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Help Me Choose!



  • ramped1ramped1 Posts: 159
    The solution to your friend's dilemma is sitting in the Pontiac showroom. The Vibe.

    It's got the reliability of the Corolla (which it is based on) and the financing advantages of GM. Seems like a perfect "stepping stone" option to me, plus it's a cool little ride.
  • ramped1ramped1 Posts: 159
    You have to ask? Of course, it's the Mazda6. Go to the 6 board and read all about it!
  • I never thought of that because her focus is on 4 door sedans, but it makes a lot of sense. I'll do some research on it and present the idea to her. If she can deal with a wagon instead of a sedan, then it may be the answer to her quandary.

    Thanks again!!
  • maltbmaltb Posts: 3,572
    give it 3-4 months and then go see your Mazda dealer about an RX-8.
  • tisbe3tisbe3 Posts: 10
    Doing some advance scouting for an economy sedan for that day when my present car dies ('84 with 160K miles). Minimum requirements: 4+ doors, MT, air, power windows. Just need for short commute and around-town driving.

    Did some poking around and decided to check out the Accent/Elantra, Corolla, Civic, Sentra and Protege. Thought about the Focus but concerned about the reliability. Test drove a Protege5, Corolla CE, Sentra GXE, Elantra GT, Sentra SE-R Spec V and Civic EX. Here are my impressions:

    Protege5 - handles great. Power pretty decent, enough for me. Motor noise is a bit loud esp. at higher revs and you can feel the vibration through the steering wheel/shifter. Shift action is pretty good. Nice interior and pretty cool looking car. Price a bit on the high side. Overall pretty good package.

    Corolla CE - pretty good pick-up. Handling a bit on the light side. Pretty solid feel overall. Looks OK. Like the reliability (have an '87 Tercel still going strong). Shifter action was poor - kind of rubbery.

    Sentra GXE - fast enough, maybe a tad slower than the Protege. Handling kind of light. Ride is noisy and unrefined. Big problem: The shifter is horrible, worst by far of the group. Looks are neutral.

    Elantra GT - decent pick-up, car felt pretty quick. Shifter action is good. Handling pretty good but maybe a bit on the light side, not as good as Protege. Didn't really get to open it up, will probably go for another test drive. Like the looks of the car. Price is right. Great warranty but concerned about re-sale value.

    SE-R Spec V - not originally in the list but noticed it's around the same price as Protege and higher HP. (Wanted to try SE-R but can't find it in a MT). Great power and acceleration. Almost feels as fast as WRX I test drove a few years ago. Handling a bit disappointing - was expecting it to be tighter than it was. Will take another test drive to make sure. Looks are OK/neutral. Reliability a bit of a concern. The price tag is kind of high compared with the others. Would also need to spring for an extra set of winter tires + steel wheels, pushing price even higher.

    Civic EX - Very smooth ride, quiet and refined. Very little vibration in steering wheel or shifter. Shifter action is very good. Handling is very good. Car had driver armreset accessory which is nice. Like the reliability and re-sale value. The down-side: power. Car just feels underpowered. Also a bit pricey compared with the others, esp. given the power.

    Well at this point I'm down to the Elantra GT, Protege5 and SE-R Spec V. The Corolla and Civic are great cars - if I was getting an automatic would probably go with the Corolla, but the MT stinks. Civic just doesn't have enough juice. SE-R Spec V might be too high priced - it's a rocket but I don't need that much power. So I'm kind of leaning toward the Elantra GT or Protege5.

    Would also consider the Accent GT (even though not a four-door, just because of the price) but haven't found a dealer that has one with MT.

    That's about it - Help Me Choose!
  • jpelderjpelder Posts: 235
    Of the choices you listed, I'd go Civic. However, have you considered anything like an alero? You may be surprised to know you can get a GX with a MT, sport package for about 13 grand, or less ($750) if you opt for a 3 year warranty instead of 5 years. I noticed that you were mentioning shift quality and handling, as well as power. The alero excels here...very solid and good fuel economy. I bought one last year and am still impressed with it.
  • fredvhfredvh Posts: 853
    I am leary of the quality of the GM vehicles but I know they are reasonably "cheap" now because of rebates and low financing. Do you have the 4 cylinder? Is the Alero big enough for you? Did you consider any other GM vehicles? Have you had any quality issues or needed warranty repairs?
  • jpelderjpelder Posts: 235
    I too was a bit cautious about buying a GM, as this was my first GM. However, I know a few people with aleros, and none had any problems. My alero has the new ecotec 4 cylinder and is incredibly smooth...much better than the old quad 4. It also has good torque, which I appreciate. if you change your own oil, you will appreciate the design and position of the oil filter cartridge. The car is reasonably roomy, and a large trunk.
    It definitely was a step up from other cars in it's price range. I also considered an Impala for it's roominess and smooth ride, but the wife chose the Alero due to the manual tranny.

    This car has been performed perfectly, and fit and finish was flawless...something that surprised me a bit given all the GM bashing that seems to go on.

    This was my first GM, but I would definitely buy one again, and hate to see this car go away in 2004.
  • ghuletghulet Posts: 2,628
    After having several unreliable, old beaters in a row, on which I've spent thousands of dollars on repairs, I am preparing to buy an inexpensive ($15k tops) sedan. The cars I'm considering, even a little bit:

    Toyota Corolla
    Honda Civic
    Mazda Protege
    Hyundai Elantra
    Nissan Sentra

    So far, I'm leaning toward the Corolla. Why? Better warranty and more power and standard equipment, at least on the base models, than Civic. I might consider a Protege or Sentra at the right price, though the Pro is getting a bit long in the tooth and both resale and dealer network are weak. Sentra is ugly and a bit cramped. The Elantra is a great value, but I'm not convinced their quality is up where it should be. Again, dollar for dollar, they're extremely tempting, especially with that warranty, though resale is bad. Focus? No, I've heard too many nightmares, though they have a dealer very near my house and I could probably pick one up cheaply. Cavaliers with a/c and stereo are everywhere for $10k, but I don't think I could live with myself. Am I missing any?

    BTW, I'd strongly prefer a manual transmission, I live in the city, my parking is OK, gas mileage is important. My only real requirements equipment-wise are a/c and a stereo.
  • dinu01dinu01 Posts: 2,586
    You know what I will say :)

  • jimsxnjimsxn Posts: 108
    If it is long life and reliability, you are after - nothing beats Toyota and Honda. If you are after a little fun (you asked for manual), Mazda Protege or Pro5 (better) are good choices. I don't know about Hyundai.
  • mazda6sammazda6sam Posts: 20
    I just bought a Silver 6i this past Tuesday and it is without a doubt the best car I've ever driven that's under $40k. I test drove four or five models with all transmission choices and engines. I decided on the 6i because the 160hp is very fun to play with and the gas mileage is just right: 420 miles to a tank. I passed a guy the other day in an A4 and he was gawking and followed me for a while to get a better look at my 6. It's so fun to drive and I love the styling. The only thing I'll probably change is the wheels, I got the standard steel wheels because I can get some Konigs for around $500. The radio and interior are awesome. My whole family loves my new toy! Please let me know if you're thinking of buying this AWESOME car and I'll see if I can help make up your mind to buy one.

  • jidroomsjidrooms Posts: 1
    Help! I have great offers on all three vehicles. I have prices for each below 4% above invoice. Any thoughts?
  • mahirimahiri Posts: 26
    There are only two cars that I am choosing between -- the Audi A4 3.0 and the Passat GLX. Why should I may more for the A4? Is there more than just prestige to justify this choice?
  • helpme11helpme11 Posts: 1
    I am in the market looking at 2 cars that I love. But I don't know which is the better deal for the money. The E420 looks very nice but it's a '97 with over 85K miles and I'm not sure if that should concern me (mechanically) and it's 2K less than the BMW (i like the price). The BMW is nice also... Given that both cars are in good condition ( i had both independantly inspected) Can anyone tell me which is a better a deal... HELP BEFORE I MAKE A MISTAKE! :) Thanks
  • aki86aki86 Posts: 15
    Basically, what it comes down to is what type of driver you are, since both are excellent cars. If you're someone who drives his cars hard, go with the BMW for it's superb handling and performance. If you like a nicer ride and more luxury, go with the E420.
  • patpat Posts: 10,421
    I had to remove some messages.

    There are plenty of places all over the web to talk about political issues. Let's just remember that the Town Hall is not one of them.

    Most of our membership appreciates being able to come here and talk about cars without having to think about the very hard things that seem to be happening in the world.

  • nova12nova12 Posts: 1
  • dinu01dinu01 Posts: 2,586
    Take a look at:


  • Word to the wise. VW automatic transmissions are crap. I had my 1996 Jetta GL automatic transmission replaced (noticed it sliiping at 60k miles) under warranty at 99,000 miles (went as long as I could with it). Currently have 170,000 and it is time to buy again. A new transmission in a VW is $4,000 and nobody works on them. Also replaced the moonroof motor, all engine gaskets, wheel bearings, entire exhaust ($600+), and fuel injector at or around the 110,000 mile mark. If you need a high mileage car look elsewhere, keeping it for 5 years maximum and under 100,000 miles then take a look.
    The Passat and Camry are both pricey, the Passat has more of a European feel to it and the Camry is more sedate in its ride like an American cruiser. I'd take the Camry first with what I know about the two cars. Do you think VW knows about their tranny problem? I do, its why you no longer see 10 yr 100,000 mile power train warranties, note the Passat's goes 5 yrs, 50k. Besides those two vehicles, I would recommend taking a long hard look at the new Accord V-6 or Chrysler 300M (that's right, a Chrysler), both are more reliable then the Passat will be and Chrysler is discounting the remaining 2003 300M's by $3,000! Invoice on an M is $26,400, so now the car is priced in the mid-size sedan range.
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