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What's the best vehicle for my needs?

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  • Hello everyone,

    I don't drive much -- my three year old Kia Soul has ~15k miles. My lease is up March 1 and I need to find a new car. I have three kids but my wife has a minivan so it needs to fit everyone but doesn't need to be our main kid transportation. In face, like the Soul, I love having a small car for parking, efficiency, etc.

    So, I don't drive much and I don't want to spend a lot ($300-$400/month max), but I do appreciate comfort, not having to worry about repairs, and technology like iPhone and Bluetooth integration.

    I've been looking at the Audi A3, the VW Tiguan, Prius, Mazda...I'm all over the place. Any recommendations on this size/type -- what's better, or worse -- would be greatly appreciated.

    Lastly, I've both financed and leased in the past. I'm open to either but if my main focus is total cost of ownership over three to fours years, it all seems to be similar...

    Ok, thanks so much, any help is greatly appreciated.
  • plektoplekto Posts: 3,738
    edited February 2013
    The best car between the A3 and the Tuguan is actually the Jetta Sportwagen. You can also get one with a TDI engine and get this, a manual transmission if you want.

    A TDI with manual drives almost exactly as fast as a gas engine with automatic in real-world conditions. It's *not* slow and actually is quite fun. VWs are known for excellent manuals as well and most people could learn how to drive one in 5 or 10 minutes. I'd personally rate only Mercedes, BMW, and Honda as better if you can find a manual any more from them, that is. And, yes, despite some complaining, anyone can learn to drive manual. If you drive 5K a year, it's even more of a reason to enjoy every mile, because you're obviously not getting stuck in traffic jams or driving for hours a day.

    The BIG advantage, though, is cost and repairs. Any mechanic can drop a new clutch in a VW. That DSG automatic by comparison is a $4000 repair bill waiting to happen someday. The smart buyer avoids VW and Audis with automatics and gets manuals if they can. Almost every VW and Audi in Europe is sold with manual, and it's not because they love punishment. :P

    TDI and manual is a match made in heaven and it simply crushes the hybrids. Plus, it adds a bit of techno-bling to your life. TDIs are hot, hot commodities as of late and command excellent resale prices (depreciation is almost negligible if the car is in great shape). Total cost to own is therefore amazingly reasonable compared to the standard gas engine models.

    One thing to add - if you just want a normal non-TDI model, VW is offering $200 a month leases until the end of the month.
  • qbrozenqbrozen Posts: 17,194
    With the amount you drive, leasing is a waste of money. Even if you took the lowest amount of miles on your current lease, you've paid for 15k more that you haven't used.

    If you like your Soul, why not buy it out? With those miles, it may be worth more than the buyout, and you've still got 7 years of powertrain warranty on it, right?

    '13 Stang GT; '86 Benz 300E; '98 Volvo S70; '12 Leaf; '14 Town&Country

  • sebring95sebring95 Posts: 3,231
    Agree with gbrozen on this. Leasing almost ALWAYS costs more from a total financial impact, particularly on sub $40k vehicles. Even if you decide you don't want to buy it out and keep it, I would recommend trying to trade it before you turn it in....you may have positive equity compared to the buy-out.

    Have you looked at Mini Coopers? I've thought about one as a run-about and they hold their value pretty well. When you get bored in a couple years you've got a premium low-mileage version to trade/sell.
  • suydamsuydam Posts: 930
    Agree. The Soul is a pretty practical little vehicle. Is there some reason you're not keeping it? That might tell you which direction to go.
  • steverstever YooperlandPosts: 40,120
    A reporter would like to talk to someone under the age of 30 who bought a car within the last few months. Please reach out to pr@edmunds.com by Wednesday, March 20, 2013 if you'd like to help.

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  • sandman_6472sandman_6472 Coral Springs, FLPosts: 2,632
    Totally agree here...keep the Soul. Test drove one a couple weeks back and even have the brochure in the car and it's a nice vehicle for your purposes. In the same position as you...3 kids and do not drive much and have a '06 Civic which I bought with 37.8k on the clock. Work part time now and when I do go in, it's 52 miles round trip so will be putting some mileage on here now. But it's a great little runabout just like your Soul. I actually like the versatility of the Soul and am considering one when I purchase in a few more years.

    I personally love auto trannys as I just want the vehicle to go when needed to so I can just sit back and watch the road, others have opposite viewpoints. Do what fits your needs the best but leasing does seem a bit silly in your case. There are so many nice choices out there...just get what you like that is affordable...personally, I love imports from Japan/Korea as that's all we have in our fleet...all great cars that are "cheap to keep" with no drama. No one wants drama with a vehicle or needs the aggravation really.

    Good luck and by now, you've already made your decision. Hope it was a good one.

    The Sandman :) :sick: :shades:

    2014 Hyundai Tuscon SE/2005 Mazda 3s/2008 Hyundai Accent GLS/2009 Nissan Versa SL hatch

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