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If you were buying a car...

post #1 of 93
Thread Starter 
Would you rather buy:

Car A, which meets your objective criteria excellently and your subjective criteria decently, or

Car B, which meets your objective criteria decently and your subjective criteria excellently.

I'm using "objective criteria" as a shorthand for performance, passenger and trunk space, reliability, fuel economy, and list of features and amenities. I'm using "subjective criteria" as a shorthand for interior design, exterior design, the sound of the car, the feel of the car, and most nebulous, the "character" of the car.
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post #2 of 93
It depends on how much disposable income you have.

In general; Car A.
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post #3 of 93
If I were leasing, probably B. If buying, definitely A, because a lot of the "mystique" of a new car gets eroded by simple wear and tear.

When enough miles have made gazing lovingly at your hot new ride no longer quite the thrill it once was, you will still have your objective criteria to keep you glad you got it.
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post #4 of 93
I wouldn't buy the volkswagon. I think you'll end up just getting annoyed with it and wish you'd gotten car A. The new Civics, for example, aren't exactly boring.
post #5 of 93
You forgot Car C, the one the wife wants.
post #6 of 93
check consumer reports on the model, it will help confirm/ question your objective data, then remeasure against your subjective data. since you will have to live with it a while the duration of your ownership can shift the equation. what cars are A and B
i've owned, driven them all
closest to perfection--lexus ls430
cool factor--mustang/ bmw convertible
surprised-luxury---bmw 525 5sp--sweet
most amazed by its overall performance--94 civc ex coupe with 5 sp.#2 new beetle turbo... WOW, very close to my bmw experience--handled well-can't beat that honda shifter and got 44mpg hwy with a/c--the beetle saved my wife from a terrible accident--i guess it's the egg shape.
my 2 cents
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post #7 of 93
When I was younger B. After having kids....A. Never had the mid-life crisis so it has stayed A. My wife on the other hand has always been B.

reg
post #8 of 93
Both. But if you can only get one, get A.

I have a Honda Odyssey (car A) and a '74 Alfa Romeo Spider (car B). If I only had the Alfa, my life would be hell - If I only had the Honda, my life would be dull but not hell.
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post #9 of 93
Damn it Jim. . .

Why don't you just tell us which two cars you're looking at, and we can provide input.
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post #10 of 93
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally posted by Splinemodel
Damn it Jim. . .

Why don't you just tell us which two cars you're looking at, and we can provide input.

Okay, okay. Car A is the Acura TSX; Car B is the Volvo S40. I really like the looks, interior design, and character of the Volvo, but its reliability has been hit-or-miss. The Acura is more clinical--it feels like a machine, not a living thing--but it's got fantastic handling, an enormous amount of features for the price, and I've owned three Hondas before and always been impressed by their reliability.

I've test-driven both and also several competitors. These are the two finalists.
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post #11 of 93
Quote:
Originally posted by Mitlov
Okay, okay. Car A is the Acura TSX; Car B is the Volvo S40. I really like the looks, interior design, and character of the Volvo, but its reliability has been hit-or-miss. The Acura is more clinical--it feels like a machine, not a living thing--but it's got fantastic handling, an enormous amount of features for the price, and I've owned three Hondas before and always been impressed by their reliability.

I've test-driven both and also several competitors. These are the two finalists.

You might look more closely at what exactly comprises the Volvo's reliability problems.

There are endemic manufacturing shortcomings, and then there are specific instances of faulty parts that can skew the ratings.

Fro instance, as I've mentioned around here before, I bought a Jetta wagon in the teeth of a lot of bad press for VW, knowing as I did that the problems with the Jetta all centered on 3 specific areas, that those problems derived from a bad design and a bad batch of parts in the supply chain, and that the model year I was buying addressed those issues.

So, 40K later and not a whisper of trouble, plus tons 'o turbo fun.

Actually, for me, the Jetta was a objective/subjective decision, since it gave me the utilitarian form factor I needed (without a lot of adolescent histrionics ala some of the current spate of "crossover" things) with a fare amount of driving dynamics.
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post #12 of 93
I view both as pretty equal. What would sway me would be options vs standard equipment and repair / service facilities near me. Neither body style jumps out at me saying it is better than the other. So if you can get leather, sound and navigation cheaper on one, get that one.

reg
post #13 of 93
Quote:
Originally posted by Mitlov
Okay, okay. Car A is the Acura TSX; Car B is the Volvo S40. I really like the looks, interior design, and character of the Volvo, but its reliability has been hit-or-miss. The Acura is more clinical--it feels like a machine, not a living thing--but it's got fantastic handling, an enormous amount of features for the price, and I've owned three Hondas before and always been impressed by their reliability.

I've test-driven both and also several competitors. These are the two finalists.

Get the V50 T-5 AWD manual, it is just like the S40 but more useful.

The torque steer from the Acura will really start to bother you after a while.
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post #14 of 93
FYI: The S40 Turbo AWD (or maybe it's S50), if i remember correctly, is the same platform that a Mazda3 rally car is going to be built on.
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post #15 of 93
The S40 T-5 is an awesome car, and Volvo reliability (except for the Ford transition years of 1998-2002) is really good.

My 1995 Volvo 850 and my 2004 Volvo V70R are both very reliable. I felt kind of sick when I drove the S40, since the suspension was so much better than my much more expensive V70R.
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post #16 of 93
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally posted by e1618978
The S40 T-5 is an awesome car, and Volvo reliability (except for the Ford transition years of 1998-2002) is really good.

My 1995 Volvo 850 and my 2004 Volvo V70R are both very reliable. I felt kind of sick when I drove the S40, since the suspension was so much better than my much more expensive V70R.

That's good to know, though according to both JD Power and Consumer Reports, Volvos have more problems than Acura. They're not bad, mind you. They're right in the middle of the reliability pack. But Acuras are some of the most reliable cars out there. By the way, I'm considering the FWD, not the AWD, S40, so the torque steer issue is a wash. Both have 'em.
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post #17 of 93
Honda/ Acura has about 1/1000 of the torque that Volvos have... even AWD Volvos.
post #18 of 93
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally posted by skatman
Honda/ Acura has about 1/1000 of the torque that Volvos have... even AWD Volvos.

Not necessarily true.

I am considering both the Volvo S40 2.4i (cheaper than the TSX) and the Volvo S40 T5 (more expensive than the TSX).

The TSX and the 2.4i make equal torque (though the TSX makes 35 more horsepower). The T5 makes a lot more torque (230 versus 170 ft-lbs), though barely more horsepower than the TSX.
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post #19 of 93
Quote:
Originally posted by Splinemodel
FYI: The S40 Turbo AWD (or maybe it's S50), if i remember correctly, is the same platform that a Mazda3 rally car is going to be built on.

my wife has that car in red. awesome performer. get 38-42mpg at 65 it's a bit small but for her she can fit the kids. the interior could use more cubbyholes and a wider glove box but this thing scoots--performs better than her a6 tons of torgue the only one to get in my opinion.... the interior and dash are clean and easy to read without being spartan and big $$$$ bmw. she also gets free pickup with loaner (dealer is 65 miles away) so for any service they pick it up and leave a loaner it's a looker and gets tons of compliments. it replaced an a6 quartro which she loved. the a4 didn't have as stylish an interior and she wanted something different. she has the only red one in our town it handles just like the 3 series. and safty to the max i think you can get an interface for the ipod. get the t5 awd. they wanted 1k for the parking senso i put on a license plate type myself works great for $150
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post #20 of 93
Quote:
Originally posted by progmac
I wouldn't buy the volkswagon. I think you'll end up just getting annoyed with it and wish you'd gotten car A. The new Civics, for example, aren't exactly boring.

The Civic's interior looks like it was designed by a cross-eyed Mandrill.
post #21 of 93
Volvo's are nice cars.
If I could afford it, though, I would buy a Caddy CTS.

My mom is looking for a car, it's a toss between a Chevy Impala or a Buick LaCrosse. Leaning towards the Chevy.
post #22 of 93
One other thing:

Don't EVER base your car buying decision on Consumer Reports. A bigger rag can't be found. They are absolutely clueless about cars and electronics.
Perhaps they can handle home appliances but thats about it.
post #23 of 93
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally posted by steve666
One other thing:

Don't EVER base your car buying decision on Consumer Reports. A bigger rag can't be found. They are absolutely clueless about cars and electronics.
Perhaps they can handle home appliances but thats about it.

In this case, I have three other sources that confirm that Volvo is in the middle of the pack reliability-wise, while Acura is on top of the pack.
(1) JD Power
(2) Lots of observing of Volvo owner's forums and lots of observing of Acura owner's forums.
(3) Discussions with lots of people who have owned Volvos, and lots of people who have owned Hondas/Acuras.

Sure, there are some Honda/Acura lemons out there. And there are some Volvos that run forever and a day with only scheduled maintenance. But I've run into a LOT more Volvo owners than Honda/Acura owners who have mentioned problems with their electronics or their power equipment sometime during the vehicle's life.

As for reviews of other things besides reliability (ie handling, ride quality, interior quality, et cetera)--Consumer Reports is terrible. I agree 100% there. My assessment of these cars is based on my first-hand experiences test-driving them, though I've also been known to read Motor Trend, Car & Driver, and Road & Track.
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post #24 of 93
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally posted by steve666
The Civic's interior looks like it was designed by a cross-eyed Mandrill.

I've test-driven one. The interior is dang ugly, and the exterior isn't much better. And except for the wheel, which was nice-feeling for a plastic wheel, the interior felt really, really cheap.
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post #25 of 93
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally posted by NOFEER
get 38-42mpg at 65

That's 50% better than the EPA rating for the T5 AWD, which is 20mpg city, 27 highway. Very impressive.

Quote:
it's a bit small but for her she can fit the kids. the interior could use more cubbyholes and a wider glove box but this thing scoots

Yeah, the lack of room on the interior is one real disadvantage of the Volvo to the TSX. I want a car that's small on the exterior (to fit into parking spaces), but I'm worried that the S40 might be a bit too small on the interior as well. EDIT: I checked their EPA interior volumes, and they're practically idential for every dimension. The Acura just looks bigger, and has bigger center console and door pockets. And the Acura is 7 inches longer, with no corresponding increase in interior or trunk space.

Quote:
it handles just like the 3 series.

Now that's got to be a bit of exaggeration, the 3-series is universally regarded by the automotive press as the best-handling sport sedan out there. And it's RWD.

Quote:
i think you can get an interface for the ipod.

Actually, you can't. Not yet at least. But I don't own an iPod, so that's okay.

Quote:
get the t5 awd.

If I get the S40, I'm not going to get the AWD. I don't need AWD here in Oregon, and the T5 FWD gets 10-20% better fuel mileage. And I might get the 2.4i. It's slower, but it's a lot cheaper, and it handles exactly the same as the T5. They downgraded the engine but not the chassis or the suspension. And I'm more into handling than straight-line performance.

Such a hard decision...I like both cars a lot.
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post #26 of 93
Quote:
Originally posted by steve666
One other thing:

Don't EVER base your car buying decision on Consumer Reports. A bigger rag can't be found. They are absolutely clueless about cars and electronics.
Perhaps they can handle home appliances but thats about it.

I think Consumer Reports has the largest privately-owned car testing facility in the states. Their reliability reports are based on people reporting all problems they have had with particular cars to the organization. other than that, they are the only major tester who doesn't allow cars to use their ratings as a basis for advertising, so they are clearly not biased.

Just because Consumer Reports gives your car bad reliability/whatever ratings, however, doesn't mean that you're not allowed to still like your car.

Complaints against them always just seem like sour apples to me.
post #27 of 93
Quote:
Originally posted by Mitlov
Now that's got to be a bit of exaggeration, the 3-series is universally regarded by the automotive press as the best-handling sport sedan out there. And it's RWD.

I have driven both, and preferred the S40. The manual transmission in the Volvo is worlds better than the BMW manual transmission, and the suspension and steering are about equal.

My wife prefers the S60 AWD over both the BMW 3 series and the S40, while I think that the S60 is way too soft. I don't think that the "common wisdom" that BMW is best is very useful, because people like such different things that everyone will pick a different favorite.

One thing to also keep in mind is how close and nice the various dealerships are. The BMW/mini/porsche/subaru and Mazda dealerships near my house are so slimy that I refuse to buy anthing or get service there. My local Honda and Volvo dealerships are great, and the Nissan dealership is OK but not great. How good your dealership experience is will have a big impact on your total car experience.
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post #28 of 93
Quote:
Originally posted by progmac
Complaints against them always just seem like sour apples to me.

If you are an expert in a particular area, look at their reports from that area and you will see why people dislike them.

I look at their stereo ratings, and see ratings written by fools.
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post #29 of 93
A car is just a tool. Buy a 5-7 year-old car that does what you need it to do; hauling, milage, etc. (goto kbb.com and check out what you're buying first)

Unless the car is a hobby, anything else is hubris of the worst kind.

In our desire to impose form on the world we have lost the capacity to see the form that is there;
and in that lies not liberation but alienation, the cutting off from things as they really are. --...

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In our desire to impose form on the world we have lost the capacity to see the form that is there;
and in that lies not liberation but alienation, the cutting off from things as they really are. --...

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post #30 of 93
Quote:
Originally posted by dmz
A car is just a tool. Buy a 5-7 year-old car that does what you need it to do; hauling, milage, etc. (goto kbb.com and check out what you're buying first)

Unless the car is a hobby, anything else is hubris of the worst kind.

I think that just means you're not into cars. I demand that you provide a list of all your other possessions, plus a description of your place of residence, so I can scour it for hubris by other means.
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post #31 of 93
Quote:
Originally posted by NOFEER
get 38-42mpg at 65


Quote:
Originally posted by Mitlov
That's 50% better than the EPA rating for the T5 AWD, which is 20mpg city, 27 highway. Very impressive.

That would make it the best performing gas engine car in America, coming in with numbers just under hybrids and diesels. I'm sure it's a very fine ride, but that MPG seems a little unlikely.
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post #32 of 93
Quote:
Originally posted by addabox
That would make it the best performing gas engine car in America, coming in with numbers just under hybrids and diesels. I'm sure it's a very fine ride, but that MPG seems a little unlikely.

He has a computer that shows him his current instantanious mpg. The average EPA results can be improved dramatically if you watch what happens to that number in various gears. My 17 mpg car has shown instantanious results as low as 2 mpg and as high as 45 mpg depending on what I am doing.

Also, milage is much lower at low speed:

http://www.fueleconomy.gov/feg/driveHabits.shtml

the highway milage number may not factor in the most efficient gear.
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post #33 of 93
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally posted by dmz
Unless the car is a hobby, anything else is hubris of the worst kind.

Actually, cars ARE a hobby of mine. I really really like driving at a spirited pace down a twisty road. I rode sportbikes since I was 16, but a knee injury makes riding them for more than an hour rather painful nowadays. I'm looking for a compact sport sedan with very good handling and a fun powerband, but which also fulfills my practical needs (safe, fuel efficient, decent room for two people and a big dog, or four people, et cetera). Of all the cars I've looked at, these two fit the bill the best for me.
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post #34 of 93
Quote:
Originally posted by dmz
Unless the car is a hobby, anything else is hubris of the worst kind.

This just shows me how little we relate on the subject of cars.

The sin here is hedonism and idol worship, not hubris, and I revel in it.

BTW - do you live in a tin shack with rags for clothes? You might want to check your own hubris meter...
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post #35 of 93
Thread Starter 
I don't think that "hubris" is even the right word. It means excessive pride, not vanity or materialism.
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post #36 of 93
Quote:
Originally posted by addabox
I think that just means you're not into cars. I demand that you provide a list of all your other possessions, plus a description of your place of residence, so I can scour it for hubris by other means.

Don't get me wrong, cars as art is one thing, but this business of 'look at me, I drive an _________. ¡Es Horrible!

In our desire to impose form on the world we have lost the capacity to see the form that is there;
and in that lies not liberation but alienation, the cutting off from things as they really are. --...

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In our desire to impose form on the world we have lost the capacity to see the form that is there;
and in that lies not liberation but alienation, the cutting off from things as they really are. --...

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post #37 of 93
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally posted by dmz
Don't get me wrong, cars as art is one thing, but this business of 'look at me, I drive an _________. ¡Es Horrible!

How the heck did you get THERE from my posts?! I never once mentioned caring what other people think of the car I drive. Because I don't. I was comparing ergonomics, amenities, performance, reliability, my own personal taste in aesthetics, et cetera. Never once did I mention prestige value.

Neither of these cars are really prestigious anyway. Do you ever hear people saying "hey, look at so-and-so, he drives a VOLVO, he must really be rich?" Hell no. Same with Acura. These companies aren't exactly Mercedes-Benz or Bentley.
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post #38 of 93
Quote:
Originally posted by Mitlov
How the heck did you get THERE from my posts?! I never once mentioned caring what other people think of the car I drive. Because I don't. I was comparing ergonomics, amenities, performance, reliability, my own personal taste in aesthetics, et cetera. Never once did I mention prestige value.

Neither of these cars are really prestigious anyway. Do you ever hear people saying "hey, look at so-and-so, he drives a VOLVO, he must really be rich?" Hell no. Same with Acura. These companies aren't exactly Mercedes-Benz or Bentley.

You don't think maybe you're being just a teensy-weensy bit touchy?

(It was just advice, I'm not trying to divine your motives. Although, when you find yourself going into debt for wants and not needs, you should be honest as to why.)

In our desire to impose form on the world we have lost the capacity to see the form that is there;
and in that lies not liberation but alienation, the cutting off from things as they really are. --...

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In our desire to impose form on the world we have lost the capacity to see the form that is there;
and in that lies not liberation but alienation, the cutting off from things as they really are. --...

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post #39 of 93
Quote:
Originally posted by Mitlov
That's 50% better than the EPA rating for the T5 AWD, which is 20mpg city, 27 highway. Very impressive.


Yeah, the lack of room on the interior is one real disadvantage of the Volvo to the TSX. I want a car that's small on the exterior (to fit into parking spaces), but I'm worried that the S40 might be a bit too small on the interior as well. EDIT: I checked their EPA interior volumes, and they're practically idential for every dimension. The Acura just looks bigger, and has bigger center console and door pockets. And the Acura is 7 inches longer, with no corresponding increase in interior or trunk space.


Now that's got to be a bit of exaggeration, the 3-series is universally regarded by the automotive press as the best-handling sport sedan out there. And it's RWD.


Actually, you can't. Not yet at least. But I don't own an iPod, so that's okay.


If I get the S40, I'm not going to get the AWD. I don't need AWD here in Oregon, and the T5 FWD gets 10-20% better fuel mileage. And I might get the 2.4i. It's slower, but it's a lot cheaper, and it handles exactly the same as the T5. They downgraded the engine but not the chassis or the suspension. And I'm more into handling than straight-line performance.

Such a hard decision...I like both cars a lot.

our dicision tree required awd--so the tsx, tl, etc were out so was the bmw (my wife drove both and said the volvo was better) also when we were looking the bmw 3 awd old design was smaller in the rear seat than the volvo and she didn't want to wait--she preferred the volvo interior--i would have gotten what ever she wanted (marriage rule 2) it was a toss between the a4 and t5 the bmw dropped out due to small rear seat. she loved her a6 and thought nothing would replace it--now she just adores this volvo zip problems for 6 months this is a really underappreciated vehicle. i am a car guy and i am impressed every time she "lets" me drive it. the t5 with fwd may have torque steer problems drive it to be sure.i would like to drive the redisigned bmw awd against this t5 awd. other cars to consider hmmmmmm i'd have to think about it. what are the absolute criteria that must be met??? as far as the mpg--no kidding with cruise this thing makes gas--i was shocked some cars do better than the epa most worse. the epa thing is a computer model for a lab. the cars that do the worst in real life mpg are THE HYBRIDS.

guess what this car guy drive???? i'll give you a hint--it has a spoiler--buat holds my two car seats (4 and 2yrs) very well---give up---toyota ....gulp....sienna minivan---i know i know but it's sweet for my family i'd like a wrxi 5sp but that has to wait 3 yrs.
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post #40 of 93
Quote:
Originally posted by Mitlov
Would you rather buy:

Car A, which meets your objective criteria excellently and your subjective criteria decently, or

Car B, which meets your objective criteria decently and your subjective criteria excellently.

I'm using "objective criteria" as a shorthand for performance, passenger and trunk space, reliability, fuel economy, and list of features and amenities. I'm using "subjective criteria" as a shorthand for interior design, exterior design, the sound of the car, the feel of the car, and most nebulous, the "character" of the car.

Later added:
Quote:
Okay, okay. Car A is the Acura TSX; Car B is the Volvo S40. I really like the looks, interior design, and character of the Volvo, but its reliability has been hit-or-miss. The Acura is more clinical--it feels like a machine, not a living thing--but it's got fantastic handling, an enormous amount of features for the price, and I've owned three Hondas before and always been impressed by their reliability.

And:
Quote:
I'm looking for a compact sport sedan with very good handling and a fun powerband, but which also fulfills my practical needs (safe, fuel efficient, decent room for two people and a big dog, or four people, et cetera). Of all the cars I've looked at, these two fit the bill the best for me.

According solely to the information you gave here about your own evaluation of these two cars (I know little about either model) as well as about your own preferences, the Volvo.
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