She has a 2004 Mercedes C230 with 65 K miles. In the past two years, in addition to the scheduled service, we have put $ 5,000 into it for a bad alternator, broken CD changer and now a leaky sunroof. We are waiting for a new sunroof cassette to be installed, and the sunroof problem alone is going to cost $ 3 K, for the four repair attempts over the past year. For the two most recent repairs, we are paying only for parts, since they are doing the labor under warranty. But a new cassette and sunroof motor are costing $ 2 K in parts alone. We take it to an independent Benz shop, but the parts and labor still add up. In contrast, my 2005 Ford Escape with 66 K miles has required no service other than the scheduled.
I now have her agreeing with the concept of fixing it and getting rid of it before the next expensive gremlin plagues us. The trade in value is about $ 8500 and she owes about $ 4,000 on it.
So she has a long list of amenities that she is looking for, and we are beginning to do some car shopping. Of note, if it does not have heated seats, it is off the list. . She probably wants a new vehicle for the warranty.
So far, we have the 2011 Hyundai Sonata, Kia Optima and Ford Fusion on the list. We went to see and drive the Fusion and the Sonata yesterday. The Fusion was a pretty bland generic sedan, we thought. But the Sonata was pretty darn impressive inside and out. Quiet as a church, smooth ride, great acceleration and impressive MPG. We can probably get it for the mid-$20's with all the stuff she wants going through the Costco Auto Program.
I still want to go look at the Optima based upon how well the Kia Soul has worked out for me. Any other thoughts on a mid-size sedan that we should be looking at? For the reliability factor, I am thinking Asian or Ford. She has pretty much ruled out the Camry and Accord. I am ruling out European models like the Benz, Audi or VW. I know too many people who are trapped in the cycle of expensive maintenance and repairs on the Europeans.