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Please help me decide between...



  • aredfieldaredfield Posts: 11
    Dear Friends:

    thank you for the informative replies. It was terrific to get a slight disagreement, as it helps me out.

    I will disappoint plekto by saying, when it comes to motor vehicles, I can use all the nannying I can get.

    So, I still have a few questions:

    Did I understand correctly that traction control is part of AWD and if the Subaru I get has AWD, then I have traction control? Is that correct?

    Did I also understand correctly that stability control is not part of AWD?

    So, how can I tell if a Subaru (or any car) has Stability Control? When I look at the Subaru website, I am not seeing it listed.
  • paisanpaisan Posts: 21,181
    Traction control and Stability control are merely marketing items that some companies use. Subaru doesn't prescribe to these marking tactics.

    On the Subarus you get AWD on any of the vehicles.

    If you get one with an Automatic Trans, depending on which one you get will determine how much engine power by default is put to the front axle vs. the rear axle, on a manual tranny you get 50/50 by default. The AWD system will strive to have both the front and rear drive shafts moving at the same speed and will move power front to rear to achive this.

    Subaru also has VDC which controls the side to side power flow, as well as skid control. VDC will use the ABS system as well and throttle control to make sure that both left and right side wheels are turning at the same rate and that the angle that you are turning your wheel at is the way in which the car is moving.

    So to answer your question, VDC is similar to "stability and traction control" rolled into one. The AWD system is also similar to "stability and traction control" as well.

    If I were shopping for the safest subaru I'd be looking at ones with VDC (AWD is standard on all subarus so it's a mute point)

  • kyfdxkyfdx Posts: 91,587
    Did I understand correctly that traction control is part of AWD and if the Subaru I get has AWD, then I have traction control? Is that correct?

    Correct... As paisan noted, there are numerous ways to achieve traction control.. AWD itself connotes traction control.

    Did I also understand correctly that stability control is not part of AWD?

    Also correct.. Stability control is an extra layer of protection to pull a vehicle out of skids (or to stop it from skidding in the first place). It involves shifting power, or using the ABS to brake a specific wheel. This is not something that is automatically included with AWD. (but, it could be standard on some systems).

    IMO, the vast majority of drivers can benefit from stability control, AWD or not...



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  • jaxs1jaxs1 Posts: 2,697
    VDC is Subaru's "marketing" name for stability control.
    Stablility control automatically includes traction control
    Traction control automatically has ABS.
  • aredfieldaredfield Posts: 11
    Thanks everybody! What a help you have been. I will run with Subaru with AWD and VDC
  • aredfieldaredfield Posts: 11
    Just when I thought I had everything settled (AWD w/VDC. Don't need a big car, might as well go with an Imprezza), I get this feedback from a Subaru dealer:

    "I personally do not think that this feature [VDC] helps you unless you have a high output motor. VDC does not activate because the car does not have enough power to go in to a slide under power. But keep in mind this is only my opinion and experience. this is your car, your money and your decision. If you want the VDC system you should go in to a premium package as that will give you that feature along with many other toys/buttons."

    He is trying to get me to upgrade to a Legacy or a Forrester (the new ones are bigger than I want) or maybe a fancier Imprezza.

    Now, I don't know if what he's saying is true or not. I don't want to invest in VDC on a 2.5 Imprezza if it doesn't help me. My goal is maximum safety is snow/ice on slopes. On the other hand, maybe he's just pulling a fast one.


    p.s. this is exactly why I used to buy Saturns. I didn't have to go through this agony!
  • kyfdxkyfdx Posts: 91,587
    Well... I think he's off base..

    True, you probably aren't going to lose control of your base Impreza via applying too much power... but, you could certainly lose control by entering a turn at too high of speed, making an emergency maneuver, etc., etc...

    VDC is a safety option.. Most WRX drivers that want to 4-wheel-drift would turn the VDC off, anyway... ;)

    I think it's a worthwhile option on any vehicle... Whether the premium package holds value for you, you'll have to decide.. If your goal is maximum safety, you should definitely get it.



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  • oregonboyoregonboy Posts: 1,653
    I'm so tight that I squeak, but I think that I would pony-up the $1500 extra for the premium package on an Impreza. (Make mine a blue 5-door, manual trannie). :)

    Premium Package (Optional $1,500):
    Vehicle Dynamics Control (VDC)
    16 x 6.5-inch 12-spoke aluminum-alloy wheels
    Rear disc brakes
    Fog lights
    Body-color side mirrors and door handles
    Incline Start Assist on manual transmission only
    Brake Assist
    Leather-wrapped steering wheel with audio and cruise control switches
    Leather-wrapped shifter handle
    80-watt 10-speaker audio system with 6-disc in-dash CD changer, MP3/WMA capability, SRS Circle Surround Automotive™ audio enhancement, and vehicle speed-sensing volume adjustment
  • kyfdxkyfdx Posts: 91,587
    Good point!!

    Alloys and 4-wheel disc, plus stability control, upgraded stereo w/6 disc changer.... and other goodies...

    I'd want all of those... :)


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  • plektoplekto Posts: 3,738
    My take on it is that it's largely moot if you have a manual transmission. The Manual is locked into 50/50 operation all of the time, nearly perfect weight balance, and there's tons of engine compression when slowing down, so it's hard to actually drive in a manner that makes the rear end want to kick out - unless you really are trying to spin it or doing stupid things.

    The AWD system does a fantastic job of keeping you going straight when there's typical road problems. Pros who drive the things silly don't get the VDC - the salesperson is right, IMO. The car is very sure-footed as it is and doesn't really need the VDC package with that little power. Now, if it was a WRX with the 300HP engine... yeah, maybe so. :P

    Just stay simple. No leather, no bling, no premium package, no sunroof to make your head boil/act like a magnifying glass.

    If you DO want the Premium package, get the Outback Sport for the same price, since it comes with all of that standard. Better resale value and better paint options and so on as well, IMO. Plus, it's raised about an inch to do better off-road - but it's not as good in cornering as a result.

    Yes, this is a car that you must get in manual. Automatic in a car like this is a travesty - like 200 points off of your karma. Not as bad as getting a 911 with automatic, but close.
  • oregonboyoregonboy Posts: 1,653
    Plus, it's raised about an inch to do better off-road -

    I believe that there is only something like 1/10th inch difference in ground clearance between the 2008 Impreza and the Outback Sport. I think that the monotone paint on the Impreza is more attractive (IMHO).
  • steine13steine13 Posts: 2,640
    "I personally do not think that this feature [VDC] helps you unless you have a high output motor."

    Translation: "I don't think I could get you the car before you change your mind, so why don't you buy one of my little cars that I've got sitting here right now?" That's not just wrong, that's daft.

    I've never had a car with VDC or even traction control, so I can't speak from personal experience. The point is that the car senses when you start to slip and slide, like for instance on ice, and starts to selectively apply individual brakes to keep you from losing control.

    I suspect that 1/2 its value derives from the fact that it lets you know via a warning light what it's doing, so you know when you're close to the edge. It's like driving on the freeway and you don't know if it's icy. With ABS, you just make sure nobody is behind you, then you apply the brakes. If you feel the brakes pulsing, you things are slick and you need to slow down. Without ABS, you'll start going sideways almost immediately if there's black ice, for instance, and good luck getting the car back under control.

    VDC is just another tool, and I suspect it's a good one.

    By the way, I doubt you got this feedback from a "Subaru dealer", I suspect it was a salesman... keep in mind, they don't usually know cars... they know how to sell.

  • oregonboyoregonboy Posts: 1,653
    Amen, brother! I think you are spot-on with your take on the "dealer" advice.

    Here in the great Pacific NW, the roads are wet, icy, or snow covered for a fair percentage of the year. Throw in a few wandering Bambis, and it is easy to get sideways, regardless of the vehicles power output! :surprise:

  • jonnyg1jonnyg1 Posts: 2
    Hi Ladies and Gents,

    I commute 100 miles a day, 75% freeway. I drive an aging civic that still gets 35 to 38 MPG, but it's the model year (95) that tends to rust apart, and is on the borderline of costing me too much.

    I'm looking for fuel economy, but fun as well, I need to try to enjoy those miles to maintain sanity. Here's my two final choices:

    VW Jetta TDI Diesel- great fuel economy (45-48MPG) and engine life, not so sporty or fun, but also has the potential alternative fuels?!

    Standard Mini Cooper- Almost 40 MPG, obviously fun to drive, comfortable enough for a guy my size, but what type of car/engine life and reliability are we looking at? I'm having trouble talking myself into a new car only to put 30+ thousand mile a year on it, am I off base there?!!?!

    Any other Suggestions?

    Thanks Jonny :confuse:
  • dtownfbdtownfb Posts: 2,918
    Make sure you factor in the price of the fuel for both of those cars. Diesel costs about a dollar more a gallon here on the east coast and the Mini requires premium fuel.

    I'd run the numbers to see if either is a financial advantage to just buying a used Civic.
  • oregonboyoregonboy Posts: 1,653
    Civics hold their value so well that a new Civic might make more sense. :)
  • british_roverbritish_rover Posts: 8,458
    And a MINI holds its value just as well if not better then a Civic.

    At 30,000 miles a year though resale matters a lot less. That many miles a year just wipes out your resale value too fast.
  • oregonboyoregonboy Posts: 1,653
    And a MINI holds its value just as well if not better then a Civic.

    True, so it may be better to buy either of the two new rather than used. Six years later, at 180k miles, each will retain some value, as opposed to say, a Ford Focus, which would be nearly worthless.

    As an aside, I was recently supprised to notice that the Civic is rated better for highway mileage that a Honda Fit. :)
  • jipsterjipster Louisville, KentuckyPosts: 5,505
    Any other Suggestions?

    A Buick LaCrosse is both sporty, fun, reliable... and good mpg.
  • british_roverbritish_rover Posts: 8,458
    A Buick LaCrosse is neither sporty nor fun, but is reliable with ok mpg

    There fixed that for you.
  • oregonboyoregonboy Posts: 1,653

    I went to the Buick website to find out the EPA mileage estimates for the LaCrosse, and that information is nowhere to be found. :surprise:

    I was able to get it on the Edmunds site: 17/28 for the least expensive, 6-cyl model. Not really comparable to Civics or TDIs. :shades:
  • jipsterjipster Louisville, KentuckyPosts: 5,505
    I was able to get it on the Edmunds site: 17/28 for the least expensive, 6-cyl model. Not really comparable to Civics or TDIs.

    Well... then just drive it on the highway oregonboy. Problem solved. :P
  • jonnyg1jonnyg1 Posts: 2
    Buick's are out of the question.

    Thanks Gents for your comments!! I'm real hesitant to buy new with that kind of milage per year. Although, as british Rover said, if I keep the car about four to five years, it should still have some tradi-in value left, and be in fairly good shape for the miles. My civic now, is worth about $500.

    I like to use the Miles per $ calculation. Estimate cost of a tank and total miles per tank for each vehicle, and then I know how many miles I'm driving per $ spent. The best way I know to compare different fueled vehicles. Now that I know that the Mini takes premium, thanks to you guys, the TDI burry's it. Mini @ approx 8.8 mi/$, and the TDI @ 10.21mi/$ (using Prem=$4.20 and Deisel= $4.75).

    Let me know if my calc doesn't make sense?!?! I know my fuel price is off a little. I guess I'll have to do some calc's for the civic, I own one now, not against them by any means!

    Thank again guys!!!
  • plektoplekto Posts: 3,738
    Heh. The GM 3.8 is solid. It gets a consistent 28-30mpg highway(actual driving at 70mph) if you're light on the pedal.

    It also is cheaper to fix, and the transmission is the same 4 speed that's been made forever, so you can literally get one rebuilt for $1200 all over town.(Camry new models cost $3500 to "fix" by comparison!)

    And they things can be had a year or two used for about 60% of their new price. That buys a lot of gas. ;)

    I'd look at a GrandPrix with the upgraded suspension - it's not a bad car. 1 year old for $12-14K if you shop around.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaPosts: 61,411
    I don't see any advantage to owning a diesel at this point in time in America, although that might change in the future; as for reliability, neither the MINI or the VW is particularly outstanding in this department. They both score average, at best.

    Fun factor goes to MINI
    Range between fill-ups goes to VW
    Resale --- both are very good
    Dealer network goes to VW

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  • 2 choices for me:

    $15500- 2008 Hyundai Elantra GLS ($15500 OTD with everything) or
    $12250- 2006 Mazda3i ($12250 OTD with similar features as elantra but 20000 miles)

    I plan to keep either car for 3-4 years max...
    And actually I can afford to put about $5000 down with loan rates about 5% for either of those cars through my CU..

    So what's the better option? Or are they both about the same? I am 22 btw...

    p.s. - I have put this message in used car forum too so sorry if you have to read it twice but i want some expert or real world opinions
  • qbrozenqbrozen Posts: 24,337
    For me, the Mazda wins, hands down. Have you driven both?

    Granted, I have not driven an '08 Elantra, but I would be absolutely shocked if it is nearly as fun to drive as the mazda3.

    '17 F150 Crew 2.7; '67 Coronet R/T; '14 Town&Country Limited; '09 LR2 HSE. 44-car history and counting!

  • suydamsuydam Posts: 3,634
    Not only will the Mazda be more fun, but Mazdas are in general reliable cars and parts for them are not expensive. The fuel economy is a weak point but the Elantra will probably be similar.
    '14 Buick Encore Convenience
    '17 Chevy Volt Premiere
  • dtownfbdtownfb Posts: 2,918
    The Mazda will be more fun to drive. The Elantra will have better fuel economy, warranty, interior space. Of course the Mazda will have lost it's depreciation. Personally, I have trouble driving the Mazda 3 due to the pedal position and center console.

    To be honest, you can't go wrong with either car esp. for the time period you are looking to own. I like buying used in this economy and would go with the Mazda.
  • boomchekboomchek Vancouver, BC, CanadaPosts: 5,314
    I'd go with the Mazda3 as well. Resale alone should be better after 5 years even though the Mazda is still 2 years older. Hyundai has come a long way, but for a 22 year old, you'll have way more fun with the Mazda.

    2007 BMW 328i Sports Pkg

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