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I think my 1998 Infiniti I-30 with around 275,000 miles is about through. So, what should I get to replace it?

 
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  1. Mudd says:

    I had a mid-90s Infiniti G-20 5-speed manual, red lined at 7,500rpm.
    I loved that car.

    • Replies: @John12755
  2. Either a Mustang, Camaro, or a Challenger.

    If not any of those choices, then a 370Z.

    You live in Southern California. So driving one of these cars is basically mandatory.

    You could have a License plate that says “HBD Bro.”

    • Agree: Paul Jolliffe
    • LOL: John Johnson
    • Replies: @John Johnson
  3. anonymous[100] • Disclaimer says:

    Most anti-Putinists prefer Subarus.

    • LOL: AndrewR
    • Replies: @John Frank
  4. I have 2 German cars, but based on your previous car, I’d say a Lexus ES 300 or, if you can find one, a Lexus GS 350 or 450 (I might have the numbers wrong). Model years 2012-2016 (I think they still made the GS into that range).

    Dark horse: Mercedes GLK, small SUV, 2014. It’s been a super reliable, comfortable, little tank.

    • Replies: @Jack D
    , @JimB
  5. I think my 1998 Infiniti I-30 with around 275,000 miles is about through. So, what should I get to replace it?

    A Lambo of course.

  6. Buy whatever Toyota comfortably fits your body.

    They are affordable to buy and maintain, and they last forever.

    If you are feeling flush, buy a Lexus, which is a Toyota with fancier materials.

  7. Kirt says:

    I recommend a Kia Soul.

  8. I thought you had a Lambo?

    Seriously, though, weren’t you asking us a couple of years ago or so about what kind of SUV to get? I think you wanted advice about one suitable for a gentleman or something. I mentioned that I loved my Jeep Grand Cherokee 4×4 (still do) and that I had never thought I’d buy an SUV. But there you go.

    Whatever. Just don’t get a Tesla, please, or any other glorified golf cart.

    • Replies: @iknowduh
  9. theMann says:

    A four wheel drive truck, or all wheel drive SUV, with reinforced bumpers. If things go bad, California style ( and they are going to) you will have a vehicle that can go off road or handle any traffic conditions.
    Make the purchase before Insanefornia bans gasoline engine vehicles, because that will set things off.

  10. The new Ford Broncos look so fun. If you got a white one, you could recreate the O.J. chase when the thought police finally get around to dragging you off to the gulag.

    • LOL: Dutch Boy
  11. As a Fast and Furious fan, a Honda Civic Type R would do the trick. As someone obsessed with reckless urban drivers since 2020, a Dodge Challenger would be appropriate.

    Maybe a Tesla 3, rear wheel drive. Or a used Jeep Cherokee. No one ever went wrong with a Honda Civic.

    • Agree: Dutch Boy
    • Replies: @Dutch Boy
    , @animalogic
  12. If you plan on using it past 2023, a bicycle.

    • LOL: AnotherDad
  13. RobP says:

    Toyota Highlander, hands down.

    • Replies: @Joe Paluka
  14. You’re an American, buy something American.

  15. Mr. Anon says:

    The Honda CRV is pretty good. It’s a mini-SUV, i.e. – to use one of your coinages – one of those evil-looking station wagons. The gas mileage isn’t great (probably about 25-32, depending), but it’s comfortable (easy to get in and out of), has some storage space in the back, and you ride a little higher than a sedan which gives you better visibility.

    • Replies: @Steve Sailer
  16. Mr. Anon says:
    @Paul Mendez

    If you plan on using it past 2023, a bicycle.

    And no point getting anything to last past 2030, as the WEF assures us we won’t need a car. We’ll own nothing and be happy.

    • LOL: PhysicistDave
  17. Curle says:

    Be a man of the people. Get an used F-150.

    “If you are more interested in getting a more recent truck then a 2015 is a great one to take a look at. The 2015 has the lowest number of complaints of any of the recent years for the F-150, indicating that they were able to make a great truck during that year of production.”

  18. …my 1998 Infiniti I-30 with around 275,000 miles is about through.

    Then it didn’t live up to its name, did it? ♾♾♾♾♾♾♾♾♾…

    You’d think the Japanese would have shown more care in christening their high-end automotive divisions. I’m sure Chrysler, or whichever Continental count owns it today, would have been happy to sell them the rights to the DeSoto.

  19. Truth says:

    2017 Genesis G80. Or Chevy Malibu hybrid.

  20. Franz says:

    I think my 1998 Infiniti I-30 with around 275,000 miles is about through. So, what should I get to replace it?

    How much you want for it? You never get nothing in trade. What sort of shape?

    • Replies: @Steve Sailer
  21. Bill H. says:

    A horse. If you need to haul cargo add a wagon.

  22. Bill P says:
    @AnotherDad

    “American” cars are full of Chinese and Mexican parts. Japanese at least try to minimize PRC parts and source more from Taiwan, which has higher standards than mainland China.

  23. A crossover. Decent gas mileage, plenty of space for stuff.

  24. The car market is currently brutal, but there is a good probability that the used market will improve in the next six months due to defaults.

    • Replies: @Anonymous
  25. Anything Toyota. Not on topic but can you answer what happened to Senor Reed… Fred Reed here at Unz… did he piss off Unz? His column got disappeared. Did he stop loving Mexicans like Unz does? He seems to have been memory holed..

  26. I bought a 2001 Mercedes E55 AMG a couple of months ago since my 2004 GMC Sierra has 347k on the clock and probably won’t last much longer.

    The 2001 E55 AMG has a 5.4 liter V8, 349 hp, 0-60 in five seconds and a top speed of 160 mph. Not good on gas but a real good grocery getter for not much money. They only made 653 of them in 2001 but they are a great bargain if you can find one with low miles. Highly recommend. A truly analog driving experience. Best car I’ve ever owned.

    • Replies: @Hangnail Hans
    , @Jack D
  27. @AnotherDad

    You’re an American, buy something American.

    Yeah, a Chevy built in Ontario. Not some Toyota or Subaru built in Indiana.

    On another front, the world’s largest Francophone city is…

    • Replies: @AnotherDad
  28. The August iSteve Fundraiser could determine the price point of whatever vehicle it will be. Or perhaps there is a kind reader who has a suitable used car taking up space in his garage. People give cars to charities all the time. When my father died, I gave his big old Lincoln to one. Now I wish I’d kept it. I would have loved to put Steve in it just to see that.

    • Replies: @Rob McX
  29. Anonymous[954] • Disclaimer says:

    Please share some specifics.

    What’s your spending ceiling, and do your prefer a coupe, station wagon, or SUV?

    And finally, look into my eyes… You don’t want a minivan. You don’t want a minivan.

    • Replies: @Steve Sailer
  30. anonymous[976] • Disclaimer says:

    Tucker Carlson should buy you a car. He has taken your ideas without attribution and earned himself millions and a place as the most famous conservative thinker in America.

    • Replies: @Anonymous
  31. @AnotherDad

    One of the Dads wrote:

    You’re an American, buy something American.

    I agree totally. An Infinity, Nissan product, was a classy choice twenty years ago, but I feel their quality has slipped somewhat. Toyotas have maintained their quality, and 300,000 miles is about right for an engine’s life. Choose one of their SUV models.

  32. @Anonymous

    I’ve got a 21-year-old minivan. I’d like to keep it around for the 8 or 10 times per year it’s useful to have something with that much capacity.

    I’d probably lean toward a 2-row SUV, but I’m open to hearing arguments for other formats.

    A friend who knows a lot more about all forms of technology than I do says electric cars are about ready. (On the other hand, he drives a V-12 that when he’s done driving it can someday hang on his wall as a work of art.) I imagine one advantage of an EV is no catalytic converter that attracts car thieves.

  33. @Franz

    “What sort of shape?”

    Not good.

    • Replies: @Franz
  34. @Mr. Anon

    The Honda CRV would probably be my first choice, but my wife doesn’t like the turbo effect, where you step on the gas and nothing much happens for a second and then suddenly you are going really fast. Maybe a used one from the pre-turbo era?

  35. Anonymous[954] • Disclaimer says:
    @anonymous

    Tucker Carlson should buy you a car. He has taken your ideas without attribution and earned himself millions and a place as the most famous conservative thinker in America.

    Tucker’s writers would never be so gross as to incorporate ideas from isteve essays.

    They are gentlemen. So they lift their awesome ideas from the comments section.

    I think many isteve commenters can generally relate to this:

    • Replies: @anonymous
  36. Coemgen says:

    Scotty Kilmer advises buying a used Toyota (except for 4-cylinder models built between 2006 and 2011):
    https://www.youtube.com/c/ScottyKilmermechanic

    • Replies: @Coemgen
  37. Franz says:
    @Steve Sailer

    Ah, skip it then.

    I was curious because the wife got a 21st century lemon awhile back and 1990s cars begin to look better all the time.

  38. Anonymous[361] • Disclaimer says:
    @Stonewall Jackson

    Not on topic but can you answer what happened to Senor Reed… Fred Reed here at Unz… did he piss off Unz? His column got disappeared. Did he stop loving Mexicans like Unz does? He seems to have been memory holed..

    I was wondering the same thing.

    • Replies: @Meretricious
    , @Dutch Boy
  39. Mr. Blank says:

    Honda Civic or Toyota Corolla. If you want something with more pep, get a Civic Si (though I think they’re manual only).

    They’ll run fine until the heat death of the universe, more or less.

    • Agree: Seneca44
    • Replies: @tr
  40. I know of a 1981 DELOREAN DMC-12 with only about 200 years on it.

    • Replies: @Steve Sailer
  41. Anonymous[954] • Disclaimer says:

    With cars from around 2018 up, it’s very difficult to procure a non-turbo car, owing to fuel economy mandates. Even if you find one, it’ll either be a turd on the freeway, or a gas-guzzling nightmare. Occasionally on the freeway, you need all the juice your cars got to avoid an accident. Turbo-charging gives you what you need to save your life.

    So, I got a loaner car for a week while mine was being serviced. Smaller SUV Volvo XC40, and I was mighty impressed. I took it out on the freeway late at night a few times, and it ran at 90 mph solid as a rock. It felt like a larger car. Really nice suspension, and very little turbo-lag. Quite responsive. Cornered around Sunset Blvd very nicely, and I defeated Dead Man’s Curve numerous times. I felt pretty empowered in that little guy. And easy to park. They also have pure electric models, but I haven’t test-driven one.

    This new one in the link below has everything you’d want. If you get one new or used, make sure to get the XC40 T5 “Inscription” model. It has most of the useful options, especially the Harmon Kardon stereo upgrade. You can also get the steel grill option, that closes off the cargo area, so you can put your dog in the back cargo area, and he can’t jump up front to join you while you’re driving. Put him in, shut the hatch. Game over.

    Last thing, the price of this one, you can probably haggle it down to between 6-8 grand from the sticker. That’s about what Volvo dealerships typically mark them up to, to allow their salesmen some haggle leeway. However, due to alleged Covid pricing, I don’t know if that’s still the standard at Volvo dealerships. You can give it a shot, if this type of car interests you.

    https://www.culvercityvolvo.com/new/Volvo/2022-Volvo-XC40-for-sale-culver-city-ca-d13142dd0a0e0971237ac0ba00921fc4.htm

  42. anonymous[312] • Disclaimer says:

    In choosing a car, there are two ultra-priorities neglected by most people

    One should choose a car from sitting inside it, not standing outside it

    First priority is seat comfort, this cannot be emphasised enough. Given how much time ‘muricans spend in their cars, this is not just an issue of pleasant times and happiness, but a key issue of good health, avoiding back problems etc

    Second is good visibility.A lot of modern cars are rubbish in this way. There should be a strong feeling of openness and space, not feeling boxed in, as is a dominant ‘style’ now. The dash cowl (top) should be LOW, not high as in many models. There should be a big, not constricted ‘greenhouse’, the view out the windows, so you can see all around you, especially when taking that quick glance back before changing lanes. This is not just safety, it is key to feeling content, positive psychology when driving.

    Beyond that, get maximum extended warranty if at all possible.

    As Steve is in California near beach-bum hangouts, his ultimate vehicle might be a Moke, once much-favoured by movie stars etc … unfortunately tho the company is switching this year to making electric-only models. Here’s a nice classic one

    • Replies: @Steve Sailer
    , @JackOH
  43. Mike Tre says:
    @Steve Sailer

    My wife has a turbocharged Tiguan (which I don’t recommend because VW design and maintenance cost is ridiculous) and there is no turbo lag. I believe newer generation inline 4 turbos have eliminated that attribute.

  44. iknowduh says:
    @Buzz Mohawk

    Seriously, though, weren’t you asking us a couple of years ago

    yes, he certainly did. and a popular suggestion at the time was a south korean genesis suv. i just checked and their starting prices seems to have risen dramatically. prob not what steve has in mind, but i kinda like the ford maverick and hyundai santa cruz.

  45. Rob McX says:
    @Buzz Mohawk

    People give cars to charities all the time.

    Don’t a lot of people just do that as a tax dodge? Give your clapped-out junkheap to charity and claim it was worth \$5000.

  46. I wouldn’t recommend a brand new car to anyone. I’ve never bought one – could have and came very close last time around, but the expected \$1,000 property tax a year (for a simple small “crossover”) disgusted me. My car mechanic friend who’s had probably a hundred cars says he will never go for a new car.

    Commenter Adam Smith linked me to a good video on my blog* with a guy that says those mid-’90’s cars are the peak of (no, I’m not gonna say “stupidity” this time) quality with much less plastic.

    I know you are not up for having the car break on you, but something with less than 120,000 miles from the mid-late 1990s may last you a nice long time, with your low-milage driving habits. Make sure the timing belt was done recently, or get that done. Obviously you’re better off, reliability-wise, with a stick shift.

    How’s the property tax on vehicles in LA?

    .

    * Wife says we gotta go, but I’ll find you that link, or Mr. Smith may kindly insert it.

  47. JackOH says:

    Toyota or Lexus geezermobiles: older, low mileage, church and grocery store vehicles, driven by Gramps and Grannies with good pensions and attentiveness to maintenance. Try for a 10- or 12-year old one-owner, for starters.

    Pay book or maybe 5% above book for a clean car (body and mechanical) you think you can trust.

  48. anonymous[240] • Disclaimer says:
    @Anonymous

    Direct plagiarism

    Biden: You Gotta Nice Country Here, Americans. It Would be a Shame if Something Happened to It

    https://www.unz.com/isteve/biden-youve-got-nice-country-here-americans-it-would-be-a-shame-if-something-happened-to-it/

    CARLSON: Oh, you think there’ll be less violence if he is reelected? Got it. It is a nice country you have here. It would be a shame if something were to happen to it.

    https://video.foxnews.com/v/6186424701001/ (2:40-3:05)

  49. Spud Boy says:

    Buy anything you like, fill it with gas, and leave California for good.

    • LOL: Gordo
  50. @JackOH

    Geezermobile sounds good to me.

    • Replies: @dearieme
    , @Anonymous
  51. Bert says:

    Rebuilt ’54 Chevy. Remove the back seat. At your age you only need cargo space.

  52. @Justice Duvall

    Agreed

    I purchased a brand new Rav4 last year and haven’t looked back. Though Steve is a bit taller than me so he may want something bigger. Toyota made the Camry very handsome looking about 10 years ago, and they finally did the same to the Rav4 with the 2019 redesign.

    The used car market (and new car too) is so inflated buying new made more sense given the peace of mind one gets with warranties.

    Unless you’re destitute or just know exactly what you want and have your mind set on it, buying new makes sense right now.

  53. @anonymous

    I agree about visibility.

    My 2001 Honda Odyssey minivan is the closest thing to an aquarium on wheels.

    But it’s hard to get that effect in more recent models.

    • Replies: @Pontius
  54. @Anonymous

    “SUV Volvo XC40”

    I rented one of those once. Very nice car.

  55. @John Henry

    I often hike down a trail that leads to a culdesac with a nice house with a DeLorean parked out front. I like to think that Christopher Lloyd lives there, but I see no evidence for that.

  56. anonymous[363] • Disclaimer says:

    Mazda CX-5 non-turbo trim. AWD is standard on all new models.

    • Replies: @Steve Sailer
  57. MLK says:

    Whatever you decide to buy, you should wait six months or so.

    By the end of July, the second quarter GDP in the U.S. again showed a contraction of 0.9%. Energy inflation was now creating a consumer spending recession, demand for non-essential goods dropped fast over the first half of the year.

    . . .

    That contraction is then followed by appliances, furniture, clothing and eventually vehicles and high-cost durable goods.

    You should be prepared to move once the Used Vehicle Index collapses. The sweet spot in my view is a vehicle around three years old that is priced around 50% of its original MSRP. Then buy yourself an extended warranty from a reputable company.

    If past is prologue on these regulatory racketeering efforts, gas prices aren’t going to come down from the recent Build Back Better double. Their plan is for a second double though they may have to slow their roll. Therefore, especially in California you should get yourself something that gets good gas mileage.

  58. J.Ross says:

    An acquaintance who had lived in Europe remarked that the European car market demanded and got excellent small cars, even from American manufacturers, but in America, a car was either big or kleenex.
    A person needing to deal with snow (or maybe, in Steve’s case, hills), inflated gas prices, and needing a reasonable bit of cargo capacity but not wanting a truck, could easily see the advantages of an AMC Eagle (a four wheel drive hatchback), so long as he could get past the disadvantages (weak spare part market, AMC engineering, the car itself being hard to some by).

  59. What a second!!!

    Don’t you have a Lambo already?

  60. dearieme says:
    @Steve Sailer

    Be sure to check the age of the tyres. They may lack wear but be dodgy by virtue of all those ultraviolet rays: tyres don’t wear sunscreen.

    • Replies: @Steve Sailer
  61. JackOH says:
    @anonymous

    Agree 100% with you about seating, dash, and visibility. I drove a relative’s car, a very popular model, and the seating was so awkward I couldn’t make it unawkward, and the sightline from my eyeballs over the steering wheel over the high dash and hood was likewise awkward, and gave the impression of cluttering my visual access to the road.

    I’m not sure what car makers can do about visibility. I think those fattened pillars were put in to comply with government rollover protection regulations.

    • Replies: @Jim Don Bob
  62. Steve,

    if you truly a law-abiding freedom-fighter, blogging rebel and honest noticer, there can only be 3 choices for you.

    Option 1: Ford Ranger

    Option 2: Toyota Hilux

    Option 3: Toyota LandCruiser 76

    Please note: After-market heavy machine-gun/recoiless-rifle/ZU-23-2 cannon and half dozen freedom-fighting friends should be included in your purchase-calculation.

    • Replies: @J.Ross
    , @clifford brown
  63. Go for inexpensive and reliable, like Toyota Camry.

    • Agree: Pontius
  64. Gordo says:

    Hyundai Tucson.

    Loads of space and very good for tall guys and not overly expensive and simple, reliable.

    Not a chick magnet it must be admitted.

    Get a second hand one, EVs will be mandatory soon especially where you live.

  65. It is always cheaper to maintain an old car versus buying new, even at the high mileage on your Infinity. That said, a car that age doesn’t have adequate safety features.

    Even American cars will last 200k nowadays. I’ve known a lot of people who have been in serious accidents, so I would recommend a small car. Maybe look into the Subaru Forester. Or even Ford Escape if it doesn’t seem to prole for you.

  66. Gordo says:
    @Achmed E. Newman

    I wouldn’t recommend a brand new car to anyone.

    Agreed, I haven’t bought a new car for more than 30 years, it makes no sense.

  67. mmack says:
    @Steve Sailer

    The issue isn’t with the turbocharger, it’s with the Continuously Variable Transmission (CVT) more and more automakers use to try to gain additional mileage:

    https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Continuously_variable_transmission

    https://www.carfax.com/blog/cvt-pros-and-cons

    Honda uses it on the CR-V and calls it a Variable Speed Automatic. Some people have mentioned/complained about slow acceleration from stoplights with CVTs.

    • Replies: @Steve Sailer
  68. @dearieme

    I recently replaced the worn-out tires on my Honda Odyssey. The front right tire tends to get damaged by running it into the curb.

    • Replies: @kaganovitch
    , @dimples
  69. “Fleet car” is the usual for fewest surprises and can be fixed anywhere.

    Dodge Charger. Mercedes design. Built since 2005.

    Maybe a Taurus or Impala.

    Buick or Lexus might be nicer, but . . . ?

    I’m 6’2” and 190#. Those are as small as I’d go.
    Premium power seats worth retrofitting from higher end optioned models. Father/son project.

    Otherwise an F150 V8.

    One is best off he likes it every time he gets into it.
    .

    • Replies: @Jack D
  70. @anonymous

    Mazda CX-5s are beautiful vehicles.

    I don’t really need All Wheel Drive, getting no snow. We did get 15 minutes of rain tonight, the first in almost 3 months.

    • Replies: @Dr. DoomNGloom
  71. Buy a slightly used Toyota and call it good.

    Next question.

  72. Anonymous[243] • Disclaimer says:
    @Steve Sailer

    Used Lexus RX 350. Will last forever.

    -Also dont’t get Hybrid older than 8years. Battery cells won’t last as long as Combustion engine and end up costing more to replace than savings on gas over time.

  73. @mmack

    I’ve driven a turbo Honda and it’s a little scary at making left turns: it doesn’t start quickly and then at the last moment the turbo kicks in, but what if a pedestrian has stepped off the curb?

    • Replies: @mmack
    , @Bill Jones
    , @Jack D
  74. Looks like 2012 Charger SXT is where I’d start.

  75. Anonymous[395] • Disclaimer says:
    @Paul Mendez

    If you plan on using it past 2023, a bicycle.

    DOT Secretary Buttigieg grow up 4 houses down from E. Michael Jones in South Bend, Indiana.

    EMJ only owns a bicycle. When he has to travel to other parts of the country he’ll hitch a ride with a friend who delivers (drives) RV’s from Elkhart to other parts of the U.S. (I learned this from his ebook Travels with Harley in Search of America: Motorcycles, War, Deracination, Consumer Identity ).

    When “Mayor Pete” made special bike lanes in South Bend EMJ— who said he’s probably the only person who rides a bicycle in the city— said that they actually made riding a bike in South Bend more dangerous.

  76. Something being sold on by an elderly person sounds good, better still if it’s economical. Honda CRV Hybrid, or are they out of price range?

  77. J.Ross says:
    @Another German Reader

    >mounting a Zeus in a technical
    All you need is one Browning .50 Cal with swivel seat, or a 40 mm grenade launcher, or both. A real Zeus mounted on a pickup would be like the Second City Cop Blog anecdote about the genius who decided to steal manhole covers (which of course were embossed with “City of Chicago Department of Water”) to sell for scrap. He made it up to 15 before his truck imitated that scene from that famous Chicago movie.

    • LOL: Meretricious
  78. mmack says:

    Steve,

    If you can still get into a sedan with no issues (knees, back, hips) I would say a Toyota Camry or Hyundai Sonata. Sedans have been losing interest among buyers and you might be able to haggle.

    As for small CUV/SUVs, I’d stay with Honda, Toyota, or Hyundai.

    • Replies: @Coemgen
  79. theMann says:
    @Steve Sailer

    One of the reasons I loved my RX-8 so much was the almost instantaneous response the rotary engine gives – give it high octane gas and it just revved up higher at any speed.

    Of course maintenance on it was a monster, 1500 mile (in a pinch, 3000) oil changes and tubeless radials add up fast, and it had an extreme preference for dry roadbed ( not an issue around here), but it was some freaking thing else to drive.

  80. Teslae, Lexi, and Toyotae are all a good choice, and among Korean cars, Kia are good, but you only need one, so get yourself a Kium.

  81. mmack says:
    @Steve Sailer

    I’ve seen complaints from owners of turbo and non-turbo powered CVT equipped vehicles where they press the throttle from a stop and the vehicle seems to wait for a moment THEN it takes off.

    Remember, everything today is maximized for fuel economy at highway speeds to meet the EPA mileage standards. I’d be surprised a modern car has turbo lag like my late 1980s Conquest turbo.

    Whatever you choose I’m sure you’ll maintain it properly and care for it. 👍🏻

    • Replies: @The Wild Geese Howard
  82. Kia Sportage.

    These are cheap to run yet have enough pep to avoid being boring. They have a nice amount of cargo capacity. They handle severe weather, particularly cold, well.

    The third generation (2011-2016) is nondescript enough to avoid attracting attention from criminal elements like gangbangers and immivaders.

    The fourth generation (2015-2021) are a bit odd-looking, though they do have a bit better interior. The odd looks should put off the criminal element.

  83. @mmack

    CVT equipped vehicles

    Are to be avoided at all costs. CVTs are a constant source of problems and there are only two repair facilities, one on each coast.

    This is the advice from seriously experienced mechanics like Scotty Kilmer and David Long aka the Car Wizard.

    • Replies: @possumman
  84. @Anonymous

    You can also get the steel grill option, that closes off the cargo area, so you can put your dog in the back cargo area, and he can’t jump up front to join you while you’re driving. Put him in, shut the hatch. Game over.

    Or you can just teach your dog to stay in the back seat. Took me maybe five minutes total over two or three sessions. Only one gentle reminder has been needed in the 12 years since.

    This way she can get have her head out of the window, which is one of dogs favorite things, plus you can get extra lovin at traffic lights.

  85. @petit bourgeois

    Enjoy your honeymoon! And then, let me be the first to recite for you a famous, relevant quote: “There’s nothing more expensive than a cheap Mercedes.”

  86. @Steve Sailer

    The Honda CRV would probably be my first choice

    That’s a very reasonable choice. The closest Toyota is the Rav4, also a good choice.

    As a taller man, your first requirement is adequate headroom. Both should suffice but try them out.
    A bit larger are the older Toyota Highlanders. These have capacity between the compact SUV and the full size SUV. Newer Highlander are based on the Sienna body, so there are more stylized mini-vans more comparable to the Honda Pilot.

    If you find one, the Scion Xbox “XB”, is very similar to the Kia Soul. Both are very easy to get into and out of. They were marketed to kids, but old folks discovered how accessible they are.

  87. Don’t forget the dog and the Mother in Law.

    Are you the kind of guy (and is your wife the kind of gal) who likes to sleep with his dog, pack style? Do you let your dog up on your couch? Well, if not, then a 5 door hatchback provides a place for the dog and all her toys while you drive her to the dog park or the beach. Keeps the mess and funky towels back there.

    Does your wife insist that you have a safe, civilized space for her Mother? Well if so, you need a car with a comfortable, spacious back seat in which Lambo can’t lay (lie?) and funk up.

    (Or maybe the mother in law can ride in the hatchback space and your dog lick your face from her perch behind you. I don’t know. That depends upon who gets the final say, you or your wife.)

    Remember, you are free to choose those conditions by which you will be limited.

    • Replies: @scrivener3
  88. @Steve Sailer

    A friend in Japan has a son who works for Mazda. He reports that they had a serious quality initiative, and the more recent models (post 2015 or so?) are splendid and underrated.

    Another friend raves about his CX-5. He thought it would be to frumpy, but it satisfies his desire for a sporty car.

    I wouldn’t treat AWD as a deal breaker, just as a “not needed”. They are also great in rain or sandy or gravely road. But that’s not likely your problem.

  89. Telenon says:

    Toyota. Says Scotty Kilmer mechanic on YouTube. Or Lexus. No Korean cars, no German cars, nothing American (too bad but if you want the best).

  90. Jack D says:
    @SteeringWheelHolder

    Dodge Charger. Mercedes design. Built since 2005.

    Chrysler 300 is on the same chassis. I wouldn’t touch either one with a 10 foot pole, even putting aside image issues.

    One of the reasons the Mercedes-Chrysler merger failed is that Mercedes was very hesitant to give Chrysler their technology because they were afraid people would buy cheaper Dodges instead of expensive Mercedes. For the 300/Charger, they gave Chrysler some of the tech from their PREVIOUS generation E-class. So this is now 25 year old technology. Nor did they give them the whole package – the engine is still Chrysler (not that Chrysler makes bad engines). They gave them bits and pieces – the suspension, the transmission, etc. Again, previous generation designs even then. Chrysler doesn’t have the \$ to update the car (they are about to discontinue it anyway) so it is outdated in many ways.

    • Agree: mmack
  91. Ben Gunn says:

    My roommate is a professional mechanic, the top earner in his nationwide company because he works quickly and has few returns. Also he was a dirt track racing champion, tuning his own car. A bit of a cynic on cars, he will only buy Toyota. I worked a car lot for a while, stay away from Chrysler, or German money pits. The championship money eater is Range Rover. Lots of funny videos on YouTube of RR regret. Germans also. Chevy probably best American bet, though that is not saying much.

  92. The manager of Midas recommends the X-Terra for durability and drives one himselft

  93. Hodag says:
    @Steve Sailer

    I have a pre-turbo CRV. I find it a bit underpowered but it turns on everytime I turn the key. Is there a six cylinder available?

    I also like the fact that it does not look bad but does not stick out. There is an ocean of CRVs out there. Plus you can put a dog crate in the back.

    My all time favorite car was a Volvo station wagon.

  94. @Jack D

    Chrysler 300 is on the same chassis. I wouldn’t touch either one with a 10 foot pole, even putting aside image issues.

    I’m the opposite. I’m fine with the 300’s aged chassis and powertrain. I owned a 2006 Dodge Magnum wagon with the 5.7L V8 for several years with the same bits as the 300 and I found it to be a stout, reliable vehicle. It was an excellent highway cruiser and it had astounding cargo capacity.

    Turning back to the 300, driving a hood Bentley is the last image I’d want to project in SoCal.

    Other large sedan options might be the Ford Taurus or Toyota Avalon. Lexus if one wants to go upmarket. I’d avoid the Ford Taurus SHO with the turbo’d 3.5L V6. Turbos always mean lots of extra plumbing and heat underhood and that means more potential points of failure.

    • Replies: @Jack D
  95. A 2017 Acura MDX. Most reliable car I’ve ever owned.

  96. Von Fuge says:

    Why would you not get another Infiniti lol? I put over 200k miles on my I30 – loved it! Sadly, they no longer make it. Same story for my beloved QX-70 (although the rumor is they may start making those again). My wife just got a QX-50 loaner, which was great.

  97. Jack D says:
    @Patrick in SC

    2nd the recommendation for a used Lexus with a good ownership history. In about 6 months when the used market settles down.

    The ES350 is a bit of a geezer car (dressed up Camry) but is super reliable.

    The GS350 was Toyota’s attempt at a German sports sedan but it overlapped too much with the ES350 (ES – FWD platform, GS -RWD but you can get AWD) and has been discontinued – sedans are disappearing from the market and so there was not enough volume to support 2 similarly sized sedans in their lineup. Imagine a BMW with the reliability of a Toyota.

    My choice would be the GS (not a fan of the “cow catcher” front grill but you can’t have everything). I ALMOST bought one of those (low mileage used) but then I happened to come across a killer deal on an end of model year Genesis G80 (loaner w/ 1,000 miles on it but titled as brand new) and it has been great. Hyundai was putting money on the hood (subsidizing the dealer) in order to make room for then next model year. Normally a car dealer will not sell you a new car for less than the wholesale invoice (even though there are kickbacks from the mfr beyond that so the invoice is not really his cost) but if a mfr has a program going he can. These programs disappear in times of short supply, like right now. The G80 is another car that I would recommend. Hyundai reliability is not quite at Toyota levels (yet) but the car comes w/ a long warranty.

    The problem with getting either the Genesis or the GS used is that they are not huge volume sellers and so the market is not that deep. But if you are not in a rush you can just wait until the car that you want becomes available.

    But buy 6 months from now, if you can wait, because the used car market is going to dip pretty soon, most experts say.

  98. A current gen Mazda3 sedan with the non-turbo 2.5 liter 4. Reliable, sharp-looking, nice interior on par with more expensive cars. Great handling. Good on gas.

    Get the sedan. You have the minivan so you don’t need the hatchback, which has worse visibility. The sedan’s trunk is pretty big, too.

  99. Jack D says:
    @petit bourgeois

    but they are a great bargain if you can find one with low miles.

    The market does not really allow “bargains” to exist for very long. The reason the market price is so low (and it is – these cars are essentially free- less than you would pay for a Honda Civic of similar age and condition even though the Mercedes was \$70K 2001 dollars new) is that the price is discounted for future maintenance costs. The first time something breaks, you are going to double your purchase price. But that’s only the 1st time. A car like this is a money pit.

    The only way something like this is remotely feasible at all is if you are able to do a lot of your own work and if you are enterprising about finding aftermarket parts, used parts, etc. Even then it’s not gonna be cheap. A 20 year old car has all sorts of parts that are starting to wear out and the Mercedes is loaded with electronics and bushings and seals and so on that are all reaching the end of their useful life even if the car is very low mileage and was well maintained. Some stuff deteriorates just based on age. But if you take a car like this to the dealer, or even a regular mechanic who is going to call up the dealer to get parts (many of which are going to be NLA anyway) it’s not just a money pit, it’s a money chasm.

    • Agree: clifford brown
  100. Anonymous[135] • Disclaimer says:

    That’s not a very meaningful question without stating a budget.

    Plenty of good choices at > \$40K . Would depend mostly on what you need from a car.

    Closer to \$30K range and below, Hyundai cars are still appreciably cheaper than their Japanese counterparts, yet completely caught up with them in quality and reliability. That’s what I chose to buy for myself (cheapest new Sonata), wife (one year old used Tuscon) and son (two years old used Elantra).

    Everyone is completely satisfied. All issues so far have been very minor and non-urgent to fix.

    • Replies: @Bardon Kaldlan
  101. Alfa158 says:

    Small crossover. If you can afford it, get a 2-3 year old lease return from a dealer. You save many thousands of dollars on having the first owner pay the initial depreciation, it will look and drive like a new car, and you still get a factory warranty, typically for a couple of more years. That’s the only way we buy cars now.
    The sweet spot on powertrains will be the increasingly ubiquitous two liter turbo, but not with a CVT transmission. Any of the Japanese or Korean brands should be reliable. In our case we buy either BMWs or Mercs but that’s only because two mechanics who run a local shop are the best we’ve ever dealt with, but they only service those two brands. My BMW X1 has been great. Surprisingly roomy, excellent handling and acceleration, 25-35mpg. On a driving trip in the Southwest I was getting 500 mikes on a tank. At one point in Utah I pulled out to pass an RV that was barely doing 70, pulled back in, glanced at the speedo and was surprised to see I had gotten it up to 105 just like that.
    There a lot of alternative brands that will give you the same experience and one of the smaller Mazda crossovers could be a good bargain. Mazda’s value proposition is German driving experience at Asian prices. Be prepared however, because even used cars of all makes are scarce and surprisingly expensive.

  102. @anonymous

    What do pro-Putinists prefer? AvtoVAZ or GAZ?

    • Replies: @Anonymous
  103. @Steve Sailer

    My wife has a 2020 CRV. No problems, drives well, well made. You’re an inch or two taller than I am but the cabin is plenty spacious. Good safety features, keeps its value. Can’t go wrong with a CRV, there’s a reason it’s so popular.

    • Replies: @Bill Jones
    , @Dutch Boy
  104. Coemgen says:
    @mmack

    Sedans have been losing interest among buyers …

    The sedan is the new minivan.

  105. Top of the list:Toyota Highlander………….

    On the LIE:lots and lots of Subarus…followed by Honda Civics……..

    I had to get rid of my Camry XSE too many god dam flat tires….If you get a Camry….get an XLE….

    But a Highlander….

    To save gas:Corolla Hybrid LE…

    Whatever you do:don’t buy a gd electric…

    But a car new car with 0 mileage….buy the tire insurance….can you change your own tires?

    I am buying two extra brand new tires for spare tires …steel rims…..

    So my I’ll say but a brand new Subaru….or a brand new or low mileage Toyota Highlander….

  106. @Alfa158

    If you can afford it, get a 2-3 year old lease return from a dealer.

    Yes, but watch out for big upcharges on certified pre-owned (CPO) vehicles.

    The sweet spot on powertrains will be the increasingly ubiquitous two liter turbo, but not with a CVT transmission.

    No to both. The issue with the 2-liter turbos is that the manufacturers are all running 17-18 psi of boost. That’s really, really high for anything intended to be a daily driver.

    My BMW X1 has been great. Surprisingly roomy, excellent handling and acceleration, 25-35mpg. On a driving trip in the Southwest I was getting 500 mikes on a tank.

    I’m thinking you have the newer inline-4 X1. I hope they’ve addressed the issues with the plastic timing chain guides that plagued the N20 I4 in the older model.

    I only know this because I had an I4 X1 and traded it for the I6. I only get about 400 mikes a tank, but being quicker 0-60 than the 335i and 535i of that era is well-worth it.

    Unfortunately, I have enough miles on it that the electric coolant pump is at risk of dying at any moment. That is going to be an expensive job outside my ability, unlike the burst coolant reservoir tank I just replaced.

  107. Rob McX says:

    This looks about right for ploughing your way through an antifa mob.

    • Replies: @AnotherDad
  108. @JackOH

    I think those fattened pillars were put in to comply with government rollover protection regulations.

    Yes they were. My 2005 CRV had great visibility. My newer 2014 CRV not so much because of the bigger pillars.

    2) Get an electric adjustable driver’s seat.

    • Replies: @JackOH
  109. possumman says:
    @The Wild Geese Howard

    Change the CVT juice every 75-80k miles and they will not break down—ignore it and they will

  110. https://www.edmunds.com/suv/#midsize-suvs

    Kia Telluride (2023)–see edmunds review (midsize SUV)

  111. Rob McX says:

    One golden rule, apparently, is never tell the salesman you’re paying cash until the price is agreed on. Less than half their profit comes from the markup on the car. A lot of it comes from the commission they get from the finance companies. If there’s no loan involved, they need to drive a harder bargain.

  112. @Justice Duvall

    Buy whatever Toyota comfortably fits your body.

    Or Lexus, if you’re into luxury vehicles.

    For those who don’t know, Lexuses (Lexii?) are basically just badge-engineered Toyotas.

  113. Hybrid RAV4. About 40 mpg for about \$35,000 new.

  114. @Jack D

    Right on cue, here’s Jack D, man of the world and self-appointed expert on everything.

    You are to iSteve threads what kudzu is to Georgia.

  115. Anon[233] • Disclaimer says:
    @AnotherDad

    Buying a new car has become— at least partially— a political decision. After all, where ya gonna share the love?

  116. Jack D says:
    @Alfa158

    The sweet spot on powertrains will be the increasingly ubiquitous two liter turbo, but not with a CVT transmission.

    Agree with the no CVT thing. Not only are these unpleasant to drive but their longevity is questionable. You are putting all of the power of the car thru a belt and some pulleys like a lawnmower. It’s a very fancy steel belt but that’s a lot to ask in the long run.

    As for the 2 liter turbo, these are great on mileage but I question the longevity if you are the type of person, like Steve, who keeps a car for decades. They squeeze a lot of power out of these little engines but that has to come at a price. Up until this year, when they finally gave up and got on the bandwagon, Subaru was using a conventionally aspirated 6 rather than a turbo 4 for their larger vehicles. Same thing with Genesis. The reasoning was that an under-stressed 6 would have better longevity. But yes the turbo 4’s are better on gas and maybe they have cracked long term longevity but I doubt it. Something about a full sized sedan (or a pickup truck) with a little 4 cyl under the hood rubs me the wrong way even if on paper it has the power of a 6.

    Mazdas are fun to drive. If you get one, get one made in Japan and not elsewhere. Even for the Japanese ones, reliability/longevity is not quite up to Toyota levels.

    • Replies: @Anon
  117. @dearieme

    I am not interested in following him… I find him mostly annoying,… especially his usual blather about how great Mexico is… I really want to know why Unz dumped him so thoroughly…

    • Replies: @Rob McX
  118. @Steve Sailer

    The wife bought a Honda CRV a couple of years ago: All the female peers have one.
    It is stuffed with shit I hate. The CRV, the Turbo, the “Lane Assist” etc A chip in the windshield meant a new one. \$2k.
    My 10 year old Camry just turned 220k, I can recall 2 batteries 3 sets of tires and a torque convertor recall that Toyota paid for. 2012 for me is the sweet spot- a CD player plus bluetooth.
    My 1999 Ram 1500 V8 starts every time. The letting the wife choose experiment won’t be repeated.
    There is a huge market niche- can a niche be a majority? for a back to basics car. If the Supremes roll back the regulatory State, as seems possible, we may get there.

  119. @Anonymous

    Fred still publishes at Amren and other outlets. My best guess is Fred got fed up with the nasty reader comments and stopped submitting at Unz

    • Replies: @Achmed E. Newman
  120. @Ghost of Bull Moose

    Can’t go wrong with a CRV

    On the basis of no history at all.

    Come back in a decade.

  121. @JackOH

    Yeah, I agree. I see lots of Grannies driving Lexus SUVs. Probably non-smokers also. Those autos are parked 95% of the time in a garage. Real cherries.

  122. Something from Honda or Toyota would be best – comfortable and reliable.

  123. tr says:
    @Mr. Blank

    There’s a problem with the Civic. I’ve owned five and found them to be largely trouble-free. It’s just that at age 68, I’m no longer comfortable driving my current Civic for trips over about an hour. (I do have long legs.) My next vehicle will probably be a SUV, which should allow a more upright, more natural seating position. This is important at my age. Our host should judge for himself whether he might face the same problems.
    I did notice that the older my father got, the bigger the car he drove—I’m assuming for similar reasons.

  124. If you can hold off on the purchase for 6 months, do so.

    Try a search (I trust you don’t use google) on “don’t buy a car soon”.

    A lot of the covid scam stimulus ended up in auto’s and there’s a wave of repo’s hitting about now.
    My guess is you can save 10-20% by being a little patient.

    https://www.barrons.com/articles/recession-cars-bank-repos-51657316562

    Give this a read
    https://www.ericpetersautos.com/2022/02/18/your-guide-to-buying-a-used-car/

    • Agree: Houston 1992
    • Replies: @Houston 1992
  125. @Rob McX

    If there’s no loan involved, they need to drive a harder bargain.

    Also, you will be treated like a second class citizen by some dealers’ service departments if they aren’t making any vig from your loan.

    I learned this the hard way. Thankfully the only thing wasted was a bit of my time.

  126. @Jack D

    Spot on about the Genesis.

    (Of course, my advice was colored by, “What’s right for Steve with the 1998 Infiniti ; )”

  127. Dutch Boy says:
    @clifford brown

    Agree about Hondas but even the used Civics cost a mint now. Our local Honda dealer has been hit hard by the new car shortage and had only four new Hondas of any model for sale on their huge lot.

  128. Dutch Boy says:
    @Steve Sailer

    I own a 2016 I got in 2020 with <30,000 miles on it. I love it but my wife loves it even more and borrows it every chance she gets.

  129. Dutch Boy says:
    @Ghost of Bull Moose

    What year did Honda go to the turbo and/or the VSA? I have a 2016 and have not noticed the lag others complain of.

    • Replies: @kaganovitch
  130. JosephD says:

    Given a recession is about to hit, waiting for some folks whose whose eyes were bigger than their wallets cars to get repossessed could be a good strategy. I did that earlyish in covid territory and got a 1 year old car at a nice price.

    Take a good look at Hyundai and Mazda. Both have gone upscale in their materials and design, and have good reliabilities/warranty.

  131. Anonymous[221] • Disclaimer says:

    This model came out in 2019 for the LA market.

  132. Malcolm Y says:

    It depends on what you need it for. But in general suppose you want something that will get you from point A to point B and back and it’s just 2 – 4 passengers and you don’t want to haul stuff. I think a Toyota Carolla or Camry would be a good choice. Living, I assume, in Cali away from the beach it can last you a long time (a used one w/ 25k miles or less). Most of them won’t have transmission or engine problems before 100k miles if you properly maintain them. A 2nd choice would be a Honda and a 3rd although it may be highly debatable is a Subaru (I had one I bought used and it lasted almost 10 years driven moderately but the winter weather here really takes a toll). However ALL makes of cars continue to get worse in terms of quality don’t know the reason but it seems to be happening.

    • Replies: @Jack D
  133. Anon[244] • Disclaimer says:
    @Stonewall Jackson

    And utu. Can’t believe he was outgunned.

  134. Citroën 2CV

    (Oh, should get. Sorry, never mind.)

  135. @JohnnyWalker123

    Steve is too tall for a 370Z.

    All those cars are awful for California driving. You are sitting most of the time.

    What he needs is a large care with ice cold AC.

    I would go with a 2007ish Cadillac STS. Don’t bother with a newer one, waste of insurance money.

  136. @Jack D

    Chrysler 300 is on the same chassis. I wouldn’t touch either one with a 10 foot pole, even putting aside image issues.

    The 300 is an excellent car and without the German tax on parts and service.

    Anyone with the attitude of “must buy European” doesn’t read reliability ratings. VW/Audi has an entire decade of crap. BMW has put out some junk SUVs and ranks near the bottom compared to all car manufacturers.

    Volvos are reliable but then you get raped when you take one in for something even simple like a headlight. People find a Volvo at a bargain and then think they got a good deal until they take it in for service. That’s when they learn why the previous owner got rid of it.

    American sedans are the way to go. They are still a bargain and great for sitting in traffic.

    Trucks/SUVs are a complete rip right now and should be avoided. Same with sports cars.

  137. Anon[369] • Disclaimer says:
    @Jack D

    Damn dude, you are a polymath’s polymath. Whether it’s on the subject of automotive engineering or the epidemiology of Monkeypox or the vulnerability of the S-300 to HIMARS or the Korean War and the 38th parallel you’ve got it covered.


    I’m gonna petition Amazon to add “One of the last” to these book titles or sue them for false advertising


    Jack D. on his lunch break, contemplating ways to chemically reduce the heat levels in hurricanes to mitigate their destructive power while simultaneously contemplating how the Flyers acquisition of defenseman Tony DeAngelo will adjust the strength of their penalty kill in the second round of the 2023 playoffs

    • Replies: @Jack D
  138. Luke Lea says:

    I suggest a used Prius. It’s the most reliable car on the road, roomy-midsized interior, peppy, drives like a sports car, plus it gets 40 miles per gallon or better.

  139. @Stonewall Jackson

    General I read something by Mr. Unz somewhere on here that noted there was some disagreement between he and Mr. Reed.

    Fred Reed has been good for only one thing, as far as I’m concerned, over the last 5 years. His columns would get a lot of reads, hence reads of my blog. (I made an effort to check a couple of times.) However, as far as his opinion he has sucked for a number of years now.

    His columns on the old FredOnEverything site were very good. Though he still has had a great writing style, I believe he has been fixated on proving that he did the right thing by ex-patriating to ole Mexico over a decade back. I’m not saying that he DIDN’T do the right thing for himself. It’s just that he is all-things-anti-Americans now , and note the “s“. Hell, he’s worse than our site host on that score, if that’s possible.

    Below the [MORE] tag is my take on a conglomeration of Fred Reed columns. Basically, fuck Fred Reed. (I’m glad we have Michelle Malkin on here to take that space!)

    [MORE]

    [Fred Reed mode] America is decaying. There is no unified American culture anymore. There are lots of people mixed together from all over the world. There are bad ignorant Americans that are trying to prevent people from coming in from all over the world. Things don’t work well anymore. The new foreigners are better than those ignorant foreigner-hating Americans at working. America has changed for the worse from back when I was a kid when it was 90% white.

    Trump is a clown. The TV news that I watch all day is full of people criticizing the President for everything and making fun of him. TV sucks. Americans should see how bad their country is on the TV. Trump wants a wall built. Bad ignorant Americans want a border barrier built. Walls don’t work. Americans just don’t want we Mexicans to assimilate and exchange bodily fluids with them. Mexicans don’t want to assimilate and be part of the crass, new, sick American culture that I watch on TV. Mexican culture is better and we have great engineering schools and gated communities. Mexico is better, so Mexicans don’t want to go to America. There is no need for a wall, but they don’t work anyway. Bodily fluids! [/Fred Reed mode]

  140. @Another German Reader

    I’ve read there are some real steals on these since August 2021, provided you are willing to eat the shipping costs from Kabul.

  141. Jack D says:
    @Malcolm Y

    3rd although it may be highly debatable is a Subaru (I had one I bought used and it lasted almost 10 years driven moderately but the winter weather here really takes a toll).

    Subaru is sort of the AMC of Japanese car companies if you are old enough to remember them. They are the little guys compared to the big 3 so that they make do with what they have. Basically what they do (and they do this very successfully so you would hardly know) is that they have one engine design and one chassis platform which they have had for many years and they keep updating the styling and creating variations on the same theme and stretching and shrinking so that they conjure a full lineup out of this one handful of time tested (you might also say outdated) components. You start with a basic 4 cyl. economy sedan (Impreza). You jack it up a bit and it’s an SUV (Forester). You turbo charge it and it’s a sporty model (WRX). You stretch it and it’s a midsized sedan (Legacy). Etc. It’s kind of a neat magic trick to give the illusion of being a big company that can compete with a behemoth like Toyota without having the resources to actually do so. And they have managed to keep this act going for decades.

    Now this has certain advantages if you are trying to keep an older Subaru on the road. There is a great aftermarket of cheap Chinese parts for Subaru because if you make one (say) drive axle for a Subaru, that axle (or bearing or ignition coil or whatever) is going to fit 5 different Subaru models in 8 years each so you are going to have a big market for that part and bring down that price with volume.

    OTOH, if you had bought a Toyota, you might not have needed that cheap part to begin with because the one on the Toyota wouldn’t break in the 1st place. Over the years, I think I have replaced the axles or bearings on all 4 corners of my Subaru at least once. My MIL has a Lexus of the same vintage and it is still rolling on the factory originals. Some of this stems from not so great design decisions by Subaru such as putting the CV boot directly above the exhaust manifold where it gets cooked. Toyota maybe gets the #1 Japanese automotive engineering grads who make fewer stupid mistakes and Subaru gets the 4th round draft choices.

    Also, for a car that is supposed to be popular in snowy areas, Subarus rust like crazy. Nothing to worry about in sunny California (as long as you buy a California car) but anywhere they use salt, Subarus crumble to nothingness. Not just cosmetic rust (thought there is that too) but sometime structural rust such that the car is totaled or at least requires welding of replacement metal.

    • Replies: @Jim Bob Lassiter
  142. Anon[598] • Disclaimer says:

    I see a lot of suggestions for newer cars here, but I think Steve’s more of a “let’s extract the best from extant traditions”-type of guy. In that vein, I’d like to suggest an early 80’s Mercedes:
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mercedes-Benz_W123#Technical_data_-_North_America_and_Japan
    Specifically, one with an OM617 diesel engine:
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mercedes-Benz_OM617_engine
    And, given that you’ll be using freeways regularly in SoCal, specifically an OM617 turbodiesel. The turbo is critical, given how fast traffic is a lot of the time. You’d probably be relegated to the slowest lane on all uncongested stretches of freeway without it.

    I’d think W123 turbodiesels have a lot of things going for them from your perspective, Steve:
    – They last forever. I’m not kidding, just look around when you’re out in the world and you will see a significant number of them on the road, even though they’re almost all >40 years old by this point. Moreover, the OM617 engines will regularly run for 500k miles.
    – They’re unusually abundant in the LA area. The iSteve-ish theory for this is that LA was going through something of a golden age when these status markers were at their peak and that coincidence conspired with German engineering to ensure that they’d still be found all over LA decades later.
    – Another possible explanation for their abundance in LA, and a separate point in their favor, is that they’re very popular among people who like to convert cars to run off of vegetable oil. LA’s climate is among the best in continental America for running diesel engines on vegetable oil, and the W123s/OM617s are engineered so well that the labor needed to convert is minimal. The mileages when running on any kind of fuel tend to be representative of the era that birthed the cars, but the vegetable oil route leaves open an escape valve for fuel savings, should things get really bad.
    – All of the above factors mean that the examples you’ll find locally have generally been owned by people who like getting good deals and taking care of what they have. Consequently, there are plenty for sale in much better condition than you’d expect for 40 year old cars.
    – Finally, in my opinion, possibly the coolest feature of these cars is that absolutely nothing in the car is unnecessarily electronic. Philosophically, I feel they manifest a beautiful techno-luddite (yes, I’m using that word) vision of automobile design, providing a mental bulwark against the incessant, tentacular spreading of CPU control deeper and deeper into modern cars. An example of this is that even the power locks are analog – they run off of a unique pressurized pneumatic system.

    Good luck picking a car! Oh, last thing, many of them are stations wagons, which can make transporting less-than-enormous dogs very convenient.

    • Replies: @kaganovitch
    , @smetana
  143. Jack D says:
    @John Johnson

    Chrysler has been making the 300 more or less unchanged for 17 years now so they have worked out most of the wrinkles and it is fairly reliable. (BTW, never buy a car in its 1st model year – you are the beta tester). OTOH, it’s extremely outdated. In the time that the 300 has been out, Toyota has gone thru 4 generations of the ES300 series, each one markedly improved and updated from the previous generation. Cars nowadays are heavily electronic. Think of what a cell phone from 2005 is like vs. one today.

    The 300 is the automotive equivalent of a flip phone.

    I agree that you should stay away from German cars but the reliability of some Japanese cars (Toyota esp.) is untouchable.

  144. @Reg Cæsar

    You’re an American, buy something American.

    Yeah, a Chevy built in Ontario. Not some Toyota or Subaru built in Indiana.

    There is more to building cars than just where the factory is–although that is hugely important. There is a whole lot of engineering and research as well. The kind of job, maybe your own STEMy kid might want to do?

    This is a long conversation and as an issue pales behind:
    — immigration and the associated HBD issues (as well as all the very direct issues like wages, housing, traffic, schools)
    and
    — eugenic fertility.

    However, the plain fact is America is consuming about 5% more than it produces in GDP terms. And that’s an under-statement because a good bit of that other 95% is utter b.s. and overhead. The US is a mature economy, it should be in an equilibrium or if anything a net capital exporter, funding investment in developing nations. Not a capital importer selling off our companies, our farmland, our housing … so we can buy Japanese, Korean, Chinese cars and TVs.

    The correct–reasonable and proper–way to deal with this is some sort of capital controls or credits. (I.e. if you want to pay someone in China for stuff you’re importing you need to also purchase the credit to send those \$\$\$ overseas from someone who has sold, say their corn overseas and collected \$\$\$ from overseas.) Every nation can do that–and set the amount of slop (capital outflow)–without stepping on anyone else’s toes.

    But capital controls offend “the people who matter”–Wall Street, the middle-men who own us now. (Nation? What nation? It’s an “economy”–a marketplace. And we are their serfs.)

    Baring fixing that, automobiles is one of the things that should be quite easy for any large competent nation (or market group of nations EU) to build for itself. It should not be trade deficit item for the US. And it is easy to find an American one–in any market segment–that is high quality, drives well, crashes adequately, gets typical mileage and is perfectly fine. Most of this “my X is great” is fetishism. Quite a bit more boring than say “I prefer blonds”.

  145. @Rob McX

    Can get a little slippery when too many antifa are underneath:

    • LOL: Rob McX, J1234
  146. @Jack D

    Chrysler has been making the 300 more or less unchanged for 17 years now so they have worked out most of the wrinkles and it is fairly reliable. (BTW, never buy a car in its 1st model year – you are the beta tester). OTOH, it’s extremely outdated.

    The 300 isn’t outdated nor is a flip phone. Cars really haven’t changed much in the last 10 years unless you are talking about hybrids/electrics.

    The 2011 edition was revamped and the 2015+ has a new transmission.

    Buying a brand new car for the sake of it is for suckers. They have a lot of markup compared to a used car with 20-30k miles.

    A 2015 300 is a good value, especially if you can find one with around 80k miles.

    Toyota has gone thru 4 generations of the ES300 series

    Yes and still a rebadged Camry which could be the most boring car ever made. But if you want to spend an extra 10 grand for premium leather and to have the Camry badge removed then knock yourself out.

    • Replies: @Jack D
    , @Reg Cæsar
  147. I think you should get a small, crew-cab, four-wheel-drive pickup truck. Those double as a four-door sedan with a usable cargo space behind. Super practical. Find the smallest and cheapest one you can as long as it’s made by Ford Motors or any of the Japanese companies who offer one. Look at Carmax too. I’ve bought two cars from them, and have had excellent results.

  148. FPD72 says:
    @Anonymous

    Click and Clack used to say there are three things that every Volvo owner believes:
    1. Volvos have a good history of minimal mechanical problems.
    2. Volvos get good fuel economy.
    3. Their Volvo is the exception to 1 and 2..

    • Replies: @kaganovitch
    , @Anonymous
  149. Anon[101] • Disclaimer says:

    The cheapest new Hyundai or similar

  150. @Achmed E. Newman

    Commenter Adam Smith linked me to a good video on my blog* with a guy that says those mid-’90’s cars are the peak of (no, I’m not gonna say “stupidity” this time) quality with much less plastic.

    I know you are not up for having the car break on you, but something with less than 120,000 miles from the mid-late 1990s may last you a nice long time, with your low-milage driving habits.

    I would avoid those mid 90s cars. That is when the US companies made a lot of junk, especially cars just to boost their CAFE standards. The fuel injection and security systems on those cars can go haywire from junky chips. I’d honestly rather own a classic with a carburetor than anything American from the 90s.

    I wouldn’t go lower than about 2007 or 2008. You want side airbags and bluetooth. Some of the earlier bluetooth systems are garbage and can’t be easily replaced because they were experimenting with one big computer type systems. If you don’t mind talking into your phone then I suppose it isn’t an issue.

    • Replies: @Achmed E. Newman
    , @Jack D
  151. @Achmed E. Newman

    “I wouldn’t recommend a brand new vehicle to anyone.”

    Not even a Red Barchetta? Perfect vehicle for defying the Motor Law.

    • Replies: @Achmed E. Newman
  152. OT: @Steve, have you read Robert Weissberg’s eye-opening article at Minding the Campus? Unbelievable expose about how universities are gaming the system to get blacks teaching jobs and other credentials. It’s much worse than has been reported, and Weissberg’s article explains how, eg, Michelle Obama was able to graduate from Harvard. I’d love to see you post on this.

    https://www.mindingthecampus.org/2022/07/21/how-the-best-of-intentions-created-todays-academic-disasters/

  153. Take all that Pfizer shill money that you got over the last couple years and get yourself a tesla. Governor American Psycho has banned internal combustion engines, hasn’t he?

  154. @John Johnson

    Anyone with the attitude of “must buy European” doesn’t read reliability ratings. VW/Audi has an entire decade of crap. BMW has put out some junk SUVs and ranks near the bottom compared to all car manufacturers.

    Yup. I’ve had to deal with multiple oil leaks on both used BMWs I’ve purchased. The techs at at used car dealers simply don’t know the nuances of doing a BMW oil and filter change.

    The poor German engineering example that really gets me is the Porsche Macan. I don’t mind all the Audi and VW cross-platform mechanical bits they reuse on the Macan.

    What I do mind is the splash shield/underbody aero panel design. One of these shields sits below the oil pan and most of the engine package.

    The top side of that splash/aero shield has a noticeable velvety coating on the side facing up towardsthe engine…almost as if it were present to soak up any oil leaking from points on the engine.

    WTF Porsche????

  155. Steve, you can have my 1989 Ford Crown Vic (yellow body, with black roof, as it is an ex-Yellow cab w c. 350K miles on it)

    for a discount (today only) price

    of \$25,000 cash. Remember, this

    is a classic car, aka “the ghetto blaster””, esp. beloved by ‘bangers for drive-bys.

    in fact, the driver-side door is off a 1988, as the original had 3 bullet holes in it.

    • LOL: Hibernian
  156. @Steve Sailer

    The front right tire tends to get damaged by running it into the curb.

    Per America’s Newspaper of record, this only gets worse after one transitions so resist the temptation.

    https://babylonbee.com/news/newly-transitioned-woman-proudly-runs-over-first-curb

  157. @John Johnson

    Nah, that’s not been my experience, as I’ve had a really solid Ford from that era. The fuel injection has been great, even after I did the heads myself (not a mechanic!)

    I did have a problem with the idle when the car was at a stop and replaced the idle control motor. The only other electronics problem was with the very stupid feature of having the windows roll down on their own with the slight push of a button. I repaired the mechanism but that was only the symptom not the problem – some electronics didn’t know the window was down, so the motor wouldn’t stop. I could do without that bug, errr, “feature” to begin with. My mechanic likes a lot of the cars from these years, American ones included.

    No, I don’t want airbags that can total out the car in a minor wreck. I couldn’t care less about bluetooth either. The later you go for ALL cars, the more electronic crap their is that can go wrong. That’s fine if you get something fairly new and plan to drive it only through 100,000 miles or so.

    That all said, the video that Adam Smith referred me to was on either German or Jap cars – I should remember that, but also my site is hell to search on, even for me.

    Yes, Jeep Cherokees from the 1990s are really solid, but automatic transmissions don’t last forever. If Steve wants a bug-out vehicle, they come recommended, but I think he doesn’t believe that he’ll have to worry about that.

    • Replies: @John Johnson
  158. Mr Bill says:

    I recently bought a new (to me) car. I wanted something safe, reliable, and comfortable, preferably made in this country. I also wanted enough power so that merging onto the interstate was not an adventure. I did a lot reading and watching video reviews, which were surprisingly helpful. It came down to a Lexus ES350, or Volvo S60, both of which are made in the US. Both seemed to meet all the criteria, but Volvo doesn’t seem to have quite as good a reputation for reliability. The Volvo S60 was just a little small for me, but the S90 seemed too big. And the Lexus Certified Used Car program got good reviews. I wound up buying a certified 2019 ES350. Because it is certified, I got nearly a four year warranty. So far I am very happy with it.

  159. Jack D says:
    @John Johnson

    I agree that you save a lot if you get a luxury car that is 3 or 4 yrs. old. Luxury cars take a big depreciation hit because it doesn’t impress anyone at the country club if you pull up in your new 2018 Lexus in 2022.

    Lexus interor:

    Chrysler interior:

    I rest my case.

    • Replies: @John Johnson
  160. @SunBakedSuburb

    Now wait, SBS, wasn’t that car Geddy Lee’s old wizened uncle’s? It was from long ago hidden in a barn or something. I bet they weren’t even paying property tax on it. OMG!

    OK, here we go…

  161. Jack D says:
    @John Johnson

    I agree with you (’90s cars are getting mighty old anyway) but some argue that say 90s Lexus and Mercedes were a peak in reliability when new. They were better than they had to be and later bean counting CEOs made them less reliable. In Mercedes case by going nuts with electronics and in Toyota’s by “decontenting” them . Toyota looked in the rear view mirror and realized that they were a mile ahead and not getting paid for it so that they could let up on the gas and only be 100 yards ahead.

    Sometimes it’s possible (even without changing the radio and in ’90s cars a lot of radios are “DIN” style and easily swapped) to update to bluetooth by other means. In my 2003 Subaru I added one little gizmo box that plugs into the antenna line and give you an audio jack (which was lacking in the factory radio). And then a 2nd gizmo that plugs into the audio jack and communicates with my phone (speaker phone and music apps) over bluetooth. This setup would work in any car that has an FM radio which would take you back maybe to the 1970s onward, with no modifications to the dash.

  162. @Justice Duvall

    Scotty Kilmer (the Jim Cramer of auto repair — they both yell out their advice) cautions to stay clear of Nissan products, which I guess nixes a replacement Infiniti?

    Besides Toyotas being reliable, Scotty thinks Mazdas have gotten a lot better as these days they are partnered with Toyota.

    Scotty is warning that some Toyota models are not as super reliable as they once were. The 4-speed Aisin-brand transmission in a Camry was bullet proof, the 6-speed in more recent models OK, but the 8-speed has some concerns. Also, the base 2.5 liter 4-cylinder “Dynamic Force” four-cylinder has gone to gasoline direct injection. This gives up the benefit of gasoline acting as a cleaning solvent when injected against the intake valve port, but there is something about Toyota combining direct injection (straight into the cylinder) with some of the gas port injected (for the cleaning benefit)?

    Part of Toyota bullet-proofing is those cars tolerated some degree of casual maintenance — the newer one’s may benefit from strict adherence to transmission fluid and oil change intervals.

  163. Clyde says:

    https://www.youtube.com/c/ScottyKilmermechanic/videos >>>> for lots of good advice. Spend a few hours there.

    I would get a Honda HR-V or CR-V. The CR-V is better known and larger, but the HR-V has a smaller engine. So better gas mileage. Honda Civic is smaller but OK if you like it. If Civic, I would get a hatchback. If someone laid the money on me, I would get an HR-V new, or used with not over 30,000 miles. Preferably not over 15,000 miles.

    Who is the world’s largest engine maker? Honda. From gasoline to diesel. From lawnmower engines to automobile engines, on up.

  164. Anon[243] • Disclaimer says:

    It seems like all the new cars on the road you see nowadays are one of the following:

    1) Crossovers or “CUVs”

    2) Tesla sedans

    3) Gigantic pickup trucks

    Regarding sedans, Camrys/Accords are still hanging in there, but it seems like Tesla sedans are taking most of the market share and the other automakers have basically given up.

    • Replies: @Curle
  165. Coemgen says:
    @Coemgen

    Note that it isn’t only 2006 through 2011 4-cylinder Toyotas that have an oil consumption issue. It’s an issue with newer cars from many other manufacturers (it’s related to changes made to get better gas mileage in the short term at the sacrifice of an engine’s lifespan):

    https://www.consumerreports.org/car-maintenance/some-newer-cars-can-burn-lots-of-oil-a1065338868/

    https://www.nhtsa.gov/laws-regulations/corporate-average-fuel-economy

  166. @Dutch Boy

    What year did Honda go to the turbo and/or the VSA? I have a 2016 and have not noticed the lag others complain of.

    If you look under the hood/bonnet (that’s the large hinged sheet metal thing that covers the front top of the auto) you can see if it has a turbo thingie coming out of the engine.

    • Replies: @Jack D
  167. I love my Toyota 4Runner.

  168. Dutch Boy says:
    @Anonymous

    Apparently you are not aware that all those Latinos from countries with sky-high crime rates become upright, law-abiding citizens when they arrive in the USA (says Mr. Unz). I know some cynics deride this as the “magic dirt” theory of immigrant assimilation but we should respect our host’s views in this matter.

  169. @Anon

    The mileages when running on any kind of fuel tend to be representative of the era that birthed the cars, but the vegetable oil route leaves open an escape valve for fuel savings, should things get really bad.

    Not sure what you call ‘really bad’ , but diesel is \$6.50 a gallon in sunny Galivornia even as we speak.

  170. Pontius says:
    @Steve Sailer

    I’ve had so many things mysteriously appear out of nowhere from behind my A pillar. No wonder Sergio Marchionne said the 200 was a bad car. Been fighting oil leaks and misfires for 3 years now. I still somehow like it. Must be the Alfa DNA. Bloody Italians anyway.

  171. captflee says:

    Since you’re only getting rain every quarter, may I suggest a Morgan? The folks in Santa Monica have a Plus Six waiting for you to test drive, I see.

  172. @FPD72

    The mechanical version of Gell-Man’s amnesia.

  173. @Jack D

    Peak Mercedes reliability was the indomitable W123 era. Peak engineering for engineering sake machine era. Mercedes started to move away from that in the late 1980s. Agreed today, Mercedes are overly complex electronic systems.

    • Replies: @Jack D
  174. Clyde says:
    @Stonewall Jackson

    Just might be that Ol’ Mexico hand Fred got laid low by vaxxes or actual covid.xyz

  175. Jack D says:
    @Herbert R. Tarlek, Jr.

    Feel free to skip my comments.

    There may be some threads (golf courses, most sports in general, popular music, etc.) that I know very little about and I won’t say anything on those threads. The idea that I comment on anything and everything is just wrong. I happen to know a little bit about cars.

    • Agree: Johann Ricke
  176. JackOH says:
    @Jim Don Bob

    Car stuff I thought (or might have thought) bullshit in the 1970s seem pretty sensible to me now that I’m close to my 70s.

    +1 on motorized adjustable driver’s seats. I had it in a rental. I could hit a perfect position, or nearly so.

    LED instrument panel. A real blessing for my aging eyeballs, especially in bright sunlight. Also a rental.

    Power windows. You want to drive out the summer heat without getting an air conditioner cold.

    Fold-down rear seats. I just donated a 6-foot Chinese wall to Goodwill. Knocked down the rear seat, folded down the front passenger seat. Easy-peasy.

    Air conditioning. I actually had a relative explain to me an air conditioner is more important in a car. Glass surface area per interior volume. Made sense to me.

  177. Jack D says:
    @Anon

    That doesn’t look like me. I don’t have blue eyes.

    • LOL: Johann Ricke
    • Replies: @Anon
  178. @JackOH

    “Toyota or Lexus geezermobiles: older, low mileage, church and grocery store vehicles, driven by Gramps and Grannies with good pensions and attentiveness to maintenance. Try for a 10- or 12-year old one-owner, for starters.

    Pay book or maybe 5% above book for a clean car (body and mechanical) you think you can trust.”

    I agree regarding Lexus/Toyota, but……the used car market is INSANE.

    CL (and FB marketplace) is jammed with extremely high priced garbage. I’ve never seen anything like it. TBH, it looks like they are pulling cars out of the junkyard to post them on CL with crazy prices.
    Even the high mileage cars and salvage cars are priced crazy.

    I’ve been trying to find a Lexus IS250 for a lady friend to no avail. Another friend wants a CRV….again, almost impossible to find a decent low mileage car right now.

    I read articles that claim this insanity has been caused by a chip shortage for new cars, so the used market went bananas.

    But yeah, Japanese is the way to go. My sis bought a Mercedes SUV that has been a nightmare to maintain….should have bought the Lexus.

    • Replies: @JackOH
  179. Jack D says:
    @clifford brown

    Mercedes were never cheap but most of them were not really luxury cars either (they did have a true luxury line that they sold to 3rd world dictators and such for really high \$). Their big market were the rattly diesel taxis that they sold in practically every 3rd world country on the planet (and all over Europe too). It was a big investment for the cab driver but he could amortize it over 300,000 miles. How taxicabs became associated with luxury is a miracle of marketing – it would be as if the Germans decided that a Checker was a luxury car. Why rich Americans, who lease their cars and trade them every 3 years or so, would want a 300,000 mile car was a mystery. Eventually Mercedes started making the cars that they thought their luxury car buyers wanted to lease, so the event horizon shifted from 300,000 miles to 3 or 4 years. After that, they would be glad if you just crushed the thing and bought a new one.

  180. gnbRC says:

    Here’s my take, based on experience ….

    Not to buy … (maintenance nightmares)
    1. Rover
    2. Jeep
    3. German vehicle

    Seemingly good vehicles, but hidden dangers …
    1. Honda CRV (crash in Seattle killed occupants, engine ejected from car)
    2. Toyota small SUV (my brother and wife were instantaneously killed in this vehicle, T-boned by a driver in WI with a rap sheet as long as your arm, released by liberal DA on own cognizance. Vehicle offered no protection whatsoever.)

    What to buy, reliable and sturdy, reasonable gas mileage, good driver safety …
    1. Toyota pickup (Tacoma)
    2. Toyota Highlander
    3. (Alternate) Honda MDX (if living in an area that doesn’t salt roads in winter; also timing belt so expensive schedule maintenance every 100k)

    Where to buy …
    Through craigs list, direct from owner, who lives in a rural area or small/medium-sized town.

    Used or new:
    Toyota, V-6 after 2007 or later (timing chain rather than belt to reduce high-cost scheduled maintenance), vehicle should be good for at least 240k, so purchasing from an owner who cared for the vehicle with milage between 50k and 70k should be a really good deal.

    • Replies: @Jack D
  181. No, I don’t want airbags that can total out the car in a minor wreck.

    I hit a deer on Dec 1st 2019 in a new Camry that I’d had less than a day. I was pissed that I’d filled the tank 5 minutes before. I think it was something like 12 air bags that went off. Like the deer it was totaled but the car didn’t require the Deputy’s bullet to the head. I remember the date because shortly after it was covid all the time.

  182. My wife just bought a new Subaru Crosstrek Sport. And she has had her hair cut very short. Should I be worried?

    • Replies: @Jim Don Bob
  183. John12755 says:
    @Mudd

    I bought my ‘99 Camry new in 1998. It now has 356,000 kM on it (220 K miles), and I reckon the motor is good for another few hundred thousand km. I’m only good for another 50 thousand, so I think I’ll keep it. It has never let me down in 24 years.

    Reliability and a great drive—if I did upgrade I’d certainly buy Toyota or Lexus.

  184. @Jack D

    I’d much rather have the Chrysler.

    The large screen up front is an annoying trend. I hate driving newer Toyotas at night.

    I also don’t think Steve has the budget for a luxury car.

    • Replies: @clifford brown
  185. Voltarde says:

    My eyes are getting weaker with age. I have a 20 year-old Toyota, and it has been very reliable. My only complaint is that some of the dashboard controls are hard to see clearly (odometer/tripmeter and digital clock are useless in daylight), especially when wearing sun glasses.

    Also, weren’t you considering moving to Spokane? Wouldn’t that possibility affect your choice of vehicle?

  186. @Jack D

    I agree with you (’90s cars are getting mighty old anyway) but some argue that say 90s Lexus and Mercedes were a peak in reliability when new.

    The US companies made some good trucks in the 90s but they really slacked on a lot of the cars. I haven’t own a 90s Lexus or Mercedes. I’ve had friends with Audis/VWs and would rather own a horse. Nice looking cars but the repairs are expensive.

    Sometimes it’s possible (even without changing the radio and in ’90s cars a lot of radios are “DIN” style and easily swapped) to update to bluetooth by other means. In my 2003 Subaru I added one little gizmo box that plugs into the antenna line and give you an audio jack (which was lacking in the factory radio).

    Yea I’ve experimented with those gadgets. The audio jack works OK but I really like having a newer radio with proper bluetooth and a microphone. I sometimes go on long trips and will talk 1-2 hours with my wife.

    The 90s cars really aren’t the problem. They normally had isolated sound systems. It’s with the early “connected” cars that tried to do everything through the console. With GM for example they ran the system ding and blinker sound through the speakers. Or they have frozen bluetooth in a proprietary system. There are workarounds but it is an eyeroll. With newer cars you just upgrade the bluetooth and swap out the speakers. The deck is usually good enough.

  187. I drive a 2012 Chrysler Town & Country. It is perhaps the single most anonymous, outwardly non-appealing vehicle I have ever seen. It’s virtually invisible. I have never gotten a speeding ticket in all the time I’ve driven it, and I have a certified Lead foot.

    It has all the conveniences I could ever imagine, as well as being utile in the extreme. All five seats behind the driver fold down completely into the floor, so you can put a (single) full sheet of 4×8 drywall or melamine board back there if you are handy. If not, there is all that room anyway for other things.

    The rear bench has a well behind it, when raised, to put the groceries in, and they won’t spill all over the place. You can get video screens mounted in the headliner, AV connectors for the kids video games, and wireless headphones.

    The two sliding doors and rear gate are motorized, so you can control them with the key-fob and controls above the dash.

    The engine is smooth and has plenty of pep when merging onto the highway.

    The coming days of turmoil and chaos may be better served with camouflage and versatility than driving excitement.

  188. @John Johnson

    The large screen up front is an annoying trend. I hate driving newer Toyotas at night.

    Alas, that ship has sailed, my friend. You will get a ticket if you hold an iPhone in your hand while driving, but car companies are installing giant interactive screens in every dash. They are ubiquitous. Mercedes’ now have two interactive screens in the dash. One for the driver and one for the passenger. Has there been safety studies concerning these large screens with less than intuitive UIs? Then you have the haptic controls. There is something to be said for simple physical knobs and the advantages of muscle memory.

    • Replies: @John Johnson
  189. @Justice Duvall

    2011 Toyota Sienna for my family of 7, 292,000 miles and still running strong. My 04 Accord has 264,000 and runs great. Had a Corolla that went to 300k and sold for \$250. Steve should go Japanese.

  190. @Achmed E. Newman

    Nah, that’s not been my experience, as I’ve had a really solid Ford from that era. The fuel injection has been great, even after I did the heads myself (not a mechanic!)

    Was it an actual car or a truck? I’d rather light my hair on fire than work on a 90s Ford car. Not a mechanic either but I do my own car work.

    No, I don’t want airbags that can total out the car in a minor wreck.

    If your side airbags deploy then that means you were hit pretty hard. Yes it adds to the cost but it is easy to total out a car. The body shops overcharge for everything as part of the game.

    There are too many bad drivers out there and especially in California. I wouldn’t drive a small or classic car in SoCal. Too many idiots on packed highways and you will end up in an overcrowded hospital staffed by third worlders. Get the side airbags unless you live out in the sticks.

    The later you go for ALL cars, the more electronic crap their is that can go wrong.

    In my experience 1998 to about 2005 is the worst. Too many electronic bugs they hadn’t worked out. Over time they have improved just like with computers and smart phones. Early ones had too many beta features released on the public.

    Yes, Jeep Cherokees from the 1990s are really solid, but automatic transmissions don’t last forever. If Steve wants a bug-out vehicle, they come recommended, but I think he doesn’t believe that he’ll have to worry about that.

    A solid bug-out or occasional car is a 2004 Expedition. Gas hog but they are F150s underneath Mexicans drive those to like 300k in Arizona heat.

  191. Jack D says:
    @kaganovitch

    TBH, they have that thing so crammed under the hood that it’s hard to see.

    In this video you get a clear view of the turbo-charger starting at around 2:20 – at 2:26 the engineer covers the “charger” (compressor) half of it with his hand. Behind that, leading to the catalytic converter, is the all metal “turbo-” half. At 3:00 he puts his hand on the turbo (which you would not want to touch on a hot engine).
    .

    Turbo lag is pretty much a thing of the past. You can hear the Japanese engineer talking about the wastugate (wastegate) in the video. The idea is that you size the turbo to create adequate boost at low rpm and at high rpm where there would be too much pressure you dump off the excess thru a “wastegate”. Since there is adequate boost even at low rpm you don’t have to wait for the engine to spool up before the turbo kicks in. This is all controlled electronically in a sophisticated way that is transparent to the user. At least until the electronics breaks 10 or 15 years from now.

    • Replies: @John Johnson
  192. Rob McX says:
    @Stonewall Jackson

    I assumed he just stopped writing. I don’t see anything by him anywhere else online. His articles here on Unz appeared irregularly. I know he has health problems, and is practically blind.

  193. smetana says:
    @Anon

    Yes, an ancient SoCal Mercedes turbodiesel. W123, as you say, or W116:
    https://delicioustacos.com/2012/10/13/goodbye-greta/

    The sports car for nerds: VW Karmann Ghia

    • Replies: @Anon
  194. JackOH says:
    @Robert Dolan

    the used car market is INSANE.

    You got that 100% on the money. I’m seeing some asking prices at 70% above retail book, and, by now, current book ought to reflect actual transaction prices modified by chip and other parts shortages. More commonly, I’m seeing asking prices at 20%-40% above retail book. Still, a big stretch.

    I’m guessing some of the ridiculous asking prices are exploratory–see if there’s a sucker who’ll nip–and some asking prices are exploiting localized shortages.

    I think my own 2013 Corolla’s retail book has gone from about \$9,000 30 months ago to ballpark \$11,000 today.

  195. @clifford brown

    Alas, that ship has sailed, my friend. You will get a ticket if you hold an iPhone in your hand while driving, but car companies are installing giant interactive screens in every dash.

    Yes you can have a 13″ HDTV up front in a Tesla but talking on speaker with a phone in your hand is illegal.

    Welcome to clown town.

    Has there been safety studies concerning these large screens with less than intuitive UIs?

    I don’t know but the newer Toyotas and Mazdas definitely mess with my night vision. You can only dim them so much.

    I’m hoping people eventually realize it is a lame trend. That happened with digital gauges in sports cars.

    Some of the screens you can replace with a dual DIN but yea it sucks. So is the trend of f-cking burying the headlight bulb. My wife had a car that had to be jacked up to change the bulb.

    • Replies: @Ralph L
    , @Jack D
  196. Anon[369] • Disclaimer says:
    @Jack D

    That doesn’t look like me. I don’t have blue eyes.

    🤣🤣 And you’re a Henny Youngman to boot!

  197. @Jack D

    Subaru, huh? Steve does look a little “butch” come to think of it. I was going to suggest just having some shop build him a Ratrod if that sort of thing is still allowed in California.

    • Replies: @Jack D
  198. @Jack D

    I always thought turbo lag was cool.

    Like the delay for light speed in Star Wars.

    I also like the supercharger whine on a v8. Reminds me of Mad Max.

    It’s really too bad so few cars have turbochargers. All the people buying premium gas for no reason could have a lot more power and better milage at the same price.

    • Replies: @Buzz Mohawk
    , @Jack D
  199. Anonymous[148] • Disclaimer says:
    @John Frank

    UAZ. Specifically, UAZ-469. It’s a Soviet off-road truck legendary for its off-road capability for a price. Russians tried to distribute it through John Deer in the late 1990s, marketing it as a truck with fewest moving parts. The target price, IIRC, was ~ \$5,000. But the deal fell through. A minimally modified version is sold to these days in Russia as UAZ Hunter.

  200. Ralph L says:

    No one even asked how often Steve leaves his closet and drives somewhere. Presumably, the Odyssey is for long trips (10 years or less).

  201. Ralph L says:
    @John Johnson

    My wife had a car that had to be jacked up to change the bulb.

    You have to remove the front bumper of mine, which apparently isn’t that unusual these days.

  202. @Herbert R. Tarlek, Jr.

    Jack D, man of the world and self-appointed expert on everything.

    Hey, our boy Jack is doing his very best to live up to John Doe, the television series!

  203. Jack D says:
    @gnbRC

    I am so sorry to hear about your loss, but based on crash tests, the RAV-4 (assuming this was the vehicle) performs at least adequately according to the IIHS.

    This test is conducted at 37 mph. If the other driver is going 80mph and driving a dump truck, then there is no vehicle that would protect you.

    Personally I detest all SUV’s anyway, but not for this reason.

    • Replies: @gnbRC
  204. @John Johnson

    One of my favorite cars was the first generation RX-7. The rotary engine revved like nothing else, and you had to use all that to get power out of it. The big tach was right in the middle of the instrument cluster, for obvious reasons. It was a fun way to drive, and the car could handle curves like nothing else.

    It was created by Mazda to fill a market niche that was increasingly ignored at the time, the affordable, true sports car.

    I had lots of fun on great roads out west and got a lot of speeding tickets, doing crazy things like blasting through Rocky Mountain National Park at night on the Peak to Peak Highway — hitting speeds over 100 mph there. I didn’t know a ranger was trying to catch me until I slowed down to go through the exit gate and he pulled me over.

    That car was an invitation to do bad things. At 2 am coming home on an empty highway from a night out, I took a curve a little too fast, entering at 90 mph. The car wouldn’t stop rotating as it exited the curve, and it went completely around, burning up the tires in the process. I found myself pointed in the right direction going 50 mph. One tire blew out a mile later. The wheel wells were filled with rubber, and I had to replace all four tires.

    The car was all black, and I thought that was cool in those days. Most important, I could afford it then.

    • Thanks: John Johnson
  205. Jack D says:
    @Jim Bob Lassiter

    Lesbians love Subarus but not just lesbians. They are popular anywhere it snow b/c they are one of the few relative cheap cars that comes with AWD. (AWD is more common among SUVs but Subaru has had (only) AWD sedans since like forever).

    TBH, I don’t see Steve in a Subaru. Anyway, they are overpriced used because they retain their resale value more than is justifiable based upon their (questionable) reliability. I think they have fixed it now, but for decades Subaru had head gasket failures year after year that their engineers could never seem to solve. Their solution was to tell owners to pour official Subaru stop leak in the radiator (in the hope that it would fix the leak until you were past your warranty).

    • Replies: @John Johnson
  206. @Herbert R. Tarlek, Jr.

    Right on cue, here’s Jack D, man of the world and self-appointed expert on everything.

    Dunno bout dat. If there is one thing we tribe members know about it’s not paying retail.

  207. H.m. says:

    Anything Toyota. Their Tacoma trucks are great offroad vehicles. Militias around the world fix machine guns to the back and fight their wars with them.

  208. J1234 says:

    I saw one of these yesterday. Way cool.

    https://cdn.dealeraccelerate.com/cam/34/1142/33606/1920×1440/1972-plymouth-duster-340

    Per other suggestions – for a daily driver, I would avoid a Subaru. My wife bought a new one 20 years ago. Still has it, but it was never that great. We bought a used Toyota Corolla w/100k miles a few years ago. Great!

  209. Jack D says:
    @John Johnson

    I think there are cars where you have to remove the bumper to change the headlight bulb. Not to mention that the plastic lenses get cloudy or get water in them and cost hundreds to replace after an accident. Each one is unique to a particular car.

    The US had a wonderful system where all headlight bulbs were standardized and cheap. They were glass and sealed so they never clouded or fogged up. When the filament burned out you replaced the whole thing – the bulb and the reflector and the lens as a unit – it was only a coupe of bucks and now your headlights were as good as new. Every auto store in America stocked them. The bulbs came out the front so you didn’t have to be a contortionist to do it.

    They got rid of this because the mfrs wanted to have more freedom to do sexy styling.

    • Replies: @John Johnson
    , @Reg Cæsar
  210. @Jack D

    The US had a wonderful system where all headlight bulbs were standardized and cheap. They were glass and sealed so they never clouded or fogged up.

    It is still pretty standard for US trucks and SUVs. But the bulbs definitely aren’t a couple bucks. About \$30 for a pair but the newer halogens really do work well. Very useful for rural areas where deer and other critters can jump out.

    They got rid of this because the mfrs wanted to have more freedom to do sexy styling.

    I’m sure they also realized that they could make more money by discouraging autozone parking lot changes. I changed them on my wife’s car once and was swearing the whole time. My arm barely fit and I had to change one without looking at it because I guess the car is designed for Japanese midget mechanics. I totally get saying f- that and having the dealer do it during the oil change. I’m sure it is a nice markup for them.

  211. @Anonymous

    But Hyundai just had a massive recall due to f’d up engines,dinnit?😮 Steer ( heh) clear of Hyundai.
    You are too dignified for a Civic,so why not a used Accord?

    • Replies: @Anonymous
    , @Jack D
  212. @Jack D

    TBH, I don’t see Steve in a Subaru. Anyway, they are overpriced used because they retain their resale value more than is justifiable based upon their (questionable) reliability.

    Yea they are definitely overpriced, both new and used.

    They should be \$16k cars that are sold by Costco. I test drove a 2020 with a 4 and I preferred the 2006 my friend has with a v6.

    Libs have ruined Subaru. They made them the official Trader Joe’s grocery car of the West Coast and jacked up the price. In Portland they are EVERYWHERE. Yes thank God you libs have a snow car for the 1-3 days of snow where traffic slows a bit.

  213. Depending on your budget, take an early Ford Transit Connect and drop an early Ford Focus manual transmission into it. You have Van Nuys Mexicans who can make that work…

    Failing that, if the billionaires haven’t bought them all up, get a Second Generation Subaru Forester and hint around that your second place is in Teton, WY (yeah, you know that and I know that, but they don’t)….

  214. gnbRC says:
    @Jack D

    Accident investigation indicated 60mph. All airbags deployed. So, really no chance …

  215. @John Johnson

    Cars really haven’t changed much in the last 10 years…

    They haven’t changed all that much in the last 110 years. At least the underlying technology. The changes are mostly bells and whistles. E.g., automatic transmissions.

    The same is true of sewing machines. A lady at my church has one that’s a few years older than me, and I’ve seen it in action. It may not have dozens of stitches printed on the side, but it’s essentially the same as the new one I bought a couple of years ago.

    • Replies: @animalogic
    , @Jack D
  216. My Toyota Prius is 12 years old and drives the same way it did when I first got it.

    • Replies: @AP
  217. @Jack D

    The US had a wonderful system where all headlight bulbs were standardized and cheap… They got rid of this because the mfrs wanted to have more freedom to do sexy styling.

    Citroën abandoned the US market a half century ago because the pivoting headlights they were so proud of were banned in this country.

    Why Citroën’s steerable headlights were banned from North America.

    Headlights you can steer! What could be sexier than that?

    It’s not the only headlight technology we are deprived of:

    An old law prevents Adaptive Driving Beam headlights in the States

    • Replies: @Ralph L
  218. anon[161] • Disclaimer says:

    Steve, get a Tesla so it can self-drive you around LA while you blog and Tweet in the car:

    • Replies: @Steve Sailer
  219. Anonymous[954] • Disclaimer says:
    @FPD72

    Click and Clack used to say there are three things that every Volvo owner believes:
    1. Volvos have a good history of minimal mechanical problems.
    2. Volvos get good fuel economy.
    3. Their Volvo is the exception to 1 and 2..

    The problem with Volvo isn’t mechanical now. It’s the fact that they’re running about 150 different computers in the thing, like all new luxury cars. Mercedes is a living nightmare out of warranty for that particular reason.

    That said, my computer issues have been almost zero, my Volvo SUV is 7 years old, and well out of warranty. I don’t like any SUV, because they just… kind of suck. However, as SUV’s go, I enjoy the Volvo, and assorted passengers have commented positively on its quiet, smooth ride. It’s been extremely reliable, so far.

    I had to take a loaner once, which was some kind of small Buick SUV. I remember it being the most unpleasant thing to drive around in my entire life, and I’ve driven a lot of different cars. It bummed me out every single time I drove it, and I’ve driven a Pacer! The stupidest car ever conceived! I’d take it gladly over a Buick SUV. Just a pile of pointless annoyance.

    If President Biden was a car, he would be a small Buick SUV!

  220. @John Johnson

    Yes, this was a car. Importantly, it was not a front-wheel-drive car. There was plenty of room to work in there, but then a later-model Ford with a transverse-mounted engine was a real knuckle-scraper. Not only that, the quality of the stuff under the hood was just cheaper.

    I’ll write back more back later on today, John.

  221. @Anonymous

    “If President Biden was a car, he would be a small Buick SUV!”

    Yup.

    • Replies: @Corvinus
    , @Anonymous
  222. @anon

    I’m too old to be that terrified behind the wheel.

  223. @clifford brown

    The civic R sounds OK, but why not a subaru WRX, sti ?
    Too common? Been there done that etc?
    Sometimes the classics are classic for a reason.
    Of course, this assumes that small & fast is your desire. It isn’t so different to the infiniti (+ an extra 60- 80 HP)

  224. @Reg Cæsar

    “They haven’t changed all that much in the last 110 years. ”
    Really? Did you actually think about that before writing it?
    Anyway, enjoy that Model T as a daily driver….

    • Replies: @Reg Cæsar
  225. @70sTarheel

    My wife just bought a new Subaru Crosstrek Sport. And she has had her hair cut very short. Should I be worried?

    Not unless she puts one of these on the car:

    • LOL: BB753
  226. @Jack D

    You’ve made the argument by what you mistakenly regard as disadvantage as have a few others. Old design American-made fleet car is the one for reliably low-cost transportation.

    It’s a very good-driving car.

    Compared to others being mentioned it’s even better on rural Interstate and I see examples by numbers out of proportion to its sales. The why of that is easy: it meets the criteria established sixty years ago by CALDOT participants in an ideal police sedan. 120” WB, 4,000-lbs, and is equipped with 4-whl Disc brakes and fully independent suspension. Not too big or small. It sits in the sweet spot.

    Cars of every type peaked circa 2006 for price, performance and quality. (Pickups also).

    Again, I’d use 2012 Charger SXT as comparative. 4K weight, 120” WB, 4-door, trunk and Fleet Spec available.

    Go and drive one, Steve. The bubble boys who never mentally leave a major metro aren’t your friends for the day you DO need to travel. A sedan has virtues no minivan or pickup ever will.

    AVOID popular cars or designs. Popularity isn’t a sign of superiority. Far from it. Size, center of gravity, design, etc, mean more.

    Avoid foreign as it’s no guarantee of anything. Parts that take longer to wear out just cost a lot more when they do. And have to be shipped from overseas.

    You won’t have as much into it as some of these other suggestions, it can can be fixed anywhere by anyone, and it’s “old design” doesn’t give up anything. These are advantages.

    You have a shop or shops you already trust. That’s the other angle. Trying to skip maintenance intervals of time & miles just works against one. DIY can go a long ways on the minor stuff. I taught myself, so could you if you don’t already. Mental work needs the physical offset in problem solving.

    HQ tires if you’re running 12-15k year as nothing else adds as much. (HQ seats, too). The RF tire thing is just sloppy driving. (Stop it).

    The best car is the one that always starts and runs. Can carry 5-6 people plus their luggage safely and economically.

    Only a sedan meets the mark.

    (And a thanks for your services a car has had to help make possible).

    Good luck.

    .

    • Replies: @Jack D
    , @Esso
  227. BB753 says:

    Do you really need a car? Or is it your wife who needs one, because you’ve been working from home for 30 years!
    https://www.motorbiscuit.com/do-you-really-need-a-car-if-you-work-from-home/

  228. The Aston Martin used by James Bond in No Time To Die will soon be up for sale. Has the particular safety feature of being totally bulletproof and having front and rear cannons, so would appeal to Second Amendment fans. Could be adapted as a dog carrier.

    Also up for auction, according to the Daily Mail, is a low mileage customized Ford Escort RS that was formerly owned by the late princess Diana. It has been extensively cleaned up to remove all semen stains from the rear seats, and should be a good investment. Has emergency radio in the glove box. Passenger seat has extra large seat belt to accommodate personal bodyguard.

  229. @Herbert R. Tarlek, Jr.

    “You are to iSteve threads what kudzu is to Georgia.”

    Actually as iSteve commentators go, Jack D is above average. Certainly beats the guys complaining that Sailer isn’t Che Guevara.

  230. Jack D says:
    @Reg Cæsar

    Quantity has its own quality, as Stalin said.

    OTOH, the Model T had 4 cylinders with pistons and valves and spark plugs and a radiator so it is recognizably the ancestor of today’s gasoline engines (in a roundabout way because the market in the US left 4 cylinder engines behind for decades before coming back to them).

    OTOH, the Model T produced 22 hp and had a top speed of 40 mph so it was closer to a modern golf cart than a modern automobile.

  231. Jack D says:
    @John Johnson

    It’s really too bad so few cars have turbochargers.

    You are getting your wish. The most common configuration today in new cars, even full sized ones, is a small 4 cyl. engine with a turbo. V6’s are increasingly rare upgrade options and very few V8’s are offered at all outside of specialty cars. They are even putting turbo 4’s in pickup trucks. This is mostly due to government gas mileage requirements. This is probably going to be the last hurrah of the piston engine before cars go all electric.

    They have refined these engines but, between the complexity of the turbocharger itself and the fact that the engine is running under higher pressure I can’t believe that these engines are going to have the same longevity as a conventionally aspirated 6 making the same power.

    • Replies: @Esso
  232. Curle says:
    @Herbert R. Tarlek, Jr.

    Seems to me Jack has ideas that conflict with many here, myself included, AT TIMES, but he helps keep the site interesting.

  233. Jack D says:
    @Anonymous

    A lot of modern Volvos have oil burning issues. And like many modern cars, no dipstick – you have to depend on the idiot light to warn you that you are low on oil. In an effort to achieve good mileage, they used low friction piston rings. Volvo plays a lot of games hoping not to have to give you a new engine – they limit the recall to certain models even though other models have the same problem, they force you to document (at your own expense) the oil burning issues, etc.

    This happens a lot with car mfrs. Subaru used to play the same games with their head gaskets. Hyundais have issues with faulty connecting rod bearings. The problem is this – car manufacturers use the same engine for many years and many models so if there is some design defect, that defect is going to be duplicated over and over sometimes hundreds of thousand of times – for some mfrs it might be every single car that they make. If you have to pay for 150,000 engine replacements, that’s a LOT of money. So the mfrs drag their feet and try to weasel out as much as they can. “Oh, your car burns oil – we’re so sorry, we have never seen that before.”

    The internet makes such denial much more difficult. Google Volvo burning oil and there are a zillion hits.

    • Thanks: Johann Ricke
  234. JimB says:
    @Patrick in SC

    According to Consumer Reports, the Toyota Camry and Honda Accord dominate the 2022 midsize sedan market both for performance and long term mechanical health. They also come in hybrid trims. On the other hand, Steve has a dog now. He may be in the market for an SUV rather than a midsized sedan. The Subaru Forester has a grill in the back that keeps the dog in the luggage area, off the upholstery.

  235. Remember Lambo should always be transported in a crate so you need a car large enough for a crate.
    You don;t want the crate on a back seat – too high up and can lead to car sickness.

    The crate does not need to be as large as an airline crate (requires that dog can stand and turn around inside), in fact it is better if the crate keeps the dog lying down so she is safe in a panic stop.

    I see a lot of people advocating used European products. they are fun to drive but parts are super expensive. My toyota costs under \$100 for an oil filter and tire rotation, an audi can be near ten time that. Got a RAV4 loaner one service and I loved the car, noticed how over the years they progressed from steel wheels and mag style caps to genuine good wheels and 4 wheel disks. A modern Toyota has as good components as a lux car from a couple years ago.

  236. EdwardM says:
    @Stonewall Jackson

    How about Raches? He was a prolific commentator, then got a column, produced one iteration of it, then disappeared. I found his pretentious schtick amusing; he was well-read and a good writer about some obscure yet interesting topics. Just an odd Unz career.

    Maybe he died, and his super-anonymity means no one was/is aware of it.

    • Replies: @Negrolphin Pool
  237. Clyde says:

    Steve I would get one of the three below that Scotty reviews here

    Scotty Kilmer
    5.18M subscribers

    Hondas You Should Buy. The Best Hondas to Buy, DIY and car review with Scotty Kilmer. Best cars to buy. Are Hondas the best cars to buy? Who makes the best cars in the world? Are Hondas reliable? Does Honda make good cars? Everything you need to know about Honda. Car Advice. DIY car repair with Scotty Kilmer, an auto mechanic for the last 54 years……

    Honda Crosstour
    Honda CR-V
    Honda Fit

    Honda HR-V (my addition) (It is a CR-V but smaller)

    • Replies: @John Johnson
  238. linsee says:

    We switched from Studebakers to Subarus in 1983. We sold the first one when we moved to China on sabbatical. The second one we bought when we came back ran for 23 years.

  239. Jack D says:
    @The Wild Geese Howard

    A used Avalon is a definite possibility. They tend to be geezermobiles ( the same people who used to buy Buicks) and so are not driven hard. If you can find one being sold by the family of a recently expired senior citizen you are probably golden. Sometimes the geezermobiles have scuffs and scratches on the bumpers because the owner no longer saw so good but this cosmetic damage only reduces the price further without really affecting the car. An Avalon is actually slightly bigger than a Lexus ES.

    The problem now is that they keep their value too much. A brand new 2019 Avalon in the basic trim was maybe \$36,000 brand new and now people are asking \$31 or \$32K for one that is now 3 yrs old and has 30 or 40K miles on it. For that money you could get a comparable BMW 5 series that had a sticker of \$55k when new. Not that I recommend the BMW but that shows you the kind of depreciation hit a 3 yr old car should have. Only taking 10% off the original sticker for a 3 yr old car is ridiculous and a result of the current tight market. I’ve bought brand new cars with more off of the sticker.

  240. Anon[598] • Disclaimer says:
    @smetana

    There are several own goals in that story:

    “The head gasket was blown. I drove it too hot, and now the engine is dead.”

    and

    “The back rear window was always open about four inches because I’d replaced it myself while drunk; I had shattered it with a rock when I locked my keys in the car. Also drunk. Unbeknownst to me the left rear door lock didn’t fully lock and I could have just opened the door.”

    but the author really captures that feeling, like the enduring mystery surrounding a unnecessary breakup, that owners feel when their Mercedes finally rumbles off without them to new streets and freeways, ones that can’t be found in any atlas, without ever vacating that parking spot you spray painted for it in your heart…

    On second thought, Steve should just buy a Hyundai. Less emotional baggage.

  241. @Anonymous

    The problem with Volvo isn’t mechanical now. It’s the fact that they’re running about 150 different computers in the thing, like all new luxury cars. Mercedes is a living nightmare out of warranty for that particular reason.

    I really do like Volvos but the shops charge too much to work on them. The GM/Ford dealers have pretty standard prices and you can pit them against each other. Where I used to live it was Ze German Shop for Volvos and you had to pay whatever they charged. Maybe it is less of an issue in urban areas but my guess is that they add the city tax as well.

    I had to take a loaner once, which was some kind of small Buick SUV. I remember it being the most unpleasant thing to drive around in my entire life, and I’ve driven a lot of different cars.

    Small SUVs are usually awful. They’re jacked up cars and if they have a short wheel base it makes them feel unbalanced. Adding leather and a luxury tag doesn’t change that.

    There are some decent ones like the RAV4 but they are overvalued like Subarus thanks to lib moms buying them up. I went to a nature preserve near Portland and literally half the vehicles were RAV4s.

    The funny thing is that these small SUVs have pretty much returned to wagon size. But they of course can’t call them wagons for marketing reasons.

    The wagon is really a good idea and makes sense for families. But I guess all these parents don’t want to say they have a wagon or minivan. It’s a super-deluxe crossover!

  242. @Bill Jones

    1.Used cars cost almost as much as new ones. The used market wont reset to the pre 1019 sanity for 6-36 months so you may need a short term solution. (for used cars , a CPO Mercedes makes more sense than a used Toyota. for now.)

    2. I would recommend the Toyota Avalon XLE 2018 or later (with the safety sense features) , but new ones costs \$40k and used prices dont reflect depreciation. I have test driven the Taurus , Impala and I preferred the Avalon.

    3.Gensis vehicles are all V8’s , I think, and gas may remain expensive

    • Replies: @Jack D
  243. AP says:
    @ginger bread man

    My Toyota Prius is 12 years old and drives the same way it did when I first got it.

    55 mph in the passing lane?

    • LOL: Jack D, Johann Ricke
  244. @RobP

    Anything Toyota, can’t go wrong.

  245. Anonymous[135] • Disclaimer says:
    @Bardon Kaldlan

    Not sure. None that affects any of our cars (there was a recall for ABS and one for seat belts; both seem to be triggered by very few events). My 12 years old Sonata had no recalls and in all the years only problems were broken door handle, somewhat early wear of the front rotors and squeaky passenger seat. That’s all. Comparing to our two previous Subarus, that’s nothing.

    You are too dignified for a Civic,so why not a used Accord?

    I’d be perfectly happy with either. But, simply, Hyundai’s analogs were appreciably cheaper in all cases while offering better safety features.

  246. Anonymous[954] • Disclaimer says:

    Car lot insider buying advice from some grumpy old bastard who has over 40 years experience at assorted car dealerships:

  247. @John Johnson

    I’m not in LA, John, or anywhere like that, but there ARE idiots everywhere. I feel better off practicing defensive driving, and having older vehicles without those massive pillars for the airbags provides much better visibility. That helps a lot. (That’s not to mention the terrible view out the back in lots of modern vehicles.

    The bugs got worked out? Yeah, that’s great till about 100,000-150,000 miles. Side mirrors cost a thousand dollars to replace, because they have so much crap going on. I don’t need windshield wipers that turn on based on a rain sensor, because that sort of this doesn’t get me off, and it’s another thing to fail. A doctor friend had this feature. When it failed, after checking out the motor and obvious things, our mechanic friend suggested trying a new windshield wiper computer(!) for \$100 (back then), non-refundable, my doctor friend drove with Rain-X for a couple of years.

    Put it this way.You get 5 x more reliability out of each feature but 5 x more electronic features that can each fail, and you’re way behind.

    • Replies: @John Johnson
  248. @Clyde

    Yes I’m sure he isn’t biased at all. All his picks are Hondas.

    I’m not sure how many of you have actually shopped for a car lately.

    The prices are ridiculously inflated and especially for certain types. We are talking well over 50% of value for used popular models from two years ago. New models regularly go 10k over MSRP.

    Even if you want a certain vehicle that doesn’t mean it is a good time to buy it. Because of the chip situation the market will eventually correct and you will have bought a vehicle at a high. In fact the market could glut and you will have missed an opportunity to buy at a low. Even worse is that people are financing these overpriced vehicles.

    Steve is intelligent and can read reliability ratings. But what he needs is a car that that is under the radar. Middle class Hondas, Toyotas and Subarus from the last 10 years do not fit the bill. They are some of the worst cars to buy right now. Used Toyota sedans are going for over 20k and with over 100k miles.

    That is why I suggested a 2007ish Buick sedan. Reliable and a good highway cruiser for California. Steve is near LA which increases insurance costs for newer vehicles. In a lot of scenarios it makes sense to have a “walk away” car meaning you have minimal insurance. Financing a 30k vehicle in LA can turn into a big payment.

    • Replies: @Clyde
  249. @Achmed E. Newman

    I’m not in LA, John, or anywhere like that, but there ARE idiots everywhere.

    There is a huge difference between driving in LA and the rest of the country.

    Anyone who thinks they are even remotely comparable has not driven around LA. The lane crowding and aggression is at another level. If that isn’t enough there are also Bad Gangsta Dudes that are one look from going back to prison and illegals that don’t have a license. I’d never rent a compact in LA. It’s not safe and you don’t want to end up in a SoCal hospital.

    Put it this way. You get 5 x more reliability out of each feature but 5 x more electronic features that can each fail, and you’re way behind.

    Unless you go classic you are getting a car with electronics.

    The 90s cars had electronics and yet the reliability ratings improved in the 2000s and then again in the 2010s. Part of this is from learning to make the electronic systems more reliable. They don’t want to add more electronics to something like a door actuator. It really depends on the car as to whether or not they overengineered it with needless features. But there is no way that I would take a 90s car under the assumption that it would be more reliable due to having fewer computer chips. As I said before the US companies made a lot of crap in the 90s to sneak by CAFE standards. I would run away from any type of 90s commuter vehicle.

    There are a lot of myths regarding reliability including “avoid ‘Murican cars” and “new computers bad” when reliability ratings say otherwise. I won a bet with a German car fan when I told him that US auto companies have better reliability ratings. To him it was “common sense” for it not to be true.

  250. Jack D says:
    @SteeringWheelHolder

    What you want in a fleet car for a police force or a taxi fleet is not what you want in a car that you drive for yourself (at least it’s not what I want). I really don’t care if a set of brake pads is \$50 instead of \$20 because I am going to replace them once every 4 years so saving \$7/yr means nothing.

    Anyway, at least where I live, even the police have stopped buying fleet sedans – they drive SUVs like everyone else. After next year the Charger/300 will be gone and there will be zero dinosaur type fleet sedans left. You sound like the kind of guy who is still mourning the death of the Ford Panther platform. Good riddance I say. These cars were ok going straight on a smooth freeway but for anything else their ancient design really showed (poorly).

    If you really want to carry 6 (or 7) ppl with luggage, nothing beats a minivan, which Steve already has. I don’t think that there are any 6 passenger sedans left. Is there any sedan that still has a front bench seat? Internet says no – the last one was the 2013 Impala.

  251. dimples says:
    @Steve Sailer

    So how many cars does Mr Sailer own? He says his 1998 Infiniti I-30 is clapped out and needs to be replaced but, according to himself, he also owns a Honda Odyssey. He does not mention a wife. What’s going on? Is it for his boyfriend?

  252. Anonymous[309] • Disclaimer says:
    @clifford brown

    I think Repo Man is Steve’s favorite movie

  253. @animalogic

    Do you drive a Tesla, or an internally combustible? Are you George Jetson?

    (Believe it or not, George was born this past weekend.)

    My 21st-century car is down at the moment because a rubber drive belt snapped. My grandfathers would have understood. As would those who traversed the Yellowstone Trail a century ago, or rode with Rose Wilder Lane through Fascist Italy.

    • Replies: @animalogic
  254. Corvinus says:
    @Steve Sailer

    And if it’s Trump, it’s a hearse.

    How long are you going to avoid discussing of substance what is going on with Jan 6? You claim to be a rule of law and law and order feller. Or is that only at your leisure.

    https://www.cnn.com/2022/08/02/politics/defense-department-missing-january-6-texts/index.html

    • Replies: @Curle
  255. Ralph L says:
    @Reg Cæsar

    It wasn’t the headlights, it was bumper-height regulations (their hydro-pneumatic suspension was adjustable) and tightening emissions standards that pushed them out of the US.

  256. Curle says:
    @Anon

    On the West Coast I’ve recently seen Teslas side by side on a four lane local street. Driving from Detroit to East TN earlier this year I’m not sure I saw a single Tesla.

  257. Curle says:
    @Corvinus

    “discussing of substance”

    Presumes “substance”. Facts not in evidence.

    • Replies: @Corvinus
  258. Tesla. It started out as the car for pompous greenies but now it’s become a leading symbol of the anti-woke. Who’s more anti-woke than Steve Sailer?

    • Replies: @Negrolphin Pool
  259. Anonymous[954] • Disclaimer says:
    @Steve Sailer

    And if it’s Trump, it’s a hearse.

    Nope. Trump is a ’78 Corvette.

    Old, loud, primitive, but effective–and, once you resign yourself to it, surprisingly fun.

    • Replies: @Corvinus
  260. @Jack D

    Jack:
    what could bring back sedans especially big sedans such as the impala, Avalon? would a change in CAFE rules be enough?

    • Replies: @Jack D
  261. Muse says:
    @Rob McX

    Get the loan. Get the lower purchase price. Pay it off within the next two weeks. Done this three or four times.

  262. Jack D says:
    @Houston 1992

    No the standard engine on the Genesis G80 was a V6 with a V8 as an upgrade option. This year the base model gets a turbo 4 with a turbo 6 as the big engine.

  263. Jack D says:
    @Houston 1992

    A change in fashion. Cars types go in and out of style just like clothes. Everyone wants what everyone else is driving.

  264. Jack D says:
    @Bardon Kaldlan

    The recall affected one particular engine. This happens to a lot of manufacturers – they get a bad batch of parts or use a flawed design and a whole production run has to be called back. It’s OK – you get a new engine out of it. Hyundais have a 10 yr/ 100k power train warranty even without the recall. I wouldn’t hesitate to buy one (and I did and I’ve had no problems – I had one warranty claim in 6 years and they took care of it without arguing).

    The story of the long warranty is supposedly this. Hyundai’s first car sold in America was the Excel, back in the ’80s. At first they sold well (it was one of the cheapest new cars you could buy) but then there were a lot of complaints about reliability. In order to re-instill confidence in the brand , the CEO of Hyundai announced that their cars would carry a very long warranty (in those days American cars had a 12 month guaranty). His engineers and bean counters told him that the warranty costs would bankrupt the company given their current level of reliability. He told them that that was correct, so they had better fix it or else they would be unemployed. It worked.

    • Agree: Houston 1992
    • Replies: @Houston 1992
  265. Corvinus says:
    @Curle

    Of course there’s evidence. Abundant evidence. You just conveniently ignore it out of confirmation bias.

  266. Corvinus says:
    @Anonymous

    Until he wrecks it after a night of drinking and womanizing, and proceeds to sue the injured parties for merely being in his way.

  267. Clyde says:
    @John Johnson

    That is why I suggested a 2007ish Buick sedan. Reliable and a good highway cruiser for California. Steve is near LA which increases insurance costs for newer vehicles.

    Where would Steve find this 2007 Buick? Craig’s? Buy from owner and get a gun pulled on you? Used car lot? Retirement living complex’s newspaper, classified ads?

    Just for some pricing ideas, here is what Autonation has for Buicks>>> https://www.autonation.com/cars-for-sale?mk=buick&mmn=0&mmx=45000&sortby=autonationprice&sortdirection=0&pagesize=72

    • Replies: @Jack D
  268. I got a mid-2000s Town Car with 200k miles for \$1800 a few years back. “Running” magazine should do a cover story on it.

    They’re bulletproof. I had various 90s Cadillacs. The interiors were nicer, esp the late-90s to early 2000s STSs. Those were cars that were explicitly built as budget alternatives to things like the E Class and 5 Series. But the problem was that the interiors of those cars, and many others, started falling apart at about 150k miles.

    The Lincoln, now with 230k miles, doesn’t have so much as a single deep crease on the seats, much less a rip. Aside from a blown fuse, the dash and everything except a single latch on the interior is virtually like new. They were built like tanks: Body on frame, workhorse Modular V8 and suspensions that were designed for abusive stop-and-go livery service, weaving through airport service drives and thumping over NYC potholes. It’s the American Camry.

    There’s a straightforward test for bottom-market used cars, although it might be less effective in a car-friendly climate like CA. Take an age, 15 years for example. What are the most common 5 or 10 models you see on the road from that model generation? You could do different categories for luxury, SUV etc. Now adjust for total production numbers. That’s the car you should buy if you’re chiefly concerned with reliability, which is far and away the most important concern when getting a used car beyond about 5 years old. Miles and years don’t lie.

    You can take my word regarding the stringent Midwestern rust-cancer filter; you still see final-gen Town Cars everywhere. There are so many that I’ve passed multiple examples in the last month that are superficially identical to my own.

    As an additional quick reality check, in 2003, Cadillac sold 82,076 Devilles. The same year, Lincoln sold 56,566 Town Cars, with many destined for rough-and-tough livery service. Granted, the production run of the last DeVille was 6 years inclusive vs 9 years inclusive for the final Town Car. But the Town Car’s sales declined rapidly after 2005, dwindling to just 9,000 in 2011 as the now-dinosaur was too easily recognized by even its supper club target demo as the living fossil it was.

    I haven’t seen a DeVille in the wild in years.

    • Replies: @Jack D
  269. Jack D says:
    @Clyde

    Buy from owner and get a gun pulled on you?

    I’ve bought and sold cars and other stuff and never gotten a gun pulled on me. Here’s a hint – don’t deal with anyone named Tyshawn. 2nd, don’t pay with cash. Bank check, electronic transfer, etc. 3rd, meet in public places during business hours – the bank, the DMV office, etc.

    • Replies: @Clyde
  270. @Jack D

    plus Hyundai dealers offered generous trade in deals on the rusting 1st generations Excels

    • Replies: @Jack D
  271. @Jack D

    Except a minivan has no trunk in which to store anything, has an overly large interior difficult to cool or heat, and gets poor fuel economy.

    SUVs are wannabes. Wanna be something. Zero storage space. Center of Gravity too high. No room under hood with engines too complicated.

    A 2012 Crown Vic would be a good choice but the parts supply dried up. Took Ford forever to fix the problems it had from the outset.

    Guess you’d better do some price comparisons on parts. Foreign-sourced is never cheaper.

    Because you aren’t smart about cars, their utility, or their expense it really shines the light thru your paper arguments about what doesn’t matter somehow having meaning.

    A guy with a 24-yr old car ain’t too worried about what you propose as being significant. 2022 cars aren’t better than what was around in 2002. They’re newer. That’s it. Otherwise, they cost more to own & operate and they offer no offsetting advantages.

    4-whl disc brakes and fully independent suspension with rack & pinion steering. The buck stopped there.

    .

    • Replies: @Jack D
  272. Jack D says:
    @Houston 1992

    Couldn’t have been TOO generous because the original sticker on an Excel was \$4,995 brand new. Also in those days cars depreciated rapidly (because they were not expected to, nor did they, last very long). Probably “generous” was offering \$1,500 for a 3-4 yr old Excel or something like that. Another couple of years in the Northeast and you would see the highway flashing by beneath you thru the rust holes in the floorpan.

  273. Jack D says:
    @SteeringWheelHolder

    A 2012 Crown Vic would be a good choice

    LOL. If you wanted to look totally out of place in Southern California, I can’t think of anything better than a 2012 Crown Vic.

    There is a running gag in Get Shorty where John Travolta, who is trying to break into Hollywood, gets stuck at the airport rental counter with a dustbuster shaped Oldsmobile minivan (the least cool possible car after a Crown Vic) which gets him all sorts of dirty looks from the Hollywood types but Travolta is so cool that he convinces people that this minivan is actually cool.

    I had the same thing happen to me at LAX except instead of a mini van I got stuck with a Mercury Marquis ( a Crown Vic but with even more tacky upholstery and chrome) at the Hertz counter. We don’t care what kind of car you reserved. This is the only car we have left, take it or leave it.

    Unlike Travolta, I didn’t convince anyone on the movie lot that a Marquis was a cool car. (I actually did go on the Warner Brothers lot – a story for another day.) I’ll give you one thing – that car has a trunk that is bigger than some NY studio apartments. The bomb sniffing dog jumped right into the trunk to search it.

  274. @ThreeCranes

    I suggest a crate for the dog when it is in the car.

    My first dog trainer was a volunteer fireman and he said if you are ever in a crash, if there is an unsecured dog in the cabin EMS will not be able to help you, they will call animal control (which does not respond as fast as an ambulance does) and they cannot do a thing for you until the dog is secured.

    If the dog is in a crate – no problem.

  275. Clyde says:
    @Jack D

    I exaggerated there. I have bought automobiles from private owners, and it went smoothly. Two years ago I bought a used Honda, low mileage, less than 15000, at Autonation. I caved. I got lazy. But I liked that they thoroughly inspected the car. I’m just glad I bought in summer 2000 before all the car prices went up and chip shortages began.

  276. Anonymous[286] • Disclaimer says:
    @Paul Mendez

    Horse would be better. Then he can still flee when the starving cannibal hordes block the roads.

  277. @George Taylor

    Not sure if the driver here was woke. But the neighbors must have been.

  278. @EdwardM

    As you may know, it was widely speculated that Raches was an Unz sock puppet.

    • Replies: @EdwardM
  279. EdwardM says:
    @Negrolphin Pool

    I didn’t know that. That would be funny and makes some sense as an explanation. Why desist now though?

  280. @animalogic

    2016 Mazda 3.

    What? Not the revolutionary Wankel Mazda? They were the wave of the future! Until gas hit a buck…

    So Mazda is retrograde! Your inline-four was used in the first Model T, and before that, in this 1905 Belgian beaut:

    • Replies: @Jack D
    , @animalogic
  281. Esso says:
    @SteeringWheelHolder

    Only a sedan meets the mark.

    But our host is a lanky old dog owner. Noone really likes SUVs but they have a high seating and there is a good market for dog cages for eg. CR-V.

    I agree with others that one should avoid German/European brands for SUVs. Volvo is not horrible, with the exception of the early 00’s SUV models. Honda CR-V is made in England.

  282. Jack D says:
    @Steve Sailer

    I think after you own one for a while you learn to modulate your foot on the gas pedal. When you drive one for the 1st time you think nothing is happening for a second so you instinctively mash the pedal harder and then it takes off like a rocket . Once you own one you will grow to understand that if you press lightly and give it a second to catch up, it’s going to take off at a reasonable speed.

    As others said this is more a function of the CVT transmission than the turbo lag which doesn’t really exist on modern turbos, at least not like it used to.

  283. Jack D says:
    @Reg Cæsar

    BTW, Dr. Felix Wankel was a die hard anti-Semite and a fo-real Nazi. Therefore, we call it a rotary engine.

    A lot of companies bought licenses to use the Wankel patents, which made him a rich Nazi, but very few aside from Mazda actually put the motors into production and Mazda did a lot to make the rotary engine a working product and not just a lab curiosity.

    Aside from poor gas mileage, there were also issues with pollution and getting the combustion chamber to seal properly. One one level, pistons that go up and down when you are trying to create rotary motion is a fundamentally flawed approach but they have been working on this approach for 150 years so they have gotten most of the kinks out. Sealing a round piston riding in a round cylinder is a much easier problem than sealing up that odd shaped triangular rotor.

  284. Jack D says:
    @Negrolphin Pool

    The Lincoln, now with 230k miles, doesn’t have so much as a single deep crease on the seats, much less a rip

    The whorehouse red velour upholstery cloth that they used to use must have come from the same factory as Superman’s outfit. I’ve seen junkyard cars that are nothing but rusted hulks but the seat cloth looks like the day that it left the factory.

    OTOH, the California sun works differently than the Northern ice and snow. In the West, it’s common to see old cars with no rust at all (car models that went to the crusher in the north decades ago) but the sun has burned and bleached the interior to a crisp.

  285. Esso says:
    @Jack D

    This is probably going to be the last hurrah of the piston engine before cars go all electric.

    It’s more like the last rotation of the crankshaft. Future belongs to free piston linear generators and updraft gasifiers / fuel reformers. Provided that there is some improvement to the longevity and maintenance intervals of ICEs and an ability to use a solid fuel, small scale ICEs are going to be very important for load-following in a setting of extensive intermittent power generation and other sources uncertainty. A car most often sits on the driveway, in the immediate vicinity of one’s need for power and heat. Coal is cheap and biomass grows everywhere for free.

    If there is something positive about the EU commission’s ban on new ICE cars post 2030, it’s that it forces the carmakers to move on to electric drivetrains, with or without internal combustion. 4-wheel drive with limited slip and traction control would already be cheaper (including fuel costs) to realize with an electric drivetrain, if it weren’t for the massive sunken costs in the mechanical tooling in the automotive industrial complex.

    On-topic: Thinking about future technology is important when making purchases, it helps one see every present offering as a poor compromise, and not fall in love with a piece of merchandise. Rubbing an empty purse against one’s forehead is the other tried cure for acute acquisition fever.

    • Replies: @Jack D
  286. Jack D says:
    @Esso

    Future belongs to free piston linear generators and updraft gasifiers / fuel reformers.

    I highly doubt that but even if true, you are talking maybe 25 or 30 years out. These things are nowhere close to production ready.

    You’re right that electric cars are soon going to be cheaper than gas – no transmission needed, no driveshafts for awd, no engines with thousand of parts. Just a couple of electric motors and a big, every cheaper, battery.

    My wife had a cousin who used future technology as a cure for acquisition fever. She had no flat screen TV for years after everyone had them. She was always telling me about how she had just read an article in some magazine about how NEXT years flat screen TV’s were going to have Feature X which would make them better, so she way going to hold out until then. When next year came around, she was holding out for Feature Y, which was going to come out in the following year. Etc. and meanwhile years went by without a TV. And these folks were plenty rich. When they die, their kids are going to enjoy spending the money that they have been hoarding.

  287. @Herbert R. Tarlek, Jr.

    Right on cue, here’s Jack D, man of the world and self-appointed expert on everything.

    It helps if you imagine all of Jack D’s posts in Larry David’s voice.

  288. @Reg Cæsar

    Thanks Reg, really blown away.

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