You guys come from such a varied background that the opinions that can be obtained here are hard to be matched elsewhere. Even in the sacrastic, meant to be funny responses there's a grain of truth.
So here's my dilemma. The wife and I are looking at buying a new car (well, new to us, I won't be new because of the depreciation hit). It's fairly easy to compare cars within classes, but how do you compare cars out of class?
Here's where I'm going with this. I've sort of narrowed my search down to two vehicles...a 2005 BMW 325i or a 2007 Mazda 3. Hard to believe that two cars of such different classes end up in the same search, but that's primarily due to price. Is the beemer worth an additional $7-9k? I've looked at other cars in the Mazda 3's class, and they just seem like pieces of junk (we rented a Hyundai Elantra the other day, that experience has ensured I will never buy one); but the Mazda 3 seems fairly well built. The beemer on the other hand, seems extremely well built, etc.; and is about the same as the cars in its class.
Any thoughts? I don't need a car for a status symbol, so that chases me away from the BMW somewhat, but I also like my things to operate properly, feel solid and be a pleasure to use (which leans me back towards the BMW). But the fact that there's such a price discrepancy confuses the heck out of me.
Thanks in advance.