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Cory Wolfe

Hypothetical Question

44 posts in this topic

If you were offered a 2005 bottom-of-the-rung compact vehicle with 10k miles in your price range would you be stupid to continue to look at an 8 year older vehicle with not nearly as low of mileage?

Now, the first vehicle is pretty far from what you're looking for. The only option it has is for an automatic transmission, which is an option better left unchecked in your opinion. Crank windows, not a power amenity to be found, and its about as exciting as watching water flow by. It does have a good engine, even if the exhaust note has your Hoover vacuum confused. It doesn't really have any bad reputation, it's mostly average.

The second vehicle is what you've been looking for all along. You like it, which is why you've been looking into them. You're familiar with the type of vehicle, as well, you're not purchasing based on a blind love. It has everything you want. Power amenities, moonroof, leather seats, good factory sound system and an engine that's powerful and fuel efficient. The downside, it may not have the reputation that the first vehicle has and certainly not the similar super-low mileage.

What would you do? Go for the newer, low mileage car that's pretty opposite of what you want with the first vehicle or take a risk going for an older, average mileage car that is exactly what you want?

:P

(Don't assume what vehicles they may be. The second one is pretty obvious if you know my latest quests for a vehicle, but disregard that.)

Edited by blackviper8891
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I'd buy the Aveo. :P

Wait, you said the first one has a reputation, so disregard that.

Edited by Captainbooyah
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That's a tough call. Vehicle A sounds like the logical choice from problem free commuting. Depending on how new it may even have a warranty still.

However it also sounds like a penalty box and it will remind of you of it every time you get in.

Vehicle B would bring you joy an satisfaction every time you got in and drove it, until something potentially goes wrong. If you're prepared for potential repair down the road and are willing to except that, I would choose vehicle B.

Vehicle B sounds a lot like my car. While I didn't know just how bad the reputation was on the 2.7 when I bought it, I was well aware that with 173,000 miles on it that something like a timing chain or belt would be in it's future, and that some parts may have to be replaced due to the higher mileage. Even when I found out about the 2.7's reputation months after buying it, I simply accepted it and looked forward to putting a bigger motor in it.

I've owned it for 2 years and put nearly 25,000 miles, and taken it halfway across the country on it it with about 3 small problems total before the time came to replace the engine. And even now I can still drive it.

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i wanted a 97 2dr tahoe i found with 65K miles. the guy wanted 7800 for it. my dad told me, you know, it wouldnt be fun to be paying on a car that you'd have to pay someone to fix too. so i got the colorado new.

if you have to finance, it may be better to go new(er) with the warranty. if you are paying all or at least 60% up front for the other, then go for the one you want more.

Edited by cletus8269
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I can't believe I'm going to say this, but with your track record of negative ownership experiences, I'd advise that you go with vehicle "A".

Of course I completely understand not doing so. :AH-HA_wink:

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How does the Consumer Reports reviews compare for A and B? How 'average' is the mileage for B? Carfaxes? I wouldn't touch it if it were over 100k... my experience has been that buying used cars with over 100k more often that not are money pits that will nickel and dime you to death (or 500/1000 at a time), that will strand you somewhere far from home when the weather is bad, and generally make you want to eventually torch them or shove them off a cliff.. :)

Edited by moltar
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I can't believe I'm going to say this, but with your track record of negative ownership experiences, I'd advise that you go with vehicle "A".

Of course I completely understand not doing so. :AH-HA_wink:

Understood, but car is like driving a Corolla. Sure, it'll be good to you, but it'll also be painfully boring to live with. Car B is a car I've already had good luck with, for once.

How does the Consumer Reports reviews compare for A and B? How 'average' is the mileage for B? Carfaxes? I wouldn't touch it if it were over 100k... my experience has been that buying used cars with over 100k more often that not are money pits that will nickel and dime you to death (or 500/1000 at a time), that will strand you somewhere far from home when the weather is bad, and generally make you want to eventually torch them or shove them off a cliff.. :)

I don't bother with CR.

Average mileage, I consider to be 10k per year, which puts it right at 100k. I don't need a Carfax for car A, I know its history, and car B has a clean Carfax with nothing bad to report.

I might as well just say it. Car A = 2005 Cobalt LS. Car B = 1998 VW Jetta GLX. My main reasons for asking is that I really can't see myself being happy with it. It's a Corolla to me. Boring, featureless, a complete drone, and depreciates horribly. It will be a down-grade for me from my Jetta, which was atleast well-equipped and retailed only $3k less, despite its age and mileage. The GLX I'm looking is even more favorable. However, at the same time, I feel like I would be stupid for not go for it. It's one of those times where you come across a good deal on a car you don't want. I'll probably end up with it just because it's in the family. Will I enjoy it? That's a good question.

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Well, as someone who owns a vehicle very much like Car A, I think you know which way I vote. I have almost 35K on mine and have nothing major to report. I'll be doing brakes all around within the next couple of months, and I'll change both front struts since the R/F one started leaking after the accident. Is this the red one your grandma had? The auto isn't that bad in it - most of the time it is where it needs to be. There is a HUGE aftermarket for the Cobalt. You can make the car whatever you want.

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The Cobalt really is a no-brainer.

It's not like you won't get to choose another car again.

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I'd go for the Cobalt...much more modern car than an 11 yr old Jetta...and as CR shows, old Jettas have a lot of problem areas...people I know that have owned them had many problems. Buy the newer, more reliable car and save your money to eventually get something better. An old, high mileage car has a high potential to be a money pit and distraction.

It would be an easy choice for me; relatively new (current generation as well), relatively low mileage, always trumps old and high mileage for me.

Edited by moltar
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I know that you have a thing for Jettas now, but Cobalt is probably the better choice even though it's basically a stripper (does it have A/C? I don't know if that was optional or standard on Cobalts).

I lived with one for 2 months and it gave me no problems besides my particular car's city fuel economy. The only issues I had with it was the cheapo interior and the electric steering...which just feels odd. However The steering you get used to unless you stop to think about it or get in another car and drive it. However it rides very well, even at speed, like a big car.

Plus, you can probably find plenty of parts for it to upgrade and accessorize it, so over time you could make it more like a 2LT than a LS.

It's a tough call though, since the Jetta is what you actually want, but with your track record the newer, lower mileage Cobalt is probably the one to go with...especially if they are around the same price.

Plus GM offers way more performance goodies for the Cobalt than Toyota ever offered for the Corolla. :P

Although even if it was a Corolla I would still lean towards it.

When you're looking at a car with low miles, is newer, and is known for reliability, and you need something...it is the more logical choice. You can always pick up a Jetta later as a 2nd car when you've got more money.

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You may not love the Cobalt per se, but you will love the much higher level of "new" than everything else you've had.

I'd even be willing to bet that you develop a new level of respect for the car.

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Cobalt because it's newer and it is familiar to you.
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and as CR shows, old Jettas have a lot of problem areas...people I know that have owned them had many problems.

Good point. The Jetta's previous owner had better have been meticulous with maintenance for you to even consider it.

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I imagine it is not cheap to work on a VR6.
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Is this the red one your grandma had? The auto isn't that bad in it - most of the time it is where it needs to be. There is a HUGE aftermarket for the Cobalt. You can make the car whatever you want.

Yes, it was my Grandma's.

It's sort of a hard to turn a base model into an well-equipped model, as far as making it what I want. I don't need a ton of performance or for it look like rice-city. My main negative with the Cobalt is that it has nothing and is oh so boring. It has A/C, but I can count the times I've used A/C in my previous cars on one hand. I mostly want a well equipped car that suits my taste and I will be able to enjoy. Power accessories, moonroof, a consistant feel (like the Jetta's euro quirks), etc. That's where I look at the Cobalt and think "eh". I really can't make it what I want... It's still just a Cobalt unless I sink more money into it than what I'm paying for it.

I'd go for the Cobalt...much more modern car than an 11 yr old Jetta...and as CR shows, old Jettas have a lot of problem areas...people I know that have owned them had many problems. Buy the newer, more reliable car and save your money to eventually get something better. An old, high mileage car has a high potential to be a money pit and distraction.

Debateable. Those 11 year old Jettas do not drive any worse than a new Cobalt and are certainly better equipped.

I do know VW's do not have a sparkling reputation for reliability... However, my Jetta was perfect. It never let me down. Why should I condemn a car based on other people's experiences and not my own? The one car I finally had good luck with reliability wise is one that I refuse to condemn because of its reputation.

I'm sure many of you have bought a car with a bad reputation. Any GM fan will have, in fact. Did the reputation always come to be true? My parent's had a hellish time with out Blazer and Sunfire and you see me coin the term POS when speaking to those respective vehicles all the time and isn't out of the ordinary. Have people had good experiences with them? Yes. Why else are we here if we didn't have good luck with GM vehicles despite the reputations that 95% of them have...

You may not love the Cobalt per se, but you will love the much higher level of "new" than everything else you've had.

I'd even be willing to bet that you develop a new level of respect for the car.

I simply don't see what there is to respect over what I've had. If anything, it might be on-par with my Jetta in some respects.

In all honesty...

I want to be convinced into this Cobalt. It's been strictly within my family and is hardly driven. It's a deal that people dream about finding. I just can't get enthusiastic about the car itself. I feel as if I'm "settling" for it. It's not what I want, it's poorly equipped, its the absolute definition of an appliance, and its depreciation is going to be put me right back to the same price range if I decide to trade it in. That's not even accounting for the loan I'll be paying off for three years. It'll probably put me in an even lower range if I wait until I pay it off.

What are good reasons to go for the Cobalt? What does it have over a vintage Jetta that cannot be countered?

In the end, the Cobalt has it's low mileage. That's really it. Nothing else beams far above the Jetta. And this is why I will most likely end up with it. It's a safe choice. I may kick myself for getting into another vehicle that I do not want, but I can't say it'll be a bad vehicle. It's an appliance and with a decent reputation. I feel like I understand the thought process for someone who buys Toyotas now... Except, I'll be stuck with a hell of a lot of depreciation. (I found this funny. 2005 Cobalt LS with 10k: $9500 vs 1998 Jetta GLX with 100k: $7200. 8 years newer and 90k less miles will only net you a $2300 difference in retail? That's sad, regardless of equipment differences.)

Edited by blackviper8891
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Hmm...well the pluses for the Cobalt:

  • Even in base trim it rides well on the road.
  • It absorbs bumps and imperfections very well.
  • It handles pretty well too. It'll cruise at speed with the stability of a larger car.
  • It's reasonably quiet inside. It's more basic but that means less to go wrong.
  • It's newer with less miles so there's less chance of things going wrong.
  • It's pretty quick
  • Find a junkyard with a new wrecked Cobalt with more features and have at it.

I can see how it's like buying a Toyoda though.

However, if you still want the Jetta, make sure to triple check every possible aspect of the car, and be ready for the "just in case something breaks" moments.

With all that said, I would still lean for the Cobalt. Odds are much better of it being reliable transportation, which is what you really need. It's a screaming deal, you know about the car, and you could always upgraded it down the road or get a 2nd car that's more of a toy/weekend warrior later.

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Hmm...well the pluses for the Cobalt:

  • Even in base trim it rides well on the road.
  • It absorbs bumps and imperfections very well.
  • It handles pretty well too. It'll cruise at speed with the stability of a larger car.
  • It's reasonably quiet inside. It's more basic but that means less to go wrong.
  • It's newer with less miles so there's less chance of things going wrong.
  • It's pretty quick
  • Find a junkyard with a new wrecked Cobalt with more features and have at it.

I meant... What can you say about the Cobalt that you can't say about the Jetta?

I know how my Jetta drives in comparison to that Cobalt. There's not much of anything the Cobalt does better on the points that you mentioned. It's slightly more solid and slightly more quiet. Both handle well and are stable at higher speeds (I would certainly know having topped out my Jetta before) and they ride very well.

You're not very good at convincing me. :P

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