Howdy, Stranger!

It looks like you're new here. If you want to get involved, click one of these buttons!

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



  • backybacky Twin CitiesPosts: 18,905
    If you want isolation, take a drive in the Sonata. If you can find a 2007 GLS, you can likely get one below $16k with automatic, ABS, ESC, power everything. In this class, the smoothest rides are probably in the Cobalt, Elantra, Spectra, and maybe the Corolla. Of these, the Corolla would provide the best fuel economy. Be sure to take a long drive in it, though--the driving position can be uncomfortable for some people.
  • I live in PA and my daughter goes to school in Waco TX. So I am trying to buy her a car long distance. Since I am so far away, I am hoping to shoot for someting that will allow me to 'sleep at night!' Unfortunatley, unless you are looking for a Ford or Chevy truck, the pickings are slim in central TX! I am trying to be in the $9000 range, thereabouts.

    I have come up with the following options:

    2005 Hyundai Elantra GT 5 door hatchback w/51000 miles. Fully equipped with leather, sunroof, etc., a real 'looker' at $9200 .. OR ..

    2002 Nissan Sentra GXE w/ 37000 miles. Standard equipment, no remote (which troubles me for a kid at college, also Sentras don't seem to score as well as Elantra in web chats and The price for this is $8950 .. OR ..

    2006 Hyundai Elantra GLS 4 door w/ 11000 miles. The dealer wants $10,800. More than I wanted to spend, but I am intrigued by being left with 49000 miles of the 60000 mile Hyundai warranty.

    Just curious on your thoughts on these options. Is it worth the extra $ to go with the Elantra with low mileage?

    I can also get my hands on a 2006 Elantra GLS sedan with 45000 for $9500, but I think I would go with the aforementioned 05 Elantra H/B with more bells and whistles.

  • I would say plug all of those cars into the Edmunds used car pricing calculator thingy and see which are good deals. The first one sounds a little high to me. Also, there is a somewhat active Hyundai owners group in the area ( based in Dallas/Fort Worth), as well as some other Hyundai forums (, If she ends up with an Elantra, tell her to check out those sites. If she has questions about her car, we can help. If she even needs some stuff done to the car, we can maybe get some help as well. I'm in Fort Worth, about 80 miles away.

    I have a 2005 Elantra hatch (though not a GT... those leather seats get REAL hot in the Texas sun which is something to consider), and it is a pretty good car. I know the dealerships in Dallas-Fort Worth area have been great so far, and I think there is a good one in Waco, and there are also some down by Austin.

    And no matter what, if the car she gets doesn't have window tint, I know a place that does it for dealerships that charges $140. A good investment down here. (They're in Cleburne, about 60 miles from Waco.) She might be able to find a similar deal closer.

    Part of the warranty is free courtesy towing too... just in case.

    Let me guess.... Baylor?
  • backybacky Twin CitiesPosts: 18,905
    The miles on the 2005 GT seem pretty high for its age. If it were me I'd go for the 2006 Elantra with the longer factory warranty. I don't think the Sentra is nearly as nice a car as the Elantra, although it would fetch a little higher fuel economy. If your daughter will ever haul anyone in the back seat (likely), they'll appreciate the much roomier back seat in the Elantra.

    If the $10,800 is the dealer's asking price, try to work it down some.

    Also, it may interest you to know that the Elantra is's top pick for a used car in this class.
  • Thanks Doohickie. Actually she is a student at TWU in Denton, but my in-laws live in Waco. I was focusing on Waco as my in-laws were good about running around town looking at cars for me. This is hard to do long distance! Now that I know what she wants, then I started checking the dealerships in/around Denton.

    I am leaning away from the high mileage 05 Elantra GT hatch w/ leather and sunroof. It is now between an 06 Elantra GLS sedan in Waco (w/ 12000 miles) or an 06 Elantra GLS hatch (w/ 33000 miles) at McNatt in Denton. I tried the Eckert Hyundai but they don't have much stock. They are both about the same price; the 12000 mile car was in service for 12 months and the 33000 mile car was in service for 19 months.

    I know the 12000 mile car is a better deal, but I think my daughter actually likes the hatchback better than the sedan.

    I need to decide today. I think I can't go wrong either way and it seems like a pretty good decision in the +/- $11000 out the door range.

    Thanks for your assistance.
  • nthenthe Posts: 414
    if you have such back luck with anything ford, then why are you looking at mazda?
  • nthenthe Posts: 414
    the sentra seems a little high priced, as my dealership just sold a 05 sentra with 35k miles (automatic, air cond, power win/locks) for 9995. Not to mention, take a look at the crash scores for the sentra (

    the elantra scores much better in the crash tests.

    10,800 for a GLS elantra is actually a very good price to start from. Wholesale on that car is only a few hundred less. Edmunds shows trade in about 10,000.
  • I prefer a hatch too; that's why I got one. But even the sedans have a fold-down rear seat, so oversized items can fit.

    When I moved my son from college in Iowa back to Texas, all this stuff:


    fit into the Elantra. If you don't believe me, see for yourself:

  • OH yeah, you think your so cool with your hatch backs...check out a real wagon.

    Okay, just playin ;)
  • backybacky Twin CitiesPosts: 18,905
    Was it ISU by chance?
  • Naw.... Coe College in Cedar Rapids. They gave him a good scholarship, but it's such a small school he had trouble getting into the classes he wanted. He lasted a year there and came home. :/

    Now he's a waiter at a movie tavern and going to community college.

    And... umm... he drove my Elantra once (on topic! :P )
  • sandman46sandman46 Posts: 1,798
    Go with the '06 Elantra with the 11k miles, just for the longer warranty period makes it a better buy in my opinion. You'll be happier you opted for the sedan if something major craps out at the 50k mark. Also, a trunk is a bit safer than a hatch, but that's just personal preference.

    The Sandman :)
  • I thought Hyundai warrantys werent transferrable.
  • The 100k powertrain isn't; maybe its all good until 5/60k?
  • backybacky Twin CitiesPosts: 18,905
    Yes, the 5/60k bumper-to-bumper warranty is fully transferrable to the 2nd owner. And if the car has the Hyundai extended warranty, the 10/100k warranty becomes bumper-to-bumper and is transferrable.
  • Thanks for all the advice. I just wrapped up the 06 Elantra GLS sedan with 11,000 1 owner miles a few hours ago. All this, of course, is pending the vehicle inspection by an independent mechanic and body shop. I got the car for $10,400 plus TTL. I think it is a good deal.

    The local Hyundai dealership, who will service the car, indicated that the 5/60k mile warranty is fully transferable. The 100k powertrain is not transferable and therefore those issues would be covered in the 5/60k warranty.
  • Exactly correct on the warranty. I hope the car provides years of faith service!
  • tiff_ctiff_c Posts: 531
    if you have such back luck with anything ford, then why are you looking at mazda?

    I know more than a few guys who love/hate Chevy or Ford depending and for various reasons. Some don't consider Mazda to be Ford, others do and some won't buy it because it's a foreign car.
    I think Mazda has some cars that are basically Fords and other cars that are not and are mostly Japanese with no or little Ford intervention. From my way of looking at it the Speed3 is a Japanese car and I don't see anything in Fords lineup that is similar to it.
    I know the guy who originally posted this and he really does have bad luck with Fords!
  • My biggest issue with Ford is they started off with the Contour being really cool with a high-end euro feel to it and turned it into a rental queen before killing it off altogether. My '96 was fantastic with the V6 and the 5 speed.

    Oh well I digress.
  • mattgg1mattgg1 Posts: 191
    lilengineerboy -

    I just stumbled across this forum and had to respond to your post...


    You bring that car up ALL of the time in ALL different forums. Even if it has no relevance to the conversation, you somehow find away to work it in.

    We get it, you like the car, it was a fantastic car, it was a wonderful car. But please, get over it and move on! It is a 12 year old vehicle that hasn't been sold here in years! Please stop comparing it to modern day vehicles.

    Maybe you should try the "Classic Cars" forum.
  • LOL sorry, totally valid point. I think the problem is that cars peaked in the 90s. Sure there have been evolutionary and incremental improvements, but eh, the revolutionary stuff was done.
    An E36 M3 sedan can carry 4 in reasonable comfort (actually the coupe isn't terrible in the back), is as fast as an RX7, and is a heck of a lot more fun to drive than a current Camcord.
    A mid/late-90s Civic SI was a track demon, ran on cheap gas, and easy to maintain. Ditto the Integra. Today, the Civic is about the same; not worse, but not a whole lot better either. The Integra/RSX got axed, Acuras are only for grown ups. In the midsize sedan chat the Honda zealots are praising their mid-90s Accords even 3 generations later.
    Excuse me for not being about to get excited about a battery powered, rubber band transmission, isolation chamber of a transportation module :P :sick:
  • Rented one some years ago and was very impressed with it. It would be a big hit now that smaller cars are coming in vogue.
  • dave8697dave8697 Posts: 1,498
    A friend just rented one for 1000 mile round trip. Typical rental w/ auto. did 70-80 mph most of time and a/c on with temps in low 90's. Got 37 mpg average. Road noise isolation was pretty good he said.
  • We also rented s 2007 Elantra GLS with a strange mix of option packages (the PR-S package). This is just an observation and means nothing at all. Anyhow we also own a 2006 Honda Civic, you know one of the gen. 8 cars that everyone says is the benchmark for small?..compact? sedans. Both our Civic and the Elantra had about the same number of miles so that part of the comparison will be equal. What MAY not be equal is the type of use to generate those miles since the Elantra is a rental (drive it like you stole it) verses our gently driven Civic. I'll try to compare one to the other but keep in mind the Civic is an EX which in Honda lingo is the top of the line for standard Civics and the Elantra was a GLS which is the bottom or entry model although the packages added necessary features.
    1.exterior design: Honda...I still like the design of this best because it looks sleek and modern. Elantra...I like this design also but it looks less sleek than the Honda. Overall it wouldn't deter me from buying the Hyundai however
    2. Fit and finish outside: A wash, since both have tight body panel gaps and a good paint job with no flaws I saw. Both have doors that sound substantial when shut (this probably doesn't mean anything except a tinny sound is a turn-off to me). Of note,the inside of the Elantra trunk lid is unfinished (no insulation pad) while the EX Civic has one BUT I believe lesser model Civics don't have one either.
    3.Fit and finish inside: I didn't see any glaring problems with the Hyundai and nothing fell of in my hand while we had it. The Elantra used hard plastics liberally in several areas. So does Honda in the Civic. The difference is the "quality" of those plastics. How do I define quality? Well, I have been vocal about the easily scratched door panel plastic on our Civic. It scratches when you look at it and my wife who has long nails scratches it while groping for the door pull. As a result the door looks like its off a 10 year old car. I deliberately tried to scratch (with my fingernails) the plastic on the door of the Elantra..nada didn't scratch. Will keys or a screwdriver scratch it? Probably. The fabric material on the Hyundai seats looks,well, economy car-ish. The pattern is unremarkable and it is one of those "just there" things that while not offending doesn't cause you to break out in dance either. The Civic also has fabric seat material and when new it looked a little more classy than the Elantra. You will notice I said "when new" because despite having only 10,5XX miles the driver side seat has a worn patch. Yes, the pattern has worn off (I have a new cover waiting at my dealer). So, while the Hyundai is a bit more unremarkable looking it wasn't worn a bit despite having about the same number of miles in 1/3 the time. Also of note, on our Civic the door sills are painted (body color) metal. So what? Well over time I find scrapes and scratches and mars from shoes dragged over it as we get in/out. On the Elantra there is a heavy plastic cover over the sill. It doesn't show all those marks. A personal preference? You bet. I thought I liked the two tier instrument panel on the Civic until I drove the Elantra which has standard clearly read gages on one level..maybe I just got used to it and will again no doubt. I really like the XM radio as found on the Elantra (as part of a package on the cheapest model...standard on the rest. I looked into dealer installing it on our Civic and it was about $800 at the time plus ripping out half the interior trim and thanks!
    4.Ride and drive: Right off the top the Elantra was (felt) more roomy inside. I always thought the Honda had a lot of road (tire maybe) noise and wind noise too. The Elantra was considerably quieter in both regards, we could actually talk at normal speech levels. The Honda has trigger quick movements, twitch that small steering wheel and off you go. This actually was another thing I had to get used to when we first bought it. The Elantra was...what?...normal? in its response to wheel movements. This is not to say it doesn't respond to inputs well just not so instantly. Does this bother me in any way? Nope. Routine handling...what can I say? neither car makes me feel uncomfortable in curvy stretches of mountain driving. Keep in mind I am not in a rally either. Ah the ride. The Civic is taunt..firm even. It certainly isn't me anyhow even though it has a go-cart feel. But the Elantra is much better at delivering a smoother, less firm (softer) ride and may be more tolerable on poor roads.
    5.) Performance: The Civic has about the same power as the Elantra but the Elantra felt less stressed in accelerating to speed on an on ramp or passing. The Civic has a 5 speed automatic transmission that is never happy to be in 5th. It is constantly downshifting on the slightest grade. Annoying to me and in the end the 4 speed automatic in the Elantra allows the engine to rev at about the same RPM at highway speeds as the Honda. I will say the Elantra seemed to maintain speed up the side of one mountain better than the Honda. No official timing here but seat of the pants only.
    5.Fuel economy: Although I have not used the Civic in exactly the same drive scenario and terrain as the Elantra it delivered better economy on the couple of road trips we used it on. We used 1/2 of a 14 gallon tank (OK a bit more) on the Elantra over the week-end rental. I drove 287.5 miles and refilled with 8.4 gallons of regular to find that 34.2 mpg IS possible (at least) on the Elantra. While we have gotten as much as 38 mpg on the Civic it was under different conditions so I cannot directly compare the two. I have a feeling however that the Civic has the edge here though.
    Summary: I did not miss the Civic and could easily drive an Elantra instead. Of course I would desire an upgrade for a better model as is my custom when buying cars. I did not find the Elantra to be dramatically inferior to our Civic. To the contrary, I found it to be superior in a variety of areas. I didn't even touch on some standard features the Elantra has not available in the Civic...sure do miss those heated mirrors for instance. Finally, although the Elantra can be regarded as more "conventional" in both exterior and interior design there is no reason not to consider one if you are looking at this class car. I hope this was helpful to someone. Long winded I know but what comparison isn't?
  • Very, very helpful my friend. I am still in the market for a 2007 Elantra SE hopefully before November. Thanks again for the report.
  • Please keep in mind that we have had various problems with our Civic. None were major and Honda has issued service bulletins (a lot of them) to correct most of them BUT a lot of owners of 2006/07's have experienced them. MOST un-Honda like and I am not happy. I deliberately neglected to mention quality in my post because I didn't want to color that particular comparison. However, it is something that should be considered if a Civic is also in the hunt. Everyone here who loves Honda has said maybe the 2008 Civics finally will be properly built...maybe.
  • Toyota and Honda have been slipping in reliability the last few years, especially Toyota.
  • backybacky Twin CitiesPosts: 18,905 has first drives of the 2008 Focus and Astra on their main page. Looks like both are better than the cars they replaced, and Edmunds says the Astra is the best small GM car ever sold in America. I suppose that could be considered "faint praise", but it's a positive sign for GM.

    The Focus has apparently lost its sporty handling and has become softer, and also quieter, and has an updated interior and exterior. The signature feature on the new Focus appears to be Sync. Oh, and blue accent lighting in cup holders ala Scion. The target market is pretty clear.

    The Focus coupe looks better to me than the sedan and could be a good buy if Ford has updated the safety along wiht everything else. The Astra five-door starts at $16k with a lot of equipment (ABS, ESC, 16" wheels etc.).

    Will they be good enough to compete with the Civic, Elantra, Lancer, Rabbit, Sentra et. al.? And of course the new Corolla coming in a few months?

    Edit: I just priced out a Focus coupe with AT equipped as closely as possible to an Elantra SE (one of my favorites in this class), and the price tag is just under $18k, or a little more than the Elantra. And ESC is not available on the Focus, but standard on the Elantra SE. Not so good a deal after all. :(
  • what was your usual cruising speed for this trip?
  • poncho167poncho167 Posts: 1,178
    "Toyota and Honda have been slipping in reliability the last few years, especially Toyota."

    Yes they have been slipping. Their quest to sell the most has really hurt their build quality. As I have said before, they have peaked as an auto maker and now others are just as good or better. The last five years have not looked too good for this company and hopefully this will spread the wealth to others, and loosen perceptions.
This discussion has been closed.