Leasing a little beater

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Leasing a little beater

Post by Wildcat445 on Mon Dec 01, 2014 8:35 pm

I am CONSIDERING leasing a small little beater car to drive while we are in AZ. Something tiny, good MPG, fun to drive, and different. Something out of character for me. I am the Buick Electra, Chevy truck, big V-8 type of guy. I have only owned one vehicle in my life that was not a GM product. I have been looking at Mini Cooper, Mazda Miata, Kia Soul, that type of car. Mini is in the lead. I just think they are cute. I understand that 40,000 miles is the absolute end for one, unless you want to pay a HUGE repair bill. They are made and serviced by BMW, and I am not happy about that. The Mazda is cheaper to repair, but cost 20% more than a Mini and their fuel mileage ratings are horrible. 21 mpg city, 28 hwy for a 2.0L 4-banger. Chrysler Hemi's in a pickup have better ratings than that. The Soul has good MPG ratings, are the lowest priced, but the styling is just too bizarre for me. Way to kiddie looking. And I imagine those little mice in the commercials. The Nissan Cube (discontinued) and the Honda Element are not in consideration. I will walk before I buy a Honda. Or a Toyota. They are serious rusters. I looked at Smart cars, but they are really tiny. And expensive. Serviced by Mercedes-Benz, which is no better about overcharging for BS than Bimmer. And they like to catch fire. The MINI is at the top of the list. I would lease it for three years. It has sufficient warranty to protect me that long. I can get the oil changed at Walmart. They are cute as a bug. Another late entry is a Scion XD. I know nothing about one, except it is made by Toyota, which is not good. But it is pretty cute, too. What do you guys think?

WC

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Re: Leasing a little beater

Post by Dr. Radio on Mon Dec 01, 2014 9:43 pm

I have serious reservations about the mini. You know I'm a car guy and hang out on other sites with gear heads. Someone asked a very similar question (was looking at a mini). Someone chimed in that his friend is a master tech at a BMW dealership. He described his friend's feelings. "He loves them and hates them".

He loves all the money that comes in from all the repairs he sees.

He hates having to deal with all the crap the comes from all the repairs.

These, in my opinion, they are for folks who are well off enough just have one as a "novelty". If this is meant for a reliable daily driver, I wouldn't consider one.
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Re: Leasing a little beater

Post by Wildcat445 on Mon Dec 01, 2014 10:24 pm

GM does not build a car that I want to pay for, or that I would want to own. Buicks look like who knows what, they canned Pontiac, Chevrolet is massively overpriced and the Impala looks like a Camry. Ford is the only other car I have owned besides GM. No more Fords. Ditto Chrysler. Not paying for a re-badged Fiat. I can't imagine getting hurt with a MINI under warranty, driving it less than 5k per year, for three years. Surely it would run for 15 or 20 thousand miles without falling apart. I have a good friend who owned one, and he advised that 40k was the end of a Mini Cooper. I found a certified used one with 29K and a 6/100,000 warranty for $17K. I have been looking at several different kinds of used cars, and, due to "Cash For Clunkers", used car prices are outa sight anymore. You can almost lease a new car cheaper. Another big problem is that I'm cheap. Thanks, Doc.

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Re: Leasing a little beater

Post by jerryhawthorne on Mon Dec 01, 2014 10:48 pm

WC, if you looking for something small and fun to drive with good efficiency have you looked at the VW line? I recently bought a Jetta Sport Wagon with the TDI diesel. Fun to drive, can carry a console and 45 MPG consistently.
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Re: Leasing a little beater

Post by Motorola man on Mon Dec 01, 2014 11:07 pm

I know that you're anti-Honda and Toyota, but don't be so quick to rule them out. I drove my Civic off the showroom floor 15 years ago with no major problems to date. My wife drives a 10 year old Camery with the same results. Then again, longevity doesn't really matter if you're leasing.
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Re: Leasing a little beater

Post by Wildcat445 on Mon Dec 01, 2014 11:30 pm

Jerry, I seriously considered a diesel Jetta, and almost bought one. The goon in the "finance and docs" department pissed me off and I walked. I'm glad to see you post. Apparently, you survived the big earthquake alright.

Honda and Toyota are out, with all due respect. If I bought one of those cars, I would get one of the few bad ones ever built. I would have nightmares every night I owned it. This is a tough decision for me. I am a die-hard GM man. Thanks, everyone. I appreciate your input.

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Re: Leasing a little beater

Post by 35Z5 on Tue Dec 02, 2014 12:54 am

Get a low mileage four, five year old Grand Marquis('03 up have struts and rack & pinion steering)... Should be able to find one for $10-12K, buy gas with the money saved rather than buy/lease new... I have a '07 I bought in '08 with 14K mi for $15,800, now has 67K mi and other than a set of tires and a few oil changes haven't spent a dime on it... Well I did buy a new battery just because it's eight years old (built Dec '06), will install before winter sets in... I also have a one owner, always garaged '98 that just turned 63K mi(had it 4˝ years), my favorite kind of car, one payment($4000) and it's mine... I also put tires on it along with shocks, battery(had orig) and caught up on maintenance... Still haven't spent more than $600 on it and that includes a new plastic intake I paid a fiend to replace(tires were free, all but new set robbed from a T-Bird I was reselling)...

Yeah I'm a diehard Ford RWD man, between '85 & '93 I drove some of the Generals stuff till everything was going FWD, and switched back to Fords... Haven't looked back, these Grand Marquis are #4 & 5... Only major issue I've had was the '93 lost a trans at 135K mi, bought a rebuilt from ebay for $650 and installed it myself...
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Re: Leasing a little beater

Post by Guest on Tue Dec 02, 2014 8:40 am

I also have two homes and my solution is to keep an older and maintainable vehicle with no collision insurance on it at the second residence. This seems to be the most cost effective solution for me.

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Re: Leasing a little beater

Post by 75X11 on Tue Dec 02, 2014 5:02 pm

If you can get a car based on it's cuteness factor, I can't advise you. Good luck in your search. Very Happy
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Re: Leasing a little beater

Post by jerryhawthorne on Tue Dec 02, 2014 5:16 pm

Hey, practical and cute can work! Very Happy


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Re: Leasing a little beater

Post by Wildcat445 on Tue Dec 02, 2014 6:18 pm

I wanted an older car on the order of what MEZ does. I found a '78 Buick Limited, but it was gone by the time I got here. Older cars that are still serviceable are not easy to find. So then we decided to look at "cute." Can't get much cuter than a Mini Cooper. From what I have been reading, you can only go so far with cute. They have some scary mechanical maladies. BMW is not big on customer service, it seems. Engines die at about 50k, turbocharger plumbing needs changed frequently, head gaskets, cooling systems, "carbon on intake valves", a variety of oil leaks, none of which are cheap to fix, cooling system maladies, thermostat housings that break and are hard to fix, CVT transmissions that crap out without warning. Even cars under factory warranty are not immune from garnering huge repair bills for their owners. BMW is apparently financing their warranty work by overcharging for routine maintenance.

I need something that is small and gets good mileage. A Grand Marquis/Crown Vic/Town car is neither. Storage is a premium and if I wanted a gas guzzler, I could drive my Chevy truck. My old Pontiac is approaching 200K, so its days of going out west are numbered. I plan on running it as long as it will economically, but that does me no good here.

A diesel Jetta or Bug would be ideal out here, but it would be a service nightmare back home. Absolutely nobody works on them around there. I would have to travel over 100 miles for service. The Mini would have the same problem. Being a die-hard GM man is not much help with this decision. Nothing GM builds is being considered. Neither is Ford or Chrysler. Thanks, everyone.

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Re: Leasing a little beater

Post by jerryhawthorne on Tue Dec 02, 2014 6:41 pm

You are right on service WC, 100 mile round trip to Flagstaff for oil change each 10K miles. Fortunately they are free for the first 3. Very Happy
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Re: Leasing a little beater

Post by Guest on Tue Dec 02, 2014 7:25 pm

I owned one BMW,,,,,a 528e. I learned quickly what BMW stands for....Break My Wallet. Purchasing a BMW is not expensive but maintaining one is, I'll never own another!

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Re: Leasing a little beater

Post by Dr. Radio on Tue Dec 02, 2014 8:55 pm

BMW also stands for (B)ought (M)y (W)ife

lol!

I'm sticking to my thoughts, A "MINI" is only good for those folks who have the $$ to occasionally cruise around in a "novelty" ....just 'cause....

I hear your pain WC. I really am turned off by any of GM's offerings. My daily driver Chevy will be 15 years old, 130k on the clock. Original exhaust system, original brake lines, fuel lines, original shocks and struts, etc. Slowly starting to have the "gremlins" starting and some body rust. Love it too much to part with it, but need to start looking.
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Re: Leasing a little beater

Post by Wildcat445 on Tue Dec 02, 2014 9:19 pm

We used to have a joke circulating when I was twisting wrenches about the high divorce rate among couples who owned a Jaguar. The wife would be accused of spending more time with the Jaguar mechanic than she did her husband.

The stories I read online about the gremlins in BMW and Mini are like stories they told 40 years ago about MGB's and Midgets. And Fiats. People report $2200 brake jobs, $250 oil changes, $8000 for an engine every 40K miles. Broken thermostat housings, gaskets going south. I feel that part of the problem is that people who are complaining could break an anvil with a feather duster. Another part of the problem is BMW's service is both sloppy and horrendously expensive. Their customer service may be lacking as well. The 2015's are redesigned and allegedly have addressed some of those concerns. The warranty has been extended to 6 years/100,000 miles. With a three-year lease, I would get all routine service for free. Allegedly a bumper-to-bumper warranty to address "certain reliability concerns."

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Re: Leasing a little beater

Post by Wildcat445 on Tue Dec 02, 2014 11:36 pm

I found this video on YouTube.  The most comprehensive review of the Mini I have seen.  Apparently, the earlier versions has a 1.6L engine, designed by Peugeot and Citroen that gave problems.  The new 1.5L 3-cylinder and the 2.0L 4 Cylinder engines are both turbocharged and built by BMW exclusively for Mini.  So the mechanical problems inherent in the older models may be no longer an issue in the new models.  

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EvKHN2cQvRg

This certainly sounds much better than some of the reviews I have read on the older models.  The convertible still has the older styling, but it also has the older engine.  They say if you don't want to buy one, don't drive one!

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Re: Leasing a little beater

Post by jerryhawthorne on Wed Dec 03, 2014 12:20 am

Sounds like you have almost convinced yourself WC! I'm certain it would be enjoyable to drive around town.
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Re: Leasing a little beater

Post by Wildcat445 on Wed Dec 03, 2014 12:42 am

"Almost convinced" is a pretty fair assessment, Jerry. I'm satisfied that the 2014 and newer models have eliminated some of the mechanical woes inherent in the earlier models. I am still not comfortable with being at the mercy of German auto company service facilities. I was in "the business" for too long and old prejudices die hard. German engineering to me means building overly complicated vehicles, then overcharging for basic services and upselling. I have some feelers out with my sources to see if there is an independent shop around here that works on Minis. My problem is going to be getting past the "finance and insurance" goons. I have walked away from three deals in the last ten years due to those guys. That's why I still drive my old Pontiac. I really hate the process.

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Re: Leasing a little beater

Post by willy3486 on Wed Dec 03, 2014 8:06 am

I know some will disagree with me but here is how I have bought the last 3 cars I have had. I have bought cars with rebuilt titles. But there is a trick to it to get a good one. I will find one with minor sheet metal damage that has been totaled. What I have found out is a car at least 3 or 4 years old that has about 40 to 50 k on it gets totaled here in the south with as little as a fender dented. The car I am driving now is a 2004 neon that was totaled. It had a minor dent on the fender and the headlight assembly was broke. I buy from this guy and he knows about what I want. What was done to it was to replace the front fender and headlight, nothing else. I was able to pay cash as it was so cheap. I have had it about 4 or 5 years I think and have almost 200k miles on it. It varies from state to state but here in TN you can get good deals. I wouldn't want one with anything other than sheet metal replacement. We have had a 98 sunfire and 98 cavalier. They all were cheap and easy fixes. But I wear them out quickly. We live in a very rural setting and in the last 14 years my jobs have been at least 1 hour away.

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Re: Leasing a little beater

Post by Wildcat445 on Wed Dec 03, 2014 4:06 pm

I really think I want either a new or a slightly used car. If I get a Mini Cooper, it will have to be new. I've been looking for a couple year old Chevy Impala or Malibu, but those things are either pricy or have 200,000 miles on them. I'm cheap and lazy. I want my cake and eat it too. I get close to a deal, but when I realize how much money I'm spending, I decide not to buy. I only drive about 5,000 miles a year, so my cost per mile is astronomical with anything I buy. My 11 year old Pontiac is paid for. That is the cheapest mileage I can get. I'm having trouble telling myself that it is okay to blow this much dough on a depreciating asset.


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Re: Leasing a little beater

Post by 75X11 on Wed Dec 03, 2014 6:00 pm

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Re: Leasing a little beater

Post by Wildcat445 on Wed Dec 03, 2014 7:39 pm

That's the original Mini Cooper. It was made by British Leyland. It probably leaked lots of oil. Rolling Eyes

When BMW took over Mini whenever that was, they sourced the engine and drivetrain from Peugeot/Citroen. Along with "Fix It Again Tony" (Fiat), Peugeot/Citroen build the worst vehicles in the world, hands down. The engine in the Yugo was made by Fiat. The engine in the Chrysler "Cab Forward" atrocities, Dodge Intrepid, Eagle Vision, Chrysler Concord/300 was also sourced from Peugeot/Citroen. This was the 3.4L V-6. 99% of these cars have met their date with the crusher, and, barring being totaled in a traffic crash, they all went to the junkyard with engine failure. The transmission was built by Chrysler and was almost as bad as the one Ford put in the Taurus. The engines failed with cam drive issues, gasket failures, and warped castings. Exactly the major maladies of the 2002-2013 Mini Cooper. Starting in the 2014 models, Mini uses a BMW built 1.5L 3-cylinder turbo, and a 2.0L 4-cylinder turbo, for the coupe and hardtop models. The convetible and Clubman/Countryman still use the old drivetrain. BMW did not have any front-drive architecture, but, due to the service and reliability problems, designed and built a system strictly for MINI. All the major car magazines and even Consumer Reports gives this system rave reviews. BMW stuff is complicated and expensive to repair at a BMW dealer, but there are independent facilities who repair MINI's that don't get so carried away with charging and upselling. The manual transmissions are more sturdy to better handle the increased engine power and the automatic is a real hydraulic transmission that shifts, not some crappy CVT made by Peugeot/Citroen.

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Re: Leasing a little beater

Post by 75X11 on Thu Dec 04, 2014 7:18 pm

The car pictured is a riot. Mr. Bean owned it and it had a detachable steering wheel he would put in the boot when parked. The drivers' door locked with a hasp and lock. The pic shows him returning home from the boxing day sales. He loaded the little heap so full he couldnt fit himself nor his barcalounger in it.
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Re: Leasing a little beater

Post by jerryhawthorne on Sun Dec 07, 2014 2:09 pm

Aw, come on WC. We are all setting at our computers with baited (or is it bated) breath eagerly awaiting the "Beater Buy". Question
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Re: Leasing a little beater

Post by Guest on Sun Dec 07, 2014 2:57 pm

it had a detachable steering wheel he would put in the boot when parked.

You don't hear the term "boot" much anymore, everyone now says "trunk"  Very Happy

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