Hi folks :)
First off, this topic is not about bags, hence I'm posting in said category. I realize there must be plenty of other forums for my question, but I like you guys best!
I am in the market for a hatchback. Do you have experience with / opinions about the following models that I am considering?
Mazda3, Ford Focus, VW Golf TDI, Subaru Impreza.
One of my concerns is how it performs in snow, yet I'm not sold on needing AWD. Gas mileage is of course a major factor, too, so the Impreza is probably last choice at this point. I'm a teacher so the VW is really pushing the budget. I've given some thought to the Honda Fit but I'm concerned it might be too small to handle well in the snow...does anyone know?
I'd really appreciate your input!
Originally Posted by Margot
I do not actually own the cars you listed, but I have looked at purchasing one from time to time. Subaru Impreza is nice--but you hit the nail on the head--the gas millage can be pretty poor. The Mazda 3 is decently priced--they have a pretty nice sporty look. I do believe the gas millage is decent with that one. The TDI--my father's old boss has a couple of TDI's for his salesmen. The gas millage is very very good with them. I don't know much about the Focus--it seems like they're doing something new with that car every year.
Originally Posted by Margot
Did you think about a forester? I know that vehicle has decent gas economy--and has been touted as a very good snow handler. Some people just dislike it being more of a wagon.
The newer models seem to be more "small SUV style" similar to the Toyota Rav4.
Originally Posted by misterN
Margot, I think you (and your adorable dog!) would really enjoy a Forester!
i live in toronto so there is a lot of snow on the road in the winter. i drive a yaris, it has no 4wd. i don't need it. in winter you drive slowly and do not follow too closely to the car in front of you. that is the trick to winter driving. get a good pair of snow tires.
i would get the fit. it's rated very highly in that car's category.
peronally i want to get an electric car. i only drive around town. for long hauls, i would just rent. i am sick of paying these prices for gas.
This is hilarious, because I was just going to say... have you considered the Forester? Somehow I think we must be a very biased group. There are not that many Foresters (proportionally) in the larger population, even in New England where I live.
Anyway I love mine, particularly in the dead of winter when everyone around me is spinning their wheels trying to get in and out of their parking spaces, but the gas mileage is pretty bad compared to a Honda or Toyota. If efficiency was a major concern, I'd consider a smaller car, perhaps fitted with snow tires in the winter? I only drive mine on the weekends; if I had to use it every day it would get expensive.
First off,every Subaru sold here now is AWD.
This makes it tough to compare directly with cars that are only 2WD.
The Subaru will be pricier and less gas sipping but also have better wet and snow capability as that is the whole point of the AWD. The salesman make this part of every demo no matter what and the improved handling and security of that are a huge feature if all Subaru.
That said, the Toyota Yaris is the best selling car in the world according to Toyota and their cousin the Scion are not even as stupid looking to me?
I too have been considering something small for the mileage but since I get mid 20's in my huge Sprinter it is tough to accept less hauling capability without a big difference in efficiency.
I am leaning towards a Scion XD I think but I also have a client who is a huge Toyota dealer so I can get a deal. He actually sells 20 different lines,everything but Honda in mainstream cars and the Toyota has always been good to me.ALWAYS!
Absolutley a Subaru. I lived in Coloraodo for many years and now in Maine. I've driven in some snow. I've had my Impreza for 11 years and it has been the most trouble free best in snow vehicle I've ever owned. It has started to rust but I don't know a car in Maine that doesn't after 11 years. It has never failed to start even the day it was -49F with the wind chill. I guess the most telling thing I can say about my Subaru Impreza is, that if this one ever bites the dust I'm buying another one.
Hey... it's not on your list but I have really enjoyed my Audi A3. It's related to the VW that IS on your list, and they have a new TDI model.
Mine is the 4-cylinder turbo gas model. It has FWD. I've got top-rated all-season radials on it, and I have driven up to Lake Tahoe with it on numerous occasions. I have not been in such heavy snow that I've been forced to install my chains on I80, but with the decent tires I've had no issues whatsoever in getting around cautiously and safely.
The quality of the car is great and it's been very dependable. More than big enough for 2 + loads of luggage (especially TB stuff hehe). Again, I'm thinking that most of this will extend to the VW as I believe they share a platform.
I looked at all of these cars over the past six months.
I ruled out the Ford Fiesta and Mazda simply because the seats did not fold down fully flat. I ruled out the Impreza because of gas mileage, although it really tempts me.
I spent the most time with the Volkswagen Golf TDI and Honda Fit. I have a Golf (not diesel) and find it's a fairly reliable car. I live in Minnesota, USA and it works fine for snow. I have some concerns about the Fit in snow based on what I read in other forums, particularly in terms of ground clearance.
Another happy Subaru owner here (2002 Impreza wagon). Why am I not surprised there are so many of us here? :)
Also not on your list but in your category is my car, a Scion xD. Fuel economy is good; I regularly get 30-33MPG, and that's with a 2010 so odds are they've eked out another MPG or two in the interim. It's small, cute, has a good deal of get up and go (more than any other car I've driven, but given that the list is minivan, small SUV, and truck it doesn't take a whole lot).
We didn't have much of a snowy winter in Seattle this past year, at least not that I needed to drive my car in, but I've driven her in torrential downpours and I've not felt uncomfortable. The car is light, but I've not found that to be a bad thing. If you do start to slide in the snow the smaller mass helps keep things from going out of control. Beyond that, good tires, yes, and downshift instead of brakes, watch your speed, and you should be fine.
I've always been very pleased with the feel of Toyota cars, and the basic package on the Scion was what really sold it to me over the other options. The only options I bought were the floor mats and the cover for the back area (so no one can look in and see if I have bags in the back). Everything else I wanted came standard.
It's also super good when it comes to hauling things. My last car was a '97 Kia Sportage, and I've not noticed any difference in my ability to haul stuff home. I've gotten trees home from the nursery, a large trunk (furniture, to store blankets), and various other significant loads with no issues.
I really liked the Scion pricing scheme: it costs what it costs, and you don't have to worry about bargaining it down. The Fit was the other car I looked at; the dealership had a line that was basically "and since you live here we figure you can afford to pay $2000 more". That was the end of my looking into the Fit, honestly.
I had to get a new car due to the SUV being totaled when someone turned in front of me, but I can honestly say that I am much, much happier driving my Scion than any other car I've driven. It's cute, small, easy to park, no big blind spots, good fuel economy, has enough pep that I can get on the freeway (with the capability to get an extra bump if you encounter that *one guy* who sits two feet into your back end and doesn't want you to get in front of him, regardless of the fact that there's no space to merge behind him and you have 25 feet left of road, ahem), good carrying capacity, decent basic sound system (with iPod connection standard!), a large number of little pockets in the dashboard to tuck things away, a plethora of cup holders....
It's a good little car.
Oh, yes, and it's well-made. I've taken it in to the dealer just for the oil changes. That's it. Granted, I've not had it quite two years yet, but it's still pretty nice that it's had no issues that need fixing.
PS. XD being an internet super-happy-face also had *no impact* on my decision. But I enjoy having it on the back of my car.
I have had a Subaru (outback) - great vehicle, handled well went through anything. Horrible gas mileage and I found that the AWD went through tires more quickly (maybe it was just me.....>). I currently have a VW TDI (jetta wagon). The diesel engine is wonderful - plenty of power when needed, great mileage (35-48 mpg depending on city and highway - I do a fair amount of both). No trouble through the one winter I had it so far - disclaimer: I live in southeastern NC and winters are pretty mild but when it did snow, no problems in the snow.
I have owned a Honda Fit for about 18 months and I love it. Quiet inside, handles well...and it seems to be bigger on the inside then it is on the outside. Hmm, maybe Tom Bihn helped design it!
I have only driven it in snowy or slippery conditions twice but it handled well both times. The street outside of my house is fairly steep and we got dumped on pretty badly by southern standards this winter. I pulled right up it and into my drive way and the front wheel drive BMW right behind me slid down the same hill 4 times before giving up and parking it at the bottom of the hill.
Paddle shifters are great fun on it (Car and Driver said "more fun than a pack of coked up sled dogs") and I am getting almost 40MPG on the highway...
Thanks, everyone, for the incredibly helpful information and speedy responses. I knew I could count on you!
Big trend here with the Subarus :) The Outback Sport caught my eye, too....
Recently, I test drove (and loved!) the Honda Fit. Thanks for the encouragement! I'm still testing out the other contenders and would still love any more feedback about the Mazda3? It has been sooo helpful to read about your experiences!
Otherwise, my new fantasy is the Volvo C30 with European delivery...dream on ;)