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What Car is Right For Me? Help Me Choose!



  • ottawaguyottawaguy Posts: 15
    Thanks for your help, sebring ... I think.

    FWIW, I have been comparing sedans and SUVs for 2 years now. My wife and I differ in opinion as to what suits our needs. I thought a site that seems to have a wide range of experience and opinion might be a place to turn for help.

    So, for those who find it neccessary to question my motivation: I am looking for a perspective from sedan owners as to whether their needs that were similar to mine are being met by sedans or if they feel wanting for a higher capacity vehicle. Also, if they experience conditions warranting 4wd and ground clearance similar to mine, and might find a need for an SUV or the like.

    Anyone who has a constructive opinion would be appreciated.
  • merckxmerckx Posts: 565
    Here's my take-I just went through it last spring before I bought a Passat and a Catera.
    I had a GM credit card discount I couldn't walk away from. I can't get exicted about either vehicle you mentioned,but how about this...
    Similar,but far better than the Grand Prix is the Olds Intrigue. With all the discounts,you could probably get one for a song. I think it is the best US vehicle GM makes. I have zero interest in SUVs,and it sounds like one would be a poor choice for you. I agree the Blazer is a particularly poor one,though. The Trailblazer seems better...Also,the Tahoe would probably be satisfying. How about a Buick Park Avenue? I bet your Buick dealer is dying to sell one of these.If you want something more youthful,how about a Cadillac CTS? I love my Catera.
  • dtownfbdtownfb Posts: 2,918
    I agree. Before settling onthe Grand Prix. Try an Olds Intrigue. Classier car then the GP and about the same price but with much deeper discounts. And I would get either car over the Trailbalzer. Not that I don't think highly of the Trailblazer (I don't) but if youaren't towing anything or traveling off -road, a SUV is not the best way to go. Poor gas mileage, more items to go wrong (4x4 system), handling, etc. are just some of the reasonss I owuld go with the sedan.

    Good luck.
  • You want a Highlander to see over the other SUVs in an intersection? You want a Highlander so you can survive a crash? You need an SUV because of the SUVs in your affluent neighborhod? Why in the world are you buying a Highlander? To me, it sounds like you want a Tahoe, Expedition, or Sequoyah. A Highlander will not help you at all against these types.
  • I live in so California, commute 40 highway miles to work each day & am debating between these two vehicles. The Jetta appears to be a notch above the Sentra in essentially every category including price, but the frequent mention of poor build quality concerns me. Should the possibility of incessant rattles, squeaks and generally sloppy craftsmanship steer me away from the Jetta? Any insight is appreciated.
  • i would like to get some suggestions from anybody if hyundai accent gl is a good choice...
  • mvargo1mvargo1 Posts: 298
    The Nissan is going to have much hight reliability than the Jetta. I've had three customers this week looking to get out of late model VW's (two Jetta's one Passat) because of persitant electrical gremlins. Plus in the Long run the Jetta's turbocharged moter is not going to last as long as the Nissan's normally aspirated one.
  • jpelderjpelder Posts: 235
    Well, it beats walking, but not by much. You did not say whether it was new or not, so I assume it is a 2002 you are considering.

    I have three friends who all bought new hyundais n the last few years. 2 traded theirs already(Excel and Accent)\, the third (elantra) will very soon. None of the three will buy Hyundai again. Part of that is due to their income (they bought the hyundais just out of college)but they all were dissatisfied.

    As far as the Accents went, nothing major ever went wrong, other than an electrical problem that left one friend stranded for awhile. Most of the problems were of the annoying variety...turn signal switch failure, service lights, oil consumption.

    For all of them, they bought due to the low price, but it really didn't pay off due to how quickly they traded up, and the low resale value. Personally, resale value is not a big deal to me since I like to keep my cars for awhile. But I can't imagine wanting to drive a Hyundai for a long time.

    It may be best to spend a bit more for something nicer and with more resale. Maybe a focus, sentra, civic. Do you prefer a hatch or sedan?
  • thank you for responding to my question. yes i'm buying a new one. also, just last night, i decided to buy a 2002 honda civic lx instead. is this a better choice or would you suggest another one?
  • jpelderjpelder Posts: 235
    I agree that the Civic is a much better choice. You can't go wrong with civic reliability.

    Do you prefer 2 doors? Something occurred to me as I checked the price of the Civic LX. I just bought a 2002 Alero GX for about the same price.

    I never would have thought of an Alero being in the same price range as the Civic, but the GX with 5 Speed/sport package has an invoice price of about 16,000, minus the current $2002 rebate. That puts it about dead even with the Civic LX. It has the new 2.2 Ecotec engine which is world class smooth.

    Of course, the Alero is more of a sport sedan and will be discontinued after 2004.

    It just depends on what you like best.
  • i'm getting a 4-door sedan. i'll check the alero too... btw, what can u say about mazda protege?
  • newcar31newcar31 Posts: 3,711
    I have a 2001 Protege ES.

    Roomy interior
    Excellent handling
    Styling (IMO)
    Built in Japan


    Ride (might be a little too stiff for some, but thats a tradeoff I will happily make for the handling)

    Gas Mileage (25-27 city, 28-33 highway. Not bad, but not the best in the class)

    Some would say that they would like more than 130 hp, but I find it more than adequate. The engine has a nice flat torque curve, and it works well when you have a full car. Check out the Mazda Protege forum here at edmunds. The Protege owners here in Edmunds are freaks about their cars. I am too. In fact, the Protege board is consistantly one of the top 10 busiest. I would say that the Protege is definately the "drivers car" of it's class. Car and Driver says: "BMW verve for less than half the price" I would say that's a helluva compliment.
  • tnx 4 the message. i'm now in a bind choosing between 2002 honda civic lx and 2002 mazda protege lx. could u give me a fair comparison between the two? i'm planning to buy my car in 30 days and up to now i'm still on the step of choosing the right one. definitely i need a 4 door sedan automatic.
  • newcar31newcar31 Posts: 3,711
    Come over to the Protege forum and ask there. There are people there who have owned Civics too.
  • sebring95sebring95 Posts: 3,241
    didn't see the new corolla mentioned in any of the above. I think it's a notch above all the others at this point and time. Price is a bit more, but they seem to be within reason. $1500 seems to be the spread between all the small cars with decent options. The resale will be good too. I like the Mazda, but the only reason I see to buy a small car is gas mileage and it's just not that great compared to civic or corolla. The Jetta is a different beast, and if someone's not willing to give up some rattles and possible problems, then they aren't interested in a german vehicle. Like they say, drivers wanted, not whiny commuters.
  • tnx 4 d advice also. now u made it more difficult for me to decide. could u give me a fair comparison of all the three sedans... civic, mazda and corolla?
  • I am looking for a mid- or full-size sedan for around $10,000. I prefer domestic makes simply because I live in the middle of nowhere and finding parts for and servicing foreign cars is a nightmare here.

    I have considered the Buick Century, Mercury Grand Marquis (I've read some alarming reports about the engine), the Chevy Lumina, etc., but I'm open to all suggestions. I am most interested in reliability (I'm dumping the money trap Pontiac TransSport I've fought with for 7 years) and safety. I do need something that will comfortably seat five (three adults and two growing boys).

    Any help would be appreciated. Thanks.
  • sebring95sebring95 Posts: 3,241
    JRL: First of all I'm buying this for an employee who is driving about 250 miles per day. So mpg is a big concern, although I'm not going to stick someone in a metro or super-sub compact. The Corolla and Civic were pretty much no-brainers, but we did look at the Mazda too. However, 31mpg on the highway is rediculous. I've had larger V6 vehicles turn that kind of highway mpg. So the Mazda never made the test-drive list, another reason being the scarcity of dealers around here. The Civic and Corolla are very similar cars, the Corolla feels roomier to me, and is much better looking IMHO. In addition it feels a bit more solid. Power/handling/ride are within the same ballpark, but I think the Corolla was a bit quieter on the highway. My experience between Honda and Toyota leaves Toyota ahead on durability and they do it with less maintenance, (typically).

    The only reason I haven't bought yet is because we were also trying to buy a Celica and can't find one with the options we want. I'm using both sales as an incentive for them to find the Celica we want. The way Toyota builds and options their cars just gets me soooooo mad. I like their vehicles, but they are just so hard to buy sometimes. If they aren't going to make the options available everywhere, they should just not even offer it. Usually it takes a few weeks to get what I want, but this Celica thing has been the worst.

    frustratedmom: The Grand Marquis and Lumina are both pretty reliable vehicles. The Lumina probably a bit more IMHO. They are pretty bland, boring, and rattle-traps though. You can't do much worse than the old Pontiac Transports, so you have no where to go but up! The Chevy Impala is a by far a better vehicle than either choice though. Larger than the Lumina and built much better. Should be able to find one for $12,000 with low miles, or within your price range with 50K or so miles. The Grand Marquis is also rear-wheel drive, which may or may not matter to you. The Century isn't near as big. Go look at in Impala and let us know what you think, it's like night and day compared to the Lumina.
  • oldsman01oldsman01 Posts: 1,203
    The Grand Marquis(or Crown vic) should be a decent choice. Also consider a larger FWD GM sedan like a Buick LeSabre, Olds Eighty-Eight,or Pontiac Bonneville from say 93 on. Those seem to hold up very well over the years, are pretty simple and inexpensive to repair(as far as modern cars go), and the 3800 V6 engine is nearly bullet proof.
  • oldsman01oldsman01 Posts: 1,203
    My lady friend mentioned she is ready to trade up from her Escort ZX2 and the first car she mentioned was a Civic(typical female response). Needless to say I'm trying to broaden her horizons car wise. Nothing wrong with the Civic except they are EVERYWHERE and have the personality of a Maytag Washer. She is on a limited budget so my type of cars are out, but I did get her 4 different cars to look at. Ford Focus, Oldsmobile Alero, Nissan Altima, and Mazda Protege. The Nissan and Olds would have to be base models as they are a bit pricier. Olds is discounting big time, but I'm not sure about Nissan since the Altima is brand new. Again, I'm not a small car(or 4 cylinder) car fan, but all four of these choices aren't bad. We'll see how she likes them. I like the value of the Olds and the Nissan as they seem to have alot of standard equipment and fairly powerful I4 engines. Too bad she won't consider a stick.
  • how about the 2002 hyundai accent gl? any feedback on this car? this is the only car that fits my budget right now.
  • pluto5pluto5 Posts: 618
    The later Lumina's ('97 on) are quite solid IMO. '98 is probably better but my '97 is solid and apparently safer than many other sedans, particularly the light weight imports and even many of the larger ones. Parts are generally cheaper and widely available. After 5+ yrs. the only things I've replaced is oil, filter, coolant, battery and radiator hoses (latter two items for preventive maintenance). If you get a base sedan it was probably a rental or other fleet car so the low mileage doesn't necessarily indicate TLC. In my area Enterprise Rental Cars offers many 01 Luminas.
  • gkarggkarg Posts: 230
    In regard to the Mercury Grand Marquis... I would steer clear of the early 90's models. The engine (4.6 L - Overhead cam) was a brand new design in 91 for the Towncar and 92 for the G.M.

    My dad retired a 1984 Grand Marquis a couple years ago that had 221,000 miles with hardly any repairs, ever! The engine (5.0 L) still wanted to go, but the body rusted out. That was the best car our family has ever owned.
  • Thank you all. We still haven't decided, but you've broadened my horizons.
  • Just drove them all 3 this weekend. Here is my take for what its worth. All were 4cyl

    Camry - Nice car. Liked the lines. Hated the steering wheel. Its built for people below 6' My arms were tired just from the test drive reaching for it. Ran good, rode good. 4cyl was not what I thought it would be.

    Altima - Great Looks. New styling. Steering wheel adjustable up/down and in/out Big win for bigger people. Interior is not as nice as Camry or Accord. 4cyl ran like a champ. Nice in cornering.

    Accord - Nice looking car. Drove great. Smooth 4 cyl. Steering wheel was better than camry but not as good as altima. Exterior is somewhat dated. Interior was nicely dressed.

    My choice was the Altima.
  • Having a rough time deciding between Acura TL-S, Audi A4 1.8T Quattro and Volkswagen Passat. Need a fun commuter that can also fit my family of 4 when needed. With today's great leases, all three of these are within budget (VW and Acura are about the same money at 36 months - Audi same monthly, though for 48 months). Your thoughts please!
  • oldsman01oldsman01 Posts: 1,203
    Don't lease longer than 36 months.
  • kcb2kcb2 Posts: 22
    For those of you looking at the Camry, Accord & Altima, I researched sedans for two months before we bought the Maxima. We wanted 4 door, good gas mileage, ABS, no sunroof, no leather, cassette tape and CD player for under 23K. We found it all in the GXE Maxima after looking at the new Altima (no cassette and cheap looking interior), Camry (short seat and my husband is 6'3" so the seats were uncomfortable on a long test drive), Accord EX (had ABS but came with a sunroof which took away head room, and I had some safety concerns after reading about Accord brake failures on the NHTSA web site and the Accord V6 has had some tranny problems.)
    The Maxima has a proven V6 engine that has won awards. It comes standard with Xenon headlights which *really* improve visibility, (seems my 42 year old eyes don't see as well at night as they used to). We also like the auto dim rearview mirror. The car has twice as much HP (255) as our old 93 Accord (125). We were also pleasantly surprised to get 28-29 mpg on a long road trip so we didn't lose anything in gas mileage. We liked the softer ride of the GXE over the SE even though I was able to get quotes for the SE within a $100 of the GXE. The GXE has 16" tires which are cheaper to replace and have a more narrow turning radius (U-turn.) I don't care if the Maxima will be "dated" when it is redesigned next year because I like the Maxima "old" design much better than the new design look of the Altima front grill. There was a $1000 rebate on the Max because the Altima is being pushed by Nissan right now. I found that the GXE was not easy to find. It comes standard with options that you have to really look for to find on an Altima... esp the ABS. This car is great, I wish we could buy two. We paid $22,333 in Atlanta, plus $489 advertising fee, plus 6% sales tax, plus tag & title. After the rebate and a $500 factory to dealer incentive the drive out price was $23,212 which was pretty close to the loaded V6 Altima.
  • godeacsgodeacs Posts: 481
    Mmmm, 28-29 mpg seems great BUT are you sure? I own a Max GLE and the trip computer says I get 27 mpg. But in reality I get 23 or so. Seems like everyone gets 4 mpg LESS than what their trip computer says...

    Still a great car and I love mine....
  • oldsman01oldsman01 Posts: 1,203
    I'm with you on the Maxi over the overpriced and underpowered Accord and Camry as well as the fast but currently MSRP only Altima. Another good choice for a powerful fun to drive sedan at or near the $23K mark is the Oldsmobile Intrigue. Standard V6, ABS, 16" alloy wheels, as well as the typical power goodies. Can be had with or without sunroof and leather. With current rebates and incentives a nicely loaded one could be had for 23K or even less. And they also include a 5 year 60K full warranty. I have a 2001 model and it is a blast to drive so I just had to get a plug in:) Mileage wise, unless your driving like me(tach at redline every chance I get) you'll get decent mileage. 28-29 mpg is what I averaged on a drive to Chicago last fall.
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