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Which Hatchback?

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  • backybacky Twin CitiesPosts: 18,784
    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: 18,784
    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.

    http://m.focusfanatics.com/forum/showthread.php?t=261585

    I just test drove a SE hatch today. Wish I had thought to try this out.
  • backybacky Twin CitiesPosts: 18,784
    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 Viva Las CrucesPosts: 41,884
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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.

    Options:

    Honda
    - 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
    VW
    - 1980s RAbbit
    Suzuki
    - SA310
    - 1989 Swift
    - Forsa
    Chevrolet
    - 2000 Metro
    - 1988 Sprint Metro
    - Spring ER
    Ford
    - 1990 Ford Festiva
    Nissan
    - 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: 18,784
    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: 6,059

    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: 18,784

    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.

  • PF_FlyerPF_Flyer Pennsylvania Furnace, PAPosts: 6,059

    I'll have to give it a look!

    @backy said: 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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  • backybacky Twin CitiesPosts: 18,784
    MT has a comparo of compact 5-door hatches in their November issue: Golf TSI, Mazda3 Grand Touring (2.5L), Forte5 SX T-GDI, Elantra GT, and Focus Titanium. All were 6ATs. (They said Subaru couldn't supply an Impreza with the required equipment, which included nav, and Mitsubishi couldn't supply a Lancer hatch at all--not surprising, as Mitsu sells, what, maybe 100 of those a year in the USA?)

    Interestingly, and somewhat predictably, the finish order was in reverse order of introduction, i.e. the newest designs first. I think I probably would have ranked them the same. But the prices! The least expensive car was the Elantra GT, at $26,485. The most expensive was the winner, the Golf, at $28,810. Nearly $30k for a compact hatch!

    Three of these cars are at the top of my list for my next car in early 2016. Well, not exactly these. I'm planning on getting a gently used (preferably CPO) car, somewhere around half the price of the comparo cars. That means getting the previous-gen Golf or Mazda3i hatch (Skyactiv version), also those or the Elantra GT would be lesser trims, and with a stick. If I'm going to pay nearly $30k for a car, it won't be a compact hatch. Heck, a new A3 starts at $30k well-equipped. :o
  • PF_FlyerPF_Flyer Pennsylvania Furnace, PAPosts: 6,059
    backy said:

    If I'm going to pay nearly $30k for a car, it won't be a compact hatch. Heck, a new A3 starts at $30k well-equipped. :o

    Amen! Color me...errr... frugal, yea, that's the ticket! Our 2014 Versa Note is the most we've ever paid for a new car at a scratch over $15k



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  • backybacky Twin CitiesPosts: 18,784
    The most I've ever paid for a new car (purchased, vs. leased) is $13.2k, for a loaded 2004 Elantra GT hatch ($17.4k list). Just turned the title over to one of my sons for his college graduation present. Still runs great. All my new cars since then have been leased, but I've bought several used cars since then too. My total payments right now on a 2005 Mazda6i Sport hatch (purchased 16 months ago), a 2013 Rio5 (leased), and a 2013 Sonata GLS (leased) are $328. Frugal is my color also. I don't like spending more money on a car than I need to. Too many other, more important things to do with my money... kids' college funds, retirement funds, mortgage, charities etc. Took care of my Bimmer Fix a few years ago with a used 328Ci ($12k), so got that out of my system. :)

    Anyway, a gently used prior-gen Golf or Mazda3i, or a gently used Elantra GT, would be more than enough car for me. Fun to drive, economical hatch with plenty of creature comforts. I don't need all the technogadgets they put into cars nowadays.

    How do you like your Note?
  • PF_FlyerPF_Flyer Pennsylvania Furnace, PAPosts: 6,059
    We really like the Note. We're disappointed you couldn't get the manual tranny with any of the convenience packages like power windows and door locks, so this is our first non-manual since 1979. It' the wife's car and she drives a LOT, so some of those convenience items are must haves. The 40 mpg we're getting out of the CVT is kind of nice though. My car is a 2012 Versa with a 6 speed that gets about 33 mpg mixed

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