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Old 09-18-2013, 05:47 PM   #1
SteelJM1 OP
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Ok... so new (er) car in my future. Compact hatch.

So.. my fantasy of owning a (new) 5.0 Mustang has long since faded. I must be getting old, because as cool as 420 hp in a good looking musclecar might be.. it's just not that... practical.

My current car is an 07 impreza sedan. She's pushing 200k and showing it. I got it from the father with a deep family discount at 130k in january of 2011 and have taken care of her, but she's just simply starting to break. I never really disliked this car, but i never really liked it either. One of those "Meh" cars for me.

I figure I've got about another 6 months to a year left in her. Not that she's going to die in that time period, but that I'll finally tire of putting money into a car I'm ambivalent about. So the 'ol brain gears have been turning about a new car. Not necessarily brand new, but considering the fact I tend to run cars to ~200k then it's not such a hit... I think.

So here's what I'm thinking

2014 Mazda 3 hatch:



Pros:
-Damn good looking car
-Damn good efficiency
-185 hp; quick, but not so stupid fast to get me into trouble
-Nice interior
-Good Mazda handling

Cons:
-185 hp engine only available in automatic (so far)
-185 hp engine also available in high trim levels, which means 18" tires, which means shitty ride on shitty road

Ford Focus:



Pros:
-Pretty good looking
-Damn Good efficiency
-Top compact hatch for a number of years
-Ford dealers EVERYWHERE so service (anything I can't do myself) should be good.

Cons:
-Down on power.. and from what I've heard the ecoboost is a bit gutless down low
-Interior not as nice
-Lacking on whizbang gismos

Golf TDI:




Pros:
-Damn good efficiency
-Damn good torque (people buy power and drive torque)
-Excellent fit and finish
-Manual is always an option

Cons:
-VW reliability is.. erm.. shaky
-A premium over the ford and mazda
-BORING ASS COLORS!

Ive also been bouncing the idea of the Mazda 6 and Ford Fusion around. I like the looks of the 6 (and the whole Kato or Koto design thing Mazda is doing) But the Ford also has good really good looks. The biggest downsides to both is that neither come in a hatch version. Also both are only available in automatic for the high trim levels (same 185hp engine for mazda).






I have to say, I AM leaning towards the mazda right now, but a lot can change in 6-12 months. I've been looking forward to mazda releasing its 2.2 diesel in the 6, and was disappointed to learn that they delayed that until spring '14. I worry that the diesel option will be the 'speed' version only, with automatic and a hell of a price premium. There are rumors that the 3 will be released next year with a manual mated to their 2.5 skydrive. Of course no one ever has reliable information on these sorts of things, least of all the dealer, so I'm wondering if I should wait for the options that I'd like. Hatch, Manual, Diesel. Oh and it needs to have a class 1 tow rating as well.
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Old 09-18-2013, 06:50 PM   #2
a1fa
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Vote for Mazda3.. If anything, I'd be getting Mazda 3i -- base.
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Old 09-18-2013, 07:00 PM   #3
Speedo66
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I've got 2 Mazda3 hatches, an '04 and a '10. Both great, trouble free, fun cars with lots of room. The '04 is a stick, other an auto.

Zero problems on either, the '04 is now at 100K miles. They both have around 160HP, still fun to drive. The '04 has a hitch and pulls a few motorcycles or a small boat easily.

I don't think there is anything in their price range which drives as nicely.
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Old 09-18-2013, 08:19 PM   #4
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Curious to see how Skyactiv's 14:1 compression ratio works with American fuels over the next couple of years.
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Old 09-19-2013, 03:33 AM   #5
Tripl Nikl
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As much as I like Subarus, if someone doesn't want/need AWD, then Mazdas are the way to go. The Japanese vehicles are a much better value than the German ones, IMHO.

The new Focus, however, seems promising. I have to keep telling myself to ignore the Focus name though because the last USDM Focus was a pile. The old, Mazda3-based Euro focus, though, that was sweet. And the new one seems to be similar to that.

Note that the Mazda3 platform was good enough to underpin the good Focus that we didn't get in the US? I'd take that as a hint that Mazda is swinging above its price-range for quality.
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Old 09-19-2013, 05:29 AM   #6
32x20
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I've got a 09 Mazda3S hatch (2.3) and love the car. Mine is manual and has ~167hp if I remember correctly. It's plenty quick enough to get you in trouble. Lots of fun to drive and nothing but maintenance items so far. They do tend to eat tires pretty quickly, but that's the only negative I can think of.

I got rid of a truck for it and now pull a 4x8 trailer when I need to haul motorcycles or 'stuff'. I'm hard pressed to think of another car that'd suit my needs better.

EDIT: I'm really surprised Mazda isn't offering a manual for the top engine. They've always been the hold outs for keeping manual trans in all the cars.

Also, I'm not sure what engine choices you have with the '14, but my wife has the 2.0 engine and despite being down a bit on torque compared to the 2.3 I think I like it better. It's a really smooth engine...really fun to drive.
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Old 09-19-2013, 05:36 AM   #7
LuciferMutt
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Compact? None of those are compact, they are all midsize. Of your list, I'd choose the Focus, but I'd get the Focus ST.

You should be looking at the Fiesta ST if you really want a compact. That little beast has gotten excellent reviews. I own a 500 Abarth, which is another awesome quick little beasty. No Golf GTI? Are you just looking at the base models of everything?
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Old 09-19-2013, 05:42 AM   #8
Grainbelt
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Last I checked, you could get a Focus SE with a manual trans and heated seats - not so for the Mazda. I'd have to check again, I'm sure the trim levels have been switched around some.

Edit: probly not an issue in Tuscon.

Grainbelt screwed with this post 09-19-2013 at 05:53 AM
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Old 09-19-2013, 06:16 AM   #9
Dave.0
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I used to have a previous gen mazda 3 with a MT. That thing was more fun to drive than it deserved to be. It had some sort of intangible quality that made it pretty engaging to drive. We have a honda fit now - its a nice car, and bigger inside, but not as fun to drive. Subarus are great if you need 4 wheel drive, but if you don't you take a hit on the gas mileage if that matters.
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Old 09-19-2013, 06:50 AM   #10
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Mazda if you don't need AWD and like to drive!

We got my wife an '08 Mazda 3 hatchback new, with the 2.3 and 5 speed. Her all time favorite car and probably mine too! A hoot to drive, 30 mpg on the highway (the new ones get more) and at 98K with no issues to speak of.

I replaced my old 195K Subaru in December, 2012 with a new Honda CRV and hated the way it handled our mountain roads. On Memorial Day weekend, I did something I had never done. Traded a 1 1/2 year old CRV in simply because neither me or my wife liked driving it.

Traded it on a 2014 Mazda CX-5 AWD. We love driving it and so far, the mileage is great!

And the wife would have shot me if I mentioned trading in her 3. I will have to pry her fingers off the wheel when the time comes.
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Old 09-19-2013, 06:57 AM   #11
backdrifter
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How about a Volvo C30? Newer, sporty, nice looking. It would be one of the few hatchbacks I would consider.

http://www.thesupercars.org/wp-conte.../Volvo-C30.jpg
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Old 09-19-2013, 07:22 AM   #12
Tman66
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No Speed3?
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Old 09-19-2013, 08:04 AM   #13
Hipster
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I've been looking at the Mazda CX5 and they only offer a manual transmission with the small 2.0L engine, it must be a marketing decision.

Also, how is the realibity on the newer models with their Sky Active technology?
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Old 09-19-2013, 08:29 AM   #14
XpressCS
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While I haven't driven the others, the Focus is highly impressive to me. I will need to try out the eco-boost engine, but the NA 2.0L is pretty peppy for what it is.
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Old 09-19-2013, 08:33 AM   #15
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Honda Fit? Love mine.
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