How to Choose a car to buy

I have a 2007 Saab 93 arc convertible. This is my 3rd- 3 years lease with Saab. I don’t really like this particular car I have right now. I did have the better model last time and am still sorry I didn’t buy that one. My lease will be up in November and I would like to buy a car instead of lease. I do want another convertible. I have looked at the VW Eos and also the Toyota Solaro used. I want to keep the cost to 30,000 or under so a good used car will probably be it. I have also talked to the Saab dealership and they will look for a used car for me.

I really like the VW Eos Lux. Is there a real big difference between the Lux and the Komfort?

Can you tell me what your choice would be of these 3 cars? I am hoping to get a car with low mileage. Do you think a new car would be better? I know I couldn’t get a new for under $30 but if you think a new is better I would try convince my husband to go new… He is really tired of paying so much for a car.

I will really appreciate your help.

Thank you

Leslie Volker

  1. pick up a Consumer Reports New Car Buyers’ Guide at eth local bookstore.
  2. circle those that interest you.
  3. test drive them
  4. test drive them again
  5. test drive the two you like best
  6. buy your favorite

Convince hubby? Perhaps if you pointed out to him that for the amount he’s paid in leases he could have bought a new car and have it all paid for.

PostScript: you can’t get much of anything for $30. Not even a decent night out.

The only thing I’d add to the above post is after you find the best car for you, start shopping for the nicest 2 - 4 year-old one for 30% MSRP.


“Same” has it…it’s all about research and you can’t do too much. If I’m going to part with $30K on something I have to live with for a while, I’d trust CR and my own research. If you’ve had a SAAB and are considering a VW, you may not be prepared. If you’ve been leasing, you may not be prepared.
If you’re tired of paying too much, do the research as suggested and consider the used car market.
Best of Luck/

The Toyota Camry Solara went out of production after the 2008 model year. You can get a Solara XLE convertible from the dealer for about $24,000 with traction control, stability control, and a CD changer. It was built in a Lexus factory in Japan, and is well-appointed. If it had 5 seats, it would have been mine in 2005. Even though it’s a convertible, it’s very quiet with the roof up. All the Solara convertibles have the V6 engine. It’s rated at 18 MPG city and 26 MPH highway. An Eos gets 21 city and 30 highway with the auto transmission and a 4-cylinder engine. BTW, the Eos has a manual transmission, but the Solara does not, FWIW.

Two new convertibles you can get at/below 30K - 2011 Mustang V6 (not the 2010), and Mazda Miata, under $30k with the hard top and automatic transmission, even.

See if you can rent each of these. Drive them for a week or a month. Maybe a car dealer would rent a used one out if you’re a potential buyer.

Have done all of the suggestions. Test drove all 3 cars and like them all. So I guess I’ll just keep trying. I have until September to decide so I’ll just keep testing them. I don’t like the ford Mustang and the Miata is to small.
Thanks for you input

I would like to hear what you decided because I am also interested in the VW Eos and Toyota Solara.

I want a 4 passenger convertible that is reliable, good value, doesn’t have to be the most flashy or sporty car (I actually like that Eos and Solara are not flashy).

The BMW convertibles are not my style. Volvo’s convertible seems to have problem with mechanical reliability. Same with Sebring. The Mini Cooper is cute but a bit small, doesn’t feel safe. I just learned about the Mitsubishi Eclipse Spyder convertible, did you look at this?

Would appreciate hearing what you ended up buying and why, and any other advice you might have.


Here’s one more tip for swaying hubby: when you test drive new cars, drive ones in your hubby’s favorite color.

For a nice convertible, find a used Ford Thunderbird years 2002 to 2005. They stopped producing them in '05. I like mine and there are many low mileage ones on the market. Prices range from $12,000 to $25K based on condition and mileage.

PT Cruiser came in convertible form for a few years. The Sebring is also available with a hardtop convertible roof.

I am buying my first used car from a dealer in my city. Car seems to be in a good shape. It was previously used for rentals and is currently under the original manufacturer’s warranty. Can someone please tell me what other areas to be taken care off before buying a used car. used cars

Be Sure The Car Hasn’t Had Collision Damage That Has Been Repaired. If You Don’ Know What You’re Looking At Then Get Somebody Who Does. Warranty Won’t Cover Problems That Are Collision / Repair Related.

Most on this site will tell you to have the car thoroghly inspected by a mechanic before purchase. How many miles ? What make/model/year are you looking at ? Does manufacturer warranty cover drivetrain, bumper-to-bumper, or both ?

I just bought a GM certified used chevrolet with outstanding warranty coverage (90,000 more miles of drivetrain and 36,000 more of bumper-to bumper. We will max out on miles before reaching the time limit.). A dealer pays to have the car certified if it meets certain guidelines.


All good advice.

Just to modify this, though, I would say in relation to using Consumer Reports:

Be aware that their ratings system is not a linear system. The difference between a half black circle and an empty circle is potentially much larger than the difference between an empty circle and a full red.

In other words, don’t fret about any differences in ratings between average or better vehicles. They’re microscopic differences. But do fret about those solid black dots. Those are potentially very bad.

For an example, look at the differences in engine reliability between the following 4 cylinder models: Ford Focus, Ford Fusion, Mercury Milan, Ford Ranger, Ford Escape, Mercury Mariner, Mazda Tribute, Mazda6, Mazda5, Mazda3. They all use the Duratec 23/25 or MZR 2.3 or 2.5L… which are all basically the same engine with minor tweaks…


At the risk of pulling a few chains or offending those of you who tout them, I have never been impressed with a long car warranty since I bought my first new car, fresh out of college. It was a SAAB two stroke with a life time warranty which in my financial situation, was important.

After just a year and a half, 50 miles from home with less than 30K on the car and on my way to an important business appointment, the motor seized. Fortunately, my wonderful dad saved the day, by driving the entire distance, letting me take his car the final 100 miles and waiting with the tow truck.

I could have bought the v4 4 stroke for just $200 more with just a limited warranty but I was too insecure. The V4 proved to be ultra reliable (for those days) and the two stroke a consistent problem…unless you drove it like you were going to a fire, at your own house.

The motor was replaced for the cost of a tune up…after a 4 week wait and the new one had a new life time warranty as well. But without the help, the inconvenience and affect on my personal life was not worth it.

As Lee Iacocca proved with his K car and 5 year 60K warranty; you put them on because people may not buy the car otherwise and it becomes a sales ploy.

I’m not impressed by a long warranty and will do my own research to find a car with a proven reliability record when my family’s safety and security is at stake. There are things I am be not be willing to put at risk to save money.

Reliability And A Long Warranty Are Not Mutually Exclusive Concepts. Why Not Shop For A Car With Both ?

Car reliability ratings are based on averages. That said, although a particular make / model can be rated as fairly highly reliable, certain of those cars will still have brake problems, transmission problems, engine noises / leaks, air conditioning compressor failures, radio problems, etcetera. Why not get insurance for free ?

By the way, I bought and wore out (at high miles) 3 K-cars, all purchased used. I chose to be a repeat buyer for a reason. They were very reliable, economical to operate machines. Those 2.2s and 2.5s were bulletproof. You probably wouldn’t believe the small amount of money I put into the last one we drove for 17 years.

I didn’t get a warranty with the K-cars (except a 30 day / 3,000 mile one on our first Aires). I didn’t need one, but I would have gladly accepted a warranty any time anyone wanted to give me one.

They are especially pleasant to have on a used car purchase. They help keep buyer’s remorse at bay.

Recently I decided what make / model car to purchase. After resarching and looking for a couple months, I found an excellent deal, beating all others and it just happened to have excellent warranty coverage. GM is putting their money where there mouth is.

So, I could agree with your premise, except reliability and good warranty doesn’t have to be "either / or ". It can be both.


"So, I could agree with your premise, except reliability and good warranty doesn’t have to be "either / or ". It can be both. "

You’re absolutely right, and couldn’t agree more. I certainly wouldn’t pass up an extended warranty on a reliable car. I just hear too many car shoppers equate reliability with a long warranty and worse yet; the “why worry about the car, it’s covered” attitude.

Breaking down can be more “costly” than just the matter of recovering repair costs. A long warranty is an option like any other and as you have well stated it can be both reliability and covered, but I add, not necessarily. I’ll take the reliable car with the lesser warranty any day if I must choose.

CSA, I think you’ll also agree that some of the most reliable cars we have ever driven were those well past their warranty coverage with high but well cared for miles as evident by your good experiences with K cars. I bet we’ve both trusted our lives to “older” cars many times over and would much rather jump in them in need than any new car off the lot regardless of it’s “reputation” or warranty.