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Old 02-10-2014, 10:46 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Ok, TTACers...help!



I am looking forward to replacing my trusty 2005 Mazda 6, and I need your recommendations.

Parameters are:

sub-12k

fun to drive

easy to maintain

reliable

2010 or newer



all suggestions are welcomed!¬*
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Old 02-10-2014, 03:40 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Thats a tricky list of parameters. Anything 2010+ is going to be roughly the same in terms of relative ease of maintence. The only thing you're going to find under 12K at that age is sub-compacts, high mileage, or subprime specials. All things considered, assuming you don't want to lose a lot of size from the 6 try looking at¬*



1. another Mazda 6.¬*

2. Dodge Avenger

3. Mitsubishi Lancer

4. Some kinda Hyundai/Kia
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Old 02-10-2014, 06:45 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Caroline, you haven't specified any of your requirements as far as size or ability.¬*

You could get a 3.6 V6 LT model W-body Impala for less than $12K (at least in my part of the country)

You could negotiate a post refresh Avenger/200 down to $12K perhaps even with the V6.¬*

Current Sonata and Optima have been around long enough that a first year of production could be gotten for that price (although I'm one of those guys who says "avoid the first year of production of a new platform.")¬*

The old Sonata could be gotten for that price and Jack once said it was a great car for people who don't particularly like cars.¬*

Dead brands like Pontiac or Saturn could be gotten for that price BUT that means 2009 or older.¬*

You didn't say whether your current Mazda 6 has a V6 or I4. Last generation Malibu would meet the price requirement and the 4cyl - 6 speed auto combo was well regarded.¬*

If you live in Ohio like Jack you might be thinking AWD/4wd given recent snow events. If a CUV is a possibility the Patriot and Compass (AWD) from recent years have fallen greatly in price and one of the things that was done in the past few years was much more sound deadening and improved shifting software for the CVT. C&D even put an AWD Compass 2nd in a 3 vehicle comparo with a Mini Clubman and Juke AWD.¬*
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DD: 2004 Ford F150 Heritage, single cab, bench, crank windows, 4.6V8, automatic, aftermarket flatbed, Dynomax cat back dual exhaust. Owned since 2006. 2010 Toyota Highlander, V6 AWD, three row, family truckster ¬*
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Old 02-11-2014, 07:36 AM   #4 (permalink)
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A lot of it depends on if you're paying cash, or financing a certain percentage of the price, etc. I mean, I've seen what I think were NEW-NEW 2013 Cobalts advertised at 13k or so (probably only one at that price. Whomever reviewed it for TTAC back in the day did say they were pretty good cars.



If you're going to have a car payment forever, then leasing may make sense for you (but not if you go way over mileage, etc. I thought lease downpayments vaporized and every new lease you had to drop another $3-4k or whatever, but I didn't know some leases let you trade right into a new model from the same dealer/company. You may be able to get into a good lease deal by taking over someone else's lease. But on principle, I don't like leasing because you get nothing out of it but the use of a car, it's like renting, with all the worry about scratches, damage, etc on your end.



I've seen some good deals pop up on craigslist recently, aside from the 2001 S55 AMG in Cleveland for just over 10k that I jokingly suggested to you on twitter. But they go fast, I saw a 2010 3.8 Grand Caravan with leather, stow-n-go, DVD etc with 30k miles go for around $14k in a day or less. I like to search "needs" on craigslist autos by owner because it gives you a lot of cars that have the words "needs" engines, tranny, or "needs nothing" mentioned in the ads. Usually I search Akron/Canton, Cleveland, and Columbus when I get bored, or am dreaming of picking up a built 408w cheap for my '91 Grand Marquis.
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Old 02-11-2014, 08:04 AM   #5 (permalink)
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The reason why I was suggesting the Cobalt is because it didn't seem to be a bad car, AND I've seen a Cobalt SS drivetrain pop up on CL at least once. I think it wouldn't be that hard to take a plain (or optioned up) Cobalt that some moron destroyed the motor and/or tranny, and just swap in the SS drivetrain/suspension/ecu and have a car that would be pretty fun, and you wouldn't have to pay all that extra money to insure the **** thing for the higher SS-insurance rates.
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Old 02-11-2014, 08:38 AM   #6 (permalink)
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Echoing what I said on Twitter with some gloss added:[*]Fiesta (BarkM's suggestion) is Solid Black on CR's used car ratings, mostly ascribed to "Minor transmission issues". ¬*If you can go with a MT, worth a shot.[*]Mazda3 is sporty and one of the pre-SkyActiv models (pre 2012) should provide plenty of Go. ¬*I rather like the 2.0 DOHC, as it's from the old Protege, and it's a sweetheart. ¬*Reliability has been good according to CR.[*]Kia Soul. ¬*Good room, practicality, and a bit of style. Reliability has been good, and the 2.0L Kia/Hyundai engine is common as dirt across many generations of their car.[/list]
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Old 02-11-2014, 08:52 AM   #7 (permalink)
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Going for something size-equivalent to your 6...



If you liked the 6, then why not go for the previous generation Fusion? ¬*It sat on a (heavily massaged) Mazda6 platform and the general goodness carried over. Reliability in your specified window has been fair (looks like CR prefers the 3.0V6 + 6speed auto). ¬*Since they have significant fleet sales (~25%), residual values are down and you can probably get a sweetheart deal at some dealer just north of you who's been staring at snow-covered lots for the last 6 weeks.
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Old 02-13-2014, 09:33 AM   #8 (permalink)
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I'd like to point out one thing, Caroline didn't make ANY rules regarding the maximum acceptable mileage on the odometer. So my advice is to look for higher mileage cars with all of the service records. You want that Mazda 2 or 2-3 year old Fiesta? Find one with 75k on it that's only 3 years old. It will get the price down to affordability, and aside from it being out of warranty and needing wheel bearings that much sooner you should be fine with almost any modern car to 200k+.



Some people have road-warrior jobs, and will rack up 20k+ a year on their car and take the IRS allowed whatever-cents-per-mile. There's nothing really wrong with these cars, and you'll get a good discount. Good luck.
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Old 02-14-2014, 01:09 AM   #9 (permalink)
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Not to beat a dead horse, but since no one else is chiming in.



On Akron/Canton CL I searched 2010-2014, $5k-12,500 & got:



-2013 Spark Automatic 4d, 80mi, kid won it in school raffle. $12,500obo

-2014 Mirage $11,990 new, with manual transmission, at dealer.

Well, lets just list in model years

-'10: Soul Plus, Sonata, Scion TC, Corolla, Versa, Altima 2.5s, Jetta, Insight, Milan, Cobalt, Civic, Accord, Focus, Fusion, Colorado 4cyl, Rio, HHR, and a couple Caravans and one Crown Vic Police Interceptor ($5800).

-'11 Focus, Fusion, Mazda 2 4 door hatch, Fiesta, Sentra, Altima, Equinox AWD, Impalas, Aveo LT, Mazda3 i Sport, Santa Fe, Lancer, & a Forte.

-'12 Impalas, Malibus, Civic, Mazda 2 Touring, Mazda 3 Sport, Fiesta, Focus, Fusion, & Cruzes.

-'13 Couple Sparks, a Sonic, Versa, and Avenger.



I didn't include the '13 Soul with driver door crunched in and needing suspension work too, nor did I point out the pointless "Smart" cars which have never been and never will be fun to drive (and REQUIRE premium gas).



I don't know how easy those models are to work on, but you're probably limited to v6 Sonata if you can find one, Fiesta, or any Mazda since you specified 'fun to drive.'

I'd pop over to TrueDelta to get the scores on reliability, and talk to your NON-DEALERSHIP mechanic (you do have one of those, right?) on ease of servicing. Then it's all down to 'must-haves' on engine choices, interior lack of colors, moon roof, and all those other options you have to categorize and compromise on.



Okay, I promise I'm done.
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Old 02-15-2014, 03:13 PM   #10 (permalink)
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Great answers, all. I'm going to take Caroline shopping next week. Should make for an interesting article.
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