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Looking for a replacement to my Volvo

The Right Car for Me | TrueDelta


Looking for a car to replace my 2006 Volvo S60 which was totaled by an inattentive driver who plowed into the car behind me at a stoplight.

I prefer a car with good acceleration and handling but also need room to haul kids and clients. Can't spend more than $16k so looking for a good used car with less than 45k miles and ideally a year or two of original warranty left. I put on about 25k miles per yet so leasing is out.

I'm considering another Volvo. Also thinking Audi, VW and Subaru. I don't prefer cookie--cutter options so haven't even looked at Honda, Toyota or American offerings. Willing to reconsider that if someone can make a strong argument for them. Looking for sedan or hatch only, no SUVs.

Priorities: Price or payments / Handling / Materials & workmanship

Need minimum of 4 seats

Will consider both new and used cars
Maximum mileage: 45000
Maximum age: 4 years

Maximum price: US $ 16000

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Response from Sea-Dan

1:13 am November 10, 2018

Sorry to hear about your car getting totalled, never the preferred way to say so long to a car! Given that you drive 25K/yr I'm guessing you must have had over 200K on it. Was it relatively reliable, how did you like your 2006 Volvo?

Maybe it was a typo, but you're certainly not going to get a new midsize sedan for $16,000.

Volvos don't have the best rep for reliablity, but the 2nd generation S60 isn't too bad - Consumer Reports gives S60s pretty good marks starting in 2013. So if you really liked you 2006 S60, updating to a newer one might be the way to go.

Audi A4 gets better marks except for 2014. The 2.0T has lots of energy, nice materials and workmanship, and it also would use the least amount of gas of any of these. Most are AWD - but if you don't need AWD and you can find a FWD model, they are often relative bargains on the used market.

Subaru Legacy 3.6 is also another excellent car, especially if you live in the snow belt where AWD is a plus. Although CR rates it a little lower than Audi for reliablity, there are lots of late model Subies with high miles on the road. Overall, I think you would find the ownership cost of a Subaru less than the Volvo or Audi.Depending upon your market, you might be able to find a 2015 with Subaru's excellent suite of safety features in you price range. You don't mention safety in your list of gotta haves, but in your price range a 2015 Subaru is going to win in that category.

One car you didn't mention is the Mazda 6. This is an often overlooked, non-cookie cutter that is a fav of many auto journalists includng CR. M6's get good MPG and are quite reliable. They are a little less refined and powerful than the others, but have a unique fun to drive factor -- think zoom zoom. Here in the Seattle area, 2015 & 2016 models are available in your price range. This may be the best bang for your buck both in terms of intial cost and overall ownership cost.

Based on your description, I think the A4 FWD would be your best bet followed by the Mazda 6, Subaru, and last but not least, the Volvo. Best recommendation is to give them all a good look to see what seems best for your family, clients, and you!

As alway we'd love to hear what you choose and why.


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Audi A4 / S4 / RS4
Mazda Mazda6
Subaru Legacy

Response from LectroFuel

6:12 pm November 10, 2018

Dan had great suggestions like always. I wouldn't buy a luxury car in your situation if you want a reliable car. Also, Subarus don't really have much steering feel and are not the quickest in the segment, even with the 3.6 H6 compared to V6 competitors. Unless you go with a manual, all of them are CVT, which isn't that enjoyable. If you live in a place that snows, they will be more desirable and expensive. I think the only reason I would get one is for the standard AWD, or if I needed a wagon, the Outback.

A WRX might be a good choice though it might not look good with your clients. Pretty fun and isn't a cookie cutter car. They are not the most reliable. If you get one used, make sure it has not been modded or abused.

The Mazda would be the best if you care about reliability. The only problem is that it doesn't have mcuh power. The engine at least sounds kind of good. Steering feels is very good and is available with a manual.

I really like V6 Accords. They are common cars because they are just very nice to drive. V6 Accords have the extra expense of a timing belt replacement every 100k miles, but the engine is very smooth and powerful.

The Audi, BMW, Mercedes, and Volvos will likely be a pain in the butt to maintain. They usually break down almost as often as an unreliable economy car such as a Chrysler 200, but they are much more expensive to fix due to their complexity. It is especially a bad idea since you drive 25k miles a year.

Then there is the GTI or Golf, which are very refined and fun. Not that reliable and kind of expensive to fix though. The backseat is pretty cramped.

The Mazda6 or Accord V6 are the best options. The Mazda has better handling and steering feel, though the Accord isn't bad either. The Accord brings the power while the Mazda is kind of slow. The Mazda6s up until 2018 have had a lot of road noise. The Accord has been pretty quiet since 2013. The Mazda depreciates a lot more so they will be cheaper.

Mazda had an available V6 on their 2009-2013 models. 3.7L Engine was made by Ford and was pretty reliable.


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Mazda Mazda6
Honda Accord
Volkswagen Golf / Rabbit / GTI

Response from Sea-Dan

10:26 pm November 10, 2018

I left Honda off my list since you specifically indicated that your were not interested in them. However, since Lectrofuel took your challenge to make a good case for it, I'll jump in to say that I agree with him. If are willing to give Honda a chance, I agree that the V6 Accord would be the model that most closely matchs your desires & should be great in the short run and best in the long run. I urge you to give it a chance, you may be pleasantly surprized.


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