What Car is Right For Me? Help Me Choose!



  • hpulley4hpulley4 Member Posts: 591
    I always wonder when I see such different cars being asked about. Grand Am and Prizm may both be sedans from GM but they are very different cars. What are your wants and needs? Do you need/want styling, driving/handling, passenger/cargo room or what?
  • ronsmith38ronsmith38 Member Posts: 228
    anon70: I think the best GM small sedan is not on your list. It is the Olds Alero. It is similar to the Grand Am, but has a 5 Yr./60K warranty. The styling is very sharp in my opinion. I helped my daughter buy one last summer, and she likes it a lot.
  • cyranno99cyranno99 Member Posts: 419
    under 30k... I think that you are better off with a Passat since you are familiar with VW. I doubt that you can get a 325i for under 30k or an S60.
  • caatwoodcaatwood Member Posts: 1
    Just for fun test drive a 2002 Subaru Outback VDC Sedan -
  • 01passatv601passatv6 Member Posts: 5
    I would also consider saturns if eligible, as well as the olds alero, very nice style on coupe and sedan, although the grand am is aclone with lots of body cladding and wierd interior. The prizm is a safe choice too.

    Passat/Altima/camry/accord debate, I have a 01 passat and love it, such great comfort, style and handling, plus the warranty is improved, not the bland car the others are, and the interior much better, IMO than the new altima, which looks a little too pontiac inside.
  • hpulley4hpulley4 Member Posts: 591
    I don't know about the states right now but the GM Card is definitely available on Saturns in Canada.
  • alculpritalculprit Member Posts: 1
    I'd like to buy a used Volvo, something under $3000, 10+ years old is fine. I haven't had a car (haven't needed one in the city) since my 72 Beetle. I wouldn't drive a bug or anything less than a Swedish Brick with all those SUVs bearing down on me. Japanese steel is pretty flimsy.

    Anyway, what's the best old volvo to buy for reliability and the least expensive to maintain? I'd like to spend as little as possible (who wouldn't?) but of course don't want to end up paying for it later.

  • hpulley4hpulley4 Member Posts: 591
    My dad has good luck with 240 and 740 Volvos, and currently has, I think, an '86 240 sedan and an '87 740 wagon; both have been very good. He looks forward to getting a car from the '90s next! This is his first 740. He's had lots of 240 series and some have been very good, others bad:

    Don't get the 4-cyl with carb and 3-speed auto as it is terribly underpowered. Even with manual tranny, the carb engines are to be avoided if possible. Also, don't get the 6-cyl (bad old Renault engine) or the turbo on these cars as it was just too early and is a repair nightmare -- most people with these engines replace them with regular 4-cyls if they keep them at all. The fuel-injected 4-cyls with 4-spd + overdrive manual or auto have usually done him well.
  • canadianclcanadiancl Member Posts: 1,078
    Your dad is like my dad. His car-buying cycle is measured in decades!
  • needabeaterneedabeater Member Posts: 1
    some body help find a beater, for winter, for cheap, but it has to run and have heat.
  • ghuletghulet Member Posts: 2,628
    To some, older than five years old is a 'beater'. Do you mean super cheap (like under $2000, $1000, $500!)? Also depends where you live: if you live w/snow & salt, most older cars rust away, and rear wheel drive sucks in the snow.

    I live in Chicago, we tend to find our beaters on the street, in gas station lots, etc. I've been at my mom's in Indiana, lots of old American cars for sale in people's yards for next to nothing. Check your local free papers, too.

    Um, some OK really cheap cars IMO (less than $1000):
    old GMs (77-80s Caprices/LeSabres especially, but they use some gas)
    80s Honda Accord & Civic 5 speed, watch for rust; I'd avoid Prelude
    80s Nissan Sentras, super cheap and common (get a 5 spd)
    Toyotas, of course (mid-80s Corollas, 84-86 Camry)
    Maybe an old Hyundai Excel, if not ever in a hurry (SSLLLOOOWWW)

    You don't want big repair$, stay away from any beater Saabs, Volvos, BMWs, Acuras (parts are '$pensive) or VWs (parts again). You don't want an $800 European car.
    Have fun, let us know what you find._
  • storytellerstoryteller Member Posts: 476
    The car I gave my daughter would certainly qualify: a 1992 Mazda MX6. She loves it. The car is peppy and fun to drive and has been reliable, albeit rusty. The 626 would be similar. Old Nissan Altimas are a good bet. The older Mazda and Nissan coupes and sedans have many of the best qualities of Japanese cars without being as pricey as Toyota or Honda cars of the same age.
  • arkhamarkham Member Posts: 1
    hey all... looking for a midsize sedan... just posted my situation in the comparison forum and then i saw this thread so here's a link to my situation.

    arkham "chrysler sebring vs dodge stratus vs mitsubishi galant vs subaru legacy" Oct 28, 2001 7:11pm

    my favorites right now are the subaru legacy, chrysler sebring / dodge stratus and the mitsubishi galant.
  • cyranno99cyranno99 Member Posts: 419
    You're a young guy with a family so I think that you should think about getting a slightly used car. However, I bet that you might have a tough time convincing your wife. Another good value car that you might want to consider is the Hyundai Sonata. I guess that any good car under 20k would be what you are going to purchase. You might want to consider a base Nissan Altima as well..... so many choices for a family sedan... good luck
  • anon70anon70 Member Posts: 82
    i have $2500 from my GM card and is expiring. i am trying to keep it under $14k and am considering :

    1)Chevy prism LSi w/automatic transmission, and sunroof options.

    2) Olds Alero GX

    3) hyndai Eltra GLS w/sunroof option

    Both GM cars cost ~$16500 - 2500 = $14k. the elantra also costs 14k.

    Prizm - Toyota reliability, sunroof. Antilock brakes costs $500 more. no lumbar support. lower warrenty than other 2 cars (3yr/36k miles)

    Alero - Antilock brakes and traction control standard. no sunroof, or lumbar support. 5yr/60k warrenty

    Elantra - Can pick sunroof OR antilock brakes, not both. Seats have lumbar support. 5yr/60k warrenty. "Laugh" factor. ie: Friends laugh at you for buying a Hyundai.

    ok, i have a 93 sentra w/180k miles that beginning fall apart. It doesnt have antilock brakes and it drives fine so ABS is low priority. But i like longer warrenties. And sunroof is good. I plan to drive the car till it dies so resell value isnt a consideration. But i do drive long trips.

    1) How much more does lumbar support add to the ride?

    2) Whats the difference between cloth upholstery and premium cloth upholstery?

    3) Which of those 3 cars would you choose?

  • claywaterfillclaywaterfill Member Posts: 534
    You answered your own question. You want a sunroof and a long warranty for your road tripping; but, you don't care about ABS and resale means nothing. The answer is the Elantra. You mention getting laughed at by your friends. You are buying the car for you, not them. They wouldn't laugh at you if they were friends. Sure, they may poke a little fun at first, but you could beat them to the punch and take the wind out of their sails. Maybe you could step it up a little to the GT? It would be hard to laugh at leather seats and alloy wheels for about $15k.
  • eddieiseddieis Member Posts: 2
    I'm planning on buying a 2002 Jetta GLX or Accord EX V6, but I'm torn. Does anyone have any advice?
    Also, does anyone know if either one of these cars be fitted with an aftermarket navigation sysyem?

  • claywaterfillclaywaterfill Member Posts: 534
    If you do not need a bunch of interior room, get the Jetta GLX. It isn't the same car all your neighbors drive and has a better warranty. Consumer Reports rate them both as "Recommended" and they say the Passat is better than the Accord. The knock on Jetta is its size. It is smaller than a Nissan Sentra or a Hyundai Elantra. I know that sounds too hard to believe, but it is. But, for fun and variety, get the VW Jetta.
  • karlkarl Member Posts: 34
    anon70 -

    I vote for the Prizm as the best of these 3. Why ? Because -

    1) Reputation for reliability - this car is the mechanical clone of the Toyota Corolla, built at the NUMMI plant in Fremont California, alongside the Corolla.

    2) 3/36 warranty is fine, vs. 5/60 for Alero, or combo of 5/60 & 10/100 for Elantra - because most warranty repairs will occur in the first year or so of ownership... by the time 3/36 rolls around, you should have had all the minor bugs surface & be repaired under warranty. In the time between 3/36 and 5/60, nothing major should be expected to fail. (Think about your '93 Sentra - if you've had it since new, what (if anything) broke during 1995, 1996, 1997 ?)

    If this is a major concern, any car dealer will happily sell you an extended warranty to bring the 3/36 up to 5/60, or 7/75, etc.

    3) Resale - if you plan to sell / trade in this car in 2-4 years, the Prizm should hold its value better, due to its Toyota roots. Alero = Oldsmobile = extinct after this year. Hyundai = amazingly poor resale value.

    4) GM Card free money on the Prizm - this should help rule out the Hyundai. Also, check whether GM is still offering 0% financing, and if it applies to this model. This of course depends on your credit situation.

  • canadianclcanadiancl Member Posts: 1,078
    I'm considering one of the 3 following 2002 models:

    1. Accord EXV6: Proven design and reliability. Tops in value. But staid.
    2. Camry SEV6 (non-leather): Toyota reputation, new model, but so-so styling and power and relatively high cost.
    3. Maxima GXE: Sweet VQ35, has more standard equipment but you also pay a little more than the other 2, plus possibility of obsolescence in near future as Nissan moves Maxima in whole different direction.

    What do you guys think?
  • storytellerstoryteller Member Posts: 476
    If you enjoy cars and can appreciate performance, it shouldn't be a hard decision. The Maxima is a ton of fun. You can argue that it is a bad buy because of the anticipated sixth generation change, but that argument applies to the Accord as well. Turning that argument around, the Maxima today is one of the best bargains in cars because it is taking a beating from its lil' brother, the Altima. You're never going to get a better buy on a Maxima. Even with its beam axle, the Max is more fun to drive than anything else here.
  • claywaterfillclaywaterfill Member Posts: 534
    If you're worried about obsolescence (Accord and Maxima), and you're not crazy about the Camry, why not get an Altima? With 240 HP, it's second only to Maxima, but the styling will be fresh for years to come. I bought a new Integra in the early summer of 1993. I had no idea--and nobody at the dealership told me--that the car was changing about 6 weeks later. Even though I still loved the car, I was irked that my brand new car was suddenly old and dated. I think if you buy the Accord, you will have the same feeling next fall. Maxima may not be far behind. I do have one other crazy suggestion. I know it will get blasted and I'm prepared for it, but I'll throw it out there anyway. Before you buy whatever it is you are going to buy, at the very least drive a Hyundai XG350. In a 3 way comparison by Motor Trend magazine last spring, the XG300 beat the Honda Accord EX V6. Motor Trend even acknowledged the XG300 would not make a dent in the Accord's sales, but they said it was the car they would buy with their own money. The 2002 XG350 has a larger, more powerful engine, so I feel it would have to be better than last year's Just a suggestion, though. Of the three listed, go with Maxima. I would probably buy an Altima 3.5, but I would probably at least drive an XG350 first.
  • jimsxnjimsxn Member Posts: 108
    Some say that the GXE model is too softly sprung to qualify as a real Max. It is better to get SE or no Max at all.
  • canadianclcanadiancl Member Posts: 1,078
    I did look at the Altima and I really didn't like the quality of its interior, especially if you compare it side-by-side with the Max. I also think the Max's front end is much more aggressive-looking.

    I agree the SE is sweet, but it exceeded our budget. And this will primarily be my wife's car, and she wouldn't care about the handling advantage of the SE.
  • corliss1corliss1 Member Posts: 4
    I lease a 1999 Chrysler 300M and need to choose my next car. While I love the power, looks, and amenities of the 300M, the next car needs to be QUIETER, with better visibility out the front sides and rear of the car, and with a truly luxurious feeling. So far I've driven the 1998 LS400 (must stay in the $35K or less range) and a new Toyota Avalon. Have been told the Acura RL, Infiniti J30(?), and Audi A-6,8 would be good for comparison. Also wonder about the smaller Cadillacs. Absolutely loved the LS 400 and my ONLY concern is that it is RWD. Am in Colorado and must cope at times with snow, slush, and ice. So I went back to looking at FWD autos. Loved the Avalon but missed some of the power of the Lexus. It did seem to have a lot for the money. Again, I love the 300M and want something even better.
  • claywaterfillclaywaterfill Member Posts: 534
    You might try Acura TL, Lexus ES300, or Infiniti I35. That new ES300 is a nice looking car (IMO). You mention Cadillac. Catera would be your only option I think. With this the last year of the Catera, you might get a real good deal on one. Acura RL is out of your range at $35k.
  • cyranno99cyranno99 Member Posts: 419
    The smallest Caddy is RWD... so will the CTS...

    I'd pick the Acura TL type S for best value - Edmunds' editors choice as well. The Lexus is worth a look since you want a QUIETER car.
  • theworldizmyntheworldizmyn Member Posts: 16
    I'm about to have a baby in about 3 1/2 weeks here. I don't have a car at the time being, and I'm going to desperatly need one. I've been wondering lately which car would be best for me. I'm obviously have to get a sedan, because a coupe would be just plain stupid to get. I don't want to break my back with a car seat for the next 5/6 years, so I'm going for the sedan. I'm going to need a good, reliable, and powerful sedan for my family. I'm leaning towards a V6, because I want enough power to get my family out of a tight situation on the raod, and quickly. So any family men/women out there, preferably a new family woman/man, but a family person period who is willing to help me out would be very much appreciated. So please help me in my decision in buying a car. Oh, I almost forgot, I have to get a used car, maybe, just maybe I can get a new car considering how the economy is working right now. So any advice would be very, very helpful.
    Very Kindly,
  • heavenboundheavenbound Member Posts: 39
    Congratulations on being a new family man.

    My wife and I have a four year old and a eight month old.
    I drive a 2000 Impala and my wife drives a 2000 Camry.
    Both are nice cars, but for me I feel safer in the Impala and it's more fun to drive. It has the 3.8 liter V6 that has a good reliability record and the Impala did very good in all crash tests.
    I keep car's for along time and I'm sure these will be around awhile. If you have questions let me know and good luck!
  • canadianclcanadiancl Member Posts: 1,078
    In fact, with expected big discounts on new Accords, you may even be able to fit a new LX-V6 into your budget. It'll serve you well for the next 10 years.

    And congrats on the new baby. He (she) will change your life forever!
  • mstsscmstssc Member Posts: 89
    Take a look at the S70 5 cyl turbo or predecessor. Large and powerful enough, big enough rear seat for the kid(s) and safe too.

  • milleniaman1milleniaman1 Member Posts: 110
    Comes loaded with standard features...leather, sunroof, power seats, side airbags, V6, carseat anchors. With the current discounts you should be able to pick one up for around $21,500-$23,000 depending on options. You could get the S version for about $26,000-$27,500. The S has the supercharged Miller Cycle Engine...210hp...base Millenia only has 170hp.
  • claywaterfillclaywaterfill Member Posts: 534
    By saying you'll be looking at used, I have to assume you don't want to spend a lot of money. Get a 2002 Sonata GLS. It will have the V6 and all the features you'll be looking for, for less than $20k. You'll get new car financing and the 10 year warranty will provide trouble free driving. The 5 year roadside assistance will provide a lot of peace of mind. What happens if you and the baby are alone at night in the rain and you blow a tire? In an Accord, you get out in the rain and change it. In a Sonata, they come and change it for you.
  • black_tulipblack_tulip Member Posts: 438
    I recommend you test drive a 4 cyl Accord or Camry before you decide that you need a V6. The 4 cyl in Accord is especially powerful.The 4 cyl in Camry is very smooth. A 4 cyl engine will also save you a lot of money in fuel bills in the long run. They also have excellent reliability and resale value.

    As to changing tires in a rainy night, a $60/70 annual AAA policy would have you covered. However with the Hyundai, you will be calling the RA many more times and most likely with much more severe problems than a flat tire.

  • claywaterfillclaywaterfill Member Posts: 534
    Here we go again. The question was what to buy. He said he was looking for used because of cost. I suggested a new car alternative and you chose to bash Hyundai. Where is your basis? I guess you owned a Hyundai and it broke down on you twice a week, right? You must see dozens of them broken down on the side of the road every day, right? This is not the place for this discussion, but let's at least talk about things we know about and stay on topic.
  • claywaterfillclaywaterfill Member Posts: 534
    I see by your profile that you own an Audi and dream of owning an A8. I guess you have a short memory if you bought an Audi with the problems the 5000s had with sudden acceleration problems a few years back. You bought an Audi because you realize they got past that and are good cars now. Hyundai got past the problems they had in the 80's as well and they are good cars now. Also, Hyundai provides this service at NO charge.
  • hpulley4hpulley4 Member Posts: 591
    I recall that there was nothing wrong with those Audis. All those sudden acceleration problems were driver error, hitting the accelerator instead of the brake pedal.
  • claywaterfillclaywaterfill Member Posts: 534
    I don't remember exactly what was going on, I just know they got a TON of bad press from it and it did sully their name for a bit. Kind of like the Isuzu Trooper and flipping (killed off the Acura version, remember) and the current Grand Cherokee and sudden acceleration.
  • black_tulipblack_tulip Member Posts: 438
    My opinion about Hyundais is formed based on somewhat poor reviews(especially about reliability...a black dot) that I read in consumer magazine(not an unbiased source, but the best we have) and the opinions expressed here in Edmunds by dealers who go to auctions and report seeing tons of Hyundais being dumped for various problems.
    Hyundais have poor resale value for a reason:market does not trust them. The market is brutally honest and has very short memory. For example, VW/Audi designed a better product and their resale values shot up in spite of the unjustified stigma from the past. No such thing happening with Hyundai. Buyer beware.

    Anyway, this is off topic here. Join us in the other topic in smart shoppers if you want to discuss further.

  • claywaterfillclaywaterfill Member Posts: 534
    You're right that this is not the place to discuss this topic. I will say, though, that I was right in my assumption--thanks for verifying that. Try test driving one before making up your mind. Or--since you like to read--go to the threads of Sonata, Elantra and Elantra GT and read the accounts of many happy owners. That is real world data. I stand by my recommendation--buy a Sonata and forget used junk!
  • patpat Member Posts: 10,421
    They want to talk to consumers who were looking at a used car, but the great financing deals moved them to consider/purchase new instead. Or, they were thinking they would use the zero-financing to buy a new car, but decided a used car was a better deal right now because of a drop in the used car's price.

    Please respond to [email protected] by Friday, November 16 with your story.
  • bcloutierbcloutier Member Posts: 5
    theworldizmyn Nov 9, 2001 6:39pm

    If you are looking for a new car the Honda Accord 2002 SE (special edition) is a great buy since it gives you the moonroof and security system as well as some other goodies! I am not sure the price range yo are looking into but if not new most used Accords are great buys and you really can't go wrong.
  • claywaterfillclaywaterfill Member Posts: 534
    The 2002 Accord SE is a great choice. Heck of a car. Lots of EX features without the EX price. But, he said he was looking at used--price is probably too high.
  • garyh13garyh13 Member Posts: 4
    I'm looking to replace my 1990 Toyota Camry (great car!) very soon. I'm looking at a 1997 Honda Accord LX (4 door,power,A/C,65K miles) that is in excellent shape both inside and out. The dealer printed out a Carfax report for me and everything checked out fine. It's had two local owners. My question is, it was listed at $12,900 (which is obviously inflated), I got them down to $11,200 (the dealer put $1200.00 into the car when it was traded in - timing belt, serpentine belt, tires, complete tune up, etc.), is this a good deal? According to KBB and Edmunds, the 1997 Accord is a great car (besides my wife had a 1989 Accord LXi that gave her years of trouble free driving!). Thank you!
  • huntzingerhuntzinger Member Posts: 356
    I recall that there was nothing wrong with those Audis. All those sudden acceleration problems were driver error, hitting the accelerator instead of the brake pedal.

    Yes, but that's only half the story: the driver error was "caused" by the human engineering of the floor pedal layout. In a nutshell, the pedals were too far to the left, so the gas pedal was effectively "center", instead of being tucked up to the right as we find on most cars. A quick stomp straight down with the right foot looking for the brake...missed.

    Reportedly, Detroit had the same exact problem back in the 1950's.

  • hpulley4hpulley4 Member Posts: 591
    I thought the Audi pedal layout was just the European style of having similarly sized gas and brake pedals, while the North American style had been the wide fat brake pedal in the centre and small accelerator to the right. I drove late 70's and early 80's manual tranny Volvos almost exclusively for the first years I was driving and found the big fat brake pedal of the Detroit auto makers to be awkward. I never drove an Audi in those days so you could be right about the position being too far left for the throttle.

    That fat pedal was there for emergency two footed braking, right? Grab onto the steering wheel with both hands and stomp the brake pedal with both feet to use the 'mighty' stopping power of 4-wheel drum brakes. Thankfully, cars have improved A LOT since then...
  • iggythecatiggythecat Member Posts: 9
    Hi all,

    The lease on my 1999 Accord EX V6 coupe is ending in February and I'm looking at getting a new sedan in the $20-22K price range. I'm considering a Civic EX sedan or a Jetta GLS 1.8 Turbo, w/AT. Aside from being a new sedan in the price range, other things that are important are reliability, quality, and a car that holds its value well - like a Honda. I owned a civic coupe ('98-recently traded for a Jeep Liberty for my husband) and really liked driving the Civic, but I am worried that the sedan will be too small. Are there any other cars I should consider? Any opinions on the two cars I'm currently thinking about? Thanks!
  • claywaterfillclaywaterfill Member Posts: 534
    If those are your 2 choices, get the Civic EX and pocket the difference. I would personally get the Jetta, but since you stress the things Hondas are known for, it sounds like you want the Honda. You mention the small size--Jettas are really small. If you compare the numbers, it's smaller than a Nissan Sentra!
  • canadianclcanadiancl Member Posts: 1,078
    If you compare the interior measurements, the Civic is comparable, if not superior, to many bigger sedans in terms of passenger room. The TL, Legacy and the Maxima come to mind. It would certainly be roomier than your current Accord coupe. However, after driving the Accord, you may find other aspects of the Civic unacceptable, such as noise levels, power, effectiveness of the HVAC system, quality of interior material, etc.
  • wheels4mewheels4me Member Posts: 36
    can someone help me. a used avalon xls 1999 w/
    30,000 miles vs. a new honda lx 4 cyl. Both
    are about $17,000. New vs. higher end used.
    Any opinions?
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