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ojannen Reader
5/16/20 5:29 p.m.

I just sold my Mini and I am looking for a new daily driver.  I need to transport a toddler and a tuba regularly so the goal was to find a car  with 4 doors, the latch system on the rear seats, enough width or depth for a tuba or two in the trunk, and modern enough that safety is reasonable. 

I tried some of the usual hatchback suspects and ran into ergonomic problems with the Honda Civic and Ford Focus.  The VW GTI and the Mini Clubman were so refined that they were boring to drive.  When I pressed the gas pedal, I knew I was going faster from the trees going by but I didn't get any feedback from the car telling me that.

My wife suggested I look at worse cars and cars with louder exhausts so we thought of the Dodge Magnum SRT8.  I had previously looked at them about 5 years ago and decided they weren't worth it at $15-20K.  Now that the car is under $10K in some cases, it makes a bit more sense.  I drove one today and was pretty pleased.  It made a good sound when accelerating, then settled down to a comfy ride.  I never thought I would appreciate hydraulic steering until I tried the electric units in the new Minis.

- Good noise and power
- Plasticy but acceptable interior for the most part
- Seats and cargo area big enough for tubas and tuba players
- Enough room behind the driver's seat in my seating position for a forward facing child seat
- Works as a backup autocross car
- Will shift and hold gears after a transmission software adjustment
- Potential plum crazy paint and supercharger in my future
- I have never had a high horsepower, RWD car

- General Chryslerness
- Heavy
- Automatic only with no good way to swap to a manual
- Common front suspension issues
- High beltlines make the back seats feel dark.  The little guy can't see out the side windows.

It isn't perfect but I can't think of what the alternatives are.  The CTS-V wagon is a dream car of mine but is way out of budget.  Chevy SS is too expensive.  An E90 M3 sedan could work but I only fit in the no-sunroof cars which are pretty rare.  The E39 5 series costs a whole bunch to keep running.  An early CTS-V sedan could work but I don't know much about them.  Is there anything else to think about on the Magnum?

Loweguy5 (Forum Supporter)
Loweguy5 (Forum Supporter) Reader
5/16/20 5:42 p.m.

Where are you finding a nice SRT magnum for $10k?  Absolutely great cars with the exception of hideous fuel economy.  Like 14.

I'm a fan of Magnum RT.  Good power, reliable and friendlier on gas.

The_Jed PowerDork
5/16/20 5:48 p.m.

I REALLY wanted to love these cars but, as you alluded to in your opening post, the Chryslerness kills it for me. They're great when they're new and slightly used but I've seen a LOT of them with terminal drivetrain issues. 

Have you considered an EcoBoost Flex?


ProDarwin UltimaDork
5/16/20 5:55 p.m.

Well, this is an interesting thread.  Do tubas go in cases when they are transported?  Seems to me someone needs to make tuba racks for cars laugh

nimblemotorsports HalfDork
5/16/20 6:04 p.m.

I've always wanted a Magnum, I was thinking about building a SHO V8 RWD 1995 Taurus Wagon, and then Dodge came out with exactly what I wanted that didn't exist.

But I've still never had one, and won't be getting one anytime soon.  The MPG is bad and they can't fit a 4x8 in the back which is a shame, so I've always settled for a V8 Explorer.

I'd look at the V50 if hauling a 4x8 isn't needed


ojannen Reader
5/16/20 7:18 p.m.

Here is what various tuba cases look like in a Magnum: https://m.imgur.com/a/FwtK6. These are cheap but the nice ones are in the low 5 figure range.  The really big case is designed to be a checked bag on an airplane.

My wife drives an Ecoboost flex.  We like it but need another car with rear doors.  I have owned a revolving door of old BMWs and Minis.  I would probably have picked up an E36 m3 sedan if I thought they were safe enough.  A Volvo v70 t5 or v70r is on the table as well.

The car I am looking at has 130,000 miles which is about 11,000 per year.  I wouldn't blink on that mileage on an old BMW if the cooling system was done.  I don't know enough about mopars to guess whether that is too high.

captdownshift (Forum Supporter)
captdownshift (Forum Supporter) UltimaDork
5/16/20 8:37 p.m.

V50, T5, AWD, manual is the answer. Then khalephenke for suspension bits and Viva performance for T5 upgrades and you'll have a 340hp swedish tuba hauling rocket ship that has amazing seats, is more fun to drive and safer. 


Mazda 5 would be the next option. 

Floating Doc (Forum Supporter)
Floating Doc (Forum Supporter) UltraDork
5/16/20 9:23 p.m.

I didn't expect to see a Mazda 5 in this discussion. My wife dailies one; we like it. 

Vigo (Forum Supporter)
Vigo (Forum Supporter) MegaDork
5/16/20 9:25 p.m.

I had a Magnum, liked it, and want another one. I just have no excuse to get one and what i want is so specific it'll be long odds that it ever happens. 

I know you already think that 15k is unreasonable for one, but if you get an 08 (one year only body style which looks massively better imo) it will be less likely to depreciate than the earlier ones. 

noddaz UltraDork
5/16/20 9:34 p.m.

In reply to ojannen :

Sorry.  When you said Magnum, I thought:

Oh well. laugh


bentwrench SuperDork
5/16/20 9:44 p.m.

A Flex was named after the chassis design..... I wanted one until I test drove one, it left me limp.


Buy the CTSV wagon! they fixed all the problems a Magnum has. (mileage, exterior size, weight)

I hope your tuba fits in that chassis, even if it doesn't, it's better than a Magnum.

I don't think it's a long reach to make a CTSV estate a manual shift, if they didn't offer it.

RacetruckRon HalfDork
5/16/20 10:59 p.m.

I owned a 3.5 SXT Magnum for about 3 years. Great car! There wasn't a lot I couldn't haul with that thing and it fit would fit 4 six-foot-something dudes in it no problem.   I stuffed a stretched Ruckus in the back of the car one time. I had to take the bars off and drain the gas but I got the ruckus inside the car.

They are very, very Chrylsery from the Daimler Chrysler era so there's some German weirdness of Torx and Etorx mixed in along some of the driveline components.  They are long, heavy and rwd which made for a lot of fun in the snow, it was also very predictable and stable in poor road conditions.  


Streetwiseguy MegaDork
5/16/20 11:34 p.m.

The only reason not to buy a Magnum is because the first prototypes didn't have the goofy pickup truck nose, which I found disappointing.  I saw one with a Charger nose that looked a lot better.

The have some goofy suspension, too, from a German taxicab.

Spitsix HalfDork
5/16/20 11:39 p.m.


My RT might be up for sale soon. 2005 90,000 miles

spandak HalfDork
5/16/20 11:41 p.m.

I'll just leave this here. It's not relevant but it is related!

1988RedT2 MegaDork
5/17/20 7:47 a.m.

I could never justify the purchase of a Dodge Magnum wagon for myself, but they are truly one of the most imaginative cars to come out of Detroit in the last 50 years.  I wish you success in your endeavor to acquire one!

KyAllroad (Jeremy) (Forum Supporter)
KyAllroad (Jeremy) (Forum Supporter) UltimaDork
5/17/20 8:52 a.m.



I know I sound like a broken record.  And for that I apologize, but if you're in the market for a wagon it would be hard to beat the value/performance of this.

STM317 UltraDork
5/17/20 10:28 a.m.

500hp/500ft-lbs, Manual trans, Magnum. Want.

But it's fair to question my taste because I also like the way they look with the 300C nose:

93gsxturbo SuperDork
5/17/20 10:34 a.m.

Saw one the other day in traffic and thought "wow, even the ratted out ones with candy paint and 24s are gone now"

wspohn Dork
5/17/20 11:03 a.m.

We looked at one new back in the day but found that the cargo area and access really wasn't that great.  That, and the fact that the salesman was one of those guys that just wouldn't listen when I said I wanted to test a V6 model - he kept insisting that I 'needed' the V8, and me telling him that I wasn't in the market for a street racer, I wanted a comfortable cargo carrier fell on deaf ears (guess his commission would have been smaller on the V6).

Ended up buying a Pontiac minivan and was happy. Later owned a Chrysler minivan with stow and go rear seating - even better.

dxman92 HalfDork
5/17/20 11:39 a.m.

I think Mazda 5 is a good answer here.

ojannen Reader
5/17/20 12:03 p.m.

In reply to dxman92 :

I do not fit in the front row of a Mazda 5.  There is not enough leg room and my knees are resting on the dash.  I looked at these about 5 years ago and there isn't a fix that keeps me out of trouble with insurance.

How does a similar year cts-v sedan compare to magnum?  Horsepower looks similar and a manual transmission is offered.

Racingsnake New Reader
5/17/20 2:38 p.m.

In reply to STM317 :

I think the 300c nose looks much better than stock.

03Panther Reader
5/17/20 10:56 p.m.
03Panther Reader
5/17/20 11:00 p.m.

In reply to STM317 :

Last I had heard, that MT swap had not gone well for them. They never could get the computers to play well enough. Been a few years, though. They had it for sale for something like $20K, if anyone wanted to attempt finishing it.

Anybody know it’s current status?

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