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Help Me Choose!



  • sandman_6472sandman_6472 Coral Springs, FLPosts: 4,172
    A dismal car, at least the one I was in...totally cheap looking and feeling...just reminds me of a rental car sweetheart! If I had to buy one, I'd have to get the 2LT or LTZ but why even bother when there are better choices out there. The Elantra is just a better, more comfortable ride. The '13 Civic looks very promising and though I don't trust the electrical gremlins from popping up, a Jetta should work. And for a little bit more, the Buick Verano is a nice package...very nice looking with comfortable, upscale appointments. For being a Cruze cousin, it's just so much more at a higher price point of course!

    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)

  • bpizzutibpizzuti Posts: 2,743
    Quick, someone call Uplanderguy! :shades:

    Actually, I don't think the Cruze is all THAT bad. It's quiet, got a lot of low-end torque, reasonably responsive throttle. Runs out of breath at the top end but that's typical GM, low end torque and nothing when you rev it. Seats felt OK, dash seemed high quality in a subdued, non-techie way.

    Downside of being quiet is that it's heavy, and it drives like it. Steering is fairly numb. Doesn't transition well. Not much at the top end of the rev range to tap. And it's got a trunk, which I just hate. Especially when the decklid is maybe an inch or two, max, what's the point??
  • I am looking to buy a used/new toyota Corolla/Camry for my wife who would be using it for driving to work every day on an average we would be driving this car around 1200 miles per month

    We plan to use it for roughly 3 years & thinking what car would be most bang for the buck, should we go for a certified pre-owned or new car?
  • backybacky Twin CitiesPosts: 18,906
    For bang for the buck, I'd go used definitely. Toyotas hold up well, and you'll save a bundle on the new-car depreciation.

    I'd go with the Camry. I really detest the current-gen Corolla--lousy steering feel, uncomfortable driving position, cheap interior bits, antiquated 4-speed automatic, tight back seat. The Camry is a much more comfortable car, roomy back seat and trunk, still gets good fuel economy with the four cylinder.

    IMO there are better options for a used car than the Corolla or Camry, but you asked specifically about those so that's what I'll stick to. :)
  • I agree with your endorsement, although for the criteria laid out by the poster I don't know what would be a superior choice over a used Camry. There may be other cars that are more engaging to drive but given the utilitarian requirements implied by the O.P. the Camry seems the safest choice.
  • Thanks a lot guys!! generally how many maximum miles i should go for, please note that my range is limited to maximum 16,000 bucks
  • backybacky Twin CitiesPosts: 18,906
    Not sure where you live or whether your $16k includes TT&L but I just did a search on one of the main used car search sites for the Twin Cities area and found 22 Toyota Certified Camrys within a 30 mile radius of me, list price under $16k and miles as low as 26k. So you should be able to find something within your budget. Best deal in that search was a 2009 LE with only 26k miles for $15k.
  • What you have, essentially, is a cost-of-ownership math problem. Keep in mind that you'll likely need to replace some parts -- tires, if nothing else -- during the 45,000 or so miles you'll own the car. In terms of depreciation, the older the car when you buy it the more depreciation has already been factored into the price, which means you'll take less of a hit when you resell it. Because Camrys are both plentiful and reliable, I'm not sure you need to take a pre-owned, certified car from a Toyota dealer. You're paying a premium for that certification and you're restricting the number of cars to consider. It's a bit trickier to do, but if you could find a mechanic who would recommend someone's, say, 5-year-old Camry that you could get for $11,000 you could budget a bit for replacement parts and end up selling it in three years with much less of a drop in price than a $16,000 certified model. Either way would be fine, but the route I've laid out may be the cheapest on the basis of dollar-per-mile.
  • kyfdxkyfdx Posts: 64,685
    Agree with this... "certified" only means that it has an extended warranty.. I woudn't restrict your search to just those....

    Go another year older, un-certified, and save $3K-$4K...


    Prices Paid, Lease Questions, SUVs

  • backybacky Twin CitiesPosts: 18,906
    Well, there's a little more to it than an extended warranty...

    The Toyota Certified Used Vehicles Advantage:

    * 12-month/12,000-mile Limited Comprehensive Warranty 1
    * 7-year/100,000-mile Limited Powertrain Warranty 2
    * 1-year of Roadside Assistance 3
    * 160-Point Quality Assurance Inspection
    * CARFAX® Vehicle History Report™ 4
    * Certified customers are eligible for standard new car financing rates

    (for details on footnotes, see

    Probably the biggest things beyond the long powertrain warranty are the 160-point inspection and, maybe for some buyers, the new car financing rates (although I can get that from my local bank, so maybe not a big deal).

    FWIW, I think you'll need to go more than a year older and un-certified to save $3-4k. I searched ALL used Camrys from 2009-up and under $16k and found very little difference in price on certified vs. non-certified, for cars at dealers. You can save a little more buying from a private party, but then better have a mechanic check it out thoroughly and buy the CarFax... and there's time/hassle/cost involved there.

    You can get a low-miles certified Camry for around $15k or less. That fits the OP's budget. Less risk with the warranty, also in my experience used cars from dealers are preferable to those from private parties because it's really like getting a new car, in terms of condition. The last few used cars I've purchased at dealers were 3-9 years old and except for the odometer reading it was hard to tell them from new. Might not be important to some people... I liked the new-car appearance along with the savings.
  • sebring95sebring95 Posts: 3,238
    If you find one that's still within the original warranty, you can add a Toyota warranty for ~$1,000 and it will be better than the certified warranty. We recently traded our 2011 Sienna Ltd with 30k miles and we contemplated keeping it and addding a warranty (it had a lot of issues). I found a Toyota dealer online selling Toyota Platinum $0 deductible 7 year/125k bumper-to-bumper and it was right around $1,100. 5 year/100k miles was only around $600. I'm assuming the warranty on a $45k Sienna with every option would be more than a Camry...but perhaps that pricing is the same for all models. Either way I think that option is a much better value than certified.
  • backybacky Twin CitiesPosts: 18,906
    Yeah, if you can get 7 year b-to-b for $1100 on a 2-year-old car that would be great. But... can that be added to a 2nd-hand vehicle? If so, I would think there would be almost no market for Certified cars, if a long b-to-b warranty is that inexpensive.

    Or get a 2-year-old mid-sized car with 15k miles that already has a 5-year b-to-b warranty on it, then no extra cost for warranty for the time the OP expects to own the car. ;)
  • sebring95sebring95 Posts: 3,238
    Ownership or how the car was acquired is not an just has to be within the original factory warranty (3/36k). Certified is basically a really good marketing program. Dealers have to pay to participate (and pay for the certification process on each vehicle) but people seem more than willing to pay extra for them! The Toyota extended warranties are also transferable so it can be an incentive when you go to sell. I normally never buy an ext warranty though, odds are in the favor of the warranty company....otherwise they wouldn't be making money selilng them!
  • I'm looking in the <6000 range, I know generally the 2001-2004 Corollas and 2000-2004 Civics might fit in the range with the 2001-2003 Civics having transmission issues. I'm also only looking at automatics. What other vehicles are considered "reliable" like a Toyota Corolla or Honda Civic?

    I'm assuming Nissan Sentra fits in the same category, but I can't find out what other cars are 'reliable' in this category.
  • plektoplekto Posts: 3,738
    GM makes the most reliable automatic transmissions. The problem is that almost all of their cars are about as interesting as paste from that era. Are you willing to consider other options like a coupe, roadster, or a small SUV? It would greatly increase the number of cars on your list.

    Myself, I'd spend $6K on a classic car instead, but that's because $6K and less often buys you something that eats a lot of cash over time in repairs and doesn't give you a penny back as it still depreciates to nearly nothing in a few years. At least a classic car (or future classic) holds its value a bit and it's like everyone else's jellybean.
  • maxx4memaxx4me Posts: 1,340
    edited January 2013
    ah, this is an easy one. Pontiac Vibe; hands down. I found over a hundred of them out there for sale under $6,000. For the money, you are getting a Toyota Corolla (engine, tranny, and most components) and a very reliable car. I have owned both generations. When you do your search, you will (no doubt) incur a pretty high mileage vehicle for sale. No matter. The Corolla engine is good for 200,000 miles or more. The only issues you will have on such a vehicle is:
    - burns oil at a higher than normal rate (typical of all Corolla engines)
    - the radio was a GM piece of junk which Toyota replaced in their 2006 and later Matrix models)
    - paint chips
    That is about all the negative I can come up with. Great car. And to give you a bonus suggestion, the Toyota Matrix is the same vehicle, so now you have two models to search against. Don't waste your money with a civic or corolla sedan when you can have the versatility of a roomy wagon to haul things in too.
  • backybacky Twin CitiesPosts: 18,906
    edited January 2013
    I've owned both a 2001 Elantra (sedan) and 2004 Elantra (GT, hatch). My sister now owns the 2001 and it's held up pretty well, but has needed some parts replaced as it's aged. The 2004 has about 80k miles on it now, is in its 9th Minnesota winter (almost always parked outdoors) and it's been great as far as reliability. Brakes have been replaced once, I put in a new stereo ($100) a few years ago as I never liked the OEM unit, and I've replaced the headlight bulbs a couple of times (all but one replaced under warranty). You should be able to find a 2004 Elantra for ~6000 in good shape, although KBB on mine is nearly ~7000 now because of relatively low miles and excellent condition. (And I only paid $13,200 for it, loaded with leather, moonroof etc. Pretty low depreciation for a nearly 9 year old car!)
  • plektoplekto Posts: 3,738
    Take Backy's advice with a little grain of salt, though, as he's known on this site for recommending almost nothing but Hyundai cars. :)

    The problem with Hyundai cars is that they are not any more reliable than your average cheap import once they start to get around 8-10 years old. This presents a major problem as repairs on any older econobox can start to add up quickly (say, 120K+ miles). Cheap initial price means cheaper, well, everything. From the wheels to the paint to the knobs and switches. Let alone options and safety features. But it's common sense that a $15K car won't be built as well as a $25K car.

    Your best bet is a semi-luxury model as they are built better and last longer in general. IE - A Buick/Cadillac, Lincoln, Acura, Lexus, and so on. Avoid German and upper-end luxury makes and models unless they have a manual transmission and no sunroof or extra electronic goodies. A good example of a fine choice would be something like a Lexus GS300. It's overbuilt but it is larger, safer, and if driven lightly, should last for many miles without much breaking.

    Another good choice would be something overbuilt like a Grand Marquis. Now, you could probably find a 2005 for that much money. Sure, it gets 18mpg, but it's indestructible and parts are dirt cheap. A Buick Park Avenue is essentially the same, just GM's version. Just be sure to get one that was never a fleet/rental/police/etc car, whatever you purchase. Yes, these cars are rather large, but they are also much safer and have a better ride. Just something to think about.
  • backybacky Twin CitiesPosts: 18,906
    Take Backy's advice with a little grain of salt, though, as he's known on this site for recommending almost nothing but Hyundai cars.

    Absolutely not true and you know it. But it so happens I have actually owned Hyundais, unlike some people here who have no ownership experience but still think they are experts in the cars.

    For example, everything you said in your post is inaccurate.

    * Paint on all Hyundais I've owned, including the one that's 12 years old and now with my sister, has held up very well. On my 2004, the paint still shines like new albeit has some surface scratches and a few dings from parking lots.

    * Knobs/switches are as good as on any car I've owned. I always loved how smooth and damped the HVAC controls on the 2004 Elantra are--even have rubber rings around them for easy gripping. FWIW, the cruise control used on my 2001 Elantra is exactly the same as the one used on many Toyotas for many years--and still used even though almost every other manufacturer has switched to on-wheel controls instead of a stalk.

    * Hyundai led the industry in use of safety features like side airbags, ABS, and ESC. Even the 2001 Elantra has side airbags standard--how many 2001 compacts had those? My 2004 has ABS with traction control--how many 2004 compacts had that?

    No, an economy car like the Elantra is not the same quality as a luxury car like the Lexus GS300. But no other economy car is either. See what kind of GS300 you can buy for ~6000. That's what the OP asked for recommendations on... not luxury cars like the GS300.
  • Kirstie_HKirstie_H Posts: 11,025
    It's also worth noting that many luxury vehicles have higher maintenance costs. For example, on my previous Infiniti, rotors had to be replaced when brake pads were replaced, and a rear lighting assembly was $600 in parts alone. Tires for that vehicle were also a lot more costly than the ones I just put on my Escape. These are factors worth checking into before buying a "luxury" vehicle.

    Also, a larger sedan is - obviously - not going to have anywhere near the fuel economy of the smaller sedans mentioned by the OP.


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  • suydamsuydam Posts: 3,006
    I have a 2004 vibe and it has never burned oil. It is a great car as would be a Corolla. Corolla probably gets better gas mileage though. Does the poster want a hatch or a sedan?
    '14 Buick Encore Convenience
    '17 Chevy Volt Premiere
  • sandman_6472sandman_6472 Coral Springs, FLPosts: 4,172
    Totally has to keep the increased costs in mind when going the lux route. There's also the "piece of mind" factor as I call it. The piece of mind of knowing that your car will just do what it has to do when it's needed...that with minimal upkeep, it will not leave you stranded. What good is a nice lux vehicle if it's not dependable, if one can't trust it to be consistent and not leave you on the side of the road. To me, this is a very important factor when considering any car. I'm sure other s will disagree, but I want an affordable car that is dependable...pure and simple!

    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
    edited January 2013
    Well, these aren't really "luxury" vehicles. What you are targeting is "Old retired upper-middle-class professional". People who take care of their cars, drive them maybe 5-8K a year, and tend to buy larger and more solidly built machines rather than econoboxes.

    Ie - a Buick or a base model Lexus (or say, since Toyota in Japan is one brand and Lexus is their U.S. "luxury" marketing scheme), a Toyota Avalon. As for parts, you go aftermarket and DIY. Most of these cars have plenty of space to work on them for minor fixes and are straightforward for any local mechanic to handle.
    (case in point, dealer parts for my previous 20 year old Toyota a 4Runner: ~400 for a starter. $120 from the local parts store.)

    I've had terrible luck in the past with trying to buy cars in the 10-12 year old range at that price point. The cheaper cars have cheaper electricals, wiring, smaller alternators, cheaper gaskets and seals, and so on - all of the little annoying crap that falls apart as any vehicle ages. So while that 2000 Corolla might still run nearly brand new, it's almost guaranteed to have a ratty and nasty interior with tons of little things wrong with it. Such are cheap cars when they get old.

    I mentioned the Grand Marquis because it depreciates like a rock as 95%+ of the Crown Victoria (brother model) were sold as police cars and rentals and so on. But about half of of these were bought (in small numbers) by elderly people and hardly even used. Add in leather, wood trim, and a few other nice touches, which immediately dissolves any image of it being an ex-taxi or cop car, and it's a wise choice for the person who wants a car on a limited budget.

    Plus, it's possible to get one in your price range that's only 7 or 8 years old. This gives you a few more years before the age-related items start to go on you. - - This is a typical example. Haggle a bit and you'd be just a little bit above your maximum budget. Not bad for a 7 year old car. Dark red, light blue, and dark blue are the only three colors to consider as they don't give off that "fleet car" look.
  • sandman_6472sandman_6472 Coral Springs, FLPosts: 4,172
    Trust me, to someone like me who has driven small econo cars since 1976, they are lux cars! In the past few months I've been testing different makes and models for when the wife's Mazda3s is ready to go and one car I was very impressed with was the new Buick Verano...very upscale interior and just a bit larger than what we both drive now...I could very well get used to it for my dd. I'd kill for a C Class or a 3 Series but it's really overkill for my stage in life...retired empty nester who has driven less than 800 miles in over two years...the wife usually drive when we go out. At the rate I'm going, my '06 Civic will still be under 50k when it reaches its 10 mark in our fleet. Just makes sense for me to keep it.
    Something tells me that my next car will be my last but I wouldn't mind the Verano when that time comes...and it's the only American car that I'd consider at this point. I was that impressed with it and the seats were incredibly comfortable. The only drawback I found was the view out back...not as clear as I'd like but something I could live with. As an import lover, I really give kudos to Buick for getting me excited about a domestic vehicle and it's something that I would buy right now if circumstances were different! :)

    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
    The Verano that I saw (well, all of them actually at one dealer) all had fit and finish issues that suggested that the employees on the assembly line are doing very poor quality control. Lots of badly fit trim pieces, mis-matched gaps, and so on. Also, it's almost 3500 lbs and has the same HP as a 1990s Buick. As a result, it's an immense let-down to actually drive compared, to almost anything else out there.

    But it does look nice, I have to admit.
  • imidazol97imidazol97 Crossroads of America I70 & I75 Posts: 21,311
    edited January 2013
    I'm sure you noticed they have two engines offered?

    2.0 liter: 250 Hp, 260 lb-ft, 0-60 in 6.2 seconds?

    I've looked in several Veranos and don't find the mal-fitting interior pieces you allege.

    2015 Cruze 2LT, 2014 Malibu 2LT, 2008 Cobalt 2LT

  • plektoplekto Posts: 3,738
    To get that 250HP turbo, though, you've got to pay almost exactly 30K. With no extras at all - good luck not finding one of the premium models with no extras added.

    For $30K, it's just not good value. $30K gets you an A4. Or a TSX. Or a G25 pretty much fully loaded. GM should be pricing this closer to what an Accord is, since it's clarly not an Audi or Acura.
  • imidazol97imidazol97 Crossroads of America I70 & I75 Posts: 21,311
    >With no extras at all - good luck not finding one of the premium models with no extras added. ium_Group-CENTERVILLE-OH/1904907113

    Not sure what you mean by "extras." That model is pretty well equipped to begin with.

    2015 Cruze 2LT, 2014 Malibu 2LT, 2008 Cobalt 2LT

  • backybacky Twin CitiesPosts: 18,906
    $30K gets you an A4.

    Uh... no. An A4 w/o a gawd-awful CVT (e.g. a 6MT) starts at $33k, no options. By the time you add a few options to bring it closer to what the base Verano offers (e.g. basics like USB port, Bluetooth, and heated front seats), plus destination, you're nearly at $36,000.

    Or a G25 pretty much fully loaded.

    Except the G25 is no longer offered in the USA. The least expensive G sedan now is the G37 Journey, $38,000 with no options.

    You can get a TSX for around $30k... although it gives up 49 horses to the Verano.
  • plektoplekto Posts: 3,738
    edited January 2013
    Odd, I went to Truecar and they have the G25 listed. Yes, it's a left-over 2012. The Audi is a decent car, nonethless. Then there's the Volvo C30. And the list goes on and on.

    The sheer number of cars in the 27-33K range is amazing as of late. And GM simply doesn't compare. The car is at least 5K overpriced for what it is. A more normal car to compare to it would be something like an Accord V6 EX. Slightly less money, way more space, a little better handling, better mpg, and so on. Plus, it has better reliability, resale value, and fit and finish.
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