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c2105026

Hello all,

I found on www.drive.com.au an interactive car comparer. It is interesting to see the minor differences in equipment and engineering specs between cars that vary widely in pricing - for instance, for an extra A$14k you can upgrade from a corolla conquest sedan auto (which I have) and get an Audi A3 or an Mecedes A-Class auto. Only thing is, the german cars have only maybe $4500 worth of extra features. Sure they may be better on the road etc. but my guess is 90% of the time most normal people will not notice this much. Or, for A$50k we can get a top of the range camry that has the same equipment level as an Audi A6.

My question for you all is - if you had the money, would you go for a luxury auto and seemingly pay big $$$ for some brand image (or even actually a great automobile?) ? or would you keep your 'rolla?

Reason I ask is on my walking route I pass a dealer that sells VWs, toyota, mercs and mitsubishis. I noticed that the fit and finish on toyotas was as good as, if not better than, say VW Golf or Merc A-Class. They had an E-Class there that looked super, but I figure that it would not look so inviting once I had it for a few months, it would just get dirty like any Japanese car and the novelty would wear off.... I began wondering why people would shell out the equivalent of an average salary to get basically a car of the same quality, in a real everyday sense?

Max

I don't think I would put up that kind of money for luxury. I'd have to be super rich and have already covered my charitable giving bases. Even then, I can't see myself spending more than 30k, and that would be for an Acura TSX or Lexus IS 250, not a Benz or Bimmer or upper-level Lexus. And I think you're right about most people not noticing the differences, anyway.

Larry Roll

Like Max said, If I had a large amount of disposable income, had all of my family member's needs adequately cared for, and was able to make significant contributions to charitable causes, I'd consider indulging in a luxury automobile. For me, that would probably mean a Mercedes, in the middle-of-line sedan version, not one of those over the top AMG's. I'd like to be getting at least 30 MPG highway, so I'd probably go for a Mercedes diesel. Their 5-cylinder inline diesel is supposed to be just about bulletproof. Of course, I'd keep my Corolla for the short, local trips -- but I'd be keeping it in the heated garage next to the Benz.

I would definately spend the money to buy an A6 over a Camry. You look at those two cars and say the Camry is of the same level, but it truly is not. After haven ridden in and driven various Mercedes Benz, BMW, Audi and Jaguar cars, I can simply say this: They are worth the money if you have it. For instance, A BMW 325i does things that lesser cars simply can't do. A Camry has a compliant ride, but the handling, brakes and cornering are seriously lacking. A 325i rides compliantly, and handles, brakes and corners like a sports car. A Toyota Camry can have leather seats, but are they 12 way power adjustable, heated, cooled, with massage and anti-whiplash protection? Does a Camry have an accident sensing system that can automatically adjust all seats to the optimal position for a crash, take the slack out of the seatbelt, provide 100% of the car's braking force regardless of how far you're holding on the brake pedal, and close the sunroof/windows all within seconds of it sensing you're going to get hit?

In short, comparing a Camry to a BMW, Mercedes or Audi isn't comparing apples to apples.

c2105026

Well, in a way it is comparing apples to apples - they are all largish sedans that are all regeristable as passenger cars.

I hear what 99contour is saying. Yes, hands down the german cars hold the trump card in terms of safety systems and comfort features.

Sure the camry may not the best thing to compare german cars against - how about comparing a BMW 120i against a Mazda 3 SP23? Just looking at the comparison or drive .com.au, the mazda is A$15k cheaper than the BMW, and the only goodies it misses out on is electric seats, trip computer, rear side airbag, and rain sensing wipers (this is with both cars optioned so that they are as close as possible). Considering the dynamics of the two are similar, as would be the build quality etc. There is $11k unaccounted for....

muzak

I think luxury is my Corolla, with maybe just a few minor changes, but to me she is luxury. I see a lot of seniors driving brand new Caddys and other luxury cars with a lot carrying handicaped notices on their windshield. We have a senior development here in the city where you can buy (at a humungous price) and still have to pay almost $600 maintenance fees a month..for a maximum of 2 people in your 2,000+ square foot multi-level home. (Great for seniors..up and down stairs!)

Luxury to me and my wife is our homes in fully developed lots with birds singing, as opposed to new areas where you have saplings (If you're lucky) with no chance to have animal life for about ten years or more.

Max

Amen, muzak. Well said.

Well, in a way it is comparing apples to apples - they are all largish sedans that are all regeristable as passenger cars.

I hear what 99contour is saying. Yes, hands down the german cars hold the trump card in terms of safety systems and comfort features.

Sure the camry may not the best thing to compare german cars against - how about comparing a BMW 120i against a Mazda 3 SP23? Just looking at the comparison or drive .com.au, the mazda is A$15k cheaper than the BMW, and the only goodies it misses out on is electric seats, trip computer, rear side airbag, and rain sensing wipers (this is with both cars optioned so that they are as close as possible). Considering the dynamics of the two are similar, as would be the build quality etc. There is $11k unaccounted for....

We don't have any BMW less than the 328i sedan here in the US. There are no American cars that compete with it anymore in any manner. There used to be one. A Ford Contour SVT would out handle, brake, and accelerate a 328i quite easily. It cost 8k less, but you gave up things like side airbags, traction control, trip computers, stability control, built in phones, automatic climate control, CD changers, etc. Ford only made 15,000 of the SVT Contour, and they could only be purchased through select dealers. Needless to say, they were very hard to get and one of the most exclusive Ford cars made in the 1990s.

Today there is only one mainstream car I would say compares favorably to a BMW 328i sedan. The Mazda6s is highly comparable. However, load one of these out and you're talking about 29k for a car with a 3 year 36000 mile warranty and no maintenance included in that cost. The BMW 328i costs 33k and has a 4 year 50000 mile warranty and free maintenance for the first 50000 miles including brake, tire, wiper blade and clutch replacement on manual transmission cars. Considering how much it costs to maintain a BMW compared to a Mazda, the extra cost is justified. Besides the BMW is more impressive when you pull up to the country club.

Larry Roll

I went to the Mercedes Benz website last night, and found the automobile of my wildest dreams: The MB E320 CDI. It has a 6 cyl. inline diesel engine which produces 201 HP and 389 lb. ft. of torque, and gets 37 MPG highway. Wow. Of course, if you add just a few reasonable options, it is 60 kilobucks, and I'm sure that the darn thing is a maintenance nightmare. Well, if I ever do buy the proverbial winning Lotto ticket, I'd have to consider getting one for my lifetime dream of driving through every American state, every Canadian province, and then right around the world -- with occasional assistance from a cargo ship or aircraft.

I went to the Mercedes Benz website last night, and found the automobile of my wildest dreams: The MB E320 CDI. It has a 6 cyl. inline diesel engine which produces 201 HP and 389 lb. ft. of torque, and gets 37 MPG highway. Wow. Of course, if you add just a few reasonable options, it is 60 kilobucks, and I'm sure that the darn thing is a maintenance nightmare. Well, if I ever do buy the proverbial winning Lotto ticket, I'd have to consider getting one for my lifetime dream of driving through every American state, every Canadian province, and then right around the world -- with occasional assistance from a cargo ship or aircraft.

The MB E-class isn't their most reliable line. In fact, that line and the ML line are solely responsible for MBs current reputation for building less than reliable cars. I personally have never cared for MB cars anyway. To me there are better cars than any MB for every need. I think they just say "look at me I can afford a Benz". They aren't the best at anything. If you buy a BMW you are buying the Ultimate Driving Machine. If you buy a Jag you are buying British mystique, burlwood, lambswool carpets, and the world's smoothest ride. If you buy a Lexus, you're buying the worlds most reliable Luxury cars. Get my point?

I'm not knocking the Benz, it is certainly a fine car, but if it's driving or ride or reliability or sheer luxury you're looking for, you could quite easily find cars that do these things better than a MB. Now I realize in your case that you are attracted to the Diesel engine and that MB is currently the only luxury car manufacturer to offer a diesel in the US. However, for those of us who don't care about the diesel option, the MB simply isn't the best choice if we desire one main thing out of our cars.

c2105026

An interesting website I found is 'www.carsurvey.org' - a collection of blogs about people's experiences with auto reliability. MB E-Class is a bit less reliable than corollas, the bmw 3-series is way below.

In australia, a Mazda 6 Luxury sedan sells for A$40k, the 323i with the options so it matches the 6 as closely as possible is A$77k. $37k difference. Take off the things the BMW has the mazda 6 has not (stability control, heated mirrors, rain sensing windshield wipers) the difference is maybe $33k. Please note that new cars in australia that are priced at over $60k or so are subject to the luxury car tax - which is how a 328i is cost competetive with a 6 in the states, I suppose. Man, cars are cheap in the states!

I have considered taking my '05 around OZ on Highway 1 - start in sydney, go up to Brisbane, Cairns, then cut across country to Katherine, Darwin then over the Pilbra to Broome, Perth, across the nullabor to Adelaide, then the great ocean road to melbourne then back up to sydney. would take 3 weeks, 10000km, 6200 miles, maybe 15 tankfulls of gas default_smile

I do not frequent country clubs. Ok, I lie, some times I go there to look for golfballs people have lost...

Max

c- We have (had?) a luxury tax here, too, though it's not as high as it once was and is being phased out, if it isn't gone completely by now. In the early 90s it was very punitive - 10% on cars over 30k. These days 30k doesn't buy much luxury. Camry and Accord can easily approach that with a V6 and a couple accesssories added.

c- We have (had?) a luxury tax here, too, though it's not as high as it once was and is being phased out, if it isn't gone completely by now. In the early 90s it was very punitive - 10% on cars over 30k. These days 30k doesn't buy much luxury. Camry and Accord can easily approach that with a V6 and a couple accesssories added.

We still have a Luxury Tax in the states. It is 7% on the value of the car that it over 70k. In other words, if you buy a 80k car, you pay 700 in Luxury Taxes. Big deal right?

An interesting website I found is 'www.carsurvey.org' - a collection of blogs about people's experiences with auto reliability. MB E-Class is a bit less reliable than corollas, the bmw 3-series is way below.

I'm not going to get into this argument again, but people's opinions on blogs can not be used to determine a car's reliability for numerous statistical reasons. If I buy a BMW, I expect it to be absolutly flawless in every way, if I buy a Ford I expect it to have some problems. Therefore I call a BMW with 1 warranty repair an unreliable POS and a Ford with 5 warranty repairs fairly reliable. Because of this, blogs can not determine reliability. What can is randomly sampling 100 cars of any given model and looking at how many reapirs they required. That way we can take the opinion factor out of it and say a Taurus has 52 problems per 100 vehicles and a 328i has only 12, therefore the BMW is more reliable.

That is how Consumer Reports and the other reliable car raters determine reliability. They use data based on cold hard facts, not on people's feelings.

Larry Roll

I went to the Mercedes Benz website last night, and found the automobile of my wildest dreams: The MB E320 CDI. It has a 6 cyl. inline diesel engine which produces 201 HP and 389 lb. ft. of torque, and gets 37 MPG highway. Wow. Of course, if you add just a few reasonable options, it is 60 kilobucks, and I'm sure that the darn thing is a maintenance nightmare. Well, if I ever do buy the proverbial winning Lotto ticket, I'd have to consider getting one for my lifetime dream of driving through every American state, every Canadian province, and then right around the world -- with occasional assistance from a cargo ship or aircraft.

The MB E-class isn't their most reliable line. In fact, that line and the ML line are solely responsible for MBs current reputation for building less than reliable cars. I personally have never cared for MB cars anyway. To me there are better cars than any MB for every need. I think they just say "look at me I can afford a Benz". They aren't the best at anything. If you buy a BMW you are buying the Ultimate Driving Machine. If you buy a Jag you are buying British mystique, burlwood, lambswool carpets, and the world's smoothest ride. If you buy a Lexus, you're buying the worlds most reliable Luxury cars. Get my point?

I'm not knocking the Benz, it is certainly a fine car, but if it's driving or ride or reliability or sheer luxury you're looking for, you could quite easily find cars that do these things better than a MB. Now I realize in your case that you are attracted to the Diesel engine and that MB is currently the only luxury car manufacturer to offer a diesel in the US. However, for those of us who don't care about the diesel option, the MB simply isn't the best choice if we desire one main thing out of our cars.

True enough. The MB E320 CDI would be something I'd consider ONLY if I had unlimited financial resources. I'd expect it to show somewhat less than Corolla-like reliability, and whatever problems I had with it would be expensive to repair, and the repairs could only be performed at a Mercedes dealer or independent shops specializing in high-end luxury cars. However, you'd usually have the benefit of a more or less free loaner while these repairs were being performed, at least while the car was under warranty.

And speaking of warranty, I'd be trading it well before that warranty had expired. But, then again, I could afford to , couldn't I? OTOH, I'll keep my Corolla as long as I can -- which, for now, will most likely be until Toyota starts putting a diesel engine in them.

Ti-Jean

"My question for you all is - if you had the money, would you go for a luxury auto and seemingly pay big $$$ for some brand image (or even actually a great automobile?) ? or would you keep your 'rolla?"

I'd definitely trade my Corolla for... a Camry!

Speaking of luxury tax, well, Canada has one. It's called the exchange rate! Only small cars sell at a fair exchange rate relative to the (real) price set in the US. A Civic, for example sells at 1.13 time US price.

But most everything else, from compact SUV's to luxury cars is selling at a prohibitive 1.35 time US price. Might explain why most canadians can only afford small cars...

But if I had unlimited funds, I too would lease the high end teuton 'til the end of its bumper to bumper warranty... and keep my Corolla for when the Merc is in the shop!

But if I had unlimited funds, I too would lease the high end teuton 'til the end of its bumper to bumper warranty... and keep my Corolla for when the Merc is in the shop!

Keeping the Corolla is pointless with a car like a MB. They do not operate like Toyota where you can only get a loaner under certain circumstances. If you buy a MB, whenever it needs work, you're going to be driving a MB as a loaner especially if you drive a S class or SL class, they're going to give you a 65 or 70 thousand dollar car as a loaner. Driving around in a 16k Corolla when the dealer is willing to give you a car that cost from 40 to 70 thousand dollars to drive as a loaner is strange.

Larry Roll

But if I had unlimited funds, I too would lease the high end teuton 'til the end of its bumper to bumper warranty... and keep my Corolla for when the Merc is in the shop!

Keeping the Corolla is pointless with a car like a MB. They do not operate like Toyota where you can only get a loaner under certain circumstances. If you buy a MB, whenever it needs work, you're going to be driving a MB as a loaner especially if you drive a S class or SL class, they're going to give you a 65 or 70 thousand dollar car as a loaner. Driving around in a 16k Corolla when the dealer is willing to give you a car that cost from 40 to 70 thousand dollars to drive as a loaner is strange.

 

Ti-Jean: A "Merc" is a Mercury. The short name for a Mercedes is just "the Benz."

Shaun: I'm with Ti-Jean when it comes to keeping my Corolla. Even if I became a mega-millionaire, I'd still keep it and drive it regularly. It's the best car I've ever owned, and could potentially outlast my MB E320 CDI, or any other automobile in my personal fleet. Especially when cared for by my staff of young, female Japanese mechanics and chauffeurs!

c2105026

even folks with unlimited $$$ drive fairly banal cars - warren buffet apparently gets about in a late 90s ford f-series. Bill gates does curise to his local mcdonalds in a porsche 911, but it is a 1999 model (you'd think he would have traded it in by now?). A couple of members of the saudi royal family have daewoos. Even our prime minister, I beleive, in the late 90s still had a 1980 holden commodore in his garage.

Just looking at the blurb on the '08 corolla, with radar cruise control, rear view cameras and pre-crash setup systems, even if these were on a luxury model priced at $A30-35K it would be an excellent buy.

tracey

I'd keep my Corolla because I like narrow cars with good fuel economy and visibility. However, I wouldn't hesitate to get my parents a Lexus LS only because it is worth the extra money. default_smile

TheDarkKnight

Call me vain, but I definitely will go for a nicer, bigger, "faster" car.

Corolla is a great car, but prefer my daily driver 4rnr, even though it only get 21mpg with a tailwind.

If I could afford it, I would upgrade to a GS any day (I prefer it to the LS)... but since I have too many other "projects", I guess that wont be for a while.

tdk

Dave

I wouldn't upgrade from Corolla to Camry, I like the Corolla feel better. Of course I drive a stick... as for the Lexii, the GS isn't nearly as much fun as you'd think. When it comes down to it, if you want fun, the Chevy SSR is about as good as it gets - Pontiac Solstice and Saturn Sky are also terrific value for the fun dollar. None of these are practical in any way but y'know that's why you get a Corolla too. Then you have your everyday fuel-efficient comfortable-enough car - and the various luxury cars don't, in my opinion, offer nearly enough to justify the money - and you also have a FUN car to jet around in when the weather's nice and you feel like paying more attention to the road. As a dialy driver, fun cars get tiring very quickly, which is one reason I no longer drive a Dodge Spirit R/T (five-passenger mid-sized four-door sedan with stick, four-cylinder turbo engine, and 0-60 times well below six seconds) and never even considered anything like a Jeep Wrangler or used MR2.

(MR2 is also a really fun car but they don't make it any more so I didn't include it in my list. Corvette's fun to a point but the SSR's toplessness and personality make it, for me, more fun by a good margin. Camaros were a blast but...)

Crossfires are great (these are the cheaper, better-tuned Mercedes SLK) in SRT-6 form though not too exciting in base trim. Still I think the SSR is a lot nicer for the money. No longer made but plenty at dealers last time I looked! But an actual Mercedes sports car... lots of cash and I don't think you get much back. A Lexus is a terrific luxury car that insulates you nicely from everything but that's not everyone's bag, and I personally like getting back to my "real" car after driving that sort of vehicle.

PS> If you think the Magnum R/T is a gas guzzler... try an Impala SS. 14/22 in reality. Same as a GMC Yukon (same engine of course) - actually Yukon might be better on the highway.

In short, Corolla plus cheap sports car... is still cheaper than a Mercedes "sports" car that isn't much fun.

Bikeman982

I think people purchase expensive luxury cars for many reasons. One of the reasons is because they have the money and they want what they consider the best. The other reason is because they are a status symbol and they want to impress people with them. It also satisfies their egos and makes them feel important. They have to spend their money, or they will get continually taxed, so a big car purchase takes care of it.

If I had a lot more money to spend, I might still buy a Toyota, but it would be a new, top-of-the-line model with every option available. I want the best that the money would buy. I like the reliability and dependability of Toyota and the reputation says it all. Best buy for the money.

corranhorn

Even if I had the money, the only cars I'd buy brand new besides corolla is a Hyundai Tiberon or a Dodge Viper. Used would be a Supra or a Honda del Sol (yes, I know it's supposedly a chick car - I still love it). The Viper I'd only drive around in optimal conditions, the other three I'd modify the hell out of, and still keep my corolla. default_biggrin

The only other small 4 door sedan I'd ever even consider is a Hyundai Elantra hatchback. Corolla will never have a hatchback option again, will it? default_sad

Bikeman982

Even if I had the money, the only cars I'd buy brand new besides corolla is a Hyundai Tiberon or a Dodge Viper. Used would be a Supra or a Honda del Sol (yes, I know it's supposedly a chick car - I still love it). The Viper I'd only drive around in optimal conditions, the other three I'd modify the hell out of, and still keep my corolla. default_biggrin

The only other small 4 door sedan I'd ever even consider is a Hyundai Elantra hatchback. Corolla will never have a hatchback option again, will it? default_sad

Corolla hatchbacks are available overseas.