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Advice welcome- which option?

I am changing jobs in June and will be commuting 100 miles daily RT five times a week. I own an 03 Chrysler 300 Special with 96k. It has been maintained well, new timing belt, tune ups, etc. I could put a $1000 or so in a full checkup for car and keep driving. Car rides and drives very well. Fuel economy is 20 mpg avg. I could tradethis car for a new Kia Soul. Good mpg but not sure about a Soul as a primary vehicle. Yet, it would have a 100k warranty. Thoughts? Thanks

I’d keeping driving your current car. Why go into debt now for a new vehicle? Wait a while and see how the new job goes. 100 mile round trips won’t hurt your car. Just drive it and save your money.

What kind of “check up” does your 300 need for 1k? You must be going to the dealer for maintenance.

When my oil is changed my shop does a “check up” while the car is up in the air. Total cost of oil change and checkup: $30.

We need more info.

I agree with Jeff. There is no need to spend a thousand dollars for any kind of checkup. Just follow the normal maintenance schedule in your owners manual. Skip the Soul.

Keep what you have, get it checked up, but don’t pay for the outrageous dealer “xxx mile checkups” which are often loaded with unnecessary services. Just go by your owners manual. If you need a new timing belt, get it replaced, but don’t fall for the ridiculous extras.

Then with the money you’re saving over buying a new vehicle, save for a replacement for this. Eventually you’ll likely get tired of driving 100 miles a day in a car that isn’t terribly fuel efficient, and then you can get a new vehicle that meets your needs. And the Kia Soul may be it, if that’s what you like, but it also won’t save you much of anything on gas.

Owners report an average mpg of 21.1 mpg combined for your 2003 300 on (it is rated 16/25). Kia Soul owners report an average of 25.7 mpg combined (rated 24/30).

If you’re driving just to work and back, 250 days per year, the Kia would save you 212 gallons per year, or $575 per year at my local gas prices over the 300M. That won’t even begin to cover the extra depreciation you’d be experiencing by switching from a car worth $5300 to one worth $16,500.

And when you do decide to switch eventually, I’d look for something more efficient than the Soul. I’d think Sonata, Fusion, Camry, Accord… any of which get better highway mileage than the Soul and are still good sized sedans.

And don’t get suckered in by the 100k warranty - that is ONLY good on the powertrain, and even then it is pretty limited in scope. Odds are you won’t ever use a powertrain warranty like that regardless of the brand of vehicle you buy.

The EPA highway estimate is 25 MPG for the 300M; you should expect to get closer to that once you start your long commute. If you switch to the Soul, it will save you $320 per year in gasoline. You have time to make up your mind. How did I figure that?

Kia gets 30 MPH EPA highway, 48 weeks to work, and $3/gal gas. The difference really isn’t all that much.

Drive what you have until you are sure the new job is working out. Why be saddled with a car loan at the outset of a new job?

The 4,000 miles a month would depreciate a new car quickly, but won’t hurt the value of your '03 300 much at all. Forget the Jag and “style” for the moment. Keep your budget intact and enjoy the extra bucks you’ll be making in the new job.

Pay off debt, go to the movies, fix up the house with the money you save by skipping monthly payments. Use one of your other “collectable” cars if the 300 is out of service for a day or two for repairs.

Start The commuting In Your Chrysler. Get A Seoul As A Demo Or Rent One For A Day Or Few Or A “Week Deal” And Try It On The Commute Circuit. Make Sure That’s What You Want.

I don’t even know what a Kia Seoul is, but I’ll just bet there’s a comfort difference between it and a Chrysler 300 type car for a commuter.

And don’t forget to compare insurance costs, too.


It’s comparable to the Nissan Cube or Scion xB in terms of style and size.
I’d also recommend the rental/demo for a week or so to see if you’d like it commuting to work everyday. Personally, I’d take the larger, more comfortable vehicle over a more fuel efficient crampmobile anyday

And another thing: How many of those old land yachts that you really like could you get for the $15,000 or so it would take to put even a stripped Soul on the road? How’s about a Riviera and a Toronado? Here’s some pictures of what you really want:

A 03 300 is worthless used. I would rather drive in a larger comfy car 100 miles/day vs a tin box like Soul. $1000 is a drop in the bucket vs the incredible depreciation of Kia.

Wait till fuel prices rise or a serious repair occurs on your 300 before moving on. A friend took that attitude at 150k then 200k then 300k then 400k on his Corsica he commuted far with. He bough an early 2000’s Honda Accord and it puked its tranny in 70k miles.