I want your butt's educated opinion!


I’m looking for a new used car for my wife who is light sensitive and needs to ride in the back with tinted windows. She also has back problems so she needs a very cushy ride in the back seat.

I think that I’m looking for a long wheel base and fairly heavy car with a soft suspension and roomy, soft rear seating. Four doors is also a requirement. I have a budget of $7000 for a car with a good 50kmi of life in it.

I’ve looked through the used car ads to see what’s out there that might meet these specifications, but I haven’t ridden in most of these cars. If you have one of these and it’s really comfortable in the back or if you’ve had another that you think I should consider please let me know.

I want your butt’s educated opinion!

I’ve considered:

1999 Toyota Avalon

1999 Lincoln Town Car

2001 VW Passat

2002 Audi Avant Quattro

1998 Lexus ES300

2001 Cadillac Eldorado

2002 Cadillac Seville SLS

2003 Econoline Conversion Van

2002 Land Rover Freelander

2006 Chrysler PT Cruiser

2001 Nissan Maxima SE

1997 Infinity Q45

2003 Saturn Vue

2001 Ford Escape XLS

2004 Volvo V70 Wagon

2002 Ford Taurus SE Wagon


I’ve driven pretty much all of these cars in my line of work,

Stay away from the Land Rover & Chrysler PT. The Rovers are big, bulky, impractical, and probably too expensive to justify owning. The Chrysler PT handles like a roller skate on ice, poor interior, your wife will probably find it too cramped.

1999 Avalon & 1999 Lincoln Town car - Yes, good choices. Very comfy rides, good interiors, user friendly. The Limo companies who pass by the Hotel use Lincoln TC’s. I think they fare well with Consumer Reports too.

1998 Lexus, 2001 Nissan, 1997 Infinity Q45: Yes, good choices as well.

The other ones don’t particularly stand out at me one way or the other, hard to really recommend for or against, but this should get you started.

Also, Pick up an old April edition of “Consumer Reports” magazine, it does a good job of breaking down all of these cars based on reliability, etc. It also gives your “good bets” and further breaks it down by price range, so it isn’t just a guide for a new-car shopper, it will suit a poor college student like me too. It also gives you a comprehensive list of “bad bets” so it should help with the narrowing down process.

I hope you enjoyed reading this non-technical assessment.


The Town Car, Crown Vic and Grand Marquis are all the same car with different trim packages. $7000 will buy you a VERY nice Crown Vic. A Grand Marq rivals the Lincoln for luxury but at considerably less cost. Avoid the “air-ride” suspension (standard on the Lincoln) as it becomes troublesome and expensive to fix at the 8-10 year old mark…The powertrains are bullet-proof and the entire car is a pillar of reliability and comfort. The air conditioning is legendary…In production since 1992, the Police, Taxi and Grand Marquis are still being made today…The 4.6L V8 can propel the car to 120mph but it can also deliver 26mpg at normal highway speeds…


You can count this as one more vote in favor of a Lincoln Towncar.


I think the OP would be very pleased with any of those cars


I’m still listening. I didn’t know the Crown Vic was basically the same as a town car… intertesting.


Of your list, here are the better ones. You’ll have to try them out, of course:
1999 Toyota Avalon
1999 Lincoln Town Car
1998 Lexus ES300
2002 Cadillac Seville SLS


A little more on those cars, my grandpa has been driving a Grand Marquis for many, many years, and I don’t think he’s had any significant problems with the car.

Many years ago I had a rental Crown Vic in AZ, nice car, nice ride, comfy, no complaints.

A buddy in high school had an '86 Grand Marquis, it had 150k when they finally got rid of it, original engine and trans, comfy to sit in, they were pleased with the car.


I think you might want to consider the 2003 Econline Conversion van. My daughter-in-law has back problems and has had back surgery which was only partly successful. She is comfortable riding in their minivan (A Ford Windstar), but can not handle most cars. For many people who suffer with back pain, a good seating position in a supportive seat is better than a very cushy ride.

My neighbor’s wife has back problems. They purchased a 1995 Mercury Grand Marquis from us that we were selling from my wife’s parents’ estate. My neighbor’s wife thought that the seats in the Mercury were more comfortable than the seats in the Cadillac that they owned of about the same vintage. They have since traded the Mercury we sold them for a minivan–again for the comfort of the seats.

The best I can say is that it is as important for a person with back pain to try on a car for fit as it is to try on a pair of shoes for fit.


Yes, but some versions of the Town Car have much more rear seat leg room than the Crown Vic or Grand Marquis. I think that in 99 they [town car] were all the long version, but I’m not sure of that.


Just in case you end up with a car that rides too roughly for you wife, consider using a good wheelchair cushion for her to sit on. I use one on my riding lawnmower and with the cushion can mow the lawn much faster. A good wheelchair cushion is not cheap but I happened on a deal.


If the OP is considering a Lexus ES, then he should also consider Camrys.
After all, the Lexus ES is only a Camry with some cosmetic luxury touches added to it.


Some of your choices are a bit difficult to access the back seat due to small doors and rear wheel wells that have to be climbed over. A few others are very expensive to repair and maintain, the Land Rover, and Volvo are ridculously expensive to repair.

I’ll second the votes for Ford Crown Vic, Mercury Marquis, or Lincoln Town Car. These cars share many components (Motor, transmission, drive line, brakes) and are they are very reliable, long lasting, and relatively easy and reasonable to repair. They do use a bit more gas, but when driven reasonably they get decent gas mileage for their large size cabins and trunk.


one more vote for crown vics, town cars and grand marquis.


Thanks Everyone!
Very helpful stuff. I’m definitely going to check out the Marquis and Crown Vic. Also pared the list down a lot. I’ll keep an eye on this thread if anyone has more to say.


I’m a Crown Vic fan, but older American cars have notoriously poor lower back support. Make sure it’s a newer model or I’d recommend the Avalon/Lexus.


Sorry to hear about your wife’s problem. Yet over the years I have been amazed how many families cope so well with what on the surface looks like a serious problem. In fact, probably is, but they adapt and life goes on.


The Town, Vic and Marq share what is called the “Panther” platform.

Even the cop cars have inflatable Lumbar cushions in the front seats…The LX Vics, most of the Marqs and all of the Towns have very nice 6-way leather seats.


The interior has to be dark colored too. I had a car with a beige interior and always had to wear sunglasses.


I agree with the other posters. I notice that no one has recommended any of the european makes (Land Rover, Audi, VW, volvo). From what I have read and personally experienced (volvo) european used cars are money pits. So I would recommend avoiding them.