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Car opinions needed

Old 08-26-06, 08:01 PM
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Car opinions needed

Yeah, these threads have been done, but I was hoping to get some advice on some specific models.

My wife and I are in the market for a used car, as one of ours finally reached the point of "we don't want to fix it again."

We've been shopping around for Toyota, Nissan, etc. in the 10-12K range. We haven't seen a whole lot available, as the models in our price range are selling fast (it seems).

Today we found two potentials, although we are not at the the point it HAS to be one of these, but wanted some opinions on the cars.

#1 is a 2003 Nissan Altima, fairly loaded, excellent condition. The bad part is 91K miles. Tentatively, with our trade in, price would be $10,900. We might get it a tad lower, but I'm not sure. Our concern here obviously is the miles, so we are curious how long these cars go for? Anyone have good/bad experiences with the Altimas, and has anyone put lots of miles on without too much trouble?

#2 is a 2005 Mitsubishi Lancer, same features as the Nissan really. 20K miles, and still some warranty. Price without any negotiations or trade in factored is $11,995. We like the idea of lower miles, newer car and warranty, but we know nothing of these cars. Anyone have experience?

Our problem is, while the Lancer seems more practical, we liked the Nissan better. It rode better, was more comfortable and had more room. We have a toddler and travel to family enough (and carry a stroller all the time) that roominess is a plus.

So, I guess I am trying to get some opinions on the two cars, but not necessarily a vote on which is better (since we haven't narrowed it completely down to these two yet). If we have some opinions of what each is like, it will help us ultimately eliminate one or choose one.

Thanks!
Old 08-26-06, 09:05 PM
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I think 2 years and 70k miles would be enough to convince me unless the Lancer was just terrible. I gave up on Nissan after having bad local dealer experience. Honda's are all I buy now, if I was looking I would find a 4 cylinder Accord. An accord would be bigger than both of these and likely more reliable if it had been serviced properly.
Old 08-26-06, 09:09 PM
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The lancer is too boring of a car imo. The altima is sportier, but nissans are more junk them mercedes is these days. I'd definetly look into a camry or an accord if i were in your shoes. Ive owned a lot of cars, toyota is the absolute #1 choice you can make.
Old 08-26-06, 09:09 PM
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Something like this:

http://www.cars.com/go/search/detail...1&aff=national
Old 08-26-06, 09:21 PM
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Originally Posted by Blitz6Speed
I'd definetly look into a camry or an accord if i were in your shoes. Ive owned a lot of cars, toyota is the absolute #1 choice you can make.
I agree

I would lean more towards a Camry for several reasons.

The 07 model is very popular thus making the 02-03 model cheaper

Camry was the #1 selling car in America for years, there are TONS of them out there for sale used

They have more room than the Altima, no contest.

Check Ebay Motors, you will see them going for less than blue book value.

The camry is very reliable if you perform typical maintenance.

You want to try and find something that has about 15k miles or less on it for every year old it is. Both time and mileage afect the life of a car.
Old 08-26-06, 09:31 PM
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I'm not a huge fan of the Altima, but don't hate it either. But @ 91,000 miles, I'd pass.

I'd look at Camry & Accord. Don't want you to blow your budget, but you still migh find an '06 new camry in the $17,000 range with auto & 4 cyl...maybe....Or you could get a new Accord LX for around $19,000.

I know these are over your budget...but worth considering....
Old 08-26-06, 09:38 PM
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for me the rule is buy import new and american used

used import prices are too high
Old 08-26-06, 11:17 PM
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Originally Posted by al_bundy
for me the rule is buy import new and american used

used import prices are too high
Interesting rule. Imports (most) hold their resale much better then typical "american" cars. So the questions becomes why? Well if supply/demand is at work it is because more people want the used imports because they are better????

Tho if you are only going to keep a car a couple of years, maybe better to go in as cheaply as possible and just accept the fact you will have to do some work on it.
Old 08-26-06, 11:49 PM
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they hold their value so well i don't want to pay it for used. might as well spend the extra few thousand $$$ which is nothing over 5 years and buy new then take the higher trade in value and use it as a down payment on a new car so your next car is 1/3 to 1/2 the cost of the first new car.

for me i would never spend more than $5000 or so on a used car since most of them are out of warranty

for the OP, someone i work with just picked up his third altima lease in 5 years. the last one which was a 2003 or 2004 had a recall for the suspension system. otherwise no problems on any of them.
Old 08-27-06, 05:28 AM
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you should be able to get a 3 year old camry/accord in your price range, if you're strictly looking for reliable.
Old 08-27-06, 12:57 PM
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Originally Posted by D.Pham00
you should be able to get a 3 year old camry/accord in your price range, if you're strictly looking for reliable.
We were looking at Toyotas, but the pickings are slim right now in our area (in our price range) and we have been down a car too long now.

The 91K miles are from the previous owner who commuted, so we know why those are high.

However, seeing what I am here, we may have to continue our search. The Lancer just isn't impressing us beyond a point A, point B car (and my concern for it as a family car) and people seem to think 91K is too much.

Crap.

We might be able to look at a couple other Altimas in a slightly higher price but significantly less miles. So, any more opinions on this particular car (03/04)?

Also, in our Toyota search, it seemed the Corolla would be more our price range (and the Camrys in our range have impossible to find). Any opinions?

Last edited by outer-edge; 08-27-06 at 12:59 PM.
Old 08-27-06, 01:13 PM
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Here is a camry with buy it now for $11,200 (yeah mileage is a little high, but just an as example of what is out there)

http://cgi.ebay.com/ebaymotors/Condi...QQcmdZViewItem


Another at $11,900

http://cgi.ebay.com/ebaymotors/02-4D...QQcmdZViewItem

another at $11,999

http://cgi.ebay.com/ebaymotors/2003-...QQcmdZViewItem


What exactly is your range?

If the corolla is big enough for you, then by all means that would be the way to go. The gas mileage is great, insurance is low, and reliability record is awesome.

Personally I have owned 5 toyotas over the years (2 being camry's) and I have nothing but good things to say about them. I always did the maintenance, but other than that drove the hell out of em and never had any worries up to 180,000 miles and then sold them all off at a good price for me.

My current 2005 SE 4 cyl is everything one could want in a family sedan. Good space, great mileage (I get 23 in town and 33 on the highway and I don't drive slow). You should be able to find a 2002 4 cyl in your price range. In 2005 toyota had a ton of rebates and incentives and 4 cyl LE models were selling new for $15,000.

Check Craigs list, autotrader, any local county newspapers, ebay, I wouldn't rely on just dealer sales. Take any likely used car candidates to a local mecahnic and pay the $75 for an evaluation before you buy it.

Look around your local parking lots, almost every area has one or two lots were people park cars for sale (I have sold all my old Toyotas that way).

I have driven Altima's and honestly, the older ones were better built cars (older as in 1995), the 2003 and on up series is crappy compared to a camry and has much less space. I was considering a 2005 Altima when I bought the camry because I could get the Altima new for about $14,000 and I thought that was cheap. When I started pressing Toyota dealers, I found that I could a camry with more equipment for about $1000 more. I drove the two cars back to back (the dealers are 4 blocks from each other) and hands down the camry was a more refined more spacious car. The Alitma was noisy and clunky and not smooth. The altima only had a 4 speed auto as well, the camry had a 5 spd auto which is what I ended up with. It gives the 4 banger much more range in power and much better to drive.
Old 08-27-06, 05:28 PM
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Originally Posted by outer-edge
We were looking at Toyotas, but the pickings are slim right now in our area (in our price range) and we have been down a car too long now.

The 91K miles are from the previous owner who commuted, so we know why those are high.

However, seeing what I am here, we may have to continue our search. The Lancer just isn't impressing us beyond a point A, point B car (and my concern for it as a family car) and people seem to think 91K is too much.

Crap.

We might be able to look at a couple other Altimas in a slightly higher price but significantly less miles. So, any more opinions on this particular car (03/04)?

Also, in our Toyota search, it seemed the Corolla would be more our price range (and the Camrys in our range have impossible to find). Any opinions?
well, are you sure that the prices they have are firm? i mean, most dealers are willing to deal down. in april 2003, i picked up a 2000 camry solara with about 50k miles for $11.5+ttl. i think that they stickered it at around 15k or so.

of course, the car was totalled 7 months later, but the insurance ended up paying me more money than i paid for the car.

put it this way, i've seen new camry's sold in the 15's. i'm sure that these where dealer specials, but still, if you're persistant, you should be able to get a 03 camry/accord with ~50k miles around 12k.

you'd probably have to haggle for it though. this is a good time to buy as it's near the end of the month, so get going

and i did a quick search on cars.com and found quite a few 03 camrys for under $12k.

http://www.cars.com/go/search/fs_sea...l&aff=national
Old 08-27-06, 08:04 PM
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Originally Posted by 4KRG
Here is a camry with buy it now for $11,200 (yeah mileage is a little high, but just an as example of what is out there)
We're looking in our area, and would like to see/test the car before buying. As I said, we just have not been seeing anything locally. So, like I said, we have been looking for Toyotas, just not seeing much. We were trying to stay in the 10-12K range, but if I can convince my wife, I think we will look slightly higher which will open our options for available Toyotas.
Old 08-27-06, 08:13 PM
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I've had 2 altimas (2001 and 2004), and I have only had a few minors issues (motor in window broke, covered by warranty). As for ride, reliability, etc....it's been great. Not sure what my next car will be, I'm down to Mazda 3, Mazda 6, or Solstice. (looking at used 2 yr old cars)

-p

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