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Help Me Choose!



  • backybacky Twin CitiesPosts: 18,624
    edited May 2013
    Why not get a new or 1 year old slightly smaller version: elantra, civic, or corolla? Is there a reason you need a midsize car?

    That's not a question for me, but for the OP. The OP asked about 3 large-ish cars. Actually, the Avalon is a full-sized car, and by interior volume I am pretty sure the Accord and Sonata are also. So a big difference there compared to something like the Corolla and Civic, with their relatively small interiors, and even the Elantra, which at least has a mid-sized interior.

    I suppose you could ask the OP, what about a Smart car or Fiat 500 too... really easy to park! ;)
  • biker4biker4 Posts: 746
    I second the recommendation to stick it out with public transport until you know where and what you will be doing. This is not the time to make a large purchase.
  • suydamsuydam Posts: 882
    Sorry, I didn't have the thread right. I WAS asking the OP, so I thought! I also thought about the new Accord LX, but maybe that's more than he/she can spend.
  • thegraduatethegraduate Posts: 9,731
    If you want the most reliable used brand that would be Toyota! No question.

    While Toyota is good, it isn't the only good option out there.
  • sparklandsparkland Posts: 108
    I would stay away from the 2008 Accord XLE because as mentioned it was the first production year for that particular style. We owned one and the road noise was horrendous. Also the headlights flicker and dim when driving down the road with the 4-cyl. which is a very annoying issue and there is no fix.

    The Avalon will be a more luxurious car and ride like a lot smoother than the others. If you want sportier driving the Sonata SE is the obvious choice.

    You should drive each one on the highway to get a better feel for what you would be getting. Also check out the dashboard lighting in the night--some people do not like certain colors.

    Happy shopping!!
  • thegraduatethegraduate Posts: 9,731
    I would stay away from the 2008 Accord XLE because as mentioned it was the first production year for that particular style. We owned one and the road noise was horrendous

    I'm assuming you mean EX-L? I would tend to agree about the first year of production for any vehicle; give them time to work out the bugs. However, drive one yourself and judge road noise. It's all relative. Hondas are not the quietest cars in the class, but they certainly aren't tractors rolling down the road. Trust me, I put 235,000 miles on a '96 Accord and 65,000 on a 2006. However, my 2009 Sonata V6 is the quietest car I've had, for what its worth.

    Drive one, don't trust me or another random internet poster. Come to your own conclusions - you may love the Accord; they drive beautifully. :)
  • speedrazorspeedrazor Posts: 5
    I am planning to buy a new small size car under $20K. My driving needs are
    - I drive around 2000 miles per month (mainly highway)
    - I need good MPG (around 35+)
    - Reliable (no frequent breakdowns and repairs)
    - Low maintenance/repair

    So far my options are
    Mazda 3 iTouring
    Nissan Sentra SR or FE+SV
    Honda Civic LX
    Ford Focus SE
    Hyundai Elantra GLS

    All 2013 models

    Which ones of these are worth buying? It would help me a lot if you can explain the reasoning behind your suggestions.

  • suydamsuydam Posts: 882
    All of them except the Focus are extremely reliable and they all get good fuel economy. I think the main issue is that you drive 2000 miles per month. Which ones best fit your driving style? How comfortable are they and are the features easy for you to use? Have you driven them yet? What matters most to you in terms of features? It's very subjective. For example, I love the audio interface on my new Accord but some people hate it. Do you like a more sporty or more cushy driving experience? Do you find the seats comfortable? Is road noise a factor? After you get some initial driving impressions it will be easier to comment on specific vehicles.
  • speedrazorspeedrazor Posts: 5
    I have not test driven any but I am planning to do so very soon. However, I was hoping to get some feedback from current owners of these models to share what they like and what they don't. Like you said you like the audio panel of you Accord.

    My most critical points are price, mpg, and low maintenance. Those would be deal breakers. Since this car will be mainly getting me from point A to B, I am not too hard on features. Eg. Having a navigation is not at all a factor.

    Good audio system, keyless remote (not remote start), quiet ride, smooth driving, and slightly sporty is all I care. Eg. from what I read about Sentra, it's a good car, spacious, but a bit bland. Mazda3 has a good balance of looking sporty plus giving you smooth ride.

    I hope this gives some more insight.

    Thanks for sharing your views, suydam.
  • backybacky Twin CitiesPosts: 18,624
    Since you'll be driving these for long periods of time on the highway, you need a comfortable highway cruiser with a smooth ride, relatively quiet, good seats, and of course excellent highway fuel economy. So I recommend you take each of these on as long a test drive as you can, on the type of highway you frequent. Some of them are available as rentals, e.g. Focus and Elantra, maybe the Sentra, Civic, and Mazda3. I just took an Elantra GLS on a "3 day test drive" on a 500 mile trip (rental) so I could get a good idea how it would fare in such conditions. It did quite well in all respects, although there was a certain boominess when it hit sharp bumps that would be tiresome if you have to drive on lumpy highways a lot.

    There was just a small-car review in the June Motor Trend you might want to check out. It included the Mazda3i, Sentra, and Civic but also the Dart and brand-new Forte. And... the Forte came out on top. So you might want to take a look at it. It's based loosely on the Elantra but the EX trim has a more powerful engine with little FE penalty, and I think looks-wise it's a stunner. A well-equipped LX automatic would come in under your $20k limit, an EX just over before discounting.
  • qbrozenqbrozen Posts: 16,895
    Why do you say the Focus is not reliable?

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

  • suydamsuydam Posts: 882
    Just going by overall Consumer Reports ratings. But I didn't mean "unreliable"' just not as extremely reliable as the others. And that was a concern for the poster.
  • qbrozenqbrozen Posts: 16,895
    ok. Understood.

    I would, however, like to point out that per US News, the Focus ranks the same as mazda3 and Honda Fit, and higher than Elantra. The Civic does score a little better.

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

  • backybacky Twin CitiesPosts: 18,624
    The US News ratings are based on the JD Power VDS, which rates 3-year old cars. Thus none of the cars the OP is looking at are included in the VDS yet. The Mazda3i is sort of (2010), but has a new powertrain since then. The alternative is the JD Power Predicted Reliability rating. I'll take CR's over that any day. But given all of these cars except the Mazda3 are new since the 2011 MY, there's not a lot to go on for predicted reliability except the automaker's track record. I'd say Honda has the edge there, of these cars, but then you'd have to put up with the Civic, which is no longer at the top of this class as it once was.
  • sandman_6472sandman_6472 Coral Springs, FLPosts: 2,578
    I drive these for a living now and I personally would not get the Focus, or Fiesta, for that matter...there are better vehicles out there like the Mazda3 or the Sentra. Hate the auto tranny on these Ford products and the styling, inside and out, is a bit dull. The new Forte is probably going to sell very well and I have seen a couple down here. The Civic is o k, a bit bland looking but reliable and "cheap to keep". Personally, I'd buy the Elantra right now, hands down. It does everything well and looks pretty cool...that's the vehicle I'd buy right now if in the market. Think my '06 Civic looks better than the new one actually.
    Go rent them all and see which "fits", then you'll really know!

    The Sandman :) :sick: :shades:

    2014 Hyundai Tuscon SE/2005 Mazda 3s/2008 Hyundai Accent GLS/2009 Nissan Versa SL hatch

  • suydamsuydam Posts: 882
    I think reliable, good mpg, and "cheap to keep" is what the poster is looking for. That would be the Civic, although new Mazda may beat it in fuel economy.
  • sebring95sebring95 Posts: 3,225
    I was going to mention the Focus transmission. I know a few people with these and they dislike the automatic and do not get the mileage they expected. One guy I know has one as a company vehicle and his previous was a '12 Impala which he said got better mpg than the '13 Focus!
  • suydamsuydam Posts: 882
    Focus seems to be consistently rated well for mpg. Actually, though, looking at Consumer Reports data, the Mazda 3 has fared the best of the group in both reliability and now mpg with the new engine.
  • biker4biker4 Posts: 746
    edited June 2013
    You will have to get a used one to get under your $20K limit but the best option for fuel economy will be a VW Jetta or Golf TDI. It is a good hwy cruiser and handles well. Those diesels are good for 200K+ miles and sounds like a good fit for you.
  • biker4biker4 Posts: 746
    In the same vein, a used Prius will get you the mileage and reliability you seek.
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