1 2
Drewsifer
Drewsifer Dork
4/12/12 2:54 p.m.

So in my quest to trade/sell our Suzuki SX4 for something we wouldn't owe money on, my wife has said she wants another Dodge Neon. She had one in college, and I absolutely hated it. I thought it was slow, got poor MPG, and was too small even back then. Now with a baby, I just think it'd be a bad choice. It's replacing a mediocre car with a bad one.

What's a car in under $7k that's big enough for a small family, won't have a million miles, and will dead nuts reliable?

Follow up questions, all the Civics in my area are over 100k miles and seem really expensive to me.

So how can I talk her out of a Neon?

mad_machine
mad_machine MegaDork
4/12/12 2:56 p.m.

and here I thought Fiat/chrysler was going to bring out a new neon....

Hal
Hal Dork
4/12/12 3:02 p.m.

Ford Focus ZX5.

Streetwiseguy
Streetwiseguy SuperDork
4/12/12 3:02 p.m.

You think a Neon is too small, and you are asking about a Civic?

Go drive a decent second gen Neon- 2000 up. They are pretty close to as nice a car as my wifes 2002 Accord. Try for 03 or newer if automatic trans. They added overdrive then.

4cylndrfury
4cylndrfury UltimaDork
4/12/12 3:04 p.m.

Infiniti G20

2.0 liter motor, decent fuel economy, roomy for a "Compact" sedan, great stereo, rides smooth, sporty pretense (but heavy). I love mine.

Finding sub $9k, 5 digit odometer examples is starting to become easier and easier as they age (production ended on the G20 in 2002)

I Am Keyser Söze
I Am Keyser Söze SuperDork
4/12/12 3:07 p.m.

What is your opinion of the SX4?

Javelin
Javelin UltimaDork
4/12/12 3:13 p.m.

Somebody has to say it...

P71.

If you actually want small and gas mileage though, I'll echo those above. Forget Civic and look at Focus ZX5. Also the newer Neon's were much improved, so those are also worth a look. Might be able to get a Pontiac Vibe in that price range (Toyota Matrix in drag). Protege5 will be too small and I don't think the early Mazda3's are down that low yet, but if they are check them out.

stumpmj
stumpmj Dork
4/12/12 3:14 p.m.

Accord, Camry, Altima, Buik Regal (the old one), Impala, Fusion, Taraus.... Pick your beige. It's a family car. Get a midsized sedan that's utterly boring.

Drewsifer
Drewsifer Dork
4/12/12 3:22 p.m.
Streetwiseguy wrote: You think a Neon is too small, and you are asking about a Civic? Go drive a decent second gen Neon- 2000 up. They are pretty close to as nice a car as my wifes 2002 Accord. Try for 03 or newer if automatic trans. They added overdrive then.

Did you miss the part where we had a Neon for awhile and I hated it? I know just looking at numbers a Civic seems like the same as a Neon (expect for the better MPG) but Civics just seem to use room better.

I Am Keyser Soze said: What is your opinion of the SX4?

I am not a fan. The CVT is pretty bad, it doesn't get great MPG, and sometimes it doesn't seem to be the right size for anything. It did pretty good in the snow up north even some really nasty stuff. I guess it's not bad, it just isn't what we need right now.

4cyldrfury, Looks interesting. A quick search doesn't turn up a single one in Orlando under 100k.

4cylndrfury
4cylndrfury UltimaDork
4/12/12 3:24 p.m.

lol...well I looked it up in Harrisonburg Va since thats whats in your profile.

Still, keep an eye out, theyre out there, and last forever

Drewsifer
Drewsifer Dork
4/12/12 3:32 p.m.
4cylndrfury wrote: lol...well I looked it up in Harrisonburg Va since thats whats in your profile. Still, keep an eye out, theyre out there, and last forever

Yeah sorry I've been meaning to change that for a long time. I just did. Thanks for the tip though.

And I know this is a common question, and I know there's no "right" answer. How old is too old and how many miles are too many?

I ask because I've found a lot of Camry's and Accord (although I've been warned against the Accord) that are 10-12 years old around a little over 100k in our price range. I think if it's well maintained it will be fine. The wife has the mentality, over a certain age or miles, no go.

Javelin
Javelin UltimaDork
4/12/12 3:40 p.m.

If you're just looking at beige-mobiles, get a Grand Prix. The 3800 never breaks and you can get mint ones for half the cost of a Camry/Accord. We have 128K on ours now (bought at 79K).

93EXCivic
93EXCivic UltimaDork
4/12/12 3:52 p.m.
Drewsifer wrote: I ask because I've found a lot of Camry's and Accord (although I've been warned against the Accord) that are 10-12 years old around a little over 100k in our price range. I think if it's well maintained it will be fine. The wife has the mentality, over a certain age or miles, no go.

I never knew there was anything wrong with the Accord....

I can't talk about the more recent Civics or Neons (post '00) but the older ones I will agree that the Civic does seem to use its space better (at least it seems like there is more legroom in a Civic). I think that the older Civics (EG and EKs) are about the best daily drivers ever built but they are getting long in the tooth and most seem to have been modified or abused to hell and back...

If you are looking post '00 and you want a smaller car, I am going to +1 the Focus. The Civic turned to crap after the EK Civic died. If you are going bigger, a GM with a 3800 is pretty unkillable but as exciting as dishwater.

Drewsifer
Drewsifer Dork
4/12/12 4:01 p.m.
93EXCivic wrote: I never knew there was anything wrong with the Accord....

Me either, but apparently the auto transmission were awful in 2000+ models and crap out often.

I'll check out Grand Prix. Would repairs be a problem now that Pontiac is gone?

DoctorBlade
DoctorBlade Dork
4/12/12 4:06 p.m.
I'll check out Grand Prix. Would repairs be a problem now that Pontiac is gone?

Shouldn't be that far out of production. They do last if you pay attention to them, and the junkyards should have plenty of spares. I had a 3.4 v6'ed Pontiac Grand Prix, and it was a fair performer. Not a bahn-burner by any stretch, but it was a good car. It was even that Champaigne color, which means there's a dozen or so on the roads near you. I did count 6-10 both with and without rear wing. Great Q ship.

92CelicaHalfTrac
92CelicaHalfTrac MegaDork
4/12/12 4:07 p.m.

Lower intake manifold gaskets aren't a whole lot of fun to replace.

neon4891
neon4891 UltimaDork
4/12/12 4:13 p.m.

If you are to the point of looking at a 3800 powered pontiac, I would steer towards a Vulcan Taurus, 3rd or 4th gen. Those too will run forever, average high 20s, and in my opinion the interior nicer. Both in ergonomics, and not being GM plastic bits of E36 M3.

As far as a neon sucking gas and being dog slow, teach the wife to drive stick?

2.0dohc
2.0dohc Reader
4/12/12 4:34 p.m.

the wifes SRT-4 Neon got 25ish mpg in town and 33 on the highway...and it had plenty of pep, just sayin

93EXCivic
93EXCivic UltimaDork
4/12/12 5:31 p.m.
Drewsifer wrote:
93EXCivic wrote: I never knew there was anything wrong with the Accord....
Me either, but apparently the auto transmission were awful in 2000+ models and crap out often.

The ones behind the V6s are. The 4 cylinders should be fine. The 4 cylinder with a manual isn't a bad car (not great but not souling suckingly horrible unlike several of the car mentioned so far).

Drewsifer
Drewsifer Dork
4/12/12 5:32 p.m.
2.0dohc wrote: the wifes SRT-4 Neon got 25ish mpg in town and 33 on the highway...and it had plenty of pep, just sayin

The SRT4 is a whole different animal. Although if we got an SRT4 it would probably quickly become my car.

Javelin
Javelin UltimaDork
4/12/12 6:18 p.m.
Drewsifer wrote: I'll check out Grand Prix. Would repairs be a problem now that Pontiac is gone?

Nope. GM made millions of 3800 W-bodies in all of the divisions (Impala up to 2012, Regal, Grand Prix, Monte Carlo, etc). The only things that go bad are the intake gaskets, and usually from idiots not ever changing the coolant because Dex-Cool should last forever.

We did our LIM gaskets at the 100K mile tune up and changed the coolant (ours never leaked) for preventative maintenance. Few hours, pretty easy (ours is non-supercharged though). Only other repairs it's ever needed are valve cover gaskets (easy), a steering rack and toe link (pretty sure it came from serious pothole damage), and I had to replace the coolant elbows in a parking lot last month because the new ones I had just installed were defective. (Shoulda used the factory ones)

We've put almost 50K on this car and it's been super reliable and super cheap. It drives well, especially on highways, and has more than enough guts to blow the doors off of a Miata in a straight line. It honestly drives a lot like my old SHO did. (Ours is a GT and that's the one you want). The GTP's (Supercharged) are freaking animals. All the ones in our club are in the 14's or less, with 2 knocking on 9's on stock short blocks!

The interior is a little plasticy feeling, but it doesn't rattle or break so I don't care. FWIW, the 03 redesigned model had a much nicer interior and even more power. You could even get tap shifters.

Drewsifer
Drewsifer Dork
4/12/12 7:03 p.m.
2.0dohc wrote: the wifes SRT-4 Neon got 25ish mpg in town and 33 on the highway...and it had plenty of pep, just sayin

As I joke I found a few and showed the wife. Her response?

"I would drive a manual if I got an SRT4".

That's my girl. Too bad there was only one crap on in my area.

93EXCivic said: The ones behind the V6s are. The 4 cylinders should be fine. The 4 cylinder with a manual isn't a bad car (not great but not souling suckingly horrible unlike several of the car mentioned so far).

It's for the wifey. Her soul is immune to boring cars.

nicksta43
nicksta43 HalfDork
4/12/12 7:54 p.m.
neon4891 wrote: If you are to the point of looking at a 3800 powered pontiac, I would steer towards a Vulcan Taurus, 3rd or 4th gen. Those too will run forever, average high 20s, and in my opinion the interior nicer. Both in ergonomics, and not being GM plastic bits of E36 M3. As far as a neon sucking gas and being dog slow, teach the wife to drive stick?

This has to be the first time I have ever heard of anyone recommending a Taurus over a Grand Prix.

Every Taurus I have personal knowladge of has been a huge money pit and has generally been a giant piece of E36 M3.

Although not without a few issues I would have to recommend any 3800 powered w-body over the Ford.

The 3100 and 3400 powerd cars are a bigger gamble in my mind. But a 3800 car is very tough to kill.

Brett_Murphy
Brett_Murphy Dork
4/12/12 8:44 p.m.

You don't want a Neon. Get a Mazda 3 or a Ford Focus instead.

http://orlando.craigslist.org/cto/2942323300.html

http://orlando.craigslist.org/cto/2953438169.html

Streetwiseguy
Streetwiseguy SuperDork
4/12/12 9:50 p.m.
Drewsifer wrote:
Streetwiseguy wrote: You think a Neon is too small, and you are asking about a Civic? Go drive a decent second gen Neon- 2000 up. They are pretty close to as nice a car as my wifes 2002 Accord. Try for 03 or newer if automatic trans. They added overdrive then.
Did you miss the part where we had a Neon for awhile and I hated it? I know just looking at numbers a Civic seems like the same as a Neon (expect for the better MPG) but Civics just seem to use room better.

Dude, I've been married 26 years. I read your original post. YOU don't like Neons. YOUR WIFE does like Neons. Has nobody ever told you? If momma ain't happy, ain't nobody happy.

1 2
Our Preferred Partners
EGsHjdvt5mbUYYdr0xpY0C7zfMVXocA7W0E6paGvvSvnmsvecuGigoxcK2FNEZgu