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The Right Car for Me | TrueDelta

LectroFuel

My 18 year old son has been driving my 2005 Prius for a year now and it seems like it is falling apart. I've spent over $6000 in repairs this year. I've never spent any money for repairs on this car until this year and it has 250k miles. He wants as many features as you can get for the money, but the #1 concern is safety. He wants a comfortable car that is also fun and reliable. We will not consider a luxury car.

We are pretty sure on what we are going to buy, but I wanted to see if anyone else had an opinion. I am not buying a GM, Ford, or FCA product, sorry NormT. I realize the Chevy Spark is the cheapest new car on the market at under $10k. VW I think will have higher repair costs than we'd like.

Things he wants the car have include Bluetooth, backup camera, sporty handling, style, good MPGs, good safety ratings, and most of all, good reliability. Don't need AWD.

Our top four choices are the Mazda3, Toyota Corolla, Honda Civic, and Hyundai Elantra. I prefer the price to be more around $11k. The Elantra is a major rental car, and is hard to find a non-fleet car. Civic and Corolla have a CVT. I've spent the last two weeks with a fully loaded 2017 Corolla XSE loaner and didn't think much of it, except all safety features are standard. Also, the reliability is the best.

I found this listing and have already set up an appointment, even though the dealer is 50+ miles away. Seems like an extremely good deal despite the high mileage. The CarFax looks sort of weird because there is an 18k mile gap in the service records. It has bluetooth, backup camera, blind spot monitoring with rear cross traffic, a 7" infotainment system updatable to CarPlay in the future (supposedly), push button start, automatic headlights and windshield wipers, upgraded wheels, a 7 year/100,000 mile warranty, and all the other good stuff with the Mazda CPO program:2016 Mazda 3 i Sport w/Sport Preferred Equipment Package
Does it seem like a good deal and what other cars should I think about?

Thanks in advance!

Priorities: Reliability & durability / Feature availability / Handling

Need minimum of 5 seats

Will consider both new and used cars
Maximum mileage: 70000
Maximum age: 4 years

Maximum price: US $ 13000

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Response from NormT

8:20 am December 13, 2017

Not sure of why the bias against domestic car makers as they are building some best vehicles you can buy. You must have missed CR 2017 best in segment:

Compact Car: Chevrolet Cruze

Compact Car Top Pick Chevrolet Cruze This redesigned sedan and hatchback bests two segment stalwarts, the Honda Civic and the Toyota Corolla, with an Overall Score at the top of the class. The formula is simple: Put the Malibu and Impala in a shrink ray, reducing scale but preserving the commendable driving manners and generous available features. The result is a hushed, smooth-riding sedan that's roomy enough to be a budget-friendly alternative to a midsized car. The polished 153-hp turbocharged four-cylinder engine is lively yet frugal. The Cruze we tested returned a good 30 mpg overall, but look deeper into the data and you find that it achieved 47 mpg on the highway. Given that impressive figure, it might not be worth waiting for the diesel engine. Read the completeChevrolet Cruze road test.

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Response from LectroFuel

9:08 pm December 14, 2017

I even said it in bold. No GM, FCA, or Ford. I know what kind of cars they make and I'm not buying one. I don't think you are subscribing to CR because the Cruze is overall rated 57/100 while the Corolla is 78/100 and Mazda3 is 76/100. Reliability has been 1/5 or 2/5 for every year of the Cruze except 2015. Even the Mitsubishi Lancer is higher rated overall than the Cruze. Could you for once give input on the cars on the OP's list and provide a reason without comparing the cars to a Domestic car?

Sure, the current Cruze is quieter and rides better than most of them, but reliability and feature accessibility are poor. The old Cruze was not competitive or reliable. The old Cruze got Marginal on the Small Overlap Test while the Mazda3 got a Good. The base engine in the 2015 Cruze is 1.5 seconds slower than the Mazda3's base engine. Despite this, the Mazda got 7 MPG overall better than the 2015 Cruze in CR's test. Comparing the ratings side by side 2015 Cruze vs. 2015 or 16 Mazda3, the Mazda beats or matches the Cruze in every segment except in Headlights and interior space.

The only Cruzes in the $13k budget I can find are two 2017 LS models and a lot of the previous gen. Mostly rental cars. Does anyone have an opinion for or against a current-or-previous gen Forte or Elantra, current-gen Mazda3, or previous-gen Civic?

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Response from NormT

10:23 am December 15, 2017

I'd recommend thr newest car you can afford. It will have thr latest in tech and safety features like cross traffic alert, Lane alert, Bluetooth, back camera, and brake assist. Mazda was supposed tk introduce Apple Car/Android Auto in 2017 and they didnt5. So wouldn't bet on it any time soon, or backwards compatibility.

The Cruze (2016+), not Cruze Limited, can be found for a dealership advertise $11,000+ and I would lease it if you are afraid of repairs as the lease period and warranty will mirror one another. A new 3 is $15,000 and over your target budget. The Cruze LT is $13K.

It is at least worth a drive locally as GM is advertising Employee pricing but I'm sure you can top that.

The Honda and VW would be too expensive and Honda resdiuals would never catch the $9,000-12,000 discount on the Cruze.
https://www.caranddriver.com/comparisons/2017-honda-civic-hatchback-vs-chevy-cruze-mazda-3-vw-golf-comparison-test-final-scoring-performance-data-and-complete-specs-page-6

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Response from LectroFuel

2:16 am December 16, 2017

CarPlay coming to Mazda soon

So CarPlay should be coming to all Mazdas with Mazda Connect within the next year or two, including retrofitting with a software/hardware update. True, I could get a Chevy Spark or Sonic with CarPlay, but then my son would be driving a Chevy, a bad Chevy. The cheapest 2016+ Cruze in my area is an $11k 2016 Cruze LT with no safety features. The rest are more than $12,500. The Cruze came in last place in that comparison.

That listing I was looking at is now sold. Now, I'm looking at Hertz Auto Sales Mazda3's. Yes, a former rental car. All I know is that idiots treat them like crap and the rental company usually does a good job maintaining the car without recording it. The prices are super cheap, too. Hertz gives buyers a 3-day test drive to see if anything is wrong with it and get it inspected.

Notice the huge scratch on the front left bumper:New Listing

Here's one in blue with no scratch...imported from Florida according to the free Autocheck report :(2nd New Listing

We're going to test drive these tomorrow as well as a 2014-2015 Civic LX or EX, although they are the least liked generation of the Civic. I'm not expecting much good. At least Hondas don't have a fleet program, so there are no rental Civics.

We don't ever lease cars because we drive so much. Therefore, we are only looking for used or CPO.

Does anyone have experience with buying a former rental car? I can't assume anyone would say it is a good idea.

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Response from NormT

3:04 pm December 17, 2017

Funny, because the Sonic is listed as recommended by CR.

Mazda is not listed any models for 2018 with Android Auto, so don't think do backwards capability as no auto company is, nor can they keep up dates with phone updates. That's why Toyota hasn't and is stuck with etune.

Like is said, unless you are driving 30,000 miles annually, buy thr newest car within your budget. We mix in a leased car special with a couple non-leases. That way you always have lower mileage car to fall back on.

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Chevrolet Sonic

Response from LectroFuel

7:06 pm December 17, 2017

It is kind of hard to understand your English, but we only have iPhones, so Android Auto is sort of useless. CarPlay is all my son will be able to use since he has an iPhone. I don't see any fine print in that article except that Mazda does not have an estimate on when they will roll out the update. Mazda is not on Apple's website yet, but Mazda confirmed it is coming to all cars with the Mazda Connect infotainment system.

My son and I test drove the Mazda3 yesterday and we really liked it, although the ride could be a little less jolty. It is a justified trade-off when considering how fun it is in the corners.

Are there any non-domestic branded cars you are able to recommend to me, NormT?

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Response from clearwaterms

5:11 pm December 19, 2017

Lectro,

I think the Mazda is a good choice and given that your son is looking for something sporty he won't mind the slightly rougher ride of the Mazda compared to something a little more softly sprung.

One thing to consider when it comes to rental cars is that they typically are very proactive about replacing tires but also put the cheapest worst tires they possibly can on a vehicle. Some of the ride quality could be attributed to the tires that are not the quality tire that was spec'd with the original car (something to consider)

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Response from LectroFuel

5:51 pm December 19, 2017

I don't think we'll buy a rental car. I've seen so many YouTube videos of people trashing the car. Based on how I treat rental cars, I don't think I want my son driving one so I'm going to wait until I find a really good deal. Nobody cares about rental cars and accidents are not always reported. The Mazda we drove was not a rental and was very well kept. It had newish Pirelli tires, which were pretty grippy. It wouldn't be a fun car with crappy tires. Thanks for the input on rental cars.

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Response from NormT

6:17 pm December 19, 2017

Response from LectroFuel

5:03 pm December 20, 2017

He's starting his delivery job at Domino's on Friday, so he would easily go over the miles I'm guessing. But even then, I wouldn't lease because of college and commuting. With owning a car, you can say it is yours. Motorcycles are dangerous, but basically suicidal in SoCal. There was a deal for a 2018 Civic for $100 a month, but buying a used Mazda3 gives you more features and has a traditional automatic. Plus, car payments end earlier with a used car and completely go away within a few years.

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