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Help Me Choose!



  • backybacky Twin CitiesPosts: 18,682
    I prefer in this order:

    Ford Fusion - great blend of ride and handling.
    Nissan Altima - Best styling of the 3, good handling but ride not as smooth/quiet as the Fusion's.
    Chevy Malibu - relatively narrow back seat; I don't like the dash except on the LTZ, which is pricey; Fusion has better ride/handling balance.

    You've driven all 3, right? If not, you have your mission for the Memorial Day weekend! :)
  • wik82wik82 Posts: 21
    Went for a drive in the Cruze. It was was a nice little car. I don't think it is what I am looking for though. It had nice handling. The suspension seemed VERY nice, probably the most superb thing about the car.

    It was a very smooth ride (and the area we drove in was a mix of well paved and god-awful pot-holed gravel areas). Once your at cruise speed (no pun intended) it runs well, isn't loud at all.

    The low end, both breaking and accelerating was what turned me off. I could REALLY feel the car shifting (had the automatic 1.4 turbo BTW). It was almost herky-jerky. Obviously the car isn't made for "0-60" times, but the lower acceleration felt sluggish due to the shifting and slowing down also was the same. I was impressed with the room that the driver and passenger was afforded but I question if anyone above 5'6 could fit in the back with comfort. The trunk was nice and it offers the rear fold down seats.

    Overall, if I had to list, in order the cars I have liked the most in test drives thus far I would say:

    1. Sonata
    2. Altima
    3. Accord
    4. Optima
    5. Cruze

    This isn't a knock on the Cruze. I rather enjoyed it. But I am trying to move up to a larger car and while it makes great use of its available space, I think the others would better serve me.

    Just found out I can't lease due to my credit. So my hopes of having a new car are dashed. I guess that makes the Altima and Accord the most available options. The Kia service is non-existent here which means I would have better luck with a Cruze than an Optima lol. I like the 2011 Optima but the 2011 Sonata is the car that has really stole the show for me. I just have to hope to find a used one for a good price...if not I guess it's a '07-'10 Altima....
  • plektoplekto Posts: 3,733
    The Cruze is great. If you get one with manual, like they design it for in Europe. When *you* select the gears, it's a joy to drive and at least 20-30% faster in traffic.

    Note - the Altima, Accord, and Sonata are exactly the same. Get the manual if you care even a little bit about driving dynamics.
  • backybacky Twin CitiesPosts: 18,682
    Note - the Altima, Accord, and Sonata are exactly the same.

    I strongly disagree. Major differences in ride, handling, interior room, etc. Also the MT is available only on lowest trim level of the Sonata.
  • gmcustsvcgmcustsvc Posts: 4,055
    I am unsure what specific vehicles you are considering; however, GM web sites have a Live Chat option. These agents are able to assist with incentives, options and features and their availibility, or locating a dealer or a specifc vehicle. I would definitely recommend utilizing this tool. If you have other questions for me feel free to address me specifically. Have a great weekend!
    GM Customer Service
  • wik82wik82 Posts: 21
    I do have to say, I felt that the Altima was more..."squirrley", for lack of a better word, than the Sonata and Accords. Not in a bad way, just a difference in handing. All of them felt pretty smooth to me, although I did not get a chance to drive over nasty roads in them to the extent that I did with the Cruze....
  • plektoplekto Posts: 3,733
    I strongly disagree. Major differences in ride, handling, interior room, etc. Also the MT is available only on lowest trim level of the Sonata.

    I was obviously talking about them all having the same advantage in terms of handling and drive-ability in traffic. That the Sonata only comes in the base trim with manual is a major negative against it, then.

    It's especially drastic in the Altima. The CVT is a miserable joke in actual traffic where you essentially have to operate the throttle like a toggle switch and ram it to the floor to do a quick bit of acceleration (good luck with MPG at that point). The manual is perfect by comparison. Guess what 90%+ of the rest of the world buys?

    And on most of them, having instant access to your best torque range, with a little planning of course, makes the 4 cylinder models operate about as quickly as the 6 cylinder ones. In the Accord, the 4 with manual drives nearly identical to the 6 with automatic due to the gearing ratios. Sure, 0-60 times might be better for the 6, but that's a small part of the story,
  • backybacky Twin CitiesPosts: 18,682
    I had no idea what you meant, it was a pretty general comment.

    I've found the CVT in the Altima to drive just fine in normal conditions. I ram the accelerator to the floor about, oh, once a year if that. More than enough power in even my 140 hp Sentra (with CVT) to not have to ram it to the floor. I often wonder how people drive, who talk about having to push the pedal to the floor a lot.

    As far as what the rest of the world buys in the Altima (stick vs. CVT), I was not aware that the Altima was a big hit outside the U.S. I always thought it was tailored to the U.S. market. Folks in most other countries prefer smaller cars. And yes, manuals are more popular in other countries. They are a better match for the relatively small engines used in cars outside the U.S. I wonder how many cars overseas get 2.5L, 175 hp I4s? Not many I would expect. Certainly not V6s.
  • wik82wik82 Posts: 21
    Just a general question here guys. In the case of 2 cars I had previously been considering, I saw one of each, a 3-series BMW and a Lexus IS250. The Lexus is on a dealer's lot, the 3-series is privately being sold.

    Both have been crashed. The Lexus carfax has 29 different records. I have not purchased the carfax, just typed the Vin # in and got the preliminary report thing. It looks like a gem. Completely restored. Great price for the vehicle, obviously because of the past history.

    Basically, the same with the 3-series. I texted the seller and he said the only reason he hadn't sold it was because it was a rebuilt title. I am assuming the two cases are similar, although I don't know if the Lexus is a "rebuilt title". I don't know exactly what qualifies as that. That being said, how can you verify and trust something like this? Can you at all?!

    Finding out that I am basically ONLY going to be able to go used now (no lease options due to no co-signer) I had gone back and thought about these as, for example, the 3-series has about 40k miles and is perfectly re-built (as far as I can see) for 13,900. Of course it begs the question of "Why does the owner want to sell it if it is fine". Is there a way to take it in somewhere and have it inspected or is that at the dealership/seller's discretion?

    Anyhow, I have never looked into this and never dealt with it. So can anyone comment on this? Info/experience and knowledge is appreciated!
  • wik82wik82 Posts: 21
    Did this post die on me or people just busy with the holiday?!
  • backybacky Twin CitiesPosts: 18,682
    Holiday. A lot better things to do on a long weekend in summer than be on... oh. Never mind!

    There are many places you can take a car to have it inspected. Dealerships will do it but may charge a lot. The owner can say "no" of course, but if they do that is reason enough to pass I think.

    I just did a google on "used vehicle inspection my_city_name_here" and got several links to places that do inspections.
  • mr_gonemr_gone Posts: 50
    Hi all: I'm interested in a used Honda Accord EX sedan, manual transmisssion, 4 cylinder, and am wondering how significant the differences are between the 2005 and 2006 versions. I am ruling out 2003 and 2004 because--from what I can tell--they didn't have side curtain airbags, not even as an option.

    I know that in going from 2005 to 2006, Honda slightly changed the engine and reworked the suspension a bit, plus the nicer tail lights (gauges, too, right?) Looking at Edmunds pricing, there seems to be about an $1,800 gap between the two. I'd be inclined to go with the 2006, but it seems very hard to find this particular combination of EX, manual, 4 cyl, 4 doors. So if I came across a 2005 priced right, it might be tempting. Any strong opinions about waiting for a 2006 to become available in that combo platter or just snapping up a 2005? Most likely would hold onto the car for several years. No other really distinguishing driving needs.
  • tallman1tallman1 Posts: 1,874
    I can't remember all the changes that occurred in 06 but it sure looks much better than the 05. I think you've got most of them. I was thinking that the 05 didn't have the side curtain airbags but I may be wrong.

    You are correct that an EX I4 manual is rare. I own an 06 EX-L with Navi and finding one with a stick was hard to do back when they were new. I love the car and will keep it a long time, especially since Honda is dropping the sticks from the top trimlines.

    So much depends on the condition of the car and how well it was maintained. You may find a lousy 06 and a great 05. Then it is kind of a no-brainer.

    You may also want to consider an 07 if it isn't too much more since they are virtually identical to the 06.

    Good luck in your search! Let us know how it turns out.
  • So I'm pretty flexible and indecisive here (1st time car buyer!)

    I punched in these specifications into
    Used car
    Acura, Honda, Infiniti, Lexus, or Toyota
    4 door sedan, no hybrids, automatic transmission

    And this list came out:
    Honda Accord
    Toyota Camry
    Lexus ES 350
    Infiniti G35
    Lexus IS 250
    Infiniti M45
    Acura TL
    Acura TSX

    What do you guys recommend? I figured I'd ask the experts since I'm completely lacking car purchasing experience! From what I can see, it looks like the "non luxury brands" like Honda and Toyota are either available newer (2010 - 2011) at around $23K or older (2008-2009) for sub $20K

    It seems like the luxury brands (Acura, Lexus, Infinity) only have 2008 selections. I am assuming this is because these cars come with a 3 yr warranty and because the 2008 ones are about to have their warranty expire, thats why they slot into this price range?

    (With the exception of the TSX, the TSX does come in 2009 varieties too)

    So what do you guys recommend?

    My girlfriend recommended getting a 2009 Camry or Accord, that way we would still get to enjoy 1 year of warranty in case anything happened after purchasing the car and in all likelihood, we could push the price tag to <$20K


    Thanks again, looking forward to your replies! :)
  • backybacky Twin CitiesPosts: 18,682
    It would help us if you'd tell us what you are looking for in a car--what is important to you: e.g. do you need room in back to carry adult passengers for more than cross-town trips? Is fuel economy important? Is fun-to-drive important? Do you want a powerful car, or is handling more important? etc.

    If I had $23k to spend for a car right now, and had to choose from your list, I'd gravitate to the TSX and G35... 2008 for the TSX because I like that generation better than 2009-on (and it would be less expensive), and the newer the better on the G35 (I'd even get a G25 if I could find one for $23k).
  • Certainly!

    - Backroom isn't too important to me, would like 4 doors just in case
    - Good fuel economy would be great
    - Fun to drive would also be great
    - Handling > power I great
    - I guess above all safety and reliability are the most 2 important things I'm looking for
    - I personally would enjoy a powerful vehicle but I think having better fuel economy, good stability/handling for safety are more important (my girlfriend will probably be driving it >50% of the time)
  • plektoplekto Posts: 3,733
    Perfect car:

    2004 Lexus IS300. Find one in mint condition and drive it until the wheels fall off. It's as close to the same era 3 series as Japan ever got. Just with Japanese reliability in the mix.

    If it HAS to be newer, then I recommend you also add a 2008 Cadillac CTS to the short list as one of two specific domestic exceptions. It's worlds better than anything GM has made to date and honestly, it drives better than the G37, IMO. I know the two are almost the same on paper, but the CTS seems a bit more tuned for highway driving.

    The other is a 2012 Mustang - the new one with the 30mpg V6 that has 300hp. It's a blast. It has 2 doors, yeas, but it's a usable enough rear seat. Cheap, good MPG, and fun to drive. You can get one new for about your "used" price range,

    If it has to be Japanese, well, it's a short short list that pretty much begins and ends with the G37 sedan (with an exception which I note below). Nothing front wheel drive will drive half as fun or well in twisties as a RWD version of the same vehicle. And Japan makes precious few RWD cars these days.

    Of note as an exception, though it doesn't get good MPG, is the RX8. It fits 4 adults comfortably (2+2 configuration), and easily handles rings around most everything else out of Japan these days. It's as close to a (base) Porsche Boxster as you'll get without spending 40K+.

    This is one car that you want to buy new, though, at the end of the year. The engine burns oil and absolutely MUST be run from day 1 with high zinc oil. Synthetic or low zinc oil will ruin the engine in a few years. The internal pressures are much greater than in a normal 4 stroke engine and the EPA lowered the zinc content in oils a couple of years ago - to low enough that most anything other than oil made for classic cars and racing is too low for a rotary engine.

    But other than that need to care properly for it from day 1 yourself, it's a perfect choice.
    I'm in Los Angeles, so it's just under $24K for one new. YEar-end will see a drop of 2-3K more, though.
  • backybacky Twin CitiesPosts: 18,682
    The IS might be a good choice if rear seat room is not important at all. But I wouldn't go back to 2004 if I didn't have to. Low-mileage Acura-certified 2008 TSXes can be had for well under $23k. Blast to drive and good fuel economy with the I4. In my area, you can't get a G37 for under $23k. But the G35 is a nice car also--more powerful than the IS or TSX, but not as economical either.
  • plektoplekto Posts: 3,733
    The IS series is worlds better than the TSX. Remember, the TSX you'd be looking at is the last generation if you want to stay in your price range. It's basically a fancied-up Civic. Compare that to even the IS250 with a good 6 cylinder engine and RWD, and it's simply no contest. Even the new TSX, while it drives fine, is so boring that it makes me want to cry compared to a RX8, IS, Mercedes C class, a CTS, (and so on).

    So what is the third best car GM ever made?
    2004 was also a magic year for GM - the Holden Monaro made its way to the U.S. as the Pontiac GTO. If you get manual with it, that year only will give you:
    - A 350HP LS1 Corvette engine. Same 6 speed gearbox as well.

    - 29 mpg highway (25 combined is possible wit a light foot - and with 350hp, you don't need to stomp on the gas hard)
    EPA city estimate: 17 mpg. EPA highway estimate: 29 mpg (original sticker).

    - A 0-60 time of 5.3 seconds (!) 1/4 mile in under 14 seconds and at over 100mph. It's the real deal.

    - A slalom speed of 63.4mph. A G37 does it at 66.4mph for reference - it's no straight-line boat by a long shot. The *new* TSX? 54.9mph. FWD rears its ugly head since you can't really defeat physics.

    If you care even the least bit about handling, you want RWD. And, no, RWD isn't a disaster like the nannys want you to believe. They get serious snow in Germany and you don't hear news articles about Mercedes and BMWs flying off the roads in winter.

    Many owners who have a GTO obsess over theirs and treat it like an instant classic, or add some tweaks and upgrades to it, so finding a cherry example is actually quite easy. Same as say, with a Porsche - the ones that are beaters are instantly obvious and the collectors are also easy to identify. You won't even pay $15K, either, which will give you a lot of extra money for upkeep and potential upgrades. (dual exhaust is the obvious first mod).

    The 2005+ and all automatic models suffer 4-5mpg worse due to a 400HP engine that's tuned for raw speed versus smoothness and low-end torque. I'd get a 2004 GTO in a heartbeat. Where else will you get muscle car performance and 30mpg on the highway? Well, other than the new Mustang, that is - but the GTO has a nicer interior than the Ford. Ford somehow still can't make a good interior on most of its cars.
  • Wow, thanks for the helpful reply guys, keep em coming!
    Awesome replies!

    So I think I am leaning towards a 2008 Acura TSX or TL
    with the sad, boring Accord or Camry has backup options

    Of the other cars mentioned, the Infinitis (G35/37) might be a little too pricy for me in this area
    Not particularly interested in driving a 2008 CTS, 2012 Mustang or 2012 RX8

    That being said, the other 2 that have surged to the top of my list are the 2004 Pontiac GTO and the 2004 Lexus IS300! Definitely nice to hear all those exciting things about them and they are available at very affordable prices in my area! I'm leaning toward the GTO because I have not been able to find any IS300's with reasonable mileages on them, I've actually found a couple of GTO's with lower mileage than the TSX's or TL's I was considering! Inclined to bump the GTO/IS300 pairing above Accord/Camry at this point, I'm not sure if I can bring myself to bump them above the 2008 TSX/TL as I just have reservations about buying something so old. That being said, I certainly will test drive all these over the coming weeks.

    Thanks again for all the advice and keep it rolling in, would definitely like to shop around with as much advice and recommendations as possible! :)
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