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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Its time again to replace one of our cars, we will be looking at some small cars in the next week or so taking a few test drives. Some of the cars we will be shopping for I have driven already, but a reminder when comparing them will be helpful. What we will be checking out:

Cruze, Mazda3, Corolla, Focus, Encore, Soul, Dart, Patriot. Hopefull I'll get to take the time to see all of them again. If the Jeep Renegade was available, it would be on the list also, but they aren't here yet.

Right now, my early thoughts on the lead choices would be the Cruze, Mazda 3, and Focus, but I'm going to try to at least sit in (if not drive) the others again.

If anyone is interested in any impressions, I will post them.
 

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I shopped a similar set of compact cars. We went with a Sonic LTZ over the Cruze and absolutely love it. A would suggest taking a look at the Sonic as well. The RS version is nice.
 

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I would have to throw the Golf in there because it's been getting rave reviews.

If you're on a tight budget there is a Golf Launch edition to celebrate the new platform (MK7) that starts in the $18k range and now comes with the 1.8 turbo instead of the boring naturally Aspirated 2.5.

Otherwise you can go up from there with a standard Golf, GTI or even the AWD R.
 

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Do not overlook the Buick Verano. The Verano rates just under the Audi A3 for thousands less. Consumer Reports rating.
Our daughter looked very closely at a Verano before buying her focus, and I test drove it a few times. It is a very nice car, but just a bit too expensive and too far behind the others in fuel economy for us. I do know some people that own them and they like them a lot.
 

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out of curiosity any reason the Impreza is NOT on your list? as I would consider the Impreza as a top runner EX if the Corolla makes the list and also the Honda FIT/Civic are worth a LOOK
and where I like the CIVIC is on sale again making the price point pretty good
 

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out of curiosity any reason the Impreza is NOT on your list? as I would consider the Impreza as a top runner EX if the Corolla makes the list and also the Honda FIT/Civic are worth a LOOK
and where I like the CIVIC is on sale again making the price point pretty good
I agree on the Impreza. The material quality isnt the best but they seem to last forever. Our local Subaru dealer is expanding into a new huge building and they cant kept them on the lot.

Fit is behind even with the new model. I was surprised at how cheap they are on the inside. Just bad. They pulled a Civic.
 

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Check out the new 200. It's a bit bigger than the other cars you're looking at, but it's an excellent value and an overall excellent car. I was very impressed with it.
 

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I would suggest leasing in this segment. If your in NY look up www.legendleasing.com

http://www.legendleasing.com/leases.asp

They have a 179 deal on nicely equipped honda civics...search under 200 a month and see what their specials are at this time.

If your in Florida and want to buy? I dig the sonic rs and the cruise. The ford fiesta and focus I would only get the ST versions which are manual only...

The new Chrysler 200 is a nice car as well. I like it.

Jmo
 

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Sonic bears a look I'd say.

http://www.sonicownersforum.com/forum/

The 200 of either generation is a fantastic bargain. Our 2011 V6 was an excellent car with only some trannie hiccups at low speed to muddy the experience.

I'm not thrilled with the 200 class-standard anonymous-swoopy styling. I believe the 200 would be far more attractive and certainly distinctive if they'd mirrored the 300 rather than the Dart.
Go figure, I can't.

Personally I'd steer away from VW products. They get zinger reviews from time to time but those guys don't own them and pay for repairs four years later.

I like the tall wagons. A few years back I was a dedicated sedanite.
The ease of ingress-egress, huge headspace, big interior space with similar dimensions to an Impala or Charger, higher sightline, and general extreme maneuverability and convenience mark this class.

I just don't like Soobies. I had a Forester rental some years back and it was an uncomfortable underpowered drone.

If the new Corolla is new and improved, it might be worth a look. The last model was singularly uninspired even for a workplace drone.

I'd have no problem buying a Civic. They have all the good qualities of a Soul except the roof is about 8" lower.

Mazda3 and Encore should prove interesting.

Drive a Soul, I'd recommend the middle + model. The 2.0 is plenty spunky and the 6A is a smooth reliable unit.

Looking forward to your write-ups. BRING EM ON!!

Roll to :22 sec

 

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I would have to throw the Golf in there because it's been getting rave reviews.

If you're on a tight budget there is a Golf Launch edition to celebrate the new platform (MK7) that starts in the $18k range and now comes with the 1.8 turbo instead of the boring naturally Aspirated 2.5.

Otherwise you can go up from there with a standard Golf, GTI or even the AWD R.
The only reason I would not consider Volkswagen is its renegade quality issues and pricey options. Highly unlikely you will find one bone stock with no options on a lot
 

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The only reason I would not consider Volkswagen is its renegade quality issues and pricey options. Highly unlikely you will find one bone stock with no options on a lot
Yeah I'm with you there. I would be tempted because of how much more dynamic it is than any of the other choices. Top Gear claims it's one of the best all around cars in the world. I personally have never driven one so I'm not talking from experience but the MK7 seems to be cleaning house with the competition in all of the reviews I have read and reliability also seems to be way up. Time will tell.

The launch edition is exactly that, a low options car. I believe there are only a couple of option even available. They are only going to be available for short period at "launch" so they may be hard to come buy.
 

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I would have to throw the Golf in there because it's been getting rave reviews.

If you're on a tight budget there is a Golf Launch edition to celebrate the new platform (MK7) that starts in the $18k range and now comes with the 1.8 turbo instead of the boring naturally Aspirated 2.5.

Otherwise you can go up from there with a standard Golf, GTI or even the AWD R.
If he values his time and money, he will not get a VW.
 
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Well.... Malibu would be well worth a look.

Might surprise you how it appeals and prices out if done with some care and selectivity - and say some possible apples to oranges 'think' versus the other smaller compact product you mention.

Meaning say as an example, a '14 versus a '15 etc etc.

If there is a wife and kids involved - hard to beat all in all, more often than not.


Perhaps especially so if she is a large part of the driving aspect.


That's all coming from a fella' who does not have a special love for Chevrolet in a generic sense to say the least, although now at this point, that can also be described as in a somewhat irrational sense.

Chrysler / Dodge is still way too ape **** about black interiors and some things related - if that matters.


Imo, not that it matters, Dart and Malibu ( when smartly optioned etc ) are two of the most under appreciated products out there.

200 maybe the same in a partial sense.

***********

Separately, this is always worth a look thru -

http://www.informedforlife.org/
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
Wow, a lot of responses here, and a few things since I have checked out a few cars:

-Suburu. I have looked at them in the past, and have nothing against the company, but there is just something about the interior that doesn't agree with me. My wife says the seats are OK, but most of the time I sit in one, I am just not comfortable. Plus, styling is subjective, but I don't like the layout of the dash. I really like the idea of the Crosstek and checked one out last year, but I couldn't get comfortable in it.

-200 is just a bit larger than we want. We had an Avenger a couple years ago, that we had ZERO problems with, but I want to stick with something a big smaller.

-I like the small subcompact Crossovers like the Soul and Encore, and that may be our next purchase after this one, but I really want to get something that gets close to 40mpg highway with this purchase. We already have a Sonic, and it may be another Sonic or a tiny crossover that replaces that one.

-The Malibu is a bit bigger than what we want, but I test drove one this week. I didn't like it at all. I had a last gen Malibu, but there wasn't much about the new ones I liked. The seat wasn't that comfortable, it looked a little strange to me with anything other than the 19" wheels (which I have said before) and, despite what the numbers say, it FELT slower than other compacts I drove with less HP. Like I said, we owned a last gen Malibu and if it was a really nice car I'd consider it, but after driving it....I can't put my finger on exactly what it was..but it didn't feel good in so many ways.

-Right now the Mazda 3 and Corolla are the current leaders in my eyes...probably the Mazda 3. I don't like how it looks with the tiny 16" wheels, but 41mpg highway is apealing, as is getting it for invoice price (under $20,000). In the test drive, even the smaller 2.0 engine performed pretty well (it felt 'peppier' than the Malibu with the 2.5) and I didn't find the ride or road noise bad at all. We have a focus in the family that I have driven, and I like the Corolla about as much as the Focus and the Mazda a bit more right now, but we aren't done looking.
 

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I'd check the servicing costs on the Mazda 3. It's a lovely unit in Oz but the unknown quantity of reliability concerns me. We just had 6 recalled for fuel pump programming errors. You can always get fantastic economy numbers but it will cost you somewhere. If you swap cars regularly, then I would seriously think about the Mazda, but I'd be hand balling that grenade before 4 years is up.
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
We ended up getting 4 door Mazda 3.

We pretty much decided on the Mazda, but we decided to price out a Focus and Cruze just to see if a dealership was going to do something crazy, but even after doing that, the Mazda Dealership was the best deal. All dealerships offered close to invoice pricing plus any available incentives, but the Mazda dealership gave us almost $1000 more on the trade than the Ford or Chevy dealerships we went to (even went to 2 Chevy dealerships and tried to haggle on their offer, they still wouldn't match or come close)

We got a White 2.0 automatic model. The only thing I wasn't a fan of was the stock 16" wheels. However, I already found a great deal for a set of new take-off 18" OEM Mazda wheels from a new Mazda 3s that I'm buying. I have done this in the past, so I'm going to put on the 18's for the March through October, and run the stock 16's for November through February when I am in the northern states. I'll let the salt and snow get on the 16"s, plus the all season tires it came with are rated pretty good in the snow and ice (better than most.)

I want to drive it for a couple of days, but maybe next week or the week after I'll fill it up and do a mileage check. I do a LOT of highway driving for work Monday-Friday (80%+) so I'm thinking of giving it a mileage check on the highway (at or close to the speed limit for the week) of 500-600 miles.
 

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Congratulations! Thanks for the update, pictures soon please..............

So what was the "OTD" price difference, between the "3” and the Cruze?

If the EPA numbers are to be believed, you will save a bit on gas in the "3" vs. a Cruze.

Is it a 2014 or 2015?

I know you can get a heck of a deal on a 2014 Cruze right now, trade is strictly a case-by-case deal, some dealers want to low-ball, wholesale it and make $2,000 bucks, others will give you more if they put it out retail on their lot, the last 3 cars I "traded" all were sold on their used car lot, I doubt I could have got much more if I went through the hassle myself.
 
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