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Discussion Starter #1
Well i wrecked my car this weekend and to make the story short: it was rush hour Houston traffic, driving against the sun, momentary glare, braked too late and rear ended a PT Cruiser (please dont ask for pictures). It was my fault but luckily no one was hurt and i have full coverage insurance. Anyways total damage was estimated at ~$6K and my car is a 2000 Toyota Celica w/ 130K so, its up to the second adjuster to total the car. So, i might be in the market for a new car and seeing if i can get some opinions to rule out or brings some cars to the top of the list.

Budget is ~$20K for a NEW 4-door sedan (manual to keep price down). Honestly want to stay away from American cars, not that i dont like them im just not a fan (please dont debate about this in the thread, its personal preference choice). Reliability and ease of maintenance are huge concerns of mine because i plan to keep this car for a long time. Keep in mind that the cars will be priced out with or without options for around $20K ;)

My short list consists of:

Honda Accord
Honda Civic
Mazda 3
Mazda 6
Nissan Altima
Mitsubishi Lancer
Toyota Camry
Volkswagen Jetta

I guess im just looking for opinions and insight regarding these cars and their performance as fit & finish are personal preference of course Feel free to offer other options as long as they fit the criteria and you would chose it :) Thanks ahead for the help in making narrowing my choices down
 

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I'm glad that you're okay?? I know that can be.

If you want my vote, I would look into the Mazda 6. They are offering some DEEP discounts on them right now and some nice rebates direct from Mazda.

Easy car to work on SQ wise. 5x7" in the front doors, deep, factory 9" opening on the rear deck for the Blowz Sub.

Plus, you can get a Mazda 6 "S" model with the V6 and manual for a very nice price right now. They are not selling. I'd say around 21K out the door for a sticker price of 27-28K loaded out.

Altima is night and day SE V6 vs. 4cyl. Plus the SE with the one option package with everying is like 4K-sticker close to 30K Way over price.


No real discounts on Hondas right now, but you couldn't go wrong with either one..Civic EX or Accord EX-

Camry is kinda boring vanilla- rental car like..no real sport to it for your price range

VW.....Jetta with the turbo 4 is real nice, but over your budget. The other models with the 5cyl are a little gruff and slow.

Mazda 3 is nice..discounts on them as well. Mazda 3 with the 5 door is nice and fits under your 20K budget.
 

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Honda Accord: very nice car, new model year.
Honda Civic: smaller, nice, 2-3 year old model.
Mazda 3: Had one of this. Nice car, eacy to work, a bit small.
Mazda 6: Big discount because the model is about to change.
Nissan Altima: New model, easy to work with, very nice acoustics.
Mitsubishi Lancer: No idea
Toyota Camry: My dad has one. Dead quiet, no need for deadening, the biggest one.
Volkswagen Jetta: all VW's seem to work great for a year or two, after that total nightmare.

If it were me the top 2 would be the Camry and the Altima, with the Altima taking first place, just by a nose.
 

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ill never own a manual car again if i can help it,

auto tranny ftmfw.

if you cant find an auto whip for $20k there's something wrong.

after that any jap car, even vws are questionable now imo.

pick something boring to look at so thieves wont notice it and jack your bump.

bling = stolen.

who needs it?

id prolly look for something with 11,000 miles on it to save another $6k ;)

6k buys lot of audio and a holiday and some booty.:cool:

new cars lose 15% as soon as your off the lot.

drive out in a 20k car, round the block back to dealership and only be able to sell it for 16k?,

1 block?
 

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Honda Accord: very nice car, new model year.
Honda Civic: smaller, nice, 2-3 year old model.
Mazda 3: Had one of this. Nice car, eacy to work, a bit small.
Mazda 6: Big discount because the model is about to change.
Nissan Altima: New model, easy to work with, very nice acoustics.
Mitsubishi Lancer: No idea
Toyota Camry: My dad has one. Dead quiet, no need for deadening, the biggest one.
Volkswagen Jetta: all VW's seem to work great for a year or two, after that total nightmare.

If it were me the top 2 would be the Camry and the Altima, with the Altima taking first place, just by a nose.
thats what id also look for, dead quiet at 70 mph.

never need to deaden ;)
 

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Getting into a Jetta for $20K is easy, they start at $17K. Even the Base S s going to come with more standard features than pretty much everything on your list. To get the 2.0T you have to get a GLI which is well out of your budget unless you go used.

The 2.5l motor is about as problem free as it gets and despite the naysayers, VWs can be very reliable IF you keep up with the maintenance. It's not an appliance like most Japanese cars. There is a level of owner involvement that must be remembered. If you are prepared for that VW ownership is very rewarding.

Also, N-O-T-H-I-N-G on your list has the fit and finish of ANY VW in production, period. You'd have to go back to a 94-early 99 and then VW might still have the edge. Some can knock their reliability (Not me, all 5 of mine have been problem free) but you can't beat the fit and finish. Also, they're quieter and will have less panel rattle and NHV. A liitle more difficult to take apart and reassemble, but once you learn the quirks it's not bad at all.

My 07 Civic was loud, didn't rattle TOO much, but the thing I hated the most was how easily everything scratched. An installers nightmare. It did however come apart VERY easily.
 

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Getting into a Jetta for $20K is easy, they start at $17K. Even the Base S s going to come with more standard features than pretty much everything on your list. To get the 2.0T you have to get a GLI which is well out of your budget unless you go used.

The 2.5l motor is about as problem free as it gets and despite the naysayers, VWs can be very reliable IF you keep up with the maintenance. It's not an appliance like most Japanese cars. There is a level of owner involvement that must be remembered. If you are prepared for that VW ownership is very rewarding.

Also, N-O-T-H-I-N-G on your list has the fit and finish of ANY VW in production, period. You'd have to go back to a 94-early 99 and then VW might still have the edge. Some can knock their reliability (Not me, all 5 of mine have been problem free) but you can't beat the fit and finish. Also, they're quieter and will have less panel rattle and NHV. A liitle more difficult to take apart and reassemble, but once you learn the quirks it's not bad at all.

My 07 Civic was loud, didn't rattle TOO much, but the thing I hated the most was how easily everything scratched. An installers nightmare. It did however come apart VERY easily.
Uh, no. Sorry dude, but my 97 maxima is 10 times the car that my g/f's 2000 Jetta VR6 is. My Max is a an SE, w/ manual tranny and cloth interior and 175k+ miles; her Jetta is loaded w/ auto, leather, heated seats, the v6 and only 75k miles and my car is STILL quieter, more refined, and requires less maintenance w/ well over twice the mileage as the V-dub. The leather in the Jetta looks cheap, the dash is made from some hard-foam like material that I flex with my hand, and there are more little problems with it than I have ever had from my 11 year old Nissan.

A new Altima would out-class a new Jetta in EVERY single aspect you could possibly judge the 2 cars in.

I would disagree having owned 5 personally and had another 5 in the family. It's ALL about taking care of it.
That's the point - you have to keep up with it to make it last. Any idiot can own a Nissan and it will live for over 100k miles without issue. Browse the Maxima.org forums and see how many guys on there have Max's with over 300-400k miles on them and still run fine. Now go to the VWvortex.com forums and see how many are doing that, you won't find any. They won't make it to 100k without problems...

EDIT: I forgot to mention that the VW is going to cost more to maintain than the others. The Mazda's I'm not sure about, but they have never been known for their long-term reliability and I'm sure about maintainance cost for them. I wouldn't even look at the Toyota; they're quality cars don't get me wrong, but they jsut have no sport/class/appeal to me whatsoever. They are more of the Jap version of a Crown Vic...

-Matt
 

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I would disagree having owned 5 personally and had another 5 in the family. It's ALL about taking care of it.
I've only had 2 VW products, a 2001 Jetta and a 2006 Seat Ibiza.
Both worked great, and I loved how they feel. The fit and finish is also above average.
The Jetta has 2 years warranty in Mexico. When I had 2 years and 2 months with it the a/c compressor died on me.
The Ibiza has only 1 year warranty. At 1 year 2 months, the dash looked like a christmas tree. To make a long story short, the cars main computer died, and it was $1800 dlls to fix. I had a "nice" talk with the manager and he fixed for free.
Both cars had regular mantainance with closer intervals than recommended by VW.
I loved both cars, but I was afraid to go out of town with them.
 

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I know you can pick up an Altima 2.5S with a 6-speed for under 20k.

Personally, I'd go used. As soon as we sell the wife's car, she is going to take my Altima, and I'm getting a used Subaru Legacy Wagon. Lots of modding potential, tons of room, very quick (low 14s in quarter) stock, and comfy.

Shit, I just looked up a new civic lx, with manual trans, 140hp engine, upgraded wheels, with some nice stuff for options, and it was 19,500msrp, with 30 city/40 highway. Nice looking car!

If you can swing the extra few bucks, look up the mazdaspeed 3. They msrp at 24k without the added options. I also remember about a year ago looking at lease prices on a Mazdaspeed 6, and they were practically giving them away at $300/month on a 0 down 39month lease.

And now I just looked at the Nissan site and they increased the price of the 2.5S to 20k starting. Still a good deal. Huge interior, 4-cyl is peppy.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
Thanks for the comments guys :) I know the benifets of buying used, but that not the route for me and neither is leasing. Like i said buying use/lease and buying american cars is not up for debate, personal reasons. Im keeping this car for the long run...Im not looking into really "modding" the car because i have been through that phase, just want a clean looking, comfortable daily driver....

Than being said I maintained my car very well and cant really had any problems. I know that one thing that will determine the life of the vehicle. The only problem was adding an intake and exhaust, things i wish i didnt do.

I like the little quirks not known about such as the comments made on the Volkswagon. Please keep the opinions coming...
 

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4 door, 4 cylinder, Accord LX-P.
4 cylinder Camry LE
:eek: No 4cyl. cars - they are slow as balls. Gotta have a v6:D

EDIT: You may not be looking for speed, but in my experience, the 4 cylinder engines are usually less refined and reliable then the 6 cylinder engines of the same make. At least for Nissan and VW, Mazda as well I believe.

-Matt
 

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Discussion Starter #16
4 door, 4 cylinder, Accord LX-P.
4 cylinder Camry LE
Those were honestly my first choices, but just seeing what others though about other options. I know a test drive will quickly eliminate choices, this is just a little pre-buying survey and opinion thread :)
 

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If you can stand the stigma of driving a Kia, the Optima would be my choice over the Camry, Jetta, 6 and perhaps the Altima. Honestly, Kia has turned out some real turds in the pre Hyundai buyout, but the Optima is really a tough piece of work.

Main reasons the Op get's my vote: The interior makes the Camry, Altima and 6 seem like a last gen Stratus in tactile quality. Jetta is arguably better now, but in three years all the pretty low gloss painted plastics gain a lustre that gives the interior more of an "experienced" look. That's if it doesn't wear or chip off altogether. Altima, meh. Looks good drifting in the commercials, but drives just ok and the interior is decidedly low rent. Mazda 6 is on "fire sale" for a reason, the next one looks badass!

The Op can also be found pretty easily in a 5 speed transmission and they have tasty rebates/financiang offers right now. The GEMA 4 cylinder engine is a real smoothie and it's use beyond Hyundai/Kia will insure good parts availability if you drive it past the 100k warranty.

Camry is the LeSabre of the new millenium, don't ya know! :D
 

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are you a tall person-i.e around 6ft? If so I'd recommend the mazda6 over the 3. BOth are good cars, my fiance owns the 3, I own a 6. If you have never driven a 6, you will enjoy the comfortable seats, plenty of leg room and excellent handling. I had 60K on my first one with no trouble, the second one is going strong and I'm at 42K.

Downside gas mileage is medicore. it's too bad you can't wait a little bit, the 2009 model as far as looks puts the accord and camry to shame. Other downside, stock radio is not friendly to being removed and replaced with aftermarket.

/personal opinion.
 

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Discussion Starter #19
Thank for the suggestion Kris, but i just dont see myself driving a Kia. I have heard very good things about them and i think they look quite nice actually, but i can get over the name :blush:

Yea i also dont want a car that will be replace in the near future by a new body style...thanks for the insight on the Mazda 3 and 6 :)
 

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If you drive an Altima 2.5S with a 6-speed and don't think its fun to drive, I'd be shocked.
 
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