used car shopping, looking for opinions

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Jun 29, 2013
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Panama City, FL
Hey fellas I'm fixing to retire my 2002 Durango 4.7 from out of town work travel. It's got 162k and the tranny is getting sluggish. I feel like the engine would easily do 200k but I don't want to be traveling from work when the big repair bills come in. My comfortable monthly payment range is around 180-230 per month, putting me in the price range of 11k-14k with a few thousand down. That range seems to put me around a 2008-2013 vehicle depending on what I'm looking at. I would really like to tap the BITOG knowledge base on what vehicles in that range are most likely to be reliable for some time, 250-300k. I've also been running the road in the durango getting 18 miles to the gallon so I definitely want something good on gas. Here is a list of what I have perceived to fit my criteria, I would like your opinions on what you would purchase in my situation as someone who travels all year for work, 30k a year. 2012-13 Toyota corolla 2011-12 Honda Civic 2011 Hyundai Elantra Touring 2011-13 Vw Jetta 2.0,2.5?? 2011-12 Nissan Altima 2.5 That should give you a idea of what I've been looking at. I really like the styling of the jetta, but reliability seems to be lacking when I research them. Altima 2.5 seems to have alot of issues too. A wagon would be nice because I could fit my 3ft metal tool box in the back, but that isn't a deal breaker. I also found a 08 Honda ridgeline with 95k that I like but if I bought that I would leave it at home with the wife, taking our 2012 Hyundai veloster on the road. I know this will be very opinionated but I'm want some good ideas on what will show the most promise in the 2010-2013 range already with up to 50k on the car. Thanks for any info.
 

FLORIDA

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Also I'd like to add that I start these threads because of my undiagnosed ocd after doing so much research that my head spins circles and I'm afraid of making a bad purchase. It's nerve racking lol.
 
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The way your shopping is a bit odd, your really close to well priced new car territory. Well shopped, you could be into a new Focus for that $$, or if you want to step up a class, a Sonata/Optima would be attainable. Low APR's on 14's, and the fact that the 16's aren't terribly far away, I'd start scouring the web..... Plus, with your milage, I'd want to get the best of a new car's Powertrain warranty.
 
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Why not have the tranny on your current ride rebuilt? Consider, if it costs 2,000 dollars or even 2,500 for a total rebuild, you could drive your current ride for another 50,000 miles or more, (maybe even upwards toward the 100,000 mile mark). Assuming the vehicle is in good shape and has been well maintained, you'd be money ahead and working with a vehicle you are already familiar and comfortable with.
 
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The Corolla and Civic would be at the top of my list. You should have very few issues racking up trouble free miles in those. I agree with you on the Jetta styling, it appeals to me, but long term reliability might be on the "iffy" side. If I were to get one, I would go with the 2.5. It's a nice torquey motor and has no major issues. The Fit, as another member has mentioned would be a great option as well. Don't forget the Accord and Camry as well.
 
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Hyundai makes a great car and suv and has the by far best warranty. Their suvs are not cheap but they are good vehicles. I see many hyundais through neighborhoods that used to have high end vehicles and its due to their reliability.
 

FLORIDA

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Thanks guys. Please keep the information coming. I'll research the fit now. As far as rebuilding the durango tranny...just from personal experience watching folks i know, these rebuilds only seem to be as good as the person building them. I know a few folks who's rebuilds just don't last, not even a year. Seems to me like nothing goes the distance like the original manufacture part. Loving the opinions guys, keep them coming.
 

Nick1994

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Your list is IMO in the perfect order. I'm not a Nissan fan, and if you want cheap ownership a VW probably won't be as trouble free as a Corolla. Corolla FTW! Maybe look into some Scion's, they're made by Toyota. I haven't looked, but in your price range you might be able to find a Toyota Matrix driven by a little old lady with super low miles and loaded with nice options for a good price.
 
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Corolla. Not saying they are the best looking most fun car to drive, but they are probably the best bang for the buck.
 
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Well if it was me spending that much time on the road I would want something a little bigger for more safety and comfort. So instead of a corolla I would rather have a camry. I found a 2013 CPO asking 15K. Or how about something like a chevy impala or something like that? Or if you want more room to carry stuff how about a used subaru forester or outback?
 

FLORIDA

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Subaru seems to be a little out of my price range. Would love a camry but in my price range it either has 100k or is 7or 8 years old.
 
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I cant get the link to post correctly. But im in Florida also and within 8 miles of me there is a 2013 camry with 21k miles and the asking price is 15K
 
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Going Used? You should be looking at the previous owner. I'd take a popular opinion "Less" reliable car that has a full service history OVER a Corolla or Civic that has an unknown. Yup, I'd take a chevy cruze or Malibu with a good solid history over a civic that may or may NOT have had regular maintenance...
 
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I would normally recommend a Prius, but the traction battery doesn't seem to make it much further than 150-175,000 miles in real hot climates like Florida. So I am going to echo the Corolla recommendation.
 
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Because many/all of the vehicles that you mentioned & are looking at, carry such a high resale value, you may be better off buying new(maybe not) but, close! In the past, this is where the Buick LeSabre and Ford Crown Vic used to come in handy. Great cars w/poor resale value. Anyway, good luck!
 
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Just another two cents on my part. Beware of any car that has come down from the north. I see a lot of ads that tout "Florida Car" when in fact, the vehicle lived for a period of time up in the rust belt. The owner moved here to the Sunshine state and decided to sell their car and buy something else. In other words, in your search, be sure and check for the beginnings of auto body cancer.
 
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