Strathclyde New Reader
March 18, 2014 8:38 p.m.

Please hep a fella out here:

My brother is looking for a used car in the $3000-$6000 range. So far, he's looked at a 2002 Audi A6 4.2 (got away), a 1997 Mercedes-Benz 420E, 2003 Mini Cooper (base), and a 2004 Jaguar X-Type.

He's interested in the Jag, and I think it's a monumentally bad idea, but need some persuasive ammunition.

Thanks for any help you can give.

March 18, 2014 8:44 p.m.

Hi, I'm new here but work on these frequently. You get the build quality of a Taurus but they aren't any cheaper to maintain than the bigger cats. Anything with the AWD is expensive. The 2.5L is a dog. You have to stay on top of the cooling system- leaks and failures are common.Oil pan gasket leaks are common and expensive, but there is a shortcut... Really though, run away!

Ranger50 PowerDork
March 18, 2014 8:46 p.m.

Talk about champagne and caviar dreams on a beer and chips budget.....

old_ Reader
March 18, 2014 8:54 p.m.

All of those are pretty dumb ideas. If you want cheap luxury get a LS400 or Q/M45

Strathclyde New Reader
March 18, 2014 9:11 p.m.

There's a 2003 Volvo base-trim S60 5-speed that I drove last fall but didn't buy. It's still there, and it's actually a pretty clean car, but I thought it handled worse than my Passat (it did).

But for what it is, it's nice. I'm going to try to steer him toward that.

March 18, 2014 9:48 p.m.

For $3000-$6000 I'd buy the nicest Accord I could find and forget about a Euro/luxury car. Says the guy with the modified turbo Volvo that cost $5500.*

*I was a master tech for 18 years so my labor is free and I don't mind working on it.

Strathclyde New Reader
March 18, 2014 10:06 p.m.
old_ wrote: All of those are pretty dumb ideas. If you want cheap luxury get a LS400 or Q/M45

Luxury really isn't what he's going for, just something cool. The M45 is pretty cool, but the others are merely "posh" in the opinion of he on whose behalf I ask.

JacktheRiffer New Reader
March 18, 2014 11:06 p.m.

For that budget if he wants something sporty/"posh" go with a lexus preferably rhe LS400

m4ff3w UltraDork
March 18, 2014 11:19 p.m.

Saab 9-5 Turbo 4cyl could fit in that group.

z31maniac
z31maniac UltimaDork
March 18, 2014 11:25 p.m.

Hi, I can't afford to buy a nice version of the car, but I somehow think I could afford to maintain it.

Sorry, I know that sounds crappy, but if you're looking in that price range I assume it's for a reason. And not because you're willing to spend a ton on maintenance.................and that's if you they do it themselves.

March 19, 2014 5:20 a.m.
z31maniac wrote: Hi, I can't afford to buy a nice version of the car, but I somehow think I could afford to maintain it. Sorry, I know that sounds crappy, but if you're looking in that price range I assume it's for a reason. And not because you're willing to spend a ton on maintenance.................and that's if you they do it themselves.

Not harsh at all. In fact, I need to listen to and heed this advice more than anyone I know.

Me being the guy who figures he'd be safe buying a Jaguar, Lincoln LS, Saab, Volvo etc...

mad_machine MegaDork
March 19, 2014 6:40 a.m.

those cars, like so many European cars, are the "if you can't afford to get it fixed, you better know how to do it yourself" type of cars.

GameboyRMH MegaDork
March 19, 2014 8:00 a.m.

He hasn't said it, but from his choices he clearly wants a prestigious lady-puller on a grassroots budget. So I'll say +1 for the LS400 or Q/M45.

SlickDizzy PowerDork
March 19, 2014 8:00 a.m.
mad_machine wrote: those cars, like so many European cars, are the "if you can't afford to get it fixed, you better know how to do it yourself" type of cars.

x1000%. I have been driving cheap BMWs, Saabs, Volvos etc for the better part of a decade now only because I do all the work myself and order parts online, where they are actually easily available and reasonably priced. Getting work done at the dealer or trying to find parts at Vato Zone is a quick way to become one of those "EURO IMPORT SUX, MERKUH RULZ" kind of people.

The X-type in particular is not well-loved by many, just google "Jaguar X-type" and enjoy the results...though the Ford Contour enthusiasts on this board really try to defend it. Just be glad he didn't buy the 4.2 A6, that would have been HILARIOUS.

If he is a non-car person, a Lexus is going to be his best choice by a long shot. BMWs tend to be pretty bulletproof too as long as the cooling system was done at 100k as scheduled.

93EXCivic MegaDork
March 19, 2014 8:07 a.m.

Near the top of that price range you should be able to find a post '00 XJ8. Much much better car then the X-Type.

dculberson UltraDork
March 19, 2014 8:11 a.m.

I always recommend what I happen to be driving at the moment, but ... a GS300 or GS400 can be had in that price range in quite nice shape and they're very reliable and are satisfying to drive. I don't know if they count as cool but they're nice and still look fancy enough to the average person to impress some people. Parts are not cheap but they don't need fed as often as their Euro cousins.

1988RedT2 PowerDork
March 19, 2014 9:27 a.m.
Strathclyde wrote: There's a 2003 Volvo base-trim S60 5-speed that I drove last fall but didn't buy. It's still there, and it's actually a pretty clean car, but I thought it handled worse than my Passat (it did). But for what it is, it's nice. I'm going to try to steer him toward that.

Not to be a bubble-buster, but isn't that the vintage and model Volvo that can be had dirt cheap because every single one of them needs a head gasket, or some such engine repair?

March 19, 2014 9:41 a.m.

Buying a "cool car" because you like its looks or it fits your driving style is cool. Buying a money pit to impress others? Not so much.

By the way, an old topless/doorless Wrangler with 4" lift and 35" tires or a convertable Fox or SN97 Mustang will get the girls quicker than a Jag will. But it's still a cheesy way of conducting yourself (not meant to be a knock on your friend).

93EXCivic MegaDork
March 19, 2014 9:51 a.m.
ebonyandivory wrote: By the way, an old topless/doorless Wrangler with 4" lift and 35" tires or a convertable Fox or SN97 Mustang will get the girls quicker than a Jag will. But it's still a cheesy way of conducting yourself (not meant to be a knock on your friend).

How much do I want nothing to do with girls that a Fox body convertible would pull?

Strathclyde New Reader
March 19, 2014 9:57 a.m.
GameboyRMH wrote: He hasn't said it, but from his choices he clearly wants a prestigious lady-puller on a grassroots budget.

yeah, the1999 Honda Odyssey he bought new isn't really "doing it" for his wife of 20 years, nor his four kids. Sheesh.

March 19, 2014 10:09 a.m.

Given the list, I don't think that was a ridiculous assumption with the information provided. Basically, I will echo everyone else. Avoid Europe. All of it. There are some excepts but your Brother will be MUCH better off getting a big Lexus. I am not too sure I would even recommend the Infinities. To much to keep up with on that one. If he wants something different, have him get a small sports car of some sort. Say a Miata?

March 19, 2014 10:17 a.m.

In reply to 93EXCivic:

Jeep girls OTOH...

MadScientistMatt UltraDork
March 19, 2014 10:36 a.m.
Strathclyde wrote:
old_ wrote: All of those are pretty dumb ideas. If you want cheap luxury get a LS400 or Q/M45

Luxury really isn't what he's going for, just something cool. The M45 is pretty cool, but the others are merely "posh" in the opinion of he on whose behalf I ask.

A BMW E36 would fit his budget, and would hold up fairly well if he got a well maintained example and didn't mind doing his own maintenance.

Or how about a Mustang? The Jeep suggestion wasn't too bad if he wants something cool on a budget, either.

belteshazzar UberDork
March 19, 2014 11:32 a.m.

that original list of possibilities is, funny. "what's the least satisfying car I can find that's guaranteed to total itself through major mechanical malfunction?"

Mr_Clutch42 Reader
March 21, 2014 2:18 p.m.

I like the design of the X-Type, but I do hear that they are expensive to maintain and I remember that Jags were always last in any Car and Driver comparison test a decade ago.

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