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Old 09-18-2006, 04:08 PM   #1
jamesp81
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Thoughts on these used vehicle purchases...

I am in the market to buy a used vehicle, as my Nissan Sentra has tallied an impressive number of miles and as good and faithful as it has been, it won't last forever.

I've saved my money and I have a maximum budget of $10k (financing no more than $3500) for a used car. I've decided that I want something a little more...interesting than a 4 cylinder compact car. This vehicle will also need to be reliable, have good low end acceleration (it doesn't have to be a Corvette, mind you, just reasonably quick; I want it to push me back in the seat at least some), and good looks. This vehicle will have a manual transmission, a backseat (more for cargo than people), and preferably be front wheel drive or all-wheel-drive so it will be safe in inclement weather.

Sadly, such a vehicle is not made. So once again, I will have to settle for less. I have compiled a list of three vehicles that come close, and I was hoping that anyone who has owned these vehicles could confirm if my information about them is correct. Also, if there is any vehicle I've overlooked, perhaps someone could point that out to me?

Possibility 1: 1998-2001 Honda Prelude. I haven't been able to find one to test drive, but it's 200 horsepower engine only develops 150 or so lb-ft of torque. This is about the same as some 160 hp engines. That tells me that the Prelude probably doesn't start to pull real hard except at high rpms, which is irritating. The Prelude also falls short on looks. However, it's got bulletproof reliability, and it is probably faster than a Celica.

Possibility 2: 2000-2001 Toyota Celica GT-S. I have managed to test drive a couple of these. They handle like they're on the rails and they get high marks for style. It also delivers Toyota's unparalleled reliability. However, the engine is gutless at low RPM; the Celica falls short on low end torque in a big way. Until you get it wound to around 6000 rpm, it doesn't pull a whole lot harder than my Sentra. It just <b>kills me</b> that this car was not offered with a factory turbocharger or a V6. It's no wonder Toyota discontinued it; it's slow. To get good low end power, I'd have to go looking to the Eclipse, and there's reasons I'm reluctant to do that.

Possibility 3: 2001-2002 Mitsubishi Eclipse GT (V6). This car is a winner on low-end torque. The handling isn't up to the Celica, but it'll do. The manual transmission is one of the most forgiving and fun to use manuals I've ever drove. And it's a sharp looking vehicle. One of the most beautiful machines on the road, IMO. On top of all that, there is something indefineably fun about the Eclipse that has nothing to do torque, horsepower, handling, or any other stat you can think of. However, I'm suspect of its reliability. I can count on a Celica to go to 150k miles with minimal trouble the way my Sentra has, however, I'm not sure an Eclipse will manage that same feat. Some owners have stated that they've had minimal issues with it, whereas others have told some horror stories that are the cause of my indecision. This is why it infuriates me that Toyota made the Celica so weak; I am forced to choose between a car with the performance I want or one that I can count on to run. But instead of giving the Celica the torque upgrades it so desperately needed, Toyota concentrated their money into the Scion tC, yet another stylish, but slow car. I guess Honda and Toyota thinks we like driving around in cars that are all show and no go. At least Nissan has not been infected with this mentality, but they don't have a mid-range sporty coupe like most car manufacturers; with Nissan it's either a sedan or a 350Z, which is way out of my price point (but would sure be nice to have).

I am looking for an excuse to buy an Eclipse. I can probably get one with around 60k miles for around $8000. If I thought for even a moment that if I took care of it that it would last me to 150k miles without a bunch of shop visits for engine, transmission, and electrical repairs (trim, power window motors, and little stuff like that I don't care about; I can live with fixing that stuff myself if I have to, and I hate working on cars. This should tell you how much I enjoy driving this car) I'd buy one tomorrow. If anyone has owned a 2001 or later Eclipse and drove it till it dropped and could give me some idea of how it holds up once it gets into high mileage, I'd appreciate it.

Thanks in advance for the help and sorry for the book.
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Old 09-29-2006, 10:54 AM   #2
oplease19
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The Prelude was redesigned for model year 1997, so it's 1997-2001, not 1998 as you stated. The Eclipse is hideous. I recently bought a 1998 Prelude and love it. With virtually all cars rounded now, the design is actually distinctive. The handling is spectacular. And I think the acceleration is excellent. The car magazines at the time said it's 0-60 time was 6.7 seconds, while the N/A Toyota Supra's was 6.8. As for the Celica, the last generation Celica looks juvenile to me. If you're under 25 you might like it, but if you're over 25 many will think you look as silly as you would wearing pants halfway down your butt and a sideways baseball cap. Just my opinion, of course
Oh, and the Prelude is the only one of the 4 cars I mentioned to make Car and Driver's Ten Best List.
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Old 09-30-2006, 02:28 AM   #3
Ferny
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The celica GT-S could probably easily be faster at low RPMS. I know after a certain RPM is reached the engine opens up it's valves more or something. I haven't looked into it at all but I would be willing to bet you can replace the computer that opens and closes the valve to make it faster. I know that's only on the GT-S though and that the mean reason they do that is for gas mileage. That being said you would lose a ton on it. I'm sure someone on Celica forum would be more informed then me though if it's even possible. Also look at a subaru impreza WRX. The sedans are bit over 10k usually but you might be able to find one lower, and the wagon I have seen go for lower than 9. I don't know if you like the look of the wagon though but it doesn't suffer any noticeable power loss and gets the same mpg. Also the 2.5 sedan could possibly be an option but I don't know how it compares to the cars you already selected.

Last edited by Ferny : 09-30-2006 at 02:33 AM.
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Old 09-30-2006, 04:56 AM   #4
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I think your best bet is a celica, simply because it's an extremely light car. That's why it handles so well. If in the future, you want to do anything to improve the car's performance or speed, the celica holds the most potential of all of those cars, again, just because its weight.

A lot can be said about cars that aren't over-weight, since nowadays most cars are fat and slow (like my 325cic weighing at about 3600-3700 lbs) You know no matter what you do to it, it's still gonna be weighed down :\

Also seems like you have the least amount of cons about that car
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Old 09-30-2006, 07:58 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jamesp81
Sadly, such a vehicle is not made. So once again, I will have to settle for less.
But you just proved that such a vehicle is made.....lol. Still, atleast you asked a question how it should be asked, with all the relevent details!
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Old 10-01-2006, 02:59 AM   #6
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I would personally go for any impreza sedan I could afford. They have the AWD and good potential. Out of your 3 cars I would choose the eclipse. I have ridden in preludes and driven an eclipse and I like the eclipse better.
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Old 10-01-2006, 03:52 AM   #7
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For $10 grand, I'd get one of these...

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Old 10-01-2006, 04:09 AM   #8
bebopin64
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thats what i was saying
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Old 10-03-2006, 02:05 AM   #9
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I Put 4 Grand down on a Used 2003 Lancer ES that sold to me for 10 Grand, They are fun to drive, and have some kick to them, and they are considered a sedan for insurance rather than a sport like the OZ, and evo. But I would not buy the eclipse if it has a turbo because most people abuse the turbo trying to race around. so i would go with the prelude.
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Old 10-03-2006, 03:12 AM   #10
Mathew
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ferny
The celica GT-S could probably easily be faster at low RPMS. I know after a certain RPM is reached the engine opens up it's valves more or something. I haven't looked into it at all but I would be willing to bet you can replace the computer that opens and closes the valve to make it faster. I know that's only on the GT-S though and that the mean reason they do that is for gas mileage. That being said you would lose a ton on it. I'm sure someone on Celica forum would be more informed then me though if it's even possible. Also look at a subaru impreza WRX. The sedans are bit over 10k usually but you might be able to find one lower, and the wagon I have seen go for lower than 9. I don't know if you like the look of the wagon though but it doesn't suffer any noticeable power loss and gets the same mpg. Also the 2.5 sedan could possibly be an option but I don't know how it compares to the cars you already selected.

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Old 10-03-2006, 04:40 AM   #11
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i noticed you said, "financing no more than $3500"... generally, a bank will not finance less than $6500. thats what it is at my dealership anyways... they look at it like "why cant you just come up with the extra 3500?" cuz thats seen as a down payment


perhaps im wrong, but thats what ive been told, or did i misunderstand what you said
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