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Help Me Choose!



  • wik82wik82 Posts: 21

    Great you test drive cars for a living? Seriously I'm just curious, plenty of people that post here know a heck of a lot more than I seem to be one of them hahah

    You mentioned Kia is the "budget line" of Hyundai? I just thought they were both Korean competitors...In the case of the Optima VS Sonata, are you saying the Sonata would be much better because it isn't the budget line, or...???

    The CVT transmission thing is really scaring me about the Altima. It seems to be enough to really push me more in the direction of the Accord or Sonata/Optima.

    I honestly think both Korean makes are pretty slick looking. A close friend got a new Elentra about 2 weeks ago. She was very pleased with the service she got and the deal. At least locally though, the Optima is on special for a 159/month lease while the Sonata is at 199/month (both 3 years). I e-mailed the Kia dealership, simply to open the lines of communication, yesterday and have yet to hear back from them. I am concerned about the potential lack of customer service.

    My buddy who works at the Honda dealership won't let me go wrong if I go through them. I guess I just have to debate on if a lower monthly for a lease is better for me at this point, or if the buying used, with a higher monthly but ownership is best....pretty hard to decide.
  • backybacky Twin CitiesPosts: 18,682
    Why do you think you need to go new with Hyundai/Kia? The previous-generation Sonata and Optima are good cars also, and used prices are very reasonable. I bought a 2007 Sonata GLS 18 months ago and it's been a great car. A lot of those 2006-2010 Sonatas came with a moonroof, even in the the low-end GLS trim.

    I did mention the 2007 Accord with a stick a few posts back. My son just bought a 2007 Accord SE with a stick, 90k miles on it but in excellent condition, paid a little over $9k for it. I'm sure it has lots of miles left in it--looks nearly new inside and out, drives like new also. The SE doesn't have a moonroof, but you can get the Accord EX with a stick also (or automatic, your choice).
  • wik82wik82 Posts: 21

    I was under the impression, in the case of the Optima at least, maybe not the Sonata, that the new, redesigned model was far superior to the former ones. The Sonata isn't necessarily the same, but my mistake, I had thought the implication as far as the KIA was that they just recently started "picking it up" as far as quality and such.
  • plektoplekto Posts: 3,733
    edited May 2011

    Hyundai is the parent company and as such is a bit like how Infiniti is to NIssan - just with budget cars. Years ago, Kia was its own company and was far ahead of Hyundai in quality. Hyundai bought them out, essentially flipped the brands around and used Kia's technology to help revitalize their vehicles. Now they are comparable to the other budget makes like Nissan and Mazda. But in all of this, Kia became the second class citizen, and if you know anything about Asian companies, the main brand is always superior (or to be more exact, the lower brand never is allowed to compete equally - there's always a few things de-tuned or missing from it)

    My best friend and I used to spend weekends going around and test-driving cars for fun and also hanging out at local record stores, video arcades, pawn shops, and so on - all vintage/low-tech entertainment. Usually followed by a lunch at some place with more MSG than should be allowable by law ;)

    I still like to drive cars as a result, even years later. So when something new comes out, I test it thoroughly(sometimes both of us if he's in town).

    I wish I could get paid to review cars. Because if it sucks, I'll tell you. But editors are so scared of losing ad revenue that "it was moderately quick" is about as close to "It was as slow as a snail on Prozac" as you'll ever read. :P

    Back to cars... I've driven the new Elantra and it's OK - it feels like everybody else's basic box. Nothing bad, but it's a basic thing to get from point A to B. Zero feeling of fun to drive. Of course, a Buick and an Accord and most other stuff like that is also unimpressive to me. But among those basic machines, the best engines go to Honda and then GM and then Toyota. Everything else is 5th place or worse. The best transmissions are made by GM, then Ford, and a lot of GM transmissions are re-branded in imports as well (Honda makes their own automatics, though). Manuals, though, are pretty much each company. Honda and Mazda are the best of the basic makes, IME.

    But none of these cars, while fine to get around in, feel like a BMW. Or a CTS. Or a G37. (this list is pretty much the list for Europe/U.S./Japan when it comes to entry level luxury sport sedans, btw) Myself, I've leearned to just save my pennies and always get the better car, even used, because I like driving and when you get in a car that makes you happy every time you sit in it, it's worth it. I've never felt that way in a Toyota. But I have in a Mercedes.

    BTW, the best BMW 3 series ever was the E36. I'd honestly take a 99 M3 convertible over almost anything new on the market. - - gId=54790460
    Every time I check the price on one, I want it more. ;) For this price, I could live with the repair bills. The only thing comparable to it new would cost 50K+.

    P.S. If you have a friend at a Honda dealership, you might get a good deal. Honda has leases that are very good. But most leases limit your miles and they will charge you for every tiny scuff when you turn it in. Even the Honda Accord lease is $9100 in payments over three years. And you're better off just owning a CPO for $15K at that price, since it'll easily be worth the $6K difference at 9 years old. Most leases aren't any better than owning - usually the only time it makes sense is on something that is expensive to repair, like a BMW or Mercedes if they are having a crazy promotion that month.

    Your friend can find a 2007 CPO Accord with stick if you want for probably $15K. Get a good radio put in it for $300 and you're set.
  • backybacky Twin CitiesPosts: 18,682
    Yes, the new Sonata and Optima are far superior to the former ones. But redesigns tend to be that way. That doesn't mean the former Sonata and Optima are bad cars. When the 2006 Sonata debuted in early 2005, Edmunds did a comparo against Accord and Camry, with all cars at a similar price point. Sonata won. Optima beat Camry in multiple comparos. The 2009-10 Optima is better than earlier years because it got standard ABS and ESC--those were hard to find on the Optima before 2009. For 2009, both cars got a 175 hp I4 and 5-speed automatic even in the base trim (was 162 hp and a 4AT before that). The Optima has a little tauter ride and handling than the Sonata. But the Sonata is a little bigger inside (that changed for the 2011 redesigns.) So you might find one more to your liking than the other.

    If you can find a 2009-10 Sonata or Optima at a good price, they might be worth taking a look at. Another bonus is they have a 5-year, 60k mile bumper-to-bumper warranty, so you might get some new-car warranty with that used car (I did with my used Sonata).
  • tallman1tallman1 Posts: 1,874
    First of all, you won't want an 07 Accord VP or SE (as was suggested) because they don't have a sunroof. You'd want an EX.

    Secondly, the Sonata and Optima would be better deals used than new because of the huge hit in resale value. Hondas don't depreciate nearly as quickly. Backy is correct in that the Korean cars have come a long way in quality.

    Finally, you probably won't want to take anyone's word for ride, comfort, etc. because we are all different. Some like soft and cushy, others prefer stiff and sporty. Judge for yourself when you take the test drives.
  • plektoplekto Posts: 3,733
    So he should pay 3-4K more (used price) for a sunroof and some leather and bling? That's just silly. The advantage of the VP is that it is Hyundai cheap used and Honda quality.

    The only differences between the VP and the normal lower model of the Accord (or Civic) is that it is missing two rear speakers (literally missing the speakers - everything is there to screw them into the brackets and attach the wires), has a basic radio ( aftermarket ones work better anyways and will be installed by the dealer or previous owner anyways), and is missing the rear sway bar ($150-$200 to do yourself - hardly makes a difference in how it drives).

    Not bad for an average of $1500-$2000 off of a normal DX or LX.
  • tallman1tallman1 Posts: 1,874
    In several of his posts, he made it very clear that a sunroof was a top priority. I'm not judging anything, I'm just responding to what he said he wants. What you think is "just silly" doesn't matter. As a big fan of sunroofs, I guess that makes me silly too. ;)

    BTW, you don't need to have leather to get a sunroof in an Accord. The EX has cloth seats. And since the EX has the sunroof, there are a few more differences between the VP and the EX than speakers, a radio, and a sway bar.
  • djm2djm2 Posts: 705
    Hi Wik82:
    I am the person who discussed the public relations issues with Hyundai and Kia dealers. I live in North Jersey. There are two Hyundai dealers in my area. One is associated with a Chrysler Dealer, and one is a "stand alone dealership!" ---- Both have a reputation for "poor customer relations" and "poor service." ---- The Kia dealer, was a former Jeep dealership, with the same owners. In 1995, I leased a loaded / top of the line Jeep Grand Cherokee from this dealer that was the "vehicle from HELL!" (It lived in the service department!) This vehicle had electrical and drive train problems throughout the term of the lease. At the end of the lease, the dealer offered to lease me a new jeep at his cost. I rejected his offer, and went to a foreign name plate. So, as you can see, while I think Hyundai & Kia make beautiful vehicles in the upper end of their line, the dealers in my area prevent me from considering these products. This is the fault of the parent company. They do not put high enough demands on the dealership for "customer satisfaction" and "service excellence." ----------- Best regards. --------- Dwayne :shades: ;) :)
  • sandman_6472sandman_6472 Coral Springs, FLPosts: 2,626
    Be very leery when anyone mentions "fact" in here as it's really someone's "opinion"...nothing more...nothing less! What one perceives as a must have, others will disagree. That's why I run from folks who start talking about "facts" without mentioning it is really their "opinion" first. Having a Nissan CVT in the family since January '09, it takes a bit of adjustment as it isn't like a traditional automatic, it won't give the traditional burst of speed if needed due to the infinite gear ratios. One must just adjust their driving styles to compensate. Having to mash it to get on the freeway will be odd the 1st few times but in time, it shouldn't be a consideration. Overall though, it's been a great car for our daughter and keeps me on my toes when I do have to drive it.

    I've bought used and one new car over the years and have been happy so far...being a more fiscally conservative buyer, I buy mid level autos to at least have some creature comforts and my new Civic, which I bought in '06, will be lasting me at least 10 years, G-d willing. I like the cars you are considering even though our preferences are for econoboxes due to our conservative values and the fact that we like $ to live our lives. A car is a necessary tool that we need to live with but it does not define who we are as people. We also have a '08 Hyundai for our other daughter and it's also a great ride and wonderfully dependabe so far.

    You are lucky that you have someone at your Honda store who can steer you in the right direction. Just remember though that most "facts" are really "opinions" and an automobile is just a machine with some being lemons but most being reliable drives. And different people's experiences with a "bad dealership" is just doesn't speak for the individual products it sells. You seem to be a very intelligent individual so I know you will make the best decision possible. Any purchase is a gamble but having as much knowledge as possible will ensure a positive outcome here.

    Good luck and have some fun here!

    The Sandman :) :sick: :shades:

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

  • djm2djm2 Posts: 705
    Good Morning sandman_6472:

    Kindly be advised that "FACTS" come from "real life experience!" ------ (If it walks like a duck, and quacks like a duck, chances are it is a duck!) ---- I make it a point to listen to everyone's opinion, because in their opinion's, lies "facts. ---- I also make it a point to engage in an extensive amount of research, and then I make up my own mind! ----- Everyone who purchases a vehicle thinks that they have made a GREAT purchase! That is just human nature! ---- When I want to enter a highway, I want a transmission that will "down shift" to the next lower gear, and give me a "strong burst of speed" to enter the highway in safe manner. ;) I do not want to deal with a technology that puts me at risk, and requires me to adjust my driving habits to fit the technology. (My OPINION!)

    Best regards. ------------- Dwayne :shades:
  • plektoplekto Posts: 3,733
    Well... :P I've only made two "great" purchases in my life...

    My 67 Mercedes. God, what a great car. Got rid of it when the engine finally wore out after 40 years. (it's what makes me dream of another S Class some day...)
    My Volvo 164E - Superb. Loved it - poor thing died a sad death.

    Everything else since then has been a compromise at best. So there are some of us who love cars but are also consummate tire-kickers as well ;)
  • wik82wik82 Posts: 21
    Just an update here guys. Spent most of the afternoon at my local Hyundai dealer. It was really a great experience. I test drove a Sonata and an Optima. The thing was, the only NON turbo Sonata they had was manual and I didn't feel comfortable doing that (It's been very long and I never mastered it as both my cars were automatics). So, I only got to try a turbo Sonata. Overall, both were very nice. The salesman I talked to was a great guy, no pressure, very informative.

    Just from pics, I had been leaning Optima over a Sonata. After (possibly because of the turbo, not sure) I am leaning Sonata. I preferred the Sonata's interior setup and in person, the look of the car stands out a bit more, in my humble opinion. Optima is about 400ish lower sticker price for a comparable Sonata though and with the two bonuses (which I qualify for) the Kia would be another 1k less...

    The 2012 Sonatas are coming out soon. I was told by the end of June at the latest, they should have some. Thing is, they weren't told (or the story I got goes) that the 2011s weren't going to be able to be ordered anymore. The last inventory order came about 3 months ago. They basically have 2 new Sonatas and 3 Elentras on the entire lot because they didn't know this and only ordered for the 45 day period which is norm, instead of the 90. The 2011 Optimas though are going to be around for a few more months he said (the Hyundai and Kia dealership are owned by the same guys, the Kia dealership had actually sent over a couple cars, the Optima I tried being one to help fill out the inventory). BUT I e-mailed the Kia dealership 2 days ago and haven't had a reply yet. Frustrating and he even said that is bad because they have people on staff specifically for e-mail communication, etc etc.

    Anyhow, I liked both, alot. Not enough, however, to warrant me giving up on the Accord. So, more or less, I am at the point that the Accord, Sonata and Optima are all top considerations, all seem fairly similar. I enjoy the look of the Sonata the most I think, but the Accord has the most features, but I could get the Kia for 1,400 less than the Sonata...oh car shopping!!! lol

    Oh, also, I explained to him that I was considering a new job and he said I should drop an application off there. So out of everything, I also got a job offer hahaha
  • djm2djm2 Posts: 705
    On the Re-sale side of the issue, you would be better off with the Honda Accord. ----- If you are willing to keep the vehicle 6+ years,(100,000 miles), then you are "ok" with anyone of the three vehicles, because the value will then equal out! ---- With the Hyundai and the Kia, you need to get the best possible price when you purchase the vehicle, because they lose value quickly as compared to the Honda. ---- I have driven the Sonata and the Genesis, and they are VERY nice vehicles. As I stated earlier, I would consider purchasing a Hyundai, "IF" I could find a professional Hyundai Dealer in North Jersey. In my part of the country, they tend to be one notch lower than a Chrysler Dealer, and that is LOW! ----- (When you insure your new vehicle, put the type of "collision coverage" that replaces the vehicle should it be totaled. It costs a little more, but it is worth it for the first five years of ownership!) ------ Best of LUCK with your purchase! ---- Enjoy your new toy! ------ Best regards. --------- Dwayne :shades: ;) :)
  • rustumrustum Posts: 100
    I am really liking optima based on whatever i am reading in reviews. I will plan a test drive some time later. I should have waited my new car purchase for some time instead of getting Accord. I got accord during Sep 2010. Hopefully, Kia / Hyundai build on this success and improves them further in next iterations.
  • plektoplekto Posts: 3,733
    edited May 2011
    Again, if you get the Accord with manual (video game easy to use, honest), it will get significantly better MPG than the Hyundai and drive much smoother on rough roads and the like. It's just more refined and, well, it should be. Honda doesn't make junk and has been at it decades longer than Hyundai.
  • Kirstie_HKirstie_H Posts: 10,824
    Not entirely true at this point. Sonata is holding its resale value VERY well at the moment.

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  • rustumrustum Posts: 100
    edited May 2011
    I ruled out Manual option considering my family needs. So, i ended up getting Accord AT. I did test drive Sonata. I actually own 2001 V6 used sonata. My wife is still learning her driving on that car. I don't know, somehow new Sonata design did not grow on me. Elantra seems to be good in similar design. May be i will get Elantra for my wife by trading in our old sonata after some time.

    I ended up liking Accord. Accord seemed to me a good alternative for my family needs instead of getting CRV / Minivan. I am kinda disappointed in my purchase considering other better alternatives like Altima and Optima (mechanically, price and functionality) and mpg improvements to even 2011 Accord.
  • djm2djm2 Posts: 705
    You are correct, "IF" you trade a "Hyundai" for a "New Hyundai," ---- but if you trade a "Hyundai" for a new "non-Hyundai product, ---- you will not do as well! That is how Hyundai holds their customers! -------- Best Regards. ----------- Dwayne :shades: :confuse: ;) :)
  • plektoplekto Posts: 3,733
    If you got the 4 cylinder model, it'll get very good highway MPG. And there are tweaks that you can do to the tires especially that will get you an extra MPG or two (lower resistance tires and going up a size) 23/26 new EPA - original window sticker was closer to 22/31, IIRC. With the AC off and proper tire choice, it'll get almost 35 highway on longer trips. Even my old Park Avenue "beater" (such a nice car, doesn't quite fit the beater image - heh) gets 30mpg on long trips, so 35 out of a 4 cylinder Accord is pretty standard if you use cruise control and let it spin along as it wants to.

    Also, the tires on the Accord are too large. You best MPG is actually with higher profile tires. The weight of the car is (assuming a 4 cylinder ~2007 model) 3100 lbs. That means that it can safely get by with modern 13 inch tires. (!) Anything over that in size is the manufacturer catering to the 0-60 crowd and ofr styling purposes only (especially in an under 200HP car) Lower profile tires are always going to give you a harsher ride as well. And cost more.

    The trick is to find a replacement rim that fits the Accord's bolts and offset.
    Stock is 205 60 R16
    The trick here is to find 14 or 15 inch Honda rims that will fit and up-size the tires to match. This will increase MPG and give a softer ride on the road. Slightly less cornering, but I've had cars of the same weight in the past with 14 inch tires on them that I had to work hard to get to lose traction.
    The bolt pattern is 5x114.3 and a 55mm offset. Honda thankfully uses the same rims and sizes for several years. The 2007 is identical to the 2006, just not listed on that chart. This means that you can swap pretty much any 15 inch rim with that bolt pattern safely onto your car.

    Just something to consider when it's time for new rubber. The size you'd need for those 15 inchers would be: 225/60/15 (better match) or 205/65/15 (much better selection) Saving $20-$25 a tire and the better ride might be worth swapping rims.
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