Car lovers?

EvilHomer3k wrote:

Anyone have recommendations for a mid-size sporty (preferably 4 door) car? My wife is planning on buying a new vehicle after almost 13 years with her first car out of college (2000 Grand Am). She is looking for something a little bigger but still good gas mileage. It should be somewhat sporty. Max budget is 25k. Currently her list is the Dodge Avenger and that's it. Used is okay but nothing older than 2011. The best thing about her Grand Am was the reliability. We went 13 years without doing anything but general maintenance on it. Unfortunately, I don't think Dodge is all that reliable but she does like the look of them.

By sporty, do you mean looks or performance or both?

EvilHomer3k wrote:

The Mazda looks sporty but also a bit on the small side. Her chief complaint about the Grand Am was that it was too small. We have two boys and they'll both be teens by the time she gets a new car. The car only needs to be sporty in looks. It doesn't have to actually be a sports car (though a 6 cylinder is a definite plus). How is the interior of the Mazda? Is there a decent amount of trunk space?

If it were less pricey a Nissan Maxima would be high on MY list. I've done some research and the Avenger is one of the sportier vehicles out there in the price range.

Mazda 3 is going to be too small in my opinion for someone with two boys. Mazda 6 at least. Maybe a Passat? Altima with the bigger engine can be decent too but not sure under 25k.

Does it have to be new?

Doesn't have to be new but needs to be reliable and last 10 years. I don't think I'd want anything older than 2011. I might be willing to go older than that but not for 25k. The thought of spending that much on a used vehicle seems odd/wrong to me.

I mentioned cargo space once. We often (several nights per week) go to taekwondo with our kids. Anything that can fit 4 TKD bags in the trunk would be a big plus. I have not tried the Avenger's trunk size, yet.

Not that it matters but she also shot down the idea of taking my Pathfinder and me getting a Mustang convertible. Then this would simply be a matter of enabling me to get it. It would be an easy task.

Sporty looking and putting teenagers in the back seat and lots of stuff in the trunk... erm.

ibdoomed wrote:

Sporty looking and putting teenagers in the back seat and lots of stuff in the trunk... erm.

And around 25k. Not much out there. I'm not sure there's anything besides the Avenger that would fit them all. I believe the Avenger does. Unfortunately, the Avenger gets abysmal scores on Consumer Reports. Though they did test the 4 cylinder version. From the little I've read about it you really, really need to go with the 6. I just want to make sure I check to see if there are other things people suggest. The Mazda 3 sounds intriguing depending on space. I have a friend with a Fit and it is surprisingly roomy for such a small car.

We did see a commercial for the Kia Optima and she said she liked that. Best I can tell her version of sporty is that it shouldn't look like your run of the mill Camry. Something with a rear spoiler may be enough.

Sonata? 275 HP for $25k.

The new Kia Optima is a handsome sedan, IMO. I don't know anything about quality or how it drives though.

We have a kia rondo (as far from sporty as possible) that's been a great car for the $15k price tag. I'd buy another kia without hesitation. I didn't realize that one would consider the optima sporty looking, heh.

The sonata could be a possibility. The SE 2.0L comes in just under the 25k mark. With options is about 28 but likely we could get it a little less than that. I don't know much about the Kia other than when you add some options the price goes up quite quickly. It goes from 22k to well into the 30s pretty fast.

Anyone know anything about the Buick Verano? Consumer reports lists it as a sports sedan and it comes in under the 25k (with some options it goes to about 28).

ibdoomed wrote:

We have a kia rondo (as far from sporty as possible) that's been a great car for the $15k price tag. I'd buy another kia without hesitation. I didn't realize that one would consider the optima sporty looking, heh.

What my wife considers sporty and what I believe most of us consider sporty may be vastly different. Some of the previous year Altima's she considered sporty looking (not so now).

When you say fairly roomy, family car that is sporty, I think Golf GTI. But make sure you can get it serviced reasonably in your area. There is also the Focus ST. The GTI gets better mileage, but the focus is more powerful.

Honestly, it is about flipping a coin for me on those 2 as they are both fantastic family hatchbacks.

And then you have the Subaru Outback. Frankly I cannot see going wrong with this either. The all weather 4WD capabilities may not be needed for you, and it certainly effects economy.

Be careful when looking at the E85 capable cars that you get the fuel economy true, E85 skews MPG. I suggest getting the straight dope on its economy on traditional gas. But all 3 are in the 25K range, and I bet you could test drive all 3 in a day.

What about the Infinity G37? It is RWD, if that matters to you (sporty driving). You might have to do some looking, but I found a few used just under 25k in a large area search around me.

Thanks, I love the G37 but I don't think we could do RWD. My wife's parents live out in the middle of nowhere (over 10 miles of gravel to get there) and have a half-mile driveway.

King I'm not sure how big the GTI and Focus are. I'll check them out. I've been trying to get my wife interested in the outback for some time. She's just not interested. Is the non-wagon legacy available with AWD and in a semi-sporty model? I know the Impreza has a big following for people who like small sporty cars.

I don't know much about E85. Thanks for the information.

EvilHomer3k wrote:

Thanks, I love the G37 but I don't think we could do RWD. My wife's parents live out in the middle of nowhere (over 10 miles of gravel to get there) and have a half-mile driveway.

I'm not getting why RWD is excluded by that?

mrtomaytohead wrote:

What about the Infinity G37? It is RWD, if that matters to you (sporty driving). You might have to do some looking, but I found a few used just under 25k in a large area search around me.

I'm not sure how big the used market is for the G25x yet, but even with the much less powerful engine compared to the G37x (my car) I thought it was still sporty. The "x" is for AWD, so if RWD isn't an option, look for the "x".

Fedaykin98 wrote:

We liked the new Fords, but they got really terrible reviews. They also have motorized third rows that fold flat, but I'm just betting the motor burns out during our ownership of the car.

We don't need to fit 7, ever. We need to fit four all the time (which our Honda CRV does), and occasionally add the mother in law.

I was thinking more along the lines of late model used. Not a personal fan of buying new given the devaluation involved. And if you're cool with the far rear row being about as useful as the back seat of my MINI, well, any of those would serve you well. My Mom just bought an Acura RDX(smaller version of the MDX) and loved it, so I'll recommend that heartily.

EvilHomer3k wrote:

Anyone have recommendations for a mid-size sporty (preferably 4 door) car? My wife is planning on buying a new vehicle after almost 13 years with her first car out of college (2000 Grand Am). She is looking for something a little bigger but still good gas mileage. It should be somewhat sporty. Max budget is 25k. Currently her list is the Dodge Avenger and that's it. Used is okay but nothing older than 2011. The best thing about her Grand Am was the reliability. We went 13 years without doing anything but general maintenance on it. Unfortunately, I don't think Dodge is all that reliable but she does like the look of them.

I'd say Audi A4 or S4 if you want to go really sporty. Again, this is more to the late model used vehicles. If you want to go new, then the Focus is quite roomy and a bit sporty, although depending on the size of your teenagers they may feel a touch cramped in the back seat. If that's the case, a Fusion Sport is another good option. That said, I used to drive an 06 Focus and fit comfortably in the back seat at 6ft and 200lbs.

edit - Another thought: Subaru Impreza. Very sporty, and ample backseat room for normal sized human beings.

PoderOmega wrote:
mrtomaytohead wrote:

What about the Infinity G37? It is RWD, if that matters to you (sporty driving). You might have to do some looking, but I found a few used just under 25k in a large area search around me.

I'm not sure how big the used market is for the G25x yet, but even with the much less powerful engine compared to the G37x (my car) I thought it was still sporty. The "x" is for AWD, so if RWD isn't an option, look for the "x".

The x model sedans in the g series drop value significantly faster than the coupe. Back when I was car shopping I was seeing a lot of G35x sedans in the sub 20k price range with barely over 30k miles on them.

Granted that was before the government destroyed half the country's used cars and drove up prices by a ridiculous degree so things are different now... but that does seem to have settled at least some.

I've loved my G35 coupe and G37s sedan, fwiw. Sedan slides way less than the coupe, which might be attributable to my aging.

Fedaykin98 wrote:

Can anyone suggest me some 7-seater family SUV?

Some that we might consider:

Buick Enclave
Infiniti J series (very new)
Acura MDX
Toyota Highlander (hybrid or something)
Mazda CX-9

Speaking of Mazda and car ownership, at the Houston Dynamo games there is a lot right next to the stadium that is free and exclusively for Mazda owners! I thought that was extremely cool, but not cool enough to influence my decision (especially as I don't know when I'll make my second ever game).

We were looking for something similar, and came home with our new Highlander Hybrid last night. Other contenders were the Honda Pilot and the Volvo XC90. I would have pushed harder for the Volvo but it wasn't very highly rated by CR, and it's overdue for a model refresh. There are rumors there's a diesel version of that one in the works, and that's very appealing to me since almost all of our big-car driving is on the highway.

The GTI is getting tossed around as a family car idea. I have the coupe, and I would not reccomend for a family with reasonably sized people going in to the back seat regularly. Is the four door really that much roomier?

It used to be I'd propose a Mazda, but now nearly all of them have that big dopey grill grin.

Squee9 wrote:

The GTI is getting tossed around as a family car idea. I have the coupe, and I would not reccomend for a family with reasonably sized people going in to the back seat regularly. Is the four door really that much roomier?

I was also confused at this. A buddy of mine just got rid of his GTI for a WRX wagon and that GTI was smaller than I thought.

No the four door isn't any bigger, it just has 4 doors haha. My previous car might be exactly what you are looking for, although it doesn't have more leg room (i would regularly have 4 adults in the car and there was no issue) it can't be touched on utility and MPG.

Jetta TDI Wagon

https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.82704354105.77199.607049105&type=3

Happytime Harry wrote:

No the four door isn't any bigger, it just has 4 doors haha. My previous car might be exactly what you are looking for, although it doesn't have more leg room (i would regularly have 4 adults in the car and there was no issue) it can't be touched on utility and MPG.

Jetta TDI Wagon

https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.82704354105.77199.607049105&type=3

I was with you up until 'TDI'... have you seen the price of diesel lately? Yeesh.

Edit: My wife drives the sedan. The 5 cyl gets fairly decent mileage, but I don't think you could fit more than 4 people comfortably.

JillSammich wrote:
Happytime Harry wrote:

No the four door isn't any bigger, it just has 4 doors haha. My previous car might be exactly what you are looking for, although it doesn't have more leg room (i would regularly have 4 adults in the car and there was no issue) it can't be touched on utility and MPG.

Jetta TDI Wagon

https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.82704354105.77199.607049105&type=3

I was with you up until 'TDI'... have you seen the price of diesel lately? Yeesh.

Edit: My wife drives the sedan. The 5 cyl gets fairly decent mileage, but I don't think you could fit more than 4 people comfortably.

You pay a little more per gallon with diesel, but the fuel economy difference more than makes up for it. People routinely get 50+mpg in TDI Jettas. There are a few reasons for this including higher energy density of diesel fuel, and lack of a throttle body reducing pumping losses (especially at "part throttle"). There is a reason that tractor trailers are all diesel, and it isn't so they can pay more for fuel.

I always thought it was partially because diesel doesn't ignite from an open flame.

ibdoomed wrote:

I always thought it was partially because diesel doesn't ignite from an open flame.

This... My father drove a coal truck for years, and I just thought it was because diesel engines could take more wear and tear (simpler combustion chamber - less wear and tear)

He's right, for the application where they need a lot of pulling power+efficiency, diesel is king. Gasoline doesn't supply the torque that a big diesel does for towing up big hills, getting heavy loads rolling in the first place, etc. And cost per mile is better on diesel. So they can pull more for less.

Some of the other things you're mentioning are nice benefits as well, but not the primary reasons.

JillSammich wrote:
Happytime Harry wrote:

No the four door isn't any bigger, it just has 4 doors haha. My previous car might be exactly what you are looking for, although it doesn't have more leg room (i would regularly have 4 adults in the car and there was no issue) it can't be touched on utility and MPG.

Jetta TDI Wagon

https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.82704354105.77199.607049105&type=3

I was with you up until 'TDI'... have you seen the price of diesel lately? Yeesh.

Edit: My wife drives the sedan. The 5 cyl gets fairly decent mileage, but I don't think you could fit more than 4 people comfortably.

In the long run the diesel is cheaper. 5-10% more cost, for 40-50% more fuel economy.

JillSammich wrote:
ibdoomed wrote:

I always thought it was partially because diesel doesn't ignite from an open flame.

This... My father drove a coal truck for years, and I just thought it was because diesel engines could take more wear and tear (simpler combustion chamber - less wear and tear)

The very high compression of diesel engines (often > 22:1) requires that they be built very stout, but the inherent characteristics of the diesel power stroke are actually very tough on engines. Diesel engines derived from gasoline engines often have reliability problems because the design cannot take the stress (like the Cadillac 350 diesel V8).

Diesel has a lower flammability, but it will explode in a wide range of mixtures unlike gasoline, so I am unconvinced of safety arguments for it's use.

I was 100% in love with that car when I had to commute ~500 miles a week. Now that I work in the same town I live, well, you see where my car purchase took me haha.

ElectricPi wrote:
JillSammich wrote:
ibdoomed wrote:

I always thought it was partially because diesel doesn't ignite from an open flame.

This... My father drove a coal truck for years, and I just thought it was because diesel engines could take more wear and tear (simpler combustion chamber - less wear and tear)

The very high compression of diesel engines (often > 22:1) requires that they be built very stout, but the inherent characteristics of the diesel power stroke are actually very tough on engines. Diesel engines derived from gasoline engines often have reliability problems because the design cannot take the stress (like the Cadillac 350 diesel V8).

Diesel has a lower flammability, but it will explode in a wide range of mixtures unlike gasoline, so I am unconvinced of safety arguments for it's use.

My thoughts were derived from the "Blood on the Highway" movie we were put through in middle school.