Last post on May 17, 2013 at 10:18 AM
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
#2771 of 3279 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 3279 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 3279 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 3279 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 3279 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.
Aug 20, 2012 (6:07 pm)
I just got back from test driving a 2008 Impala and Malibu while just looking at the Mazda3. The Impala had some pick-up/power, honestly I didn't quite like the extra kick behind the acceleration.....maybe I'm just not used to it. The interior was nice with leather heated seats. The car does control sort of boat like though, not as much as my girlfriends 2001 Impala. It's off my list, it just didn't do it for me.
I then took the Malibu on the road. I could tell instantly that it was a much better car. It was quite, drove incredibly smooth, and the steering (electric) was nice and tight. The interior was also MUCH nicer than the Impala, odd considering it's supposed to be a step down. It's $1,000 over my price range though, but I loved it.
Then I looked at the Mazda3. I didn't even bother taking it for a ride because this particular one was not well kept. You could tell that the original owner was a smoker. The interior had several imperfections as well. The seats were fairly uncomfortable and the back seat is cramped. I started the car and it just didn't feel or sound right. I do still want to test drive a nicer kept one, so hopefully the 2009 on my list is better.
The only Corolla I would be happy with would be the 2011 model (if I haven't said that before...I forget). The 2010 is ok, but only with a spoiler. I'd get a lot of reliability out of it and great mpg, but it would prob be kind of boring. I need to find a Milan, but they're not as common. That or I'm over looking them since they may not be in my price range. I did come across some Fusions in my range, but they're probably the first make model that I don't care for. I also heard that they weren't great cars when the first came out, it wasn't until their redesign that won it awards apparently.
#2778 of 3279 Re: Sedan [backy]
Aug 21, 2012 (12:20 pm)
The 2006 Honda Civic sedan received a three-star rating for side protection for the front passenger. The 2006-11 coupe's side protection for the driver was rated "marginal" for torso protection and "average" for pelvis/leg protection.
I agree that we shouldn't start mentioning cars we like that have no relation to the poster's needs or stated preferences, but when he's looking at Milans, Impalas, 3s, and Corollas, clearly the 2006-07 Accord is within the range of consideration. In terms of mileage, I don't think it's essential to find one with low mileage because they hold up well, as I discussed. I also know there are many, many of them available of low and not-so-low mileage in his $14,000 and under price range.
#2779 of 3279 Re: Sedan [mr_gone]
Aug 21, 2012 (12:25 pm)
The OP is looking for a sedan and for something newer than 2006, so I don't see how crash ratings on the 2006 Civic sedan or the Civic coupe apply here.
#2780 of 3279 Re: Sedan [backy]
Aug 21, 2012 (4:06 pm)
The best cars to buy used for low money are big, depreciating old people's cars.
http://www.cars.com/go/search/detail.jsp?tracktype=usedcc&csDlId=&csDgId=&listin- - gId=90459030
Here is a Buick Lacrosse CXS. This would actually be my #1 pick for the OP, because it's basically a fancy Malibu, but with the suspension and engine out of a first generation Cadillac CTS (just this CXS trim model). The engine's been tuned for low-end torque, though, so it pulls like a diesel through all of its gears. (peak torque is about 500rpm off of idle!)
Leather, sunroof, traction control, safety features, and on and on - the thing's loaded. But because it's a *Buick*, it suffers from old-people-itis and depreciates rather quickly.
(note - the other trims have no such engine or suspension upgrades and drive like rental cars - very disappointing - avoid them)
Edit: It drives a lot like a late 90s E Class or Volvo S60 - not wobbly or bouncy "GM" at all, and it has no power gaps between gears (a first for any GM car, IME). The transmission is a standard 4 speed unit, which is optimal as it's also one of the most reliable ever made. You don't need tons of gears if you have loads of low end power.