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Which used car to buy ...Reliability...Quality?


I was considering a Matrix or a TSX.

Fact is I prefer a car than an SUV - I also like 5 Doors - TSX doesn’t have 5 doors but as long one of my two car has 5 doors I am fine.

I was disappointed with the (consistent) complaints as you can see below - My BIG question is which car is for me:

Which car is for me? Any help? I am open to buy American made car too.

Thank you

You are welcome to recommend a new/current model American cars too.

You will always find complaints about every car made. One place to get an idea about overall reliability is to buy a Consumer Reports car buyers guide. Lots of info.

How about a Mazda 3 hatchback?
Not sure your price range, but you can get a new one fairly cheap, around $20k. Navigation, Bose stereo, moonroof, heated leather seats, HIDs, dual zone climate control, keyless entry and start, and automatic transmission for about $27k. Mazdaspeed(263hp/280tq turbo charged 4cyl) will run about $25k.
Granted, these are new car prices, so a used one will be a bit cheaper. Whatever you get, make sure you have it checked out by a mechanic before you buy it(especially if it’s a used Speed version).

What ever cars you put on your list, and you have a good start, be sure and test drive them as close to the actual usage you would give them. Make a list of your expectations, and see which comes close to fulfilling them. Be as objective as possible to narrow your list down though ultimately it has to feel like the right one as well. We can make suggestions, you make the choice.

I checked the CR web site, the TSX and the Matrix have excellent reliability records in all areas. None better. So those folks complaining are in the very small minority.

If you can find a make and model of car about which nobody has ever complained, please post that information, as we would all like to hear about that extraordinary type of vehicle.

(Translation: The defect-free car has yet to be invented, but the two models that you mentioned are among the most reliable cars made.)

  1. I mentioned the word “consistent” w.r.t the two links - Matrix seems to have consistent tranny (manual) issue; TSX has seat movement and air bags issues.
    Are any of these insignificant - no

  2. the # of complaints or the length of the web page - pretty long

  3. I drive a 99 Integra and you can see teh complaints
    Tire, winshield - not significant - the tire/windshield is not even relevant - it was manufactured by someone else - these get changed in the life time of the vehicle

But tranny, airbags are serious issue - this is what I think.

I agree there is no perfect car but … those issues are significant.

Also I seems to think that Hondas have fewer complaints than Toyota from within what I researched. Corolla is prob an exception.

Reliability = maintenance
Quality includes many things.

MSN Autos says there is an occasional engine problem in the 2003 Matrix that doesn’t exist in later years. The oxygen sensor and evaporative emissions system have a higher than normal failure rate. The 2004 TSX received an excellent rating in all categories.

Those are two very different cars. I’m sure that if the oxygen sensor or evaporative emissions system fails, it would be far less than the difference in cost between these two cars. You could gt a 2006 or 2007 Matrix for the same price as the 2004 TSX. Would that work for you?

The TSX has a A/C compressor that when fails can cost upwards of $4000.00 to repair correctly.

Although this failure may not show up in the short six years that Consumer Reports collect reliability data. I personly would not purchase said vehicle unless the A/C compressor was replaced with a new compressor prior to purchase.

Perhaps Consumer Reports Should consider extending reliability ratings for cars beyond the current six years to reflect modern times. My nine year old car to me is still practically new.


Could you pls clarify me “My nine year old car to me is still practically new”? Are you referring to my 99 integra? If so, I am not in a hurry - but I desire to upgrade every 4 yrs but lately it seems impossible.

Actually I ideally need two upgrades - and I need at least one of it to have 5 drs.