Just bought a '97 base with automatic - has 124k miles. Rides like a limo - best front seats I have ever seen. Getting 25 mpg in mixed driving. Find one that has been maintained and you can keep it forever. You may spend some repair money every year, but it is cheaper than a car payment.
This was my mother-in-law's car before she decided to give it to us as our wedding present. I spent some time fixing it and doing maintenance on it before we got it (she never did much to it, just drive it). After we got it, not many things went bad. Just regular things like CV boots ($55 for the entire axle), lower ball joint boots (still did not replace them), ABS module ($100 to rebuild it), alternator ($90 or so), odometer ($8 for the gear). I know that the evaporator core for A/C will go bad at some point, it is really common. The main thing is that I feel really good about my wife driving it with the kids, I know they are safe in it. Make it cheap, find parts online, you will save money.
Safety, good looking exterior, comfortable inside, fun to drive. Because of being an older model, It is possible to find cheaper parts for it, rebuild the old parts, etc.
Better gas mileage, design of their parts (like the ABS, evaporator core, etc).
Bought used with 100,000 miles. Things to watch for that we learned; The battery had been replaced because the car had been sitting for 6 months. This cleared the OBD-II. Have the seller get the emissions!!! You have to go through a crazy "drive cycle" to get the OBD out of a "Not Ready" with emissions folks. Beware of rear transfer seal going out around 100,000 as well. Evident by oil drips or oil on bottom back of engine. $800 repair!!! Great driving car though. Bought for safety features.
Safety features. Drives great.
Just be aware of disconnecting battery and subsequent problems with that. Door hinge mounts break loose (noted by a loud popping noise) and is a very expensive repair.
Recently wrecked it with 121k. Survived without a scratch, airbags never deployed. Safety is #1; integrated roll bar, side impact air bags. Performance wise, 5 cylinder can smoke any non-Volvo 6 cyl. turbo. Hard to believe they make this with a turbo. It has a supple ride, even on bad roads.I once took it thru an S curve at 50 mph, and just noticed a barely perceptible body lean. Yokahama tires are recommended! great in snow. Now the problems I had:AC evaporator went out around 100k,rear main seal leaked at 105k, Antilock breaks and traction control went out around 80k (still brakes like a car without ABS). Repairs are expensive, but the eng. and trans. flawless. I will buy another!
2 years ago this July, I traded this car, a '97 850 with 82K, for a no hassle '98 F150, as we added another child to the nest. I have to say, overall, I love the car. I wish it had a sunroof and the sporty rims, that's it. I love the base acceleration and sport mode, and the handling. What I don't like is the little things that have now added up to almost $3K, 2 yrs later with 104K. Yes, this car was exposed to salt air for 2 years, we towed a small 15ft boat under 2K pounds, and yes we commute to and drive in Philadelphia. I now have a sluggish trans, torque mount, struts and strut bushing probs, possibly shocks, had brake problems, re- occuring belt problems, axle boots$, and electrical.
I love the car, styling, heat and heated seats, performance, trans, handling, and the great sound system.
More reliable, like the old volvos of before(240,740, etc), new cupholders, new cruise control-controls, HD electrical system and thicker brake pads. Can Anyone shed light on me for this review? My alternative is a used Toyota Avalon, but I'd truly like to keep this car. ??