Real Wheels Live

Network News

X Profile
View More Activity
Warren Brown
Friday, November 5, 2010; 11:00 AM

_______________________

2011 Chevy Traverse: Hi Mr. Brown--My family and I have always had Toyotas, but we needed more space than our Camry had (extra seating when family visits). I didn't want a minivan and read great reviews on the Traverse. My husband was pesimistic at first, but I showed him your column on it. We bought our 2011 Traverse late last month and we love it! Especially , my husband. We got the LTZ model and the total cost was around $36,000. A pretty penny, but still less expensive than luxury brands. With air conditioned/heating seats, lumbar support, blue tooth and on-star, I feel like I'm driving a luxury car. Thanks for your advice!

Warren Brown: Always happy to help. Thank you for writing.

_______________________

Crossovers?: I'm a city dweller who doesn't drive much. I own a roadster now but in a few months I will need to get something else because a kid is on the way. These are the four vehicles I'm interested in: Mitsubishi Crossover Sport, Mini Countryman, VW Tiguan, Nissan Juke. What's the best choice of these options?

Warren Brown: Countryman and the Tiguan offer that space. I'd check out the Mitsubishi Crossover as well. You might find good value for dollar there.

_______________________

Are Chevy products high on quality - on par with imports?: In your opinion are they as high quality as their counter import SUV/Truck lineups? What are your opinions about the Tahoe and Avalanche?

Warren Brown: excellent trucks manufactured by General Motors and marketed by its Chevrolet Division. The Avalanche attempts to be all things to all people--pickup truck, SUV, limousine. The Tahoe is what it is--a full-size SUV. I favor the Tahoe for its relative simplicity.

_______________________

AWD Luxury: BMW 550 xi or Cayenne S, which is slightly more expensive?

Warren Brown: Mechanical central diff with hill-holder ability for drivers who don't pay attention to their surroundings. Expensive. But packed with smiles.

_______________________

Help! You're my only hope. : This weekend I will buy a car. I'm not a "car person", and the only reason I'm getting one is for a new job that involves a city office with some suburban territories I have to visit. Since there are too many cars out there, I've decided on a hatchback or nothing because I like the Euro-style and the utility of that body type and because I cannot compromise on fuel-efficiency. I've tested a new Matrix (manual for me), a 2010 Prius (which I liked far more than I expected) and a 2008 certified Mazda3 hatchback (maual again). I liked them all, but I'm leaning to the Prius for the good milage and general "neat-o-ness" of it. The Mazda3 was the most fun to drive. The Matrix is in third place, but I liked it, too. Question: am I missing something in the market? What else should I test? What would you do? They are all within my affordability range.

Warren Brown: Mazda 3. Here's why. It will cost you less. Depreciation costs already paid by someone else. It is an excellently crafted, fuel-efficient car that's also fun to drive. Manufacture to street energy costs are lower than those of any hybrid. You won't have to suffer buyer's remorse upon learning that your nickel metal hydride battery pack, soon to be replaced by lihium ion, is resting in a landfill somewhere in South America. Keep in mind that there is no such thing as a pollution-free expenditure of energy, not even with a hybrid.

_______________________

Small SUV: Warren I noticed some car dealers are starting to deal more than in the past and with the economy the way it is I'm not suprised. What's your take on small SUV's? I want to trade my car in and was looking at the Acrua RDX with a tech package. Is there anotther car that has ALL those goodies and at a comparable price?

Warren Brown: For example, if your Honda (Acura) dealer does not want to cut you a break on the RDX, take a trip to your Toyota (Lexus) dealer and get a really nice deal on the comparable Lexus RX350.

_______________________

2011 Hyundai Sonata Turbo: Have you test driven one yet? Is it worth the extra thousands for the turbo?

Warren Brown: Not yet. My fault. I did not go to the recent Sonata Reveal. I'll drive the car the first week of December.

_______________________

car paint issue: Hello Warren, Perhaps you or your readers can help me with this matter. I have a 99 Accord which runs really well. The only thing is the dark green paint, which started peeling off on only the top portions of the car about 5-6 years ago. I had it repainted, but at AAmco (not dealer) and now the same parts are beginning to fade and crack. I'm also seeing some rust showing through here and there. I do not have a garage, so the car is parked in my driveway which is in direct sunlight. So the question is, do you recommend repainting again? If so, is there a particular paint that I should get considering my situation? Or is it time to dispose.. and get something in lighter in color? Thanks for your help.

Warren Brown: Sounds like a primer problem beneath the base coat. Take it to Maaco (the car paint people). Aamco does transmissions.

_______________________

New Car Tires: Hey Warren, thanks for doing these chats. I'm thinking about buying a new Mazda RX-8, but they all seem to come equipped with summer tires. I want performance all-season tires (eg Michelin Pilot Sport). Is it reasonable to ask a dealer to swap out the tires as part of the purchase deal? Or do I need to consider the cost of a new set of tires as an added cost of buying the car?

Warren Brown: It's not only reasonable to ask the dealer to swap out those dry-run, low-aspect ratio tires. It's recommended. But I'd go for Blizzak winter rubber for best performance. Other recommendations out there? Please chime in.

_______________________

Used Car Pricing: Of course everything is negotiable and its difficult to generalize, but is there a month when prices of a certain year model are generally marked down? For example the blue book pricing on a 2008 BMW. Since a car's age is reflected as a model year, is there a magic formula that reflects that since the 2011 models are now out, the car is officially a year older than it was, and therefore the price gets slashed? If one were to keep checking the blue book price every day on a certain year, make, and model with a consistent mileage and condition, would KBB.com be reducing that number every week, every month, or just on some magic anniversary day?

Warren Brown: There is no magic formula as to the exact timing of a car purchase for the "best" price. But I like your idea--patient waitng and research, checking KBB and/or other sources over a period of time, watching for favorable price fluctuations.

_______________________

VW Routan plus Employee Discount: I have a family member that works at VW-USA HQ out by Dulles. I'm in the market for a minivan or Traverse/Pilot/Flex 3-row vehicle (I want room for adults in the last row, but I don't really want to go to a full-size SUV).Considering I can get the VW Routan below invoice with a family-member discount, should I go that direction? Or is the value or quality of one of the other models I'm considering worth the extra money?Thanks!

Warren Brown: You'd be cheating yourself, seriously cheating yourself and your family, if you did not take a very close look at the 2011 Honda Odyssey minivan. I like the Chevrolet Traverse and its GM siblings. But I'd be disserving you not to urge you to check out the new Odyssey.

_______________________

Best for towing?: Mr. Brown: Looking for your thoughts on best vehicles for towing very large loads (e.g. horse trailers for two horses). We have tried the Suburban and Yukon XL but reliability has been spotty and repairs expensive. Unfortunately pick up trucks are not an option since we can't park them in our planned community. Thank you.

Warren Brown: Move. Chevy Tahoe SUV. Get it in black. looks like something from the Secret Service. That ought to make your neighbors happy.

_______________________

Which hybrid to buy?: I have had great experience with Toyota & Honda. Should I go the hybrid way? Toyota hybrid, Prius, or Ford Fusion? I appreciate your opinion.

Warren Brown: Frankly, I'd head straight to Hyundai. For that money, you can pick up a heck of a well-crafted, safe, fuel-efficient Sonata sedan. And it's better looking than all of the sedans you mentioned.

_______________________

Cadillac CTS-V: Hi Warren, I have seen pictures and commercials for the Cadillac CTS-V, can you give me some information on it? I am definely interested.

Warren Brown: Focusing on the coupe: You're talking a 6.2-liter, 16-valve, supercharged V-8--556 hp, 551 ft-lbs. torque. Drinks premium, thank you. Standard tranny is a six-speed manual. Easy shifter. Runs like a bat out of hell.Play it safe and get it in executive black. Cops know this one. Whose your lawyer?

_______________________

E320 CDI: Mr. Brown,Thank you for taking my question. I have the opportunity to buy a well-maintained 2005 Mercedes E320 CDI with 71,400 miles. The owner is a friend who buys a new MB every 5-6 years. I have never owned a MB and am a little concerned about maintenance costs. I will need another car in the next year and would love your opinion on this. He wants $18K. There is no extended warranty at this time. If I go ahead, should I buy one?

Warren Brown: Oh, my goodness! If that car is in good operating condition, also sound of body, I'd take it. Maintenance will be pricey, but not that pricey. It's an M-B diesel in good condition. Buy it.

_______________________

Sterling, Va:reliability of a 2005 Kia Sorrento, ex: Are there any problems with the 2005 Kia Sorrento EX of which I need to be aware? I have the opportunity to purchase one from the mechanic who takes care of my car. I need a second vehicle for my son to drive 30 miles round trip to work,etc. This particular vehicle had 100,000 milies on it and the engine broke down (strange event according to the mechanic). He has replaced the engine with one that has 60,000 miles on it and changed hoses, etc. He is asking for $8,500. I have researched the internet, etc and cannot come up with significant negatives. I have never owned a Kia, nor a SUV. Any advice?

Warren Brown: Check www.nhtsa.dot.gov. Plug in the particulars on your vehicle under "recalls" or "service bulletins." Also, take the VIN number of your Sorento to Carfax (that's Carfax, NOT Carmax) for a title/problem search. Those steps should reveal everything you need and want to know about the vehicle.

_______________________

2006 Acura TL: It only does it when I'm going slow or if the car is stopped and I turn the wheel. It's really annoying to say the least.

Warren Brown: My take is to take it to Pat Goss. Google him. He's a genius at figuring out things gone wrong. And with that, I wish you all a good weekend. Please join us again next week.Thank you Dominique Vu for another fine production.Eat lunch, Ria. And, Ria, it appears that I will be going to the LA Car show after all. Let's talk, lady.


© 2010 The Washington Post Company

Discussion Archive

Viewpoint is a paid discussion. The Washington Post editorial staff was not involved in the moderation.

Network News

X My Profile