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Compact Sedans

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  • sandman_6472sandman_6472 Coral Springs, FLPosts: 2,636
    Planning on starting our new car search within a week or two and since we're just narrowing the list down, what days would be best to go in? Was thinking on a Tuesday through Thursday, maybe even Friday morning when traffic is pretty low. Don't want to take a salesman away from a possible sale on a busy time...that's just not fair! And right now our list isn't too big...Cruze/Verano, Elantra/Accent, Forte/Rio, Focus/Fiesta, Mazda3, Sentra/Versa and Honda. We'll have to wait on some of the newer models to come in but we aren't that much of a hurry...just don't want anything else to go on the Mazda.

    The Sandman :) :sick: :shades:

    2014 Hyundai Tuscon SE/2005 Mazda 3s/2008 Hyundai Accent GLS/2009 Nissan Versa SL hatch

  • fushigifushigi Posts: 1,233
    Well, a price of "not much more" than Cruze etc. puts it a little more than she's willing to pay unless she forgoes a lot of options. $25-26K OTD is her cap, which means, with Illinois taxes, that $24K is pretty much her pre-TTL price ceiling. You can get a fully loaded Elantra for that, a nicely loaded Cruze, and somewhat less loaded Focus.

    Anyway, the basics on the Impreza don't look bad but it won't be out in time for her to consider this round. Maybe in 8 or 10 years when she next buys.
  • backybacky Twin CitiesPosts: 18,686
    What, she can't wait a few more weeks to trade in that Elantra with only 79k miles on it? ;)

    A loaded Impreza will easily fit under $24k. But it looks like your wife is set on the Elantra. Having owned Elantras for 11 years, including a 2001 GLS I bought new for $11,700 + T&L and a 2004 GT, loaded for $13.2k + T&L, I never thought I'd see the day when "Elantra" and "$24k" were said in the same sentence, with a straight face. OK, maybe I did but not this soon.
  • fushigifushigi Posts: 1,233
    Actually, she can't wait. She has a buyer for her '01 right now. This isn't a matter of ditching a failing car; it's taking a good deal that fell into our lap v. waiting & hoping for the best. So I suppose she could wait, but the wait adds risk.

    According to Edmunds, the Impreza Limited starts at $22,345 and you can "Expect to pay a $5,000 premium if you want that top-of-the-line 2012 Impreza." I'll take that to mean that sub-$24K it's nicely equipped but not loaded. Which might be enough for her equipment-wise but if the Elantra offers more for the same or less $, then it still wins that comparison. I also don't know how she'd react to the CVT as she didn't like the way the engine revved in the CVT-equipped Outlander Sport. CVTs feel disassociated with acceleration and she disliked that.

    As to Elantra pricing and compact pricing in general, I agree it seems the category is getting pricey. I understand the cars are better and have more equipment but the car makers are in danger of pricing themselves out of the market if things continue at this pace. I don't think wages are keeping pace with the rate of price increases.
  • plektoplekto Posts: 3,738
    edited September 2011
    And right now our list isn't too big...Cruze/Verano, Elantra/Accent, Forte/Rio, Focus/Fiesta, Mazda3, Sentra/Versa and Honda.

    Wow that's a long list. :)

    My sincere recommendation would be to consider a CPO or couple of year old higher trim car. This will get you better features, better safety equipment, and overall a better built car. IE - get a Corolla versus the Sentra. Or a Civic versus the Fit.

    The Cruze, being a mid-size sedan is actually already in that segment, so a 1 year old Cruze would save you a ton of money. Yaris priced and without a doubt better than that tin can in every way.

    Other cars to consider, of course, are almost anything in the midsize category, including a few luxury models.

    My top pick? The Lexus IS300, was essentially a luxury spec RWD car based off of the Corolla platform. You can get a mint condition one for not a lot of money and it'll out-everything any of these budget rides. Plus, it's super reliable. Late 90s BMW 3 series performance for pocket change. A real hidden gem that's off of almost everyone's radar.

    A 2005 IS300 can be had for about 12-16K, which is budget car range. Me? I'd buy one of these and laugh like an evil overlord at the chumps who are buying new cars that are half as good for the same money.

    If MPG is everything, then you would do well with most of the high-mpg cars like the Accord with the 4 cylinder engine (manual is a must - it's video game easy to drive manual in this car, BTW). A 3-4 year old Accord like this will still be a better car to drive than a new Fit, simply because it is a more solid car to begin with.

    Let someone else eat the depreciation (it's good to be greedy and pinch pennies these days :P ). Any car these days will last 150-200K miles with proper care, so a car with 20-50K on it, used, is hardly worth worrying over.
  • backybacky Twin CitiesPosts: 18,686
    edited September 2011
    IE - get a Corolla versus the Sentra.

    Why would anyone want to get that POS car vs. the Sentra, which is roomier, has a much nicer interior, more comfortable driving position, and can be had for a good discount as a new car?

    I get to drive many Corollas as rentals (unfortunately) and lease a 2010 Sentra, and also drive those a lot as rentals. I think the Sentra is a much better car overall than the Corolla. Whenever a Corolla is pushed on me at the rental lot, I try to change it for something else... almost anything else except a Yaris or Matrix. I'd rather not rent a Sentra because I drive that at home, but I don't mind it if that's all they have. When I rent cars I like to drive cars I haven't driven before when possible. Like the Cruze I got to drive last week. I also got good time behind the wheel in Mazda3's, Elantras, and the new Jetta among the latest compact designs. Would love to rent a new Focus and Civic but haven't seen those on the lots yet (I have to use Hertz or National mainly).

    P.S. The Cruze is a compact. The Accord however is a mid-sized car, so really not pertinent to this discussion.
  • sandman_6472sandman_6472 Coral Springs, FLPosts: 2,636
    edited September 2011
    My wife will only buy a new car and she's willing to pay the price premium to get one. Funny, I just showed her the new Jetta, Mazda3 & and IS250 as we were walking into the ATT store to look at a smart phone for her. I've bought used before and have had some problems but I would look at used again when I get ready to buy my next car as I'm definitely going to get a power seat and a more luxury car that I have now since I've never had one before...price was always an issue.

    So she'll need a new compact or sub-compact car for her next ride. And I've got a feeling that around $22k will be her upper limit, so that narrows the list down quite a bit I'd say. From her talking about it, she really seems to want a smaller car like the Accent or Rio size. I personally think a compact would suit her better but it's her choice. I like the looks of the Fiesta myself but from the pics I've seen, not to many little bins to put things in the dash like our current cars and she likes that feature. The Focus might have more, we just haven't checked that yet. And we've never had a Ford in our 30 year marriage yet, so a 2013 model might be doable. Have seen a few of both the Fiesta & Focus on the roads and they look pretty nice on the outside. And there's a Ford dealer not to far away.

    Since we're just starting our search, is it better to call the internet person 1st to meet him so if we do decide on a Ford, we could go through him or is it best to just walk in and let a regular salesman take the lead. We've bought the last 4 cars by going through the internet person all with good results.

    T I A for any help folks.

    The Sandman :) :sick: :shades:

    2014 Hyundai Tuscon SE/2005 Mazda 3s/2008 Hyundai Accent GLS/2009 Nissan Versa SL hatch

  • plektoplekto Posts: 3,738
    So even a 1 or 2 year old certified car is out? Man, I feel for your pocketbook, especially in this tough economy. You can get SO much car a year or two old these days. Dealers literally have thousands and thousands of CPO cars rotting on their lots right now as everyone is afraid to spend a dime on anything.

    And, as I pointed out, a you can get car with a much better original price range. ie - if your budget is 20K or so, you can even be looking at 1 or 2 year old Accords and so on. I've even seen 2 year old TSXs going for around 22K. Since most cars depreciate 30-40% in the first two years, that means a 30K car for 22K or so. Still has a warranty, still smells pretty new, and often you can find one with 10 or 20K on it - barely broken in. And if we're talking domestics, well, it's pretty much anything you want. I've even see CPO Cadillacs going for 22K or so.

    If it HAS to be new, though, there is only one choice - get a Mustang. 300HP, 30mpg highway, and 22K before year-end rebates. Truecar.com has a 2011 Mustang for $20,650. It's without a doubt my top pick for around 20K. Add a couple of basic options and it's way more fun than any economy car.

    P.S. The Cruze is classified by the EPA as midsize. GM just chooses to lie in its marketing and say that it's a compact.

    Also, I obviously meant to get the Corolla instead of the Yaris. You never want to buy any maker's absolute bottom model as they cut corners that really shouldn't be cut and leave out things that you want like garage door openers, keyless entry, power seats, side airbags, and so on.
  • m6userm6user Posts: 2,954
    You can get SO much car a year or two old these days. Dealers literally have thousands and thousands of CPO cars rotting on their lots right now as everyone is afraid to spend a dime on anything.

    This may have been true 3-4 years ago but not now. You really need to get out more or at least read more. Many used cars, especially CPOs, are selling for as much or more than the same car brand new. Used cars in general are hot commidities and are in short supply. Used cars rotting on lots is just not the case and that has raised prices on both used car and trade-ins. There has been many news articles and magazine items discussing this. Used car prices for the same car (but a year older) are actually up versus what they sold a year ago.

    I'm not saying that it isn't possible to find a deal on a CPO but it isn't easy right now. Besides, you are looking at it from a strictly financial point of view. Many people only buy a car after many years and just want a new car. It's nice to try and "educate" people but you assume they don't know that a car already suffering a huge chunk of depreciation is fiscally frugal. I think most people do know this but are willing to drop the coin to get something brand new. I bought used cars for years but for the last twenty or so have bought nothing but new vehicles. Would I have $40-50k more cash now if I had continued to buy used cars all those years? Most certainly but money isn't everything and if enough people followed your advice there would be no CPO cars because the car companies would be out of business.

    I just ask that you quit trying to make anyone that buys a new car sound naive or wasteful. The vast majority are neither. They just have different priorities than you.
  • plektoplekto Posts: 3,738
    But wait... one SHOULD look at it from a strictly financial point of view when making a large financial investment.

    If you can get a car with 20K on it for 5K less, and the car in question is known to be good for 200K+ miles, sacrificing 10% of its life for a 25% reduction in price is a complete no-brainer.

    It's all about quality. Many CPO cars are so close to new that you can't hardly tell that they've ever been owned before. This also includes dealer and program cars, which are basically "new" but with 2-5K on them. These can also save you a ton of money. Of course, the best deals are domestics, naturally.
  • sandman_6472sandman_6472 Coral Springs, FLPosts: 2,636
    You are exactly right...not everyone wants a used or CPO car...my wife is one of those folks. Being a CPA, she understands things from the financial side but she wants what she wants...and she can afford it! So I just give her a list of what I think we should test drive and we go. The eventual decision will be hers...it'll be her daily driver and "she must be happy"! We live a very frugal lifestyle but we decided long ago that she will always get what she wants...which is new. :) And right now, we've decided to try to go over 100k on her car, a new record for us.

    But Plekto, I understand exactly what you are saying and have done that in the past and might do it again in the future. But this world has so many people with different opinions on everything, as I'm sure many households go through the same dilemma about new vs. used. I wish everyone luck with whatever they purchase. I just know one thing, there will be a new car on her side of the garage within the next 12 months!

    The Sandman :) :sick: :shades:

    2014 Hyundai Tuscon SE/2005 Mazda 3s/2008 Hyundai Accent GLS/2009 Nissan Versa SL hatch

  • fushigifushigi Posts: 1,233
    While the financial point of view is important, I disagree that "one SHOULD look at it from a strictly financial point of view" to the exclusion of other factors. Also, there are financial issues beyond initial purchase price.

    - Safety: New cars are the most likely to have the best safety ratings and most modern safety equipment. Better safety may net you cheaper insurance premiums.
    - Reduced operating costs: Newer cars are sporting longer maintenance intervals and better fuel economy, both of which can mean buying a new car costs less over the ownership period even if the car costs more initially.
    - Availability of specific features. Example: Now that using a phone is only legal if using a hands-free system, BlueTooth support is mandatory for people who for whatever reason use a phone while driving. BT has been available for years but it's only now starting to actually be a standard feature v. a semi-expensive add-on (which makes it harder to find in a used car).
    - Better finance rates: With few exceptions, if you finance your car like most folks do you'll find cheaper interest rates on new cars.

    Besides, new car depreciation isn't what it was five years ago. Right now I see a nearby dealer has a 2011 Elantra Limited with over 23K miles for $21,995. Let's assume we can talk the dealer down to $21K even. Compare that to my wife's $23.3K negotiated price for a '12 Elantra with navi/camera, sunroof, and every other option & accessory except HomeLink. For the $2300 difference she'd get navi, a rear camera, a sunroof, the entire factory warranty, and a car that no one else has driven. And the understanding that if she were to drive 20K miles in the first year it'll probably lose only around 10% of it's value.
  • aviboy97aviboy97 Posts: 3,159
    edited September 2011
    So even a 1 or 2 year old certified car is out? Man, I feel for your pocketbook, especially in this tough economy. You can get SO much car a year or two old these days. Dealers literally have thousands and thousands of CPO cars rotting on their lots right now as everyone is afraid to spend a dime on anything.

    Being in the business, I can promise you that this statement could not be further from the truth. Pre-owned cars are at an all-time high. Auction prices are almost near retail. Manufacturers are up charging for lease returns, in many cases several thousand over the residual buyout that a customer can pay, if they wanted to buy out their lease.

    Now is a terrible time to buy a used car, from a financial perspective.
  • plektoplekto Posts: 3,738
    Funny, though... I seem to find many listings near me that are at a reasonable price. They can ask anything that they want. But the car can also rot on the lot for six months as well, because unless it's an exotic or something, all of these cars are easy to find 40 or 50 for sale in most major cities. Most dealers will sell their cars for a lot less than they advertise.

    But this aside, if it has to be a new car, the most car for the money currently, in your price range is the new V6 Mustang.
  • m6userm6user Posts: 2,954
    But this aside, if it has to be a new car, the most car for the money currently, in your price range is the new V6 Mustang.

    Is this a compact sedan? You are consistently talking about cars other than what the discussion is about.

    Used CPOs are selling for very close to new car prices and all cars are selling at discounts from "asking price".....old and new. It just so happens that at this point in time new cars are the better deal. It's all over the press and internet...not hard to find if one only looks.
  • Kirstie_HKirstie_H Posts: 10,837
    A reporter is interested in talking with consumers about how fuel economy requirements are changing what people drive. He is looking for consumers who consider fuel economy their top consideration while shopping for vehicles that range from pickups to luxury cars to EVs. If you are interested in commenting on your experience, please reply with your name, phone number and email address to pr@edmunds.com no later than 5pm Pacific this Wednesday, September 21st.

    MODERATOR
    Need help navigating? kirstie_h@edmunds.com - or send a private message by clicking on my name.
    Share your vehicle reviews

  • aviboy97aviboy97 Posts: 3,159
    Funny, though... I seem to find many listings near me that are at a reasonable price

    Here is the thing about "listing prices". Many dealers nation wide have adopted the philosophy of advertising a car at a specific price, however, that may be the prices after a $2,000 down payment and the customer MUST finance with the dealer. This is common practice in the NY/NY area. It's rather quite disgusting.

    I attend Manheim auctions on a nationwide scale, and every brand is selling for thousands over wholesale value, and almost near retail.
  • sandman_6472sandman_6472 Coral Springs, FLPosts: 2,636
    That's not on our short list...nor will it ever be! We're looking for compact and subcompact cars...period. And it will have to be new for the wife. So any advice on any of the models that fall into our categories would be useful. Thanks all and I am,

    The Sandman :) :sick: :shades:

    2014 Hyundai Tuscon SE/2005 Mazda 3s/2008 Hyundai Accent GLS/2009 Nissan Versa SL hatch

  • plektoplekto Posts: 3,738
    Well, technically, the EPA classifies the Mustang as a sub-compact car. The rear seat is basically an afterthought, but it is usable for adults in a pinch, about the same as the rear seat on a typical budget car. But if you are looking at only the two of you in the equation, well, a two door car should be fine. I recommend it because of the decent MPG and the low price, plus the fact that it is a lot of fun to drive. It'll go 0-60 almost twice as fast as a Yaris.

    Yes, it really IS a sub-compact car.
    http://www.fueleconomy.gov/feg/2008car1tablef.jsp?id=31162

    The other car to consider is obviously the Cruze.
    http://www.fueleconomy.gov/feg/2008car1tablef.jsp?id=31377
    This model requires you to get it with manual, but it's basically getting Yaris MPG or close to it. Yes, note the "midsize" rating. GM is getting good lately at shrinking the exteriors of their vehicles to make a midsize sedan look like a size smaller one.
  • What part of no Mustang or any thing in that catagory don't you understand. He's interested in something like a Cruze, Elantra, Focus, Accent, Fiesta. If you got some words of advise on them, say it. Tey're something that are comfortible, get great mileage, and low, low maintinence. He's not looking for a hotrod that'll 0-60 in 3 seconds. I've rdrove the new Mustang, an I think the ride sucks. Surely wouldn't want to take a trip out of state in one, thats for sure.
  • m6userm6user Posts: 2,954
    Right. For someone that likes to tell everyone else what they should buy he doesn't even know the difference between a sedan and a coupe. Somebody says they want a sedan and he comes back with "you should try this coupe". For one thing a lot of people will absolutely not get a coupe because they don't like the big, long heavy doors and the crawl into the back for occassional guests.

    This thread is about compact sedans and now he comes up with a 2dr coupe that has a small interior which results in the EPA labeling it a subcompact. Who considers the EPA the final authority? I don't think Ford is marketing is as such and nobody in their right mind thinks the Mustang is a subcompact car......except the EPA. He shoudl try exterior dimensions and see how much it resembles other subcompact cars.
  • backybacky Twin CitiesPosts: 18,686
    There's several compact (even sub-compact) sedans with mid-sized interiors per the EPA, including Cruze, Elantra, Forte, Sentra, and even the sub-compact Versa. But these are considered COMPACT sedans because of their exterior dimensions.
  • plektoplekto Posts: 3,738
    The EPA sets the size classes in the U.S. as well as what they are defined as. The auto makers willfully chose to ignore the government regulations. They might be considered compact by some consumers, but they don't actually determine that. The Government does.

    It's simply that the auto makers are making larger and larger bloated pigs and want to make their whales appear as the "new compact" class. Well, I'm not buying it.
  • fushigifushigi Posts: 1,233
    They aren't "regulations"; automakers are not held to a law that says a vehicle must be X size. The EPA size classes are just a relatively simple way to classify vehicles. The classification system should help consumers, businesses, and government agencies.

    Consumers get an easy way to compare vehicles of similar size; businesses and agencies can use the metrics for determining fees (example: tax smaller cars less), internal procurement program requirements (ex: lease compacts for staff, full size for executives/elected officials), reimbursement schedules (ex: compacts are the allowed rental class; employees pay any upcharges to larger classes), etc.

    As to them being bloated pigs, in my case it's a good thing. With my wife currently shopping for a compact, this has been the first generation of compact-ish cars that I can find a comfortable driving position in. Normally the driver seat run out of rear travel & I have to recline the seatback to be semi-comfortable, but now cars like the Cruze & Elantra have more than enough seat travel. I can now leave the seatback more vertical, which is not only more comfortable but is better for spine health.

    If you refuse to buy anything in the "new compact" class, there are plenty of sub-compacts on the market. Fit, Yaris, Accent, Sonic, and Fiesta to name a few.
  • m6userm6user Posts: 2,954
    Yeah, the EPA puts the Sentra, Forte, Bentley and Jaguar XF all in the same midsize class based on passenger volume.
    i
    Bentley - 5456 lbs, 208 in. long, 75 in. wide
    Forte - 2791 lbs, 178 in. long, 69 in. wide

    Would anyone in their right mind consider these two cars to be in the same class. I think of the Bentley as a very large car and I think of the Forte as a small car. I hope I don't get in trouble with your higher authority....the EPA.

    Oh, just for grins, the EPA also consider the Mercedes CL600 and the RollsRoyce Phantom to be compact cars. I guess those manufacturers violate EPA "regulations" by pretending these aren't compact cars. And I guess Edmunds is also criminal for putting a few midsize cars to the right on this page and trying to pawn them off as compacts.
  • sandman_6472sandman_6472 Coral Springs, FLPosts: 2,636
    edited September 2011
    We only want a sedan as the doors on the coupe are just to big and heavy to use. Hard for the wife and since my accident, too much for me also. And sometimes, some of the kids go out with us, so a sedan is just so much easier for the family. And as much as I would prefer the wife to get an Elantra, she's gravitating towards the Accent right now with all the bells and whistles...the nice alloys and the cruise for me. Funny thing now is since my compressor is bad in my '06 Civic, I've been using my daughters Accent and honestly, it's not bad at all for a d d, a little weak on the low end torque when compared to the Civic, but doable. The mileage of the Civic is better, but for the little amount of driving I do now, very doable.

    I do like the looks of the Fiesta and the Focus, especially the nice alloys on both, so will be interested to see how they both drive. Have read that the auto tranny in the Focus is having some teething problems but we'll give it a shot. But what really interests me is the Buick Verano, it looks really handsome and has a nice rugged stance but the price is a bit high but hopefully the lower models will not be to de-contented. I know the lack of trunk opener on the key of my Civic LX was a major faux pas as far as I'm concerned...even my '03 Sentra GXE had that feature. Little things like that piss me off, the mid level cars should have a decent amount of bells and whistles as far as I'm concerned!

    But it will definitely be a sedan in the compact/sub-compact category period. And yes, she will only consider brand new at this point. And why not, she can afford it and more importantly...she deserves it! I'm just hoping her Mazda holds up until supplies get back to a pre-earthquake status, so she can find the color she wants, which will probably be a charchol one. We wanted it on the Mazda but they could only locate a silver one which after a few days, we were quite happy with!

    Again, thanks for all the help here. I am,

    The Sandman :) :sick: :shades:

    2014 Hyundai Tuscon SE/2005 Mazda 3s/2008 Hyundai Accent GLS/2009 Nissan Versa SL hatch

  • plektoplekto Posts: 3,738
    I did take a close look at the new Cruze (again) after work today, and it's probably the best bet for your money in terms of what it has inside and how it drives. It's much nicer than a Civic or the Mazda 3. And it's less expensive as well, since GM has good rebates currently.

    Reliability should be as good as any import, since it really IS an import from Europe with a Chevrolet badge on it. It looks nice as well, and the red tintcoat is stunning. They used to offer this on a couple of Pontiacs and the Corvette. It's a 3 stage process, similar to how paint was done in the 70s, and the color is a very dark red. Almost burgundy.
  • Concerning the Focus, we rented one not too long ago and yes, the dual clutch "automatic" transmission, while shifing smoothly and quickly, exibited quite a lot of clunks, shutters, and other odd quirks from a dead or rolling start in addition to drifting back on up-hill starts. In addition the radio controls were frustrating to use until a day or two went by and we finally figured out what was what. And the climate control? two full days went by until I finally read the owners manual and increased the drivers side temperature (it is a dual..passenger and driver temperature system). It was at 65 or so degrees and I was freezing. Otherwise it seemed quick and quiet and handled well. If you don't mind your new car making a lot of clunks and clatters from the transmission area every time you come to a stop I guess it was OK.
  • fushigifushigi Posts: 1,233
    Sorry, but the Cruze isn't less expensive. Similarly equipped it can be significantly more expensive:
    Cruze LTZ with Sunroof, Navi: $26,265
    Elantra Limited with Tech Package: $23,305
    Neither currently has rebates. Finance offers are about the same. And both are selling well enough that dealers aren't coming down much if any from sticker.

    OK, it's not entirely true that neither has rebates. Hyundai offers military & recent grad rebates on Elantra; Chevy offers neither on Cruze. Cruze does qualify for a few hundred bucks in supplier discounts if you're employee has such a relationship with GM, but it tops out just over $700 so again, similarly equipped high-end trims the Cruze is over $2K more than Elantra.
  • There is a potential $500 fund match from Hyundai through Motozuma dot Com. I'm using that today if the Elantra GLS I have a deposit on hits the lot. You could call this a rebate of sorts. Program works as it allows you to deposit funds or someone else (granny gifting some $$$ perhaps) into an account you set up at Motozuma. Hyundai will match up to $500 in that. Only drawback is the account has to be set up for 30 days before you can use it. But you can wait until just before purchase to put in the bulk of the funds. More details at hyundaiusa.com search for motozuma.
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