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small comfortable commuter, not too boring,

The Right Car for Me | TrueDelta


Looking for a 2nd car for the household. It will be mainly a commuter for me doing just 25mi daily (about 30min each way) 90% highway and small trips around town. It'll also pull the occasional school drop-off/pick-up for 1 child (need room for car seat in back). I'm only 5'7" and my wife is 5'4" so smaller cabin is fine. Needs an automatic transmission so wife can drive it in a pinch.

The other "big" ;) car in the household is a 2016 Mazda3 Hatchback which I really like, and would consider the same or similar car again (though 2 of the same car might be weird). Unfortunately the cabin noise on the Mazda is a little loud which is something I'd really like to be better in the daily driver. Otherwise the car is great.

Top feature I'm looking for is a quietier cabin than the Mazda3 so music, audiobooks and phone calls on the commute are more enjoyable. But a close second is safety features, particularly those valuable for parking lots and heavy traffic like rear cross traffic alert, blind spot alert and automatic emergency breaking. AWD would also be nice but not required to deal with some weather in Maryland. Third on the list is a tie between reliability, total cost (I'm not likely to do my own maintence) and performance. Ideally the car would be fun to drive, or at least not boring, nor sluggish or too big/bulky. I've enjoyed both an '04 and '06 Subaru Impreza in the past. Probably also worth mentioning that some of the infotainment systems out there are really trash and I'd rather avoid the worst of them, but as long as bluetooth works consistently and well that's probably enough.I'd even pay for some conveniences that would make the commute easier (the car will sit in the driveway) such as remote start, heated seats/windows/mirrors, etc.

While I have the top cost at $25k, I'd love to be closer to $20k but would certainly pay more for the perfect blend of features. ;) Used car is preferred though I'd consider new car premium if it was the only way to get a good fit. Really appreciate any ideas!

Priorities: Quietness / Safety & braking / Reliability & durability

Need minimum of 4 seats

Will consider both new and used cars
Maximum mileage: 60000
Maximum age: 5 years

Maximum price: US $ 25000

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Response from LectroFuel

1:40 pm May 26, 2019

I know you said you don't really want a new car, but I was thinking the redesigned Corolla would be a good choice. It rides on the TNGA platform, which is their newest platform. You get a lot for your money with that car. I'd only suggest the SE, XLE, or LE Hybrid trims.

Really, another Mazda3 would fit the bill perfectly. 2019 Mazda3 Sedan with the Preferred or Select package. The Select package with AWD MSRPs for $24k. You will be blown away by how nice the interior is. Hatchback is a $1000 premium. It is the closest car you can get to your needs. It is night and day between your 2016. It is now one of the quietest cars in the class. The powertrain is the carried over 2.5L with the 6 speed, so reliability should be very good despite being the first year of the redesign.

Also, what trim is your Mazda3? My son is looking to replace the tires in his 2015 i Touring sedan and he is looking at thePirelli Cinturato P7 All Season Plus. He wants a quieter ride, but still wants to preserve the steering feel and efficiency. I think anything would be an upgrade from the OEM Yokohama S34s, which lose 10 psi every couple of weeks and are very loud.


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Mazda Mazda3
Toyota Corolla

Response from Lew Black

5:10 pm June 6, 2019

While reliability is not so good, the 2019 VW Golf S fits the bill. It does come with 6 year/72K bumper to bumper warranty. The car is extremely quiet, rides well, and handles well. The 2019 is tough to find. The engine is fuel efficient 1.4 turbo. The S model is well within your price range and the Sportwagen isn't much more if you occasionally haul something long. Car and Driver got 43mpg on the highway at 75 mph.. https://www.caranddriver.com/reviews/a25137836/2019-volkswagen-golf-hatchback-by-the-numbers/ Even the entry level S trim includes automatic braking, blindspot monitoring and rear traffic cross alert. I have the 2016 Sportwagen S (a foot longer, otherwise the same.) It is the quietest, most luxurious car I have owned. It is like a poor man's, 2 wheel drive, Audi. BTW, my own, considerable, experience with snow and ice has proven to me that snow tires are much more important than all wheel drive. Mud, deep snow and going uphill will give you and advantage with AWD, but the tires are responsible for braking and steering.


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Volkswagen Golf / Rabbit / GTI

Response from Member132

5:01 pm June 11, 2019

if you want a quieter interior, skip the hatchbacks. All of them are intrinsically noisier than a sedan, just because the interior is open to the cargo area.

A Corolla sedan would be my suggestion, a friend of mine has a 2018 or 2019 model and (surprisingly for a Toyota :-)) it does not have a bland interior while it does have tons of rear seat leg room (comes handy if you have to fit a car seat).

Another option worthy of consideration is theToyota Yaris iA, which is actually a rebadged Mazda2 (no longer sold by Mazda in US). Smaller and less expensive than a Corolla and it should be quieter than the hatchback model.

I have a 2017 Mazda3 Grand Touring Manual with the Premium Package and absolutely love that car, but you already have one so...


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Toyota Corolla
Toyota Yaris iA

Response from FordTruck

3:49 am July 13, 2019

Check out a 2018 Hyundai Tucson 1.6T. A family member bought a new 2017 when it came out and it's been great so far. It's part of the reason I ended up buying a Hyundai Kona as my second car.

The Kona would fit the bill for all the mechanical and safety features you'd want. The DCT is a little but different than standard automatic, but no manual input is needed. The one caveat is the road noise of the Kona isn't particularly great, but so far that's been its one and only downside. You can get a new 2019 Kona in your price range. The 1.6T is worth the added premium.

The 2019 Tucsons don't have the Turbos anymore which is a shame since that's a very zippy engine that gets good mileage and performance. I'd even look into using ethanol-free premium as I do. It gets better mileage and performance.

From what I've seen almost everyone on my street has the same combo:truck + small car. Most of the trucks are like mine F-150 and most of the small cars are some type of Hyundai or Mazda 3.

Something really out there is a Mercedes B-200. It's oddly realible for a Mercedes and has lots of room. Depreciation is your friend in this case when looking for a used one.


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Hyundai Tucson
Hyundai Kona
Mercedes-Benz B-Class

Response from LectroFuel

7:41 pm August 7, 2019

This is a late response, but the Tucson DCTs had a decent amount of problems. That's one of the reasons why they stopped putting it in the Tucson. Another reason is that DCTs don't perform well in slow bumper to bumper traffic and that is where most Tucsons end up; not at the race track. If you aren't in traffic often it's a good choice in most cases.


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