28th Nov 2011, 12:10

I too buy intentionally basic models when buying vehicles. Reason being that a lot of the things you get in the more loaded models - things like stereo and nav systems, wheels, speakers, and so on are all fairly cheap. I paid $150 for a nice stereo in my basic vehicle.

As mentioned before, Civics are used a lot by heavy commuters, because the drivetrains in them are extremely durable.

28th Nov 2011, 14:57

Free performance weight saving features?

I wonder if anyone thought this when they brought a Chevette Scooter.

28th Nov 2011, 15:54

I have had Acuras, and even the power sunroof motor went. Not the switches... the motor.

As far as stereo changes, I have done quite a few, and these shops are typically fast. I have saved the factory units, including my company cars. They have numerous kits, so wires are not cut. My son did a Range Rover, and it was dropped off and picked up the same day.

Speakers and a sub take more time than the simple radio change. I liked the Bose systems and factory sub in my Acuras. I had a nice system put in a classic GM with an amp and sub. I ditched the spare tire. It's worth having an expert do this. My fastest was a 1 hour radio change with an iPod and remote on a Silverado. In and out.

If you have to take a radio, get a cheap factory unit with existing cutouts. Then put far better speakers and a sub in. Some places will reinstall the factory radio free if you go back or sell later.

29th Nov 2011, 14:11

Nearly every car I buy is impossible to swap the stereo out of these days. They literally are built into the dash, and integrated with the Bluetooth system. It is all one piece, and not the old basic box you could pull out in 10 minutes. I don't see the advantage in having a second unit put in anymore, as the factory units are more than enough for road tunes. How loud do you really have to be on the road anyhow? I guess if thumping bass that shakes the car apart is your thing, then yeah, you'd need an amp and some subs or something. I listen to various types of music that doesn't have any extremes to it, and is easily reproduced on any decent factory stereo.

29th Nov 2011, 19:19

One thing I learned when I worked for a car dealership was how much accessories added to the profit of a car. That was three decades ago, when you could purchase a "real" stripper, with no air, no radio, and no power options. At that time the figures very clearly showed that you ALWAYS got more for your money with the stripper version, as well as far greater return on the initial investment when you sold it. Accessories had a mark-up that ranged from 75% to 500%. They depreciated far, far faster than the car itself, so $3000 worth of options might get you an extra $100 when you traded or sold the car.

Then car makers got smart and started making EVERYTHING standard in order to make larger profits. Now there are very few cars that you can buy without power everything and A/C. I recently took a friend of mine car-shopping. He is trying to trade his unreliable 3-year-old Toyota for a better built car. We looked at both the top-rated Ford Focus and the Chevy Cruze, but both the dealers are only ordering these cars loaded, so they top out at nearly $20,000. Since he wants a "basic" car, his only choice is the Nissan Versa, which, to Nissan's credit CAN be purchased as a basic car at a real bargain price. The dilemma is that my friend doesn't want to risk another Japanese money-pit, but can't afford $8000 worth of gimmicks. His choice for now is to keep driving his Toyota, and make friends with some good mechanics.

30th Nov 2011, 16:09

14:11 You would be amazed how many take a high end factory system out and upgrade. Pay an expert. It's not really that expensive. They know all the tricks, and have the tools and it's done fast. Keep the stock unit and have them put it back stock if that's your thing. I have had company cars, and have done this without a problem. Your car will not fall apart or shake apart with a nice audio system. I have a 70 Chevelle with a hidden amp and sub. I go to car shows, and put a Doors CD in and enjoy the ride.

1st Dec 2011, 08:56

14:11. Pay a professional. Every dash has hidden fasteners and can be accessed. If you want Bluetooth, GPS, hidden 360 degree radar detection, iPod, remote start, crisper audio system, it can be done. It may be impossible for you.

29th May 2012, 19:36

The Ford Focus, though assembled in America, is really just a Mazda 3 design. The car is more Japanese than American.

30th May 2012, 18:25

I wouldn't hold some Japanese-based elements against the Focus, and Ford no longer owns Mazda. Although the Japanese lag behind domestics now in virtually every facet of automotive development (just read some of the magazine comparisons), the Mazda is a pretty decent car. It still benefits from much of the many improvements that Ford made during their control of Mazda, although all automotive writers agree that the Focus is a much better car.

31st May 2012, 09:18

If "imports" lagged behind domestics, then they wouldn't be at the top of the list of all major reliability and quality surveys.

31st May 2012, 20:36

Both Car and Driver and Motor Trend ranked domestic compacts higher than any Japanese brands in recent comparisons. The horrible Corolla ranked dead last in every comparison I have read this year, and the Honda Civic was referred to as "dated" and "unsophisticated". The Hyundai Elantra topped one survey and the Focus another.

Japanese car companies have fallen behind in safety, quality and reliability since 2000 or so. Now they are way behind even Chrysler, let alone Ford or (world's best seller) GM. Even with drastic discounts, Toyota is struggling to hold on to 3rd place in U.S. sales (behind Ford and GM). People are waking up to the "Japanese is better" myth.

1st Jun 2012, 11:45

Again - we can spin things all day long until the cows come home. But the bottom line is that the top 3 automakers making the most reliable, highest quality automobiles are the exact same automakers that have consistently been at the top of most automotive quality ranking reports for decades: Honda, Toyota, and Subaru. No need to delve into this further, because that's pretty much it.

4th Jun 2012, 22:18

The May sales figures are out. Again (as expected) GM and Ford came in first and second in sales. Recall King Toyota limped into third place by practically giving away their cars. After 23 million recalls, that's about the only way they can move them (until the accelerators stick, then they move whether you want them to or not!!)

5th Jun 2012, 10:34

And once again, sales have nothing to do with the subject at hand - which is in regards to quality and reliability. Interesting the non-stop mention of Toyota's recalls, with no mention of the many decades of countless recalls the Big 3 had. So what. So Toyota had some recalls. They still make a better product, so that's all I care about.