Which car should I buy?

We do this a lot here, and you guys always give good advice, or at least provide a variety of different perspectives, so I’d like to know what you think of these cars.

I’m not looking for a debate about the merits of these cars vs. every other car (and why and how there are better choices), I’m looking for opinions on the merits of these cars vs. these cars. You will notice that I like big American sedans. I do a lot of highway driving and I like to do my driving in a land yacht. I just do. I also always buy used. I can’t afford a new car, at least not a new full-size sedan. If I wanted a 5-speed base Nissan Versa I could get one, but I’m not interested in that. I have a couple thousand to put down and I’d like to be able to pay it off quickly.

So here they are:

2004 Ford Crown Victoria Sport LX 67,038 miles, $9783

2005 Ford Five Hundred SE 88,727 miles, $8479

2000 Lincoln LS V8 103,484 miles, $6972

2003 Ford Taurus SE 81,064 miles, $6440

In general they are all similarly equipped and get roughly the same gas mileage (≈19 city, ≈26 highway, give or take a few MPGs).

The Taurus is very cheap, and that mileage is not terrible for a 10-year-old car, but how much more am I going to get out of it before the cost of repairs and maintenance make up the difference between it and the other Fords?

The Lincoln is a very nice car, and the price is right, but that’s a hell of a lot of miles for a domestic sedan, so same deal as with the Taurus.

I like the Five Hundred, it’s a nice car, but that’s a bit more mileage than I’d want and it’s a base model. Still, a nice car.

The Crown Victoria is the most expensive one on my list, and it’s a top-of-the-line model with decently low mileage for a nine-year-old car, but is that worth another $1300 over the Five Hundred?

How about this car in Laurel, MD? It’s a 2008:
Mercury Grand Marquis GS

Your newest car on this list is a 2005. I’d look for newer.

2005 Ford Five Hundred with 38k

2004 Sable with 52k for $5,995

2007 Taurus with 76k for $7,347

Most of these are regular dealers, so the pricing should be typical. Why are the cars you’ve listed priced that high?

I’d call it a tossup between the two newest, the Crown Vic and the 500. The Lincoln is right out, it’s 5 years older than the 500, has more miles, too much age. The Taurus doesn’t interest me at all, even at the low price.

Between the two, I’d probably be more keen on the condition of each car, how well they seem to have been kept up, rather than worry about the differences in mileage and age.

I’d go with the 500, assuming each is in reasonable condition. It’s the most modern, should be pretty reliable, and 80,000 isn’t very high mileage on a quality car. But if you’d prefer to spend more for bells and whistles, the Crown Vic would also be a decent choice.

Very roughly speaking, Ford didn’t make a lot of reliable cars until the mid-2000s. Consumer Reports backs up my generalization: the LS is a dodgy POS, and the Taurus isn’t so great. The 500 and the Crown Vic should be very reliable, and either should last another 100,000 miles without major catastrophe.

The cars I’ve listed are all at the same dealer. I’ve dealt with them before, they know me, and I trust them. I know some people there, my final cost will probably be $500-1000 less than those prices.

That’s kinda how I’m leaning.

I used to have a 2003 Crown Vic LX that got totaled a few years back (not my fault). I really loved that car. The 500 gets slightly better gas mileage but I’m not really very concerned with that (I’m not really going to drive it that much, and nobody buys a full-size sedan expecting great gas mileage). The 500 is marginally smaller (about a foot) which help parking slightly easier. I don’t know. I’ll have to go take them for a drive again.

My mom drives a 2005 500. Hasn’t had any problems with it except the wipers are not sold at AutoZone or something like that. She’s way under 88k miles, though. Probably more around 50.

I like driving her 500 all right, but I think it’s too big for her. Now that I drive an SUV I think a Taurus is too small :slight_smile: I do prefer it over a Crown Vic, though. Although I don’t think I’ve driven a 2000s Crown Vic, just 90s ones.

I don’t know about the reliability of the 500, but I know there are Crown Vics all over as police cars and taxis. They’re big and comfortable. Plus your particular Crown Vic has 21,000 less miles than the 500.

I own an '06 Five Hundred (base model). It is a VERY comfortable car. It’s a V6, so it’s got decent power and OK gas mileage. Because it’s a tall full-size, it sits higher than an average sedan–you don’t sink down into the car, the seat is right at butt-level (which is *great *if you ever have knee or back problems). The trunk is (iirc) the largest in its class. It’s HUGE! I took a test drive and pretty much fell in love. Plus, mine had super-low miles and was in almost-pristine condition, I think it was a leased vehicle before I bought it (used in '09).

Cons: Be wary of the transmission… is it manual or CVT? From the reading I’ve done, the CVTs are known to have issues. There are also a few persistent TSBs regarding the throttle body and losing the lower fan speeds (I lost the slowest fan speed out of 4 total speeds about 6 months in, and the second-lowest speed about a year after that). Also, my headrest slides up over time. I have to push it back down every couple days. The biggest problem is that the car lunges (backwards or forwards) on occasion when traveling at low speeds and the a/c is running. I’ve tested it in a parking lot with my feet nowhere NEAR either the gas or brake pedal. It’s a real problem, because I researched it online after it started happening to me and it’s happening to others. I’ve learned to compensate for it, but for some reason Ford hasn’t issued a recall because of this issue. This might be a dealbreaker for some people.

It’s been a very VERY reliable car overall. I’ve only needed one real repair in the 3+ years I owned it, to the front left control arm (which was likely my fault, for accidentally running that corner of the car up over a high curb not long after I got it). I also had to have a front brake job, but I have a bit of a lead foot. Because I got it with low miles, and the owner before me was very conscientious, it’s been a fantastic car. But I have the CVT, I know there’s a possibility I could get unlucky. You HAVE to get the transmission fluid serviced at a Ford dealership, because it’s a closed system. And don’t ignore that, you really need to do it when the manual tells you to.

Just some tips and tricks that I hope help you! You can PM me if you have any other questions about the Five Hundred. :slight_smile:

I’d consider a Toyota, Nisssan, or Honda if you are looking to get a used car from 5 years ago or so.

Yes, I know it doesn’t really make any sense in this day and age, but I like American full-size sedans. I’m not sure exactly why, but it’s just what I prefer.

Think I’ve decided on the Crown Victoria. Going to the dealer this Sunday to get another close look at it.

I wouldn’t. They’re ludicrously expensive used right now and they haven’t had a huge reliability advantage for quite some time. Especially with larger cars like the OP is looking for.

Taurus - ho hum. Great gift for your 16 year old.

500 - Hear pretty good things.

Crown Vic - sounds like you’re going with this. Just don’t paint it black and/or white and drive it 15+ below the speed limit. Or at least anywhere near me.

Too late to edit: the Crown Victoria isn’t made anymore. Potentially, this means that parts will get scarcer later on. Somehow though I doubt it would be an issue.

Why was there no “none of the above?”

Yes, hell- for not much more than $10K you can buy the bottom on the line Hyundai, and have a safer and more reliable car by far… with a great warranty.

Yah I’m not really worried about that. With all of the police cars, taxis, and rental cars, plus Grand Marquis’, there must be easily hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of them out there.

Again, I know, but if I did that, I’d be driving around in a bottom-of-the-line base model Hyundai.

I don’t think that’s true. I’d love to see something to refute my opinion, but the OP seems stuck on a US boat, so don’t knock yourself out.