View Full Version : Looking for a good family car...

07-24-2007, 05:54 AM
Unfortunately, my wife realized she was pregnant only two weeks after we bought the Cobalt coupe. If we had known earlier, we would have got the sedan.

Anyway, we're pretty much stuck with the Cobalt for now, I don't have enough money to trade it on anything else without a massive negative equity problem. But with winter coming and my new job location, we can't share a car anymore. Which means my wife has to walk a mile to the bus stop. Not bad in summer, but in -20 February it'll be a pain for her.

On top of that, she has lots of doctor's appointments now, which means I have to keep asking for time off to take her, and then when she's on maternity leave, she wants to have her own car for shopping or emergencies.

Anyhow, we currently have a budget of about $1000 (may grow to $2000 in the next couple months). I want her to have something midsize to fullsize (for safety reasons), I would like a wagon, she demands four doors and a trunk capable of holding a stroller. She also wants child seat anchors, but I doubt that's gonna happen since they didn't start appearing in cars till 1999.

PC, don't bother suggesting a truck. She will not drive it, she even resists riding in them. I don't want a truck either, waste of gas and space :hehe:

Here's my short list: GM B-body Wagons (Caprice, Roadmaster, Custom Cruiser) preferably with the LT1 and no wood panelling (wife's preference, I personally think the fake wood panelling is so awful that it's awsome); Mitsubishi Diamante Wagon (I like the looks, standard V6, and it's a little chunk of Australia for the wife); Subaru Legacy Wagon (having trouble finding decent 95+ body styles, but there is one 94 I'm gonna look at); Ford Panther platform (Crown Vic, Marquis, Towncar), big and dumb, but a fair number around, lots of parts, and taxis get a lot of miles out of them.

If anyone has any other suggestions or knows of any decent cars for sale in my price range, let me know.

BTW - I've looked at Camry, Corolla, and Accord Wagons, and there are so few around here and they're so expensive that I've kindof given up on them.

07-24-2007, 06:01 AM
get the roadmaster... drive it... waite til you get some more money put some gears an bolt ons! they haul ass!`

07-24-2007, 08:53 AM
The 3.0 Maxima engine is bulletproof. They seem to hold there value pretty good though.

'90 CeLicA Aus
07-24-2007, 12:38 PM
Evo VI Tommi Makkinen Ed.

07-24-2007, 02:35 PM

Yeah, probably old.

07-24-2007, 05:36 PM

Yeah, probably old.

Very awsome, but only two doors...

07-24-2007, 05:38 PM
Evo VI Tommi Makkinen Ed.

Searched Craigslist...

...no results...I wonder why... :thefinger

Doctor Jinxed
07-24-2007, 05:46 PM
Quite partial to a Lincoln Towncar myself. Comfiest boat I've ever driven. And when its daily driving purposes is fulfilled, you can turn it into a muscle car.

That engine bay so damn huge you could fit anything in there.

07-24-2007, 05:52 PM
Lincoln Towncars are dirt cheap, the dont hold their value at all!

Im partial to the GM B body, like BurnyD said, the Roadmaster is super nice.

07-24-2007, 06:19 PM
What about the mid 90s Volvo? They look a little awkward but a family car it is!

edit: forgot to mention, I have a fear of Mitsubishi and Chrysler automatic transmissions, after helping out at a transmission shop I saw a feeeew too many come in with horrible problems.

07-24-2007, 07:17 PM
Older Legacy wagon!!!!! Those things always kick ass. Or my mom's taurus has held up pretty well, its an 86.

07-24-2007, 07:56 PM
$1K... wow... balla budget...


07-24-2007, 08:48 PM
Late 70's/Early 80's Cadillac sedan deVille. You can probably pick one up for under $2k. My family owned one for a good twenty years; for 15 of those, it was our only family car. Seriously the toughest vehicle we've ever owned. It was impossible to kill it, and believe me, we tried. It was totalled twice, including when my brother lost control on an ice patch and skidded off road, running over two trees and a fire hydrant. It sat for 5 years, was resurrected to teach me and my brothers to drive, and then sat again for another 2 years, and both times started right up. All we had to do was replace the fluids, and off it went. Never once broke down on us. We finally sold it after it got wrecked for the second time, hood jammed closed because the grille had been shoved back and up over it, still drivable and running like a top for $400.

Space-wise, you can pack enough crap in the trunk to keep 4 kids and 2 adults fed, clothed, sheltered, and entertained on a week-long camping trip.

At ~4200 lbs of solid steel, you can run into anything smaller than the car itself and basically not feel it.

The biggest downside was that it only got about 15 mpg on a really good day. And the interior had completely fallen apart by the time we got rid of it. Other than that, it was a great car. :laugh:

07-24-2007, 09:58 PM
im trying to sell my 89 camry 5spd for 1g. ;) very reliable. never gave me problems and ac is colder then my matrix. dont know if u want an old car. i thought buying a new car can be returned 30 days without penalties... ?? can someone verify this?

07-24-2007, 10:00 PM
Wizzard, are you willing to pay shipping to Australia?

07-25-2007, 11:05 AM
Mazda 6 i4 though.

07-25-2007, 05:15 PM
Wizzard, are you willing to pay shipping to Australia?

im jus giving him an idea that there are reliable cars going for that price range. :laugh:

07-25-2007, 06:44 PM
no problem, $1k for a Camry is a fcking steal though. They sell here for $4k +

07-26-2007, 05:43 AM
Wizzard, are you willing to pay shipping to Australia?

Doesn't matter, I don't live there anymore :wiggle:

I found a '95 Roadmaster LT1 with 115k in MO for about $2000, some cosmetic damage but otherwise good according to the add...The only reason I haven't called already is because it sounds too good to be true...

07-26-2007, 05:51 AM
im trying to sell my 89 camry 5spd for 1g. ;) very reliable. never gave me problems and ac is colder then my matrix. dont know if u want an old car. i thought buying a new car can be returned 30 days without penalties... ?? can someone verify this?

It depends on the dealer, but it's been a lot more than 30 days now. There are other reasons why I can't return it that I won't get into.

I'm gonna look at a '94 Legacy Wagon AWD, a '95 Grand Marquis, and possibly a '94 Diamante Wagon this weekend. I'll also probably call that guy in MO about the Roadmaster Wagon and see if I can work something out.

Anyone live there who can view the car for me? Here's the link: '95 Roadmaster Wagon (http://www.autotrader.com/fyc/vdp.jsp?car_id=221994959&dealer_id=100005170&car_year=1995&model=BUICKROAD&num_records=25&make2=&start_year=1981&keywordsfyc=&keywordsrep=&engine=&certified=&body_code=0&fuel=&awsp=false&search_type=used&distance=0&marketZipError=false&search_lang=&make=BUICK&color=&page_location=findacar%3A%3Aispsearchform&min_price=&drive=&default_sort=priceDESC&max_mileage=&style_flag=1&sort_type=priceDESC&address=55344&advanced=y&end_year=2008&doors=&transmission=&max_price=2000&cardist=462) It's in Valley Park Missouri.

07-26-2007, 06:10 AM
dude roadmastaaahhhh!!!!!

Im so upset nobody is with me on that one!
What car can you fit 10 drunk people in and go 13s with gears and an intake?

07-26-2007, 05:49 PM
You didn't say where you live, other than it being -20 in Feb. So that sounds like snow/ice weather. The Legacy and AWD might be the best answer. The Roadmaster would be awesome. Your expenses will be higher if your wife is using it as an in town commuter with an LT1. The engines kick ass and will take a beating. Other than the OptiSpark design being questionable and a PITA the LT1 is pretty bullet proof. I flogged the one in my 92 Vette for 120K miles and it seemed like it was getting stronger!

Your budget is pretty low and you'll end up stuck getting whatever you can low ball yourself into. Then spend money fixing it so it will be dependable. Why not let her have the Cobalt and you go find a cheap Celica to commute with? Heck in a pinch a hatchback will hold a baby stroller and groceries.

As far as anchors for the baby seat. Don't worry about it. And don't believe those anchors in the cars are worth a shit. Not sure which specific ones but there are a number of instances where those don't work as advertised... If you want to make anchors. Go to a racing supply website, like safe racer, and order GR8 eye bolts. Mount them to a frame member and use those to tie down a baby seat. That's what I'd be doing if I still had babies and little ones to cart around in safety seats.

07-26-2007, 08:38 PM
Get The Roadmaster!get The Roadmaster!
Get The Roadmaster!get The Roadmaster!
Get The Roadmaster!get The Roadmaster!
Get The Roadmaster!get The Roadmaster!
Get The Roadmaster!get The Roadmaster!

07-27-2007, 05:09 PM
no problem, $1k for a Camry is a fcking steal though. They sell here for $4k +

4k you should be looking at the 4th gen camry, at least...

07-27-2007, 07:34 PM
I know I'm late, but the civic is a pretty good family car. I also like the older camry's, but I dont know how well they suite. If you're lookin for somethin in an SUV for cheap, Rav 4's aren't bad, and CR-V's are pretty good too, plenty of room and safety for the new one.

07-28-2007, 03:45 AM
hey hobbie!! you know.. take the 1KUS.. it'll turn about $1.5K here in aus money.. you want me to pick you up a VB station wagon or a VL calais and post to you mate? be one of a kind over there, and you dont get much more australian than commodore lol.

good luck finding a car :) my vote goes to the suby.

07-28-2007, 04:33 PM
Get a 94 Camry Wagon. It's got anchors in the rear and on top of that they can seat up to seven depending on the model. 3.0L V6 gets me about 28 MPG on the highway.

07-28-2007, 09:41 PM
I would like a Camry Wagon, but around here they are impossible to find in my price range, at least not without so much rust that it qualifies as a "death trap." I really wanted to look at that Subie but when I called the owner he said it's no longer for sale and he'll relist it when it is...even though the ad was only two days old...

So today the wife and I are gonna test drive a local Roadmaster, just to see if she could stand driving one (she's always had small cars) before we go to Missouri. We're also gonna drive a '95 Grand Marquis.

I would let my wife have the Cobalt and I'ld take something else, except that she doesn't want to have to deal with only two doors and a tiny trunk opening. So since we have to buy something old on a limited budget, I kinda want something big and heavy, to put as much metal between them and a world of overconfident truck/SUV drivers as possible.

And for the record, I live in Minneapolis, MN. :)

07-28-2007, 09:57 PM

Going on a 'I know nothing about cars except for what I've driven' experience.

My Buick Regal, i love her. She's a 96, has about 80k I think on her. I used to live in OH, and we had not terrible winters there while I lived, but some snow and ice on the roads, and she handled pretty well. I call her Dolly (after Dolly Parton) cause her front is HUGE! and she has a ton of space.

She's done a few broken downs without warning, and recently blew a head gasket, which talking with my mom once she said that she had done that a few years ago as well, so that might be a thing.

Handled well, I moved all my junk from OH to here in TN in her, including a computer and tv plus all my crap, so that was nice. She felt like driving a boat.

My mom was driving, and we got hit by a deer on the front drivers side hood and fender, there's still a huge crack you can see above the wheel from the damage and stuff. And then about 4 months later I got hit by a bus in her, we had to crawl in through the passenger side for awhile until we finally got whatever knocked loose and able to open the drivers door and that window still won't roll down cause it's so dented in. She's been beat the crap up with those wrecks but kept on ticking for over a year without really getting fixed from them until the head gasket.

Really, the best thing I can say about her is that I suck at the cars, I never kept up with routine car maintenance cause I never knew to do that junk until after working at Walmart's auto center and getting with murg. I was your normal teen driver who got handed a car and never learned or was taught to do well with it and it still held up well and I'm confident that once we get ther head gasket issue fixed she would still work well.

But, like I said, all this is coming from a "I don't know cars" mentality, so, wait to hear what the murg has to say on it, lol.

'90 CeLicA Aus
07-29-2007, 03:07 AM
or a VL calais and post to you mate?
Lol you'll probably be the ony one who knows what I'm on about. If he gets a VL he can be the only 'fully sicKKKKKK muzzza' in the US,, turbo that VL and you'll be OH SO TOUGH!! lmao nah I hate fucktards in VL's who try so bloody hard!

07-29-2007, 10:14 AM
yeah man.. hobbie lived over here for a while so im sure he is up with the whole VL thing.. i freakin hate 'em.. they are ether beat up dungers who dont give a shit, or over riced POS's that think they are cool. you'd think they would have cottoned on now that no one actually likes what they do to those cars lol.

07-29-2007, 05:27 PM
I'd pimp that VL shit tite, yo! Go American ghetto on her ass! 4" lift with spinnin' 22s. Hit up the avenue and ghost ride that biatch!

Can you tell I'm a white midwesterner? While having something so very different would be kinda fun (especially all the looks I'd get driving a RHD car in the states), I can only import cars 25 years or older. So a VB would work.

Susan drove a Roadmaster sedan yesterday and decided she could live with it. So assuming the money works out we might be going to MO next weekend to pick up a Roadmaster Wagon.