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'98 Camry or '01 Taurus as second car?

Hi all…I totalled my wife’s corolla this past winter (didn’t take much) and now we are looking for another 2nd car. We found a 98 Camry with 30K mi ($8K) and a 01 Taurus with 70K mi ($7K). We don’t want to spend over $10K OTD. We don’t have any experience with these vehicles and both seem to have good records. I am looking for thoughts on those who own either car. Thanks in advance.

I would go for the Camry, but at that age, cars with poor manitenance records are to be avoided. Buy whichever has the best maintenance recods; by the book!

If they are both well maintained (written proof!), I would get the Camry. Make sure the timing belt has been changed; if not, deduct $800 from whatever price you are prepared to pay. The Taurus does not have a timing belt, its transmission needs regular service, as does the Camry’s.

30k on a 13yo car??? Really??

Maintenance record could tell you a lot.

If maintenance records are the same…then I’d go with the Camry…I know other people will disagree…but I’ve known a couple people who owned that era Taurus and they were crap…I do think that $7k is VERY high for either vehicle.

I would keep looking. The Camry is too old and too expensive. My mother-in-laws 01 Sable (Taurus in disguise) lost the transmission at around 60K even though she was a stickler for maintenance. The Taurus is also overpriced considering the mileage. Have you considered a newer Corolla or Accord?

Both Carfax report are clean its just the unknowns and overall age of the vehicles that is of some concern. Thank you for the quick advice.

BION, KBB on the Camry is right at $7990 and we intend to negotiate. We are in a pinch for a second car and want to make a cash purchase.

Looking at Accords now as we need more space. I am finding a few in out price range but every third review on another review site has “Blankety-Blank Transmission!” in the subject line…that worries me. Thank you for the advice. Right now balancing price and mileage is the driver…so to speak.

The Taurus is over priced. I bought an '01 three years ago with only 38k miles for $7500. It’s a good car but I would talk 'em down.

Avoid the Taurus like the plague that it was. A 98 Camry is OK.

Generally, the newer vehicle is safer, even with higher miles if the makes are the same. But in this case, if the body is in good shape I would go with the Camry but am uneasy with it only having 30k miles. Have it gone over by a mechanic you can trust with experience with Toyotas and their “foibles”.
$8K is a little more than I would pay for a 98 anything that didn’t say John Deere or Kubota on it

You mentioned both have a clean Carfax. That doesn’t mean a lot, just that you can now go to the next step, which is an inspection by a mechanic, expect to pay about $100-$150. Do you know the maintenance history on either one? That won’t show up in the Carfax.

I found a 2001 Camry with 90k miles for $8k near me, check out

Carfax will only tell you about anything that happened to the car that was reported to Carfax. It is way overrated in my opinion. Both cars are grossly overpriced. If you are paying cash, you should be able to negotiate whatever you want, within reason, to get a nicer car than either one of these. Money talks, and if you are paying cash, take advantage of it and haggle. Especially at a dealership. It’s not really the same thing, but I know a guy who got a brand new $39k Tahoe for $26k because he haggled over parting company with that much cash.

Is there a reason why you are replacing the Corolla with a larger car? Don’t be in a hurry to make a purchase. There should be plenty of cars in the amount you have to spend.

Funny that Consumer Reports disagrees with you - the Taurus of that era, while a dated vehicle, is statistically very reliable.

The Accord of that era is known for horrendous transmission issues, particularly on the v6 equipped ones. If you want one, get a manual.

I had a 97 Taurus and a 98 Camry. We sold the Taurus and kept the Camry, purely based on fuel mileage, then the Camry proceeded to fall to pieces.

Don’t listen to the complainers about the Taurus - most of those you see on this post simply have bought into the Asian car myth.

ALL cars have their quirks and issues. My Taurus wasn’t perfect, but the Camry was no better. Just different. BOTH suffered more from front end suspension issues more than anything else, and that is more a statement on our poor roads here. I may have left my heart in San Francisco, but I left my front suspension in SW Ohio. The Taurus ate sway bar links at 18-24 month intervals. The Camry eats strut mounts at 18-24 month intervals. BOTH are common problems with those cars.

$8K for a '98 Camry is way off. KBB tends to be high in its values. See what the “true market value” is on the site. These are much more accurate values. Even for dealer prices these are way high.

I just check KBB…and I got a figure of $4000. Anything SPECIAL about this vehicle.

Look for an unpopular yet reliable car. You can buy a loaded 2005 Buick Century for about $5600 from a private party or $6700 from a dealer. A loaded 2004 (last year) Buick Regal would cost about $6000 private party or $7000 from a dealer. A 2005 (first year) Buick LaCrosse CX would cost about $7000 private sale and $8000 from a dealer. They are all significantly newer than the overpriced Camry and area all reliable vehicles. What, you don’t wnat your father’s Buick? That is why they are inexpensive. We have a 1998 Buick Regal LS and are very pleaed with it over the last 130,000 miles.

Very true. I have owned 4 Tauruses (1 was a Sable) and all were very dependable cars. I did have one ('87 model I think) eat a tranny, but that was the only real MAJOR repair out of all of them. Put well over 100k miles on every one, and my current has about 80k with no major repairs needed. Good maintenance may play a role, but that’s not bad in my books!