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New car needed looking at...

post #1 of 51
Thread Starter 
  • VW Passat 2.0T w/Sports Package, AT, and Navigation
  • Subaru Legacy 2.5GT w/AT and Navigation
I need a new car. My wife and I currently own an Acura Integra (2DR) and a Honda Accord V6 (2002, 4DR). We just had our 2nd child, so obviously, I need to get rid of my beloved Integra. We don't need an SUV, and since I am the primary driver of the car, I want something that handles decently - that leaves out crossovers. I also want something that gets in the 20+ range for city driving and 27+ for highway cruising.

For me, priorities are:
  • Fun to drive
  • Good reliability
  • Decent power
  • Seating for 4 comfortably (5 for a short, 15-20 min. trip)
  • Sporty handling
  • Appropriate for my age and gender (I'm 40, so no Jetta GLI (too youthful), and no Acura TSX (too much of a woman's car - sorry, but it is. I see very few men driving them.)).
  • Good gas mileage (as noted above)
  • Kinda luxurious (leather seats a must)
  • Four doors
  • Good safety
  • <=$32K - seriously. No more than $32K with all the options I want.
I don't want a Camry (too dull), I don't want an Accord (ho-hum, but I tell my wife they're GREAT!), a Mazda 6 isn't refined enough, I don't find GM or Chrysler/Dodge cars very interesting (Daytona/Charger notwithstanding, lol), and I'm not overly excited about a Ford Fusion.

It is probably going to come down to a toss-up between the VW and Subaru. Any of you out there own one of those cars? I'd be interested in your impressions - especially about reliability, handling, acceleration, road noise, and comfort. Also, if you have the Navigation systems, what are your thoughts?

Thanks!
post #2 of 51
I had a 2001 Audi TT turbo Quatro. Lots of fun to drive when it was running. However that car had more problems than a calculus handbook. Audi/VW use a lot of the same parts so I would look at the Honda or Acura.
post #3 of 51
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by mrarroyo View Post
I had a 2001 Audi TT turbo Quatro. Lots of fun to drive when it was running. However that car had more problems than a calculus handbook. Audi/VW use a lot of the same parts so I would look at the Honda or Acura.
I'm hoping to try something different from the Accord. The Acura that fits my budget isn't something that gets me excited (TSX). The Accord is my back-up plan. I'm hoping that VW has straightened out reliability issues and that the Subie is fun to drive!
post #4 of 51
Check out the Nissan Altima...my favorite car...ever.
Very reliable and extremely fun to drive.
post #5 of 51
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by nickknutson View Post
Check out the Nissan Altima...my favorite car...ever.
Very reliable and extremely fun to drive.
Which year's model do you have, Nick?

Thanks.
LB
post #6 of 51
I owned a '93 for 7 years which I loved, it was really fun...but I drove a 2003 V6 version for a week last summer and it was an amazing car. I'm really considering getting a new '08 this summer...which is supposed to be really cool.
Seriously, check them out...if money allows, check out the Maxima as well.
post #7 of 51
The glory days of the Altima (and for Nissan for that matter) are gone. The sweet spot was in 92-93ish. And yeah that was fun fun little car to drive. I say little. It felt little, but it was a proper family car, and they didn't cheap-out on the interior.

My parents were recently car shopping, and the Altima was on their list. Their 92-93ish Altima was still going strong, they just wanted a change. The current Altimas were basically shells of their former self, weighty to drive, crappy interior, even the Maximas felt cheap inside.

They ended up totally going against the grain, being their own person, and getting... a Camry! I don't know what's going on over at Nissan now, but the euro models aren't much better. They used to the only brand we'd ever consider, but others have caught up and passed them.

Have you considered a Volvo S40? Is the Ford Mondeo in the US?
post #8 of 51
the subarus are fun to drive! do you need a NEW car, or just a car thats new to you.

if you buy a car that just came off lease, you get tons more for your money. You could grab a 2yr old bmw 3series or mercedes c class for that much $$. Big bump in the luxury dept. Probably more fun to drive. i might have missed some glaring requirement, but thats what i would do.
post #9 of 51
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by nickknutson View Post
I owned a '93 for 7 years which I loved, it was really fun...but I drove a 2003 V6 version for a week last summer and it was an amazing car. I'm really considering getting a new '08 this summer...which is supposed to be really cool.
Seriously, check them out...if money allows, check out the Maxima as well.
I just got off Nissan's website. I'm intrigued by the Altima! I'm not thrilled about the CVT, but I'll give it a test drive and see how it feels.

Add the Altima to the list of cars I want to test drive.
post #10 of 51
Quote:
Originally Posted by luckybaer View Post
I just got off Nissan's website. I'm intrigued by the Altima! I'm not thrilled about the CVT, but I'll give it a test drive and see how it feels.

Add the Altima to the list of cars I want to test drive.
You'll be thanking me...
post #11 of 51
Quote:
Originally Posted by plainsong View Post
The glory days of the Altima (and for Nissan for that matter) are gone. The sweet spot was in 92-93ish. And yeah that was fun fun little car to drive. I say little. It felt little, but it was a proper family car, and they didn't cheap-out on the interior.

My parents were recently car shopping, and the Altima was on their list. Their 92-93ish Altima was still going strong, they just wanted a change. The current Altimas were basically shells of their former self, weighty to drive, crappy interior, even the Maximas felt cheap inside.

They ended up totally going against the grain, being their own person, and getting... a Camry! I don't know what's going on over at Nissan now, but the euro models aren't much better. They used to the only brand we'd ever consider, but others have caught up and passed them.

Have you considered a Volvo S40? Is the Ford Mondeo in the US?
You couldn't be more wrong on this. The newer Altimas are head and shoulders above the older models. Much more roomy, available V6, much better driving experience than the old clunkers. I'm a huge Nissan fan and the old Altimas were probably the worst thing they've ever produced.
post #12 of 51
If you can hang in there till Sept. or Oct. there will be a new generation Accord. There are some spy shots on autoblog.com. It may not be the most exciting car to buy, but it will treat you right and keep a higher resale value than most anything out there.
post #13 of 51
Okay if it was me looking for a car, I would definitely get the Passat, or as someone said the Altima.

This is because I am a mechhanic by profession. I work on Audi/VW, Mercedes Benz, BMW, Volvo, SAAB, Alfa Romeo, and most other European imports most of the time. I am an Audi/VW/Nissan fan.

****BUT****

I would suggest against the VW. Not only do VWs use the same parts as Audis, they are both owned by VAG(Volkswagen Audi Group). Now from my experience with these things, I would recommend you steer clear of these cars.

Why?
Well, autoshops make a lot of money off of repairs on these. As does VAG. So if you like the styling, and what not, and you don't mind paying a little extra for a german car, go ahead. But be warned, repairs are inevitable on cars and when they come around, its not always just a 300USD tune-up. Esp with an AT transmission.

Now about the Subaru
I hate working on them. Esp in the engine compartment. Spark plugs take forever to replace. I just did a timing belt/water pump, and a full tune-up with a replacement of drive belts on a '97 Subbie Legacy 2.5GT. It wasn't easy. The bill wasn't too bad, but it was quite frustrating working on it. Dealerships often bloat the price on labor for cars like that. So be careful.

The Verdict (at least on my part)
The Nissan Altima. From what I have heard, they ARE fun to drive. Are bigger and come with enough options to make you feel like a Charlie in the chocolate factory. Just make sure you ask the dealer if the oil issue with the VQ35 has been addressed. The VQ35 is the 3.5L engine Nissan has been putting in the 350Z, Altima, Maxima, G35 coupe and sedan, and the FX35 among other cars - yes Nissan owns Infinity and onda owns Acura, just like Toyota owns Lexus. The earlier versions had a problem where the engine would burn oil. So bring this up at the dealership or prepare for costly repairs. Try to get some sort of warrantee.

Lastly
Do as much research as you possibly can. Include depreciation values and look for people who are dissatified with each car - all it takes is once for something to happen so pay more attention to those ratings rather than the ones that sing praises. Make a list of everything that concerns you when you go to the dealership and make sure they address each problem clearly without trying to cover up. Search at least three dealers for each make and have each set of dealers battle it out to get you the best price. even if you have to drive 20 miles. An easier way is to email dealerships not in your area with quotes from the dealership(s) in your area. Don't let Magazine articles lead you to your purchase. Most things that go wrong in a car don't usually happen within a year or two of initial purchase. That is except for Mercedes and BMW.

I hope this was of some help to you without dragging on forever.

Good Luck.
post #14 of 51
Quote:
Originally Posted by TurboRotaryFreak View Post
Now about the Subaru
I hate working on them. Esp in the engine compartment. Spark plugs take forever to replace. I just did a timing belt/water pump, and a full tune-up with a replacement of drive belts on a '97 Subbie Legacy 2.5GT. It wasn't easy. The bill wasn't too bad, but it was quite frustrating working on it. Dealerships often bloat the price on labor for cars like that. So be careful.
Really? Hmm, I worked for a Nissan Subaru Kia dealership for many years and loved doing Subaru t-belts, oil pump reseals, and water pumps. I'll agree on the plugs (easiest to get at from below the engine), but the t-belt job is one of the easiest out there (I will concede though, without the dealer provided Subaru cam sprocket holders the 2.5 twin cam can be a bit awkward to reassemble).
post #15 of 51
Four a four door in that price range, have you considered the Lexus IS250? If you get the smaller engine, I think they come in just around $30k. I don't know if that includes leather seats, but they're awfully nice cars, get decent mileage, are fairly quick, and Toyota has the best reliability ratings. For me, reliability is at the top of the list. Also this is the only Lexus that can come with a clutch if you're into manual transmissions.
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