Author Topic: Need help deciding on a new, used car  (Read 2499 times)

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Offline coop3422

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Need help deciding on a new, used car
« on: April 15, 2019, 12:00:23 PM »
I was considering selling both my cars to get back to 1 vehicle and upgrade. My new job requires said car to be 7 years old or newer to get the vehicle allowance, so now I have to get something.

I'm looking at 2013 or newer, at least 4 doors, awd, fun to drive with some power, nice interior, etc. I'm looking in the $20-30k range, I could stretch to $35 for the right car but would rather not. A lot of what I'm looking at are from the luxury brands, though I'm willing to not go that route should it fit what I'm looking for. In an ideal world it would be a wagon, but we're on the wrong continent for that. Here's what I'm looking at:

13+ Audi S4 - Haven't driven one, but is at the top of my list after driving an SQ5
SQ5 - Test drove one and it was impressive for being an SUV, the wife liked it as well. This will be at the top of the budget.
MB C400 - Test drove one and it wasn't bad. I think I might be too worried about potential repairs, but admittedly I don't know a lot about MB.
15+ Lexus IS350 F Sport - I need to drive one, I've done a lot of reading and am torn. I like the design, but the V6 from 2006 I expect will find meh compared to all the FI cars I'm looking at. It has cooled seats though, which is a massive plus for me. I also won't have to worry about reliability.
Volvo S/V60 - The brand new ones look fantastic, but the 2015 ish ones I'd be looking at are kinda meh. And the interior is really dated.
GLA/CLA45 - I test drove the former, but didn't really get into it as the wife was with me. I'm sure it would be a blast to drive, but the interior was only ok and the one we drove didn't have keyless ignition which is I'd like. Also the seats had alcantara inserts which isn't ideal as there will sometimes be a baby in the back.
16+ Infiniti Q50 3.0 - The interior looks strange with the dual screens. But based on how I like my current Infiniti, I should at least drive one of these. This was the first year of the new I6 turbo. A Red Sport would be awesome if I find a good deal.
14+ BMW X3 - Test drove one last year and liked it in 35i trim. I sat in a 435i over the weekend and thought the interior was awful compared to the MB and Audi, so the X3 is probably the only Bimmer.
17+ Audi A4 - Top of my budget but new, updated, and have read the engine is pretty solid for it's segment.
15+ ATS 2.0 awd - These can be had for very good prices. Not too worried about the cramped  back seat, although small trunk with a stroller could be annoying. Also wary of domestic reliability.
15+ Golf R - Top of the budget, not a marque brand, but will probably hold decent value. Test drove a DSG on a really cold day and the awd system felt lacking.

15+ WRX - Tough call, these are nearly the same price as all the luxury vehicles listed above. I liked the one I drove, but that was 5 years ago.

In a few years, there will be A LOT of awesome cars coming off lease I'll be interested in. Stinger/Genesis 3.3, new Volvo V60 R, C400 estates, etc. So realistically I'll have the car 2-4 years.

I'd like to sell one of my cars before buying, but that could happen at any time. I'd like to buy within the next month if possible. I'm curious of your thoughts, if you've driven any of these, are there other options I should be looking at, comparisons, etc?

Thanks everyone, sorry for the long post.

Offline Ambystom01

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Re: Need help deciding on a new, used car
« Reply #1 on: April 15, 2019, 03:46:18 PM »
Golf GTI. I know you said AWD is a must, but it's 90% of the Golf R at 75% of the price. Since you're already planning on changing this car out, I'd go for the GTI to save some money but still get a damn good car.
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Re: Need help deciding on a new, used car
« Reply #2 on: April 15, 2019, 04:04:26 PM »
Just get a one-speed bicycle you hippie.
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Offline coop3422

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Re: Need help deciding on a new, used car
« Reply #3 on: April 15, 2019, 07:50:41 PM »
Golf GTI. I know you said AWD is a must, but it's 90% of the Golf R at 75% of the price. Since you're already planning on changing this car out, I'd go for the GTI to save some money but still get a damn good car.
Looks like there's about a $5-7k difference or so depending on the deal you find. 15-17 GTI's seem to be in the mid to high twenties while the R is low to mid thirties. I think that's a spot where I'd see value in spending a bit more for AWD and a (slightly) upgraded engine. I don't know much about the two, but I'd assume it's the same block with some minor changes and a tune.

I heard someone mention a new R is coming, but haven't looked into it.

The Lexus has caught my attention as a value proposition. Can get a loaded 15 for mid twenties with low km. I need to drive one though as I anticipate the NA V6 will leave me wanting more.

Offline SirBoostalot

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Re: Need help deciding on a new, used car
« Reply #4 on: April 15, 2019, 08:30:50 PM »
When I was shopping for my latest car I had similar requirements and budget... AWD, fun, practical. But my list was a lot shorter because I was looking for a manual transmission, and I was buying with the intention of long term ownership.

In the end I got an '18 WRX because it can be had brand new with warranty for $30k ish, and its resale value is the best of almost any car out there. At the $25-30k price point, any 335, S4, Golf R, or even used WRX was going to be a few years old with some miles on it, and little to no remaining warranty.

I wouldn't recommend a WRX for you because it's a completely different class of car, and you're looking for luxury it will be a terrible disappointment. I have limited experience with most of the cars you listed, but I'd vote S4. Having spent some time in an S5, it was comfortable, classy, easy to live with and an absolute rocket ship when you want it to be.

Offline jrho

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Re: Need help deciding on a new, used car
« Reply #5 on: April 16, 2019, 07:23:34 AM »
Would you lose your vehicle allowance if the bought vehicle becomes older than 7 years in the future?

Out of your list, I would lean either towards the newer A4. The newest generation A4s are pretty slick and they drive pretty well too despite having the 2.0L. Pretty solid fuel economy within the city too. Manual or auto S4s are pretty nice cars to drive but if you don't need the extra performance I don't really think it's worth the extra running costs. WRX although while not a luxury car, would probably be the most fun to drive and have the perks of a newer car.

Offline A.J.

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Re: Need help deciding on a new, used car
« Reply #6 on: April 16, 2019, 07:46:51 AM »
Have you considered a MINI? The hatchback comes in 3 and 5 door variants, or Clubman and of you need more space than that there's the Countryman. Clubman and Countryman both have available AWD and as long as you get an S or John Cooper Works there's plenty of performance. Since they are made by BMW, they have all of the luxury and tech you'd expect from higher brands, and they are a blast to drive. Even without AWD my wife's Cooper S is unstoppable in winter (with proper winter tires of course). As far as price goes, you should be able to find something that fits your budget, just don't buy new, the initial depreciation is pretty steep.
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Offline Rad_Racer

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Re: Need help deciding on a new, used car
« Reply #7 on: April 16, 2019, 10:39:02 AM »
13-14 ISF ;)

For the CLA/GLA, I will say that my wife's CLA (granted it's just a 250) has a fairly cheap interior. I had it in for service yesterday and they gave me a GLC as a loaner and it felt much higher quality and didn't have the creaks/rattles that a CLA has. I imagine the C400 would be similar to the GLC in terms of interior quality. Servicing a Benz ain't cheap, though.

I would probably say the A4 or Golf R. Can you get the newer A4 with a manual? That would make a big difference.

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Re: Need help deciding on a new, used car
« Reply #8 on: April 16, 2019, 10:48:51 AM »
2018 Golf Alltrack.

Manual (or DSG). AWD. 1.8L Turbo. Station wagon.

Or the Golf Sportswagon if you want to save a little cash.
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Offline SlowLGT

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Re: Need help deciding on a new, used car
« Reply #9 on: April 16, 2019, 12:50:10 PM »
2018 Golf Alltrack.

Manual (or DSG). AWD. 1.8L Turbo. Station wagon.

Or the Golf Sportswagon if you want to save a little cash.

+1 to this. I have a 2019 Tiguan rental this week, I like it a lot. The Golf will only be more fun to drive.

Offline coop3422

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Re: Need help deciding on a new, used car
« Reply #10 on: April 16, 2019, 01:22:47 PM »
When I was shopping for my latest car I had similar requirements and budget... AWD, fun, practical. But my list was a lot shorter because I was looking for a manual transmission, and I was buying with the intention of long term ownership.

In the end I got an '18 WRX because it can be had brand new with warranty for $30k ish, and its resale value is the best of almost any car out there. At the $25-30k price point, any 335, S4, Golf R, or even used WRX was going to be a few years old with some miles on it, and little to no remaining warranty.

I wouldn't recommend a WRX for you because it's a completely different class of car, and you're looking for luxury it will be a terrible disappointment. I have limited experience with most of the cars you listed, but I'd vote S4. Having spent some time in an S5, it was comfortable, classy, easy to live with and an absolute rocket ship when you want it to be.

The reason I was shying away from a WRX is partly because of how they hold their value.  I wouldn't want a base model, so with options, tax, fees, etc I'd be closer to $40k new out the door. Looking at a few years old, say a 15 or 16, prices are mid to high twenties, which is a very agressive used car price point. If I was planning to keep long term, I'd consider it more. But with knowing a new WRX isn't too far away, and my belief of never buying new, I just can't justify it. That said if they bring back the hatch, then I may break that rule and buy my first brand new car. Would work out well timeline wise if I keep this next car a few years.

Would you lose your vehicle allowance if the bought vehicle becomes older than 7 years in the future?

Out of your list, I would lean either towards the newer A4. The newest generation A4s are pretty slick and they drive pretty well too despite having the 2.0L. Pretty solid fuel economy within the city too. Manual or auto S4s are pretty nice cars to drive but if you don't need the extra performance I don't really think it's worth the extra running costs. WRX although while not a luxury car, would probably be the most fun to drive and have the perks of a newer car.
Sounds like each year, we need to submit our car info, so I'll always have to be in something 7 years or newer. That's why I'd like to get at least a 2014, that'll give me through the end of 2021 and hopefully then I know what the new WRX is, plus there will be a lot of awesome cars that are new this year coming off lease. Volvo V60 wagon refresh looks awesome, Genesis G70, some MB wagons, etc.

I think I'll test drive a newer A4 before pulling the trigger. It's been well reviewed, and the engine seems to be more than adequate. I think I saw they could be optioned with cooled seats, but I'm not 100%.I don't believe you can get them with a stick anymore though, seems to be the case with almost everything out there.

Have you considered a MINI? The hatchback comes in 3 and 5 door variants, or Clubman and of you need more space than that there's the Countryman. Clubman and Countryman both have available AWD and as long as you get an S or John Cooper Works there's plenty of performance. Since they are made by BMW, they have all of the luxury and tech you'd expect from higher brands, and they are a blast to drive. Even without AWD my wife's Cooper S is unstoppable in winter (with proper winter tires of course). As far as price goes, you should be able to find something that fits your budget, just don't buy new, the initial depreciation is pretty steep.
I've always been under the understanding that Mini's aren't very reliable, or at least worse than some of the options I'm considering. That said I don't know that for sure as I've never really researched them since they don't really do it for me. I hear you on depreciation. I priced out the entry sport sedan from each Japanese luxury brand yesterday out of curiosity. They all ring in around $60k once optioned. 3-4 years later they're selling for half, give or take. There's a reason I don't beleive in buying new lol.

13-14 ISF ;)

For the CLA/GLA, I will say that my wife's CLA (granted it's just a 250) has a fairly cheap interior. I had it in for service yesterday and they gave me a GLC as a loaner and it felt much higher quality and didn't have the creaks/rattles that a CLA has. I imagine the C400 would be similar to the GLC in terms of interior quality. Servicing a Benz ain't cheap, though.

I would probably say the A4 or Golf R. Can you get the newer A4 with a manual? That would make a big difference.

LOL, ISF is way out of budget I'm sure. I like the idea of the IS 350 F Sport, just wish the engine was updated, instead of the same mill from 06. If they were factory supercharged, I think they'd be a no brainer. As for the GLA I drove, it was alright but as you mentioned, the interior made it very obvious it's built on the entry model. The C400 felt night and day better in that regard. I really liked the C400, but as you mention, cost of service is a concern.

2018 Golf Alltrack.

Manual (or DSG). AWD. 1.8L Turbo. Station wagon.

Or the Golf Sportswagon if you want to save a little cash.

I'll have to check out the Alltrack. I heard good things about the Sportswagon as well, I just get the feeling I might always wish I had just gotten the R. Didn't you have an ATS at one point? What were your thoughts on it?

Also FTR, what ever I buy will be with cash. I'll own it outright and just be pocketing the vehicle allowance. So I can afford to service, it's just a matter of not wanting a money pit. I've done a lot more research on the S4 as that was at the top of my list for months. The drivetrains are pretty solid, DSG can be a bit more to maintain though.

Thanks for everyone's input so far!

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Re: Need help deciding on a new, used car
« Reply #11 on: April 16, 2019, 03:37:19 PM »
and my belief of never buying new, I just can't justify it. That said if they bring back the hatch, then I may break that rule and buy my first brand new car.

Why? Also, what makes the hatch so worthwhile that you'd break your own rule, yet only a couple of the other cars you're considering are hatchbacks/ wagons?


You're pretty hyped on having a manual, but almost all the cars you listed, bar a few, are only available with automatics. Do you want a manual or not? Do you care?


Seems like you've already decided on an S4, but you're waiting for someone to tell you why it's a bad idea. That, or someone to convince you of why a new(or new-ish) WRX is a good idea.
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Offline Rad_Racer

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Re: Need help deciding on a new, used car
« Reply #12 on: April 16, 2019, 04:05:23 PM »
LOL, ISF is way out of budget I'm sure.

You'd be surprised. The real challenge is finding the 13/14. I think there were only 30 sold in Canada in 2013 and 18 in 2014, so they're hard to find at all. Oh and also they don't really meet your AWD requirement haha.

By all means test drive an F-sport, but I think you'll find them a little soft and lacking top-end. They're pretty much for baby boomers.

Oh and I forgot to mention, I rented a Q50 in Vegas last year. Hated it. Absolutely no steering feel at ALL. Power delivery seemed a bit unpredictable. Too many electronic nannies. Quick though.

Offline coop3422

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Re: Need help deciding on a new, used car
« Reply #13 on: April 16, 2019, 11:15:13 PM »
Why? Also, what makes the hatch so worthwhile that you'd break your own rule, yet only a couple of the other cars you're considering are hatchbacks/ wagons?


You're pretty hyped on having a manual, but almost all the cars you listed, bar a few, are only available with automatics. Do you want a manual or not? Do you care?


Seems like you've already decided on an S4, but you're waiting for someone to tell you why it's a bad idea. That, or someone to convince you of why a new(or new-ish) WRX is a good idea.
Why what? I don't buy new? It's just a really bad use of money IMO, I'd rather let someone else take the depreciation hit. I get why people do it, I just personally don't I like the hatch/wagon because it makes using the space a lot more efficient. Going camping with my Infiniti EX35 is waaaaay easier than my old Legacy.

I'd always prefer a manual if given the choice. But I've also accepted they're a dying option, so it is what it is. If it has paddle shifters and a decent trans, then I can deal with it.

S4 is at the top of my list, but I haven't decided on anything. I was hoping to get some feedback by people who've owned or driven some of these as I haven't had a chance to drive all of them.

You'd be surprised. The real challenge is finding the 13/14. I think there were only 30 sold in Canada in 2013 and 18 in 2014, so they're hard to find at all. Oh and also they don't really meet your AWD requirement haha.

By all means test drive an F-sport, but I think you'll find them a little soft and lacking top-end. They're pretty much for baby boomers.

Oh and I forgot to mention, I rented a Q50 in Vegas last year. Hated it. Absolutely no steering feel at ALL. Power delivery seemed a bit unpredictable. Too many electronic nannies. Quick though.
I actually did a quick search at lunch out of curiosity, the newest ISF in the entire country, on kijij at least, is a 2010 lol. I could probably put snow tires on and drive cautiously, but I'd imagine they'd be really pricey being that limited. Even clean 08-10 examples are in the mid thirties. Damn lol.

I need to drive one, but yes I anticipate it'll be lacking that punch. I care more about acceleration than top end, but I'm not expecting it to wow me. That said, vented seats would be a real nice plus. Only other cars I'm looking at that offer those are C400 and 17+ A4, but it's rare to find a car spec'd with them.

Thank you for the note about the Q50, that's what I'm looking for. Was it the 300hp 3.0t? I read that steering was meh, which seems to come up with a lot of newer cars. I was really impressed by how the SQ5 drove and handled for an SUV.

I also went through some 17+ A4's tonight. Tough to find one spec'd right, and the ones that are hit the $32-35k mark. Getting a very new car though still with some warranty so it could be a good option.

Offline LilDrunkenSmurf

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Re: Need help deciding on a new, used car
« Reply #14 on: April 17, 2019, 06:42:10 AM »
I have never, in my life, even considered test driving an ATS, let alone owned one.

Owning the GTI, never have I gone "Man, do I wish I had the power of the R". Keep in mind the 2017+ GTI has an LSD included. FWD + LSD = Tons of grip.
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Offline SpdDmn

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Re: Need help deciding on a new, used car
« Reply #15 on: April 17, 2019, 09:26:13 AM »
I had an ATS as a rental for a few days and found it peppy. Pretty easy to get up to roadside impound speeds without noticing. I remember the interior was swanky but I was driving the Forester exclusively at the time, so now I'm used to the Macan it might not blow me away. Bluetooth didn't connect reliably but my phone is pretty ancient. Heated seats were nice, but every car has those.
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Offline Rad_Racer

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Re: Need help deciding on a new, used car
« Reply #16 on: April 17, 2019, 04:13:41 PM »
I actually did a quick search at lunch out of curiosity, the newest ISF in the entire country, on kijij at least, is a 2010 lol. I could probably put snow tires on and drive cautiously, but I'd imagine they'd be really pricey being that limited. Even clean 08-10 examples are in the mid thirties. Damn lol.
And the 08-10 didn't even have LSD, so I imagine they'd be a bit worse in the winter. Mine does OK with Blizzaks, but it can be hard to get moving sometimes.

Quote
Thank you for the note about the Q50, that's what I'm looking for. Was it the 300hp 3.0t? I read that steering was meh, which seems to come up with a lot of newer cars. I was really impressed by how the SQ5 drove and handled for an SUV.
Yeah I think it was the 3.0T that I had. I had it on some twisty roads, and it was capable, but I just didn't feel confident in it. Pretty nice interior, looks cool, but.. just didn't do it for me.

Offline coop3422

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Re: Need help deciding on a new, used car
« Reply #17 on: April 18, 2019, 02:55:40 PM »
I have never, in my life, even considered test driving an ATS, let alone owned one.

Owning the GTI, never have I gone "Man, do I wish I had the power of the R". Keep in mind the 2017+ GTI has an LSD included. FWD + LSD = Tons of grip.

Not sure why I thought you had leased an ATS, ah well lol. As for the GTI, I know they're solid cars, maybe I'll go drive one. There's just so many options at that price point it seems.

I had an ATS as a rental for a few days and found it peppy. Pretty easy to get up to roadside impound speeds without noticing. I remember the interior was swanky but I was driving the Forester exclusively at the time, so now I'm used to the Macan it might not blow me away. Bluetooth didn't connect reliably but my phone is pretty ancient. Heated seats were nice, but every car has those.
Is the infotainment as bad as reviews make it out to be? I've also read that the trunk is quite small compared to others in the segment. I don't need a big one, but do need to at least fit a decent sized stroller.

We went to the car show last night, got to sit in quite a few cars that haven't changed since the years I'm considering. The new A4 really impressed me, the inside of that car compared to the B8 is a big change. Definitely want to drive a 2017. Also got to is in an IS300, and the interior was much nicer in person than I thought it would be based on pictures. I'll be driving an IS350 at some point as well. They're supposed to handle very nicely, really comes down to the lack of FI. The Q50 was nice as well, but I'd say it's lower on the list.

On another note, we also looked at 3 row SUV's for the wife, damn nearly everyone is $$$. The CX9 jumped out at me, as did the new Mazda3 actually. I'm also a fan of the new Kia Telluride, or whatever it's called. Then there was the G70, first time I've got to sit in one. Damn, might have been the nicest car I sat in at the show.

Offline VTAKLOL

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Re: Need help deciding on a new, used car
« Reply #18 on: April 18, 2019, 03:56:37 PM »
Did you check out the Ascent at all for the wife?

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Re: Need help deciding on a new, used car
« Reply #19 on: April 18, 2019, 04:59:58 PM »
I had an ATS for a while. The infotainment isn’t that bad once you understand how it operates. The trunk was big enough to go skiing or haul a Subaru engine around in.
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Offline coop3422

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Re: Need help deciding on a new, used car
« Reply #20 on: April 21, 2019, 04:07:59 PM »
Did you check out the Ascent at all for the wife?
We did. It wasn't bad, but I was surprised they had a pretty base model, it didn't even have leather. We'd test drive one though. I was impressed with the CX9. The wife wants a 4Runner.

I had an ATS for a while. The infotainment isn’t that bad once you understand how it operates. The trunk was big enough to go skiing or haul a Subaru engine around in.
Ah, I knew someone on here had one. How did you like it, how long did you have it? They can be had for awesome prices given the year, mileage and performance. I've read the Alpha platform is supposed to be excellent.

Offline coop3422

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Re: Need help deciding on a new, used car
« Reply #21 on: April 27, 2019, 12:01:50 AM »
Has a chance to drive a few cars today, yesterday and seeing some tomorrow. Figured I'd share my findings.

Last night, a 2014 Audi S4 manual. Very impressed. I knew I'd like it, but it exceeded my expectations. It was smooth, comfortable, clutch felt easy and was overall just a very well put together car. It was loaded with features, but is silver. I could make do, but that alone is a real bummer. I missed out on a 2015 blue S4 a few weeks back with the same options, for the same price. I wanted that car so badly, but a deposit had been put on it before I got there. Other downside is being a 14, I would need to get into a new car early 2021 due to my companies 7 year rule. That's 2.5 years so not the end of the world, but would make spending money on mods not worth it.

Today, I checked out a local 2015 Lexus IS 350. I expected the performance to be less, but wanted to give it a try. I like the exterior, and the interior was alright. It had the cooled seats, which honestly, I would absolutely LOVE to have. That said, I was pretty letdown by this car. It was fully loaded, but the engine from 2006 is just so meh. And the 6 speed auto trans doesn't do it any favours. The instrument cludter is really cool though, inspired by the LFA for those who haven't seen it. At this point, this car is off my list unless some stupid deal comes my way. There's a nice one in Edmonton, but I just know every day I'd drive it, I'd wonder what else I could have been in.

The best part of the Lexus, was while walking to the used lot they had a 2015 STi in WRB. I asked to give it a drive for the lolz. Oh man how I've missed Subaru. The sound, the feedback, it felt so good. It's the first STi I've driven actually. It was a Sport Tech with leather and keyless ignition, which are musts for me. It also had low km, and a pretty fair price at $35k. And of course, the right colour. But it's at a dealer, GST, doc fees, blah blah blah. All of a sudden it's at $38k, which is still in line with kijij, but more than I'm willing to pay. But, I think I need to revisit a 15+ WRX. I think what surprised me most was when my wife said I really prefer the Subaru interior over the Lexus.. Full disclosure, neither car did it for her. She is also not a fan of the STi wing, and found the ride very rough, moreso than my old 350Z. Could be the pregnancy though.

Tomorrow I'm planning on checking out a 16 Infiniti Q50, but I suspect it won't be for me.. But at lest I can decide for myself. Also might check out a 15 Audi A6 just because. Looking for some other options too. Might drive a 2.0 ATS for the lolz, although honestly doubt I go that route.

Wow, this got waaaaay longer than expected, sorry guys. Probably a way for me to work through my thoughts lol.

After the manual S4, I'm really leaning that way. I didn't mind an auto in winter, but that was knowing I had a manual sports car in storage. Having an auto year round I think might get depressing. The clutch in the S4 also felt fantastic, so it eases that concern. I'm still so choked I missed out on the loaded blue 15 S4, it was perfect.

Would you guys settle on a colour you don't like? I have in the past, multiple times. Happens when you buy used. I'm getting a lot of interest on my Infiniti for the weekend so if it sells, I won't have a choice. Just sucks as the silver 14 is the front runner, already $4k more than I'd like, and really no other good options out there. Guess I could always get bright wheels to set it off.

Sorry for the winded rant.

Offline jellynuts

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Re: Need help deciding on a new, used car
« Reply #22 on: April 27, 2019, 09:20:04 AM »
I also prefer my rattly plastic and tacky blue interior.
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Offline vincent275

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Re: Need help deciding on a new, used car
« Reply #23 on: April 27, 2019, 12:31:35 PM »
I remember seeing a red manual s4 on beyond that was well sorted out and pretty hot

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Re: Need help deciding on a new, used car
« Reply #24 on: April 27, 2019, 01:26:40 PM »
I remember seeing a red manual s4 on beyond that was well sorted out and pretty hot

Yes, but I'm pretty sure it exceeds the 7 year portion.
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