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03 November 2009 @ 10:47 pm
Stats and reviews for some of the cars i'm considering

Toyota Rav4
Consumer Reports overall used reliability ratings: 2000-05,07-09: Great, 2006: Good
MPG: 22

Unfortunately they redesigned it ugly in 2001, so if i was going to get one it would be the 2000 model.

Price: 2000: $6000-$8000

Toyota Prius
Consumer Reports: Great for all years, despite a bad rating for the Electrical System category for 2001-2003
MPG: 41-44

Despite the good CR ratings, i wonder how much info there is about long term maintenance of hybrid cars so far?

Price: 2001: $10,000, 2002: $9000, 2003: $11,000, 2004: $13,000

It's a very small sample size =) That's a lot higher than the CR estimated prices though...

Subaru Outback
Consume Reports: 2000-2005: Okay, 2006, 2009: Good, 2007-2008: Great
MPG: 19

I mainly included this cause my parents have one and it seems to have worked fairly well for them. Er, i think they still have it. I don't pay that much attention to cars really so they might have gotten a new one and i didn't notice =P

Price: 2005: $14k 2006: No data, 2007: $16k-$18k

Toyota Matrix
Consumer Reports: 2003-2004, 2008-2009: Good, 2005-2007: Great
MPG: 24-27

It's a hatchback, and not quite as smooth and ugly as the newer Rav4s. Supposedly it's bit noisy and with a stiff ride... exactly like the Rav4 :)

Price: 2003: $8k-$10k, 2004: $11k-$12k, with ome $6.5k outlier, 2005: $9k-$13k, 2006: $11k-$15k 2007: $14k-$15k

Subaru Impreza
Consumer Reports: 2000, 2002: Okay, 2003-2004, 2006-2007: Good, 2005, 2008-2009: Great
MPG: 20-24

Another okay looking hatchback

Price: 2002: $12k, 2003: No data, 2004: $9000, 2005: $18k

Honda Element
Consume Reports: 2003-2008: Great, 2009: Good
MPG: 20-21

I don't care what other people say, i think it looks cute :) And it has good ratings, unfortunately it supposedly has lots of road noise (which would probably bother shelleycat)

Prices: 2003: $10k-$13k, 2004: $9k, 2005: $12k-$15k, 2006: $12k-$18k

If anyone has any other suggestions for models i should look at i'd be curious to hear about it. So far i've mostly been looking at the more unusual cars from Consumer Reports' "Best Used Cars" listing 9except for the Scion xB, the new model of that is hella ugly.) For some reason the standard normal shaped cars don't seem to appeal to me much, though i may end up getting one of those just for cost reasons.

I still haven't decided about manual vs. automatic transmission. I _like_ manual, but automatic would probably save me money in the long run =P

Oh, and for the price checks i was using http://edmunds.autotrader.com There's no guarantee that's actually the best price available of course, or even a good representative sample. Especially since a lot of the searches didn't turn up more than two or three cars for a model in any given year.
Ambermaggiedacatt on November 4th, 2009 07:06 am (UTC)
My friend's Element is awesome. :)
Sister Atom Bomb of Courteous Debateakiko on November 4th, 2009 12:30 pm (UTC)
Why do they all get such crappy gas mileage?
balivatn: bunnybalivatn on November 4th, 2009 03:23 pm (UTC)
I noticed that too. I don't have a subscription to Consumer Reports so I can't look at all the used car stuff on the site, but this does seem like a bit of a random selection. Is there a particular style preference you're looking at, Donaithnen? Looking at fueleconomy.gov, Volkswagen seems to do well there. The Golf seems consistently high, although it is a diesel, so that might be a concern.

If you give me a list of requirements you have in a car, I can run them by the insurance person that'll be here and she can say what's been the easiest to handle from that end.
Sister Atom Bomb of Courteous Debateakiko on November 4th, 2009 04:23 pm (UTC)
Golf comes in non-diesel. kirinn's '99 Golf gets 30-31 mpg on regular unleaded. There are reports of crappy electrical systems in recent model VWs, though. (Ours was apparently assembled in Germany, rather than the North American plant. We've not had problems with it at all; I wonder if there's a correlation.)

I'm honestly surprised that more cars don't *get* 30 mpg, 10 years after our car was built. I mean, ffs, my MINI gets 30-ish mpg, and it's a bleeding sports car. (I tend to drive it like one, too, so presumably if you don't, you can get closer to the EPA rating of 35 highway.)
balivatn: otterbalivatn on November 4th, 2009 05:22 pm (UTC)
-nod- I thought I had seen non-diesel Golfs running around. The website I was using had the 2000 Golf just under the Beetle for fuel efficiency in hatchbacks - that was the diesel model.

Heck, my Ford Focus (2005) gets close to 30 mpg. I actually do like it, although I was prejudiced against Fords growing up (my dad was a mechanic in the 60s and 70s, had a lot of Ford issues with their models then). It survived a cross-country haul being loaded to capacity, and we were still pulling pretty high mpg even with the weight and the unfortunate tendency for the sky to try and drown us whenever I took the wheel. But I had called my mechanic that I trusted at the time and he had nothing bad to say about them, which was encouraging.
Desireemadduckdes on November 5th, 2009 12:29 am (UTC)
We had a series of problems with our VW. I've been tempted to take another look because their fuel economy is so good, but I don't think I can bring myself to buy another one until the reliability ratings consistently improve.
Sister Atom Bomb of Courteous Debateakiko on November 5th, 2009 02:05 am (UTC)
It's weird. Our 99 Golf has had few problems, none major, though it needed some new parts (water pump, timing belt) at 125K miles a few months ago. But the 99 Beetle I had (bought used) had this electrical problem that would drain the battery at random if I didn't drive it for a few days. (Now it's scrap, after an incident with a patch of ice and a semi that I walked away from. I think the pictures are still in my LJ photos.)
sthaddeus on November 4th, 2009 02:27 pm (UTC)
You could take a look at the Mazda3 hatchback also.

And my Dad has a 2005 Rav4, so :-P. (The newest model isn't ugly so much as huuuge compared to the first one.)
Squidceph on November 4th, 2009 03:32 pm (UTC)
Were I buying a car, I think I'd be looking at a Toyota Yaris or Honda Fit. I've heard great things about both, they get good mileage, and I know that the Fit, at least, has a TARDIS-like ability to carry more stuff than a car that small should be able to.
Cj: booksporfinn on November 4th, 2009 10:20 pm (UTC)
The Honda Fit was very, very disappointing. The first problem: I felt cramped in it. When I was looking at cars, it was very hard to find a Fit not loaded with excess equipment, so it was a very expensive car. And, yeah, you can fit more in the Honda then it would seem, but taller-than-Ceph folk might find the backseat very uncomfortable for a ride longer than a half hour. I had my heart set on a Fit! But I have absolutely no regrets I got a Matrix instead. There are some problems with the Matrix, and if you decide to go with one talk to me! (there are some years with intense bumper issues), but I'm very pleased with my mileage for a car that I could easily sleep in. The way the seats fold down makes it very roomy, and I can sleep in the back on an air mattress, which is very handy.
cwendy41cwendy41 on November 4th, 2009 03:53 pm (UTC)
For a used Prius, ones with the carpool tag are worth more than ones without. At some point I was reading $6000 more.
Beth Leonardbeth_leonard on November 4th, 2009 08:34 pm (UTC)
I like my '99 Saturn and I've had no major problems with it for the last 101K miles -- pump cracked once, $200, bolts came loose twice when it was still under warrenty. Because GM is winding down the brand it might cost less than other similar cars. I have no idea how it would stack up on CR though. When we were looking for a new minivan I asked the dealer how much I could get for it as a trade-in and they told me around $1600 3 years ago.