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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
A bit surprised to find myself at this point, but nontheless, I'm in the early process of finding a new car to get into. My current payments/insurance rates are ridiculous. Especially for a college student to handle. Also, I'm not in love with the car. It's fine, has been reliable, but I want something I have some more passion for. So, I have come to you guys for assistance.

The criteria:

Must:
be a sedan or hatch
be compact to midsized
be somewhat fuel efficient, probably a 4-cyl
be an auto
be preferably no more than 5 years old
be reliable enough to hopefully last me another 4-5 year until I'm done with my degrees
be cheap to insure
most importantly be around $10,000, give or take a grand or two

I'm not picky. I'm open to all makes, foreign or American. An 04 Mazda 3 is at the top of my list at the moment, but I'd really like some more suggestions. I've also been pondering a used G6, but am sort of wary of them. Thanks guys.
 

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I've seen one go for $9k, so I think $12k is definitely a possibility. I'm talking about the Linear model, so you're not looking at a top of the line turbo(Aero) model. There's one 70 miles from me for sale for $10k right now.

EDIT: You can get an Aero for under $12k: ebay
 

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A 9-2x can probably be bought cheaper than an Impreza :rolleyes:
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Mazda 3 and 9-2x are probably best bets

I don't know why you have those particular constraints of price/age/automatic/sedan etc but there you go ;) You might even be able to snag Saab 9-3
Well, I don't want a car that to old. Price, because of what I am able to afford of course. Sedan/Hatch because I would like the added doors and space as opposed to a coupe like the one I have. Auto, because I wouldn't like a manual. And there you go.

Saab 9-3 would be VERY nice, but the only one in my range would have miles-a-plenty built up so that'd be a nono for me and my price range.

Can anybody tell me about the Dodge Neons, 04s and up?
 

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Can anybody tell me about the Dodge Neons, 04s and up?
They suck. I did a 10 hour trip from San Diego to Sacramento in one a month ago. The one I rode in has been reliable for my friend, he bought it as a used rental. But other than that it's a pretty pitiful car, only marginally better than a Cavalier IMO. The AC does blow COLD tho. If you don't like your Civic, you won't like the Neon. The SRT-4, on the other hand, you might like, but I'm sure the insurance is insane.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
I just confused right now in trying to decide if I want to get what I'd want at around 10-11 thousand or just get something cheaper like a used Neon/Focus etc. at around 7-8 thousand to even further save in payments through my college career. At the same time I'd really like to get a car I can personally enjoy. We'll see. I'm going out to test out a few cars in the morning which will include the 3, 6, HHR, Cobalt, Neon, G6, Focus, and maybe a couple others. I just want to look at some cars more closely so that I'll be able to get a clearer image of what I'd like to do. One thing about the Mazdas I'm wondering is that I think I've heard insurance companies classify them as sports cars? Because if the rates were too high that may take them off the list. Anybody know?

Keep the suggestions coming!
 

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Do a search for 06 HHR's. You should be able to find a fairly low mileage one for a good price. They are reliable, fairly attractive (I like them and own one,) they provide a lot of room, get decent fuel economy and should be pretty cheap to insure.

I'd think for $10,000 you should be able to find quite a few. I bought a new 2006, fully loaded model, while in my last year at university. It had just been released and was the third one delivered to my city and I paid quite a premium for it but I've been pretty satisfied with it (although I did grow tired of it and have been waiting to trade it in but that's because my income has grown significantly and I could get into something much better if I wanted.)
 

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How about a Malibu? An 04-05 Malibu would be in your price range. I haven't had a problem with mine, and with the Ecotec 4 in it I get 32-35 on the highway depending on how I drive it. It may not be the prettiest car GM ever produced, but it is quite comfortable and practical.
 

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Postpone the "passion" part of it till you finish college, save the money you would have spent on the "right now" [Saabs are not cheap to repair, IIRC], and try for boring, cheap to run and easy and cheap to repair. Why struggle when your first objective is to GET THAT DEGREE.

You have plenty of time to own something more exotic once you're past college and may find your objectives and priorities [as well as financial status], have all changed.

Most of GM's 2.2 w/ Hydramatic seem to be pretty unburstable. [Early L Series and some 03 IONs had a timing chain oiler problem that caused them to seize, be wary, and a 5 speed Aisin auto that gets complaints for it's shift characteristics].

You can get that combination in many different flavors: Cobalt, ION, Malibu Classic, G6, Cavalier and Sunfire and still have thousands left over out of your $10,000. An 06 ION with those plastic panels would make the perfect urban warrior. My 05 ION 2.2/Auto gets 25-27 city and 35-37 on long trips. Ignition switch has been a problem. The trunk is huge.

Hope that helps a little, though it sounds like the Mazda 3 has what you are looking for and there aren't any hatches in the GM range except for the Maxx and current Astra.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Little update...Wasn't able to go car chopping with the dad last weekend, so I went out on my own. In my mind I had pretty much decided on the 3, but after browsing around I found a Jetta I decided to try out. The dealer let me take it home to get feel for the car a bit more and I loved the damn thing. That was an 05 current gen, value edition. I had planned to go back this weekend with the parents to hopefully get it, but the DAY after I drove it..it was sold. This Jetta was also an auto, 53k on the odo.

Needless to say, I was pretty damn devastated. Today I went and drove one identical to that Jetta. Same color (black), same price, another value edition, 52k odo, except this one is an 06 and it a manual trans..Everybody keeps telling me to not let this stop me from getting a car, even though today was the first time I've driven stick, and after trying it out, it really wasn't bad. I took a friend with me to drive the Jetta for me, and we stopped in a lot and he just taught me the basics. I'm going to go down with the parents this weekend and we'll see what happens. I had also found some higher level Jettas of those years with heated seats, sunroof, auto climate, etc. but I really want to keep it basic for future cost purposes if anything turns faulty. I'm just preying this turns out well Saturday. Will let you guys know. Thanks.
 

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2 people i no have jetta and there nothing but proplems. they have said they will never buy another VW again. there nice looking cars but the proplems they come with are not worth it. one has the 2.0 the other is the 1.8t. if you get the jetta get a warrenty with it and if you have to buy one get it.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 · (Edited)
All I can do is hope for the best, I guess. After living with the Civic, I've just decided to go all in and get what I really want..within my price range. The Civic was reliable, but after owning a car I really just had no desire for, I'd hope I won
t have to do that again. Also the Jetta's your friends have I'm guessing aren't the current gens with those engines. I'm looking at current gens with the 2.5 5 cylinder. As far as extended warranties..I may consider it..if my parents help with the costs. It has been nice to have with the Civic for peace of mind. I used the warranty once with my car, and had I not had it, I'd of had to shell out about 1,200 + dollars.
 

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The Jetta is a fine choice. They are very popular up here in Canada with the 20-something crowd. I know a few people with older models and with new models and, for the most part, they have only had minor issues. My girlfriend just bought a 2008 VW City Golf (Canada only model) and it's been great, other than a small alignment problem I think might exist but I'll have them look at it during the first service.

The Jetta will be a nice car to own that has lots of potential for modifications. There are some really good message boards and forums with some very knowledgable people (although arrogant at times.)

Have fun.
 

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About half of my cars have been used, about a year old. Many were just off leases or were rentals, when they changed rentals with 12K to 14K miles on them. The two rentals I had were among the most reliable I've ever owned.

Only one "leased" car , my '99 STS, had any mechanical problems and most were fixed under warranty as it was a "Certified Used car".

My advise would be to pick a car that you like and go to all the dealers for that brand. Ask them about any leased cars they have coming back to the dealership or any "Certified" low mileage used cars. Maybe you'll find something unexpectedly.
 

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Buick Regal/Lacrosse? Grand Prix? Impala/Monte?
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
Going in the morning to look. It's really all up in the air right now. Parents don't like the idea of a manual, so I don't know what to do. Will be looking at the Cobalt, G6, 06 2.2L VUE, Dodge Caliber and Neon, and Mazda 6 primarily. Though, if I can't get the Jetta I'm telling my mom she can just pick anything cheap. I've payed hundreds of dollars a month for over two years having a car I never truly liked a lot and not it's happening again. Oh joy.

I'm honestly not looking forward to the morning. My parents are divorced, have been for 10 years, and I do NOT picture this going well..Mom hates Dad. I'm no fond of my mom at the moment, nor her of me. This just is not looking good. God be with me..
 
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