Latest Reader Question (Oct. 13, 2017)

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Here’s the latest reader question, along with my reply:

Marie asks: We have always bought and driven Buicks and Mercurys. Currently we have a 2004 and 2009 Mercury Grand Marquis LS. They are going to wear out. What are we going to buy next? Any ideas on what make and model would be comparable?

My reply: Your Grand Marquis are full-size, rear-wheel-drive sedans with V8 engines. These are becoming scarce – not because there isn’t a market for them (bear with, I’ll back this up in a moment) but because the government is making it very difficult – read, expensive – to manufacture them as other than luxury-brand/low-volume models. The chief reason being federal fuel economy mandates, which harshly penalize – via “gas guzzler taxes” – any car company that makes a large number of vehicles like your Grand Marquis.

High-end (and low volume) car companies like Mercedes and BMW can still build large sedans with V8s because their customers are still willing to pay the premium and also because as a low-volume product, these cars are less affected by the gas guzzler taxes.

Ok, that said…

You can still get something similar – and at a manageable price.

The Dodge Charger and its more upscale Chrysler-badged cousin, the 300 sedan are rear-drive (AWD is available) and offer V8 engines. They have large trunks and roomy interiors and will probably feel similar to what you are used to.

Another possibility is the Chevy Impala. It is a full-size sedan and very roomy – roomier than the Charger/300. Much as I am persona non grata with GM, I recommend this car. It’s the more affordable (to start) and I think you’d really like it.

Third suggestion: The VW Passat. It is front-wheel-drive and – of course – a foreign brand car. But it was designed specifically for the U.S. market and to appeal to traditional American car buyers. Very comfortable and roomy.

Fourth suggestion – and for the same reasons as above – the Toyota Camry and its larger brother, the Avalon.

The Avalon is essentially a larger Camry, with a tremendously roomy back seat. Both are exceptionally comfortable, pleasant-driving cars and have excellent track records for durability, low depreciation and strong resale value.

Hope this was helpful!

. . .

Got a question about cars – or anything else? Click on the “ask Eric” link and send ’em in!

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      • eric, just curious why you like Sergio better than Barra. After all she was a car freak before getting a job with GM. Of course I doubt that a man could be a car freak and go from being an intern to the head of a major corporation.


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