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Help Me Choose!



  • sebring95sebring95 Posts: 3,231
    Finding something without a center console is the trick. That's getting to be almost impossible in the sedan world....the only new vehicle I can think of is the Impala. It is still available with a front bench seat on certain models....and might not be a bad option for him. They're not the greatest vehicles by a long shot...but if used as intended they can be decent. I had a rental not long ago and outside of the sloppy handling it was fairly comfortable, good power, and impressive mpg. It's not something I would pick on its own...but if I needed a comfortable sedan and had a knee might be at the top of the list.
  • igozoomzoomigozoomzoom Waleska, GeorgiaPosts: 790
    I had a spinal fusion when I was 30 and they had to saw into my right hip to get 'bone material' for the procedure. It was either that or cadaver bone and the success rate was much lower if I used the stuff from a corpse. The surgeon told me that I would have periodic pain in my hip for the rest of my life, but I didn't give it another thought. I was far more concerned about him cutting my throat, retracting my esophagus, removing the damaged discs in my cervical spine and inserting the hip bone material and protein powder in place of the two damaged discs! The he capped it off by putting titanium plates over it all and securing them with two screws in each of the three stuff! Long story short, I'm 38 now and my right hip hurts like a SOB quite often, especially in the car! I'm 6'2" and the center console in my Mazda3 is rather confining, especially on longer drives! So I can only imagine what it's like for your dad...

    The choices are very few, unfortunately.

    As mentioned, the 2013 Impala LS and LT are available with a 40/20/40 bench seat as an option for $195. It isn't available with the Sunroof or LT Luxury Package, so that means no Leather and no power adjustments for the driver's seat. Also, the 2014 Impala is a new design, so the 2013 will soon be gone!

    That is really the only sedan without a center console. I know you said an SUV no longer met his needs, but what about a minivan? The Honda Odyssey and Toyota Sienna both have high dash-mounted shifters that allows a break between the center console and the dash. It would allow a lot of extra right leg room!

    One other oddball that I'll include for the sake of being thorough is the Nissan Cube. I certainly don't like it and I doubt a former Tahoe owner would be interested, but it has a very low center console (near the floor) so it's well below the lever the front seats. I believe it originally came with a column shifter, but I could be wrong.

    Personally, I'd buy an Odyssey EX or EX-L...but I hope you find something that will work for him! =)
  • plektoplekto Posts: 3,733
    The 2011 Buick Lucerne and Cadillac DTS could be had with bench seats up front. They are much, much better cars than the Impala. Since you'd be looking at CPO cars, I doubt if you'd even spend close to $30K, let alone $40K.
  • sebring95sebring95 Posts: 3,231
    Obviously if you start talking used there are are a few more options with bench seats. I would not say the Lucerne is "much, much better" than a '12 Impala. The powertrain difference alone would keep me in the more basic Impala. The Lucerne is very similar overall but has a few extra gizmos. Pass.

    DTS is a nicer car if you can live with the performance to economy ratio being far less than many others. It's a shame the only options are antiques!!

    I would be curious why a "sedan" is the only option. There are a couple cross-over type vehicles that might mentioned the Soul. I'm thinking the CRV also has a lot more room up front.
  • plektoplekto Posts: 3,733
    edited March 2013
    I'd say that the Impala is a significant step down from the Lucerne or DTS. The V8 in both is a great combination with the transmission. The seats are much better, and there are a lot of extras added if you get the better trim models.

    Most of all, though, is that the Lucerne CXS and DTS with the performance trim has the same electronic suspension as a Corvette, the Audi R8, and the Ferrari 599. The electromagnetic suspension on it is a drastic step up and makes it handle better than a typical GM car half it's size. It frankly drives as nicely as a S Class. The new Range Rover Evoke uses it as well. And of course, most of the Cadillac line.

    And that's a world better than any Impala. Shockingly so in actual driving. It's a shame that GM isn't marketing it more aggressively or including it in all of their vehicles. These cars may be "antiques" in your mind, but the reality is that it's the Impala that's still using 1980s technology underneath that shiny exterior.

    Lastly, a typical CPO DTS or Lucerne will have hardly any miles on it. It's not hard to find CPO models with 20K or less on them. That's really not even worth worrying about when there's 10K or more in savings on the table.
  • sebring95sebring95 Posts: 3,231
    Last gen V8 with a 4-speed auto....ok I'll give you 90's tech. Impala has more HP from 3.6L and 6-speed auto...never mind much better fuel mileage.

    And the bench seat isn't available in the CXS or Platinum you're stuck with lower end models.....a very mediocre V6/4-speed combo on the Buick or plain jane lousy handling with the Caddy.

    If you're stuck buying a mediocre car, you might as well buy the cheaper of them!
  • plektoplekto Posts: 3,733
    I think the DTS with the performance option could be had with a bench seat. I'm not exactly sure about it, though. As for the engines, the Impala might make more hp at screaming high RPMs that would require you to literally be driving around town at 60mph in 2nd gear to achieve due to the mile-high gearing, but the V8s offer far more torque down low and as a result get in and out of traffic a lot better.

    I'd say the DTS has a better interior by far, though, even in the base trim. As a bonus, the DTS has a terrible depreciation. It's closer to $30K for a 2011 model and that's great news for the original poster. $50K new and close to half that in three years. Problem solved and it's actually less than a new Impala. ($30K starting price, plus options?)

    Add in lower initial registration and insurance as it's not "new", and you're looking at getting a Cadillac for Chevy prices. I'd call that an acceptable solution. But it's literally about the only one.

    The comment about a crossover or small SUV (why only a sedan) does seem appropriate, though. A few small SUVs and crossovers have an open floorplan. Trucks do as well, as a rule, but most get terrible MPG (15 even on a good day as a rule). The Chevy Colorado gets car like mpg and has an open center console area, though. The Tacoma also does. Both drive a lot like cars now that they have gone to unibody construction.
  • skyl1skyl1 Posts: 4
    edited March 2013

    Long time site visitor, first time poster. I'm currently trying to decide between a couple of cars I've had my eye on to replace a 95' Acura that's not going to pass inspection due to rust. I would appreciate any feedback I could get on these three options. Below are the cars and the carfaxs.

    The first is a 2005 Honda Civic EX - 87k miles - $7900
    This seems like my most practical choice and the one I'm leaning towards most.

    The second is a 2009 Honda Civic Hybrid - 147k miles - $10,517
    I don't know too much about the hybrids, but I'd like something with great gas mileage since I'll be using it for my daily commute. I'm just not sure about the high number of miles on this car.

    The third is a brand new 2013 ford focus SE with winter package - $14715

    The ford focus would be great, and I really enjoyed driving the 2012 as a rental over the summer, but it's definitely the priciest of the three options, and would be pretty tight in my budget since it would come to ~$17,500 after titles and fees etc.. plus it's the most expensive as far as insurance goes. My other reservation is I don't know how good it will be after I have it paid off, I don't want to end up servicing a lot later in it's life (after it gets past 100k miles).

    Any help with deciding between these and any insight would be greatly appreciated.

  • backybacky Twin CitiesPosts: 18,681
    First decide how much you really want to spend. Big difference between $9000 and $17,500. Then decide if a high-miles older Civic or a new Focus are the only cars you'd want to buy to replace your Acura. There's a LOT of good cars available for under $17,500... e.g. 2010-11 Civics with low miles, some CPO cars. And 2007-10 Accords with low to middling mileage. Or how about this... 2005 TSX, 74k miles, under $13k + TTL? Those are all in my area; YMMV.
  • plektoplekto Posts: 3,733
    edited March 2013
    You like Civics. That's good. And you like high MPG cars. Great.

    There is a Civic for you that does all of that and averages about 60-70mpg. The trick is that it runs on CNG, which sells for half the price of gasoline, or sometimes a bit less. So the equivalent MPG our of your pocket at the end of the day is about 60-70mpg. When you can get CNG for under $2 a gallon equivalent, and it fills just as fast as a gas pump, it's really an awesome deal for someone who commutes every day.

    You will have to search around to see if there's a filling option in your area (usually at municipal yards, which by law have to allow the public to also fill there, though it's not always the cheapest place). As a bonus, the cars also get carpool access pretty much forever as they are true alternate fuel vehicles.

    The cars also pollute so little that it's hard to actually measure it with a smog test. In some cases, the air is actually cleaner than the local pollution. Also, the cars last forever due to there being virtually no grime when it burns (oil looks like new when changed, almost)

    You can also get a device for about $3000 or so that fills it overnight in your garage. So you become your own gas station and pay about 1/3 of the price of gasoline.

    The downsides are two. One, it has a 200 mile range between fills. And the trunk is 1/3 the normal size as the tank's back there. Used, they run about 10-15K and are right in your price range.
  • suydamsuydam Posts: 923
    Why limit your choices to just three cars? If you like the Civic, why not pay a little more and get a newer CPO model with lower miles? Maybe a 2009 or 2010? Not as much $$ as a new one but you will be spending less on repairs than with an older Civic. Whatever you choose, make sure to have any used car checked out by a mechanic before you buy.
  • plektoplekto Posts: 3,733
    I'd like to add that I have a relative that has a CNG Civic and commutes 40 miles each way every day to work. He puts about 20K a year on it and calculates that he spends about $1300-$1500 a year in fuel. In the 8 years that he's owned it, he figures he's saved well over $10,000 in fuel.

    It drives exactly like a normal Civic, other than having half the range between fills and a much smaller trunk.(about the size of the trunk in a Mini - not useless, just smaller)
  • suydamsuydam Posts: 923
    This is not a practical choice for most people. The poster asked about two specific vehicles that both use gasoline. You made your point. Now move on.
  • Kirstie_HKirstie_H Posts: 10,822
    It sounds like you're leaning toward the 05 Civic because it is easier on your budget, at least initially. Nothing wrong with that, and I chose that option recently myself (used vehicle at a much lower price). However, as others have mentioned, you'll want to have it checked out by a mechanic prior to purchase. While Civics are generally reliable, that can vary greatly depending on how well it was maintained, and you'll want to know going into the purchase whether there are any obvious pending maintenance or repairs that need to be done.

    If the Focus is going to stretch your budget right now, it's probably not worth it. I'd buy used, then sock away as much money as you can to help with a downpayment on a new vehicle in a few years.

    I'd avoid the Civic Hybrid, personally. We've seen lots of reports about issues with the IMA battery on that model, and some owners have experienced a rather drastic reduction in MPG - if that happens, you won't reap the savings on fuel that you would hope to with a hybrid.

    Just on person's opinion!

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  • skyl1skyl1 Posts: 4
    I found one more which looks to be in my price range, and is newer than the 05' yet has fewer miles than the Hybrid.
    2009 Honda Civic LX with 76663 miles
    Here's the Carfax

    I do like the idea of getting something relatively newer so that it won't have as many issues, do you think this might fit the bill?

    Thank you all for your responses so far!
  • Kirstie_HKirstie_H Posts: 10,822
    Well, the EX you linked earlier has an automatic transmission and is a sedan. The LX you linked to has manual transmission and is a coupe.

    The 2009 is obviously going to have some more modern features, like MP3 input and keyless entry. If the manual vs. automatic and coupe vs. sedan difference isn't important to you, then the LX looks like a better deal for you. High miles for its age, but the Carfax shows that it at least had regular maintenance performed.

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  • backybacky Twin CitiesPosts: 18,681
    The MT is the way to go on a Civic, for fun and economy, if you can drive a stick.

    Also the 2009 is safer (standard curtain airbags, better crash worthiness) than the 2005, which was an older generation).
  • I'm in the market for a new vehicle. I have no real preferences other than:
    no convertibles, trucks, SUVs, coupes

    Leaning to mid/full size sedan, crossover, hatchback.

    I was a "lay down" last time I bought, but I'm here to learn.
    I really like cars with convenient tech.
    The Fusion Titanium is a front runner, there's also Accord EX-L w/Navi
    Altima was, but I read about major issues with them. I've considered an Optima as well.

    I believe that I would fit into the "well qualified lessee" category finally, so that option is on the table and it could put me into more car than I've considered.

    Thursday I am going to drive a Fusion and Accord again. Any others I should add to Thursday plan? Plan is to try and negotiate a good price Friday due to EOM.
  • plektoplekto Posts: 3,733
    edited March 2013
    This is not a practical choice for most people. The poster asked about two specific vehicles that both use gasoline.

    I doubt if one person in a hundred even knows that Honda makes the Civic with a CNG option. For long distance highway commuters, it's a very frugal choice provided there is a filling station in your area. As gas prices climb to $5 a gallon this summer, it might be a bit more appealing to people, though.

    The original poster did mention a Civic. If the Civic came with CDI engine as an option (like it does in the U.K.) , I'd have also recommended it.
  • qbrozenqbrozen Posts: 17,147
    As gas prices climb to $5 a gallon this summer

    Oh good grief. Do we need to help spread this rumor every year? :sick:

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

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