Corolla v Civic v Hyundai/Nissan moeds

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I think the best resource is the April issue of Consumer Reports. CR has matrices for every year and model of car for about the last ten years that show the reliability of different car systems. It jives IMO with what generally hears: Honda and Toyota are the most reliable. OTOH, certain Toyota models, like the Tundra, are doing very poorly for reliability. See http://money.cnn.com/2007/10/16/autos/cr_reliability/index.htm . Still, you might be fine with a Corolla.

I plan to use email to negotiate the price of my next car. This is based on reading reports here of much success with this.

Makes no difference. It's a new vehicle, and that's what counts.
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RPS I've been wondering the same recently and am still researching. For what's its worth Consumer Reports (CR) has picked the '08 Elantra SE as it's best small car. http://www.consumerreports.org/cro/cars/models/new/hyundai/elantra/se-4-cyl/overview.htm
Here is their summery:
"The Elantra is a pleasant small sedan. We found the ride comfortable and road noise low, but the Elantra still isn't as agile as a Mazda3 or Honda Civic. The engine booms at high revs but returns good fuel economy. Cabin access is fairly easy, and the roomy interior is put together nicely. It also has more standard safety equipment than some competitors, including ABS and curtain air bags. Electronic stability control is standard on the SE trim and, combined with wider tires and a tighter suspension, makes the car very secure. IIHS offset-crash results are good. First-year reliability has been much better than average. An Elantra Touring hatchback model will arrive for 2009."
Another interesting new feature CR has is under "Price and Costs" They calcuate the overall cost of owning the car for 1-8 years to be $0.46 a mile which they rate as "Excellent" which is their highest rating.
I'm going to check the other car site and see how these cars you've mentioned fair.
Paul
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RPS wrote:

I'd first narrow things down by safety, reliability, depreciation, and longevity.
What are the top four compacts in each category.
Safety ------ Subaru Impreza Honda Civic Nissan Versa Toyota Corolla (assuming 2009 model ranks highly in Side & Rear tests)
J.D. Power Long Term Dependability (3 year) -------------- Only Toyota and Honda rank above the industry average
Longevity (11-20 years) (of companies making small, non-luxury cars) --------- Saturn Toyota Honda Mazda
Depreciation ------------ Honda Civic Toyota Corolla Mazda 3 Nissan Versa

You can buy the base Corolla with a manual transmission very inexpensively, but most people in the U.S. don't buy manual transmission vehicles.

Buying a slightly used Corolla or Civic rarely makes sense because these models are highly discounted by dealers, yet have very high resale value. As a result, a good deal on a new one is often less expensive than a bad deal on a used one.

Once you narrow down by tangible factors, that's really up to your preferences.

Consumer Reports is a start, though they tend to emphasize reliability and value, less on handling and performance.

It depends on where you live. Carsdirect can at least give you a baseline of what to expect, but they tend to be a bit higher in price than what you can get on your own, or through a non-profit buying service.

The Corolla is new for 2009, so be careful. I've been burned by the first year of a new model (though it was a Honda).

About now, if they have any left.
We're also in the same situation. A 12 year old Camry that while still reliable has some issues. I don't like the lack of rear headrests, and most new vehicles seem to have full rear headrests (3 of them). Now that my kids are bigger I want something more suitable for them, but I'm thinking of going down to the Corolla instead of another Camry if the legroom is sufficient, just for the better mileage.
Bottom line is that if you're looking for another vehicle that will last 12 years, and still work well and look decent, get the Corolla.
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I'd agree the Corolla is a good choice. I have been enjoying the heck out of my '09 Matrix S (Corolla with more interior hauling capacity). It has the Camry 2.4l engine and moves along pretty quickly. If you go this route I'd suggest selecting an upgrade on tires as the stock 16" stock tires don't do anything for performance (as tested in the June '08 Consumers Reports).
We looked at the Prius and were told the battery had a 10 year/ 100,000 mile warranty but no one seemed to know If the terms of the warranty specified what amount of lost battery capacity would be considered unacceptable.
The other thought I had was the fact that your resale value would depend highly upon the cost and availability of a new battery 10 years down the road. No one at the dealership could accuratly speculate on future battery availability.
Good luck with whatever you choose.
dennis in nca
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I'd put insurance costs in there, toward the top.
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On the other hand, a slightly used American car--let's say a Ford Focus--is an incredible deal, with most of the big depreciation already paid for and yet most of the car's life remaining.
If you can stand a Focus, a slightly used one is your best bet.
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If you keep a new car 10 yrs, as I usually do, depreciation is almost the same for most similar priced cars. Very little value after 10+ yrs.
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Most automakers are making pretty reliable and durable cars these days.
1) Regarding fuel economy, the EPA numbers for 2008 and later model years should more closely reflect real-world numbers so you can compare. I do not know if this is still the case, but in the past, Hyundais have had poorer fuel economy than a comparable Toyota, Honda, or Nissan and tend to be a little noisier. A friend traded in a Honda minivan for a Hyundai minivan, and while the Hyundai has good performance and comfort, it is noisier on the highway and gets noticeably poorer fuel economy.
I recommend that you test drive each candidate to see if they are comfortable for you, if you like how they drive, road noise, convenience, etc.
Also price all of the vehicles with the equipment that you want. Hyundais tend to have more content than comparable Japanese vehicles.
2) Edmunds.com seems to have pretty good car reviews.
3) I would purchase the vehicle from the dealer that sells the vehicle new because dealers that do not have that particular brand's franchise do not have access to the factory training and equipment that the new car dealer has.
4) You will probably get a better deal on a 2008 than a 2009, and if you are going to keep the vehicle for 12 years, depreciation won't make that much of a difference.
5) Factory and dealer demos (vehicles that have never been titled) are generally available only through franchised dealers. A "used" vehicle is one that has been licensed and titled, and are available pretty much anywhere, although the vehicles in the best condition are most likely to be at the franchised dealer.
The best time to buy a vehicle is generally at the end of the model year, especially if there is a major model change like a new body style. Since new models are introduced throughout the year, the end of the model year will vary depending on when the vehicle was released. The 2009 Corolla is new, so you will probably get a better deal on a 2008.
Besides the time of year, there is a best time of the month, generally the 1st or second working day of the month, when automakers have their month-end close. If there are factory incentives on the vehicle, they will tend to be better at the end of the incentive period because incentives are generally stepped up towards the end of the period.
--

Ray O
(correct punctuation to reply)
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wrote:

The Corolla is a very well put together car. Here many are used as cabs, even to the airport. I've been told by the cabbies they go about 200k miles before major repair, the Camry goes about 150k miles for the same.
Unfortunately for me it needs a telescoping steering wheel as I sit far back. The car is designed for drivers much shorter than my 5'-11".
Also unfortunately there are just too many of them here, mostly beige, one would have trouble finding one's Corolla in the parking lots.
The best deals here are on off lease cars.
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lots of discussion here, my additions: at this point, it's clear that side airbags are a significant addition to safety, i'd tend to make them a must. diseases of japanese cars, toyota and honda included, tend to be more age related than mileage related. as such, "easiest" way to own them might be to buy new or maybe one year old, then sell around the time of the "big service" where you have to change the timing belt. repeat as necessary. as pointed out, the depreciation on toyota or honda is pretty low, so a good deal on a new one is as cheap as a bad deal on a one year old. either way, it'll depreciate less while you own it than other makes, so a little more expense up front ends up saving you over the long run. if you are more into keep it until it rusts away, as with the 12 year old Camry, that's obviously less of an issue. in which case, you might want to consider a hyundai along with focus, mazda, nissan, because the cost of entry is less for them. hyundai quality has come a long way lately.
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In article

Well, that gives the nod to Honda--with its Safety for Everyone campaign, where every car gets every safety feature that was available at the time the car was introduced. Where the manufacturer does not put more safety features into the higher end cars and fewer into the lower end cars.
(There's a big discussion about run-flat tires on the Odyssey, though; for years, many argued them as a safety feature, but since Honda has since made them optional and not mandatory, I think that shows the lie that people told themselves about it being a safety feature.)
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On a Goodyear test in the UK for 5,000 miles on run flats, they changed those tires every 50 miles. Kind of useless for highway drives in parts of NA I'd say.
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