Hello, I'm Jason. I will do my best to answer your question quickly and accurately using the information you have provided.
Ok, I've got to be completely honest here....
a $6-7k BMW will cost quite a bit in maintenance and repair costs over the next 3 years
I own and run a European auto repair shop and have had more than my share of conversations with customers, related to repair costs on their 10+ year old European cars
And they ask my advice as to how to eliminate that
And my answer is almost invariably "buy an Accord/Civic/Camry/Corolla"
Ok, that's what I thought! Been looking at edmunds website - are they a reliable site? they seem to be and seem to "tell it like it is" no matter which car it is...
Edmunds is a pretty good research site, yes
the things that are most important to me - besides a good price! - are the usual "standards" - automatic/air/cruise/LOW road noise and comfortable seats...
And for $7k, I'm sure you'll find exactly what you're looking for in an 8-10 year old vehicle that I describes previously
and, of course, top MPG - My current little '92 subaru avgd 15 -16 intown and sometimes 26-7 on the hgwy - will these others do better?
The accords, depending on which level you choose, should get close to 30 combined
and, fyi, I have always had a 4 cylinder and they have NEVER gotten the mpg they were supposed to! gak!
same with the others. The civic and corolla a bit better
which has lowest road noise?
On an 8-10 year old car, this will be dependent on a LOT of things.
Tires, recent suspension repairs, etc
you can have two identical cars, each shod with different tires, and road noise can be appreciably different, up to 8-10 db difference
huh! Didn't know suspension had to do w/road noise!
that makes the most impact, other than glass sealing problems
I do understand about the tires - any brand better for an accord than others?
Stick with good name brands. Michelin, Bridgestone, Toyo, Yokohama, Continental, and you'll be fine
no off-brand, no walmart/sears specials
No matter what the salesman says "these are made by Michelin, but a private label"
still with me?
ok - thanks! One more question - when my little Subie's headgasket started leaking - my mechanic added a heavy duty sealant that was supposed to seal the gasket - I didn't put much stock in it, and had to leave town the day after it was done - [mother ill] - I was gone for 7 wks - when I returned I fully expected the radiator and the overflow tank to be empty - they were not! I also drove it for about 3 miles and it did not over heat! Could it possibly be that the "fix" worked? and if so, how long can it be expected to last???? :-)