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tammy

Used Cars

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Hello and Merry Christmas and Happy Hanukkah to you!!!!!

We want to purchase the right used car for our needs.

We are looking for educated feed-back and personal experience with used cars.

We need a car that is safe to drive, great on gas, mechanically sound low-maintenance, good body and low cost to insure. We do a lot of commuting and reliability and safety our key.

Do you have any ideas on which cars to seriously consider and which ones to avoid? We are looking at the Dodge Neon, Chevy Cavalier, Toyota Camry and Hyundai Elantra...

I appreciate your help!

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I have gone through this sooo many times. My brother taught me how to do this so I would quit bothering him ... :)

I use edmunds.com to research cars. There are other car review sites too though.

The last time I bought a car, I called my insurance company to see what my insurance would be for each car that I was interested in. This way you get the facts.

I loved my Hyundai Accent, but it got creamed in a car accident. Their warranty is good and the service was excellent. I am assuming the Elantra will get creamed too ....

Marcia

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Hello and Merry Christmas and Happy Hanukkah to you!!!!!

We want to purchase the right used car for our needs.

We are looking for educated feed-back and personal experience with used cars.

We need a car that is safe to drive, great on gas, mechanically sound low-maintenance, good body and low cost to insure. We do a lot of commuting and reliability and safety our key.

Do you have any ideas on which cars to seriously consider and which ones to avoid? We are looking at the Dodge Neon, Chevy Cavalier, Toyota Camry and Hyundai Elantra...

I appreciate your help!

For what it's worth, I would say avoid the Dodge Neon like the plague. I worked for a rental car company that used neons. Granted, rentals take a beating. But these cars were in the shop as much as they were being driven.

The toyota camry is pretty close to as good as a car gets. It, along with the Honda civic, are safe, reliable, inexpensive to fix, mechanically sound, less expensive to insure, and have a high resale value. Personally, I have a Civic. It's a 1997 with over 100K, and is in quite sound mechanical condition. I've driven it very hard for over five years, and she has rolled with my (many) punches. I will probably only drive Honda's for the rest of my life. If forced, however, my second choice would be a Toyota, and most likely the Camry.

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If safety features are a high priority, look at the Jetta. When we bought our new car (back in '02), safety was probably the most important item on our list, as if we have kids, they'll ride in it. One of the things we found is that there's quite a gap between safety features on cars - there were three that we were seriously considering due to safety, the VW Jetta, BMW 325i, and a Mercedes something or another (but I told my husband I'd never drive a Mercedes :P ).

The safety features that drew us?

Airbags - front, front side, side curtain, rear side (optional) on the Jetta and the same (minus the optional rear side) on the BMW

Brakes - vented, ABS disc brakes (Jetta is solid disc on the back, BMW is vented on all four)

Traction Control System - well developed on both models (stabilization is optional on the standard Jetta)

Of course, my husband cared about the power too. :)

The both get about the same 25-32ish mpg (city/hwy) for automatic. (Though we got nearly 600 miles on a 14 gallon tank going through Oregon at a steady 60mph! - 42mpg!)

We went with the BMW, for a number of reasons, including the fact we didn't like the lag on the accelerator of the 2.0T Jetta, automatic, which I understand is not really a problem on the manual, which is what my in-laws have (though in a Passat, which uses a very similar mechanism) and the fact that they generally have very long lives. It's not uber-expensive to insure, though the Jetta would probably be cheaper. (And we got to do European delivery and picked up the car in Munich, which was fun. :D) And in my experience (and the experience of those with either the Jetta (college friend) or Passat (in-laws), neither is really high maintenance, but, in the case of the BMW, parts are pricey. :( (Fortunately, the first four years of regular maintenance is free.) One low-maintenance thing I particularly like about it, which you get with many higher-performance cars, is that the synthetic oil and tighter engineering gives you 15,000 miles between oil changes. Takes a little getting used to, after you did oil changes every 3,000 miles religiously. :P

I hesitated to post this, because I don't know if, used, either of these two options fits the budget you're looking for. I know they address your concerns for safety well, are fairly reasonable for gas, are low maintenance, and I think they have a good body. But a used Camry was between the cost of these two in my area. (That may be skewed... people don't seem to mind paying $35k for a car when you can't even think about buying a house for 10 times that... Gotta love screwy cost of living...) Anyway... a suggestion.

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out of your list, i would not recommend the chevy or hyundai.

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Honda's and Toyota's are always a great buy. Stay away from the Neon's. Of course, BMW and Mercedes are great, but not if there is an immediate budget constraint.

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