Hi. I had posted 10 days or so ago about windshield wipers on my 1998 Volvo S90. Well, that became a moot point when a new driver failed to yield and totalled my beautiful car. Now I’m in need of some recommendations on what to look for in a replacement. I have about $5000 to spend and am looking for a reliable, reasonably fuel efficient car, hopefully 1998 - 2002. Many folks have recommended a Crown Vic or the like but as I commute a good distance, I’m concered about fuel costs. And, as you all are well aware, the Volvo was very expensive to maintain. So, any recommendations on what to look at?
Wow. I remember your question about the wipers.
Sorry to hear about your car.
Well, If you’re driving a Crown Vic, people will move over for you – at least up here: they are usually cop cars. So for what you’re spending in gas, you may make up for in commuting time.
It’ll be tough to definitively say to buy a specific car and be sure you won’t have trouble. Some people don’t take care of their cars, others do. Buying a used car is like a crap shoot, especially if you don’t have that much money to spend.
I would stay away from Subaru in the 98-02 vintage, unless they had their headgaskets replaced. The other years are good, tho - provided they’ve been well maintained, of course.
Whatever you do buy, get it checked out by a mechanic. It may cost an hour’s labor but that’s worth it.
Thank you again. Wouldn’t it have been ironic if somehow the windshield wipers began working again with the impact?
With a long commute, comfort should be higher priority than MPG. I think Crown Vics are good for about 25mpg on the highway, which is pretty good for such a large car. Getting 40mpg in a car that kills your back/legs after 10 minutes will do you no good in the long run.
2007 Kia Rio sedan. You can find them on dealer’s lots for under $5000.
A low mileage Hyundai Accent will give very economical and reliable performance.
My first thought for you was a 2000-2003 vintage Honda Accord or Toyota Camry. Both have good reputations for reliability (except for the V-6 Accord), but most of them on the roads today are in mediocre shape.
You could also consider a Toyota Avalon, which is very comfortable and will get better mileage than a Crown Victoria. You could also look into a Buick LeSabre, which competed with the Avalon at the time and can be bought at much lower prices than the Avalon. It’s reliability isn’t bad, and a lot of them are still in decent shape. Along the same lines, you might look at an Infiniti I30.
The Camry is a decent car, but pretty boring.
There are a lot of professional mechanics on here. The Crown Vic is an easy, cheap car to work on that was made forever so everyone has experience with it. But no, if you drive a lot, it won’t be cheap to operate as gas prices will be one of your biggest expenses. That’s simple math.
In freeway driving the tiniest cars aren’t necessarily much better because their aerodynamics are not great. That just means a modest four-cylinder compact can be competitive with a subcompact. At your price point finding any car in good condition is going to be challenging. I’d be looking for a less popular car by a good make. That means a Toyota Echo, Nissan Sentra, Mazda Protege, Mitsubishi, ir one of the simplest domestics, like the Escort/Focus.