Beater shopping - Honda?- Mtbr.com
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  1. #1
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    Beater shopping - Honda?

    Cliff's notes - wife lost her job, has a part time gig, 1/4th the pay at best, sold my old BMW, need a cheap beater.

    I have about $3,500 to spend including taxes, repairs and a new rack (hitch or roof...). I'd rather spend a lot less and put a few pennies away in the bank. I just need something with four seats, heat and a/c, and is cheap to own. I have a white collar job and have to drive my own car to appointments on occasion, so it needs to be in decent shape. Wants - fun to drive, manual gearbox.

    Stuff I'm looking at -

    94-97 Accord - seems to be the best value on craigslist
    96-00 Civic - hard to find a clean one
    98+ Accord - lots of transmission issues on CL

    Pro/cons to the above? Anything else to consider?

  2. #2
    gran jefe
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    How about a Fit? roomier inside than a civic. hard to go wrong with an accord, though.

  3. #3
    Trail Rider
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    I would also look into the Toyota Corolas and Camry's in that price range.

    Between Hondas and Toyotas, you should have alot of options to meet your budget and have a reliable ride. Goodluck to ya.

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bill in Houston View Post
    How about a Fit? roomier inside than a civic. hard to go wrong with an accord, though.
    I would in a second, but those are all still outside my price range. I bought one new several years ago and sold it to buy my wife a shiny new car. Great car though.

  5. #5
    ballbuster
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    Nah...

    Quote Originally Posted by Bill in Houston View Post
    How about a Fit? roomier inside than a civic. hard to go wrong with an accord, though.
    You're not going to even close to touching a Fit for $3.5k.

    Nah, any of those cars should be fine. Toyota are also good. Even neglected, they go a long way without needing expensive repairs.

    I dunno... I say Civic and a hitch rack. The trunk is too small to fit a bike even with both wheels off, just so you know.

  6. #6
    gran jefe
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    Quote Originally Posted by hammy35 View Post
    I would in a second, but those are all still outside my price range.
    Ah, I see.

  7. #7
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    We have had 3 of the 94-97 Accords and they are just bullet proof. Easily run for 250,000 miles and are easy to fix if something were to go wrong.

  8. #8
    wwg
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    I've had two Saturn S series and they were both indestructible. Still have the 2002 now. 162000 miles so far.
    They get great gas mileage, too
    Most expensive repair was a set of spark plugs a couple years ago.
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  9. #9
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    The accord automatics had a lot of transmission issues. The later ones are almost guaranteed to fail (or have failed already and been replaced under the extended warranty). I havent heard of anything unusual with the manuals.

    I think the accord is a drastically nicer car than the civic, and the prices are about the same. I think its an easy call to get an accord, they're great cars. A leather 5spd accord is about the ideal commuter.

    Camrys are good too, but they're incredibly boring cars.

  10. #10
    BMW 2002, Dodge A100, etc
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    Accords are nice drivers and run forever. They made a lot of them so parts are cheap too. I have a 03 Civic EP3 hatch and I've always liked the EK hatches. They had double wishbone suspension and are more roomy than they look. If you can find a clean one that hasn't been too riced out. Can't go wrong with a 94-97 accord though.


  11. #11
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    Honda's get stolen...a lot at least in California. Gfs sisters 95 just got stolen two days ago. Neighbors 93 civic got stolen a month ago (over 20 miles seperate from each other).
    Also look at Toyota's they last a long long time as well.

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  12. #12
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    Go Honda, the 94-97 accord never really had any issues with the auto trannys. The only real issues this generations had was the vales seats would go if they were beat on,i know i had one and beat the **** out of it. As for the 96-00 civic those are great cars also. A little bit down on power if you have two bikes on the roof, but great cars and bomb proof. The 98+ accords in the automatics had tranny issues. The manual ones were fine but the auto ones were horrible. It was a totally different car/motor/ tranny then the 97. As for any of these being stolen its a Honda its gonna happen cause they didn't have any type of chipped key till almost 2000. But a professionally installed alarm goes along way. Toyota are great but like everyone else already said probably the most boring cars on the road.
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  13. #13
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    I would forget the Acura/Honda since they can so easily be stolen, but if you do decide on one, then it is a must for a manual transmission (I do not trust the automatic tranny on pre-2000 models). You must also keep in mind that a roof rack can easily be stolen as well, so you have a higher chance of that being stolen with an Acura/Honda since there are more owners.

    Go Toyota if you want reliability all around and don't want to worry about theft...possibly a Celica?

    A Nissan 240sx is also a super fun car to own.

  14. #14
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    I'd get a BMW e36. Lots of them here: 3 series & Z Series - Bimmerforums - The Ultimate BMW Forum. Reliable, fast and easy to work on with more than enough DYI write-ups...

    Or, to be real cheap and reliable, an older Hyundai Elantra. I have the wagon version - it's rock solid, fast, roomy, and can even tow...

  15. #15
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    I had a 1994 Accord EX 4-door w/manual transmission. It was the best car I've owned, probably! It was great on gas, reliable, looked pretty good, and was fast enough for my needs. The trunk was decent size and it had plenty of room for 4 or 5 people. Unfortunately it was stolen in 1997 while parked on post at Ft Bragg when I was stationed out there.

  16. #16
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    het a beater truck to load the bike up, like a mazda b5000 thoes are awesome and cheap. even the old toyotas are getting cheaper!

  17. #17
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    I was able to pick up a '97 Civic, 5spd that had already had the engine replaced with a low mileage unit, for $2200. Get's me 38mpg hwy. It's a a little rough outside, but ok otherwise.

    Good deals are out there. Whatever you get, have it professionally checked out. If nothing else, it'll give you bargaining power over the price, but it may save you a bunch of money in the long run.

    I'm a mechanic, and all too often I've seen cars come in for a "post" purchase inspection only to deliver the bad news of everything it needs.

  18. #18
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    Sorry to abandon the thread - I got very, very busy over the last few weeks...

    Well, I wound up springing for the Civic. This one is a 97 LX, 5 spd, 140k miles. I went with the Civic over the Accord for fuel economy and marginally lower parts prices on Rock Auto. If I'm going beater, I'm going full out.

    This one is a two owner, not a dent on the outside, average interior, full maintenance records down to suspension bushings. I probably paid at the top of KBB, but the Suburban I was driving cost so much to fuel that waiting out any longer would have erased a lower purchase price. Bottom line, clean title 5spd, 4 doors that are not modded are very hard to find.

    I picked up the rack for next to nothing - it included 6 lock cores and both trays. My first full tank w/ the rack installed netted 31.6 mpg. Not bad for my city/suburban commute. Same route got me 16 mpgs in the old bimmer, naked roof.

    The theft issue worries me too. I live in a very boring neighborhood and drive to and fro work. That's it really, so I'll take my chances. I'll keep comp coverage on it for the next year or two.

    @WheelieWonka - I just sold my e34. 540/6. Fantastic car, but I had to shave some costs out of the budget. Next car will be another BMW, no question.

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  19. #19
    gran jefe
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    congrats! thanks for checking back in. that car ought ought last you a good long time.

  20. #20
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    Hammy35, what kind of mileage do you get with two bikes on the roof?

  21. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by jhat View Post
    Hammy35, what kind of mileage do you get with two bikes on the roof?
    Not sure. I'm only on my third tank and I didn't fill up after last weekends ride. It wound up around 75 miles round trip. I'll post up with this tank's mileage when it gets low sometime next week.

  22. #22
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    Hey. Curious what you ended up with for fuel economy with the rack.

  23. #23
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    Rack lives on the car; I never take it off. This car's mileage is so over the map so far. With the rack but no bikes I've gotten as low as 30.00 and as high as 36. My commute is mostly suburban, very little stop and go and very little highway. Last tank was 35 mpg, limited a/c use, roughly 1/3 highway miles, the rest was typical suburban driving.

    With bikes on top at highway speeds for 1/3 of the miles, I got 31ish mpg. It's really a dog with bikes at 70 mph. Drop that to 55 and mileage would be a lot better, but I would get run over doing that in Dallas.

  24. #24
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    pontiac vibe
    Just a toyota matrix with a pontiac's resale value, both of which are basically just corrolas with a different body. I just bought an 03 vibe for $2k a couple months ago. Very boring to drive car but also very practical. The back hatch area has a track system that is perfect for bolting down fork mounts for hauling bike in. Should get mid 20s city and lower 30s highway and can be found with a manual trans and AWD. They do have some blind spots from the way they tried to trick you into thinking it wasn't a station wagon by styling.

  25. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by pimpbot View Post
    You're not going to even close to touching a Fit for $3.5k.

    Nah, any of those cars should be fine. Toyota are also good. Even neglected, they go a long way without needing expensive repairs.

    I dunno... I say Civic and a hitch rack. The trunk is too small to fit a bike even with both wheels off, just so you know.
    Well the seat flips down the you only need the front wheel off
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