The thing I found aggravating about my EP3 when I owned it was the lack of an armrest. Yes, the dash-mounted gearshift is novel, but there's nowhere to rest your arm. Is it a minor issue? Sure, but driving 25 min each way to work became tiring.
It's not like you have to shift constantly, so you arm can rest in other positions. Or you can just hold the wheel with two hands.
People have made a similar complaint about the NC miata, and how the cup holder cover isnt padded. I have had mine near two years and never rested my arm on the cover, or thought the lack of a traditional armrest was an issue.
Maybe its because the first couple cars I owned didn't have one, or something.
Mr. Money Mustache
I hadn't considered the Golf, not really sure why. Looking at Auto Trader, it seems that around 80% of the manual Golfs in 50 miles of me are TDIs with a lot of them being MKVIs. There are two or three SELs kicking around but they are priced around 15k and have the pleather interior (ew).
Every Subaru I've owned is very picky about going into reverse. I never experienced this issue with any other manual I've owned. I did read about the interesting suspension design choices. It can be fixed with bushings and ball joints that move some of the pivot points but that is more money just to bring it to on par with how it should have been factory. I've also read that the EP3s suffer from bump steer even stock, but I only found one source on that.
They’ve been much improved since about 2007, mid way through the first gen (facelift 1st-gens if you will).
My old neighbor still drives the ‘07 3 that he’s owned since new (only has about 130K on it) but I worked on the brakes on that car last year, and it was surprisingly easy to work on from a rust perspective. It’s not perfect (it was still 11 years old) but the body is rust free and the suspension/brakes only had typical surface corrosion.
Another co-worker had an ‘07 or ‘08 (can’t remember) with high miles, again similar story - no body rot.
Even on the 1st gen Speed3 side, a couple other friends daily(ed) them - one example was pristine but unfortunately was the victim of a felled tree during a tornado; but the other one is still kicking around - and again, rot free - even with over 150K on the clock.
And as a comparison, the early 1st-gen 3 rotboxes started showing within 5 years, so these 10+ year old examples that still aren’t showing any signs of rust, says to me that they’ve improved.
The Fiesta's base seats are pretty unsupportive, so you might want the recaros if you are trim enough to fit in them. But I wouldn't be concerened about them being too small if you are considering the EP3, and regardless they are a blast to drive.
I'm constantly shifting even in my Forester. I rarely make it to fourth gear and spend little time in third until I'm out of the city or I'm on the roads after 10pm. So, constant 1st->2nd shifts and back shifting. It usually takes me 45mins to an hour to make the ~11mi drive to work on days where I don't bike or take public transit. My arm never gets tired but then again, I have an armrest to help me out and the shifter isn't on the dash.
Would you consider an automatic? I think you might be able to find a used 3 or Golf with adaptive cruise control that will take over completely in stop and go traffic. Yea you'd lose stickshift but honestly in your situation it almost doesn't seem worth the hassle.
I owned one for a few years and put around 90,000 miles on it. I'll add to what the others have written. There are many good features about the car, but there were some things about it that became annoying too. The turning circle was terrible. A three point turn can quickly become a four point turn depending on the situation. The gearing was short, but wasn't bad. I averaged 28 mpg mixed. I didn't like the on-center steering feel and was vague, but overall weighted nicely.
The suspension was mentioned earlier. It's not special unto itself and uses same/similar parts as the RSX and Civic siblings. I think the issue is the angle of the steering rack and arms as they relate to the strut. Often guys will flip the tie rod end to relieve some of the issues. I replaced the suspension with some RSX parts with only a little machine work.
Overall good cars, but condsider other hatchbacks too.
(sheriff)Early, I though you said this was a drug possum.
(Early) Sure, I drug him from the ditch.
(sheriff) I wish you told me that before you sold him to me.
The EP3 is super reliable with normal maintenance. My mom has my old one with 160k+ on it. It needed an A/C compressor when I had it (Honda paid for half as it was a few years out of warranty) and then nothing until it was about 12 years old when it got an idler pulley and a radiator. A few months ago, at 16+ years old, it got front struts since they were leaking and starting to make noise. That's it aside from a set of brakes, tires, a few batteries and bulbs and stuff like plugs, fluids (trans, coolant, brake) and filters. The original clutch is still fine and grabs hard despite having a really hard life while I owned it.
It is a great car if you have good roads with elevation changes but not that fun here in the city where it is flat and straight and potholed. I loved it back east but wasn't as much of a fan of it here in Texas. The A/C can't deal with 95 degree temperatures and it turns 4100 at 80 MPH and like 4500 at 85. It has amazing in-gear power since it cruises right on the torque peak but only gets about 27-28 MPG. Despite having VTEC-Lite it pulled hard right into the 7100 RPM fuel cut and mine cruised smoothly at 120 MPH the few times I took it through Mexico. I loved the engine - one of the most flexible I have ever driven, good torque right off idle (the torque curve is essentially flat).
Mine pulled timing in hot weather on regular gas -- felt like very slight hesitation/bucking if I gave it a lot of gas at low revs, like flooring it in 2nd at 15 MPH after making a rolling right turn. I put midgrade in it most of the time and premium when it was very hot and it stopped doing it.
It is very sensitive to tire quality due to the firm/tight suspension. If you drive one that has cheap/soft sidewall tires on it, it will wander all over the place and feel like a Buick Century. It needs a low-profile, high-quality, stiff, V-rated or higher tire to feel right. My mom's has some basic Falkens on it right now and it is fine for her but it feels rolly and soft to me.
Improving the signal-to-noise ratio
I had a EP3 for a few months and was very disappointed. It had the worst ride quality of any car that I ever owned and was not modified or slammed...NYC area roads just punished my ass in that thing.
The gearing sucks on the highway and engine is very flat. I wanted to like the car, but it got on my nerves very quickly and sold at a loss to be done with it.
Yet strangely more prone to failure in the Focus, I knew of several people who lost gearboxes, many of whom weren't beating the crap out the car either. And parts were unavailable from Ford for rebuilding them - they only wanted to sell you a complete 'box for basically what the car was worth.