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  1. #1
    Veteran Onion
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    What is the most reliable used compact car?

    Girlfriend needs something that requires very little maintenance and gets good gas mileage. This is not a thread about buying a luxury car. Its a thread about buying something that is functional, gets good gas mileage, and will have a very low cost of ownership and low insurance cost. She's looking to buy used, not determined a budget yet but somewhere between $10,000-$15,000 probably.

    MUST
    - Be a compact car or a midsize (IE like a Civic/Corolla or Camry/Accord) NOT a subcompact (Scion xA, Mini Cooper, Honda Fit, Toyota Matrix/Yaris are NO)
    - No Audis, BMW, Mercedes, Lexus, Volvo, these are mostly luxury cars and NOT what she needs.
    - No Pontiacs or Saturns, sorry
    - Have good gas mileage
    - Have low repair cost - She is a girl and won't do any maintenance herself
    - Have a good enough engine for road trips (130 HP or better)


    I am wondering specifically about the quality of a Hyundai Elantra/Sonata or a Chevy Cobalt. Are these quality vehicles in comparison to maintenance costs of a Civic or Corolla? What about a Nissan Versa? I don't know about the quality of these brands.
    Last edited by Lord_P; July 18, 2012 at 02:46.

  2. #2
    Firefly
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    Re: What is the most reliable used compact car?

    I would get a Honda or a Hyundai

  3. #3
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    Re: What is the most reliable used compact car?

    Subaru Imprezza wagon/Outback Sport in terms of reliability, decent gas mileage but not the absolute best, parts are plentiful and fairly cheap. Easy to work on too for the most part if you ever need or want to to save money. These will also go through hell and back in terms of the abuse you can throw at them without problems developing.



    Honda's are good on gas and reliable, but imo lack..something, good utilitarian cars.
    Last edited by tinomen; July 18, 2012 at 02:44.

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    Re: What is the most reliable used compact car?

    Mazda 3, Ford Focus?

  5. #5
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    Re: What is the most reliable used compact car?

    Mazda 3 - Pretty reliable engine (doesnt sound smooth tho) and excellent handling plus the hatchback model has lots of space and looks great. Better for city but can travel fine but great on twisty roads.
    Honda civic - legendary reliability and low cost maintenance. Better for city but long trips can get uncomfortable.
    toyota corola - legendary reliability, low cost, but a bit dull to drive and very basic. Better for city but long trips can get uncomfortable.
    Toyota matrix isnt a sub compact tho and i think it has more room than the 4 door sedans like civic/corola/mazda
    Camry - good space, reliable, but a bit loose and boring. Ok in the city but great on trips
    Accord - good on space, reliable, but a bit bland. Ok in the city but great on trips
    Sonata - good value, good space, and looks pretty nice. Reliable but not honda/toyota level. Ok in the city but great on trips
    Mazda 6 - looks great, superb handling (last gen), and roomy. Ok in the city but great on trips and twisty roads.

    Versa is ok, feels very very cheap and basic, and maintenance is not as low as civic/corola
    Cobalt - no just dont bother.
    Hyundai is a good choice if it is last generation elantra/sonata or newer. Last gen Sonata was a great car and pretty reliable.

    Personally as a whole I like the Mazda 3 the most because looks and handling are important to me.
    The Civic is a safe choice as well as the corola but a little bland (both of them).
    The sonata, accord, and camry are all larger than the rest and better equipped than the mazda 3/civic/corola


    In my opinoin you need to pick between smaller cars or larger ones (civic/3/corola/elantra vs accord/camry/6/sonata) then pick a few you like from the group and find the best deal on any of the ones you pick. Call it a day
    Last edited by Shervin; July 18, 2012 at 04:26.

  6. #6

    Re: What is the most reliable used compact car?

    Which Civic do you guys have over there now? If it's the European one I'd take it over any competitor.

  7. #7
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    Re: What is the most reliable used compact car?

    Quote Originally posted by dangermoose View Post
    Which Civic do you guys have over there now? If it's the European one I'd take it over any competitor.
    They didn't have the Euro one last gen, it was more like the Civic hybrid we get over here; a saloon shape.

    I think the new Civic is supposed to be a bit behind the likes of the Focus, Astra and even Korean cars from what I've read (whichisn't much).

    From what the OP asked for, i'd say a Corolla, Jetta, Mazda 3 or even the Civic.

  8. #8
    Senior Firefly
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    Re: What is the most reliable used compact car?

    odd, you say yes to a corola yet no to its 5 door version which is the matrix lol
    civic/corola are compact but accord and camry arent so i guess the its compact and bigger
    btw just fyi a fit in a huge compact 6'3" and still have alot of room to go

    anyway if you stick with know reliable name you should be fine and i agree with shervin apart from the mazda3 part engine is good but like to drink alot + depending on where you are rust and electric issue are far to be uncommon

  9. #9
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    Re: What is the most reliable used compact car?

    If you want low maintenance costs then you can wipe every VW group car off your list. They are not cheap, parts are expensive.

    Civics can be cheap, I like them.
    Cobalts are cheap too, and the parts are very cheap. But its really just a grocery getter economy car. The only cobalt I'd ever consider is a Cobalt SS, but thats me and I want performance.
    I would also look at a Ford Focus as others have recommended. They are a good car, but I'd watch out for the transmission. There have been reported problems with the DC transmission ford has, mostly relating to harsh or delayed shifts. http://wheels.blogs.nytimes.com/2011...sumer-reports/

    Not much up on the midsize models. I love my G6, but you said no pontiacs. The G6 is essentially a Chevy Malibu, sheet metal aside they are the same car. Like the Nissan Altima and Maxima's. The Hyundai Eleantra and Sonata look nice, but I have no idea of their reliability. Do like the turbo options though.

  10. #10
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    Re: What is the most reliable used compact car?


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