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Old 11-11-2012, 12:17 PM   #1
ElMonoDelMar
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Default Used (or new) Car Advice

I had a guy pull out in front of me over the weekend, so now I'm in need of a new car. In the past, I've always bought used beaters (<$10k). Now that I've got a decent job and spend a lot more time in my car, I'd like to get something a bit nicer. I thought I'd post what I'm looking for and see if The Garage can steer me in the right direction. I know a lot of the decision is going to come down to personal tastes and how the car fits me, but I would like to get an idea of what I should be out driving to find the one that fits me best.

Budget: ~$20k
Model Year Range: 2010-2013 (I don't like the idea of buying new, but if there are some steals out there on new 2013 models, I would consider it.)
Yearly Mileage Driven: 45k (Mostly highway so fuel efficiency is a major plus)
MPG: 30+ (I will be using this car for work and I am reimbursed for every mile I drive. The better MPG I get, the more money I can pocket from my mileage reimbursement.)
Size: Not too picky on this, but I am 6'2" and 235lbs so the inside has to at least feel roomy even if it is a smaller car.
Trans: No preference. Last car was a manual and I enjoyed driving it, but I know that autos are easier to come by in the used car market.
Cargo Space: Not really an issue. Extra space would be nice, but I know that's hard to come by with high fuel economy.
Must Have Options: Leather Seats, Sirius/XM Radio, All-Metal Wheels (no plastic hub caps - I think they look tacky as hell), power windows/locks, remote keyless entry, AC, cruise control...the usual stuff.
Nice to Have Options: Keyless ignition, bluetooth, 2 12V outlets accessible from the front seat

I really like the Jetta TDI wagon, but those are hard to come by in my price range without going over 60,000 miles.
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Old 11-11-2012, 12:45 PM   #2
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2012 Chevy Impala. Even the base model has alloy wheels and a 300 HP engine! On paper, highway 30 MPG. Great highway cruiser, very roomy for a tall guy like you.

You're driving 45,000 miles a year, and depreciation is going to hit you bad, so I think you should avoid a car that would otherwise not depreciate as fast. Not a factor with the Impala
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Old 11-11-2012, 12:58 PM   #3
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Jesus, 45k miles annually?

This isn't even a hard choice, Prius or Jetta TDI.
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Old 11-11-2012, 01:02 PM   #4
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If you find a dealer with 2012 stock left, you could probably get a new Mazda 3i GT sedan for $20k (Truecar is showing $19,962). It would have everything you want except keyless ignition and Sirius/XM ($400 option). Assuming you fit in it, 40 MPG highway is the best you're going to do outside of a diesel. You probably don't want one from 2011 or earlier because the pre-SkyActiv models get pretty bad mileage.

A used Golf TDI would probably work too, but I don't know how the pricing runs on those.

Last edited by A5; 11-11-2012 at 01:18 PM.
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Old 11-11-2012, 01:18 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mermaidman View Post
2012 Chevy Impala. Even the base model has alloy wheels and a 300 HP engine! On paper, highway 30 MPG. Great highway cruiser, very roomy for a tall guy like you.

You're driving 45,000 miles a year, and depreciation is going to hit you bad, so I think you should avoid a car that would otherwise not depreciate as fast. Not a factor with the Impala
Worst. Car. Advice. Ever.

Also not sure if serious. Haven't you driven the Chevrolet Rentalcar?
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Old 11-11-2012, 01:29 PM   #6
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2013 Honda Civic
or
2013 Nissan Altima
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Old 11-11-2012, 01:47 PM   #7
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Get a cheap anemic hybrid or diesel for your needs. You sound like you need something that isn't going to break the bank on fuel, and those are your best bet. Small, weak, boring, but it's what you need.
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Old 11-11-2012, 02:36 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Arkaign View Post
This isn't even a hard choice, Prius or Jetta TDI.
Easy choice - Used Prius or VW TDI (Golf, Jetta, Passat)

I'd go TDI over Prius, at 45K miles a year the batteries in the Prius could become a serious issue. Plus the TDI excels at freeway cruising while the Prius gets better mpg in city routes.
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Old 11-11-2012, 03:00 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Fmr12B View Post
Easy choice - Used Prius or VW TDI (Golf, Jetta, Passat)

I'd go TDI over Prius, at 45K miles a year the batteries in the Prius could become a serious issue. Plus the TDI excels at freeway cruising while the Prius gets better mpg in city routes.
Prius battery life is a non issue, proven by many of them that are quite old.

Op get a Prius!
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Old 11-11-2012, 04:13 PM   #10
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I can't find gently used Jetta TDIs for my price range, otherwise I would be all over that. Also, I don't fit in the Golf. My old Cavalier felt like it had more room around my knees. I think the center console sort of juts out into the driver's side a bit.

I will check out the Civics to see what they run but I would be surprised if I could afford a 2013.

How about smaller cars from the Big 5? Any of those worth investigating?

EDIT:
Yup, new Civic is off the list. The lowest trim package that offers leather is going to run me right around $20k before taxes and fees.

Last edited by ElMonoDelMar; 11-11-2012 at 04:18 PM.
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Old 11-11-2012, 04:34 PM   #11
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Since you get paid for mileage you will become dollars ahead if you spend a bit more for a TDI.

http://cgi.ebay.com/ebaymotors/VW-JE...item43b5a5495c

VW uses a "faux" leather - same as BMW & MBZ. Base cars do not come with leather but there "faux" leather.
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Old 11-11-2012, 04:36 PM   #12
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Prius C.
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Old 11-11-2012, 04:42 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Fmr12B View Post
Since you get paid for mileage you will become dollars ahead if you spend a bit more for a TDI.

http://cgi.ebay.com/ebaymotors/VW-JE...item43b5a5495c

VW uses a "faux" leather - same as BMW & MBZ. Base cars do not come with leather but there "faux" leather.
Faux leather is fine. I just don't like cloth because it tends to pick up smells and stains.
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Old 11-11-2012, 09:35 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by phucheneh View Post
Worst. Car. Advice. Ever.

Also not sure if serious. Haven't you driven the Chevrolet Rentalcar?
Many times! I speak from experience. You cannot argue that it does not fit the OP's criteria.
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Old 11-11-2012, 09:40 PM   #15
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Quote:
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Many times! I speak from experience. You cannot argue that it does not fit the OP's criteria.
Oh hell yeah! The Impala is one of the best cars ever made! I drove an Audi S5 the other day for a few hours, and it was a pathetic experience after already having driven the current-gen Impala! It really does make you think that every car should be FWD, it's that good! Also I bet if you drove it correctly, you could get 45-50MPG! But it's hard to do that, the engine and transmission and suspension are so good, I constantly race when I drive an Impala! I don't know what the car mags are thinking, but I think they handle at least as good as the Z06 Vette does!

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Old 11-11-2012, 11:12 PM   #16
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60k miles is barely anything on a gas engine. 60k miles on a diesel might as well be brand new.
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Old 11-11-2012, 11:21 PM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mermaidman View Post
2012 Chevy Impala. Even the base model has alloy wheels and a 300 HP engine! On paper, highway 30 MPG. Great highway cruiser, very roomy for a tall guy like you.

You're driving 45,000 miles a year, and depreciation is going to hit you bad, so I think you should avoid a car that would otherwise not depreciate as fast. Not a factor with the Impala
GAWD! Not the Impala. The Merc dealer was out of loaners so I got one of the "nicer" Impala's. What a fuckin piece of shit that car was. My Merc with almost 100k, not only was WAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAY faster, it handled better, was quieter and even had more creature comforts. What a hunk of shit that Impala was. I'd never recommend it to anyone.
Quote:
Originally Posted by phucheneh View Post
Worst. Car. Advice. Ever.

Also not sure if serious. Haven't you driven the Chevrolet Rentalcar?
Pretty much. Chevy's make really bad cars IMO.
Quote:
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Jesus, 45k miles annually?

This isn't even a hard choice, Prius or Jetta TDI.
^this.
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Old 11-11-2012, 11:25 PM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mermaidman View Post
2012 Chevy Impala. Even the base model has alloy wheels and a 300 HP engine! On paper, highway 30 MPG. Great highway cruiser, very roomy for a tall guy like you.

You're driving 45,000 miles a year, and depreciation is going to hit you bad, so I think you should avoid a car that would otherwise not depreciate as fast. Not a factor with the Impala
The 2012 Impala I rented did in fact go like stink and do 30+ on the highway. Beyond that, it's the most terrible car I have driven in the last decade. The good news, they're cheap as a new model is coming. The bad news, the car is terrible.
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Old 11-11-2012, 11:28 PM   #19
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Fully loaded 2012 with 12K miles, $19,000. Not a bad deal and it will probably run forever, if you can get past how bad it is. Probably a smart buy.

http://cgi.ebay.com/ebaymotors/10K-p...item589817f0bf
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Old 11-11-2012, 11:43 PM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by OmegaSupreme View Post
[me saying Impalas are awful]

Pretty much. Chevy's make really bad cars IMO.
It's not all Chevy or GM vehicles. Not that I'm much of a fan.

But the Impala is truly terrible in a way than can hardly be conceived. Utterly dead steering, a hard brake pedal with no feel, and a similarly oversprung gas pedal with programming that would make those who complain about TBW piss their pants with glee.

The thing is a complete paradox. All the driver inputs are heavy and tiresome yet imprecise and unpredictable.

I rank the Aveo and Cobalt above the Impala. At least I feel in control of them when I'm driving.
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Old 11-11-2012, 11:46 PM   #21
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The Malibu is simply an outstanding car by any measurement and anyone who has driven one knows that, I've had a bunch of Malibu rentals, they're great. How can the same company make a turd like the Impala? Hard to understand indeed.
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Old 11-11-2012, 11:57 PM   #22
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I didn't exactly think the Malibu was great. But lightyears ahead of the Impala...basically, it's like someone cornered some engineers, gave them the Impala, and said 'make this not drive like shit.'

'...and also, make the interior look less like something someone would die of natural causes in.'
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Old 11-12-2012, 06:14 AM   #23
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So give the Malibu a shot or no?
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Old 11-12-2012, 06:42 AM   #24
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Malibu is alright... The first couple model years of the latest body style were pretty terrible but I don't see them breaking too much lately. Its a decent looking car until you spend more than 10 minutes in it and realize everything is still that GM cheap-shit horrible fitting plastic just prettied up some. From my experience they don't exactly get that great of mileage either. The good thing is they still have horrible, horrible resale value so you can get a hell of a deal if you look right.

I would try something like this:

http://cgi.ebay.com/ebaymotors/Sedan...item257729139b

or even better this

http://cgi.ebay.com/ebaymotors/2012-...item43b5978aab
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Old 11-12-2012, 07:19 AM   #25
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I will go test out a focus today to make sure I fit. I do like the look of them. A Fusion would be nice if I could find a gently used one in my price range near Central IL.
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