- but given how little I drive it does not make sense.

In CA it does not make sense to buy older cars since you have to go in for smog checks. Old cars rarely pass those...

FROM: Marcus
DATE: Wednesday October 26, 2005 -- 12:40:02 am
1989 Chevrolet Beretta GT.

120,500+ miles, was bought new by my father in early 1990; I replaced my 1988 Chevrolet Corsica [bought used in 1993] with it about 3 years ago.

For being almost 20 years old, the car still runs pretty soundly and considering GM's paint reputation... it's still got about 98% of it's original paint, with only 2 spots on the deck where it's peeling and some modest rust here and there. Horsepower isn't that great, many modern 4-cyl cars put out more hp and torque and get 2x's the mileage doing so. It's still a pretty solid runner even if the hard to the core suspension has rattled much of the interior bits apart and I've had to have the driver's seat structure brazed back together. LoL

It did have a transmission replaced around 60,000 miles, and that was only because the ECU unit inside isn't replaceable cost-effectively without a swap. Car runs better now than when new after replacing the tranny. LoL

That said... I've still been shopping because even as good as it's running... no car lasts forever...


I like the new Passat that's coming out, I just can't remotely afford one. LoL I think it has more personality than the last design and design revision. It's definitely more aggressive looking and not bland in the least.

That said...

The base Jetta does look a lot like a Corolla (and the Corolla has more oomph than the 5-cyl :-P) but for whatever reason, in GLI trim it takes that blandness in styling away; esp. with the larger low-profile wheels with the circular holes milled out of them (niiice). In fact I can't really afford the GLI over the cars I'm cross-shopping but if I could swing the extra $5-8k, I'd get a silver 2006 GLI with DSG and heated leather seats almost over any car available here this side of the new A3 which I also like a lot.

I still think if VW/Audi was smart they'd bring SEAT (pronounced: Say-ot) over from Spain. Imagine German engineering with a passionate Spanish (almost Italian; which I've always been an Alfa Romeo fanatic) design flare. The new SEAT Leona = to die for gorgeous IMHO.

Rear Angled View

Front Angled View

Interior View

Basically it's built on the new VW Golf/Jetta platform. I believe they're not quite as expensive but they also lack some of the power. If not mistaken they have the 2.0 Litre (Euro spelling) Turbo rated at 170hp vs. 200hp here. Whether that's due to differences in the U.S. vs. Euro. measurement systems... hard to say. If not, then it's basically a different body design and interior on a Golf. I'd take this over the A3 and Golf/Jetta anyday...

They even have John McEnroe peddling them on the SEAT website!


FROM: Marcus
DATE: Wednesday October 26, 2005 -- 12:50:06 am
Gotta correct myself, it's 185 hp in the SEAT Leon not Leona... which depending on how it's measured, could be basically the same engine specs. I'm not sure what the Euro Jetta/GTI have for specs, but it's the same 2.0 Liter Turbo FSI 4 engine family that replaces the 1.8T 4-cyl here in the GTI/GLI.

FROM: unknown
DATE: Wednesday December 28, 2005 -- 8:28:19 am
for test only

FROM: Steve A.
DATE: Wednesday December 28, 2005 -- 8:57:41 am
Since this got bumped to the top, I'm going to comment. I also own a 2001 PT Cruiser. I love it. And since there's only my wife and myself, I've pulled the backseats out to make room for 'stuff.' We use it whenever we go to auctions, flea markets, etc. Thus far I've been real good with what I can carry. I know one day I'll overload myself.

Routinely I get about 30mph on freeway. Sometimes more, sometimes less, depending on the winds and roadgods. I bought it secondhand in '03 with about 35k. I now have 95k on him.

I traded in my 87 Pontiac Fiero with over 200,000 miles. It just got to the point the cost of being cool was more than the Cruiser payments.

And Marcus, having lived in Spain for four years, unless SEAT got it's act together, we used to say it stood for Spanish Engineered Automotive Trash. Just as FIAT stand for Fix It Again, Tony.

In the past 12 months I have taken out Toyota and Honda hybrids for rides. I absolutely LOVE the Prius. If you're going to be new and cool, be DIFFERENT.. and it IS! The Honda's just a reengineered Civic; nothing to get thrilled about. The Toyotas got about 45mpg avg including freeway. City living is where the hybrids make a real difference!

I've also run the Pontiac Vibe and Toyota Corolla Matrix. Actually an identical car. Not bad, all in all. Room, comfort and style. But it's a mini-station wagon.

So.. wha'dya do?


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