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Old 06-14-2004, 02:12 AM   #1
Lenny770
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Question Car purchase questions

Hi,
I need to choose a car for someone to purchase and this is the story so far:

It needs to be a very safe car, and not too small but nor too large. Also, it should look decent and be reliable as far as the mechanics- that it will not need repairs for many years (it will not be abused or used for long distances too often)

So far, the models that I have found to match this are (all of them are models 2000-2004): Toyota Avalon, Chevy Impala, Nissan Maxima, Ford Taurus, Acura TSX and TL, Toyota Camry (with SAB), Chevy Lumina, Buick LeSabre and Park Avenue, and Honda Civic. I have also noticed that the Lexus ES300 has good ratings and goes for around the same price as the Toyota Avalon. (Which would be a better choice, safety wise and mechanically?)

Of all the above, I am leaning towards the first one- Toyota Avalon (or the Lexus.)

I have never been involved with purchase of a vehicle before and another concern comes up: to buy new or used? And if used, then Certified or not? If not, then from a dealer WITH a warantee of some sort, or at a lower price from a private party or a dealer without a guarantee...

Being that this person wants to finance it and pay monthly, would it make sense to just buy a brand new vehicle? How do the 'Certified' ones stand up to new ones?

If someone can help me out here, I'd appreciate it.

Thanks,
Lenny

PS- I would surely do a Carfax report before purchasing any vehicle that was not certified.
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Old 06-14-2004, 04:19 AM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lenny770
Hi,
I need to choose a car for someone to purchase and this is the story so far:

It needs to be a very safe car, and not too small but nor too large. Also, it should look decent and be reliable as far as the mechanics- that it will not need repairs for many years (it will not be abused or used for long distances too often)

So far, the models that I have found to match this are (all of them are models 2000-2004): Toyota Avalon, Chevy Impala, Nissan Maxima, Ford Taurus, Acura TSX and TL, Toyota Camry (with SAB), Chevy Lumina, Buick LeSabre and Park Avenue, and Honda Civic. I have also noticed that the Lexus ES300 has good ratings and goes for around the same price as the Toyota Avalon. (Which would be a better choice, safety wise and mechanically?)

Of all the above, I am leaning towards the first one- Toyota Avalon (or the Lexus.)

I have never been involved with purchase of a vehicle before and another concern comes up: to buy new or used? And if used, then Certified or not? If not, then from a dealer WITH a warantee of some sort, or at a lower price from a private party or a dealer without a guarantee...

Being that this person wants to finance it and pay monthly, would it make sense to just buy a brand new vehicle? How do the 'Certified' ones stand up to new ones?

If someone can help me out here, I'd appreciate it.

Thanks,
Lenny

PS- I would surely do a Carfax report before purchasing any vehicle that was not certified.
Damn thats alot of cars and makes and I'm assuming that your price range is well up to 40k. Well for starters ALL of those cars will hold up nicley if taken good care of so this is a difficult question. Since gas prices are kinda steep and this car will be driven relativley short distances lets scrap the LaSabre and ParkAvenue. Impala and the Taurus. The CITY MPG on these cars are either under 20 arround th 18ish area.. The GS300,TL, and Lumina aint exactly cutting it in this area but we'll give Lexus and Acura leeway for their "reliability". That leaves us with GS300,TL,TSX,Avalon,Camry,Civic, Maxima, and the Lumina. You said you wanted a car that has style so we'll ex the Lumina. Now we have two acuras and two toyotas so we'll eliminate one of the two in each make. Since you have the money we'll stick to the better class Acura TL and the Camry and Avalon possess the same engine and milelage so we'll take the Camry because it has more features. So now we have a Lexus GS300/Toyota Camry/Honda Civic/Nissan Maxima/and Acura TL..
Now you speak of certified,new, or used. With these cars I don't think there should be a problem with their credibilty if used. These are daily drivers so I don't think anyone would have been beating on them now...So lets start with lexus its a great car, nice features, good driver. But from the way you speak it appears you're gonna have to buy a used one because the GS300 is nearly 40,000. So lets get the GS300 out of the picture, unless you want a used one(not that there is anything wrong with used cars but I think the others new are pretty good). Now we got the Camry,Civic,Maxima,and TL. The Camry has more options than the civic and should be a better daily driver so the Camry wins over the civic. The Maxima and TL go toe to toe, but the TL just has more to offer.. So Camry and TL. Now the Camry has about a 6k price difference, and about a 1mpg more than the TL. But the TL has more of that style, and conservativness you want. I have known Camrys to last for 200,000Miles without any serious complications and TL's to go for about 160,000 before serious complications start. I've never driven a TL but I have a Camry and it feels like any well made sedan should drive. My moneys leaning on the Camry, but it you wanna dish out the extra 6k for the TL all for it. Again these are all reliable cars, but I just broke the list down using standard featurs, MPG, Engine HP, and Saftey Ratings. So I say Toyota Camry, everyone has one, but thats because its a good car.. Again if you have the 6k to spen Acura TL, good car but just a lil on the pricey side. Hope this helps good luck
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Old 06-14-2004, 05:59 AM   #3
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I need to choose a car for someone to purchase and this is the story so far:

It needs to be a very safe car, and not too small but nor too large.
I would assume you are looking for mid-size cars, not compact like the civic and not full sized.

Also, it should look decent and be reliable as far as the mechanics- that it will not need repairs for many years (it will not be abused or used for long distances too often)
Japanese cars are well known to have the best reliability, in general. Definitely you want to look for a japanese car, since they are proven.

So far, the models that I have found to match this are (all of them are models 2000-2004): Toyota Avalon, Acura TSX,
B/c of your obsession w/ mechanical reliability, i narrrowed it down to these two.

. I have also noticed that the Lexus ES300 has good ratings and goes for around the same price as the Toyota Avalon. (Which would be a better choice, safety wise and mechanically?)
The lexus does indeed have very good ratings. Toyota Avalon vs Lexus ES300 for the sake of equal comparison, i picked the 2003 versions of both. You can clearly see that JD Power & Associates rates the Lexus higher. Now whether you trust them or not is beyond me. I, for one, do trust them. Also note that it is only a 90 day quality test, there are probably more tests at their websites. You can go and check them out.
Furthermore, in 2003, the TSX was not offered, but the TL was. Acura TL
Another note. All words underlined are links, so please click them to reveal facts that i like to use for making a judgement.


Of all the above, I am leaning towards the first one- Toyota Avalon (or the Lexus.)
I think the 2003 Lexus ES300 is a wise choice. Lexus has a very good reputation, and has earned many awards from JD Power & Associates, see here for their long term dependability comparison. Lexus is at the top of their list!

I have never been involved with purchase of a vehicle before and another concern comes up: to buy new or used? And if used, then Certified or not? If not, then from a dealer WITH a warantee of some sort, or at a lower price from a private party or a dealer without a guarantee...
First of all, there is little to worry about when purchasing a japanese car. However, to be on the safe side, if you do buy used, be sure to go to a trusted mechanic and have the car in question checked thoroughly.

Buying used has its advantages, as we explained in another thread. Major depreciation on the car occurs in the first few years of a cars life, and when you buy used, you are avoiding suffering this depreciation. The downside is you dont get to choose the options on the car, and you dont know if the original owner wrecked the car or abused it (this is why the mechanic needs to check it real good).

If you go for the used ES300, you shouldnt have too many problems finding the one that is equipped to your liking, and Lexuses hold their value very well, so you may pay a little more to buy even a used one, but when you sell, it will fetch a handsome price. Regarding the warranty, if it gives you a peace of mind, then buy from a large dealer and get a warranty. It doesn't hurt to spend a little more and get a peace of mind. I would think it wise to invest in a warranty if the car doesnt already come with one, just to be safe.


Being that this person wants to finance it and pay monthly, would it make sense to just buy a brand new vehicle? How do the 'Certified' ones stand up to new ones?
As i stated above, you will avoid depreciation and a hit to the wallet if you buy used, and you may even score a good deal on a used. Your heart is bent on the ES, so get it (you have to get it used, the new one is called ES330 and the ratings dont look as good as the 2003 model. Its still too early to tell, but look into it if you must have a new car). When you buy new, you can choose the warranty to put on it, the options, and therefore the monthly payments. Also, the insurance will be slightly higher.

If someone can help me out here, I'd appreciate it.
I hope ive done enough. Feel free to ask if you must

Thanks,
Lenny

PS- I would surely do a Carfax report before purchasing any vehicle that was not certified.
Thats a good decision. But be sure to get it to a mechanic.

EDIT: Here are crash testing results for the Lexus and the TL, very impressive.
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Last edited by importluva : 06-14-2004 at 07:04 AM.
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Old 06-14-2004, 06:35 AM   #4
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Also, Lenny, it would please the moderators and members of car-forums if you introduced yourself in the introduction forum. People will be more inclined to help you if you introduce yourself. We dont need a biography, it can be brief.
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Old 06-14-2004, 07:05 AM   #5
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Yeah I mean ES300 not GS(bad typo). Yeah if you have the 30k to shell out iono why Imporluva says the TSX and not the TL(it is the more featured model) also the Avalon is the same thing as a fully loaded Camry. But the Avalon has less features than the Camry and cost a few hundred more..
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Old 06-14-2004, 07:08 AM   #6
Lenny770
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Thanks everyone!

I have since spoken with the one who will be (wants to) purchasing the vehicle (not me), and the following is what has been understood:

Priority number one is safety in the event of something unexpected. Number two on the list is that it should come out to costing between 200 and 300 dollars per month (with financing). Number two 'B' would be reliability in general, and number three is looks/features etc.

This person has been driving a Buick and is used to that kind of setup, but will certainly go for a new type of setup if the safety and price were good. It seems that a domestic car is more desireable too- support America :-)

To sum it up- Safety #1. Reliability and Price #2. Looks/features #3.

If there is an imported car that beats the domestic hands down in all the above (or even just in the total combination), then I'm sure that would be fine.

The years that I was looking into is between 2000 and 2004. It seems that to go for anything older would be to compromise on security and to go with anything from this coming year, would be far too expensive for the kind of vehicle in mind.

Thanks alot for all the input above! I feel pretty bad that I havent outlined these points before all the feedback. If it were my purchase, I would go for the Lexus, the Camry, the Avalon, or the Acura. But being that looks and features are not priority here (and even if they were, they are someone elses), the Lexus is out because of the price; The Camry Avalon and Acura are all put on hold until it can be declared that they beat all domestic cars (especially in security/safety) hands down.

Just to note, the cars listed above are not the only choices- they are merely what I have come up with from my research. For instance, I dont know how the Ford Taurus stands up to safety tests compared to Toyotas...

As a side note, good MPG couldnt hurt either- I was told not to look for a large car because it would eat too much gas unnesseccarily.

PS- I am not in the military and was not ordered by the general to look for a car. (Though something similar :-))
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Old 06-14-2004, 07:27 AM   #7
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Oops, sorry for the double post
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Old 06-14-2004, 07:28 AM   #8
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Im sorry the information i provided is not helpful. I am not as well versed on domestics, others will comment on them. But ill concentrate on safety:

These domestics are OK in safety. Your friend, who drives a buick, currently may not be in the safest car possible.

Here is the Avalon

Here is the Camry.

Here is the TL

Here is the TSX

These are all 40mph Frontal Crash tests, and needless to say, there are more. Check them out using the links i have provided.

I have spoken about reliability. Price is for you to determine. Looks/Features are subjective.
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Old 06-14-2004, 07:38 AM   #9
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Well according to NCAP the Impala and 4Dr Civic are the top leaders in crash test saftey. The Avalon,Camry,and Maxima are also good. The Acura TL did decently. The Ford Taurus has excellent frontal impact, but terrible side impact... Judging on what you say this person needs and wants. The Impala would be the best choice. THe MPG on the Impala is'nt that much more than the Buick than this person allready drives but its comparative and similar to what he/she allready deals with. Impala has nice features, its good reliable car, and has a somewhat relaxed and sporty feel to it.. None of these other cars beat the impala hands down in everything, possibly overall... I think importluva would agreee with me, even though we have very biased opinions towards domestic vehicles. An Impala 4DR would prove sufficient enough for this person. Sure they could get an import, but buying a Camry or Avalon or TL or TSX, he/she won't notice the greates world of difference. I say go with the 4DR Impala, it has a decent MPG, Great Crash Test Rating, Good features, almost everything you would find in these other imports. Nice rommy interior. They drive nicley. A buick up to Impala would'nt be that great of a deal but its probably just what this person is looking for. Its got Good JD and Power ratings on Mechanical Quality, Features, and Interior. Pretty much everything you were looking for... Stick with the Impala. Its just under 19k..
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Old 06-14-2004, 03:58 PM   #10
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i don't know nutin about cars in the states and the daily drivers there so im keeping out

im sure Importluva and DSMer will sort you out just fine, aint that right boys?

i would recommend a japanese car though!
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Old 06-14-2004, 05:43 PM   #11
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Here is a review of the impala. The crash scores are indeed good, but the editors dont seem pleased. Its your call.

EDIT: In order to determine monthly payments, the buyer needs to tell us how much he/she will put as a downpayment, and how long he/she wants to finance, and at what rate (usually you talk with your bank about the rate for the amount you wish to borrow). Having said that, edmunds.com compiled a list of cars in the $250-$300 range, and im not impressed. Look here So you need to clarify.
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Old 06-14-2004, 10:39 PM   #12
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Its got a 9 in consumer ratings. Screw the pros listen to the drivers... The pros don't know shit about anything. Always saying some interior is soggy. Those same "pros" that called the handling on the Subaru loose, wich you say (importluva) makes the car good for daily driving. So trust the consumers opinions, and get the facts from the pros...
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Old 06-14-2004, 10:54 PM   #13
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Originally Posted by DSMer
Its got a 9 in consumer ratings. Screw the pros listen to the drivers... The pros don't know shit about anything. Always saying some interior is soggy. Those same "pros" that called the handling on the Subaru loose, wich you say (importluva) makes the car good for daily driving. So trust the consumers opinions, and get the facts from the pros...

couldn't agree more!

trust the comsumers!
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Old 06-15-2004, 01:56 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by importluva
Here is a review of the impala. The crash scores are indeed good, but the editors dont seem pleased. Its your call.

EDIT: In order to determine monthly payments, the buyer needs to tell us how much he/she will put as a downpayment, and how long he/she wants to finance, and at what rate (usually you talk with your bank about the rate for the amount you wish to borrow). Having said that, edmunds.com compiled a list of cars in the $250-$300 range, and im not impressed. Look here So you need to clarify.

I get the impression from that article that they dont like this type of car or this maker to begin with- not based on reason.

Is this true? Based on their other reviews of domestic cars, and specifically Chevy, can one say that there is dislike?

Thanks.
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Old 06-15-2004, 06:38 AM   #15
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Well,

I am sure that all the europeans will support this one if you want soewmthing safe that doesnt use petrol at the same rate brits drink beer :-p, were well practiced.


Got to be volvo, they are so focused on saftey for years they didnt care what the thing look liked, honned out of a steel lump with a set sq and chisel. They did of the work on side impact protection, so you get lots of airbags lets see, well the drive and pasenger have one each traditional job, but, volvo's weight the person in the seat, and record the seat and wheel settings so they ruffly calulate your size, so if you have an acident and ur 5'2 then the air bag doesnt go off with full force becuase its likely to try and push u past the seat and do you more harm than good. however if your sitting on the back of the seat rack your 6'8,if the air bag had to be desinged to take into acount of the small person next to the wheel then the bag goes off and you will have got whiplash by the time you get to the airbag. very cunning they also pulse the gas relese to stop blast wounds from the airbag.

There are airbags to protect you from side impacts, so you have another 4 airbags one each side of the front seats. Then you have 2 more 1 each side of your knees. There are curtains that drop down to protect you from flying glass if the windows break.

And thats only the start, they have airbags for the rear pasengers, in the back of the front seats there are 4 more air bags one for the head and one for the knees, then there are the same side impact features as well.

Theres pretensioners on all 5 belts. There built like tanks but probibly no more so than some of the big trucks you have over there. If your in the uk and you have an acident in a volvo your more likley to push every one out the way!

In terms of size, they would probibly fit in nicely and sound about the same size as what your looking at.

If you are looking in the ultimate in economy then get the diesel, yeah you can get diesel cars, lol. On a 19 gallon (US) tank you go 800 miles on a V40 for example. Or on something a bit bigger then you would be looking at 700 miles/tank for the turbo, as you know it all depends how heavy footed you are.

In terms of reliablity, well, cliffy have you ever seen one die at under 250,000 miles. Thats without a rebuild. A volvo holds the higest milage record for a car 2 million miles and counting.

The new ones are aluminum the older ones are galv dipped and many many layers of paint.

If your going to be looking to keep the car for a while then its probibly a good idea to look at the whole life cost. Renaults are very good for everything that you have asked for but i doubt you will find a dealer in the US.
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