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  #1  
Old 02-11-2013
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SchockTherapy SchockTherapy is offline
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Default Car shopping!

So we are thinking it might be time to retire my wife's 20yr old Tercel commuter car and get something new. I know there are some car guys around here so I thought I would get some opinions.

We are looking for a new or near new fuel efficient small car in the $20k range. So far I have looked at Jetta TDI, Golf, Civic, and Mazda 3 Skyactiv.

Right now the Mazda 3 is high on my list. I took one for a drive and it was great fun! It's got a sweet little 6spd manual transmission with a nice short throw that reminds me of my old MR2 tranny. The engine loves to rev, which is a good thing since that is where the power is. I do wonder about the longevity of the Skyactv engine and power train because weight saving is one way they get such impressive mileage numbers, 5-7 L/100km! The engine is also very high compression at 13:1, which is the main efficiency gain. Somehow they figured out how to get it to run on regular gas too. But how long is such a high strung engine going to last?

I we really liked the Jetta TDI, but even a fairly stripped down model pushes our budget. Of course the model we drove was fully loaded, and that one blew the budget right out! "You want $750 for bluetooth? Really?"

We took out a 2010 Golf with the 170hp gas engine for a drive, and it was nice, it went pretty good, but not as nice as the Jetta, and the 170hp would blow the fuel efficiency target. Perhaps a TDI. The problem is adding TDI is the thing that pushes the budget the most, and it is the must have if I go VW.

I have looked at the Civic but haven't driven one yet. There are none currently available in manual. I didn't think much of the dash design. My wife had a hard time being able to see the digital speedo through the wheel even playing with the tilt! (I didn't think anyone did digital speedos any more!)
I will reserve full judgement until I drive one?

Does anyone have any experience with these cars? Any suggestions?
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Old 02-11-2013
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Schnick Schnick is offline
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Friends had a new Jetta TDI in 09 I think, it was OK but standard VW trips to the shop during the warranty period.

Anyone who knows me will know that it pains me to say this, but I suspect that the best car going in this bracket now just might be a Ford. ugh. I was in a Focus Titanium the other day pretty nice car.
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Old 02-11-2013
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Ultraman Ultraman is offline
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We had a 2008 Mazda 3 GT Sedan full load for almost 5 years. Best in class at time, sporty, handles well, high reving engine, thirstier than advertised (12.1L/100km overall). Resale not so good b/c too much supply and 0% interest (or close) on anything new. Cost ~$27K in early 2008 and Trade in was $11K late 2012, but CL was ~$13K asking, so not worth the hassle after tax. We got a BMW 128i which is a great little car, but would have considered another Mazda 3 or just keeping the old one for 5+years.
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Old 02-11-2013
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I had an older TDI and I quite liked it. If driven properly it was incredible on fuel, the problem is that I never drove the thing conservatively which meant that it was pretty hard on fuel. Driving up mountains or hills we would take our Saab 9000 Turbo as it would be quicker and in all honesty better on fuel. I suspect if you lived Saskatchewan were hills are non existent you'd never have to fill the tank...ever. If your wife isn't one to drive with a led foot the diesel cars will save you bundles on fuel and are probably worth the extra money. What's more is they are easily a 15 year car if maintained. The maintenance was expensive and the parts were hard to find BUT this was in '95-99 and they were a little less common. I suspect they're a completely different car now.
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Old 02-11-2013
Gordo Gordo is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ultraman View Post
We had a 2008 Mazda 3 GT Sedan full load for almost 5 years. Best in class at time, sporty, handles well, high reving engine, thirstier than advertised (12.1L/100km overall). Resale not so good b/c too much supply and 0% interest (or close) on anything new. Cost ~$27K in early 2008 and Trade in was $11K late 2012, but CL was ~$13K asking, so not worth the hassle after tax. We got a BMW 128i which is a great little car, but would have considered another Mazda 3 or just keeping the old one for 5+years.
wow that's a brutal depreciation. My dad bought a chevy cobalt, 0 options base car for about 12,000 in 2008, he decided to trade it in. Coastal ford was going to give $9000, I was in shock, Dueuk was $7500. If you go domestic check Ford, they have been producing good products for a couple years now. The domestic guys really want to deal on certain models too.
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Old 02-11-2013
set321go set321go is offline
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Can you get diesel cars out here? If so try the VW bluemotion range your looking at 3-4/100 dont be put off by the small engine size it will have plenty of grunt.
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Old 02-11-2013
foregeek foregeek is offline
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Krikkitman will surely jump in soon, as a member of the CAP. I have been driving a 2010 civic recently... I would almost rather take the bus.
Of the 3, the Mazda would be my first choice for performance and cost. Not sure about long term reliability of the skyactive. Strong aftermarket support too.
Schnick has a point. Keep in mind the focus, Mazda 3, and Volvo 40 were all the same platform. Not any more, but at least some of the fit and finish managed to carry forward.
As for extras, know what you can live without and what you can't. Sunroof; eh. Heated seats; must have! Bluetooth; pretty high on the list.
Test drives in the real world - long ones. It's amazing how quickly a poorly programmed auto tranny will have looking for the nearest cliff.
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Old 02-11-2013
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What Schnick said. Ford is doing some pretty impressive stuff these days.
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  #9  
Old 02-11-2013
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I have to admit I have my biases against Fords. There have been a few Fords in my family in past, and they have all been garbage. Perhaps I should let the grudge go and drive one. I think it would have to be a great deal though.

The 0% financing is a great incentive from Mazda. Free money is pretty appealing!
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  #10  
Old 02-11-2013
Rubato
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I'd favour the Mazda and the Civic. Mazdas are fun to drive but don't seem to hold their value. I've had a few Honda/Acura over the years and like the positive feel on the road and very reliable. Having said that, I haven't driven a Civic in some time. I understand maintenance on VW/Audi is frequent and expensive. I always suggest consulting the consumer reports frequency of repair reports....
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