Last post on May 20, 2013 at 2:50 PM
You are in the Sedans
What is this discussion about?
Chevrolet Malibu, Nissan Maxima, Mazda MAZDA3, Nissan Altima, Honda Accord, Honda Civic, Hyundai Elantra, Lexus IS 250, Acura TSX, Car Comparisons, Sedan
#2767 of 3286 In search of a new sedan, help me condense my list down.
Aug 18, 2012 (9:33 pm)
I currently own a 2003 Mazda Protege with 153k miles. I've replaced just about everything in it except the engine, but to it's defense it was a former rental car that my parents bought from Enterprise. It also has quite a bit of cosmetic damage from having been hit twice. I think it's just about time for a new car, one of my choosing finally. I'm looking for a sedan (for when I have kids), fairly roomy, reliable, and at least 32mpg since my Protege gets 28mpg. Here are the cars that I've researched and like in terms of looks. These cars are also in my price range ($14k or below):
Toyota Corolla (2010-2011)
Chevrolet Impala (2008-2010)
Chevrolet Malibu (2008-2009)
Hyundai Elantra (2010)
Suzuki SX4 (2008)
Kia Rio (2010)
I'm looking for opinions on these cars, but I'm open to suggestions as well.
Aug 19, 2012 (11:37 am)
Well, I would very much recommend a used Hyundai Elantra Touring. The room in my wagon is fantastic. We get 27 mpg in/around town and certainly more on the highway. Great car, great warranty, great brakes, visibility, storage, ameneties and again, passenger comfort.
Aug 19, 2012 (12:46 pm)
Unfortunately I'm not a fan of their look or any touring model for that matter, even though they're usually recommended over the regular sedan or coupe models. A dealer near me has a 2010 Elantra Sedan for $12,948 with 21,858 miles. This sounds like a fairly good deal and I would assume it's nearly just as just as good as the touring.
I'm going to start test driving some cars tomorrow. The first 2 will be the Mazda3 (Dealer 1 - 2008 $12,990/ 53,293 miles, Dealer 2 - 2009 $12,911/ 30,916 miles) and 2008 Chevy Impala ($12,790/ 58,798 miles). After that will be the 2010 Elantra and 2008 Suzuki SX4 ($12,301/ 27,228 miles).
#2770 of 3286 Re: Sedan [shadowelite86]
Aug 20, 2012 (8:26 am)
You need to narrow down your list some more, you are all over the map from subcompacts to full-sized cars. Consider your requirements--what is most important to you? Interior room? Fuel economy? Smooth ride? Safety? Handling? Reliability?
Some thoughts on each:
Nissan Sentra - I have a 2010 2.0S CVT and it's a nice little car: roomy for its size, smooth ride for a small car, can average over 30 mpg around town and upper 30s highway with a light foot, and has been perfect reliability-wise. Downsides are it lacks steering feel and is not very responsive with the CVT. But a good choice in a smaller car for a family--just not very exciting.
Mercury Milan - I think this could be a good choice for you with the I4 as it's pretty economical, roomy, good crash safety,and has a nice blend of ride and handling. And they're reliable. Any reason you are not also looking at its sister car, the Fusion?
Toyota Corolla (2010-2011) - Reliable and good FE. That's it. I think there's much better choices in this price range. Not very roomy.
Mazda3 (2008-2009) - A blast to drive but not very roomy. Get the 2.0L if you get this car, the 2.5L is peppier but worse FE.
Chevrolet Impala (2008-2010) - A boat. If you like land yachts, this is the one for you. Can get low 30s on the highway but you won't get anywhere near 30 in overall driving.
Chevrolet Malibu (2008-2009) - I'd go with the Milan/Fusion in this class.
Hyundai Elantra (2010) - A decent little car, very roomy for its size, reliable, but an outdated design. If you get this one, try to get the SE as it has ESC (GLS doesn't) and a little better handling with the larger rims. You can probably find one with a lot of factory 5-year warranty left, which is a plus. Also if you get one be sure to get one made Dec. 2009 or later as those cars got crash-safety improvements.
Suzuki SX4 (2008) - Not a bad little car and has AWD, but how many Suzuki dealers are near you? I'd worry about whether Suzuki will be selling cars here in the future.
Kia Rio (2010) - Probably the worst car on your list. Cramped (subcompact) and poor crash safety. No ESC available (I think the 2010s had ABS at least). I'd steer clear of this one if I were you. Actually, you can find a 2012 Rio starting around $14k and those are much nicer cars, if basic.
Saturn Aura - Not a bad car, but I much prefer the Milan (or Fusion) in this class.
VW Jetta - Go for 2010 or earlier as the newer Jettas took a step back. Try to get a VW Certified car with factory warranty. Reliability is improved from the past, and they ride and drive very nicely. Also roomy for a small car.
You might also check out the Rabbit/Golf 4-doors, they're much more versatile than the Jetta.
Honda Civic - Not all that roomy but fun to drive and good FE, good safety also, and will be reliable. Problem is, you'll pay a premium for the Honda reputation. Can probably get more car for your money with some of the others e.g. Milan or Jetta.
#2771 of 3286 Re: Sedan [backy]
Aug 20, 2012 (8:59 am)
Have to disagree with the last paragraph, Backy. The Civic is all you say it is except safe. Dig a little deeper and you'll find that they're pretty lousy in side protection.
But in this price range, Honda did make a car that suits the requirements: the 2006-07 Accord. I did a lot of driving of used Accords vs Fusions of this vintage -- i.e., 7th-generation Accord, first-generation Fusion. I wanted to buy the Fusion because I'd always like to support an American company if possible and I thought its resale value would be lower than the Accord.
But a 2007-9 Fusion with a four cylinder just feels tired and sounds tired at 70,000 miles or so. In contrast, the Accords almost always feel great at well over 100,000 if they've been maintained. The Ford interiors weren't as nice as the Accords when they were new, but they're much worse with age. The plastics have that look, feel and smell of material that can't sustain years of exposure to sun and temperature extremes. Not so with the Accord. Engine and suspensions also show more of a decline, in my estimation.
On top of all that, the Fusions weren't priced any better than the Accords that I found available. This was about a year ago -- things may have changed.
DON'T consider the 2008 Accord, though. That was maybe the worst year ever for that car in terms of reliability. Economy is better, too, with the 2006-07 (the 7th generation ran from 2003-07, but they only made side curtains standard on 2005-2007. 06-07 has slightly improved power and other tweaks.)
#2772 of 3286 Re: Sedan [mr_gone]
Aug 20, 2012 (9:32 am)
"pretty lousy in side protection"? How do you figure that? The last-gen Civics e.g. 2010 scored Good (highest score) on the IIHS side crash tests, and also scored highly on the NHTSA tests (4 stars driver, 5 stars passenger). Seems like much better than "lousy" to me!
The 2007 Accord would be a good choice, I agree, especially with the stick. Problem would be finding one with low miles. And it wasn't one of the cars the OP listed. If we start listing everyone's favorite (I see a Lexus IS and/or Toyota pickup and/or Buick in the future of this discussion ), it will make it a really long list!
Aug 20, 2012 (11:28 am)
I heard that the Fusion has transmission problems, although I heard that about the 2010 Elantra as well. I love the current model Fusions though, just don't really trust Ford for reliability.
I want fuel economy and reliability mainly. My current car has been a money pit.
#2774 of 3286 Re: In search of a new sedan, help me condense my list down. [shadowelite86]
Aug 20, 2012 (11:31 am)
I would really check out the Corolla. They've been around a long time, are super reliable, get great gas mileage, and are generally pretty cheap to buy and repair. Like most of the cars on your list, they're basic, funcitonal compact cars. Mazda 3 is more fun but not as reliable as a used car.
Used Civics are fine but really shake you up if you have to take a long trip. For some reason I found the Corollas smoother (others may feel differently, that is pretty subjective).
#2775 of 3286 Re: In search of a new sedan, help me condense my list down. [shadowelite86]
Aug 20, 2012 (2:21 pm)
I'll add my 2 cents, but first, a couple if questions for you?
Is a warranty important to you? Will you, or a friend/indie shop be doing your service work?
If a warranty is important, then a new car with fewer options might be the way to go.
Now, my experience with some of the cars on your "short" list...
My daughter had a 2006 Corolla, used it to commute 50 miles round-trip to college daily. Excellent gas mileage, and truly the easiest car I have ever serviced (oil/filter changes, etc). Great reliability, but basic transportation. Will run forever with basic care. Beware, the latest generation changed to electric power steering, and many have disliked the new steering enormously!
A friend bought a 2009 Sentra, loaded with all options. Second only to the Corolla regarding general maintenance (I do it for him). Great mpg, and overall nice car. It appears to be slightly larger than the Corolla, but not by much...no problems after 40K miles.
Never owned a Suzuki, one reason being their dealerships in my area (SC upstate) don't stay open very long.
Personally, I would avoid any domestic product Pre-bailout. The construction quality in the last couple of years has improved dramatically. Others may disagree, some strongly, but the quality surveys over the last few years pretty much agree with my analysis. Of course, as usual, there are exceptions...decide accordingly.
Civic is a great and reliable car, but I agree with others that is a bumpy ride.
Again, others may disagree, but German autos (I have 3 currently, 2 bmws 1 Mini and had a New Beetle 2002-2009) are generally a bit more expensive, when it comes to parts/repairs. Some owners have outstanding luck, others get to know all the VW shop personnel on a first name basis...
I have zero experience with the others on your list, with one exception... Mazda. I had a base model Mazda pickup around 20 years ago, and it was reliable... No problems, but there wasn't much on it to break to begin with...
That's my take... Good luck!
#2776 of 3286 Re: Sedan [shadowelite86]
Aug 20, 2012 (3:09 pm)
The Fusion and Milan share powertrains.
If you mainly want fuel economy and reliability, then the Corolla could be a good fit for you... BUT be sure you take it for a long drive and are OK with the steering and interior room. There's a lot of Corollas in fleets e.g. Hertz, so it would be easy to rent one for a day or two to get a real good idea how you like it. Some of the other cars e.g. Sentra are readily available as rentals also.