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Need to buy a Car- what should I get?

Thinking about either a Toyota Celica, A Honda Civic, a Pontiac Vibe, or G6 G5 or maybe some kind of an Acura- Any thoughts?

My budget is only around 5 or 6 K so I would obviously be looking at a used buggy.

The only thought that comes to my mind with your list of cars is that none of them fit me.

Look for the one in best condition and hopefully one owner private who take care of it.

In the $5-6k range the good ones all get snapped up really fast as its a hot price point. Also realize a $5-6k car was $3-$4.5 just a 1.5yr ago. Have it checked out before purchase.

Check out the most recent issue of CU automotive guide. They list recommendations for cars in each price range that have tested out well and have at least average repair records. It’s the source with a high consumer sampling. Nothing infallible of course, but a place to start along with the experienced opinions given here.

If you can find a Celica in good shape, buy it. Something about the Celica just plain worked and they were about as bullet proof a car as ever made.

Yeah- I try to always get a trusted mechanic to look over anything we are interested in buying.

I am having trouble finding the CU Automotive Guide online- does it have another name?

What you are actually looking for is the Consumer Reports Used Car Buyer’s Guide.
The parent organization is Consumers Union (CU), but their publications use the name Consumer Reports.

Even if you can find it online, do you really want to print a publication of…most likely…50 or more pages…on your home printer? I would suggest going to the nearest Barnes & Noble Book Store, where this publication is available in their magazine section. When it comes to magazines, nobody else has the selection available at Barnes & Noble.

You can get some good free research info on the car site; Edmunds.com. Consumers Union might not be a free site. CU does not take ads so they may charge to view their site.

Yeah- I will check out Edmunds.com- Thanks- I usually use KBB.Com and they are pretty good too.

For your budget the type of car almost does not matter… Forget Consumer reports (its OK for newer cars, but I do question there testing meathids or lack there of… For example untill all the recalls, every Toyota got a recomend, just becasue it was a Toyota… No testing involved… They also gave the Matrix a recomend, but not the Vibe. Its the same darn car made at the same plant, how does that make any sence?)…

For your buget you are looking for condition, service records, owners, etc… I hate to say it, but in todays day and age you are playing in the shallow end of the car pool. As a for example I purchased my 98 Buick for $2300 two years ago, it was a one owner car and I have a thick file of EVERY service ever done, every wiper blade, every battery, etc… She is not perfect, but in two years I have not spent more then $150 on non-service repairs.

You cant go wrong with a Civic, but at that price point you are looking at late 90’s or very high miles… Older Acura’s can be head aches, a Vibe is a great car but probably out of your price range…

Keep your eyes on Craigs list, I feel this is by far the best way to find a good used car… Look at for sale by owners first.

Good luck !

Yeah- I do use craig’s list. We also have a good trading-paper where you can find stuff in Virginia. I understand that my budget limits me- but my wife purchased a car about a year or so ago and I put money into fixing up my classic Nova over the last 6 months so I can’t really justify going crazy and spending 10 or 12k on a used vehicle. I will check around for Civics and Vibes.

I can run a carfax for you if you send the VIN of the car before you buy it.

If the owner or dealer doesn’t have one run I will try and let you know when I get to that point- I have found them only a itttle bit helpful in the past. We bought a Honda a few years ago with a clean carfax report. Later we found out from a glass repair guy that the car had definitely been in and accident and been partially repainted.

I’d look at less expensive cars, too. Like the Chevy Cobalt. You can buy a couple year newer Cobalt that an equivalent Corolla or Civic. You should look at small Kia and Hyundai cars, too. As mentioned above, condition is everything. We own a 2009 Cobalt LT1 and are very happy with it.

ok- I will look up the specs on the Cobalt and look up Kia and Hyundai models too.

What do you want from a car? Have you looked at them, have you test driven any of them? What do you like or dislike about them?

They make so many different models because we all have different likes and dislikes as well as needs.

Most all cars are the right choice for someone. There is no one car that is right for everyone.

Mostly looking for decent gas mileage and reliability. My Saturn is amazing on gas and is pretty reliable- but it is starting to fall apart- it’s close to 18 years old and I don’t want to dump any more $ into fixing it up- new tires, due for timing chain, interior is completely trashed, motor is burning/leaking oil… etc. I also am hoping to find something that is at least somewhat appealing to the eye.

Don’t want to hijack this thread, but this - “For example untill all the recalls, every Toyota got a recomend, just becasue it was a Toyota… No testing involved.” - is not true.

On topic, Consumer Reports lists two cars at “Under $10,000” as “top used cars for their price.” They are the 2006 Hyundai Sonata 4cyl and the 2004 & 2005 Scionn xB. There is a long list of reliable cars under $10,000 in the April 2012 issue of CR and it includes the 02-05 Civic and 03-06 Vibe. It might be worth it for you to buy that issue. It’s not the latest issue but it might still be in some stores.