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Fun, Comfortable, can haul a bike/kayak/snowboard

The Right Car for Me | TrueDelta


Considering 5cars, each with their own pros and cons. Mazda
Touring 2.5
(Stylish, NA, Premium Interior)

2.0i Premium 5-Door

Civic Hatchback
(Cheap, big)

(Cheap, Full Feature)

Golf GTI
(Fast but $$$ for full feature)

Android Auto
Adaptive Cruise Ctrl
Manual Transmission
Blind-Spot Monitor
Extra Nice
Heated Seats
Smart Entry

Priorities: Cargo capacity / Materials & workmanship / Feature availability

Need minimum of 4 seats

Will consider new cars only

Maximum price: US $ 28000

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Response from NormT

9:35 am July 24, 2017

You do know that the automatic version on these turbo-4 cats are faster than the manual? They also get better fuel economy and would probably have better resale when you are ready to uograde.

You can get a Cruze Hatchback for $14,000, the Sedan for $11,000. Both with a manual transmission.

But I really like this 2,800 lbs car with an automatic. As with most front drive economy cars with turbo-4, they just need a $300 ecu tune, and a $100 bigger rear sway bar. On a premium fuel tune the turbo-4 should be nipping heels of most V6's this side of the GT-R or costing $40,000 or more.


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Chevrolet Cruze
Chevrolet Cruze Limited

Response from LectroFuel

3:09 pm July 24, 2017

Well, the Mazda3 doesn't have Android Auto or CarPlay, so I guess that's off the list. Otherwise it's a great car but I can see why you'd want that feature.

The Honda Civic has the LaneWatch feature instead of true blind spot monitoring. You'll have to look at the center screen watching live video off the side mirror instead of a light. I tried it on a test drive and much prefer the traditional light on the side mirror compared to the camera. If I were you, I'd go for the EX-L with Navi and Honda Sensing package and you'll get leather heated seats and smart entry. In fact, you'll get everything on your list except the manual for $1700 below your budget. Keep in mind the highest trim you can get with a manual is the Sport, which is below an EX. A Sport Touring (top of the line) is in your price range if you can knock $300 off the price. That adds a lot of nice stuff and looks sort of like the Si.

Only go for the Impreza if you need AWD.

I recommended the Golf Wolfsberg to someone yesterday and an owner responded and said he likes his Wolfsberg. It's a great value and you'll have a lot of money left over. It doesn't have Adaptive Cruise control though. It also has leatherette seats if you care. It will feel more solid when driving it compared to the Civic.

The GTI is still a great value, but I'd go for the Golf Wolfsberg. Plus, the SE is more than $2k over budget. The Sport is the highest you can go and doesn't have nearly as many features for the money. The GTI is a lot of fun though. Still, if you get the Golf, you will still have a solid, fun car.

Another car you can try is the Golf SportWagon. It's more expensive than the regular Golf, but it can fit much more stuff than the Golf and the longer wheelbase will probably give it a better ride. It's big though, so it won't be as fun as the little Golf. In your budget, you can only get an SE, which doesn't have Blind Spot Monitoring. Better off with a Golf Wolfsberg I think.

The Chevy Cruze may be Ok for you, but it's not really fun or interesting. My friend bought a 2017 Cruze LT Hatchback and the infotainment system kept crashing. They performed a software update at the dealer and restarted the system. Nothing worked. He returned the Cruze and bought a 2017 Mazda3 Touring Hatchback, which he likes a lot but he misses Apple CarPlay, which the Cruze had when it worked.

You seem to have a great list of cars. I'd go for a Civic Hatch EX-L with Navi and Honda Sensing Package (or Sport Touring) or the Golf Wolfsberg. Tell us what you buy!


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Honda Civic
Volkswagen Golf / Rabbit / GTI
Mazda Mazda3

Response from zcd1

4:56 pm July 24, 2017

Another worth considering is the Kia Soul Turbo. Very practical, fun to drive, TONS of toys, best warranty in the business. Plus, looks like nothing else on the market!


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Kia Soul

Response from LectroFuel

6:53 pm July 24, 2017

Yeah you should test drive the Soul Turbo! It'll be quicker than all the options except the GTI. You can get a fully loaded one with all the option packages for just under $28k. 7 speed dual clutch auto, 201hp, 0-60 in 6.5 seconds. Lots of space in the car too. Bad thing is that the only safety features you can get is blind spot monitoring and rear cross traffic. No Adaptive cruise ctrl. Might have a bumpy ride compared to the other cars we've mentioned.


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Kia Soul

Response from Sea-Dan

12:07 pm July 26, 2017

You have already narrowed things down to some great choices & gotten a couple of excellent responses.

I the process ofrecently going from a Honda Fit to a 2017 Golf Wolfsburg I had a similar list.I wanted aa caverounous utilitarian small car that was gas sipperand also fun todrive. In addition I wanted a good suiteof safety features.

My short list was Honda Fit, Golf TSI or GTI or Kia Soul.I confess that for years I thought the GTI was the best all around hatch.But the stiffer ride & stifferintiial cost knockedthe GTIoff mylist; plus I just didn't feel that I needed that much performance. Mazda 3 is great car lost out due tolow entry, compromised visiablity, & no Apple car play. The Kia Soul (sweet car, wedrove one for a two weekrental) compromises on safetysuite,consumes more fuel, doesn't have much storage with seats up, and costsmore toget same features as found in Golf Wolfsburg.The Soulhas one big advantage over the others in that entry & exit is very easy with its high roof line. IfI were taller of stiffer, I might have got the Soul for that very reason.

So in the end I chose the Golf Wolfsburg. It is very comfortable, quite sporty, gets almost 40 hightway mpg, has sunroof, faux (very nice) leather seats, sun roof, auto windsheild wipers (I didn't think I needed that but now loveit),has huge cargo space forits footprint... Relatively low roof line makes it easy to throw kayak on but not so low as to be difficult entry exit. Can haul a bike on roof or back but I use a rack on the back (not trailer hitch rack) Basically the VW Wolfie is the perfect car for 1-2 people and their gear.With just under 5,000 miles on the odo, I'm lovin it!


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