What is the best car for me

I am in sales and have a car allowance. I drive 50,000 miles/yr and cannot afford the time to have my car in the shop. I want a convertible and it has to be a comfortable ride. I am thinking an older model BMW 3 series with high mileage. I want to own it for 3 years then trade it or sell it. $10K is all I want to spend. What do you think is the best car for me?

Not the BMW. Avoid Chrysler Sebring convertables also.
They have one of the worst reliability records in history…well, except for Land Rovers.

A Camry Solera is the best bet if you can find one.

I’m curious, if you have a car allowance, drive 50,000 miles a year, and comfort is a priority, why do you want to spend under $10K? Buying used limits your options tremendously.

Given your parameters, IMHO there is no such car.

An older, high mileage 3 series BMW should be considered as a weekend driver/fun car. Definately NOT a daily driver with perfect reliability.

You can get a 2005 Camry Solara XLE V6 convertible for about $14,000. You could find a 2001 or 2002 for abut $10,000, but a 10 year old car is not meeant for heavy use like this. I’d pony up the exctra scrath and get the newer one.

The ONLY Car For You Is The Chyrsler Sebring. It’s Perfect For Your Limitations. I’d Look At 2004 And Newer Ones And Particularly “Original Owner” Cars With Maintenance Documents.

Pardon me TSM, but in this case I have to differ with you. I took a look at reliability and nothing there scares me. I didn’t see much that makes it a car one can’t depend on to get around. The biggest problems are body integrity, body hardware, etcetera. It’s a CONVERTIBLE. That’s how they roll.

I have owned absolutely wonderful and extremely reliable Chyrsler cars (past and present) that have worse CU ratings than Sebrings.

The thing I’ve noticed about Sebring rag tops is that they are often bargain priced, low miles (not driven in winter), are well equipped, and well maintained by owners. You should be able to pull all this off for less than 10 grand. They’re out there.

Good Luck,


I See Quite A Few Soft-Top Camaros That Fit Your Budget.


Perhaps the best thing for the OP to do is pick up a Consumer Reports used Car Buyers’ Guide at the local bookstore and go by that.

I’m still wondering how to reconcile the expense account and the criteria with the desire for a $10K used car, however.

Given your parameters, IMHO there is no such car.
I agree…the closest would be a Camaro mentioned and a perhaps a Mustang with a little age. High mileage anything for less than $10k is a crap shoot reliability wise…esp. European cars.

How about a Miata or a Honda Del Sol?

If you drive 50,000 m iles a year and are in SALES, I would forget about a convertible. They get very tiring when you drive that much.

I once had a high mileage sales job and the most reliable car I could find at that time was a Pontiac Catalina Hardtop with the big 6 engine. This car was easy to service anywhere, and never broke down. I could have bought a Jaguar at a very good price, but it could never be guaranteed to start, and would take forever to get serviced.

The only reliable convertible any of us can think of in which you will survive 50,000 miles a year is a Camry Solara.

If I had a car allowance and had to drive 50,000 miles a year, I would forget about the $10,000 cap and buy a good Mazda 6, Toyota Camry 4, or an Accord 4. All three cars are low service and very reliable.

You don’t say BMW and “reliable” in the same breath, ever. If I was your boss, I would strongly discourage you from driving an old BMW.

If you really want to spend $10,000, then forget the convertible. That adds thousands to the price. And you can’t drive a 10-year old car (or older) every day and expect to get 50,000 miles per year out of it. Take a serious look at a 2006/2007 Chevrolet Malibu LT with the V6. The 3.5L V6 gets almost the same gas mileage as the I4 (20/29 vs. 21/29, respectively). You can reasonably expect to find one of these with 25,000 to 50,000 miles on it. It’s a homely car, and is therefore less expensive. It does handle well and can be comfortable on long drives. I had many of them as rental cars. You have to give up a lot to hit your price point, and I think you give up the least with this car.

Usually, I’d say Miata. But the 2000 Honda S2000 goes for around $10k. If you’re dead set on a chop top bimmer, get a Z3 instead. All of those are meant to be convertibles and are optimized as such. Chop top 3 series is an afterthought and wouldn’t be very comfortable.

Since you’re in sales, why not polish your silver tongue and convince Pontiac to sell you a Solstice for $10k?

I think you need to reconsider your requirements. You’re asking about a high end, high mileage car to which you’re planning on adding 50k miles a year.
A high miles car will need something(s) anyway. They all do, and in the case of a convertible either a new top or possibly a new top in the near future.

If it must be a convertible then what about a 90s era Mustang? They’re reliable, easily serviced, and with your budget you could buy something like this and sock the rest back for maintenance and any incidentals that come up.
Best of all, it’s a GT with the 4.6.


OP is going to add 3x50,000=150,000 miles per 3 years to a $10,000 used car that he wants to be RELIABLE!!! The BMW would will spend too much time in the shop to allow OP to do his job. Some of the recommendations, such as spending 50,000 miles/year time 3 in a Miata boggles the mind as well.

This whole thing just does not add up. When salesmen get a car allowance, the company has some say in the matter as to what is acceptable from a performance (reliability)point of view and what meets the company’s image.

I remember a pipe smoking, overweight person with a bile green small imported hardtop starting out to sell houses! I tried to tactfully tell him that women don’t like pipesmoke, and most house buyers like to get into the back seat of a normal 4 door sedan when taken to a viewing.

Needless to say he only lasted 6 months in real estate sales.

I taught selling for several years, and we spent considerable time on daily acticivities and what transportation was the most suitable for both salesman and prospects to ride in. OP’s plan is a bit of a pipe dream, the way I see it.

thanks, I like the Solera, I had a 98 Camry, put 250k miles on on it, best car I ever owned.

I like buying used because you get a better car for the money. I want the allowance to cover cost of the car, insurance and repairs. The $10k will allow me to get a car that can be paid for in three years then I can trade it while it still has a little value. A new car with a five year loan will have 250k miles and no value. With all the miles i rack up, I am upside down on the loan all the way through.

thanks, good advice, the Camry Solera is a nice car and can go the mileage.

Thanks, good advice, I very rarely take customers/prospects for rides, the car is just used to get me to the customer. As far as the company, my boss, who owns the company drives a BMW three and he recommended it as reliable and able to go the distance without trouble, he put 200k miles on his last one in six years and only had to replace a clutch and one set of brakes for major repairs. I may rethink the ragtop since I live in the northeast and the time to enjoy the top down is short.

thanks, I will look into the Sebring.

thanks, I have rented malibus as well and they are comfortable, but I am in mid life crisis mode and want something more fun and sporty. I may need to spend a little more than $10k

The newest Del Sol that would be available would now be at least 13 years old!
And, this was not exactly Honda’s finest hour, design-wise.

The rate of customer complaints regarding rattles and water leaks in that model was extremely high. I don’t think that these cars have aged like fine wine, either!