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Which Hatchback?



  • backybacky Twin CitiesPosts: 18,682
    I think I found the perfect hatch for you: Lancer Sportback. It has the fastback profile you want, comes with a stick, and isn't too expensive (under $18k with current incentives). I saw one the other day at my local Hyundai/Kia/Mitsu dealer when I brought my Elantra GT hatch in for an oil change. Pretty good looking hatch. Rare, also, if that is a plus for you.
  • backybacky Twin CitiesPosts: 18,682
    I saw the new Forte hatch while at my Hyundai/Kia dealer to have my Sonata serviced. It was a white EX, and covered with snow/ice, but even in plain white I really liked the lines of the car--reminded me of my '04 Elantra GT, and also the Impreza hatch. The back is a fastback style, but not so extreme to eliminate rear headroom. Could not see the interior due to the ice coating, but the sticker was about $19.5k and that was pretty loaded, with the 6AT, moonroof, Homelink, remote start, and wheel locks (standard alloys on the EX). I could do w/o all of those options except the AT, although I would not mind the moonroof. So l could see getting one of these for under $16k w/o the extras, once supply builds. Will have to take one for a drive once the weather improves--almost 4 feet of snow so far and it's not even winter yet!
  • backybacky Twin CitiesPosts: 18,682
    edited January 2012
    Kinda dead here. But this is a pertinent topic for me as I am working on narrowing down the choice of my next car among several compact hatches. The main candidates right now, in alphabetical order, are:

    Ford Focus SE 5MT: Plusses are a slick 5-speed stick, composed chassis, excellent EPA fuel economy numbers, and a flat load floor. Also it will likely be the lowest priced car (if purchased new) with available discounts and incentives. Minuses are, I'm not crazy about the dash design, the rear seat is a little tight for legroom, and the standard wheel covers aren't very nice looking (and alloys are an expensive option).

    Mazda3i Touring 6MT: Plusses are a sweet 6-speed short-throw stick, great handling, excellent EPA fuel economy numbers, standard alloys, and standard Bluetooth. Minuses are limited exterior colors (no red for example), no USB port, and price is high in the group.

    Subaru Impreza 2.0i Premium 5MT: Plusses are AWD, good handling (based on a drive of a Limited sedan), standard alloys and Bluetooth, and a flat load floor. Minuses are low EPA fuel economy for the group, and a high price for the group.

    VW Golf 2-door 5MT: Plusses are great interior quality, composed ride and handling, exceptional driver's seat, smooth shifter, low list price for the group, and 3 years of covered maintenance. Minuses are only 2 doors, low EPA fuel economy for the group, limited interior colors (black only), and a center console and Bluetooth are extra cost ($600, which includes bun warmers).

    I've driven all of these except the Impreza, which I've only driven in Limited sedan trim with the CVT. The ride of that car was a little harsh, but it had 17" alloys vs. the 16" wheels on the Premium.

    FE is important in the decision, but I've found I can't go only by the EPA numbers. For example, when I tested the Golf I got over 40 mpg on the highway, at 60-65 mph. That plus my experience owning a somewhat similar car (2007 Rabbit) tells me I should be able to exceed the car's EPA ratings. The Focus exceeded its EPA highway rating in my test (mostly highway), while the Mazda3 was just under but it was a cold day and my route included some suburban streets in addition to highways. The Impreza Premium also exceed its EPA highway number in my test (mostly highway).

    One advantage of the Golf is that it's available as a VW CPO car with the same design as the current car, at a considerable savings over a new car. The Focus, Impreza, and Mazda3 Skyactiv are all brand-new so would not be easily available as a used car.

    Next I plan to drive the Impreza 5MT, as soon as I can find one!
  • No "sub-compacts" in the group for consideration, backy? That new 2012 Kia Rio hatch kinda caught my eye when I drove by the dealership the other day. Appears to be leap years ahead of the old Rio. Direct injection engine hitting 40mpg and all and the pricepoint appears to be very reasonable. Not sure what the Big Sis Hyundai is up to with their full MSRP prices of late. Could today's Kia be yesterday's Hyundai in the "value" department? One problem though on the Rio, you seem to be looking only at MT's. Unfotunately one can only get the manual in the lower level LX version. Not the upper level EX and SX models. Grrrrr... :mad:
  • backybacky Twin CitiesPosts: 18,682
    edited January 2012
    No. The Accent SE was high on my list until I saw the IIHS crash test results... not good. I'd rather spend a little more and get a more crash-worthy car, also a little big bigger car (more cargo room, sometimes more rear leg room). Or I could actually spend LESS than on the Accent SE and get a CPO Golf with low miles. :)

    The Rio5 dropped off my list after I drove it (and it didn't have a good IIHS test result either). Rougher ride than the Accent, and less cargo room, plus I like the interior of the Accent better. I don't need all the extra features a loaded Rio5 offers. For that kind of money, I'd rather go for the Mazda3/Golf/Impreza/Focus.

    Fit is too noisy for me (but I love the handling and roominess), and I don't like the interior of the Sonic or Yaris.
  • puffin1puffin1 Posts: 276
    The Vw 2.5 engine is sweet and the most reliable VW has. You can't trash it really . I have a 5pd and averaging 23 to 34 and it's a rocketship.
    However. since the 2013 model is going to be a !.8t. I'm afraid of of it do to its past prblems.
    So, I'm going with the Elantra HB Touring limited ,if it comes here. the only probem is ,how do I modify it for a lumbar drivers seat?
    The Mada 3 Gt HB has it all, but I can't get by the smile.
  • backybacky Twin CitiesPosts: 18,682
    How do you know the future "Elantra HB Touring Limited" won't have an adjustable lumbar support? The current Elantra Touring does, as an option on the base GLS or standard on the SE.

    Since I can get a low-miles CPO Golf for significantly less than even a new Focus SE hatch, the used Golf will be enticing when it comes to buy. The main problem is, in order to get a regular Golf with a stick I'd need to get the 2-door, which is less convenient than 4 doors ala Focus or Mazda3. But I like the looks of the 2-door Golf better than the 4-door.
  • Kirstie_HKirstie_H Posts: 10,824
    Are you a 20-something who recently bought a new car or who is right now in the market for a new car? A reporter is looking to talk with young Americans to see what they are looking for in their next new vehicle. Please contact with contact information and a brief description of your experience by Friday, January 20, 2012.

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  • puffin1puffin1 Posts: 276
    I didn't know it was a Touring Limited. I thought it was an Elantra limited HB.
    I'll have to chek it out again.
    I hope Hyundai's good rep doesn't boost the prices too much.
  • backybacky Twin CitiesPosts: 18,682
    edited January 2012
    Hyundai calls the current Elantra hatchback "Elantra Touring". There is no Limited trim now, just GLS and SE. Maybe the next Elantra hatch will have a Limited trim, who knows.

    I suppose you could hope for Hyundai to crash and burn, so its car prices would go down. But I'd rather pay more. The good news is, as the price of the new cars is going up, so is resale value.
  • backybacky Twin CitiesPosts: 18,682
    I checked out the latest compact hatches at my local auto show today. It's helpful to be able to compare them side-by-side-by-side within a few minutes of each other.

    The big disappointment today was that Hyundai didn't have the new Elantra GT at the show. But Toyota had the new Prius C available for sitting in. I was not impressed. The interior screamed "cheap", especially the plastics, the rear seat was barely tolerable, and there isn't much cargo room. For the money, I'd rather go for a slightly-used Prius in a hybrid, or something like the Mazda3i Touring in a non-hybrid.

    I also got my first sit in the Leaf. The driving position was fine, and I started thinking how nice it would be to not put any gas into one of my cars. Then I sat in the back. The floor is very high (or seat very low) so my knees were sticking up in the air). So the Leaf is a no-op.

    With today's experience and my other sits and drives, here's how my list shakes out as of now (with the Elantra GT to be slotted in as soon as I can drive it):

    1. Mazda3i Touring 6MT - great blend of handling, composed ride, fuel economy, slick shifter, acceptable rear-seat room, cargo room, and interior quality. No major minuses, although it doesn't have a USB port, and there's a limited color palette (no red).

    2. VW Golf 5MT - also a great blend of handling, composed ride, slick shifter, acceptable rear-seat room, cargo room, and interior quality. A big plus is that it is available as a CPO car for thousands less than the Mazda3i Skyactiv. The only major minus is fuel economy, although in my test drive and also in my experience with a 2007 Rabbit, the 2.5L does a lot better in real-world than the EPA sticker.

    3. Subaru Impreza Premium CVT - has the big advantage of AWD and also has a decent ride, predictable handling, and good FE especially for an AWD car. Also good cargo room. Minuses are, I'd need to get it with a CVT because the 5MT was too loud, thus it will be higher priced than the others. And its interior quality is not on the same level as the Mazda's or VW's.

    4. Toyota Prius (2010+, used) - has the big advantage of high FE, also the best rear leg room of any of these cars and a comfortable ride. Biggest minus is it won't provide the driving pleasure of the Mazda3 or Golf.

    5. Focus SE 5MT - has nice blend of composed ride and sharp handling, and decent fuel economy. Shifter is pretty good too. That's about it. It may have the lowest price of any of the as-new cars because of incentives, but it also has the tighest rear seat of any of these cars, the least-usable cargo area (because rear seat sticks up so much when folded). Also the interior has some cheap bits and I am not a fan of the dash styling.
  • gambit293gambit293 Posts: 406
    So, apparently, the Focus hatchback's rear seats do fold flat, but it's just a pain in the butt to pull off initially.

    I just test drove a SE hatch today. Wish I had thought to try this out.
  • backybacky Twin CitiesPosts: 18,682
    edited March 2012
    OK, thanks! I actually thought this might be how it folds flat and looked for some strap or what-not to unlatch the seat bottom, like my 2004 Elantra GT has. I couldn't find anything and my son was ready to get going, so I gave up. The new Elantra GT has this feature also, as does my current drive, a 2010 Sentra. But it's not as convenient as on the Mazda3 and (especially) the Impreza, which have rear seats that fold flat (nearly flat on the Mazda) w/o lifting up the seat bottom.

    One thing my old Elantra has that I like is, there's a place under the rear seat cushion to store the headrests, so they are out of the way when the seat is folded, instead of putting them in the rear footwells as in the linked-to photo.
  • steverstever YooperlandPosts: 40,016
    A reporter is interested in talking to someone who had trouble getting a car loan but finally had success within the last couple of months. If you fit this description, please contact with a brief description of your experience and your preferred contact information by the end of day Tuesday, July 17, 2012.

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  • riabovbriabovb Posts: 2
    Hello All,

    I've saved up about 2,500 for my first car, and I've been researching and browsing used car possibilities over the last few weeks.
    I'm twenty-four, licensed, from NYC.

    I wanted to ask for any recommendations and/or feedback for the list of cars I've come up with for possible purchase. I am concerned, for better or for worse with the following order: mpg, number of total miles, safety ratings, handling, storage space, etc.
    (I've seen some of the models below in my price range).
    I am also looking to criss-cross the country with this car.


    - 1984 Civic 1500S HB
    - 1986-1987 CRX HF
    - 1992 Civic Hatchback VX
    - 1993 Civic Hatchback VX
    - 1994 Civic Hatchback VX
    - 1995 Civic Hatchback VX
    - 1987 Honda: Coupe HF 4 Cyl 52/57
    - 1995 VX Hatchback
    Geo Metro
    - 1994 XFI
    - 1980s RAbbit
    - SA310
    - 1989 Swift
    - Forsa
    - 2000 Metro
    - 1988 Sprint Metro
    - Spring ER
    - 1990 Ford Festiva
    - 1983 Nissa Sentra (Datsun)

    I'd love to hear from people who own or have owned these cars, and could tell me from personal experience what they think of the model they drove.

    Many, Many Thanks!
  • barkydogbarkydog Posts: 45
    If you are interested in an Aveo, the year of 2009 onward marked numerous improvements over the previous years.

    With an automatic transmission, city MPG is only fair, yielding 22-24 MPG no matter how the car is driven. This is due to the way the A/T is programmed and unfortunately there is no way to change that.

    OTOH if you are doing all highway driving, at speeds above 45 MPH, the results are outstanding, as you will get approximately 36-40 MPG even with A/C on.

    Interior (glove box) space is minimal - but interior cargo capacity is very spacious on the hatchback.

    Considering that it's an inexpensive car it's quite good overall - depending on your expectations.
  • backybacky Twin CitiesPosts: 18,682
    edited March 15

    While at the Greater Twin Cities Auto Show today, I scoped out all the latest vehicles and came up with short lists for my next new car (also my wife's, she lets me do the car selecting & buying as she hates to do that). At the end I had 4 cars on my short list, all small hatchbacks. In decreasing order of preference:

    • 2015+ Honda Fit (most likely base with 6MT)
    • 2015+ VW Golf (most likely base 2dr with 6MT)
    • 2014+ Elantra GT (most likely base with 6MT)
    • 2014+ Mazda3i (most likely Sport with 6MT)

    The Mazda3 is last mainly because a Sport stick is $20k and has a cramped rear seat. These rankings may change once I've driven all of them close together. I've driven the Elantra GT a couple of times and the Mazda3i sedan once; the Fit and Golf aren't even for sale here yet. But I loved the looks of the Fit (couldn't sit in it) and the Golf (Audi-esque interior, 1.8T engine).

  • PF_FlyerPF_Flyer Pennsylvania Furnace, PAPosts: 5,854

    We went a while between hatchbacks, but I seem to be fan now. My wife's first new car was a 1979 Datsun B210 hatch, but nothing after that until we got our 2007 Versa. We currently have a 2011 and 2012 Versa and are probably picking up a 2014 Versa Note when we pass along one of the cars to our daughter. All of ours have been 6MT's, although the MT in the Note is only a 5-speed.

    Most surprising to folks that may ride with us is the size of the interior. I have long legs and I can sit in the back with plenty of room even with the front seats all the way back.

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  • backybacky Twin CitiesPosts: 18,682

    The Note does have a very roomy rear seat, leg-wise, but that's the only thing I like about it. Dirt cheap interior, anemic engine, no 6MT and a CVT for an automatic, etc. I like the old Versa hatch better than the Note.

    Why not check out the 2015 Fit instead of the Note? It's got 130 hp, 6 MT, probably unrivaled safety for the class including a standard backup camera, and that nifty interior design. Interior trim is greatly improved over the current Fit, based on what I saw at the auto show.

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