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MikeT

Time for a new family car.

396 posts in this topic

Our 405 needs some repairs that - at this point in time - tell me it's time to retire it and get something new. It has life left in it to be sure, but it needs a driveshaft, two new shocks on the front, a ball joint, 4 new tires, front pads and rotors......I am just thinking that I don't want to pour money into a losing prospect. The km is a little over 360,000.

So I am looking at a few options.

First the Cahier des Charges:

    [*]seats four comfortably, five adults in acceptable comfort

    [*]lots of rear seat headroom and legroom

    [*]lots of luggage room, more than the 405 preferably (and it has a huge trunk)

    [*]airbags all around plus side curtains

    [*]Maximum price with tax around $36,000

    [*]good fuel economy potential

    [*]good car for highway road trips

    [*]manual gearbox

    [*]car only to be used infrequently, mainly for road trips

We were considering a few cars:

Audi A3

+ looks good

+ good safety

- only available with muscle-bound 200 HP engine

- cost is above my preferred range

- middling fuel economy

- headroom and legroom issues in rear

Toyota Prius

+ fantastic fuel economy potential, even on highway (4.x range)

+ reasonable legroom

+ massive gov't rebates ($4000 total)

- rear headroom issues

- trunk is smaller than 405's

- brain-dead automatic transmission

- safety is optional - need $4K option package to get stability control and sidebags

Mercedes-Benz B 200

+ good fuel economy rating on highway (6.7) and city (9.2)

+ tons of rear seat room, head and leg

+ looks OK, even though it's a van

+ price has been reduced to under $30,000 for 2008 model, without de-contenting it

+ heated seats available for $550 (used to be $200 more)

- service costs will be high

- no CDI!!!

We would have considered a VW TDI wagon had they been available, but that is not gonna happen.

As far as power and so on, I would find the 136 HP engine of the B 200 to be adequate....the car is supposed to do 0-100 in about 10 seconds and have a top end of 196 km/h, which makes it slightly quicker in both respects than my 405 was. That should be fine for our purposes.

Any thoughts/words of wisdom?

Edited by Mike T

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I like the B200 series alot. What about the Honda CRV? The new one has lots of room inside and I'm assuming you can still get it in a FWD, 5 speed 4 cylinder.

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Do you do the servicing on that car yourself? Peugeots are rarer than Porsches here.I guess domestics aren't an option here...Toyota RAV 4? (no manual)Audi A4? (hitting the price limit fast)I actually like "mini-SUVs" a lot - we have a Chevrolet Tracker. 2.0L 4-cyl so it's easy on gas. A little cramped for legroom in the back though. I'd much rather have that higher ride than in something like my sister's Toyota Matrix, but the Matrix is still a pretty good vehicle.

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Will you be buying new? There may be some suitable low-mileage used vehicles out there to suit you...Bil :sun:

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services on a mercedes are apparently in th 500+ range. Why not get a jetta or something? An Altima is really nice too, although 5 adults might not love it for extended periods of time.

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The C 230 K that our family had until a year ago cost little more than the smart to service at TPM, 220 for an A and 325 for a B, and the services were about 20,000 km apart. Also, at TPM, if you are a member of MBCA, you get 10% off parts and labour (Mercedes only). So actually it will be cheaper to service than the fortwo.Yeah I feel like another new car (my second one, or third if you count the C 230 K that I jointly owned with my Dad), and we were out today kicking tires, Sandy wants to try the A3 but it seems too cramped in the back compared to the B. Plus it costs $4600 more.Yes I serviced the 405 myself, no-one else will touch them ;) I'd rather only have to work on my hobby-car myself these days, servicing daily drivers (especially major repairs) is too stressful and messy for me these days. When I was a student I would think nothing of Re&Re-ing a gearbox in 35 minutes, now it seems unpalatable!

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We looked at Kias today (the Rondo or whatever it's called) but the fuel economy sucks compred to a B. The Spectra did not impress us either.

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I'd find a low mileage TDI wagon (either a Passat or a Jetta) unless you can wait a few months until the next generation VW diesels are here. There's also the Camry Hybrid. Too bad about the 405---but it certainly doesn't owe you anything at this point.

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Are you sure that VW is going to have new diesels to sell here in a few months? It's the first I've heard of it.The thing is, the car will be driven under 10,000 km a year, probably under 5000, so fuel economy is a relatively unimportant factor. A new Passat TDI wagon would be outside of the budget range, and we don't really want a used car.

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Well we're looking for a car with a minimum of 500 kg carrying capacity and a large luggage capacity, at least 500 L. Conventional small sedans don't fit the bill and I don't want a BIG car!

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I just emailed VW Canada to see if there is any truth to the rumour of 2008 TDIs. It would be interesting if it is true. I think a Vento/Jetta/Bora could be in the price range, perhaps, if it is available soon, and in a wagon. We were at a VW dealer today and the only TDIs in evidence were 2006 models.After reading deezle's comment re: TDI, I checked a TDI forum and they're guesstimating/projecting a price premium of $2000-3000 for a TDI, if/when they come.With this new family car of ours, even at 10,000 km per year (my higher end estimate), the 1.6 L/100 km saved would amount to about $160 per year, so it'd take 10-20 years to break even on the option.

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The new Jetta tdi's are to start showing up around April is what the VW dealer here told me.He has a stash of 06 tdi Jetta's (all std.) to do until then. I have been told that they are a very nice car on the road by a co-worker that has had vw diesels for years.

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Well then it's even more outrageous that we're not getting the 451 cdi!

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I can't believe i'm actually going to utter these words, but if you're looking at the Prius, you may want to take a look at the Camry Hybrid as well.My parents were shopping for a new car last year, and really loved the B200, but its relatively poor fuel economy that made them buy a Camry Hybrid instead. (My dad wanted something that got better fuel economy than his old Buick Park Avenue with GM's amazing 3800 engine... the B200 wasn't much better at all in that regard.) They've been extremely pleased with the Camry. I drove it once around town and on the highway and was really impressed with how smooth and quiet it is, and it feels much more powerful than you'd think. And i think it's a much better value than the Prius.My dad is getting about 6 L/100 km, which is not too shabby at all for a vehicle of its size.It's not the prettiest car (i call it "the proboscis monkey"... my mom calls it "the budgie beak") but it looks like it meets most or all of your criteria.It's a shame Mercedes hasn't brought over a CDI in the B-class yet. That would be a no-brainer for a lot of people, including us... our Golf is getting a little long in the tooth, and a CDI B-class would be a perfect replacement for us.

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In July my wife went looking for a new car and I test drove a number of Toyotas. I was very impressed with the Camry Hybrid. Liked it better then the Prius. I have driven Toyotas for the last 36 years so they are not new to me. My wife settled on a Yaris 4dr sedan. She liked the red colour and all the money she saved us because she didn't buy the Camry. Roy

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Tough call Mike. Uh, do you really need to spend $35000 on a car is the first question... think long and hard about that... for maybe half of that, you could bring in a European car that you like perhaps... and take the family to Europe for a month and a half.Money aside, YES, there will be a TDI or cTDI... a wagon more than likely... by 2008. Honda is said to be bringing an Accord diesel - will they offer it as a wagon again in NA?Camry over the Prius in my book... but why haven't you mentioned the Corolla? At half the $$ of a loaded Prius, it would suffice no? And be a 5 speed.What about a Volvo V50 wagon? Super safe and decent looking, and 6.4 on the hwy. I know where you can get a 2005 5 speed with options for $25k approx right now, and it has just 19,000 kms.I'd say with the amount of excellent used vehicles out there, you have the pick. Also, don't rule out bring a car up from the States.But for $1000 in parts, you could maintain your purity... and buy some likely valuable time.

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What about a Subaru Mike? The Forester XT will give you lots of luggage space, mega power (if you don't want the turbo, even the NA Foresters will give you 175 hp), 5 speed, they are reliable and tough - AND will stay in your budget. Mileage isn't fantastic, but I've seen worsePlus, NOTHING can stop you in the winter

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I never have problems getting around in winter! Remember where I live ;)My sister has had a Subaru Legacy wagon since 2000, and she hates it. the 5 speed transaxle was changed under warranty due to synchros failing, and 50,000 km later they're getting weak again. Yes, she knows how to drive!The other problem is the fuel economy: 15 L/100 km in urban driving.I was looking at the FE of the B 200 skeptically too although the 6.7/9.2 rating is 1 + 2 L/100 better than the 405 was rated, and yet I averaged 8.26 with the 405....so I'd probably be in the high 6s or low 7s with the B 200. A CDI would be about 1.6 L/100 better. As I wrote above, I don't expect to have too may km to do on this car, so FE is less of a factor than it was with the smart.I was not too sure if occasional use of this car would be appropriate for a hybrid.....a good friend of mine who is a Toyota freak has shied me away from the Prius for that reason, as well as the fact that I keep cars until they die and he raised the battery life issue.

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Not a car, but drives like one --> Saturn Vue Greenline. We love ours, drives more like a car than an SUV (much more actually), not too big, tonnes of space, good on gas, easy to get into (wife has no problem at 5'4'). I hated the idea of an SUV, since I love small cars :doublethumb: , but this one justs works out well for travelling. Fits 2 bikes inside easily with room for gear and overnight bags.FWIW,Kerry

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Also check out the Nissan Versa. It has a 5 star side impact crash rating, great mileage, spacious interior, AND it's half French with Renault owning a majority share of Nissan (so you'd still be partly Euro after your Poo Jo). I haven't driven one yet, but I did sit in one at the dealership---very roomy.

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Mike, considering the low mileage you plan on driving, what about socking the equivalent of a few car payments into old faithful to keep her running for another year or so? It's not costing anything other than routine maintenance and it buys some time while you investigate the upcoming exciting new diesel & hybrid technologies that will start hitting our shores next year.I can see competetive pricing and deep incentives, between diesel and hybrid, to happen once we have more choices. Personally, I would hold off for another year or two if possible. You said in a recent post she has another 100,000 kms of life yet. I'm trying to encourage my roomate, who is also looking at buying, to wait for the new generation of diesels.

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