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Help Me Choose!

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  • OK, First off I want to thank everyone for their suggestions. It was never my intent to start a posting war. :-)

    I am only interested in a Sedan or Wagon, so SUV’s and Trucks are out of the picture. As far as another minvan, I have a 2011 Toyota sienna. I don’t need another minivan. I just want a car that I can throw all 3 kids into in a pinch (you never know when your car will break down).

    I mentioned the Camry because I know for a fact that the new one will work as I rented one and two cars seats and a booster fit. It was snug, but it worked. I have considered the Cadillac, and I really like the BMW wagons, but they take premium gas and that is just a deal breaker.

    So truly, Thank You to all of you for sharing your opinions with me. It is helping me make an informed decision and that is why I posted my question here in the first place.
  • backybacky Twin CitiesPosts: 18,628
    If the Camry worked, have you tried cars like the Passat and the Optima? Both have roomy back seats. Optima will probably get you higher FE unless you go with the Passat TDI.
  • biker4biker4 Posts: 746
    Too bad the you don't have a larger budget -the kids would love the Tesla S with the rear facing back seats. :shades:
  • mr_gonemr_gone Posts: 50
    Hope you find what you're looking for. BTW, I looked at how the new Passat has been reviewed and I'm not sure it's going to give you the driving pleasure that I had associated with VWs in the past. Apparently, the newest model has lost some of the crispness of previous generations. So the new Fusion hybrid might be a better candidate. My impression of the Optima is that it's a very nice car but maybe not quite up to the standards that you, as a former 911 owner, might be seeking in terms of responsiveness and steering response. There's the new Accord to check out as well -- the 2008-12 generation lost some edge, but Honda apparently is trying to get it back with this newest iteration.
  • backybacky Twin CitiesPosts: 18,628
    If you've read the reviews on the Fusion, you've noticed it has a fairly tight back seat for the class, plus quality control seems to be an issue.

    I don't see why the Optima wouldn't be worth a test drive. No 911, but one of the better and roomier mid-sized cars.
  • plektoplekto Posts: 3,707
    I was thinking about sedans and wagons and so on and I remembered one or two more choices that might work, though they won't get 30mpg. (nothing will, really)

    1 - As I mentioned, a Pontiac G8. You could also go for an Impala, which isn't as good, but it is pretty decent nonetheless. In 2013, GM is bringing back the G8/Holden platform in case you feel like waiting.

    2 - Any of the Big GM cars. (Buick LaCrosse/Lucerne). I could consistently get 25-27mpg highway in one. GM makes the most fuel-efficient V6 engines and the best automatic transmissions, so while the rest of the car is rather meh, the thing will drive forever.

    3 - The Ford Taurus or Flex might also work.

    The problem is that 30mpg and large is impossible since they started a HP race a decade or so ago. For instance, a 2004 Pontiac GTO got 30mpg highway. Just that one year. Then they changed it completely in 2005 and mpg dropped to 22.
  • I'm looking for either a 2009 Chevy Malibu or a 2008/2009 Honda Accord. I must have leather seats. From what I've read, it seems that only the LTZ for the Malibu and only the EX-L for the Accord have leather seats, but I can't seem to definitively confirm that.

    Can someone confirm that all 2008 Malibu LTZ and all 2008/9 Accord EX-L's have leather seats, and that none of the others have leather seats?

    Thanks!
  • sebring95sebring95 Posts: 3,225
    As far as the Chevy, all LTZ's have leather, but there were LT's with a leather option. It was a different leather than the LTZ. If you're looking at the 4cyl, I'd look for one with the 6-speed transmission. Limited availability during those years and typically only on the higher end models.

    Regarding the Accord, EX-L (L for leather) obviously but there are times they produce an SE model that also has leather. I'm not sure if they produced that model during '08/'09 or not.
  • plektoplekto Posts: 3,707
    edited November 2012
    You might also consider a Pontiac G6, since it's basically the same car with a more upscale interior and options (like leather). Also, the Saturn Aura was based on the same platform. Both Pontiac and Saturn have terrible resale values due to the brands being gone, but the engineering and parts are the same. This can represent a lot of potential savings.

    Also, the GM W platform cars might work as well.
    * 2004–2008 Pontiac Grand Prix
    * 2005–2009 Buick LaCrosse
    * 2006–2013 Chevrolet Impala
    * 2006–2007 Chevrolet Monte Carlo

    These also tended to come with leather and more options standard.
  • igozoomzoomigozoomzoom Waleska, GeorgiaPosts: 790
    My mom is in the market for a new car and (as always) wants my input and assistance in the process. I'm pretty sure that she thinks I'm clairvoyant because she expects me to "know" what will appeal to her. To be honest, although I lack supernatural abilities, after spending 38 years trying to figure her out, I have a creepy ability to pick out exactly what she likes 99% of the time. But I would still welcome some outside opinions on my choice of finalists, which are as follows-

    2011-2012 CPO Nissan Altima 3.5 SR
    2013 KIA Sorento EX FWD (prefer 2.4L)
    2013 KIA Optima EX
    2013 Hyundai Santa Fe Sport
    2013 Hyundai Sonata Limited 2.4


    My mom is an interesting character (to say the least) and that definitely extends to her vehicle preference. Vehicle styling/appearance is at the top of her list, with reliability and pricing/value being a close second. For the first time, fuel economy is also a somewhat important factor.

    She is 58, rarely carries passengers other than my step-dad and/or an occasional grandkid (ages 2 and 6), so a 5-passenger car/SUV is fine. She drives a school bus and her route starts and ends at her driveway, so she never uses a personal vehicle to commute. Her list of 'required' features include heated, leather seats, a decent audio system, power sunroof and that's about it.

    This will be a vehicle that she keeps for 8-10 years and averages 10-12k miles per year. She currently has a 2007 Ford Explorer Eddie Bauer (4.0L, RWD) that has has been nothing but trouble!!! She purchased it from my best friend when it was 16 months old with 70k miles on it (it was his company car). It now has 135k miles on it; in the last 65k miles and 4.5yrs, we've spent almost $5,500 in repairs!!! That does NOT include any regular maintenance or tires/brakes. The transmission has also started having intermittent issues and one side of the power-folding 3rd row seat is stuck in the down position and would cost $580 to repair! Pretty pathetic for a vehicle with a $36k sticker price less than six years ago.

    Needless to say, we want a reliable/durable vehicle with 100k miles of Powertrain coverage to back it up! The only 'rules' my step-dad has given me is NOTHING from GM/Ford/Chrysler and try to keep it under $30k.

    The 4-cylinder versions of the KIA and Hyundai vehicles are more than sufficient for her needs and driving style. The reason for considering the Nissan Altima 3.5 SR (which has a 3.5L V6, 270hp and only gets 27mpg highway) has nothing to do with performance....it's all about looks! The 3.5 SR has the beefy 17" alloy wheels and low-profile tires, rear spoiler and several other sporty exterior tweaks that really make it a great looking car. I prefer the looks of the 2012 model over the new 2013 Altima, plus a 2011-2012 CPO will have the standard 100k Powertrain coverage.

    Which of the five vehicles listed above would be the best fit based on the information I've given? If you had to choose one of the five to purchase for yourself, which one would it be and why?

    I look forward to your responses!
  • I don't know where you're getting your information about the Fusion. First, you realize that there's a 2013 model that is a complete redesign, don't you? And that new model has more room in the back than the previous model? And Consumer Reports rates the Fusion's reliability as above average. The only reliability issues were a few areas in the 2010 model.

    The problems Ford has had with reliability have been with its complicated MyFord system and the transmission on the new Focus.
  • sebring95sebring95 Posts: 3,225
    I would go Altima out of that batch. You already said she likes the looks and honestly they're a very good car particularly with that V6. Performance to back up the good looks. The CVT can have questionable reliability but the warranty should cover you for five years anyway. Remember those warranties are from when placed in service...so 7 years/100k miles CPO on the Nissan is from when it was built. Obviously best to find one as new as possible from a date standpoint when you only drive 10k miles a year.
  • backybacky Twin CitiesPosts: 18,628
    CR has not rated the 2013 Fusion for reliability yet. I would expect it would pass on that until there's real world data, since it is a redesign with new powertrains.

    I've read two different reviews on the Fusion that complained about the relatively tight back seat compared to its competitors. I believe they were C/D and Motor Trend.
  • backybacky Twin CitiesPosts: 18,628
    Since your mom is interested in fuel economy, and doesn't need the hauling ability of an SUV, I'd strike all the SUVs off the list. The Santa Fe in particular is a new model, so reliability is questionable.

    Since your mom is OK with the Altima, and also is OK with a 4 cylinder (cf. Optima EX, and Sorento and Santa fe with 2.4L), why not the new 2013 Altima 2.5? Doesn't she like how it looks? It's power is up from 2013 (2.5L) and it has exceptional fuel economy--better than the Optima EX. You said YOU don't like the looks of the 2013 Altima... but how about your mom?

    If I were her I'd drive ALL the latest mid-sized 4-cylinder cars including the Altima, Accord, Passat, Fusion, Optima, and Sonata before plopping down nearly $30k. (Personally I'd skip the Malibu, but go ahead and drive that too if she wants, it's pretty good looking.) It's fun driving the cars, and then she'll know which one she likes to DRIVE the best. Also she'll know what they look like up close and inside. But cars aren't just for looking at and pumping gas into.

    P.S. If I had to choose one on the list I'd take the Optima EX, I think it fits your mom's criteria the best of those 5 vehicles.
  • Is there a reason u left off the 13 Honda Accord? I'd suggest a sedan cuz she drives a huge bus everyday.The Optima is a great choice but it's a above average with road noise. The 13 Fusion is a great car, European styled, and rides like a German Car. The Mytouch Ford Sync is a problem for mature folks cuz of the tiny buttons on the Sync. Now as you ask to choose 1 of the 5 listed I'd recommend Nissan Altima, great car and very reliable. I had an Altima for 10 years and few problems.
  • igozoomzoomigozoomzoom Waleska, GeorgiaPosts: 790
    I originally planned to include the 2013 Honda Accord on the list. I had the pleasure of spending a weekend driving a 2013 Accord Sport a few weeks ago (my bro-in-law runs the body shop at a Honda dealer and the General Manager lets him take home anything he wants). So he brought the new Accord for me and I really enjoyed it. I hated the a2008-2012 Accord, but the 2013 feels, sounds and looks like a real Honda!

    BUT my step-dad has currently has a 2006 Accord SE 4-door. He is planning to trade it in on a 2013 Accord in a few months when dealers become more willing to discount them. So that’s dad’s car.

    I personally love the new Ford Fusion, but after the experience they’ve had with her current 2007 Explorer, my step-dad will never allow a Ford vehicle in their garage again! Their experience with all three of the local Ford dealers in buying and servicing her previous 2004 Explorer and her current nightmare-from-hell 2007 Explorer further sour the idea of buying another Ford, no matter how good it actually may be! The warranty coverage isn’t

    The 2012 Altima 3.5SR has a sport look and aggressive stance that the 2013 models lack, especially the 2.5SL (and other 2.5 versions). I showed mom the photos just to put the possibility on the table and she shot down the 2013 instantly.

    The 2013 Fusion and Altima have a 3yr/36k Basic Warranty and 6yr/60k Powertrain Coverage. The CPO Nissan and new KIA/Hyundai models all have 100k of Powertrain Coverage. I have located four 2012 CPO 3.5SR models so far and all are less than 10-months in service and under 15k miles. So they have over six years and 85k miles of coverage provided by the 7yr/100k warranty form original in-service date.

    A new development today is that the budget has been reduced a bit! My step-dad was/is somehow convinced that mom’s 2007 Explorer is worth $11-12k trade-in and someone will pay that for it! So the $30k budget is actually $18k cash plus whatever the hell we can for the Explorer!? Even though it is in Very Good to Excellent physical condition inside and out, the high mileage and history as a corporate fleet vehicle (even if it was my best friend’s company car) in conjunction with it being 2WD/V6 = $8k trade-in is the best I’m expecting. Which translates to a budget of around $26k, not $30k.

    I’m sure we could sell the Explorer privately for at least $12k, but knowing that the transmission is acting wonky sometimes and a few other minor issues, I can’t sell it to an individual….at least not without telling them all the details about what has gone wrong, is going wrong and will almost certainly go wrong again…and that tends to scare off buyers off and/or kill the selling price! I’d much rather it go to the big Carmax auction far away and hope that it doesn’t end up being sold to some poor soul before it all the problems are repaired….
  • igozoomzoomigozoomzoom Waleska, GeorgiaPosts: 790
    "P.S. If I had to choose one on the list I'd take the Optima EX, I think it fits your mom's criteria the best of those 5 vehicles."

    If I was choosing a car for myself from the list, it would be the 2012 Altima 3.5SR- hands down!

    But I spent some time test driving the Sonata and Santa Fe yesterday and the Optima EX today. Even though I've read all the reviews and raves about the Optima, I still wasn't prepared to be as impressed as I was by the Optima EX! It also amazed me just how differently two cars built on the same platform and sharing the same powertrain can feel. The Sonata Limited is undeniably a very good car with interior materials and design that could pass for an entry-level luxury car. But the Optima feels more like a German car- taught, firm ride without being harsh, quick reflexes, and a more no-nonsense exterior design.

    If I had to choose one least favorite thing about the Sonata, it would be the design and layout of the dashboard! Conversely, the dashboard design is one of my favorite things about the Optima. It is simpler looking with buttons and controls spaced out a bit more and in more logical arrangement. I also love the way that the center stack is canted toward the driver!

    If you're wondering why I am test driving these cars on my own first, I'm actually test driving the dealership and sales team. They will probably never know it, but it's more for their benefit than anything!

    Back in December 1994, mom and I were shopping for a new Jeep Grand Cherokee. She knew that was what she wanted, the colors, option packages, and everything else. It was just a matter of actually finding ones that met her specs then trying to get the best deal at a time when they sold Grand Cherokees as fast as they could build them!

    We found one at a dealership almost 100 miles away that was exactly what she wanted. They quoted a price on the phone that was good enough to make the drive over there worthwhile, so we went. The moment we walked in the showroom, I had a bad feeling about the place. The salesman who gave the phone quote was off, so we ended up with a sleazy, slicked-back-hair, condescending [non-permissible content removed] instead! He immediately asked why mom had came to buy a car without her husband (he had already checked the wedding ring, I suppose). Her response, verbatim, “Because I’m the one buying the car, not him!”

    We went for a test drive and he insisted that I sit in the back seat so he could demonstrate all the controls and features up front for her. A few minutes into the test drive, mom gunned it when a traffic light turned green to see how much kick it had off the line. Dude actually scolded her for doing it and said the engine wasn’t broken in and blah, blah….so she floored it and didn’t let off for a good 30 seconds- doing 80mph or so in a 45 zone to show him who was boss in that car!

    Then he actually said “You need to calm down!” to her and patted her knee with his left hand!!! She locked it down in the middle for four lanes of traffic and went carnival-freak crazy on him screaming for him to get out! Doing what any protective son would do in the situation (and being 19, hot-heated, and 6’2” 230#), I jumped out, opened the passenger door and pulled him out of the car and threw him onto the ground (or road surface, to be particular). I got back in the car and she took off like a bat out of hell going back to the dealership (leaving him a few miles away). She skidded across the lawn of the dealership and almost created a drive-thru right in the front of the showroom! She left the door open, engine running and tore off to find the sales manager…and I went to the receptionist desk and called 911!

    We didn’t wait for the cops, but I didn’t want them to come after us because they reported us for assaulting the salesman and trying to steal the car or some similar nonsense. We never heard another word about….but I learned that it’s best to pre-screen dealerships and select a suitable salesperson (I usually try to find a female or gay male salesperson if possible before some ‘go-getter’ nabs me instead)!

    It would be a far worse fate for a sleazy perv if it they pulled that crap on her today. Now there’s always a loaded firearm in that big ol’ Coach purse she lugs around….

    I couldn’t make this [non-permissible content removed] up if I tried!
  • qbrozenqbrozen Posts: 16,897
    It would be a far worse fate for a sleazy perv if it they pulled that crap on her today. Now there’s always a loaded firearm in that big ol’ Coach purse she lugs around….

    ummm... with that temper, I'm not sure that's such a good idea. :surprise:

    '13 Stang GT; '86 Benz 300E; '98 Volvo S70; '12 Leaf; '08 Town&Country

  • i'm shooting for around 16k for a civic lx 2012 and shooting for prius c two for 19k. the difference i feel like would take about 4 years of driving to make up. i liked how the civic handled. the prius handles ok, but obviously the pick up isn't as nice as the civic.

    i've never bought a car before, but i'm emergently having to because my old 92 camry died on me (it was at 230k+ and strong! for awhile...)

    anyone able to share more insight?
  • graphicguygraphicguy SW OhioPosts: 6,898
    Civic and Prius are sort of different cars, although about the same size.

    If you prize MPG above everything else, then the Prius is the way to go.

    If you want more of a traditional driving vehicle, with slightly less fuel efficiency, the Civic will serve you well, and for a very long time.

    That said, I've only been in a Prius once. Like you, I found it painfully slow, and not very comfortable.
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