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New, safe, compact and a tad bit more fun second family car

The Right Car for Me | TrueDelta


I have following current shortlist for my second car. I'll be driving it while my existing car goes to wife.

1) VW GTI / Elantra GT Sport
Close to my heart, a bit more fun in the list. GATI is costlier as I prefer to go with top end with all safety features. Does it make sense to go with Elantra GT Sport instead of the crowned prince?
2) VW Golf AllTrack
High on practicality, slightly costly and a bit mix on all my parameters.
3) Niro / Niro PHEV
High mpg and tall hatchback/wagon sound interesting. Interested to know if PHEV is worth of extra money and weight in these two.

I don't drive much, so high mpg shouldn't weigh much. New recommendations are welcome barring crossovers.

Priorities: Safety & braking / Handling / Ride smoothness

Need minimum of 4 seats

Will consider new cars only

Maximum price: US $ 30000

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Response from NormT

9:17 am February 9, 2018

At $29,,000 for a 2017 the quietest and smoothest would be a Buick Envision Premium l. With it's Hyperstrut from suspension and among the twin-clutch AWD it achieved 55.5 mph in Consumer Reports emergency test or on par with Porsche Macan and Jaguar F-pace and same as the GTi.. Along with handling it has the best braking for it's segment according to Car & Driver testing. It is also quieter than a Lexus RX according to C&D. The AWD send power to a single wheel while the others slip and is fulltime, no buttons to engage or menus to go through.
The Prem l has It has real leather seats with heat front and rear, along with heated leather steering wheel. The tri-zone climate control will have you not freezing yourself while trying to keep your rear passengers cool like most of the other SUVs. And you, the driver, can control it from the front which grrat for our dogs who like it cool or elderly who cant figure the rrar seat climate control operation and i can jist turn it up to 80?F for thrm. Rear Cross Traffic Alert is great for backing out of parking spots where you cannot see and thr seat vibrates along with a red triangle on the screen to tell you where the hazard is.

At a discounted $29,000 the Envision is over $13,000 less expensive than a Lexus NX200T where some of the options are not available at any price but are offered on the Buick. We see 32 mpg at 65 mph and 30 mpg loaded.

2017 Buick Envision Premium I For Sale In Bentonville | Cars.com

2017 Buick Envision Premium I For Sale In Bentonville | Cars.com

New 2017 Buick Envision Premium I for sale at Everett Buick GMC of Bentonville in Bentonville, AR for $29,640. View now on Cars.com.


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Buick Envision

Response from Dnslater

4:21 pm February 9, 2018

Not sure what a Buick SUV has to do with this discussion :)......... but Norm is likely a dealer so the suggestion is expected............

I drive a GTI, so I have a clear bias, but I did drive a Elantra GT rental for a week for work last month. The Elantra GT and GTI have similar luggage capacity. The Niro has just bit less. The GTI will probably cost a bit more with similar options as the Korean twins, but the interior has a more premium, refined feel, with nicer materials, etc.... It is also a bit more powerful than the higher performance version of the Elantra GT or Niro.

Probably comes down to your priorities...... power and quality of the GTI, versus available features at a lower price of the Kia/Hyundai. I do easily get 36+ mpg highway with the VW.... go figure, another VW that gets better mileage than the EPA ratings..... 2018 VW's have a 6 year, 72,000 mile warranty, so getting closer to the Kia/Hyundai warranty. Kia and Hyundai are getting better, so I would urge you to drive all three. The Hyundai needs the Tech package to be apples to apples with the GTI SE, so it really isn't that much cheaper.

I drove a Sportwagen for a few years, which the Alltrack is based on. I miss the extra space. Driving characteristics of the Golf are still there, but with extra luggage space and the AWD. Very nice car. Obviously slower than the GTI, but still a solid performer. My pre-teen kids fit easily in the back of the GTI and should for years to come, but If I had a baby again, I would go Sportwagon. The addition of a roof carrier skybox makes it an efficient vacation cruiser for the family.

As far as other options..... the Mazda 3 is a solid car and worthy of consideration, although it is due for an update. I'm not a fan of the Civic hatchback styling, but it is a good car if you are happy with the look.


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Response from NormT

7:24 pm February 9, 2018

The Envision was reference for the exact reason the Alltrack was. Versitility in a wagon/cuv, AWD, turbo-4 torque, excellent handling, great visibility of the road and doesn't look like economy 5-door hatch.


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Response from agog

2:44 am February 10, 2018

I categorically wrote to avoid crossovers. I don't have anything against Buick, in fact TourX seems like a good option for my requirements.

I agree with all your comments and pleasantly surprised with the reported MPG for the GTI. I wish there was a GTI AllTrack, that's all I needed :).

About Mazda3, I like the way it looks and would have loved it, except for two reasons:
- I currently own another Mazda (CX-5) and wanted to try something else, not that I don't like Mazda, I love them and do recommend those to everyone
- Mazda3 feels underwhelming in the new age of turbos. In fact, new Civic is reportedly better performer than it.
A Mazda3 2.5 turbo wagon could have changed it all, if there was such a thing.

Civic is a no-no for me as well, its looks put me off even before I consider it buying.

I know my ideal car is not in the market and that is why I am trying to search for a car with the least compromises.


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Response from NormT

9:20 am February 10, 2018

Response from LectroFuel

6:15 pm February 12, 2018

My first choice would have been a Mazda3 2.5 hatchback. They are very fun cars and my son owns one and loves it. I saw that you wanted to try something that wasn't a Mazda, and besides, the Mazda3 is too small for a family IMO and the ride is pretty stiff. I wrote a super long review about it on TrueDelta, but it won't let me publish it when I click "publish."

I wouldn't consider the Kia Niro as fun, but it is a decent car from what I've heard. It handles like a Prius, which is to be expected with the LRR tires and softer suspension. That means that it has decent handling, but the steering is numb.

To comment on NormT, many (probably most people) prefer the styling of economy cars to Buicks. I know this is personal preference, but Buicks still have the old-person styling. Some of them look nice, like the new Regal Sportback, but that is all. It doesn't say "fun"; it says "I'm old and my back hurts so I need a comfortable car" and it delivers on comfort, but it is totally opposite from what this guy would want. No Buick (possibly no GM car) would fit in this person's preferences since they don't make a fun economy car. The Cruze RS isn't a good one.

I would check out the Hyundai Elantra Sport Sedan as well as the GT Sport Hatch. It has a 0-60 time in the low 6 seconds and is not just "Sport" because of styling mods. Also, the 2019 Veloster will be available in Q2 of this year. Hyundai is new to the economy performance world, but I've heard they are putting out great sport-trimmed cars now. The GT Sport has a long list of standard features.

From what I've read, you will definitely have more fun with a GTI than the Elantra GT Sport or Elantra Sport, but Hyundai has made a worthy competitor to the GTI. You should test drive them. I don't think any hatchback beats the GTI right now.

Somebody on TrueDelta said there was a tune for the Golf Sportwagon/Alltrack that improves acceleration a lot. I don't remember who said it. If you want fun handling in a wagon, the Golf Sportwagon is what you want, not the Alltrack unless you need off road capability. The added ground clearance hurts handling in the Alltrack.


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Volkswagen Golf / Rabbit / GTI
Hyundai Elantra GT
Mazda Mazda3
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