Mountain Bike Reviews Forum banner
1 - 20 of 23 Posts

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
3,029 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
It's about time to buy another car. I like the current car, and heck even the mini-van - but it's about time to consider something new.

What I've got - Mitsu Galant '01. I like a lot about this car, and most of the stuff I don't like is quibbles. It won't see terrible weather or huge hills, but won't mind the capabilities for biking trips.

Needs: Must seat five. (MIGHT be able to get away with a 4 seater)
Must take regular gas.
Must get high 20's or low 30's for mpg.
Must be under $25
Must be fun to drive.

Likes: Pickup/power
Ability to flick it around on the road. It handles pretty good. (Changing the stock wheels/tires did wonders!)
Roof rack is an extension of the car - I think I only lost 1/2 to 1 mpg with it on. Wind noise is not an issue, nor does it leak.
Seats Five.

Dislikes: Takes Premium gas.
MPG isn't great. Best I got from the car - ever was 28mpg with wind to the back and pegged at 55 on the freeway.
No fold down rear seat.
Wheel bearing in rear wheels is flaky. Going to be due for my 2nd replacement in about another 10K.

So far been looking at Mazda 3, Civic, Lancer, Corolla, and even glanced at Mini. Looked at the Impreza - but damn they're ugly, the older ones looked better. Any input is appreciated. Debating on rack options with next car too. Don't know if I want hitch rack or roof rack. I figure the cost of either is about equal when I look at the whole setup. Hatchback or sedan is fine. Won't be used for long hauls - the Mini-van will be the hauler for that, but it might need to carry 5 bikes.

Purchase time is after we get taxes figured out - so hopefully mid Feb - late April if everything goes according to plan.

Thanks for any input.

JmZ
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
5,104 Posts
My Civic is the best car I've ever owned. I love the digital speedometer high on the dash, and the rest of the layout is very well designed from an ergonomic perspective. The best part is the mileage, (51.3mpg lifetime) on the hybrid. Prior to the Civic, having horsepower was VERY important to me, but I have a lot more fun trying to get a high mpg score than I ever had weaving in and out of traffic with the pedal to the floor.

I don't have a problem putting 4 bikes on the roof, although you might need to buy new cross bars--the Civic takes wider ones than our previous cars. The interior is very comfortable for 4 people, but I've never tried 3 in the back seat.

When we test drove, we also drove the Mazda 3 and really liked it. The car previous to the Civic was a Mazda Protoge which we had very good luck with. It's certainly worth driving both the Civic and the 3.

BTW, the gas version of the Civic IS an American car (unlike Mexican cars like the Ford Focus and Dodge Cobalt).
 

·
crash test dummy
Joined
·
545 Posts
A few suggestions:

- Jetta diesel. Available in wagon form, very nice cars, under your budget, good resale, and VWs finally seem to have average reliability. The engine is superb, and you'll average over 40mpg.

- New Mazda 6. Great to drive, and now rather roomy. Decent reliability and models are often heavily discounted.

- Ford Fusion - shares a lot of parts with the Mazda. Good car, but all the engines but the top line model suck - this changes next year though.

- Saab 9-3 - you might be able to find one of these REALLY cheaply right now. Drive very well and really nice for the money.

Most of the cars you mentioned thinking about will fit 5 passengers, but the back seat passengers will be in hell. I do like the Lancer idea though. Another very good car for not a lot of money.
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
3,029 Posts
Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Of the 5 possible passengers - three of them are kids. So rear room isn't a huge deal beyond that the seating exists.

JmZ
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
213 Posts
The mini cooper has a horrendous reliability rating (4/10). The corolla is bombproof. The civic has the highest reliability rating (10/10). The most fun to drive is the Mazda 3.


We chose the Mazda and I love the car. It is a blast to drive. Two quibbles. The stock Goodyear RS-A tires are worthless. Expect about 20K miles out of them (rated to 26K). They have horrendous traction in the snow and rain. Towards the end of their useful life, the car was hydroplanning so badly that I decided to dump them early and put on other tires.

The other problem is changing the oil. I do most of the service on the car. To change the oil, you have to drop a splash guard. While not really a big deal, it could be much easier and it does add time to an otherwise easy procedure. I also am not a fan of the paper element filter type. Some have converted from a paper filter to a screw on type. I'll wait till the car is out of warranty before I do this.

I'm going to need a new car in about a year. I am strongly considering the Corolla, Scion TC, or the new Euro edition Ford Focus, if Ford is around by this time next year.:madman:
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,570 Posts
mazda speed 3 (my roommate has one), 280 hp, and he averages between 26-32mpg, its a sport hatch, and i suppose if you dont want the extra zip you could go with the regular 3

or a subaru outback/legacy/wrx wagon, 25ish mpg and all the traction you could ever want with the awd
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
20 Posts
I've got around 70K on my Mazda 3i now,and love the way it handles. ~ 32 mpg @ 70 or so. A very fun car to drive, and incredibly reliable- I've never owned a car that needed less work.

With that said, the AC totally sucks, and the heat is fair, not great (I've got an '04- they may have improved either/both since then)
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
55 Posts
Got to represent some American made cars:
2009 Ford Fusion semi-loaded features under $25K with current discounts, 6spd auto, AWD, and mid to upper 20's MPG.
2009 Ford Escape Limited about $25K, 20/28MPG

If you are thinking about purchasing early next year, I would look at American made companies since they will probably doing heavy discounts to get rid of old 2008/2009 stock that is still on the dealership lots. Like Ford, this summer they already have the 2010 Mustangs and F-150's due to come in.

Oh and I got a 2007 Mustang GT and it meets none of your criteria except for the 20's MPG ,does not need premium gas, and fun to drive.
 

·
Aquaman
Joined
·
419 Posts
My 2 cents

Well there are not many cars you can not buy used for <$25k. I am also looking to replace a car in the near future. Are you going to buy used???? My wife wants a brand new Saturn Vue. So I look on line with her and the one she likes is a tad over 30k. That is not going to happen so I look on CL and find the same car with 50k miles on it 3 years old $13k.

You should look into a Matrix/Vibe. Several on here have bought that one. Kind of like the Mazda 3. We also used to own a Mazda tribute and it was a great car up until about 110k miles on it. When my wife crashed into a bear at 70mph. Bear 0 Mazda 0.
The ford focus wagon is also on my short list.
Maybe a Volvo wagon. You can't by a safer car.
Someone mentioned Diesel.....You get great gas mileage but it is a lot more expensive than gas. You would have to crunch the numbers to see if it is worth it.

So to sum it up Check out the vibe/matrix :thumbsup:
I like Mazda. (3, tribute, 6) what ever. :thumbsup:
Subaru. Over kill for most users there for over priced.:nono:
VW's Passat wagon great car but takes supreme :nono:

Man I would love to be buying car rite now. There are so many over extended businesses and people out there and tons of deals to be had.
 

·
Elitest thrill junkie
Joined
·
37,937 Posts
steveo555 said:
Got to represent some American made cars:
2009 Ford Fusion semi-loaded features under $25K with current discounts, 6spd auto, AWD, and mid to upper 20's MPG. .
No way. My buddy has this car (it's called the "milan", but same car). With the V6, 6spd auto, and AWD, the best average milege they've been able to get is around 17. Realize that's not their overall average, that's the best average that they get. The milege is miserable. His wife works for the dealership and it's common knowledge evidently how poor it is in that sense. It's also not a huge amount of power, something like 220hp. It looks kinda cool (the milan), it's pretty nice inside, but the drivetrain is a turd.

You'd think that with a 6spd it would at least be able to turn a little better milege.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
180 Posts
I have a Mazda3 hatch and am VERY happy with my car. The car meets all of your needs and probably more.

Here's what I like about it for my needs;
-Rear seats fold down to make a HUGE space - I am consistently impressed with how much I can fit inside the car.
-Decent mileage - I get about 31mpg with modest driving
- Looks good inside and out - obviously a matter of opinion but I like it alot, way better than the other japanese options (civic, corolla, matrix, sentra, etc)
- Fun to drive - handles great, peppy, brakes are very strong, overall fun to drive car
- Ten more things I can't think of right now but I like my car a lot.

Things I am not especially fond of;
- 2006 model doesn't have AUX plug, new models do though.
- Wish it got better mileage, I get good mileage but better is always better.
- Not a Honda - resale value would be better if it were, oh well, too late now.

I am very happy with my car. Like yourself, my dislikes of my car are more quibbles and I don't really care that much. As much as I like my car a car that I would seriously consider instead of my car is the Honda Fit. I think it looks awesome, gets better mileage, is a Honda, smaller, still fits lots of stuff. I don't think the Fit looks as cool as my car but I think the tradeoffs would be worth it for me. Add the Fit to your looking list and I think you'll be incredibly surprised at how nice of a car it is. If the tiny Fit isn't your style then I would confidently recommend my car as well. Good luck.
 

·
Banned
Joined
·
16,457 Posts
Jayem said:
No way. My buddy has this car (it's called the "milan", but same car). With the V6, 6spd auto, and AWD, the best average milege they've been able to get is around 17. Realize that's not their overall average, that's the best average that they get. The milege is miserable. His wife works for the dealership and it's common knowledge evidently how poor it is in that sense. It's also not a huge amount of power, something like 220hp. It looks kinda cool (the milan), it's pretty nice inside, but the drivetrain is a turd.

You'd think that with a 6spd it would at least be able to turn a little better milege.
Wow, that's close to the amount of power that mullet-Camaro in that other thread has.

toothpuller said:
The mini cooper has a horrendous reliability rating (4/10). The corolla is bombproof. The civic has the highest reliability rating (10/10). The most fun to drive is the Mazda 3.

We chose the Mazda and I love the car. It is a blast to drive. Two quibbles. The stock Goodyear RS-A tires are worthless. Expect about 20K miles out of them (rated to 26K). They have horrendous traction in the snow and rain. Towards the end of their useful life, the car was hydroplanning so badly that I decided to dump them early and put on other tires.

The other problem is changing the oil. I do most of the service on the car. To change the oil, you have to drop a splash guard. While not really a big deal, it could be much easier and it does add time to an otherwise easy procedure. I also am not a fan of the paper element filter type. Some have converted from a paper filter to a screw on type. I'll wait till the car is out of warranty before I do this.

I'm going to need a new car in about a year. I am strongly considering the Corolla, Scion TC, or the new Euro edition Ford Focus, if Ford is around by this time next year.:madman:
As far as the cover underneath the engine, that's actually a good thing. I guess you don't remember the days of the entire bottom end of the engine covered in rust, rock damage, and having every bolt rusted to hell.

If you don't like that guard, then drive without it. Adding time to the procedure? You can't remove a few bolts that will loosen a cover that will actually save you time on repairs you claim you will do later due to bolts that aren't rusted and siezed?

As far as not liking the paper element filter, guess what's inside the canister types. Yes, that very same paper. It's actually a good thing to have a reusable metal cap and all one has to do is open it and replace a paper element. I'm sure you're a greenie and this would do wonders for saving the environment, in terms of manufacturing needless cases for EVERY oil filter, as opposed to just making a case for every engine.

Fleece oil filter elements are hitting the market now, but require a different classification of oil approved for their use and their long life properties.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
37 Posts
toothpuller said:
The mini cooper has a horrendous reliability rating (4/10). The corolla is bombproof. The civic has the highest reliability rating (10/10). The most fun to drive is the Mazda 3.

We chose the Mazda and I love the car. It is a blast to drive. Two quibbles. The stock Goodyear RS-A tires are worthless. Expect about 20K miles out of them (rated to 26K). They have horrendous traction in the snow and rain. Towards the end of their useful life, the car was hydroplanning so badly that I decided to dump them early and put on other tires.

The other problem is changing the oil. I do most of the service on the car. To change the oil, you have to drop a splash guard. While not really a big deal, it could be much easier and it does add time to an otherwise easy procedure. I also am not a fan of the paper element filter type. Some have converted from a paper filter to a screw on type. I'll wait till the car is out of warranty before I do this.

I'm going to need a new car in about a year. I am strongly considering the Corolla, Scion TC, or the new Euro edition Ford Focus, if Ford is around by this time next year.:madman:
From Motor Trends First Drive of the 2008 Ford Focus Euro:

So how come the U.S. gets such a poor Focus instead? Because Ford decided the great American was too dumb to notice the sophistication of the Euro version and wouldn't pay the slight extra. HL Mencken said, "No one ever lost money by underestimating the intelligence of the great masses." Ford USA is busy proving him wrong.

2008 Ford Focus (Europe)
Base Price N/A
Vehicle Layout Front engine, FWD, 5-pass, 2/3/4/5-door, hatchback/sedan/wagon/convertible
Engine 1.4L/80-hp/91-lb-ft DOHC 16-valve I-4; 2.5L/225-hp/236 lb-ft DOHC 20-valve I-5 (and eight others between)
Transmissions 5-speed manual; 6-speed manual; 4-speed auto; 6-speed twin-clutch man/auto
Curb Weight 2705-3219 lb (mfr)
Wheelbase 103.9 in
Length x Width x Height 170.7/176.4/175.9 x 72.4 x 59.3 in
0-60 MPH 6.3-13.5 sec (MT est)
European City/HWY Econ 17-43/35-65 mpg
CO2 Emissions 0.40208-0.79013 g/km
On Sale In U.S. Never

This is why I do not feel so bad about not buying American anymore. They literally do not make cars worth owning (in my opinion) that are available in the US.

EDIT: OK, guess I should look at more than just the top link in my google searches...looks like the Euro Focus will be here in 2010. A few years too late for me but thats moving in the right direction.
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
5,104 Posts
Stewmander said:
OK, guess I should look at more than just the top link in my google searches...looks like the Euro Focus will be here in 2010. A few years too late for me but thats moving in the right direction.
You can buy one now--you just have to take your pick between the Japanese made Mazda 3, or the Belgium made Volvo S40 (both ride on the Focus 2.0 platform). Of course, if you wait, you can buy the Mexican made* Focus 2.0....

*An assumption on my part based on the fact that the current Focus is assembled in Mexico.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
37 Posts
I actually liked the Mazda Speed 3, but Volvo S40...meh. I do like the C30 tho. There are some things I hear the Focus RS or ST have that isnt on a Mazda...like DCT. I think we have been reading the same car forums haha
 

·
Aquaman
Joined
·
419 Posts
I have had 2 fords.
2000 Mazda tribute. Perfect till the brown bear hit the bumper at 70mph.
1998 escort. Our commuter car with 184k miles on it. The only thing I have replaced is the alternator. It is still sitting in my garage rite now. It is actually out primary car rite now because our supper reliable Honda minivan has gone through it’s SECOND transmission and it has only 120k on it. What a joke
 
1 - 20 of 23 Posts
Top