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Help Me Choose!

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  • kyfdxkyfdx Posts: 27,640
    I also like the IS300... but, it is notoriously fuel-inefficient..

    I think it is rated at 18/23 mpg...

    They were really nice cars around 2002... :)

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  • plektoplekto Posts: 3,733
    edited April 2012
    2005 was the last year for it, and it's not perfect. BUT, they did make a wagon version of it, which takes care of the rear headroom issue. The deal about this generation Toyota, though, is that it will last to 15 years or so without major issues. And honestly, the kids can DEAL with the rear seat. All rear seats suck unless you're buying something like a Buick or other huge car.

    A VW or BMW or Mercedes, while incredible to drive, will bankrupt your child when it comes to driving it at college. Going on 8-10 years old, it'll be right at that OMG what broke this week stage.

    But my real suggestion is to gt what you want. And get another car at the time. The perfect car would be a used Honda Fit or something that can carry cargo and is dirt cheap to drive while in school. Or even something older like a Tacoma pickup. Let it get beat up, dented, and used. And hardly pay a dime to keep it running. Then sell it and let them get their own vehicle.
  • lisalizlisaliz Posts: 5
    Thanks, the IS300 is a really interesting suggestion. What about the issue of a seven year old AC? I was under the impression that the AC system was one of those things that decline with age.
  • backybacky Twin CitiesPosts: 18,681
    All rear seats suck unless you're buying something like a Buick or other huge car.

    Hardly. For example, check out these current small cars for back seat room and comfort:

    Elantra (sedan and Touring)
    Impreza
    Jetta
    Prius
    Versa

    And some modern Buicks, like the Verano and Regal, don't have all that roomy back seats.
  • plektoplekto Posts: 3,733
    Yes, any several year old AC will likely need to have parts replaced or attended to at the least. But you can factor that into the price of the vehicle when you buy it. Then it should be good for several years.

    The cars are good for 250-300K, so getting one that has 40-60K on it is really not an issue at all. Just beware that a lot of them were abused or driven hard, so look for signs of heavy wear, non-factory parts or mods (or repairs) and go on to the next one.
  • Kirstie_HKirstie_H Posts: 10,822
    We have a 1998 vehicle that blows air so cold that I can't stand it, and that's in Missouri where we see 100+ degree days in the summer. We did recently have to have it serviced - something was leaking. $100 later, and it's back to ice cold. Yes, you might have to have the A/C checked out, but unless it's the compressor, it's probably not an expensive fix.

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  • dispencer2dispencer2 Posts: 295
    If you are thinking about buying a 2011 or 12 Malibu buy the six. I have a 2011 with the 4 and normally drive to Dallas on 4 lane highways. I took the car to Albuquerque on two lane roads and had to pass several trucks. The car doesn't always downshift when floored and it is woefully underpowered for passing at 50-70. If I had made the trip before I had bought it I would have never purchased it with a four. My Cobalt has more passing power with the 4 speed automatic. The gas mileage is not anything to write home about - 29-33 mostly on the road. My 03 Cadillac DeVille made 30-31. Other than the lack of power for passing the Malibu is fine. Rides ok, needs more insulation from road noise but for the price is fine. If I had to do it over again I would have bought a used Buick Lucerne or LaCrosse but I'll go back to a Cadillac in the next few years.
  • steverstever YooperlandPosts: 39,964
    Are you an active duty member of the U.S. military in the process of shopping for a new or used car? A news reporter is interested in talking with you. Please contact pr@edmunds.com by June 30, 2012.

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  • kdshapirokdshapiro Posts: 5,751
    Actually I think you have to own a hybrid for 10 years to break even.
  • I'm a first time car buyer (previously drove a car I inherited for 10 years til it died.) I'm new to this forum and wanted people's opinions (and realize car ownership can be VERY subjective.) I'm hoping to hold on the car for a long time (I just drive for pleasure and usually only do about 3000 miles a year, but most of it is on highways.) Am looking to spend roughly $20,000.
    I'm considering 3 cars (all with automatic transmission):
    1) Subaru Impreza hatchback
    2)the new Hyundai Elantra GT
    3) Volkswagen Golf (4 door)
    Am planning to buy in the spring, but am just starting my research and am planning on doing test drives for all three--and, if possible, renting them to really check them out.
    Aside from the obvious pluses for each (AWD for the Subaru, great warranty for the Hyundai) I'd love opinions from folks as to which car (out of the 3) they prefer and why.
    Many thanks in advance!
  • qbrozenqbrozen Posts: 17,147
    considering your buying/owning habits, I think the 10 year warranty on the hyundai would serve you well, so that would be my suggestion.

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

  • backybacky Twin CitiesPosts: 18,681
    First, unless you get much snow, I'd move the Impreza lower on your list as it will cost more and exacts a bit of an mpg penalty for AWD. But I think it's a very nice car... I live in Minnesota though.

    I think the Elantra GT is very nice also, but for $20k you'll be looking at a base model with AT and that's it. Doesn't look like Hyundai plans to ship many of these over here, so prices will probably stay up even next spring. BTW, similar problem with availability on the Impreza... hard to find any selection in stock.

    Re the Golf... keep in mind the Golf VII will be here sometime next year, so if you buy a Golf VI in the spring, it will be a generation old overnight. So you could wait for the Golf VII, which is supposed to have a turbo engine standard and better FE, or... you could get a slightly used, VW Certified Golf VI. You could get a very nice one including an extended warranty for $20k.

    Based on your looking at these cars, two others I think are worth a look for you are the Mazda3i Touring hatch (Skyactiv), which is a blast to drive, and the Focus hatch, also fun to drive albeit I'd stay away from the auto on that one, but reportedly Ford has worked out the kinks on it, or most of them at least.
  • Thanks for the replies! And backy, thanks so much for such an in-depth one! Great points. I live in NYC and nearly never drive in snow so I will cross the Impreza off my list. Re: the Hyundai, I'm actually fine with the base model with AT. But I will also check out the Mazda 3i touring Hatch (I have heard really good things about that as well!) And great points re: the Golf VI & upcoming VII. Thanks again. A lot of food for thought!
  • qbrozenqbrozen Posts: 17,147
    considering how long you plan to keep it, I certainly wouldn't worry about what is around the corner in terms of redesigns.

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

  • backybacky Twin CitiesPosts: 18,681
    Why not? If a redesign will get much better fuel economy than the old design, for example, that is a big benefit for long-term ownership. That is certainly the case for the current crop of compacts--the latest redesigns tend to get much better FE than the old ones, and sometimes with more power to boot. There's also the safety factor--the newer the design, the more active and passive safety features tend to be included. For example, the latest Elantra design, the GT, has 7 airbags, and the current gen entire Elantra line has ESC standard--that was not the case with the prior design.
  • bhmr59bhmr59 Posts: 1,598
    3,000 miles per year indicates that MPG shouldn't be a high priority. As long as the MPG is reasonable, a difference of a few MPG shouldn' be a concern.
  • backybacky Twin CitiesPosts: 18,681
    edited July 2012
    Nor safety either I suppose?

    3k miles a year for 10 years is 30k miles. At 25 mpg, that's 1200 gallons. At 30 mpg, it's only 1000 gallons. At $4 a gallon (very optimistic for a 10-year average I think), that's $800 in my pocket if I go with a newer design with better fuel economy. All else being equal, I'd take the $800.
  • qbrozenqbrozen Posts: 17,147
    And you may pay $800 or more for the newer model year.

    Even if you didn't ... for $80/year or less than $7/mo, I wouldn't be concerned.

    But, hey, if the OP can afford to wait, all the better.

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

  • morin2morin2 Posts: 399
    You are in an area known for high auto insurance rates, so I suggest you run a few models past your independent insurance agent. It is likely that one model could save you more in insurance cost than in fuel economy, considering that you estimate a low 3K per year (what I drive in 6 weeks).

    I would not eliminate the Impreza so quickly. The AWD has advantages in rain and you never know when the weather will change if you travel. Also the flat 4 cylinder engine design has a lower center of gravity. My subarus have had low insurance costs relative to some other cars in my fleet. In contrast, Hyundais often have high insurance costs.

    The only current generation Golf I would consider would be a TDI, but that's 20-25% over your budget.

    I second the suggestion to look at a Mazda 3i SkyActive. In fact, that should probably be near the top of your list.
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