Wednesday, November 27, 2013

The Bargains of Christmas - Compact Sedans, Wagons, and Hatchbacks (2013 Picks)

Our yearly feature during the season that everyone loves is on its second year. Finding a car for yourself (assuming if you are a good guy) or for your loved ones in each category is daunting, let The Ultimate Used Car Guide help you.

So, how are these bargain picks are chosen? Here are some criteria that were followed:
  • A vehicle must be available between 2003-2012
  • Reported problems from owners are minimal, based from local forums and several of my reviews
  • Vehicle value must be excellent, since they are good bargains. 
  • Must offer a competitive advantage over its rivals and must fit the buyers needs in a category
  • Availability in the second hand market must be widespread
With the power of depreciation, compact sedans, wagons, and hatchbacks are within reach. Need more room? They have it. Want extra power and zip? Check. Space for people and cargoes? They have it. Let's now reveal the best buys for this season.

COMPACT BEST BARGAIN: 2003-2012 Toyota Corolla Altis
The third time that a Toyota took the Best Bargain award title. And why not? Both the ninth generation (2001-2007) and tenth generation (2008-2013) models possess the following traits: fuel efficient engines, easy to procure parts, solid reliability, roomy cabin, maintenance is affordable, and most importantly, common in the market.
Recommended trims: 1.6 E (2003-2007), 1.6 G (2008-2013)

Other bets:

2003-2012 Honda Civic
With a number of units to choose from, Honda Civics are great used car buys. The seventh generation (2001-2005), eighth generation (2006-2011), and ninth generation (2012-current) offer a roomy interior, punchy engines, top notch reliability, and widespread but pricey parts (well except for the ninth since it is new) are the strengths. Go for the 2006-2011 models if you want something balanced, while the 2003-2005 is more of a passenger's treat. Steer clear from modified units, stock is the way to go.
Recommended trims: 1.6 VTi-S (2003-2005), 1.8 S (2006-2011), 1.8 EXi/S (2012)

2011-2012 Hyundai Elantra
You may get a recent model for less cash and most importantly, not be affected with the depreciation that new cars get. Assuming its well taken care of, you get a more recent model for less since changes occured. Now, it can stand toe to toe with the established brands.
Recommended trims: 1.6 GL/GLS

2004-2012 Mazda 3
With low resale values, a pre-owned Mazda 3 is a great choice for those who want something fun to drive. It may not have a roomy backseat but the driver enjoys every moment behind the wheel. 1.6 models unleash their potential when revved hard (something not good inside the city) while the 2.0 is fast but guzzles fuel fast. The second generation (2012-current) is what we give a miss since supply in the market is limited.
Recommended trims: 1.6 S/V (2004-2012)

2003-2012 Mitsubishi Lancer
If its a non EX (2003-2012) model, do not expect too much but as a basic commuter car, it can deliver the goods. A roomy interior, cheap acquisition costs, and a potent but thirsty engine comes standard. For those who want something exciting, get a second hand EX (2008-current) and enjoy the drive. Just make sure you get a stick to extract every moment.
Recommended trims: 1.6 GLS (2003-2012), 2.0 EX GLX/MX (pre-2009) (2008-2012)

2003-2012 Nissan Sentra
Thanks to the power of depreciation, Sentras of all ages are priced lower which means they are good bargains. Whether you get the N16 in either plain Sentra (2004-current) or Exalta (2001-2004) flavors or the B16 known as the 200 (2010-2013), you get tons of amenities for less cash. Performance may not ring a bell, but it is one reliable vehicle. At used car prices, go with a 1.6 model while hunting for a Sentra 200 is hard.
Recommended trims: 1.6 GLS (2003-2004), 1.6 GSX (2004-2012)

WAGON/HATCHBACK BEST BARGAIN: 2005-2012 Ford Focus Hatchback
Among the few options in the class, the bargain pick award for this category is given to the Ford Focus hatchback. Best driven in this guise, the Focus hatchback promises driving excitement, flexibility, and decent seating for five. For frugality and a pleasurable drive, go for a diesel; but the gasoline ones aren't poor choices, too. The second generation Focus is what we will give a miss for now, since used units rarely pop out the classified block.
Recommended trim: 2.0 Sport Diesel (2007-2012)

Other bets:

2003-2007 Hyundai Matrix
Even though the vehicle had hit the graveyard for a long time, the Matrix is a sensible buy (this vehicle qualifies in this list due to the year range it was sold). Advantages of this Korean includes a fuel friendly diesel, good headroom, small footprint, versatility, and a proven reliability.
Recommended trim: 1.5 CRDi LS

2005-2011 Volvo V50
The only true wagon in this list; and if you want a Volvo, best head for the V50 wagon. It may be expensive to maintain and possess a less spacious interior, but versatility is tops plus it is stylish. We wouldn't recommend other European peers since they fail to meet one criteria among the given category standards.
Recommended trim: 2.0i

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