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Help Me Choose!



  • suydamsuydam Posts: 2,946
    But Vibe is not a sedan. Any of the ones you list should be great cars. I'm not a fan of Craigslist, but if you know someone selling that's always good. I have had pretty good luck in that price range at used car areas of dealerships. Negotiate just as with a new car, and check value at edmunds or kbb.
    '14 Buick Encore Convenience
    '17 Chevy Volt Premiere
  • plektoplekto Posts: 3,738
    The best car in that price range and criteria is likely to be a 2005 Lexus IS300. It's basically a Japanese clone of a BMW E36. It certainly drives almost exactly like one. But it's way more reliable than the newer BMW and Mercedes models. And they made a manual model. The 2005 is the last year of the first generation IS as well, so it's a bit more polished and the issues have been worked out.

    The IS250 is too soft and underpowered, IMO. The IS350 is basically a Infiniti G35/37 competitor. Great, but lacking that "sport sedan" balance that you typically get out of a European car. And the current generation also cost a hefty premium as well. Similar to say, a Cadillac CTS - the first gen models are dirt cheap now compared to the more modern design.

    The first poster has a much wider range of criteria and a lower budget. That said, the IS300 would also be a good second choice for him as well. 0
    This is a typical example. Avoid dealers like the plague in the 8+ year old range as the car usually will either be vastly overpriced or salvaged or have some other issue. And you want paperwork as well on it, of course. Yes, he's asking $2K more for it, but it is low miles and you can haggle.

    A bit over your budget, but not terribly so considering that you get over a basic Toyota.
  • sandman_6472sandman_6472 Coral Springs, FLPosts: 4,134
    Have a 2006 Civic and it really is a perfect vehicle for almost anyone...great mileage, not too big and reasonably priced. Cheap to keep also, a big plus. I have the new car bug, badly, but my Civic is so good and at 39.5k has a lot of life left that I have decided to keep it and upgrade the audio system to get aux input/usb port/bluetooth in one head unit...think it's the best way to go to enjoy it that much more. Particularly want the bluetooth integration so I can us e the smart phone while I drive when necessary and also want to treat myself to something nice since I'm putting in so many hours at my new job, my part time gig which is turning into an almost full time one. no complaints there but want to reward myself for a job well done!

    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)

  • sandman_6472sandman_6472 Coral Springs, FLPosts: 4,134
    Good price but lots of miles. But our '05 3s has just about 118k on the clock and it runs well now that we replaced 3 of the motor mounts. The a/c is acting up again and will need some $ put into it. But car drives like new now for a minimal investment of around $500...and the wife loves her car. Drove it last week to gas it up for her and that sucker really moves with the 2.3 much power at hand, puts my Civic to shame! What size engine does the '07 have? if it has the 2.3 like ours, it should still be very quick even with the added weight.

    Good luck & keep us posted on what you do. And if you get it, welcome to the club. Zoom zoom!

    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)

  • pezzy669pezzy669 Posts: 4
    For anyone looking at a 3.

    I have a 2010 3s that I have owned for 3 years/36k miles. It was an early build of the new body style (smily face). Despite being the first 6 months of the new body style it was build EXTREMELY well. The build quality and reliability of my '10 3 has blown my '03 Volkswagen Golf and '06 Volkswagen Jetta out of the water.

    Tight as a drum even after 6k miles on horrendous Atlanta in town roads. One warranty repair that was well under $200 and no other issues to report. Coming from a Volkswagen owner this does not mean much, but I have to say my 2010 3 has been absolutely fantastic!

    My 3 still drives like new, except for normal wear on the leather seats anyone who rides in my car still thinks it is new. Mazda builds some fantastic cars to say the least. Have had a truly good experience with my 2010 3s.

    One con. Be wary of door dings!
  • sandman_6472sandman_6472 Coral Springs, FLPosts: 4,134
    Was in the car earlier this evening and it's doing great. Almost at 119k and even the wonkey a/c seems to be fine...yay!

    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)

  • patirenepatirene Posts: 1
    I have a 2013 Altima with 1800 miles on it. I have had it back to the dealer 4 times to have the center console fixed. The problem is not resolved, but a larger issue has taken precedence.

    Now I have taken the car back to the dealership four times for the heater. When both sides were set for 80 deg, the right blew out tepid air and the left frigid air. The service agent felt both sides, agreed that something was wrong and set an appointment to repair. When I took it in, they couldn't replicate the issue and told me they couldn't fix it if they couldn't replicate the issue.

    The second time, both vents blew only frigid air until the dail was turned to 88 or 89 deg. At that time the air changed from frigid to heat blast. There was no in between. Once again, I took it in, they witnessed the problem and set an appointment for repair. Again then could not replicate the problem, so they could not fix it. I had them check the records which documented that they had witnessed the problem and they agreed that they had indeed.

    The service manager then began to explain to me that the new Nissan Altima has a heat sensor that checks the outside and the cabin air temperature and will not kick on the heat or air if the need is not indicated by their sensor.

    At that point, I threatened to call the owner who is on TV regularly saying "If it has our name on it, you have our word on it."

    Immediately, they provided a loaner and kept my car. The next day, they called to say that they have now ordered parts.

    I have driven a Toyota Camry since 1973, each of them had almost 200,000 miles when traded. I have never had a defect or even a repair beyond basic maintenance. I am beside myself with buyers remorse!
  • suydamsuydam Posts: 2,946
    What a shame you are having problems with your new car. Nissan Altimas are usually very reliable. Hopefully this will get fixed soon and you will be able to enjoy it.
    '14 Buick Encore Convenience
    '17 Chevy Volt Premiere
  • benjaminhbenjaminh Posts: 2,717
    Maybe trade in on a new Honda Accord? My 2013 Accord has been great so far. But so sorry about your stress and difficulties. Hope things get resolved soon.
  • nynaxnynax Posts: 2
    Please help me figure out what kind of used cars to be looking for. I have three basic criteria:
    * must take regular unleaded fuel (no premium),
    * have an MPG higher than 17/23,
    * i would prefer if it can have a hitch installed

    I currently have a 2005 Subaru outback Limited XT that I am trying to sell. It is a great car, but I am really trying to save money on gas and this cars "always on" turbo doesn't help. I also don't make a ton of money, so whatever I sell the car for is what I have for a new one...I could potentially try a payment plan and use the sale money to get started and use the time to search for other income, but that doesn't seem so smart :P
  • suydamsuydam Posts: 2,946
    You haven't given us much to go on. Sedan, hatchback, crossover? Used primarily for a commute or around town? Has to carry a family or just yourself?
    Subcompact, compact, midsized? Need to carry large items on a regular basis?
    '14 Buick Encore Convenience
    '17 Chevy Volt Premiere
  • nynaxnynax Posts: 2
    The car is used primarily for commute, but I'd like to keep the extra trunk space for moving larger items (my girlfriend has a tiny aveo). I may be moving out of state this year which is part of the need for a hitch. With all that in mind I would probably prefer a hatchback or crossover.
  • suydamsuydam Posts: 2,946
    One possibility is the Pontiac Vibe. It's actually a Toyota Matrix but cheaper. They were made through 2009 I think. We have an '04. It gets around 25 mpg around town. Hatchback with huge space with back seats down and they fold flat. I'd be hesitant about a hitch though. They have enough power to scoot around but I wouldn't want to add any weight to one. They have a super-high reliability rate if you check Consumer Reports best used cars.

    If you go with a somewhat smaller wagon or sedan than the Outback you will get better mpg. Another possibility is the Subaru Impreza, though the older models don't get very good mpg compared to today's.
    '14 Buick Encore Convenience
    '17 Chevy Volt Premiere
  • sebring95sebring95 Posts: 3,238
    I think if you skip the hitch requirement you open yourself up to a much wider range of cars with much higher mpg ratings. Limiting yourself to something that can tow for a possible one-time move doesn't seem like a good move. There are lots of options for moving that might cost you a little more once but surely not enough to offset operating costs in the long-term.
  • qbrozenqbrozen Posts: 21,977
    you can put a hitch on just about anything. But how much you can pull with it will vary greatly by vehicle. Good mileage and towing capacity don't usually go hand in hand since straining a little efficient car with a trailer would be very tough on the drivetrain.

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

  • rav4manrav4man Posts: 21
    Get yourself a Ford F150 pickup. 4 door crew or supercab. Then you don't need
    to buy some trailer laying around. And you don't look like some dufus at Menards. Oh I forgot...women love a guy in a pickup eyeyyh
  • dixonwdixonw Posts: 1
    i'm try to buy or lease a brand new japanese SUV, i'm thinking 2013 or 2014 RDX, but should i buy or lease? which one is better price?

    i have great credit score.

    i never lease a car before, so i saw the car dealer has speical offer. after my lease, i can pay in the rest of the full price and buy that car, is that really worth it?
  • Kirstie_HKirstie_H Posts: 11,024
    Hop over to our Acura RDX Prices Paid discussion - you'll get more feedback there. (This discussion is about choosing between sedans.)


    Need help navigating? - or send a private message by clicking on my name.

    Share your vehicle reviews

  • jaxs1jaxs1 Posts: 2,697
    edited April 2013
    I'm looking for a midsized sedan with these features:
    Under $26K street price after discounts
    Do well in new small overlap crash test
    Keyless passive entry and push button start
    Backup camera
    Rear seat HVAC vents
    Bluetooth stereo streaming
    Remote start
    Well controlled road and engine noise
    Best possible initial quality and lack of interior rattling and squeaking noises

    2 cars that seem to best match this are the 2013 Nissan Altima SV and the 2013 Accord EX

    Advantages of the Accord.
    Small overlap crash test results are better (Good vs Acceptable)
    Prefer the looks of Accord inside and out vs Altima (but not by much).
    Side view camera is nice.
    CVT performance is more responsive
    8 way power drivers seat on Accord EX vs 6-way Altima SV
    Manufacturer's extended warranties are priced about $350 less for top end 8 years zero deductible option (Lower cost extended warranties imply better expected long term reliability).
    Maybe less depreciation (resale value dollar amount will surely be higher, but real depreciation cost depends on initial purchase price).

    Advantages of Altima
    Pricing is better especially since I can buy an SV without an unwanted bundled moonroof that comes with Accord EX (Accord LX and Sport are missing required features in my list). Lack of moonroof maximizes headroom and eliminates a source of rattles and future repairs).
    Remote starter for Altima SV is standard factory installed vs dealer installed at several hundred dollars for the Accord.
    Spit fold down rear seat much more convenient than Accord's one piece folding rear seat
    Maybe a bit quieter
    Maybe front seats a bit more comfortable
    Maybe slightly better fuel economy
    Automatic backup camera lens washer and blow dryer is nice to clear camera lens when obscured by dirt or raindrops.
    Headlights turn on with wipers
    Fill tires with air without need of a tire pressure gauge
    Nissan more experienced with mass production of CVT
    2013 Altima was released many months earlier than the Accord, so more inline fixes have been done and dealers will discount more since it is no longer so new.

    Both cars are first year models of new designs and both have had some 1st year issues that are still being worked on (stereo systems that freeze and need the car to be restarted to reset, CVT tuning issues etc). Maybe I should wait for 2014s for either one?

    I haven't checked on scheduled maintenance and insurance costs yet, so I don't know if one has an advantage over the other there.

    Anyone here have any opinions on these two specific car models against each other?
  • suydamsuydam Posts: 2,946
    We looked at both and eventually bought the Accord. They are wonderful cars and I'm sure we would have been happy with the Altima too. They are so close that I really think it comes down to personal preference and which features matter most to you. For us remote start wasn't as important. We liked that you get the lane watch and right turn camera on the Accord without having to get the nav. We preferred the drive of the accord and the somewhat firmer suspension. The Altima is very noisy when you first start to rev, and after a V6 I felt that would be annoying. Fuel economy is better with Altima though as it is a lighter car. We have friends with Altimas and they are very happy with them.
    '14 Buick Encore Convenience
    '17 Chevy Volt Premiere
  • sebring95sebring95 Posts: 3,238
    Have you driven them both? It's not clear from your post....but I agree with others that this comes down to which you like better. I've always been a Nissan fan from a performance standpoint...but they're really starting to flip over to a Toyota model of bland driving. I've NOT driven the new Accord but have driven a '13 Altima and I felt it was a step backwards from the previous model in terms of sporty/fun driving. The steering is too light but I've read reviews that the Accord steering is light also.

    One big issue for me is resale value, which you touched on. I don't know how long you plan to keep this but the Accord will likely not lose as much particularly in the 1-3 year window. Nissan puts a lot of these on the rental lots which is partly responsible for big drops in the first few years. Assuming the Accord continues their historical trend, they usually hold value very well even over the long-term.
  • igozoomzoomigozoomzoom Waleska, GeorgiaPosts: 801
    I definitely prefer the 2013 Accord over the 2013 Altima. The Altima is getting blander with each redesign and it kinda feels like it’s trying to morph into a Camry! =/

    I spent a weekend with a 2014 Accord Sport CVT a few months back (my bro-in-law runs the body shop for a big Honda/Acura dealer and he brought it home for me). I’m still not a CVT fan and I don’t think I ever will be, but I must admit that the Honda CVT is light years ahead of Nissan and any other I’ve ever experienced!

    I’m just excited that the Accord is a great car again. I’ve owned a few Accords and still have several 2005-2007 models in my family. I despised the 2008 model and it never grew on me. The 2013 feels, sounds and drives like a Honda. Enough said.

    In addition to the Accord, you should at least take a drive in the 2014 Mazda6 i Touring! It is a stunning beauty, inside and out. Ward’s Automotive just named it to their 10 Best Interiors of the Year and the reviews all seem to range from fantastic to amazing!

    It’s performance specs are virtually identical to the Accord’s and it has an exceptional 6-speed automatic transmission. The interior looks as upscale and attractive as the outside.

    A couple of months ago, I had to take our CX-9 to the dealer to have a headlight assembly replaced under warranty. They offered me a loaner and I asked if I take one of these babies....and they did. It was immensely comfortable, as quiet as my 2012 CX-9 GT (which cost almost $40k) and I was amazed by how responsive the new Skyactiv 2.5L and 6-AT felt. I never felt the need for more power, and I have a heavy foot.

    I was especially impressed by the quality of the interior materials and how well it was assembled. It was rock solid, even over moderate bumps or potholes or bad pavement.

    The Mazda6 i Touring w/ Touring Tech Package would get you all the features you mentioned above. It would include Push Button Start, Advanced Keyless Entry System, Bluetooth audio and phone connectivity, Rear seat A/C vents and it was a very quiet and smooth ride, even with the gorgeous 19” wheels! It also does NOT have a moonroof, which seems to be a plus in your book. The Remote Start feature is a dealer-installed Mazda Accessory feature.

    In addition to all that stuff, it also has a lot of other very nice features-

    Bose 11-speaker Premium Surround Sound audio system
    SIRIUSXM & Pandora capable
    Navigation System
    Voice Command for Audio & NAV systems
    Dual-zone auto climate control (w/ rear vents)
    Auto-dimming Rearview mirror w/ Homelink
    Driver’s side auto-dimming mirror
    Heated side mirrors w/ integrated turn signals
    Trip Computer

    And it also has some impressive and useful safety features-

    -Blind Spot Monitoring System (Accord EX also has, I think)

    -Rear Cross Traffic Alert (for backing out of blind parking spots)

    -Rain-sensing automatic wipers

    -Smart City Brake Support (SCBS)- under 24mph, it monitors for vehicles or obstacles in front of you, the brakes automatic tighten to provide the shortest stop possible, if no driver action is taken, it will automatically brake and cut engine power to avert or minimize a collision

    -E911 automatic emergency notification- in cash of collision or airbag deployment, it will automatically call 911.

    There are several other nice touches that also give it a very upscale feel. The steering-wheel, shift handle and parking brake handle are all leather covered, both front visors have auxiliary extensions, front and rear map lights and the center armrest slides to adjust. The power driver’s seat is also very comfortable and has manual lumbar adjustment.

    According to KBB, it is also the current Resale Value champ. Consumer Reports got 32mpg overall, compared to 31mpg for the Altima and 30mpg for the Accord. IIHS rates it as a ‘Top Safety Pick’ slightly ahead of the Altima, if you dig into the numbers. The Mazda6, Accord and Altima are all within a fraction of an inch of each other in every dimension, but the Mazda6 back seat has a longer cushion to make it more comfy.

    A Touring w/ the $2k Tech Pkg is currently selling around $25,800 according to

    I just bought a CPO 2010 Acura TSX V6 a few weeks ago, but I still may end up with a Mazda6 before the year is out. Within the next few months, Mazda is adding a 2.2L turbodiesel to the lineup and, if it’s as good as the reports of pre-production models say it is, I may not be able to resist....and I got such a steal on the TSX that I could easily trade it in without losing any money! Then we’d have a CX-9 and Mazda6....time will tell...
    2015.5 Volvo S60 T6 Drive-E Platinum, 2012 Mazda CX-9 GT
  • suydamsuydam Posts: 2,946
    Yes, we drove both numerous times. I'm a Nissan fan too. Had a Maxima before. I was surprised, but I think the '13 Altima is more mushy driving than my friend's '10. Although its lighter than the Accord it felt like a larger, heavier car. Accord felt more secure on the road. That's just my opinion. Resale is probably better on Accord but we keep cars a long time so not an issue for us. The Max was 12 years old. It was still running well and we got good value when we sold it. But we liked both cars WAYYY better than the Camry we also tried. We agonized a lot over it, but eventually chose Accord.
    '14 Buick Encore Convenience
    '17 Chevy Volt Premiere
  • suydamsuydam Posts: 2,946
    I like Mazdas too. We didn't look at one because we are hampered by lack of dealer choice and service in our area. It definitely would have been on my list. That was another factor for us. If we move and replace our second car in a few years I will seriously look at a Mazda3.
    '14 Buick Encore Convenience
    '17 Chevy Volt Premiere
  • jaxs1jaxs1 Posts: 2,697
    edited April 2013
    Both are top safety pick plus rated, but the Accord's score was higher. I noticed the standard screen used for backup camera is bigger and brighter on the Accord than the standard backup monitor screen on the Altima. If you get navigation on the Altima, then the screen size increases. I will have to see this in person to determine if it is a problem.
    One advantage of fleet sales is that I will probably be able to rent a 2013 Altima somewhere and drive it for a full day or weekend rather than being limited to a 10 minute test drive of an Accord with salesman riding along.

    2014 Mazda6 is not really an option because you cannot get all the features I wanted (for instance, proximity sensor passive keyless entry) unless you get the maxed out top of the line model with leather and the crappy 5 inch TomTom navigation for around $31K.

    Mazda6 is also the newest released car, so it may have unknown quality issues since there are not many owner reports from people who have driven them more than a few weeks and a few hundred miles. Also, probably difficult to get good pricing since it was just released and inventories are probably very low.
    I'm looking for a car that has every feature I listed with a sales price under $26K after discounting.
    I plan to keep the car for around 7-8 years and might buy a factory extended service contract with zero deductible for about long. Toyota, Honda and Nissan are the only car manufacturers I've seen that even offer 8 year zero deductible warranties that cover everything except a small list of exclusions.
    I considered the 2013 Dodge Charger SXT V6 8 speed automatic for a day since that vehicle also had the features I wanted within the price rage (after big discounts plus rebates). It looked like a viable option until I looked at Chrysler's pricing for extended coverage and even at these prices, it had $150 deductible per visit. I think it was more than double the cost of the prices I found for even a zero deductible 7 year 100K mile service plan on the Accord and Altima. If there are massive discounts available on the service plans somewhere, I might look at the Charger SXT again. The fact that the Chrysler service plans are so expensive compared to the Japanese brands says alot about how much they predict will need to be spent on repairs during those years.
    Chrysler does offer a option of a "Lifetime" unlimited mileage service plan for even more money. I guess they are expecting many people to not get full value out of it because they will sell the car or it will get totaled and the warranty will be lost at that point.

    After 7 or 8 years, I'm not sure resale value of an Altima SV vs an Accord EX of the same mileage and condition will be that much different.
    Even if the resale value of the Accord is higher after 7 years, that does not make it cost less to own overall unless the difference in resale value is greater than the extra money spent up front on the higher initial purchase price.
    I have not driven either yet, so if I hate the way one drives or can't get comfortable in the seats or armrests etc or find some kind of deal-killing shortcoming during the test drive, then I will get the other car. If I like both, it will be mostly about the total cost of ownership over 7 or 8 years.
  • jaxs1jaxs1 Posts: 2,697
    edited April 2013
    I just noticed the Tech Package on the Mazda 6 added the smart entry. I thought it was just the nav and you needed a Grand Touring to get smart entry. I don't like the Mazda 6's TomTom-based nav because TomTom map data and routing is poor in the US, plus the Mazda nav has been widely panned for sluggish performance, very limited voice commands and a screen that isn't much bigger than some smart phone screens. I can always simply not use it and use my phone for nav instead as long as the purchase price still fits my budget even including the nav.
    So, now I will shop the Mazda also and start monitoring Mazda forums to see what kinds of common problems owners have been having, if any. I like the looks of it anyway.
    I'll check on extended warranty costs for the Mazda also. Even if I don't choose to purchase an extended service plan, I will use the service contract pricing to gauge how confident they are about repair costs it will need during the coverage period.
    The cheaper the factory backed service contract is with zero deductible, the more likely I will be to buy the car. Less cost and less hassle
    of repeated visits to the dealer for repairs covered by warranty or not.
    The one thing I don't like about the Mazda 6 with that package is 19 inch wheels. I don't even want 18 inch wheel, much less 19.
    It looks good and people buy them for looks without thinking about the consequences.
    Much higher tire replacement costs.
    Shorter tread life, so you are replacing the tires more often.
    More road noise.
    Bumpier, rougher ride.
    Massive turning radius like a big truck.
    Reduced fuel economy.
    Increased risk of wheel theft (higher insurance?).
  • suydamsuydam Posts: 2,946
    19" wheels would rule that out for me too. Turning radius on both Accord and Altima is excellent. I don't buy extended warranties so that was not a factor. Our dealership has its own warranty program, a nice plus but that wasn't the reason we chose the Accord.
    '14 Buick Encore Convenience
    '17 Chevy Volt Premiere
  • jaxs1jaxs1 Posts: 2,697
    I was just browsing through a Mazda 6 forum and road noise was a complaint that was listed in a likes and dislikes thread.
    If it is noisy enough to comment on, it probably isn't the car for me.
    The "base" model Mazda 6 Sport has smaller wheels and may not be so noisy on the road, but it cannot be optioned up to even the level of an Altima SV.
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