Help me choose a new car

I need another car soon, and am looking for any and all opinions, including options I’ve not considered.

At first, I was leaning towards these models:

Honda Accord
Toyota Corolla
Nissan Altima
Nissan Maxima
Mazda M-6

I tend to like smaller versus larger vehicles. I like a stiff (sporty) versus soft (luxury) ride. I have a family with two kids, ages 7 & 9 right now, so it’s nice if I can fit them all in the car, but we have a CRV right now that does fine for trips to the beach, etc. With current gas prices I’d prefer something economical, but I don’t mind, sacrificing a couple of miles per gallon for a little extra get up and go.

So, after looking at the first list, I’ve also considered, some more seriously than others, Mazda M-3 or even RX-8, Volvo S-40 or S-60, BMW 3 series, Mini Cooper, Scion tC. I’m probably overlooking something.

Also, I’ll probably be leasing, not buying, so a car that holds it’s value over time is a definite plus.

So, comments on the above? What else should I take into account? What have I missed? Other suggestions?



If you are looking at the V6 versions of those cars you have listed, they list for around $27-30K (I know you’re leasing). For a couple grand more (probably less than $50 a month for a lease), you could be in an Acura TL or a Lexus IS300. The difference between an Accord and an Acura or a Camry and a Lexus is huge, IMO.

Yeah, I’ve actually been a bit underwhelmed by recent Accord styling; the TL looks a lot nicer. However my father has one and I was driving it a bit this week. There seems to be some sort of design flaw with the TL that causes it to ride fairly rough. Acura/Honda doesn’t have a fix for it. Not sure about the Lexus, although I did somewhat check Infiniti. I think they are just a bit higher than I want to go, although I’ll double check that.

My mother just bought a Jaguar X-Series which she loves. Jaguar racing greeeen.

Thanks. My budget doesn’t extend quite that far.

They start in the low 30s. That sounded like a possibility based on the other cars.

I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again:

Buy the “best condition” used BMW you can find. The quality of workmanship and materials are beyond decription in my drunken state. Don’t worry about mileage too much. 75-100k are nothing to a Beemer. They are just getting broken it.

I snagged a 740 for what I would have paid for a Nissan Maxima (also very good, but no BMW) with “realitive high mileage” and it, as well as every other BMW I have driven or worked on (my old man had a few) is the most superior automobile I have ever had the pleasure to drive or wrench on.

You can probably find a late 90’s or early 00’s (is that right?) 5 series or 7 series for 12-17k and have the best automobile you’ll ever own. Four doors, auto or stick (except the 6 series- and they even ‘act’ like a stick), all the safety features, power, leather, comfort blah blah blah

Once you drive one, you’ll never go back.

Wow. That’s just wrong. I meant 7 series.

Anyway, go drive one. You’ll be amazed, one way or another. Simply a better car.

I agree with Beemer over Japanese. If for no other reason than superior rust protection.

I’ve seen a lot more rusty “premium” Japanese stuff than rusty Beemers. I’m talking holes here , not just surface rust.

Interestingly, even though Mercedes is more of a status symbol than Beemer, I’ve seen lots of rotten-looking older Mercedes’.

I live in an area that’ sees lots more ice than snow over the past 20 years and thus has lots of salt dumped on its roads, and most of the much-maligned U.S. brands hold up better than Honda/Acura or Nissan/Infiniti. Corollas seem to rust worse than other Toyotas, maybe because they appeal to young people without garages.

If I had the choice (currently drive company car), I wouldn’t hesitate to go back to a Subaru.

For what you have described, maybe go for the Liberty GT luxury pack (could be called Legacy in US) which will give you more than enough speed, along with awesome build quality and relatively high resale even for Japanese cars.

Just fyi. The Mazda3 and Volvo S-40 have the same basic design and the exact same chassis (Ford owns Mazda and Volvo, at least in part). You’ll save yourself a helluva lot of trouble and maintenance costs if you stay away from Volvo and go with Mazda, if you decide to go that direction. I liked the Mazda6 when I got my 3, but it was too expensive.

The 3 looks small, but the backseat is actually quite roomy, and has a huge trunk. I drive a manual and I get 29-31 mpg highway. It’s got a lot of horsepower and torque (equal to or more than every other car in it’s class that you listed), even with a 4 cyl.

That’s my two cents, anyway.

We (my kids and I) drove the Mazda 3, 6 and RX-8. Kids liked the RX-8 best, but I could see myself getting in some trouble with that much power and while the back seat is fine for them, the trunk is smallish with a high liftover. May be a bit impractical. I liked the 3 a little better than the 6, but I drove a 2.3L 3 and the 6 was also only 2.3L. I’d like to drive a 6 with a 3.0L. The seat on the 6 just felt a little “wrong” for some reason.

I think it’s called a Legacy here. I’ll have to check them out.

We don’t get much snow or ice here. Sea salt can be a problem, but I’m not that close to the coast.

Also, for cash flow reasons I’m probably going to lease for the life of the warranty on whatever vehicle I choose. So I won’t likely have it long enough to get rust. This is also why Gatopescado’s idea, while appealing, probably won’t fly for me.

The later model Hyundai’s have been getting very good reliability ratings. I would love to drive a Sonata, but they don’t come in manual transmissions around here, and I don’t want to go automatic. Whenever I see a Sonata, I love the look of it - they kind of look like a Jag. We will probably be buying a Hyundai Elantra - I’ve test-driven it, and it is a very nice, peppy ride.

We were considering a Nissan Altima, but they have actually been going down in quality in later years. The Lemon Aid guide is reluctantly choosing to not recommend them any longer.

We also considered the Honda Civic - underpowered for that size of car. The Elantra and Corolla both have more hp and torque. The Honda Accords are bulletproof, apparently, but they are overpriced in my opinion because of their popularity. The Legacies are also very good cars, but also overpriced for us. I test-drove a Mazda as well, and I didn’t find any significant difference between it and the Elantra to make the Mazda worth thousands more.

I have created a table of comparisons of specs of small to mid-size cars if you would like to take a look at it.

I think the Sonatas are extremely attractive, but the 2006 models are out and they’ve abandoned that “Jag-y” look. I think they look like a Nissan now.

Sure, can you email it to me? Also, what is this “Lemon Aid” of which you speak? I’d love to see that.

You’re so right, jsgoddess. Why do they always have to mess with a good thing?

Okay, shib, email away. I found the comparisons quite interesting. One of the surprising things was just how close so many of these models are to each other.

The Lemon Aid Car Buying Guide Books are a very useful tool in looking up new and used cars.

My own car, [thread=239017]the Suzuki Aerio[/thread] which I still love after 43000 miles.

IMO, Volvo is better than BMW. BMW is better than Japanese, at least until you have to pay the Mercedes-like repair bill. Japanese is better than American, except for Nissan. Nissan is better than a SAAB, but somewhat worse than a Yugo.