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Help Me Choose!

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Comments

  • Stever@EdmundsStever@Edmunds YooperlandPosts: 38,946
    A reporter is looking to talk with anyone in the market right now for a new midsize car. If you fit this description and you’d like to talk with the reporter, please reach out to PR@edmunds.com with your preferred daytime contact info by the end of the day Friday, August 17, 2012.
  • bpizzutibpizzuti Posts: 2,743
    And you did catch the part where the vehicle had to be a hatchback, right? :shades:

    I'm not going to fight the manual/automatic war here. You love manuals, fine, whatever, glad you enojoy them. That's not the point. The poster wants a fun-to-drive automatic. Get over it. :)

    My recommendations stand. Mazda3 SkyActiv, Ford Focus. I suppose the Impreza CAN be fun if you push it hard and use the shift paddles, but it's a bit blah otherwise, Subaru is slowly being Toyotafied. Maybe not so slowly. Might want to give the Veloster Turbo a look, but the Mazda3 and Ford Focus are the two best options right now.
  • plektoplekto Posts: 3,706
    Well, I don't know what to say, then, as there are simply no decent and affordable hatchbacks that make their way to the U.S. as of late. I can think of the BMW 1 and the Mini and the WRX, but those are absurdly expensive.

    It's not that I like manuals so much as it's that a 3000+lb car with a engine that is putting out 140-160lb-ft of torque on a good day is simply going to have its soul sucked dry by adding an automatic to the already tenuous mix.
  • Thanks, all. I'll definitely give the Mazda 3 another look--actually saw one in the street yesterday and questioned the driver who said it handled REALLY well, but the visibility was a bit dicey from the sides--he said there were blind spots... I can, at least, rent a Mazda 3 and give it a whirl--an idea I like way better than doing a test drive. When you rent, you can take the car on highways, hills, etc and spend some time getting a real feel for the drive. BTW, visibility is also an issue for me so not so crazy about the Veloster which has a tiny back window...

    Thanks again.
  • bpizzutibpizzuti Posts: 2,743
    "Fun" is much MUCH more than mere horsepower. Fun is steering, and chassis, and suspension tuning. Horsepower is for people who frankly don't know how to drive and need to cover said deficiency. ;)
  • mr_gonemr_gone Posts: 50
    Well, I don't know what to say, then, as there are simply no decent and affordable hatchbacks that make their way to the U.S. as of late. I can think of the BMW 1 and the Mini and the WRX, but those are absurdly expensive.

    It's not that I like manuals so much as it's that a 3000+lb car with a engine that is putting out 140-160lb-ft of torque on a good day is simply going to have its soul sucked dry by adding an automatic to the already tenuous mix.


    I'm sure you mean well, but your comments are a reflection of what you like and what you would buy to meet your needs -- they're not helpful advice for the OP. No "decent and affordable hatchbacks" other than the BMW 1, Mini and WRX? That's a pretty extreme position to take, considering all the favorable reviews for the Honda Fit, Mazda 2 and 3, Ford Focus and Fiesta, Chevrolet Sonic, and Dodge Dart (mixed reviews, admittedly, for this last one.) You love 6 cylinders and manuals? Fine. But only advocating for cars that have those combinations rather than what the person seeking advice established as her priorities is like saying to someone looking for a nice suit, "I really like my Levi's 501s paired with a Woolrich plaid shirt."
  • maxx4memaxx4me Posts: 1,341
    don't forget the Nissan Versa hatchback. There's only a million of them on the road, and a new version is coming out in the next month or so. It is down to the Fit or Versa for me. Great room and visibility in both. The Fit is apparantly fun to drive, and I found the Versa's drive excellent, especially with the CVT.
  • If you can't think of any recommendations that fit the member's desires and price range, then the best thing to do is remain silent. It's somewhat insulting to tell a shopper that the vehicles they're considering aren't "decent," and that they basically have to exceed the budget that they have available or have consciously decided to spend on a vehicle, in order to get a vehicle that meets YOUR desires, not theirs.

    Need help navigating? kirstie_h@edmunds.com - or send a private message by clicking on my name.

  • THanks all! I wasn't insulted by it, btw. It just wasn't very useful info.

    Re: the Versa. I actually rented one a couple of weeks ago and LOVED LOVED LOVED the steering (and visibility.) What I didn't like was, the power. It felt like it was really *pushing* just to go up small inclines. But aside from that, it was a pleasure to drive. Truthfully, if I can find a car that has that type of steering and visibility with a bit more power, I'm good (aside from safety, etc.) I'm interested to see how they update the Versa. And not for nothing, a good friend owns one (just bought it a year ago) and she and her hubby love it.
  • bpizzutibpizzuti Posts: 2,743
    Nissans are pretty nice, I just can't forgive them for not making a Sentra hatch. :shades:

    You know, I don't know if premium gasoline turns you off, but the Juke might be worth checking out also. AWD, turbo engine, it's on the heavy side for such a small vehicle but it's very peppy and can be lots of fun, particularly when using the manual shift mode to keep the engine on boil. And AWD gives tons of grip (they never send us non-AWD versions up here in the Northeast).

    Hey, if you'll be at a Nissan dealer anyway, worth looking, right?
  • maxx4memaxx4me Posts: 1,341
    edited August 2012
    Thanks for that update on your impressions on the Versa hatchback. For a hard plastic, assembled in Mexico (with no Renault parts to my knowledge) economy car, I was amazed at the ride. The steering, brakes and visibility are all A+ I also like the fact that one can find an SL with the premium package that will put the phone buttons on the steering wheel, all without breaking the bank. When I checked out the engine, I did not quite reconcile how I would take the oil filter out. My hands could just get around the filter from the top of the engine. If from the bottom, I believe I would have to remove the plastic apron to get access. If so, that would be a bummer.
  • plektoplekto Posts: 3,706
    The problem is that the person in question wants something new, a hatchback, automatic, and inexpensive. That also is sporty and handles well.

    That segment exists in the U.K. ("hot hatch") but is just not available in the U.S. currently. If she is willing to entertain sedans, then it's a whole other ball game. I've personally never bought a car new - I always get it a few years old and let the original owner eat the depreciation. I also get a car that is a couple of steps up from the same price econobox, with more features, more safety, and an overall better driving experience. 15-20K buys you a very very nice used or CPO car these days.

    Note - there IS a used car that would be perfect for her in every way. Go check out a Lexus IS300 Sport Cross. It's as close to a Japanese version of a late 90s BMW or Mercedes wagon as you'll ever find. They made these from 2001- 2005 and it's fantastic. And reliable. I personally consider it to be more of a hatchback than a wagon, since it's really just the sedan with a somewhat squared off rear end.

    It reminded me (the IS300 as well), of driving a E36. Very solid, very sporty, and very "European" in how it felt like an extension of your body. The model that came after it lost all of that sport sedan magic, somehow. It felt like a Toyota again (and still does)

    You should be able to get a low mileage one owner example for 12-15K.
  • tifightertifighter WAPosts: 1,350
    Re: the Versa. I actually rented one a couple of weeks ago and LOVED LOVED LOVED the steering (and visibility.) What I didn't like was, the power. It felt like it was really *pushing* just to go up small inclines.

    The Versa hatch comes with two different auto trannies depending on the trim level. The base 4 speed auto is a dog, and that's the one most rental companies carry. The uplevel SL comes with the CVT; it definitely has more pick up. Whether you like the CVT is entirely subjective, but its worth a look.
  • backybacky Twin CitiesPosts: 18,624
    How can ANY used car be "perfect in every way" when someone is looking for a NEW car?!

    Re no inexpensive hatches available with automatics that are sporty and handle well... a lot of this is subjective, but with the average price of a new car in the USA about $31,000, a new car for around $20k could be considered "inexpensive". And if so, I think there's at least 3 if not 4-5 cars that qualify, ranked in my personal order based on "sportiness":

    1) Mazda3
    2) Golf
    3) Focus
    4) Elantra GT
    5) Impreza

    I intentionally didn't add the Veloster because it appears the OP is looking for a 4-door hatch.

    "Sporty" doesn't necessarily mean fast. None of these cars is particularly fast/quick, especially with an automatic. But they can be fun to drive, especially the top 3. The automatic will sap some fun-to-drive out of all of them, but it's a firm requirement here so that's the way it is.
  • bpizzutibpizzuti Posts: 2,743
    Backy, we live in a culture where for some "sporty" is equated to big nasty V8s that go in a straight line really fast, and occasionally make a very wide left turn. There's just no reasoning with such people. :shades:

    I heartily agree on your first three choices, though I'd specify the Golf TDI and skip the base model. I do have to take slight exception to that Elantra GT you've got up there, that's REALLY a stretch for me. it's a reasonably comfortable cruiser but didn't feel tossable to me at all. Hyundai's aiming more for the Toyota crowd than the Ford crowd there.
  • backybacky Twin CitiesPosts: 18,624
    You noticed I said 3, "maybe" 4-5?

    The Elantra GT is "sporty" to me. It looks sporty just standing still. With the steering feel (adjustable) dialed up all the way, it feels secure on the road. As great as the Mazda3? No. But we're talking slushboxes here, folks, meaning I think utility/comfort win out over sheer sportiness. And the Elantra GT beats the Mazda3 hands-down on utility & comfort.

    If the Elantra GT isn't sporty to you, I can't see how the Impreza would be sporty, especially the 2.0L CVT variant we are discussing here. Very nice hatch, but not all that sporty in my book.
  • bpizzutibpizzuti Posts: 2,743
    Well, with the Impreza, the low mounted engine and the AWD give it tossability, even with a relatively soft suspension and a *shudder* CVT. It's underpowered though, and the steering is overboosted (then again, so is everyone not named Mazda, heh). Probably a matter of opinion, but I'd put the Impreza just above the Elantra GT on the sportiness scale. Not by much, mind you, but I would.
  • busirisbusiris Posts: 3,447
    Re: Versa...

    My daughter has an 09 SL hatchback, CVT, bought new, closing in on 70k miles.

    You can read my posts about it on the Nissan Versa section.

    Great on gas, and most would probably say it has excellent pickup for the size engine.

    She had a bearing noise issue in the transmission, but it never stranded her, and Nissan did a total transmission replacement at 49k miles. Zero costs to her. No issues since.

    My biggest complaint is that the door panels are poorly upholstered and the adhesive covering the armrests has "released". That shouldn't have happened in a 3-5 year old car that has been maintained well. No other interior issues. Comfortable front seats...

    No, it doesn't have he ride or power of many other nicer cars, but then again, it doesn't have the associated costs, either.

    If I was in the market, I would probably wait a bit for the new, revamped hatch to hit the markets.
  • I currently own a 2003 Mazda Protege with 153k miles. I've replaced just about everything in it except the engine, but to it's defense it was a former rental car that my parents bought from Enterprise. It also has quite a bit of cosmetic damage from having been hit twice. I think it's just about time for a new car, one of my choosing finally. I'm looking for a sedan (for when I have kids), fairly roomy, reliable, and at least 32mpg since my Protege gets 28mpg. Here are the cars that I've researched and like in terms of looks. These cars are also in my price range ($14k or below):

    Nissan Sentra
    Mercury Milan
    Toyota Corolla (2010-2011)
    Mazda3 (2008-2009)
    Chevrolet Impala (2008-2010)
    Chevrolet Malibu (2008-2009)
    Hyundai Elantra (2010)
    Suzuki SX4 (2008)
    Kia Rio (2010)
    Saturn Aura
    VW Jetta
    Honda Civic

    I'm looking for opinions on these cars, but I'm open to suggestions as well.
  • maxx4memaxx4me Posts: 1,341
    Well, I would very much recommend a used Hyundai Elantra Touring. The room in my wagon is fantastic. We get 27 mpg in/around town and certainly more on the highway. Great car, great warranty, great brakes, visibility, storage, ameneties and again, passenger comfort.
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