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Help Me Choose!



  • gmanusmcgmanusmc SoCalPosts: 492
    With all due respect ace, you're the one asking for advice, not Benjamin. You're the one shopping for a vehicle and it just seems like you are all over the map. You need to sit down and determine your needs, criteria, and budget. Then do your research, find a car that you think meets your needs, decide whether you want it and if you do, buy it.

    Bill G
  • sandman_6472sandman_6472 Coral Springs, FLPosts: 3,750
    My other girl has this exact model and though the mileage it gets is nothing to write home about, it's a comfortable vehicle and it gets the job done. The CVT is fine once one gets used to it. Personally, I think you are all over the map here and if you don't want to purchase brand new, which it seems you don't, I'd go for a used domestic in this case even though we are import buyers. You will be able to get more bang for your buck this way and parts are readily available. the domestics have come a long way and I don't see how you could go wrong here.

    The Sandman :) :sick: :shades:

    2015 Audi A3 (wife) / 2015 Golf TSI (me) / 2009 Nissan Versa SL Hatch (daughter #1) / 2008 Hyundai Accent GLS (daughter #2)

  • With all due respect Bill, every time I get on this site I am, as you say, sitting down to determine my needs, criteria, and budget.

    I came into this thread with a specific budget & a type of car in mind; through the course of this thread I've learned what adjustments I might need to make to both my budget and types of car I can expect to purchase. Who cares if I've been all over the map in the process, this is something I know next to nothing about (as I was up front about), so why shouldn't I be?

    Benjamin continues to insist that purchasing a 2013 civic that over the course of the next 5 years will cost me (by calculations) $564 is a wise decision. Not only does he insist this, he, with "lol's" and "great pete" exclamations, tries to drive home the absurdity of doing anything but that. Since I don't want to completely assume that Benjamin simply doesn't know how to give good advice, or doesn't know how to tailor his advice to a specific person's needs, I am trying to check in with Ben to see what other pieces of information (like what he thinks a reasonable amount to budget on transportation is) might give me reason to believe his advice makes sense for me.
  • I appreciate the continued input and your collective wisdom so far.
  • gmanusmcgmanusmc SoCalPosts: 492
    If I recall correctly, I think Benjamin's point is that if you bite the bullet now and purchase a dependable new vehicle, you will still have something that has some value at the end of your intended use - and encounter a lot less hassle along the way. The drawback is you will have a car payment. The folks on the other side of this say to heck with that - buy a good used vehicle and save your bucks. Problem is most used vehicles in your price range will be purchased "as is" and it will be a gamble as to how much it will cost you in the long run. You are the one who needs to decide - spend your 7 grand and have no payments or buy new and have a car payment. Now this is just my opinion - if I was able to swing the payments and go new - I would do that. If not, I'd plunk down the 7 grand and hope for the best.

    Benjamin has offered you solid advice and shouldn't have to qualify it. You can weigh what he has said to the others' advice and make your choice based on what you feel will fit your needs and financial situation.

    I hope you find what you are looking for.

  • thegraduatethegraduate Posts: 9,731
    In his defense, I'm in the market for a new car when the right deal comes along. I've driven an Optima EX, an Accord EXL V6, an Altima 2.5SV, and a Ram Truck. I'm in a 2009 Sonata.

    You don't always have a set category you fall into. Maybe with "needs" but not necessarily "wants." ace is just chasing some rabbits that catch his or her eye; there's nothing wrong with that.
  • acemanhattanacemanhattan Posts: 79
    edited August 2013
    Except that one doesn't get to arbitrarily assign the label of "solid" to advice, Bill.

    He has suggested paying $200 more per month than I would pay if I simply stuck with what I currently have (and this assumes that my maintenance costs would be pretty high) and it's trivially easy to show how that decision actually costs me $60,000 in lost investment earning. I also imagine he would suggest doing this multiple times over a lifetime. This, on its face, is not even remotely"solid" advice but, because I like to understand where people are coming from, I've asked him a question to see if there is merit to it.

    If Benjamin doesn't want to answer my question, a question that was asked in good faith so that I could reevaluate my own assumptions about vehicle related expenditures relative to income, that is fine and I am not offended.
  • benjaminhbenjaminh Posts: 2,410
    edited August 2013
    I have my point of view, but honestly I was joking.

    Used can work fine, and for your budget might be a better choice.

    A Versa of that vintage for that price didn't seem like the best choice to me. If a c. 6 year old Versa costs c. 10k, I was wondering if maybe a new car for c.17k should be considered, but perhaps I'm wrong about that.

    Seems like used cars have gone up a lot in the last few years. A lot of the choices you are sending to us seem like a lot of money for the car involved.

    If I annoyed you, I apologize.

    All best wishes with your search.
  • I've been genuinely appreciative of your input. I didn't see that the tone of that post was in jest, rather it seemed I was being mocked for not just going the "purchase new" route.

    It isn't that I've thought your advice is bad, it's simply that I've got a certain kind of budget to work with (though I am adjusting it up and considering financing a portion) and that buying new doesn't fit into that budget.
  • qbrozenqbrozen Posts: 19,782
    There are good deals out there for a lightly used economy car. You just have to find the right one. Typically, Honda and Toyota are not good used buys. I strongly suggest Mazda, but there are other decent choices out there for the money.

    Just for the hell of it, I'm going to pull up some auction data. Looking at 2009 models with ~45k miles, this is what I find:
    Versa Sedan S=~$7k.
    mazda 3i sport=~$7500.
    Yaris sedan=~$7500.
    Focus SE sedan=~$8500.
    Jetta 2.5S=~$8500.
    mazda 6i sport=~$9k.
    Elantra GLS=~$9k.
    Scion xD=~$9500.
    Civic LX=~$10k.
    Accord 4c LX=~$11k.
    Scion xB=~$11k.

    '14 Jetta TDI wagon; '98 Volvo S70 base; '14 Town&Country Limited; '09 LR2 HSE. 41-car history and counting!

  • Thanks for this list.

    I hadn't considered a Yaris but particularly like it. In that price range, with those kind of miles and the fuel economy, it looks like a steal.
  • qbrozenqbrozen Posts: 19,782
    edited August 2013
    just realize those are dealer auction numbers. Retail would be about $2k-2500 above that.

    I think the mazda3 is far more car than the Yaris.

    '14 Jetta TDI wagon; '98 Volvo S70 base; '14 Town&Country Limited; '09 LR2 HSE. 41-car history and counting!

  • gmanusmcgmanusmc SoCalPosts: 492
    I guess there's some confusion - I thought you were in the market for a vehicle and that your budget is $7000. If keeping the car you currently have is an option and that helps your overall financial situation, then by all means, keep your current vehicle until it's no longer financially feasible.
  • suydamsuydam Posts: 2,040
    Not a bad list. I'd go with the Consumer Reports best bets though. Some on your list are there too.
    '14 Buick Encore
  • acemanhattanacemanhattan Posts: 79
    edited August 2013
    Still on the hunt. What are your thoughts on this car? If not at this price, what price makes this a buy?

    It's been listed for a while now (maybe at a higher price for a while?).
  • sebring95sebring95 Posts: 3,238
    Well if you're looking at book values, the price is well off the map. But this is old enough that condition should dictate what it's really worth. If it's really as big of a cream puff as they're making it out to be....and it checks out 100% by a's worth whatever you're willing to pay. I would try to get it close to $5k but this could be a very good vehicle and maybe worth the coin if you're going to keep it awhile.
  • suydamsuydam Posts: 2,040
    It doesn't say what trim -- if it's the basic DX that's more like $3000 and would be a very good buy if it checks out mechanically. $6000 seems high for a 12 year old economy car. Did you look at private party value on the Edmunds used car site? It adjusts for your area (I don't know Portland zip code so I plugged in mine in the midwest, which is where I got $3000). It might be more on Kbb which usually shows higher figures.
    '14 Buick Encore
  • acemanhattanacemanhattan Posts: 79
    edited August 2013
    It appears that it is the LX (picture from the back has the LX emblem), which, if in outstanding condition has a private party value of $4,500 on Edmunds and $4,000 on KBB.

    If you're going the private party route, how closely would you expect your purchase price to reflect KBB or Edmunds suggested value? It seems that cars are routinely priced 40% higher than suggested by those sites. In that case (which seems like most cases) it's hard to imagine landing at the suggested price since it would require offering them SUBSTANTIALLY less than what they are asking.
  • Also, for frame of reference, in terms of used cars of a different make, what kind of cars is an 02 Civic with 113k miles comparable to?

    08 Kia w 50k? 06 Hyundai w 75k? Etc.
  • crkyolfrtcrkyolfrt Posts: 2,345
    Too many variables to answer this question really. Mainly because we have no idea the service maintenance history of any of those examples. The only way you could make an educated comparo based on that, would be to drive each. If you are fairly perceptive with your driving, the drive would reveal which one had the best maintenance history. If, on paper, they all proved the same service history, then I suspect the Civic (assuming it didn't need any steering gear replacements, like a ball joint) would probably feel better than the lesser miled Kia of that generation. Was it in 02 Civic went to McPherson strut from the double wishbone front? As another example, I would say the strut quality used in the Honda would be better than those used in the others mentioned.

    The Honda engines were definitely superior in this class if all serviced equally.
  • backybacky Twin CitiesPosts: 18,878
    Couple of things...

    1) a 2002 LX is really poor in safety... no ABS... no side airbags, for example.
    2) the car has a timing belt I believe... which would be due for replacement at 120k miles. A pricey service.

    I think for $6k or a little more you could get a much newer car (not a Civic of course) with full set of airbags and ABS (and maybe ESC). For example, I recently bought a 2005 Mazda6i Sport hatch in great condition for only $4900, from an Infiniti dealer. It has 160k miles on it, but highway miles and was well maintained by its one lady owner. Has 6 airbags, ABS, and traction control. And a heckuva much nicer car than a 2002 Civic... roomy, power seat, leather wheel, 17" five-spoke alloys, hatchback convenience etc. Had to replace the alternator already, but that cost $160 part/labor. And it has a timing chain, not a belt.
  • gmanusmcgmanusmc SoCalPosts: 492
    Ace - I had a 2003 Civic LX - gave me 63k trouble free miles. Is this one owner? Couldn't tell in the ad. By the pics, it looks very well cared for but a car can be made to look great with a good detailing. I agree with those who say you should be able to get the price down - maybe to 4500? Of course, contingent on a thorough inspection by a good mechanic. Car looks nice though. I liked mine but upsized to an accord.

    Bill G
  • Thanks gang. I asked him if he'd consider KBB/Edmunds prices closer to $4,250 (I don't know if that's a good negotiation tactic, but it's straightforward) and he said he wouldn't.
  • suydamsuydam Posts: 2,040
    Well, then it may be overpriced. For the record, according to Edmunds, the LX did have side curtain airbags and double wishbone rear suspension. No ABS though. We all did live without it for a very long time! My current '04 Vibe doesn't have them either.
    '14 Buick Encore
  • backybacky Twin CitiesPosts: 18,878
    The 2002 Civic never had side curtain airbags. Those didn't come to the Civic until the 2006 redesign. The 2002 Civic did offer as an OPTION front-seat-mounted side airbags. They would help only the driver and front passenger; not the same thing as side curtain airbags which protect all passengers except the rear middle.

    For both ABS (optional) and standard side airbags on a 2002 car that could be had at a good price, and IMO a better car than the 2002 Civic, try the Elantra.
  • suydamsuydam Posts: 2,040
    edited August 2013
    Thanks for clarifying. The info of options is a little confusing. Yes, I did see it as an option. Those only were standard on more upmarket cars like my '01 Maxima. But it does mean that this Civic might have them and might be something to find out or use in negotiating a lower price if they don't, as well as lacking ABS. You're generally not going to find standard ABS and the better side curtain airbags as standard equipment on mainstream cars before 2006. That the Elantra may had them that early surprises me, but I still think the Civic overall will be a longer-lasting car from that era than the Elantra. According to Edmunds the '02 Elantra's air bags were also the front mounted type.
    '14 Buick Encore
  • backybacky Twin CitiesPosts: 18,878
    Edmunds is wrong. Starting in fall of 2000, the 2001 Elantra was the first car in its class to have side airbags standard. I should know, I owned one. :-)

    My sister still owns that 2001 Elantra and it's held up quite well. I still own a 2004 Elantra, from the same generation, and after nearly 10 years in the Rust Belt it's held up great, would still look new if not for parking lot dings/scratches, and has been very reliable.

    When I bought that 2001 Elantra I also looked at the then all-new 2001 Civic. Not only did it cost thousands more than the Elantra, but the Elantra offered much more power, smoother and more quiet ride, more comfortable driving position (8-way adjustable seat), more interior room (EPA mid-sized class by volume), longer warranty, and the standard side airbags. Now as a used car, if you can find a well-maintained Elantra of that 2001-2006 generation, it would make a very nice vehicle IMO. The main downside is that ABS/TCS is optional and hard to find. Standard ABS starting in 2007.
  • acemanhattanacemanhattan Posts: 79
    edited August 2013

    I test drove this vehicle at a dealership and, not surprisingly, it drove fine like a 4 owner Corolla w/ 100k would. I don't know what an "outstanding" car actually looks like, it is certainly clean (but by no means flawless), but KBB and Edmunds both suggest that the dealership price ranges from $5,000 to $6,100 depending on whether it is clean or outstanding.

    What is my best bet for getting the car somewhere in the middle of that price range? When I was there he mentioned that he had "a couple hundred to work with." Of course I'd have a mechanic check it out first, but that isn't even worth my time if it turns out they won't drop their asking price substantially.
  • suydamsuydam Posts: 2,040
    edited August 2013
    Once again I would use safety and other features as bargaining points to lower the price. On that car side curtain airbags were optional, so it probably doesn't have them. Probably no ABS either. Does it have a CD player? Remote entry? I would start several hundred dollars lower and bargain down depending on what it lacks. Once you get a price, get it checked out. That way, if something is wrong (say, CV boots), you can ask them to fix it at the price you've already agreed upon.
    '14 Buick Encore
  • Suydam,

    You're correct, it has neither ABS or side curtain airbags, and it does not have remote entry (or sun-roof or a handful of other things). When you say "start several hundred dollars lower," what price point are you talking going lower than? Lower than the sticker price or lower than the $5,000-$6,000 suggested dealer retail price?
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