Help me pick my next car, Nissan or Ford

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Apr 11, 2003
Spring HIll
I've driven Saturn S-series since year 1. Almost 15 years in these cars! While they've provided great service and fuel economy, it's time to move on. I'm not buying another GM. I thought of a truck, namely the full size Nissan pickup, but I really do like a car to handle corners rather than a "hauler". So, here's what it's come down to: Nissan Sentra Nissan Altima Ford Fusion Ford 500 SE Something with more space for the kids would be nice. The 500 shines in most areas, save for accelleration. The Fusion seems to be a winner for handling, braking but lacks the spacious interior space of the 500. Both offer the 24v V6 engine and at least a 6-speed Auto. Right now, I'm leaning toward the Fusion.... The Sentra looks attractive since it can be had at a cheap price, but it's still a small car. Having something larger at this stage in life is a logical step up. Does the Altima have more useeable room than the Sentra? Does the Altima still have too much road noise at highway (70-70mph) speeds? I've dealt with that for a decade and a half, a quiet ride...where I can actually HEAR who's on the other end of the cell also much appreciated. [Smile] It will be another 10 or 20K on my 96 S-series before this transaction happens, but I want to be thoroughly "happy" that the car was researched beforehand. Buying a Saturn in 1991 was a slam-dunk decision, but it's now no longer an option.
I have an 01 Sentra which has not received a new major revision since '00. The 2.0L SR20 DE engine is gone. It was one of the most durible engines ever produced by anyone. The 2.5L which is shared by the Sentra and Altima appears less durable. I monitor the Sentra board and the engine and tranny (manual 6 sp) fail at a high rate. Driven by kids though-what do you expect. [Frown] . I dunno..the Altime just seems to be overpriced and exists just to fill a gap. That's just perception though. For what its worth though..I love my Sentra It handles really well and is a very good value.
First thing I do when sesrching for a new vehicle is narrow my choice to those built on our soil & only buy vehicles during high incentive offering-periods from the manufacturer. Next round of better incentives will likely be in January or February. Not sure how many choices of yours are built here. Also not sure about any Japanese incentive programs now or in the near future.
Test drive them if you really want to know if they suit you. The Altima is very spacious but I didn't enjoy the test drive. It seemed very large when driving and, for me, the driving feel and handling just weren't up to par with the Accord, Mazda6, and Mazda3 I had driven that day. I've read good things about the Fusion.
I hated the feeling of sitting on the ground with our 1993 and 2001 nissan sentras. They were awesome cars and served us well, but I'd hate to have to go back to falling into and climbing out of my daily driver again! Joel
>So, here's what it's come down to: Nissan Sentra Nissan Altima Ford Fusion Ford 500 SE That seems quite a wide range of sizes from a narrow range of makers. Why these? Can you just pop into some of the dealerships and poke around to see what strikes your fancy? My most recent standard answer for people who don't want a Camry or Accord (Who are these pervs?) is the Pontiac Vibe. But you said never Toyota again, right?
I just bought a 2005 altima 2.5s in august. it's a nice car for $20k out the door, nothing great, no power seat but power windows, 4spd auto, 4 doors, roomy, comfortable, very good trunk space. My two big gripes are the speedo is off at least 4mph at highway speed, and the odometer is off also I've confirmed it. And, it doesn't get the epa rated mileage, at best I get 26mpg on highway doing 70-75mph on the speedometer, so if anything I'm getting worse mpg. I had a ford taurus rental in florida few weeks ago, it had 2000 miles on it, have to say it was a nice car. For the few days I drove it on considered against my altima and if I had to do it over again I might pick the taurus if the price was right. Other problem i have with the altima is it's throttle by wire, not cable, and there is a difference. Something you won't notice on a dealer test drive. If you drive normally and always accelerate easy then it drives fine. But have to pull out quick and fast, the car can, but you need to stab the gas pedal down hard so the car stays in 1st otherwise it goes into 2nd immediately. When this happens and you put the pedal down further wanting to accelerate harder, the car hesitates for a good second and acceleration stops till the computer figures oh you want to go faster then the tranny drops into 1st and it hauls. Picture the movie apollo13 when they take off, rocket separates and hank's say's get ready for a jolt and 3 guys fall forward against there straps then get pushes into their seat. The car has no range of acceleration, it's either easy, pedal to the floor and hard, or the hesitation then takeoff.
I would stay away from the Sentra given what your criteria are. The only really reliable Sentra's are the 1.8's and they are pretty rough around the edges for comfort and noise. They are a very good handling car though. The Sentra and Altima with the 2.5L 4 cyl are not so good on engine and tranny reliablity. I drove my 2.5L sentra conservativley, yet it had it's fair share of issues. The newer 05's+ are better. The Altima with the V6 is a very nice car. Good power, great handling, good interior space. A good choice. Fords... well, uh... I don't muych care for Ford lately with all my experiences with them. Don't overlook Hyundai. Their quality is almost on par with Honda now, and they are gaining ground. Good price to boot!
the car hesitates for a good second and acceleration stops till the computer figures oh you want to go faster then the tranny drops into 1st and it hauls
I had a 1998 or 1997 model Taurus as a loaner car. It would do stupid things like this too, but not because it's drive by wire (it's not), but because of stupid transmission controls. One time I got the thing to chirp the tires (while it was moving at about 5MPH) because the engine revved so high before it finally decided "HEY I NEED TO DOWNSHIFT" and when it did...screech. (I suppose drive-by-wire would just have prevented it from revving up while it was figuring out what gear it should go into). I was quite happy to get rid of that thing; I was stuck with it for a month.
The wife bought a Ford Freestyle SE earlier this summer and loves it.(Same chassis as the 500) The 3.0 with the CVT trans runs very strong and we have seen up to 30mpg on the hwy. We have had no problems with the car. And she drives!!!!!!! The 500 is a very good car and in the SE trim it is not as much money as the others.
ToyotaNsaturn, I would check fuel economy ratings for said vehicles and check frequency of repair records and use that as my guide.
ToyotaNSaturn, OOPS, forgot to add that I beleive this $2.00/Gal. gasoline were enjoying now is just a knee jerk reaction to the obscene profits by our gasoline suppliers and that this HONEYMOON won't last much past the Christmas ( hope that won't violate RSP!)season. I would think that either by plain old gouging or Tax increases which have recently been talked about that Gas will be near $3.00 sooner than later?
2006 Hyundai Sonata - fabulous vehicle. Very roomy, and loaded for $25k. 235hp V6 with a 0-60 <7 sec. 6 airbags, traction control, and stability control if you're safety conscious. Elantras are a good buy in the compact car segment. I love mine, but may not be big enough depending on how old your kids are.
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