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Low End Sedans (under $16k)



  • mdaffronmdaffron Posts: 4,421
    I visit every day. If you want to keep up with what's going on in the automotive world on a daily basis, you can't beat it. Check out the link to Reuter's Automotive Wire at the top of the page too, if you really want the latest news!

  • shriqueshrique Posts: 338
    That's one thing I really do agree with you on. The Honda line up is pretty mundane. The last civic that looked good was the 1989ish Civic HB. (it couldn't be because I owned one for 6 years) Even the RSX is ho-hum mundane.

    I suppose we've probably covered this but has anyone noticed that the Toyota lineup is getting really.....ugly? I mean even the Lexus's are kinda "thick" looking. (except for the is300 which I like) It's like they are making all of their cars match the Echo.
  • mdaffronmdaffron Posts: 4,421
    except for the Echo, they're trying to make all their cars look like the Camry. BORRRRINNNGGGGG!

  • cjaccettacjaccetta Posts: 236
    I own a 2001.5 Elantra GT and I use it for commuting 50 miles R/T in suburban NYC. After 14,000 miles I've had no mechanical problems and the car has proven to be trustworthy. I did have to take it to the dealer once to have the "check engine" lamp reset (caused by careless pump jockey forgetting to tighten the fuel cap - in NJ we cannot pump our own fuel) but that adjustment was free. Our GT is an automatic, which I reccomend if you drive in traffic. The GT handles well and is also reasonably fuel efficient (I get about 25.5 mpg in stop-and-traffic). It's also much quieter than some other compact cars I test drove. The Michelin tires are noisy on concrete, though.

    I've never owned a Korean car before but I must admit that I am impressed by our Hyundai. I was a little skeptical at first but I haven't regretted the purchase at all. My wife and I thought the Elantra GT was the best value for our money.

    Another fun commuter car you might consider is the Mazda Protege. That was our second choice.

    Good luck in your search. If you choose the Elantra you won't be disappointed. Let us know what you decide.

    Happy Motoring.
  • backybacky Twin CitiesPosts: 18,793
    I saw in USA Today today that Honda and Toyota are fed up with their low ratings for customer experience at dealerships (below average, way down there with the likes of, gasp, could it be...Hyundai! For shame!!). Anyway, they are taking steps to improve the dealer experience, including special training that will cost about $10,000 per dealer, refunded when the dealership personnel take the training. The training will include, according to the article, tips on how to properly explain to a customer that the price on a car is above MSRP and the etiquette for placing customers on waiting lists (I am not kidding, that's what the article said). No word in the article on what kind of steps Hyundai is taking to improve their dealer service. Maybe they could copy Honda and Toyota, e.g. price cars over MSRP, but be real nice about it.
  • I'll need $500, sir. BTW-that's non-refundable if you change your mind! Also, it does not apply towards your purchase if you decide to hang in there and wait! ***BIG CHEESY SMILE FOR THE BEFUDDLED CUSTOMER!*** That'll bond them with their local Honda dealer, all right!

    2011 Kia Soul Sport 5-speed

  • protegextwoprotegextwo Posts: 1,265
    "I AM sorry about your credit rating score, sir." "BTW-that 3.9% apr interest rate is only for customers with a 50% down payment." "You will need to pay our special "credit bandit" interest rate of 21% apr." "That long line over there?" "Jeez,...that is the line to our service department." "BTW, our 10 year warranty does not apply towards all needed repairs, sir." "Everyone knows a transmission is a wear and tear item." *BIG CHEESY SMILE FOR THE BEFUDDLED CUSTOMER!* That'll bond them with their local KIA dealer, all right!
  • alg7alg7 Posts: 3
    Your input was invaluable, but you won't believe the (semi)final decision. Just came home with a Buick Rendezvous. You all made me realize that what was most important of all the possible strengths the car might have is comfort and peace and quiet. Having driven either a minivan or SUV for the past 10 years, I found that the upright seating and better visibility was more relaxing and easier on the back. We'll probably end up with an Elantra GT in the driveway before too long, and then I can have my cake and eat it too.
  • cjaccettacjaccetta Posts: 236
    I'm certain you'll like your Buick. I once flirted with the idea of purchasing and older-style Aztek (they were practically giving them away here in NJ) but the wife nixed the idea due to the car's appearance. Plus, it wasn't the best choice as a commuter.

    I give credit to much-maligned GM for designing such a versatile interior in the Rendezvous/Aztek twins, but I gotta wonder what the heck they were smoking over at Pontiac when they designed the exterior!!

    Enjoy your new wheels.
  • backybacky Twin CitiesPosts: 18,793
    Well, you don't have to worry about an Accent having power seats. :) Or moonroof and nav either, at least in the U.S. Nor cruise. Maybe they'll offer a base version of the hybrid with the roll-em-up windows and manual locks for people like you.
  • backybacky Twin CitiesPosts: 18,793
    >>> "Everyone knows a transmission is a wear and tear item." <<<

    For the sake of providing accurate info to prospective car buyers who follow this forum, here is a quote from the Hyundai Warranty book regarding what the 10 year/100,000 mile Powertrain Limited Warranty covers (Kia's should be the same, if not would a Kia owner please post a correction):

    "Tranmission/transaxle: Case and all internal parts, axle shafts (front), constant velocity joints, front hub bearings, seals and gaskets, torque converter and converter housing and clutch cover and housing."
  • with jealous owners of other makes who unfortunately paid WAY TOO MUCH for their cars that DON'T LOOK AS GOOD AS THE COMMON KIA OR HYUNDAI. Kia and Hyundai both cover "the case and all internal parts....(read post #1421 just above). Duh! There's no need for unjustified paranoia about purchasing a South Korean car. I'll include Daewoo in on this 'cause I think they'll click in America as well and I don't doubt their reliability AT ALL. Sit back and watch as Hyundai and little bro Kia soar in popularity. My love for my beloved Sephia(now in somebody else's capable hands)and my Sportage grows daily. iluvmysportage? Yeah, I've thought about switching. I was in the dealer for the Sportage's 1st oil change a couple months ago and the finance guy showed me a Buick Rendezvous that was parked right up close to the door. I think it was priced around $27,000-$29,000 and looks-wise it was kind of impressive. The interior was well-appointed in luxury. I believe he told me it had read on-windshield graphics available for the driver with GPS info.,etc. like some of our military jets have. Unusual body styling but kind of appealing, really. Congratulations, alg7, you done well!

    2011 Kia Soul Sport 5-speed

  • Well said. And as for you iluv, don't you ever get tired of typing the same thing over and over?
  • protegextwoprotegextwo Posts: 1,265
    John, when is the re-designed Toyota Corolla coming out? I owned a 1994 Toyota Corolla DX and it was a truly awesome car. The lack of rear passenger space and comfort was the only reason, I sold it in 2000. My 4 year son was always kicking the backs' of the front passenger seats. I've heard the redesigned Corolla has improved the rear passenger comfort. I would like to check this out first hand.

  • The 2003 Corolla is already in some dealers. Although, I'd say mass numbers will be in by the second week of February at the latest. Probably even this week or next week. I have heard wonderful things about this Corolla. I hear the backseat space has been greatly increased. The materials used are a huge step above of the past generation. I think my 1996 was built very well and I would assume the new Corolla is built just as well with the way the Japanese Yen has compared with the dollar. Economics is very confusing at times! Even people who are Honda fans like the Corolla better than the new Civic. It's sure to be a hit. Toyota has even allowed for the possiblity for an increase in production numbers. has all the info on th enew Corolla. Wish I could afford one! haha they look so good too....even the CE which now has color keyed door handles.....which i thought was always a problem in earlier Corollas. Standard CD player too on every car. Definitely going to be a hit!
  • protegextwoprotegextwo Posts: 1,265
    Sounds good, I would love to do a comparo on the 2002 Honda Civic and the 2003 Toyota Corolla. Kind of like Ali and Frasier coming out of retirement to show the new breed of boxers a little class.

  • Buick Rendezvous mini-review in there at the end of my last post just for "equal time for American car reviews purposes." My Hyundai-Kia comments need not alter in any way. Some truths aren't up for change. Anybody surprised to see Pittsburgh fall to N.E. today in the AFC final? It's N.E. vs. St.Louis for the BIG one boys!

    2011 Kia Soul Sport 5-speed

  • Or like when George Forman stopped selling grills long enough to come back, at age 48, and win the heavyweight title a few years back.
  • lfanlfan Posts: 61
    Having Driven a 2002 Civic LX before and a 2003 Corolla CE last week, I can make a few observations. (Both were automatics)

    Engine: Civic's 1.7 gets the nod for smoothness and emits a more pleasant tone throughout the rev range. The Corolla's 1.8 does have more grunt especially above 4000rpm when the variable valve timing kicks in.

    Ride/Handling/Drive: It's really a toss-up in this category. The Civic rides a bit more firm and the Corolla soaks up bumps better. I didn't notice any "floatiness" in the Civic that the 2001 was renown for. Both handle about the same; I would expect the wider tires on the Civic EX and Corolla S/LE will help improve road holding a bit. Visibility is better in the Civic with its greenhouse.

    Comfort/Convenience/room: Ingress/Egress was better in the Corolla due to its higher seats. I found the front comfort was about the same while the Corolla back seat was roomier and more comfortable. The Corolla had more useful storage bins including a center console that holds 14 CD's. The Corolla's trunk is also slightly larger though the Civic's opening is in turn slightly larger.

    Quality/Workmanship: Here's where I think the Corolla really shines. The interior materials, color schemes and design combine to make a more substantial and luxurious compact car experience. Both cars have excellent exterior quality though the Corolla's coat of paint seem thicker.

    Styling: This is purely subjective of course, but I prefer the Corolla's new look. I liken it to a cross between a Jetta and a Camry. The previous Civics, 88-91, 92-95, 96-00 versions, were leaders of the subcompact/compact pack in styling when they first came out. I feel the current version has lost that advantage.

    Value: I like Honda's simplified options scheme of the DX/LX/EX. However, by choosing options carefully in the Corolla, you can get it to cost (MSRP) about the same, comparable equipped.

    Well, I have negotiated a price and put a deposit down for a Corolla S 5spd. Being a 13 year Honda loyalist, it was not an easy decision. But, IMHO the Corolla has improved so dramatically so that it will be hard to ignore as an alternative for even Honda loyalists.
  • I'm just glad to be able to say I drive a predecessor of the totally awesome 2003 Corolla.
  • lfanlfan Posts: 61
    As improved as the new Corolla is, I wish I could be writing about purchasing an IS300, TL or an A4. Though I can afford one, my 90 mile a day commute will just make it too costly to get an $30K car. The Corolla will serve me well as I pile up 200K+ miles over the next 10 years.
  • I've been gone for a month and not a thing has changed. Everyone still has the same opinions.
    My 2000 Sephia now has 24000 miles in 15 months. Still no problems. Rides fine. Cost of ownership exceptionally low. 7 oil changes at $12.50 each and a 15000 mile checkup that cost $45.00. About $150 total. Not too bad. Bought a Jeep Liberty last week. Definitely a more solid vehicle. You notice the Sephia is not made with the same materials.
  • protegextwoprotegextwo Posts: 1,265
    Nice job with the comparo, Lawrence. :-}
  • protegextwoprotegextwo Posts: 1,265
    "I've been gone for a month and not a thing has changed. Everyone still has the same opinions."

    B.J., does this mean you will check back in another month. If so, thanks for the warning. I'll take off that day, so I don't bore you again.

  • carleton1carleton1 Posts: 560
    I just talked to a friend who has a Saturn with 150,000 trouble free miles. The total maintenance costs (in addition to normal oil and oil filter change) has been less than $150.
    My niece has an 85 Camry LE that she got from my sister when she got a new 94 Ford Taurus. The Camry has 200,000+ trouble free miles. The Camry cost less than $15,000 when new so it would fit under the $15k ceiling for this forum.
  • backybacky Twin CitiesPosts: 18,793
    $150 for maintenance in 150,000 miles (not including oil changes) sounds too good to be true. I'm sure Saturn would love to hear this story--probably make an ad out of it. Any idea if the owner stuck to the manufacturer's maintenance schedule? For instance, most cars have a fairly extensive servicing at 60,000 miles. Does the owner do his/her own maintenance? I'd also expect that the car would have needed at least one new set of tires, an exhaust system, a battery, a set or two of new wiper blades, and maybe other bits and pieces--at least one new set of belts, for example.
  • Protegextwo...Never said it was boring. Just was hoping a few new topics or opinions would show up. At least I've noticed a few people have at least driven the cars they criticize now. If memory serves me right you always criticize the Korean cars even though you haven't driven them.

    Major...did you friend (can't remember exactly who you said) get the Kia and if so how do they like it?
  • carleton1carleton1 Posts: 560
    I will try to contact my friend to ask these specific questions you posed.
    It may be that some people do not consider replacing tires or battery as maintenance. I will also ask what model and year of the Saturn. I do not see my friend as often since I retired May 31, 1996 and I have not even seen the Saturn.
  • protegextwoprotegextwo Posts: 1,265
    "If memory serves me right you always criticize the Korean cars even though you haven't driven them."
    by BJ FRANK42

    B.J.,I'm pretty sure your memory is faulty. I have my opinions on Korean cars, nonetheless; I challenge you to find a single post in this topic were I "critized" any of the Korean vehicles. The one exception, might be the KIA produced vehicles. BTW, I rented a KIA Rio for a week, while on vacation in the Florida Keys and I posted my somewhat favorable impressions here at this discussion. I have also expressed my interest in the 2002 Elantra hatchback. Truth-be-told some of the regulars here have changed my opinion on the improving build quality of Korean cars. BTW, I apologize for snapping at you in my last post. My bad. :-) B.J., welcome back!

  • lfanlfan Posts: 61
    I am picking up my 2003 Corolla S 5spd tomorrow; $400 over invoice. My dealer still added two costs I wasn't crazy about: 1) Mid-Atlantic Toyota distributor fee - $267 and 2) Wholesale reserve fee - $145. I guess they are charging me the $145 to pay their interest to their lender though the car will be on the lot for merely 48 hours until my pick-up. I wasn't going to nickel and dime given $400 over invoice was not too bad for a brand spanking new model. The total came out to be $15732 before tax and tags.

    I ordered the Sport plus package: spoiler + Aluminum wheels. Unfortunately, Toyota low on supply for the wheels so the car arrived with with steel wheels/hub caps. I get a "warranty" order raincheck for AL wheels and the wheels will arrive in a few weeks. I will try to keep the hub caps clean and avoid scraping the curb too hard when I park ;-)

    I will provide an in-depth description later once I get some miles on it. I will be out-of town and renting a car for a few days next week. I will try to rent a Neon or something like that so I can do a comparison with the Corolla later.

    * I posted the aforementioned in the Corolla topic but things are pretty slow there so . . . you can tell I am pretty excited, huh?
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