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Inexpensive reliable car for my son

The Right Car for Me | TrueDelta

Member1394

Considering Toyota Corolla and Honda Civic. Other recommendation?

Need minimum of 4 seats

Will consider both new and used cars
Maximum mileage: 125000
Maximum age: 15 years

Maximum price: US $ 6000

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Response from AcuraT

3:19 pm April 2, 2018

Both are fine, simple cars. Subaru Impreza is another good choice if you want AWD. Some do burn oil but as long as you maintain the oil level will last as long as the Toyota and Honda mentioned.

Another reliable car very close in reliablity is the Chevy Aveo. It is a solid car from GM Korea that is in the class of the cars you mentioned.

Would recommend you test used options in your area and pick from the two you mentioned as well as the two others I mention. Some on this board hate GM and others love them. I am in the middle - they have some good cars in some classes, and in others I avoid them as much as I can. In this class they are fine.

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Subaru Impreza / Outback Sport
Chevrolet Aveo

Response from jeffgross84

9:36 pm April 2, 2018

Also give a look at 2004-2009 Toyota Prius which should be in the price range you are looking at. Reliability is excellent (we have a 2005 Prius with 285K miles which only have oil change, brakes, exhaust) and average 43 mpg. Folded down seats make it a great hauler and insurance is cheap as well. You won't have to worry about him winning any drag races and safety ratings are also very good. Lowest long term operating costs will also be welcomed .

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Toyota Prius

Response from Ouaviator7

7:55 am April 3, 2018

Im still driving a 2002 Corolla with 126k miles. And it runs well. The early 2000's engines do start to eat oil later in their life, but as long as you check the oil and add when needed, the cars will run forever. Easily 200k mile cars. Great reliable car. Ive heard Civics are equally good. I dont think newer Corollas have the same oil problems after 100k.

I have had rust issues, but I live in Ohio and i know i wasnt great about washing the salt off my car after winter..so that is kind of my fault too. Any car would be in the same situation really...

You cant go wrong with Toyota or Honda if you are looking for a cheap, reliable car.

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Toyota Corolla
Honda Civic
Subaru Impreza / Outback Sport

Response from LectroFuel

12:40 am April 4, 2018

I would not buy an Aveo for my son because it is like a Daewoo and doesn't have good safety ratings. The Aveo is part of the subcompact class, not the compact class the Civic and Corolla belong to. The Corolla will most likely be more reliable than the Civic, but both are my top picks. The Civic gives ore driver engagement, which could be a bad thing with a new driver. Subarus often burn oil early in life and I would not personally buy one, but many others like them.Some Civics had transmission problems in the early 2000s, so avoid those.

I want to also add the Mazda3 to the list. They are very fun cars that are also reliable. Same size as the Civic and Corolla. They won't be as comfortable than a Corolla, Civic, or Prius.

I agree with jeffgross84 on the Prius. I gave my 2005 Prius to my 18 year old son after I bought a 2016 Prius. Now it is my family's backup car and he uses it to deliver for Domino's. It has 252k miles and on the second HV battery. The car only requires normal maintenance and the A/C isn't cold all the time. He just got a 2015 Mazda3 and loves it.

So the Corolla, Civic, Prius, and Mazda3 are all great choices. The Prius is the safest and heaviest one and it happens to get the best MPGs, so that would be my first choice.

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Toyota Prius
Toyota Corolla
Honda Civic

Response from AcuraT

10:06 am April 4, 2018

I agree with Lectrofuel as I made a mistake. The Aveo is an older car when I meant to say the Sonic. It has good test crash results and is reliable. Many cars are made from what was formerly Daweoo - the Sonic, Spark, Encore, Trax - all are made in GM South Korea. All are pretty reliable as well and are safe now. The older cars as mentioned by Lectrofuel were not as good both in reliablity and in safety. That is no longer the case.

Mazda 3 and Prius are also good choices - I don't disagree with these either.

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Response from Member1394

10:32 am April 4, 2018

I checked reliability on the Sonic for MY2012 and 2013 and both years were not so good.

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Response from AcuraT

12:13 pm April 4, 2018

Member 1394 is correct - this falls into the first two years of production (12-13). The following years the problems were corrected (electronics, climate control). Otherwise, the car is better than average after that.

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Response from NormT

12:23 pm April 4, 2018

Looks to jave improved through the years .

http://www.nadaguides.com/Cars/Chevrolet/Sonic

A guy at work has a 2012 Sonic sedan 1.4t with 5-manual and loves it with 65,000.miles. It has had one recall for a PCV valve on the valve cover. His wife traded in Chevy Cobalt with 325,000 miles with manual trans for a 2017 Sonic RS they got for $15,000! They like their Sonics.

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Response from Member1394

1:10 pm April 4, 2018

AcuraT, where are you getting reliability data on the MY 2014-2017 Sonic? I only saw 2012-2013.

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Response from AcuraT

2:35 pm April 4, 2018

Member1394, when TrueDelta does not have data I use Consumer Reports as they also have a good inventory of car reliablity data from their surveys. On the Sonic they have more years than TrueDelta. TrueDelta is an excellent site so I use it as well as Consumer Reports as they both give good data - sometime TrueDelta has information CU lacks.

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Response from LectroFuel

1:24 am April 5, 2018

CarComplaints.com also shows that 2012-2013 were by far the worst years. I look at TrueDelta first, then CR, and then Carcomplaints. The newer Sonics seem to be better.

The level of care and R&D put into compacts is higher than subcompacts, and overall owner satisfaction is pretty terrible with subcompacts.In almost every case, a subcompact will be inferior to a compact car. You'll get a newer car with a subcompact, but compact cars of the same price are usually much better. For example, a new base Mitsubishi Mirage or Chevy Sonic compared to a 3 year old reliable safer Mazda3 with Bose sound system, Sunroof, nav, bluetooth, smart key, touchscreen, dual zone auto A/C, blind spot sensors, 7 year/100k mile powertrain warranty, and a driving experience that is worlds better than any subcompact. They are the same price, around $14k. What would you take?

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Response from NormT

9:11 am April 5, 2018

I'd choose the turbo-4 with more low rpm torque means less engine buzzing. Mazda's have never been know to be a quiet car and on paper their handling and braking performamce is only average.

The 1.4t is know to get 50 mpg in the larger Chevy Cruze and our old Encore 1.4t would see almost 40 mpg at 60 mph....with AWD.

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Buick Encore
Chevrolet Cruze Limited
Chevrolet Sonic

Response from AcuraT

10:56 am April 5, 2018

CarComplaints.com is a good suggestion Lectrofuel. That site seems more limited to me as far as users go but it does have all recall information.

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Response from mkaresh

11:24 am April 5, 2018

We also started providing recall and TSB summaries a year or so ago. Same NHTSA feed used by other sites that provide this information for free.

The key limitation of CarComplaints is that their data-gathering process is entirely unstructured. In many cases a loop gets going where one person posts a problem there, other people searching for the problem then find it there and also post about it. They also do not seem to factor sales volumes into their best / worst car calculations, so high-volume cars are more likely to end up among "the worst."

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Response from ejulien6

2:24 pm April 5, 2018

Here are three other vehicles which meet all your criteria and also have very good reliability ratings.

Mitsubishi Lancer 2009 and up
Hyundai Elantra 2008 and up
Ford Fusion 2008-2012

Need a minimum of 4 seats
Will consider both new and used cars
Maximum mileage: 125000
Maximum age: 15 years
Maximum price: US $ 6000

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Mitsubishi Lancer
Hyundai Elantra
Ford Fusion

Response from LectroFuel

2:31 pm April 5, 2018

But in the real world, Norm, Mazdas are much more fun to drive than pretty much any car in the same class comparing apples to apples. The chassis of a car can't perform if the tires are slippery. The Sonic is more comfortable than sporty and that is what it intended to do. You can improve the handling numbers on any car by fitting new tires on it. Also, according to Fuelly based off of 233k miles, the Cruze 1.4T Sedan gets an average of 32 MPG, which isn't bad, but it isn't close to what you said.

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