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recent model coupe/sedan with "safety" features (auto-braking, etc.)

The Right Car for Me | TrueDelta

docflash

now that i'm well into my medicare years (65++) i need a car smart enough to compensate for occasional brain farts. for example, i didn't see another driver coming towards me while i backed out of a parking lot space. some new cars check that. also, automatic braking is looking more attractive as i age and my reaction time inevitable gets slower. safety bells and whistles are (or will be) my friend. i enjoy twisty roads more than straight ones, and we've got plenty in northern california - i enjoy driving my prelude, but it's coming up on twenty years old. good handling is a big plus. my commute is under 7 miles round trip - gas mileage isn't a big factor. 0-60 under seven seconds is likely adequate.

Priorities: Safety & braking / Handling / Audio & nav systems

Need minimum of 2 seats

Will consider both new and used cars
Maximum mileage: 40000
Maximum age: 3 years

Maximum price: US $ 40000

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Response from danlisahall

12:21 am June 29, 2018

20 year Prelude? Wow, one of the best of that day - always wish I had gotten one of those! Instead I stuck with the less expensive Civic and Del Sol Si models.
I'm with you in the Medicare crowd & wanting all the senior nannies I can get!

With a budget of $40K, willingness to buy used, and no MPG concerns there are quite a few under 7 second cars available. Given that you are not high mileage driver reliablity is less of a concern. Adding the smart safety features does winnow out a few. I'm more of a small car guy so I stick with what I know the best and let some of the others tell you about the bigger rigs

Assuming your 65+ years don't deter you from a low slung car & since you 2 seats are enought I'd consider the Subaru BRZ, Subaru WRX, or Toyota 86 as fun corner carvers to replace your Prelude. These also come standard with a pretty complete set of automatic safety features. VW GTI & Audi A-4 also come to mind with the primary drawback that you have pay extra for some of the safety features such as adaptive cruise control. Last but not lease, especially for a former Honda owner, the Civic is gettng great reveiws & the new Turbo is fast -- as long as the some of the ricer dodads they have regretably attached don't turn you off.

If you really want to go all out performance in senior years and don't mind modern Detroit Iron i'd suggest the current crop of V8 powered pony cars. Their primary shortcoming is that they fall short of the Japanese & Korean models when it comes to driver nannies. The Dodge Challenger hits the target best in stance and style, plus is reportedly the most comfortable. The Mustang would be next on my list. Camero has the speed and handling nailed, but the gunship style tiny windows would kill it for this safety conscious senior.

So that is my starter list for you. Sounds to me like you're potentially in for a fun time of driving some quick cars. Would love to hear what you settle on and why.

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Volkswagen Golf / Rabbit / GTI
Subaru BRZ
Honda Civic

Response from AcuraT

1:07 pm June 29, 2018

Note that while Subaru does have the eyesight system, it is less advanced than the others mentioned by danlisahall. It relies on color cameras, so in bad weather (think rain, snow, sleet, hail, fog, direct sunlight) it does not work at all. I have this system on my Subaru so I am well aware of these limitations.

You probably want to stick to sporty cars that use radar in combination with cameras - those work in bad weather as well if that is important to you. Many cars can get to 60 under 7 seconds today. Even the 2018 Buick Regal or Envision with its 2.0L turbo can do that now (Envision is exactly 7 second, Regal is 6.5 with the turbo model, and under 6 with the optional V6). They even use radar in combination with cameras for its safety equipment.

VW, Audi, Honda all fit the bill as mentioned above. Dodge Challenger does not have much reliablity going for it so the Mustang and Camero are better but still not as reliable as any of the other choices mentioned. Buicks are even better than those cars.

Best of luck.

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Response from danlisahall

2:29 pm June 29, 2018

Sorry to hear about AcuraT's Eyesight system challenges.

I'm happy to say that my experineces with it have been extremely good. I live in Seattle area, home of lots of rain, fog, and occasional snow - not so much sunlight ;). While I have read other sources describing the Eyesight shortcomings, I have probably experienced it not functioning properly less than 5 times in 30,000 miles. Seems to get very high marks from all professional testers also.

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Response from LectroFuel

1:36 pm June 30, 2018

I would stick with the midsize family sedan segment with the upgraded engines. They are really quick.

My top pick is the 2018 Honda Accord. I've never seen a car in my life get such universal praise (except the Miata) from the auto journalists. It is an exceptional car. The 2.0T engine gets the car to 60 in 5.5 seconds. The only thing that I think would put someone off is the styling. The Accord beat an Audi A4 in a Car and Driver comparison.

My next pick is the 2018 Mazda6. With the 2.5T it gets to 60 in 6.4 seconds, which is on the low side for the midsize sedans' upgraded engines. It handles very well and drives like a luxury car. They made the car feel less tinny by making over 70 noise-reducing changes. Reliability will probably be above average or pretty good.

The 2018 Camry is the most reliable choice. It drives much better than the previous Camrys, almost as well as the Accord. The main reason I would choose this one is the buttery smooth and powerful 3.5L V6 and the styling. It is the best engine in the segment (with the Fusion Sport gone) because there is no replacement for displacement. Over 300 hp and it gets better mileage than the 2.0T engines it competes with. It also makes the nice V6 sound instead of the buzzy 4 banger sound. No turbo lag either. CarPlay is not available until next year as a software update. The safety features are standard on every trim of the Camry, even the $23k base trim.

If it were my money, I'd take the Accord because of the cooled seats and the handling is a little better than the Camry. I like the Accord's interior more. The GTI is also a good choice.

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Honda Accord
Toyota Camry
Mazda Mazda6

Response from AcuraT

3:27 pm June 30, 2018

Don't take my word for it about Eyesight in weather. Here are other comments on the internet about it shutting down when conditions get bad:

Lynnvin -I have eyesight and was driving on the highway during a very foggy morning in a heavy rain storm. Visibility was minimal with the fog, rain and spray from all the cars tires. Eyesight disabled automatically when visibility got real bad then engaged when things got clearer.

mpneret -I noticed it also does this in bright sunlight. It seems to know whenever it can't function and shuts down. The manual also mentions it.

scoobert -I've driven through rainstorms that caused Eyesight to disable itself. But rain isn't the only thing you're going to encounter on the road. What happens if my brother-in-law takes a tub of leaves up to the roof and drops them as I idle past? Answer: alert, no braking. What if same bro-in-law holds limb while I drive by at 20 mph and lowers limb to windshield height? Answer: depends on size of limb. Small limb causes alert, no braking. Larger limb causes alert plus slow to stop (no slamming ofbrakes).

I can go to bulletinboards and pull more. Don't get me wrong, Eyesight is a cheap system that works well - but it cannot work in all weather conditions as it lacks sonar. It comes close, but the severe weather conditions are a shortcoming. Great that danlisahall has never had an issue in weather, that is very much the exception and not the rule.

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Response from danlisahall

5:11 pm June 30, 2018

I didn't say we have never had an issue with Eyesight in weather. I did say we had "experienced non functioning problems only about 5 times". I may have underestimated?

That is not to say Eyesight is perfect. IIRC, most of our failure to work issues have been in heavy fog and a couple of extreme downpours. To its credit the system (at least when in adaptive cruise control mode), does alert you in adverse conditions that it is not working properly helping to avoid a false sense of security.

I don't have any experience with other similar systems so it may well be that they function as well or better. Actually, in terms of automotive tech, Eyesight was one of the early "driver nannies" and may be getting a bit "long in tooth". Since SOA was an early adapter of such tech & made it available in most of its cars quite early, that there may be more cars with Eyesight on the road than any other brand. I do know that the vast majority of reviews I read give the Eyesite very high marks.

All that to say, I would not buy a car without all the available safety features with the possible exception of a car that was going to be strictly used in the city. Such features just have too much potential value to save life, limb, and sheet metal!

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Response from LectroFuel

5:59 pm June 30, 2018

You have to clean the sensors with all cars right now, even if you have sonar. My Prius tells me to clean the sensors if it detects something blocking it even though it has sonar and radar. Same with the camera in the rearview mirror. It might disable the systems for you if it knows something is blocking the sensor. Subarus might be different, but my sensor is behind the front Toyota emblem. Just keep that and the camera clean and it should work well. Don't put RainX or wax on the sensor either.

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Response from AcuraT

10:36 am July 1, 2018

Sorry Danlisahall, I did not mean to understate your shutdowns of the system. It just seemed you tried to minimize a true small shortcoming of the system. It is an older system that was first to market after Volvo, and it does only use cameras which limits its effectiveness in bad weather. It also as you guessed is the most widely used since Subaru was so early to market with it and its initial black and white camera (the one I have on my 2013, and it was offered in Japan in 2010 on one car, and in 2013 on only the Legacy and Outback in the USA I believe ). To give you an idea on the number on the streets, just over 1 million cars have it now on the road as in late 2016 Subaru announced it sold its 1 millonth car with Eyesight.

As I stated, it is a good cheap system well worth the money that prevented an accident for me while the car next to me crashed in good weather. I just upgraded on the next car buying a system that also works in bad weather with sonar (and costs a couple of thousand more - instead of $2000 on a Subaru it costs more like $4500). I do believe in this technology and it only helps prevent an accident - you still need to be attentive and watch the road.

Most car companies went the way of combining sonar with color cameras. Here are the brands that I am aware of who have it now on some cars: Buick (all models), Cadillac (all models), Chevrolet (limited but on all models), GMC, Ford, Chrysler (300, Pacifica only), Lincoln, Jaguar, Mercedes, BMW, Porche, Acura, Alfa Romao, Audi (all models), Dodge (all models to some degree), Fiat, Ford (very limited on some models) - the list goes on an on. Subaru offers Eyesight on every car but not the BRZ. That is the one exception.

However, no one can take away that Subaru started it with its relatively simple camera based system. I give them credit for that as it put pressure on the rest of the industry to add it to their lineup of cars. There are many better systems now but they all work well to add safety to cars on the market today. Having Eyesight is definately better than having no system at all.

So the person asking the question - he can get all levels of safety equipment from nearly any manufacturer if he is willing to go to the higher trim levels. The only company that offers it on the low trim level that I am aware of is Subaru - except the BRZ which you still cannot get it with it.

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Response from danlisahall

12:33 pm July 1, 2018

AcuraT: Thanks for clarifying your previous response & sharing your wealth of knowledge regarding various safety systems and their available.

One of the great things about sites like this is what we can learn from each other!

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Response from LectroFuel

1:20 pm July 1, 2018

Toyota gives you all the safety features standard on 19 of their cars. Their only car that doesn't is the Toyota 86. Honda also has it standard on a lot of their cars. Japanese and German brands have embraced the technology more than the American brands. The Accord and Camry I mentioned both have them standard.

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Response from AcuraT

3:22 pm July 1, 2018

Lectrofuel is correct as I should have given credit to Toyota for adopting it to different degrees on all their cars except for the design it shares with Subaru (Toyota 86 = Subaru BRZ). Honda offers on all as well to some degree. A solid system is offered as standard on the Accord and Camry as he states.

Danlisahall - I learn from others as well. What I like about this site (most of the time) is for nice discussions on cars from others who know a lot about cars. There are biases (we all have them) but in the end it is nice to text with others who know what they are talking about.

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Response from docflash

3:41 pm July 1, 2018

Thanks, everybody, for all this info. I really had no idea the field had advanced this quickly. As somebody who's driven only Honda products since getting my 91 legend, I have a natural inclination towards the accord. On the other hand, the rental Camry are used last year was more comfortable than I expected, although I must admit I am spoiled by the Prelude's handling. I've always enjoyed Mazda handling, too, but for me, more acceleration is better. I think I'll go test drive a Camry, just to update my mental database.

I really appreciate all this info! One question: do the sensors on most safety systems now look for cross traffic when backing out of a parking space? That's one of the things that prompted this query. Thanks again!

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Honda Prelude

Response from LectroFuel

6:04 pm July 1, 2018

Yes, the rear cross traffic is on the V6 trims of the Camry. It also will brake for you when backing out, which is kind of a rare feature in cars still.

If you liked your 2017 Camry rental, you'll probably be blown away by the new one. They changed virtually everything (for the better). If you prefer comfort, get the XLE V6. If you prefer handling, get the XSE V6. There is also an a 360 degree birds eye camera, which helps with tight parking spaces, for $1000. Upgraded navigation comes in a package with the camera for another $900 on top. The two-tone roof (only on XSE V6) is an option I'd get too since it's unique.

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Response from danlisahall

12:52 am July 2, 2018

I think rear cross traffic sensors are part of most safety systems. No sure how many of them include auto braking. I don't believe our 2015 Outback Eyesight sytem auto brakes for rear cross traffic(?).

Others here probably know better & of course dealers should know this info

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Response from AcuraT

8:38 am July 2, 2018

Since you are interested in Honda, here is a breakdown of all their cars that have rear cross-traffic alert. This feature is not on all cars, and optional on many (which means usually a high level car is needed to get it) as it takes more sensors on the side of the cars to work. Also included Toyota for comparison and Buick and Subaru to show that this feature is not available as standard equipment or optional equipment on everything.

For Acura: Optional across the line (not standard) except on the RXL which it comes standard (the most expensive Acura).

For Honda: Optional only on the Accord, Accord hybrid, CRV, Odyessy, Pilot, and Ridgeline.

For Toyota: Optional only on the Avalon, CHR, Camry, Highlander, Prius, Sienna, Tacomna, Tundra, and Yaris. Standard on Sequina (huge expensive SUV), Land Cruise (again, huge expensive SUV), and Mirai (hydrogen car also expensive).

For Buick: Optional on everything but the Cascada.

For Subaru: Optional on everything but the BRZ.

If there is another brand you are interested about ask and I can look it up. Best of luck.

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Response from LectroFuel

11:36 am July 2, 2018

Rear auto braking is still pretty rare for mainstream brands. Rear cross traffic alert is usually not part of the safety suites and is usually standard on the middle trims. It is usually packaged with blind spot monitoring. One thing to note is that Honda's LaneWatch camera under the side mirror is simply less convenient and inferior to the light on both side mirrors that comes with most other cars. So compare the Camry's blind spot monitoring lights to the Accord's camera when you test drive them and you'll see what I mean.

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Response from danlisahall

6:18 pm July 2, 2018

Hey AcuraT, if you don't mind divulging it, where are you going to find about about all the driver nanny features? Thanks for you input

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Response from AcuraT

8:49 pm July 2, 2018

I look it up on assorted sites and Consumer Reports as well. It is not collected in a nice place always. The NHTSA site also shows test results. Best source is Consumer Reports but the companies themselves and NHTSA also publish it.

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