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Nissan Altima or equivalent?

Discussion in 'Fine Living, Home, Design & Auto' started by invidious_espresso, Aug 26, 2011.

  1. invidious_espresso

    invidious_espresso Member

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    I'm just out of college and got a good job. Now I need a car. I'd like to spend not much more than $20k and get something that'd be reliable for a while. I can't drive stick. I'm looking at new or lightly used Altimas, Mazda3s, Ford Focuses, and Jettas. Anybody have any experience with these cars, or advice about what to get? I probably won't be commuting in the car, but I'd like to get something that will last a while and isn't completely boring.
     
  2. invidious_espresso

    invidious_espresso Member

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    Reading up a little more, the new Kia Optima is appealing. Does anybody have experience with it?
     
  3. DJackson

    DJackson Well-Known Member

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    pre-owned lexus is250? Fits your budget and extremely reliable. Maybe it's just me but I never buy new.
     
  4. invidious_espresso

    invidious_espresso Member

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    I'd like to someday, but it's really too expensive now. Maybe I could find one for about $22, which is a tad more than I'd like to pay, but it'd probably have like 65k miles on it. Not worth in IMO when I can get a new Altima for that price.
     
  5. Scrounger

    Scrounger Well-Known Member

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    I'd remove the Jetta from your list and add the VW Golf.
     
  6. DJackson

    DJackson Well-Known Member

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    Considering your list, the Jetta or Golf are nice cars but an Altima may be more reliable. Is reliability your main priority? Sorry to continually recommend used but have you considered slightly used Accords / new Civic and ditto with Camry/Corolla? Those are surely reliable, not completely boring and easily within $20k range. Either way I say you start heavily test driving.

    In case it is useful I drive rental cars every week and I'll say based on newer car experience stay away from smaller american cars because they still feel cheap compared to the competition. Midsize American cars are starting to hold their own. Honda does a great job with their throttle/ecu mapping which makes for a fun driving experience. Toyota Camry is a nice ride but I slightly prefer Accord based on what I just mentioned. I heavily prefer Civic to Corolla. Jetta is hard for me to comment on since I haven't driven a late model but I've heard lots of good things about it. Reliability - well who knows... I suppose Japanese is still on top and seems American is not far behind. I've actually heard most problems (electrical) with German cars vs this list. Honestly, cars today are simply not what the previous generation was looking at regarding all the problems with reliability to the point that you should be pretty pissed if you don't get 150k + miles from your car. Wish I had more to say about maintenance costs but maybe others will.
     
  7. Blackhood

    Blackhood Well-Known Member

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    Also, if you have a $20k budget, and you want something nice, consider a $15k car with $5k of options. Leather seats, Air Conditioning and SatNav seem like small things, but believe me, you'll appreciate that extra luxury.
     
  8. HRoi

    HRoi Well-Known Member

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    The only car mentioned that I haven't found completely boring is the VR6 Jetta. Although so many people have good things to say these days about the current crop of Hyundais as well...
     
  9. Saturdays

    Saturdays Well-Known Member

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    Go get a used Accord . Very reliable and cheap for repairs and can probably be found in any area. It will be cheaper on insurance if you get the sedan as well.
    Otherwise a Toyota Camry or ,like you mentioned, a Nissan Altima is fine as well. No need for new, get used and go for a higher option not more than 4 years old or more than 60k miles.

    Something like this
     
  10. Nataku

    Nataku Well-Known Member

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    +1 on used. Get a CPO. There is nothing wrong with pre-owned. Especially CPO. They're still almost new, low miles and you get the warranty. You also don't take the instant depreciation hit of a new car.
     
  11. gateslion

    gateslion Well-Known Member

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    +1 for the CPO option. I know a guy that had an Altima, and he liked it a lot. This is a guy that had previously driven a Lexus IS350. Not saying that an Altima is the same level of car, just saying that after driving the IS, being able to drive and Altima and not think "I hate this" is significant.
    Also, according to him, keeping the Lexus in its warranty meant getting serviced at their locations, which grew expensive/

    I would definitely say look for a 2 or 3 year used model. You won't notice much of a difference and you've let some other guy pay for depreciation. More importantly, you did say you were on a budget. Now, a 18K new Altima might be in your price range but a 15K CPO Altima would feel about the same, and I'm certain you could find a use for that 3K elsewhere.

    Since you mentioned the Focus, that's another car very worth considering. The hatchback versions are pretty trendy with the college crowd right now. (Probably because of the low price, good mileage, and the fact that its small enough to park anywhere.) A Buddy of mine just bought a Focus titanium and he loves it. GO to a dealership, check one out, especially the SYNC/My Ford touch features and you might really jump on it.

    This is one concept Ford really got figured out just right. Ford has cracked the code on the fact that people are starting to go after these small, economical cars with good mileage, SO, somebody realized, if you take a fairly reliable 12,000$ car, and pack it with another 800$ in gee whiz gadgets and tech, to the average driver, the perceived value just elevated by thousands. It really sets the cars apart. Consumers right now eat that tech stuff up. That's why the compact, budget Focus and Fiesta (a 13K flea speck of a car) can be ordered with GPS, Voice commands, Satellite radio, and push button start. All the sudden its "cool".

    LIterally (I think they even said this in press releases) when they worked out the steering wheel buttons and LCDs (my buddy's focus has these customzable LCDs and touch screens instead of regular dials, gauges, and cabin controls) the designers were like "hmmmm what are our buyers most enamoured with right now? AHA! Lets make driving this car feel like using their Iphone."
     
  12. mafoofan

    mafoofan Well-Known Member

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    Ford Fiesta or Focus?

    10 years ago, I would have recommended a Civic. But Ford is making some very good cars these days--and they are far more interesting than the Japanese competitors. The Golf is great and would be my personal pick, but not as reliable.
     
  13. gateslion

    gateslion Well-Known Member

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    Go marketing guys.

    On another note, here's how you can get a sweet deal if you did go with the Focus. There's an association called Mustang Club of America. Its like a Ford Mustang preservation and heritage society. Anyways, you go to the site and join. Members get to buy two Ford vehicles per year using the Xplan (Ford employee pricing). Membership fees are 50$ a year. FIll out the form, pay that first 50$, log into the site, and click the link to get issued your Xplan pin code. Go the dealer, tell him you have an Xplan code, and he automatically gives you the Xplan price. its a set number, no haggle, no negotiation.

    I think the current employee price is (Vehicle inventory price + options) +4% + 250$(ish) adminstration fee. +you still get to add in factory rebates. You MIGHT be able to negotiate a better price on an off the lot vehicle if you are lucky, but definitely not on a factory order.

    I did this for the car I just ordered and got a car that build and priced on the website at about 41K; I got mine custom ordered for about 35,500.

    Also, go to the website (or call) and order a brochure in the mail. Some of the brochures come with a factory coupon for another few hundred bucks off.

    http://www.mustang.org/content.php/274-X-Plan-Pricing-for-MCA-Members
     
  14. DocHolliday

    DocHolliday Well-Known Member

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    Another +1 on the Fords. The Fiesta is a shockingly nice small car. Great gas mileage, a sturdy feel, and some surprising options for the class. Call it gimmicky, but it fills a niche.
     
    Last edited: Sep 7, 2011
  15. LawrenceMD

    LawrenceMD Well-Known Member

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    the mazda 3 is a great car... its a blast to drive and the sedan version is under 20k... the hatchback is even more practical, but will be well over 20k...

    there is a new 40mpg mazda 3 coming out early next year so maybe the prices of the older legacy models will start dropping... if you're willing to wait.

    the jettas are good cars, but what vw did is actually made them bigger and less expensive, but sacrificed the higher quality trim and driving characteristics (no more independent suspension/cheaper interior/ect.). if you're new to jettas this is no big deal... but if you're buying from previous experience it can be a huge disappointment.

    the golfs will actually run well into the 20k mark and nicer models are getting to the 25k-30K+ mark (for loaded or diesel models).

    the focus hatchbacks are excellent cars and can actually be loaded with great stuff as mentioned before.

    those are the different/unique choices...

    but obvously you're really looking at civic/altima/corolla if you truly want a hassle free inexpensive brand new car under 20k.

    a personal favorite of mine (from my past of renting cars a lot) is the jeep compass... its a small suv that looks decent and is around the 20k mark... and has options like 4wd for inclement weather...i've driven the mazda 3 a lot from rentals too... its a really really fun car to drive...
     
  16. gateslion

    gateslion Well-Known Member

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    For the record, as far as I know, the Ford focus and FOrd fusion are just the Madza3 and Mazda6, diffent wrapper on the same chassis.

    Between the two, I like the ford interior better (mostly for the gadgets) but I like the mazda exterior styling much better. In terms of sedans anyways. The focus hatch is good if you are into the whole hot hatch style, but thats a market segment I never got into.
     
  17. Trompe le Monde

    Trompe le Monde Well-Known Member

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    much praised has been showered on the fiesta (for its segment, of course) but i found it extremely unfinished in execution. the seats are an afterthought, hatch space is non existent, no true fold flat option for utility, interior design is bad in a 80s-envisioning-the-future sense. it feels very much like its price tag, or worse.

    for the same price i think the honda fit is a much more polished and refine choice. perhaps the mazda 2 as well. but there are many written comparisons of the 3 out there.

    same platform, as is shared with a few model of volvos as well. that said, they are quite substantially different cars - drive train, interior design, etc. the NEW focus is nice, but can get pricey if optioned wrong.

    new jettas are very downmarket compared to its previous incarnation. the golf tdi and gti make a compelling case for value, if one shops used (new ones start at 24k).

    i think hyundais and isuzu (kizashi) is worth a look, too
     
  18. gateslion

    gateslion Well-Known Member

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    The eurospec focus RS is the tits, but the US isn't getting it apparently. Ford is bringing a car over thats going to LOOK like the euro version and be billed as the RS but its not going to have to same crazy powerful engine.

    I guess people over here have been begging to get the real RS over here for a while (and no wonder, check the top gear segment on it. 300HP in that little body, and it can actually corner) but I guess ford think (wrongly?) that its too much of a niche market to make a profit over here.

    I hear the hyundai genesis is supposed to be quite a performer for its price, but then you know the review mags always seem to lavish exxagerated praise on cars that offer even passing competition to their market segment at a lower price.
     
  19. DocHolliday

    DocHolliday Well-Known Member

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    Did you try one of the tricked-out Fiestas? The Fit, to me, feels like a toy car in comparison. A friend of mine drives one and I don't know how she stands it.

    The Fiesta's lack of fold-flat seats is pretty feeble, admittedly.
     
  20. curzon

    curzon Well-Known Member

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    “Curzon understands the cultural nuances of our ti
    Many have recommended that you not buy a new car, and I echo that.


    This is what Consumer Reports of April 2011 says are the best used cars between $18 and 20k:

    Acura MDX '06; TL '06; TSX '07
    Audi A4 (4-cyl.) '07
    BMW X3 '06
    Chevrolet Corvette '04
    Chrysler Aspen '08
    Ford Edge (FWD) '08; F-250 (2WD) '08; Fusion (V6, AWD) '10; Fusion Hybrid '10; Mustang (V8) '07
    Honda Accord (4-cyl.) '09; Civic Hybrid '09; CR-V '08; Ridgeline '07; S2000 '07
    Hyundai Santa Fe '09
    Lexus GX '04; LS '04
    Mercedes-Benz C-Class (V6, RWD) '07; E-Class sedan (turbodiesel) '05
    Nissan Frontier (2WD) '10; Maxima '08; Rogue '09-10
    Subaru Forester '09-10; Outback (4-cyl.) '09-10
    Toyota 4Runner '06; Camry Hybrid '08-09; Highlander Hybrid '06; Prius '09; RAV4 '09; Sequoia '05; Sienna (FWD) '08; Tacoma (V6) '07-08
    Volvo S60 (FWD) '08; S80 (6-cyl.) '07; XC70 '07

    Of those I'd chose the ones that are most reliable and will cost you the least to own over the next 3-5 years. Make sure you check w/ your insurer. If you're a Northerner keep in mind winter driving and avoid RWD.

    And learn how to drive stick for heaven's sake.
     
    Last edited: Sep 8, 2011

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