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-   -   Looking for sage advice re. car for college kid (http://www.bimmerfest.com/forums/showthread.php?t=664917)

simplemind 12-19-2012 07:16 AM

Looking for sage advice re. car for college kid
 
Having been a BMW owner for years, although not at present, I know some of the pitfalls in BMW ownership, ie cost of maintenance. That said, I'm looking for a car for my son that is 1) safe, 2) reliable, 3) can navigate snow, 4) can transport stuff, i.e. snowboards/bikes, etc., and 5) is below $10k.
I have seen a lot of 2002 vintage X5's in the $7k to $8k range w/ 130k miles. Is this a good candidate, or should I look elsewhere. Are there major issues with this vintage and that mileage?
All ideas graciously welcome! :)

rdorman 12-19-2012 07:49 AM

I have one in college and another on the way. Your requirements where similar to mine (aside from #4). I would suggest something along the lines of a AWD CRV. Get one 'pre loved'. Parking outside on campus streets is a car killer. X5, IMO, is probably not a good choice for a number of reasons. Without the #4 requirement, mine ended up with my hand-me-down Infinity and an Ultima.

petriej 12-19-2012 11:07 AM

When I was in college I barely used my car, until I got an internship at a business in the neighboring town.

A nice 4 door, manual 3 series is my vote. No need for a big, hard to park, SUV unless the kid is in school in the mountains or something.

And teach the kid how to drive in the snow. Much more effective than just getting an AWD vehicle.

Graham132white 12-19-2012 01:10 PM

3 series in the snow! Nooooooo thank you!

X5 diesel probably a good choice for what he's after. I'd probably steer well clear of the petrol models for numerous reasons at that age and mileage.

petriej 12-19-2012 01:14 PM

I did it in bald all seasons. Risky? Maybe, but you have to learn sometime if you really want to reduce the risks.

simplemind 12-19-2012 02:39 PM

Thanks for the input so far. He is in the mountains in CO, so that's the reason for AWD. I think there some valid reason to get something like an AWD Element, however they tend to be over the $10k mark for under 100k mile unit.
I didn't realize that they made X5 diesels for the American market back then.

QSilver7 12-19-2012 04:06 PM

A 3 series Touring (wagon) or e39 Touring would work great. And don't fret about the snow...just have a set of dedicated winter tires. With proper winter tires...your son's driving experience will be better than most SUV owners that are running with all season tires. If mountain passes will be part of his driving experience...then also supply a set of chains.

I'm sure he'd appreciate the utility for all the stuff you mentioned about carrying...and he'd get better gas mileage if you went with any of the I6 models *3 or 5 series). In fact, the e34 & e39 Touring has more cargo space than the e53 X5. I've driven through blizzards, ice storms, freezing rain...everything a winter living in the Great Lakes area can throw at you...and I've never gotten stuck or slid off the road using dedicated winter tires (all 4 corners). AWD is nice, but a RWD mounted with proper winter tires is amazingly more capable than you can imagine. Being able to stop as well as turn is just as important as acceleration...and dedicated winter tires excel with all three of those criteria.

Plus the Tourings also have the roof rails that uses the same cross bars like the X5 if additional carriage is required. Again, an e39 528iT or 525iT should seriously be considered...I loved my e34 & e39 Tourings. And also give the 3 series Tourings a look...again, mounted with dedicated winters makes them almost unstoppable...and if the newer models are within the budget range...they have multiple models with AWD/x-Drive just like the X3 & X5 models.

http://www.bimmerboard.com/members/q...Dimensions.jpg

Kamdog 12-19-2012 04:12 PM

I would go for a Subaru Legacy Outback. Lower in power means less of a chance he overpowers a situation. Hauls a lot of stuff. Full time AWD makes it one of the best foul weather cars out there. If it gets lumps and bumps, it won't hurt your heart.

Let him aspire to BMW.

Graham132white 12-20-2012 12:56 AM

I've gotta agree with that! Legacy outback deffo a good choice.

rdorman 12-20-2012 06:43 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by simplemind (Post 7260336)
Thanks for the input so far. He is in the mountains in CO, so that's the reason for AWD. I think there some valid reason to get something like an AWD Element, however they tend to be over the $10k mark for under 100k mile unit.
I didn't realize that they made X5 diesels for the American market back then.

Element would be fine. Ugly IMO but fine! I don't think the X5 was offered with a Diesel until 2008 so that won't work for requirement #5. I also stayed away from the X5 because of cost of ownership and size as campus parking is often very cramped. Sedans don't fit #4. Touring is interesting but seems they are not as common and demand more of a premium. Both work great with dedicated snows but then there is two sets of tires and they don't have the ground clearence of some of the other candidates. Now the Subaru, that seems to fit the ticket!

simplemind 12-20-2012 07:12 AM

Thanks guys, I leased an 07 Touring that I couldn't wait to give back. Not because it was a bad car, but the hatchback was pretty useless. too small of an opening to get a bike into.
The Outback is the CO state car as you see more of them than anything else, so that's a good choice.
The Element is quite versatile, and yes, fugly. No one would want to "key" that one. The Honda drive train is less than stellar, but reliable.
I think you have successfully talked me out of the X series and given some reasonable alternatives...thanks!

rdorman 12-20-2012 07:19 AM

If there is a surplus of Outbacks around, then I think you found your car! Off to shopping! Have fun with that. I enjoyed shopping for my Son's car (daughters was a hand my down). Daughter graduates in April so it will be car shopping time again. Difference is, this time she is paying for it!

Kamdog 12-20-2012 07:21 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by simplemind (Post 7261623)
Thanks guys, I leased an 07 Touring that I couldn't wait to give back. Not because it was a bad car, but the hatchback was pretty useless. too small of an opening to get a bike into.
The Outback is the CO state car as you see more of them than anything else, so that's a good choice.
The Element is quite versatile, and yes, fugly. No one would want to "key" that one. The Honda drive train is less than stellar, but reliable.
I think you have successfully talked me out of the X series and given some reasonable alternatives...thanks!

The Element is not really an AWD car. It is a FWD car that, upon slippage, engages the rear wheels. The effect, compared to a real, full time AWD car, is mostly felt in regular driving in bad weather, where all the wheels have drive, as opposed to plowing through a corner in FWD only. Having had both (the CRV has the same drive train), the AWD is much, much better in the rain and slush and snow. The only thing the Element (or CRV) is OK at, regarding AWD, is taking off from a stop. Otherwise, it is FWD all the way.

Scott ZHP 12-21-2012 06:33 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Graham132white (Post 7260124)
3 series in the snow! Nooooooo thank you!

X5 diesel probably a good choice for what he's after. I'd probably steer well clear of the petrol models for numerous reasons at that age and mileage.

Uh... I have both an E46 3-series and an E53 X5. The E46 with full snow tires (all 4 wheels) and a couple of bags of sand in the boot is better in the snow than the X5 with all season tires. We average a couple of feet of snow a year and I wouldn't hesitate to take the E46 anywhere. ANYWHERE.

The diesel X5 variant wasn't available in the US until later in the model run and they're scarce in the US. Hell, the 3.0i petrol wasn't available until a year after the 4.4i was released.

I bought my 01 E53 3.0i new and it currently has 121k miles on it. As long as you find a well maintained X5 (with proof) I wouldn't worry too much about it. Cooling systems need maintenance, front outer CV boots rip often, window regulators break, gaskets leak (search OFHG and VCG). Beyond that, it's been the best vehicle I've ever owned. I'd look for a 3.0i as the 6cyl has fewer issues and the M54 is a gem of an engine.

simplemind 12-30-2012 08:21 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Kamdog (Post 7261638)
The Element is not really an AWD car. It is a FWD car that, upon slippage, engages the rear wheels. The effect, compared to a real, full time AWD car, is mostly felt in regular driving in bad weather, where all the wheels have drive, as opposed to plowing through a corner in FWD only. Having had both (the CRV has the same drive train), the AWD is much, much better in the rain and slush and snow. The only thing the Element (or CRV) is OK at, regarding AWD, is taking off from a stop. Otherwise, it is FWD all the way.

Very good explanation, and accurate, btw! Found an 07 X3 w/ 80K on it and fully loaded. Price is over my mark, but really well cared for. Any thoughts re that choice? It seems that Outback owners are proud of their 100k+ cars, and it hard to find a good one under my price point.


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