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    Thread: Yet another “What should I buy?” Thread

    1. Senior Member Sporin's Avatar
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      08-01-2020 10:54 AM #1
      We aren’t payment buyers but we are serious budget people. So after we’ve done all the math on all of our expenses and income, all the TFL stuff, our budget for this car is 400/month, max of $450. So with current rates let’s say we are shopping around $22-23k.

      This will replace our old Prius and be my primary commuter car. It will get a set of steelies and snows for winter.

      So the Corolla SE is firmly in play. It fits all of our needs and wants, other than being well .. being a Corolla. J-Vins and already discounted at our local dealer where we bout our RAV4. This is the sensible choice I think.

      VW GTI is probably not in play due to price and no local dealer.

      Elantra GT N-Line would likely work financially but I’m not sure I’m sold. Again, no local dealer.

      We’ll get at least $2k trade in for the Prius (first offer by notoriously chintzy dealer) and pay taxes out of pocket. We have Top Tier credit so I’d like to snag some of that cheap/0 financing.

      Wifey wish list: Appreciably better MPG than the RAV4. Keyless entry & Push Button start if possible, Bonus points for factory remote start. Apple CarPlay. Comfortable. She does not care about sporty or fast.

      My wish list is about the same except since it will be my daily commuter I’d like it to be fun to drive. I also value reliability very highly.

      We will still have the Miata of course.

      Used is totally fine but I’m not seeing enough price difference between lightly used and new to make me want to go used unless I find a very compelling reason.

      We are not interested in any luxury makes, or overly complicated cars. We value simpler, cheaper but still engaging to drive and stuff that will last a long time as we keep our cars 10 years.

      So what do you think? What obvious player am I missing? Do I forgo the six speed Corolla and just get a Camry with the bigger engine? That car feels bigger than we need.

      Do I try to find a manual transmission Civic hatchback? Those are rare now unless I travel and Honda doesn’t seem to be making more.

      I thought of the VW Jetta GLI but without a local dealer I’m not sure I want to go down that path. Also I’ve driven my neighbors newer Jetta a few times and I smack my head every time I get into it.

      So I welcome any suggests or tips.
      I will really be buying a car in the next couple of weeks or sooner. No TFL arguments please, we’ve taken care of all that.

      Thanks!

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    3. Senior Member Sporin's Avatar
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      08-01-2020 11:17 AM #2







    4. Member Uber Wagon's Avatar
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      08-01-2020 11:20 AM #3
      I'd say Mazda 6 sedan. Not too big, not too small, enough enthusiast cred at local car meets. Super reliable, and massive COVID-19 discounts available. That's what I would buy.

      Beer: The cause of, and solution to, all of life's problems.

    5. Member Dandbest's Avatar
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      08-01-2020 11:29 AM #4
      4 door Civic Si? Seems like the perfect blend of fun, reliable and great resale value

    6. Member rich!'s Avatar
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      08-01-2020 11:52 AM #5
      Quote Originally Posted by Sporin View Post
      We’ll get at least $2k trade in for the Prius (first offer by notoriously chintzy dealer) and pay taxes out of pocket. We have Top Tier credit so I’d like to snag some of that cheap/0 financing.
      Toyota Camry Hybrid? 0% until the 3rd, might be a few bones above price range

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      08-01-2020 12:25 PM #6
      My choice here would be GLI, but given the lack of dealer and the fact that you're coming from a Prius..maybe another Prius? I'm concerned you'll ultimately be disappointed in the MPG you get with the other options...even if you're not concerned with the price of fuel, I know going from a fuel efficient vehicle to a less fuel efficient vehicle has always been tough for me.

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      08-01-2020 12:27 PM #7
      I just built a 2021 Corolla LE with Convenience package on their website. It has everything you ask for and the price is $22380. You guys have Toyotas and I assume you like them. So this would be right up your alley. You mention she does not care for sporty or fast so I would think this is the best choice. I am not sure why you are knocking it down in your original post.

    9. Goes in two directions RAVatar's Avatar
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      08-01-2020 12:52 PM #8
      Join us.

      The reasons you list are the exact reasons I have one. I still maintain you try the SE Sedan for comfort sake but the hatch is where it's at for the points you list.

      I did spring for the XSE over the SE because here in the states, the SE is not available with heated seats and SE climate is single zone instead of dual. Both are minute features in the grand scheme but the wife insisted and it was within budget anyway. With negotiating, the difference between the two was negligible. Signed paperwork and picked it up 13 March, and it already is closing in on 10K miles.

      Let me know if you have any specific questions!
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      08-01-2020 12:55 PM #9
      What about the Mazda 3? I haven’t driven the latest generation, but it should be fun to drive, somewhat more interesting than a Corolla, and shouldn’t require any frequent dealer visits.

      Also, a lightly used VW in your price range might not be bad if you can find a 2018 or 2019 with the 6-year/72k mile warranty. No local dealer could be an issue, but I think that’s an issue you’re going to have with a lot of brands in central VT/NH.

      As for your Prius, I’d definitely try and get some Carvana/Vroom offers for that, because $2k sounds ridiculously low. If not, advertise on VT and Western Mass craigslist and you can have it sold in 5 minutes, I’m sure

    11. Senior Member
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      08-01-2020 12:56 PM #10
      Mazda 3 or 6 would be what I’d drive first. Then a Civic Sport or Si, then a Toyota.

      Maybe a GLI, given the crazy deals on them. The Mk7’s seem to be quite reliable (I’ve only had one issue on my car in 5 years, a leaky sunroof which was fixed under warranty).

    12. Member adrew's Avatar
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      08-01-2020 12:59 PM #11
      No way, the new Corolla (with the 2-liter) is way more fun than the new Mazda 3. The new 3 is tuned more for comfort than sport and has that janky twist-beam rear end; Corolla has rear multi-links (interesting how the two cars essentially switched places with the current generation).

      If she doesn't mind driving stick, definitely get a 6MT sedan for a little more fun (hatch if your son will never be in the back). If mileage is the utmost priority, maybe consider the hybrid? It doesn't look that fun with the LRR bubble tires, though. Definitely don't get the LE sedan with the old 1.8-liter engine and old CVT. The one in ours is okay and it is pretty smooth/quiet/efficient but not that powerful (0-60 in 9 or 10) and the CVT doesn't have the physical launch gear like on the 2.0.

      I know the new sedan is a little tighter in the back than our '17 (which is huge) but they have almost full-size room in the back and the trunks are large.

      I will say that there is something overall, maybe intangible, maybe not, maybe placebo -- but, overall, my J-VIN Yaris feels better built and tighter than our Mississippi-built 'Rolla. Both have been total pleasures to own with zero issues other than a couple of easy recalls.
      Last edited by adrew; 08-01-2020 at 01:07 PM.
      Improving the signal-to-noise ratio

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      08-01-2020 01:07 PM #12
      Quote Originally Posted by Dandbest View Post
      4 door Civic Si? Seems like the perfect blend of fun, reliable and great resale value
      Yep. If I were smart I'd have bought one for myself.

    14. Senior Member Sporin's Avatar
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      08-01-2020 01:55 PM #13
      So we liked the Corolla SE a lot. I want to test drive the Hatchback (they didn’t have any but can get one)



      Positives: Perfect sedan size. Seat space is very good. Love the design of the dash shapes despite the tacked on big screen.

      Nitpicks: the shifter is TALL but feels good. The Miata has spoiled me in this regard. Cup holders are pretty small. Wired Apple CarPlay only. No rear seat back releases in the trunk.

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      08-01-2020 01:58 PM #14
      Mazda 3 hatch. J-vin, and looks like a Ferrari FF from the back

    16. Senior Member Sporin's Avatar
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      08-01-2020 02:05 PM #15
      Quote Originally Posted by puma1552 View Post
      Mazda 3 hatch. J-vin, and looks like a Ferrari FF from the back
      We’ve owned a lot of Mazda’s but I think they are out for me this time. The 3 hatch has a massive rear blind spot now. The 6, like the Camry, is just way bigger than we want or need. Also no local dealer.

    17. Senior Member Sporin's Avatar
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      08-01-2020 02:06 PM #16
      Quote Originally Posted by RAVatar View Post
      Join us.

      The reasons you list are the exact reasons I have one. I still maintain you try the SE Sedan for comfort sake but the hatch is where it's at for the points you list.

      I did spring for the XSE over the SE because here in the states, the SE is not available with heated seats and SE climate is single zone instead of dual. Both are minute features in the grand scheme but the wife insisted and it was within budget anyway. With negotiating, the difference between the two was negligible. Signed paperwork and picked it up 13 March, and it already is closing in on 10K miles.

      Let me know if you have any specific questions!
      I think the next step is to have them get a hatch for us to test drive.

      I don't see any XSE equipment that I feel is necessary over the SE on the sedan at least. THe BSM and RCTA would be nice to have but I don't want them enough to make me pay more. XSE sedan is also CVT only.
      Last edited by Sporin; 08-01-2020 at 02:22 PM.

    18. Member The_Real_Stack's Avatar
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      08-01-2020 02:09 PM #17
      Wild card: Hyundai Kona? 175hp, DCT, AWD?
      Quote Originally Posted by Volkl View Post
      My wife wanted a SUV with a manual transmission. I suggested a Wrangler, she said no way, too masculine

    19. Senior Member Sporin's Avatar
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      08-01-2020 02:17 PM #18
      Quote Originally Posted by The_Real_Stack View Post
      Wild card: Hyundai Kona? 175hp, DCT, AWD?
      I think that will feel too similar to the RAV4, but it's a good idea.

    20. Senior Member Sporin's Avatar
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      08-01-2020 02:30 PM #19
      Found a stick shift corolla hatch at another dealer, off now to drive that and a civic hatch at the dealer next door to them.

    21. Member adrew's Avatar
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      08-01-2020 02:43 PM #20
      Not sure if it is as appealing up there where you might want some sidewall, but one nice thing about the SE sedan is that it comes with the nice-looking (IMO) 18-inch wheels that come on the XSE hatch. The SE hatch comes with much plainer 16-inch wheels that throw off the whole look, IMO.

      XSE


      vs

      SE



      Improving the signal-to-noise ratio

    22. Member elite.mafia's Avatar
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      08-01-2020 03:26 PM #21
      Quote Originally Posted by Sporin View Post
      Found a stick shift corolla hatch at another dealer, off now to drive that and a civic hatch at the dealer next door to them.
      The civic hatch with the 1.5t is a nice car. My buddy has a 2018 sport with a CVT and a hondata tune on it, it's pretty damn powerful with that tune. A few things I don't like about it: it's noisy, stock exhaust is some tuner special that just makes too much noise IMO. Also has a bit of a cheap feel to it despite leather seats and all the equipment it has, there's just a lot of hard plastic still. If you can get past that it's a really solid car. Personally I think the corolla looks better but the motor in the civic is a lot better.
      2zz-ge 6mt trying to rev to mars

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      08-01-2020 03:29 PM #22
      Having known Sporin for 20 (!!!) years, here are my thoughts:

      - Used Lexus LS and GS. Yes, they're big. But you've been thinking about one for a while. Hard to get in your budget.
      - Used 2018-2019 Golf Sportwagen. Those years have the 6/80 warranty. Taking us back to the B5 years.
      - Stretching to $26k to get a new GTI S.

      By far, the most logical choice is the Corolla SE sedan...and then saving up towards a newer Miata.

    24. Goes in two directions RAVatar's Avatar
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      08-01-2020 03:48 PM #23
      Quote Originally Posted by Sporin View Post
      I think the next step is to have them get a hatch for us to test drive.

      I don't see any XSE equipment that I feel is necessary over the SE on the sedan at least. THe BSM and RCTA would be nice to have but I don't want them enough to make me pay more. XSE sedan is also CVT only.
      The only big difference is blind spot monitoring, which is available in an SE package but not on the base SE hatch. Otherwise the differences are fairly minor:
      - 18s vs 16s
      - satin aluminum fascia trim on front and rear bumpers
      - BLIS
      - power driver's seat
      - heated front seats
      - leatherette/cloth vs plain cloth
      - dual zone auto climate vs single zone auto climate

      This pertains to only the hatchback. XSE vs SE sedan, some benefits towards the sedan are the roomier back seat and the sedan is available with a sunroof and 6MT. A sunroof is not available on any hatchback regardless of trim or transmission.

      2019 hatchbacks are not Android Auto capable, and the headunits are not software updated. The headunit needs to be swapped with a 2020 VIN unit to work. Just something to keep in mind if you decide to work on a used deal. 2020s feature both and if you are an Apple person, this is of no consequence to you for either year.

      A key difference between the 6MT and the CVT is that the 6MT is not able to be equipped with the lane tracing radar. Was not a huge issue to me but if you do long highway commutes, something to consider. The 6MT radar will ping pong within it's own lane and can not radar cruise it's way in stop and go traffic. Radar cruise is disabled below 32 mph.

      I think that covers just about all of the bases but either are great buys and the first 25K miles should be covered maintenance cost free if purchased new.
      Off Topikstan CSB Thread, First Responder (c) 2013
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      Quote Originally Posted by Time for an aSS
      She got so pissed off she dumped her tits out at me.

    25. Senior Member Sporin's Avatar
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      08-01-2020 04:26 PM #24
      Praise Andy we love the Civic Sport sedan.

      Feature trade off favoring the Honda. The 2.0’s are on par with each other.
      I actually don’t mind the CVT but not compromising on a manual.

      Fair negotiations, coming in below budget. Leaving a deposit so they can locate a manual for us.

      More details when I’m back at my computer.

      Last edited by Sporin; 08-01-2020 at 04:33 PM.

    26. Member
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      08-01-2020 04:32 PM #25
      Quote Originally Posted by Sporin View Post
      Praise Andy we love the Civic Sport sedan.

      Feature trade off favoring the Honda. The 2.0’s are on par with each other.
      I actually don’t mind the CVT but not compromising on a manual.

      Leaving a deposit so they can locate a manual for it.

      More details when I’m back at my computer.

      That looks like a cool car. Check the rev hang and see if it bothers you or not.

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