Last post on Jun 07, 2012 at 5:51 PM
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#1649 of 1678 Re: Which would you choose to purchase? [qbrozen]
May 24, 2011 (5:38 pm)
I'll make an addendum to this.
Chrysler does make good vehicles. If you follow the following formula:
1: Manual transmission only.
2: No electronics or accessories at all.
Something like a base model Wrangler, Patriot, or Ram 1500 is decently reliable and cheap to run - and will likely outlast most of us. But that's because it's got nothing *to* break and the manuals are crude as a box of rocks, but tough as rocks as well.
If you could manage with seating for 5, and really need the minivan for cargo, you might consider the Patriot simply because at $15K new, it's dirt cheap and will have a new warranty on it versus something several years used. Use it, abuse it, toss it after five years. If you want, pay a couple of thousand extra for an extended warranty. It's a good deal and few people regret getting one.
The manual transmission also gets pretty good MPG, or about a realistic 30 highway. 4WD is only 2K extra, and is far better than AWD in bad weather. The interior is basic but not too bad, actually, considering the rock-bottom price.
If I was considering buying a Chrysler minivan and could manage to live with two less seats, I'd get the Patriot instead. Also, the 2011 model got a much needed refresh - it's not nearly as chunky inside as you'd think. The rear seats also recline nicely, like in the Fit. I like to think of it as a mega-Fit.
Lastly, consider the following:
$19-20K gets you this:
Well, that's a real SUV there. With minivan type MPG or better. Just no 3rd row seat is all.
#1650 of 1678 Re: Which would you choose to purchase? [plekto]
May 24, 2011 (5:56 pm)
Where do you propose to find a Chrysler product with "no electronics or accessories at all"?
And how many do you think are available with a manual transmission.
I just think there are much better choices.
#1651 of 1678 Re: Which would you choose to purchase? [isellhondas]
May 24, 2011 (6:07 pm)
That's his point. He's saying IF YOU FEEL YOU MUST have a Chrysler, then get one with as little to break as possible.
However, I really think someone is living in the past. Chrysler has come a long way since all those bad '90s vehicles.
Btw, dad has had a few RAMs over the years. All were very reliable and a couple are still running strong, serving as yard workhorses at his shop with over 200k on the clock. And he buys his loaded with all options.
#1652 of 1678 Re: Which would you choose to purchase? [qbrozen]
May 24, 2011 (6:26 pm)
For sure, they are worlds better than they were, but the way to keep things cheap with Chrysler is to not get the NAV (get a Garman instead), not get power sunroofs, automatic climate system, and so on. Keep it simple and it'll do quite well.
And the manuals are perfectly fine.
I mentioned the Patriot simply because while it's not as nice as a used T&C, it can be had for about the same price new, or close to it (unless paying cash - banks offer about the same rate on 12K used as 16K new). With a 5/100K drive-train warranty and nobody else's farts or sweat in the fabric, either.
It's a good basic low cost box to get around in if you get the manual and keep it simple. At least you'll know that you can drive it without worries for the life of the payments.
#1653 of 1678 Re: Which would you choose to purchase? [plekto]
May 24, 2011 (6:53 pm)
Well, this has turned into a very interesting discussion!
Having previously owned a first-generation Wrangler Unlimited, I've always thought the Patriot was a neat little vehicle. And while we only require seating for five, our three children are still using car seats or boosters which would require more width than the back seat of a Patriot could offer. Mrs. MC would like the 4WD (our current Venture is AWD) for sloppy weather, but giving up the convenience of sliding doors would be a tough sell for us.
So who offers a two-row vehicle that's:
1. Wide enough to accommodate three across in boosters/car seats
2. Not a gas-swilling Tahoe/Suburban/Expedition, etc.
3. Not a princely sum (no more than about $22K used)?
These questions are what keep bringing me back to a van of some sort.
Thanks in advance for everyone's continued input!
#1654 of 1678 Re: Which would you choose to purchase? [mcrrt]
May 24, 2011 (11:32 pm)
Well, they do make boosters that are narrow enough to possibly fit on the sides with the main car seat in the center. You would have to go with the seats and try to see if they fit. Given that it has tall sides and a more flat bench like rear seat, it should fit all three - within a few inches. I don't know exactly, though, and some boosters are more narrow than others.
It'll easily fit two full-size car seats from the pictures and probably one booster. It's worth measuring, IMO. The only thing that's going to fit three car seats in the rear will be a large truck. Again, take something like a Buick Lucerne. Because of the way that the seats are sculpted and the fact that the rear pillars are angled, it leaves you with not really enough headroom. It has to be literally square like a pickup or maybe something older style like a Grand Marquis. (MPG is an issue, of course)
It looks like the Patriot has 51 inches of seat room and 54 inches of shoulder room. So that means you could probably wedge three seats in of they are no wider than 17-18 inches. The Wrangler unlimited and Liberty have 56 inches - as wide almost as a Crown Vic or Buick Lucerne. But, remember, the arms are meaningless for hip room - the doors just have to close.
I'd get the kids and the seats out there to try some Jeeps Maybe one will fit you
#1655 of 1678 Re: Which would you choose to purchase? [plekto]
May 25, 2011 (5:55 am)
Thing is, if ruling out minivans, I wouldn't look to Chrysler at all, personally.
BTW, our T&C has everything possible ...except moonroof. Thought it odd that they would build one with the slide Navi/hard drive unit and dual DVDs, but no moonroof ... but that's what ours is.
#1656 of 1678 Re: Which would you choose to purchase? [qbrozen]
May 25, 2011 (7:39 am)
Well, yeah... I'd take a Buick Lucerne over most other things*(see below). Big, wide, and with the bench seat option on the Lucerne, it actually will seat 6 adults, the same as a Crown Vic does/did. Why this specific car? 28mpg highway. It's a good, solid choice and the GM 3.8L engine, while underpowered, is no moreso than in a typical minivan and is absolutely bulletproof.
It drives far, far better than any SUV or Minivan and has very nice interior features. It absolutely will fit three full size car seats in the rear. I've had a same engine/transmission (and weight) Park Avenue eek out 30mpg with cruise and a fairly flat stretch of highway, with the A/C off. (note- the Park Avenue is also a great used choice, but they stopped making them in 2005, which might be too old for your needs.
Note - the V8 powered Lucerne CXS is worth also considering, IMO. Massively upgraded suspension and a bigger engine. It drives like a late 90s Mercedes S420. You sacrifice some MPG, though, but it'll still get about 25 highway. And by massively improved, I mean like comparing a BMW 3 series to a M3. It really should have been a whole other model, since it drives and handles so much better. The base has a 3.8L engine and normal suspension. This has a Cadillac V8 and the same suspension technology they put in the Corvette. It was a total sleeper that nobody paid attention to because of the vast volumes of rental fodder trims that it was buried in. Finding one is like finding a bit of diamond in a coal pile.
Only the CXS model has any of this - all other trims are plain vanilla. Good choices, but nothing that makes you wonder where the "Buick" DNA went to.
Other CPO or used (aiming for a 2007/2008 or so here) options that are good used as well, and aren't horrendously expensive:
- Toyota Avalon. It's also largely forgotten but basically clone of the Buick in many ways. My uncle has one because of his large kids. Very nice. Basically a poor man's Lexus ES. Win-win for a cheap CPO box to get around in as it has zero market impact and most dealers will be happy to offload one at or near their cost if it is on their lot to make space for something better/with a higher profit margin.
- Buick Lacrosse (new 2010 model) - possibly too new to be in your price range. (18-20K used) It is large and is very solid. Fantastic interior. Rear visibility while parking is problematic, though.
- * Pontiac G8 - Superb car. 58 inches hip room in the rear. (same as a Grand Marquis or Cadillac DTS). Only the CTS drives better, IMO, out of anything GM makes/made in the last 5 years. The asterisk is because this actually edges out the Lucerne in... everything *except* for MPG. It'll get about 25mpg or so highway vs the Lucerne's 27-30mpg in overdrive.
But compared to a minivan, this flat out is a better option if you have only 3 kids. And, it's very, very fast. You hit the accelerator and it doesn't want to move, then think about it and then eventually get there. It jumps and pavement starts to go by at a very quick pace.
The V8 powered model is even more silly, as you can haul 3 kids around in extreme comfort while also lighting the rear tires on fire. Basically this car was a cross between the old Pontiac GTO (also made by Holden) and a CTS (same engine and suspension, pretty much). It's still made in Australia and is the #1 selling car in the entire country. I personally think it will probably be the replacement for the Impala in a year or two.
- Cadillac DTS. Big, cheap used, and bulletproof. V8 engine isn't as frugal as its brother vehicle, the Lucerne, but it's a lot quicker and actually approaches proper luxury inside. Then again, most Minivans wish they drove as nice. Incredible used value.
- Chevy Impala. Dated, but acceptable. Dirt cheap used, which is good. The 3.5L engine is not quite as reliable as the 3.8L in the Lucerne, and it's quite slow, but it does get a mpg or two better. 30-32mpg highway with careful driving is possible.
#1657 of 1678 Re: Which would you choose to purchase? [plekto]
Jun 02, 2011 (7:06 am)
I once contemplated getting a used CXS. At the time the deal I could have gotten was awesome. Now, almost two years later I see people asking the same price for the same car. Then again that is asking price.
I got a question, why would someone buy a CXS when a DTS is about the same price? I realize that the suspension is better but the DTS is a Caddy. That counts for a lot for most people.
What should a loaded 2008 CXS go for? What about a loaded DTS?
#1658 of 1678 Re: Which would you choose to purchase? [robbieg]
Jun 02, 2011 (9:07 am)
The advantage of the CXS is that it has the same electromagnetic/computer controlled suspension (Magnetic Ride Control) as is found on the Corvette and a few top end Cadillacs. The normal DTS, while a Cadillac, doesn't have it and drives noticeably worse. (note, yes, the DTS could be ordered with it, so a DTS with the handling/performance package or the upper two trims will have it and *is* a better car.
It's also easier to find one as a lot of them were ordered with the handling package as it was an option as well as part of the Platinum and Performance models. Several hundred certified examples nationwide versus a few dozen as a result.
The CXS/DTS with this suspension drives almost exactly the same as a late 90s Mercedes S420. The giant square ones that were built like tanks. That's amazing, actually, when you think about it.
The difference between a GM car with the system on it and one without it is so drastic that it's like comparing a Mac&Cheese out of a box to something your grandmother took all afternoon to make. Or like comparing plastic fake champagne glasses to the real thing - just a vast, shocking difference. Zero wobble or bouncing, flat as a table cornering, almost no road vibration. Solid, and as planted as a BMW or Mercedes.
The Audi R8 and the new Ferraris use this type of system as well. As does the CTS-V and Corvette. I wouldn't buy a GM car without it.
A 2008 CXS goes for:
http://www.cars.com/go/search/detail.jsp?tracktype=usedcc&csDlId=&csDgId=&listin- - gId=60899546
About 20K, certified. For the money, it's a total no-brainer versus a new Malibu or similar.
A 2008 DTS with the suspension option goes for:
http://www.cars.com/go/search/detail.jsp?tracktype=usedcc&csDlId=&csDgId=&listin- - gId=63415292
That's the difference - about 6-7K for what amounts to essentially different badges and a few nicer interior options. But then again, I'd take a used DTS like this over a new Camry for 26K any day. NOTE - a 2007 DTS like this is about 20-21K as well, so if you have to get the Cadillac, you're looking at maybe a year older car - no big deal, IMO. 2008 CXS vs a 2007 DTS Performance? Tough call - I'd try both and make a decision.
EDIT - A 2007 STS is about the same price and has this suspension standard. The tradeoff is that the V6 models have the same engine as the CTS in it, so it's not quite as nice, IMO, given that it's bigger and heavier than the CTS (it really needs a V8). Like buying a base model Lucerne with the premium suspension. It's not quick, but it is RWD, has the Cadillac bling to it, and IS a better engine than the 3.8L in terms of power and refinement.
But the difference in MPG is only 1 between the 3.6 and the V8 engines. IMO, get the V8 - it's quicker and, well, it's a big V8. The advantage of the STS is that the base model is much cheaper than the other STS models and just as nice inside as the Lucerne CXS.
All three will fit 3 child seats in the rear (have latches for three seats built in). The DTS and Lucerne, though, do have a more bench-like seat in the rear which is a bit easier to deal with. But it's a minor difference between the three.