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Help Me Choose!



  • mr_gonemr_gone Posts: 50
    Have to agree that the Sonata I rented for a few days in Florida made me conclude it's not one I'd pick in this group. Steering was no fun at all -- no road feel, no responsiveness. Seats hurt. Front passenger seat was low and couldn't be raised. Noise was higher than I was expecting. I think the car's getting such great reviews mainly because it looks great and comes with a long list of features and is a significant step up from its predecessor.

    Haven't driven an Altima, so I can't comment.
  • crankeeecrankeee Posts: 297
    Good comparison post. We just bought a 2012 Sonata GLS with the $750 popular package. Great value. Car seems good in town with first road test this weekend. We also have 2010 Buick Lacrosse that is the most quiet car we have ever been in. The Sonata is definitely more noisy - engine and wind noise. anxious to check highway MPG, wind noise and ride on highway after all the preceding posts on those subjects. Will post observations later.
  • Like many others, I was debated Sonata vs. Altima and others top contenders in mid-size sedan category. I really wanted to like the Hyundai more. Drove it and saw the overall value--they pack a lot of features in standard, as other have said. But in the end I just felt underwhelmed by the fit and finish and, to my eyes anyway, I thought it was trying a bit too hard with the space-age look. Exterior I liked more than interior. Drove the 2012 Turbo. Plenty quick and certainly not a bad car. But just not my car. I kind of feel that there was TOO much going on with respect to the info centre (radio/nav/etc.). I found it distracting. I'm sure after a week, or less, of driving it I'd sort those points out, but I just found myself wondering whether I'd grow tired of the overall "look." And I would like to keep the car for at least 5 years. So we're looking at the Altima 3.5. Was considering Honda too, but Accord seems overpriced for what you get. I suppose, in the end, you won't go too far wrong with any of the solid contenders here.
  • walletlesswalletless Posts: 40
    edited January 2012
    If you like the Accord, I suggest you try to email all ALTIMA dealers to see how low they can get. Whatever is the lowest, you can assume that you can take that quote to a different dealer and have it beat by ATLEAST $500 (may be more). Based on what I have been seeing on the forum lately, I believe you will be able to negotiate to around $18.5k for a 2.5S base.

    Then see what kind of premium you may want to pay for an Accord with comparable features, and go to the dealer and offer them lower than that target price. I'd think that the Honda brandname would atleast command a $1000 premium, so you may want to set your target to around 19.5k, and offer them initially 19k. Stick to your guns, and prepare to walk if they do not get any close to your target price. If they agree, you walk off with a car you want.. otherwise you just lose few hours trying to haggle.

    Just my $0.02.. Over the years, I have learnt that you can really haggle at the dealership if you have a target price in mind. You have nothing to lose, since the salesman who spent hours negotiating the deal would hate to see you walk away without him getting any commission.
  • kdshapirokdshapiro Posts: 5,751
    I did not drive the turbo bit I agree 100% with your other observations. The 3.5 might be a win for you.
  • dzerodzero Posts: 1
    edited January 2012
    Hey guys,
    I've been looking for a used car for a good 4 or 5 months since I sold my 2001 GMC Sierra. I'm a car guy and 6'6'' so legroom and headroom is always a problem and I have been wanting to get something that is a little more fun to drive and better for hauling people than my truck was. My budget is around $10,000-$11,000 but can go a little higher if need be.

    I've somewhat narrowed it down to either a 2008 Accord or a 2005 Magnum R/T for the primary reason of both being very comfortable and reliable. My mom has an 8th gen Accord so I've spend a fair amount of time driving it and know pretty well what to expect. Here is my pros and cons for each car

    Accord Pros:
    Newer year
    Nicer interior
    Tighter steering and overall response
    Better gas mileage

    Accord Cons:
    More expensive
    Less of an enthusiast vehicle

    Magnum Pros:
    More usable cargo capacity
    More aggressive looking
    V8 torque

    Magnum Cons:
    Some front end issues (tie rods, struts)
    Bad mpg
    Cheaper interior

    Let me know what you think or any other vehicle ideas. Some other cars I've considered are Volvo S80, Saab 9-5 and I briefly owned a 2006 VW GLI but sold it because it was too small inside.
  • qbrozenqbrozen Posts: 17,150
    If you are looking for fun, that rules out the Accord. Trust me on this. I made the mistake with a V6 6-speed Accord and what you think you can live with as "fun" wears thin eventually. Took me about 6 months, but I grew to hate mine.

    If mileage is at all a concern, say goodbye to the Magnum.

    A $10k S80 is not an S80 you want. That would put you in a previous gen T6, which has horrible reliability, not the least of which is a notoriously faulty transmission.

    Saab? Well, not my cup of tea, personally. I don't find it very nice inside. Of course, you are still dealing with FWD in that one, too. Not that I have a problem with FWD. It is good when done right.

    Honestly, large, reliable, frugal, and fun ... for $10k... is a REAL tough combination to hit. I mean, my personal choice is a low-mileage E39 5-series, but I can't stand by the "reliability" on that one. It CAN be reliable, if properly maintained, which is not cheap to do.

    I might look for a 3.5 Altima. Reason I chose the Accord is because I wanted a stick. That's obviously not a concern for you, so I think the Altima would be much more fun. Avoid the 2.5, though. It does have faults. Look for a Maxima if you really need more room, but the Altima is just as big as the Accord inside, I believe.

    Could also search for a Legacy GT, but I'm not sure you could find a turbo model in your pricerange.

    '13 Stang GT; '86 Benz 300E; '98 Volvo S70; '12 Leaf; '14 Town&Country

  • igozoomzoomigozoomzoom Waleska, GeorgiaPosts: 790
    Here are my suggestions to check out before you make any final decisions:

    Mazda3 - 2005+
    Mazda6- 2005+

    Hyundai Azera- 2007+
    Volvo S60 - 2006-2008
  • mr_gonemr_gone Posts: 50
    The Azera is going to have a couple of the downsides of the 8th-generation Accord that he listed -- FWD, not an enthusiast's car. It's kind of the Buick of Hyundai. Comfortable and quiet, but numb steering. It's nice and large inside, though.

    I love the Mazda3, but if he can't fit in the GTI, I'm wondering if the 3 would be any better. The Mazda6 is relatively small on the inside until the second generation -- 2008 or 2009, can't remember which. The first generation was an enthusiast's car, but the engines weren't great. The second is more like the Azera.

    I've never driven one, but I've read good things about the Saturn Aura. One of the versions is sportier than the others. Because Saturn is no more, prices might be good. And along those lines, how about the Pontiac G8 -- RWD, intended to compete with BMW. Or the newer Pontiac GTO? All three of these would be relatively rare, but maybe worth seeking out.
  • backybacky Twin CitiesPosts: 18,682
    The second is more like the Azera.

    Uh... not really.

    The current Mazda6 is like the Azera in the following ways:

    * Both have engines.
    * Both have four wheels/tires.
    * Both are 4-door sedans.
    * Both are quite roomy.

    That's about where the similarity ends. The Mazda6 starts at around $20k new and is a competitor for cars like the Sonata and Accord... not the Azera. The Mazda6 handles much better than the Azera; it's pretty nimble for a mid-sized sedan, even with its bump in size for the current generation.

    The closest competitor to the Azera I can think of is the Avalon. And maybe the defunct Lucerne. The new Azera may change that, but to my knowledge it's not at dealers yet.

    I also like the last-gen Mazda6. Nice and trim outside, but enough back seat room for most people. And a good buy as a used car.

    If sheer passenger room is critical, it would be a good idea to check out the new Passat--which has tons of leg room.
  • plektoplekto Posts: 3,733
    edited January 2012
    My personal recommendation would be an IS300 with manual transmission. It's going to drive worlds better than an Accord and it's as close to a Japanese E36 as ever was made. Just it won't break your bank keeping it running. Yes, it's not a large car, but it's very good and whether it fits you or not really depends upon the seat and steering wheel layout. Some people who are as tall as you have to problems, some don't fit. It's worth at least sitting in and trying out.

    My second choice would be a 2004 Pontiac GTO with manual. Big, RWD, loads of fun, and 30mpg highway. Just that year and transmission combination, though. In 2005, they moved to a new engine and transmission and killed the MPG right into the floor (average 5 mpg drop!). But for $10-12K, you can get essentially a Corvette that seats 4 people and just looks different on the outside. ;)

    Fast, total "sleeper", and way more fun than you'd believe. As for the car, it was made in Australia, so quality is actually very good.
    Note at the bottom where it got Top Gear's muscle car award.
  • kdshapirokdshapiro Posts: 5,751
    edited January 2012
    The IS300 may be more fun than an Accord, but servicing due to Lexus parts will be expensive. In addition, the op never said if there is a climate issue, eg snow, that might preclude some RWD mitigation.

    I would stay away from Pontiac, there is a reason they are no more. An 8 year old GTO is just begging to separate you from your money. And what about that in-town mileage? Driving the LIE or the 405 rush hour not likely to win the Prius economy awards.

    Maybe a Subauru AWD is needed? They can be fun to drive, less expensive than IS and more reliable then Pontiac.
  • plektoplekto Posts: 3,733
    edited January 2012
    The IS300 is actually the least expensive Lexus, ever, when it comes to servicing it. It's not as hideous as you'd think, and the thing really does last forever before breaking down.

    With that GTO, it was the last year that they put the LS1 engine in pretty much anything. All of the kinks were worked out, and the thing is bulletproof. The issues came from the new engine and 50 extra HP in the 2005+ models. And idiots who added extra HP and then wondered why their rear ends blew out. 350HP and 30mpg highway was awesome and GM should have left it alone.

    With manual, it's super easy to skip a few gears and get good mpg in-town. It's not stellar, but it's certainly a lot better than most other full-size cars. And a LOT better than the Magnum he mentioned.

    note - since he mentioned a Dodge Magnum, I figured RWD was not a problem, and neither was crazy high MPG. He probably just doesn't want to be stuck with 18-19mpg like most of these boats deliver.

    I'll add another option for him, which IS inexpensive and reliable, if a bit boring. He should look at a 2005 Park Avenue. It'll give him 23-24 mpg combined (19/28 window sticker), and is a very solid car. It's one of the few cars from that era that GM essentially over-built. It's certainly a lot nicer to drive than a Camry, and the seats are superb.
  • qbrozenqbrozen Posts: 17,150
    edited January 2012
    the mazda3, previous mazda6, and S60 won't cut it from a roominess perspective if his first post is any indication of what his needs/wants truly are.

    '13 Stang GT; '86 Benz 300E; '98 Volvo S70; '12 Leaf; '14 Town&Country

  • qbrozenqbrozen Posts: 17,150
    edited January 2012
    you can't get a G8 for the OP's budget. I checked because that crossed my mind, too.

    As for the GTO, I have a feeling a coupe is not in the cards for someone looking at a Magnum.

    The OP hasn't been back since posting the query, so I'd guess we are all answering a ghost.

    '13 Stang GT; '86 Benz 300E; '98 Volvo S70; '12 Leaf; '14 Town&Country

  • kdshapirokdshapiro Posts: 5,751
    Whenever I travel I rent a Camry, except when I rented the g37 and CTS. I really enjoy driving it around. I would choose a newer Camry over an older Buick any day.
  • I have the choice between 3 cars listed below that I'm considering. This will be for our 18yr old who will mainly use for school and work, occasional weekend 1-2hr longish trips.

    99 Saturn SL2 4-D 97000 miles. Owner says has new transmission. Has engine light on, though owner says that's only due to the locking gas cap he installed. Test drive went very well. Car could use a good cleaning. Didn't appear to need any repairs or maintenance in the near future. Was willing to go down to $1850 for it. Young driver probably early 20's.

    00 Saturn SL2 4-D 134000 miles. Owner won't budge under $2000. Appeared in great shape - no engine lights on - only "oddity" was a slight whistling type of sound I heard coming from engine area when driving. Almost like a person whistling type of sound, or a sound where you are using a ham radio, but the radio wasn't on and the windows were up. Rode nice - just had that sound.

    99 Lumina 4-D 113000 miles. 2 owner car, very well maintained and in nearly immaculate condition. Asking $2000 - may go to $1700. The only thing I could tell it needed was 2 newer tires. Also, when you shift out of and into park that bar felt very stiff (automatic car - bar that you pull to get in/out of park, drive, reverse).

    Our daughter is tiny - maybe 5'2" and maybe 110 lbs. She works at Panera Bread and her hours vary. She's concerned about affording the gas but ultimately wants something that just gets her where she's going. I want something I don't have to worry about fixing a bunch of things on. Currently she is driving our 2001 Chrysler Town and Country and we all know that's NOT good on gas lol....

    Read more: ndex.html#ixzz1kOjBHjkT
  • backybacky Twin CitiesPosts: 18,682
    Has engine light on, though owner says that's only due to the locking gas cap he installed.

    Danger, Will Robinson!

    Do you know this person--well? If not, don't trust anything they say.

    On any of these cars, spend a few dollars and get the car inspected by a reputable mechanic. Could cost you big bucks later.
  • Kirstie_HKirstie_H Posts: 10,824
    Other suggestions are welcome - I sent this person from elsewhere to get help here. They have owned an SL2 and found it solid... but, obviously they're seeking a bargain vehicle for a kid (kudos, I say, for not feeling the obligation to splash out on a teen car).

    Need help navigating? - or send a private message by clicking on my name.
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