He was hoping to get the W210 to last 20 years, but it’s eating him alive in repairs and it’s time to go, two years short of his plan. Transmission leaks, malfunctioning ABS/ESP sensors, rear main leak, malfunctioning mirrors, dead CD changer, with most of these problems cropping up in the last few months. He babies that car and it is in drop-dead gorgeous condition, but these continued problems means that it’s got to go. It started out as a bit of a lemon, with a defective steering rack right out of the factory causing it to burn through a set of tires in less than 6K miles. Mom’s hasn’t been a paragon of build quality or reliability either, but at least it’s not disintegrating as fast as his.

His mechanic is actually interested in purchasing it, probably to use as a loaner, so I guess that means he’ll get to drive it again when mom’s W210 wagon is in the shop. I was surprised at how little it’s worth, and he’ll probably get perhaps $2,000 for it given the repairs he currently needs. It’s nothing special, just a bottom-of-the-line E-Class with the V6, so I shouldn’t be surprised by this low valuation.

Since he’s retired and shut down his company he really doesn’t need or want anything expensive and flashy. The two he narrowed it down to are the Prius Prime and Volt LT. Personally, I’m voting for the Volt. I’ve liked these cars since they first came out and would probably buy one myself if I wasn’t a renter. My folks have the advantage of having a little more juice than they need from their solar system, so a plug-in vehicle makes sense for him. Now, does he live with 120V for charging, or flip the unused 220V line for the dryer that’s just on the other side of his spot in the garage? He only drives about 5K/year, so 120V charging should be sufficient.

Although the predicted reliability of the Prius is better because, well, Toyota, I would actually be willing to give GM a chance. The engineering and build quality of the Volt (and Bolt) seem to be better than normal for GM, like they’re actually giving a damn for once. When you look at dad’s car history, he’s made some pretty good choices over the years (GTO, MGC GT, E21, E28, E34, W210) and a questionable one (Mustang II - what on earth was he thinking???). Sure, whatever he chooses is going to be a step down from a Benz, but I think the Volt would be a better driving car than a Prius, and at 73 that still matters to him.

So, any Volt owners out there willing to share their experiences?