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Hi guys. i'm writing this with somewhat mixed feelings. Yesterday, my dad's car got totalled again. This time it was a 99 mercury sable, that hydroplaned on route 95 into a guard barrier and got hit on all sides by another car that hydroplaned. I've never seen a car with more damage on it. Thankfully my dad got away with only an AC seperation (similar to a dislocated arm, but referring to the collar bone).
Anyway, my dad has a tendancy to wreck cars, by his fault or not, but it happens... a lot. So it's time to start looking for a new car for him, and i'd love for it to be an LH. Since i've become a quasi-expert on first gens, it's easy for me to spot mechanical problems with them at a car lot. How would you guys rate the crashworhiness of intrepids. i've read the data from the all-state crash tests when i was shopping around for my trep, but what do you guys think.
 

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Well I think they standup to many cars. If you are talking about high speed crashes, I would go with Crown Vic.

Get the 1st gen with wrap around bumper if he gets many dents. I loved it. Every chick in my college hit it at one time or another. $150 to repaint the whole thing.

I had a low speed colision on my second gen and can say that repair costs on it are high. On the other hand I nosedived under a Geo Tracker that was driven by a complete moron.

$8000 total repair bill. (Left front quarter). The very tight engine bay is a problem. It had to be taken apart almost completely.

But the airbags did not deploy when they were not needed and there was minimal frame damage.

1G are very easy to fix. Many aftermarket replacement parts and junked parts as well.

I had both left and right front corners dented. Hood scratched up. Bumper broken and punctured. The estimated cost to repair was from $800 to $2000 (included whole car being repainted)
 

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i think your dad should get a volvo....theyre tanks and safest cars around. Also look at german cars as they have been very safty minded for the past decade.

intrepids are pretty safe too.... Whatever he gets should have side impact air bags...they make the difference between walking away and your head being splatterred in a side collision....they dont go off in normal frontal collsions...
 

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bjlv, I dare say that Volvo as most european cars have been going steadily downhill the past 5 years or so.

Check with JDPowers.

Speaking as someone who probably had his life saved by an airbag...get side impact ones also.

Also, do try for AWD. Great for rainy days. I never had any traction issues with AWD even at high speeds. I really miss it.

Try a Honda CR-V. Not sure if it has side impact airbags (mine doesn't) but then thanks to AWD it's almost uncrashable. So far I've dodge a pick up that decieded to change lanes into me, a truck that decieded to get off the shoulder and a deer...all in rather nasty weather.

It's very very manuverable and light for an SUV, plus it's a honda, say what you will but they don't break.
 

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Saabs are also fairly unreliable and very expensive to fix.
My neighbor has a 98 or 97 900S convertable and had the engine die at 80k, the cover jams sometimes and he told me to stay clear of Saab when I considered getting one.

They do look very nice though, best looking convertable on the market imo.
 

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Well Saabs are known to be strange. Same as Porshes or Jags. They need alot of attention and better if purchased with or from a SAAB pro. They know what to look for. Same goes for LH cars too.

Europeans did not go down in last five years, Japs lost their edge for sure. Euro cars have problems with price.

From the comments in this thread, I can say. Get an Audi Quatro with side airbags. If its A4 get the 1.8T. It will not be very fast.
 

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FileNotFound said:
Speaking as someone who probably had his life saved by an airbag...get side impact ones also.

Try a Honda CR-V. Not sure if it has side impact airbags (mine doesn't) but then thanks to AWD it's almost uncrashable.

It's very very manuverable and light for an SUV, plus it's a honda, say what you will but they don't break.
Keep in mind there are two very different types of side impact airbags. There are side curtain airbags and simply side airbags. Side airbags are designed to protect the side of the torsoe. Side curtain airbags are designed to protect the head. Some vehicles with side airbags attempt to do both. The problem is that test have shown that side impact airbags have done little to improve the safety of cars (something like 3% I believe). Especially when hit by a truck or SUV sized vehicle. They have however shown to add protection in a truck or SUV sized vehicle when hit by another truck or SUV sized vehicle (just look at the IIHS side impact ratings for the Ford Escape/Mazda Tribute).

The 2003 Honda CRV does have side impact airbags, but only in the EX model (it's also the only trim package with ABS and standard AWD). My girlfriend on her mom each just bought new ones about two months ago. They are very stable, have damn good handling for what they are and very acceptable power for their size. It's funny you say that "plus it's a Honda ... they just don't break." When we got to the finance guy (who is also the extended warranty guy) he tried to sell us extended warranties. I responded with "it's a Honda, I thought they didn't break." The guy wasn't amused and proceded to tell us about how many times he's used the extended warranty on his. What a loser...
 

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there are several european manufactures...as there are many US and japanese manufactures.

Mercedes, BMW, and Audi are some good cars...whats in common? GERMAN roots
 

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Well my opinion is that car is as reliable as its driver. I don't believe in faultless cars. Mechanics are nor for it.
 

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First of all, hes not looking for reliable in terms of repair problems, hes looking for a car that is safe for the passengers. Now he obviously doesn't want a car thats gonna be unreliable, but I'm just saying that that isn't his number one criteria for what car to get. Now heres my personal opinion. My brother(not by blood) was driving his moms car december of last year. It was a 98 intrepid. He was going out to lunch with a full load of 5 people in his car and he was doing at least 35 in a 25 on shitty roads and when he tried to stop at a stop sign he had no traction at all. He slid into a curb at 35, jumped it and hit a tree totaling the car. He hit the curb hard enough to snap the axle(forget which one exactly). The car was most definately trashed, but all 5 people in the car walked away without a scratch, and thats why my mom made me get an intrepid. I can also say from seeing second gen treps in wrecks on the highway, they can hold their own.

Another thing to keep in mind, any car with a unibody design is going to be expensive to repair. They are cheaper to build that way and thats why most cars today have a unibody design.
 

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Captain you are right. Some four years ago I slid on snow and span almost out of control. The ride was downhill, my 93 corde went over the median (6 inches high) did a 180, dug nose into a snow mountain and crashed the right rear wheel (steel not aluminum thank god) on a high curb.

Damage: Wheel bearing at 85k miles, steel wheel, one tie rod.

With work at an expensive shop, less than $300.

My friend's GTI in similar conditions got $3k worth of damage after ripping wheels off and trashing the underbody.
 

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Don't judge a car by how bad it gets hurt in a crash.
The damage is called a crush zone and it's probably what will save your life in a high speed crash.
 

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Well I comply, but I think that car should be drivable.
 

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Discussion Starter #15
thanks for all the input guys, we're still on the fence on which kind of car to get, but your thoughts are all great.
i understand the idea of crush/crumple zones, and i realize that crashworthiness is a combination of impact absorbtion and damage resistance. Also coming into play is insurance prices... volvos win on that one... when i was looking to buy a volvo, full coverage would have cost me exactly the same as just liability on my current trep
 

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That pricing is strange. Volvos may prevent body injury, but I bet the comprehensive and collision should be high due to higher cost of parts, labor and basic value of the vehicle.
 

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I think your father has a problem. I don't know about all the other wrecks, but if he hydroplaned then he was going too fast for the existing conditions or he was driving on bad tires... either way 100% his fault.

I don't know my mother and father each has been driving 40+ years and they've never wrecked any car. I've never wrecked a car... my brother has wrecked cars because he drives like a psycho.

Can the registry take away your license for too many crashes? They should be able to.
 

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FileNotFound said:
Saabs are also fairly unreliable and very expensive to fix.
My neighbor has a 98 or 97 900S convertable and had the engine die at 80k, the cover jams sometimes and he told me to stay clear of Saab when I considered getting one.

They do look very nice though, best looking convertable on the market imo.
My boyfriend had a '90 Saab 900S 2-door. It was a very reliable car. Had almost 200K on it before he gave up.

The only things it needed were a new alternator and a new muffler.
 

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CEHE4KA said:
That pricing is strange. Volvos may prevent body injury, but I bet the comprehensive and collision should be high due to higher cost of parts, labor and basic value of the vehicle.
Toyota Camry's are not cheap to have body work done on after an accident either.

Things that take other manufacturers 2 parts take Toyota 6. A little over-engineered? Maybe.
 

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alderran said:
I think your father has a problem. I don't know about all the other wrecks, but if he hydroplaned then he was going too fast for the existing conditions or he was driving on bad tires... either way 100% his fault.

I don't know my mother and father each has been driving 40+ years and they've never wrecked any car. I've never wrecked a car... my brother has wrecked cars because he drives like a psycho.

Can the registry take away your license for too many crashes? They should be able to.
Because you have never wrecked a car means absolutely nothing when it comes to getting a safe car for possible future crashes. Neither your parents or you have any control over drivers around you, and he mentioned it is not always his dad's fault. The day you get overconfident as a driver is the day it will happen. Just my two cents.
 
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