Last post on Dec 08, 2013 at 7:13 PM
You are in the Sedans
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Chevrolet Malibu, Nissan Maxima, Mazda MAZDA3, Nissan Altima, Honda Accord, Honda Civic, Hyundai Elantra, Lexus IS 250, Acura TSX, Car Comparisons, Sedan
#2920 of 3640 Overwhelmed (and underbudgeted)
Nov 15, 2012 (2:50 pm)
Stumbled on this forum while researching used vehicles and thought I would give it a try as you all seem so knowledgable.
I am needing to replace my commuting vehicle, a 1995 Lexus 300, as it is finally getting to the point where fixing anything wrong on it would be more than the car is worth. I live just off a short rural gravel road, but it is paved highway after about 2 miles - lots of hills that can be a problem in the winter. My Lexus conquered them all like the champ he was. I drive about 50 miles per day round trip to work.
I have literally not even looked at cars for about ten years, so all the new bells and whistles are a bit much to take in. I tend to drive cars a VERY long time, so reliability and low maintenance are important. I take reasonable care of my vehicles in terms of routine maintenance, but need a mechanic for heavy duty repairs (56 year-young lady).
My budget is unfortunately limiting and I realize that. I have between 8-11K to spend on a good used vehicle. My basic needs are:
Must be able to transport 4 people of middle age and above - need 4 doors, with not-too cramped back seat and legroom and not too low to climb out of.
Open to wagons, sedans, crossovers or suvs that are not too high to get into (5'2"). (Don't like running boards)
I like Toyotas and have had a Tercel, a Corolla, a Camry and my Lexus in the last 35 years, but I will consider most any car as they have all improved over the years in terms of reliability.
I prefer leather or leatherette seats over cloth for durability, and I love my sunroof but I would give it up if I had to. I know where I am going at all times, so I don't need navigation, and I have never backed into anything so I don't need cameras. (Although after looking at some of the newer cars where the back windows are rapidly shrinking to the size of portholes, I can see why so many cars have backup cameras!) One cup holder per person is a luxury as far as I am concerned, and there are no children that need to be entertained with DVD's or full scale audio systems.
I should add that aesthetically I hate the look of the newer boxy things like Scions and Souls.
Am I asking the impossible here for the price? All suggestions are greatly appreciated.
Forgot to add - I can drive a manual. Don't particularly want to, as it makes holding a cell phone difficult in city traffic, but it's not a deal breaker.
#2921 of 3640 Re: Overwhelmed (and underbudgeted) [songlady]
Nov 15, 2012 (3:00 pm)
I would certainly recommend a Camry given your history and wants/needs. It will do the job without much complaint and there are examples out there that fall into your price range. It will probably be the newer equal to your 18 year old Lexus. There are tons of rental and lease returns out there...which I would avoid. Find a one-owner that's been cared for and drive it ten years. It might be tight on the budget but I'd try to get in a 2008 or newer.
#2922 of 3640 Re: Overwhelmed (and underbudgeted) [songlady]
Nov 16, 2012 (3:14 am)
In that price range for a used vehicle that fits 4 adults, with great leg room and head room in the back, I have two contenders:
1. Hyundai Elantra Touring. Finding one between 8-11k may be a bit tricky, but they are out there. If not the ET, then the prior model Elantra GT hatchback would be my next choice.
2. Nissan Versa Hatchback. Much easier to find in this price range.
Both cars offer easy entrance/exit for aging adults, great visibility, and a compliant ride. Plus, if you often carry multiple adults as passengers, both offer room in the back to store/haul their items. If you don't need storage room or the versatility of a hatch/wagon, they I agree with the previous poster that an older Camry or Accord would be my third and fourth option for you.
#2924 of 3640 Re: The MOM list contined- why certain models didn't make the list! [igozoomzoom]
Nov 16, 2012 (6:17 pm)
I would ask your dad if he would pay 11-12k for the Explorer.lol.. Full disclosure, I am a Sales Representative. I first want to say the reason many might believe Ford,GM are less reliable is because for years they were the mass producers you will hear about more problems than you would foriegn makes. So if you look at it as a percentage Ford/GM are as reliable as any. Honda, Toyota sales have reached higher levels in the past years and what do you hear about now? Well they have recalls often as well. Now the Explorer is getting a bad wrap here. It was a corporate vehicle. I understand a friend drove it but I promise he didnt not drive it like he owned it. As a salesman I know how important a good service department is. If your is really that bad then I can not think of a good reason to buy a Ford. They have great cars but a good service department is key. I am glad mine is good. I will say I hate selling used vehicles unless it is under 18k miles and a CPO preferably. Ford has a great CPO that adds 2 years and 40k miles of warranty. Chevy has great warranty for new. Honda has great CPO program as well. Good luck. Wish you all well.
#2925 of 3640 Re: Overwhelmed (and underbudgeted) [songlady]
Nov 17, 2012 (1:19 am)
Here are my top choices:
1: Believe it or not, you can get a 2-3 year old *non-rental* Grand Marquis for about your price range. It's big, extremely overbuilt, and parts are extremely inexpensive. Toyota breaks less often but the parts are getting hideously expensive as of late. It's big, comfy, and perfect for a 50 mile highway commute. It's as close to your old Lexus as you'll find in that price range, IMO. The fact that you want a solid and comfortable ride over amenities and frills makes you the perfect buyer for one of these, IMO.
And there's tons of glass. You can actually see out the back. And sides. And it's not nearly as hard to park as you'd think, thanks to being rear wheel drive.
2: A Buick Park Avenue. This is the last of GM's overbuilt large cars. It's basically a Cadillac DTS with a V6 instead of a V8. This means decent MPG on the highway but the exact same ride and quality - just different body panels for the most part. The downside is that 2005 was the last year. The up-side is an absolute mint condition one can be had for about $7K. Not bad for almost a decade newer than your Lexus.
Also, FYI, GM builds the best automatics on the planet, with Ford 2nd.
3: A Honda Accord with manual. Why I mention this be because the 4 cylinder with manual is exactly as fast as the 6 with automatic in actual driving. But it's literally video game simple to shift gears in. The clutch must have all of 10 lbs of spring on it and it appears to just be controlling a set of servos instead of a direct linkage. So simple anyone can learn to drive it. It's also amazingly reliable.
4: Going even smaller, a Toyota Rav4 is great. Especially the first generation one with manual. It's quick, has 4WD (plus an actual diff lock) and is extremely fun to drive. The 2nd generation model is also quite nice.
#2926 of 3640 '11/'12 Hyundai Elantra Limited vs. '12 Mazda3 i Touring vs. Dodge Dart SXT
Nov 19, 2012 (10:47 am)
I am definitely torn with this one. I've been researching cars for about 4 months now while I've been working on selling my truck privately. I'm pretty close to the point where I'd be willing to just trade it in, be happy to get what I owe on it, and cut it even. Anyway, after a long 4 months of researching sedans on the Internet, pricing them out, talking to some dealers here and there, I'm still pretty torn between three sedans. The 2011/2012 Hyundai Elantra Limited, the 2012 Mazda3 i Touring, or the 2013 Dodge Dart SXT. For a good month or two I was completely sold on a Mazda3. I hadn't really considered the Hyundai Elantra at all, but I heard that Hyundai was really making a comeback and doing some good things, so I checked it out and I fell in love. Then, I discovered the brand new Dodge Dart, and I fell in love again. The exterior of the Dart is a thing of beauty, and then interior is so clean and it's one of my favorites I've seen. I've only been reading about the Dart for the past day or so, so I definitely don't claim to know everything about it. What I do know though, is I am torn. Now, one of the main things I'm looking for in my vehicle is fuel efficiency. I know the Dart with the 1.4L engine is rated 39 MPG hwy, which is up there with the Mazda3 at 40 MPG hwy, and the Elantra which is also rated at 39 MPG hwy, so in that aspect I consider all 3 of them pretty much a tie. Unless I'm missing something and one of them is rated higher than what it really gets. Another big thing for me is the exterior. I know that's personal taste and the Dart definitely wins that one for me. Interior is another must-have for me. I want the inside to loo just as good as the outside, considering it's what I'm going to be seeing the most. Next point would be how fun it is to drive. And finally, front leg and head room. I'm 6'2". The only two vehicles I've ever owned and driven on a regular basis is my old 1989 Jeep Wagoneer, and my current 2003 Dodge Ram. Big vehicles. I'm making the switch to a sedan for, well, obvious reasons. My big Ram is killing my wallet. And a midsize sedan is just out of my price range. For the most part, I've researched all of these main focus points for me pretty thoroughly. However if anyone possibly has anything to add, personal experience with any of these vehicles, anything commonly overlooked, and anything like that I would greatly appreciate reading about it. I just need that final nudge towards one of these vehicles to force me to make up my mind and dive in. Thanks guys (and gals)!
#2927 of 3640 Re: '11/'12 Hyundai Elantra Limited vs. '12 Mazda3 i Touring vs. Dodge Dart SXT [markwillis]
Nov 19, 2012 (11:08 am)
Have you spent much time driving cars to know you're not going to go crazy making this move? With the exception of my sports cars, I absolutely hate driving a typical car after driving trucks/SUV's for the last 15+ years. I'm not going to recommend any of them but will recommend you find a rental lot and pick up any of these (the Dart may not be on the rental lots yet...but it might be) and spend a few days on your normal commute. You've probably be averaging 15mpg on a good day with the Dodge...and I will say there are quite a few 20-25mpg SUV's you might find more appealing over all. Gas mileage is a big deal...but so is your sanity if you buy something you absolutely hate after a few weeks. And the cost of getting out of a brand new car will likely be prohibitive for you since it sounds like you're stretching yoru budget pretty hard to get into this. And that's another issue I don't recommend at all. Buy a used one and keep some money in the bank (or finance less).
#2928 of 3640 Re: '11/'12 Hyundai Elantra Limited vs. '12 Mazda3 i Touring vs. Dodge Dart SXT [sebring95]
Nov 19, 2012 (11:24 am)
I'm only 21 so I'd say I've been driving larger vehicles for 5+ years or so. I may take your advice and rent for a few days just to try it out. Or maybe see if I can find a dealer willing to let me test drive it overnight. But either way that'll have to wait for about a month, as I'm currently deployed right now. Although whenever I go home on leave I drive my mom's 2001 Pontiac Grand Prix or my fiancee's 2005 Dodge Stratus, as I have to leave my truck on the other side of the country. So, I do drive cars every now and then. It is most certainly odd driving one when I've been driving my truck for a few months, but I go back and forth so much I could get used to either one. But once I get used to being so low to the ground and not being able to see as much, I can get into driving them and enjoy the extra peppiness that comes with not driving a full-size truck. However, don't get me wrong, I still dream of getting myself a nice Ford F-150 here in 10 years or so.
#2929 of 3640 Re: '11/'12 Hyundai Elantra Limited vs. '12 Mazda3 i Touring vs. Dodge Dart SXT [markwillis]
Nov 19, 2012 (12:47 pm)
The Elantra has recently been down-rated. The 40 MPG for it turned out to be "testing error" or something. I'd skip it for now. The Dart will get EPA, and is a torque-rich motor (that's a good thing), but that 1.4L wants premium, so factor that in. I don't know how the Dart does, but I know the Mazda3 actually gets its EPA rating or better in real life. They're both pretty fun to drive.
If you want to still maintain some cargo capacity, the Mazda3 is available as a hatchback. The Dart's got a lot more gadgets though.