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  1. #1

    Red face advice on a new car...

    My dad is looking to get rid of his '94 caddy, as the maintenance and repairs are just too expensive, and it guzzles the 93 gas. He wants something to run errands in and carry the dog in, as mom doesn't like putting the dog in their Lexus. He wants something with good gas mileage, but doesn't want to throw a bunch at a hybrid. He wants something that has enough room for him on the driver's side, as he has a bad back and can't bend his head too too far to get in. And he wants it to be fairly cheap. He's willing to go used, but not more than a few years old and not TOO many miles on it. Any suggestions from the other drivers out there? I was telling him to look at the Yaris models, or something along those lines. What do you guys think?

    Thanks.
    LET'S GO DUKE!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    Location
    Washington, DC
    Try one of the new Chevy Malibus. The hybrid model starts at $24K, but even the regular models get close to 30mpg and start under $20K. If you want to go used, used Malibus or Impalas all get great mileage. Also, Saturns all get good mileage. The Saturn Aura may be right up your alley, and it's a bit bigger than a Yaris.

    EDIT: As you can probably tell, I come from a GM family.
    Check out the DBR Podcast!

    2003-2004 HLM
    Duke | Mirecourt | Detroit| The U | USA

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    Location
    Raleigh

    cars

    Quote Originally Posted by bjornolf View Post
    My dad is looking to get rid of his '94 caddy, as the maintenance and repairs are just too expensive, and it guzzles the 93 gas. He wants something to run errands in and carry the dog in, as mom doesn't like putting the dog in their Lexus. He wants something with good gas mileage, but doesn't want to throw a bunch at a hybrid. He wants something that has enough room for him on the driver's side, as he has a bad back and can't bend his head too too far to get in. And he wants it to be fairly cheap. He's willing to go used, but not more than a few years old and not TOO many miles on it. Any suggestions from the other drivers out there? I was telling him to look at the Yaris models, or something along those lines. What do you guys think?

    Thanks.
    The Yaris, Fit and Versa have all been reviewed pretty extensively by Road and Track, Car and Driver and perhaps Motor Trend. Edmunds is a very good site, too. They are quite small. I like the Civic based on reputation as we have owned several Accords and have been very pleased with low maintenance costs, reliability, trade-in values and fairly honest MPG ratings. Other folks here are loyal Toyota fans. A Civic hybrid is not much more expensive than a gas model and IIRC, you can recoup the extra $ in perhaps 3-4 years. I also believe there are still some incentives available on the Civic but those on the Toyota products disappeared long ago. Where does he live? I have bought my last several Accords from Auto Park Honda in Cary, NC and have sent several colleagues there, also. All of us have been very pleased with pricing and treatment of the sale. I also have a Ford connection (gasp) and have been almost as satisfied with the pricing, but especially with the service (the parts and service manager is a patient of mine so he treats me even better than I treat him). I think I would consider a Focus or Fusion or an Escape hybrid. Good luck.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Dec 2007
    Location
    Emerald Isle, NC
    I agree with BlazinDW. One of my classmates has had a Saturn sedan for 3 years and just loves it. It gets good gas mileage and she can easily transport her 2 big dogs in the back seat. She just throws a cover over the seat to protect the upholstery.

  5. #5
    Take a look at the Mazda 3. It's getting rave reviews and offers a lot of bang for the buck; cars in the same class start around $2,000 more. I'm 6'2" and it's roomy enough for me. I love this car.

  6. #6
    Quote Originally Posted by 2535Miles View Post
    Take a look at the Mazda 3. It's getting rave reviews and offers a lot of bang for the buck; cars in the same class start around $2,000 more. I'm 6'2" and it's roomy enough for me. I love this car.
    I'll second the Mazda3. I'm 6' 3.5" and it's extremely comfortable to drive, although the person behind me can't expect much leg room It's comparable in total size to the Civic and Corolla, but the far sportier ride and much nicer interior (in my opinion; the cloth in the Civic looks like crap, the dash the Mazda is far more upscale looking and has more features standard than Civic or Corolla) tipped the scale in its favor. The gas mileage is negligibly worse than the Civic - a 2.0 L Mazda3 auto gets around 33 mpg, while Civic is more like 35mpg. I have the 2.3 L auto and have a lead foot, and get around 29 mpg. If you don't really care about the increased horsepower, firmer ride, or fancier gadgetry, and want slightly better gas mileage and a softer ride, I can see choosing the Civic. The Corolla is a step below, in my opinion.

    I'm much more biased towards Japanese brands as their reliability ratings are traditionally much stronger than Ford or GM (Ford just now is claiming that their "quality is equal to Toyota" in their commercials; so they're admitting they've been behind all these years?) and their prices are far cheaper than the European counterparts. Although I've heard good things about the Aura (and Malibu), but that's a size up and more expensive. I paid $500 under invoice for the Mazda3. Also, supporting American companies is nice, but I'd rather have a better car.

    I'd recommend looking at Consumer Reports and going to Edmunds.com. A small car seems to be the key. According to Edmunds.com, the Mazda3 and Honda Civic tied for Sedans under $20,000 in their "consumer's most wanted" list. Also check out the "True Cost to Own" lists, which calculate the five-year cost to own.

    I'm looking at the Consumer Reports 2008 right now. For their "Reliability Trends," Asian brands dominate, although they claim Ford is improving. The most reliable makes are Honda, Acura, Scion, Subaru, Toyota, Lexus, Infiniti, and Mitsubishi. The least reliable are Chevy, VW, Pontiac, Mercedes-Benz, Cadillac, Hummer, and Land Rover. Ford is ranked 13 of the 36 listed, while Saturn is 24th. You can see that the Asian automakers still dominate reliability rankings. According to CR, the best cars under $25,000 are Ford Fusion, Honda Accord, Civic, Civic Hybrid, Fit, Hyundai Elantra, Sonata, Kia Optima, Mazda3, Mazda6, Mercury Milan, Nissan Altima, Toyota Camry, Prius, VW Jetta (with various models listed). According to their overall automaker report cards which includes test score (riding, features) and reliability (they include 15 automakers), #1 is Honda, #2 Toyota...Ford is #12, GM #13, Suzuki #14, Chrysler #15...

    By the way, the Yaris hatchback had the fewest problems among all models. 81% percent fewer problems than average. It's also listed among the best in fuel economy and it's used car reliability rankings are superb.
    Last edited by Bluedog; 05-24-2008 at 05:09 PM.

  7. #7
    Just do add to what I said about the Yaris. Although its reliability and owner costs rankings are great, it still isn't recommended by consumer reports because it has poor marks with owner satisfaction due to its sloppy ride, bad braking, and engine noise. They claim that it trails better economy cars - they name the Honda Civic, Hyundai Elantra, and Mazda 3 as the best 3 under $20,000.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    Location
    Raleigh

    cars

    Quote Originally Posted by Bluedog View Post
    I'll second the Mazda3. I'm 6' 3.5" and it's extremely comfortable to drive, although the person behind me can't expect much leg room It's comparable in total size to the Civic and Corolla, but the far sportier ride and much nicer interior (in my opinion; the cloth in the Civic looks like crap, the dash the Mazda is far more upscale looking and has more features standard than Civic or Corolla) tipped the scale in its favor. The gas mileage is negligibly worse than the Civic - a 2.0 L Mazda3 auto gets around 33 mpg, while Civic is more like 35mpg. I have the 2.3 L auto and have a lead foot, and get around 29 mpg. If you don't really care about the increased horsepower, firmer ride, or fancier gadgetry, and want slightly better gas mileage and a softer ride, I can see choosing the Civic. The Corolla is a step below, in my opinion.

    I'm much more biased towards Japanese brands as their reliability ratings are traditionally much stronger than Ford or GM (Ford just now is claiming that their "quality is equal to Toyota" in their commercials; so they're admitting they've been behind all these years?) and their prices are far cheaper than the European counterparts. Although I've heard good things about the Aura (and Malibu), but that's a size up and more expensive. I paid $500 under invoice for the Mazda3. Also, supporting American companies is nice, but I'd rather have a better car.

    I'd recommend looking at Consumer Reports and going to Edmunds.com. A small car seems to be the key. According to Edmunds.com, the Mazda3 and Honda Civic tied for Sedans under $20,000 in their "consumer's most wanted" list. Also check out the "True Cost to Own" lists, which calculate the five-year cost to own.

    I'm looking at the Consumer Reports 2008 right now. For their "Reliability Trends," Asian brands dominate, although they claim Ford is improving. The most reliable makes are Honda, Acura, Scion, Subaru, Toyota, Lexus, Infiniti, and Mitsubishi. The least reliable are Chevy, VW, Pontiac, Mercedes-Benz, Cadillac, Hummer, and Land Rover. Ford is ranked 13 of the 36 listed, while Saturn is 24th. You can see that the Asian automakers still dominate reliability rankings. According to CR, the best cars under $25,000 are Ford Fusion, Honda Accord, Civic, Civic Hybrid, Fit, Hyundai Elantra, Sonata, Kia Optima, Mazda3, Mazda6, Mercury Milan, Nissan Altima, Toyota Camry, Prius, VW Jetta (with various models listed). According to their overall automaker report cards which includes test score (riding, features) and reliability (they include 15 automakers), #1 is Honda, #2 Toyota...Ford is #12, GM #13, Suzuki #14, Chrysler #15...

    By the way, the Yaris hatchback had the fewest problems among all models. 81% percent fewer problems than average. It's also listed among the best in fuel economy and it's used car reliability rankings are superb.
    One of the problems with the Mazda 3 looks to be trade-in value. I just compared the Civic and Mazda 3 with a 2005 trade-in and tried to equip the cars comparably. The Civic would fetch about $11,900 and the Mazda about $9100. Of course, if you keep it for 100K or 150K, it probably becomes a few hundred $ difference. Not sure how the Corolla or Sentra would do with a 3 year trade-in value (did not compare those 2). The Hyundai and Kia cars have certainly made their mark in visibility and sales and are several thousand less than the Japanese competitors (though LOTS of Hondas and Toyotas are made in the US) but you will have the resale question that arises.

  9. #9
    Quote Originally Posted by devildeac View Post
    One of the problems with the Mazda 3 looks to be trade-in value. I just compared the Civic and Mazda 3 with a 2005 trade-in and tried to equip the cars comparably. The Civic would fetch about $11,900 and the Mazda about $9100. Of course, if you keep it for 100K or 150K, it probably becomes a few hundred $ difference. Not sure how the Corolla or Sentra would do with a 3 year trade-in value (did not compare those 2). The Hyundai and Kia cars have certainly made their mark in visibility and sales and are several thousand less than the Japanese competitors (though LOTS of Hondas and Toyotas are made in the US) but you will have the resale question that arises.
    Well, I'm pretty certain that the Mini and the Civic are #1 and #2 in trade-in costs. So, it's not really a "problem" with the Mazda3 as the Mazda3 fetches above average for its class. It's just the Civic is one of the best re-sale cars in the world. I won't dispute that. But really if you want the biggest bang for your buck, you shouldn't be replacing a car every 4 years and should drive it til it dies, and then the difference is negligible as you said. The Civic also has better crash test ratings than the Mazda3 (although for the Mazda3 crash test ratings were WITHOUT the optional side air bags, while the Civic was with them since I believe they come standard; but I'd get the optional air bags). Also, while some people prefer the Mazda3's sportier ride with firm, crisp handling, other people may prefer the smoother, calming ride of the Civic (to me, it's a more boring ride ). The Civic is #1 in sales in the class, though, so clearly others have different opinions than me. I think it has more to do with Honda's reputation as a whole though - which is superb - rather than the individual car itself.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    Location
    Raleigh

    cars

    Quote Originally Posted by Bluedog View Post
    Well, I'm pretty certain that the Mini and the Civic are #1 and #2 in trade-in costs. So, it's not really a "problem" with the Mazda3 as the Mazda3 fetches above average for its class. It's just the Civic is one of the best re-sale cars in the world. I won't dispute that. But really if you want the biggest bang for your buck, you shouldn't be replacing a car every 4 years and should drive it til it dies, and then the difference is negligible as you said. The Civic also has better crash test ratings than the Mazda3 (although for the Mazda3 crash test ratings were WITHOUT the optional side air bags, while the Civic was with them since I believe they come standard; but I'd get the optional air bags). Also, while some people prefer the Mazda3's sportier ride with firm, crisp handling, other people may prefer the smoother, calming ride of the Civic (to me, it's a more boring ride ). The Civic is #1 in sales in the class, though, so clearly others have different opinions than me. I think it has more to do with Honda's reputation as a whole though - which is superb - rather than the individual car itself.
    Actually, I am not arguing as much, if any, against the Mazda as I am in favor of the Civic. We have never owned a Mazda and have owned an Acura and a bunch of Accords. My dad paid about $20K for his 2004 Accord, drove it 3 years for about 36K and traded it last year for about $14K and then paid about $21K for his new 2007 Accord. We figured it cost him about $170-180/month in depreciation or "rental" costs for the 3 years he owned the car, which is cheaper than he could have leased or financed it. He is 88 now and I think has finally decided that this is his last car so when he stops driving in a year or 2 or more, guess who gets the car.

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    Location
    Los Angeles
    Quote Originally Posted by Bluedog View Post
    I'll second the Mazda3.
    I'll "third" the Mazada 3! We got the hatchback in December to replace our Ford Explorer which had 150K+ miles on it and guzzled gas like crazy.

    My son is the primary driver and uses it to drive to school and transport his drums. Lots of room in the back for a complete drum set! Also, it's very convenient for sliding into small parking spaces which is a big plus in Santa Monica where he goes to school.

    We're a very tall family and there's really good headspace as well.

    I'm in the market for a hybrid to replace my van now that the nest is emptying. Currently getting dealer bids for a Lexus RX400h which will complete our family's adjustment to increase our fuel efficiency.

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    Location
    Northwest Ohio
    We bought a 2008 Malibu after a semi destroyed our 2005. It is primarily my wife's car. She has around 6000 miles on it. It rides great, is roomy and gets around 29 mpg on the highway. It is a six. We (and the trucker's ins. company) bought a top of the line model, so it has about every option. So far, it is a good choice. I will know more after we drive it to Colorado this coming June.

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    Location
    Watching carolina Go To HELL!

    Hyundai

    I drove just under 12 hours today in my 2007 Hyundai Sonata V6 and felt as fresh at the end as I did at the beginning. I got ~27. 5 mpg (of course, I only drove 76 in the 70 zones and 71 in the 65's, averaging 71.0 mph for 10 hours and 45 minutes of actual driving time (11 hours and 41 minutes total time, including 2 gas stops and several stops for food, drink and "relief") that it took me to drive the 763.81 miles (love my Garmin GPS, but that's another thread). The 4 cylinder engine will get somewhat better mileage, but not have as much power (obviously).

    Look at the Sonata and Elantra. Reliability is top notch and the comfort, performance and features you get for several thousands less than a Honda or Toyota, along with the 60,000 bumper to bumper warranty and 100,000 power train warranty, make it well worth your time to investigate.
    Ozzie, your paradigm of optimism!

    Go To Hell carolina, Go To Hell!
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  14. #14
    Quote Originally Posted by OZZIE4DUKE View Post
    I drove just under 12 hours today in my 2007 Hyundai Sonata V6 and felt as fresh at the end as I did at the beginning. I got ~27. 5 mpg (of course, I only drove 76 in the 70 zones and 71 in the 65's, averaging 71.0 mph for 10 hours and 45 minutes of actual driving time (11 hours and 41 minutes total time, including 2 gas stops and several stops for food, drink and "relief") that it took me to drive the 763.81 miles (love my Garmin GPS, but that's another thread). The 4 cylinder engine will get somewhat better mileage, but not have as much power (obviously).

    Look at the Sonata and Elantra. Reliability is top notch and the comfort, performance and features you get for several thousands less than a Honda or Toyota, along with the 60,000 bumper to bumper warranty and 100,000 power train warranty, make it well worth your time to investigate.
    Glad you had a safe return north. You missed a heck of a night of thunder boomers and lightning last night. They moved in waves from Palm Beach through Broward from about 4:00 and late into the night.

  15. #15
    i recently bought a 2008 Elantra and have been very happy with it. i drive about 75 minutes a day on hwy and i'm getting a little over 30mpg. The ride is very comfortable. the price is good too with a lot of cash back incentives, etc.

    let me know if you should have any questions.

    p.s. i'm only 5'7, so I am not sure if the car is an issue for taller folks

  16. #16
    Quote Originally Posted by devildeac View Post
    One of the problems with the Mazda 3 looks to be trade-in value. I just compared the Civic and Mazda 3 with a 2005 trade-in and tried to equip the cars comparably. The Civic would fetch about $11,900 and the Mazda about $9100. Of course, if you keep it for 100K or 150K, it probably becomes a few hundred $ difference. Not sure how the Corolla or Sentra would do with a 3 year trade-in value (did not compare those 2). The Hyundai and Kia cars have certainly made their mark in visibility and sales and are several thousand less than the Japanese competitors (though LOTS of Hondas and Toyotas are made in the US) but you will have the resale question that arises.
    If the cars were equipped comparably, then you should be paying significantly more for the Honda Civic. In this case, you're unlikely to recoup the extra investment after you trade-in.
    I'd rather be happier driving the Mazda3 over the course of five years, than driving the awkward Honda Civic just because of the trade-in value. I was severely unimpressed with the Civic's performance and options in the same price range as the Mazda3. THe Chrysler Sebring was also a major disappointment.

  17. #17
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    Location
    Montclair, NJ
    Quote Originally Posted by JulesInLA View Post
    I'll "third" the Mazada 3! We got the hatchback in December to replace our Ford Explorer which had 150K+ miles on it and guzzled gas like crazy.

    My son is the primary driver and uses it to drive to school and transport his drums. Lots of room in the back for a complete drum set! Also, it's very convenient for sliding into small parking spaces which is a big plus in Santa Monica where he goes to school.

    We're a very tall family and there's really good headspace as well.

    I'm in the market for a hybrid to replace my van now that the nest is emptying. Currently getting dealer bids for a Lexus RX400h which will complete our family's adjustment to increase our fuel efficiency.
    Several tall people have made raves about the Mazda3, so being 5'2", I am curious how it fits for a short person? As I posted in another thread, I have a Honda Civic that has 140k miles and I plan on driving it into the ground. But with my new job I know I'll be now putting 500miles/week on it rather than the 30miles/week I have been putting on it here at school. So I might be shopping for a new car in the next few years.
    Cars with "bucket seats" do not work for me very well as I am probably 75% legs and 25% upper torso (good thing my husband is a "leg man"!)... ok maybe that's an exxageration. But I do not need to change the seat position between my husband (5'9") and me. Does the Mazda 3 have bucket seats?

    Or can anyone make comments on which cars have vertical adjustment to the driver seat?

  18. #18
    Quote Originally Posted by ghost View Post
    Several tall people have made raves about the Mazda3, so being 5'2", I am curious how it fits for a short person? As I posted in another thread, I have a Honda Civic that has 140k miles and I plan on driving it into the ground. But with my new job I know I'll be now putting 500miles/week on it rather than the 30miles/week I have been putting on it here at school. So I might be shopping for a new car in the next few years.
    Cars with "bucket seats" do not work for me very well as I am probably 75% legs and 25% upper torso (good thing my husband is a "leg man"!)... ok maybe that's an exxageration. But I do not need to change the seat position between my husband (5'9") and me. Does the Mazda 3 have bucket seats?

    Or can anyone make comments on which cars have vertical adjustment to the driver seat?
    The Mazda3 does have bucket seats but they call them sport seats; not quite sure of the distinction. It does have vertical adjustment for the driver seat and also has a telescoping steering column.

  19. #19
    Quote Originally Posted by ghost View Post
    Several tall people have made raves about the Mazda3, so being 5'2", I am curious how it fits for a short person? As I posted in another thread, I have a Honda Civic that has 140k miles and I plan on driving it into the ground. But with my new job I know I'll be now putting 500miles/week on it rather than the 30miles/week I have been putting on it here at school. So I might be shopping for a new car in the next few years.
    Cars with "bucket seats" do not work for me very well as I am probably 75% legs and 25% upper torso (good thing my husband is a "leg man"!)... ok maybe that's an exxageration. But I do not need to change the seat position between my husband (5'9") and me. Does the Mazda 3 have bucket seats?

    Or can anyone make comments on which cars have vertical adjustment to the driver seat?
    Here's a picture of the Mazda3 seats: http://www.cleanmpg.com/photos/data/...3_Interior.jpg

    Also, vertical adjustment on the driver's seat isn't vital if the steering wheel has both tilt and telescoping features, which comes standard on the Mazda3. I'm all legs, but have relatively shorter arms, so I put the steering wheel out as far as it goes. You really just have to sit in it yourself to see if it's comfortable for you - hard to know otherwise.

  20. #20
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    Location
    Watching carolina Go To HELL!

    Legs

    Quote Originally Posted by ghost View Post
    I am probably 75% legs and 25% upper torso
    So, in other words, your legs go all the way up past your elbows.
    Ozzie, your paradigm of optimism!

    Go To Hell carolina, Go To Hell!
    9F 9F 9F
    http://www.EGLEW.com


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