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Which used car for me?

I am driving a 1999 BMW 528i that I really, really love–bought it used in 2002 in Los Angeles, got a divorce, then drove all the way home to New Orleans. But it is having transmission issues, water leakage to the interior, etc. etc. It has about 128,000 miles on it. It had some major repairs last year and I am thinking I should not be investing too much more in it. So I probably should be getting another car soon. But what? I cannot afford another BMW (although I lust (in my mind) after the new 3 series hybrid…) I would love a used sedan that seats 4, that’s about 2 years old, gets really good mileage, is safe but not stodgy and that kind of looks good–and I would like to keep it under $24,000 if possible (lower is better.) I don’t know who to ask for advice, so all suggestions will help.

I would suggest a Nissan Altima. If you don’t like that vehicle then a Toyota Camry or Honda Civic might be worth a test drive. The Nissan is comfortable and has a bit of power with the 3.5 engine. Three of my family members have them and they all are satisfied with the ride and comfort. Test drive one and see for yourself.

You could buy a new Buick Verano for under $24,000. Look at one and test drive it. You might like it. Here’s some information on it:

@missleman - if he likes his BMW, he’ll likely hate a Camry. They’re light-years apart in terms of handling characteristics.

For mainstream sedans, I’d recommend:

Mazda6
Ford Fusion
Nissan Altima

and maybe the Honda Accord. Its a bit fluffier than the 3 listed above, which are all on the sportier end

You could take a look at a 2009 Acura TL or a 2010 Acura TSX.

Thanks these are great suggestions so far and I am looking forward to hearing what others have to say. Missleman is right–I love that BMW and would prefer to only drive them but can’t afford it now. So I will check out your ideas.

I’ll echo the Mazda 6 and Ford Fusion suggestions.

If you don’t mind a smaller vehicle, a Mazda Speed3, even brand new, should fit your budget and give you that BMW feel

Why so intent on a hybrid? What kind of driving do you usually do? Hybrids have a horrible misunderstanding in the public eye, in that they often don’t get any better gas mileage than their conventional counterparts if you do mostly highway or easy suburban driving (i.e., mostly fixed speeds, little/no stop and go).

This said, I appreciate and agree with the disappointment you’ll face stepping down from a 5 Series to a Honda or Buick. Of the list, the Mazda6 would get my vote. However, within your budget you can find used BMW 3s all day long, in excellent condition. You might even find another used 5 series with lower miles.