Potential used GM buyer in 2004-2005

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I was thinking of buying a new car in 1-2 years. Since my 1988 Honda Civic has been and still is a good car, the most logical choice for me would be a new Honda Civic.
But I noticed that the new Honda Civics only offer ABS on the top-of-the-line models. It's not even an option on the base or mid-level model. What gives? ABS is not an exotic new technology. It's been widespread for years. I'm not paying $14K for a car that lacks ABS. The top-of-the-line Honda Civic starts at something like $17K!
I would consider a new Toyota Corolla, which offers ABS on all models. But from what I've heard, it's hard to come by on the base models. And the Nissan Sentra is like the Honda Civic - no ABS even as an option on the base model.
What gives? I'm not paying $14K or more for a car that lacks ABS. I can't believe skinflint manufacturers think a few hundred dollars more on a $14K car for a safety feature is exorbitant. Come on, I'd rather skimp on the sunroof, leather-wrapped steering wheel, power door locks, power windows, remote keyless entry, cruise control, etc. But I'm not about to skimp on safety when buying a new car. I'm starting to wonder if Honda, Toyota, and Nissan (no ABS on base Nissan Sentra) are getting cocky. Then again, GM executives have recently shown their traditional low IQs by deciding to make ABS optional on vehicles that used to have it standard.
As a result of the ABS issue, I may (GASP!) buy a GM vehicle. I am considering buying a used Buick or Saturn. ABS has been standard on Buicks and Saturns for years, and a few of them are on the Consumer Reports recommended used car list. Due to rapid depreciation, I should be able to buy a used model for under $10K AND have ABS. I'm even willing to sacrifice a few mpg and image in favor of more economy and safety. On the other hand, the quality of even the recommended Buicks falls well short of most Honda and Toyota products, if you believe Consumer Reports. I'm surprised Buick would stand out above Pontiac, Chevrolet, Oldsmobile, and Cadillac given that GM is notorious for selling the same car under a variety of different nameplates.
I'd like to hear from the GM fans. I would especially like to hear the experiences of those of you who bought used GM vehicles. What separates you from the tens of millions of disgruntled ex-GM owners out there? How much does it help to avoid the first year of a new GM model? What have you learned from your bad experiences and other people's bad experiences with GM products?
I have two reservations about buying a used GM car and would appreciate advice on how to avoid the pitfalls: 1. I have to overcome the GM Family Curse. My parents bought a new 1977 Chevrolet Impala and a new 1980 Oldsmobile Omega. We normally kept cars for 9 years, but we only kept the Impala for 7. Although it ran well the first 6 years or so, it began to stall on a regular basis, and the dashboard cracked. In fact, we actually had better luck with the 1980 Oldsmobile Omega, which could have been a much worse car for us given that the early 1980s X-body cars are considered to be one of the biggest debacles in GM history. The Omega ran well the first several years, but it left us stranded on Interstate 80 in northwest Illinois in 1986. My brother moved to Arizona with it two years later, and the car began to make up for lost time in the crappiness department. There were problems that even the dealer couldn't fix. The air conditioning died. The Omega broke down so frequently that he had to spend something like $300 a month every month for several months in a row - more than what car payments would have been. Ever since then, we have only bought "Japanese" cars (Mazda, Honda, Toyota) and have had MUCH better luck. ACCORDING TO CONSUMER REPORTS, MANY OTHER PEOPLE HAVE HAD SIMILAR EXPERIENCES. 2. I also have to overcome the Used Car Family Curse. My parents have always been dead-set against used cars - I think my father got a bad deal at least once back in the 1950s. My brother bought a 1994 Nissan Sentra in 1998, and he has noticed that the extra repairs cost him more than the initial savings from buying used (when compared to the 1989 Honda Civic Si he bought new).
Jason Hsu, AG4DG usenet@@@@@@jasonhsu.com
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About the ABS thing. Most people don't use them right anyways so they don't really do anything.
"It's also assumed by many that modern cars with anti-lock brakes (ABS) are safer than older cars without ABS; however, several studies have found that drivers of ABS-equipped cars often fail to fully depress the brake pedal in a panic stop, not realizing that the ABS system will prevent the wheels from locking and causing the vehicle to skid. Failure to fully brake means greater stopping distances and a higher likelihood of hitting whatever's in front of you. ABS-equipped cars are only safer than non-ABS-equipped cars if the system is used as designed."
http://www.thecarconnection.com/index.asp?articlec27
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I'd say the growing number of teenagers and women drivers these days could use ABS, not to offend any of them in here. Back in 95 when I owned a 92 Cavalier Z24 model with ABS, it saved me from rear ending someone at 70 miles an hour...the stop distance did not have much of a gap, but the ABS kicked in and I heard those tires "chirp" from the ABS pulsing that brake fluid on all fours..when I came to a full stop, I was maybe 2 feet away from the car infront of me. I was another teenager thinking that speeding made me look cool. I realized I could have ended a life or two in just a couple seconds.
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Jason,
Steer clear of the base model Rgeal / Century & Impala - ABS isn't standard on those models. I'm the opposite of you Jason, I wish alot of these standard features were dropped as standard
I wish more models offered ABS as an option rather than standard.
For 25 years myself & millions of other people been stopping cars just fine without ABS.
Good luck in your search.
========Harryface ======== 1991 Pontiac Bonneville LE ~_~_~265,000 miles_~_~~_
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On Wed, 3 Sep 2003 22:01:58 -0500 (CDT), snipped-for-privacy@webtv.net (Harry Face) wrote:

I've found that the ABS that GM uses in their different cars to be not that good.
I also wonder if ABS is the reason that the two ABS equipped cars are brake pads and rotors like they were candy.
Brad
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| Jason, | | Steer clear of the base model Rgeal / Century & Impala - ABS isn't | standard on those models. I'm the opposite of you Jason, I wish alot of | these standard features were dropped as standard | | I wish more models offered ABS as an option rather than standard. | | For 25 years myself & millions of other people been stopping cars just | fine without ABS. | | Good luck in your search. | | ========| Harryface | ========| | 1991 Pontiac Bonneville LE | ~_~_~265,000 miles_~_~~_ | |
It seems that offering ABS as a option is now beginning to happen, which I agree with you is a good thing. Even GM is making ABS a option on some base models, as you noted. Chrysler offers them as a option, even on some high-end models now. Seems they've realized from the studies that ABS isn't good for everyone. I've had three vehicles with some version of ABS (Dakota 4x4, Grand Caravan, Malibu) and I've come to the conclusion that they don't work well for me. I instinctively manually pump the brakes in a tight spot...a habit I can't seem to get out of since that is what I learned decades ago...which is a big no-no behavior with ABS systems. I also seem to go through brake pads and rotors about twice as often on the ABS-equipped vehicles compared to non-ABS vehicles I drive...not sure if that is a correlation, however...just a observation. I still have the Caravan, but on the newer Stratus SE and Sebring LXi I now have, neither have ABS.
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On Thu, 4 Sep 2003 11:38:56 -0400, "James C. Reeves"

I get about twice as much use out of pads/rotors in non-ABS-equipped vehicles compared to ABS-equipped vehicles.
Brad
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I believe if you drive the car in snow/ice condition, ABS is really help based on my experience.

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wrote:

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don't be silly, the way to do donuts in the snow with a FWD car is in reverse and the brakes are not used. The other cool thing is to turn soft going forward and hit the parking brake. Granted that's a lot easier in cars with a handle E-brake, rather than foot. GW
Brad Clarke wrote:

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On Fri, 05 Sep 2003 01:15:37 GMT, Brad Clarke

I gotta say, ABS has helped save my butt a couple of times under icey conditions. Not as usefull at other times.
Many here seem to think their brake pads wear much quicker on ABS equipped vehicles. My question is WHY IS THAT?? (unless you do panic stops every day) Don't ABS brakes work exactly the same as non ABS systems until they approach a wheel lock-up?
My '99 Malibu (ABS standard that year). gets about 50K km (30K miles) from a set of front pads before the squealer hits the disk. Thats about 50/50 City/Highway & I consider myself a 'moderate' driver. IIRC, my older, non ABS, GM's did somewhat better.
I'll guess that some manufacturers reduced the size/weight of brake components about the time ABS was introduced and the true cause may be undersized parts not ABS. And/or has there been a move to softer brake pads lately??
Comments welcome.
Al.
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wrote: | | Many here seem to think their brake pads wear much quicker on ABS | equipped vehicles. My question is WHY IS THAT?? (unless you do panic | stops every day) Don't ABS brakes work exactly the same as non ABS | systems until they approach a wheel lock-up? |
Not sure why. I can see a explanation if traction control is included. With some traction control systems the system applies the brake to the single spinning wheel (that doesn't have traction) in order to transfer more power to the non-spinning wheel (that has the traction). That will wear the brakes in a hurry!
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Brad Clarke wrote:

and how is that? That's FWD that prevents you from doing proper doughnuts. Unless you're going across an ice covered parking lot at 50 and locking 'em up and going for a 360 that way... (not like I've ever done that... I can spin my winter truck in 4-lo like a top though... ;)
Ray
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On Fri, 05 Sep 2003 12:30:10 -0500, ray

reverse....looked pretty impressive for a FWD car. real cars (V8 - RWD) do it better tho'

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Brad Clarke wrote:

Winnipeg. January. I'd be happy to see pavement. ;)
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On Tue, 09 Sep 2003 17:34:26 -0500, ray

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ray wrote:

Actually, I saw it once. Guy managed to lock up his FWD car and spin around in a few circles. Nice accident on the freeway. The doofus ended up facing the wrong direction on the freeway.
Thankfully, nobody got hit.(miracle)
So - yes, it's possible to fishtail and spin a FWD car if you are a doofus ;)
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ABS will not always help you on ice or snow. I have two cars with it, a 92 Lumina Euro and a 2000 Impala LS. I have locked all 4 wheels and slid on ice or sleet and ABS did not intervene at all. I had to resort to old fashioned manual pumping of the brakes to stop. Still I want ABS on my cars. Roy

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Look at a Buick Regal or Pontiac Grand Prix. My mom has a Regal and has had TWO warranty claims. Her glovebox door broke and the tie rods wore. Car has been flawless except for that. The car really is nice, and if I could have a car AND a truck, I'd pick the Pontiac version, the Grand Prix for the car.She has the Grand Touring suspension and the naturally-aspirated 3.8 (supercharged is available, it's the GS model). They've taken it on a couple long trips, one was from Albany, NY to Cincinatti, OH, with 4 grown people and luggage for a weekend it got about 28 or 30 MPG I think.
On 3 Sep 2003 16:43:10 -0700, jason snipped-for-privacy@my-deja.com (Jason Hsu) wrote:

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Buick Regal is far superior to any Honda or Toyota made. Better engineering and quality of parts. All steel is galvanized and exhaust system is stainless. Tracks like a Porsche and brakes are superb. Forget the hype the advertisers use and drive one. Best all around car in 60 years of driving.

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