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Help Me Choose!

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  • plektoplekto Posts: 3,738
    edited July 2011
    You have to be kidding me.

    Ten thousand square miles of rocks and mountains and desert also exist in So Cal. And then there's snow in the mountains every winter. And mud - when it rains (not often, mind you), it's like a mini-party out at the local mud hole :)

    I know 4WD. :)
    I also know that any AWD system that isn't locked and fully engaged will simply not react to anything at speed and will usually make the situation worse.(subaru/mitsubishi/audi/etc do work, though) But it will help you to get unstuck in snow and maybe up to 10-15mph. Is that worth the extra money? I had the right tires on my truck and rarely had to even switch into 4WD in snow. Yes, I ran winter/mud tires year round and ignored the noise ;)

    I especially liked it how people with new Mercedes would leave as much space as humanly possible between my car and theirs in the parking lot. (bull bars, sliders, not washed in 6 months... :P )

    But getting back to the OP's question. He didn't seem to WANT a small 4 cylinder SUV, which is basically a Corolla with 4WD and more cargo space. What's not to like? 25mpg+ as well if you get manual.

    So I thought what about hatchbacks and wagons? And nothing in his price range came to mind except for the Matrix and the Fit, both of which are kind of so so compared to the RAV-4.

    If he hates Toyota, Ford makes a very nice little SUV as well. It's certainly easier to drive and safer than an econobox.(height plus extra weight plus better visibility) Just put a roll bar inside the cabin and you're good to go.
  • I have thought for a long time that the perfect car is a compact wagon or hatchback. Too bad most have been discontinued in favor a compact SUV/
    CUV.
  • backybacky Twin CitiesPosts: 18,728
    Hatches are making a comeback, and there's quite a few available now. Some of the small hatches are:

    Accent (2011 3-door; 2012 4-door just getting to dealers)
    c30
    Caliber
    Elantra Touring
    Fiesta
    Fit
    Focus
    Forte
    Golf
    Impreza
    Lancer
    Mazda3
    Matrix
    Prius
    Rio5 (all-new design coming soon)
    Scion tC, xB, xD
    SX4
    Sonic (at dealers yet?)
    Versa
    Yaris

    And there's the mini hatches e.g. Fiat 500 and Mini Cooper. Quite a few to choose from! :)
  • igozoomzoomigozoomzoom Waleska, GeorgiaPosts: 791
    There's also the Mazda2 and the hideous Honda Insight (hybrid).
  • kdshapirokdshapiro Posts: 5,751
    I kid you not as I used to live in socal. Yep I had studded snow tires all year round on my cars.

    I'm not surenwhere you get your info from, but after owning a myriad of 4wd, rwd, and awd drive vehicles for the last 15 years my experience does not mirror yours. As I guess the same for our esteemed hosts as well.
  • backybacky Twin CitiesPosts: 18,728
    edited July 2011
    That's why I said "some"... I knew I'd miss a few!
  • wik82wik82 Posts: 21
    Hi guys. It's been a little bit and I've still yet to purchase a car. Patience is a virtue....I think lol.

    Anyhow, I was looking on cars.com in my area and saw an '09 Mazda6. This wasn't a car I had originally looked at, it just kind of popped up. I had narrowed myself down but it seems that there HAS to be more than 3 possible cars for what I am looking for. So, could this be one of them?

    It has a sunroof, almost 36k miles and is black (my criteria originally was sunroof, black and under 40k!).

    I did a bit of reading and some people were talking about engine issues (knocking and a couple that actually died!) that developed at a wide range of mileage (3k all the way to 55k). These were all '06 and '08s though. The model I am looking at is an '09. I know the '09 body is different. Is the engine though? Was this issue with the engines fixed for the '09 and newer? Or has Mazda continued to struggle with this?

    I noticed it doesn't get as good of mileage as a Sonata or Altima, which were the 2 big contenders, but seems to be nice and I guess if I am finding it at the right price/features it could be a viable option. Does anyone have an opinion on these? I would love to hear some feedback. With the Sonata being so popular, I think just on sheer price, I will be forced to go Altima (just so many more used Altimas over the past few years from '07 and up). But I don't want to sell myself short.

    So, please, let me know!
  • backybacky Twin CitiesPosts: 18,728
    Go drive one. They have a firmer ride than the Sonata, maybe the Altima too. But handles better than a Sonata for sure.

    I actually like the prior generation 6. And a much better value. Smaller, but enough room in back for adults and easier to park.
  • wik82wik82 Posts: 21
    Thanks Backy. I am hoping to test drive one tomorrow but wanted to get opinions here prior to that so I have a general idea of what I am getting into lol. Appreciate the info.

    As far as the value, are you referring to the features that it came with or the quality of the interior, MPG, or....???
  • backybacky Twin CitiesPosts: 18,728
    Price for what you get. Also I prefer smaller cars. I think mid-sized cars are getting too big these days.
  • plektoplekto Posts: 3,738
    I have two other options to consider.

    Some new cars can be the same price as your budget due to the fact that banks loan money on new car loans for significantly better rates than for used ones. I'm assuming that you don't have cash for the whole thing , with student loans and all, so you might consider a new vehicle.

    note - this assumes you want a car and not a wagon or suv...

    Two come to mind if you're willing to wait until the year end rebates come around.

    1: The Chevy Cruze. It's a good vehicle and with typical year-end incentives, you should be able to get one around 16-17K. Possibly 0% or similar financing as well. The advantage is that the eco model gets really high MPG and it's not a tin can to drive around.

    2: The new Mustang with the V6. 30mpg and 300hp. Total rocket with manual. Should be available after rebates for close to 18K.
  • wik82wik82 Posts: 21
    Plekto, thanks for the reply.

    My biggest issue is, i'm starting a new job that pays well, but my credit is in the dumps. I had to declare bankruptcy due to being laid off and while I am back on my feet and am looking at good earning potential with this new gig, the damage has been done. So while banks lend lower for new cars, I don't think I will qualify for any of the low interest rates and such.

    I didn't mention this a couple months ago, because it was a non-issue but my uncle works for Chrysler. They didn't have anything that really turned my head. But the Chrysler 200s seem very nice. A friend just got one and she likes it. I went on their website last night and was playing with the "build your own" stuff. It listed my monthly with the features and such I wanted as only 287/month, which is easily in my range that I can afford. Thing is, it has 2k cash back, and 3.99 APR for 72 months listed and 15% down (ended up being close to 4 grand). I can't swing 4k down right now and can't imagine I would ever qualify for 3.99 APR.

    Now, if my uncle can get a chunk off (no idea how employee stuff works) it might be my best bet. But if not, I just don't see how I can manage or justify a new car. Which is why I have been going used.

    Opinions?
  • plektoplekto Posts: 3,738
    The only Chrysler worth getting, IMO, is either the Patriot 4WD with manual or a Wrangler (again with 4WD). Personally I love the Xrangler XL. Just awesome and nearly bulletproof as long as you don't abuse it off-road.(despite being trail-rated, it still needs 3-5K in armor and so on before taking it over serious rocks)
  • backybacky Twin CitiesPosts: 18,728
    I figured you'd like that new 300. From what I've read, Chrysler did a nice job updating it.

    But... not in the proverbial ballpark for our OP.
  • wik82wik82 Posts: 21
    Ya, I have no desire to get a SUV, truck, crossover etc etc. Just a nice solid car that gets good mileage.

    I haven't had a chance to even try the 200. Its really not even an option to be honest. Unless my uncle's discount is like 5k or so. He said I have to go to a dealership first and go from there but that he would have NP helping.

    Guess I need to test drive it before I make and rash decisions ;)
  • cannon3cannon3 Posts: 296
    If you can, try to find a Fusion with the 2.5 4cyl. I believe they started making these in 2010 model year. Great car, great MPG and stellar reliability ranking.
  • npolitenpolite Posts: 33
    edited July 2011
    I disagree with you on the Altima. You might not be aware but Nissan is now backing up the CVT to 120k miles. I want to also mention my sister did purchase a 08 Accord and had one problem after the other. Most of the issues such as door regulators going (2 within 4k miles), premature rear brake failure, door handle not opening when it got hot, hard seats, fuel door taking multiple times before releasing, dimming headlights when A/C compressor kicked on were common issues. Others such as carpet fading, steering wheel making noises while turning were not so common.

    She traded the Accord in for a 09 Altima. I will admit that the prices on parts are expensive (not as much as German vehicles). But her rear pads lasted over 40k miles (would have went another 10 but had them off) and only one blown fuse. I don't know long term what luck she will have but it has been better then the Accord.

    I test drove 2 Camrys and both had hard pulling to the right. I had to keep the steering wheel at a 25 degree angle to get the car to go straight. I wasn't too happy and didn't buy one.
  • plektoplekto Posts: 3,738
    Except that the CVT is expensive to fix and shouldn't need an extended warranty to make the car sell.

    A student's first car should be economical, cheap, impossible to kill, and fun.

    While I was talking about new cars, this brings me to my #1 personal choice, which is to get a classic car. It's cool, it's unique, it doesn't depreciate... The list goes on. Now that means you still have to chose carefully. Electronics are bad. Things like sunroofs are bad.

    You don't want something like a Mercedes diesel or a Buick Regal, naturally. Note - most of these you can get for 6-9K in near mint condition, which buys a huge amount (lifetime's worth, actually) of repairs compared to a 15-20K new car. Paying $80 in registration per year is also a huge plus. Most don't have smog, either, which is great.

    Cool classic cars to add to your list:(note, I've owned most of these)

    Europe:
    - BMW 1602/2002. Very little to break. Handles great. Most work you can do yourself. Extremely fun first "classic" car.

    - 1990-1993 Volvo 240. The Swedish Brick. With manual, it's solid and fun. 1990 was the first year airbags were mandatory. ABS was available as well starting in 1990. The Volvo 940 was essentially the same thing with updated sheet metal and a more modern interior. Also available with a very good manual.

    Mercedes: Any W111 "Fintail" sedan. The first modern major productions car made with crumple zones, side impact reinforcement, safety glass, unibody construction, seat belts, and so on (it has about 20 "firsts" and IMO, should have made the top 10 most important cars of the century list) . It drives surprisingly like a 1980s sedan. But is way cooler than any other classic car I've owned. You can get running ones for 3K or so. The coupes and convertibles are worth 50K+, but the sedans which are identical other than sheet metal are daily-driver prices. Mine even had power windows and factory AC. ;)

    2nd choice would be the W108 ("Finless" Mercedes) - It's essentially the same car without the cool styling but a few more modern features. They are totally 1000% off anyone's classic car list, so this forgotten classic is a great hidden gem that you can but and run for not a lot of money.

    Japan:
    - Any Miata. Fun, cheap to run, and not too expensive, used. A used Civic Del Sol would be a good cheap alternative. A more modern version would be a S2000. Most classic Japanese stuff is prone to rust and parts are hard to find. (ie - say, a 1970s Honda CVCC Wagon) Not much to recommend besides these three.

    U.S.:(note - gas isn't exactly cheap but parts cost makes up for a lot of it)
    GM: Any classic Buick. Why? Buick was their nicest line of normal cars that wasn't a boat like the Cadillacs were. You could get muscle cars with a Buick badge on them and leather seats standard. (ie - Chevy Nova --> Oldsmobile Cutlass --> Buick Skylark). A 1960s Buick Skylark convertible is probably the most fun GM car you'll ever own. And it's a total magnet for classic car fans and the best car ever to go on a date in. ;)

    Ford has a few less options, IMO. My personal favorite, though, was the Mustang Mach 1. But classic Mustangs are getting a bit pricey. Avoid everything from the 80s. No, really. EVERYTHING.

    Chrysler: Dodge Charger or Challenger. Classic Mopar. Huge support network of spare and aftermarket parts. The "Annihilator" from the video game Burnout: Paradise is a direct clone of the 1973 Charger (they even sampled the engine sound) The cheapie classic, of course, is the Charger with the smallest I6 engine. With manual, it's actually fairly acceptable MPG-wise and yet has that classic car feel to it. We're talking nearly 30mpg highway (!) on some models.
  • dispencer2dispencer2 Posts: 299
    Has anyone driven the LaCrosse before he bought a Malibu? I keep thinking that I should have bought a LaCrosse. Is it lots different? I didn't drive one.
  • I saw a few complaints about the front driver seat being uncomfortable in the 2011 accord . I've been thinking about buying either a 2011 Camry or the accord 2011- this is the only thing holding me back from the accord. Seemed okay to me when I sat in it but I question how it is on long rides.
    I appreciate your opinion my husband has a bad back
  • sandman_6472sandman_6472 Coral Springs, FLPosts: 2,677
    I have some serious spinal issues and I've rented both of these cars and the only way to buy them is with the power drivers seat...being able to manipulate the seats made our 3 hour drives to Orlando doable for me with minimal pain, I was able to manipulate the seat in such a way where it minimized the pain and it was easily changed depending on how I felt. Definitely the way to go is with the power seat! :)

    The Sandman :) :sick: :shades:

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

  • npolitenpolite Posts: 33
    edited August 2011
    I will tell you from when my sister had her 08 Accord (sold it in 09) that the back pain was very noticeable and I am 33 with no issues in any other car. Yes I do keep the seat straight up so I don't really relax but I also have the same thing in my 07 TSX and never have any issues driving 3+ hrs in it.

    I know that Honda made the current generation even more stiff compared to any of the previous generation Accord and hope that the next generation they will fix this problem.

    I think that the Camry is a bit soft for me but will take it any day compared to the current geneation....now if you said you were buying a gen 7 Accord I would say that the seats are fine.
  • vik3001vik3001 Posts: 4
    im looking to buy 2010 altima white or red exterior but most come with blonde interior. i have a 2 yr old...do u think the blonde interior gets too messy.....or is there a way to keep it clean? am i thinking too much or should i go with the blonde interior....charcoal interior is hardly available for white or red exterior and also blonde on white or red looks much better

    pls help
  • qbrozenqbrozen Posts: 17,424
    cloth or leather?

    Personally, I've found dark interiors to be worse with kids. Much like a black exterior, it shows every little bit of dust/dirt. Our tan leather interiors have been doing just fine with the kids.

    We haven't had light-colored cloth interior, however, with our kids. But I do have a light tan microsuede sofa in the family room. It has been scothguarded and I just run the steamvac over it every couple of months. It has been holding up quite well with nothing permanently staining it.

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

  • suydamsuydam Posts: 980
    A friend of mine has the red with blond interior. Looks really sharp and has held up well. I have light gray in my 10-year old Maxima and it still looks great. Are you talking leather or cloth? I find leather to clean better if you have either kids or dogs.
  • Hi im looking for my first car and came across a 2006 ford fusion s with 53,000 miles in red. My second option is a 2004 honda accord 2 door coupe ex with 94,000 miles in dark grey. My choice would be the accord because its fully loaded, (leather, sunroof, heated seats, rims, spoiler etc.) and its my preffered color. The fusion has almost half the miles but its a basic model and in the color red which im not a big fan of but its 2 years newer and less miles. I know the honda has almost 100k miles but hey its a honda right? What do you guys think i should get? Whats going to be more reliable and the better choice? They are both priced at around 8,000. Thanks alot!!
  • qbrozenqbrozen Posts: 17,424
    I would look for a Fusion with the options and color you want. You would still get a younger and lower miles example compared to an Accord at the same price. I personally NEVER suggest a used Honda. To me, they just aren't worth the money.

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

  • Kirstie_HKirstie_H Posts: 10,890
    I'm going to agree with your suggestion - that's a big mileage difference for the same general price. Here's an added thought: Check with your insurance company. If this is your first car, my guess is that you're young. It is likely that a coupe with all of the toys is going to cost you more in insurance. I know that's true for my 19 yr old daughter. She bought a 2-door Cobalt. BIG mistake. Nothing wrong with the car, but for teenagers, it turns out it's attached to an expensive insurance premium that would have been lowered by purchasing a 4-door.

    After only 3 years, she's sick of the 2 doors as well and is already committed to a 4-door next time.

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  • thanks for replying, im talking cloth, i have a 2 yr old and he will go to day care in the car every single day, which means he is eating and dropping stuff etc....

    so im thinking the blonde cloth interior will get dirty versus buying a dark interior....is there a way to protect this using scotch guard or something?
  • Kirstie_HKirstie_H Posts: 10,890
    OK - this is from a couple who has SIX kids between us, the youngest of which is now 13. If you can afford to go with any kind of leather (or fake leather) interior, do it. I cannot tell you the number of sticky items I have tried to scrape off of cloth interior - dropped M&Ms, vomit or mild spitup, crayons, markers, etc. Think of what you would ever allow your child to do in the car, even on a trip when he is fussy. Then imagine that any one of the items you let him have, ever, drops on the seats and you have to get it out (and any smells that go along with it, too).

    He is in a carseat, so he is not very well going to scratch the leather(ette) or anything. Anything dropped on a less porous surface is going to mostly wipe off. It only took one bout of regurgitated and dropped gelled fruit bites to sway my opinion. No amount of Scotchguard protects against sticky , artifically-colored kid-oriented product.

    That's just MY opinion, and you should definitely listen to others. I endured a black leather interior in a car not parked in shade (I can always go out and start it early and cool down) in order to avoid the clean-up.

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