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Discussion Starter #1
(Can we get a separate Car & Bike section?)

Here's where we're at:

0) budget $20,000 all in
1) 2010 Toyota Matrix MT, base w/ touring pkg (alloys/fog lights/spoiler/light tint
2) 305500km as of today - add 450km tomorrow when I go to the next band practice.
3) Paid off as of December
4) Engine light on (quoted $1200 repair), big windshield crack (around $500), probably some other stuff.
5) Replacement transmission (60k on trans) + new clutch January 2017 - transmission probably around 100k km now.

The matrix has been a learning experience (never drove manual til I got it). There's a ton of options for my budget, and compound that with being within a comfortable distance of Toronto for deals. I'm willing to drive to save a few thousand.

The main list:
- 2017+ Hyundai Elantra GL (potentially 2018)
- 2015+ Toyota Corolla LE
- 2014+ Honda Civic
- 2016+ Nissan Sentra SV

I initially came in guns blazing for the elantra due to features, price and opportunity to buy a low-mileage vehicle. Reliability is pretty high on the list, after having had to replace the transmission in my car. I have yet to factually dive into the expected maintenance costs of the cars on my list. I know that Honda and Toyota are still tops for reliability, and it seems the Toyotas come in for a little bit less for equivalent cars.

The immediate future is still doing roughly 1000km a week until winter 2020, except for touring (3-4 months 2019/2020). I'm expecting to put between 60k and 80k on my next vehicle within the first two years, then 25k/yr after that. Lower mileage is preferred for that reason, especially on CPO's that still have some warranty left. Honda has 7yr/160k warranty which means even a 2015 civic will have some coverage after touring life is done.

After touring, I suspect we will be starting a family 3-5 years. My initial plan is to have my next vehicle going into that phase of my life, and I feel that the cars on my list fit that requirement. I don't know yet if I want to drive it into the ground or not.

Subaru and VW have been left off the list mostly due to cost to repair - I won't have a lot of $$ to throw at that until tour retirement and want a few years hassle free (who doesn't).

Is there a clear winner here or am I correct in that my options are pretty even across the board?

I'll be digging into Consumer Reports at the library for longevity info.
 

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I rent a lot of cars and that gives me an opportunity to try various brands and models.

I like Nissan and Honda cars (in that order).

The Hyndai and Kia stuff always seems a bit cheaply made (nothing to back that up, just my impression).

I have Hertz club Gold which means I don’t stand in line, I just go to a sign board that already has my name and a designated parking spot or a row of cars I can choose from. I get in, show my licence on the way out, and leave.

The only cars I will flat out reject are VWs.

I’ve rented three over the years, and all three had a strange characteristic which I personally find dangerous.

It’s a delay in the car reacting to a sudden command. Put the gas pedal to the floor and the car sits there seemingly confused for a second or two before moving.

That can be life threatening if you’re trying to merge onto the Atlanta Highway or I65 around Nashvegas.

After the third such incident I said never again.

For $20K I’d be looking at an Altima. In my opinion, you won’t find a better car in that class.

In the snow, I’ll choose it over the 4WD vehicles in our company fleet.
 

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I don't know cars like most of you guys do, but...

Been perfectly happy with Toyota products (3 Rav4s, 2 Tacomas, 1 Matrix) for the last 10 years or so but have also had a Nissan Sentra that was a great car. The Sentra was gutsy, reliable, economical, comfortable, was surprisingly good in snow, nice even weight distribution or something...and launched out of the hole like a Seadoo.) One branch of the family loves their Mazdas and I've been impressed as well.

From your choices I'd take either the Toyota or Nissan, pass on the Civic (though a better Honda would be fine, I like the CRV), and wouldn't consider a Hyundai.
 

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Consumer Reports
2017 Hyundai Elantra
Owner Satisfaction: 3/5
Reliability: 4/5

2015 Toyota Corolla
Owner Satisfaction: 3/5
Reliability: 5/5

2014 Honda Civic
Owner Satisfaction: 4/5
Reliability: 5/5

2016 Nissan Sentra
Owner Satisfaction: 1/5
Reliability: 1/5

For $20k you should be able to afford
2017 Toyota Corolla LE
Owner Satisfaction: 4/5
Reliability: 5/5

2017 Mazda3 GS
Owner Satisfaction: 4/5
Reliability: 5/5
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Thanks guys. My wife and her parents have nissans which is where that idea came from.

@Milkman altima's are on the radar and then i see 70L tank and 2.5 engine and know how I drive when Im late hahaha.
 

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My impression of Hyundai/Kia is that while they seem great initially, lots of features, good initial quality but they are not for the long run. Those fancy Xenon lights are great until you have to replace them at a$1000 apiece or your backup camera or proximity detectors stop working. After a few years they come apart hard. Everyone that I know who's had one experiences the same pattern. Get one only if you intend to keep it only for the warranty period. It also doesn't help that around here, the Hyundai/Kia are all the stereotypical sleazeball dealers who push the 84 month payments and hit you with all the extra charges etc etc. You can't go wrong with Honda or Toyota and Mazdas are pretty decent too. I keep hearing all kinds of issues with Nissans.
 

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You can get a lot more for your money if you shop used and still get a quality vehicle if you also buy used at a respectable new car dealer.

New car dealers often get the first pick of trade ins, cherry picking and letting other dealers get whatever they don’t want.

Keep your eye out for cars that they’ve had on the lot for a while. Most new car dealers want to move their used inventory FAST. Every month it sits they usually knock $500-$1000 off the price until it sells.
 

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Sentra. I'm on my 3rd Nissan vehicle. Super reliable until you hit around 350k km
 
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I feel your pain Budda, we just went through this and I Hate vehicle shopping. We did our research with no brand loyalty, checked used and some new options, did research on the ones that looked promising, went to the city and spent 3 days looking at all on the list. Some all you had to do was sit in them for 3 minutes and we knew they weren't for us.
Don't discount a new vehicle, suv's are today's minivan of 10 yrs go, everyone wants one. Three's some Really good prices on new cars. A chev cruze can be had very close to your budget for eg. Had wife been happy with a car we likely would have bought one.

Once we narrowed it down we drove the rav4 and subaru forrester(wife wanted an suv); subaru was much nicer and quieter ride, however not a lot of dealers around and they simply wouldn't deal on it. (plus they tried to pull the, "have to check with mgr, then add blah, blah, blah" 1960's salesman trick)
We ended up buying a 2017 gmc terrain with under 60k for just over 20 out the door.
Guess I'm suggesting look at all options, you never know what your best compromise will be. That being said from your list, toyota's have historically always been a very reliable vehicle.

edit: one last thing, get rid of your car so there's no trade in, even if you auction it. You'll get a much better deal with cash every single time and you "really" won't get anything for it as a trade in anyway.
 

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Thanks guys. My wife and her parents have nissans which is where that idea came from.

@Milkman altima's are on the radar and then i see 70L tank and 2.5 engine and know how I drive when Im late hahaha.
Well, I have two Altimas in the driveway (during the winter). Fuel economy, but for me more importantly, driving range is amazing.

I can easily drive 9 to 10 hours on the highway before refueling. I drove to Columbus, Ohio and back this week. If you need better fuel economy than the 4cyl Altima, maybe a Prius?

And, I also have a heavy gas pedal foot.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
Thank you everyone!

- automatic is a must
- brand new is out of budget :(
- CPO preferred, will be buying at an actual dealership
- will be selling matrix privately. Learned that lesson last time haha.

The transmission going on my matrix put me off of toyotas a bit. My mom has had 3 hondas without much hassle, and Ive had 3 toyotas. The matrix is the first to have an unexpected problem, the other two were camry le's.
 

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Buy lowest km's without too many bells and whistles that is comfortable for as cheap as possible. A few thousand less than a Toyota can pay for a few major repairs and a lot of gas IF it happens to break. Every brand has lemons and bad model years but those are usually spelled out while doing a little research.

I do agree with the sentiments with Volkswagen and Hyundai hesitation with their electronic gas and steering, very sketchy at best even maneuvering around a parking lot or pedestrians.

Sent from my H3223 using Tapatalk
 
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I would be looking for a 2003 - 2008 Toyota or Honda with really low km. You can get a 2005ish Toyota Corolla for around 5k.

The Toyota Matrix were some sort of a joint venture with another American car maker. They sold the same car with an American car logo on it. Maybe that would explain the transmission troubles. I was looking at one of them some time ago and discovered they are a fake car.
 

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I have a 2010 F150 bought new off a lot for $20K. So far I’ve installed 1 new battery and 1 set of front brake pads. I had one of these trucks before and it lasted 18 years with just basic repairs almost all of which I did myself. Cheapest and most reliable vehicles I’ve ever owned.
 

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Discussion Starter #17
Buy lowest km's without too many bells and whistles that is comfortable for as cheap as possible. A few thousand less than a Toyota can pay for a few major repairs and a lot of gas IF it happens to break. Every brand has lemons and bad model years but those are usually spelled out while doing a little research.

I do agree with the sentiments with Volkswagen and Hyundai hesitation with their electronic gas and steering, very sketchy at best even maneuvering around a parking lot or pedestrians.
The gas pedal stuck in my '91 camry, that was interesting. Fortunately it did it in winter time, and that was about the time we got rid of it. Of course my dad didn't believe me...

I would be looking for a 2003 - 2008 Toyota or Honda with really low km. You can get a 2005ish Toyota Corolla for around 5k.

The Toyota Matrix were some sort of a joint venture with another American car maker. They sold the same car with an American car logo on it. Maybe that would explain the transmission troubles. I was looking at one of them some time ago and discovered they are a fake car.
You're thinking of the Pontiac Vibe. I know people who have, or have had matrices (ha) and I'm the only one I know who's had any real problems. Aside from the transmission blowing and taking out the clutch with it, all I've needed is tires and brakes. I think for $5K I can get into 2008's of probably anything.

I have a 2010 F150 bought new off a lot for $20K. So far I’ve installed 1 new battery and 1 set of front brake pads. I had one of these trucks before and it lasted 18 years with just basic repairs almost all of which I did myself. Cheapest and most reliable vehicles I’ve ever owned.
Except the gas on the 10+ hours a week of driving it, and the fact that I wouldn't be able to afford new tires haha.

***

As it turns out, my car is paid off in December. I can a) keep driving it and fix it as needed until I don't do the TO runs anymore b) sell/donate it and buy a sub-$5k car for toronto runs (as outlined in Yan Champ's post), or keep looking around for a fairly new car (or a slightly older car w/ low mileage like the 2015 corolla LE with 19K on odo).

The appeal of finding a similar or older car with automatic is for when the 401 turns into a parking lot, and increased fuel efficiency. The hazard of that is that unless the usual stuff (front end repairs) have been done, who knows when it's going to have that $1k+ repair bill.
 

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The gas isn’t that bad and if anything goes wrong on the highway you’ll be the one walking away most of the time but yeah they aren’t for everyone.
 

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Discussion Starter #20
The gas isn’t that bad and if anything goes wrong on the highway you’ll be the one walking away most of the time but yeah they aren’t for everyone.
Define "not that bad" though - I'm spending around $90 a week right now, in a 1.8L 4-banger haha.

Can't beat good old domestic vehicles. GM, Ford ,Chrysler .
Well the issue is that they aren't that good, just old :p. I believe Chrysler has scored lowest for reliability more than once in recent years, according to C.R.
 
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