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Help Me Choose!

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  • lisalizlisaliz Posts: 5
    My husband used to own a Passat and I'd drive it sometimes - a good car, but I prefer to drive something smaller. I had mentally checked Ford off my list, but that was a few years ago so you're right, it needs to be revisited. I really like the Mazda3, but it doesn't have enough headroom to accommodate my tall husband as a passenger. He and I are automotively incompatible so I tend to ignore his preferences, but I do need at least the option to haul him on occasion.

    Golfs are reliable? Really? I'm going to have to check that option out. Though I imagine the growing sons would whine about the back seat - they're already complaining about the Jetta.

    I'm told that to get really good A/C I need to avoid economy cars, so I'm also looking at the next tier up. But I really don't know anything about the entry level luxury segment, so am not even sure where to begin there.
  • I bought a 2012 Toyota Yaris LE a few months ago, my prior car was a 2001 Toyota Corolla LE. I really like the Yaris...

    I'll give you what I think are the Yaris' pros and cons. Of course, I understand alot of it is subjective...

    Pros:

    Price: MSRP $16,815
    Gas Mileage: my last tank was 36.5 mpg - 90% city driving
    Comfort: the driver's seat I find very supportive and comfortable
    Visibility: Very good, the Yaris is a little taller than my old car
    Braking: excellent
    Audio System: excellent
    Handling: excellent
    Features: bluetooth capability, Ipod, tire-pressure monitoring system, anti-theft, etc.
    Reliability: Vehix has the Yaris as one of the most reliable 2012 small cars.
    Free scheduled maintenance for 25,000 miles or 2 years from Toyota.
    Parking: a cinch!
    Styling: looks good to me! Both inside and out.
    Safety: 9 airbags

    I've been running the A/C when needed, it works great!

    Cons:

    Not the smoothest ride on the road, it is a little more harsh than my old car but not enough to be an annoyance (not to me anyway)...The road noise is a little more noticable than my Corolla as well, but again, to me this is not a big deal, from what I understand the lower-priced cars don't have the insulation as the higher-priced ones. The shift lever knob is on the small side.

    I've always liked the smaller cars and so far I'm happy with my choice. :)
  • backybacky Twin CitiesPosts: 18,784
    edited April 2012
    The 2001 Jetta has less rear seat room than the current Golf. I know, I owned a 2005 Jetta (last year of that design). Be sure to take your sons along if you drive one.

    If you like the Mazda3 but want something roomier, how about the new CX-5? Excellent fuel economy (for an SUV), Mazda-type handling, lots of utility, good room in back. Get one w/o a moonroof, for your husband. :)

    Also... if your sons find the rear of your Jetta cramped and the Mazda3 doesn't have enough headroom for your husband, don't waste time looking at the Yaris--they won't like it.
  • crankeeecrankeee Posts: 297
    lisa: Your comment;
    I'm told that to get really good A/C I need to avoid economy cars, so I'm also looking at the next tier up. But I really don't know anything about the entry level luxury segment, so am not even sure where to begin there.

    Even a luxury car needs to be test driven for A/c efficiency IMO. At one time, we had an older GM upscale model and a 20 year old Nissan 300ZX. Nissan car A/C was much better even though many early Japanese were notoriously poor.. Now have newer upscale GM with outstanding A/C and also a new Sonata GLS with outstanding A/C. Point is the A/C function varies by model and maker as much as price point. More bucks do not really guarantee any function will perform if the design or application is flawed.
    The posts on the Edmunds boards are a great source to vet any potential choice due to the broad database of various unbiased users that post their real world experiences. Good luck.
  • steverstever Viva Las CrucesPosts: 41,963
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  • plektoplekto Posts: 3,738
    edited April 2012
    You know, the most overbuilt vehicles are made by GM and Ford. Ford has the edge on body construction and GM has the edge on having the most reliable transmissions.

    Not all domestic vehicles are toads. The Ford Edge, for instance, is actually a nice car. And given that their primary target audience is mostly people who live in the Midwest and drive long distances, rental companies, government fleets, and so on, you can guarantee that their AC and heating systems are big and over-sized.

    The best AC system I ever had was in a Crown Victoria. the car was also essentially indestructible. A 2-3 year old (non fleet owned - get one of the 10% that were sold to individuals) Mercury Grand Marquis might be a good option as it's cheap, will last a long time, and the lower purchase price (less tax, insurance, and registration as well) will offset the fuel difference for quite a few years. Also, these old RWD Fords are dirt cheap to fix. Literally half the cost of my previous Toyota 4Runner.

    20mpg vs 25mpg hardly matters if you only drive 8-10K a year and you factor in the other savings. Too many people get cars that save money up front but ride and last like the tin cans that they are. Of course, you'd expect a Civic to not be as good as a Taurus, given that one costs a whole lot more than the other and is a much larger and heavier car. Just like how a Camry is a better car than a Yaris, even used. And always will likely be until the Camry is literally ready for the junk yard.

    Another good car to look at for the same reason would be any of the larger Buick or Cadillac sedans. Since most have a V6 in them they get good MPG and are built to soak up day after day of highway miles. A couple of year used Lucerne/Park Avenue/LaCrosse/etc with the V6 would be good if fuel is a concern, or you could get a couple of year used DTS or V8 Lucerne if you don't drive much. Only get the non-supercharged 3.8/3.9 models though. These are more reliable and have less to go wrong with them. Case in point, my mother's Buick LeSabre is ugly as a toad but it's turning out to be dirt cheap to keep running and a good commuter car. With a few basic hypermilling techniques on the highway, it can just barely eek out 30mpg on long trips. That's quite impressive. And it has a whole slew of options that most budget cars don't have like HUD, digital displays and diagnostic systems, leather, premium sound... These don't suck by any means, no matter what the auto magazines say if you are coming from a budget set of wheels.

    All will be fantastic for a kid's first car as they are bigger and safer. They don't like to be driven fast and that's good for your wallet and blood pressure.
  • Kirstie_HKirstie_H Posts: 10,918
    Well, given that the person who posed the question finds the Passat too large for her liking, I doubt the Crown Vic, Grand Marquis, and larger Buick and Cadillac offerings are going to fit the bill. The vehicle is for her, primarily.

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  • plektoplekto Posts: 3,738
    It does seem a bit odd, though, that the OP complained about VW's reliability and then is interested in another one.
  • Kirstie_HKirstie_H Posts: 10,918
    Well, there are trade-offs with every potential vehicle. And it's the Golf, which is a different animal and has been more reliable.

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  • Hello,

    I am a new grad (23 years old) living in Alberta, Canada and I would like some help purchasing my very first new car. What I'm looking in a car is safety, reliability, affordability, fuel efficient and decent room/comfort when driving.
    I was looking at the 2012 Corolla vs. the 2012 Elantra. The Corolla is slightly less expensive than the Elantra but from the reviews I've been reading the Elantra seems to get significantly better ratings than the Corolla. I'm also wondering if the sudden acceleration problem that Toyota was having a couple years back is fixed yet? I've read the 2012 Lemon-aid book and drivers are still reporting issues with the acceleration/steering (Elantra got 5 stars while Corolla only got 2). Any other car suggestions would be greatly appreciated.

    My budget is around $20k...if I save a few more months I should have enough to pay my car in cash and not need financing.

    Also, another thing I'm debating is that...should I go for a compact or mid-sized sedan(I will need financing then)? Thinking for the future, I'll probably have kids and maybe a mid-sized sedan would be more suiltable?

    Thank you for your time and help.
  • sjung1sjung1 Posts: 2
    edited April 2012
    I got OTD $20316 for 2013 elantra +preferred package + floor mat, cargo tray, cargo net, Ipod cable,mud guard,rear bumber protection? (I didn't want these accessories but it comes together)

    Is that right price?

    Tax is 6.59%
    I dont know how much is title,registration and document fees.

    and target price from true car is 19194.

    dealer said this is the lowest price they can give.
    but I feel $20,316 is little expensive.
  • lisalizlisaliz Posts: 5
    Yes, plekto, even I think that's odd. That's why I haven't replaced the 12 year old Jetta before now. Pretty much anything new should be more reliable, but I don't want to buy a car I like less than my Jetta. I do like german cars, as a rule.
  • lisalizlisaliz Posts: 5
    We did try the Yaris. You're right, nobody liked it. For me, the Toyota's aggressive headrest was a deal breaker (I like to face the road, not my lap) but the menfolk didn't care for it either.
  • I know what you mean about the headrest, I had to adjust the driver's seat a few times to get it to the right position so that it didn't feel as if my head was pushed forward too much.

    At least you were open-minded enough to take a look at the Yars, I had a couple of friends tell me they didn't think I'd like it, and of course, I did - so much that I bought one.

    Opinions are like bellybuttons, everybody's got one, and beauty is in the eye of the beholder - and for me, the Yaris fit the bill...so far so good, no regrets...

    Good luck with your search!
  • I was looking for the same things as you when replacing my 2001 Corolla LE a few months ago - I got a 2012 Toyota Yaris LE - it's a subcompact liftback (not compact) and so far I love it - this is my 3rd liftback...

    I've already submitted a couple of reviews so at the risk of a lengthy re-peat let me just say that the gas mileage is better than expected (36.5 mpg), it's safety factor received high marks from "expert" reviewers; has 9 airbags, comfortable driver's seat, good visibility, easy to handle/park, comes with 2 yrs/25K free scheduled maintenance from Toyota, Vehix has it on their list as one of 2012's most reliable cars...

    Toyota re-designed it and (to me) it is an attractive car - it feels very roomy on the inside too - not cramped - I will say however that the ride is not as smooth as my Corolla and the engine is not as quiet, but for me this is not a big deal - the lower-priced cars don't have the insulation as their higher-priced counterparts (as least that's my understanding).

    In the months leading up to my purchase (in the beginning anyway) I was planning to get another Corolla because it was such a good car, but after test-driving a Yaris last year (2011 model) I realized that it was more in line with what I wanted, and after seeing a picture of the 2012 model I waited until they starting arriving at the dealership so I could check it out - I got it for less than $17,700 OTD, this is including all taxes, fees, etc.

    Hope this helps.
  • backybacky Twin CitiesPosts: 18,784
    If you really will need a mid-sized car soon and $20k is comfortable for you, you can get a very nice new mid-sized car for $20k now, especially since some mid-sizers are being replaced soon. Some options in that range include the Altima 2.5S, Fusion S or SE, 2012 Malibu LT, and Mazda6i Sport. You can also probably find a Sonata GLS or Optima LX under $20k including T&L with some shopping. And with the Accord being redesigned soon, you might be able to find an Accord LX under $20k. You could find that one of these mid-sizers is not much more than an Elantra GLS with preferred package, since the Elantra doesn't have the same level of discounting as these mid-sizers.
  • bpizzutibpizzuti Posts: 2,743
    Keep in mind that the Elantra is a recent redesign, while the Corolla is not only an old design, but is due to be redesigned for the 2013 model year. Some people don't like buying a car only to have the new version come out just after, so I thought I'd point that out.
  • plektoplekto Posts: 3,738
    I mulled it over a bit today while I was fixing a tree root that was growing into the side of the house (sigh) - and if you like Japanese reliability and want a German feeling driving experience, the best option is to get a used Lexus IS300. IMO, it's as close as they ever got to reaching a BMW feel in their cars, and it's just a great thing to drive. The IS250 is heavier and less powerful and feels more like a fancy Civic/Corolla/etc, and the IS300 is simply too much muscle-car. It looses that magic weight balance and agile feel that the IS300 had.

    Test drive one. You'll probably end up driving it home :)
  • Kirstie_HKirstie_H Posts: 10,918
    I'm assuming there was a typo and it was meant to read: and the IS350 is simply too much muscle-car.

    That's a great suggestion - the IS300. Well worth a test drive since it meets the size criterion, nice luxury features (a step up) and should blow some nice, cold A/C. A few more home maintenance & repair projects, and you should have a whole list of suggestions. :)

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  • backybacky Twin CitiesPosts: 18,784
    Except there's no back seat room. If the 2001 Jetta is too tight in back for the growing sons, the IS will be also.
  • kyfdxkyfdx Posts: 31,169
    I also like the IS300... but, it is notoriously fuel-inefficient..

    I think it is rated at 18/23 mpg...

    They were really nice cars around 2002... :)

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  • plektoplekto Posts: 3,738
    edited April 2012
    2005 was the last year for it, and it's not perfect. BUT, they did make a wagon version of it, which takes care of the rear headroom issue. The deal about this generation Toyota, though, is that it will last to 15 years or so without major issues. And honestly, the kids can DEAL with the rear seat. All rear seats suck unless you're buying something like a Buick or other huge car.

    A VW or BMW or Mercedes, while incredible to drive, will bankrupt your child when it comes to driving it at college. Going on 8-10 years old, it'll be right at that OMG what broke this week stage.

    But my real suggestion is to gt what you want. And get another car at the time. The perfect car would be a used Honda Fit or something that can carry cargo and is dirt cheap to drive while in school. Or even something older like a Tacoma pickup. Let it get beat up, dented, and used. And hardly pay a dime to keep it running. Then sell it and let them get their own vehicle.
  • lisalizlisaliz Posts: 5
    Thanks, the IS300 is a really interesting suggestion. What about the issue of a seven year old AC? I was under the impression that the AC system was one of those things that decline with age.
  • backybacky Twin CitiesPosts: 18,784
    All rear seats suck unless you're buying something like a Buick or other huge car.

    Hardly. For example, check out these current small cars for back seat room and comfort:

    Elantra (sedan and Touring)
    Impreza
    Jetta
    Prius
    Versa

    And some modern Buicks, like the Verano and Regal, don't have all that roomy back seats.
  • plektoplekto Posts: 3,738
    Yes, any several year old AC will likely need to have parts replaced or attended to at the least. But you can factor that into the price of the vehicle when you buy it. Then it should be good for several years.

    The cars are good for 250-300K, so getting one that has 40-60K on it is really not an issue at all. Just beware that a lot of them were abused or driven hard, so look for signs of heavy wear, non-factory parts or mods (or repairs) and go on to the next one.
  • Kirstie_HKirstie_H Posts: 10,918
    We have a 1998 vehicle that blows air so cold that I can't stand it, and that's in Missouri where we see 100+ degree days in the summer. We did recently have to have it serviced - something was leaking. $100 later, and it's back to ice cold. Yes, you might have to have the A/C checked out, but unless it's the compressor, it's probably not an expensive fix.

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  • dispencer2dispencer2 Posts: 299
    If you are thinking about buying a 2011 or 12 Malibu buy the six. I have a 2011 with the 4 and normally drive to Dallas on 4 lane highways. I took the car to Albuquerque on two lane roads and had to pass several trucks. The car doesn't always downshift when floored and it is woefully underpowered for passing at 50-70. If I had made the trip before I had bought it I would have never purchased it with a four. My Cobalt has more passing power with the 4 speed automatic. The gas mileage is not anything to write home about - 29-33 mostly on the road. My 03 Cadillac DeVille made 30-31. Other than the lack of power for passing the Malibu is fine. Rides ok, needs more insulation from road noise but for the price is fine. If I had to do it over again I would have bought a used Buick Lucerne or LaCrosse but I'll go back to a Cadillac in the next few years.
  • steverstever Viva Las CrucesPosts: 41,963
    Are you an active duty member of the U.S. military in the process of shopping for a new or used car? A news reporter is interested in talking with you. Please contact pr@edmunds.com by June 30, 2012.

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  • kdshapirokdshapiro Posts: 5,751
    Actually I think you have to own a hybrid for 10 years to break even.
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