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Please help me decide between...



  • steine13steine13 Posts: 2,642
    . They also have the lowest rate of seatbelt use [..]

    Well, that issue has an easy engineering solution...

    My point is that the fix to rollover issues is not a lower center of gravity but a higher level of responsibility.

    There are a very few vehicles that are prone to rolling over, and they were duly noted by Consumer's Union. The Tracker/Samurai twins, a couple others... I forget, it's been a while. But any car-based SUV is going to be just fine.

    My point of view is that of a bicycle commuter. I'm scared *of* them, not *for* them.

  • fezofezo Manahawkin, NJPosts: 10,350
    Mathias makes good points but I don't think I would put my kid in most SUVs. Things like the CRV or RAV4 are different. They don't have the rollover tendencies of, say, early Explorers.

    You can have rollover woes with cars, too, when they are badly engineered. VW Beetles were like that. Early Corvairs. The sad thing with the Corvairs is they were nice cars and once the problem was corrected they were as safe as most things on the road - but the damage had been done.
    2013 Mazda 5 Grand Touring, 2010 Toyota Prius IV. 2007 Toyota Camry XLE, 2004 Toyota Camry LE, 1999 Mazda Miata
  • cccompsoncccompson Posts: 2,388
    If you truly don't want to throw money away, stay away from high-end vehicles, especially those of German manufacture - period.
  • plektoplekto Posts: 3,738
    I'm replying to two posts here to save space, so bear with me...

    I subscribe to the theory that we drive much more powerful engines than we need because American drivers, especially women, are conditioned to never floor or flog an engine. IOW, the car needs to accelerate great with 1/2 throttle or less, and not sound like it's working hard.

    Unfortunately, this leads to poor ring seating, carbon build-up, and other ills. Engines need to be regularly run at 2/3 - 3/4 of their maximum RPM to remain healthy. Every time I hear someone lugging a 4 cylinder engine I cringe. Americans need to un-learn these habits as they lead to premature wear, poor mileage, and buying a much more expensive vehicle than you need. A manual 4 cylinder Accord will go quicker in actual driving as the 6 with automatic just because of the driving style and one using the engine versus the other lugging it all the time.

    As for the poster who is looking for a small luxury sport sedan, I have a couple of recommendations, since my best friend recently was in the same scenario.

    1: You want a car with RWD and proper handling. Front wheel drive is not any safer than RWD except in very tiny cars with poor weight distribution. Since a tiny Yaris, for instance, is about 60% front-heavy, it makes sense to make it FWD. But a sporty European type car with almost 50/50 weight distribution that weighs over 3000lbs is far better off as RWD. Case in point - my 2 ton SUV with RWD and rock-crawling tires is easier to steer than a rental FWD Cobalt I got recently.

    2: You want a couple of year old certified car. Let the other person eat the initial tax and depreciation. You can, for instance, get a 4 year old C class for nearly 15K. That's a TAD better than a Corolla, in my book.

    3:You want manual. Every car that's sold in Europe to people outside of maybe luxo-barges like the S-Class and taxis is manual. If you want a reliable car, therefore, manual is an absolute must. Mercedes, for instance, has terrible quality on its automatic transmissions because they're basically Chrysler units that they toss in for rental fleets in Europe(or technology borrowed from Chrysler) - and bring over pretty much as-is to the unwashed masses of yuppies in the U.S.(they really do look down on us when it comes to vehicles, and quite often, it's deserved)

    The Lexus suffer from the miserable 5 and 6 speed automatics that are really expensive to fix and not very reliable as they are pretty new technology that Toyota is working the bugs out of. In Asia, the vast majority of vehicles are also sold with manuals, and a Japanese manual transmission is fantastic. Because it's what they sell at home. Again, they tend to toss any old automatic in it, call it a day, and ship it over to the U.S.

    The best automatic transmissions, btw, are made by... GM. Because it's all GM does and has done for 95% of its fleet for nearly 40 years. GM also makes good manuals in their upper-end vehicles when you can find them.

    The typical manual transmission repair is $600-$900. The typical automatic is now $4000. As a young driver, learning manual is not only a good skill to have, but it's the most frugal long-term option. Oh - and the cars have much higher resale value when you do decide to sell it in a few years.

    My recommendations would be to look at the IS300, the C230K, and a first generation Cadillac CTS. The IS300 is by far a better vehicle than the IS250. Better handling, engine, and power. It's not an IS350, but the IS250 honestly drives like a GM or Ford car because it has far too little power for the weight.

    The C230K - the sedan model with the 4 cylinder supercharged engine is capable of getting 35mpg highway, is agile, and extremely fun. The C class with manual was and still is the most popular model sold in Europe to real consumers that's made by Mercedes. Hardly anyone over there buys the E or S class except for fleets. The normal C230 is about the same in terms of performance, but it gets about 5mpg worse highway mileage and weighs a couple of hundred pounds more.

    The CTS is a notable exception to the typical GM car. It's quick, has a great transmission that you could learn on it 15 minutes, and most of all, sells for really low prices used. The 3.6 is the one to get, because it's as advanced as anything Toyota or Honda make - and really transforms the car. The first generation ones are a bit smaller and more attractive to me as well. While I like the manual the most, I would buy a CTS with automatic, because it's a good and inexpensive unit to replace.(half the cost of the transmission in the Lexus)

    People went on and on about how the interior on the CTS was bad, but honestly, it's better than a Civic. Was it price-competitive when it was new? Hardly. But as a used deal, I'd spend $12-$15K on a CTS a few years old over a new economy car without thinking twice about it. My parents did this same thing as well - bought a used higher end car instead of a new budget model. In every case their better built, better equipped and larger vehicle was better to drive and lasted longer than the ones their friends bought.

    Lastly, new VS used - used has lots less sales tax, is less money per month, has less initial registration, and you can usually drive cars like this for about a 2K a year depreciation since the initial 3-4 years took out 40-50%. Buying a car for $12-15K and selling it 5 years later for $6K is a lot better than Buying new and eating $6K in the first year.
  • fezofezo Manahawkin, NJPosts: 10,350
    I'm absolutely with you on that last point. Let someone else take the depreciation hit on a new car. A two year old low mileage car has a ton of depreciation wrung out of it and is likely fine for a good decade.
    2013 Mazda 5 Grand Touring, 2010 Toyota Prius IV. 2007 Toyota Camry XLE, 2004 Toyota Camry LE, 1999 Mazda Miata
  • cliffsrcliffsr Posts: 3
    I've already posted this in the Porsche forum but I thought I might get a little more visibility here. So....I'm looking at buying a new car. Here's my situation. I filed bankruptcy almost 10 years ago. The bankruptcy will come off of my credit history in June. My credit score right now is 734. Is it going to make much difference if I wait until July for that bankruptcy to clear on my credit report when applying for a loan? Will my score go up much? I'm just trying to decide whether to buy now or wait until July. Thanks for the help ahead of time.
  • exb0exb0 Posts: 539
    Well it was a fun weekend shopping. On Saturday we went to a Toyota store to look at RAV4 and Highlander. The Highlander was dismissed before the test drive, because it is as big as a minivan. RAV4 V6 Sport was dismissed after the test drive, because it has a “bumpy ride of her father’s Subaru Impreza”. Next was the Toyota Venza. It was dismissed after the test drive because it looks and rides like an “overweight pig”. By this time kids started calling us because they were hungry. The salesman asked us to come back today, Sunday, to test drive the RAV4 Limited because it has softer suspension and nicer ride.

    Today we drove the RAV4 Limited. Yes, suspension is softer, which means that it doesn’t handle as well and it has more body lean. However, one can still feel every road imperfection. Next, we test drove CR-V EX-L. What an amazing vehicle! It looks very nice inside, very comfortable with very good handling. It absorbed bumps better than the RAV4, while it corners with less body lean. Interior and ride reminds me of the previous generation Acura TSX. If RAV4 has interior and ride of a subcompact, CR-V is like an entry level luxury sedan. Oh, and the acceleration is normal. It’s not fast, it’s not slow, it’s just normal.

    We were so excited about the CR-V that we took it home to show to our kids. They poop-pooped all over it. There is not enough leg room in the back, which is true, I am 6 1 and I couldn’t sit there without my knees touching the front seat. No DVD, no XM, no sunshade, seats don’t lean back far enough. They only want the minivan. :cry: :cry: :mad: :cry:

    To make the long story endless, after all this drama we are back to were we started from, another Odyssey. However, she told me that in four and half years after kids go to college we are shopping again. Can't wait :(
  • tallman1tallman1 Posts: 1,874
    We were so excited about the CR-V that we took it home to show to our kids.

    I hope that the adults had some issues with the CR-V along with the kids. Otherwise, we'd wonder who was in charge of the family. ;)
  • corvettecorvette United StatesPosts: 6,191
    Also, the new CR-V and RAV4 both have standard stability control, which greatly reduces the likelihood of a rollover.
  • exb0exb0 Posts: 539
    LOL, sometimes I wonder too.

    In all honesty, because of all the issues with our current van, we had to take my Acura TL on a seven hour road trip. By the end of the trip the kid behind me was in tears because he was so uncomfortable that he developed cramps in his legs.

    I know our kids are spoiled, but if we can “buy” some piece and quiet on our many long distance trips, might as well.
  • tidestertidester Posts: 10,059
    buy now or wait until July

    Is there some urgency to buy now? July is just a few months away.

    tidester, host
    SUVs and Smart Shopper
  • suydamsuydam Posts: 3,681
    I think you are just in your minivan years, face it! Nothing beats one if you have 2 or more kids (not to mention their friends), and they will grow -- so if the CRV was uncomfortable now, it won't get better for them. After they are gone to college you can get the vehicle you really want. I really don't regret those years at all -- some of my nicest memories are minivan road trips. The time goes by faster than you think.
    '14 Buick Encore Convenience
    '17 Chevy Volt Premiere
  • fezofezo Manahawkin, NJPosts: 10,350
    Everything goes by faster than you think....

    We were just out of minivan years and then had more family. I think we're on our last one but we'll see. There are loads worse fates than an Ody.
    2013 Mazda 5 Grand Touring, 2010 Toyota Prius IV. 2007 Toyota Camry XLE, 2004 Toyota Camry LE, 1999 Mazda Miata
  • stickguystickguy Posts: 29,488
    I second that. We got our 1st minivan in 1995 when child #2 was born. We still have the 2 kids, but are on the 3rd van. Just can't beat the utility value, especially if you do a lot of holiday and vacation travel like we do (even more so if your wife travels "heavy" like mine does!)

    And each van was nicer/more comfortable/quicker (and more loaded) than the previous one (currently have a current generation Odyssey EX-L). Loaded up like an Acura.

    It is a bit large for daily use, and we rarely need the extra seats at this point (but still nice when people visit). I am sure the room will come in handy next fall when child #1 goes off to college.

    My wife has already said she wants something smaller (and non-vanish) when it is time to replace the Ody. Will likely be a cross-over type (or maybe a true station wagon like a Volvo). Don't need AWD, but we will want a wagon back for ahuling, and my wife does like sitting up a little higher. SOmehting the size of an Equinox would be about right.

    2018 Hyundai Elantra Sport (mine), and 2013 Acura RDX AWD (wife's)

  • fezofezo Manahawkin, NJPosts: 10,350
    We're on our third van as well. had the dreaded Windstall and when it started blowing up on us went to a plain old Accord which was fine but then had more kids.

    We're on our second Ody but previous generation - an 04 EX.
    2013 Mazda 5 Grand Touring, 2010 Toyota Prius IV. 2007 Toyota Camry XLE, 2004 Toyota Camry LE, 1999 Mazda Miata
  • exb0exb0 Posts: 539
    Man, we are following in your footsteps.

    We had a ’95 Windstar that needed a new engine in ’99 (fixed under ESP). Traded that for 2000 Accord, and used ’98 Exploder until ‘04 as our family truckster. In 04 leased Ody EXL for $330 per month (good old days). In ’07, got EXL w/ R&N. The ’07 is going to be replaced with ’09 EXL w/ R.
  • vzeeiborvzeeibor Posts: 9
    I'm looking for a safe, cheap, reliable, new, automatic sedan with air-conditioning. I have narrowed it down to these three. Honda Fit, Civic cost a bit more than I want to pay.

    Would you go with the Ford Focus (S or SE), Hyundai Elantra (GLS), or Toyota (Base or LE) Corolla?
  • fezofezo Manahawkin, NJPosts: 10,350
    We had a 95 Windstall as well. Went through the engine seals one by one despite the fact that as soon as one went I said while you've got the engine dropped check them all. They reimbursed me on the head gasket but the others weren't cheap. Once we settled all that the tranny failed. Ford treated us like lepers.

    I hear they are much better these days. I sure hope so.
    2013 Mazda 5 Grand Touring, 2010 Toyota Prius IV. 2007 Toyota Camry XLE, 2004 Toyota Camry LE, 1999 Mazda Miata
  • qbrozenqbrozen Posts: 24,486
    If new, then Corolla by a long shot.
    The resale value exceeds the Ford and Hyundai by leaps and bounds.

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

  • dtownfbdtownfb Posts: 2,918
    I would lean toward the Elantra because of the longer warranty. Consumer Reports rated the Elantra (SE) as their best buy in the small car category. Plus Hyundai is more like to deal on the Elantra than Toyota will on the Corolla.
  • cliffsrcliffsr Posts: 3
    The main reason to buy now would be because there are still a few '08's out there and they are being deeply discounted. By July they'll probably be gone so I'll either have to go with an '09 with fewer options or wait until the 2010 model comes out so they start discounting again.
  • Thanks for the input! So weird I didn't get an email about your reply.. seems I'm only getting email updates on the thread about every 10 or so messages.

    Anyway, manual is absolutely not an option for me. I live in Los Angeles and the traffic here is a nightmare, it's not worth the headache of a manual. Seriously, I would never drive because I would want to drive the car off a cliff.

    I'm not a fan of the CTS, it seems too big and the look just isn't what I want. I love the Lexus for the interior, the BMW for the exterior, and the MB for the exterior. MB seems to have the worst resale, and Lexus the best (Lexus 2 year old car is only valued $6K under what I can get an '09 for, so that's pretty good). BMW pays first 2 payments so that helps with depreciation by a little over $1000. I'm going shopping again today, I'll report back. Thanks for the help so far! :)
  • plektoplekto Posts: 3,738
    Well, that doesn't make much sense to me - the resale value being terrible is *exactly* in your favor if you're looking at a slightly used vehicle. You want something that depreciates like a rock the first 3-4 years so that you only eat about 1K a year to run it instead of 10K in the first 3-4 years.

    The Mercedes and BMWs are terrible - rock bottom in fact on their automatics and electrical systems that go with them(stability control/etc). Manuals have none of that but don't generally need it, either, as it's harder to not pay attention, IME, with a manual.

    That leaves the first generation CTS and the Lexus. The IS300 is a *far* better car than the new IS250. More power, a couple of hundred pounds lighter, slightly smaller footprint, better transmission, better engine, and used, they are nearly indestructible. Oh - and affordable. We're talking new Civic or Corolla prices used.

    The IS300 handles about 95% as good as the BMW 3 series. It used the same tried and true sport sedan formula. Inline 6 engine up front and RWD. It's a fantastic vehicle. The IS250 honestly is too soft and drives like a Buick or Mercedes by comparison. The IS300 was and still is the only car out of Japan in the last 20 years that has a strictly European feel to it. It reminded me a lot of the Volvo 850 or the late 90s BMW 3 series when I was test driving it.

    *note - the "test drive" was going 40-50 mph around the ring road around the island of dealerships in Ontario, CA. It's a 2-3 mile loop with several intersections and no traffic at all. It has paddle shifters on the wheel, so you can manually shift the automatic as well. The gearing on the automatic is set up to be nearly identical to the manual as well.

    IS250: Softer suspension. 11 less HP. Almost 200 lbs more weight. Several inches wider and longer. Better look and feel/bling but it's lost its soul. It's Toyota and not a real Euro competitor. A 2005 IS300 that's certified is a perfect choice.

    The First generation CTS is also like this - it's noticeably lighter, smaller, and more pleasing to look at than the new one. With the 3.6 VVT engine in it, it flies down the road - and based upon tests around the Nurburgring, it competes nearly toe to toe with a BMW 5 series. It's not your father's Cadillac. This thing has serious teeth. Oh - and it seats 5 pretty comfortably.

    Get a dark color. They look better that way.

    Yes, everyone looks at it and goes "ack - a GM!". Then they see the silly low prices used and say "I guess I'll test drive it..." :P And their mind warps because nothing fits with their image of old men and soft floating driving. It's fun and an honestly good car. I'd much rather own one than a boring Camry or Accord.

    Oh - did I mention half the cost to fix the transmission and a 100K drive train warranty?
  • suydamsuydam Posts: 3,681
    But the poster clearly said she didn't like the CTS, so why push it? Same with the manual transmission -- if the poster doesn't want one, why work to hard to convince? It's very hard to re-sell a manual transmission car, by the way, because in fact most people in the USA don't want them.

    If you like the interior of one car better, and you're going to spend a lot of time commuting, that is a big thing to think about. You don't drive a car on the outside.

    With both the BMW and Lexus, slightly used CPO might be the way to go. Let us know what you decide!
    '14 Buick Encore Convenience
    '17 Chevy Volt Premiere
  • You're exactly right. I'm leaning towards the new Lexus. I am going to check out the Camry today too just to see (but I think it's the same as the ES model of Lexus which is too big for me -- plus the Camry may be more affordable now, but will I be happy with still driving it over the Lexus a year or two down the line??). I went looking for 2006 325i CPO deals and there really are none to be had. Prices are up from what they were in December (I coulda gotten a 2006 325i with prem, xenon, etc and like 18000 miles for $23995 with pretty much no negotiating so I probably coulda done slightly better -- didn't buy cause I didn't like that color, but I do now.. I'm an idiot). Now the same build with 10k more miles is selling for $5k more sticker and they'll only go down another $2k MAYBE $3k and it's not worth it. Oh plus the one in December they were paying first 2 payments so that cut the price another $1200 or so, that program is done now, of course. Plus with BMW there are so many horror stories (let's face it, BMWs are either NO probelms or ALL problems, there's never an in between) and the interior is bland for me. As far as a Lexus CPO I can get a new one ~$5K more than a 06 or 07, plus the interest on a CPO would be 3.99% through PenFed cause Lexus is so high on APR, whereas the lease would be .0001 MF (.24% APR) so I'd make up a chunk of the difference there.. and when/if I decide to buy out the interest rate would have been practically 0 for the first half of what I'd owe on it. Plus I like the gray burl wood trim that's new to the 08 and 09 so CPO doesn't have that.. well 08 would, but it'd be more than a 09.

    Anyway, I'm deciding today.. this is scary!!! :blush:
  • plektoplekto Posts: 3,738
    16K for a CPO IS300 is a *tad* less money than an IS250.

    But it's your choice I guess. Other people lurk here and read this as well I suspect, and so my advice stands. The IS250 isn't as good a vehicle as the one it tried to replace. And the 0-60 times are a lie as well - they abuse it on a test track by redlining it and dropping it out of neutral, then manually shifting the automatic to 2nd gear and leaving it there until they hit 60mph.(or selecting winter mode and starting in 2nd and doing nothing) Looks great on paper but nobody drives like this, ever.

    The IS250 drove like every Toyota or GM sedan I've ever driven in that it requires you to flog it to get it to move. Quick transitions in comfort just don't happen, because it's lacking in torque and the gearing it set a mile long between gears.

    They tend to stuff a smaller engine in a large sedan and make due via the transmission. 28-30mpg but even under full throttle, you can wind it out to over 60mph in 2nd gear. 3rd and 4th aren't even close to the power band even at 60-70mph. In fact, I once calculated the speed you'd have to achieve in a Camry in top gear to get the rated HP and it was nearly 140mph. In other words, 100% of the time in normal driving, you're only able to use 1/2 to 2/3 of the rated power due to gearing. Adding more gears to the automatic just exacerbates the problem unless they gear it properly. Toyota doesn't. BMW does.

    Yes, it's "quieter and more refined", but only because the engine is always lugging along at 1/3 red line like a diesel. Just without a diesel's torque to back it up.

    Now the IS350 is a better car than the IS300, but that's because they stuffed a bigger engine in it and added a sport package. That kind of makes it closer to a G35, but it's certainly not a small agile car. It felt more like a muscle car to me than anything else.

    The only other small sedan that I would recommend would be the Subaru Impreza. It's small, quick, inexpensive, and a blast to drive. Of course, it's about the only small sport sedan on the market any more...
  • 06stang06stang Posts: 10
    My nephew is about to get a new used car. He found two potentials- a 2000 Ford Mustang V6 and a 2004 Ford Focus SE. Both look to be in overall good shape. The Mustang as just over 80,000 miles and the Focus is around 85,000 miles. He thinks the Mustang would be more fun to own and drive, but the Focus is newer, gets a little better gas mileage, etc.
    Oh and the Mustang is $5000 and the Focus is $5250, so there isn't much of a price difference.

    What do you guys recommend or think would be the better buy?
  • cwalticwalti Posts: 185
    Buy a HONDA!
    He will be driving more, curse less, and always arrive at his destination with a smile!
  • oldfarmer50oldfarmer50 Posts: 11,549
    "...Buy a HONDA..."

    That's right because as we all know, Hondas never break down, need no maintence and don't even require gas to make them go. :P

    As to answering the OP REAL question--The Mustang would be more fun to drive from a psychological standpoint but would be more likely to have been abused. The Focus would be more reliable.

    2015 Mustang GT, 2009 PT Cruiser, 2004 Chevy Van, 2000 Chrysler Sebring convertible

  • michaellnomichaellno Posts: 4,300
    A couple of things to consider ...

    1) Where does your nephew live? The Mustang, as you know, is RWD, while the Focus is FWD .. better for areas that see bad weather.

    2) I wouldn't necessarily assume that the Mustang has been "abused". A V6 Mustang may have been owned by the proverbial "secretary" and been babied its whole life. Besides, the 'Stang has averaged about 8K miles per year, the Focus 17K.

    3) Utility .. the Mustang has a relatively small trunk, while the Focus, depending on the body style, has either a slightly larger trunk (with fold down rear seats) or a hatchback.

    4) Fun to drive .. I owned an '03 Focus ZX5 and it was a blast to drive; have rented Mustangs and found them fun, but in a different way.

    At the end of the day, it's all about what your nephew wants. My son recently bought a '98 Mustang V6 with about 80K on the clock and he (and everyone else) tells me it's in fantastic condition.

    I'd have both cars checked out by a competent mechanic before making a decision.
This discussion has been closed.