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topspin
04-22-2004, 10:41 PM
I'm looking for a new car, nothing fancy, just something that is safe, decent on gas, 4 door, stylish (of course). The Mazda 6 and Mazda 3 both look like good choices. Any ohter suggestions? What about GM, do they have anything decent I should look for when I start doing the tour of the car dealers?

atatu
04-22-2004, 10:52 PM
I like the Mazda 6 hatchback personally. The new Accord looks pretty sharp also and it's in the same price range, but everyone and thier brother has one, same with the Camry. If you want to be a little different, why not check out one of the Subaru sedans, like the Outback, it handles nicely with the all wheel drive. I'm partial to wagons myself, but there are some nice sedans out there....

Deuce
04-22-2004, 11:54 PM
Toyota Prius - hybrid car.

Kills the planet less than regular cars, while providing the same transport abilities and usefulness.

Cypo
04-23-2004, 01:15 AM
My Brother has had a Pirus for about two years now - he loves it and will bore you to death telling you how wonderful it is !

topspin
04-23-2004, 01:53 AM
atatu, my mechanic also likes Subaru because they really are quite innovative. I remember back in 92 when I was looking at cars I was impressed with the stuff they had come up with. The problem with Subaru is parts availability and price. There just aren't as many dealers around as well. Nothing wrong with the cars, but finding the support is what bugs my mechanic.

I have nothing against hybrid cars, but why do they make them so odd looking. It's almost as if they don't want to sell them. Spending as little as possible on gas would be great, but my main priority is safety and reliability.

The Mazda 6 got 5 star ratings on both frontal and side ratings based on the nhtsa tests. The Mazda 3 got 5 stars on frontal and 3 stars on side.

ismashall
04-23-2004, 02:11 AM
As a tennis player with lots of equipment, the Scion Xb appeals to me. It has decent cargo space and a low loading lip so I can easily lift my ball machine in. I also commute to many of the private lessons I teach, so I would appreciate its 35mpg capacity. I don't mind its looks either, which has kind of grown on me. The only thing that I don't care for is its relatively weak Echo engine. Why couldn't Toyota stuff at least a Corolla engine in that thing?

david aames
04-23-2004, 04:56 AM
VW all the way.

atatu
04-23-2004, 07:37 AM
I think the new Prius looks pretty sharp. Also doesn't Honda have a Civic Hybrid out there ? I'm probably going to get the Highlander Hybrid when it comes out in 2005, not so sure I can take the Scion's looks, although I guess it's no worse than the Honda Element....

ismashall
04-23-2004, 10:50 AM
The Honda Element gets only 23mpg. Which is no better than my old Rav. The Element is not as practical as Honda leads many to believe.

ProStaffTour90
04-23-2004, 11:06 AM
The new Toyota Corrolla is a great car, it's widely regarded that Toyota's are screwed together better than any other type of car, their build quality is second to none!

PugArePeopleToo
04-23-2004, 12:00 PM
WRX

cheezecake
04-23-2004, 01:24 PM
Toyota Celica!!!

topspin
04-23-2004, 03:29 PM
About VW, my mechanic tells me to absolutely positively stay away from them. He has seen so many problems with them, and they aren't cheap to fix either.

Toyota is regarded as having the best quality control out there in this price range. But the value is reduced now because their prices have just gone way too high, same with Honda. I have an 88 Camry I bought used and it has had so many problems, even though the previous owner is a car fanatic and took good care of it.

I like the Acura EL as well.

As for hybrids, I will test drive a few. I'm not convinced it's the best time to get them since the production is relatively low and that's keeping the price too high right now. Also, I need to figure out where the heck I'm gonna plug it in if I go on a trip. I guess if there's nowhere to recharge, you can still use gas.

Honda does a the V-tech engine which gets good mileage. But most new cars burn fuel a lot more efficiently than older cars, so unless you get a huge suv, you should be ok with gas. Also, I don't want to sacrifice safety just for the sake of gas mileage. Those little fuel efficient cars are great and all, but not in today's roads filled with heavy suv's and trucks. If you get in a crash with one of those, you won't stand a chance.

Deuce
04-23-2004, 08:40 PM
The Prius actually looks quite 'normal' for today's cars. Even much better looking than a lot of non-hybrid cars today. The Honda Insight is a little odd looking - and the closed wheel well in the back (if it's still designed that way) isn't too good in snowy conditions, I guess.

Also in the Prius, the Air Conditioning is run from the battery - so it doesn't consume more gas, or zap any power from the engine, like other cars. Just another plus.

Joe Average
04-23-2004, 09:29 PM
Mazda 6 and Mazda 3 are definitely good choices. I'd opt for the 3 only because of gas mileage. The sportier 3s has been described as driving like a mini 6 cylinder. I believe the engines, however, for the both the 6 and the 3 are Ford engines (whatever that means). If you drive manual transmission, the Mazdas are a good bet. The Acura TL is getting good press. It's a bit more expensive. But it's loaded and still cheaper than the BMW 3 Series. Attractive car. I'd recommend Prius, as well. A real technological miracle. You'll save on gas and help the environment ... a little. The problem might be getting one. There's probably a long wait list. The Mini Cooper S-Type is also getting good press. The problem might be reliability. Service, I'll bet, will be expensive. It's a tight fit under the hood. The Passat, even a used one, is a great car to drive. But, as already mentioned, it's among the least reliable cars out there. I've heard this from several reliable sources. If you want to wait awhile, you might consider the Honda Accord hybrid, which will be coming out later this year. It's a V-6.

Good luck.

Steve Huff
04-23-2004, 11:29 PM
I agree with the Prius as being a great new car buy. It's earth-friendly, wallet-friendly, and finally it has 4 doors. Almost everthing is standard on it for around 20g. If you don't mind a late model used car, I think the best bargain has got to be a Mitsubishi Galant. You can get 2003 lease returns for less than $10g. If you want more power, I got a 2002 Diamante with 20,000 miles last year for $12,900. Not as good on gas though, but every bit as smooth as the Camry and Altima.

Morpheus
04-24-2004, 05:51 AM
I'm with Deuce on the Prius. You don't plug it in, it stores energy from braking and from the gas engine. It's a design marvel and not all that clunky looking, like some econoboxes. And it is really cool to drive. Acts like a golf cart in the city--no engine noise.

Now, if you've got a little more money to spend, there's always the Audi A4 (or Passat). VW has a bad rap, but most of that is from earlier days. They make some terrific cars today. I don't much care for status cars like BMW or Mercedes, depsite the fact that they are really top notch cars. So, part of your decision may well be tied to what image you want to present. A hybrid may not fit that image, but, then again, I'm a tree hugging liberal.

I would absolutely stay away from US engineered cars. My Toyota and Honda have always been more reliable than my Fords, Chrysler (Jeep), and GMCs.

Kevin T
04-24-2004, 06:31 AM
Agree that the Prius is a fine ride. For all you SUV fans, Ford and Chevy are releasing hybrid models later this year. I believe the Ford Escape is supposed to get ~35-40mpg. In general I agree that American cars will give you more problems but I am the lucky guy that has had a good experience. Though I could easily afford better, I have stuck with Big Red, my maroon Ford Ranger for 10 years and 212,000 miles. It's only been in the shop once (knock on wood) and that was my fault as I had overextended the time between timing belt changes. No car payment for the last 5 years=more money to blow on tennis racquets. Let's the wife drive a much nicer ride as well. Note to married men: always keep the wife happy.

Phil
04-24-2004, 07:29 AM
Toyota is only releasing 47,000 Prisiuses (or is it "Priusi) in the US market this year, so the supply will not be able to meet demand for a while. It would be great if EVERYONE started buying hybrids as a massive F-U to the Saudis and the oil cartels.

Morpheus
04-24-2004, 11:24 AM
Unfortunately, it would be but a drop in the Persian Gulf.

topspin
04-24-2004, 04:45 PM
Well I'm in no rush Joe, but thx for the input. I hope to get more insight into cars here from people who've actually driven or owned one though. Just like on the epinions website. Most of the other info I can get off the websites and from the dealer. Just nice to have a perspective from tennis players.

Morpheus
04-24-2004, 08:22 PM
If that's the case, you need to narrow it down for us a bit. Your question is akin to asking "What racket should I get?" Pretty hard to answer without lots of qualifying questions.

What brands/models are you most interested in? Be happy to give you specific feedback if I have first hand experience.

rommil
04-24-2004, 08:56 PM
I got my Audi A4 quattro last year and still enjoying it. Had to get the quattro since I live in Connecticut.

Kirko
04-24-2004, 09:04 PM
Ford Escape ; Verizon gave me one to use & man do I use it . not expensive either .

Loud
04-24-2004, 09:59 PM
The inline four banger in the Mazda 6 is a Mazda engine through and through...the six cylinder is the same as the one in the Ford Taurus. Stick to the four.

topspin
04-25-2004, 02:30 AM
morpheus, i did mention cars like the mazda 3 and 6, that's the class of car i'm looking at

Morpheus
04-25-2004, 05:28 AM
Rommil:

I had an A4 Quattro back in 1998-2000. Loved it, but felt it was underpowered until I had it up to about 40 mph (had the 1.5 Turbo~150 hp). Which engine do you have and how is it from a dead stop? The quattro was great in all weather, and it was really fun to drive on twisty roads.

And have they fixed those silly, flimsy cupholders yet?

rommil
04-25-2004, 09:24 AM
Morpheus, I have the 1.8 Turbo quattro 2003. Yeah, about the cupholders, it is situated right above the radio. But I do have that center armrest that you can put up and down which does the better job of holding drinks. I am not familiar with the older models of the A4 but mine has a sports gear which has more pep than the normal Drive. So this one has P,R,N,D and S and when it is on drive gear, you can shift it to the side top give you that tiptronic operation. The size and power of the car is right enough for me,(to use weaving in and out sometimes yikes). Control and maneuvering is very good which makes it easier and more fun to drive. Merrit Parkway has never been more fun...

Morpheus
04-25-2004, 09:41 AM
Sounds like they changed the cupholders. They used to be by the handbrake between the seats and were really flimsy. My A4 had significant turbo lag and probably not enough HP for the added weight of the quattro mechnicals.

I had the tiptronic, but never really found it all that useful or fun. Prefer a stick (to the tiptronic) but would prob stay with an automatic, being the lazy, SOB that I am.

David Pavlich
04-25-2004, 02:42 PM
Very interesting study in human nature. I'm a real car nut. I noticed that there are no suggestions about real performance cars. Interesting.

Anyway, Mazda makes a good product as does Subaru and Toyota and Honda. If you want to get from point A to point B with little or no thrill, there's some good suggestions here.

However, if you're like me the operation of getting from point A to point B is a large part of the fun.

Now you could get a Mazda Miata or RX 8. Then there's the Subaru WRX or the Toyota Celica GT or the Honda S2000 and arrive with a smile!

David

Morpheus
04-25-2004, 03:01 PM
Then I'll take the Audi S4 (got the cash?)

David Pavlich
04-25-2004, 03:07 PM
Then I'll take the Audi S4 (got the cash?)

Now we're talking!

David

Steve Huff
04-25-2004, 09:33 PM
David, neat that you're a car nut too. My wife thinks I'm crazy when I go out to just test drive cars for the fun of it. Some of the cars I've driven this past year:

1. Elantra GT--nice responsive motor. A little cramped in the cockpit though. Reminds me a little of older Opels.

2. VW Bug w/1.8 L turbo--if you like the Bug's styling, it's a good car. Lots of safety features built in. Lot's of things, such as hydraulic struts to hold up hood and trunk, that you don't find on more expensive cars.

3. Jetta diesel--great for a diesel. I drove the 5-speed. A little noisy outside, but not on the inside. No plug warming like on older diesels. It does it automatically when you unlock the door or open the door.

4. Jetta VR6--I'd get into trouble with this car. It jumps off the line. Luxury abounds.

5. Passat 1.8L turbo--another great car. One of the best handling sedans I've ever driven. Expensive though. The one I tested was around $32,000.

6. Mini Cooper--great ride. Doesn't ride like a small car. But, it will only carry one suitcase in the back. If you treat it like a 2-seater, it may be the car you want.

7. Mitsubishi Galant--Smooth 4 cyl. Plenty of power for a 4 also. Big side mirrors made me a little uncomfortable as I felt like I was always trying to look around them. Sits a little too low.

8. Diamante--Lots of power. I ended up buying this one, a 2002 with 20,000 miles for $12,900. If you spend a lot of time on the highway (60-80mph), this is a nice cruiser. Gets about 20mpg overall. I thought it would get a little better.

9. Nissan Altima (2.5 and 3.5L engines). The 2.5L four has plenty of power. The 3.5 has a LOT of power. The 6 cyl. feels heavier in the front end (which it is). As good as the 3.5L is, I preferred the lighter handling of the 4 overall. One of the smoothest idling and running 4 cyls I've driven.

10. GMC Canyon 4-dr truck--rented this one for a week while my wife's minivan was in the shop. It's their smaller truck, but it's still plenty big. This one had a 3.5L 5cyl engine. As with a lot of GM, there's lots of plastic on the dash, and the turn signals had an annoyingly loud, cheap-sounding click, but other than that, it was nice. 4 WD was seamless, and engaged with a push button.

11. Dodge Dakota--Another rental. This one had the back seat and 5.2L V8. Great ride, great power, mileage was terrible. I turned it in and the average mileage was 7.7mpg. And this was a 2WD model.

Hope this helps you some.

Verbal_Kint
04-26-2004, 03:11 PM
Well, performance, I'm not sure... but I sure like the Audi TT my mother bought last year (and which I drive when I'm not in Utrecht studying).

Marnix

David Pavlich
04-26-2004, 03:58 PM
Steve: We have a '98 323i Convertible (my wife drives it) and a 2003 PT Cruiser, both 5 speeds, of course. :-)

We nearly got a Boxster when we bought the BMW, but the back seat won the day. However, now that we have a nice people hauler (the Cruiser), the next one will be a 2 seat convertible...Z4, Boxster or the Honda S2000.

If I were wealthy, I'd have a seperate place just to store cars. Let's see, there'd be a Ferrari Daytona (gotta' love the V12), an Apex-modified Viper, the new Ford GT and Cobra (if Ford builds it), 1966 Corvette in Nasau Blue, some sort of street rod and a Cigarette Top Gun with twin 575 hp Mercruisers (not a car but sure is floating testosterone!).

Are we sensing a pattern here?

David

AAAA
04-26-2004, 04:52 PM
If you want a performance car of Audi A4 dimensions the BMW M3 outperforms it.

Hey Dave, I hear the new Mercedes SLK actually drives like a sports car and you get the best of both worlds(real hardtop and convertible in one).

Steve Huff
04-26-2004, 09:49 PM
That Benz is out of my price range anyway. I read a longterm road test on one of the Benz's and some of the comment s were like"best warranty in the business, and damn well needs it". David, I think a Miata would be a nice convertible, but I'm not a big fan of convertibles as a whole--except maybe a 67 ElDorado convertible. I sat in the new RX 8, but they weren't letting it go out for tests yet. Everything fit perfectly.

Deuce
04-26-2004, 11:33 PM
The Acura EL - isn't that the Honda Civic in a suit?

I don't know if they are still like this, but the two cars used to be identical twins - except for some of the optional equipment. Same body, same mechanics. Made me wonder why anyone would pay more for the Acura. For the 'prestige' of owning an Acura? Are there people like that? For real?

topspin
04-27-2004, 02:35 AM
Actually there are quite a few important differences between the Honda Civic and Acura EL (or former Integra, 1.6, 1.7). The main design of the body structure is the same, but the Acura is just more well built than the Civic in many important areas. It has bigger tires, thicker doors, larger breaks and so on. All very important parts that affect not only the ride, but the safety of the car. The Acura is just a better value than the Civic. If you calculate all the extras, the price difference is well worth it.

Back in 1990, my uncle was looking for a new car and was interested in the Civic. So we went for a testdrive and he was pretty much ready to get it at that point. The just for fun, we went to the Acura dealer and test drove the Integra. Big difference! The Acura was the one he got, it wasn't even a difficult choice, it was just a MUCH better drive and better value. He still has the car and has been a great purchase for him.

The trend has continued with the Acura 1.6 and 1.7 and now the EL. They keep the same structure as the Civic, but they build it up with bigger and stronger parts.

My dad got the Acura MDX and he's hooked on anything Acura now. At first he wasn't sure if he made a good buy, but he's so happy with it And I did check out as much as I could about it and it comes very well recommended by reviewers and other owners. The safety rating is also the best in it's category as is gas consumption (2002 model).

Thanks to all who've posted so far. Steve thanks for the list of cars that you've tried and you're feedback, this is the kind of info I need. I also used to love to go test drive cars just for the fun of it but haven't in some time now. It's always fun to see how excited the dealers get when they think they got a sale on their hands :lol:

David Pavlich
04-27-2004, 02:34 PM
Word has it that the Z4 may be getting the M3 6 cylinder. Now that will be a burner!

The new generation M3 may be destined for a V8...even better!

David

topspin
04-27-2004, 11:56 PM
Ok it's settled I'm getting the Hummer H2 :lol:

atatu
04-28-2004, 07:47 AM
This is starting to remind me of Edmunds.com, good information, I didn't know that the Accord was coming out in a Hybrid. Can the Pilot Hybrid be far behind ?

@wright
04-28-2004, 08:13 AM
the H2 is for pu$$ies, get the real Hummer!

Kevin T
04-28-2004, 08:26 AM
LOL, @wright. Actually, I think all Hummers are for punks. Real rednecks like myself prefer International Scouts and 1970's Ford Broncos. And don't forget the Dodge Power Wagon. Yeeee Haaaaaa!!!!

topspin
04-28-2004, 04:58 PM
LOL ok the real hummer it is! Actually the thing about Hummer's is that they have some really good ideas built into it and you're paying for the looks of it. If cars were designed the same way, they would be much stronger, safer, and efficient.

Morpheus
04-28-2004, 06:01 PM
You gotta like the family truckster!


http://www.hollywood-diecast.com/truckster.jpg

David Pavlich
04-28-2004, 08:15 PM
If you want a performance car of Audi A4 dimensions the BMW M3 outperforms it.

Hey Dave, I hear the new Mercedes SLK actually drives like a sports car and you get the best of both worlds(real hardtop and convertible in one).

I would never have considered the SLK...until it was finally equipped with the 3.2 liter V6 and a 6 speed trans. Now that sounds like fun!

Word has it that the Crossfire (built on the SLK chassis) will be offered as a convertible before too long. It may be the value leader out there.

David

David Pavlich
04-28-2004, 08:19 PM
That Benz is out of my price range anyway. I read a longterm road test on one of the Benz's and some of the comment s were like"best warranty in the business, and damn well needs it". David, I think a Miata would be a nice convertible, but I'm not a big fan of convertibles as a whole--except maybe a 67 ElDorado convertible. I sat in the new RX 8, but they weren't letting it go out for tests yet. Everything fit perfectly.

I'm eagerly anticipating Mazda's Speed division's (Speed division is like BMW's M, MB's AMG, or Ford's SVT group) RX8. It will be supercharged. I'm guessing a little over 300 hp and 240-250 lb ft of torque. Speed has created a supercharged version of the Miata...171 hp with the appropriate suspension and tire/wheel combination to cope with the increased power. Nice car!

David

@wright
04-28-2004, 09:08 PM
I saw a Miata painted like a NASCAR the other day, what a joke, I had to laugh.

Loud
04-28-2004, 09:13 PM
I'm putting my money on the Truckster!

serge
05-02-2004, 09:31 AM
Ferrary or Porsche

ProStaffTour90
05-02-2004, 11:57 AM
Ferrary?

Anyway, forget the Benz boy's theirs only room for one greatest car company on this planet!

May i present to you.......................BMW, it's plain and simple!

I believe the 3.16 compact may just be inside your price range!!!

dozu
05-05-2004, 11:06 AM
I just bot an '04 Toyota Sienna (a proud daddy of 2 here), the salesman told me the waiting list on the Prius is LOOOOONG !

For a reliable and stylish transport, I'd pick the Nissan Altima 2.5, and get a 5-sp manual which will extract plenty of zoom from the 4 cyclinder.

nvared
05-23-2004, 03:48 PM
If the inline 4 is a Mazda engine on the 6, that's a definite! I had a Ford Escort that had a Protege engine in it. I gave it to a relative. Well, the engine is still going (I let them have it at 148,000), but the Ford parts to the car stink!!!!!!!!! Transmission (Ford) leaks twice! I have a Mazda B2200 truck, a '93 which was prior to it's branding with Ford Rangers and it is a good, reliable truck. Mazda also has some innovative styles in and out to them.

topspin
05-27-2004, 12:58 AM
Just to update, I started to demo last week. So far I've tried the following:

- Acura EL Touring
- Hyundai Elantra
- Hyundai Sonata
- Honda Civic
- Mazda 3
- Ford Focus
- Subaru Imprezza
- Subaru Legacy

The Acura is a nice car, very smooth, fun to drive, roomy. Very big difference with the Civic. Even though they share the same chassis, there is simply no comparison. The Acura is easier to get in and out of, has smoother acceleration, bigger and better brakes and engine, much more stable ride. They just feel like very different cars, and that's because they are.

The Hyundai Elantra was disappointing. It felt like a little car, not very stable, so it's out. The Sonata on the other hand was a very pleasant surprise. It's smooth ride rivaled the Mercedes S500 I drove last year (the one used to drive Agassi). You do not feel the bumps on the road. Excellent warranty and value, very reliable, good safety. The only thing is that it only comes automatic. All the other cars I tried were manual. BTW, the Sonata is the same car as the Kia Magentis. There are some minor chassis changes but it's pretty much identical.

The Subaru's were very stiff rides and they use a hydraulic clutch which takes a lot of getting used to. The mechanics on this car make it a very good value. I'm waiting to test the new 05 Legacy. It looks really nice inside and out.

The Ford Focus is a fun little car to drive. It wins a lot of awards especially in Europe. Then again, the European cars are sometimes very different from the ones in North America. The mechanics are supposed to be pretty reliable too. It just doesn't do it for me though.

The Mazda 3 is one that is turning a lot of heads. I tried the hatchback but I'm looking for the sedan to test drive. It shares many components with the Ford Focus and upcoming Volvo S40. Very good power, stable sporty ride. I will try the Mazda 6 soon.

So I'm just getting started, still lots of test driving to do.