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Mother-in-law car

The Right Car for Me | TrueDelta


It is nearing up time to replace my mother-in-law's '99 Millenia S. Overall been a decent car but has a bunch of issues currently that we are not fixing. Big one (shocker I'm sure) is rusted wheel arch. She's had the car since new, it has about 93k miles on it, and generally she likes it but is constantly worried (without any reason) that it is going to leave her stranded (in fully developed suburbs).

Nervous Nellie likes our old Camry (2001 with 155k miles) and her sister bought a Camry last year, plus the Toyota dealer is walking distance from her condo (joined to Caddy and Infiniti dealers) so I likely won't be able to talk her out of a Toyota product. However, I am going to make her test drive multiple cars for seating position, sight lines, and general driving comfort. Biggest requirement - seat heaters (which, of course, I can install aftermarket if necessary).

Suggestions? Camry 2-3 years old is most likely where we will end up; however, new Corolla impressed me when I had one as a rental. Also will try a new 3 and preowned 6 since she has driven the Mazda for nearly 15 years. Maybe a used G25 will come within budget but likely she won't find it comfortable (although it is probably the closest thing to her Millenia S out there). Taking all suggestions! Thanks in advance!

Priorities: Quietness / Driving position & visibility / Materials & workmanship / Reliability & durability / Warranty, maintenance cost

Preferred Bodystyle(s): Sedan

Car Needs: Daily commuter / Errands about town

Primary Driver(s): Senior driver

Need minimum of 5 seats

Will consider both new and used cars
Maximum mileage: 30000
Maximum age: 3 years

Maximum price: US $ 20000

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Response from mkaresh

12:08 am March 31, 2014

For long-term reliability it's hard to beat the Toyotas.

Among domestics you might consider the 2011-2012 Ford Fusion (not the one in the photo). Honda Accords are also nearly always safe bets. And with a Hyundai Sonata or Kia Optima you'd have a 5/60 factory warranty. (You'll see some yellow faces in our stats for the Koreans; these are largely due to one very common failure for which they've now been recalled.) We don't have as much data on the Mazda6, probably because they didn't sell many in 2011 or 2012. The 2009 and 2010 are still looking good, though.

It's hard to narrow down the list without knowing more about what she likes and dislikes in various cars. Maybe take her on a few test drives and report back : )


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Ford Fusion
Honda Accord
Hyundai Sonata

Response from jasonmreece

2:54 am March 31, 2014

What about a CPO 2010-2011 Acura TSX? I found plenty of them on the Cars.com with less than 30k miles and priced under $22k (could be negotiated down to $20-$21k). Acura's CPO program adds 1yr/12k miles to the 4yr/50k New Car Warranty and a 7yr/100k mile Powertrain Warranty (from original in-service date). So the Powertrain Warranty would cover roughly 3-4yrs and 70k+ miles.

In my mind, the Millenia is a fairly large car and the TSX is a small mid-size. But that shows how much has changed since 1999- they're almost identical in every dimension! The TSX is about 4" shorter overall with a 2" shorter wheelbase, but it's 2" taller and 3" wider. The 201hp 2.4L 4-cylinder and 6-speed automatic should be more than your MIL would ever need and she'll definitely see an increase in fuel economy. The TSX is pretty well loaded (heated power leather seats, moonroof, premium 7spkr audio, power everything), they're well-built inside and out (feel very solid and like they'll last a long time) and they're reliable.

I'd at least let MIL take one for a test drive. =)


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Acura TSX

Response from tirthankar_b

9:52 am March 31, 2014

I know it is hard for you. But I agree with your mother in law. The previous generation Camry is a great car for her. Current generation corolla is also very spacious and a good compact substitute. Both are comfortable, easy to drive with easy controls. PLease note, easy controls are very important for senior citizens. I see lot of old folks here driving a Prius too. Why not save on gas and get an used Prius?


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Toyota Camry
Toyota Corolla
Toyota Prius

Response from edg

3:08 pm March 31, 2014

I have an Infiniti G, bought new in '03, so it is now 11 years and 116K miles. Every day I get in it and think "I love this car." She might not like it, or may just like a Camry better -- who knows. I'd put my mom in one without a second thought. If she has work done at the dealer, she will love the experience. When you have work done it can be expensive, but so far I haven't spent a lot on mine because it hasn't been in the shop often.


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Infiniti G
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