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Old 12-11-2009, 10:01 AM   #1
akboss
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Are cushy cars boring?

I have a pretty long commute - about 45 Km each way, takes me about an hour. Most of the driving is on sideroads at between 60-80 km/h, not much highway. I drive a Mazda Protege5 which I love because of the nicely weighted steering, the competent handling and I enjoy shifting gears myself. But I would be lying if I didn't say the few times I have borrowed my wife's Toyota Camry I enjoyed the luxurious bump-soaking ride. Compared to my car, it felt like I was driving a limousine - the little Mazda doesn't like bumpy roads.

I'm asking car enthusiasts to see if you think comfortable, luxury-biased cars get boring, or is it still fun? I'm looking at used Buick LeSabre's, very reliable, very comfortable, very safe...but boring? Quite possibly. Am I going to fall asleep on my commute if I get one of these tanks, or are there drivers out there that enjoy the drive of a bigger, more comfortable car?
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Old 12-11-2009, 11:56 PM   #2
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Re: Are cushy cars boring?

I would agree with you.... a comfy car becomes a big asset on a daily commute.
Usually, work wears and stresses you out. A quiet, comfy car is a way of unwinding from it all.

IMO, for commuting, boring is good. Exciting is bad; exciting requires too much mental energy and too much discomfort.

Exciting is good for the week end, booting up Airport Rd to the cottage, or smoking it around the Caledon Hills.

Over the years, I have driven many cars, and I keep the exciting cars for weekend use, and drive boring during the week.
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Old 12-11-2009, 11:56 PM   #3
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Re: Are cushy cars boring?

Meh I think theres a fine line between a bad car a fun car and a just plain boring car. Though this fine line looks more like a spiders web. A great car needs enough power to be fun and a good smooth ride, but not to much so that is feels like your floating on the road. A LeSabre is a good car from what I hear, I've never personally known someone with one though.
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Old 12-12-2009, 01:17 PM   #4
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Re: Are cushy cars boring?

So MagicRat, any suggestions as to what kinds of used comfy cars I can get into for <$15K that still get decent mileage? Like I said I was looking at something like a Buick LeSabre, but I've heard the seat cushions are kind of...well, flat. Ideally I'd like something with a little seat bolstering, at the largest a 3.8L V6 (25 mpg highway) and not too big. Ever driven a Ford Five-Hundred? Or an early-model Caddy CTS?

PS I like the note about the Caledon Hills, I live close to there and the Halton area has some awesome backroads. My Father In Law has a '66 Cadillac convertible, we've taken some nice cruises in those roads.
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Old 12-12-2009, 01:41 PM   #5
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Re: Are cushy cars boring?

<$15k will get you an awesome cushy car.
Yes, Buick seats are really are too squashy, even for me.

IMO go all the way and get a Lincoln or Cadillac.
The depreciation curve on these cars is unbelievably steep. You can get a perfect one, only 5 years old within your budget. An 8-year old one can be had for about $8k or less. People often will ask more, but its rare they get their asking price.

You may have to look around for one that has been maintained properly and is in excellent condition... because excellent condition does not increase resale value much.

The Caddys seem to perform better.... the Deville is better for a traditional luxury feel and the Seville STS (not SLS) is smaller and sportier. The Northstar V8's are really fast, yet get respectible mileage.

The only problem with the Caddy is the Northstar has a cylinder head bolt problem, which tends to cause blown head gaskets in about half the engines out there.
The fix is to install a "TimeSert" kit. This is about $2500. But, everyone knows this, so used Caddys are priced accordingly. I have seen the odd-perfect Caddy with blown HG's going for $2k. Repair it for 2.5K and you have a car worth $8k.

The Lincolns are more reliable than the Caddy yet still cheap to buy. The Town Car is like a rock.... this is why all airport limos are Town Cars, they seem to last forever, although I like the Caddy independent rear suspension more.
The Touring Sedan package is the hot set-up - like a Lincoln police car - but they are pretty rare.

Otherwise, the smaller Lincoln LS is a great car, very good handling with excellent all-around performance. . The V8 model is a bit faster and more reliable than the V6.

Beware of the 'active suspension' options. Shock and struts get very expensive to replace, although you can substitute 'passive' regular shocks and struts for much less money.

Finally, take a look for a used late-90's Eldorado or, especially a Lincoln Mark VIII. They, especially the Lincoln were astounding cars...... the trick is, finding a really good one because even the newest ones are 10 years old. But they are still cheap to buy, are awesome and will only increase in value as they become more collectible.

Last edited by MagicRat; 12-12-2009 at 04:09 PM.
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Old 12-12-2009, 04:08 PM   #6
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Re: Are cushy cars boring?

That's a great list. I've always liked the look of the Lincoln LS cars, and apparently the later the model the better the car - I think they got a significant refresh in 2002. I'll have to have a look around at what's out there. I have to keep the cushy car cheap so I can save up for that weekender
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Old 12-14-2009, 01:17 PM   #7
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Re: Are cushy cars boring?

You guys obviously seem to be more on the side of american cars even thou akboss drives a mazda5. Have you considered a camry with 3.0l v6, comfy ride like your wife's but with a little kick. Also the maxima 3.5 v6 is a very comfy ride and does have some balls also, no race car by any means but pretty fun ride. If i had to choose between the maxima and camry i would choose the camry just because maintenance wise it is almost unbeatable but like i said the maxima is much quicker. Only way to really know is for you to test drive them, cars are like movies I may love a movie and you may hate it but the only way to know is to watch it. To each their own opinion.

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Old 12-14-2009, 03:29 PM   #8
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Re: Are cushy cars boring?

I was keeping options open, but it seems to me when it comes to luxury cars the American's have soft and cushy down to a tea That's not to say that Japanese luxury cars, or even cars like the Camry/Maxima aren't good, they are just different. I don't think I would get the same feeling driving down the road in a Camry as I would in a DeVille...just two different worlds.

Mind you today I was looking up the Toyota Avalon, that seems to be a rock-solid luxury barge...but so big! Also checked out the late-90's Lexus ES300, which is basically a Camry but a little better looking. Both very nice cars.
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Old 12-14-2009, 05:27 PM   #9
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Re: Are cushy cars boring?

Avalon is a nice car but sometimes hard to find parts (doesnt exist anymore) but i think your best bet would maybe be a used lexus, pretty dependable and very comfy.
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Old 12-29-2009, 03:15 PM   #10
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Re: Are cushy cars boring?

Agree with most of what MagicRat said.
Currently drive a 2000 Deville, bought it 2 yrs ago, it was like a brand new car with 18k miles on it. Paid just over $12K for it.
Rides great and the mileage is fantastic on my nearly 60 mile round trip commute. If I drive at 55mph, it'll give you 32mpg in return. Did this when gas got high in price.
Nowadays I drive about 65mph and it gives me 28mpg at that speed. YMMV

The headgasket issue was more common on pre-2000 models. At least that is the feedback I've seen on the caddy forums.
Also the 2000+ models run on regular unleaded instead of premium which was req'd of the Northstars from years ago. They do have their quirks, like the crankshaft position sensors and window regulators. But I have done the repairs myself for a fraction of what the dealer charges.
The 2000-05 models also have the diagnostic system accessible for the owner to use, not so from 06 onward.

Before the Caddy, we had a Town Car. Also a good car on the highway, but the Caddy drives like a Vette compared to the Lincoln!
The long overhangs of the vehicle dates the Lincoln, as well as scraped the bottom of our driveway or most driveways. Not the Caddy.
Personally, I don't care for the LS. Had a friend that had one with lotsa problems. His cooling fan was powered hydraulicly, which failed and created a huge mess.
They may have switched to an electric fan since his model.

A used Lexus LS is also a nice cushy car if you're looking for something smaller.
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Old 12-29-2009, 10:46 PM   #11
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Re: Are cushy cars boring?

The only problem with a Caddy is the cost of repair at a shop. Caddy parts tend to be a bit exclusive to Caddy. Lincoln tends to be more Ford than proprietary. As far as the car itself, they both are extremely nice vehicles. Really though, what it come down to is the car. Make a list, do some internet poking around at local places and make a list of cars to look at and go look at em. You will know when you find the car for you And a GM 3.8 gets better mileage then what it is rated for. The 3.8 is one of the best engines i've come across as far as reliability and ease of maintenance.
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Old 01-04-2010, 01:00 PM   #12
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Re: Are cushy cars boring?

One last thing. So I've got a lot of people defending a relaxed-driving, cushy car, and I'm pretty sure that would suit my lifestyle. Now because I have a long drive, I need something that gets good gas mileage - are their any small cars that drive like big cars for ride quality? Typically when you get into a small hatchback like my Protege5, the short wheelbase and sport-oriented drive makes the ride choppy and harsh over bumps. I know the Toyota Camry is a smooth driver, but is there anything smaller that still gives a bit of the comfort of a bigger, cushier car that still has tidy dimensions and a 4-cylinder? What's the new Ford Focus like? Or Nissan Sentra?
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Old 01-05-2010, 12:09 AM   #13
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Re: Are cushy cars boring?

Don't assume that tidy size and a 4 cylinder engine will always get you gas mileage. I had an 08 Saturn Aura with the 229HP 3.5 V6 and the 4 speed OD tranny. The thing got better fuel economy (30+ MPG) traveling interstates than most 4 cylinder cars I've ever owned. I recently traded the Aura for a 2010 Honda CRV 2 WD with the 180 HP 4 cylinder. The best the little Honda has done so far is 24 - 25 MPG on trips - even with its sophisticated I-VTEC engine and 5 speed OD tranny. Its stablemate, my "cushy" car, is an 06 Jaguar S-Type with the 4.2 300 HP V8. It'll smoke the Honda on long trip fuel economy as well - but it uses premium gas. We took the Jag on a 1600 mile trip this summer - she averaged 28.5 MPG with the AC running, and, she sure ain't boring to drive.

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Old 01-05-2010, 12:55 AM   #14
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Re: Are cushy cars boring?

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Don't assume that tidy size and a 4 cylinder engine will always get you gas mileage. I had an 08 Saturn Aura with the 229HP 3.5 V6 and the 4 speed OD tranny. The thing got better fuel economy (30+ MPG) traveling interstates than most 4 cylinder cars I've ever owned. I recently traded the Aura for a 2010 Honda CRV 2 WD with the 180 HP 4 cylinder. The best the little Honda has done so far is 24 - 25 MPG on trips - even with its sophisticated I-VTEC engine and 5 speed OD tranny. Its stablemate, my "cushy" car, is an 06 Jaguar S-Type with the 4.2 300 HP V8. It'll smoke the Honda on long trip fuel economy as well - but it uses premium gas. We took the Jag on a 1600 mile trip this summer - she averaged 28.5 MPG with the AC running, and, she sure ain't boring to drive.

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Theres another VTEC fail for ya but Jags for the win, other than the intensely pathetic resale :P
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Old 01-05-2010, 09:11 AM   #15
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Re: Are cushy cars boring?

Sweet Jag! To be fair though, you're comparing the fuel economy in an SUV to that of a car. Even if the Honda CR-V is based on a car, the revised gearing, added weight and even the shape of the vehicle all contribute to poor fuel economy. If you had driven an Accord you would have seen a marked difference in mileage. EPA for the CR-V 2WD is 27 highway, Accord gets 31 with a slightly more powerful motor.

I totally agree with what you're saying about bigger cars getting decent economy - especially on the highway - but overall a smaller motor requires less fuel in a similar vehicle. My wife's 4-cyl Camry is an excellent car but too big, I want that mileage (or better, 25+ mpg combined) and that ride, but smaller.
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