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DO NOT FEED THE TROLLS!
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Discussion Starter #1
I'm at a crossroads. I have a car that's very difficult to work on and if the past is an indication of the future, will require more work in the future, a high-mileage pickup that lets me down often enough and has enough things broken (like air conditioning) that using it as a daily driver is not pleasant, and my wife has a car that has been fairly reliable, but has more than 125K miles on it and has had a few problems.

We're also at a point where we may have kids, so four doors or else good access to where children would ride is required. My Stratus has that part covered, but her car, an Integra, doesn't, and the Nissan pickup only has those jumpseats on the sides, and while they might be acceptable for children no longer in outright child seats, they won't do for a baby.

I am considering several vehicles, some Mopars, some not. Mostly I'm considering used because of a general increase in reliabiltiy in the 80K-150K mileage range, but I don't want to start out there. I'd rather start in the 20K-50K mileage range and I definitely don't want to buy something over 80K miles to start, with the only real exception being possibly a diesel truck, but only then if it gets a clean bill of health from a dealership.

As far as LX cars go, I'm a little torn. The Magnum offers the most utility, but all of the new technological and design revision goodies from the Fiat era never made it to the Magnum. I don't care for the look of the first-generation LX Charger plus the headroom at the rear door isn't as good. I do like the 300 in both Daimler and Fiat eras, but the Phoenix-area market is now saturated with high-mileage first-gen 2.7L models with bad customization jobs, which seems to be actually increasing the prices on the unmolested ones through scarcity.

I like AWD, but I'm concerned about reliability, and when there are problems, how expensive they'll be to repair. I have rented a couple of 3.5L LX cars (a Magnum and a 300, both about five years ago) and I was okay with the power, but I can't deny the appeal of the RT and SRT8. I even did some research into a very low miles (like, 8900) 2006 Magnum SRT8, but between the color and the seller's asking price (a little over $25,000) I don't think that right now I could justify it. A year from now maybe.

I'd like advice as to how many miles, max, I should consider if I want to get the better part of a decade of service out of the car, around 10,000 miles a year. I'd also like to know what features I should avoid that have proven to be trouble, and if there are any characteristics of particular years that are better or worse than other years.

If I end up with a used LX, it'll undoubtedly be the most technologically advanced and feature-laden car that I've have owned, so even a fairly lightly equipped vehicle would be adequate for my uses.
 

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TWX, first I need to clear up a few areas I think you have misconceptions about the Chrysler LX.

First off, the car was developed at the start of the century while Chrysler was under Daimler. I could go into a detailed history about how it was developed, but for these purposes that's unnecessary. The LX chassis covers the 300, the Charger, and the former Dodge Magnum.

Daimler sold out to investment firm Cerberus back in mid decade. Cerberus essentially were over their heads, and essentially wrote off Chrysler by giving it to Fiat.

Now, the point in this is that BEFORE Fiat took over Chrysler, Chrysler had revised versions of the 300 and Charger already done. Cerberus put it on hold because they didn't have the money immediately available to get the new 300 and Charger into production. Once Fiat took over, the money became available to get the 300, the Charger (as well as the revised Sebring, which became the Chrysler 200) into production. The only role Fiat had in the new LX's development was the finishing work, ie: the grade of materials, the trick lighting, tweaked interior design and materials, etc.

I don't know what you mean by "technologically advanced", or what items you are talking about. Nor do I know what "revised goodies from the Fiat era" you mean or are talking about. Chrysler is essentially it's own company now run by Fiat. I suspect you have a mistaken view of what Fiat brings to Chrysler... and what Chrysler brings to Fiat.

In short, Chrysler develops all RWD structures and trucks, and Fiat supplies all the small and FWD chassis and powerplants. Chryslers will be incorperated into Alfa Romero's lineup overseas. Fiat's small cars will be redesigned and re-engineered for Chrysler cars here in the US. In short, right now unless you're buying a brand new Dodge Dart, you aren't getting very much of anything that could remotely be called Fiat "advanced technology". Even then, there's a lot of Chrysler's "advanced technology" in the new Dart. Chrysler is just as much their own company (perhaps even more) than at any time since they sold out to Mercedes nearly 15 years ago. Don't sell Chrysler short. They have a top drawer engineering department and are known for technology in their own right.

Now, to your real question.

Any used car can have substantial problems depending on how the previous owner took care of it far more than the mileage on the car. Under many circumstances, a 50K mile car can be far worse than a 80K mile one. Keep in mind, most engine wear happens when you start it, not when it's running. Brakes wear out more on city cars than highway cars. Cars that sit in garages long periods of time tend to need more work than cars that are used daily. An AWD car is mostly no more undependable than RWD.

Your usage (you said 10K miles per year) is actually extremely low, well below average. This seems to inicate you want to use it as nothing more than a commuter car. If that's the case, You might consider a smaller car that gets exceptional fuel economy. If you plan to keep it 10 years, you may want to consider either buying new or at least a car less than a few years old.

Finally, about Chrysler's LX cars.

Chryslers have traditionally been very mechanically sound and dependable. Interior materials on Chryslers tended to be a bit on the cheap side as far as holding up over many years. But again, things depend on how well it was (or wasn't) taken care of. The bushings between the rear IRS assembly and underbody on early police LXs had a tendancy to losening up, Also, there was some type of issue with the early transmissions being a bit too choppy shifting. But in both instances, we're talking about early models (ie, 1st couple of years).


Personally, I think the interiors of the previous gen Charger and Magnum are a bit bland. The current ones are quite a bit better. I wouldn't consider an SRT8 unless you plan on driving and enjoying the cars. They don't have the best fuel economy, and they are made to be driven. It'd be a waste of both car and money going back and forth to work daily using just half tank of fuel a week.

In my opinion, if you want a Chrysler LX car, for what you say how many miles you're going to use it and how long you're going to keep it, and that you're coming out of a high mileage truck I'd reccomend keeping an eye on car rental companies. They tend to keep cars only a few months to a year before selling them, yet they do regular maintence on them and the cars are still under factory warranty when they sell them. The new Chargers seem to be well represented, and it's a chance to get the new design without paying full price and taking that massive depreciation hit. The V6 gets about 30mpg.

If I may make a suggestion, go for a Challenger. It has the same interior room, a trunk that's a little bigger than even the Chevy Impala, and when it's time to sell it, a Challenger will be a far easier sell (and have higher resale value) than either the 300 or the Charger.
 

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DO NOT FEED THE TROLLS!
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Discussion Starter #3
I'm really surprised. I know about Chrysler's history from before the "Merger of Equals" through present. I didn't need a book on that, just if any particular, specific features are known problematic or not.
 

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No vehicles today have features that are "problematic" (I'm interpreting what you mean based on your post).
If you expect to keep a vehicle for 10 years or run it beyond 100K mikes you WILL have to invest money in repairs, no matter what you drive....especially if you plan on buying used. Today's cars and trucks have been tested to extremes, and all are made to function well for at least 6 years. Beyond that all bets are off, and one should not expect a vehicle to remain perfect beyond that time. I pointed out it's a matter of how the original owner takes care of a vehicle as to how well it lasts beyond it's normal years more than mileage or anything else.

I am sorry if this seems to be a long answer, but there is no simple short answer to your question.


You also were operating under a few misconceptions that needed to be addressed. "Fiat's "advanced technology" of which, outside of their MultiAir engines and small car chassis is essentially non existant beyond most any other car company, including Chrysler, There also seemed to be misconceptions about Chrysler and it's asscociation with both Daimler and Fiat, which I felt I needed to correct so you would have a full and accuate picture of what is typically a person's 2nd biggest purchase they'll make in their life...2nd only to a home purchase.

It's wise to have accurate information about the neighborhood your moving into and the people who built your home . .
 

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I've been looking at used LXs, too.

I think I've decided that I won't bother looking at any 2.7L V6-equipped models. If they weren't well-maintained, they aren't going to hold up very well. Yes, the same can be said for any car and any engine - we know the 2.7 had some issues and while they were dealt with, I'd just as soon not open that can of worms.

I don't need the V8, and I definitely don't need an SRT.

Rear headroom in the Charger is about 1.8" less than the 300 - something my wife and eldest noticed quickly. The Magnum actually has about a tenth of an inch more rear headroom than the 300.

I rented an '10 Charger SXT - 3.5L/5auto - and round tripped from Chicago to Detroit. It's a wonderful highway cruiser - really comfortable and just ate up the miles. While I like the newer interiors, I could live with the older one.

I really like the Magnum - but only the '08 models and for purely cosmetic reasons. The front fascia and headlamps on the '08 is much nicer looking than the '05-'07 models.

The only 300 I've driven was the long-wheelbase Executive model. Very nice indeed. I could live with a 300, but I'd choose a Magnum or Charger first, I think.

(Actually, I prefer the Challenger - a simple V6 SE will do. But it's impractical for the family, so it will wait. And you can't get even a used one for less than $18K out here.)

If you look at it purely from the "old cars are easier to work on perspective" - you honestly won't be happy with anything newer.

The car dork in me is actually looking at retired police Chargers right now. Just because.
 

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DO NOT FEED THE TROLLS!
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Discussion Starter #6
*grin*

I drove a buddy's brand new Challenger 3.6 this weekend. I was nicely impressed. Honestly it is the reason why I haven't ruled a new 200, because of the same engine, albeit slightly detuned in the FWD setup.

We rented an '05 or '06 Magnum with the 3.5 for a road trip back when it was new, and rented an '06 or '07 300 3.5 for our wedding getaway car, which we took from Boston to Niagra and back. Got a lot of highway miles and some around-town miles on it, and was impressed. I do want the bigger motor though. There are a LOT of LX cars around here, and probably most are the 2.7, and finding an unmolested one is difficult. Tons of aftermarket wheels, tons of door swing conversions, tons of gaudy paint jobs. The 3.5s are also affected unfortunately. Less modifications on V8 cars, but the only V8s that seem completely unscathed are the SRT8s, probably because of both purchase price and because of relying on performance to set them apart, rather than pinstriping or "rims".

I'd almost consider a 3.6L 300, but they're not cheap enough yet, even used.

As to cop cars and the chassis they're built on, I found a 6500 mile '95 Chevy Impala SS, and I am so sorely tempted. I've lusted after them since they were new, and this one seems to have been garaged and if so is essentially new. Of course I'd probably need to do belts/hoses/fluids/battery/tires fairly quickly, and that'll add up fast, but it's one of those cars that's held my attention. Possibly because of the Caprice cop cars, possibly because of the impressionable age when I saw one the first time. Similar to how the Mercury Marauder caught my eye, and then the first generation LX 300C caught my eye.

Decisions, decisions...
 

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I would recommend a Magnum, especially since its less common than the 300 or Charger (which I have never really warmed up to), and for it's utility. It holds a lot of stuff, and the rear liftgate makes for easy access. The 2.7 is just too small a motor for this car, and most people I spoke to regretted buying the 3.5 when the mileage and power penalty compared to the 5.7 is so minimal. Also remember that many of the new cars are designed with DEALER SERVICEABLE parts and systems ONLY. Fortunately, Chrysler hasn't moved too far in that direction yet. ( my friends 2009 Volvo C-30 is ONLY dealer serviceable) I would recommend any year of Magnum RT, But if you can find an '08 they are the rarest and have several improvements over the originals, especially in the interior. Good Luck!
 

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If you like the magnum I`d say go with it possibly . I`ve had great luck with my chargers. I`ve had the 3.5 for almost 5 years without a single problem besides changing tires and oil changes with 114k. Maybe the only weak point is the brakes and rotors but that can be easily changed out. Only thing I can say is to avoid the 2.7 all together REGARDLESS of the price because it won`t be worth it .
 

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I bought a used 2006 Charger R/T with a few modifacations and 38,000 miles and love it.
I found out a great deal of info on the LX fourms as to what are the problem areas.
"No vehicles today have features that are "problematic" Google LX pink thingy and you will see a very well known problem.
One that has an afordable aftermarket fix.
Over all just a great car so far.
 
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