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Old 02-20-06, 01:16 PM   #1
thomspins
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new car recom.

I'm looking into getting a new car...

I'm getting rid of the '98 escort, i believe 155,000 miles is all it's good for.

I've been thinking the only SUV i would consider is the ford escape. Does anyone have any good/bad exp. with these?

Other than that i'm looking for a car around $20k-ish, good on gas, and a little giddy-up (this rules out the toyo echo and other lifeless crap); any ideas.....
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Old 02-20-06, 01:22 PM   #2
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Toyota Prius, fast and 50 MPG mid 20k if you search.
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Old 02-20-06, 01:23 PM   #3
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Trek... could not resist

I like the honda civic hybrid
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Old 02-20-06, 01:26 PM   #4
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What do you need it to be able to do? What are your priorities?

Early Ford Escapes were very dubious quality-wise. The new ones are better, but the only reason I'd consider buying one is if you really needed AWD and didn't like Subarus.

Looked at a Mazda3 hatch? Decent bit of get-up-and-go, great handling, good gas mileage, good interior space.
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Old 02-20-06, 01:27 PM   #5
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Diesel Jetta?

Not a lot of HP out the door, but there's a lot of chips available for upgrade. 42 MPG and diesel reliability.

About $20-22K new, with a warranty.

One piece of advice if you go the diesel route: buy a box of latex gloves (about $5 for a couple hundred) to keep under the seat. Diesel pumps are nasty, so I use a glove everytime I fill up to keep fuel off my hands.

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Old 02-20-06, 01:38 PM   #6
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I would consider the following, in no particular order. I throw the Civic in there because (a) it's a new generation that I know nothing about and (b) as a class leader, it's kind of an obligatory test drive for comparison's sake. The Mazda 3 likewise makes the list with no personal experience, but I suspect I would really like it. But the other three I have recommended to many friends, and my friends have found them to be very good economy choices, with the choice being determined by one's priorities and preferences. I think they should all easily fit under a $20K cap.

Ford Focus. Own one myself (2001 model, 46k miles). Nice fun car to drive.
Hyundai Elantra. Cheap, but a good car.
Mazda 3. aka Europe's 3rd gen Ford Focus.
Nissan Sentra. A bit more comfort-oriented and less spirited.
Honda Civic. Personally don't like the last gen, but no experience with current gen.
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Old 02-20-06, 01:42 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Stubacca
What do you need it to be able to do? What are your priorities?

Early Ford Escapes were very dubious quality-wise. The new ones are better, but the only reason I'd consider buying one is if you really needed AWD and didn't like Subarus.

Looked at a Mazda3 hatch? Decent bit of get-up-and-go, great handling, good gas mileage, good interior space.

well, just need to get from pt. a to b really.... Don't need AWD, Don't like Subaru; I've heard nightmares about their transmissions/warranties from several people.

I just graduated college this past may and am looking for my first self-bought car. A general purpose mobile if you will... I'll probably have it when i'm just getting married around 4-5 yrs. and all that stuff too so... unfortunately a slightly used RX-8 i think is out of the question...

Yeah, no diesel.. my dad had a diesel truck when i was growing up.. it was kind of a pain in the arse.

Thanks again everyone!
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Old 02-20-06, 01:44 PM   #8
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Yeah, the VW Jetta (TDI or not) is what I was gonna recommend too if you're not into the hybrid/eco cars


Quote:
Originally Posted by Shifty
Toyota Prius, fast and 50 MPG mid 20k if you search.
haha
Before I test drove mine, I honestly thought it'd be slow and weak as hell but I was proven wrong
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Old 02-20-06, 02:00 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by thomspins
I just graduated college this past may and am looking for my first self-bought car. A general purpose mobile if you will...
I would encourage you to pick something you can pay off very quickly. Say, within two years at the longest. It's okay to splurge a bit for something you enjoy, but don't blow too much money on a car. And don't forget to account for expenses such as insurance, which can vary quite a bit from car to car.

Go test drive some stuff. You can always post your impressions to have us help you narrow down your choice or suggest similar vehicles. Happy hunting.
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Old 02-20-06, 02:15 PM   #10
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Here's a good article about SUVs:

http://www.gladwell.com/2004/2004_01_12_a_suv.html
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Old 02-20-06, 02:18 PM   #11
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+1 for the Ford Focus or Mazda 3. They share the same engine, but the Mazda 3 is built on the European Focus platform so it's the 2nd gen platform. This is the same platform used in the World Rally Competition. The US Ford Focus is built on the same platform as the 1st gen Focus which was used previously in the WRC. The PZEV 2.3L 4 cyl is pretty clean, has about 150 hp and the Focus handles nicely if you get the sporty trim. You can also mod it later to be faster and more agile. Check out Focaljet Forums for more info. I also have an '01 Focus w/ 95k+ miles on it.

edit: I think the Focus is less than $20k full loaded. The Mazda 3 is a little more, but it's also on the newer platform so it handles better.
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Old 02-20-06, 02:54 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jschen
I would encourage you to pick something you can pay off very quickly. Say, within two years at the longest. It's okay to splurge a bit for something you enjoy, but don't blow too much money on a car. And don't forget to account for expenses such as insurance, which can vary quite a bit from car to car.

Go test drive some stuff. You can always post your impressions to have us help you narrow down your choice or suggest similar vehicles. Happy hunting.
Right on! Yeah Car's are a big ole' waste of money.. too bad we have to drive everywhere...

The new Civic is a pretty good lookin' choice, i think i might go look at that one after work.
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Old 02-20-06, 03:05 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by thomspins
well, just need to get from pt. a to b really.... Don't need AWD, Don't like Subaru; I've heard nightmares about their transmissions/warranties from several people.

I just graduated college this past may and am looking for my first self-bought car. A general purpose mobile if you will... I'll probably have it when i'm just getting married around 4-5 yrs. and all that stuff too so... unfortunately a slightly used RX-8 i think is out of the question...

Yeah, no diesel.. my dad had a diesel truck when i was growing up.. it was kind of a pain in the arse.

Thanks again everyone!
Then I second my suggestion of a Mazda3 . They've been out for a couple of years now, so there should even be some good deals on 1- and 2-year-old cars if you feel like letting someone else take that initial depreciation hit.

I'd also consider a VW Jetta or Golf. I prefer the Golf (a 5 door hatch is so much more versatile than a 4 door sedan) but the engine options aren't as good as with the Jetta. Diesel these days is much better than it used to be, but you still often have to deal with messy fuel pumps. I'm not sure that the VW diesel advantages are really there in the US (in Europe, diesel is cheaper than petrol... not so here!) - I'd stick to the 2.0FSI engine in a VW.

Toyota Matrix might be worth a look, if you're in to little wagon shaped vehicles.

If you're interested in a Ford Focus, I'd wait until the new model arrives. The rest of the world has had it for a while, and it's a far better car than the old one (which was already a pretty good small car). Basically a reskinned Mazda3.

If you're going to keep it for 8-10+ years, buying new is probably not such a bad idea. But.... if you're going to only keep it around 4-5 years, I'd buy a 3 or 4 year old small Japanese car (Toyota Corolla, Mazda Protege, Nissan Sentra etc). All of these cars should easily do 200k miles, and at about 4 years old they're only worth about 50% of the new cost. You'd have to be really unlucky and encounter a lot of maintenance problems for the ownership cost to come even close to the new car.

Most importantly, it gives you more money to spend on bikes.
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Old 02-20-06, 03:08 PM   #14
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Buy a motorcycle. Cheaper than a new car and the insurance is low cuz the insurance co. assumes you won't survive the accident to file a claim.
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Old 02-20-06, 03:08 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by thomspins
Right on! Yeah Car's are a big ole' waste of money.. too bad we have to drive everywhere...

The new Civic is a pretty good lookin' choice, i think i might go look at that one after work.
I had a Civic, once upon a time. In addition to all its known qualities (above average gas mileage, excellent ergonomics, spacious interior compared to overall size, and use of top-notch materials and building techniques), I must commend Honda for the crashworthiness they build into their vehicles. Yes, I have first-hand experience with this...
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Old 02-20-06, 03:31 PM   #16
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My Pontiac Vibe (same car as Toyota Matrix) consistently gets 31 mpg, so milage is okay.

I do like that I can put the back seat down and easily fit my 58cm road bike in without having to remove wheels.

It's not a 'fast-off-the-line' car, but it has done well for the first 42000 miles
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Old 02-20-06, 05:33 PM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by thomspins
Yeah, no diesel.. my dad had a diesel truck when i was growing up.. it was kind of a pain in the arse.
Not to belabor the point too much, but today's diesel engines aren't your dad's. I'm on my second diesel pickup and will never go back. If I wind up getting stationed in Germany, we may come home with a Mercedes and the E class diesel is way up on the list.

Today's engines are quiet, smooth and powerful. They still stink, but that's a trade off I can accept.

Anyway, just thought I'd toss that in. If you're even remotely interested in the Jetta, while you're looking, take a TDI for a spin and see what you think.

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Old 02-20-06, 05:52 PM   #18
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Toyota Corolla S.............peppy and 38 mpg! And mainly, it's a Toyota!
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Old 02-20-06, 06:47 PM   #19
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OK, look at the new Toyota RAV4, AWD, excellent quality, roomy and great gas economy. You can get a V-6 this year, doubt that you'd need it, but it is a great engine. Far and away better than the Escape. It is in your price range too.
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Old 02-21-06, 08:07 AM   #20
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Well, I got to look at the new civic after work, and drove it around. I must say i'm impressed. They have really spec'd this thing out w/ alot of options standard! Even a mp3 cd player!


The Mazda 3 is getting looked at today!
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Old 02-21-06, 08:21 AM   #21
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Quote:
Originally Posted by thomspins
Well, I got to look at the new civic after work, and drove it around.
I'm glad you're not still focussing on an SUV, or I least I hope that's the case. My wife has a minivan (our only motor vehicle), so some might say I'm not the best role model, but I feel strongly that the smaller and more fuel-efficient the car, the better. They certainly are far cheaper to buy and operate and more environmentally sustainable. As well, I think they are much safer. While a small car may not be best in a direct collision with a big car, they are probably much better at avoiding collisions, much less likely to roll, and the cabin is much more likely to remain intact in a single vehicle accident, compared with a big heavy behemoth that crushes itself. While there may be times you want to carry a big load or multiple passengers, they are actually very few, and 95% of the time you are alone in your car with not much "stuff". For those infrequent occasions where you do need to carry more, you have the option of racks, a trailer, taking two trips, using two vehicles, etc. etc. etc.
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Old 02-21-06, 08:53 AM   #22
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If you're gonna get a Civic, get the Civic SI. Has more HP and a LSD and it's fast! And really, that's all that counts. Or you could get the Hybrid which gets 50 mpg. Does anyone know if you still get a tax credit for buying a hybrid?
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Old 02-21-06, 09:06 AM   #23
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Quote:
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If you're gonna get a Civic, get the Civic SI. Has more HP and a LSD and it's fast! And really, that's all that counts. Or you could get the Hybrid which gets 50 mpg. Does anyone know if you still get a tax credit for buying a hybrid?
Federal tax credit has gone way down, unless you are a millionaire, then it's gone way up. If you buy a hybrid get the Prius, it is a much better hybrid system (better milage), plus the resale value holds up better. Tax credit now is state by state, I'm not sure what it is where you are.
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Old 02-21-06, 09:28 AM   #24
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I'm going to try to get my wife (to be in < 3 months) into a Mazda 3 when her current Mazada finally gives up it's last miles. You really can't go wrong with a Mazda, Honda or Toyota - as much as I really hate to admit it. Of the three, I'd probably buy myself a Mazda before the other two.
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Old 02-21-06, 09:40 AM   #25
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Too bad Toyota doesn't make the Celica anymore. That was a nice ride. Fast and nimble. The Scion TC just doesn't measure up.
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