Author Topic: 2011 Lexus CT 200h vs 2015 Chevy Sonic Hatchback LS  (Read 934 times)

Mgmny

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2011 Lexus CT 200h vs 2015 Chevy Sonic Hatchback LS
« on: October 31, 2019, 12:43:31 PM »
Hey gang!

I have a problem with trying to find the "best" optimization. I know I could just go find a honda fit and probably get the middle of both worlds, but that isn't in my nature - i am like to pick the extremes of something.

Which car should I pick (and I guess you can suggest others, but i've done a ton of research, and this is where i am).

2015 chevy sonic LS - $4300
Very basic car
95k miles
Salvage title (was sideswiped - body damage only)
No power windows
no dents, but sort of a lot of body imperfections (scratches, chips)
power locks
no cruise control
Runs really well

2011 Lexus CT 200h - $8000
99k miles
Salvage title (body damage only)
"luxury" prius, basically
All the trimmings of a nice car from 2011


My commute is about 15 minutes each way, and an occasional run to a store - but my wife's car is free through her company, so any family driving, we do with her car. Because of my short 10 mile commute, i considered pure EV, but when i realized i couldn't get to my parents house and back, i decided it wasn't going to be a good thing.

I looked at Volts, but why not just do the lexus ct - the pricing is about the same, but i can get a lexus instead of a chevy!

I am selling my wife's old company lease (2016 Ford Edge) and can probably get ~$18,000 for it, so this is definitely a downsize.

Sorry for the poorly formatted ask, I just don't know if i should just get the Chevy Sonic because i don't NEED the luxuries (cruise control, power windows, leather interior, backup camera, etc), but an $8k car is still pretty inexpensive, and i can get a "nice" lexus for that price (that still gets good gas mileage).

What does everyone think?

Cadman

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Re: 2011 Lexus CT 200h vs 2015 Chevy Sonic Hatchback LS
« Reply #1 on: October 31, 2019, 12:51:15 PM »
We love our Sonic hatchback, but it's a 6-speed with the 1.4L turbo. If the one in question is the 1.8 with an automatic, I think I'd pass.

You mention looking at Volts..does the Lexus run on 100% battery without the ICE operating? Or is it like the Prius which supplements the ICE? For shorter commutes the Volt won't burn any gasoline.

Mgmny

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Re: 2011 Lexus CT 200h vs 2015 Chevy Sonic Hatchback LS
« Reply #2 on: October 31, 2019, 12:55:43 PM »
We love our Sonic hatchback, but it's a 6-speed with the 1.4L turbo. If the one in question is the 1.8 with an automatic, I think I'd pass.

You mention looking at Volts..does the Lexus run on 100% battery without the ICE operating? Or is it like the Prius which supplements the ICE? For shorter commutes the Volt won't burn any gasoline.

It's an automatic. I don't know how to drive a manual, and when i offered to learn, my wife basically vetoed it (she didn't want to learn in case she needed to drive my car in an emergency).

the lexus has the exact same drivetrain as the prius, i believe. Not a PHEV like volt.

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Re: 2011 Lexus CT 200h vs 2015 Chevy Sonic Hatchback LS
« Reply #3 on: October 31, 2019, 01:27:39 PM »
Are you trying to cost-optimize for transportation, or for luxury?

I think your answer to that will tell you which car fits best.

In other news, $8k *is* pretty expensive for a car, you're just rich. :P To be honest, $4,300 for a car is *also* pretty expensive, IMO.


Mgmny

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Re: 2011 Lexus CT 200h vs 2015 Chevy Sonic Hatchback LS
« Reply #4 on: October 31, 2019, 01:48:26 PM »
Are you trying to cost-optimize for transportation, or for luxury?

I think your answer to that will tell you which car fits best.

In other news, $8k *is* pretty expensive for a car, you're just rich. :P To be honest, $4,300 for a car is *also* pretty expensive, IMO.

I'm trying to optimize SOMETHING - that is my problem. That's probably why i dislike my current car so much. It's an overpriced Ford SUV. Why am i driving around a $20,000 ford suv? That makes no sense. It's optimized for exactly nothing.

Is $8k a lot for a car?! and $4300? is that true?? I've purchased 3 cars (if you don't count this lease buy-out which was just a good deal) for $5k, $10k, and $11k, and thought i was doing pretty good with all those purchases. Cost per ownership is always under $200 a month.

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Re: 2011 Lexus CT 200h vs 2015 Chevy Sonic Hatchback LS
« Reply #5 on: October 31, 2019, 02:01:11 PM »
$8k is not a lot for a good car. I don't think you should be looking at salvage title cars, especially when you aren't getting much of a discount. Also, how confident are you that it was body damage only and that the frame is unaffected? Modern cars are unibody, you know.


the lexus has the exact same drivetrain as the prius, i believe.
Yes, but the packaging is very different. The 2011 Prius has significantly more headroom and legroom (both front and rear) and has more cargo space. And it weighs 100 lb less so technically it should be faster (though they are both slow as molasses).

RWD

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Re: 2011 Lexus CT 200h vs 2015 Chevy Sonic Hatchback LS
« Reply #6 on: October 31, 2019, 02:24:50 PM »
Some other vehicles to consider:
Ford C-MAX Energi (plug-in)
Lincoln MKZ Hybrid
Honda Civic Hybrid
Honda Insight
Volkswagen Jetta Hybrid

APowers

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Re: 2011 Lexus CT 200h vs 2015 Chevy Sonic Hatchback LS
« Reply #7 on: October 31, 2019, 04:58:27 PM »
Are you trying to cost-optimize for transportation, or for luxury?

I think your answer to that will tell you which car fits best.

In other news, $8k *is* pretty expensive for a car, you're just rich. :P To be honest, $4,300 for a car is *also* pretty expensive, IMO.

I'm trying to optimize SOMETHING - that is my problem. That's probably why i dislike my current car so much. It's an overpriced Ford SUV. Why am i driving around a $20,000 ford suv? That makes no sense. It's optimized for exactly nothing.

Is $8k a lot for a car?! and $4300? is that true?? I've purchased 3 cars (if you don't count this lease buy-out which was just a good deal) for $5k, $10k, and $11k, and thought i was doing pretty good with all those purchases. Cost per ownership is always under $200 a month.


$8k is not a lot for a good car. I don't think you should be looking at salvage title cars, especially when you aren't getting much of a discount. Also, how confident are you that it was body damage only and that the frame is unaffected? Modern cars are unibody, you know.

Eh, I guess it depends on our definition of "good", lol! For me, a car for OP's purpose (commuter/grocery-getter) good=reliable+easy/cheap to fix. It doesn't mean "nice" or "well styled" or "fun", haha! Beaters all the way. IME, "cheap"<~$1,000, "good"=~$2,000-2,500, "expensive">$5k. I generally look for vehicles that are toward the end of their depreciation curve, so that resale price will approximate purchase price (give or take $500ish)-- so cost/month (excluding gas/oil/maint/ins) is more like $15 than $150.

Also depends on skillset as well, I guess. If you can't or won't fix/maintain your own vehicle, then each fewer (less?) time it sees the inside of a shop is worth a $100-500 increase in price.

I do agree on shying away from salvage title cars, unless you either (a) know exactly what happened to it on a "I watched it happen and would trust the shop it was repaired at with my bag of cash" level, or (b) are a mechanic.

Mgmny

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Re: 2011 Lexus CT 200h vs 2015 Chevy Sonic Hatchback LS
« Reply #8 on: November 01, 2019, 05:19:41 AM »
Some other vehicles to consider:
Ford C-MAX Energi (plug-in)
Lincoln MKZ Hybrid
Honda Civic Hybrid
Honda Insight
Volkswagen Jetta Hybrid

Thanks for the recommendation. I just looked through Facebook marketplace for all these and no real contenders stood out - at least on the market today. Either too many miles or too expensive for the ones listed.

Mgmny

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Re: 2011 Lexus CT 200h vs 2015 Chevy Sonic Hatchback LS
« Reply #9 on: November 01, 2019, 05:20:46 AM »
Are you trying to cost-optimize for transportation, or for luxury?

I think your answer to that will tell you which car fits best.

In other news, $8k *is* pretty expensive for a car, you're just rich. :P To be honest, $4,300 for a car is *also* pretty expensive, IMO.

I'm trying to optimize SOMETHING - that is my problem. That's probably why i dislike my current car so much. It's an overpriced Ford SUV. Why am i driving around a $20,000 ford suv? That makes no sense. It's optimized for exactly nothing.

Is $8k a lot for a car?! and $4300? is that true?? I've purchased 3 cars (if you don't count this lease buy-out which was just a good deal) for $5k, $10k, and $11k, and thought i was doing pretty good with all those purchases. Cost per ownership is always under $200 a month.


$8k is not a lot for a good car. I don't think you should be looking at salvage title cars, especially when you aren't getting much of a discount. Also, how confident are you that it was body damage only and that the frame is unaffected? Modern cars are unibody, you know.

Eh, I guess it depends on our definition of "good", lol! For me, a car for OP's purpose (commuter/grocery-getter) good=reliable+easy/cheap to fix. It doesn't mean "nice" or "well styled" or "fun", haha! Beaters all the way. IME, "cheap"<~$1,000, "good"=~$2,000-2,500, "expensive">$5k. I generally look for vehicles that are toward the end of their depreciation curve, so that resale price will approximate purchase price (give or take $500ish)-- so cost/month (excluding gas/oil/maint/ins) is more like $15 than $150.

Also depends on skillset as well, I guess. If you can't or won't fix/maintain your own vehicle, then each fewer (less?) time it sees the inside of a shop is worth a $100-500 increase in price.

I do agree on shying away from salvage title cars, unless you either (a) know exactly what happened to it on a "I watched it happen and would trust the shop it was repaired at with my bag of cash" level, or (b) are a mechanic.

$2000 car?!? Example of something reasonable???

 A 1995 Dodge caravan??

chemistk

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Re: 2011 Lexus CT 200h vs 2015 Chevy Sonic Hatchback LS
« Reply #10 on: November 01, 2019, 05:52:26 AM »
Honestly that's a pretty weird pair of cars to be stuck choosing between.

While there's nothing inherently wrong with a Sonic, I'd really avoid buying a salvage title, especially on a car so small. Every piece of metal in that car is integral to its ability to absorb impact from a crash and when you're that small and light, I would never risk driving around with something small but important (and undetected) being compromised. That, and you have such little interior room.

Again with the Lexus - salvage is usually something to avoid especially since there's no way to ever know exactly what happened. The Lexus is larger, heavier, and a bit more rigid (to protect the battery), but still I think you can look elsewhere.

If you had to choose between the two, I think I'd recommend neither and drive the Edge another 3-6 months. But if you like, really really really had to pick I guess I'd probably take the Lexus knowing I'm taking a major bath on the price.

Really, though, it seems dumb and boring and all but I think if you were to refocus your efforts on a sub-$10k Prius, a Fit, or a Volt, you'd have either a safer or more practical car as a result.

APowers

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Re: 2011 Lexus CT 200h vs 2015 Chevy Sonic Hatchback LS
« Reply #11 on: November 01, 2019, 08:13:54 AM »
Are you trying to cost-optimize for transportation, or for luxury?

I think your answer to that will tell you which car fits best.

In other news, $8k *is* pretty expensive for a car, you're just rich. :P To be honest, $4,300 for a car is *also* pretty expensive, IMO.

I'm trying to optimize SOMETHING - that is my problem. That's probably why i dislike my current car so much. It's an overpriced Ford SUV. Why am i driving around a $20,000 ford suv? That makes no sense. It's optimized for exactly nothing.

Is $8k a lot for a car?! and $4300? is that true?? I've purchased 3 cars (if you don't count this lease buy-out which was just a good deal) for $5k, $10k, and $11k, and thought i was doing pretty good with all those purchases. Cost per ownership is always under $200 a month.


$8k is not a lot for a good car. I don't think you should be looking at salvage title cars, especially when you aren't getting much of a discount. Also, how confident are you that it was body damage only and that the frame is unaffected? Modern cars are unibody, you know.

Eh, I guess it depends on our definition of "good", lol! For me, a car for OP's purpose (commuter/grocery-getter) good=reliable+easy/cheap to fix. It doesn't mean "nice" or "well styled" or "fun", haha! Beaters all the way. IME, "cheap"<~$1,000, "good"=~$2,000-2,500, "expensive">$5k. I generally look for vehicles that are toward the end of their depreciation curve, so that resale price will approximate purchase price (give or take $500ish)-- so cost/month (excluding gas/oil/maint/ins) is more like $15 than $150.

Also depends on skillset as well, I guess. If you can't or won't fix/maintain your own vehicle, then each fewer (less?) time it sees the inside of a shop is worth a $100-500 increase in price.

I do agree on shying away from salvage title cars, unless you either (a) know exactly what happened to it on a "I watched it happen and would trust the shop it was repaired at with my bag of cash" level, or (b) are a mechanic.

$2000 car?!? Example of something reasonable???

 A 1995 Dodge caravan??

For a basic commuter car:

2003 Civic
1998 Civic

Corollas are similarly priced, and pretty much equally reliable

2006 Prius

I know you said you really didn't want a Fit, but they're really pretty fantastic cars, though still edging on the higher side, pricewise (~$3,000-3,500 and up)

If you want a funky wagon/hatch: 2006 Scion xB

--------------------------------------------

If you're willing to spend up to 8k on a vehicle optimized for "something", why not expand your search a little, and....

optimize for cool, or optimize for sport utility, or optimize for "fun to drive", or optimize for luxury sedan, or optimize for people/cargo hauling.

Instead of looking at the ct200h, which is neither optimized as a great hatchback (Fit), nor as a great hybrid (Prius).

Mgmny

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Re: 2011 Lexus CT 200h vs 2015 Chevy Sonic Hatchback LS
« Reply #12 on: November 01, 2019, 08:17:12 AM »

If you had to choose between the two, I think I'd recommend neither and drive the Edge another 3-6 months. But if you like, really really really had to pick I guess I'd probably take the Lexus knowing I'm taking a major bath on the price.

So, I thought about just keeping the Edge for awhile and just sucking it up, but aren't I still in a pretty heave part of the depreciation curve? Also, I live in snowy MN, so won't some suckas be looking for an AWD car boosting it's value? I would think fewer people are looking for an AWD car in June than they would be in November?



Really, though, it seems dumb and boring and all but I think if you were to refocus your efforts on a sub-$10k Prius, a Fit, or a Volt, you'd have either a safer or more practical car as a result.

I will look further here. It just seems like a fit and a sonic are pretty much the same car, but fits seem to hold their value (hard to find one under $8k for one from 2010 until now), and the volt market i've more or less exhausted at this point - but if i am willing to spend closer to $10k, then i can probably find a good one.

I have done minimal work looking at priuses other than to say i tried test driving a 2009 prius back in early october, and literally didn't fit in it. My knees were hitting the dashboard, and the seat wouldn't move down or up. I think this problem has been fixed from 2010/2011 (not sure) and sooner, but i haven't given it a go.

Mgmny

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Re: 2011 Lexus CT 200h vs 2015 Chevy Sonic Hatchback LS
« Reply #13 on: November 01, 2019, 08:27:00 AM »

For a basic commuter car:

2003 Civic
1998 Civic

Corollas are similarly priced, and pretty much equally reliable

2006 Prius

I know you said you really didn't want a Fit, but they're really pretty fantastic cars, though still edging on the higher side, pricewise (~$3,000-3,500 and up)

If you want a funky wagon/hatch: 2006 Scion xB

--------------------------------------------

If you're willing to spend up to 8k on a vehicle optimized for "something", why not expand your search a little, and....

optimize for cool, or optimize for sport utility, or optimize for "fun to drive", or optimize for luxury sedan, or optimize for people/cargo hauling.

Instead of looking at the ct200h, which is neither optimized as a great hatchback (Fit), nor as a great hybrid (Prius).

Ha, cool selections - you even went to the trouble of finding them local - how thoughtful!! :)

Should I be concerned that some of those are 150-200k miles? Should that be making me nervous?

On occasion (maybe once a month, if that), i do have to throw a carseat in the backseat when my wife is traveling for work, so the 2 seaters (while very cool!) are out. I optimized for luxury on my last car, (2006 Acura RL), and I really liked that car, but i was thinking about trying to be more "practical" with my new one. My wife hates it when i use her car to run to Lowes to pick up wood that inevitably scratches her seats, console. Its silly because it's a company lease so no one cares (though, i guess we DID purchase the last one i did that to...). That's why i was primarily looking at hatchbacks.

Just yesterday i had to pick up 9 bags of black dirt. Those would likely fit in the trunk of a sedan, sure, but anything longer or more than that, i would need something with a trunk that extends to the cabin.

Mgmny

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Re: 2011 Lexus CT 200h vs 2015 Chevy Sonic Hatchback LS
« Reply #14 on: November 01, 2019, 08:31:55 AM »


Also depends on skillset as well, I guess. If you can't or won't fix/maintain your own vehicle, then each fewer (less?) time it sees the inside of a shop is worth a $100-500 increase in price.


So, growing up, i would do everything on my own car, but lately, that has changed. Working on cars has typically been a very frustrating endeavor for me. Things are so tight, and you have to dismantle so much nonsense to get to what you want.

I will do my own brakes, rotors, oil, lights, etc, but it seems like on these newer cars accessing shit is getting harder and harder. on this 2016 ford edge, i have to remove a guard to get to the oil pan. On my 1991 pontiac grand prix se (first car!), i could get to the oil filter and oil pan with nothing in the way no problem. Same with my 2001 chevy tracker.

APowers

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Re: 2011 Lexus CT 200h vs 2015 Chevy Sonic Hatchback LS
« Reply #15 on: November 01, 2019, 08:49:25 AM »

For a basic commuter car:

2003 Civic
1998 Civic

Corollas are similarly priced, and pretty much equally reliable

2006 Prius

I know you said you really didn't want a Fit, but they're really pretty fantastic cars, though still edging on the higher side, pricewise (~$3,000-3,500 and up)

If you want a funky wagon/hatch: 2006 Scion xB

--------------------------------------------

If you're willing to spend up to 8k on a vehicle optimized for "something", why not expand your search a little, and....

optimize for cool, or optimize for sport utility, or optimize for "fun to drive", or optimize for luxury sedan, or optimize for people/cargo hauling.

Instead of looking at the ct200h, which is neither optimized as a great hatchback (Fit), nor as a great hybrid (Prius).

Ha, cool selections - you even went to the trouble of finding them local - how thoughtful!! :)

Should I be concerned that some of those are 150-200k miles? Should that be making me nervous?

I mean, you're the one looking at salvage title vehicles.....

IMO, the sketchiest vehicle in the list that I posted was the Porsche Cayenne-- and that's mainly because it's sold by a dealership (stealership). I generally trust dealerships as far as I can throw a rock and hit a car.

Hondas and Toyotas tend to easily hit 300k miles with proper maintenance (my Civic has 240k, SO's Accord has 320k), and vehicles overall are SO much better "these days" (i.e., from mid-'90s onward) that 100k miles simply isn't the same amount of implied damage on a 1998 as it would be on a 1968. 

Mgmny

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Re: 2011 Lexus CT 200h vs 2015 Chevy Sonic Hatchback LS
« Reply #16 on: November 01, 2019, 08:56:42 AM »

For a basic commuter car:

2003 Civic
1998 Civic

Corollas are similarly priced, and pretty much equally reliable

2006 Prius

I know you said you really didn't want a Fit, but they're really pretty fantastic cars, though still edging on the higher side, pricewise (~$3,000-3,500 and up)

If you want a funky wagon/hatch: 2006 Scion xB

--------------------------------------------

If you're willing to spend up to 8k on a vehicle optimized for "something", why not expand your search a little, and....

optimize for cool, or optimize for sport utility, or optimize for "fun to drive", or optimize for luxury sedan, or optimize for people/cargo hauling.

Instead of looking at the ct200h, which is neither optimized as a great hatchback (Fit), nor as a great hybrid (Prius).

Ha, cool selections - you even went to the trouble of finding them local - how thoughtful!! :)

Should I be concerned that some of those are 150-200k miles? Should that be making me nervous?

I mean, you're the one looking at salvage title vehicles.....

IMO, the sketchiest vehicle in the list that I posted was the Porsche Cayenne-- and that's mainly because it's sold by a dealership (stealership). I generally trust dealerships as far as I can throw a rock and hit a car.

Hondas and Toyotas tend to easily hit 300k miles with proper maintenance (my Civic has 240k, SO's Accord has 320k), and vehicles overall are SO much better "these days" (i.e., from mid-'90s onward) that 100k miles simply isn't the same amount of implied damage on a 1998 as it would be on a 1968.

I guess maybe i was just assuming the salvage car damage was strictly body, and then who cares? But if you are saying there could be issues elsewhere unseen, then i suppose i should probably look away from these.

Mgmny

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Re: 2011 Lexus CT 200h vs 2015 Chevy Sonic Hatchback LS
« Reply #17 on: November 01, 2019, 09:02:50 AM »
sorry for the facebook link, but thoughts?

It has 150k miles, $5300 2011 chevy volt (not premium). It looks like she's had it listed since 9/1, so maybe she would drop the price a bit too... idk

the 150k still makes me nervous...

https://www.facebook.com/marketplace/item/383106339019384/

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Re: 2011 Lexus CT 200h vs 2015 Chevy Sonic Hatchback LS
« Reply #18 on: November 01, 2019, 09:04:01 AM »
I guess maybe i was just assuming the salvage car damage was strictly body, and then who cares? But if you are saying there could be issues elsewhere unseen, then i suppose i should probably look away from these.

That's the risk of salvage titles. I'm not saying they're always bad, but there is always a chance that "body damage" went deeper than superficial. I can't weigh that risk for you, I just tend to steer clear because there are so many other vehicle options available that I don't have to take that risk. Other folks don't mind taking the risk and saving the money, knowing they might end up with an unrepairable complication at some point. If you have a laser-focus priority on a certain vehicle, then it might make sense to look deeper into whether you could save sufficient $$$ to mitigate the risk involved, but it doesn't sound like you do.

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Re: 2011 Lexus CT 200h vs 2015 Chevy Sonic Hatchback LS
« Reply #19 on: November 01, 2019, 09:09:16 AM »
sorry for the facebook link, but thoughts?

It has 150k miles, $5300 2011 chevy volt (not premium). It looks like she's had it listed since 9/1, so maybe she would drop the price a bit too... idk

the 150k still makes me nervous...

https://www.facebook.com/marketplace/item/383106339019384/

\_(ツ)_/

You're the one who has to make the ultimate decision. It looks fancypants enough to go kick the tires...why not? If you don't want a high mileage, then skip it. If you don't like working on newer vehicles, then don't buy one. Buy an older model. Look at '80s Civic Wagovans (the height of practicality, lol!).