Buying the Right Used Car - Alpha Male Nation
Buying the Right Used Car European vs. American
When considering a used car, quite a few people are thinking at European cars. We will try to look a bit deeper into this particular issue when considering buying any European car over an American brand.
Why people are buying European cars:
- Status cars. Most of European cars available in US are considered “status cars” due certain premium brands (Mercedes, Porsche, Ferrari, BMW, Maserati, Audi, Volvo, Jaguar, Mini, Rolls, Bentley, etc.) all made in Europe.
- Build Quality. Most of them are built in Germany, England or Sweden, countries well known for product quality hence built to last. Se Arab countries that are still using old Mercedes 123 (35-40 years old) or ancient Peugeot cars running in big numbers (North Africa) mostly as cabs, hence tough life.
- Compared with a standard American car (i.e. Ford Taurus) you can take any Saab, Volvo, Volkswagen or entry level BMW and you will realize that there are cars with smaller engines however much higher output and much lower running costs. European cars are “built for speed” comparing with the American cars due to the fact that there are many places in Europe where you can do more than 100 mph legally. Try to go to Italy, Germany, France or even Spain just to see that most cars on first lane are travelling at way above 100 mph sometimes. This means: good breaks and better stability (while less comfort due stiffer shocks absorbers).
- Few years back I’ve rented a new Pontiac Trans Am with a very high spec and done few interstate trips. The beautiful deep black car was all over the road when cornering and nowhere near my 10 year old 5 series BMW in term of speed, overtaking and general feel.
- European are keen on safety and some are offering the best family cars out there – see Volvo XC Series, V Series, S series, etc. They are all safe and family friendly with integrated kid chairs, Isofix, low maintenance seat covers and a lot of storage.
- Manual Gearbox. A manual gearbox (the transmission of choice in Europe) it is much better than an automatic transmission which it is pretty much standard to all American cars. There are many reasons a “lazy American” will not consider a manual box when picking a car: with a manual box (stick shift) the same engine will be faster, more economical, cheaper to maintain (you only have a disk and a bearing that can go wrong in 150-200 k miles), better in the winter and slippery road when you can use the engine to stop the car safely simply downshifting., etc.
- Low maintenance. Most of European cars have very simple engines which do not require much care. As an example apart from the above mentioned manual gearbox, most European cars (Mercedes, BMW, etc.) are using a chain instead a timing belt that has to be changed every 60.000 miles. This chain doesn’t require any replacement and will save you a lot of money on long term.
- Low Running Costs. There are smaller engines which will require less fuel, a lower insurance, larger servicing intervals and less car parts to be replaced (due simplicity and build quality) also not to mention that an American car has usually more gadgets and electronics that tend to go wrong hence more associated costs for an American car. Also, more than half of the cars in Europe are diesel which it is a much more economical engine, some of the late cars doing more than 60 miles on a gallon of diesel while being turbo charged as well (see Peugeot, Volkswagen and BMW engines).
- Lower emission. If you are concerned about environment, now days Europeans have developed even diesel engines EURO 6 compliant that not sure Americans will care about.
In the light of the above, there are many reasons to buy a new or used European car however there is a wide choice of them that will suit any budget and you have to know what to go for. Also, mind you not all European cars are trouble free just because are made in Germany. You can buy trouble if picking up a beautiful however neglected German car.
You need to know what you are buying hence not many people are aware of the fact that VW, Audi, Seat or Skoda it is pretty much the same car, sharing a lot of components from engines to platforms. Also, same situation with Saab and Fiat which are sharing same engines or if considering the Peugeot engines (probably best diesels) that are in Jaguar S Type (2.7 D), Land Rover Discovery (2.7 D), Mazda 6, Ford Focus, Ford Mondeo, Volvo V50, S60, V70, Citroen, etc. all sharing the 1.560 cc turbocharged diesel engine which linked with a 6 speed manual box will do in excess of 60 miles on a gallon.
Choosing the right car it is fun however, do your homework before, read user’s feedback and take test drives. If you have the time and money try renting for the weekend all cars from your short list.
And remember: when picking a car it is not about having the biggest rims and being the fastest 0-60 available. Don’t be one that are looking for topics BMW vs Mercedes, BMW vs Chrysler, Volvo vs Ford or which it is best between Toyota and Honda. If you want to make the right choice you need to be a bit more specific and not judging from make to make but model with model or even considering a comparison car to car. I will never buy a lemon Mercedes over a Taurus just to show off in between service repairs.
In regards to “Things to know”, mind you Ferrari it is made by Fiat Group, Mini and Rolls Royce are made by BMW, Bentley & Bugatti are made by Volkswagen, and a lot of engines are shared in between various brands hence try looking behind the badge.
Just to make it easy on you, If not sure what to go for and want to play safe, try a Japanese car.
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