1 2 3 4
Duke
Duke MegaDork
8/18/17 12:09 p.m.

I think it's about time for the 325i to move on. The plan is to ditch it, I'll take DW's 2004 TSX, and we'll buy her a new or lightly-used replacement. That's where you folks come in.

Budget: $30k-$40k. We paid $27,000 for her TSX new in 2004 without giving DW a heart attack. Simple inflation puts that number around $35,000 in 2017.

Requirements: No clutch. Fun to drive. Responsive but doesn't need to be overpowered. Comfortable and semi-luxurious. Midsize, not big. Probably 4 doors. AWD a plus but not required.

Reliability: Critical. We buy our cars and keep them a long time. This car needs to last 10-15 years, because the plan is to maybe never buy another one. In that time it is likely to get less than 100k miles on it, since DW has a short commute and will likely retire in the middle of that timespan. I'm not overly worried about the mileage but the years count too. I want something that's going to need routine maintenance but not major overhaul.

The TSX has given us remarkably little trouble, which is why I'm probably ditching the aging E46 even though I prefer driving it. The BMW is still solid but it has twice the mileage and is showing every single issue a 14-year-old, 120k+ BMW does. It has never stranded me and nothing major has ever broken, but it has a bunch of little things all over.

Obvious replacement choices are the Acura TLX, which is frankly where we'll start looking. I also want to show her an Accord (a little too conservative in 2004), Mazda 6 (she wasn't impressed by the 2004 version) and a Fusion. We'll probably also look at the WRX Premium and the Legacy, but Subaru head gaskets scare me a little, even still.


But part of me wants something nicer if we can afford it. So I'm also considering Audis, BMWs, Volvos, and even... Jaaaaaaaags. But no Mercedes - I won't own a Mercedes.

So, how much have the Europeans improved in reliability over the last 5-10 years? Because the 2000s were kind of a low point for the vaunted German engineering. Like I said, my 2003 BMW is fundamentally sound, but it has a dozen little things wrong with it that aren't even a question with the 2004 Acura.

I'm really not in the mood to stretch the budget for something that is also going to be less reliable in the long term. So what's the current take?

Cblais19
Cblais19 New Reader
8/18/17 12:13 p.m.

Per the standard "reliability publications" which all have their own issues, Audi is the top euro brand for that. Downside is that if you're looking new 30-40k will get you either a stripper A4 or a medium trim A3.

OTOH you should be able to get a fully loaded '18 Accord with the 2.0T, 10 speed transmission and ventilated seats for that price point here shortly.

I've read the new Camry is nice as well.

chaparral
chaparral Dork
8/18/17 1:04 p.m.

How about a Dodge Charger?

Duke
Duke MegaDork
8/18/17 1:12 p.m.

I like 'em but the Charger's too big.

Sky_Render
Sky_Render SuperDork
8/18/17 1:22 p.m.

I've got a '14 Fusion with the 2.0 Ecoboost, and it's been very reliable. Nice mid-range power, but crappy fuel economy.

Duke
Duke MegaDork
8/18/17 1:26 p.m.
Sky_Render wrote: I've got a '14 Fusion with the 2.0 Ecoboost, and it's been very reliable. Nice mid-range power, but crappy fuel economy.

Fuel economy is low on the priority list. Same with required octane grade. The TSX gets right about 5,000 miles a year on it, and that's with us using it as the primary car on weekends, in addition to DW's regular commute. I don't see that use pattern changing significantly. Fuel use is just not that large a factor in our lives.

Duke
Duke MegaDork
8/18/17 1:29 p.m.

Are Volkswagens still a "warranty only" vehicle? Because I have several direct acquaintances with stereotypical Oughties-VW horror stories. Some of them look nice, but I have no wish to sign up for a life illuminated by CELs.

Stefan
Stefan MegaDork
8/18/17 1:31 p.m.
Duke wrote: I like 'em but the Charger's too big.

Plus its an old Mercedes underneath with a 'Murican drivetrain.

Old_Town
Old_Town New Reader
8/18/17 1:37 p.m.

VW Passat SEL or CC? Both nearing their model-cycle ends so issues should be addressed or at least known. Packed with features with seemingly favorable pricing...

Duke
Duke MegaDork
8/18/17 1:37 p.m.
Stefan wrote:
Duke wrote: I like 'em but the Charger's too big.

Plus its an old Mercedes underneath with a 'Murican drivetrain.

Yeah, true, but at least it's money Chrysler is recouping off of that, since Mercedes already screwed them into paying for the engineering.

STM317
STM317 Dork
8/18/17 1:42 p.m.

This is one of those situations where I think it's prudent to look at a company's track record. We can't really say how any current vehicle will fare over 10 plus years of ownership because you don't know until you get into that time frame.

If past is prologue, and Germans were having quality issues 10-15 years ago then I don't think it's a stretch to think that increasing the complexity of their product over the last decade would do anything to improve quality.

In fact, with how intensive tech has gotten in new vehicles I'm not sure one can expect them to not have issues over a lengthy ownership period. Quality has gone up with things like drivetrain components but is it realistic to expect the software to hold up over time? Think about how well a 10-15 year old computer functions now and then apply that to all of the software used in a current car. Sure, it might still be mechanically sound in 15 years but if nobody likes to drive it because the interface is buggy or slow or won't connect to anything and you can't control the HVAC, or the screen is toast and NLA then what good will it truly be?

02Pilot
02Pilot Dork
8/18/17 1:57 p.m.

At that budget, if I were looking for German CPO would be the first best option. That said, I was quite pleased with the new Mazda 6 I test drove a few months ago; new and well-equipped that should still be well below your limit.

Stefan
Stefan MegaDork
8/18/17 2:00 p.m.

Buick GS?

mtn
mtn MegaDork
8/18/17 2:02 p.m.

Lexus IS.

Duke
Duke MegaDork
8/18/17 2:08 p.m.
Stefan wrote: Buick GS?

That's an outlier but has promise. The "boring Buick" stigma is going to take some overcoming for DW, and I'm not 100% convinced by the current styling. Honestly, the same kind of holds true for the Accord, which is how we wound up at the Acura dealer last time. In the post-bailout world order I also have a slight preference to Ford over GM products, but not enough to raise real objection over.

mtn wrote: Lexus IS.

Neither of us will get past the Norelco vs Predator styling. I was also thoroughly underwhelmed by all of Toyotas current offerings when I was in the showroom earlier this year.

Stefan
Stefan MegaDork
8/18/17 2:18 p.m.

Before Bobzilla waltzes in, I'll also throw Kia and Hyundai into the mix.

Duke
Duke MegaDork
8/18/17 2:24 p.m.
Stefan wrote: Before Bobzilla waltzes in, I'll also throw Kia and Hyundai into the mix.

I'm not against those. DW might be. I put them as outliers with promise as well.

FuzzWuzzy
FuzzWuzzy New Reader
8/18/17 2:24 p.m.

2014+ Chevy SS. Semi-luxury. Fun to drive. Not overpowered. Reliable drivetrain.

Duke
Duke MegaDork
8/18/17 2:35 p.m.
FuzzWuzzy wrote: 2014+ Chevy SS. Semi-luxury. Fun to drive. Not overpowered. Reliable drivetrain.

Same boat as the Charger. I like 'em, but they're too big. Something Malibu sized that's nicer and more interesting than a Malibu.

APEowner
APEowner HalfDork
8/18/17 2:41 p.m.
Stefan wrote:
Duke wrote: I like 'em but the Charger's too big.

Plus its an old Mercedes underneath with a 'Murican drivetrain.

Personally, I don't see that as a downside. European chassis sophistication with the charisma and reliability of an American V8.

FuzzWuzzy
FuzzWuzzy New Reader
8/18/17 2:43 p.m.

Damn. Four doors, sporty yet reliable, no clutch...Hot hatches are out for either third pedal or poor reliability...

Best guess will be a brand new Accord with the 2.0T? "Same" engine as the Type R, so only a tune away from it being an Accord Type R!

Stefan
Stefan MegaDork
8/18/17 2:48 p.m.
APEowner wrote:
Stefan wrote:
Duke wrote: I like 'em but the Charger's too big.

Plus its an old Mercedes underneath with a 'Murican drivetrain.

Personally, I don't see that as a downside. European chassis sophistication with the charisma and reliability of an American V8.

Except they were one of the worst from Mercedes, but I digress. They are massive looking and the OP doesn't like them. Moving on.

trigun7469
trigun7469 SuperDork
8/18/17 2:57 p.m.

If a Kia Cadenza Sedan is too big perhaps Kia Optima, they are very competitive when it comes with a fully loaded version. Huyndai elentra or Sonata. I have owned a Forte and Soul, I enjoyed them that they were great cars, super reliable. I would suggest the Mazda6 but, they should have put a V-6 in it. I currently own a Mazda3, it's nice and reliable, but wish it came as a mazdaspeed.

yupididit
yupididit Dork
8/18/17 3:56 p.m.

I'll be that guy....997.1

Duke
Duke MegaDork
8/18/17 4:11 p.m.
yupididit wrote: I'll be that guy....997.1

Maybe for me after this purchase is paid off... right now, it's DW's turn. I got the last 2 cars (albeit used). I'll be taking over the TSX for another 3-4 years.

1 2 3 4
Our Preferred Partners
7NyhXnS0ifc9gFijMvYgk8wcgrZkGlLXj2HmtarsiJevXYwLYacaHuK3cc5720Lh