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Help Me Choose!



  • backybacky Twin CitiesPosts: 18,682
    The OP specifically said "new" otherwise I would have mentioned cars like the Golf/Jetta TDI that get excellent highway FE. But as you noted, it's above the stated price point.
  • qbrozenqbrozen Posts: 17,150
    But given all of these cars except the Mazda3 are new since the 2011 MY

    I agree, which is why I wouldn't have labeled any of them "unreliable" at this point.

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

  • nvbankernvbanker Posts: 7,285
    I love Honda design, style, ergonomics. The Civic and Accord both are very comfortable for me and nice drivers.

    My 3 complaints are pretty indemic to the entire Honda line - 1) They are noisy at highway speed. Mostly in the the rear, and from the tire noise, which is transmitted up through the rear suspension. In the back seat, you can't converse comfortably, it's so noisy at 70mph. The Odyssey is the worst, because there is yet a 3rd seat.

    2) The Air Conditioning is insufficient, noticeable in the southwest now. Compared to a Toyota or Ford and some GM cars, (but not all), it will not keep you cool on a hot sunny day. That's a deal breaker for me. It's mostly the lack of volume rather than temperature.

    3) It's a little issue, but the Hondas steer a little too stiffly for my pleasure. Magazines love it, but I like a responsive (which it is), but easy steer.

    The Noise and A/C keep me from buying one or recommending one, despite their superior looks and cabin design.
    And, of course, you can't dispute their bullet-proof reliability.

    My choice therefore? Toyota Camry, Ford Fusion or Mazda 3, Hyundai Elantra.
  • Very good feedback so far.. From the messages I think most of you recommended Mazda3 i Touring, Elantra, or Civic.

    I have noticed the same issues with Civic as nvbanker mentioned. I have ridden older Civics owned by couple of my friends and my wife has Accord, but it's reliability ranks very high.

    I got feedback from a co-worker who owns older Mazda3 (probably 2-3 yrs). She had good review, except it doesn't do very good in snow. However, I don't think any of the small cars will do any better.

    Focus is a bit pricier compared to others and it's base model is not that fun. Edmunds' True Cost To Own is highest for Focus.
  • igozoomzoomigozoomzoom Waleska, GeorgiaPosts: 790
    "The Air Conditioning is insufficient, noticeable in the southwest now. Compared to a Toyota or Ford and some GM cars, (but not all), it will not keep you cool on a hot sunny day. That's a deal breaker for me."

    I was a hardcore Honda fan from the day I got my license and owned seven Honda/Acura vehicles in the following 20 years and never dreamed of buying anything else...until I saw and drove the 2006 Civic...and I was devastated because I hated it so much that I had no choice to consider alternatives.

    The Volvo dealer had a leftover 2005 S40 they were trying to get rid of and it was discounted by $7000+ off sticker. It was white with beige cloth and didn't have a single option, which explains why it was glued to the sales floor. I was very close to signing on the dotted line when I learned that the 2004.5 Volvo S40, 2004 Mazda3 and Euro Ford Focus were built on the same platform. Engineers from all three companies developed the cars together, so it piqued my curiosity about this little Mazda with a mono-numeral name!

    The moment I saw the 2006 Mazda3 s 5-door, I knew it would be my next car...and I still have it 7.5years later! Of course, I spent weeks researching the Mazda before I was comfortable taking one home. The most impressive thing was the sheer lack of complaints I found. But one issue that was mentioned more than anything else was the poor A/C performance in the Mazda3. I consider cold A/C to be an absolute necessity on any car I own. It can easily top 100 degrees in summer here in Atlanta and, as an insurance agent, I find that soliciting new business wearing a shirt soaked with sweat isn't a winning combo.

    My MZ3 is Titanium Gray with Black cloth interior. I bought it in 12/2005 and when things got really hot in July/August of 2006, it took 15-20 minutes for the A/C to cool the interior and on the hottest days, the air from the vents was between kinda cool and lukewarm. I changed jobs in late 2006 and the buildinng had covered garage parking. At my previous job, I parked in the middle of an open parking lot, not a hint of shade in any direction and fully exposed to sun all day. I quickly discovered that my A/C always performed adequately if the car hadn't been parked out in the open all day.

    I finally realized the true source of the A/C problem. Over 80% of 2004-2006 Mazda3 sedans and hatchbacks had BLACK interior! On a 98 degree summer day, I checked the temp inside the car after sitting all day and it was over 120 degrees inside!!! The next day, I parked in my garage and it was 97 degrees outside. My car was a tolerable 83 degrees without the sun baking it all day....

    Mazda still beefed up the A/C system a few months into production of the 2006 models to compensate, but I simply chose better places to park and never had another A/C complaint!
  • suydamsuydam Posts: 924
    Pretty much all compacts are noisier than midsize. I think that's a matter of driver preference as to which ones bug you the least. It's not like any of them will be whisper quiet. I never had any AC problems with any car EXCEPT the ones with black interior, so I try and avoid them. I really like steering on the Honda and Mazda, haven't driven an Elantra. Just my 2 cents. Let us know what you decide.
  • I loved your story. I am leaning towards Mazda 3. Thanks for your tip on black interior. I will make sure I avoid it because I have to park in open parking space.
  • benjaminhbenjaminh Posts: 1,680
    nvbanker: Have you done a test drive in the new 2013 Accord or new 2013 Civic?

    You're right that before this model year Hondas have been noisy. But amazingly, 20 years of complaints about this finally got through to Honda.

    Result: the 2013 Accord and Civic are much quieter.

    My 2013 Accord is much quieter than my 2008 Accord.
  • nvbankernvbanker Posts: 7,285
    Have you done a test drive in the new 2013 Accord or new 2013 Civic?

    I have not - and truly hope you are correct. Now, please tell me they learned how to make an A/C blow, and I'll put it back on my list.
  • imidazol97imidazol97 Crossroads of America: I70 & I75Posts: 18,048
    >But amazingly, 20 years of complaints about this finally got through to Honda.

    Gee, only took 20 years.
  • nvbankernvbanker Posts: 7,285
    I agree, a black interior is a bigger challenge to cool, and tinted windows helps as well. Personally, I won't buy an all black interior for that - and other reasons (can't see inside them well).

    Having said that: I have extensive real-world 115 degree Las Vegas experience with virtually all makes and models available today. There are few Fords with weak air (Town Car and Fusion are 2), no Toyotas that I have ever found without excellent A/C, and I haven't found a Honda yet with stellar air. One shouldn't have to park in the shade to be cool. A good system should recover reasonable soon regardless. A Ford Explorer will blow Ice Cubes out anytime, if fully charged, as will any Toyota.

    Lots of diversity of opinion exists in this topic, because, unlike me, most people have limited experience with multiple cars and makes, unless they rent a lot. A lot also just aren't used to a system that is extraordinary, and think marginal is as good as it gets on a really hot day.

    Ok, I have beat this to death. Just saying, IMO, if you live below the snow belt, check out the air for volume and chill before you buy, black inside or not.

    (am I the only one who has noticed that since about....oh....2000, the ONLY interior colors offered are various stages of Black to Gray, and Beige? What happened to the old Blue, Red & Green interiors???)
  • suydamsuydam Posts: 924
    >what happened to Blue, Red, and Green interiors?>
    They died the hideous deaths they deserved? ;)
    I remember my sons '88 red velour interior on a LeSabre. Wow, that was horrible.
  • I have narrowed my choices to Prius C 2, Mazda 3 i Touring, or Elantra..

    I'll be test driving soon :)
  • Kirstie_HKirstie_H Posts: 10,824
    edited June 2013
    They staged a walkout at the same time as sculptured carpet and olive green & gold refrigerators, and in the interest of good taste, no one apologized and invited them back. :)

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

  • igozoomzoomigozoomzoom Waleska, GeorgiaPosts: 790
    Actually, Harvest Gold and Avacado Green (thank God) went out of fashion by the late 70s. They were replaced by 'Country Blue', Seafoam Green, Peach and Mauve. (Excuse me for a moment until I stop dry heaving)

    My mom's '86 Cutlass Supreme was a great looking car for the day. It was Medium (Battleship) Gray, no vinyl top, chrome rallye wheels similar to the ones on the 442 and raised white letter tires. Then you opened the door and everything was blood red- it was awful.

    But Honda had an interior color they called "Red-Brown" that actually looked nice. It was used in the late 80s Accord LXi and some '90-'93 Accord LX/EX models. I also had a '92 Accord EX that was Frost White with Blue looked like a smurf had exploded inside the car, but I actually got used to it.

    Now it's just Black, Gray and Beige or some variation of those on the vast majority of cars. I currently have Black interior and won't even make that mistake again. I live in Atlanta, on summer days when it hits 95 degrees outside, my car is over 120 after sitting parked for a few hours. NOT fun!
  • Hey pals, I am currently debating between getting a 2003 Honda Civic Hybrid from a private party or a 2008 Prius from a dealer. Here are the stats:

    2003 Civic:
    Private Party
    127,000 miles
    Brand new IMA battery (saw the receipt for it, just replaced last week)
    Warranty has expired
    I inspected the car myself, tires looked near-new, car was very clean, no discernible rust. Everything looked fine under the hood, but I don't know much about cars so I'd need to have a mechanic look at it.

    2008 Prius:
    Certified honda dealership
    105,000 miles
    Original battery
    Five more years/45,000 miles left on warranty
    Car was incredibly clean, looked near-new. Bitchin red paint

    So obviously the Honda Civic is only worth the price because it has a new battery, but will that battery last a long time? I believe the battery that just crapped out was the original so that's ten years, but will the rest of the car even last that long? With the Prius I will be paying a lot more monthly, but I have more peace of mind and I don't have to waste money having a mechanic look at it. I'm gonna be taking out a loan to pay for most of either one, so is the Prius worth the bigger payments/longer loan term? Thanks guys!
  • evolk1evolk1 Posts: 11
    First, let me say ahead of time, thank you for all input

    I've driven a '97 Ford Crown Vic for the last 8 years and it's been great. But it's got maybe a couple weeks left as the rust has made it borderline dangerous. I'm big (6'2", 250lbs), so getting in and out of a Camry, or similar is really a hassle. Here are my questions:

    -Domestic or Foreign? I call on all sorts of people at their people, rural having a foreign car that offensive to some people anymore?

    -I can't afford new.

    -Is Enterprise Car Sales a good source to buy from?

    -For some reason, I've always had, since riding in my friends 2002 Avalon, an infatuation / jealousy of a Toyota Avalon. Roomy, pretty good mileage, etc.,....

    -How are they for reliability?

    -Also test drove for a day, a Chrysler 300 C back in 1994, BEFORE they were released, and absolutely love that car. We've also rented from Enterprise Chrysler Town & Country vans for our Spring Break trips to Florida from here in Indiana...and loved them...but was that most likely because they were all too 'new' and didn't have enough miles on them to show the flaws?

    -I can spend $3,000-$12,000 or so, maybe up to $15,000. However, I don't have good credit (just about 10 pts below 'average' on the FICO score, but our $150,000 house is paid off,s o I guess I could tap into that with a HELOC)...I've never had to purchase a car...always had company cars or bought the CV from family....for $3,000 (his book value) versus the blue book value at the time of $11,800 awesome deal.

    -Even though I'm experienced with investments, and even worked for a fleet leasing company for a year as a salesman, I'm intimidated by going to my credit union or local independent car leasing company in the neighborhood.

    -Finally, lease or own? As it is used for work, I think leasing is the best option, and if I do a lease, I'd like to keep payments reasonable. However, I am in a commission only business, so the income flow can be feast or famine.

    I know, a LOT to digest here...which is why I'm overwhelmed I think. My CV is completely rusted out on the underside, so much so that my mechanic told me he HOPES the car makes it to the end of the month before the front end collapses and would really rather I not drive it at all, but certainly not on the interstate. My rule right now is to do as much of the sales call on the phone as possible, and only drive the CV to go out to get signatures on revenue generating. I sell health insurance, life insurance, investment management, etc.,....

    -Thanks ahead of time for all input. Help!
  • suydamsuydam Posts: 924
    Where to start. First off, of the repairs likely needed for an older car, a battery is the least of your concerns. There are so many much more expensive parts that will need replacing, like, for example, Tires, struts, and coils. Second, $6200 seems excessive for a Civic with that age and mileage. Check used car pricing for your area on Edmunds and Kbb. Finally, have ANY vehicle, even a certified one, checked out by an independent mechanic first. These are both very reliable cars but you should still get them checked. We bought a certified car awhile back that needed new tires. Not bald, so passed the inspection, but definitely worn.

    You don't say the price they are asking for the Prius. That could be a good bet because it will definitely be great on fuel economy. But check out its typical used prices too. Did you drive both of them? I imagine the Prius will not sit on the lot very long.
  • suydamsuydam Posts: 924
    What about an older large Buick, LeSabre or Lucerne? You're used to a Crown Vic, you will fit in them, they are cheap and cheap to repair. Generally reliable too.
  • sebring95sebring95 Posts: 3,231
    edited June 2013
    -Foreign vs domestic really depends on location. Most any metro area nobody will ever say a word. Out in the boonies, particularly midwest....someone might hold it against you. I used to do a lot of consulting work for companies that were GM suppliers...and I always had a GM vehicle available for when calling on them. It was just common courtesy in my book for clients that made up a big part of my income at the time.

    -Avalon is a pretty good car. Drives as good/better than a CV and very reliable.

    -If an Avalon is a reliable car...a 300C is very close to the opposite. I see the attraction (big, rwd, comfortable) but I'd take another CV before a 300C if I was going to be piling the miles on.

    -Reliable transportation you can keep for awhile...I think you can get into something decent for $12k-$15k. I wouldn't go much under $10k and expect much.

    -Leasing is rarely a good financial decision EVEN if you can deduct the payments. I can make the numbers work on a $40k vehicle where you invest the cash savings....but otherwise it rarely works out to your advantage. You can buy a $1,000 car and write-off $0.56/mile for tax purposes....and that generally is the way to go on sub $25k vehicles.

    Most of the newer Camrys are also pretty roomy...they've gotten bigger and bigger. I had to spend some time in a Lincoln Towncar recently and I wasn't really impressed with the front seat comfort. I'm about 6'2" as well but not as horizontally challenged. I find most any SUV to be far more comfortable than a sedan. Also check out 2010+ Taurus.
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