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Small SUV

The Right Car for Me | TrueDelta


Must have sunroof. I've driven the Buick Encore, mazda 3 hatchback, honda HR-V and liked them all.

Priorities: Audio & nav systems / Reliability & durability / Front seat support & comfort

Preferred Bodystyle(s): Hatch / SUV

Car Needs: Daily commuter / Errands about town / Long trips / Fun toy

Primary Driver(s): Short driver

Need minimum of 2 seats

Will consider both new and used cars
Maximum mileage: 15000
Maximum age: 2 years

Maximum price: US $ 35000

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Response from jasonmreece

5:01 pm December 26, 2015

You have already driven what many (including myself) consider to be the best small hatchback- the Mazda3. Did you drive the 'i' or 's' model? I'm assuming it was one of the Grand Touring models that you drove. They are the top-of-the-line trim level, the 'i' has the 2.0L engine and 16" wheels while the 's' has the 2.5L engine and 18" wheels (among other minor feature differences). I would highly recommend the 's' Grand Touring 5-door as the one to buy. It's fast, fun, economical, reliable and it has a great audio and nav layout. I've held onto my '06 Mazda3 for 10 years and still love it!

I would advise against the Buick Encore because it is underpowered and overpriced compared to the competition. The fuel economy is also unimpressive and the long-term reliability is questionable, at best.

If you want to consider alternatives to the Mazda3, the Mazda CX-3 and CX-5 (subcompact and compact SUVs) are also very good vehicles. Another excellent small hatchback is the Honda Fit (moonroof standard on EX and EX-L models) but it lacks some of the features available on the Mazdas.

The KIA Soul is another great option. The styling is a love it or hate it proposition, but the feature content and value are hard to beat. You also get a 10yr powertrain warranty.

Still, I think one of the Mazda trio is your best bet...by far!


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Mazda Mazda3
Mazda CX-5
Kia Soul

Response from mkaresh

11:08 am December 28, 2015

What did you think of each car?

Our stats suggest that all three should be very reliable.

Like Jason, I also tend to favor the Mazda.

The Encore is best for people who must have a high seating position, but who also want a compact vehicle, and who prioritize quietness and a relatively upscale interior. But it's not nearly as quick or as sporty as the Mazda.

The Honda might remain reliable for the longest (a consideration if you'll likely keep the car over a decade), but I found its seat uncomfortable (you might not have, impressions of seat comfort vary greatly) and its engine annoyingly buzzy.

I also agree with Jason that the Soul might be a good choice, but it also isn't as fun to drive as the Mazda.


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Response from HLCommunications

1:37 pm December 30, 2015

For a small SUV/Hatchback, you can get a late model Audi A3 Sportback within your parameters. The A3 has the interior room of an A4 but is lighter and faster (with a 2.0T engine), has quattro, all the bells and whistles, and is certified thru Audi with an extended warranty. I have a 2008 A3 and it is fun to drive, very well finished, and -- of course -- has a panoramic dual sunroof system. An A3 gets about 28 mpg and Audi has greatly increased its models' reliability according to most recent surveys.

There is a VW equivalent (the GTI) to the A3 as well.


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Audi A3 / S3 / RS3
Volkswagen Golf / Rabbit / GTI

Response from Member5157

6:44 pm January 18, 2016

Response from becca89

9:47 am January 20, 2016

Great ideas, all of them. I love the Mazda 3, but not the local dealer. I live in a small country area and the only Mazda dealer is 50 minutes away. I can deal with that, but the people at the dealership are lazy, rude, and ineffective and I've been directly lied to about a particular car. And honestly, it *MAY* be the best car out there, but being stuck with a bad dealership and a long drive kills that deal. What a shame.
The Honda HRV on a 2nd test drive left me sort of "Meh." Nice, but not enough to get my $$$.
Researched the Audi A3 Sportback, great idea! I looked around a while but the only one available had a black interior which i cannot live with day in and day out. It's odd how one thing can be the dealbreaker. Great car, though, and I'll keep it in mind for my next car search.
I finally chose a Buick Encore. I know all info points to it beng under-powered, but it's got plenty of power for me. I've driven a Mustang for 9 years, and I've discovered my driving habits adapt to the vehicle I'm driving. It's got enough power to pull out into traffic when necessary, and it's super confortable for me. And quiet. Very, very quiet cabin. And I got a good deal on a pre-owned model with 5K on it. Plus, after numerous test drives on various vehicles, I feel it's time to sit up a little higher again.


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Buick Encore
Mazda Mazda3
Honda HR-V

Response from NormT

8:22 am July 27, 2017

Good deal on the Buick Encore. The test data show it's handling the same as the CX-3 with both offering AWD. Our Encore would see 39 mpg @ 65 mph....with AWD. Very hard to beat unless you go diesel. Plus it''s upscale interior is like icing on the cake.


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Buick Encore
Buick Envision
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