Something totally different to talk about

By Vigilante · 24 replies
Oct 25, 2005
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  1. Hey hey, I'm looking for a new car :)

    Something that is not technically considered a sports car, but has stylish trim. 2-door prefered if it's a good size, because I really don't like most 4-doors.

    Some with all power but it doesn't have to be a brand new car. I'm hoping to spend less then maybe 13k? So a few years old perhaps.

    In these days, I need good gas mileage, high reliability is a must.

    So then, what do you drive?

    The car I drive now is an aging 1990 Mitsu Eclipse GS. It has seen better days, most everything under the hood has been replaced. But it has to many little issues, I just don't want to put more money in to it. Plus I'd rather move to an automatic for my short driving needs.
    So the idea is to trade for what I can (thus use dealer), and get something with decent body and paint, stylish, and reliable. With the potential for cool upgrades.

    The names Honda, Toyota, Nissan, Kia maybe, Hyundai; come to mind. And I like the looks of certain Pontiac Grand am 4-doors, the ones with the ridges, one of the very few 4-door vehicles I think has good looks. But I don't know about reliability.

    Any car fans out there?
  2. Nodsu

    Nodsu TS Rookie Posts: 5,837   +6

    Don't know what models you have available in the US, but I would really advise against Korean cars - you get what you pay for. Toyota has been ranking very high in German reliability charts (number and severity of problems in x years for a new car)
  3. hewybo

    hewybo TS Maniac Posts: 435


    I'm with Nodsu on the Kia/ Hyundai deal just not proven in my estimation. The Honda and Toyota nameplates are just about synonymous with reliability. I've also heard some good things about later model VW produst, don't know if you'll find a "sporty" model, exactly. I have owned and loved Pontiacs in the past, but gas was under a buck, then. I love to work on all of 'em, and it's a good thing. I have a 20 (21 now, I guess) year old S10 Blazer that is full of quirks and pratfalls, but I love it just the same. Also, on the advice of a friend of mine, check out the Saturn models. Happy Trails!!

    witless is bliss
  4. SOcRatEs

    SOcRatEs TechSpot Paladin Posts: 966

    Hey niebhor

    If I can be of any help locally let me know.
    I have some long time friends here in the valley.
  5. SNGX1275

    SNGX1275 TS Forces Special Posts: 10,742   +421

    I've not known anyone to own a Kia, but I think the general opinion on them is to avoid. On the other hand, you can probably get a brand new Kia for about that price with a 10 year warranty.

    My only other input is to reconsider manual transmissions, they are usually cheaper than automatics, get better gas mileage, and have far fewer problems. Plus its nice having more control over how you drive.
  6. Vigilante

    Vigilante TechSpot Paladin Topic Starter Posts: 1,666

    Alrighty then. I was looking around Hyundai's web site, the only thing that atracts me is a couple of their models look fairly nice, and can be had brand new for pretty cheap. But I would rather stay away like you said.

    I was also looking at the Chevy Cobalt. Their lower trim models are fairly cheap, any experience with those? Or I could get last years model in an upper trim, but even that would be around 15k+. I like the looks though.

    Socrates - I will probably end up buying in the valley. We have a bunch of dealers up here all over, but I can still generally find better deals down there. However, if I buy it new, I don't really want to be taking it down there all the time for maintenence checks. That doesn't matter, though, because I probably can't afford a decent car new. Have to find maybe a few years old perhaps. So I'll have to pick up a couple auto traders.

    I am generally after a simple (auto or man) 2 door 4 banger with a bit of style. I don't drive very much and for the most part it's fairly level driving. Accept there are some pretty steep roads around here. And it may or may not help, but it would be good if the car doesn't ride to low. You won't beleive how many busted body pieces you see around here, and listen to people's under carriage scrape against most every curb.

    keep em coming
  7. hewybo

    hewybo TS Maniac Posts: 435

    Hey, Vigilante- check out They have a forum, you'll be able to specify Cobalt, or any other nameplate, and peruse the owners comments, problems, and ratings. No punches are pulled. No "ratings" as such, and keep in mind that most are writing because of a problem, but you can get an idea of what to expect, I think. Good luck.

    witless is bliss
  8. kirock

    kirock TS Rookie Posts: 1,221

    Go to
    You search by make/model, price range, year range. Not by color though!!! :)
    I bought a 1991 Saab 900 on eBay this June/2005. Got it for $600 US, great condition, needed the rear brakes cleaned for a safety. She runs great!
  9. Vigilante

    Vigilante TechSpot Paladin Topic Starter Posts: 1,666

    What do you think about this list?

    Mitsubishi Lancer
    Saturn ION-3 Quad Coupe
    Chevy Cobalt or Cavalier (Although Cavalier has a 2005 model, Cavalier is not on Chevy's web site. Discontinued?)
    Oldsmobile Alero

    Note these don't have to be new or anything, but would these models be far less quality in their older years? They can all be had for similar prices.
    I like the ION's exterier the best of them all, but it doesn't have a console arm rest, and the center instrument panel would take some getting used to.
    Also heard great things about the Ecotec engine (Cobalt and Cavalier, not sure about others).

  10. hewybo

    hewybo TS Maniac Posts: 435


    Sounds like a good list. If I'm not mistaken the Cavalier was deleted (!) in favor of the Malibu nameplate. Saturn has a really good rep. You mentioned you'd probly go to a dealer, if so, the Saturn dealers also have a good rep. I have NO personal experience with the Cobalt, but I, too, have heard good things. When I lived in Sacramento, two friends of mine were mechanics at the Mazda dealership, and they both agreed that Mitsubishi was superior. Their words, not mine. I think you're looking at a good list. OOPS! This is the last model year for ALL Oldsmobiles (breaks my heart, I had a '64 442 that was GREAT!), so I might not go there, just for that reason.

    witless is bliss
  11. SNGX1275

    SNGX1275 TS Forces Special Posts: 10,742   +421

    My dad just sold his '96 Saturn, had 196k miles on it, still ran fine. Only ever had 2 problems with it: 1 the security button you had to press to start it died, had to have it bypassed, and 2, the ac didn't work very well - we added freon to it a few times, and it didn't seem to do much good, never took it to a real shop though.
  12. jshields13

    jshields13 TS Rookie Posts: 109

    I know a few folks here that own Hyundais. They all seem to be very happy with them. I bought my wife an Elantra about 6 months ago and so far it has had 0 problems. You can't beat the warranty and it cost me $12,500 bottom line with a trade in of a '94 Saturn that was in bad shape. I read many reviews and the consensus seemed to be that the older Hyundai was not up to par, but the ones manufactured in the last 2 or 3 years are very good.

    By the way, I drive a Hyundai Tucson which I am quite happy with.

    Just my 2 cent worth.
  13. smtkr

    smtkr TS Rookie Posts: 131

    I've actually heard good things about hyundai, but you might be looking for something like a 2000 Toyota Celica GT (for your price range, depending on where you live).
  14. Vigilante

    Vigilante TechSpot Paladin Topic Starter Posts: 1,666

    The Celica looks nice, but it is considered "sporty/performance". I'm avoiding a sports car due to a huge jack up and insurance for that class.

    If I can have an insurance payment that is actually lower then my car loan, that's what I'm after :)

    When I bought the 1990 Eclipse like 7 years ago, it was not considered a sports, but a 2-door coupe. Which saved me $100+ in insurance. My brother, on the other hand, went and bought a Mustang, and had insurance 3 times as much as me.
  15. SNGX1275

    SNGX1275 TS Forces Special Posts: 10,742   +421

    You can't be in too bad of financial shape if you are looking for a car ~$13k. So insurance cost shoudln't be that bad for you. You can find a Celica a few years old and drop the price some to make up for insurance jump.
  16. RealBlackStuff

    RealBlackStuff TS Rookie Posts: 6,503

    I have a 1998 Nissan Almera 1.6 automatic saloon, with el. windows, el. sunroof and AC. Got it in an auction in 2002 for €4'000 with 51K miles on it. It's great.
    I think your version would be Nissan Pulsar N15 series.
  17. AtK SpAdE

    AtK SpAdE TechSpot Chancellor Posts: 1,495

    I feel for ya there...i drive a 90 buick century my insurance is 2000$ and that is just bare minium that i need.
  18. Vigilante

    Vigilante TechSpot Paladin Topic Starter Posts: 1,666

    Thanks for all the input, I've got many cars to research now.

    Then it just comes down to forcing myself to get one. That'll take a miracle.
  19. hewybo

    hewybo TS Maniac Posts: 435

    One more thing to fickle your tancy: a local dealership here in Vegas is advertising (saw another ad tonite) NEW Hyundai Elantras for $7997!! (didn't note for sure, but probly new 2005's)

    Study hard-
  20. Vigilante

    Vigilante TechSpot Paladin Topic Starter Posts: 1,666

    Sure, pick one up for me. I'll give you an IOU. :)
  21. hewybo

    hewybo TS Maniac Posts: 435


    You didn't say what color. I just figgered I'd wait til you got enough advice, then stir the pot. You know, fly up to Vegas, grab a new car, then road test it back home, then tell the dealer down there ya didn't like it, would they please ship it back for you. :haha:
  22. Vigilante

    Vigilante TechSpot Paladin Topic Starter Posts: 1,666

    Vegas huh? Well no need to fly, it's about a 3 or 4 hour drive from here.

    So long as I'm "test" driving cars. Might as well make is a Dodge Viper with all power, and all upgrades, and all options. Cherry red, racing wheels. Gimme dual gas tanks, heck, fill the trunk. And then clear the road!
  23. hewybo

    hewybo TS Maniac Posts: 435

    Be Smart!

    NO. no, no, man- stick with the Elantra. I hear those things are chick magnets! Viper? The guy that designed that had a GIRL'S name. man. Carroll? :D
  24. Vigilante

    Vigilante TechSpot Paladin Topic Starter Posts: 1,666

    Okay forget the Viper. Make it a BMW. Observ:







  25. hewybo

    hewybo TS Maniac Posts: 435

    Nice Halloween pic at bottom. Wonder if BMW had to pay a licensing fee to Porsche for that profile/ Want CLEVER? Honda tops 'em. Go to this and watch the film: Wonderful film!! just read a disclaimer- there are NO camera tricks used. real-time events!

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