If you had $20K to spend on a new car, what would you get?

Discussion in 'Motorized Vehicles' started by ZaZ, Nov 21, 2011.

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  1. ZaZ

    ZaZ Super Model Super Moderator

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    So, I'm thinking about getting a new car, but I'm not sure what to get. My present vehicle seems to be running OK, but is leaking oil. I was hoping to buy in the Spring, but that may change. This will be my one and only vehicle for, hopefully, the next 10 years. Mostly, I drive it to work, which is a 20 mile stretch on a state highway in the middle of nowhere. I'd like something reliable. All wheel drive might be nice, but I heard they're more expensive to insure and repair. It's been a while since I had a manual transmission and I want to get one. The cars I've been looking at so far are the Fit Sport, Sonic, Impreza and Golf. I haven't test driven anything yet as I live pretty far from most of the dealers. I ask if you had $20K to spend on a car, what would you get?

    Fit Sport
    • Pros – It's reliable, inexpensive, roomy, Honda manuals are usually good, ergonomics look good
    • Cons – Kinda boring, no sunroof option, I can't find the orange color I want
    Sonic
    • Pros – Inexpensive, like the design, especially the sedan, made in USA, good mileage with 1.4l engine
    • Cons – It's new reliability may be a factor down the road, like the sedan better than the hatchback and I'd prefer hatchback, don't like the digital speedometer, to get the sunroof you have to get the faux leather, which I don't like.
    Golf
    • Pros – It's a two door hatchback, which is what I want, good ride and ergonomics
    • Cons – Supposedly noisy engine, more expensive, not sure about reliability
    Impreza
    • Pros – All wheel drive, decent fuel economy, Subarus are reliable
    • Cons – More expensive, to get the sunroof they force you to get other options

    Right now, I'm leaning towards the Fit. It's inexpensive, reliable and roomy with a good manual, which is what I want. If they had a sunroof option, that's probably what I'd get.

    One more question if I may, I been talking with some Honda dealers about a Fit Sport. The invoice price is $17,248 with destination and other fees. The options I want are about $600, making it $17,800 or so. Based on that price, what would you offer the dealer?
     
  2. saturnotaku

    saturnotaku Notebook Nobel Laureate

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    Of the cars you listed, I personally would take the Sonic or the Golf. The Fit has the most versatile interior of the bunch, and its manual is good. However, the Sport rides very firmly. It's also noisy and feels underpowered past about 15-20 mph.

    Based on what you feel are cons of the Sonic, I might stay away from it. Personally, I think the car is great. Its manual is also very good, it's much quicker than the Fit while handling about as well, and I like the dashboard.

    The Golf would probably best fit your needs. It has the body style you're looking for (the only other 2-door hatch off the top of my head is the Toyota Yaris). Its interior is very nicely appointed with good materials and fit/finish. The 5-cylinder engine is a bit loud (though no more so than the Fit), but it's the most powerful. If you buy the VW new, you'll also get 3 years/36,000 miles of free scheduled maintenance. The only real significant drawback is that the 5-cylinder's fuel economy will not be as good. The diesel Golf TDI is awesome, but it's way out of your budget. There's also the question of long-term VW reliability, but since the Golf is built in Germany (rather than in Mexico like the Jetta) I'd be less worried about it.

    I've not spent any time with the new Impreza, but it looks good on paper - 36 highway MPG estimate with standard all-wheel drive is rather compelling.
     
  3. Tsunade_Hime

    Tsunade_Hime such bacon. wow

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    I'd probably go with the Fit. Has a good track record of reliability, it's a Honda and great fuel economy. I've driven the Fit Sport...I don't feel it's underpowered at all, though Hondas are usually rev happy. Honda(s) have always been relatively noisy, but honestly it's not so bad. I don't know if the Fit is due soon for a facelift as there really hasn't been one since its debut.

    The Sonic looks promising, but I'd agree with the above that new reliability cannot be trusted. Alot of reports to CR show that alot of new Fords aren't as reliable as they are touted to be, not saying they are bad but it is the risk on rolling the dice on a new model.

    I would also avoid the Golf. Too many times I have seen unreliable VW/Audi cost $$$ to fix. Avoid German turbo cars if you don't want to spend major $$$ down the road for a new turbo.

    The Impreza is a fine choice. Very reliable, though fuel economy has always been its main low point, but it earns high remarks everywhere else. Hopefully you get an Impreza which engine doesn't blow, I helped my friend repair one, major pain in the behind fixing a boxer engine.
     
  4. millermagic

    millermagic Rockin the pinktop

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    $20k? Easy!

    I'd buy a nice, lower mileage Crown Victoria and nice, rust free 5 speed Cherokee!
     
  5. FahrenheitGTI

    FahrenheitGTI Notebook Consultant

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    I purchased my 2007 GTI (2.0T coupe version of Golf) for $16,800, and it's my favorite car that I have owned (cheapest too). I have owned a 2002 Volvo S60 and a 2010 Ford Focus SES Coupe before, and the VW is my favorite of the three.

    However, just like the Volvo before it, maintenance is going to hurt your wallet. If something major goes wrong, you have to be prepared to pay the European premium. But, with that aside. the 2.5l in the Golf is louder than some other engines, but it is a lot peppier and really fun to drive (not as fast as mine, but still a great feel). Or, maybe look into a lightly used (low feature) GTI?

    If you don't really like the whole idea of owning a European car, then I would say go with the Impreza, AWD is always a great feature to have. However, you will pay a bit more in maintenance at certain intervals, I doubt it will cost as much as a Euro vehicle. My friend owns a WRX (obviously much sportier) but even with very few features in his, it is still very nice.

    Lastly, I would highly urge into looking at either a Hyundai or Kia. I used to associate these brands as "lesser Korean offerings," but after test driving them, I will say they are not. You would be looking at the Kia Forte Koup or a used Hyundai Genesis (low miles). The Genesis is going to be extremely fun to drive, but it is RWD, so that may be an issue where you live. The Forte is a nice, little, peppy car that feels much faster than it is, it also looks a lot nicer (in my opinion) than the Fit or Sonic.

    Just my 2 cents.
     
  6. ahl395

    ahl395 Ahlball

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    2012 Ford Mustang, or 2012 Chevy Camaro. :D
     
  7. ZaZ

    ZaZ Super Model Super Moderator

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    I think the Fit came out '01 in Japan, but didn't make to the US until '06. It had a redo in '08, but I kind of like buying a car at the end of the run just cause I figure they know how to make it then. The '12 model is supposed to have some sound dampening added.

    If cost was no object, I'd get a Jeep Wrangler. When I was a kid the neighbors across the alley had one and I always used to ask them about it because I liked it. I can afford it, but with the V6 my gas budget will double and they're so unreliable, at least according to Consumer Reports. If I was mechanically inclined like TH, perhaps, but if you told me I needed blinker fluid, I'd probably believe you.

    I was looking at the Chevy Cruze, which I think the Sonic is based on. CR said the reliability for the Cruze isn't good and it's only a year old.

    I like the Golf and the nice interior, but I'm not sold on it. If I could get the sunroof without having to add the package, I'd be more interested. You could do that on the '11 model.

    I looked at Hyundai and Kia. They weren't much cheaper than the others configured the way I want. I think the Elantra is CRs top small car, but I'm ambivalent to it.

    That probably boils it down to the Impreza and the Fit. The Impreza is all new for '12 with a new more efficient engine. The four wheel would be nice, but I probably only need it five days a year. The Impreza like I want it is probably $22k. I could go with a lesser model for $20k, that's compared to $17K for the fit. Plus I kind of like econoboxes, which the Fit qualifies as.
     
  8. Shobster

    Shobster Notebook Consultant

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    $20K on a T230 series Toyota Celica for me. Drove my uncle's Celica and I could see myself using it for commuting even if it was manual and driving it is fun.
     
  9. MidnightSun

    MidnightSun Emodicon

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    Personally, I'd get a relatively-low-mileage '07-'11 Civic Si Coupe :p

    Out of those that you listed, though, the most fun to drive would probably be the Golf or Impreza, but the former is quite unreliable. The safest and most reliable choice would be the Fit Sport, although I too feel that its ride is pretty rough.
     
  10. Tsunade_Hime

    Tsunade_Hime such bacon. wow

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    Fit ride quality isn't as bad a stock 240SX suspension. Also the coilovers I plan on getting are...even worse. You literally feel every bump in the road and more. Course a Fit is not Jaguar ride quality..
     
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