Which Car Should I Get?

Discussion in 'Motorized Vehicles' started by visiom88, Feb 9, 2012.

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  1. visiom88

    visiom88 Notebook Evangelist

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    As my 2001 Camry is showing its age, I'm thinking about trading it in for a new compact hatch or sedan around $18,000. I want a car with low maintenance cost, great gas mileage (40mpg highway), reasonable performance, and sporty yet bearable ride. I've narrowed down my choices down to the following 3 candidates, and I just can't shorten this list any further. Also, if anyone owns any of the following, could you please share your experience and average gas mileage?

    Candidate 1: Mazda 3 SkyActiv
    Pros: Fastest among the candidates, best ride and steering, cabin space, 0.27 drag coefficient.
    Cons: Dated interior design, 16-inch wheels, lowest crash test rating, highest insurance premium.

    Candidate 2: Hyundai Veloster
    Pros: Best interior and exterior design, refined ride, warranty, highest crash test rating, lowest insurance premium.
    Cons: Slower than it looks, backseats lack headroom, 40 mpg only on manual (implies that it is harder to get 40mpg than competitors?).

    Candidate 3: Ford Focus
    Pros: Comfy ride, cabin space, overall build quality in between Mazda 3 and Veloster.
    Cons: Hesitant DCT, reliability still in question, blind spots.
     
  2. Jarhead

    Jarhead 恋の♡アカサタナ

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    First off, I'd suggest that you go out and test drive all three to get your personal opinion on ride feel, responsiveness, etc. You can read all the information you want, but it's still best to experience it yourself :).

    Anyway, I've heard great things about the Mazda and the Focus, namely their "fun to drive" factor. You should ask usapatriot about his experiences driving the Focus.
     
  3. visiom88

    visiom88 Notebook Evangelist

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    @privatejarhead

    Thanks. I'm actually planning on visiting all three dealerships tmrw for a test drive. My biggest concerns are, in fact, the gas mileage and the ability to merge on the beltway in Washington D.C.
     
  4. Tsunade_Hime

    Tsunade_Hime such bacon. wow

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    Have you considered the Fit Sport? Quite possibly one of the best subcompacts out, the Mazda 3 with SkyActiv is a closer contender. I drove my friend's 3 Hatchback, it was quite nice, but I believe she paid close to like 23k for hers.

    The Focus isn't "unreliable" per say, but MOST of the complains have been about the crappy dual clutch transmission they installed. Have you considered driving manual or no?
     
  5. visiom88

    visiom88 Notebook Evangelist

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    Many of my friends recommended Honda Fit, too, but I just don't think it "fits" me: I can't imagine myself walking to the parking lot and finding Honda Fit as my car -- you know, one of those moments when your car looks so lovely that you want to hug it.

    I can drive manual, as my dad drives manual, but DC traffic is too terrible to find any fun out of manual. :/
     
  6. saturnotaku

    saturnotaku Notebook Nobel Laureate

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    Having spent a recent weekend in a Veloster, it is by far the worst vehicle I have ever driven. The ride is brittle, it handles like an SUV (mine had the optional glass roof panel, which adds weight and raises the center of gravity), and it's dog slow. The Hyundai Accent is a far superior car. It has the same powertrain but feels much quicker because it weighs up to 200 lb less. It's rated for 40 mpg regardless of transmission, and can be had as a sedan or very practical hatchback.

    When you're shopping, don't strictly look at the fuel-economy numbers on the sticker. Just because it says 40 mpg doesn't mean you'll get it. Same goes for cars that don't have it - you might do better. I've seen the 2012 Honda Civic A/T break 42 mpg, and that's the non-Eco (HF) version.
     
  7. Tsunade_Hime

    Tsunade_Hime such bacon. wow

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    Ehh I was NOT impressed with the 2012 Civic. Even sloppier handling than the old 06-11 Civic, uber cheap feeling interior. It just doesn't feel like a quality product, AND it is expensive for what it is. I would go for a slightly used last generation Civic.

    But if choosing out of those 3, I'd probably go with the Mazda 3.

    Edit: you live near the DC area? lol yeah DC traffic is awful for stick shift.
     
  8. SemiExpert

    SemiExpert Notebook Consultant

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    This is a 2004 car with a facelift. Do I really believe the Prius-like fuel economy claims? Not really. At least, not in the real world.

    Mazda is also a second tier Japanese company. Don't expect Toyota/Honda reliability or resale values. It's a lame older product with a new marketing twist.

    Sloppy handling, weird styling that you might come to regret, and kinda pricey. This is one that you might regret in a few years. Not a keeper.

    I still don't know how Ford screwed up a dual-clutch gearbox, but they did. It wasn't easy, but it takes a lot of engineering talent to a make an inherently smooth transmission jerky.

    Right now, I think everyone is cheering for Ford. And yes, they do build a good car. Notice, I said, car, singular, not cars, plural. The Mustang. Other than that, I'd stay away.

    The big thing is that you're talking about 40 MPG. Why? Do you do huge annual mileages? I mean 20,000 to 40,000 per year? If so, you can save money by spending a little more for fuel economy. Any no, I'm not talking about a crap car like the Chevy Cruze - that car has the highest cost of ownership in its class according to Consumer Reports. Oh, and there was a recall because the steering wheel might fall off while you're driving it.

    If you need a legitimate 40MPH, the only real way to go is the Toyota Prius. The base model is fairly cheap and well equipped at around $23K. Not a fun car, but a legit 40MPH car, huge resale values, not a lot of fun, but comfy.

    Honestly, you don't really find that many gas hogs these days, unless you move to something that's far above your price range. Even something like a base 4-cylinder Camry is economical enough and cheap for what it is.
     
  9. SemiExpert

    SemiExpert Notebook Consultant

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    DC traffic is the worst. I once made it 15 miles in 2 hours. Yikes.

    I guess the real question is whether you're doing lots of miles or just spending lost of time creeping along, or just sitting stationary. A car that's just idling gets 0 MPH. So, I'm not sure that non-hybrid economy cars have a real world advantage under those driving conditions.
     
  10. Kaelang

    Kaelang Requires more Witcher.

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    I know everyone is raving about how great Hyundai and Kia are now, but I'm still not impressed with the quality of their vehicles. I see a lot that have bits and pieces falling off already, plastic bits breaking, and they are still in general cheap feeling cars.
     
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