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Unamuno
May 30, 2003
Cry me a fuckin' river, Fauntleroy.

Recently, I was out of town and rented three different cars; spending a month driving newer cars really highlights the many flaws in my current ride, a 2000 Camry with 199k miles on it.

I'm also a complete car-purchasing noob. I have never owned a car that wasn't a hand-me-down from my sister or parents. I bought that Camry off my dad in 2008 and have averaged ~15k miles/year (so this makes leasing a terrible option, right?). I have been a bigtime sucker with money in the past (eg paying cash for law school, giving out unsecured loans to friends, etc etc), so I also have very high potential for buyers' remorse. So I don't want to go nuts on a luxury car or anything.

Proposed Budget: $35k
New or Used: New; I really don't want the hassle of doing due diligence on a used car. I know very little about cars, so I am a very easy mark for someone who wants to get over on me with a lovely used car.
Body Style: 4 door sedan. I'm too tall to comfortably drive a Corolla and too cheap to comfortably drive an Avalon so something about the size of a Camry/Accord suits me well. I don't like how the Prius or other hatchbacks look. Also, it has to be automatic transmission and I prefer FWD (one of the rentals I recently drove was a Mustang; it gave me flashbacks to the monstrous Chevy Caprice RWD station wagon I drove in high school).
How will you be using the car?: General commute/errand/golf outing type driving around Las Vegas. Some longer road-trips to places like LA, the Bay Area, Denver, Arizona, Mexico, etc.
What aspects are most important to you? 1. Reliability. 2. Quietness/Interior Comfort/Smoothness of ride 3. Safety 4. Good interface with iphone/other easy-to-use interior features (not to keep making GBS threads on Ford, but the Mustang's interface was exasperating) 5. Fuel efficiency 6. quality audio

The way I drive, I only really care about acceleration/"fun" enough to be able to get up to the speed of traffic on the interstate and maybe go 7-8 MPH above the speed limit. Nothing crazy.

Myproductadvisor.com recommends, for under $35k, the 2013 Accord CVT EX-L, the 2013 Chevy Malibu LTZ w/2LZ, the 2013 Buick Verano Premium Group, the 2013 Buick Regal GS, and 2014 Ford Fusion Titanium in that order. That's the only one of those "help pick a car for me internet" websites I've used. Are any of the above-listed cars so rotten they wouldn't even be worth test-driving? Thanks in advance for your opinions and advice.

Unamuno fucked around with this message at 02:31 on Sep 5, 2013

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Unamuno
May 30, 2003
Cry me a fuckin' river, Fauntleroy.

nm posted:

I was wondering who acuras were made for these days. You.

Also, all higher trim fords will have myfordtouch, which sucks. Cheaper trims of the same models won't have it.

Thanks, the Acura TSX looks like a pretty good fit for me. I'll definitely put it on the list of cars to test drive. I think right now the list is:

Honda Accord
Acura TSX
Buick Verano

I have a credit rating somewhere around 730. What kind of financing should dealerships be offering me on a car? Also, should I go through a car buying service (I have access to USAA and AAA services)? Are those generally cheaper than, say, driving back and forth between two (hopefully competing, not colluding) dealerships all day, gradually raising my extreme lowball offer until one of them accepts it?

Unamuno
May 30, 2003
Cry me a fuckin' river, Fauntleroy.

nm posted:

Truecar is probably the better car buying service than AAA or something, though my parents have really liked these guys: http://www.cartelligent.com/
That said, you can do cheaper at the dealer. For these services you're paying for convenience, how much it really depends.

(Also, if it isn't too late, don't go to law school).

Thanks. FWIW I dicked around with the USAA car buying service last night. If nothing else, it spat out some prices I should aim for. I'll probably try negotiating directly with the dealer(s) because the interest rate USAA offered me on a pre-approved loan was pretty rotten (while the rates competing dealers should offer after they see my credit score should be much lower).

And it's way too late re: law school, I'm already a (non-practicing) member of the bar. Pretty bad ROI on those bux so far.

Throatwarbler posted:

I don't really see why you must spend $35k on this car if you don't want RWD, luxury or speed. The Accord EX-L is a $25k car, if it does the job then spend the other 10k on a sport bike.
...and then maybe I could spend the other $200k on hospital bills. But seriously, thanks for the thorough response. It's extremely helpful to have actual information and informed opinions instead of basing this decision on emotion and admonitions from my mom not to buy "nazi cars." Since it's my first time going through the car-buying process, I'm probably more susceptible to making emotional decisions than average, too.

Throatwarbler posted:

Skip the Regal GS. I don't know if you are aware but the GS is the absolute top performance trim of the Regal. Vs the regular Turbo it adds a more powerful engine via higher turbo boost, adjustable Hiperstrut suspension, Brembo brakes, bigger wheels and more bolstered(read: tighter more grippy) sport seats. Since you are not interested in going fast I'm not sure why you would want to pay for the fancy suspension and big brakes?
I was not aware of that; thank you for the info. At what speeds do those named things become important? It'd have to be some sort of emergency for me to even consider going above, say, 90 MPH.

Throatwarbler posted:

You can go try out a regular 2.4l Regal, but it really doesn't do anything that the Verano doesn't. It's not really much bigger, it's not faster, the interior is about the same, the only reason you would pick it over the Verano is that it looks better and has fancier suspension. You could say the same thing about the TSX, it doesn't really have any advantage over the Accord or most of the rest of the segment and it costs a fair bit more. All the reviewers and car mags seem to really hate the Malibu, to the point where GM is rushing a refreshed model into production next year after only 1 year of production. I also don't get the hype on the Fusion either. Yeah from certain angles it looks like an Aston Martin, but I don't know what else it has to recommend it. It has 4 or 5 engines that all lag behind the competition in fuel economy and power.
Thanks; I'll probably stick with just test-driving the Verano. I still want to test-drive the TSX, if only to see what the differences are and if they come close to justifying the cost increase. Also, I think I'll avoid Fords in general for a couple reasons. First, NAZI CAR obviously. Second, really didn't like driving the Mustang. The complaints you make about the Taurus ("built like a bunker") really reminded me of the Mustang's lack of visibility.

Also, why do people prefer RWD? It always makes me feel like the car is going to fishtail, no matter how routine the turn.

Throatwarbler posted:

Go with the smaller wheels to minimize road noise.
Smaller wheels make for less road noise? Explains why the Mustang seemed so loud.

Throatwarbler posted:

2014 Chevy Impala: Looks very nice inside and out and is probably best in segment right now, but given that it's brand new there probably won't be much room to negotiate in the price.
I've always liked the idea of driving an Impala (if for no other reason than it gets mentioned somewhat frequently in rap lyrics). Best in segment makes it sound worthy of a test drive. I guess that makes the list...

Accord
TSX
Verano
Impala

Unamuno
May 30, 2003
Cry me a fuckin' river, Fauntleroy.

Weinertron posted:

With your requirements it's also worth taking a quick look at the Kia Optima and the Hyundai Sonata, just to round out the boring midsize selection. The Koreans make some solid cars now.

Thanks. One of the cars i rented was a Sonata. I thought it was alright; felt similar to my Camry but assuredly tighter/safer/quieter/less of a death trap. The Sonata had a few annoying iphone interface bugs (eg defaulting to the first song alphabetically on my iphone) that turned me off.

I test drove a 2013 Accord Ex-L today. It'll be tough to beat. It was super smooth, steering felt especially easy. Pretty comfortable seat, lumbar support was a nice touch. The car was quiet enough to listen to spoken word audio even when accelerating to reach interstate speed; sound system seemed pretty quality (eg good bass when listening to rap). I tried to test the "lane departure warning" feature; i saw a flashing alert on the dash display but didn't hear any sort of claxon or other audio cue (to be fair i was listening to music pretty loudly). Another feature i hadn't even considered (but like) is a side camera that activates when you turn on the right blinker, seems convenient for highway driving and parallel parking. My one minor concern was that the bluetooth/touchscreen interface had noticeable lag. The salesman said it gets better as you use the phone more with the car; seems a bit dubious but i guess there could be some caching mechanism that would improve responsiveness. I'm sure i'll find ways to nitpick any car's interface, but of all the iphone interfaces i've used the Accord's seems like the best.

Guess I'll test drive the Impala (free $50 amazon gift card), tsx and verano tomorrow. The salesman's manager at the Honda dealership seemed pretty open to negotiate. He gave me a highballish offer (28.5k iirc) and offered 0% financing (after initially pre-approving me for 1.9%; guess they're trying to anchor me). He also said he really wanted to move the 2013 Accords off the lot as he's (allegedly) getting a bunch of 2014s in the next week. No idea if that's true or standard car salesman bs. Invoice price is $26.5k so i gotta try to get closer to that, right? Or at leadt have them throw in some freebies like window tinting?

Here's another noob question: should the length of my car loan match the length of the warranty?

Unamuno fucked around with this message at 05:09 on Sep 6, 2013

Unamuno
May 30, 2003
Cry me a fuckin' river, Fauntleroy.

Juando290 posted:

So, as I stated a page or two ago...I am a car salesman at a dealership that sells many makes new...including honda and Acura. In a correct world, the Acura TSX should be nicer than the EX-L accord you drove. It is not. Other than looks and ride quality, the Tsx does not have the gas milage, rear seat space, lane departure warning, collision warning system, side view camera system, multi angle rear view with dynamic guidelines (if you get the Tech TSX, it has multi angle rear view, but at a lower resolution and no dynamic guides) no touchscreen, no keyless entry (stone ages...you have to take your key out of your pocket and hit a button) and that means you have the ability to lock your keys in your car...no chance of that with the accord, even if you try to shut it in the truck, it will pop back open on the accord. And since you mentioned iPod controls on the sonata, they are frustrating n the Acura. Bluetooth is clumsy on the TsX as well, with no voice control over your phone other than telling it to dial a number (like saying "dial, 555-555-5555") but if you want to call someone by name, you have to record a speed dial in your own voice associated with their number. The accord has true voice recognition so you say "Call bobby" and it will call bobby.

The pricing on the accord he is quoting is a joke. Msrp is $28785. Now I don't know what accessories are on it (all weather mats and cargo tray and mud guards I assume) but if he was quoting you that price without fees or accessories, then you really need to get them to come down. The car by itself, go for around 200-300 over invoice. Around 26,900. They will keep talking about how they can not hit that number, but if you stick to it they will cave. Don't let them "bump" you. The only reason they might not go that low is that honda is only offering the 0.9 for 36 or 1.9 up to 60 months...in order for him to offer you 0% is because they are buying that rate...so they have some skin in the game. If you go with the 0%, add about $200 on to my previous recommendation. With the accessories I mentioned above(if they already included them), a good price with the 0% interest would be about 27,500. The price he quoted you would be more fair for an EX-L with navigation.

And on that not, if you can swing it, do go with Navigation. It gives you full voice control over the entire climate control, navigation, phone (more in depth) and audio system...including voice search on iPods, "play artist, Bruce Springsteen". It also has a hard drive that stores between 350 and 400 CDs. The voice controls are a bit more intuitive than the fords. Like if you want to listen to 96.1 fm, you just click the talk button and say "96.1". It natively can figure out the difference of what number you said in relation to what you wan it to do. Want the car 72 degrees, press the talk bUtton and say "72 degrees"..."fan speed two"..."rear defrost on"..."find nearest coffee shop" etc. it understands roughly 1400 commands, so you really don't have to touch much in the center console once you get the hang of it. And don't be afraid of how complicated it sounds, most of those commands are redundant, like "navigation/address/destination" all take you to the same screen...it just makes it easier to talk naturally without having to remember specific commands.

Hope that helps.

TLDR....pass on the TSX, check out the remaining cars and then let us know what you think of the Accord you end up getting, haha.

Thanks for your information, it's a big help. First, I suppose it saves me a test-drive for the TSX; if it's inferior to the Accord in many ways I care about, why even bother testing it when it's $5k more?

Second, you might almost sell me on a Navi if I go with the Accord. That Navi voice-command stuff sounds awesome; on the other hand, I'm not the biggest voice-command guy; for example, I've had the iphone 5 for at least a year and haven't yet used Siri. Does Siri interface well with the Accord? I ask because the controls for car-related stuff (temperature, rear defrost) are easy enough to find and reach; just wondering if it's worth the $2k extra for those things when I could (presumably) use Siri or something else to access google maps/music/calls.

Right now I'm definitely leaning toward the Accord without yet having driven the other two. Also, looking at the dealership website I missed an opportunity to get a $25 gift card from the Honda dealership. BRUTAL.

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Unamuno
May 30, 2003
Cry me a fuckin' river, Fauntleroy.

Juando290 posted:

They don't have Idrive for complete control with Siri from apple yet, but from what I understand it will be a free software update when it comes out for people who purchased a 2013 accord between the end of the year and early 2014. Not sure if it will be integrated with the navigations actual navi functions, but you will be able to activate Siri from the steering wheel. I use the voice commands mostly for navigation and audio. It is way easier to get to an XM channel or find music on the HD or iPod or request a radio station than manually tuning.
Cool; I'm assuming I'd have to bring the car into the dealership to get the software update? Also, would I need the Navi to be installed to be eligible for this iDrive update? If something like that is around the corner and I wouldn't need the Navi to be eligible for the upgrade, it seems like a point against spending the extra $2k.

I don't really relate to the problem of tuning to an XM channel; I generally just alternate between a few presets unless I'm browsing. Really leaning toward not parting with the extra $2k, especially when I don't anticipate using the car's Navi function will beat out the habit of using google maps. Thanks for the information.

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