I need some help to make sure I don't make a wrong car decision again.
Last year, I convinced my wife a Civic EX-T 6 speed was the car for her. She's hated it since like day 2. Doesn't like the seats, hates that it's not a hatch, and wants something faster. She was also driving 140 miles a day when we got it, but switched jobs and the mpg isn't as critical as it was when we bought it. She also wants to go back to AWD if we're switching cars.
Long story short, this is what she has told me she wants out of her next car:
- reasonably quick and fun to drive (dealbreaker)
- wagon or hatch (dealbreaker)
- heated seats (dealbreaker; she won't even entertain the thought of not having these )
- AWD (not a dealbreaker, but extremely strong preference)
- manual (not a dealbreaker, but preferred )
- safe for 2 kids in car seats, reliable, good resale (this is basically every new car, right? This also wouldn't be the primary baby hauler)
- big enough for a 75 pound bulldog to ride in the trunk (again, not the dog hauler, but if need be, she's gotta fit)
- budget around $45k, but not set in stone. Happy to go much cheaper or a little more expensive.
- Preferred brand new, or at least with some sort of factory warranty
So there's a little room for compromise. She could maybe be convinced about AWD. And I think something like DSG could convince her away from a manual. But it has to be quick/fun, it absolutely has to be a wagon or hatch or small SUV and it absolutely, 100%, no questions asked, has to have factory heated seats.
Here's what we've driven or considered so far:
- Focus RS. We drove a '16 and she loved it, but the specific car was a giant red flag. Dealer found a brand new '18 and offered to have it delivered for MSRP. But it didn't have heated seats. Broke my heart, since I was warming up to the idea of getting the last brand new Focus RS in America! We are looking around at used RS's in the area.
- Civic Type R. Hated the styling so much, she wouldn't even sit it in. FWD could have been ok
- WRX/STi. Drove it multiple times. Couldn't get past sedan. Realized the hatch was a true dealbreaker
- Golf R. Driving it tomorrow. On paper, this checks all of the boxes. I am starting to like the idea of a DSG with an APR reflash. Seems to make a lot more sense than a Focus RS as a realistic daily driver. Dealer offered $5k off MSRP if I bought it yesterday, but couldn't pull the trigger without having at least sat in one
- Edge ST. Seems overpriced and not as fun. Interesting on paper, but haven't driven it and probably won't.
- Forester XT. Would obviously have to be used and I remember the CVT not exactly being inspiring when we drove one last year. Her dream car that doesn't exist is probably a Forester STi though.
- Tesla Model 3. Actually had a deposit on one for 2 years, but for a variety of reasons, it's not for her.
So tell me, are there any other cars I should be considering if I'm looking for a fun to drive hatch/wagon/SUV that has AWD, heated seats, maybe a manual, enough for car seats and a dog, and is around $45k?
On paper the Golf R is the ideal car here, but I don't want to be forgetting something and I really haven't been paying close attention to this segment in the last couple years.