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What Car is Right For Me? Help Me Choose!



  • Oh, okay--I get you now! You are right, though about 2002 models. The LX has standard leather and the GLS as cloth. Though, like the Elantra you saw, if you are willing to pay for it, I'm sure they would love to have leather installed in a GLS!
  • Actually there are many great cars under 20K. I just went shopping for a mid-size sedan with the same price limitations, and came home with a 2002 Mitsubishi Galant ES (4 cylinder) for $17,500. For the same money the Sonata V6 was extremely tempting, and I could even have bought an Accord LX ad stayed under my budget (about $19,000 for an LX 4 cylinder).

    The Galant I bought is pretty much loaded,the only things lacking are ABS, side air bags, alloy wheels, leather and a sunroof, all of which things that I could have had on the LS model (still in my $20K budget), but didn't want to pay for. I also passed on the V6 for the same reason, I really see no use for it. The 4-cylinder has plenty of power, is so smooth and quiet I have to check the tach to make sure its even running, and has plenty of torque. The automatica transmission (standard equipment) is also a great match for the engine, with ratios well-matced to the engine's torque and power bands. This car is so competent in going about its business that it is much like a 4-cylinder Accord or Camry - so good at getting you quietly and comfortably from place to place that one tends to not even think about it.

    In domestics the Buick Century and Ford Taurus are also available in that range, and I would easily recommend either over the Chevy Impala, which has styling that makes me think (unpleasantly) of the old AMC Matador. The Buick has a very good quality reputation, and with GM rebates makes an attractive buy. I almost went for it, but the lack of a CD player in the base model pushed me away (I hate paying for higher trim levels).

    Congrats on the Elantra GT, that is a great car that is really a terrific buy, though it is in a smaller size (and correspondingly lower price) class.
  • Well, I've got a bit of a decision to make. I'm picking out my first company car. Here are the guidelines:

    $21k max invoice price with options (not including tax, etc.)
    built in N. America

    My company also has to have content in the vehicle but we do in most N. American cars anyway so they're virtually all available. I think rebates can be taken from the total invoice price, so a $2000 rebate would allow me to buy a $23k car.

    I've been considering:

    Nissan Altima
    Volkswagen Jetta
    Saturn L300

    but am willing to consider almost anything.
  • jpelderjpelder Posts: 235
    I wish I had your flexibility in choosing a company car...I get more money, but have to choose from chrysler.

    For a company car that will see highway driving, I'd go with the Chevy Impala. It is extremely comfortable and has alot more room than your choices listed, and even has better mileage. The current edition is still kinda new, but even the automotive press is waking up to it. You could even get an LS if you bargain well.

    Of your choices listed, I'd take the Altima or the Saturn. The Jetta is a bit small.

    What kind of work do yo do? Lots of highway travel?
  • sebring95sebring95 Posts: 3,241
    You can get a nice altima for that price range. Great car if you like sporty driving. The Impala is also a great travel car, but it has to meet your taste. You'll either love the comfort/room or hate it. I could live with a Jetta but it is a bit tight. If you never have riders it would be my second pick. Of course not having to worry about repair or maintenance, the Jetta 1.8t might nudge out the Altima. Tough choice. You would have alot more to choose from if they gave you another couple grand. I've never met a Saturn I liked, sorry. I think you're on the right track. Go drive them and come back and tell us what you think.
  • My driving is fairly mixed .... probably 60/40 highway/city.

    What do people think about an Olds Intrigue GX. With the current rebate I could probably get one of those.
  • jpelderjpelder Posts: 235
    A big part of this is styling (both looks and driving). I never seemed able to like the Intrigue. However, the objective side of me says it is probably one of best options, with the only downside that they are being discontinued.

    The 3.5L engine is one great engine and is now available on the GX. The car is a great value and lots of room.
  • Most company cars I've ever seen were of the standard, 4 door, American variety. People like having enough room to haul people and suitcases to the airport; and, be comfortable for taking clients to dinner. They are seldom flashy. Have you looked at Buick Century or Ford Taurus? They make great company cars. I would agree that the Impala would be an excellent choice. Size, comfort, and a little sportier as well. Good luck on choosing!
  • sebring95sebring95 Posts: 3,241
    The reason most company cars are standard, 4-door variety is because the companies are buying batches of them and essentially have to fit a large variety of needs (not wants). That was part of my duty when I worked for a major corp. At the time we were buying well equipped Luminas for $12,000 with an extended factory warranty. Those held up well for about 100K and then they'd be sold for about $2500 and replaced. I don't think many with a choice would spring for these types of vehicles and they are a far cry from fun to drive. Nobody was ever excited about getting a new lumina or taurus! Guys would always call and say hey can't I get a "X-model" that costs the same? No. We bought about 300 per year so every penny counted. My last couple years we were letting the salespersons order options if they paid 75% of the cost. "No you can't have the car you want, but how about a cd player?"

    Folks working for smaller companies have it easy because they usually have some say. When I first started out I made a point to be flexible. I let them give me a few suggestions and then we narrow it down. They really appreciate and take care of a vehicle they want as opposed to a POS they got stuck with. BTW, nobodys picked a taurus or lumina yet, although I'll be the first to admit they are MUCH nicer vehicles than they were in the early 90's. Well the lumina never really improved, but the Impala is a revolution.
  • jpelderjpelder Posts: 235
    I have to agree with claywaterfill about the Century. I didn't mention it earlier because it seemed too different from the cars on your list, but it is one of my favorite rental cars. I love the solid clunk of the doors, and it is the quietest of all the cars listed here.

    A very solid car, lots of room and impressive fuel economy.
  • Excellent car, easily would be my choice givren the limits, though Camry/Accord can probably be had as well.
  • vcjumpervcjumper Posts: 1,110
    Everything you can! For 21K you could probably get an Intrigue GL model. Much different character than the Century though. Also check out the Sebring with the 6.
  • Well, I've driven the following:

    Nissan Altima 2.5
    Honda Accord LX V6
    Saturn L300 (V6)
    Olds Intrigue GL
    Chevrolet Impala LS
    Dodge Intrepid SE
    Dodge Stratus V6
    Ford Taurus
    Subaru Legacy
    Volkswagen Jetta VR6

    and the three I like the best are:

    Saturn L300
    Olds Intrigue
    Honda Accord V6

    I can get the most options in the Saturn and it is probably the most comfortable of all the cars I've driven. Also, it has a better back seat than all the others with the possible exception of the Intrepid. The rear legroom isn't great but I had enough headroom back there and I'm 6'3".

    Also, I felt the Saturn to be very responsive.

    I'm admittedly surprised that I like a Saturn, but I do. Hmmm.
  • sebring95sebring95 Posts: 3,241
    In a situation like this, you should just get what you like the best. Are responsible for any maintenance/repairs? Do you have to keep the thing for an extremely long time and live with it's quirks? Is it completely a pain if the car needs repairs/maintenance? If none of that is a concern get whatever you like and ignore everything you've read here. Unfortunetely most of us are concerned with those types of things and that usually throws a wrench into it.
  • I will have to live with whatever car I choose for three years. I will NOT be responsible for any maintenance or repair.

    I would probably get the Accord if I had to pay for maintenance and repairs myself but it's probably third on my list in terms of comfort, etc.

    This is going to be a tough decision ..
  • mrdetailermrdetailer Posts: 1,118
    Very reliable. Fun to drive. Pretty good repair record.
  • jpelderjpelder Posts: 235
    I have a friend who bought a 94 Saturn SC2. Now has 150,000 miles and going strong, although he may get a bigger car next year. He is thinking Intrigue, but is running out of time.
  • The general reputation of Saturns is that they are not as "refined" as the best imports (Accord, Camry, etc). On the other hand, Saturn owners usually LOVE their Saturn dealers. It sounds like you have cross-shopped enough to know you really like the Saturn. I say go for it! You'll get a car you like and (in all probability) a dealership that you'll actually like doing business with. Good luck.
  • The Volvo board isn't very responsive. Does anyone know of problems in the S70 that do not occur in the older 850 models?

    Any info on 850s would be greatly appreciated!
  • dtownfbdtownfb Posts: 2,918
    I would recommend the Accord but since you ruled that as being the least comfortable that's out of the picture. I would go with the Taurus. Get the top of the line Taurus. It has a much better ride then the base. You may want to look at the INtrepid as well.
  • I am shopping for a new car in the DC metro area and I like the 2002 Accord V6, the Golf GTI and I also like the Maxima, but some friends told me the Max requires a lot of maintanance (expensive) and same with the GTI VR6...Are any of these comments true ? I am getting a head start since my lease ends by May..Is it too early to start shopping for a car ? thanks for your time
    -steeler _fan
  • Absolutely not true that the Maxima is fussy. It is one of the most reliable and easiest to maintain cars being built. If you like it, get it. Accord is an impeccable choice, as always. I'm less familiar with GTI. Both Accord and Maxima are at the end of their design cycle, with major revisions (really major with Maxima) due next year. That fact, plus heady competition from the new Altima, has put pressure on Maxima sales. I think there is a manufacturer's discount of $1,000 on the Maxima now, and it would be a grea time to get one if you don't mind the styling being out of date in a year.
  • In my opinion, the Maxima SE is perhaps the best handling front wheel drive car on the market - certainly way up on the list. Combined with serious power, an available manual tranny and a very luxurious ride and interior, I wouldn't hesitate. That it has exceptional reliability just makes it more attractive.

    Wish I could have afforded one.
  • dtownfbdtownfb Posts: 2,918
    I think what steeler0023 was referring to regarding the Maxima wasn't the reliability but rather the cost of doing the maintenance. And he is probably correct that maintaining the Maxima is more expensive then the Accord. Out of the 3 cars listed, the Maxima is the best. The VW Golf is also a nice car but smaller then either the maxima or Accord.

    If you are in that price range, you may want to take a look at the Acura as well. Now as sporty as the maxima but an upgrade over the Accord.
  • Well, while shopping around for a Dodge Intrepid I ran into this terrible experience. (The letter I wrote to Dodge is too long to post here so I'll just put the link.)

    Keep in mind that the dealership was open until 9:00pm.


  • Considering fuel economy, safety, comfort in freeway driving,and cost factor (approximately $18,000.00 budget for a new 2002 models), which of the VW sedans would you recommend - Jetta GLS, Jetta GLX, or Jetta 1.8T ?

    What does "4cyl 4A" or "4cyl 5M" mean? "6cyl 4A" or "6cyl 5M" mean ???? Which one would I choose?

    Thank you.
  • I'll try to help. "4cyl 4A" means four cylinder engine, four-speed automatic shift. "4cyl 5M" is the same engine wedded to a four-speed manual transmission. "6cyl 4A" is the six cylinder engine with four-speed auto transmission. The 1.8T you refer to is a wonderful engine that uses a turbocharger to get a lot of pep out of a four-cylinder engine. The 6 cylinder engine is heavier, more expensive and somewhat more gas thirsty. For the Jetta, a relatively small car, I'd go with the 1.8. It has enough power to push the bigger Passat fast enough for most people.

    The GLX GLS business refers to different models that have different costs, features and levels of luxury. The GLX is the more deluxe.

    You should start by deciding if you want a stick shift or auto. Then decide if you can be happy with the 1.8 Turbo. Then go to the Edmunds site for new cars/go to Volkswagen/go to Jetta and spend some time looking at various combinations of features. The Edmunds TMV price is the price you "should" be able to get if you bargain well.

    Hope this helps.
  • Another great option is the TDi turbo diesel, which is a fabulous engine, with plenty of torque. Except at idle, where the sound is course though still quiet, you will only know its a diesel when you fill it up, EVERY 500 miles or so.
  • Sorry, I made a typo. Just in case it is not obvious: 4cyl 5M would be four cylinder engine, FIVE speed manual shifter.
  • I'm sure you can tell that I am not mechanically inclined!!! Thank you for educating me!!!

    For my needs, I have chosen Jetta GLS 4A (with leather package)...Using the Edmunds TMV price, I am bidding...Goodluck to me!!!!!

    I got a crash course VW Jetta 101, right here. This Townhall discussion really helped me a lot,
    thank you all.
  • I think when you are on an automobile web site, the term "crash course" is apt to have unfortunate echoes! :-}

    Good luck with the purchase!
  • chorakchorak Posts: 2
    Hi. I have a lot of height from the waist up and was wondering what sedans have at least 39 inches of headroom? I have not run across a comparison tool for this. Thanks.
  • sebring95sebring95 Posts: 3,241
    I think quite a few sedans have at least 39" once you hit decent sized vehicles. Galant, Altima, A6, Camry, Accord are ones I looked at.

    I'm built similar. My wife bought a Galant with a Sunroof and I have plenty of headroom. In the past the Camrys with sunroofs were uncomfortable unless I cranked the seat back like a low-rider. If you aren't looking for a sunroof, you should have plenty of choices. Some with sunroofs drop it down to around 37" which is uncomfortable to me.
  • hpulley4hpulley4 Posts: 591
    I'm not that tall but I wear my Russian fur hat (Ushanka) in my Saturn with lots of room to spare ;-)

    This is without a sunroof -- I hear sunroofs reduce it quite a bit.
  • A good tool to use is autosite.com. They have a VERY deailed comparison that seems to compare everything about the two cars. On the down side, it only lets you compare two cars at a time, unlike edmunds.com which lets you compare six, I think.
  • dtownfbdtownfb Posts: 2,918
    Personally I wouldn't rely on just numbers to decide which cars to eliminate or to add to your list. I would go and test drive them to make sure you fit in properly esp. if you have concerns about fitting inot a car.
  • hjr2hjr2 Posts: 105
    do they still do that annual "picnic" thing at the Tennesse plant with owners anymore? They used to advertise that 4-5 years ago, for Saturn commercials.
  • I guess that they ran out of BBQ sauce for the picnic....
  • hpulley4hpulley4 Posts: 591
    I think they still have them in the states. They don't send us canadians down to Tennessee but I went to a football game for free which was fun. They have BBQs at new playgrounds they build or fix up but I haven't gone to one yet. My son will be one year old in March so perhaps we'll go to some playground events this year.

    The Saturn experience is still there -- I wasn't sure I'd like the balloon delivery 'ceremony' but it was fairly low key so I didn't mind. No one sang or anything...
  • dtownfbdtownfb Posts: 2,918
    I don't believe they do that any more. GM has pretty much corraled Saturn into it's mainstream.
  • hpulley4hpulley4 Posts: 591
    As GM removes much of what made Saturn unique, and gives it rebadged vehicles instead in the next few years, most of what will remain of the original company spirit will be (my opinion only) the friendly stuff as that is where all their marketing energy is focused. The 30-day money back guarantee, the no-haggle pricing (which is now being copied by some others), the friendly buying, delivery and service experience, etc.; the sort of stuff that puts it above all other brands in the customer satisfaction surveys, including luxury brands that _should_ be falling all over you after you drop that much cash on them.

    Saturn has already said that some vehicles will lack polymer panels in future, which is obvious as that is a very expensive part of the engineering, compared to deciding which re-badge gets standard cup-holders. I don't know how they'll keep no-haggle while other divisions let you haggle on the same cars -- I guess time will tell.

    This is getting off-topic so perhaps something should go in news and views if there is interest.
  • dtownfbdtownfb Posts: 2,918
    Actually many car dealers experimented with no-haggle pricing in the 90's and that seems to have gone by the way side. More are developing the internet sites and offering low prices (negotiated) based on interest levels of the buyer.
  • I am looking for a decent car for 5grand with four doors that is reliable and decent. I was looking at a g20 around this year with around 100,000 miles, i heard these cars run and run. What do you guys think. Something comparable to this or maybe a 626 or altima too?
  • I can't think of any car that will be more reliable over time than a Corolla or Camry, the price difference getting you a nicer Corolla for the same $$$.
  • dtownfbdtownfb Posts: 2,918
    Another good choose is to buy a buick Cnetury. Buick have always been some the most reliable Americna cars built. Very easy to get maintained and there are plenty to choose from. If oyu get into an import, you are looking at a lot of miles on the cars. I'm not too keen on buying a car with over 100,000 miles on it. Lots of things need to be replaced at that time interval like alternator, battery, exhaust system, shocks and struts, suspension, etc.
  • I think you would get the same auto for less money if you purchased a used Prisim. The Corolla and the Prisim were assembled in the same US plants.
  • Which do you think would be better to get the 95 altima gxe almost 100k miles good condition clean title, 95 millenium salvage title 90k miles great deal for 3k to 3.5 k got hit from rear but repaired. Last choice is the 95 g20 with all the options and about 95k miles clean title. I am going to be using this car to go from sanfranciso and vegas and mexico from la. What are the pros and cons to each car for what I need it for.
    Thanks for any input.
  • Sorry the prices for the altima is 4k and g20 is 5k. I am on an extreme budget so the millenium looks good since I am not going to sell it and run it into the ground.
  • I'd probably go for the Altima, though I'm sure you'd enjoy the Millenia a bit more. If you really want the Millenia I would take it to a different body shop and have them take a look at it to make sure the body repairs are okay.
  • Kirstie_HKirstie_H EdmundsPosts: 11,114


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