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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:
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).
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.
Moderator - Hatchbacks & Hybrid Vehicles
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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