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HELP selecting a car

New User | Posts: 4 | Joined: 11/12
Posted: 11/23/12
10:15 PM


I’m thinking to buy a car as mine is very old and wants something better. I do lots of research online and read reviews but sometimes there is lots of marketing and everyone tries to promote his product, which is normal. I’m looking for some objective honest advises from people who have driven many cars and can give me their thoughts. I came up with a list of criterias that I feel describe what I like. I know I sound like I’m looking for the perfect car at the lowest price, might not be very realistic. Anyway here is the list more or less in priority order, with some flexibility in the order:

- Noise (wind ,road and engine), as quiet of a cabin as possible!
- Comfort : smooth ride and handling including suspension.
- Roomy interior (Leg room), Telescopic and tilting steering wheel (I’m 6’2”)
- Reliability
- Price
- Fuel economy
- 4 cylinders
- New or LOW mileage (in mint condition)
- Resale value
- Sunroof
- Back up camera
- Navigation system (wide screen, GPS, DVD ..etc)
- Heated seat
- Bluetooth
- Remote start
- Keyless entry
- Smart Key System (maybe the same as keyless entry ?!, I’m not expert in the wording, I just want one little thing that will be the start key and remote start without carrying too many of them)
- Push Button Start
- Heated door mirrors
- Tinted glass
- Color (Dark, black, ..etc)
- Power Adjustable Driver Seat
- Programmable garage door opener
- Dual zone automatic
- Noise elimination windshield
- 17" wheels or more
- Driver information centre, Trip computer, outside temperature.
- Wind deflector
- Mud flaps
- Spoiler

Some models that seem to look good and have some of that:

- Camry (particularly I like the look of the previous models 2011)
- Altima 2013
- Buick Verano
- I still have to test drive others like the Civic, Sentra, Fusion, Kizashi, Cruise..etc

Please feel free to give some candidate cars and why you feel each will suit my needs ?

I’m probably looking for a sedan or compact just because they’re more economic than the SUV’s ones.  There is so many sedans and SUV that I like how they look like but the price and fuel economy is not there.
I will compile all the replies and come up with ideas.

THANK you very much in advance!.
New User | Posts: 4 | Joined: 11/12
Posted: 11/24/12
09:20 AM

....oops I should have mentioned the budget, I'm thinking 20-25k.  

Pete Caritis Pete Caritis
New User | Posts: 6 | Joined: 10/12
Posted: 11/24/12
02:38 PM

Geesh, you sound just like me. You do want the perfect car despite your protests.  Problem: There are none. You know this but won't admit it, so let's get down to compromising some of your principles. I've been in the same boat for over a year and a half. I've looked at everything under $30K and they're all noisy. They all have quirks that will drive you crazy and you know that you will obsess with that because when you do compromise, that one quirk will always be in your self conscience.  So that is one hurdle that you must get over. Your list is pretty much the same as mine so I am very familiar with wanting it all and at a good price to boot. Compromising is a *** but you MUST do it. Compiling a list of cars that folks on this forum suggest is in my opinion a waste of time unless they suggest a car that you've not given any consideration to or have overlooked. So my suggestions are just opinions of what I have narrowed my choices down to and they are just one man's opinion like the others you will get here. I, too, am 6'3" and 220 lbs. so our size parameters are almost identical less the fact that I only have a 31" inseam and most of my height is due to a long torso.

The two cars that you have mentioned that are on my list are the Accord and the Altima. They will give you almost everything you want and more. Comfort, roominess, reliability and fuel economy are their strengths.  The Cruze/Verano twins are just too small and the Verano is just too expensive for a gussied up Cruze. Same for the Civic,  plus its options list is non existent. The Camry is very competent but has no character, much like the Fusion and Malibu.  A wild card in my list is the VW Jetta, especially the Sportwagon. Great mileage, especially with the turbo diesel, quality components, good resale. I'm personally leaning to something that you didn't include on your wish list......Subaru. They are number 2 on the resale list, don't do anything particularly well but are reliable and economical even with full time AWD.  The mileage is outstanding with 24/25 city 32/34 highway. I've owned 3 and am leaning toward the '14 Forester due out in a few weeks.  Their cars, the Imprezas and Legacys are available if you don't like CUVs and their mileage numbers are even more impressive. Others you might want to look at are the Optima/Sonata twins from Kia and Hyundai. They do everything well, are relatively inexpensive, get good mileage, and you can option them out to the max.

I surely didn't narrow down your list but I feel these are all good candidates for your consideration. If you put a gun to my head and asked "Give me your top 3", I would list them in this order (for what I prefer now):

1. Forester (or XV Crosstrek if Forester is too big).
2. Altima
3. Jetta

Happy comparison Shopping and Good Luck!  

nole1 nole1
New User | Posts: 29 | Joined: 10/12
Posted: 11/26/12
09:57 AM

I would consider a used Lexus ES350.  They're scary quiet, and they're among the most reliable out there.  They do have a V6, but mileage isn't bad.  I saw a 2010 model recently with 18,000 miles and all the options for $25,000.  You could also go for a newer Camry, which is mechanically the same, though it can be had with a 4-cylinder.  Still, the Lexus is quieter, and is likely easier to find in dark colors.  Also, it is likely that the Lexus was better cared for than the Camry, as Camrys are seen more as family cars (picture a messy 2-year-old and a 8-year-old eating sticky candy in the back).  

Many of the Lexus' come off lease with lower mileage as well, as they tend to be owned by someone who on average owns more cars than the Camry owner.  

European cars are great, but often fussy.  They're also really expensive for service, and they WILL need service!  That said, they'll last forever, but it'll cost you.
New User | Posts: 4 | Joined: 11/12
Posted: 11/26/12
11:10 PM

Pete and nole1, thank you for taking time to put those detailes replies.

Today I went for a test drive with the Hyuandai Elantra and Sonata and honestly, what a surprise ! everything is super, style, options, roomy (even the Elantra)...the only down side is: cabin noise ! I was thinking if not that I can always get a used one and pay way less than a new one and still get all the options....

I even looked online into sound proofing, noise deadening thread....but that can get very complicated and not sure if it really work...but overall (other than the cabin noise), thumbs up for Hyuandai !  

nole1 nole1
New User | Posts: 29 | Joined: 10/12
Posted: 11/27/12
05:59 AM

Hyundai has really improved, though the Sonata has been having issues with steering components.  I like my Mazda6, but road noise is an issue.  The handling is sportier than a lot of others in its class though.  

Garrmus Garrmus
New User | Posts: 11 | Joined: 11/12
Posted: 11/27/12
07:11 AM

I think that you can consider Toyota as well. I do not  know why do you want quiet. I would say that sometimes that is very important to hear your engine.  

Pete Caritis Pete Caritis
New User | Posts: 6 | Joined: 10/12
Posted: 11/27/12
01:14 PM

Sounds as though you are even more anal about noise as I am. Ooo  I go beyond anal and I get it but as I mentioned in my earlier post, they are ALL noisy.  Just today, I drove the Jetta Sportwagen TDI and it is about the quietest that I have driven but there are SOOOOO many factors that go into "noise", that it is difficult to do any aftermarket stuff to correct it. Undercoating, tires, engine, suspension  glass etc are all contributing factors and unless you are willing to pony up the bucks for one of the "luxury" brands, you pretty well have to force yourself to get over it and accept it.  It sounds as though you might be more concerned with budgetary issues than you might care to admit, so I would assume that the luxury brands won't work for you.  If you are relatively pleased with the Elantra then by all means buy it.  

I would suggest that you don't buy used.  Buy new even if it hurts.  Used car prices are outrageous and are the highest they've been in decades.  Dealers who go to the auction are returning empty handed because prices are so high that they can't make a reasonable profit.  Dealers usually offer their best deals around this time (especially after Christmas) and I'm sure there are juicy rebates to be had as well.  Also, if you can wait until the beginning of next year, Kia is introducing their Elantra brother, the new 2014 Forte. It is supposed to be even better the Elantra and is a brand new design that should reduce the dreaded noise factor you are obsessed with.  Be patient.  Let things come to you.  

nole1 nole1
New User | Posts: 29 | Joined: 10/12
Posted: 11/28/12
09:36 AM

I would avoid the Jetta if you want dependability.  Not only have recent VWs been known to break down, but they cost a fortune to fix.  I had a 2004 Passat, and sold it at 63,000 miles after replacing 3 sets of axles, a water pump, an alternator, fixing a leaky sunroof (3 inches of water in the car after a downpour), a stuck trunk hinge, a broken stereo.  Even the vanity light broke, and would have required replacing the whole sunvisor.  On top of that, oil changes were $80, and many shops wouldn't work on them.  

As far as new vs old, it depends.  If you buy it one year old, you don't take the biggest hit in price.  Off-lease is often a good deal as well.  Of course, if you go too old, the tech is outdated.  I'm driving my sister-in-law's 2006 Jaguar S-Type today, and my 2010 Mazda6 has better technology, and it's not even a luxury car.  

Pete Caritis Pete Caritis
New User | Posts: 6 | Joined: 10/12
Posted: 11/28/12
04:53 PM

Photos and short review of the new '14 Forte
New User | Posts: 4 | Joined: 11/12
Posted: 11/29/12
12:38 PM

I will try again the Sonata and Elantra and see if I like the drive, or convince myself that I like !  

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