I recently reflected on the long term quality of two different vehicles and just how much more value some vehicles present over others. If you are going to keep a car for a long time or are looking to spend minimal money on used vehicle repairs then buying the right vehicle is especially important. The two comparison vehicles are a 1997 Toyota 4Runner Limited and a 2003 BMW X5.
The 4Runner has 350,000 kilometers on the clock and still looks and runs like a new vehicle thanks to several factors: one, was a large service that we performed on the truck a few months back; two, was that the previous owners had taken good care of it; and three, this is a very well built, high quality, durable vehicle.
The BMW is in many ways the polar opposite: at 200,000 kilometers it drove OK and looked OK but had a myriad of problems. Colourful warning lamps lit up the display panel: “self leveling suspension fault”; “brake lining wear”; “rear bulb out”. Half of the radio display panel no longer illuminated. This is just a small list of what was observed from the driver’s seat. Some of these concerns are simple but others will be very expensive to fix. On top of this, X5s are known to have transmission failures around this mileage and engines develop very expensive to fix oil and coolant leaks (of which we’ve fixed many).
While the BMW is the fancier vehicle it is not so much more so than a 4Runner Limited. Clearly the 4Runner presents far greater value throughout its life, with a new purchase price less than 2/3rd of the X5. As the vehicle’s age the Toyota costs far less to maintain and has fewer breakdowns. While it may not impress the Joneses as much in the driveway, the Toyota 4Runner is the superior vehicle for the long term.
There are many other long term value vehicles that we will discuss in future posts.