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advice and anecdotes sought // request - Lograh — LiveJournal

Sunday, 31.Jul.2005

19:15 - advice and anecdotes sought // request

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Have good memories of a particular type of car? Bad ruminations of another model? Know about a specific make or model of car that stands out from the rest in either a bad or a good way?

I'm looking to purchase a vehicle within two weeks or so, and am in the last stages of research and data gathering. Now's when I want to hear from people the "oh, get this!" or "definately avoid that" kind of opinions. To help narrow the focus I'm aiming for something from the 13-21k range. new or used isn't a significant driving factor (though it is being considered). Reliability is king, with "nift" being a comfortable second. Fuel economy is being given heavy consideration.

In other words, I don't care how good a Lexus is supposed to be, it doesn't fit the price range. SUV's are not being considered as I do not find them in any way nift and they get shitty mileage. Domestic cars have a huge black mark against them reliability-wise, but if you know of some gems that avoid this fate I'd like to hear of them.

Additionally, if you know anything at all about the following I'd appreciate those words:
Jetta
Civic (hybrid or normal)
Corolla
Camry
Accent
Elantra

if you think I left some models out that fit the types of cars on that list, also let me know. I'm sure I likely overlooked quite a few.

Comments:

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From:lograh
Date:3:45 01.Aug.2005 (UTC)
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hrmm.. thanks for your thoughts. I've heard Civics haven't changed their reliability and are just as good as they were in the 90s.
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From:vampyrecat
Date:3:10 01.Aug.2005 (UTC)
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Jetta good: engine, dependable, punchy, handles great, fun, loveable car.

Jetta bad: every jetta seems to 1. Leak water into the body and trunk 2. plastic all falls off 3. electric system is crappy, dash lights don't work, etc.

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From:lograh
Date:3:45 01.Aug.2005 (UTC)
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hrmmm.. those bad are quite bad.. have to keep this in mind.. thanks!
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From:mslulu
Date:3:22 01.Aug.2005 (UTC)
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I have absolutely no complaints on the Elantra. I love it, and will most likely buy Hyundai again. Oh, well, there's one odd thing about this car. The '03 model makes a strange whistle sometimes when the wind catches it just right. A weird body design issue that may or may not be on other year models, and not a complaint, just an observation.

I suspect the Accent is right up there with the Elantra except with lower safety rating just due to size.

My sis had a Corolla, again with much love. These cars have a great reputation and are very reliable.

I always hear good things about Civics, and have known people who have loved them, but every time we've had one in our family, it's been nothing but trouble, so I have a little difficulty reconciling the reputation with personal experience.
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From:lograh
Date:3:47 01.Aug.2005 (UTC)
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you're the first I've heard from who has first-hand bad experiance with the civics. I'll keep this in mind, though. thanks.
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From:mslulu
Date:5:00 01.Aug.2005 (UTC)
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As far as I know, I'm the only person in the world with first hand bad Civic experience. Maybe there's some sort of weird anti-Honda energy in my family's genetic makeup.
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From:mslulu
Date:3:24 01.Aug.2005 (UTC)
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Oh, and if you're looking at Hyundai, you may as well look at Kia too. Pretty much the same car, but the Kia is lower priced and comes with less standard plushness.

My Festiva was actually a Kia, and well, I loved that car with a rather unnatural devotion. Never broke down on me in 160,000 miles.
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From:lograh
Date:3:47 01.Aug.2005 (UTC)
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ah, yes. Kia. I had forgotten about them. thanks for the reminder!
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From:erisian_fields
Date:4:15 01.Aug.2005 (UTC)
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It's not one of the ones you listed, but I loved my Pontiac Sunfire while I had it (the ex wrecked it like so many other things). It got reasonable gas mileage and I never had any trouble with it until I plain drove the transmission out of it. Got that replaced and never had any more trouble with it until it got totaled.

The main reason I fell in love with it was because it was COMFORTABLE. When I did drive, it was usually for a long distance, so comfy seats were important. The Sunfire fit me just right.
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From:lograh
Date:13:13 01.Aug.2005 (UTC)
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hrmm.. I'm really hesitant to go domestic, but I'll keep this in mind, thanks.
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From:spasmsproject
Date:9:55 01.Aug.2005 (UTC)
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Civic normal is an excellent car. The hybrid has acceleration problems and a tendency not to start.

I notice you don't have any American cars on your list... May I be so bold as to suggest the new Chevy Cobalt or a slightly used (2002-04) Pontiac Grand Prix? Great mileage, extremely dependable, high nift factor.
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From:lograh
Date:13:12 01.Aug.2005 (UTC)
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I tend not to like the domestic cars as they have traditionally fallen short in the reliability area, from what I've seen. I'll certainly keep your suggestions in mind though.

Sadly, a hybrid car is almost expected to have acceleration problems. A tendency not to start, however, is another matter entirely. thanks for the warning.
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From:pleckos
Date:13:09 01.Aug.2005 (UTC)
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i'm really impressed with stinkerpants's Mazday Protege5 (which is now the Mazda3). decent gas mileage, great trunk space, sporty handling. good luck!
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From:lograh
Date:13:13 01.Aug.2005 (UTC)
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ah, mazda.. I had overlooked them. thanks for jogging my head.
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From:cheshire_monkey
Date:15:13 01.Aug.2005 (UTC)

My 2 cents..

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I have to say...I love my Jetta. I've had some problems lately but I chalk that up to my inability to effectively maintain cars rather than the vehicle itself. However, it has been very reliable and the nift factor is high. A word of caution...repairs on the Jetta can be quite costly (when compared to other cars on your list). While I love my jetta, I think I would recommend a Honda or Toyota over a Volkswagen. =(

I used to have a Prelude that I LOVED (and subsequently drove into the ground). It took me a long time to destroy my Honda via neglect so I'm a big proponent of any Honda. While it wasn't a Civic, I have two friends who have Civics and LOVE them. They have had NO problems in the six years they have owned them.

My boyfriend just bought a Toyota certified Corolla last year. It's an EXCELLENT vehicle and it gets REALLY good gas mileage. Granted, it's only been about a year but we are really happy with it. He needed something to go back and forth to Davis everyday without 1) having to worry about reliability; and 2) spending a fortune on gas. The Corolla seemed to be the most logical choice. Highly recommended!
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From:lograh
Date:15:36 01.Aug.2005 (UTC)

Re: My 2 cents..

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hrmm.. okay, thanks for the thoughts. Particularly the first-hand comparison of the Jetta vs. honda/toyota cars -- not many people offer such. Can you give some more detail about the type of problems you've had with the jetta?

And yes, the Jetta is a very nifty car indeed. It really pulls to me.
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From:cheshire_monkey
Date:17:26 01.Aug.2005 (UTC)

Re: My 2 cents..

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One of the other comments already mentioned the water problem...leaking, that is. I believe it is my sunroof that has failed to close properly and when raining or washing, a steady stream of water falls into the backseat. I think it is my lack of luck with sunroofs, though. I'm sure I can take it somewhere to be put back on track but...well, I'm lazy.

My last serious problem was when a hose corroded. I was leaking oil like a mad fiend and was lucky to make it back to the mechanics. Turns out that some of the VW hoses are so known for going out that the dealers keep plenty replacements in stock. Right now, it's making some weird sound that I can't quite place and can't afford to have looked at. Of course, keep in mind that my car has 155K miles on it so it has had a good run.

If you know how to drive a manual transmission, you are more than welcome to go for a test drive. Granted, since my car is somewhat older ('94), it may not be the best example for you. But, the offer still stands.
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From:lograh
Date:17:31 01.Aug.2005 (UTC)

Re: My 2 cents..

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hrmm... yes, you did mention the leakage earlier.. so at about 155k miles, the environmental seals start to go out. I wouldn't exactly fault the car for that, it's old enough that things like that are expected. Thanks for the offer of the test drive, but I don't think that'll be needed. I've driven a Jetta before and am familiar with how much fun it is.
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From:cheshire_monkey
Date:20:35 01.Aug.2005 (UTC)

Re: My 2 cents..

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You'll have to fill me in on your desire to now purchase a vehicle. Interesting....

=D
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From:lograh
Date:21:38 01.Aug.2005 (UTC)

Re: My 2 cents..

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simple. My credit is quite the shitty, and one good way to improve it is to get a car with a nice fat auto loan, and make all the payments on time and pay it off a little early. The end result will be a shiney happy credit rating and me being better positioned to do the house-buying thing a few years from now.

Also, it will offer me much more in the way of bike riding options and also will enable me to further explore my photography. But the main reason is the credit rating crap.
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From:cheshire_monkey
Date:23:03 01.Aug.2005 (UTC)

Re: My 2 cents..

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Credit ratings STINK! Just when I think I'm pulling myself up, something needs to be charged and lowers my score. SOMEDAY I'll be debt free.

Makes sense...I just have visions of you pointing and laughing at the line of cars waiting in the hot sun to get out of this place - although I imagine you will still take public transportation/bicycle to work.

N. Gaiman is coming to San Francisco in September - ROAD TRIP! =D
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From:lograh
Date:23:30 01.Aug.2005 (UTC)

Re: My 2 cents..

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Ah yes, I do in fact still plan on pointing and laughing at all the cars trying to leave/enter this place. I'm expecting to drive this car only on roadtrips. I'll still take my feet/bicycle/RT to work, local shows, store, etc...
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From:lograh
Date:15:32 01.Aug.2005 (UTC)
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so avoid domestic, but *really* avoid GM. Got it. heh.. thanks.
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From:cncrt_brunette
Date:19:31 01.Aug.2005 (UTC)
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You may also want to look into buying a used car too. Especially if your considering buying a house next.
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From:lograh
Date:21:18 01.Aug.2005 (UTC)
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am considering it. the house isn't for a good year or so yet, and I don't particularly want to save a lot of money on the car. I put a minimum of 13k on the price range intentionally. and there are quite a few new cars that do fit in my price range just fine.
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From:ktbee
Date:22:19 01.Aug.2005 (UTC)
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My nifty Jetta with just under 25,000 miles on it has had:

  • one broken thing which monitors the thing which monitors the engine temperature.
  • one recent broken catalytic converter

  • a recall on the back door locks--not really an issue

  • two rear-ends on the freeway by a pickup truck thus breaking the trunk--although I do say the car holds up well under two freeway rear-ends. After talking with various auto body specialists, apparently my trunk lid keeps sliding up along the back rear window instead of slamming into it and breaking it. That back window is a trooper (which I can't really say about the front window). Granted the rear-ends are not the fault of VW, but, honestly, I think the car has become cursed.


Overall, I regret buying my car new and should have stuck with an older model although I have heard earlier Jettas (around 2000, 2001) were fraught with problems.

Just my $0.02.
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From:lograh
Date:23:43 01.Aug.2005 (UTC)
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wow, that sucks. I mean, it's a new enough car that it should all be under warranty, but the trouble of having to take it in to get it repaired is something that would be better not having to be dealt with in the first place. Damn, I'm sorry to hear you've had such problems.

thanks for your input, I'm glad to hear it.
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