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Suggestions for new CHEAP car purchase

Thinking of Civic, Yaris, Scion, Altima

something like that.

Any suggestions. Comfort is important. I’m not that young any more.

I would suggest the Nissan Altima or the Honda Civic if you want comfort.

That’s a wide range of sizes - Altima is an intermediate, Civic a compact, Scion & Yaris subcompacts. You might want to get the Consumer Reports car buying guide, lots of info. If you want comfort, go no smaller than compacts, and test drive them extensively. Corolla would be another to consider.

My suggestion would be to rent a car of each choice and drive it for a distance of at least 100 miles. I have to buy a car as I would buy a pair of shoes–I try it on for size. We once bought a really great 1993 Oldsmobile 88 at a good price. All was well until we took it on a trip. After 75 miles, my thighs were killing me. Even with the power seat, I couldn’t get comfortable. We found traveling in our 1990 Ford Aerostar van much more comfortable. We presently have a Toyota Sienna minivan and a Toyota 4Runner SUV. Both are very comfortable for us.

I have never been comfortable in the Honda Civic Hybrids that I have driven to conventions and are part of the car fleet owned by my institution. I need about an inch more legroom in the front seat. My research partner, on the other hand, thinks that the Civic Hybrids are very comfortable. The last car we drove to a conference was a Nissan Sentra. We both thought that it was comfortable. My wife used to travel a lot for our institution. She would request a Ford Taurus as she found it more comfortable than a Civic Hybrid or a Chevrolet Impala. Her boss prefers the Impala. When comfort is important, try on the car for size.

Chevrolet Cobalts have between 3 and 4k in rebates at the moment. I bought a 2010 Cobalt with 5.5k in rebates. There was a 1k rebate for Toyota owners and 1k rebate for old stock. It was cheaper than a used one. It’s good basic transportation.

The car has a surprisingly good ride and a quiet interior. The ride is biased toward comfort rather than handling. The 2.2 4 cyl has a timing chain, not a belt and has plenty of power for a car this size.

On the down side the base seats aren’t the most comfortable (I’m used to power seats in my Blazer and Caprice). I suggest an extended test drive.

Ed B.

Get a Consumer Reports New Car Buyers’ Guide at the local bookstore. That’ll show and compare all the cars available. Then test drive the ones that look good to you.

We’re all different. I love my Scion tC but you might not.

The new Ford Fiesta should be in showrooms any day now. If you’re looking at small cars you should add it to your list.

I’m a fan of Toyota Corollas, Honda Civics, and the cars you listed in your original post. My daughter has a Yaris. It gets fantastic gas mileage.

Another nice car is the Mazda3.

The cheapest cars would probably be something from Hyundai or Kia. They both come with excellent warranties.

There are lots of nice cars to look at. Check out Consumer Reports Annual Auto Issue for lots of great information about cars and car buying.

Skip Civic, Yaris, Scion if you want comfort. Small cars are not comfortable except a few exceptions.

I suggest a Toyota product like Corolla or best Camry. Corolla is a small economy car but the most comfortable of the bunch.

If you want CHEAP and new, I’d look for something that is underappreciated, moving slowly, or is about to be replaced/remodeled. Those are the ones that you’ll see discounts on. The Altima is a nice car, but it simply won’t be cheap. I doubt you could get a Civic cheap (for its class, that is), or a Scion for that matter. The Yaris maybe, but I wouldn’t buy one without a LONG test drive - they are supposed to be VERY reliable but have been trashed for ride quality.

That said, I’m an admitted fan of Fords (never had a bad one, though I have owned Toyotas and all, too)… How soon do you need this vehicle? Is this an immediate need, or just a want to replace a worn out vehicle within x months? If you don’t have an immediate need, I would wager that the Ford Focus will be on sale at HUGE discounts soon. The 2012 model should be a massive upgrade from the current one, and it is supposed to go on sale at the beginning of 2011. That means you’ll likely see 2010 and 2011 models sitting on the lots getting overshadowed by the nicer new model. That means discounts. STEEP discounts. Local dealers here were selling 2009 Fusion SELs for $15,500 last summer because they were having trouble moving them after the 2010s came in. That was a 35+% discount from MSRP. Still a perfectly good car, but overshadowed by the new one.

Similarly, the current Focus will likely pale in comparison to the new one, but that doesn’t make it bad - it is a thoroughly average car. It used to be class-leading in handling, but now it is just average. Nothing wrong with average, though, IMO, if it comes at a discount. :slight_smile:

The best CHEAP car that is also comfortable is the Hyundai Accent. You can get a loaded 4 door model with all the goodies for about $14000 and it’s also easy on gas.

My wife and I rented one not so long ago for 2 weeks and drove it all over. Never did we feel tired, the A/C worked great and the highway noise was low. The seats were good and you can store water bottles UPRIGHT in the door pockets. A very handy feature on long trips.

You owe it to yourself to test drive one!

P.S. In view of your other post on Noise, this little compact is quieter than a Honda Civic and costs thousands less. Hyundais also have very good warranties.

Ford Fiesta. It may not be available yet, but check it out.

I agree with the rental suggestion. We had a poster here awhile back buy a 3 door Yaris after test driving only the 4 door sedan model and she wasn’t too happy with it to say the least.
Comfort is a relative term and usually isn’t in the same sentence as the words “small car”

Funny you should mention Scion as being uncomfortable and Corolla as being comfortable.

Comfort is extemely relative. I had to trade my new Corolla in 2005 after only two months because it was killing my back. I traded for a Scion tC and cann drive it for hours in comfort. I’ve put 133,000 on it to date.

Extensive test driving is the only way to find out what’s comfortable for an individual. I learned that lesson well in 2005. That mistake cost me $2500.

For cheap I would look at Hyundai and Kia (now owned by Hyundai). They have good reliability these days, but are still priced lower than comparable Toyotas and Hondas. A Ford Focus might be in your range, also.

Seriously, Hyundai is a lot of bang for the buck, but so is the Focus.

Nissan Versa sedan starts at less than $10k, and it is huge inside.

I thought about Alltima too but the seats are like rocks and the Yaris and Scion are not in the same class. I just got a Pontiac G6. It is cheap, very comfortable and smooth ride, spunky, 29-30 mph on the highway, large trunk, and 100K warranty.

I just bought (yesterday) a Hyundai Accent Hatch. I have a 1994 Geo Prizm, same car as Corolla, with 197,000 miles and it averages over 28mpg. I hope the Accent does as well.

Nissan Versa is the cheapest new car and it is good riding for a small car.

Chevrolet Cruz / Chevrolet Cruz Eco.

Don’t overlook these cars while you’re shopping.


This thread awoke from the dead. I think the OP likely bought a new car which is one year+ used now…