Mitsubishi Eclipse, Toyota Celica or Mercury Cougar?
I could use a little help on a used car purchase. Of these three which would you pick and why. Also, what price would you try to drive the dealership down to?
2001 Mercury Cougar V6
2001 Mitsubishi Eclipse GS (V4)
2001 Toyota Celica GT
All cars are in near mint condition with only slight scratches and wear on the interior. By fully loaded I mean they have A/C, power windows and locks, CD, moonroof, ABS, anti-theft, automatic transmission, etc.
For $1200 I can add a 24 month bumper to bumper warranty on the cougar. I'm leaning toward the Cougar due to the price and low miles, but I've seen many (most) Toyotas last well past 170,000 miles. In fact one toyota Celica I test drove had 141,000 miles and the dealership was STILL asking for $8500.
I'm looking to get about 100,000 miles out of the car.
The Toyota will last forever. In my (and my family's experience) you have to get in a major accident to actually have to replace one.
The Toyota is attractive...but it is $3000 more than the Cougar and has over 40,000 more miles from day one. Is the Toyota REALLY worth that significant an increase in price?
I had a Camary that lasted 12 years and 250k miles.
Yeah, go for the Toyota. They really are built that well.
Celica, unless it's been in a major accident. High quality, reliable, most sporty of the three, will hold onto resale value best.
I have a 2004 Celica. I did a lot of research, and it's really a fantastic machine. It might not be the very sexiest or fastest sports car, but it is nicer than the the Mercury or the Eclipse. The new eclipse is nice -- very nice -- but pre-2006 models are not. I test drove the 2004 Eclipse against the Celica, and even though it was a V6, it was obviously sluggish in comparison (I assume because of weight.) Celica GT also gets 30 MPG if you drive it sensibly.
Also, neither the cougar or the eclipse will be on the road in 5 years. If you buy the celica, you'll probably end up parking it on the edge of a cliff in a hurricane in 2015 just to get rid of the damn thing. And then it will float to France and still be in better shape than the crap they drive there.
I've only driven mine 8,000 miles in two years, and I took it in to be serviced last week, and the guy just asked me a couple of questions and told me if I didn't start driving it, I would die before it did. I'm 27.
Last edited by Rob Beschizza; 02-09-2006 at 09:28 PM.
999999) Mitsubishi Eclipse
Yeah, I'd go for the Celica. The extra miles are cancelled out by its Toyotaness.
When I had to sell my Miata due to our need for a back seat, I researched the Eclipse, as I was considering a Spyder. After reading about the reliability, service, etc., I'd never consider one.
Miles on a Toyota mean nothing. You might think the video below is somehow untypical, but you would be wrong:
If you offer 10,500, maybe they'll split the diff with you.
That video was absolutely hilarious.
Not one person here has said take the Cougar and the 24K bumper to bumper warranty. I'm rather surprised by that, and it is one of my sticking points- buying a car at 70,000 miles with no warranty.
Background: My grandfather started the Ford dealership in our town. My father took it over. For my entire life, I've never owned a car that wasn't a Ford. I used to argue about Ford vs. Chevy (we didn't have any imports) in school. I can still identify nearly every model of Ford from headlights at night, within a couple of years of manufacture.
Don't get the Cougar.
Ford does two things well: pickups and large, large cars. Any four-cylinder made by Ford is a crime against nature, and the sixes aren't a lot better. If you're buying used, you've got basically two stops to get a deal:
Pay little money for a Nissan. Not as nice, but they last forever and the prices are incredible.
Upscale a bit and buy a Toyota. Nicer features and similar lifespan.
You're really gambling on anything else. Of course, somebody will always pipe in with an anecdote about that great '27 Mercedes they had with 4,000,000 miles that still fellated them every morning, but those two brands are proven to last forever, across all models. Things to utterly avoid:
Small American cars.
That's because you really won't need the warranty with the Toyota. Also, nothing will break down until the warranty is up anyway, at which point the engine will fall out of the car.
Originally Posted by Dante Rising
Oh, and considering the gas crunch, you might want to look for a Nissan Sentra, you should be able to pick up a 2000-ish model with 70k-ish miles for 4-5k. The engines are just getting good at that point, and you can buy something nice with the 6k you just saved.
Yah, a Nissan Sentra can take a lot of neglect too. It's a good car for waitresses, college students, or anyone who either doesn't know how to, doesn't care to, or simply can't afford to properly maintain a car.
Personally my current car is my favorite I've ever owned. If you got the extra $$$, hunt down an Subaru WRX. Seats 4, over 200 ponies, and all wheel drive. It is the most fun I've had behind the wheel, and other than the Camary mentioned above, all I've ever owned has been sports cars. Oddly, that Camary was a 6, and was actually alot of fun to drive. Oh, and just to make myself clear, that car didn't die, it rusted apart, but still ran great. I just got sick of having a bomb port on the floor during the winter.
All you WRX owners- if you haven't taken your car off road- you HAVE to. At least go find some nasty mountain dirt roads and really see what this car can do...too much fun...and it has only cost me one sheared axle:)
The only thing I never liked about the Celica is head room. Take that sucker over some bumps and make sure your head doesn't get jammed up into the roof. That was actually why I didn't buy one a few years ago- other than that I liked the car alot.
Get the Toyota. Just run it by the lube shop every 2 to 3 thousand miles and you're set.
Celica. Toyota makes great cars.
You should really get the GT-S, though.
Someone above was against the Eclipse. I have an Eclipse. My experience with it has been mixed. On the one hand, the door handles are cheap, as are certain other things that may or may not annoy you. Little things won't work properly (your trunk might stick). the paint on my car is crap and is coming off. OTOH, it's a 99 Eclipse and I have never had any major work done on it. I change the oil regularly, but that's what you should do with any car. As with other foreign cars when you do take it in, it can be costly, but I have only done that for tune-ups and a fuse problem I was having (as far as the engine goes). It's super reliable. Mine is an RS, not a GS, btw.
That said, Toyota's are great cars. I wouldn't buy an American car for anything.
I had an '01 Eclipse (GT convertible) bought new, sold last summer (needed something bigger, and needed to switch to an automatic so my wife and I could swap cars as needed).
I was happy with it. IIRC, I never had a single mechanical issue with it. Thumbs up from me.
I think you could negotiate a lower price on any of the 3 though - those prices sound too high for 4.5 year old cars that weren't very expensive when new.
That video was astonishing. SPOILERS:
They take a Toyota truck with almost 200k miles on the clock, drive it into a tree, submerge it in the sea for 5 hours; drive it through a wooden shed; drop a trailer on it from about 6 yards up; use a crane to smash it with a demolition ball; set fire to it; and finally leave it on the roof of a 30-storey building, demolish the entire building with explosives, and then basically drive it out of the smoldering rubble.
Toyotas are a blessing and a curse, I guess.
Wow that was truly amazing!!!
Originally Posted by Roger Wong
Definitely. If you do decide to go with the Celica, I'd offer around $10,000 and see what they come back with. I'd probably take it at anywhere between $10,750 and $11,000. Don't be afraid to get up and walk out. Their job is to move cars, and they're going to put on a big act of how good of a deal you're getting regardless of the price.
Originally Posted by Phil_Stein
None of those 3 are very appealing, IMO. Sure, the Celica is the best choice, because it's a Toyota, and Mercury and Mistubishi are like two of the worst car manufacturers extant, but it's pretty much one of the worst cars Toyota makes. But, IIRC an '01 isn't all that risky.
At least, nowhere near as risky as a Merc or Mitsu. Man, nobody buys Mercs. They have the stupidest line-up among car companies IMO. Every car they make has a more reliable alternate in both the non-luxury and luxury arenas. And Mitsu: they've been progressively withering on the vine, ever since it was discovered that all that awesome history of theirs as a hassle-free, problem-free car maker was bullshit and they'd been covering up mechanical defects in their cars for years. Mistu America almost went bankrupt at the end of last fiscal year, since they posted ridiculous profit losses and Daimler-Chrysler, who had kept them on life support, pulled out of their deal with them. It took Mistu Japan to save them, only because they didn't want to completely bomb out of the American market, since it's full of suckers with disposable income (cf: Pontiac). If I had to choose between driving a used Mitsu, Pontiac, or Merc, I'd staple tread to my head and ass and somersault everywhere. Sure, they work groovily enough for the first few years, few cars these days don't. But used?
The major prob with all of them cars is that, if you want a sports car that lists under 25K new, well...they had to cut corners somewhere to make it that cheap. Anything below a Mazda RX or a Nissan Z is a risk.
Although, you could do much worse than a Soob WRX, you just have to dig the stubby rally racer look.
I always thought that the corner cut was simply performance. My Celica is a fast little bugger, but it's never going to outrace a V8.
Originally Posted by Bill Dungsroman
If you're looking for a quality built, durable, cheap to maintain car, then expensive sportscars (>$25K) are probably going to be inferior to any of the 3 mentioned. Ferrari's aren't exactly a good choice as daily drivers.
Rob has it right - higher pricetags go towards bigger engines, and more expensive parts (i.e. aluminum instead of steel), that decrease weight and improve performance. But they don't necessarily go towards increased reliability. I think any of the 3 listed cars would be reliable, and I would certainly trust a Mercury with 28K miles more than a Toyota with 71. That the Mercury is much cheaper and has an available warranty tilts the scales that much further, if cost of ownership is the main factor.
And if the driver is going to put 100K miles on the car, then resale value is moot, because with 120-170K miles, and a car that's likely 10 years old at that point, they will all be worth only $2-4K, depending on any glaring mechanical/physical defects at time of sale.
I have a 2002 Celica GT. I think it's the same generation.
It's an OK little car, has held up fairly well, though it seems to run through brake pads pretty quickly, and I pay attention to my braking, and don't go fast in town, so I'm pretty sure it's not my fault. Not the world's best acceleration unless you like revving up really high, but not a slug. No power train problems. Good feel for the road, cabin noise is a bit on the high side. Rather low clearance to the ground in front, so if you drive over a lot of steep driveways or bumps you can scrape the plastic cladding on the underside right off the car through just ordinary day to day driving. Performance tires on this car are fine in the rain, but if you drive this car in the snow you'll need all-weather or snow tires.
I had a Ford Probe once before that, which was an inferior car in most respects, for what that's worth, but in case anyone accuses me of anti-mazdaism, I think that the 626 I had before that was actually a superior car.
One thing about the Eclipse - it uses low profile tires, I guess to give it a sporty, cool look. But the tires only last about 20K miles (~$500 for 4, IIRC), and are expensive to replace. Might be an issue with the other two as well.
Just to throw out another possibility, I got a '03 Mazda Protege5 hatchback recently- $10,500 for a stick shift with all the options at 30k miles (there was a redesign in '04). Not a lot of horsepower (170, I think), but decent acceleration because it's so damn light, handles and brakes excellent, 30mpg city, tons of room on the inside. I really don't think I could've done better for ten grand-ish.
That's the only problem I've had with mine. My office car lot is impossible to get into without scraping the plastic. That panel is also $75, which is gouging for about 1 lb of moulded plastic. Mine is being replaced now, and when I get it, I'm measuring dimensions. My town is full of metal shops, and I've already got a tentative quote for a sheet steel replacement for $40 (he does this kind of thing for trucks round here, which tend to end up driving over mesquite bushes a lot on local ranches).
Originally Posted by Miramon