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
Feb 11, 2003 (9:56 am)
I have a friend who is looking to replace her problematic Pontiac Grand Prix (1998). She is hoping to get either a 0% deal or a really good lease deal, since she knows that she will be upside down on the transaction. She is determined to trade it in anyway, rather than pouring more money into a car she no longer trusts and she feels was a huge mistake to lease and then buy.
Here are some of the constraints. She'd like to stay in a midsized sedan with 6 cylinders (preferably, but not a deal breaker). She's leaning heavily toward GM (Pontiac or Chevy) for the good financing deals. She's not interested in Ford and wants to avoid Chrysler. Her price range is $25-30K (which would include a hefty balance from her old loan) or a lease payment of $300-$350. She likes the idea of an import car (esp. Toyota) but she doesn't think she can get as good of a deal on the financing as with GM. She considers this an "in between" vehicle to get out of the Grand Prix and until she can afford something that she really wants to keep (she really likes the Toyota Highlander).
So, as you can see, there are a lot of factors to consider, which makes it more difficult for me to advise. Personally, I'd steer her toward Toyota, Honda or Nissan and I told her that. I also mentioned Mazda, particularly the new Mazda6, but she's afraid to buy a first year model. My thoughts, given her situation, if she's determined to trade now, would be to buy a used midsize car, like a Camry or an Accord (she doesn't want to buy used, though) or a new small car. I'm leaning toward a recommendation for the new Corolla, as a nice, reliable car, which should have fewer problems, even though it's smaller and not as "sporty" as the Grand Prix.
She is willing to consider the Corolla, and that's the only small car that she would consider. That's only because she likes Toyota, but she's not crazy about the style of the new Camry. I have a 2000 Camry, and I really can't blame her, but the similar style seems to work better on the smaller Corolla IMHO. Plus, I've driven the new Corolla and it was much nicer than I expected, so I was able to give her some positive feedback from my personal experience with the Corolla. We seem to share quite a few of the same opinions in regards to cars, so I'm thinking that if I liked the Corolla, she might too. In the end, she'll have to drive it and see for herself.
After our conversation, we came up with this list:
1)Toyota Corolla (my pick so far)
2)Pontiac Grand Am (I think this is her favorite)
3)Saturn L-Series (may be too expensive w/o haggling)
4)Chevy Impala (may be too big, it's a full size)
I tried to choose some of the better "midsized" offerings from GM, since she's leaning toward that direction anyway. She drove a Malibu before and didn't like it. Buick is not an option either (I threw that out there, just to be thorough, and of course, it was shot down, no surprise there).
I also mentioned the new Accord, but she hasn't seen it yet, so she doesn't know if she will like the new styling of it. Personally, I'm not too wild about it's current styling either (I've mostly liked the styling of the Camry and the Accord until the latest versions) but I'll try not to introduce that bias to her. I plan to print out some photos for her to look at and if she likes it, it will probably go to the top of the list, especially if Honda has some good financing deals for it. I don't know how likely that is, though. Maybe someone here has some info on that. (hopefully)
I am doing some research and comparisons for her, to help her make a decision. But I thought it would be good to put this "dilemma" on the boards. Especially as it pertains to good financing and leasing deals. I know it sounds a bit unusual, but I really want to help her make the best decision that she can be happy with. Any and all input is very welcome.
Thanks in advance. Sorry for the long post.
#573 of 3640 She is discarding the best Domestic Sedan
Feb 11, 2003 (11:49 am)
Taurus. Good value and can be purchased loaded new for well south of $20K, or a lower equipped LX or SE version for under $15K-16K. Keep it long, and depreciation means little! Or, a decently equipped short wheel base Caravan for under $20K.
Corolla may be OK if she can go that small. I am not a Grand Am or Saturn L series fan.
Impala is a decent car and reasonably inexpensive unless you load it up.
Of course, I may be biased, but who isn't when it comes to cars!
If she is not going to keep it very long, perhaps she should lease, then there will be no emotional problems if it turns into a lemon, just turn it back when the lease is up and before the warranty is up.
Feb 11, 2003 (12:14 pm)
That's a good suggestion. You make some good points. I'll show her your response and see what she thinks. It's hard because she has so many constraints and cars that she doesn't even want to consider right now. Plus, she has access to a GM discount, which is part of the reason why she's focusing on their products.
But for the size and price, styling aside (which is very subjective anyway), the Taurus might be a good alternative for her. I think she's pretty set on leasing so that she can save for something that she really wants to keep long-term next time.
Anyone know what lease deals Ford is offering for the Taurus?
Feb 11, 2003 (12:38 pm)
I have no idea about leasing, I keep my cars a long time thus leasing makes no sense. However, since Taurus is sold a lot to fleets (nothing necessarily wrong with that, by the way), there are a lot available on the used market, which causes more depreciation than some of the foreign nameplates. Thus, my guess is that you may lease at a better rate some of the import brands that don't depreciate as fast.
If she wants to consider a slightly used Taurus, her buy price would really be a bargain. Lately I have seen a lot of ads where they will throw in an extended engine/drive train warranty on these newer model Tauri as well.
If she doesn't like Taurus styling, Mercury Sable is basically the same car with a more "formal" exterior sheet metal treatment.
With the economy sucking wind and automakers still pushing product out the plants, there are a lot of good deals around, both new and used.
#576 of 3640 Another good point, Badgerfan
Feb 11, 2003 (2:02 pm)
I agree that her best bet might be to buy used, if she really wants a midsize car. I'm sure she could get a very good price for a Taurus. She has her heart set on buying new, perhaps feeling that a new car will be more reliable from the start than a used one. She may change her mind, before it's all said and done, though. We shall see.
Thanks for your input. Keep the feedback coming!!
#577 of 3640 A 4-seater Miata???
Feb 12, 2003 (7:29 am)
Which car comes close to being called a 4-seater Miata? Could be a coupe/hatchback/sedan. In the same price range please!
#579 of 3640 silvercrown
Feb 12, 2003 (8:43 am)
The solution to your friend's dilemma is sitting in the Pontiac showroom. The Vibe.
It's got the reliability of the Corolla (which it is based on) and the financing advantages of GM. Seems like a perfect "stepping stone" option to me, plus it's a cool little ride.
Feb 12, 2003 (8:48 am)
You have to ask? Of course, it's the Mazda6. Go to the 6 board and read all about it!
Feb 12, 2003 (8:57 am)
I never thought of that because her focus is on 4 door sedans, but it makes a lot of sense. I'll do some research on it and present the idea to her. If she can deal with a wagon instead of a sedan, then it may be the answer to her quandary.