View Full Version : used car choices-malibu/taurus/intrigue?

06-26-2009, 02:08 PM
It's time to replace my 1991 Olds Cutlass Ciera. The engine is still going strong but the body is falling apart. It has been the most reliable car I have ever owned.
We have a cash budget of about $4000-4500. I am mainly interested in Chevy Malibu, Ford Taurus or Olds Intrigue. I'm sure with my budget I will be looking at models 2000-2003. DH feels the Malibu is too small. It is a bit smaller than my current car, but I don't know if I would say too small. He really likes his own 2003 Taurus. His Taurus is very comfy and handles great but I have a terrible time parking because I can't see the end of the front or back of the car. Does anyone know if all Taurus models are like this or maybe just the 2003? I am considering the Intrigue because of my attachment to my own Olds I suppose.
Does anyone have any experience with any of these 3 cars? Reliablity is most important to me. I appreciate any and all input. Thanks you in advance!


06-26-2009, 03:03 PM
Don't forget that the Mercury Sable is the twin to the Taurus. That might help you expand your search.

I encourage you to look at Consumer Reports to get some reliability data.

06-26-2009, 04:01 PM
I have a '97 Malibu. I really like it. I find it has tons of room. The trunk is deceptively large. I'd love a newer Malibu. The newer ones have a sleeker look. Mine is definitely "Sedan" shaped. :)

06-26-2009, 04:03 PM
I bought a used Taurus years ago and had a bad experience therefore I don't ever seeing myself buying another Ford. It was always something wrong with it. Personally I have had great luck with Dodge, Chrysler, Hyuandai, and Cadillac. I remember some of the acronyms for Ford:

Found On Roadside Dead

Fix Or Repair Daily

06-26-2009, 05:41 PM
I have a 99 Taurus. It has just over 100,000 miles in it. Its been pretty good for me. I did have to replace a radiator hose and some other minor things, but for a 10 year old car it is still going strong. I got it from a lease turn in in 2001 with approx 12,000 miles. DH's uncle is a body shop guy at the local Ford dealership and his friend is a mechanic, so we have people to help us if something goes wrong. Also, DH is very strict about changing the oil, breaks etc. Luckily he can do the minor stuff himself.

I'm in Michigan in Ford country, but before marrying into a Ford family, I drove GM products.

06-26-2009, 05:54 PM
We had an Oldsmobile Intigue, I want to say it was probably a 1998 or 1999 model. We liked it pretty well, except ours came with some sort of "autobahn type package" that meant oversized rotors that got warped all the time! It was expensive to have them taken care of as often as we did. In terms of reliability and comfort, though, we really liked it.

06-26-2009, 06:01 PM
Hi there. We had a 2000 Malibu.Was a good car to start,but then started having issues.Ended up with a blown head due to Dex cool coolant used in it.I did research after the fact and found that there had been many reports the same as ours.There even was a class action brought against gm because of it.

As far as the Taurus, my mom owns a 99 and Dad owned (he passed) a 97.Both bodies have rust.mainly trunk and hood.Moms car eats tires despite repeated visits to shop.Rocker panels on both cars rotted/rotting out. Dummy lights and dormer light issues. Outer door handles on Dads would not fully go down when you closed door,both from inside and outside-door ajar light.Moms car started doing this about 2 months ago.And another thing,headlights have a tendency to "fog" due to moisture buildup,etc.

No experience with Intrigue


06-26-2009, 07:38 PM
We're on our 2nd Malibu and love it! It is comfortable and reliable.

06-26-2009, 08:00 PM
I had a 97 and a 98 Olds Cutlass, which were basically the same car as the Chevy Malibu (earlier cutlasses were not the same as the malibu). The 97 was a great car, with absolutely no problems. The only reason we replaced it with the 98 was because DS totalled the 97. We weren't as happy with the 98, but all the problems weren't very serious, just minor little issues. We got rid of it when DD totalled it.

Right now, DD has a 97 Taurus, and it has no problems what-so-ever. We bought it used, and were able to get a really good price because there are a gazillion used Tauruses (Tauri?) for sale. Many were lease or rental cars, so I would recommend you do a Carfax search on any used vehicle you consider.

Lisa in WV
06-26-2009, 09:03 PM
I have a 2000 Taurus wagon with 161,000 miles on it, and I love it. It's never had anything major wrong with it, and it's still going strong. On the other hand, my husband has had two Oldsmobiles, and he had nothing but problems with both of them. I would buy another Ford in a heartbeat, but I would definitely not buy an Olds.

06-26-2009, 09:17 PM
I had an Intrigue... got rid of it not becuase I didn't like it but because whenever I needed to get it fixed the parts were 3 to 4 times more expensive then most cars. As an example my spark plugs were not $10 a piece but like $30. I traded it for a Taurus and enjoyed that car also.

06-27-2009, 02:02 AM
Between those 3, I'd take a Taurus. But, if I were you, with that budget, I would get a Volvo. Those things last forever and you can get a good one for $4000. Plus they are really safe and if you go for one made after 1995 or so, it will usually have all of the bells and whistles in it, and very likely to have leather interior. :thumbsup2

06-29-2009, 08:15 AM
Thanks for all the feedback and suggestions! No clear cut winner that's for sure.

06-29-2009, 09:57 AM
What about the Chevy Impala? Similar to Malibu but slightly larger. We always get these when we rent vehicles and DH and I both agree if we were to buy another "new" (to us, which means used, LOL) car it would be one of these (since we couldn't really afford the BMW 3-series I want, LOL). The are really roomy and handle well.
DH is a "car guy" and is very critical of newer vehicles (not alot of newer cars he likes, hence the newest vehicle we own is '97).

06-29-2009, 10:28 AM
We currently own 5 taurus and have had 2 previous. Love them, no major problems and we drive them until you can't. one had 161,000 miles until daughter got in an accident. No major problems only minor repairs, replace breaks, which you do in every car after so many miles. As long as you keep up on repair, change oil your car will last.

06-29-2009, 10:47 AM
From our personal opinions we would steer clear of Ford and choose the Chevy or Olds. My husband is a "car guy" and although he worked for Ford in the body shop for several years he wouldn't buy a Ford if he had a choice.

On the other hand our second vehicle is a 2001 Ford Truck but that is only because we were able to buy it from a friend for $1. He was considering trading the Ford truck with another friend for their Impala.

The best advice so far has been to check consumer reports. Another idea may be epinions.com. I don't know if they do vehicle opinions or not.

06-29-2009, 11:49 AM
If your decide to get a new car make sure you check out the new stimulus/gas guzzler bill. I think it takes effect in a few days and offers a government check to new car buyers in one of two amounts, $3500 or $4500 depending what new car you choose. It depends on how many miles per gallon you increase your gas usage.

06-29-2009, 11:55 AM
We've had three Fords, including two Tauruses, and our current one ('99 Taurus) has 179,000 miles on it, and still runs fairly well.

06-29-2009, 01:24 PM
Consumer Reports April issue lists best used cars and used cars to avoid. Their recommendations are year-specific, since some models made in particular years have more problems than others.

Under cars to avoid, they list Malibu(V6) 99-04; Malibu Maxx 04-05,
07; Taurus 99.

06-29-2009, 03:25 PM
I have a 2002 Sable (cousin to Taurus) I've had it for 5 years and no real problems. It has the option of a 6th seat in the front if needed. And it's got lots of room.

Ashley Kees
06-29-2009, 05:37 PM
I have owned 2 Tauruses and currently have a Malibu. We not so affectionately call the Tauruses the "death-mobiles". Nothing but problems with both of them. They overheated all the time (Dallas summer heat), problems with the alternators, regulators, spark plugs, transmissions, etc. Not to mention the fact that the Taurus has struts and not shocks, meaning repairs are a LOT more expensive when it comes time for that.

The Malibu I LOVE. I get right around 25 mpg commuting, right at 30 highway. I bought it used with 40k on it and have had it for three years now and it is still running strong. The radiator (so far) is trouble free, with regular mainetnance only (oil changes, new brake pads and shoes once, tune-ups every 18 months or so, a new battery yesterday, and yearly tires). And I am able to fit three carseats in the back, so it is definitely big enough for a family. It has a full-size spare and a HUGE trunk. I mean I fit a double stroller and a single stroller (the big travel system ones) in that sucker with room for some groceries to spare.

Hope this helps.

Ashley Kees
06-29-2009, 05:38 PM
Consumer Reports April issue lists best used cars and used cars to avoid. Their recommendations are year-specific, since some models made in particular years have more problems than others.

Under cars to avoid, they list Malibu(V6) 99-04; Malibu Maxx 04-05,
07; Taurus 99.

I have an '05 Malibu. I guess I got in on them once they were better.

06-29-2009, 06:30 PM
I had a 99 Malibu and loved it when I was working with a commute...gas mileage was great...but when I stopped working and was running around with errands that gas mileage was horrible. However it drove really nice and had a lot of room. We sold it cause we no longer needed it when we moved, but I would still be driving it if I had needed a car.

06-29-2009, 07:25 PM
We have two Malibus.

My 2003 has 117K on it and it has needed two tires (rears are still original and just about to wear bars), two sets of front brakes, a battery(after 6 years) and a blower motor resistor ($23 for part, 10 minute install anyone can do themselves). Oil changes and air filters for maintenance and still has the original spark plugs and wires. It gets a consistent 25-29 mpg regardless of how hard I drive it (I drive my vehicles pretty hard) or if the AC is on. Bought it with 24k on it for $8800 and it was worth every penny. They come stock with pretty much everything you need. AC, Power accessories (windows, locks, mirrors, trunk), cruise, tilt, cd player, rear defroster, auto headlights, and intermittent wipers. It has a comfortable rear seat and a huge trunk.

The wife has a 2005 Maxx that is loaded with everything but the chrome wheels. All power, sunroof, XM, Onstar, 6 disc in dash changer, electronic AC, rear DVD, and more. Picked it up for $25k(0% interest rate) new which was a bargain compared to a camry or accord, even a taurus. It has 47k and has needed brakes all around at 40k and that is it. There were a few recalls but were handled by warranty. Just got 30mpg on a trip to canada and back with the 200 hp v6 which has plenty of power btw.

Neither car has ever broken down, not even a flat tire!

So what Consumer Reports says does not hold true with me at all. I would buy another one no questions asked.

BTW, my dad has a 2002 Malibu with 22k on it and it is also a trouble free car that he has owned from new.

06-29-2009, 08:41 PM
We had a 2002 Intrigue and LOVED it! Nice ride, very well-appointed interior, decent gas mileage. We'd probably still be driving it today except somebody hit us in 2005 and totaled it.

Good luck with your search!

06-29-2009, 10:03 PM
All of our "family vehicles" have been GM products, and they served us fairly well. Since my oldest was in kindegarten(16 years ago), we have purchased 3 new GM Safari vans, and our current vehicle, a 2004 Suburban. Three weeks after purchasing our last GM Safari(a 1999 model), I was involved in an accident. My manufacturer and extended warranty(up to 100,000 miles) was summarily void, and I had nothing but trouble with that van for the next 5 years. The transmission went out due to a defect that never reached recall status, and cost us two disney trips to fix. Then small electrical problems surfaced: my remote entry no longer worked on one door, one door would not lock any way but manually, lights and fuses were always needing to be replaced. I was so glad to sell that thing, even though it was at a big loss. I do like my Suburban better than the vans, more so for the size than anything else. Having said all that, my experience with Ford products has been great. My husband purchased a brand new Ford Ranger pick-up in 1996, with the intention of saving money on his 75-mile-a-day commute, and he is STILL driving that thing! The paint peeled within the first year( a problem with the clear-coat) that would have been covered under the warranty had my husband taken it back to the dealership, and the gas hand sometimes works and sometimes not, but it has over 250, 000 miles on it! It has needed a new O2 sensor to pass an emissions test two years ago, and a new timing chain/belt thingy, but otherwise just routine maintenance. It actually has the original clutch that came in the truck! My husband broke down and replaced the headliner a few months ago, and we decided that we would rather replace the small things in a Ford than big things in other brands...don't even get me started on my daughter's Mini Cooper transmission woes! When my second daughter went ditch-jumping in her Toyota Carolla(I loved that car...very dependable), we replaced it with the best we could afford...a 2001 Ford Taurus. My daughter has been hatin' on this car since we purchased it a year ago, but it has proven it's value several times. My daughter has hit my Suburban with the front-end of the Taurus while backing out...my Suburban looked worse than the Taurus! She can't stay between the lines on a road, and ended up in a ditch in March during a snow storm, taking a mailbox with her this time. We pulled the Taurus out and drove her home. It wasn't until recently we found out how much damage was done to the Taurus during that adventure...the air was not working properly this summer, and closer inspection showed the radiator was bent and the condensor was not working. My daughter had been driving this poor car one or two weekends a month when home from college from March until May, and EVERY DAY since May, and the car never left her stranded. We had $400 worth of repairs done today, and my daughter hopped right in it and drove 4 hours to the beach...she hasn't called, so I am sure the Taurus made it. I agree with you that the Taurus' behind is really big...you can get a lot of junk in that trunk...so backing up may require a little practice. The front-end is pretty long, too, now that I think about it, but she is mechanically sound. I see my daughter driving her for a good many years...or until she buys her own car.

06-29-2009, 10:10 PM
We have two Malibus.


The wife has a 2005 Maxx that is loaded with everything but the chrome wheels. All power, sunroof, XM, Onstar, 6 disc in dash changer, electronic AC, rear DVD, and more. Picked it up for $25k(0% interest rate) new which was a bargain compared to a camry or accord, even a taurus. It has 47k and has needed brakes all around at 40k and that is it. There were a few recalls but were handled by warranty. Just got 30mpg on a trip to canada and back with the 200 hp v6 which has plenty of power btw.

I guess we all have different expectations. I'd not be pleased if one of my Toyotas needed new brakes at 40K and had a few recalls.