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I am planning to buy used Luxury sedan below $15K. I am looking at 4 cylinder car (2004-2008), preferably under 80K miles. I am going to use family friend car dealer, who is going to buy a car at an auction for me (service fee $500). So, hopefully I will get a car for at least $2-3K below dealership cost.

Below are the models I am considering:

- Audi A4
- Lexus IS (or others in the cheaper range)
- Acura TSX
- Volvo S40 (or others in the cheaper range)
- WV Passat
- Infinity G
- BMW 3

1. Can someone please recommend from personal experiences which of these cars would require least maintenance?
2. Can someone share their experience buying cars at auctions?
3. Can someone, who financed their car through PenFed let me know if they just give you a check, so you can pay the dealer in full?

I donít know much about cars, so any information is greatly appreciated.

P.S. Please donít suggest vic crown or ask me why I need luxury car. I just need it.

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YES! If my budget was in the range of a used Genesis, I would love to have one of those!

jwillgoesfast (May. 05, 2012 @ 1:58p) |

Why the obsession with 4 cylinders? An overworked 4 cylinder won't necessarily do better on mileage than a well-made 6. ... (more)

yourlefthand (May. 05, 2012 @ 10:57p) |

The general consensus: Toyota (Lexus) and Honda (Acura) are the way to go. I personally am a Honda guy. Have a 2005 TSX ... (more)

fuzi0n (May. 06, 2012 @ 10:44a) |

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I love Wolksvagens.

For almost all these cars, if they haven't had the timing belt changed, consider that into the expense. I have a Passat with 90k on it. I wouldn't say it's been cheap to maintain, but it hasn't been horrible either. An Audi A4 is *exactly* the same car with a few cosmetic changes, and slightly higher rates charged at the audi shops. I know that Volvos and BMW's can be quite expensive to maintain, quite a bit more than the vw/audi family, depending. As far as I know, all the cars you've named here are overall good vehicles, but I'm no expert.

bluegreenturtle said:   For almost all these cars, if they haven't had the timing belt changed, consider that into the expense. I have a Passat with 90k on it. I wouldn't say it's been cheap to maintain, but it hasn't been horrible either. An Audi A4 is *exactly* the same car with a few cosmetic changes, and slightly higher rates charged at the audi shops. I know that Volvos and BMW's can be quite expensive to maintain, quite a bit more than the vw/audi family, depending. As far as I know, all the cars you've named here are overall good vehicles, but I'm no expert.

edit: I also wouldn't consider some of these, including my car, to be luxury cars. I think a lot of people wouldn't consider any of these to be luxury cars.

Some of these cars also do not exist within that model year range with 4 cylinder engines. For example:

- Infiniti G series
- BMW 3 series (at least in the USA)

BMW 3 series.... all BMWs come with maintenance for the first 4 years so the odds are they've been treated better than others. Only problem in an auction is that you can't drive it.

NxN2005 said:   Some of these cars also do not exist within that model year range with 4 cylinder engines. For example:

- Infiniti G series
- BMW 3 series (at least in the USA)


Nor the Lexus IS. The IS250 is a 2.5L V6.

You'll get plenty of opinions on this, but I'd get the Lexus or the Acura. If a German car hasn't been properly maintained for the last 70,000 miles, you can be in for a world of hurt owning one. My feeling is the Japanese cars are less likely to suffer horrible effects from neglect.

Also, seeing many dealers buy from the auction, I'm not sure how buying from the auction results in "2-3k below dealer cost". The auction often is "dealer cost" for a used car.

There is a whole thread sharing experience from buying at Manheim. Check there.

FWIW, I've spent years successfully convincing my wife the Toyota Camry is a luxury vehicle.

Full sized sedan (like honda accord), smaller sedan (like honda civic), coupe? Do you want AWD in case it snows? Infinity G35 vs G35x or BMW 3-series I or IX for AWD.

You should be able to come WELL under $15k for the cars you mentioned under 70k miles.

Acura TSX is lowest maintenance...you can drive forever. Lexus IS 250 is made by Toyota and that'd be the second choice. BMW/Audi are cool cars, but come with higher maintenance costs. Infinity G35(x) coupe is a very cool car, basically the Nissan 350z with a back seat. If you need 4 doors though, I think the sedan of it looks ugly.



Where are you located? I buy from Manheim every now and then. I have been to the Phoenix Manheim maybe 12 times this year.

chris58950 said:   BMW 3 series.... all BMWs come with maintenance for the first 4 years so the odds are they've been treated better than others. Only problem in an auction is that you can't drive it.

You can drive them. I've bought a few vehicles from a dealer only auction here in Northern VA and I got to test drive them as they all have the key in the ignition.

Now to answer your question OP...

1. Can someone please recommend from personal experiences which of these cars would require least maintenance?]

Acura TSX and Lexus IS. Not only do they require the least maintenance but they are more reliable. If I was you, I'd choose one of these cars.

2. Can someone share their experience buying cars at auctions?

Your buying from a public auction so your experience may be different. I bought at private dealer auction only. Here's the issue: You can carfax the car before it gets sold but it can be a hassle. Also, the car may have been in an accident (that's why you have to carfax and AutoCheck it) From my experience you will be able to get the car you want at thousands less than what you will get at the dealer.

3. Can someone, who financed their car through PenFed let me know if they just give you a check, so you can pay the dealer in full?

Can't help you here, auction I bought cars from I had to pay cash only as it was a dealer auction

I know you said 80k miles and four cylinders, but I'm highly partial to the 2000-2002 Mercedes E class without COMAND / navigation screen. You could get two very nice ones with around 100-120k on them for under $15k, maybe three of them if you're buying wholesale.

Last one I bought was a 1999 AWD wagon, 234k miles, $2000. For that kind of money I'll forgo the year 2k upgrades.

I have had & loved the Lexus late 90's model years ago few quirks but not too bad maintenance wise
Also i know you didn't list it but I'd have to say the Mercedes ML320 (seats 5) AWD is a good choice & great on Maintenance!

TSX

li83arskiy68 said:   1. Can someone please recommend from personal experiences which of these cars would require least maintenance?You're looking for someone who has personally owned and maintained all of these cars.2. Can someone share their experience buying cars at auctions?http://www.fatwallet.com/forums/finance/819529/
http://www.fatwallet.com/forums/finance/1016133/3. Can someone, who financed their car through PenFed let me know if they just give you a check, so you can pay the dealer in full?http://www.fatwallet.com/forums/finance/1122273/

TSX. I have a G35 coupe and it's been pretty reliable. However, it's not a 4 cylinder and the gas mileage won't be as good as a TSX.

FWIW I've owned a Lexus (ES), Volvo (S60), and BWM (550). I now own a Leaf for carpool stickers. In my personal experiences, Volvo had the least issues, Lexus was next, and BMW was a distant third. BMW is extremely expensive to fix and maintain, but has the best driving experience. My car, the ES had Camry parts so it was pretty easy to find indy shops that could fix things for a decent deal, I don't think you will be as lucky with the IS. The Volvo, just never had any major issues, period. The problem with BMW is with the newer models, they need expensive BMW equipment to diagnose, so even though I found great shops, they were all very pricy.

Also tires and brakes on the Volvo were a 1/3 the cost of BMW, and 1/2 the cost of the Lexus.

Mercury Grand Marquis -- fancier than a Crown Vic but lasts forever - definitely luxurious except it will have a V-8.

TSX no brainer

li83arskiy68 said:   I am planning to buy used Luxury sedan below $15K. I am looking at 4 cylinder car (2004-2008), preferably under 80K miles.

Below are the models I am considering:

- Audi A4
- Lexus IS (or others in the cheaper range)
- Acura TSX
- Volvo S40 (or others in the cheaper range)
- WV Passat
- Infinity G
- BMW 3

1. Can someone please recommend from personal experiences which of these cars would require least
3. Can someone, who financed their car through PenFed let me know if they just give you a check, so you can pay the dealer in full?

I donít know much about cars, so any information is greatly appreciated.

P.S. Please donít suggest vic crown or ask me why I need luxury car. I just need it.

You may not like this but.....

You do not need a luxury car, you want a luxury car.
You cannot afford a luxury car because you are going to be financing a 5-9 year car with high mileage. If you were paying cash it would be a different story.
A4 and Passats from this period had FSI engines which were of below average quality. Since you do not know much about cars you are going to be paying for repairs when they go bad which you may not be able to afford. The early G's had warped brake rotors(check Nico Forums) and the certain BMWs had transmission failures problems. IS and TSX would probably age better but the market prices this in. Check True Delta and Edmunds for reliability.

If you are going to finance then get something new at least and keep it for a long time. Financing a car without a warranty is the worst when you have a large repair.

I absolutely love my 2002 Acura TL w/ 190k miles, paid $8.5k at 100k and haven't really had any issues, and am amazed at how well the v-tek engine still purrs at idle and hums like a star wars cruizer at acceleration. gets 31mpg freeway w/ 265 HP. If you go with the uglier 2003 model (vs 2004) you will get a great deal. Wife has a volvo an older volvo and I'll never own one again. from my experience, go Japanese instead of european, especially if older model and you are money conscious. I wish they had this car as a station wagon model as our family is expanding.

jwillgoesfast said:   I absolutely love my 2002 Acura TL w/ 190k miles, paid $8.5k at 100k and haven't really had any issues, and am amazed at how well the v-tek engine still purrs at idle and hums like a star wars cruizer at acceleration. gets 31mpg freeway w/ 265 HP. If you go with the uglier 2003 model (vs 2004) you will get a great deal. Wife has a volvo an older volvo and I'll never own one again. from my experience, go Japanese instead of european, especially if older model and you are money conscious. I wish they had this car as a station wagon model as our family is expanding.
those TL's were notorious for a fatal transmission design flaw...some horror stories over at the TL forums. That and the HID headlights were always being stolen for HID retrofits for other cars.

A VW is not a luxury car. I'd argue a TSX isn't either.

BTW, you should understand when it comes to German cars, you pay to play. Example: my Audi S5 under warranty had the synchro in the manual go out. Cost w/o warranty w/labor is 10,000 dollars. Yes, that is 10,000 on a 60k car. They don't fix the synchro, they replace it. I had the splash guard (or whatever the plastic piece under the car ripped off by an errant wheel in the middle of the road) and that piece of plastic cost 300.

I'd prob get a IS if you are worried about maintenance costs. Or any Japanese luxury. If you really want a pimpin luxury vehicle, buy a used Land Rover Range Rover. You can find them for 15k on eBay. There's a reason a 2005 80k car costs 15k now...

Having a car itself is a luxury.

ES350 way to go

you need it, but you know nothing about cars? sounds like a recipe for disaster.

get the TSX

For reference, I have a 2006 Acura TL with 86K miles. Has been worry free for me since I bought it and still happy with it. Gonna sell it now and go for an "upgrade" but like I said, have been very happy with the car.

lonestarguy said:   Mercury Grand Marquis -- fancier than a Crown Vic but lasts forever - definitely luxurious except it will have a V-8.

Town car, even fancier and it also has a long wheelbase option.

ingenue007 said:   A VW is not a luxury car. I'd argue a TSX isn't either.

BTW, you should understand when it comes to German cars, you pay to play. Example: my Audi S5 under warranty had the synchro in the manual go out. Cost w/o warranty w/labor is 10,000 dollars. Yes, that is 10,000 on a 60k car. They don't fix the synchro, they replace it. I had the splash guard (or whatever the plastic piece under the car ripped off by an errant wheel in the middle of the road) and that piece of plastic cost 300.

I'd prob get a IS if you are worried about maintenance costs. Or any Japanese luxury. If you really want a pimpin luxury vehicle, buy a used Land Rover Range Rover. You can find them for 15k on eBay. There's a reason a 2005 80k car costs 15k now...


+1 on this. My sister in law and her husband just got rid of a VW Touraeg not too long ago. They got tired of the repair bills, and he even does his own wrenching. He was just amazed at the price of the parts, even just trim pieces.

Believe me, I'd love to get an Audi or a BMW for my next ride, but I would never justify it by saying it is a "smart" buy.

If you are in the Detroit area, you can stop by here (the site is blah, but his prices are below bluebook):

http://www.internationalcarcenter.com/DB/index.php

I bought a 6 series from there under the mfg warranty. His inventory changes daily.

jwillgoesfast said:   I absolutely love my 2002 Acura TL w/ 190k miles, paid $8.5k at 100k and haven't really had any issues, and am amazed at how well the v-tek engine still purrs at idle and hums like a star wars cruizer at acceleration. gets 31mpg freeway w/ 265 HP. If you go with the uglier 2003 model (vs 2004) you will get a great deal. Wife has a volvo an older volvo and I'll never own one again. from my experience, go Japanese instead of european, especially if older model and you are money conscious. I wish they had this car as a station wagon model as our family is expanding.

I've owned volvos. Never again. Leaking gas tank, shifter crapped out at 85k...argh. was really comfortable but I couldn't stand sinking so much money in it!

OP is prob rethinking now, but I also owned an Audi S4 Avant (wagon with 340 HP) for a bit. Yeah, it was leaking oil out of the exhaust. You could push pedal and oil flew out exhaust.

Yeah, they wanted 19,000 to replace engine. Car was bought for 15,000... PAY TO PLAY!

randomshots said:   jwillgoesfast said:   I absolutely love my 2002 Acura TL w/ 190k miles, paid $8.5k at 100k and haven't really had any issues, and am amazed at how well the v-tek engine still purrs at idle and hums like a star wars cruizer at acceleration. gets 31mpg freeway w/ 265 HP. If you go with the uglier 2003 model (vs 2004) you will get a great deal. Wife has a volvo an older volvo and I'll never own one again. from my experience, go Japanese instead of european, especially if older model and you are money conscious. I wish they had this car as a station wagon model as our family is expanding.
those TL's were notorious for a fatal transmission design flaw...some horror stories over at the TL forums. That and the HID headlights were always being stolen for HID retrofits for other cars.


You are correct SOME did have issues (and this example probably isn't relevant for the OP, sorry) but if you find one in good condition with around 100k miles and take it for a good test drive, you will be able to tell if it is going to be one of the few with detrimental transmission problems. When I bought mine, shifting into first was a little quirky, but I just changed slightly the way I drive it and haven't had any issues since. but again, you are right since OP doesn't know much about cars, this probably isn't relevant for him.

Lexus IS300. I have 190,000 on my 2004. Best car I've ever had. Only real maintenance I've had to perform besides oil changes: 2 brake jobs, timing belt at 150,000, and surpentine belt. I have the sportcross because I wanted fold-down rear seats. Still no rattles at nearly 200,000!

To sum up the consensus (which is also my opinion):

Acura or Lexus is your best bet for most reliable/least maintainence.
Infinity is next.
Bringing up the rear - Volvo, Audi/VW, and BMW.

I've personally tried the european route (one volvo, one audi, and two BMWs) and I simply won't touch them again. Too many high-tech parts that can go wrong, and very few people can work on them. In the interests of full disclosure, I currently have a 2001 540i that I've owned for 10 years, which has been pretty much rock solid (knock on wood ...).

Thanks for all the tips! Very informative. I agree with the summary above. Now I have another question - should I think of buying a car past 100k miles, because by this time time belt would have been changed?

Acura or Lexus is the way to go!

partizanka said:   Thanks for all the tips! Very informative. I agree with the summary above. Now I have another question - should I think of buying a car past 100k miles, because by this time time belt would have been changed?

No, you need to verify that the timing belt has been changed. A lot of people don't do it when they should.

partizanka said:   Thanks for all the tips! Very informative. I agree with the summary above. Now I have another question - should I think of buying a car past 100k miles, because by this time time belt would have been changed?

Timing belt on my Acura TL will cost with labor $400-550 at a mechanic. And some vehicles have timing chains, which don't need to be replaced as often, such as the TSX.

probably the best deal would be on a used lincoln or cadillac.

If you want a lexus or bmw, leasing is the way to go.

Skipping 17 Messages...
The general consensus: Toyota (Lexus) and Honda (Acura) are the way to go. I personally am a Honda guy. Have a 2005 TSX that I bought brand new and has about 80K mileage on it. Other than the typical oil changes, tires, brakes, battery, etc. it has not given me ANY issues. Definitely will be buying another TSX after I drive this one to the ground.



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