Date: Wed, 31 Dec 2003 09:12:37 -0600
From: "Walt Kienzle" <>
Subject: Re: the perfect car

"Tom Reingold" <> wrote in message [snip] > > > Where are you, Walt? A suburb of Chicago. When I said that there aren't many US cars with stick shift, I ment to say US built cars, or US marques (I know those are two different things, but you probably get the idea). My secret agenda is to buy a GM product that qualifies for an employee discount through my father. GM didn't make anything in the '80s or '90s that I wanted to buy new. I wonder if they will make it 3 decades in a row offering nothing of interest to me. > > My 1995 9000CS with 152,000 miles is blowing steam, because the turbo > leaks coolant, so I'm probably going to replace the car. I might fix it, > but I still haven't decided. Because of the leak, the wastegate is shut > OPEN, giving too much boost, so I have to keep a light touch on the > accelerator, or else the car bucks. I have been repairing my 9000 also, but as time goes by, the repairs are more expensive. I replaced the transmission at the beginning of the year. Who knows what will go next. > > I need a hatchback. Can't live without it. My wife has a Honda Civic > hatchback, and in many ways, it's the mini version of my car. It can > really haul cargo! And the back seats really aren't too bad. And the > Honda, because it is small, short, and light, really corners much better > than my Saab. Whee. Same here. I might not _need_ the hatchback, but it certainly comes in handy when you want haul a lot of stuff. > > I might buy a 9-5 wagon or a VW Passat wagon. No sedan for me. As I > said, I need a hatchback. They are both available with manual > transmission. I haven't owned an automatic yet. Although I don't want a sedan either (I already have one of those, don't need another) I am not particularly fond of the frumpy appearance of a wagon. Some of them are OK. I looked at the Mazda Protoge5 because I used to own a GLC/323 hatchback. It was kind of nice, somewhat sporty looking and as a bonus, the radio was available with a MiniDisk player, which I think is a cool format. > > The 9-5 is pretty expensive, even used. I only buy used cars. And I > think it has gotten too technologically advanced. I don't want a fancy > multi-hundred-dollar key with a chip embedded in it. I'll break it or > lose it. The $50 key on my Saab is already too expensive. > That was kind of my reason for buying a used 9000. I had never owned a Saab before and didn't want to spend $40,000 on a new car that was always called "quirky" in car magazines. After owning it, I realized that any "quirks" Saabs may have are what make them so appealing. So when I was ready to buy a new one, Saab discontinued the 9000 and didn't offer a 9-5 hatchback, just a frumpy station wagon. Oh well. > I'm also considering a Subaru wagon. They are available with manual > transmission. I also considered a Subaru Impreza WRX wagon. The "wagon" part is so short, it nearly looks like a hatchback (if you use your imagination heavily). I was a little dissappointed in the lack rear seat foot room. I thought it was interesting/odd/ironic that this model is planned as the basis for the 9-2. I'm waiting to see if the result of this collaboration will result in anything worth buying. > > And for the unthinkable thought, I am also considering a minivan. OH NO! > But I test drove, and I know this isn't a glowing review, but they > really don't drive badly. They handle pretty well! And since so many > moms drive them, market demand has made them pretty crashworthy. But not > a single minivan comes with a manual transmission. They used to, even from Chrysler. But that was years ago when they handled like topheavy boats. And, IIRC, the manual transmissions were only available with the 4 cylinder engines, not the V-6's. I think all the 4 cyl's have been discontinued (at least in the US) even with automatic. > > One reason I need a wagon or minivan is that I have a wife, two kids, > and now I have a large dog, i.e. a greyhound, who is very tall. Just don't say you are thinking about getting an SUV, many of the Brits in this newsgroup will get on your case as if they were the vehicle usage police. > > I test drove the Dodge. I hate this company, but as hard as I tried, I > could not hate this car. The handling and acceleration on this car were > good! So was visibility. Damn. No wonder it sells so well. But does the > horrible resale value mean it breaks down a lot after a few miles? > Normally, low resale value is good for someone like me, since I buy > used, but this looks fishy. Someone once reported that Plymouth minivans had the lowest reliability rating of all the Chrysler minivans and, therefore, lowest resale value. It was pointed out that there was no difference among the Chrysler, Dodge and Plymouth minivans, except the amount of chrome trim and the price. The slightly lower initial price had a minor impact on the resale value, but reliability was a primary factor. The drivetrains offered on all the models were identical, yet Plymouths broke down more than Dodges and Chryslers. Why? It was found that the Plymouth buyers were penny pinching cheapskates that didn't perform maintenance as required. My opinion is that most cars are generally reliable if it is cared for properly (with a notable excption going to an Opel Vectra I drove last year ;-( but I wasn't responsible for its care). > > The Honda minivan is the best. The third seat folds flush into the > floor. Very slick. But they are VERY expensive, even used. I didn't realize you could get the Honda minivan with manual transmission. > > Any insights? > > Overall, I think I'm leaning to the Passat wagon. Sorry to leave the > Saab fold after 13 years. This is my third Saab, and I might be saying > goodbye. From Volkswagen, the Golf would be more to my liking. Probably the GTI, but I would prefer 4 doors (actually 5 doors). Only the lower horsepower engine is offered in the 5 door Golf here. I would probably prefer the Audi A3 over the Golf. There is even a rumor that it might be sold in the US one of these years. Good luck with you selection. Walt

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