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ArmyofOne

Wife Wants A Car...

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I am on a budget. not more than $7000. I am paying cash. The following are the requirements:

-Auto Trans

-Smaller car (not nessecarily subcompact, but doesnt want anything bigger than say, a 8th gen civic.)

-good fuel economy (at least 28 hwy)

-Sun/moonroof preferred but not required

-must have 4 doors

-2002 and newer

-100,000 miles or less is preferable, but not a deal killer.

-power windows and locks are a MUST.

-cruise control/A/C are also must haves.

-Import is preferable.

-no silver, white or gold cars please.

Some of the cars we have been looking at include Kia's/Hyundai's and a few Mazda 3's.

I did find this 2006 Kia Spectra SX in excellent shape.

What are your thoughts?

She said she would love to have another 8th gen (2006+) civic, but we cant find a 06+ sedan in decent shape for our price range. We did find one, but it had 145,000 on it and looked beat to hell. and they were still asking $8900. It was an LX. She would prefer an EX, but would make do with the LX as long as it was auto, power windows, power locks and cruise.

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Army, I'd take a seriously look at Nissan, especially the 02-03' Maxima series, the last of that design "you know how the last model years usually are the best of the series". Granted, they're not "smaller", but you do get a lot of car for the money. I see 03's here with about 80k miles for asking prices of around $9k, fully loaded with leather, heated seats, Bose in-dash 6 disc changer, etc.. All the bells and whistles. I would easily say the Nissan V6 engine is one of the best ever made. I've had two Nissans, one a 92' Sentra SE-R, and my 01' Maxima SE. I loved them both! And had I not stumbled upon my GS I currently have, I would have bought an 03'. Actually, I was seriously considering the Infiniti verson "I35". I think those two model years are the best looking, best designed, and overall best Maxima's ever built! My old boss at the credit union I use to work at, has two of them. He use to be a Volvo guy, but bought a 97 Maxima new, then a 01' like my old one. He drives them both, think he has close to 400k on the 97'. Very hard to argue against Nissan, especially given your budget and the depreciation hits they seem to suffer from.

I suggest the 02-03 due to the new 3.5 engine, with 260hp. Not that your wife needs to hit 60mph in 6 seconds, but it sure does come in handy when you've got to either "go" or get run over. They do pretty decent on mpg's too. Not a 4 banger, but pretty good. But don't get me wrong, the 3.0 engine in the 00-01 series is no slouch, with 220 HP. I thuroughly enjoyed mine. Use to drive it back and from from B'ham, AL to Wilmington, NC all the time, and never had a single problem with comfort or joy of the drive.

In your neck of the woods, I would steer clear of the Mazda 3's, and if you were to buy one, only buy the one with the 2.3 engine, not the 2.0. Plus, only go for 07'+ models, as there were significant issues with weak a/c units. Plus, there are issues with a motor mount constantly breaking around 30k miles. But the main reason I suggest steering clear of them is the thin sheet metal. In a northern environment, road salt can eat the car alive. There are quite a few documented cases on the Mazda 3 forum of this, around the fender flares, around the gas cap, and all over the back trunk "sedans". Plus, they're great on blacktop, but noisy as hell on concrete. Very little noise insulation. Great fun cars in the right environment, but not so much in others. I LOVED our white 07GT sedan, in NC on those back roads I use to take to my old office. Hated it here in Chitcago.

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$7K huh? Man, the IS300 is just out of reach for that price. But you might want to take a serious look at one of those. They really are a great car! But for under $7k, I would look at the Mazda Protege 5, (which became the Mazda 3), great car! I also see Acura 3.2 TL's alot in that price range. While I'm not a big Mitsubishi fan, the Mitsu Lancer for the years 2002-2005 are a nice looking car and have held up very well. But my reccomendation is.......get a Subaru Impreza. All wheel drive, four doors, plenty of power and then some, great motor, so long as no one has tinkered with it, they are very reliable. I see these selling for between 5-7k all the time now for model years 2002-2004, also depending on mileage and condition. About $6k will get you a nicley equipped Impreza with under 100,000 miles and in good condition.

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I looked at those TL's as well, and nobody can really argue against Honda's reputation for reliablity, I am somewhat suspect of their transmissions. Granted, a Honda is like the Terminator, it's last piece remaining will most likely work and get you home. I've read some reviews of the TL's having rattle problems, harsh rides, and some of them having some funky eletronic querks. That's what steered me away from them.

My dad use to have a 92' Mitsubishi Diamante', and it was freakin' wonderful! However, you've got to admit that we've all seen our fair share of blue smoke pouring out of a Mitsubishi's tail pipe at the stop lights. I don't know if they have piston ring problems or what, but they have something funky going on. I've know two people who owned the Rodeo series, both had blown engines within 60k miles. One had a timing belt snap, and the other had some massive meltdown inside the engine.

Can't argue against the Subaru! I've had one (99' Outback), and loved it! Most underrated car maker out there if you ask me. I'd be willing to bet a Subaru could get through the same amount of snow that my 4runner can, if not more. Those boxer engines are legendary for lasting. I believe it's because the pistons are horizontal, and are always sitting in oil, so at no point in time are they ever dry, especially on that initial crank on those cold mornings. I have heard some comments about the turbos going out every now and then, and that the added HP puts a lot of stress on the suspension components when you hotdog it too much. But some folks think the family Legecy is the ralley car, and treat it as such. I know my Outback would grip the road like Celion Dion to the Devil's !Removed!!

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My wife and I had a long talk about it. As much as she wants a Mazda 3, its hard to argue the reliability of a toyota and, in particular, Lexus.

As of right now the plan is, Hold off for a year, find either a Left-Over new 2010 ISx50, or a CPO and Put $10,000 down. Putting 10k down and financing for 60 months, our payment and our term will both be reasonable. Cant beat that warranty either. We want this next purchase to be good for 15-20 years, and in my mind, there is no better brand than Lexus.

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Army, if your thinking that long of ownership on a car, then you might want to think a little bigger then an IS....you know, for baby seats, Elmo walkers, strollers, etc.... You'd be amazed at how much stuff these little critters have to travel with!!!

At the end of the day though, cars in general have taken leaps and bounds forward over the past 10 years, including the germans. Granted Toyota is still the king of long term reliability, the others aren't exactly "pintos" anymore either.

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Unfortunately...the children thing is not an issue for us...if you follow me. It was a dissapointment to both of us to learn of her issues, but we are greatful for each other and the fact that we can adopt.

That said, im sure 1 car seat in an IS works just fine...and unforuntately (other than the ES, which I dont really care for. The ES330 was the last one I would consider, but I have issues financing cars that old and there arent any in my price range yet) there are no other Lexus sedans within reach that will meet my criteria. The 2IS is just about perfect. LS400's are getting too old now to expect to own for any real length of time, a 2GS is in the same boat. LS430's are still too expensive for me to pay cash, and again, i dont like financing anything older than 2-3years old.

The LS460...well that speaks for itself. Niether of us care for SUV's so that puts a 2RX out of the running.

Yet another option we talked about was putting the (paid for) Civic in with the down payment, and keeping 3000 or so to get something else. this is an option, but not one we are likely to take. We are better off keeping the Civic I think.

I really like the fact that a 2007 IS350 can be had for under $30,000 with low mileage. That beats $47,000 new for sure!

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NC you took the words right out of my mouth ;)

Army.. do look into Nissan!! ... I guess there's no more for me to say since it's already been said perfectly! :D

(except the 02-03 Maxima's 3.5L has 255hp) :D hahaha

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