Corolla v Civic v Hyundai/Nissan moeds

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Our old Camry is showing its age (~12 years) and we have decided to look for a new car but budget down to "Corolla level". I said "level"
as I am open to competing models from Honda, Hyundai, Nissan, etc.
I would appreciate your help in choosing the model, as well as the "sub-model" (CE, LE, DX etc.).
Most of our driving is city or regional: round trips to places 10-50 miles away. A few times a year we drive 300-500 miles trips.
I would like basic safety features (line anti-lock brakes) and comforts (4-door, AC). Very high priority running cost (mpg, reliability). I can live with manual or automatic. I would consider new, or low-mileage dealer demos etc, but not "really used". (Like everyone else, I thought about Prius but it looks too expensive.)
A few questions:
1. Which make/model would be the best fit?
2. What is the best site for reading up on these and well as comparison reviews? (Bought my last car 12 years ago and online resources must have come along since then.)
3. Would you go to a local dealer or Carmax, Carsdirect etc?
4. At this point would you buy a 2009, or 2008?
5. When is the best time of the year to get good deals on last years models, dealer demos, loaners and like? (These I'd imagine are only available from dealers.)
Thanks for all help.
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wrote:

Well, you may be thinking that it's "too expensive to buy". It may or may not be too expensive to operate.
The up front cost is only one of the many costs. You buy it once, but you operate it over and over again. You must look at an overall cost, per mile, to come to any conclusions.
Don't dismiss any car simply because it looks "too expensive" to purchase up front.
I'd compare similarly equipped Corolla and Prius. Just use the base prius; it has everything you need. Then compare ongoing costs--fuel, maintenance, and so on--and come up with a per mile cost across 12K, 24K, 50K, 100K miles and so on.
A buddy of mine has a mid 90s Corolla, coming up on 300K miles. Still looks and runs great.
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: Well, you may be thinking that it's "too expensive to buy". It may or : may not be too expensive to operate. : : The up front cost is only one of the many costs. You buy it once, but : you operate it over and over again. You must look at an overall cost, : per mile, to come to any conclusions. : : I'd compare similarly equipped Corolla and Prius...
Just using round numbers, the price difference appears to be $6000.
If I drive 12000 miles per year, Corolla (30 mpg) would need 400 gallons of fuel. Prius (40mpg) about 300 gallons. Difference is 100 gallons, let's say $500.
That would mean 10-12 years to merely recover the extra money you pay upfront. So, I am not saying Prius is not a good car, but it has become something of a fad/fashion too and I don't see the economy: I give them $6000, and hope that maybe I'd earn it back by 2020? :)
So, I am inclined to stay with the best of conventional cars. Trying to figure out which one!
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wrote:

Hmmmm. The Prius will get, over a year's time, no less than 45mpg. And that's without any freaky driving techniques.
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: Hmmmm. The Prius will get, over a year's time, no less than 45mpg. And : that's without any freaky driving techniques.
I realize that Prius would do better than 40, Corolla than 30. These are just the nearest nice numbers I could work with without a calculator.
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"Elmo P. Shagnasty" ...

Yep, well said, and with the freaky driving techniques over 50 MPG (it is just a way of using the foot is all).
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My concern is still the batteries. The OP had his present car for 12 years so I'm going to assume he wants long life from the next. Will the batteries become a nightmare or just another expense? Just something to be factored in for the total cost of driving over the years. I keep hearing about a five year life, so that would be two changes for the OP if he keeps the car that long.
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Based on other rechargeable batteries I would expect a significant drop off in capacity after 3 to 5 years. Since the Prius will still run anyway I'm sure the batteries will be run into the ground before replacement.
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Josh S wrote:

This is true, but the way Toyota does battery discharging, the _usable_ capacity will be about the same. They don't take full advantage of the battery, especially on the U.S. models (in other countries there's an option to do deeper discharge). All they have to do to get ten years of identical capacity is to slowly increase the discharge level to compensate.
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You are rightly concerned about the batteries.
These 270 or so volt batteries have a list price in the $2500 range. They have 228 cells in series and only one needs to go bad to ruin your battery assembly. Newer models only use 201.6 volt batteries, ;)
Besides you have the $3400 list price for the inverter and $1100 for the generator module.
Though the warranty should do good, imagine getting hit with the prorated prices.
Think about all the dead weight you carry around, pollution issues (disposing of the battery), and then, having your system repaired in case of a failure. We all have heard the stories about a battery not charging, alternator issues etc with conventional cars. Think about a system many times more complex...
With all the problems fuel cells still have, I think hydrogen is the way to go.
Edwin Pawlowski wrote:

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AS wrote:

Yet, the individual cells can be replaced.

Yet, the technology has been proven and has been in use for over ten years (although not in the US during the first few years).

Why? Hydrogen is used to power fuel cells. And there is almost no infrastructure for fuel cells. Hydrogen has the problem that to make hydrogen, CO2 is generated, as well (i.e., using hyrdogen as a fuel still results in CO2 being produced).
Fuel cells have been used for year. In fact, the O2 tank that exploded on Apollo 13 when I was about four was used in two different types of fuel cells (mitochondria in the astronaut's bodies and the fuel cells that supplied electricity to the Aquarius and Odyssey).

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Hydrogen can be produced pollution-free with solar cells. Solar array produces DC power. DC power is used to split water into H and O2. H is used in fuel cells or whatever. Heck, it burns nicely in internal combustion engines. Or externally in the Hindenburg. O2 is sold to NASA for their monkey business. What could be simpler? Alternative methods to produce energy are easy. All they require is our cleverness and industry. Tough part is the politics. Here in Houston the normal grocery-getter is an F-350 dually towing a boat. It is easy to hear its one passenger muttering about the high diesel prices to the clerk at HEB. The most gentle suggestion to this poor soul that perhaps a smaller vehicle might be in their enlightened self-interest and well.......you can imagine. We are talking about a driver who has a Ph.D. in engineering here. From Texas A&M. The best damn school on earth! Light rail, interurban, bike paths, golf cart trails, abundant plug-ins for the electric vehicles, efficient use of our rail freight system to keep the use of 18 wheelers to a minimum and a zillion other schemes (no hyperbole) will never come to fruition because we are too ignorant as a species. And too stubborn. On the topic of my 2003 Civic Si engine spinning too fast at 80mph: Is it possible and affordable to put a 6 speed in that little car? I'd be happier if its revs were closer to 2000 at 80 mph. Anyone have a referral for that project?
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I suspect the tranny from an RSX would fit in the Civic,it's a 6 speed,IIRC. Whether that changes the final drive ratio,I don't know.
you could always go to a larger diameter tire and recal the speedo.
--
Jim Yanik
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That is one good idea. The larger tire would act to effectively lower my final drive ratio, thus slowing me down off the line. That might be a good thing :) My 64 VW 1.4 had a 4.11 gear and was quick until the rpm's ran out at 15 mph for the 1-2 shift. That flat four wasn't a real high revver. But, since I've done no homework at all, it is possible the six speed from the RSX could have the same ratios for 1st and 6th that my box has for 1st and 5th, but with closer ratios. That would do me no good at all for my plan. I should research the possibility of putting a taller 5th gear in my box. Perhaps that is possible? My first inclination is to just throw money at the idea and see what happens. I hope I know better than that......
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I doubt the gears would be available,and tearing apart your tranny would be a very complex task with a high chance for screwing things up. I would just swap the whole tranny,assuming the gear ratios were what you desire.(and as long as you're putting in the RSX tranny,the RSX-S motor would be a nice increase,too!)

BTW,is the motor in your Civic a K series? Other Honda motors rotate in the opposite direction,and are positioned 180 deg from the K series.
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Jim Yanik
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It seems my motor is a K20A3 which would swap with the RSX powerplant. I really feel insane contemplating that. I'll leave well enough alone for now :)
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wrote:

I think it would be unable to maintain 80 mph at 2000 rpm. If it did, you might find that you wreck the engine pretty quick.
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it takes a certain amount of HP to maintain a given speed(dependent on gearing,drag,powertrain losses,road grade,wind directions...),and that HP might be not be achieved at 2000 rpm. it would increase cylinder wall/piston wear.
the SI has only 2 liters displacement,and it's HP and torque is developed on the high end of the RPM scale.
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on 5/16/2008 10:55 PM Gordon McGrew said the following:

It depends upon where the vehicle will be operated. On the DelMarVa peninsula you can probably ride from one end to the other in 5th gear on a 5 speed bicycle, except after stops. :-)
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Bill
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wrote:

And you are delusional enough to think there is, or ever will be, enough solar power available to fuel all the cars onthe road? Then there is the issue of how much energy it takes to make the solar cells.....
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