Sign in to follow this  
mr.nice

*sigh* Someone help me with my Caddy SUV choice..

3 posts in this topic

mr.nice    0

Hey all. This is part getting things off my chest, part asking for advice and opinions from Cadillac owners. Nowhere better (ok, maybe Cadillac Forums) then here.

My story is my lease is coming up in less then 6 weeks on my factory ordered 2004 Z71 Avalanche. The buyout is significantly more then what I could pick a similar one for off a lot tomorrow, so I am going to walk away from it.

I love it...I had a 2003 for a year after choosing it over a Trailblazer at the time, and my salesman got me into a fully loaded one a year later, for very little more per month...so I have had an Avalanche for 3.5 years. At times it was more then I needed (driving to work everyday), both in a vehicle and in a payment, but sure enough, there was reason every so often that having such a vehicle was very handy. Obviously no issue in feeling comfortable driving something so big, or spending $$ on gas.

The wife and I camp in it 5 or 6 times a year, with the tent accessory. Of course too, the saying once you have a truck, its hard to give it up. For me, who jumped from car to car for 7 years prior to 2003 and my first Av, for me to be happy with a vehicle for 3+ years, and liking it enough to get another one, is saying something.

For the past 2 months I've been preparing myself for what's next. I'm 30, married, 80lbs dog. Kids aren't immenent, possibly not even down the road. We (wife and I) both drive to work. She sometimes needs to drive people she works with around the city. My wife is leasing an 2004 Optra sedan. Nice car, its lease is done in about 16 months.

The original thought was to get something NEW, and finance it. Something we'd be happy with and keep for at least the life of financing, probably longer. It would have to retain some form of utility, as giving up the Avalanche means we'd need some utility. It also had to be as inexpensive as possible, much cheaper then the Avalanche payment, and I would have to be content driving it for 18 months until her lease is done, when she takes it over.

With that said, we had (and still do) our eye on a new HHR. It provides something different, with the fold flat and plastic backs on seats. Coming in at $22K (CDN), it would be nicely priced, saving a couple hundred bucks (fiananced) over the current Avalanche lease payment...and I would only have to drive it for a year before moving onto to something nicer again. We've done the dealer thing, and know exactly what we'd want if we went that route.

A new AV is too much, both to lease and to finance.

Option B) is me getting the "nicer" vehicle now, and having the wife continue to drive the Optra, except for maybe days she needs to carry people from her work around (and she'd drive the utility vehicle)...and decide on her next car when this is up.

Again, we want to get out of leasing, so this would be a finance. Anything new is out of the question. So, I started looking at something that I would want long term, and be excited about long term and remian its class. An Avalanche similar to mine would be fine, but in a couple years, I know I'd probably want to get out of it. So, with the passion and love I have for GM cars, I'd want something that I would be excited about tomorrow, and in 5 years from now. For me, that means it has to be powerful, and unique, and classy..all rolled into one.

Obviously, this is where Cadillac comes in. I always prefered the look of the EXT to my cladded Avalanche (but preferred my cladded Avalanche to the WBH Avalanches). I was a bit surprised to see how much those depreciated (2002, 2003). Even then, what they were going for here a couple months ago was out of our anticpated pricepoint for a monthly payment (ie wife demanded the payment had to be a fair bit less then what we've been paying for the Avalanche). I've been looking high and low, and although prices are creeping down slowly, there is not a lot of supply up here. I discovered that US prices and availabilty are far superior to Canada. I've explored a few options (doing it myself or through a broker) as to importing. Thats a topic for another thread, but its viable, and what I am leaning to, as its much cheaper, and allows me to get little things not available here (such as XM integrated) in Canada.

Back to the models. The EXT was a natural choice obviosuly because its an upgrade over the Avalanche, looks wise if nothing else, while still having the truck capabilities.

In the last month, as I have done a lot more research, other things have come up. 2002 models are out...the interior isn't as nice as the 2003, nor is the reliablity of the electrical system.

Then, the dealer we were talking with the HHR got 2003 ESV in. I drove it, and couldn't believe that that engine had 60K miles. I fell in love with the 6.0L, so much smoother then the 5.3L, and the non off road suspension made it feel like a car compared to the Av. The wife, usually pretty grounded, loved it..in part because it was a (Dimond White) Cadillac. That blew me away that she like it simply as it was a Caddy.

It was in ok shape, and, even though it was as long as the Avalanche, much easier to mauneuver with the glass instead of the high sightline out of the back of Avalanche. It has the size of the Avalanche, albeit carpeted, but the seats fold flat, giving as much cargo room as we're used to with the Av. With us both liking it, we almost got it, but held off as it was that bit too much. It got sold a couple days later...as did another we inquired about at another dealer.

Exploring all Escalade options, has me spending too much time looking all over the place. The regular Escalade doesn't do it for me, styling wise. The body panels just look off somehow...but in the ESV and EXT, the lines look smoother. I can't put my finger on it. Plus, the Escalade 3rd row is virtually inaccessable in comparo to the ESV, and we'd likely have that 3rd seat out anyway with the dog. And, its not long enough to sleep in (like the EXT/ESV are). Not sure how big an issue that it but we are used to that...but combned with the styling, and the fact that the price is not much different then a used ESV, its just not a big difference. That said, its shorter, and will work for us 90% of the time, especially as I'll be driving it everyday, and, we're not having 5 kids. (I realize that a Denali and Denali XL also have the 6.0L..and I don't mind the styling of the Denali or paying a couple thousand less..but its not a Caddy).

The other thing that has come up just today, is the notion of an SRX (only the V8 AWD). Now, it doesn't have the same utility as any of the Escalades, but the seats do lie flat. The gas mileage is better, and its a car platform, so a bit smaller. AWD will work well in the winter.

All the reviews on it are good (I'm leaning toward a 2005, the 2004 has first year issues). I hope to drive one tomorrow to see what kind of punch the V8 has, but with 320hp on that body, it should be more agile then the 345hp Escalade.

So, what it boils down to is a)Do I want to get a used car now to replace the Avalanche or b) get a new HHR, and get "my" used car in 16 months when the wife's car lease is up?

I have been leaning towards a) for a variety of reasons.

Secondly, if I do get a used vehicle, what do I get from the Cadillac lineup?

-2003-2004 Escalade ESV/EXT or regualr Escalade

-2005 SRX V8 AWD

Assuming I can get the deal I want through the US, they should all come in at the same price ($27-30K USD). The SRX would still have factory warranty, the Escalades would be around 55K miles. Although having a factory warranty would be nice, its not neccessary, as due dilligence will be done in inspected the Escalade...plus the 6.0L is pretty bulletproof.

The Escalades have the great looks (ESV and EXT) that I have admired for 3 years now, and they have the interior and headroom that I like very similar to the Av, just everything upgraded. The 6L V8 is smooth and powerful, and doesn't want me to even look at anything with a 5.3 in vehicles that big. It has max utility...if we need it (not sure we do).

The SRX would be more nimble, sacrificing some utility for (I assume) a better ride and a smaller size and better milage, even with a V8.

Insurance on the Escalades are virtually the same as the Avalanche, which somewhat suprised me, so thats not an issue.

I know this is a long boring read, but any insight as to what you think you'd get into given my (or your) the situation, and the fact that its going to be something you're going to have and be happy with for 5+ years.

This is something that I am thinking way too much about, so much so that the wife is sick of me talking about it to her. As long as it is as inexpensive as possible, she'll be happy.

Thanks for taking the time, and, adding your comments.

Edited by mr.nice

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Northstar    11

The SRX is a world-class vehicle, while the older Escalade is not (IMO). So, if you go that route, I'd definetly look for a used SRX. And you said you wanted a V8 AWD, but the V6s I drove had plenty of giddy-up, and this is coming from someone who drives a GTO.

From experience (working at a dealer over the summer), there are plenty of SRXs to be had a GM auctions, so you might see what your dealer can find at an auction and for what price.

The HHR wouldn't be a bad choice either, and then maybe you'd have more options in 16 months. On the flip side, got the SRX now, the HHR SS would be out in 16 months, and maybe she'd like that to replace the Optra (and it'd be fun for you when she had the SRX).

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
mr.nice    0

The SRX is a world-class vehicle, while the older Escalade is not (IMO). So, if you go that route, I'd definetly look for a used SRX. And you said you wanted a V8 AWD, but the V6s I drove had plenty of giddy-up, and this is coming from someone who drives a GTO.

From experience (working at a dealer over the summer), there are plenty of SRXs to be had a GM auctions, so you might see what your dealer can find at an auction and for what price.

The HHR wouldn't be a bad choice either, and then maybe you'd have more options in 16 months. On the flip side, got the SRX now, the HHR SS would be out in 16 months, and maybe she'd like that to replace the Optra (and it'd be fun for you when she had the SRX).

195354[/snapback]

Thanks Northstar.

Just got back from driving an 04 SRX with V8 AWD, and Nav..no 3rd seat. 46000KM's, meaning still 35K under warranty (so 4 years will be up long before 80K).

You're right, it is world class.

Love the V8. Love it. I guess I owe myself to drive the V6 too, but love the rumble on the V8, and the push back in the seat performance/torque.

Also like the touch NAV..although being an 04 (Canadian) it doesn't have XM (although I assume it is "XM ready"..although I have to do some more research if XM was "turned on" by buying the module if it would work on the touch screen). Looking at the ones without the Nav, not a big fan of all the black plastic in the console.

The dealer had 2, neither had the 3rd seat. Now, I can't imagine how people get back there, but the fact that it is a lie flat 3rd row, means at least its an option to cinsider. But, you lose the storage areas with the 3rd seat. That would be something the wife would decide on if we had the choice.

And we'd both have to decide if it is enough utility. I'm so so....I know I am greedy about that, but after having a truck, you do get used to the ability to having a lot of extra room.

It had the huge sunroof. The wife will want it just for that, but I am leery of sunroofs of any size in the climate here (8 years ago my 98 Z24 Cav started leaking just before the 3 years were up), let alone a massive one like this. Again, warranty would cover it at least for the next year or so.

So overall, very impressed with the power, interior, and likely the utility would be sufficient.

But, like the Escalades (actually, even worse), the prices up here are ridiculous. First, there are not that many around here for sale. Both I was looking at today were $45K CDN (about $40K US). Both V8 AWD, both 2004. The one I had with NAV had 45K KM (about 28K miles), and the non NAV had about 22K miles (35K KM).

A quick look at ebay/autotrader.com/cars.com (the only useful sites I know for used cars in the US) show that I could get into a similar, loaded 2004 for (retail) under $29K Canadian after exchange rate.

Even getting the dealer (a large GM/Caddy dealer here) down a bit, say $5K off their price (the SRX I drove, didn't start thanks to a dead battery..and salesman said there was a buildup on the rotors as it hasn't been driven in a long time) still means that, even if I pay a fee to a broker to get me a US SRX, I would still save over $7K+ then this one I drove today. And I would get integrated XM as a bonus.

(That brings up a US/Canada warranty issue, which I asked in the Lounge..it appears to transfer over ok).

Anyways, this is a definite option after today. As far as the HHR goes, if thats the route taken now, or, in 16 months (in 16 months, if we get a utility vehicle now, we'd look at mid size sedans, not needing utility) we'd be looking as cheap as possible, to save $$, so no need for the SS package. I would "sacrifice" driving the 149hp engine for a year, and look for something of mine, ,ore significant, used, in 16 months.

Thanks for your input....more is appreciated from anyone.

Edited by mr.nice

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Your content will need to be approved by a moderator

Guest
You are commenting as a guest. If you have an account, please sign in.
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoticons maximum are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

Sign in to follow this