If you had a choice between 3 cars

ivamaeOctober 21, 2005

which would you buy? I'm thinking of a used car, 2001 or 2002 - a Kia Rio, a Hyundia Accent or a Toyoto Echo.

I presently have a 1993 Phlymouth Acclaim and would like something newer and smaller. I do want automatic althouh my previous car was a standard.

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steve_o

Hands down, the Echo. While all three cars were built to a price, Toyota has been making largely-trouble-free cars for the U.S. market way longer than Hyundai or Kia. In fairness, Hyundai's quality (Hyundai now owns Kia) has improved greatly in the last few years, but you're talking about five-year-old cars.

In truth, I'd consider a few other cars before any of those three. One is the Chevrolet Prizm (formerly the Geo Prizm). This car essentially is a Toyota Corolla (it's built on the same assembly line), but that bowtie on the front grille gives it a lower resale value -- good for you as a buyer.

Another is the Mazda Protege -- attractive, good handling, good economy, decent build quality, but doesn't have a Honda or Toyota nameplate.

Or the Nissan Sentra of that era. A friend of mine has one and it's -- well, it's competent, it's well-built, and it comes with enough stuff (except for anti-lock brakes, not available on the cheaper models), and it's a bit of a sleeper as far as being a good used car.

Finally, if money is the driver (sorry) for the three models you listed, you could consider a Ford Focus. 2001-2002 is early in the Focus' life, and it was the subject of a bundle of recalls, but by now any Focus you look at should have received that attention. The Focus is roomy, decently-built, and a bit slow, but functional. And because so many were made, they're fairly inexpensive on the used-car market.

    Bookmark   October 21, 2005 at 10:11PM
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bill_h

hyundai accent, personal experiance as a hyundai and toyota owner.

    Bookmark   October 22, 2005 at 10:49AM
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Lynne_SJO

Toyota loyalist here. Recently stepped up to a Lexus, but we have bought a lot of used cars. Many Many.

For your category, I would also check out the Honda Accord. Honda makes great cars.

Regardless, I would not go near a used car w/o first reading through a copy of Consumer Reports annual auto issue (April 2005). It provides recommended used cars in each price range; a list of "used cars to avoid" and great info re repair incidence/reliability and other attributes. The worst used car mistake we ever made was not consulting this first. It has been our bible ever since.

We have been buying nothing but low mileage (24-35K) japanese used cars since 1982 and have had great luck with each and every one (Mazda rx-7; honda accord; toyota camry; toyota avalon). All were bought from local dealers and the last 3 on the list were dealer certified and carried warranties - which in my opinion is the best way to go.

    Bookmark   October 22, 2005 at 4:08PM
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Dimwit

The Echo is a nice but ugly car. And it's a Toyota. Say no more.
The Accent is underpowered. Other than that, reasonable.
A used Kia is problematical. While Kia has really improved, 2000/2001 wasn't where they were at. And given their lot in life, a new Kia probably is around the same price as a used Echo.

    Bookmark   October 22, 2005 at 5:45PM
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earthworm

For that amount of money (around $ 5 to 7 grand) there are a whole slew of much better cars available..
Our '97 Accord cost about that much last year and will still be running as new when the cheapies have retired to their happy hunting grounds..
And, IMO, the American cars keep improving, so check out some of the Ford and Chevrolet models....

    Bookmark   October 23, 2005 at 1:08AM
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brianl703

Be sure, if you get an Echo, to budget $1 for a cheap LCD stick-on clock if it doesn't have a separate clock in the dash.

The clock is optional on the Echo. Consider that: an optional clock on a car made in 2001. The best part is that they could've simply put the clock on the radio's digital display, but they didn't.

That's one of the things, along with the center-mounted instrument cluster, that really makes me wonder what they were thinking when they designed that car.

    Bookmark   October 24, 2005 at 1:13AM
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john999

If you're worried about the price of petrol, the Echo is the most economical car on the US market.

    Bookmark   October 24, 2005 at 1:27AM
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steve_o

Regardless, I would not go near a used car w/o first reading through a copy of Consumer Reports annual auto issue (April 2005). It provides recommended used cars in each price range; a list of "used cars to avoid" and great info re repair incidence/reliability and other attributes.

I'm a little less than enamored of CR's "reliability" ratings. They're far too broad to mean very much. The survey is self-selected -- always a bit of a red flag when discussing the results. That little black dot results from service done on the car -- whether it was due to a manufacturing defect or operation in a very rough environment; the dot doesn't differentiate. The dot also does not differentiate between models in a product range (for example, car with this engine is a clunker; car with other available engines is just fine). And the dot does not differentiate between minor issues ("Brakes squeal a lot.") and very serious issues ("Brakes often fail to stop car."). Use CR as a guide, but please don't take their ratings as gospel. Their criteria may be very different from yours and, statistically speaking, their ratings are far too general to mean much.

    Bookmark   October 24, 2005 at 10:05AM
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downsouth

Steve, I didn't know they were making the Prizm anymore? We have a 1994 Geo Prizm with 156,00 miles with the original brakes. This car not only gets good gas mileage, but it handles great. The radio sucks and it has more wind noise than a bigger car, but we have loved this little car. The air conditioning is better than our 1998 Avalon and to be a small car, the room inside isn't bad.

If they are still being made, we would buy another one, but in a standard again.

    Bookmark   October 24, 2005 at 4:04PM
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jasonmi7

The Prizm was just a rebadged Tercel, wasn't it?

    Bookmark   October 24, 2005 at 9:32PM
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steve_o

The Prizm was a rebadged Corolla, and dated back to the days when Chevy called their version the Nova (mid-80s). They changed the name to Prizm when the Geo line was brought out, and changed it to Chevrolet Prizm when they killed off Geo. My brother had a Nova; he lived in a somewhat rural area and didn't like the local Chevy dealer so he took the car to the Toyota dealer for service. No issues.

There really isn't a direct replacement for the Prizm (in the Chevy line, anyway). If you want to go more in the direction of fuel economy, there's the Aveo (a rebadged Daewoo Kalos); if you want to go a little bigger, there's the Cobalt (which also replaces the Cavalier).

    Bookmark   October 25, 2005 at 11:14AM
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jerry_nj

"Another is the Mazda Protege -- attractive, good handling, good economy, decent build quality, but doesn't have a Honda or Toyota nameplate.Another is the Mazda Protege -- attractive, good handling, good economy, decent build quality, but doesn't have a Honda or Toyota nameplate." Was said. I have a 1999 Protege with only about 40,000 miles on it, but can say so far it is a good car. Mine is a 1.8L, the newer, 2001 especially may be a 2 L.

As others have said, there are lots of good makes out there, and I wouldn't limit myself to the three you stated in the opening post.

    Bookmark   October 25, 2005 at 8:46PM
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steve_o

I don't think the Protege is a bad car at all. My sister had one (one of the rare AWD models, which became quite expensive to fix after a while) and my ex put 70,000 on a 323 wagon rebadged as a Mercury Tracer (and if she can put 70,000 miles on it...). Just IME they lack the ultimate feel of the controls and the solid feeling I've experienced in Toyotas and Hondas. And repairing old ones started getting expensive (though that's probably true of the others as well, tempered only by their wide popularity keeping parts available).

    Bookmark   October 26, 2005 at 9:55AM
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ivamae

Thanks for all the advice. I'm going to give it more thought and do research as you suggest. Thanks again
ivamae

    Bookmark   October 30, 2005 at 8:42PM
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lamguy

Kia isn't a bad little vehicle. I bought my first Kia in 2001 a Rio. Nice little car air, PS, cd. Gets the wife into some very small parking places others can't get into. Bought my second Kia in 2004 a Spectra. Let's see...PS, PW, AC, CD, PL, remote entry, quite a bit of pep, a lot of room inside, 100,000 mile warranty, remote start and let's see...$11,000, I don't think you can buy too many new cars loaded as such for such a price. Never have had any problems with either one of them.

    Bookmark   November 1, 2005 at 7:50PM
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mister_h

Any Hyundai models 2001 and later are really fine cars. Earlier ones used left-over antique Mitsubishi powertrain and had their own quality problems. They've been making real nice cars lately at much lower price than Japanese rivals. I have had 2 late Hyundais (Santa Fe & Elantra) and 1 Kia Spectra (which is now owned by Hyundai and share the same major components) and I have had zero problems. The new Kia Spectra is just rebadged Hyundai Elantra (2.0L 140 HP). It looks compact but classified as medium size car by EPA on '06 model. Same thing for a medium sized '06 Sonata - it is now classified as a full-size car by EPA. They are roomy inside. I would buy these cares again if their relatively low price and 10 yr wty remains. The hardest thing when purchasing a Hyundai was pursuading my Toyota-loving wife!

    Bookmark   November 2, 2005 at 4:30PM
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ivamae

Mr. H
Do you feel that the Hyundia Accent since 2001 is also a good car?
thanks

    Bookmark   November 2, 2005 at 5:08PM
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relationshipsell

Get the echo. Toyota and Honda (curious, not on your list) are well respected companies. Kia? Hyundai? Quality improvements? Let other people gamble with these lesser cars. Go with the proven company. Toyota.

    Bookmark   February 26, 2006 at 4:17AM
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bill_h

yea the 01 accent is a decent car, no resale value, but if you drive it until the wheels fall off who cares, my mother in law bought one used an 01, had 39k on it when she got it, had 175k on it when she gave it one of her grand kids still going great.

    Bookmark   February 27, 2006 at 11:35AM
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sharon620

I have never had any of those makes but I would suggest either the Toyota or a Honda Civic or Accord.
Good luck.
If you haven't gotten one by now these are what I suggest.
Better get back to my classroom.
Sharon

    Bookmark   April 19, 2006 at 11:52AM
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ivamae

Hi, everyone. I did end up getting a Hyundai Accent, 2002, 3 door, with 46,000 Kms (about 29,000 miles) I love it in the city and parking is easy, however, I find it very light on the highway, but don't do much highway driving anyway. I also find it noisy. I expect to drive it to the wheels fall off so hope I get used to it at highway speeds.

thanks for everyones advice.
ivamae

    Bookmark   April 21, 2006 at 9:04PM
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