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      11-12-2012, 06:19 PM   #1
lesha
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Test drove some cars today, I feel like I got spoiled :(

So I was looking today for another family car in the low 20s. Something that I can use to put the dog in, run basic errands and just keep around as a "junker" and keep it for a long time. So I test drove the VW Tiguan, Subaru XV and Cr-V. After driving bmw and an Acura (wife's car), these cars just don't feel right. The whole time I felt really uncomfortable, these cars just did not feel solid at all. I felt like I was driving a tin can with a steering wheel. Am I losing my mind or did I get spoiled by nicer cars. I had a nissan murano before that I got rid off (lemon) that was in the same price range as cars I drove today, but that car felt solid and had more of a "truck" feeling. Can someone recommend a car in the low 20's (used ok too) preferably an SUV or at least AWD that feels "solid" when driven and doesn't have that tin can feeling. I would totally get another murano, but I just can't give nissan any more business after the terrible experience,, but that's another story.

Last edited by lesha; 11-13-2012 at 10:30 PM.
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      11-12-2012, 07:15 PM   #2
GammaZeta
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Nope, you can definitely feel the difference between cars. I was a BMW/Audi driver for most of my life, but my wife finally got her first BMW just a year ago after driving Honda's and Mazda's.

She could tell the difference right away and says she will never go back.
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      11-12-2012, 08:25 PM   #3
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4Runner, Grand Cherokee
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      11-12-2012, 11:01 PM   #4
Arben72
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New Honda accord is pretty solid. Not an SUV but definitely nice. Also the Acura ilx is in that range.
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      11-12-2012, 11:10 PM   #5
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I've driven and owned lots of Honda's, driven various other imports. At the time I thought they drove just fine. It wasn't until I drove the 1er for a while then got back into some of them that I realized how much better it is. The steering feel alone (not to mention engine responsiveness) is in a whole different class. The steering on some of these cars feels loose and numb. Granted, none of them were built to be "sporty" cars but it would be hard for me to go back. Difference is noticeable right away. Getting back into the 1er after driving them is such an eye opener.
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      11-12-2012, 11:21 PM   #6
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E83 X3 -- Let's you stay BMW, AWD & probably gives you the best driving feeling.

Just gotta find one that's not been overly abused. Luckily they use the M54 or N52 engines which don't have ridic expensive maintenance costs
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      11-13-2012, 06:40 AM   #7
Derek8819
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Toyota Rav 4. The V6 in it has 265hp and AWD, skoots along pretty good and has a solid feel. My wife had one before her E83 X3, is the Toyota on the same level? No. But it is pretty damn close, reliable, and cheap.
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      11-13-2012, 09:29 AM   #8
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The tin can feel can be greatly reduced with a heathy dose of sound deadener. My STi had that same issue. Applied sound deadener to the doors, floor, and roof. After that is felt as tight as our 3-series did.
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      11-13-2012, 01:30 PM   #9
kleach18
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My family car is a Mazda CX-7. It a fun SUV, has plenty of power (244 HP/258 ft-lb) and not bad to drive. I heard some good things about the CX-7's replacment, the CX-5.
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      11-13-2012, 02:59 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by benzy89 View Post
E83 X3 -- Let's you stay BMW, AWD & probably gives you the best driving feeling.

Just gotta find one that's not been overly abused. Luckily they use the M54 or N52 engines which don't have ridic expensive maintenance costs
Terrible advice.

Sadly, we've had these vehicles inflicted on us multiple times as loaners. Hands down the worst excuse for a luxury vehicle that BMW produced....until the X1.

(The new ones are a massive improvement. )
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      11-13-2012, 03:14 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Cdnrockies View Post
Terrible advice.

Sadly, we've had these vehicles inflicted on us multiple times as loaners. Hands down the worst excuse for a luxury vehicle that BMW produced....until the X1.

(The new ones are a massive improvement. )
Did you read anything the OP posted? He's looking for a quality car for less than $20k, something he can put the dog & run the miles up in.
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      11-13-2012, 03:22 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by benzy89 View Post
Did you read anything the OP posted? He's looking for a quality car for less than $20k, something he can put the dog & run the miles up in.
Did you read my reply?

The term quality doesn't belong anywhere near the word E83 X3.

There isn't a BMW made that should be recommended to "run the miles up in." The maintenance costs and long term reliability are one of the worst aspects of the brand.
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      11-13-2012, 04:02 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Cdnrockies View Post
The term quality doesn't belong anywhere near the word E83 X3.
The X3 is completely fine for what the OP is looking for. We have one, it gets it routine maintenance & otherwise nothing is wrong with it. My mother drives in the most cause she likes that it's higher than a normal car, but isn't like driving a bus (after owning a Jeep Commander). We throw flowers/mulch, my brother's college garbage & other shit in the trunk cause that's what it's used for.

With what my fam is using it for sounds a lot like what the OP intends to use it for. An errand running car that's still classy & an X3 fits right into that. For under $20k meeting all the criteria, there really isn't much (especially after writing off Nissan). Mercedes (GLK) & Audi (Q3) both will be more expensive , Land Rovers (LR2) are maintenance nightmares. The top of the line Jeep Cherokee & Explorers might also work, but it's if you can find one with reasonable mileage (since most owners keep those cars).

Reading into how high class you think you are, you'd prob be recommending a G Wagon.
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      11-13-2012, 09:54 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by benzy89 View Post
.
Let me guess, you've never owned a BMW out of warranty?

Also guessing you're not footing the bills for your car or maintenance?

When things break on these cars they are ridicuslously expensive. So you're going to recommend to somebody, that is obviously on a limited budget and wants a high mileage vehicle, to buy a vehicle that there is a high probability of costly repairs?

Engine seals out of warranty...$4K.

EGR cooler out of warranty...$2K.

Crack in an aluminum a/c line...$1K.

Any domestic or Japanese vehicle that is mass produced and is much cheaper to repair would be a better recommendation fwiw.
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      11-13-2012, 10:23 PM   #15
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2007-2009 RDX? Not because I have one, its really good as a daily driver and hauling kids around. It's quick and nimble.
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      11-13-2012, 11:28 PM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Cdnrockies View Post
Let me guess, you've never owned a BMW out of warranty?

Also guessing you're not footing the bills for your car or maintenance?
Any domestic or Japanese vehicle that is mass produced and is much cheaper to repair would be a better recommendation fwiw.

4 & yes to your original question. And have you provided any recommendations yet?
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      11-14-2012, 12:38 AM   #17
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Have to say a 4runner would solve your problems. The previous generation isn't too bad on the eyes. It's a great truck for hauling stuff i.e. dogs. And plus they'll run for 200,000 miles. Don't know how it drives but it covers most of your bases. Good luck with your search!
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      11-14-2012, 01:07 AM   #18
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I would get a 2003-2008 Infiniti FX35 or FX45. I had one back in 2006. Such a great car.
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      11-14-2012, 09:50 PM   #19
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Most of the trouble is getting used to FWD again. Takes a good week to stop being constantly unsettled by the different response to throttle mid-turn.

The previous generation X3 is meh. The new one is better but out of your budget. The older X5 is very good but quite a high maintenance garage princess.

The CX5 is very economical, I got one as a loaner and it handled itself quite good for a FWD, but it is severely underpowered for such a big car.

The Mazda 3 feels good. Sure, plastics are a little cheap (but still tolerable), but the car handles well and the steering is confident. Its powerful enough and very fuel efficient (on par with older Priuses !). I may get the hatchback for my wife in a close future. Its smaller than an SUV, but the hatchback form is very handy and serves almost the same purpose if you don't have two giant Dane hounds to carry in the trunk.

I also had a rental Hyundai or Kia SUV that was surprisingly pleasant to drive (I hate SUVs in general). FWD but fully independent suspension at the rear, you can really feel the difference. I was actually impressed by the quality of what used to be "value" oriented brand. It felt and looked better than Jap.

Last edited by Meeni; 11-14-2012 at 09:56 PM.
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      11-14-2012, 11:17 PM   #20
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We've got an 06 Jeep Grand Cherokee with the Hemi that we bought new with the same intent, keep it til it dies. We love it, my sister loves it so much that she left her Audi S5 in FL and took the Jeep to college in San Diego. So I'd recommend one of those. We've had a couple of electrical problems but I'd say in 6 years we've only really spent $5k on maintenance and repairs.

The Lexus GX is great too, if you have a good indy mechanic. They don't go wrong often but if they do it's expensive.

You also can't beat a Volvo XC90 or XC70. So comfortable on long trips and really durable.
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      11-17-2012, 03:47 AM   #21
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I just got a 12' accord sedan. I would recommend you check one out. No it's not a BMW but its actually not bad at all driving it everyday. It's solid good mpg and the little 4cyl is pretty good.
Brand new it was right at your price point and its got leather and power stuff.
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