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Sporty Coupe that will not break the bank

The Right Car for Me | TrueDelta

Snowblaster99

I'm attracted to the 2010-2011 Nissan ALTIMA COUPE, 2.5 litre, I would also consider the 3.5 litre, more fun but I hear its a bit thirsty. I really like the styling of the Altima Coupe and it seems to get a very good reliability report from car mags and websites. I hear that the Honda Accord Coupe is better in all respects, but I don't like the styling as much, but it is pretty nice. If I get lots of feedback that I will run into lots of expensive repairs with the Altima Coupe... I will take a more serious look at the Honda Accord Coupe, or something else. I would have to drive the car in the Winter, I live in Ottawa Ontario Canada and would need a car that handles OK in fairly tough winter conditions, I would put good snow tires on, I think that the ABS, ESC, and traction control would be helpful. Sometimes (especially in the winter) I think of just buying an SUV, but most of them seem bigger than I want to drive around. I would appreciate any advice that you may have for me, thanks in advance for your help :)

Preferred Bodystyle(s): Coupe

Car Needs: Daily commuter

Need minimum of 4 seats

Will consider both new and used cars
Maximum mileage: 60000
Maximum age: 4 years

Maximum price: C $ 17000

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Response from mkaresh

9:39 am May 1, 2014

I tested the Altima coupe with the V6 and manual transmission a few years ago. Definitely thirsty, and one of the worst-riding cars I've ever tested. My wife hated riding in it. I think the four-cylinder coupe has a more compliant suspension.

The Accord is a larger car, so it doesn't feel as agile but has a roomier back seat and a larger trunk. Both the back seat and the trunk are quite small in the Altima.

I haven't checked prices, but Hondas tend to depreciate more slowly, so an Accord probably costs more than an Altima.

Reliability should be good with either car, though the Accord has an advantage in this area. Transmission replacements are more common with the CVT in the Altima than the conventional automatic transmission in the Accord.

Some people also don't like how the CVT feels in the Altima, as it tends to hold the engine at a constant rpm while accelerating.

If you'd prefer a manual transmission anyway, these CVT issues aren't relevant.

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Nissan Altima
Honda Accord

Response from 2011JeepGC

12:53 pm May 1, 2014

With your desire for 'sporty' and winter-time thoughts towards an SUV I would encourage you to take a look at the 2011 and newer Subaru Impreza or Forester. They tend to get a love/hate reaction from most people reagrding the styling.

Maybe push your search to some of the other newer 'crossover' SUV's to hit the market. Car like handling and mileage, with some increased off pavement capability (and winter confidence), and a little extra space for stuff (back seats still tend to be a bit cramped, but since you were looking at coupes I thought this would be a non issue). The subaru forester, crosstrek and jeep (read fiat) cherokee all come to mind for a good blend of sporty and functional.

There is a substantial range of variation in the line up, available manual gear box, and 'reasonably' fuel efficeient powerplant as long as you avoid the wrx/sti packages. You can get your sporty feel, while still retaining a functional amount of space without going for a full size SUV.

Maintenance might be a little more costly than you would get from a Honda or Nissan, but they seem to have sorted out some of the issues from earlier models (oil consumtpion, cheap interior and trim on lower models).

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Subaru Impreza / Outback Sport
Subaru Forester
Jeep Cherokee

Response from mkaresh

1:11 pm May 1, 2014

I didn't think to suggest SUVs earlier. The Jeep doesn't handle well. The Subarus are a bit more fun to drive.

But if what you want is a coupe-like SUV, and don't need a lot of interior space, Nissan's Juke is an interesting option.

An Infiniti EX35 is much more luxurious than the Juke, but it won't be easy to find a 2010 under $18,000 (close, maybe) and fuel economy will be lower than with the Juke.

Any thoughts on these?

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Nissan JUKE
Infiniti EX

Response from willied

8:19 pm May 1, 2014

You really don't need an SUV just for winter conditions. Out of the two cars you chose I'd go with the Accord.

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Response from avshelden

8:57 am May 2, 2014

While I don't have any first hand information on these, based on brand reputation for affordability and the fact they are coupes, have you considered the Hyundia Genesis Coupe (or maybe Veloster)? Not sure what you'd think about RWD of the Genesis in the snow and the Veloster is maybe too hatchback vs coupe (and possibly a little small).

I only thougth of these due to a random social media post.

In doing a quick search I also see that the Kia Forte is also availabe as a coupe.

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Hyundai Genesis Coupe
Hyundai Veloster
Kia Forte

Response from Snowblaster99

8:23 pm May 2, 2014

Thanks to All, for the well informed responses, this is Great!!! There were lots of great suggestions for smaller SUVs and Crossovers, I did some more research on frequency and cost of repairs, the Honda CR-V really jumped out at me for its low frequency / cost of repairs, Honda deserves a lot of credit for getting it right on all of their Cars / SUVs, although their styling tends to be a bit bland, but improving lately. The Nissan JUKE seems to fit the bill in many ways... but it seems to have a bit of an odd look to it? Maybe just because its a new concept and I don't see them very often. As the summer rolls around and the bad memories of driving in the winter diminish, I'll probably be thinking coupe again ;) One suggestion was the Genesis Coupe, I love the styling but I'm a bit shy about driving a RWD car in the winter, I still have white knuckle memories of driving a FireBird and then a 280-ZX in the winter ; / It was also suggested to me that a coupe equipped with good snow tires would be OK for the winter because their wheel base is the same as the equivalent Sedan, and their weight distribution is also similar... Somehow I had it in my mind that just because the car is a Coupe, it would be a much "snakier" ride in winter conditions... Perhaps not so? Thanks so much for the great information :)

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Response from mkaresh

9:48 pm May 2, 2014

Rear-wheel-drive cars aren't as tricky in the snow as they used to be thanks to stability control, but they're still trickier than front-wheel-drive cars.

You're correct that front-wheel-drive coupes should handle snow as well as the related sedans.

I wouldn't have thought to suggest the CR-V earlier because it's not sporty in appearance or in how it drives. Even most of the vehicles it competes with are sportier.

Honda will be introducing a smaller, sportier crossover later this year as a 2015 model. They have some information on the new HR-V here. It's probably about the size of the Juke, but less oddly styled and based on the highly reliable Fit. Could this be what you're looking for?

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Response from Snowblaster99

1:09 am May 3, 2014

Thanks mkaresh! For even more great info!

I will check into the new HR-V, a little less odd styling than the JUKE would be nice ;)

I'm sure that the stability control of the newer RWD drive cars helps a lot, but I have heard owner reports of them just sitting and spinning right in a parking spot?

I almost never see them (Gneiss Coupe) being driven in the winter around here?

I was surprised to see that the Mustang is listed as one of the ten best "snow-blasters"... Perhaps its because of its high birth/ground clearance, it doesn't plough snow, but its still RWD. I love the styling of the RWD coups out there, but I still have it in my mind that an RWD drive car would be a nightmare in the winter, I could be wrong though?


I'll look into the new HR-V, Honda sure knows how to put a good car together, they also know how to charge for it ;)

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Response from Snowblaster99

4:57 pm May 3, 2014

Thanks Again!

I checked out the URL for the 2015 HONDA HR-V, It looks quite cool and Coupe(ish) for an SUV, the hidden rear doors are clever, it makes it look all the more sleek and stylish. Good on Honda for breaking free of their bonds of frummpyness and makeing something stylish... even Cool!!!


I sure hope that 4WD or AWD is available (or whats the point) This looks like it might fit my needs quite well. It seems to have a nice blend of Practicallity and Cool :)


Their web site does not give any info on horsepower, 4WD, and price as yet. I'll do some more digging and see what I can find out about it. If anyone has more info on the 2015 HONDA HR-V, I'd be greatful to hear about it.


I hear that its considered a little unwise to buy a car in its first year of production, but I kinda trust Honda to get it right, right from the start, as they have an excelent track record for reliability and frequency/cost of repairs and have a good warranty?

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Response from Snowblaster99

8:43 pm May 3, 2014

I did some more digging on the HONDA HR-V

Honda is not giving up much information as yet, but there is some unconfirmed info from the New York Auto Show where it was recently unvailed. The scuttlebut is that it will be offered in North America with AWD (I hope the heck so) and a 1.5 litre and 1.5 litre with turbo will be offered.

I'm not used to the new age thing where they use a small 1.5 litre engine with turbo, would it not feel like your engine was lugging the car, until you tramp on it and engage the Turbo? I would also wonder if you would eventually blow your engine up, just by running it with such a small engine ?

I suppose I'm a bit of a primitive, and have always relyed on cubic displacement to give my car the get-up and go that I need and want.

Would a 1.5 litre engine (with a Turbo) give even a sub-compact SUV enough useable horsepower to boot it around the city, drive it to the golf course (with a couple of buddies in it) or take it on a highway trip with my girlfriend (she is tiny but packs [luggage] HEAVY ;)


As you can see I'm compleetly uninformed about this new "thing" of small engine combined with Turbo?


I just wonder if it would feel like you were driving a guttles car, until the odd time when you kick the Turbo into action?

Any thoughts on this?

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Response from mkaresh

10:23 am May 4, 2014

If it's like other recent turbocharged engines, you won't notice the operation of the turbo. With Honda's first turbo engine (the HR-V's will be only their second), in the first-generation RDX, engine reliability has been fine, but many people had complaints about driveability.

First-year Hondas do sometimes have more problems than others, though these are usually minor things like rattles.

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Response from willied

12:35 pm May 4, 2014

I honestly wouldn't be too worried about driving a new RWD car in the snow. Heck, I've done it in my Explorer without winter tires (all terrain tires instead - this is just visiting family in Canada during Christmas) and I've tested it out and I can't spin the car with stability/traction control on, it just accelerates forward without issue. FWD is going to be harder to get into trouble with, though.

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Response from Snowblaster99

10:46 pm May 6, 2014

Thanks again mkaresh!

When you refer drivability complaints about the first-generation RDX, I'm not quite sure what you mean, would the issue be stability and controol or power to do what it claims to do or overall feel, or all of the above?

I looked up the Honda fit, which the Honda HR-V would be based on, it seems like a very small car to turn into a SRV or crossover. Then again, the CRV is built onto a Civic frame, and that seems to have worked out OK.


Just wondering ?

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Response from mkaresh

9:40 am May 7, 2014

The common complaint with the RDX was excessive hesitation. I think more than just turbo lag. I don't think there was any fix for it. Some members disliked this hesitation enought that they got rid of the cars. The HR-V will be fairly small, I think about the size of the Buick Encore.

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Response from Snowblaster99

2:08 pm June 29, 2014

I have concidered another Coupe, the Scion TC (2011 and later model years). I really like what they have done with the Scion TC after the 2011 re-design, its sporty yet practical, but there is almost no reliability and ectera information on the new generation of TCs', probably because there are not that many around as yet, I only see stats on the earlier generation - 2008 and before. I wish I could get some Stats or opinions of people who know a bit about the 2011 and later Scion TCs' I would love to hear your opinions or where I can get some information on the new generation of TCs'

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Response from mkaresh

3:18 pm June 29, 2014

I wish we had more data on the current tC for you. It's related to the Camry, and should be pretty reliable. It does handle much better than the first-gen tC.

I'd also suggest a look at the Hyundai Veloster, but they've been a little troublesome, don't handle especially well, and have poor visibility to the rear quarter.

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Response from Snowblaster99

7:13 pm June 29, 2014

Thanks so much for the insightful advice! If the Scion TC has the underpinnings of the Camry, I would not be too worried about reliability, the Camry gets the best reliability ratings from the CS Reports for many years back. The new 2014Scion TC got a bit of an unfair review from one of the car mags this spring, they dwelt on noise in the cabin from the sport tuned exhaust and road noise (I like a bit of exhaust roar) and they would have liked more touchy feely materials used in the interior, the dash and such, they also said that it was a stiff ride as far as the suspension goes. They also said that Scion had reinforced the suspension substantially in the 2014 model year (I see that as a good thing ;) I think the "editors" who reviewed the car missed the point of what is important to someone who enjoys a sporty coupe ;) I would be happy to buy a late model or new Scion TC, but I think I'll have to dig around a bit more and see if I can get some opinions from enthusiasts who drive them, just incase there's a fly in the ointment ;) Surly, there must be some "hotdogs" on the Forum who drive them and would give us there opinion,, Good, Bad or Ugly ;)

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Response from willied

10:16 am June 30, 2014

The tC is actually based on the Avensis, which is sold in Europe. I haven't heard good things about the tC (though it should be reliable). I would suggest driving the Focus and Mazda 3 after you've driven the tC. I imagine you'll find them to be much better cars.

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Response from Snowblaster99

11:46 am June 30, 2014

Thanks for the advice:)

The "re-imagined" 2014 Forte Koupe caught my eye (in the looks department). The car now sits lower to the ground which looks cool, but not so much of a blessing in the winter on snow days, you could wind up ploughing snow, which is not a "good" thing ;) Its' impressive that they can press 175 hp from a 2 liter engine or 200-hp from a 1.6 liter engine with a turbo, but I have the idea in my mind that the engine would have a shorter life span, especially the1.6 liter engine with a turbo? I would expect that little 1.6 liter engine to explode before to long? I would be happier with a 2.5 with 180-hp for a Coupe of that size. I would also expect that the 1.6 liter engine to sound very buzzy when you step on it. Admittedly, I'm a bit of a "Primitive" and may be completely wrong on this. I would welcome any enlightenment on this subject, because I just don't get it ;)

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Response from mkaresh

8:23 am July 7, 2014

I'm not too concerned with the reliability of the 1.6T engine. 200 horsepower isn't terribly much from an engine of that size with a turbo. Of greater concern: the engine doesn't perform as well as its specs suggest it ought to. In magazine tests the 2.0-liter without the turbo is nearly as quick, so I'd probably just get that one if I was buying a Forte.

Have you tracked down the ground clearance specs? Even if the roof is now lower there isn't necessarily less ground clearance.

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