njansenv New Reader
7/8/08 11:31 a.m.

Ok, I (almost) hate to do this to you guys... My brother-in-law is looking for a car for him and his wife and child, and was looking for info. The catch is that whatever they get will likely become ours in 2-3 years (he's in Canada on a temporary student basis).

As much as I wanted to foist an E39 540i-6 wagon on him, I'm not sure he'd appreciate the car enough to warrant some of the "BMW foibles".

Criteria: Under 10k, Reliable Family Friendly Suitable for both a non-car guy (him), and a car guys (me) I'll likely use it as a commuter when he's done with it, so fuel economy of 28+mpg (only highway driving) would be good!

My thoughts so far: E46 325iT (I know, BMW...but I've heard they're pretty reliable....) Mazda 6 Sport Wagon (I don't know much about these) Mazda 3 Wagon Subaru WRX or RS wagon Mazda 5? I'm staying away from minivans for now...and like the utility of the wagons or larger sedans. What are Maxima's going for now? How's the 3.5 motor?

Thanks, all of you!

neon4891 HalfDork
7/8/08 11:46 a.m.

'99-02 Accord. Down side is if you are looking for stick, it means only a 4cyl.

Strizzo Dork
7/8/08 12:57 p.m.

mazda 6 wagon - these only came with the v6, but with the 5-speed they had clutch issues: the stock clutch would only last like 25k miles. if you get one, the clutch may or may not have been replaced with something that will hold up.

mazda 3 hatch - good cars, again the 5 door only came with the bigger motor, so its 2.3 I4 only. good motor, responsive handling and should get around 33mpg highway.

suby wrx wagon - awd means better in the winter, but also means about 25mpg highway.

rs wagon - don't know much about it, but might be hard to get 28 mpg with it.

the maximas i don't think would make your 28 mpg requirement, last i checked they were rated 25 or 26 highway

out of those options, my vote goes for the 3 hatch. it meets or exceeds all of your criteria. the wrx would get my vote if not for the mileage requirement

jrw1621 New Reader
7/8/08 2:47 p.m.
njansenv wrote: The catch is that whatever they get will likely become ours in 2-3 years (he's in Canada on a temporary student basis).

Will your brother be buying a Canadian model or a US model car?

neon4891 HalfDork
7/8/08 3:28 p.m.

strizzo, what about the price limit of 10k? I think that would knock both the 6 and all but the earliest WRXs from the list

Strizzo Dork
7/8/08 4:13 p.m.

thats true, im also not sure what used mazdas go for in canadian dollars.

neon4891 HalfDork
7/8/08 4:15 p.m.

good point

njansenv New Reader
7/9/08 8:00 a.m.

We'd be looking at a Canadian car: I'd prefer (and believe it's worth) buying American from below the rust belt, but it looks like we'll be buying next week.
I think that I can get a 6 in the price range, but I really appreciate the tip about the clutch on them: how are the auto's?

I like the 3 (it's my choice) but they're not convinced there is enough room in the back. We'll try one out perhaps this weekend. We'll also be looking at a late model Legacy: I doubt that real-world fuel mileage will be very good on them though.

How are the late model, FWD turbo Volvo wagons?

dyintorace GRM+ Memberand Reader
7/9/08 8:38 a.m.

I really enjoy my 325iT, having put around 15k in mileage on it thus far. If you click my avatar, you can see a larger picture.

The only downside is that the 5-speed is geared awfully short. I have to stay at 70 mph or below to see 28 mpg. At 75 mph, it is closer to 26.5. On the upside, if I pay attention, I can see 23 around town.

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