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Help Me Choose!

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  • thegraduatethegraduate Posts: 9,731
    Where to start. First off, of the repairs likely needed for an older car, a battery is the least of your concerns.

    Not on a Hybrid, where battery packs can cost thousands of dollars.
  • thegraduatethegraduate Posts: 9,731
    I find most any SUV to be far more comfortable than a sedan. Also check out 2010+ Taurus.

    I'd personally look at a 2008-2009 Taurus or Sable. You can get them CHEAP (since they are the old body style), but actually they have more room and the same powertrain than the 2010 Taurus. Most have Sync hands-free, etc.

    This car has, by far, the biggest interior of any sedan I've ever been in. You should be able to score a very well-equipped Taurus with under 50,000 miles for $11k-13k depending on equipment. For the record, I'm a big guy (6'5" 210) and like the car as well. The only thing I'd count against it is the lack of a telescoping wheel on the 2008 model my parents have.
  • Kirstie_HKirstie_H Posts: 10,810
    Also, probably worth checking our Civic Hybrid IMA Battery Problems discussion. IIRC, replacing the IMA battery has caused fuel consumption issues for some owners. Not sure, as i'm going off memory, but worth checking out.

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  • Kirstie_HKirstie_H Posts: 10,810
    I also had a '92 Accord EX that was Frost White with Blue interior....it looked like a smurf had exploded inside the car,

    Made me giggle out loud. :)
    Couldn't remember the exact timing of in-/out-of-fashion colors... my youth is a blur of harvest gold, olive green, peach, and teal-is-the-new-black.

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  • suydamsuydam Posts: 923
    True, but the Prius battery has a great record. I didn't know Hondas made hybrids that far back!
  • evolk1evolk1 Posts: 11
    ...or was that just a crossover from the previous Taurus to the new Taurus?
  • thegraduatethegraduate Posts: 9,731
    Their first hybrid was the Insight, in the late 1990s. They debuted a Civic Hybrid in 2003.

    Battery replacement isn't about whether or not it's faulty, it's about the wear. Just like your cell phone battery eventually won't hold a charge for as long as it once did, hybrid battery packs also deteriorate over time.
  • thegraduatethegraduate Posts: 9,731
    edited June 2013
    See my post (3327) about it. Good cars, decent tech, plenty roomy. Better mileage than a midsize SUV as well. The Taurus involve a good bit more than a name change, although the look wasn't drastically different. They upgraded the engine to the same basic 3.5L still used in the Taurus, a big change from the 3.0L offered in the 500 (60 more horsepower). The Taurus also offered Sync, and improved interior trim.
  • sebring95sebring95 Posts: 3,231
    The 500 and the '08/'09 Taurus are similar (pretty sure) the same. Just a name change. The '10 is a totally different vehicle and much improved in my book, but I'm sure the 500/Taurus are quite a bit cheaper.
  • suydamsuydam Posts: 923
    True, but one has been replaced and the Prius is only 5 years old. They have an excellent long-term record. My point was that the battery isn't the only thing to look at in a used car, even a hybrid.
  • Kirstie_HKirstie_H Posts: 10,810
    A reporter would like to speak to a car buyer who refused to buy a vehicle because premium fuel was required/recommended by the manufacturer. If you did not purchase a car after discovering premium fuel was required/recommended, and instead purchased a car that requires regular fuel, send your daytime contact information to pr@edmunds.com by Friday, June 14, 2013 at 10 a.m. PT/1 p.m. ET.

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  • backybacky Twin CitiesPosts: 18,681
    edited June 2013
    I just went through the process of choosing a new car (i.e. a used car that's new for me). I thought I'd post some tips from what I learned.

    The last time I actively shopped for a car was April 2010. Then, I was aiming to lease a good new car for as little per month and out of pocket as I could. And after scouring ads for several days, sending emails and making phone calls, and doing some hard negotiating, I found what I thought was a good deal: $179/month with only first payment up front for a 2010 Sentra 2.0S.

    Now that car is nearly off lease, and I will buy it out and let my daughter use it through college (it's only $11k; where else can you find a pristine 2010 Sentra with only 26k miles for $11k?). So I needed a car for me. I was going to get a new car, a small hatch like a Mazda3i or Focus SE or Elantra GT, but then I needed to replace the roof on my house. :-( So I reset my sights on a good, inexpensive used car.

    What I wanted was something for no more than about $7k before TT&L, a smallish hatchback with a stick, fun to drive, good fuel economy, power package, cruise, remote entry, and ABS. Then I checked with my bank, and in order to get their 2.75% financing for up to 5 years, I needed to get a 2003+ MY with less than 150k miles.

    With those parameters in mind, I started my search, focusing on cars like the Elantra GT/GLS hatch and Mazda3 hatch. I soon discovered that I'd need to broaden my search, as there were few of those cars available, let alone that met my criteria. So my new focus group was: 2003-7 Accord, 2003+ Civic (EX for 2003-5 for the ABS), 2003+ Elantra, 2006 Accent (ABS standard), 2004+ Mazda3, 2003+ Mazda6. (Note: please do not reply with "You should have also looked at Car-X and SUV-Y"; I like what I like. You need to choose something YOU will like.)

    Then I spent several frustrating but enlightening days searching for cars, on Saturdays and weekdays "in my spare time". A few things I learned:

    * There are very few really good, inexpensive cars out there. By "good", I mean something worth a dealer's retail price (I decided to shop only from dealers, although I did check out some private party ads--didn't see anything to make me take a look.)
    * Those few really good, inexpensive cars get sold VERY quickly. How quickly? Several times I saw a "new" online ad for a car; I immediately contacted the dealer via IM chat or phone--and the car was already sold or had a pending contract. So you have to act quickly if you see a car you like.
    * The market is so strong, some dealers think they can publish an ad the moment they get the car in trade. Meaning it hasn't been cleaned up, detailed, fixed etc. So you go to drive the car, and it's dirty, beat up (at full retail price for "Excellent" condition!), stuff doesn't work or rattles around (e.g. bad front suspension on a Mazda3 that otherwise was a nice car). Some dealers, however, take care to properly prep a car and fix it up before offering it for sale. I was lucky to find a car at one of those dealers.
    * Be ready to stretch your criteria. I had to stretch mine quite a bit... started considering non-hatchbacks, automatics, more than 150k miles, etc.
    * Build a relationship with your lender and they'll help you. I've done business with the bank where I got financing for my car for several years--saving account, several car loans. They know me, and know I'm a dependable customer. So when I found a car outside their underwriting guidelines, they still gave me the preferred interest rate anyway.

    So, after many days of frustration, I decided late Monday afternoon to check the online ads one more time... even though I had already done it a couple hours before. I saw a new ad, for a 2005 Mazda6i Sport hatchback, no photos (ad was really new), 159k miles, automatic, for $4,880. I figured, how great could this car be for less than $5k, but it was for a car I really liked, the rare Mazda6i Sport hatch, and it had ABS, 6 airbags, etc. So I immediately called the dealer and talked to a sales rep. Yes, the car was still there; it was still being detailed but otherwise ready to go. Could I come by in an hour (after dinner) and drive it? Sure. So I ran over there (Infiniti dealership a few miles away) and was introduced to one of the sharpest 2005-anything I've ever seen. Almost perfect inside and out ("traded by a lady" I was told). Biggest flaw was a hole in the floor mat under the gas pedal (high heels?). Took it for a drive. Drove great, especially for a car with 159k miles. Dealer had given the car a complete check-out (I saw the report) and put in new brakes, oil change, replaced a few bulbs, new Infiniti wipers etc. No leaks. Fresh 17" Michelins. Saw the Carfax, which indicated regular maintenance at local dealerships. Rest of Carfax was clean.

    I really wanted this car!

    Sat down with the sales guy to negotiate. Showed him the Black Book price (a little under their asking price, but Black Book was for "Clean"--this was more than "Clean" and I knew it). After a bit the sales rep interrupted me, politely, and said, "This car is only $4900. That's the price. If you want to buy one of those $60,000 Infinitis, I'll be glad to haggle with you". OK. I knew it was a good price. :blush:

    Left my deposit (on CC), next morning went to my bank to arrange financing, got a check for all but a few hundred $ of the total at 2.75% for 4 years, and went back to the dealership to pick up the car. Sales rep said it would be a few minutes, they were still prepping the car. Holy c*** I thought, the car looked great last night! What else are they doing to it?? When I got to the car, it sparkled. Now I just need a new set of mats! :)
  • nvbankernvbanker Posts: 7,285
    It's hard to lease a used car. Not impossible if the car is still very new, but still hard. Don't recommend it if you drive much either.
  • nvbankernvbanker Posts: 7,285
    No, you need to have your head examined. You bought your old Sentra for $11 to give to a child, and are buying a 4 yr older unknown car worth half as much for yourself? Why does our generation feel obligated to sacrifice more for our kids so that they never experience sacrifice for themselves? I did it too, am still paying for it with 2 spoiled adult kids, 4 spoiled Grandkids, one of whom is pregnant at age 13 with my first great grandchild. I should have made them buy their own cars like I did.
  • backybacky Twin CitiesPosts: 18,681
    Why does our generation feel obligated to sacrifice more for our kids so that they never experience sacrifice for themselves?

    Why do you care how I choose to spend my money? :confuse:

    I am blessed to have the financial means to help my 3 kids get through college without debt, and with what will be by graduation an old car. After that, I've let them know they're on their own financially... don't expect anything more from dad and mom (well, probably will need to ante up some for my daughter's wedding), and don't expect any inheritance because we plan to spend it all or give it to worthy causes before we go. :)

    My entire college at a private university cost $10,000. Now $10,000 will hardly pay for one semester at the state university my middle child is going to. When he's not in school (including summer classes), he works two jobs. He works part time during school, although he's taking a heavy load of classes to graduate in 4 years instead of the 5 years that is normally required for his major. I'm glad to be able to help him out... as I was glad to help his older brother, who has been 100% on his own financially since he graduated. And as I'll be glad to help my daughter.

    And BTW... I love driving that 2005 Mazda6i Sport. It's a heckofa lot better looking than the Sentra. Handles great. Flexibility of a hatchback. But it has 160k miles on it. I'd rather have my daughter drive the more reliable car, one with better FE to stretch her gas money more (she works, but doesn't make quite as much as I do), one that's easier to park. A car that will last her through college and beyond. It's my money, and I can do what I want with it.

    FWIW, the Sentra is mine until my daughter graduates from college... then I'll give her the title as her graduation gift. The car will be 8-9 years old then. Until then, it's my car and if she wants to use it she does so under the rules my wife and I set for her.
  • nvbankernvbanker Posts: 7,285
    You put your story out there. I assumed you were looking for feedback.
  • backybacky Twin CitiesPosts: 18,681
    This is a discussion about choosing a car, not about your regret over how you spoiled your kids.
  • thegraduatethegraduate Posts: 9,731
    edited June 2013
    (it's only $11k; where else can you find a pristine 2010 Sentra with only 26k miles for $11k?).

    Just because I'm that curious, I did find that you can in-fact buy a 2010 Sentra with less than 40,000 miles for under $12,000, retail. This is before dickering. However, there's a lot of comfort in a car that you drove and maintained as opposed to wondering who might've abused a used car.

    http://www.getauto.com/2010/nissan/sentra/sedan/new-york/grand-island/2010-nissa- - n-sentra-details_40641732
  • backybacky Twin CitiesPosts: 18,681
    New York, eh? Not too bad, only about 1000 miles away from me. ;)

    I just did a search within 500 miles and found one 2010 Sentra for sale under $12,000, a base model with CVT with 29k miles, for only $10.7k. So if I'd like to step down to a base model instead of an S, get a car with more miles on it, and have an uncertain usage and service history, plus go all the way to Chicago (800 mile round trip) to get the car, I could save a few hundred bucks.

    Or I could drive 6 miles to my local Nissan dealer, give them a check, and drive away. I think I'll take that route.
  • thegraduatethegraduate Posts: 9,731
    Or I could drive 6 miles to my local Nissan dealer, give them a check, and drive away. I think I'll take that route.

    Agree completely. ;)
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