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Help Me Choose!



  • backybacky Twin CitiesPosts: 18,906
    That is really great of you to buy a car for your mom. I hope she has driven the Accord and likes how it drives and feels to her, including things like use of controls. The Accord is a fine car, but it has a firm ride that is not to everyone's liking, and its controls have been panned by many professional reviewers for their complexity. So if mom hasn't driven the Accord yet, that would be a good idea. Then she can try out the seats for herself and see if she prefers the cloth, or leather.
  • Hi,

    This is my first post here. i'm a 25 year old guy who is looking to buy my first car (when i say my first, i mean i will be paying for it, been driving for years). There are soo many choices out there that i have no clue what i want. here is a list of cars that i have thought about over the past year.

    Audio A4
    G37 (sedan)
    C300 sport

    I'm trying to get something sporty but something practical as well.

    In this recession, i am not sure if i want to spend a whole lot of money on a car, so now I'm trying to get the most for the buck.

    any ideas? maybe something else that's not listed?

    I'd prefer to lease, but i know a whole lot of people who tell me to buy, any ideas on this as well?

  • thegraduatethegraduate Posts: 9,731
    At 25, I hope you're making awfully big bucks to be shopping $35,000+ vehicles (and I'm not talking down to ya, I'm 21 and a senior in college :) ). Personally, I'd avoid VW/Audi products thanks to their iffy reliability and sky-high maintenance costs. The Dodge does nothing for me either.

    Have you thought about something like a Mazda 6? Mazdaspeed 3? Honda Civic Si?

    Personally, I put more than 12,000 miles a year on a car so leasing is out of the question. But, I feel like at the end of paying on a car for X number of years, I'd like to have something to show for it. Leasing feels like renting, to me. You pay and pay, and when the lease is up, you give it back. Not a big fan, personally. Id rather buy something, finance for 4 or so years, and then have no payment for 3 or 4 years and keep the car. By then I'll have 150k-200k miles, and be ready to upgrade.
  • corkscrewcorkscrew Posts: 254
    I too prefer to buy rather than lease, it's always good to have something in your hands when the payments are done. In your price range, I would be looking at a mustang Bullitt. :)
  • backybacky Twin CitiesPosts: 18,906
    If you are really looking for something sporty but practical, and would like to minimize your costs on the car and get the most for your buck, then one good option is a slightly USED Jetta/GTI/GLI (GTI with the hatch being most "practical"), one that carries the VW Certified warranty or still has factory warranty left, which your VW dealer can extend out if you want piece of mind. From what I've seen you can get a nice VW Certified Jetta 2.5 starting around $12k + T&L, more for a GLI/GTI of course. VW also still has 2.9% financing for 60 months on their Certified cars, I think. I went that route on New Year's Eve on a 2005 Jetta, and added 6 years of bumper-to-bumper warranty (total of 8 years) on it so it will be covered through the time I intend to own it (it's going to my daughter in a few years for school). Total financed was about $14k, that in included the 6 extra years of warranty, all taxes/fees, and a small payoff on my 328Ci. Total payment with the 2.9% financing of $266/mo. Car looks and drives like new, and I don't have to worry about paying for anything other than regular maintenance for 8 years.
  • qbrozenqbrozen Posts: 22,070
    Backy makes alot of sense.

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

  • bobgwtwbobgwtw Posts: 187
    I'd avoid VW/Audi like the plague. Even if you buy new, or have an extended warranty, the routine maintenance costs are sky high. Have a friend who is a traveling salesman & bought a new Jetta TDI. first 36,000 miles freen maintenance; then he took it in for routine 40,000 mile service & got hit with a bill for over $450.00!

    Check Consumer Reports, J.D. Powers, the posts at Edmunds & you'll see that the VW/Audi product is near the bottom of everyone's list when it comes to reliability.

    I'm not a VW hater. I drove over 40,000 miles last year & would love to be able to justify the purchase of a TDI; but compared to just about any Japanese brand, the maintenance costs alone more than wipe out the fuel savings.
  • backybacky Twin CitiesPosts: 18,906
    Check Consumer Reports, J.D. Powers, the posts at Edmunds & you'll see that the VW/Audi product is near the bottom of everyone's list when it comes to reliability.

    CR recommends the Jetta and Rabbit (i.e. the VWs we are discussing here). They don't recommend cars that have poor reliability as determined by their surveys.

    Also we aren't talking about the TDI here. And $450 is not unusual for a major service interval done by a dealership these days... sad but true. Another way to state your friend's experience is that he paid $450 for maintenance over the first 40k miles. I don't think that's bad at all.
  • qbrozenqbrozen Posts: 22,070
    then he took it in for routine 40,000 mile service & got hit with a bill for over $450.00!

    Hardly out of the ordinary and hardly a measure of a car's maintenance costs. Problem is that alot of folks fall for the "scheduled maintenance" chart provided by the dealer rather than the manufacturer. You would be shocked if you saw the chart provided me by my Honda dealer. If I followed it, I would have been out somewhere around $750 before hitting 40k miles.

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

  • After looking at several compact sedans, I think I've narrowed my choices down to a 2009 Mazda 3 S Sport or 2009 VW Jetta S California edition (automatic transmission.) Both seems similarly priced around $16,500 (not including taxes and fees.) The warranties are also similar. VW also includes 3 years scheduled maintainence. But I'm concerned after hearing about some issues the reliabiltiy of VW...
    The Mazda 3 price is through their S-Plan Pricing, so I'm assuming it can't go much lower. Is $16,500 + taxes and fees a good price on a VW Jetta S (the sticker price was $18,400.)
    Any input or suggestions?
  • You might as well look at the Altima too. It's Consumer Reports #1 car, and gets better fuel economy than the Accord and Camry. In fact, it's more car for less money. Drive it, and you might like it. A LOT!
  • backybacky Twin CitiesPosts: 18,906
    It's misleading to call the Altima "Consumer Reports' #1 car." The only"#1" thing about the Altima related to CR is that CR has the Altima 3.5SE ranked at the top of its "Family Sedans" grouping at this time, one point above the Accord EX-L and two points above the Camry XLE. But... for CR's Entry-Level Family Sedans category, (i.e. under $25k), the Accord LX-P (MT) edges out the Altima 2.5S by 3 points. More significantly, when it came to picking the overall best Family Sedan, in CR's "Top Picks", they chose the Accord over the Altima--mainly because the Accord has standard electronic stability control, which is hard to find (or not available) on most Altimas.

    But that being said, the Altima is worth a look... as long as ESC is not important to you.
  • bobgwtwbobgwtw Posts: 187
    I understand that CR has a buy rating for the Jetta. But that doesn't change the maintenance costs.

    As for what constitutes reasonable maintenance costs we'll just have to respectfully disagree. In the first 40,000 miles on my 06 Avalon total routine maintenance was approximately $265.00 (8 oil/filter changes & an air filter.) Recently had the 120,000 mile maintenance done & it came to $495.00. Compare that to the 110,000 mile maintenance cost on a TDI or Jetta.
  • bobgwtwbobgwtw Posts: 187
    Right on. If you don't insist that your service provider - & I include some independents - provide only what's required by the Mfr. you're going to be taken for a very expensive ride. You need to be familiar with your car's service requirements because the dealer sure isn't going to volunteer this information.
  • thegraduatethegraduate Posts: 9,731
    I found it tough to get an Altima equipped how I'd want without spending more than the competition when comparably equipped. To get certain features, you pay for expensive packages. Hopefully you can find what you want, otherwise, your getting more features for more money.
  • DH and I want to buy a minivan. now it's up for grabs on whether we really need one or not, DS was born recently and we are sort of musing over having another DC in the next year. DH is currently deployed. when he get back in May we get to move from Atlanta to Seattle. We currently have a Honda Civic and a Saturn SL2 both are 2002's or is it 2003... anywho the thing that is given us the most want for getting a minivan now instead of later is the thought of moving cross crountry in a sedan. granted all our stuff will be going by way of moving van. its just the getting of DH, DS, and I to the other side of continent that is a little concerning. if we buy a van we will sell DH's saturn

    Anywho we have been setting aside money to go towards a minivan for a little since it is something we knew we wanted to get at some point. basically since both out current cars are paid off we been putting aside $300 a month to "pretend" we have a payment and eventually use to go towards a down payment.

    So I suppose the first question I have is when to buy? DH gave me the ability to be able to buy without him and all trusting my judgement and all. I'm okay with that but i prefer not to. Or do I wait till he get back and we try to do it during the two we have in atlanta before we actually move? or do we suck it up and just wait till we get to seattle... or do we just flat out don't get a mini van?

    The next question is if we get one which one? Our biggest thing is Safety. but after that we don't really know. I suppose cost would be next. we are looking at $300 a month payment... $350 if we really really had to... We are leaning towards new and perhaps a Toyota, Honda, Kia, Hyuandai or Nissian. I'd like some comforts: power seat controls, tinted back windows, nothing too fancy. We aren't really fans of the wood looking stuff and prefer cloths seats to what ever the other thing is lol.

    hmmms not sure what else i can add... but yelp!
  • backybacky Twin CitiesPosts: 18,906
    Yes, I guess we'll have to disagree. But I think we should be comparing apples to apples, e.g. a gas engine Jetta to similar gas engine cars, not a TDI to other gas engine cars.

    Reviewing the maintenance schedule for my Jetta 2.0 (gas), I don't see much in the way of pricey maintenance needed for well past 50k miles. For example, only one oil change is spec'd every 10k miles. Even if it's synthetic (not required for my car but a good idea), it's not much money. I plan on changing the oil on mine every 5k miles because I put less than 10k miles a year on the car. And I see inspections but not a lot of parts replacements. If a VW dealer charges too much for such basic maintenance, do it yourself (e.g. oil changes and filters) if so inclined, or find some other place to get the work done.
  • backybacky Twin CitiesPosts: 18,906
    If you want a basic minivan with some convenience features and excellent safety, and spend as little as possible while buying new, the best values on the market today are 2008 Sedonas and Entourages--HUGE rebates and discounts available on those, plus closeout discounts. I have seen advertised prices on Sedonas around $15k. They are not the best minivans on the market but have capable powertrains, decent ride and handling, a good set of convenience features even in the base models, and the 10 year/100k Hyundai/Kia warranty. And they are IIHS Top Safety Picks. Not as good as the Odyssey and Sienna, but maybe $8000+ less.

    The Chrysler/Dodge minivans are also available at excellent prices now, but I see two big problems with them: 1) a question of how long Chrysler will be around, and 2) IMO the interiors have a cheap appearance, especially on base models. Also I hate the exterior of the 2008+ Chrysler/Dodge vans, and much prefer the previous generation inside and out (in fact I own a 2007 Town & Country LX, bought used last year for $11k). The Chrysler/Dodge vans have Stow-n-Go, but that's about it.

    As for used... that is another option to consider if you really want to save money. With minivans falling out of favor for many people today, there are excellent deals on slightly-used minivans, which can be had with a Certified warranty.
  • wobbly_earswobbly_ears Posts: 160
    Do you really want a minivan? The reason I am asking that question is that I feel that a minivan is somewhat overkill for a family of 4. Why not go for a small MPV like a Kia Rondo? Rondo seats 5 or 7 (based on config), has tons of airbags & is very safe. Plus, it is smaller than minivan, making it easier to drive & park.

    Why not take a look at a Kia Rondo & see if it works for you? It makes a great vehicle as a family carrier.
  • suydamsuydam Posts: 3,006
    >Do you really want a minivan?<
    Yes, they probably do. Kids may be small now but they will grow, and you also wind up transporting their friends . . .Toyota Sienna is very easy to drive and park.
    '14 Buick Encore Convenience
    '17 Chevy Volt Premiere
  • asp123asp123 Posts: 3
    Currently I am looking at the following vechiles,

    Altima 2.5 SL
    Acura TSX
    Audio A4 2.0 Quattro
    Mercedes C300

    I know that they are in different price ranges so it's a bit hard to compare... I'd like something practical but also enjoyable to drive. Any suggestions on these four or another model? Any help would be much appreciated!
  • thegraduatethegraduate Posts: 9,731
    Going with a premium name brand means higher maintenance costs, therefore, less practical. If I were choosing between these cars and my price range were up to $30k, I'd probably take the Altima and get the V6 model. You do have quite a range of prices here though, so its hard to tell what is the best fit for you.

    Do you place more emphasis on brand name, or on features? Engine power? Room?

    Have you checked out the Mazda 6 Grand Touring?
  • asp123asp123 Posts: 3
    The most important thing to me is probably features, followed by engine power as a close second. Room is semi-important though not too much as 90% of the time I'd be the only one in the car. Brand name is nice but not really important. I have not checked out the Mazda 6 - thanks for putting it on my radar. I'll take a look and take it for a test drive this weekend.
  • thegraduatethegraduate Posts: 9,731
    If its features and power on your list, check out the 3.5SL Altima (95 more horses than the 2.5SL) as well as the Mazda 6 S GT, and it'll be cheaper, roomier, and less expensive to maintain than the C300 you're interested in.
  • backybacky Twin CitiesPosts: 18,906
    If features and engine power are important, and since brand name really is not important, another car to check out is the 375 hp Genesis V8, which starts at around $35k--in the ballpark pricewise of the A4 and C300.
  • thegraduatethegraduate Posts: 9,731
    They also mentioned fun-to-drive.
  • backybacky Twin CitiesPosts: 18,906
    I had a lot of fun driving a Genesis 3.8 on a test course. More than I would driving the likes of an Altima at least.
  • thegraduatethegraduate Posts: 9,731
    I haven't driven one, but everything I've read (and granted, it isn't a lot) talks it up as a big powerful car that ultimately drags its mirrors in tight turns.

    I'd write more, but we're about to get a big thunderstorm, so laptop is getting unplugged!

    Night all!

  • backybacky Twin CitiesPosts: 18,906
    Definitely did not "drag its mirrors" and actually took very sharp curves (much sharper than real-word turns) amazingly well for such a big car. And in fact out-handled a CTS I also drove on the same course, and the CTS is supposed to be a better handling car.

    Anyway, it's about the same size outside as the Altima (but bigger and much more luxurious inside), just a bit more $ than a loaded Altima 3.5, and in the same price ballpark as other cars being considered--but a LOT more power. So many choices!

    P.S. try putting a battery pack in your laptop... then you can carry it around, and use it during a thunderstorm. ;)
  • lch77lch77 Posts: 53
    As others have stated, the cars on your list are very different. Also, posters have made additional worthy suggestions. My suggestion is for you to go to the Edmunds car selector and choose the criteria that are important to you. The guide will then list only those cars that meet your selected requirements. Consumer Reports has a similar service but you have to be a paid member of their online magazine in order to use it.
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