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Best bang for the buck for a new car

it is time for me to think about a new car, but I am comming up very disapointed in the selection out at this time. the last new car I purchased was a 1998 chevy metro 4 door. I still have it at over 300,000 miles and it still gets 44 mpg. I have not had to spend much on repairs and maintance. new it cost me under 10K. if you count the fuel cost the car has averaged $.09 per mile. I do not care about having all the fancy stuff, I get on the freeway, have almost no traffic, and drive 50 miles to the office. the only reason I am looking at a new car is that my son is getting ready to start driving and he will get the metro.

Get a Consumer Reports buyers guide for lots of info. Teen with a Metro? Not so hot crash protection, not that you asked…

Best bang for the buck, in my opinion, is Hyundai. Good warranty, good reliability, lower price than average for similar models to other brands. Ford seems to be doing a pretty good job with the new Focus, also.

Car makers have loaded up their vehicles with expensive and troublesome electronic gadgetry, air-bags, traction control, stability control, tire pressure monitors, ultra-low emissions, GPS, you name it, …

It is becoming very difficult to buy a new, basic transportation vehicle. They are sold in other countries, even Mexico has some very economical cars that are simply not sold in the United States. Regulation by our Government has a lot to do with it, legions of bureaucrats deciding you “need” more air-bags and tire-pressure warning lights. Cars are no longer judged by their transportation value but by how they perform when crashed into walls at 45 MPH…

+1 on the Hyundai – all their models are great values. I would, however, buy a one or two-year-old one with low miles for 60% of MSRP. They fall off the cliff in terms of depreciation. Warranty is transferable.


Kia (now a Hyundai brand) would also be good to check out.

Also do note that they changed the way they calculate the MPG figures around 2007 or so, and so for example, a '98 Metro with the 1.3L engine was rated at 39/43 under the old system, but only 33/39 under the new one. So in other words, if you’re still thinking in terms of the old numbers (which are more accurate for the kind of driving it sounds like you do), the fuel economy numbers for newer cars are artificially low.

Depends on what you mean for bang for the buck. To me, I think the upcoming 2011 Mustang GT looks like a good deal. 412 HP, around 20-22 MPG overall, and it will cost around $30k nicely equipped. Lot’s of bang for the buck there IMO.

But since you’re current rocking a Geo, I’m going to assume that performance big on your list. In that case, it’s hard to beat the Honda Civc, or Toyota Corolla, or Ford Focus. I haven’t heard positive things from people that own Kias or Hyundais, every person I’ve met who has one has said they won’t be buying another one.

On a side note, I wouldn’t give your son the old Metro, it’s not exactly a safe car. If my dad handed me the keys to a Metro, even if it were free, I’d politely decline the offer.

You know, I was going to say something similar. I was thinking that even if you spend a little more for a Honda Civic or a Honda Fit, you will get a lot of “bang for your buck.” The problem is that this Metro has lasted longer than 300,000 miles. It’s hard to justify spending more when that is what you want, and that is what you got.

Adam, I agree with the others that a Metro isn’t the best choice for a new young driver. However, if you have your heart set on one, why not buy a used one of a similar vintage? You probably won’t be happy with anything else.

If I were in your shoes, I would be looking for something with better safety equipment, even if it costs more to buy and operate.

adam; you have to look at the total LIFE CYCLE COST. Assuming you were happy with your Chevy Metro, the Hyundai Accent is everything the Metro was and then some.

The best value is the “stripped” model, which has a lot more standard stuff than you Mettro had.

Last year on a holiday trip I rented one, a 4 door, and it did everything you expect from a car, and it was a pleasure to drive and park in a very large city.

Others will point out that Hyundais “keep their value”. That is an indication of how well they stand up. Since you will likely wear it out rather than trade, that is still good news.

The basic Accent starts at under $10,000 so you have lots of room to add the options you want.

A basic car almost as good is the Suzuki, which used to make cars for Chevrolet.

I would stay away from a very similar looking car, the Chevy Aveo. It is not half the car, and has a poor reliability record.

Happy shopping!

My complements on your success with the car. My vote is for a Corolla or Scion xD model with the same motor, the 1.8. They are the most economical models that are not hybrid or diesel according to CR. The Scion xD will be Metro like, the Corolla a virtual limo in comparison.
I’ve had 3 Corollas (Nova and Prisms) and had absolutely no problems other than alternator and one radiator leak in all three, each with well over 150K, one to 280K before selling. That’s not much for you, but I was impressed.
IMO they have to be one of the best long term values on the market.
Best of luck in your choices

I really have to agree with FoDaddy in his reference to owner satisfaction. Hyundais, Kias may test out well, but CR satisfaction ratings for many models are much better

I was gonna suggest the tC, but that may be too tempting for junior to want to borrow.
And, following on Docnick’s comments about the Aveo; It’s a Daewoo

The Hyundai Accent and Nissan Versa can be had for under $10K new and will be very cheap to own.

Don’t forget that Toyota is under a big cloud right now, but they do make pretty solid machines and they are trying to do the right thing. A hatchback or 4 door Yaris is a very attractive idea right now.