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Help Me Choose!



  • backybacky Twin CitiesPosts: 18,905
    How about a USED Mazda3s hatch? Still a great car, and you'll save thousands off new.
  • BMW540BMW540 Posts: 33
    My son is looking to buy a new car. Something safe, not too expensive etc. What would be some of the best options?
    Thanks, BMW
  • kyfdxkyfdx Posts: 63,370
    Got a price range?


    Prices Paid, Lease Questions, SUVs

    Need help picking out a make/model, finding inventory, or advice on pricing? Talk to an Edmunds Car Shopping Advisor

  • thegraduatethegraduate Posts: 9,731
    In the under $15,000 category, I'd look at something like a two or three year old Accord. Plenty of safety features, a frugal engine, and still halfway fun to drive.
  • qbrozenqbrozen Posts: 21,990
    not only pricerange, but you should also at least narrow down his needs a bit. does he need a troop transport? or would a 2-seater suffice?

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

  • BMW540BMW540 Posts: 33
    We have been considering sedans such as the Civic and the Corolla.Maybe a SUV. He does need a 4 seater. We have thought about buying new, as my son can make a reasonable monthly payment. My guy that looks for cars suggested a 09 Corolla S. I read the reviews which were less than inspiring.Ideas?
  • thegraduatethegraduate Posts: 9,731
    I'm 21, and for my first car I had a 6 year old car with 120k miles on it.

    While I'm not saying something this old is necessary, I will say that there was some relief on both the part of my parents as well as on my part, because I didn't have to worry about dings, dents, and keeping a new car in new condition. I'm pretty nit-picky about my cars so having something that is worn (not worn out though) was kind-of nice when going to HS football games, local trips to the lake, and simply in the hazards of the parking deck at the mall.

    I'd skip the "new" route; if you can afford a new Corolla, perhaps look at a 2 year old midsize car (Altima, Fusion, Accord, Sonata - Toyotas are too dull for even my grandmother, so I'm thinking your son won't care for it either) . Generally safer than compacts, they don't use much more fuel (my dad's 07 Civic got 37 MPG while following me up the interstate on a 300 mile trip; my '06 2.4L Accord got 35 MPG; we both had cruise control set).

    Just a few thoughts from someone who was in that position not-too-long ago. By the way; I still have my old '96 Accord. It now has 195k miles on it, and gets used in my job as a courier where fender-benders and parallel parking follies occur... I plan to take it to grad school with me along with my 2006 this fall. :)
  • backybacky Twin CitiesPosts: 18,905
    It's true you can save a lot of money buying a slightly used car, or get a much nicer car for the same money as a small car. One advantage of getting a new or nearly-new car is that it will be more likely to have the latest safety features, including good crash protection (6 airbags etc.) and ESC. The 2010 Corolla for example has ESC standard now, as do the 2010 Mazda3, 2009 Jetta/Rabbit, 2009 Impreza and most new mid-sized cars.
  • qbrozenqbrozen Posts: 21,990
    hmmmm... not for nuthin', but he never mentioned his son's age. He could be 45 years old with 4 kids looking for his 8th car for all we know.

    I still need more info to make a suggestion, personally.

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

  • BMW540BMW540 Posts: 33
    My son is 18. We previously bought a 96 Jeep from a relative. It is a piece of crap.While I spent most of my youth fixing cars, this one is not worth it. A used car in the 7 to $10,000 range max, could be considered. I'd like to know the best cars to look for and the best places to find them. Input is much appreciated.
  • backybacky Twin CitiesPosts: 18,905
    It's possible the Jeep qualifies for the clunker cash. If so, you might be able to go for a new car vs. a used car and still stay under $10k out of pocket before tax and fees. Some decent new cars for a young person in the $13-14k range are the Yaris, Versa, Focus, and Elantra. Dealers are dealing so you might be able to find a larger car like the Fusion (2009) or Optima in that range also.
  • BMW540BMW540 Posts: 33
    What exactly is clunker cash?
  • kathyc2kathyc2 Posts: 159
    Don't forget to factor in the insurance cost as you are looking. At that age insurace cost can be almost as much as the car payment!
  • almattialmatti Posts: 164
    jbbevel: Couldn't agree with you more..... Mazda 3 sport ( Grand Touring - most preferable) has it head oevr heels on the Subbie, the Corolla - No contest; . I test drove the Imprezza hatchback.Just Ok..... AWD is definetely a draw, but found it to be cheap plasticey in the interior. The Eleantra is very good, nice Warranty, Buyer's assurance, did lack some pep though...

    I ended up getting a 2008.5 Mazda 3 s Touring (Mazda made too many variants in the model choices IMO - that must be the Ford influences). Made a great deal @$16,950. I was really looking for a 2009 Mazda 3 s GT, none to be found on the East Coast in April. The 2010 was real appetizing, but it just came out: no discounts.
  • jbbeveljbbevel Posts: 28

    that's exactly what I'm down to deciding now. It's between the new car and the slightly used. It's hard because I really like the new 2010 Mazda's... but the 08 and 09's can be had for thousands less.

    Thinking 2010 s Sport Hatchback with Bose/Moonroof at about 20K
    thinking 2008/9 s Sport hatchback w/ less than 30K miles at about 16-17K.

  • kreuzerkreuzer Posts: 127
    on alternatives to the pick-up truck and SUVs for cargo holding and light towing (<2000lbs.). Any ideas? I'm not really impressed with the small truck offerings due to their prices if I want seating for 4/5 people which I would like. The vehicles I am curious about are the Elantra Touring, Subaru Impreza Hatchback, Mazda 3 Hatchback. I can't think of anything else. If I'm missing some, please let me know. Thanks for your sugestions/comments.
    Also, I would like to stay under $20,000 buying new.
  • backybacky Twin CitiesPosts: 18,905
    The Elantra Touring, Impreza, and Mazda3 don't have a towing capacity anywhere close to 2000 pounds. Have you considered a small cross-over type SUV, which drives much more like a car than an SUV? For example, the Sportage V6 could be had for under $20k and can tow up to 2000 pounds (the I4 can tow up to 1500). It's quite roomy for up to 5 people. Another option, maybe hard to find new under $20k but there's the used option, is the VW Jetta Sportwagen--it can tow up to 2000 pounds and would definitely handle like a car (because it is). So maybe check out small crossover SUVs ala Sportage and RAV4 V6 (probably have to go used on that one to stay under $20k), or even the Santa Fe, which has big discounts now, and small wagons that can tow (pretty rare) like the Sportwagen.
  • kreuzerkreuzer Posts: 127
    Thanks backy for your comments. I will take them under consideration. I knew the Mazda doesn't have a towing capacity and believe it's not recommended, but pretty sure the Impreza can tow up to 2000lbs. The Elantra use to be able to tow up to 3000lbs., I believe , with trailer brakes. I saw this on the Edmunds website at one time. You're right that I'd have to go used with the Volkswagens and Toyotas.

    Do you know much about how the I4 in the Sportage does as far as enough power to pull and carry 5 and what about gas mileage? Do you have or know someone that owns one?

    Thanks again!
  • backybacky Twin CitiesPosts: 18,905
    The Elantra Touring has a towing capacity of only 750 pounds I think. It is heavier than the sedan but has the same engine. The current Elantra sedan doesn't have the same towing rating as the 2001-2006 Elantra for some reason. The 2009 Impreza 2.5i (the only one available for anything close to $20k) doesn't seem to have a published towing capacity. Where did you see it can tow up to 2000 lbs.?

    The Sportage V6 has pretty good power for its size, and has a pretty good towing capacity as I mentioned. I've only driven the I4 Sportage and even with only 138 hp (same engine as the Elantra) I thought it moved OK--no barn burner of course. But that was only with 2 people in it, not towing, and not the V6. You might check the Sportage discussion for owner opinions, and for real-world fuel economy numbers. For fuel economy, I think you'd actually do just as well or even better with a larger crossover, such as the Santa Fe or RAV4.
  • kreuzerkreuzer Posts: 127
    Wow, I wonder what happened to the tow capacity for the Elantras?!! I think where I got the info for the Impreza was based on the fact that it has the same engine as it's bigger cousins: Forester and Outback. I knew they were good for that.

    The Sportage sounds like the way to go with the v6, anyway. I still think the Santa Fe and RAV4 will be out of my price range, although the Santa Fe would be my best bet to negotiate. Toyota won't budge on the RAV4.

    Thanks again on your quick reply and info. It will help!
  • backybacky Twin CitiesPosts: 18,905
    It is quite possible to get a new Santa Fe around $20k, e.g. invoice on a GLS with AT and tow hitch is just over $23k, and there's a $2000 rebate now plus dealers are dealing on these. (For example, Fitzmall offers GLSes with AT for under $20k.) You might even be able to find an SE, with the superior powertrain (3.3L V6 + 5AT) for just a bit over $20k (Fitzmall's start at $21.4k). The RAV4 will be higher, but I noticed Fitzmall has new I4 RAV4s starting at just over $20.4k. But those have a towing capacity of only 1500 lbs., with the tow prep package. This is well under list, so it looks like Toyota dealers will budge on the RAV4. Toyota sales are down quite a bit this year.

    I notice Subaru has pretty low lease payments on the Forester, e.g. $279 for 3 years with nothing down except acquisition fee being offered in my area. That might be another route for you.
  • kreuzerkreuzer Posts: 127
    Thanks, backy for your swift replies! I'll consider all of them. :)
  • jbbeveljbbevel Posts: 28
    Well, I've ended up going with the new 2010 Mazda 3 Sport Hatchback 6 speed Manual Transmission. I decided to dump the upgraded stereo and Moonroof option... just didn't seem worth another $1200.
  • bwiabwia Boston Posts: 1,907
    Has any boardie used or have experience with the no-haggle Costco buying service? I am not a Costco member yet so I was wondering:
    1) Is it worth it to buy a $50 membership? and
    2) Are the savings they promote significantly better than what I could get haggling the old fashioned way?

    Furthermore, does Costco tend to recommend dealerships close to metropolitan areas or are they inclined to recommend out-of-the-way dealerships in Podunck USA?
    Any feedback is appreciated.
  • jbbeveljbbevel Posts: 28
    I think you have to take the Costco Buying Service... on a case by case basis. I used it to buy my wife's 2007 Toyota RAV 4... brand new.... back in 07.. I could not seem to get Toyota dealer to nudge much on the prices.... ended up just going with the Costco deal.. and did okay...

    Comparatively, I just bought a new 2010 Mazda 3 on monday.... I used Edmunds and got quotes from about 7 dealers... told them I was pre-approved and would buy on monday ( end of month, end of quarter ) and would take the best dealer quote. I ended up doing better than Costco program or another program I was considering. Got my new ride for $400 below invoice... Costco was about $200 over invoice. So i made out with a $600 savings... by doing my homework and timing it right.

    Good luck! ;)
  • BMW540BMW540 Posts: 33
    Just got quoted $ 4500 worth of clunker cash.
    and, $350.00 a mo payments for 60 mo on a new Mazda 3 hatchback with Bose and moonroof. Hows that sound?
  • jbbeveljbbevel Posts: 28

    You've gotta give us more information than what your payment is. What's the total cost, and out the door after Tax, title and license? :)
  • r000r000 Posts: 53
    Doesn't sound very good...

    The MSRP is $24,445
    Minus 4500, that puts you around $20000 retail. But who pays retail?
  • qbrozenqbrozen Posts: 21,990
    Your response contains about as much detail as his post, so I guess its appropriate. ;b

    IF he did pay $20k after the government aid, add tax and tags, and even at 0% it would be $361/mo.

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

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