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tsaord
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Help With A Car: Toyota, Nissan, Or Honda

Mon May 25, 2009 5:44 am

I am at the point of getting my very first brand new car. At first I wanted a full size Sedan but I don't have kids so I don't need it. So I am looking at the Toyota Corolla, Nissan Sentra, and the Honda Civic. The Civic is coming in third right now because I don't like the style of the car.

But I'm looking for opinions from people who have driven or owns one of these. What are your likes and dislikes with them?

Thanks!


P.S I'm looking for a nice car that can get me back and forth to work 5 days a week which is 30 miles from my house and back. Also can handle things I do in between. Maybe a road trip to Indianapolis from Chicago which is about 3 hours. Nothing too sporty is needed.

[Edited 2009-05-24 22:54:12]
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bok269
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RE: Help With A Car: Toyota, Nissan, Or Honda

Mon May 25, 2009 6:14 am

I ride in a Civic fairly frequently. I like the exterior (although I think the Corolla wins out in this department), but the interior sucks in my opinion. Cheap plastic everywhere and the styling leaves a lot to be desired. It does have decent pick up for a car of that size and you can opt for the Si or the Hybrid if you so desire.
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aero145
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RE: Help With A Car: Toyota, Nissan, Or Honda

Mon May 25, 2009 12:48 pm

I would recommend the Jetta TDI from Volkswagen. As you say you don’t need anything sporty, and that you go 60 miles each workday, a small Diesel-powered car would, I guess, pay off.

German, fast, torquey, economical (29 mpg city/40 mpg highway).
 
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RayChuang
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RE: Help With A Car: Toyota, Nissan, Or Honda

Mon May 25, 2009 2:40 pm

I'll take the Honda Civic, no contest.

Despite the somewhat controversial instrument panel, the accelerates pretty quickly with the five-speed automatic and gets pretty good fuel economy, too. I've driven a 2009 Toyota Corolla LE with 1.8-liter I-4 and frankly, the acceleration was a bit iffy, especially with the "behind the times" four-speed automatic. The Sentra would be a good choice but the handling at the limits can be a bit tricky because of suspension setup.
 
lowrider
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RE: Help With A Car: Toyota, Nissan, Or Honda

Mon May 25, 2009 3:10 pm

I owned a 93 Civic for a while. No real complaints except that parts (any parts, even normally consumed ones) seem disproportionately expensive and the engine was really geared for in town driving. You had to flog it pretty hard on the freeway. It always started, used only a negligible amount of oil, and generally worked well. It is not a great snow car. Anything over a few inches would just about defeat it.
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Phoenix9
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RE: Help With A Car: Toyota, Nissan, Or Honda

Mon May 25, 2009 3:39 pm

I'd go with either Nissan Sentra or Mazda 3. I've driven all these cars (used to rent cars quite a bit) and used to own a Civic. The sentra / mazda 3 definitely stand out. Drove Sentra on mountain route....enough power, very good and sharp handling, good mileage, pretty comfortable. Mazda 3 has excellent pickup, seems more sporty but I don't like the interior/dashboard too much.

Civic on the other hand is decent...never had any problems with it for the 4 yrs I had it....but it falls in with Corolla...i.e. BORING. One of my friend has a VW and his car spends more time at the dealership getting fixed than on the road. Its a good car to drive but reliability is iffy.

At the end...go with what you think is more practical for you....you have to spend a considerable time driving back and forth in this car...so make sure you are comfortable and everything is to your liking. All in all....practicality always wins.
Life only makes sense when you look at it backwards.
 
Ken777
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RE: Help With A Car: Toyota, Nissan, Or Honda

Mon May 25, 2009 4:51 pm

I would check out the service ratings for the dealers you would deal with.

We were close to buying a VW Jetta when my wife talked to an owner. The owner loved the car, but said that the dealer's service was horrid and she would never buy another car from her.

Our '93 Mazda MX-3 only lasted 16 years and now needs a major transmission service. Since the repairs are more than it is worth we'll probably sell it under the cash for clunkers program.

All but one of our Toyotas have been excellent. My 37 year old son has a Corolla that needed the engine replaced at 75,000 miles. We've never had any car need an engine replacement - no even any of the Big 3 cars we have owned.

My son-in-law's Saturn wagon has been problem free for about 10 years and still looks in great shape. Pity that GM screwed that one (and Opel) up.

If we do trade the MX-3 in for a new car then I'm going to look at the dollars involved. I'm too old to worry about status and there are too many other things to do with money. On neat cars, I learned to drive on my father's Triumph TR-3 so I've been there and done that.

If you can pull in a cash for clunkers you save a nice chunk of change. The rebates are going to be heavy as soon as GM files - giving you even more. I even saw KIA advertising $4,000 off their Spectra.
 
Phoenix9
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RE: Help With A Car: Toyota, Nissan, Or Honda

Mon May 25, 2009 4:53 pm



Quoting Ken777 (Reply 20):
'93 Mazda MX-3 only lasted 16 years

yup...ONLY 16 yrs....not long at all  spit 
Life only makes sense when you look at it backwards.
 
texan
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RE: Help With A Car: Toyota, Nissan, Or Honda

Mon May 25, 2009 5:11 pm

I love my Nissan Sentra. 2004 model, 93,000 miles on it (had 6 miles on it when I got it), no mechanical problems or anything of the sort. I would advise against running the car into cement posts, but that was stupid human error, nothing to do with the car  Wink A/C works like a charm, and that's having it spend time in the lovely Texas summers. Still runs like a dream! Definitely recommend the Sentra. Feel free to send me a message if you have any specific questions about the car, I'll tell you what I can.

Texan
"I have always imagined that Paradise will be a kind of library."
 
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par13del
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RE: Help With A Car: Toyota, Nissan, Or Honda

Mon May 25, 2009 5:36 pm

I have owned both Toyota Corolla and now Nissan Sentra's I got the Sentra's because I could not afford the new corolla, Toyota has a habit of offering the base model, by the time you add all your accessories you end up with a base Camry price.

I would say go with your pocket book, the Nissans, Honda's and Toyota's are all good vehicles, the key is how much care and attention you pay to the cars once in your posession, if you treat them poorly expect the worse, most modern cars are not made to last indefinately.
 
ACDC8
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RE: Help With A Car: Toyota, Nissan, Or Honda

Mon May 25, 2009 6:46 pm



Quoting Phoenix9 (Reply 5):
One of my friend has a VW and his car spends more time at the dealership getting fixed than on the road.

I've heard that from quite a few people. The funny thing is that I'm on my 3rd VW right now (I had 2 Passats in Germany that ended up with over 250,000kms on them) and my City Golf that I have here (which gets about 45 000km on a year) and have never had a problem with them other than a burnt out light here and there. I know that alot of the the Mk4 TDi's have had problems in the past with Canada's high sulphur diesel, as well as a few other manufacturers, but that problem seems to be resolved now.

Quoting Lowrider (Reply 4):
I owned a 93 Civic for a while. No real complaints except that parts (any parts, even normally consumed ones) seem disproportionately expensive and the engine was really geared for in town driving. You had to flog it pretty hard on the freeway. It always started, used only a negligible amount of oil, and generally worked well. It is not a great snow car. Anything over a few inches would just about defeat it.

I had a 95 Civic and had the complete opposite experience (just like VWs above ... lol!). I found the parts to be in line with the Pontiac I traded in for the Civic. Highway driving was a blast, the faster I went, the more it wanted. And as far as snow went, one of the best cars I've had for the snow (my 98 Accord was better though) and it only had all-seasons on her. My niece has a 98 Civic and hasn't been stuck in the snow once.

Not trying to discredit anyones experience or anything like that, just sharing mine  Smile

As far as the 3 cars the OP is looking at, I'd go with the Civic. Personally I like the styling and handling is great on them. Toyota would probably be second and Sentra last. I'd say they're all pretty close with reliability, quality and performance. So it would (for me at least) come down to which cars styling appeals better to me.

I don't like the Mazda 3. A friend of mine has one and the amount of cheap plastic in there is mind boggling. Really degrades the rest of the car IMHO. She's also got the 17 inch high performance tires on it and my Golf handles much better with my measly 15 inch all seasons.

Another option you could look at is the Golf 6 which is due out shortly. It's been getting some very good reviews. And the Jetta TDi is tough to beat in fuel economy.
A Grumpy German Is A Sauerkraut
 
lowrider
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RE: Help With A Car: Toyota, Nissan, Or Honda

Mon May 25, 2009 8:17 pm



Quoting ACDC8 (Reply 10):
Highway driving was a blast, the faster I went, the more it wanted.

It was peppy enough up to about 50 mph or so, but passing and merging required a fair bit of forethought. Also, with 3 bikes on a roof rack, it was hard pressed to maintain 80. Granted, the 165,000 miles on the clock probably didn't help matters. I sold it for an airport car soon after that.

Quoting ACDC8 (Reply 10):
And as far as snow went, one of the best cars I've had for the snow

I would have to give that award to the 87 Olds Delta 88. So long as you could get moving, it would keep moving, and roughly in the direction you wanted.
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stasisLAX
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RE: Help With A Car: Toyota, Nissan, Or Honda

Mon May 25, 2009 8:32 pm



Quoting Tsaord (Thread starter):
Toyota Corolla, Nissan Sentra, and the Honda Civic

I'd definitely recommend the 2009 Sentra. Very close friends of my family recently bought a fairly loaded and good looking 2009 Sentra S sedan (2L 4-cylinder, 6 speed manual, air conditioning, stereo CD, tilt steerling wheel, 16 inch wheels, side air-bags, anti-lock brakes, power windows/ door locks, cruise control, keyless entry, etc) for just under $17K USD. They got 2.9 percent financing from Nissan (good credit really helps alot!) and their payment is $298 a month on a 5 yr note, which is very reasonable for a brand new car. This is their fifth Sentra. I've driven the car on a roadtrip from Phoenix to Los Angeles and it's a very nice vehicle. Great highway ride, huge interior space for its size, just enough power to get out of its own way, and very stable (read unexciting) handling. The only thing I can say that I disliked about it that there's very little steering feel because of the electric power steering.

Their two sons also drive Sentras and (one son has a very fast 2008 Sentra Spec-V sedan that he paid just under $21K USD ) - so obviously their family swears by Nissans.

And I have to agree with you that the styling of the current Honda Civic is somewhat strange and kinda ugly.  vomit  I might also recommend that you consider a VW Jetta sedan (the Jetta TDI diesel is interesting, sporty, and get 45+ mpg on the highway) or the Suzuki SX4 Sport (if you're not overly concerned about resale value, this car has great handling, a huge interior, and nice styling - all Suzukis have steep depreciation though).
"Those who would give up essential liberty to purchase temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety!" B.Franklin
 
ACDC8
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RE: Help With A Car: Toyota, Nissan, Or Honda

Mon May 25, 2009 8:38 pm



Quoting Lowrider (Reply 11):
It was peppy enough up to about 50 mph or so, but passing and merging required a fair bit of forethought. Also, with 3 bikes on a roof rack, it was hard pressed to maintain 80. Granted, the 165,000 miles on the clock probably didn't help matters. I sold it for an airport car soon after that.

The 95 Civic I had was bought brand new, it only had 102hp but it was real peppy. No problems passing other cars on the highway (granted, not as quick as my Mustang, but a bit quicker than my current Golf). Didn't have a bike rack though ... lol!
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YVR787
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RE: Help With A Car: Toyota, Nissan, Or Honda

Mon May 25, 2009 11:23 pm

Have you considered the Toyota Matrix? Bit more versatile because of the hatch, and a bit sportier. I got mine in January and love it, awesome on gas too!
 
panam330
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RE: Help With A Car: Toyota, Nissan, Or Honda

Tue May 26, 2009 1:29 am

I had mechanical problems with my 07 Sentra that would make me think twice about buying another Nissan - but the horrid dealer "service" at my local FL dealer (Daytona Nissan) sealed the deal. I bought a Subaru Impreza; love it and will drive it until it dies. Spectacular dealer service, too.
 
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treebeard787
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RE: Help With A Car: Toyota, Nissan, Or Honda

Tue May 26, 2009 4:37 am

I can affirmatively say don't get a Nissan, My mom used a Sentra as a rental car before and it had a strange clunking sound whenever it would go above 40mph and the steering wasn't the best, The interior was pretty uncomfortable as well. Also I used to drive my parents 2005 Murano all the time and that had a lot of problems and we only had it for 2 years before replacing it with a new car because of the problems we had with it.

So after all that I would say a Toyota Corolla or Matrix would be good which ever one you like better. In the end the car you buy should be the car you want the most.
Allons-y!
 
aerobalance
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RE: Help With A Car: Toyota, Nissan, Or Honda

Tue May 26, 2009 5:02 am

I had a 2008 Honda Civic for a year, it did its job well while returning 27 mpg in the city and 40 mpg on the highway - the gas mileage was incredible considering how hard I drove it. An impressive car for its class.

I rented a 2008 Sentra to drive to NASA-ARC from So-Cal on a bonzai trip, decent car but the steering control at highway speeds was horrible, very notchy on non-linear.
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stasisLAX
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RE: Help With A Car: Toyota, Nissan, Or Honda

Tue May 26, 2009 5:07 am



Quoting Aerobalance (Reply 17):
I rented a 2008 Sentra to drive to NASA-ARC from So-Cal on a bonzai trip, decent car but the steering control at highway speeds was horrible, very notchy on non-linear.

Electric power steering simply sucks because it provides no roadfeel- give me old fashioned engin-powered steering anyday!!
"Those who would give up essential liberty to purchase temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety!" B.Franklin
 
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asuflyer05
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RE: Help With A Car: Toyota, Nissan, Or Honda

Tue May 26, 2009 5:56 am

There really is no contest there. The Civic is really in a class above the two. If anything the Sentra comes close because of option content, but the Civic is still the nicer car. :Personally, I would take a Civic EX manual trans. with Nav over either car. I would consider the Mazda3 too, but it can easily slide into the low$20s which opens the market to a lot of additional cars.
 
tsaord
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RE: Help With A Car: Toyota, Nissan, Or Honda

Tue May 26, 2009 7:03 am

Thanks peeps. Im going to hold off another 2 months, see if my credit score improves and save up for some money down.

One thing is certain, AUTOMATIC ONLY!! lol. No sticks for me. I never had one and won't. I would like to just put it in drive and go lol.

I'm starting to lean honda again. Whatever I get in August/September I'm taking on my first road trip 3 hours away to Indy.

On a side note. If I get a Corolla or Civic is it a good idea to get the built in navigation systems that use DVDs? Or just buy me one from best buy?
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asuflyer05
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RE: Help With A Car: Toyota, Nissan, Or Honda

Tue May 26, 2009 7:11 am



Quoting Tsaord (Reply 20):
On a side note. If I get a Corolla or Civic is it a good idea to get the built in navigation systems that use DVDs? Or just buy me one from best buy?

Having had both, I much prefer the built in systems over the portables. The Nav system in the Civic is pretty damn good too.
 
ACDC8
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RE: Help With A Car: Toyota, Nissan, Or Honda

Tue May 26, 2009 7:18 am



Quoting Tsaord (Reply 20):
One thing is certain, AUTOMATIC ONLY!! lol. No sticks for me. I never had one and won't. I would like to just put it in drive and go lol.

BORING! LOL!  Silly

Shifting is half the fun of driving Big grin
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Cadet57
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RE: Help With A Car: Toyota, Nissan, Or Honda

Tue May 26, 2009 1:02 pm



Quoting ACDC8 (Reply 22):
Shifting is half the fun of driving 

2009 GTi with a DSG then  biggrin 
Doors open, right hand side, next stop is Springfield.
 
JAL
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RE: Help With A Car: Toyota, Nissan, Or Honda

Tue May 26, 2009 2:10 pm

My family have own various kinds of Nissans throughout the years and have overall been very satisfied with them, we currently own a 2008 Nissan Pathfinder and 2007 Nissan Versa Hatchback.
Work Hard But Play Harder
 
MCOflyer
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RE: Help With A Car: Toyota, Nissan, Or Honda

Tue May 26, 2009 3:02 pm

Nissan or the VW. As much as I love the civic, I think the Nissan is the better bet if your paying cash for it. If not go for the civic as Honda has low financing.

KH
Never be afraid to stand up for who you are.
 
2H4
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RE: Help With A Car: Toyota, Nissan, Or Honda

Tue May 26, 2009 4:42 pm



Quoting Lowrider (Reply 4):
I owned a 93 Civic for a while.



Quoting Lowrider (Reply 11):
It was peppy enough up to about 50 mph or so, but passing and merging required a fair bit of forethought. Also, with 3 bikes on a roof rack, it was hard pressed to maintain 80.

I've owned a 1992 Civic as well as a 1994 Civic, and agree with Lowrider 100%. Absolutely fantastic car. I'd drive another in a heartbeat. Like Lowrider says, though....the combination of bikes on top and a high mileage engine (ie: lower compression) makes for a rather lethargic engine at higher speeds and on uphill sections of road.

Quoting Tsaord (Reply 20):
I'm starting to lean honda again.

What about the Fit? It's essentially a less-expensive, slightly more compact Civic.

In fact, if you compare the numbers, the Fit is very close in size to the 1992-1995 Civic. Over the years, the Civic seems to have grown larger with every redesign, and now is similar in size to the Accords of the 1990s.

2H4
Intentionally Left Blank
 
ABQ747
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RE: Help With A Car: Toyota, Nissan, Or Honda

Tue May 26, 2009 9:23 pm



Quoting 2H4 (Reply 26):
What about the Fit? It's essentially a less-expensive, slightly more compact Civic.

Look at how the Fit performed against an Accord in this crash test video:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NLfK35O91gE
 
TUNisia
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RE: Help With A Car: Toyota, Nissan, Or Honda

Tue May 26, 2009 10:14 pm

Try taking a Mini Cooper for a drive... you'll love it! It corners amazinly well and has a nice stiff ride with no rattles! Plus, it's a car that the rest of the herd doesn't really drive.

Someday the sun will shine down on me in some faraway place - Mahalia Jackson
 
Phoenix9
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RE: Help With A Car: Toyota, Nissan, Or Honda

Tue May 26, 2009 10:15 pm



Quoting ABQ747 (Reply 27):
Look at how the Fit performed against an Accord in this crash test video:

Thats comparing apples to organges. Accord is a much larger car than Fit....any small car when head-on to a larger car will look like that.

From the 'related links' on the same video:

Merc C-class vs Smart

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Lg64wMtl2gQ

Toyota Camry vs Yaris

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vcTf78b8WfY
Life only makes sense when you look at it backwards.
 
tsaord
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RE: Help With A Car: Toyota, Nissan, Or Honda

Wed May 27, 2009 1:22 am



Quoting 2H4 (Reply 26):
What about the Fit? It's essentially a less-expensive, slightly more compact Civic.

In fact, if you compare the numbers, the Fit is very close in size to the 1992-1995 Civic. Over the years, the Civic seems to have grown larger with every redesign, and now is similar in size to the Accords of the 1990s.

That thing is ugly lol. I, honestly, don't have an affinity for round butt cars! I detest wagons.

I have been driving since 2003 and had one accident that was not my fault. But I was driving my grandfathers 91 Plymouth. These plastic cars.....Jesus. Soon as I get off the lot I'm going to an insurance company.

However, I'm on the road to improving my credit and score. Once I get to about 2-3 grand I may go full size. Like an Altima or Accord but again the Accords body is blah. Everyone has a Camry it seems in Chicago lol. That Maxima is pretty but out of my price range. However Toyota and Honda offer satellite navigation in some models.
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stasisLAX
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RE: Help With A Car: Toyota, Nissan, Or Honda

Wed May 27, 2009 1:50 am



Quoting ACDC8 (Reply 22):
Shifting is half the fun of driving

Not in horrible Southern California traffic! Automatic is the only way to go, at least here.
"Those who would give up essential liberty to purchase temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety!" B.Franklin
 
ABQ747
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RE: Help With A Car: Toyota, Nissan, Or Honda

Wed May 27, 2009 4:04 am



Quoting Phoenix9 (Reply 29):
any small car when head-on to a larger car will look like that.

Exactly my point. That's why I refuse to own small cars.
 
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stasisLAX
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RE: Help With A Car: Toyota, Nissan, Or Honda

Wed May 27, 2009 5:06 am

Quoting TUNisia (Reply 28):
Plus, it's a car that the rest of the herd doesn't really drive.

Perhaps because "the rest of the herd" values a quality vehicle for approximately $25K USD

My next door neighbor when I lived in Scottsdale bought a brand-new "chili red" 2007 Mini Cooper S Convertible. While the car was incredibly cute, she had the car locked up in dealer's service department for 55 days during the 2 years that she owned the Mini is a just bit too much. She had work done on the AC (compressor failed), the convertible roof leaked and sometimes jammed while open, flat tire indicator sensors failed repeatedly, replaced the catalytic converter (that had been causing problems when starting the car when the engine was cold), had repeated troubles with engine and antilock brake sensors, and replaced the transmission mounts twice- all this in two years of new-car ownership! The car was CRAP!

[Edited 2009-05-26 22:08:05]

[Edited 2009-05-26 22:08:31]
"Those who would give up essential liberty to purchase temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety!" B.Franklin
 
AM744
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RE: Help With A Car: Toyota, Nissan, Or Honda

Wed May 27, 2009 4:55 pm

I've seen the Jetta mentioned a couple of times in this thread. Does it have issues as the Beetle did at some point? How about maintenance costs compared to Japanese cars?
 
Fly2HMO
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RE: Help With A Car: Toyota, Nissan, Or Honda

Wed May 27, 2009 5:33 pm



Quoting TUNisia (Reply 28):
Plus, it's a car that the rest of the herd doesn't really drive.

I beg to differ. EVERYBODY has one, and its typically the 18 y/o stereotypical stupid blonde driving them, or old ladies.

And everybody and their moms has either a civic, corolla, sentra, etc


So, if you want a good drive, quality construction, and exclusivity, get a VW  cool 

Quoting AM744 (Reply 34):
Does it have issues as the Beetle did at some point? How about maintenance costs compared to Japanese cars?

My mom had both a MK4 and currently has a MK5 Jetta/Bora station wagon. She's never had problems whatsoever with either one, and while the MK4 was well built, the MK5 is even better.
 
planespotting
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RE: Help With A Car: Toyota, Nissan, Or Honda

Wed May 27, 2009 7:39 pm

I can't believe I'm the only one here to recommend a Hyundai Sonata instead of one of the other three aforementioned autos.

For less money than the dinkey Corolla/Civic, you'll get a nearly full-size car with standard traction/stability control, not to mention all the airbags you could ever want, an CD/mp3/iPod input stereo, 22 mpg city and 32 hwy (I average 26 mpg and my driving is mostly all suburban four lanes), a backseat that's actually comfortable for someone to sit in, and a 5 year new vehicle/10 year power train warranty.

I was a bit skeptical of Hyundai at first, but after comparing the value you get from it, especially with all the features standard on a Hyundai but expensive options on Toyota/Honda/Nissan (not to mention a lower starting price and better incentives), the Hyundai Sonata makes the most sense of any mid-size sedan sold in America.
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RayChuang
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RE: Help With A Car: Toyota, Nissan, Or Honda

Thu May 28, 2009 12:03 am

Actually, I'm waiting for the Kia Forte, which should be available in a couple of months. You can get the 2.4-liter 173 bhp engine with a five-speed automatic, and that tremendously improves highway fuel economy without sacrificing performance.

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