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peachfuzz
Jun 16th, 2004, 01:44 PM
I'm in the process of purchasing a new car (coupe or sedan). Currently I have a list of makers and styles that I'm interested in. If anyone on this board know anything about the quality, safety, etc. of these vehicles based on ownership or otherwise, it would be helpful. I have looked through car websites and magazines already, but would like some feedback from personal experiences. Thank you! Also if you have any recommendations on cars (I'm mainly looking for one that is stylish yet safe and reliable)

Here are the cars i'm interested in:

BMW 3 series
Toyota Matrix (maybe RAV4)
Nissan Altima/Maxima
MINI Cooper
VW Jetta/Passat
Lexus ES300

:worship:

rand
Jun 16th, 2004, 01:44 PM
very different cars :confused:

Helen Lawson
Jun 16th, 2004, 01:48 PM
If you can afford the Lexus, get the Lexus. While I myself do not own one (limos for me), everyone I know who has ever owned a Lexus has been thrilled out of their minds with the car.

alexusjonesfan
Jun 16th, 2004, 02:01 PM
huh, what's your price range exactly?

The 3 series is the gold standard of sports sedans, sometimes subject to electrical problems later in life and maintenance is expensive but hey, it's got cachet.

VW in North America has been having serious reliability issues for a while now, lots of recalls, long term durability issues etc. A lot of uni kids buy Jettas here.

The Lexus ES300 is now the ES330 with a bump in horsepower, one of my uncles owns one. It's staid looking and drives and rides like a marshmallow but reliability is bullet-proof.

You can go here (http://www.alldata.com/recalls/) to find technical service bulletins on whatever car you want to see what things can go wrong or how many recalls a particular model has had. And troll the forums at caranddriver.com, roadandtrack.com etc. where you can find lots of personal experiences from posters.

Veritas
Jun 16th, 2004, 04:17 PM
I'm in the process of purchasing a new car (coupe or sedan). Currently I have a list of makers and styles that I'm interested in. If anyone on this board know anything about the quality, safety, etc. of these vehicles based on ownership or otherwise, it would be helpful. I have looked through car websites and magazines already, but would like some feedback from personal experiences. Thank you! Also if you have any recommendations on cars (I'm mainly looking for one that is stylish yet safe and reliable)

Here are the cars i'm interested in:

BMW 3 series
Toyota Matrix (maybe RAV4)
Nissan Altima/Maxima
MINI Cooper
VW Jetta/Passat
Lexus ES300

:worship:

Well, the Passat, 3-series and ES 300 are wedged inside the 'premium' category - though, the Passat's more of a 'over-priced' POS :o . Since you mentioned the 'Matrix', I'm guessing you're in North America, so I would have no clue as to what their prices are.

3-series is the best compact-sport-luxury sedan you can buy.

A whisper-quiet V6 engine, outstanding build-quality and excellent reliability are the pros for the ES300.

A Passat's a Passat :tape:

I don't like the styling of the Matrix. I really can't tell, by looking at the pictures, whether it's a shrunken MPV or an extended hatch. Plus, I think it was co-developed with GM (they've got a similar car, with a different badge of course), so IMO besides the legendary Toyota build quality and reliability, I don't know much positive things about this car.

The Rav 4 looks good. It's not too big (Landcruiser) and not too small. From what I've read, the Rav 4 is definately not for off-road driving - it's like the RX330; a car that happens to look like an off-roader. It works well on the road. Just don't expect too much of it once it goes off the tarmac...otherwise, it's a great car ;)

The Jetta's (Bora) just a Golf with a boot. It looks dated, plus like other VW cars, it's overpriced.

I don't know about the rest of the cars you listed. The US Maxima is different to the Japan/Australian version. We don't get the Altime, plus I'm clueless when it comes to most European cars (except that they're overpriced).

Good luck anyway!

Berlin_Calling
Jun 16th, 2004, 04:25 PM
Bimmer 3-series convertible is the way to go if you want style and a good drive :hearts:

My sister drives an ES330 and she loves it. Fully loaded, the price tag reached around 40K but it has all the features of and looks inside of a 60K car. The car drives very smoothly and there are some neat features in the car like the rear window electric sunshade and the heated seats. The navigation system is really easy to use also (moreso than the confusing ones in the Range Rover or Bimmers :o)

-Em-
Jun 16th, 2004, 04:29 PM
i know everything about my car- it's honda, it's civic, it's green, it's 2.0, it's cool, i like it... ;) :p ;) :p ;) :p

-Em-
Jun 16th, 2004, 04:31 PM
if i were you i would buy BMW 3...if you're a guy don't buy yourself Toyota RAV4-it's alovely car, but rather for girls (surveys proved that 99% of all RAV4 drivers are women)

Barrie_Dude
Jun 16th, 2004, 08:57 PM
I'm in the process of purchasing a new car (coupe or sedan). Currently I have a list of makers and styles that I'm interested in. If anyone on this board know anything about the quality, safety, etc. of these vehicles based on ownership or otherwise, it would be helpful. I have looked through car websites and magazines already, but would like some feedback from personal experiences. Thank you! Also if you have any recommendations on cars (I'm mainly looking for one that is stylish yet safe and reliable)

Here are the cars i'm interested in:

BMW 3 series
Toyota Matrix (maybe RAV4)
Nissan Altima/Maxima
MINI Cooper
VW Jetta/Passat
Lexus ES300

:worship:Well, lets see what we can do here:
1) I am normally a big fan of BMW, but after riding in and driving several 3 seris Bimmers over the years, I find that they are crap compared to the rest of the BMW line. Not that it is such a bad car, but it would not be my choice.

2) Toyota Matrix I really know nothing about, but the RAV-4 is a nice vehicle and Toyota makes a good product. You would be satisfied with the servive from a Toyota.

3) My sisters husband has the Altima Touring Edition and I have driven it many times in city traffic. It has the V-6, Leather Seats, 6-disc CD changer, power everything and is a seriously nice car. Also, very peppy and a joy to drive. I think they paid about 30,000 for it, maybe a bit less..
The Maxima used to be a nice car, but the current body style is butt ugly.

4) The VW and the Mini are nice cars but a bit small. The Mini is more "Cute" than "practical"

5) Lexus is a very nice car. Much better than the Bimer in my mind.

peachfuzz
Jun 17th, 2004, 12:21 AM
Thanks for all your inputs....and thanks Viggen for the sites :)

Also...for VW...are the German manufactured vehicles better in reliability than the ones made in Mexico...or are they about the same? :confused:

cynicole
Jun 17th, 2004, 12:52 AM
Here are the cars i'm interested in:

BMW 3 series
Toyota Matrix (maybe RAV4)
Nissan Altima/Maxima
MINI Cooper
VW Jetta/Passat
Lexus ES300
Despite occasionally listening to "Cartalk," I am absolutely not a "car person" but I had to do research on some of these for a project. Can't tell you anything really "useful" but I can tell you about studied perceived notions of some of these cars. Here goes:

Toyota Matrix
- someone here mentioned that it was co-designed between Toyota and another company...which is true. I think they even make the cars at the same plant. The story about the Matrix was that Toyota found that its brand's appeal skewed old so they wanted to design a car for GenX and GenY. They ended up with the Matrix...which COMPLETELY FAILED to appeal to their target consumer group but did hit it big with the soccer moms (same thing happened with Honda and its Element). Toyota's next attempt at grabbing the youngsters is the whole Scion brand (yes, that really boxy car). In short: Toyota Matrix = Soccer Mom! (if you're not a soccer mom, you run the risk of people making fun of you and your choice of car). I could go on about how absolutely inane the development of the Matrix was because it was the subject of a marketing competition a couple of years ago.

Nissan Altima/Maxima
- My sister had an Altima...but the car went cross country a couple of times and no one in my family is particularly known for their automotive skills so I think it may be unfair of me to comment on what went on with the car.

MiniCooper = chick car

VW Jetta/Passat
- Popular with the uni set.

Lexus ES300
- Don't know anything about the car. Know Lexus = Toyota quality.

I think the last time they ran a study, they found that Toyota (aka Lexus and Scion) retained its customers more than any other manufacturer. I think it was something like 40%. That said, aside from an uncle and two cousins and a family friend, I can't think of anyone I know who drives a Toyota car right now.

cynicole
Jun 17th, 2004, 01:05 AM
I don't like the styling of the Matrix. I really can't tell, by looking at the pictures, whether it's a shrunken MPV or an extended hatch. Plus, I think it was co-developed with GM (they've got a similar car, with a different badge of course), so IMO besides the legendary Toyota build quality and reliability, I don't know much positive things about this car.Hardly anyone likes the styling of the Matrix. Only Soccer Moms like the Matrix...so they could chuck their antiques and large potted plants from Home Depot into it.

I think it is what they call a "CUV: Car Utility Vehicle." It's for people who think that the SUV is too big and menacing but want more space than a car and don't exactly want a minivan.

The whole point of the space in the rear was as a place for the GenXers to put all their cool Xtreme sports equipment (really). The extremely funny thing about that was that later studies showed that hardly 2% of GenXers even participated in that Xtreme stuff.

For what Toyota was trying to do, the Matrix was an abysmal failure.

Veritas
Jun 17th, 2004, 02:38 AM
For what Toyota was trying to do, the Matrix was an abysmal failure.

I thought the honour went to those boxy Scions :tape:

I think manufacturers are trying to merge different vehicle categories because they probably think that the traditional segments are getting boring for the customers. Renault did it with the Scenic (mini-MPV) and Honda turned the Jazz and Civic into a cross between an MPV and hatch.

I can only hope those "trends" don't last very long. Honda's MPV-hatch trend now have cars like the new Golf, Corolla, etc., being twice as big as their predecessors and now, not even looking like a traditional hatch. I'll have to wait and see whether Toyota and GM's 'CUV' will be popular enough to go global :tape:

-cata-
Jun 17th, 2004, 02:49 AM
I don't think the Matrix was such a big failure ....my boyfriend owned one ...(he just recently trade it in for a SRT-4)

The Matrix had an impact in quite amount of ppl...mostly ppl in the import scene.

check this out

www.matrixowners.com

www.matrixvibe.net

and yeah!..the Matrix is a combo of toyota and gm (pontiac) that's why if you look at the pontiac Vibe looks almost the same.


Now About the Scions...for the price of those cars ...you can't go wrong.

I'm actually thinking of buying a Scion TC for myself (2door)
http://us.autos1.yimg.com/img.autos.yahoo.com/aic/scion_tc_sportcoupe_2005_385x192.jpg

cynicole
Jun 17th, 2004, 03:50 AM
I thought the honour went to those boxy Scions :tape:

I think manufacturers are trying to merge different vehicle categories because they probably think that the traditional segments are getting boring for the customers.
I think they're trying to make the Scions less boxy.

At least with Toyota, I KNOW that they were aiming the Matrix and Scion at GenX and GenY. It just turns out that most of the people who want them are soccer moms and artsy types who love all those customized features. (Yeah, someone did a study and figured out that GenY really loves to customize things in different colors!)

Cuddles
Jun 17th, 2004, 03:52 AM
Am I on your Ignore List, Nicole? :wavey:

cynicole
Jun 17th, 2004, 04:04 AM
I don't think the Matrix was such a big failure ....my boyfriend owned one ...(he just recently trade it in for a SRT-4)

[...snip...]

Now About the Scions...for the price of those cars ...you can't go wrong.

I'm actually thinking of buying a Scion TC for myself (2door)

The Matrix was a big failure. They had to completely redo their ad campaign. It was so bad that Toyota partly sponsored a collegiate marketing competition where the main goal was to create a whole new market strategy for the Matrix that would appeal to the original intended market for the car. They probably used bits from that competition for their newer ad campaigns (I saw a competition commercial where some guys load all this Xtreme equipment into a Matrix...to take it to a flea market and, apparently, Toyota made a commercial like this later).

Aside from the butt ugliness of the Scions (when I saw them in pictures I didn't think they were that bad...and then I saw one in person :tape: ), I generally like everything else about the Scion brand. First off, as you said, they are cheap and lots of those little amenities like air conditioning, power windows, etc. are standard basic features on the car.

Secondly, you get all the special customer treatment that is typical of Toyota.

And, third, the people who are selling the Scions will bend over backwards (moreso than usual) to make sure you will be able to pay for a Scion. They're supposedly getting even more/special training from Toyota to sell these things.

If you don't care what the car looks like (and actually like it), it's a good deal.

cynicole
Jun 17th, 2004, 04:04 AM
Am I on your Ignore List, Nicole? :wavey:
No. Hiya :wavey:

gentenaire
Jun 17th, 2004, 05:39 AM
That Toyota matrix doesn't look like anything new, they just copied the concept from Renault, like many other brands. This type may fail in the US, it's a huge success in Europe. These types of cars are very convenient. My mother loves her Renault Scénic.

My father drove a BMW 3 at one point. After that he bought a 5 series. It was the first time that my fahter bought the same brand of car again.


And I think it's pretty obvious that cars built in Germany are better than the ones built in Mexico, otherwise the plants in Germany would have long moved to Mexico where it's cheaper.

alexusjonesfan
Jun 17th, 2004, 05:47 AM
Thanks for all your inputs....and thanks Viggen for the sites :)

Also...for VW...are the German manufactured vehicles better in reliability than the ones made in Mexico...or are they about the same? :confused:
VW group's been having quality control issues all over. They fare well in the initial product quality surveys which take into account problems over the first 3 months (IIRC) of ownership but have done abysmally on long term reliability surveys. Plus, the North American Jetta is much more softly sprung than its European Bora counterpart, so don't expect that 'german driving feel' to translate here. The Passat's not a bad buy IMO other than the reliability, you're basically getting a mushier Audi A4 at thousands less.

For the Matrix, as other people have said, Toyota builds it in collaboration with GM, which sells its Pontiac Vibe clone. Styling and option packages are pretty much the only thing that separates them (plus Pontiac dealers may be offering better rebates and financing too). They both come with Toyota engines: the corolla's 130 hp four and a peaky 180 hp four cylinder. Of course, both cars weren't a hit with the 'active lifestyle' group that every carmaker seems to want to market to these days, but they're versatile vehicles, if a little underpowered (damn that lack of torque) and are also available with 4 wheel drive (god knows why anyone would think of taking one of these offroading though).

Scion has been a resounding success for Toyota...I dunno if they're reaching their target market, but they're selling everyone of those they can import from Japan. The Scion xB (the big boxy looking one) was a huge hit in Japan with youth there...but then again Japanese youth are nothing like North American youth. Scion has a couple of advantages, the cars come loaded at base price and are have lots of customisation options (they're mostly cosmetic and a waste of money IMO but hey, if you want an orange shift knob and brushed aluminum skid plates and a radio that glows neon blue, you can have it). You can price them on their website (www.scion.com) with finance plans and everything and they have a Saturn-like no-haggle, take it or leave it pricing policy. Edmunds (www.edmunds.com) recently did a review of the tC coupe and came off impressed, the interior quality was high and the large 4cyl transplanted from the Camry had lots of zip. They're gonna be offering a supercharger for the engine as one of the options later on. Other cars you might think about are the Mazda 3 sedan or wagon which have pretty exteriors and interiors with gutsy engines or even the Audi A3 which is sexaay and finally coming to North America despite our *ahem* stereotypes about hatchbacks. Again, you can find out much more in detail about any of the cars you're looking for on car mag forums.

oh and btw, Maxima/Altima are pretty similar in size now. The Max has more power. Early Altima owners complained of cheap interior quality. This has supposedly been remedied with the refresh the Altima received this model year, go for a test drive and check it out ;)

cynicole
Jun 17th, 2004, 11:36 AM
That Toyota matrix doesn't look like anything new, they just copied the concept from Renault, like many other brands. This type may fail in the US, it's a huge success in Europe. These types of cars are very convenient. My mother loves her Renault Scénic.Yes, your mother.

Kind of like how mothers here like the Matrix more than the people the car was intended for.

gentenaire
Jun 17th, 2004, 06:27 PM
Yes, your mother.

Kind of like how mothers here like the Matrix more than the people the car was intended for.

These kind of cars were marketed for young families from the start.

-cata-
Jun 17th, 2004, 06:44 PM
Aside from the butt ugliness of the Scions (when I saw them in pictures I didn't think they were that bad...and then I saw one in person :tape: ), I generally like everything else about the Scion brand. First off, as you said, they are cheap and lots of those little amenities like air conditioning, power windows, etc. are standard basic features on the car.

I know the two first models that came out were ugly...but if you've seen a Scion Tc on the street ...please let me know where! I really wanna see one.

As far as I know the Tc is not even out of the plant yet...My friends father owns a toyota/scion dealer here in Long Island and they are not getting any untill mid july.

Barrie_Dude
Jun 17th, 2004, 06:47 PM
Thanks for all your inputs....and thanks Viggen for the sites :)

Also...for VW...are the German manufactured vehicles better in reliability than the ones made in Mexico...or are they about the same? :confused:About equal...... But reliability is really a non issue with any of the cars you have chosen. They are all very reliable!

cynicole
Jun 17th, 2004, 07:27 PM
These kind of cars were marketed for young families from the start.Not here.

These cars were marketed for GenX and GenY and there was a ridiculous emphasis on the X-sports crowd ("active lifestyle"). At least, that was the case with Toyota (whose customer base skews old, hence the creation of the Scion brand...which was a response to the failure of the Matrix to latch onto the young crowd).

It's really funny how it happened here. The first one of those CUVs that hit it big here was the Honda Element. When the Element came out the middle-aged folks with young kids bought all the Elements up before GenX even had a chance.

These cars aren't a big failure sales-wise. People are buying them. But in the case of Toyota, they weren't getting the people they intended and they were very, very, very disappointed about that.