I am a junior in college at Marshall University in West Virginia. I am looking for a car to replace my Mazda Protege5 that died My two options are as follows:
2002 Audi Allroad with 104,000 miles for $7,000
1998 Infiniti QX4 with 118,000 miles for $5,000
I need a vehicle that will deal with the winters in West Virginia, and be a pretty good vehicle all around. The Audi is my personal favorite as it has absolutely everything i want in a vehicle, however the Infiniti is cheaper and most likely more reliable and still has alot of what I am looking for.
Both are in really good shape, which one should I purchase?
I strongly recommend the Infiniti, at least in principle.
The QX4 is actually a re-badged Nissan Pathfinder, one of the most reliable vehicles ever made.
By contrast, the Audi comes with the usual “baggage” of that make, which includes a lot (two words!) of electrical/electronic problems that are very difficult to diagnose and very expensive to fix. As a result, if you buy the Audi, I strongly suggest that you budget about $1,500 per year for the inevitable repair expenses, over and above the costly maintenance that these cars need.
All of that being said, no used vehicle of any make should be purchased unless you can verify that it has been properly maintained. Verification means actual documentation, not someone’s statements such as, “It has been well-maintained”.
As just one example of why you need documentation, the Audi utilizes a timing belt that needs to be changed at–guess when–105k miles! My suspicion is that the current owner chose to dump the vehicle, rather than paying probably something on the order of $800 for replacement of the timing belt, water pump, some engine seals, the serpentine belt, and all belt tensioners. If the timing belt has not been replaced, you are looking at either catastrophic engine damage or a hefty maintenance bill for the above-noted items in the very near future.
And, even with verification of proper maintenance, you will still need a mechanic (of your own choosing) to inspect a prospective purchase in order to detect collision damage and impending mechanical problems. DO NOT rely on Car Fax or similar services to alert you to problems, simply because these reports usually omit more than information than they include.
Choice “C”, neither of the above, is correct.
Seriously, you are looking at 2 bottomless money pits. Unless you are independently wealthy or a professional mechanic both these vehicles will suck your wallet dry.
Get an inexpensive, reliable vehicle (think Toyota, Ford, Honda) with winter tires if needed and save your money for when you graduate and can afford a newer luxury vehicle.
Forget the Audi - money pit!
Infiniti is OK, but spend $100 to have a mechanic check it out first.
I use to own a 98 Pathfinder…Gave it to my daughter in 06 when it had about 270k miles on it…She drove it a few years…then gave it to her ex boyfriend…last I knew it was closing in on 400k miles and still going strong.
2 things you have to consider.
. This vehicle has a timing belt which needs to be replaced every 105k miles or 7 years (which ever comes first). If you’re mechanically inclined the job takes only about 4 hours and you just have to pay for parts.
. There’s a known issue with the bushings on the rear suspension bars. They tend to wear out. Again…if you’re mechanically inclined you can do this yourself (although you may need a machine shop to press the new bushings in).
Outside of that…this vehicle is very very reliable. The 3.3l V6 is one of the most reliable engines you can find today.
You’re a student.
Get a Corolla, Civic, Focus, Mazda 3 etc.
When you’re out of school, bagged a solid job and paid down the student loans, THEN get a luxury car!
An '02 Audi will need lots of money to keep it on the road. Audi parts and repairs are always expensive. Pass on the Audi. The Infinity seems better, but that is now a 14 year old car. You really can’t expect a car that old to be bullet proof no matter how well made.
You can get along in W. VA winters with any FWD car IF you put on a set of good winter tires. Neither of the above cars gets good mpg. You will spend a bunch more on fuel than your are used to with the Mazda. I’d suggest a newer, compact FWD car and just put winter tires on it.
Rethink and keep looking. You are still a student and you will have college loans to pay off. An old “luxury” car with AWD or 4WD are bad choices. Forget “luxury” and focus on running costs, insurance costs, and repair costs.
If you must get one of these two, get the infinity.
Audis are nice but you pay an awful premium for the “nice”.
Whichever you decide on, get it checked out by a reputable shop. Any use car can have hidden expensive problems.
I’m with the crowd. Of these two, the Infiniti is more likely to be the better choice (given proper maintenance), but a newer non-luxury car would be a more prudent choice.
At the age and mileage, both are a crapshoot without an extremely thorough inspection. The badge on the back means nothing if the vehicle has only had 3 oil changes in its life or the previous owner, or plural, beat it into the pavement.
Is there any particular reason that as a junior in college you’re wanting a less common and more high end vehicle which is going to translate to more expensive servicing?
My advice would be to lower the standards a bit and buy a generic, ho-hum car to get through college with.
Save the Audis and Infinitis for the post-education life.
Thankyou for all of the replies. Now for kind of a funny story, the upkeep on the cars wasn’t a concern from the get go as I have a fraternity brother that owns his own import car shop in WV specializing in german cars but gets a lot of infiniti’s, subaru’s, etc. My third day of looking at these two and the infiniti decided that it would get stuck in 4lo and refuse to do anything but stay with the diff locked, so that one became out of the question immediately. I was thinking, hey great I get to buy one of my favorite cars in the entire world, so no big deal… On the way to my mechanic to have him look over the Audi, it suddenly decided to tell me that all of the doors were open! Pulled over, opened and closed all of the doors, got back in and they were still showing as being open. At this point i decided that I should check the rest of the electrical components. Sure enough, the sunroof wouldn’t open, the interior lights would not work, the windows wouldn’t go down and the doors wouldn’t even lock or unlock!
To make a long story short, i turned the car around, took it back to the dealer, handed him the keys and said no way. I am really glad I take my time and don’t give in to my impulses, either one of these cars would have been a cluster**** from the get go, just glad it was on their dime not mine. As for why I would be looking for an up-market car while still in college, I have been very fortunate to have held a few very well paying jobs before and during college, which has paid for my education in full and left me with some playing around money while my current job pays my living expenses. The search will continue and I hope i remain as steadfast in my ability to shy away from impulsive behavior but we’ll see… who knows, that up market car I have always wanted may be the learning experience I need to break my lucky streak with cars that never seem to break no matter what gets thrown at or in them
Maybe the forum members were all able to channel their thoughts out there and prove themselves right.
If you’re on a tight budget, forget luxury brands. There’s a reason that 5~10 year old S-class Mercedes is selling for a tenth of it’s original cost.
You are under a tight budget as a college student no matter how much money you have. You are under a time budget. You don’t want to waste time taking a car to a shop. You want the car that requires the least maintenance and repair. I just retired as a university professor. I had colleagues that bought expensive cars that required services from a dealer 60 miles away. My colleagues may have had time to be inconvenienced by their cars, but I didn’t. I drove vehicles that I could take to my nearby independent shop who gave me a ride to my office and let them take care of the problem. My time was valuable and as a student, your time is valuable.
I would have voted for the audi. Just for the record.
Both are 10+ years old and will likely give you trouble. If you MUST have one or the other and not look elsewhere, I’d probably lean towards the Infiniti.
if you only have about 5000 to spend, then you obviously don’t have much to spend on repairs. Go for the highest mileage / newest model year ford focus you can find for your price and give up luxury until you are in a better place in life
one of the worst financial moves you can ever make is to tie up what little money you have into a vehicle that depreciates. they are not assets.
once you have way more important things in life to appreciate you will get over how nice or not nice your car is.
But if you have $$$ then do what makes you happy.