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Since I'm ENFP (Personal Poll): Saturn SL1 or Nissan Altima(30 posts)

Since I'm ENFP (Personal Poll): Saturn SL1 or Nissan AltimaKristin
Jun 3, 2002 10:06 AM
After negotiating that sweet deal on a Sentra back in December, then finally deciding to keep my Buick for 2 more years-- and being peaceful about that decision--my mechanic just told me to unload the Buick. The head gasket will not make it through the summer. Ugh! I've nearly decided:

02 Sentra (if I can make a deal with the slimball salesguy)
01 Altima (its a pretty fair deal) @ $11,888 after first negotiation
02 Saturn SL1...several encouraged me to consider it.

Help I need more opinions!!! :-)
check consumer reports first, drive them all second, then...JS Haiku Shop
Jun 3, 2002 10:12 AM
buy the saturn, hands down.

my wife had an SL1 for five years. no problems. saturn dealers are the #1 in customer satisfaction. we'd take the car in for a tune-up (oil, whatever), and they'd call a few days later to make sure we were happy. they also offered her a good payoff on the car every year or so if she'd consider a newer model-year. no pressure, very friendly, and the car--the most important part of the whole shebang--was bullet-proof. we used to call it "the tank" b/c you could park it right up front at the supermarket, next to the old ladied and ghetto sleds, and never have a ding or anything on the doors.

barring SUV-itis, my next car will be the SL2.

btw, i have no input on the nissans.
ditto on the Saturn...Spinchick
Jun 3, 2002 10:29 AM
We are about to pick up a '95 SL1 (I think) with 20,000 miles on it from my mother-in-law. She and her elderly parents bought two at the same time. Since then, her mother passed away and her 95 year old father no longer drives. It's been sitting in their garage for 2 years now. I'm kind of a freak when it comes to driving safe, dependable cars with my kid so I've done a good bit of research on them.
Hopefully they've improved since they came out in '92...dsc
Jun 3, 2002 6:13 PM
Not to rain on the Saturn parade, BUT...

I bought a new SL2 in '92. It was loaded - air, sunroof, the works. Had plenty of power and rode like a dream. The car ran absolutely trouble-free - until it hit 60,000 miles. First, little things, like microscopic cracks in the radiator hoses. Then the coolant reservoir cracked - twice. The same engine mount collapsed twice. Various gaskets had to be replaced. The oil pan warped and always leaked slightly. The thermostat failed. The fan bearing seized (going across the desert - nice!!!) It got to the point where it always needed something every other month.

Why? Basically, if you pop the hood on one of those things, you cannot see daylight through the engine bay, because the space is just packed so tightly. Virtually every problem I had with that car was heat related. There is just way too much heat being generated under those hoods, and no way for it to dissipate adequately. So you get these problems.

Maybe they would be great cars in a somewhat cooler climate, but for Southern California - no way.

I will agree that the initial buying experience was a plesant one (but so was buying my Ranger two years ago), and their customer service was very good.

Good luck with yours!

-Debi
Yikes!Spinchick
Jun 4, 2002 6:46 AM
Sounds like you had some bad luck. I do hope they've taken care of these issues. Especially since the car we're getting has been driven in Alabama. Not exactly a cool climate...
Honda Civic.Len J
Jun 3, 2002 10:25 AM
Never, ever had a problem with a car made by Honda. (Have had 7 of them).

Other possibility:

Find someone you trust, who has a car coming off lease that they are not going to buy, that is in good shape, check the Wholesale & retail Blue Book value compared to the buyout & If it seems like a good deal, have them buy it & sell it to you. The only cost is the sales tax (.which could be less than the difference between the buyout & the Blue book value). They win because they end up not having to pay for either the inspection or all the nit picky repairs required by the inspection & You end up with a "Known" quality car at a good price, & you don't have to deal with the Slimeball Salesman).

Len
Thanks...Unfortunately, I hated the CivicKristin
Jun 3, 2002 10:45 AM
I hated everything about it. Its a bummer, because they are absolutely rated the best compact car. But if I'm gonna loathe driving it... I'll see if anyone I know is ending a lease... Unfortunately, I talk most friends out of leasing cars. ;-)

With regard to Mr. Slimy: This one dealership really tried to stick it to me. I believe I can get a supremem price on a new Sentra due to false advertising; but I'm really not sure I want to deal with creeps like that. Then again, I could get a good deal...but their creeps! ...but, I'd be getting a brand new car ...but why profit the dufas? ...but its such a good deal. ...but they hid my keys for an hour and never offered me coffee. Nope, I don't care if I lose $1000...its a matter of principle. They don't get my hard earned $$$!! (Its the frugal German and the principled Englishman in me duking it out again.)
Agree....Len J
Jun 3, 2002 10:58 AM
I always feel like I need a shower after dealing with a car salesman. All 4 of my kids are now driving, & It seems like I'm constantly "Helping" them by going with them when they look at New & used cars. I hate it but at least I know the game. My kids would be sheep led to slaughter.

One thing that helps is if you can remember that it's just a transaction. You try to get the best price, they try to "trick" you into paying more than you think. It's just a game, it's not personal. If you have confidence in the Manufacturer & thier warranty, the rest is just negotiation.

I did alot of trips overseas at one time in my career & it seems like everywhere else in the world lives & dies on street haggling. It's like a sport. Street vendors don't like when you don't haggle. We in the U.S. don't do this enough to get comfortable with it. And when you are talking about a car (Which most Americans buy because of what it says about them) It is so personal that the negotiation becomes incredibly stressful.

It's just a game, you can always walk away.

Good luck, sounds like all the cars your looking at are pretty good.

Len
so, what are your car-buyer haggling secrets?JS Haiku Shop
Jun 3, 2002 12:16 PM
we've used bank-negotiated prices for the past 2 new cars. otherwise, we'd have lost-out on haggling.

hints from the master?

btw, ditto on the civic. bought new, 70k+, no problems so far. considering CRV next, if not the saturn.
Hardly a master....Len J
Jun 3, 2002 2:42 PM
but what works for me:

1.) Be willing to walk away. Your dead if you have emotionally already seen yourself in the car.

2.) Know the dealers true cost. Take the time to understand dealer holdbacks, incentives and other hidden discounts given to the dealer by the MFgr.

3.) Know the supply & demand situitation. If your looking for a limited edition 2002 T-Bird you are gonna pay more over cost than if your trying to buy a Honda civic from a dealer with 25 on the lot.

4.) It's not personal. Don't take it that way & don't let the salesman get your sympathy.

5.) Shop the same car at several dealers as well as the Internet. Use competitive bids as leverage. If they walk away, walk away & wait. You may here from them again.

6.) Be patient. Your dead if you "Must" have a car today.

7.) Forget dealer installed options unless you want to pay through the nose. Circuit city will install the radio cheaper. Ditto on the floor mats, locking hubs etc.

8.) You can save money by , either ordering the car you want & waiting for it or, checking the lot every week & trying to buy the car that has been sitting the longest.
Either one helps the dealers cash-flow.

9.) You can save some money sometimes (depending on Mfg. subsidized financing rates)if you get your own financing & just negotiate price.

10.) Know what you are willing to pay. Make sure it's a reasonable profit in the suply & demand environment you are in. For a High supply car, true dealer cost + $250/$500 is reasonable. Sometimes, if you want the car enough & it's high demand/low supply Suggested Retail + $5,000 can be fair. Remember, it's what the market will bear.

11.) Do you homework, be willing to be fair & tell them what you are willing to pay. If they say no, go somewhere else, get enough no's & you know your price is unreasonable. If they say yes too fast, you'll always wonder if you paid too much, ask them to throw in the mats/wheel locks/etc.

The problem with carbuying is that you always feel, no matter the deal, that you got ripped off. You're not sure how but you know you did. I find that if I do my homework & am willing to pay x-amount for the value I think I'm receiving than I'm OK.

Oh did I mention Don't get too attached to the car before you agree on price & It's not personal.

BTW, The day I go to buy the Porsche that I've wanted my whole life for, I know that I'll get ripped off, because it's purely an emotional decision. I may pay someone to buy it for me.

Re the honda, did you see that they now have that electric/Gas engine available in the civic? Unbelievable milage & reliable & subsidized pricing.

Len
wow, good stuff...JS Haiku Shop
Jun 4, 2002 4:42 AM
thanks!

yeah, i saw that gas/electric civic. not so sure on that one yet, but it would be the talk o'tha hood, yo! i'll have to do more research on the electric fueling thing...
yupColnagoFE
Jun 4, 2002 10:44 AM
i always think i'm getting ripped off...probably am. another thing to keep in mind is if you are set on a really popular choice that is in high demand (like a new Honda Odyssey minivan for instance) then don't expect to get any great deals.
There's no hope for anyone who doesn't love the CivicSilverback
Jun 3, 2002 3:15 PM
But if you're absolutely convinced you don't want one, try a Mazda Protege.
Thanks...I've tried them allKristin
Jun 4, 2002 7:04 AM
Tried the:
Civic
Protoge
Corolla
Mirage
Sentra

I dislike all of them except for the Sentra. I felt squeezed in and clostrophobic. At least in the Sentra I could adjust the seat 8 ways. I'm pretty big on creature comforts in my car, since I drive so much. The trick is finding those comforts in an affordable car with less than 20,000 miles on it. (I refuse to buy another 5 year old car with 40,000K. I've lost money 3 times doing this.) Anywho...The only car I hadn't tried until yesterday was the Saturn. And I liked the Saturn. Their reliablity records have improved a lot over the last few years. JD Powers ranks it above the Sentra for reliability, fuel efficiency and longevity.
Why do you drive so much?Len J
Jun 4, 2002 7:12 AM
Move closer to work. Think of all the time you are spending commuting that you could be riding?

Oh if life weren't that easy.

Len
Yeah yeahKristin
Jun 4, 2002 7:40 AM
In 2000 I had to move quickly. I had a beautiful In-Law apartment in a nice neighborhood. Everything I could ask for... 1200 Sq Feet, hardwood floors, gigantic kitchen, huge windows, sunroom AND deck, plenty of characteristic charm and nice owners. Just 8 miles from the office and 23 miles from church...which is fine since I deduct for most of my trips to the church. This was all mine for $425 a month. In 2000, they sold the home and moved back to Africa. I had 30 days total to relocate. I don't like where I'm living now; but I'm gonna take advantage of low rent for two more years. Then, in 2004, I'll move to North Carolina (Charlotte area) and buy a home.

Not that you needed to know all of that. Just so you don't get the impression that I ENJOY driving 25 miles to work everyday. It could be worse...my roommate has been renting in the same condo for 17 years and works 20 miles from home. (At lease I have a plan!)
I didn't know you were a NASCAR fan...Len J
Jun 4, 2002 7:43 AM
Why else would you move to Charlotte?

Just kidding.

What is the attraction of Charlotte? Nice place & all,( I lived north of there in High Point for several years), but a long way from Chicago.

Len
Charlotte... (its not about NASCAR)Kristin
Jun 4, 2002 8:12 AM
They just put a big track in up here too, in Joliet. I could do without it personally. So why Charlotte? Well, I'm not 100% decided, as I haven't visited yet. But its looking good on paper. Here's my list:

Warm climate, but not hot
Beautiful scenery
Moutains and ocean
Comprable (to Chicago) earning potential in IT industry
Reasonable real estate market
Strong urban growth potential

Charlotte might be the spot. Near the Smokey foothills and 5 hours from the coast. From friends I've learned that, though North Carolina is a southern state, it's absorbed some northern culture--therefore it does not have that deep south feel to it. One goal is to buy property in an area just as it begins to grow. If I take advantage of the economy boom I could gain some financial momentum. I missed it in Chicagoland by about 5 years--now property prices are insane. Same with California...its too late to cash in on CA property, and I didn't love it enough to move there otherwise. Charlotte looks promising for growth. If I time my move well, I could get ahead of the game and enjoy living/riding in a beautiful place.
Good Rationale......Len J
Jun 4, 2002 9:20 AM
You might also want to consider:

Greenville, SC Great riding, nice people decent culture, beautiful area.

Memphis, Tenn, Great riding, Nice people & great culture (Because of FedEX & all of the Hospitals they are more cultured than their size would indicate)

Ashville, NC Great Riding, Great scenery, Great Housing.

Good Luck

Len
How about...Brooks
Jun 4, 2002 10:02 AM
Salt Lake City? It does snow in the winter, but isn't cold like Chicago. Warm summers but no humidity! Great mountains but no ocean. A big salty lake, though! The most wired state in the union with a number of high-tech employers. Real estate is still strong. As with anywhere, a lot depends on the area you live in. The dominant religion? Well, good for entertainment value for those not of the faith. And a lot of areas to recreate nearby, cycling or otherwise.

Good luck on the car. I had a Toyota for years without problems, a Nissan small truck now.
Nissan inputPaulCL
Jun 3, 2002 10:36 AM
I own a Maxima. I looked at the Altima - if it's low miles, $11888 sounds like a deal. The 2002's I looked at were in the $22 - $24,000 range.

Don't know about dealer service in your area, but Nissans will last forever. I just had an acquaintence sell his '91 Maxima, with 153,000 miles, to his neighbor. Change the oil regularly and the car will run forever.

P.S. I hate dealing with slimeball car salesmen too. Its' such a game. I wish they would just give me there best price and let me think it over..none of this "what will it take to put you into that car today" crap. UGH.
How long do you want to own it?Turtleherder
Jun 3, 2002 11:25 AM
Both cars are nice and I know people that have had good luck with both makes. But if you are planning on keeping it for the long haul go with the Nissan. They are regarded in the industry as producing some of the most reliable engines around. Change the oil and take care of the regular stuff (belts, hoses, trans., radiator, etc.) and it will last well over 200,000 miles. But, then again, the Saturn won't rust on those salt covered Chicago streets so maybe thats the car to pick depending on how many miles you drive a year. Now I confused myself, what are the choices again?
LOL..choice A, B, or C! Actually I drive 400 miles a weekKristin
Jun 3, 2002 1:58 PM
Or 21,000 miles a year. I plan to own the car its entire natural life, which will be approx 8.33293 years if I put 175,000 miles on it. (My boss says I'm a state troppers dream driver.) Since no car will will have time to rust, it doesn't really matter...but the Saturn was nice too and it gets FORTY whoppin MPG!!!
re: Since I'm ENFP (Personal Poll): Saturn SL1 or Nissan Altimamickey-mac
Jun 3, 2002 6:34 PM
I bought a '94 Altima brand-new and drove it for five years until it was totaled in an accident. I put quite a few miles on it and never had any mechanical problems with it. I wasn't even very good about routine maintenance and it didn't seem to mind. I don't have any personal experience with Saturn, but my Altima experience was nothing but good.
AltimaDougSloan
Jun 3, 2002 7:09 PM
My dad has one and really likes it. I'd say a bit more refined than the others.

Doug
Do these numbers make sense? (I'm hopless at math)Kristin
Jun 4, 2002 1:24 PM
Can someone who's gifted in this area please take a quick look and let me know if I'm missing something big?
insurance? nmDougSloan
Jun 4, 2002 1:48 PM
Do these numbers make sense? (I'm hopless at math)Len J
Jun 4, 2002 1:50 PM
It looks to me like all of the savings is in gas.

Another thing I might consider is cost of routine maintenance. Some have nothing (Including oil changes by dealers) for first 100,000 miles. Other have significant routine maintenance at every 7,500 miles. I don't have any experience with either of these two cars.

Finally, what are 8 yr old models of this car with 175,000 miles on them worth as a % of original sticker? It is a reasonable way to predict real value at the end of the ownership. For instance if the Altima was worth $3,000 more than the saturn at the end, would it change your decision?

If I think of anything else I'll post

Len
Couple more observations.Len J
Jun 4, 2002 1:57 PM
Doug's right with Insurance. Is there any difference model to model?

Why does it take 8.3 yrs at 21000 miles/yr to reach 175,000 on the Saturn & only 7.5 yrs in the Altima? I think this makes the Altima look better than it should.

Len
The Altima has 17,000 miles on itKristin
Jun 4, 2002 2:05 PM
Therefore, shortening its life by about a year.

With regard to insurance, I keep forgetting to call, but when I received quotes on the Sentra and Civic last December the rates were comprable. I suspect the Saturn will be too. Bonus: My insurance actually goes down when I trade my beater for a new car. Isn't that funny?

I'll get a copy of the repair sheets for both cars and compare then...thanks! I hadn't considered that. Someone else also reminded me to find out what the warrenty deductable is.

Thanks again for the help!