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Help Me Choose!



  • backybacky Twin CitiesPosts: 18,906
    Holiday. A lot better things to do on a long weekend in summer than be on... oh. Never mind!

    There are many places you can take a car to have it inspected. Dealerships will do it but may charge a lot. The owner can say "no" of course, but if they do that is reason enough to pass I think.

    I just did a google on "used vehicle inspection my_city_name_here" and got several links to places that do inspections.
  • mr_gonemr_gone Posts: 50
    Hi all: I'm interested in a used Honda Accord EX sedan, manual transmisssion, 4 cylinder, and am wondering how significant the differences are between the 2005 and 2006 versions. I am ruling out 2003 and 2004 because--from what I can tell--they didn't have side curtain airbags, not even as an option.

    I know that in going from 2005 to 2006, Honda slightly changed the engine and reworked the suspension a bit, plus the nicer tail lights (gauges, too, right?) Looking at Edmunds pricing, there seems to be about an $1,800 gap between the two. I'd be inclined to go with the 2006, but it seems very hard to find this particular combination of EX, manual, 4 cyl, 4 doors. So if I came across a 2005 priced right, it might be tempting. Any strong opinions about waiting for a 2006 to become available in that combo platter or just snapping up a 2005? Most likely would hold onto the car for several years. No other really distinguishing driving needs.
  • tallman1tallman1 Posts: 1,874
    I can't remember all the changes that occurred in 06 but it sure looks much better than the 05. I think you've got most of them. I was thinking that the 05 didn't have the side curtain airbags but I may be wrong.

    You are correct that an EX I4 manual is rare. I own an 06 EX-L with Navi and finding one with a stick was hard to do back when they were new. I love the car and will keep it a long time, especially since Honda is dropping the sticks from the top trimlines.

    So much depends on the condition of the car and how well it was maintained. You may find a lousy 06 and a great 05. Then it is kind of a no-brainer.

    You may also want to consider an 07 if it isn't too much more since they are virtually identical to the 06.

    Good luck in your search! Let us know how it turns out.
  • So I'm pretty flexible and indecisive here (1st time car buyer!)

    I punched in these specifications into
    Used car
    Acura, Honda, Infiniti, Lexus, or Toyota
    4 door sedan, no hybrids, automatic transmission

    And this list came out:
    Honda Accord
    Toyota Camry
    Lexus ES 350
    Infiniti G35
    Lexus IS 250
    Infiniti M45
    Acura TL
    Acura TSX

    What do you guys recommend? I figured I'd ask the experts since I'm completely lacking car purchasing experience! From what I can see, it looks like the "non luxury brands" like Honda and Toyota are either available newer (2010 - 2011) at around $23K or older (2008-2009) for sub $20K

    It seems like the luxury brands (Acura, Lexus, Infinity) only have 2008 selections. I am assuming this is because these cars come with a 3 yr warranty and because the 2008 ones are about to have their warranty expire, thats why they slot into this price range?

    (With the exception of the TSX, the TSX does come in 2009 varieties too)

    So what do you guys recommend?

    My girlfriend recommended getting a 2009 Camry or Accord, that way we would still get to enjoy 1 year of warranty in case anything happened after purchasing the car and in all likelihood, we could push the price tag to <$20K


    Thanks again, looking forward to your replies! :)
  • backybacky Twin CitiesPosts: 18,906
    It would help us if you'd tell us what you are looking for in a car--what is important to you: e.g. do you need room in back to carry adult passengers for more than cross-town trips? Is fuel economy important? Is fun-to-drive important? Do you want a powerful car, or is handling more important? etc.

    If I had $23k to spend for a car right now, and had to choose from your list, I'd gravitate to the TSX and G35... 2008 for the TSX because I like that generation better than 2009-on (and it would be less expensive), and the newer the better on the G35 (I'd even get a G25 if I could find one for $23k).
  • Certainly!

    - Backroom isn't too important to me, would like 4 doors just in case
    - Good fuel economy would be great
    - Fun to drive would also be great
    - Handling > power I great
    - I guess above all safety and reliability are the most 2 important things I'm looking for
    - I personally would enjoy a powerful vehicle but I think having better fuel economy, good stability/handling for safety are more important (my girlfriend will probably be driving it >50% of the time)
  • plektoplekto Posts: 3,738
    Perfect car:

    2004 Lexus IS300. Find one in mint condition and drive it until the wheels fall off. It's as close to the same era 3 series as Japan ever got. Just with Japanese reliability in the mix.

    If it HAS to be newer, then I recommend you also add a 2008 Cadillac CTS to the short list as one of two specific domestic exceptions. It's worlds better than anything GM has made to date and honestly, it drives better than the G37, IMO. I know the two are almost the same on paper, but the CTS seems a bit more tuned for highway driving.

    The other is a 2012 Mustang - the new one with the 30mpg V6 that has 300hp. It's a blast. It has 2 doors, yeas, but it's a usable enough rear seat. Cheap, good MPG, and fun to drive. You can get one new for about your "used" price range,

    If it has to be Japanese, well, it's a short short list that pretty much begins and ends with the G37 sedan (with an exception which I note below). Nothing front wheel drive will drive half as fun or well in twisties as a RWD version of the same vehicle. And Japan makes precious few RWD cars these days.

    Of note as an exception, though it doesn't get good MPG, is the RX8. It fits 4 adults comfortably (2+2 configuration), and easily handles rings around most everything else out of Japan these days. It's as close to a (base) Porsche Boxster as you'll get without spending 40K+.

    This is one car that you want to buy new, though, at the end of the year. The engine burns oil and absolutely MUST be run from day 1 with high zinc oil. Synthetic or low zinc oil will ruin the engine in a few years. The internal pressures are much greater than in a normal 4 stroke engine and the EPA lowered the zinc content in oils a couple of years ago - to low enough that most anything other than oil made for classic cars and racing is too low for a rotary engine.

    But other than that need to care properly for it from day 1 yourself, it's a perfect choice.
    I'm in Los Angeles, so it's just under $24K for one new. YEar-end will see a drop of 2-3K more, though.
  • backybacky Twin CitiesPosts: 18,906
    The IS might be a good choice if rear seat room is not important at all. But I wouldn't go back to 2004 if I didn't have to. Low-mileage Acura-certified 2008 TSXes can be had for well under $23k. Blast to drive and good fuel economy with the I4. In my area, you can't get a G37 for under $23k. But the G35 is a nice car also--more powerful than the IS or TSX, but not as economical either.
  • plektoplekto Posts: 3,738
    The IS series is worlds better than the TSX. Remember, the TSX you'd be looking at is the last generation if you want to stay in your price range. It's basically a fancied-up Civic. Compare that to even the IS250 with a good 6 cylinder engine and RWD, and it's simply no contest. Even the new TSX, while it drives fine, is so boring that it makes me want to cry compared to a RX8, IS, Mercedes C class, a CTS, (and so on).

    So what is the third best car GM ever made?
    2004 was also a magic year for GM - the Holden Monaro made its way to the U.S. as the Pontiac GTO. If you get manual with it, that year only will give you:
    - A 350HP LS1 Corvette engine. Same 6 speed gearbox as well.

    - 29 mpg highway (25 combined is possible wit a light foot - and with 350hp, you don't need to stomp on the gas hard)
    EPA city estimate: 17 mpg. EPA highway estimate: 29 mpg (original sticker).

    - A 0-60 time of 5.3 seconds (!) 1/4 mile in under 14 seconds and at over 100mph. It's the real deal.

    - A slalom speed of 63.4mph. A G37 does it at 66.4mph for reference - it's no straight-line boat by a long shot. The *new* TSX? 54.9mph. FWD rears its ugly head since you can't really defeat physics.

    If you care even the least bit about handling, you want RWD. And, no, RWD isn't a disaster like the nannys want you to believe. They get serious snow in Germany and you don't hear news articles about Mercedes and BMWs flying off the roads in winter.

    Many owners who have a GTO obsess over theirs and treat it like an instant classic, or add some tweaks and upgrades to it, so finding a cherry example is actually quite easy. Same as say, with a Porsche - the ones that are beaters are instantly obvious and the collectors are also easy to identify. You won't even pay $15K, either, which will give you a lot of extra money for upkeep and potential upgrades. (dual exhaust is the obvious first mod).

    The 2005+ and all automatic models suffer 4-5mpg worse due to a 400HP engine that's tuned for raw speed versus smoothness and low-end torque. I'd get a 2004 GTO in a heartbeat. Where else will you get muscle car performance and 30mpg on the highway? Well, other than the new Mustang, that is - but the GTO has a nicer interior than the Ford. Ford somehow still can't make a good interior on most of its cars.
  • Wow, thanks for the helpful reply guys, keep em coming!
    Awesome replies!

    So I think I am leaning towards a 2008 Acura TSX or TL
    with the sad, boring Accord or Camry has backup options

    Of the other cars mentioned, the Infinitis (G35/37) might be a little too pricy for me in this area
    Not particularly interested in driving a 2008 CTS, 2012 Mustang or 2012 RX8

    That being said, the other 2 that have surged to the top of my list are the 2004 Pontiac GTO and the 2004 Lexus IS300! Definitely nice to hear all those exciting things about them and they are available at very affordable prices in my area! I'm leaning toward the GTO because I have not been able to find any IS300's with reasonable mileages on them, I've actually found a couple of GTO's with lower mileage than the TSX's or TL's I was considering! Inclined to bump the GTO/IS300 pairing above Accord/Camry at this point, I'm not sure if I can bring myself to bump them above the 2008 TSX/TL as I just have reservations about buying something so old. That being said, I certainly will test drive all these over the coming weeks.

    Thanks again for all the advice and keep it rolling in, would definitely like to shop around with as much advice and recommendations as possible! :)
  • backybacky Twin CitiesPosts: 18,906
    Owning a GTO and driving it with a light foot is something of an oxymoron, isn't it? :surprise:

    BTW, the EPA fuel economy rating of the 2004 GTO with MT is only 19 mpg combined (16/26).
  • biker4biker4 Posts: 746
    edited June 2011
    It's basically a fancied-up Civic.

    That is like saying the IS is a fancied up Corolla. :mad:
  • backybacky Twin CitiesPosts: 18,906
    Technically, a fancied-up 1983 Corolla... before it went to FWD. ;)
  • plektoplekto Posts: 3,738
    edited June 2011
    Well, that's after the EPA decided to apply its one size fits all formula to older ratings. The original sticker said 17/29. We all know that with cruise control on, you can get slightly over the EPA highway ratings. From what people are reporting, it gets 1mpg or so less overall MPG as a typical large sedan like a Camry V6 or Buick.

    The reason is that the 6th gear is a really high overdrive. 65mph is close to 1700-1800rpm. If you are patient and slowly let rev up and down in 6th, you'll get very good MPG. Well, relatively speaking, that is. ;)

    The IS300 gets about the same MPG combined.
  • backybacky Twin CitiesPosts: 18,906
    Yes, it does. Yet another reason to go for the TSX... 23 mpg EPA combined, under the new scale. 5 mpg (28%) better than the IS300. In these days of $4 a gallon gas, that's a significant difference.

    Let me know the next time you see a GTO driver "slowly let rev up and down". ;)
  • plektoplekto Posts: 3,738
    Well with 300HP and about the same in lb-ft of torque, only idiots hammer the gas pedal in city traffic. With a manual and a lead foot, I can make a Civic get 15mpg city as well.
  • backybacky Twin CitiesPosts: 18,906
    Only if you siphon gas out of it regularly. :P Not even the racer boys at C/D can make a Civic get only 15 mpg, and they have pedal to the metal constantly.
  • fujisfujis Posts: 27
    between a front-wheel driving and rear-wheel driving car?

  • qbrozenqbrozen Posts: 22,070
    There really is no difference on dry roads up to 7/10ths the limit.

    Under low traction conditions, FWD will pull the car along, sometimes spinning the tire(s) because the weight is shifting away from the wheels with power, while RWD pushes and occassionally tries to force the rear of the car to pass the front of it.

    Under racing conditions, a FWD setup forces the front tires to perform both turning duties and powering duties, thereby limiting traction in either capacity. With RWD, the fronts and rears are doing their own thing and you can usually use the throttle to aid in steering the car, but it also means you can't get on the gas as soon as you can FWD.

    So they both have their pluses and minuses, as you can see. Most enthusiasts prefer RWD for the added fun factor.

    Of course, each car is different and each person has their own anecdotal experiences, but I think what I've stated is a fair assessment for the general question.

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

  • tenpin288tenpin288 Posts: 804
    Here's a link to a fairly good explanation...

    FWD vs RWD
  • mr_gonemr_gone Posts: 50
    I'd qualify the comments in that link by saying the author is assuming the driving conditions to be something other than what people experience in snow-heavy climates. Even with traction control, a rear-wheel drive car is not going to climb a snow-covered hill as well as a front-drive or all-wheel drive. And having more horsepower won't help the matter, either!
  • tenpin288tenpin288 Posts: 804
    Having driven rwd cars in snow many moons ago, I would have to say that properly equipped with good studded snow tires, a rwd car can get around just fine in the winter, even here in the snow belt of Western PA. It's all in using the proper equipment and proper technique.
  • Hey. I'm looking at a Nissan Altima under $16,000 after negotiation. From research this looks like 2010s are possible as well as 09 Hybrids. I'm looking at holding onto this car for about 8 years. I have a few questions.

    Do hybrid repair costs really make that big of a difference? Are the changes in 1 year to another a big difference? Enough to make me choose the 2010? Are the features in the SL class really worth it? Opinions and other thoughts? I don't know that much since this is my first car.

    I'm also looking at a Toyota Camry and trying to weigh the options. I like the Altima the best, but I don't know if reliability wise and such if it would be the way to go. Thanks for your help!
  • biker4biker4 Posts: 746
    If you are looking for a long term car stay away from hybrids. Nissan cancelled the MY12 Altima hybrid - what does that tell you?

    Get a regular Altima - about 3 years old with low miles - that should last you another 8 years without any major work needing to be done.
  • mjl0690mjl0690 Posts: 2
    Hello everyone, I am needing to buy a used car, and I am looking for some different opinions on the mileage difference and price. Obviously I can not tell too much from looking online, but is the difference in price worth the difference in mileage here?

    I am thinking on trekking out to Asheville to pick up a used car ( Ford Focus), but I am unsure if the extra money is worth it for the newer model.

    I am no expert in this area so any advice would be appreciated. I don't have much of a clue when it comes to buying cars.
  • qbrozenqbrozen Posts: 22,070
    I didn't look at the details, but if they are equipped the same, then a year newer and 18k miles less for $2k is the better deal.

    However, who knows where you'd be after negotiations. The typical spread I see going from one year to the next is 15k miles and $2500 difference.

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

  • djm2djm2 Posts: 712
    Hi Techstudent:

    Stay away from Hybrid vehicles! ---- I own two non-hybrid vehicles, (a 2007 Toyota Camry XLE V6 and a 2010 Chevrolet Malibu 4 cylinder LTZ.) -------- When I purchased the Camry new, I looked at the Toyota Hybrid. ----- Before I made the purchase, --- I did some research about Hybrid vehicles, and found that there was some concerns about "HIGH EMF in the passenger compartment," (similar to living under power lines on land.) ----- While the manufacturers do not admit that there is a problem, some owners claim that they get sick when driving in their vehicles. ----- I am NOT a fan of Nissan vehicles because they have a CVT transmission. I prefer a 5 or 6 speed transmission. -------- Whatever vehicle you purchase, be sure to put a "factory top of the line extended warranty" on the vehicle. ------ If you purchase a Nissan purchase it from a Nissan dealer. ---- If you purchase a Toyota purchase it from a Toyota dealer. ---- If you purchase a Honda purchase it from a Honda dealer. --- This will allow you to purchase a manufacturer's extended warranty and get factory service if problems arise. ----- (DO NOT PURCHASE AFTER MARKET WARRANTIES!) ----- The quality of the dealer is a major concern. When I shop for a vehicle, I look at the dealer first, then I look at the vehicle. I ask the sales person to show me the service department BEFORE I talk about a vehicle! If I DO NOT like what I see in the service department, I politely walk! ------------- Best regards. ---- Dwayne :shades: ;) :)
  • bigbuck41bigbuck41 Posts: 1
    i am looking at purchasing a new or certified car..right now i have neg.2008 camry for 15000.00 it has 30,000 miles.i have also negotiated a nissan altima 2008,for about 16000.00.i have read all kinds of horror stories on these vehicles,i went to honda and also i am looking at a chevy impala or malibu...i can use any input
  • djm2djm2 Posts: 712
    Hi Bigbuck41:

    After reading your posting, ----- I would rate the Used Vehicle in the following order:

    1.) Honda
    2.) Toyota
    3.) Malibu

    I am not a big fan of Nissan Vehicles!

    Purchase a used Honda from a Honda dealer, a used Toyota from a Toyota dealer, and a used Malibu from a Chevrolet dealer. ---- Reason; ---- you can then put a maximum factory extended warranty on the vehicle to cover yourself for big repairs! ----- Best regards. ----------- Dwayne :shades: ;) :)
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