Which Car Should I Get?

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

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  1. booboo12

    booboo12 Notebook Prophet

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    Out of the 3 you selected I'd choose the Mazda3 or Focus. Veloster's not much fun to drive, despite the looks.

    The Cruze Eco isn't bad either, classy looks, decent interior, and the best driving Cruze in the lineup. The auto transmission can be a bit pigheaded in terms of programming for some drivers tastes though, i'd at least test drive it to see if you like it.

    Avoid Forte, it's about to get a major redesign to make it competative in the segment again. Elantra's nice but it might be tough to hit 40 mpg. My parents have a 05 hyundai that's been rock solid so the reliability has improved but they still need to get the driving dynamics down pat: if you really like driving, you may be disappointed.

    The new impreza is pretty nice. Somewhat swanky interior, (was admittedly disappointed by the use of a textured piece of hard plastic on the doors where one would expect fabric: you made the dash and door tops soft touch Subaru, why not hit one out of the park and go the whole way??) handsome styling and great mpg for a awd car. If you don't need awd though due to your climate, you might do better looking at alternatives.

    If you'll do mostly highway driving, a diesel (the Jetta diesel has a decent powertrain, only thing holding it back is the awful interior, and higher ownership costs (fuel and maintenance if you keep the car after the 3 year free maintenance goes away)) might be a good choice over a hybrid which tends to do better mpg wise in the city.
     
  2. visiom88

    visiom88 Notebook Evangelist

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    I currently drive a combination of 60% rural, 30% highway, and 10% city driving.

    I am leaning on Mazda 3. From numerous reviews I've watched, Mazda gets better average mileage out of those three, and mostly praised for its ride quality and responsiveness. Veloster's 7-inch screen is great along with other goodies, but I doubt that I'll use those features often.

    I'm going to a shopping at dealerships today. I will report back later. :)
     
  3. SemiExpert

    SemiExpert Notebook Consultant

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    The Cruze has the highest cost of ownership in its class according to Consumer Reports - probably due to poor resale values. Quality is also very suspect, since there was a recall for steering wheels potentially falling off while driving the Cruze. Probably a good car to avoid.

    There's a big difference in the driving dynamics of an Accent as compared to a Sonata, with the Elantra falling somewhere in between. Overall, Kias and Hyundais are becoming decent cars, but you also have to pay a decent price for them these days. The only real sticking point is that a lot of Kia and Hyundai dealers got their franchises back in the bad old days of low quality Korean cars, so the dealers aren't always up to the same level as the product.


    It's best to avoid all of the CVT Subarus. As far as the current Impreza, it's slower than the old model, mostly in an attempt to improve dismal fuel economy. Any Subaru starts with a fuel economy disadvantage over comparable FWD cars, due to the weight and friction inherent in even the best AWD system.



    Diesel is more expensive than gasoline, diesels require more maintenance and still stink up your garage, and even your house, if its attached to your garage. There's a reason why diesels still aren't very popular in the United States.
     
  4. visiom88

    visiom88 Notebook Evangelist

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    Test drove Mazda 3i Touring, Veloster, Focus SE, and Cruze 1LT today. Mazda 3 was the best performer, period. While on the test drive, I went to this rural driveway nearby where my Camry always struggles with humongous body roll, and it was ridiculously easy with Mazda 3. I mean, the only other car I've found this easy to drive there was a friend's BMW 3 series -- it's that good. Among the four, I think Mazda 3 offers the sweetest balance between handling and comfort. The electronic steering was nicely weighed and precise, the engine also had plenty of power, and even with spirited driving it produced 33-36 mpg according to the trip computer. The cabin was quiet, seats were comfortable with sort of a grab, and while the center console was a bit crowded, it wasn't hard to get used to.

    Veloster was great, too, but the road noise was quite loud and it definitely lacked power for my taste (for the engine to do "something," I had to rev it high and I think that would affect its mileage quite a lot). The suspension was well-tuned that it had no problem with attacking corners in that same driveway, but the steering was drop-dead in center and it was as if I was playing a video game. While it excelled in interior and exterior design, I wish the driving was more refined, and it had more space in the backseat. And no, I don't think I'd use that 7-inch screen often, or at all.

    Focus felt much similar to Mazda 3 as it shares the same platform while queued slightly more on ride comfort than handling. As expected, the DCT was just... fatiguing and confusing to apprehend just like its exterior design. While negligible, the braking was a bit tricky that I often jerked the car trying to find at what point of brake throttle the brake "actually" engages.

    Cruze was not a "bad" car, but it had nothing appealing over the other three. The body roll was significant and the engine seemed to wait at least one full second before doing anything on throttle. The interior was good but the seat wa I think I'd buy this car only if I really, definitely, and strictly need to buy a Chevy. In fact, if I were to buy Cruze, I'd rather just keep my Camry.
     
  5. daniel_g

    daniel_g Notebook Consultant

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    I'll put my 2 cents, if you are in DC, why the heck are you looking at highway ratings. Look at city ratings then divide by two. :p

    There is a veloster somewhere near my area, it's certainly an eye turner, but I often wonder how visibility is while backing up (it's like a little rear windshield on the bottom and a larger one on top, dunno how that combination works out)

    If you liked the mazda, go with the mazda and don't look back. Insurance may be a bit more, but you'll know you made the right choice.
     
  6. booboo12

    booboo12 Notebook Prophet

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    Nice! Getting out there and drivng is one of the best things people do when car shopping, you'd be surprised how many don't do this important step.

    The Mazda sounds like a winner this go round. I'm always a bit wary of on board MPG meters as I find some to be a Tad optimistic, but the mileage seems decent. Was the 3 you tested a SkyActiv model by any chance?

    Velosters definitely not a quick one, here's hoping the Turbo will solve that particular issue.

    DCT'S in general will take people some time to get used to. The feel is definetly different from a "slushbox" automatic. That said, I've heard that Ford's system isn't the smoothest around although updates are helping. IIRC, The Focus and 3 are no longer related (the last us focus wasn't related either but the last euro one was...) but both indeed are aimed at a bit more sporty feel.

    I don't know if your Cruze had the Turbo...if so, you likely experienced a bit of Turbo lag. :( The Cruze is definetly a more "mature" driving experience. If you liked how the Camry drove (sounds like you don't :p) you'd have likely liked the Cruze especially in the trim you test drove.

    Sorry, I ramble. :p

    think you narrowed things down a bit though?
     
  7. visiom88

    visiom88 Notebook Evangelist

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    My job is in DC, but I live in Northern VA and my commute is mostly rural. I also hyper-mile except during merging. For today's test-drive though, I pushed them quite a bit for the sake of test-drive. :)
    The rear visibility was surprisingly good. I had no trouble adjusting to it. Overall its design is aimed at usefulness and youth, so I'd recommend it to someone who wants style, has no more than 1 passenger, and doesn't need power to merge on highways.
    Yup, it's a SkyActiv model with blue accents everywhere.
    Cruze 1LT comes with 1.4L turbocharged engine and it lags at inconsistent RPM ranges. It drove me crazy because at one point it would give a boost at mid-range, and then later it would wait until high-range rpm in the same gear. It felt like the car was telling me "ehhh, I'll wait on this one just a bit cuz' I feel like it."

    The ride was quite good, but I test-drove it after driving Mazda and it felt like a waterbed.
    Definitely. I've decided to go with Mazda, and that marks the beginning of the journey for the best price (Oh joy!). The Mazda dealer I visited today had a horrible manager who appraised my Camry like a turd and wouldn't give me a rebate that all other Mazda dealers offered. He didn't even care when I just walked out.
     
  8. saturnotaku

    saturnotaku Notebook Nobel Laureate

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    Actually, the Focus and Mazda 3 don't share the same platform. They never have in North America. The 3 is based on the old European-market Focus, which was the same as the now-discontinued Volvo S40. The 2012 Focus is Ford's new global compact-car architecture.
     
  9. MINIz guy

    MINIz guy Notebook Consultant

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    I would get the Mazda3 Skyactiv out of your choices. That 6-speed manual is amazing with short, solid throws. The engine has pep too while it gets amazing gas mileage. I didn't mind the interior of it and I came from a BMW X5.

    I drive a 2012 Subaru Impreza 2.0i now with a 5-speed. The transmission is rubbery feeling compared to the Mazda and there isn't as much usable pep in the engine while also lacking an overdrive gear for highway cruising. I liked the slightly heavier steering weight of the Impreza over the Mazda3 as I really like heavy steering, like my old X5. The steering is still very light, but not ultra-light like the Mazda3 or GTI. Interior quality doesn't scream economy car to me and I don't really find anything wrong. I am chasing a road noise issue on the Impreza though but it may just be my car.
     
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