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Help Me Choose!



  • qbrozenqbrozen Posts: 22,104
    A 2010 328i would fit your budget.

    '17 F150 Crew 2.7; '67 Coronet R/T; '14 Town&Country Limited; '09 LR2 HSE. 44-car history and counting!

  • prrprrprrprr Posts: 1
    I have a 98 Civic with 165,000 on it. So far it has been fairly reliable. I bought it in 2005 at 82,000, and so far there have only been a few repairs required on non-maintenance items. Brakes, tires, spark plugs, and belts are all fairly recent and won't need to be replaced anytime soon.

    I'm wondering now if I should sell this car for $1,500 or so, and get a newer Toyota Echo at around 100,000 miles (they are going for $4-5,000 right now). I'm wondering if I'm about to enter a period when I'll be needing to put in lots of money to keep this Civic going. When I bought the Civic, I junked the Corolla I had because I would have had to pay some $2,000 to install a rebuilt engine, and I had already put in $2,400 in repairs in the last 24 months for that Corolla. I was thinking that if I had known that I was going to put that much money in repairs alone into the Corolla, I would have sold it 2 years before, and bought the Civic then.

    What I'm thinking is that I want to sell my Civic before I enter this period of costly maintenance on it. Is it reasonable to expect a Civic to go 200 or even 250 thousand, before everything goes out on it? The Corolla I was talking about had the engine seize up at 250,000, which prompted me to junk it for 100 bucks, rather than fix it.
  • kyfdxkyfdx Posts: 64,880
    That's what I was thinking..

    Just get a newer 3-Series.. The prettier front-end started in '09, I think, so I'd start there..


    Prices Paid, Lease Questions, SUVs

  • Hi,
    I'm about to buy my first new car (had an used one for years til it died.) A few questions:
    1) is it worth it to get rubberized floor mats?
    2) I'm getting the base model 2.0i with fog lights. What's the difference between black bezels and beige bezels on the fog lights--anyone have links to photos so I can see the difference?
    3) I have a few dealers. One gave me a guarantee of the out-the-door price (my neighbor has bought from them and was satisfied.) Another gave me a lower price ($25 less but he's throwing in floor mats & a cargo tray.) Haven't spoke with him yet about a guaranteed out-the-door price (I did a search on car woo, he gave me a price, I called a few weeks later--he's also a zag dealer and contacted him through that--he initially gave me a higher price, when I told him he had submitted to through car woo for a bit cheaper, he said he'd honor the price--a $250 savings.) I've heard horror stories about dealers lying. I don't want to travel a long distance to have the rug pulled out from under me with the price. Any advice? Suggestions?
    Many Thanks.
  • sebring95sebring95 Posts: 3,238
    edited March 2013
    #3 It sounds like they're all relatively close on price...but I never buy JUST on that. Find which dealer has the better service dept. Ask questions about loaner cars, timing of service, etc. Ask your friends about their experiences. I'll gladly pay more (sometimes a lot more) to get better service. Yes you can take your car anywhere for service/warranty work but I guarantee you'll get treated better if that service also comes from where you bought the vehicle. Good dealers will go to bat for you to get non-warranty work covered as well, and many require you to have bought your vehicle there to get free loaners, etc. So don't get too hung up over $250-$500 and some floor mats. That can easily pay for itself with better service.
  • suydamsuydam Posts: 3,023
    I agree with everything in the first reply. Yes, rubber mats are worth it unless you live in a dry climate! I'll bet the first dealer would throw them in if you asked. I've never had a dealer refuse. Ask about splash guards too.
    '14 Buick Encore Convenience
    '17 Chevy Volt Premiere
  • viksyviksy Posts: 2
    Thanks for the input folks - I looked up local prices and there are 3 series a plenty available in my area under 25K. Heck even carmax had a couple that fit my criteria :-).
  • thegraduatethegraduate Posts: 9,731
    Our courier for my company drives a CNG Civic (2012). Just throwing that out there and "participating."

    I think CNG has a fighting chance with municipalities and companies large enough to fuel them up themselves.
  • boomchekboomchek Vancouver, BC, CanadaPosts: 5,314
    I'd keep the Civic. Buying a used Echo gives you no guarantees that things might start to go wrong on it either.

    If it wasn't maintained well you might end up with a few unexpected repairs all of a sudden.

    Since you owned the Civic for a while you should have a basic idea and schedule on what items will need replacing soon.

    If it's routine maintenance and nothing major keep your Civic.

    2007 BMW 328i Sports Pkg

  • skyl1skyl1 Posts: 4
    edited April 2013
    Hi all, I've narrowed my choices down between two cars, and it's really difficult to decide.
    The first car is a 2009 Mazda 3 - 45,000 miles, $12,000 Private Party
    fully loaded with leather heated seats, bose stereo, moon roof. Owner insists it has a clean car fax which he'll show me when I look at it. It's also automatic which would be nice since I do a lot of stop and go traffic in my daily commute, and that way my girlfriend could drive it if we take it on a road trip or something.

    The second car is a 2011 Mazda 3 - 17,000 miles - $12,900 Dealer Carfax
    This is just the basic model, but it got better reviews from consumer's reports than the 09, and it's really low miles which is great! I feel like it'd almost be like buying new. It is a manual, which would be fun, but again driving it in stop and go is killer on manuals and my foot, and forget about my gf being able to drive it. Still I feel like it would last longer and might make the most financial sense. I think it might also still be under warranty (not sure). I'm torn though, the 09 seems really nice and it'd be great for those cold winters we get here.

    This is why I need advice. Am I being dumb drolling over the 09 while I secretly know that the 11 makes more sense, or would the 09 actually be a good purchase?

    I'm going to see the 2011 today and have yet to see the 09. Should I see them both before deciding? Any help to sway me one way or another would be appreciated.
  • suydamsuydam Posts: 3,023
    Did you check with Edmunds that those are reasonable prices for each vehicle? Keep in mind that a manual car is much harder to re-sell down the road. Most people in the U.S. want automatics for just the reasons you mentioned. Sounds like you do too. I wouldn't be afraid of a 45,000 mi. vehicle in this day and age as long as I got it checked out mechanically. I'm not also sold on the idea that the base '11 "makes more sense". My son had an early '90s Mazda (manual -- and it took forever to sell it) that had 165,000 miles on it when we sold it and was still running quite well. You'll also have to replace the clutch on the manual down the road; not an issue with an automatic. Get what you want -- they both sound like fine cars. I am a personal fan of features like a moonroof, good stereo, leather and heated seats!
    '14 Buick Encore Convenience
    '17 Chevy Volt Premiere
  • suydamsuydam Posts: 3,023
    I just saw your last sentence. Of course you should see and DRIVE both vehicles!
    '14 Buick Encore Convenience
    '17 Chevy Volt Premiere
  • plektoplekto Posts: 3,738
    First off, I'll start by saying that 80%+ of Women in Europe can drive manuals. Your girlfriend can easily learn just like the rest of the planet.( no insult, just that she really CAN do it in a weekend on a modern car)

    Secondly, manuals have numerous advantages like being able to push-start them in a pinch, starting off in second gear in snow, being able to react twice as quickly to gaps in traffic as you're in the right gear, and of course, the big one, the cost of a replacement clutch is 1/6th of the cost of an automatic. When you're buying a used car, that replacement transmission is not a matter of if, but when. And at ~4K for a replacement automatic in that Mazda, it's a big issue someday.

    Of course you should go with the newer manual with a lot less miles and a dealer to back it up (the private party should be asking 9K, btw). It also gets at least 3-4mpg better in real-world driving.

    As for the problem of driving and fatigue in traffic with a manual, it's 100% about driving habits. The skills that we learn when driving an automatic are not too surprisingly, incompatible and different than those which you use when driving a manual. You just need to un-learn the automatic habits that you picked up.

    A typical driver in an automatic car, because the torque converter is always engaged, tries to maintain a constant distance between themselves and the car in front of them. Also, they tend to ride the brake a lot and have to press on the brake at stop lights. This is all due to the fact that the car will creep forward at a stop or roll on to its favorite coasting speed in that gear. If you don't reign in an automatic, it'll just keep going and going.

    With a manual, you need to drive like a Big Rig driver does. That is, you pay attention to the gear that you are in and blithely ignore the gaps around you. You do not try to maintain distance or speed down to the last inch, or even the last ten feet. By stubbornly staying in gear as long as you can, and letting the engine wind up and down, you go from having to press the clutch every 5 seconds as you try to match traffic at all times to once every minute or two.

    The last traffic jam that I was in, I counted. I shifted 4 times in 15 minutes. Most of the time I just left it in 2nd gear and as long as the car wasn't at a complete stop, I could get going again without shifting. Considering that the car had a 2nd gear range of ~2mph-40mph, shifting was optional as long as I left enough space in front of me to to always keep moving.

    And it also works for higher speeds. Since there is no roll-on effect where the car wants to accelerate slowly (especially true when on a slight downhill grade with an automatic), you can modulate the car's speed quite effectively by just the throttle. I hardly touch the brakes, either, when driving a manual.

    And, of course, it's different. Even the most bland econobox with a manual is still a bit manly and adventurous and all of that. :shades:
  • sebring95sebring95 Posts: 3,238
    Surely there's more than these two cars to pick from. The '11 sounds better just because it's an updated car and overall an improvement over the '09. If you're skeptical of the manual, then look around for an auto. You should be able to find something similar without spending much more. These are rental specials and there should be gobs of them to pick from used.
  • suydamsuydam Posts: 3,023
    It doesn't matter that you think manuals are the be-all and end-all. The poster said he/she prefers an automatic. Period. One should get the car that one wants to drive, not what somebody else thinks is the car to drive.

    I have never had to replace an automatic transmission in any car I've owned. But that's unimportant too. There are advantages and disadvantages to both kinds of transmissions. It comes down to what you prefer.
    '14 Buick Encore Convenience
    '17 Chevy Volt Premiere
  • benjaminhbenjaminh Posts: 2,889
    My 2 cents: Buy new instead.

    For just a few thousand more you should be able to get into a brand-new entry-level 2013 with full factory warranty. Financing is very low right now.

    In the long run, I think you'll be grateful you did.

    Mazda dealers should be willing to deal.


    and make Mazda dealers within 100 miles bid on your business.
  • Agreed, buy new. Can buy a brand spanking new 2013 Mazda 3 for as little as $15k plus 0% financing. Mazda 2 is $13.5k.

    Just bought a new 2013 Civic through Truecar ( Also tried Carwoo but their prices were much higher. Lowest offer on Carwoo was $17.8k but got it for $17k from Truecar.
  • benjaminhbenjaminh Posts: 2,889
    edited April 2013
    Congrats on your new Civic!++ How do you like it so far?

    And yes, Truecar is a good idea too. Try both!
  • plektoplekto Posts: 3,738
    But you forget the fact that a properly optioned out 3 is closer to 17K. And then there's the initial registration and higher taxes and insurance for a brand new car.

    It's closer to a $5K difference by the time you are done.
  • skyl1skyl1 Posts: 4
    Thank you all for your responses so far. I went and saw the 2011 today. It was nice, but a little smaller on the inside than what I was anticipating, and this is coming from someone who drove a tiny acura for the past 5 years which my friend and family have dubbed "the squishy car," because it's so small. I think the acura being a hatchback really opened it up.

    I also got a curveball from my insurance agent who said it'd be somewhat expensive for me to insure versus other makes and models I was looking at (mostly hondas). Anyway, I'm probably not going to go with a mazda 3 now. I'm trying to find something older that will be cheaper to insure, yet still reliable and easy on gas. I'm open to ideas/suggestions.
  • plektoplekto Posts: 3,738
    edited April 2013
    A good choice if you want something to get around in that's reliable and automatic is going to be made by GM. But what if there was a car that was half Toyota and half GM? GM interior and design, and Toyota engine and reliability.

    GM and Toyota used to have a joint venture plant in California. They made several cars there:

    It's closed now, but the Toyota Matrix and Pontiac Vibe are the exact same car other than interior styling. They are essentially bulletproof, can carry a decent amount of stuff, and get good gas mileage.

    I'd look at a 2009/2010 Vibe. This is the larger 2nd (current generation) model that looks exactly like what you find in a showroom new from Toyota (bigger and nicer inside). So why get the Vibe over the Matrix? There's a good 10-20% price difference due to "Pontiac" being out of business. Of course, the parts are 95%+ interchangeable. And GM actually had more interior trim options as well as Onstar available.

    2010 Matrix (autotrader)
    Highest Price:$22,700
    Lowest Price:$7,700
    Average Price:$15,478

    2010 Vibe
    Highest Price:$18,995
    Lowest Price:$8,990
    Average Price:$13,893

    Right in your price range with a little haggling.
    25/31 mpg highway.

    My other recommendation would be to consider a classic car. You can get some amazingly good deals on classic and soon to be classic cars. My top pick for something modern is a BMW E36. (92-99)
    Inexpensive, reliable, fun to drive, and if it does ever need repairs, you've got a $6K+ nest egg. And it's the real deal. A M3 Convertible in something other than white. It's only going to hold onto its value at this point. MPG? about 20 combined. But it also uses regular gas, which isn't so bad. That 5 mpg difference takes a LONG time to make back. Close to a decade just based upon the initial price difference.

    Your soul will thank you every time you drive it.
  • suydamsuydam Posts: 3,023
    If size is the issue, why not move up to a used Mazda 6 or an Accord? They are not expensive to insure. After an Acura you would like driving the Mazda 6. It's still on the smallish size but people can fit in the back seat. The Accord is bigger but more dull in the 2008-2012 versions.

    I have a Pontiac Vibe. It is a very useful vehicle, also extremely utilitarian. If you want basic, no frills transportation, it's a great car. They are sometimes skimpy on safety features. I think ABS only became standard in 2008. So insurance is sometimes higher. We have had very few problems with ours. But I wouldn't want it to be my only car.
    '14 Buick Encore Convenience
    '17 Chevy Volt Premiere
  • benjaminhbenjaminh Posts: 2,889
    Pletko has some great suggestions. The Vibe is a smart idea in used because of the low resale value.

    For the same reason, a used Honda is not always such a bargain. Recent used Hondas have such high resale value that you might as well go for a new one.
    Seriously. A dealer with a 2 year old Accord or Civic will probably try to sell it at close to the price of a new one with discounts.

    So my 2 cents is to still go for new and use the low financing that almost all makes are offering right now.

    As someone here mentioned, you can usually get a brand-new 2013 Civic LX, which is a bit roomier and in some ways better than a Mazda3, for about $17k. Look at the math of what that would be over 5 years with the 1.9% offered by Honda with a low downpayment.

    If you're anywhere near Nashville, Crest Honda there is selling 2013 LX Civics for 16,990
  • sandman_6472sandman_6472 Coral Springs, FLPosts: 4,181
    We have both a Civic and a Mazda3 and they are about dead even actually, with the 3s being a much funner vehicle than my LX absolutely. Both are excellent vehicles with that "cheap to keep" mentality...heck, we are over 118k on the Mazda and after a repair of some motor mounts last year, it's like driving a brand new car and the wife won't let me sell it! You can't go wrong with either of them and personally, I prefer the Mazda now!

    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)

  • plektoplekto Posts: 3,738
    I mentioned the Vibe because the 2009-2010 was the new redesigned model. It's basically a 50% bigger Honda Fit. It has 111.5 cubic ft of storage space, the floors fold completely flat (and are coated in hard plastic like a bed liner). You can fit a refrigerator in it. (30" high items actually fit through the opening)
    Those metal strips are rails for tie-downs. A nice touch.

    The 2008 and older ones are a bit like a Corolla wagon, which isn't bad, really. But the 2nd gen are noticeably better. If we're talking econoboxes, getting some cargo space out of it isn't a bad thing.

    I don't know why so few companies make small wagons any more. It's a shame, since a wagon is much better overall than a sedan of the same model. And, yes, they do make a Civic and Accord wagon in Japan. We just don't get it over here.
  • ltlladyltllady Posts: 27
    The effective way to use Carwoo is to counter offer. Since True Car receives $300 from any dealer making a sale via TC, the counter offer should be no more than several hundred dollars less than the TC price.

    Personally, over the past four or five years, I have found it not difficult to buy under the TC price. Essentially the prices available on TC are set by the dealer and they are designed to intice folks who do not enjoy negotiating. They are really not much different than the no-haggle prices some dealers employ. While such prices often represent a substantial discount off MSRP, they are rarely the best price possible.

    The best prices are almost always attained via the traditional negotiation process. Negotiations are most effective when they are based on research and knowledge.

    An effective method to price a vehicle is to obtain, from Edmunds or other on-line sources, the invoice price, the dealer holdback, and the incentives available to both the dealer and customer. Reduce the invoice by the holdback and incentives. Add freight and whatever you think is a fair profit. The result should be our initial negotiation position. The negotiation should start at that price, not at MSRP which how the dealer wants to negotiate.

    Also this calculation will reveal the true value of the TC price.
  • ken117ken117 Posts: 247
    Your method is very effective, I have used it for years. There are three parts to many car deals. The pricing and financing are the easy parts, as long as the only word uttered in the F&I office is no.

    The real problem area of many deals is the trade. I think it is very hard to get a real estimate of the value of the trade. My method is to take Edmunds, NADA, and KBB at the good condition level and average the values. I then add a bit if I believe, which we all do, my vehicle is better than average.

    This calculation at least provides an idea of what I should expect for my vehicle. This process seems to work as I have always gotten close to my number. Of course, almost always, the initial offer from the dealer is a low ball number.
  • mcdawggmcdawgg Posts: 1,679
    I completely agree with you. Many people never learn because of fear of learning and/or false beliefs.

    With that said, though, some people learn and can drive them OK, but still hate driving manuals, and others are not the most gifted, so it takes longer and/or they make more mistakes than most, so they don't appreciate driving them.

    But I feel everyone should learn.
  • I am looking for a used car in the price range of $8000 to $10000 (preferably closer to 8000).

    My preferences are: Japanese make, reasonably new (2005 and newer), 4 door sedan. Things high on my priority list are Toyota Corolla, Honda Civic, Mazda 3, Subaru Impreza.

    Any suggestions? And any ideas what would be a good place to search for such cars? I feel craigslist seems to offer better deals than most websites, perhaps because the middle man is cut out so I can get it a little cheaper. Do you guys agree that craigslist is a good place to search for deals?
  • maxx4memaxx4me Posts: 1,340
    edited April 2013
    2009 Pontiac Vibe. You get a choice of a Corolla or Camry engine, and if you get the AWD, you get Rav 4 AWD components. I just found about 20 listings on another website in that price range. Enjoy.
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