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Which Car Shall I Buy?

Discussion in 'Off The Beaten Track' started by GarrAarghHrumph, Sep 23, 2011.

Which Car Shall I Buy?

  1. Honda Civic EX Coupe

    4 vote(s)
  2. Honda Civic EX 4-Door

    14 vote(s)
  3. VW Golf TDI (Diesel)

    2 vote(s)
  4. VW Jetta TDI (Diesel)

    4 vote(s)
  5. Mini Cooper

    7 vote(s)
  6. Fiat 500

    0 vote(s)
  7. Ford Focus

    8 vote(s)
  8. Other (I'll tell you what and why, below!)

    12 vote(s)
Multiple votes are allowed.
  1. GarrAarghHrumph

    GarrAarghHrumph I can kill you with my brain

    As some of you know, someone in a large SUV rear-ended my car, and it's a total loss. I am fine, but alas, my car is not. So now I'm looking at new and recent-model used cars. Help me pick my next car!

    I've only ever owned two cars, both Honda Civics. I tend to keep my cars for a very long time, and put a lot of miles on them. My commute is far, and mostly highway, although I do drive in the city sometimes. I don't treat cars kindly - I might occasionally change the oil, for example. So keeping all that in mind, I'm looking for cars that are:

    - Extremely reliable
    - Go forever
    - Great on gas mileage (35 mpg or higher)
    - Smallish
    - Have excellent visibility, making it easy to change lanes/back up
    - Cost around what a Civic does, or less
    - Have some pick up, actually respond when you push down on the gas pedal

    I've done a poll of all the cars I've test driven so far. I've also put "other", for those who'd like to suggest other models. Thanks!
  2. MacMadame

    MacMadame Cat Lady-in-Training

    Toyota Corrolla
  3. BigB08822

    BigB08822 Well-Known Member

    Volkswagens are really reliable and run forever.
    halffull and (deleted member) like this.
  4. DarrellH

    DarrellH New Member

    Chevy Cruze
  5. peibeck

    peibeck Simply looking

    I have a Hyundai Elentra and it has been very reliable for the last 7 years. The 2012s are a lot more stylish, and they now get up to 40 mpg on the highway. They are less expensive than the Civic, and have the 10 year or 100,000 mile powertrain warranty (that I don't believe Honda offers either).

    I think the 2012's come pretty well equipped and start at about $19.5k.
  6. Vash01

    Vash01 Fan of Yuzuru, Medvedeva, T&M, Shibs, P&C

    Toyota Corolla, which is in the same size group. I have had great experiences with Toyota. The Corolla is very fuel efficient and easy to drive.
  7. vesperholly

    vesperholly Well-Known Member

    This, this, this! I had my 99 Corolla for 11 years. The only things I ever needed to fix were cosmetic or wear-and-tear: brakes, shocks, mounts, tires, etc. I had some rust issues but on a door panel that was not original to the car. It was around $17K back in 99. When I totaled it, I got an obscene amount of money from my insurance company for an old car with 105K miles, so the value stays. Interior is smartly designed, great visibility, zippy little car.

    Are you considering hybrids (I don't recognize one on the poll)? I'm not sure there are many cars, even small ones, that get 35 mpg.

    No Fords. There's a reason they're called Found On Road Dead. Everyone I know who has bought one has had major, weird problems. Two people I know have Focuses and they're awful.

    VWs are nice looking, especially the Mini Coopper, but I've heard parts are astronomically expensive. Plus they tend to cost a lot out of the gate.
  8. smurfy

    smurfy Well-Known Member

    I have had great luck w Honda/Acura. They make good dependable cars. I know many that have Toyotas and they seem pretty happy.
    I had a 2002 mini. It was really fun, but it was the first yr in the us. I bought it new. It seemed cheap plastic in some areas, and some things broke while under warranty (gas line, windshield wiper motor) and post warranty (spent $1600 on 2 repairs - steering wheel motor and some other part a belt of some kind). Again it was the first yr in the us, but I was really dissappointed w the dealership. There are limited number of dealers, and the second closest one was 80 miles away, so I got rid of car at 4.25 yrs old.
  9. Vash01

    Vash01 Fan of Yuzuru, Medvedeva, T&M, Shibs, P&C

    Before my current Corolla I had a Toyota Camry. It lasted me 15 years, with only minor repairs toward the end. My brother's Corolla (in the past) lasted him about 13 years; no problems. Toyota service has been great too over the years.
  10. Gazpacho

    Gazpacho Well-Known Member

    Volkswagens these days are among the least reliable cars. Their quality control has gone down the drain. Minis are unreliable too.

    My vote is for the Ford Focus. A colleague's father has a dealership that sells both Hondas and Fords, and he said the 2012 Focus is an amazing car, as reliable as any of the Hondas. The reviews have been great too. Make sure you get the 2012 model, not the 2011. They did a major engineering overhaul for the 2012. It starts out a bit pricier than the Civic though, and it's been selling very well and outpacing supply, so you probably would have a hard time getting a good deal.

    The 2012 Civic has gotten pretty disappointing reviews compared to previous versions, though it does get better gas mileage than before. The sales have been lackluster, which is why Honda is already offering a great financing deal on the 2012. For other models, they're only offering the deal on the 2011s. If you have credit above 710--maybe it's 720--it's only 1.9% for 60 months!

    I'd also suggest looking at the Toyota Corolla and Honda Fit. The Chevy Cruze has gotten great reviews too, though I'd still be less confident buying a Chevy. I would recommend the Hyundai Elantra if only they didn't make the asinine move of eliminating the spare tire. They wanted to get a gas mileage rating above 40, and apparently eliminating the spare tire was one way to do that. :rolleyes:
    Last edited: Sep 23, 2011
  11. Wyliefan

    Wyliefan Well-Known Member

    I looked at a 2012 Hyundai or two when I was in the market for the car this summer. Didn't like the design; the roof slopes in a way that made me feel like it was about to cave in on me! Not good if you have any problems with claustrophobia. :) I ended up with a 2009 Hyundai Sonata, which feels more spacious and has worked out really well.

    Before that I had a Toyota Camry, which ran great for many years until it developed a stalling problem. (I've since learned that some Camrys do have a tendency that way; it wasn't just an isolated case.) It took several trips to the mechanic to get it fixed -- he couldn't find the problem. But I think he finally got it right; I eventually sold the car to my sister after the repairs were all done, and she's reported no problems.
  12. attyfan

    attyfan Well-Known Member

    My husband drives a 2006 Toyota Prius and loves it ... it is extremely reliable, and averages around 45 mpg (except when he is only doing very short trips). Don't know what the new ones cost, though.
  13. mrr50

    mrr50 Well-Known Member

    My Subaru Legacy ran for 214000 miles and 13 years, it was still running when i donated it to Goodwill. I've had a Subaru Forrester for 7 years and 85000 miles. I've had VERY few problems with either one. I live in Wisconsin which requires very dependable driving in snow/ice/blizzard conditions. The Legacy had 13 years of hockey trips. I prefer the Forester for the ground clearance(snow depth). Gas mileage was @28-30mpg on hwy.

    My husband has a Prius. He loves it.
  14. modern_muslimah

    modern_muslimah Thinking of witty user title and coming up blank

    I also recommend the Hyundai Elantra. My mother has a 2010 Elantra and before that a 2005 Elantra. They are very reliable cars. It's one of the reasons why my mother likes it so much. They have really good gas mileage and drive well. It also has good pickup. I drove her car a couple of weeks ago and the gas pedal was very sensitive (at least compared to what I normally drive which is my husband's 1996 Geo Prism). You barely have to push on the gas pedal for it to go.

    Hyundai's bumper to bumper coverage is also really great! It's another feature that my mother loves. It's also less expensive than a Honda. :)
  15. Aussie Willy

    Aussie Willy Hates both vegemite and peanut butter

    Anything with a Japanese engine. Generally they are most reliable.
  16. orbitz

    orbitz Well-Known Member

    Honda Fit:

    - Relatively cheap at around 16-17k
    - good cargo room for a small car
    - always graded highly in Consumer Report
    - Honda reputation for reliability
  17. danceronice

    danceronice Corgi Wrangler

    Focus. The four-door is HUGE for its size (I had a hatchback in Boston but with the dogs it just isn't practical), the new features are great.

    OR...the Ford Fiesta, now it's finally here in the US. (For why it's awesome, go to YouTube and look up Top Gear's...uh...road test of it. If you're not familiar with Top Gear, it involved outrunning a Corvette in a chase through a shopping mall, but between the goofy bits there is a good review of the car.) Fun, zippy small car--too small for me where I live, but if I were still driving in the city all the time I'd have gotten one of those instead of a larger Focus. (I assume since you're considering a Mini Cooper, which I wouldn't bother with and avoid their attempt at a four-door like the plague, they sucked, size is not an issue.)

    Obviously, for gas mileage alone, get a diesel, either of the VWs. (I mean, yes, a Jaguar diesel would blow them out of the water, but that costs substantially more than a Civic.) Unfortunately US car makers are still leery of diesel small cars because the last time they tried them seriously, they could not give them away. I asked Dad (who was on the Escort at Fords at the time) why they didn't offer the Focus or Fiesta in diesel and he said when they did the diesel Escort, at first it cost more than the gas and didn't sell (they're more expensive to produce so they cost more), they lowered price, it still didn't move, they finally had it less than the gas version and nobody wanted it. But of the non-Fords you list the only ones I'd consider are the German diesels. They do those well.
  18. Vash01

    Vash01 Fan of Yuzuru, Medvedeva, T&M, Shibs, P&C

    My first new car after I got my first job was a Ford Taurus. It ran great for about 3 years. Then it started having major problems, costing me major $. I told the dealer that I would never buy a Ford again. His response: Many people have told us that.

    However, I enjoyed using the Ford Focus Hybrid at work. Since it was not my car, I did not have to spend on repairs, and it was pretty new when I drove it.:lol:
  19. Rex

    Rex Well-Known Member

    If you are happy with the Civic, stick with it.
    I lurve Hyundai's cars as of late; they have gotten so sexy.
    The captain has a Fusion Hybrid as her official gov't car; I love it. She has let me drive it twice to run errands for her. Very nice and it has a 6-disc CD player.
  20. smurfy

    smurfy Well-Known Member

    How is the fit in snow/ice?
  21. WindSpirit

    WindSpirit OmnipresentAdmeanistrator

    My experience as well.

    I drive a '99 Toyota Corolla. The only two minor problems I've had with it during those 12 years: a check engine light came on, it turned out to be some gasket. It only cost me $143 to replace it, including labor (replacing a gasket in Ford Taurus cost over $900; while the gasket itself was cheap they had to take the engine out to get to it). And the screw holding the exhaust pipe rusted over and broke away. That's it. I would love to buy a car as dependable as that again.

    With all due respect, it's a new car. We'll know in 10-15 years if it's as reliable as a Honda.

    Wow, I didn't know that. Great piece of information. Is there an option to get a spare tire anyway if you want to? I mean, from the dealer, not on your own.

    As for Honda Fit, it has a very small (1.5l engine). Like my father says, "too small for America." ;)
  22. Anita18

    Anita18 Well-Known Member

    I managed to get a great price for the Civic, after deciding between a Civic and a Fit - my discount put the Civic as the same invoice price as the Fit so I went with the Civic. People I know who have Fits tell me I made the right choice. The Civic is apparently more powerful and better for longer drives.

    But oh, all the cupholders in the Fits! Glorious, glorious cupholders! :lol:

    The Civic has a HUUUUGE windshield but that's countered with very thick A bars. I have to remember to look AROUND them when watching for pedestrians, and even other cars. I've had it for two years and I still have to remember to do this. :lol:

    My boss drives a MiniCooper. I don't recommend it if you want to carry passengers comfortably. I was sitting in the back and had to ask the person in front to move their seat up, because I could not put my feet down. I'm of average height and I have small feet. :lol:

    If you like visibility, DO NOT get the Prius. My sister drove one as a Zipcar and the black part of the window blocks a lot of the view. She's vowed never to drive one ever again.
  23. timing

    timing fragrance free

    I have a 2006 Prius which I plan to keep for many more years. I find the backup camera to be really helpful for backing up and parking.
  24. Meredith

    Meredith what a glorious day!

    I'm driving a 2006 Honda Civic EX coupe. It's my third Honda. My previous 2006 was rear-ended and totaled. I was not hurt but the amazing thing about the crash was the way the car responded after I was struck. I replaced it was the used 2006 I am now driving. My first Civic was a 1993 hatchback that I retired after 12 years with 320,000 miles on the odometer.

    What I love best about my Civic is the engineering. It handles very well. It has speed when I need speed, but best of all, I have never lost control of a Civic. With front wheel drive I negotiate snow and ice on the roads with no problem. The manual transmission certainly helps. I drive between 90-100 miles a day, round trip and net 38 MPG. If I drive the speed limit I can achieve better than 40 MPG. Reliable? You'd better believe it!

    I love the way the car looks and behaves and would buy another just like it on a minute.
  25. PDilemma

    PDilemma Well-Known Member

    The best car I ever drove on ice and snow was a 1989 Ford Tempo.

    So I'm not real sure that that is an advertising point for any vehicle being reliable otherwise.

    Also I have never lost control of a car. Without ever having driven a Civic.

    I got a used 2003 Chevy Cavalier two years ago this month. It has been in the shop once for a fuel pump-- and that was a month after we bought it and the dealer felt horrible about the problem and covered 2/3 of the repair. We haven't had a single problem with it otherwise. My husband put new brake pads on last month. But I assume even Toyota and Honda don't make brake pads that last forever.
  26. Sarah

    Sarah Well-Known Member

    Completely agree. My first Corolla was a 1996 that I bought used in 2002 with 80,000 miles. I sold in a couple years at 210,000 miles. My mechanic bought it for his daughter. She's still driving it around. They love that car. Honestly, other than routine maintenance/wear-and-tear, this car had no issues (I started driving my mom's Camry after and in a year spend more $$ on repairs than in all my time with the Corolla).

    I have a 2010 Corolla now and I adore this car. Great milage (lots of highways and I usually average 40+mpg) -- I drive a lot and fill up around 400miles and rarely put more than 10 gallpns in the car. The Corolla is great though. Its a sound little car. It may not have all the bells and whistles that some of the other Toyotas have, but because of that, it has fewer issues and runs forever. My mechanic is currently watching my current Corolla and has offered to buy it as an upgrade for his daughter when I'm ready. He thinks he can easily get another 5-10 years out of the 96 until I'm ready to sell.
  27. vesperholly

    vesperholly Well-Known Member

    I almost got into an accident one time because of thick A bars in my Mazda3. I must have been going the same speed as the other car, because I was paying attention and it was like the damn thing apparated into my lane. I'm not a nervous driver, but that was scary.
  28. Karina1974

    Karina1974 Well-Known Member

    Some of us non-Civic drivers can boast that as well. More often than not it comes down to the prudence of the person behind the wheel, more than the car itself.
    PDilemma and (deleted member) like this.
  29. LilJen

    LilJen Reaching out with my hand sensitively

    Count me in as another Corolla lover. Very reliable car.

    When we needed a new car a few years back we ended up deciding on a Honda Fit. The versatility (with the back seats) was a big selling point for us. Has been a great car. We have the traction control and it does fine in snow, no different from any other small sedan-type car. (Of course you have to KNOW how to drive in the snow--you can't pretend the snow isn't there!)

    WRT power: it is a helluva lot more powerful than our 91 Corolla was. One reason we dumped the Corolla was its lack of ability to get to highway speed quickly (it really lacked power in comparison with newer cars). The Fit isn't exactly a muscle car, but it's adequate and maneuverable. If you want something zippy, this is probably not your car.
  30. Meredith

    Meredith what a glorious day!

    Before I bought my first 2006 Civic I attempted to test drive a Corolla because of the model's reputation. There were none on the lot with a manual transmission, so they ordered one. Two months later, the Corolla still had not arrived, so I ordered the Civic.

    It's good to hear that maneuverability has improved. I would tend to give a lot of credit to front wheel as opposed to rear wheel drive for the improvement.