Columnist advises vehicle choices for under $10,000


By Jared Hinderer

If you read my column from last week, you saw that for my top pics for a first car in three categories for under $5,000. The Toyota Camry came in as the eco-car choice for its dead-solid reliability and ease of repair and maintenance costs. The Volvo S70 placed itself on my list in the luxury because of its track record of safety. Finally, the Mazda Miata landed in the sports car slot because there really isn’t a better cheap sports car.

This week the choices are a bit more exotic with a price range raised to $10,000. $10,000 can buy you some really nice cars when you think outside the box.

1. Ford Fusion- Any Ford Fusion up to 2008 is affordable in this budget with about 90,000-100,000 miles. Going with a Ford Fusion is a great way to get a nice late model vehicle in this price range. The Fusion is a solid car that will continue to look good and will always get the job done. Having driven a base model Fusion, I can say that it is a great car for the money. With a nice quality interior, and great ratings for safety and reliability, it has to take the spot as the “point-A to point-B” car in this price range.

2. Saab 9-5- Maybe I’m a bit bias, because I own a Saab 9-5, but these could be the most affordable luxury cars out there. If you want something luxurious, and relatively rare, the 9-5 is perfect. Not to mention all of the safety features that gave the 9-5 the title as one of the safest cars in the world of its time.  Look at years between 2004 and 2008. The model got some updated looks in 2006, but remained mostly the same underneath, so parts are plentiful for all years. Yes, the company is out of business, but their parts suppliers are still very much is business. 2004-2008 Saab 9-5’s range from about $5,000 to $10,000 depending on year, options, and mileage. Contrary to popular belief, these are actually very reliable cars. Edmunds.com rated 9-5 at 4 or 5 out of 5 stars for reliability for each year listed. Like most luxury cars, parts can get expensive; however, there are many shops in the Kentuckiana area that are willing and able to work on these rare Swedish machines.

3. Porsche Boxter- Ever think you could own a German roadster like a Porsche for your first car? Well, if you’ve got around $9000, you can. For just under $9,000 at $8,980 you can buy a pristine example from 1999 with 95,000 miles on eBay right now, but I would have to haggle down that price since it has nearing 100,000 miles. However, the Boxster is considered one of the best roadsters of its time by many different leading car reviewers, having been mentioned on Car and Drivers 10 Best list in 2000. It is said to be a very reliable car, receiving 5 out of  5 stars from Edmunds.com. Weighing in at 2,800 pounds with 201 horsepower, the base model Boxster is not only quick, but it handles well, thanks to its mid mounted flat six engine for better weight distribution. However, the mid mounted engine is its biggest problem, being that it is very difficult to work on. Not every shop will work on a Boxster, so beware of this when shopping for one.

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