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For the price, you really can't beat the Hondas... They just keep going and going... until of course you hit a tree. See my comments on the previous post :)


Oh, and don't buy the old one back from the insurance company, thats bound to be way more pain than you really want to deal with. (Take it from someone who's done that far more times than he'd care to admit)


As you were clearly told, airbags are expensive and your car was worth change *g*. I wouldn't buy it back and repair it yourself...let it sell at auction, let some dealer pick it up, fix it and sell it to a college kid to run into the ground.

The good and bad thing with Hondas are that they retain their value better than anyone else. This is great if you buy new, but less so if you plan on buying a year to two out.

FWIW, I think we are going with a Honda Element, in no small part because it has a good "place" for our very large dog, rubber floorpans that can be hosed out and configuration options not found elsewhere (rear seats fold up or can be removed, etc).

Have fun, make sure you shop around as much as humanly possible...


I'm with Chris on the Honda. My '96 Civic has been very well behaved, and has everything on your list except the CD player (what you really want, actually, is some way to plug in your MP3 player - I use a cassette adapter - which also allows for a Discman), the four doors, the heated seats, and the "little bit cute." (Well, I thought so when I bought it, but it's been seven years now.)

That said, I'd look at recent-model Volkswagens. Close relatives of mine in Maine have a Passat wagon which hits every item on your list; the not-wagon variety probably will as well. (But a wagon would probably be handy for dog travel, as well.)

My Honda got crunched in January, but was deemed expensively fixable. I'm fixing it because I loathe the idea of shopping for, and buying, another car. You may be more patient about it than I would be. Good luck.


I had my own car snafu this morning as well.

Like everyone else said, Hondas are the way to go. However, one of the many mechanics I went to in the past year had also recommended the newer Hyundais as a cheaper potential option because they have 100,000 mi warranties, so that may be worth looking into. There is a difference between a bumper-to-bumper and a powertrain warranty that I can't say I'm familiar with but is important to figure out.

I suppose if I could dream about getting any sort of car other than the one I'm currently dumping money into, I'd go with a Honda.


My uncle in Boston lives and dies by his Volvo Station Wagon- complete with sunfroof, heated seats and CD player. You could easily get one used... I bought an old Mercedes station wagon after my accident in November...

I have friends with Subaru Forresters that they LOOOOOOOVE... Low enough clearance for a wounded dog to get in and out fairly easily.

And sconding the late model VW comment earlier- Jettas are super fun for a smallish sedan, but can be found nicely equipped...



I did a ton of research before I settled on my Honda Civic 4 door in 2002. I love it, though I think its only OK in the snow, not great, which would definitely be more of a consideration for you.

The poster above is absolutely right that Hondas hold their value tenaciously--which is great if you buy new and plan to sell, but less good when you're trying to buy a used one. I ended up buying new to get more "time before I make best friends with the repair shop" out of the car.

Another thing to note that I heard from my insurance company today when I called to complain about them raising my rates after no claims. Apparently, something about Hondas (theft risk? cost to fix?) has made the ISO (Insurance Service Organization--an overarching industry group/monitor) place Hondas (or at least 2002 Civics) in a "more expensive to insure" category than in the past.

In other car news, my brother has Mazda Protege 5 (what I think of as the "urban wagon" since I see them all over the city neighborhood that I live in) that he loves. I can attest that it is small, zippy and cute, with great back seat room (good for dogs,) but it also has a hatch back in the back, which makes it look like a mini-station wagon. My family runs tall, and we fit better in that car than in any other in the family (including Audi A4 and Subaru Forrester).

Good luck! Hope this helps!


I will second the comment above about the Volvo. My wife owned a Honda Accord (great car)and liked it until we got in an accident. The accident freaked her out: Low speed and yet more than $17,000 in damage. Given the freak out part, she wanted to go with something "more substantial." She settled on the Volvo and loves it. It feels unbelievably safe and secure and drives great. You should be able to pick up a used one for a reasonable price.

TPB, Esq.

I've also heard good things about the Hyundai line. They've done a lot to make up for past business practices. My family just picked up a Pontiac Vibe. At first, I didn't think much of it, but it's got all-wheel drive, moon roof, xm radio (free for a year under some deals), and a lot of space. I think it's the same thing as the Toyota Matrix, but with a slightly odd looking front end.

Prof. Bainbridge

Hard to give advise without knowing how much you've got to spend. I would strongly recommend avoiding Volkswagen - their reliability stats are pathetic, and getting worse. For dog purposes, you might wan to think about one of the small sporty wagons, especially those with 4-wheel drive. My wife loves her BMW 325x with 4-wheel drive and it's our main dog car because the dog can easily get into the back seat and/or the rear cargo area. You could probably get a good used one for mid-20s. Lower down the financial totem pole, you might look at the Subarus. I know a couple of people back in Massachusetts who swear by them. Cheers, Steve


I have a 2001 Honda Civic, and I think it meets your requirements pretty well. I can't speak for how it'll handle the Maine weather, but aside from that, I think it would be a good pick. I'd also echo Prof. Bainbridge's comment about Volkswagons. They're nice, but reliability isn't great.

Hal O'Brien

We have two cars: a 1994 Saturn SL which we're the original owners of, and have put on about 230K miles. Also a 1996 Saturn SL1, which we bought used on 12/24/2001 with 185K miles, and now has 230K miles.

The SL1 I just drove from Seattle to San Francisco and back -- 1700 miles in 4 days.

It's strange seeing the claim about resale value re Hondas. It may be because they're more expensive to begin with, because I recall when we were researching, Saturns retained their value as a percentage of price better than any other marque. They're also relatively cheap to insure, and get stolen far less often. At the time we purchased our Saturn, JD Powers' Initial Quality Survey was ranking marques along the lines of:


One of these is not like the others. :)

Oh, and CalPIRG had a study a few years back, where they sifted through dealer returns via the California lemon law. Saturns had the lowest rate of return of all marques -- 1 dispute per 13,764 cars sold. here's a .PDF of that study.


Do NOT get a Saab... unless you adore unreliability. BMW's are great with respect to you criteria but expensive to maintain. For reliability it is very tough to beat the high end Japanese brands, especially Lexus.


The figures about Hondas being stolen more often aren't correct - in RAW numbers, sure, but they're stolen more often because there are more of them out there. Check the RATE of theft, and the numbers change. http://www.nhtsa.dot.gov/cars/rules/theft/

VW had a miserable reliability rating from the mid-80s through the mid-90s (when I was last shopping). I'd heard they've improved, but I don't have a citation - I could be wrong.

We love to offer advice on this, don't we? :-)


Since everyone else is chiming in, here's my two cents. I have a Toyota Corolla, and I love it. It's a 1997, with about 80K on it, and it still runs like a top. My mom has a newer Camry, and it's a dream too. And, I was listening to "Car Talk" a week or so ago, and a guy called in saying that his mechanic was telling him that his Toyota needed something or other done, and he didn't know if this was bogus. Their chief evidence that it was bogus was simply the fact that it was a Toyota with less than 100K -- it shouldn't need any major fixes. Anyway, very reliable, dependable cars. And since someone else mentioned a Saturn: this is just one man's opinion, but a good friend from law school had one and I would describe it exactly as "tinny and cheap" when you close the doors, not "reasonably solid." That might depend on the model, of course, and his was the 2-door. And I know you don't need it to from 0-60 in 2.4 seconds or whatever, but you should be concerned about pickup -- being able to pass someone or accelerate out of someone's way when necessary. You want it to go when you hit the gas. Again, maybe it's just me, but the Saturns I've been in don't have that get-up-and-go. Good luck with it, though!


The perfect car would be:

1: 4 wheel drive
2: sized and shaped like a VW golf or Honda Civic Hatchback
3: sit up a little higher than a car, but not as high as a truck
4: have a fuel efficient diesel engine
H: have an manual tranny
Q: essentially a smaller, diesel powered version of the infinity crossover

sucks that it will never happen.

This way when you install all of these parts that you have purchased from a car audio wholesale dealer you have the assurance that you will not need to buy any other part at least for a while. With this information you can make sure that when you go to the car audio wholesale dealers that you can choose the right car audio and see if this and the other parts that you want will work in your car. That is unless you have bought the wrong car audio models or defective parts.


A great way to buy car audio on a budget is to buy used equipment

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Pre Owned Honda

The perfect vehicle would be a pre-owned Honda from http://www.hillsidehonda.com.

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