Click and Clack make a recommendation to a newly widowed car buyer.
Help! I need it! Your advice is imperative because of my husband's recent death. I plan to downsize. Can you help me? At present, I have a large car (too big for me), a 1993 Lincoln. I'm thinking of a car that could get good gas mileage, perform well, be easily maintained, and cost $15,000 or less. My husband made all of our car decisions, I just drove them. Picking a car is a new challenge for me and I could really use your help. Thanks.
TOM: Don't worry, Frances. There are a lot of good choices in this price range. But since you want us to make a choice for you, I'm going to suggest a Mercury Mystique.
RAY: The Mystique meets all of your criteria, plus it's sold by the same Lincoln/Mercury dealer where your husband bought his last car. So if he was a long time customer of theirs, and they treat you nicely, you can buy another car from them.
TOM: Of course, we may be wrong. The stress of dealing with that dealership may be what led your husband to an early departure. But even if that's the case, you don't have to worry, because Ford dealers sell the exact same car under the name Ford Contour, and you can get one from them if you prefer.
RAY: I know you'll be happy with a Contour or Mystique, Frances. Plus, Ford Motor Company claims the six-cylinder engine in this car doesn't require any scheduled service for 100,000 miles.
TOM: I'm not sure exactly what that means. I think it means there's no "tune up" scheduled for the first 100K, but you still have to do "regular" service (oil and filter changes, fluids etc).
RAY: Either that, or it means that all of the service in the first 100,000 miles is unscheduled. When the car breaks down, you tow it in and say "I'm here for my unscheduled service!"