Aang Sunu

Ten Cars for $10K (Part II)

Posted by aangsunu on 16 July 2010

source : auto.yahoo

2006 Mitsubishi Galant

Mitsubishi Galant

Why we like it: While the Galant may be louder on the road and ride rougher when compared with some of its competition, it’s a rather sporty, large sedan with a modern interior that hasn’t aged as poorly as others of its vintage. In fact, a brand-new Galant isn’t much different than this older version. Call it timeless, if that makes your decision any easier.

Nuts and bolts: An automatic transmission and seat-mounted side airbags were standard, and antilock brakes came on all but the base DE trim. A midlevel Galant ES with 60,000 miles should set you back about $10,500; the leather-trimmed SE will run $11,500 and up. Expect to pay at least $12,000 for the V-6 LS or GTS.

2005 Ford Five Hundred

Ford Five Hundred

Why we like it: The Five Hundred doesn’t get much respect. It isn’t stylish like its successor, the 2010 Ford Taurus, and its interior quality wasn’t great, even back in 2005. But it has remarkable interior space, some of which the redesigned Taurus sacrificed in the name of appearance. The backseat is cavernous, and the trunk can hold eight golf bags. All this in a car that’s not very long. All-wheel drive is optional.

Nuts and bolts: The Five Hundred came standard with antilock brakes, a V-6 engine and an automatic transmission, but Ford’s Safety Package, which included side-impact and side curtain airbags, was an option you’ll find on only about 15 percent of ’06 Five Hundreds. You’ll want to give extra consideration to examples that have the Safety Package. The base SE trim with side airbags and 70,000 miles should start a bit over $10,000; the luxuriously appointed SEL and Limited can run $11,000 and higher. Expect to spend another $800 or so if you want all-wheel drive.

2005 Honda Accord Sedan

Honda Accord Sedan

Why we like it: A longtime best-seller, the Accord sedan now faces stronger competition than ever from all directions, including the U.S. and Korea. In 2005, though, the Accord held a strong lead in many ways such as mileage and overall refinement. If you’re going back five years in search of a midsize sedan, the Accord is a good place to start.

Nuts and bolts: Honda added standard side-impact and side curtain airbags to the Accord for 2005; antilock brakes were also standard, adding up to an impressive safety record for the sedan. The Accord holds its value quite well, however, so expect to pay around $10,000 for a no-frills, stick-shift DX sedan with 70,000 miles. The better-equipped Accord LX should command around $11,500. Automatics on either one will add about $700. Six-cylinder models should run $13,000 and up, with the short-lived Accord Hybrid topping $15,000.

2005 Hyundai Tucson

Hyundai Tucson

Why we like it: Introduced in 2005, Hyundai’s pint-sized crossover was soon leapfrogged by its peers in terms of overall refinement, but its safety features remain competitive to this day. The optional V-6 is thirsty on gas, but it hustles along when pushed. The Kia Sportage is a related sibling, but it’s slightly pricier — and less reliable. If you need a cheap crossover SUV, the Tucson is a solid bet.

Nuts and bolts: The Tucson comes in a litany of configurations — front- or all-wheel drive, manual or automatic, four-cylinder or V-6. Fortunately, all of them include six airbags, antilock brakes and an electronic stability system. Expect to spend $8,000 or so for a front-wheel-drive Tucson GL with a stick shift, four-cylinder and 70,000 miles. An automatic will run another $700 or so. The uplevel Tucson GLS and LX, which include the V-6 and an automatic standard, trade north of $9,000. All-wheel drive will bump the price up around $1,500.

2005-2006 Toyota Corolla

Toyota Corolla

Why we like it: There’s a reason the Toyota Corolla is so common on American roads: It’s reliable and fuel-efficient — two things that are especially important when shopping for a car with a limited budget. There’s no question there are snazzier cars available for $10,000, but it’s hard to think of one that’s more sensible.

Nuts and bolts: Side-impact and side curtain airbags were packaged together as an option, but less than 20 percent of ’06 Corollas for sale have them. About the same percentage have optional antilock brakes. An electronic stability system was optional, but Toyota says only about 1 percent of ’06 Corollas had it — effectively making the feature an impossible find. Be patient, and you should at least find an example with side airbags. With about 70,000 miles, a stick-shift Corolla CE thus equipped should run around $9,500. Expect to pay another $500 for the automatic and a bit over $10,000 for the better-equipped Corolla S or LE.

Used-car listings can claim more features than the car actually has, so make sure to verify that a car listed with antilock brakes or side airbags actually has those features. The Tucson, Accord and Sonata make it easy: Those features are standard. If you’re shopping one of the others, don’t take a salesperson’s or private seller’s word for it — check it out yourself. Here’s how:

  • Seat-mounted side airbags are indicated by a fabric tag, a sewn-in emblem or a labeled plastic panel somewhere on the outboard side of the front seats’ backrests. It typically says “Side Airbag,” “Airbag,” “SRS Airbag” or simply “SRS” — for Supplemental Restraint System.
  • Side curtain airbags have similar wording along the roof pillars, usually near the ceiling. The labeling often resides where the pillars meet the ceiling.
  • Antilock brakes show up via a dashboard indicator when you turn the car on. Somewhere around the gauges, look for a light that says “ABS” — for Antilock Braking System — to illuminate along with other warning lights. If the ABS or any other warning lights stay on when the car is running, however, it indicates a problem with the system in question.
  • Electronic stability systems are harder to pick out because they go by various trade names, from Toyota’s Vehicle Stability Control to Ford’s AdvanceTrac. Most of these systems include the word “stability” to distinguish it from simple traction control. The Versa 1.6, Fusion, Galant, Five Hundred and Accord for the years above don’t offer stability systems. Conversely, it’s standard on the Sonata and Tucson. That leaves the Optima, Freestar and Corolla. If you’re shopping one of those, here are the easiest ways to identify whether your prospective car has a stability system:
  • On the Optima, look for an “ESC Off” button to the lower left of the gauges. It’s adjacent to the instrument panel dimmer control.
  • Freestar models with stability control include an “AdvanceTrac” emblem near the left taillight.
  • A scant few Corollas from the mid-2000s have stability systems, which you’ll find by way of a “VSC” light — for Vehicle Stability Control — illuminating briefly near the gauges when you start the car.

The used-car market is unpredictable, so you may be able to negotiate a better deal for one of these cars or get a more appealing model for the same price. Others may cost slightly more than $10,000 depending on the condition of the car and where you live. For example: A 2006 Hyundai Sonata GLS four-cylinder with 60,000 miles commands $10,690 in New York City but $10,915 in Los Angeles. To pare down our list, we used KBB retail values, which presumed exemplary mechanical and cosmetic conditions, as opposed to trade-in or private-party values, which depend mostly on the car’s condition. Used-car values vary by location, so the prices in each recommendation came from averaging the listed values across five greater metropolitan areas: Atlanta, Chicago, Denver, Los Angeles and New York. You may be able to bargain down a listed price by $1,000 or more, but plan for the customary fees associated with buying a car, including sales tax, license, title and registration, plus any financing costs involved. Factor in the cost of an independent mechanic’s inspection, too, which we recommend.

Sources for safety equipment and crash-test scores include the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and automaker data. Information on vehicle features comes from automaker data, reliability scores come from J.D. Power and Associates and Consumer Reports. Used-car prices come from Kelley Blue Book, and availability of various safety features comes from surveying national used-car listings.


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