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Honda vs Toyota...opinions wanted


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#1 of 64 Linda Thompson

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Posted January 25 2006 - 06:52 AM

I was reading Brian's thread inviting diagnoses of the trouble he's having with his Honda:

http://www.hometheat....70#post2915570

I have a '97 Thunderbird (V8), which I absolutely love and which has been a wonderful car, but I think I'll probably find myself wanting something new either this year or next.

As a muscle/sports-car admirer (and former owner of two brand new Camaro Z28 IROCs...'84 and '90), I very seriously considered a Mustang GT Deluxe, but I talked myself out of it. Fun, but not really practical for my purposes these days.

The only other two cars that I've seriously researched are the Honda Accord coupe and the Toyota Solara SLE V6 (also a coupe, which is a requirement for me...I HATE sedans).

Current exterior designs are near twin, so that's pretty much a toss-up. But, on paper, the Solara SLE V6 stacks up MUCH better for my needs (and wants!) than any of the available Accord trims. The Solara, with all the standard options and with only a couple of add-on options that I'd want or need, reads much better on paper than the Accord, which would have to be very heavily optioned up to make it comparable to my ideal Solara. The final price of either car (around $27K, give or take, for either, with absolutely no adjustments taken into account) would be close enough to not even be a factor, but there would still be a few wanted options missing on the Accord.

In other words...all else being equal...the Solara would be my no-hesitation, hands-down choice.

But...back to Brian's thread, and reading all the genuine kudos for the Hondas... Is everything else really equal?

Does anybody have any opinions on Toyotas (Solara-specific, or overall) as versus the Hondas?

I've checked out several auto forums, and consumer opinions seem pretty evenly split, with both staunch loyalists AND competition-bashers in both camps.

Reviews and general brand reputations mark both lines as exemplary, with solid quality for the long haul, of course.

My feeling at the moment is that I probably wouldn't go wrong with either choice, but, boy does that red Solara look sweet, and would meet all my wants and needs much better than the Honda, unless somebody can convince me that the Honda is REALLY the better car... Posted Image

http://www.toyota.co...lara/index.html

Any thoughts, opinions, and input welcomed.

(And, sorry for the long opening post, but thanks for reading, if anybody actually made it this far.)

#2 of 64 Shane Martin

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Posted January 25 2006 - 07:38 AM

Linda,
Being you are a sporty car kind of person I'd think twice about the Solara coupe which to me is not very sporty. I know you don't want to consider a sedan but the Acura TSX is quite the car and near the top of any list. It should have plenty of options standard for you. The only "negative" is the 4 cylinder which is plenty peppy. You can also get this in a manual transmission which ups the sporting level.

It's a nice alternative to the Accord and priced right. Yes it's 4 doors but many consider it one of the very best.

#3 of 64 Philip Hamm

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Posted January 25 2006 - 07:50 AM

Quote:
The final price of either car (around $27K, give or take, for either, with absolutely no adjustments taken into account) would be close enough to not even be a factor, but there would still be a few wanted options missing on the Accord.
For just a couple thousand more you could put yourself in a Mercedes C230 Compressor coupe 6-speed, which will run rings around those cars and look great doing it. Great gas mileage, lots of back seat room, and super convenient hatchback with LOADS of interior room. Lots more expensive to maintain though.... Posted Image ....but lots more fun to drive/own also..... Posted Image My wife loves hers. Not sure if you're looking for a standard shift, and they're tough to find. There's not much to choose from in a sporty 2 door with space. Saab doesn't make the 2-door 9-3 any more I don't think.

Hondas and Toyotas make me yawn. They are both excellent quality cars. These days lots of serious sporty cars have four doors. Some Subaru WRX trim level may be near that price point, or a Subaru Legacy GT perhaps.
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#4 of 64 Alex-C

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Posted January 25 2006 - 08:11 AM

It boils down to a matter of preference. Our family owns an Acura and Toyota, and I prefer the toyota. I have rented a Solara, and dont really find it all that interesting or nice, but in general I like Toyotas. I find Hondas to be rather bland, or at least blander than toyotas.

Let me just put this in big type: YMMV
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#5 of 64 DaveF

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Posted January 25 2006 - 08:27 AM

Have you test-driven either one? How do they feel to you?

What's your criteria, besides "sporty"? What are you looking for? Top Speed? Acceleration? Or mundane things like comfort, reliability, features, mileage?

Quote:
Mercedes C230 Compressor
I assume Linda's interested in Honda & Toyota in part due to reliability (rather than, say, a Ford Mustang). How is Mercedes' reliability these days? They seemed to get heartburn after swallowing Chrysler.

I have an Accord V6 V6, 4-door. My girlfriend has a 4-cyl Camry. Both are very nice cars, in different ways. The Honda is faster, sportier, but with fewer frills (though well appointed). The Camry is possibly more comfortable and I enjoy driving it. It has more features/gadgets.

If I wanted conservative, reliabile, and sporty, the Acura TSX would be a top choice. I don't know if Toyota or Lexus has an equivalent. The Solara is fun.

And a recent Motor Trend said great things about the Civic Si (I believe): reliable, zippy, fun.

#6 of 64 Jimi C

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Posted January 25 2006 - 08:31 AM

Why not the new Ford Fusion?

http://www.roadfly.o....17-1542327.jpg
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#7 of 64 Hunter P

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Posted January 25 2006 - 09:03 AM

Sounds like a Coke or Pepsi choice to me. Stop looking at them on paper and get out there and test drive them. Like you said, you can't really go wrong with a Honda or Toyota. Both are reliable, good on gas and good get-up-and-go for what they got.

One is not overly better than the other overall but, to the individual user, it may be.

BTW, I'm a Honda man, prefer Pepsi, and I use a PC (although I'm thinking of switching to Apple.)Posted Image
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#8 of 64 Linda Thompson

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Posted January 25 2006 - 09:13 AM

Thanks for all the input so far!

Some of the suggestions are great, but just don't appeal to me, personally. And, coupe is a MUST...that's just a very strong personal preference...non-negotiable. Posted Image

Quote:
What's your criteria, besides "sporty"? What are you looking for? Top Speed? Acceleration? Or mundane things like comfort, reliability, features, mileage?


"Sporty" isn't really a priority at this point, or I wouldn't have talked myself out of the Mustang... I'm trying to convince myself that I've grown up, or at least outgrown that particular priority. That started when I stepped away from a THIRD Camaro Z28 (after the radical restyle) and went with the Thunderbird instead. A whole world of difference...but I never regretted it. Posted Image

These days: safety, comfort, reliability, convenience, good options, inner and outer appearance pleasing to my own sensibilities, etc. The Solara looks like it would meet all of these. I have NOT test-driven yet (I'd rather wait until I'm closer to making a real move), so that would, of course, be the ultimate make-or-break decision point.

Speed and acceleration...not really a factor. Although I do prefer at least 200 HP...wouldn't wanna drop below that. Also wouldn't want anything less than a V6. I've never had anything less than a V8 before, but I'm willing to switch if the rest of the package is up to snuff.

Fuel economy...not really a priority either. All my cars have been non-fuel-efficient, so I'm used to it, and, even with the current (and future) price of fuel, I'm willing to bite the bullet. (My Camaros ate gas AND tires...very expensive performance tires. I really don't miss having to replace a set of THOSE.)

Convenience and luxury features and options...definitely a priority. Not crazy about leather, but I may have to take it to get some other things I want.

Safety...definitely a consideration. Although I'm of the opinion that airbags tend to do as much (and sometimes more) harm as good in a very large percentage of incidents, especially if seatbelts are properly utilized. Why can't they make airbags that only PARTIALLY inflate, and thus don't feel (and inflict damage) like a brick wall when they're triggered?!? And, think of the scene in "Final Destination 2" when
the jaws of life triggered the bag...
Posted Image

Probably about 95% of my driving is my daily commute to and from work...12.5 miles between being parked in my garage to being parked in the lot at work. 23 red-lights along the way, with about a 3-mile stretch of open highway (55 MPH limit) in the middle. Everything from extended 25-MPH zones to 35- and 45-MPH stretches the rest of the way, plus a major congestion point where I-95 connects...lots of 18-wheelers going every which way, travel stops, gas stations, restaurants, etc. Also, four school zones and two railroad track crossings. Not exactly open course thrill-seeking...

So, comfort and quality of the in-car experience (not the actual driving experience) have, necessarily, become priorities. A good off-the-line audio system is a plus, so I wouldn't need to start ripping the factory system out right off the bat.

Quote:
BTW, I'm a Honda man, prefer Pepsi, and I use a PC

I'm with you on the Pepsi and the PC, but I'm still thinking that Solara is looking really, really sweet... Posted Image

#9 of 64 Ray Chuang

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Posted January 25 2006 - 09:25 AM

Linda,

Is roominess a serious consideration? If not, you might want to consider getting a 2006 Honda Civic LX or EX sedan with the five-speed automatic.

Reasonably roomy, good performance, and most importantly of all, likely fuel mileage with your type of driving well above 30 mpg, the Civic would be perfect, especially if the guesses of US$75/bbl. crude oil sends the price of gasoline way over US$3.00 per gallon of 87 octane unleaded. Posted Image
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#10 of 64 Patrick Sun

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Posted January 25 2006 - 09:34 AM

All I care about is mainly reliability. I've driven 2 Hondas for most of my life, the first one was an '82 Accord hatchback which lasted until 1996, and then my current '94 Civic coupe has lasted quite well for me too (paid cash for it), but I think I'll get another car in 2-3 years. Nothing like driving a paid-for car for over a decade or so. Hope to pay cash for my next car too.
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#11 of 64 Michelle Schmid

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Posted January 25 2006 - 09:46 AM

I still drive my '94 T-top Camaro because I can't find anything I like better (or that has removable panels--not looking to pay the premium ins. on a convertable). I've had it now for 11 years (second owner) and have had very little trouble with it. It has over 154,000 miles, and every day I'm still happy to get behind the wheel and drive. Newer Mustangs don't have enough room in the back for actual passengers. There is no way my 16-year-old son (at 5'9") could fit.

The problem for me is that all the cars today look the same. Basic boxes with either 2 doors or 4 doors (which I absolutely hate!). Even that Fusion looks like every other car out there to me. A regular sedan with, admittedly, interesting headlights.

When my Camaro was hit in December the damage was almost $3K and his ins. co. tried very hard to total it. However, it had every option available the year it was built, and it was still in such good shape, shiny paint and all, that their adjuster finally had to admit it was worth fixing. I cannot say how happy I am about this, because I was dreading having to seriously look at cars.

I don't think there is really much difference between a Honda and a Toyota. Get whichever one you think is best for you. Me, though, I'm holding out for the new Camaro. http://www.detnews.c....601100375/1364 Hopefully in '09 it'll be in my driveway!

#12 of 64 Linda Thompson

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Posted January 25 2006 - 10:12 AM

Quote:
Is roominess a serious consideration? If not, you might want to consider getting a 2006 Honda Civic LX or EX sedan with the five-speed automatic.

Reasonably roomy, good performance, and most importantly of all, likely fuel mileage with your type of driving well above 30 mpg, the Civic would be perfect, especially if the guesses of US$75/bbl. crude oil sends the price of gasoline way over US$3.00 per gallon of 87 octane unleaded.

Yes, roominess is a major consideration, and another factor that helped trememdously when I was talking myself out of the Mustang. My Camaros were severely limited in this aspect, and my Thunderbird has gotten me spoiled to the relative spaciousness. Grocery shopping was a major pain in the butt in the Camaros...but at least the drive to and from the store was fun! Posted Image

I did at least check out the Civics early into my research, and very quickly decided they're not for me. Too few options, too little power, and those are more important to me than the fuel economy. I have friends who have Civics and love them...they are GREAT cars. Just not for me.

Quote:
Hope to pay cash for my next car too.

Patrick...I did this with the Thunderbird (which cost a good bit less than either of my Camaros, of course)..wrote the check and drove it off the lot. I hope to do it again this time around. It is indeed a great feeling.

Tangent:

This will be my very first non-American car.

I learned to drive in a Valiant -- pea green, no power steering, no power brakes, no air conditioning...no power ANYTHING. A great learning experience, I must say. If I can do a three-point turn in THAT thing... At least it was automatic. (I've never driven a manual / straight-drive. I'd love to learn.)

As soon as I got my license in that beast, I got a family-car hand-me-down...a Gran Torino. It was a sedan, but I LOVED IT! Drove that my last two years of high school.

Graduation present from my parents...a beige Volare sedan. HATED IT with a passion! It was ultimately destroyed in a very serious accident with a log truck. A log dislodged from the truck, came straight through my right front windshield, through the driver's seat, and out the left back door. Witnesses said my car did 2 complete 360s. I still have encysted glass, wood, and metal in my body from that one. Doctors said that removing all the shards would do more tissue damage than leaving them in and allowing them to encyst themselves. The sheriff who responded to the accident said that if I had been belted, I would have been decapitated...and he was right. Thank goodness that was before belting was mandatory, and the car had bench seating, so I just fell over toward the passenger side, and the log grazed over my left shoulder. And, I do belt now, despite this incident. I had a ring crushed to the bone on my finger, and the doctors said I would have lost the finger if a very helpful trucker hadn't cut it off with wire cutters at the scene. A very traumatic experience, but, at least I got rid of that car! (Kinda weird that I do belt myself now, and that's the last car I had that didn't have bucket seats and a center console.)

Next up...my first car that I bought for myself...my first Z28... Then, a second Z28, and then the Thunderbird.

Quote:
When my Camaro was hit in December the damage was almost $3K and his ins. co. tried very hard to total it.

Michelle...my first Z28 was totalled (the other driver's fault). It was bought brand-new (and fully loaded) in Feb '84 and that accident was in October of '89. Sold it as salvage for $8000. I didn't even LOOK at anything else...I headed straight for a second Z28. Great cars indeed, and I love mine while I had them. (Mine were both T-tops too, of course. I hate convertibles...wouldn't have one!...but I loved those T-tops.) Would have gotten a third, and even went for a test drive...but I simply couldn't deal with the radical restyle.

I've seen the Camaro concept from the recent auto show...looks great! Posted Image

#13 of 64 Matt Stryker

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Posted January 25 2006 - 10:38 AM

I've spent some considerable time in a friends Solara, and there really isn't an uncomfortable seat in the car, fit and finish seemed great, and it handled well especially in rainy conditions. Either choice has a solid reliablity track record and will have above average resale value.

And you certainly could find some room to open er up on I95 now that they finished widening it out to 6 lanes around Florence....or as I like to say Land of the 90 MPH Winnebago Posted Image.

Does your employer have any kind of relationship with either automaker that might give one brand an edge over the other one cost-wise?

#14 of 64 Hunter P

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Posted January 25 2006 - 10:49 AM

This will be my very first non-American car.
I love America and all but I don't plan on owning an American car ever again.

Probably about 95% of my driving is my daily commute to and from work...12.5 miles between being parked in my garage to being parked in the lot at work. 23 red-lights along the way, with about a 3-mile stretch of open highway (55 MPH limit) in the middle. Everything from extended 25-MPH zones to 35- and 45-MPH stretches the rest of the way, plus a major congestion point where I-95 connects

I only have experience with Accords, not Toyotas. The Accord is very efficient with gas even with the V6, 200HP engine. I did Sacramento to LA on one tank of gas. Usually, I'm hitting the gas station just before I hit the mountains. Plus it has the responsive acceleration to weave around traffic for your commute. Plus, I love my controls and interior.

I'm sure the Toyota is just as good even though Toyota sucks and Honda kicks ass. Posted Image
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#15 of 64 Linda Thompson

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Posted January 25 2006 - 11:13 AM

Matt...

Thanks for the Solara-specific commentary! Kinda what I've been assuming, based upon my research (and short of actually getting into a Solara and driving it). Good handling in wet conditions is a DEFINITE plus.

Quote:
And you certainly could find some room to open er up on I95 now that they finished widening it out to 6 lanes around Florence....or as I like to say Land of the 90 MPH Winnebago.

I live in Darlington, and I work in Florence, with the I-95 connection between home and work. I'm not on I-95...I'm on 52-Business, where I-95 connects. LOTS of congestion at that point...18-wheelers (as I noted before), plus tons of out-of-state drivers getting on and off I-95 for food, fuel, or hotels...and none of them seeming to know where they're going or what lane they're supposed to be in (and deciding at the last second that they need to be 2 lanes over from where they are at that moment, and not caring who they have to cut off to get there). Mix in the locals trying to carry on our day to day lives, plus the general thru-traffic, and that point is a major hassle. They're also making a very half-hearted (so far) attempt at some widening on 52-Business, so the on-again-off-again construction (at the point of connection, under the I-95 overpass) is always an unpleasant surprise.

At least my commute back home is at night (after 10 PM), so it's not quite as bad. Going in is 1:00 PM. Like I said, it's only 12.5 miles, but I have to leave home 45 minutes early...and I still have to hustle if conditions are worse than usual. At least the cops are pretty lenient on the one stretch of highway (I've NEVER gotten a ticket there, and I hope I didn't just jinx myself!), and they don't even blink at 65 or 70-MPHers in the 55 zone, many of which don't even slow down for the 45-MPH zone that starts at Florence-Darlington Tech, where the city limits meet. I do usually slow down to at least 55 there, but that's only a short distance from the I-95 connect, where things are back to a crawl in a traffic-light jungle.

Quote:
Does your employer have any kind of relationship with either automaker that might give one brand an edge over the other one cost-wise?

No, unfortunately.

Hunter...

Quote:
I love America and all but I don't plan on owning an American car ever again.

I used to believe in American build quality, and I've loved 4 of my American cars (Gran Torino, 2 Camaros, and the Thunderbird)...but I just don't think the industry is the same now as it was then. I have much more faith in the foreign manufacturers these days. And, that's pretty sad to have to admit.

Quote:
I'm sure the Toyota is just as good even though Toyota sucks and Honda kicks ass.

Just a wee bit of bias there, perhaps? Posted Image

Glad you love your Honda, though... I hope to someday be able to say the same for whichever I end up with...which will still very likely be the Solara... Posted Image

#16 of 64 DaveF

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Posted January 25 2006 - 12:50 PM

Quote:
safety, comfort, reliability, convenience, good options, inner and outer appearance pleasing to my own sensibilities, etc
Gotcha. Honda & Toyota are great choices.

Quote:
I did at least check out the Civics early into my research, and very quickly decided they're not for me. Too few options, too little power, and those are more important to me than the fuel economy.
I've not driven a Civic, but I thought Motor Trend said the Civic Si was quite zippy, possibly faster than the Solara or Accord Coupe. The floor model seemed to have options equal to my loaded Accord.

Regardless, you need to test drive. My girlfriend liked the Solara, until she drove it. It didn't fit her at all. I don't like the Accord Coupe: the roof is too low and I don't fit in the Moonroof-equipped model (and I'm not that tall).

My '04 Accord is a V6 with 240 HP and gets 24-26mpg. Newer Accords have more power. The hybrids have more features, better mileage, and are faster. But they cost more.

#17 of 64 Shane Martin

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Posted January 25 2006 - 12:53 PM

Linda,
Considering how american todays foreign cars are, I think that fact alone should take care of any issues you might have had. For sure it's not the american workers fault otherwise Toyota, Honda and Nissan reliability would go in the crapper which it hasn't.

#18 of 64 Kirk Gunn

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Posted January 25 2006 - 12:57 PM

We have 2 Toyotas (Sienna and Highlander), but could have gone Honda just as fast. Toyota dealers seem more aggresive with their pricing compared to Honda, and since I'm a cheap SOB....

#19 of 64 Scott L

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Posted January 25 2006 - 01:22 PM

I've ridden in some of these cars being discussed..

Accord - friend has an 01 or 00 model. It's... ok. Nothing special. The interior feels a tad cheap. Though I realize it's not an Acura, it always irked me. The ride seems pretty sporty for a family sedan. Engine is nice.

TSX - brother has one. The car suits him very well. All the bells & whistles including voice activated navi, and he also had a DVD player and rear-view camera custom installed. The new models now come with blue-tooth which is sweet too.

It is not very fast, but I heard if you go stick it's got some pep. Remember it's hauling the weight of a luxury coupe with an N/A 4-cyl. Ride is quiet, and the car is very easy to maneuver despite its weight.

Solara - when I used to slug home I always got happy when I got the guy with the Solara. Posted Image Extremely smooth ride. Feels like I'm in a $60k benz when I have my eyes shut. Interior is sweet too. Only complaint is the exterior looks too plain to be either sporty or luxurious. ymmv.

Civic - Two friends have 90-something Civics and their interiors rattle. More of a point A to point B car than anything else.

Ever thought about a Maxima? The engine is pretty torquey which would have a smidgen of that V8 feel. Nissan drive trains are solid, so usually no expensive repairs during ownership.

#20 of 64 Patrick Sun

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Posted January 25 2006 - 02:17 PM

You should also consider the cost of owning the car you buy as well. My friend gave up his Maxima because it was costing him too much in terms of repairs and whatnot.

I pretty much just replace the tires when needed, change the oil ever 3000-4000 miles, and bring it in at the recommended service intervals (every 15,000 miles). Got the timing belt done at 90K, and some other misc. minor repairs over the years.
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