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Economy Sedans (~$16k-$20k)



  • beantownbeantown Posts: 228
    The sad part is, Toyotas without all these "standard safety features" still test better than Kias with them.
  • dc_driverdc_driver Posts: 712
    "The sad part is, Toyotas without all these "standard safety features" still test better than Kias with them."

    Not true. The 06 Corolla without side airbags gets the lowest rating as well (poor). With side airbags it gets an "acceptable". The Corolla also rates "poor" for rear impact whereas the Kia Spectra rates "acceptable". So as long as you get hit in the front with the Corolla, you should be okay ;)
  • gcroftgcroft Posts: 15
    I read the last 5 pages of this forum. Any thoughts would be helpful.

    I have a h.s. senior who needs a car that will hopefully last her through college. I'm looking for safety, reliability and upper 20s city mpg. Ideally 15-16k + TTL but could maybe go a little more. We live in Houston, it's hot!

    So far:

    06 civic - few and far between. Pay the MSRP and a lot of times put down a deposit. MSRP gives me heartburn. I never had a chance to drive 1 and have read where the a/c is fair. Used are not around either. Seems other parts of the country can get decent deals but I haven't seen them.

    06 corolla s with side air bags - a few more than a civic around and can get them for 1% over invoice. We have gulf states toyota importing here. That's usually another 1000-1500 of bogus port add-ons and even if you stop that they add in extra fees, markups, holdbacks. I bought 1 w/ 10000 miles for 15700 OTD yesterday but turns out there were no side air bags. From what I've read the SAB looks like an important feature for this car. I like the way it drove and called 15 dealers today for a used 1. There were none to be found.

    06 mazda 3 - liked the car and could get a good price. The one we drove had a/c every bit as bad as what's on the mazda forum. Dealers quote "tinting the windows helps".

    Jetta looks out of my range .

    I haven't read a lot of good things about the ion.

    Sentra comes out in a couple of more months not that I know anything about nissan any more and their forums dead.

    Your earlier conversations on the elantra peaked my interest but I know nothing on Hyundai either. Do I wait for the 07?

    Any comments are appreciated.
  • backybacky Twin CitiesPosts: 18,906
    The 2006 Elantra would fit your requirements EXCEPT the IIHS side crash test score is "Poor" (no side curtains). It will be awhile before there are crash test scores on the 2007 Elantra, and also I expect there won't be big discounts/rebates on these right away.

    If you must have new, have you considered a 2006 Sonata? It has good crash test scores, standard ESC, ABS/traction, and active front head restraints, and can be had at the upper end of your price range. But they are going fast.

    Another option is to get a used car like a 2003+ Accord with side airbags. You could probably find an LX MT for your price range, and it's a reliable, safe car that will hold its value.
  • gcroftgcroft Posts: 15
    Thanks for the input.

    The new elantra looks great but I guess it would be a while(2007) and who knows about crash results and price.

    I'm not bent on new, I just don't want to have to worry about it. I'll check out the 04-05 accord 4 cyl and see what I can find. I didn't realize they made a 4 and that would suit her needs.
  • sandman46sandman46 Posts: 1,798
    Since you already bought the Corolla yesterday, why all the questions now. I would have asked them before purchasing a new vehicle. On a side note, our '05 Mazda 3s's a/c is doing fine...cools the cabin down in a timely manner without tinted windows. Living in South Florida, it does get pretty hot here and ours works just fine. The dealer checked it out 2 weeks ago, & all is working properly.
    My new '06 Civic's a/c works great and with the tinted windows, cools the car down very effectly!

    The Sandman :) :)
  • gcroftgcroft Posts: 15
    Ah, I guess I left that part out. I returned the corolla and I really hated to after such a good deal. I sure liked the way that car drove.

    With the Mazda 3, the day we drove it the temperature was upper 90s. Unfortunately after 20 minutes it was marginally cool at best, not close to cold like the toyota. I would have bought a mazda other than the a/c. Glad you got a good one. I can't say first hand on the honda as I haven't driven one due to the price.

    Well back to looking at accords.
  • doohickiedoohickie Posts: 949
    Actually, except for the crash ratings, I would highly recommend the Elantra... the 2006 model. Hyundai has had good product rollouts recently, but I still hesitate to buy a new model of any make, so I would not wait for the 2007. The 2006 Elantra has pretty much had all the bugs worked out, and the few that linger are not major biggies, especially if the car is maintained properly.

    And for the record, I know of a message board where a handful of members have had serious accidents with their Elantras and walked away with very minor or no injuries. I think there's a guy who even rolled his car with his wife and kids in it with no injuries; he turned around a bought another Elantra to replace it.
  • tsgeiseltsgeisel Posts: 352
    The Mazda 3 boards have numerous conflicting reports from people for whom the AC works wonderfully and from people for whom it's barely functional. Something to test before you take it off the lot, definitely.
  • spmrebelspmrebel Posts: 130
    Another car you might consider would be a 06 Kia Spectra. I have both an 05 Spectra EX (auto) and 05 Elantra GT (auto). The Spectra drives similiarly to Elantra though its a little more quiet and refined. The interior is also nicer (better ergonomics and plastics) and it has a few more convience items such as remote trunk release, passenger side central locking and auto-tilt up on the sunroof (if you get this option). It also gets consistently better gas mileage.

    A big disadvantage though is changing the oil filter on the Spectra. Its a pain compared to the Elantra.

    Happy motoring
  • backybacky Twin CitiesPosts: 18,906
    I drove a Spectra EX 500 miles last week, in two 3.5-hour stints. The structure did seem a little more solid than that of the Elantra (and with the Spectra being several years newer, that is not surprising). The ride was quiet and smooth, a bit smoother than the Elantra GLS I used to own. Ergonomically, I'll take the Elantra any day. The Elantra has more adjustments on the driver's seat (dual height adjuster and lumbar support) which allow me to set just the right position. With the Spectra, I was uncomfortable within an hour. I couldn't measure FE closely because the rental agency filled the tank to only about 3/8 and I didn't have time to top it off before I left. But it was roughly low 30s, driving at 70-75 mph with AC on half the time. That is just a bit under what I get on my Elantra GT automatic.

    The 2007 Elantra is supposed to be much stiffer than the '06, so it will be interesting to see how that car compares to the Spectra.
  • thegraduatethegraduate Posts: 9,731
    If you must have new, have you considered a 2006 Sonata?

    He wanted high-20s for city mileage. If you (gcroft) are willing to trade a little mileage (24/33 for Sonata) for a bigger, safer car, go with the Sonata GL, or GLS even. I'd be willing to be you could get a GLS in your area for under $17k OTD if you try hard. I have an Accord that I love, but for the buyer on your particular budget (under $18k), the Sonata looks like the place to be if you want a safer, larger car for your child.
  • backybacky Twin CitiesPosts: 18,906
    You're right, it's unlikely he can get high-20s with a Sonata, but I think it's possible with the Accord I4, especially with a stick. I think the price range was $15-16k. It's possible to get a new 2006 Sonata I4 for that, or a used current-generation Accord.
  • thegraduatethegraduate Posts: 9,731
    True about averaging high-20s in the Accord. I average about 29 MPG in mixed suburban (a routine trip of mine is 9 stop signs, speed limit of 30MPH, for about 8 miles, then 10 miles of interstate to destination (at 70 MPH). That's about how I average 28-30MPG.

    I have an auto I-4 Accord, so bump those numbers by one or two points for a stick-shift. A 2004 EX Accord stick in good condition should be in that 15-16k price range (assuming 40k miles or so).
  • joe97joe97 Posts: 2,248
    Backy, many Sonata owners in my area reporting mid to high 20s on the V6 Sonata (overall between city and highway), and I4 wasn't even a problem. The other day, I was talking with a Sonata owner, and she had reported to me a consistent 31-32 hwy and 24-25 city/local in her '06 GLS V6 over her 7 months ownership.
  • backybacky Twin CitiesPosts: 18,906
    This guy wanted upper 20s in the city. A lot depends on what "local" driving is, how much stop-and-go etc. Not impossible to get upper 20s in "local" driving in a Sonata, but I maintain it's not typical.
  • gcroftgcroft Posts: 15
    I appreciate all the great comments. While i have only seen a sonata on the used car lot, it seemed rather large compared to what I've been looking at and I hadn't previously considered a Kia. I've mainly looked at 2005 accords I4 auto but I'd have to change my expectations from my earlier post. I think they post 24/34 on mpg and pricing has been around 16500 +TTL without trying hard. Still beats the 18000+TTL I was offered today on a new corolla! There's a wide discrepancy on NADA vs KBB vs Edmunds. They're each $1000 apart from the other which makes it difficult to determine market value.
  • thegraduatethegraduate Posts: 9,731
    Still beats the 18000+TTL I was offered today on a new corolla!

    Total with Options With Side Airbags and ABS, the Corolla LE TMV is about $16,400 per $18,000 is way too high unless it had alloys, sunroof, JBL, stability control, mats, etc... And even then, I'd have a hard time paying over $17k for a Corolla.
  • gcroftgcroft Posts: 15
    I pretty much agree with you. This one had SAB, and alloy wheels and 6 disc changer. What kills you in the south is

    TAF $295
    TMF $200
    2% Holdback MSRP $322
    PIO Holdback $31
    1% Finance Reserve MSRP $161

    Dealers seem firm on this.

    I see jettas on sale in the paper this morning for $16995. Ill have to do some research on those and the sonata.
  • snakeweaselsnakeweasel a Certified Edmunds Poster.Posts: 13,453
    Forgive me for sounding ignorant but other than additional profit what is all that stuff?

    2008 Sebring Ragtop, 2011 Hyundai Sonata.

  • patpat Posts: 10,421
    They are charging you for holdback? That is money the manufacturer pays them after the car is sold!!

    I don't know what PIO holdback is, but it still shouldn't be a charge to you. You should read Edmunds piece on Dealer Holdback and maybe follow up in the Dealer Holdback Questions discussion over on the Smart Shopper board. Also you may want to check into the Toyota Advertising Fees discussion as well.

    But the best way to get by all of this stuff is make your offer an out-the-door price with which you are comfortable, meaning it includes everything but tax, tags and licensing. Then they can allocate the money into whatever categories make them happy. :)

    Keep us posted!
  • gcroftgcroft Posts: 15
    Oh yes, I'm very familiar with holdbacks and I've read the other boards. I'll refresh myself to see if there's anything new I'm unaware of but this is why I've more or less given up on a new toyota. Best anyone can figure POI means port installed options. Port installed options IMHO is another great Gulf States scam as are TAF (toyota advertising fees - national) and TMF (toyota maketing fees - local)
  • joe97joe97 Posts: 2,248
    I4 Sonata is very possible and likely, I would say. To date, every 06/7 Sonata owners I have talked to has V6s so I can't account for real-world city/local mpg in the I4s. I would say if the V6 can easily acheive mid 20s city, then the I4 should have no problme acheiving upper 20s.

    gcroft, good luck in your search, whatever you may end up with.
  • patpat Posts: 10,421
    Oh, of course, port installed options, thanks. In any case, an out-the-door offer for what you have determined the car is worth (totally disregarding the add-on baloney) is the way to go. They can do whatever with all of their pesky fees.
  • gcroftgcroft Posts: 15
    Thanks for all the help. Went with the 2006 Sonata GL!
  • joe97joe97 Posts: 2,248
    Great! Hope you enjoy your new Sonata.
  • patpat Posts: 10,421
    Congrats - enjoy! And do drop by the Sonata board to give us your report!!
  • backybacky Twin CitiesPosts: 18,906
    I got my first look at the 2007 Elantra today and I think it will be strong competition for Civic, Mazda3 and others in this class. Here's my impressions:

    backy, "2007 Hyundai Elantra" #1224, 14 Oct 2006 12:04 pm
  • thegraduatethegraduate Posts: 9,731
    Sounds pretty good, based on what you said. You didn't seem to indicate that it was a "runaway" victory for Hyundai, but it certainly sounds "as good" or possibly better than Corolla, 3, and Civic in the department of the interior :)

    Did I hear correctly, though, that no upgrades have been made to the engine? Is the automatic a 4-speeder or 5-speed transmission?

    Not that the Hyundai had a problem with its outgoing Elantra engine, but in a world of constant re-benchmarking (either by adding power or economy) it seems a little dangerous not to improve the powertrain in some way.
  • snakeweaselsnakeweasel a Certified Edmunds Poster.Posts: 13,453
    Not that the Hyundai had a problem with its outgoing Elantra engine,

    The new Elantra is supposed to get improved economy (I think like 3 MPG better).

    2008 Sebring Ragtop, 2011 Hyundai Sonata.

This discussion has been closed.