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The Right Car for Me | TrueDelta

mwbergmann

This is a second car for the family. My wife has the main car used for errands and running the kids to school and sports practice & games. I mostly need something sturdy that I can mostly use for my commute, but as a back up for the errands, kids, etc.

Priorities: Reliability & durability / Safety & braking / Price or payments

Need minimum of 4 seats

Will consider both new and used cars
Maximum mileage: 50000
Maximum age: 10 years

Maximum price: US $ 9000

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Response from jasonmreece

1:54 am April 11, 2017

Just to give you an idea, I ran a search on Cars.com for 2009-2012 Ford Fusion and Mazda6 for $10k* or less. It returned 2,733 results, but when I limited it to 50k miles, it dropped to only 100. So meeting your budget and 50k mileage limit will be tough. But on most newer cars, expensive maintenance or repairs prior to 150k miles (if properly maintained) are very rare. *(I used $10k for my search based on the assumption that you could buy the car for closer to $9k).

The Ford Fusion and Mazda6 are two cars that seem to fit your needs very well. They're reliable (according to info here on TrueDelta as well as a few other sites) and they're actually very pleasant to drive (based on my own experience). Your best bet for low running costs will be the 2.5L 4-cylinder in either car, which is actually the same engine. The Fusion and Mazda6 share much of their basic architecture because they were designed while Ford still held controlling interest in Mazda.

If you're interested in something smaller and with slightly better fuel economy, I'd recommend the Honda Civic or Toyota Corolla (2010-2013). Both are basically indestructible and will run almost forever as long as you change the oil regularly.

As far as safety is concerned, the Fusion and Mazda6 both earn a 4-star rating from the NHTSA. The 2010-2011 Civic and 2010-2013 Corolla are rated at 3-stars, but the 2012+ Civic is 5-star rated.

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Response from richardaz

11:12 am April 11, 2017

I concur that the Fusion is a good choice. I had two Fusion Sports (2010 and 2012) as company cars. I let both go at 60K miles per company policy. Both were completely trouble free and very comfortable on long trips. I would recommend the Sport for its 6 cylinder engine andmore upscale interior. I rented a 4 cylinder Fusion once and found the transmission (and engine) worked very hard when accellerating to highway speeds. This could impact longevity. My FWD Sport (2010) averaged low-to-mid 20 mpg in daily driving and mid-to-high 20's on the highway. Avoid the AWD (my 2012) as it lowers the gas mileage by2-3 gallons and reduces accelleration somewhat.

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Response from LectroFuel

6:50 pm April 15, 2017

I would look at the 2006-2011 Honda Civic. I really liked them and they are very reliable, although they are underpowered. It might be logical to buy a car with more power to not stress the engine as much, which will help the engine longevity. Maybe an older Toyota Camry V6 2007-2011.

I have a 2005 Prius with 250,000 miles and it still runs with no powertrain problems on it's first hybrid battery, only minor wear and tear. The engine is bullet proof even though I have to floor the car often to pass. They are safe too.

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Toyota Prius
Toyota Camry
Honda Civic

Response from jasonmreece

7:37 am April 17, 2017

This is a follow-up to my earlier response.

The Ford Fusion Sport mentioned is a very nice car, but finding one for $9k in good condition with low miles is unlikely. The high resale value of cars like the Camry (and Accord) are the reasons I didn't suggest those. Finding either within your budget would be difficult, if not impossible.

The comments made about the Fusion 4-cylinder are correct, at least somewhat. The engine in the 2010+ Fusion is the same 2.5L standard in the 2017 Fusion. The problem was/is the 5-speed automatic used in the 2012 and earlier Fusion. It's very reliable, but it is programmed to upshift as early as possible and it isn't the most willing to downshift either. Exacerbating that problem is the fact that the Fusion has only 'D' and 'L' positions on the shifter, making selection of a specific lower gear impossible. But it all comes down to driving style. Some people are perfectly fine with the Fusion's leisurely pace and know when to floor it to keep it in a lower gear (for passing or merging).

The Mazda6 is a more willing driving companion, thanks to a more aggressively programmed automatic transmission. Ford's setup gains a few MPG, but Mazda's makes for a much livelier drive.

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