My wife and I are looking for new or slightly used car for her commuter. She's got a bear of a commute in front of her (25 miles, 40 minutes) so gas mileage and reliability are the primary concerns. With creature comforts right behind (iPod plug in for example).
So far these are the ones we're considering:
Ford Fiesta-I keep reading that it is the best made of the group from all these consumer magazines. I've also heard wonderful things about the MS Synch software which can make a commute much more bearable. Only problem is that it's the highest price properly loaded. Can even get up to $20K with tons of goodies.
Kia Soul-My wife just loves the way this one looks. I love the long warranty, but it also makes me skeptical. A warranty can't insure you get to work on time.
Toyota Yaris-I get the sense this one is hit or miss. They had a ton of recalls on some older ones, but it's the best re-sale value and it is a Toyota. But definitely the most bare-bones.
Honda Fit-Surely the ugliest of the lot. Practical me says go for it. But it's not that interesting of a car it seems.
Anyone own one of these or have experience with them? Any horror stories? Ringing endorsements?
All comments are appreciated.
The Ford is a fine vehicle. I remember seeing them in Europe several years before they came to the US, and was quite impressed with them. Fit and finish they look great.
The Honda Fit is really a nice small car too. It seems to be superior in fit and finish to the Yaris, although overall the Yaris is a good car for the money. I think the Hyunai Accent is a good low cost vehicle that you might wish to consider also.
The newer fords are actually quite nice and have little in common with their older "Found On Roadside Daily" counterparts. They are basically mazda's at this point (though the two companies recently parted ways).
On that note you could look at a Mazda 3, the new ones are really awesome with the skyactive technology and get 40 mpg + and are fairly comfortable. That said, they won't have the nice pretty "ford" features like Sync (though I do believe most will have ipod hookups?)
More than the yaris but similar to if not less than a fiesta.
I'm with you on that. It's the reason I cruise around in a Mercury Grand Marquis. Former rental so it was dirt cheap, and quite reliable. There's a reason cops and Taxi drivers use it. The classic V8 RWD full frame design is super rugged and gets better gas mileage (25 mpg highway) than any mini van while seating 6. My favorite car I've ever driven.
You can pick one up 1-2 years old with 20-30k miles for $15k or less. There is no better car for your money out there today, not even close.
I'm surprised no one has mentioned the 2012 Ford Focus! You can find them at a good price with only 10,000 miles, so barely used. I drove one for a week when it came out and it was the SE edition and it was about as loaded as you'd expect from such a car. I drove the sedan but apparently the hatchback is even better.
All the Focus' have 160 horsepower and do 0-60 in 8.8 seconds or so, which is respectable. They are also rated as true 40 MPG Vehicles. They have a "Titanium" package which is really something else. A step below is the SEL trim but I was quite happy with the SE model. A true gas miser and totally fun to drive, hurl into corners, really handled very well!
Plus it's not so small like the Fiesta and the Focus weighs about 400 pounds more (over 3000 pounds, no porker by any means but more weight certainly helps in case of an accident as others have pointed out).
But the most important factor of all is that the 2012 Fiesta is assembled in Mexico! The Focus? In Michigan where the jobs belong! A true quality car, far superior to the 2012 Jetta I sampled! The new Fords are very reliable too!
The Chevrolet Cruze was another interesting choice that the article featured. However if it were my woman and my money? I'd pick a pre-owned 2006-2012 Altima, or pony up the cash and get the 2013 with the incredible MPG (a 4 or 5 MPG improvement). The older versions had amazing MPG for quite a large car. New York Police and Cabbies use them a lot as do cabs in other cities. Don't get the 3.5 liter though (it's a hot engine, don't get me wrong, same as in the Infiniti models) get the gas sipping 2.5.
I've driven the 2.5 with the CVT (Nissan is the ONLY manufacturer that knows how to do a proper CVT if you ask me) and I recommend finding a 2008-2010 models. There should be heavy discounts with the redesign on the verge of being released.
My other choices would be a used Ford Fusion (2010-11 with the updated 2.5 liter and it has Sync) or a used Camry (boring but such a cushy ride and AMPLE leg room for such an inexpensive car, truly a poor man's Lexus and AMAZING MPG). They've also redesigned the Camry recently so there should be heavy discounts on these models.
I like the Altima, Fusion and Camry because they aren't small cars but have great MPG and I too would want my woman to be in a safe, reliable automobile. We all know the cliche that the safety starts with the mentality of the driver but we all know there are too many incompetent drivers on the road in 2012.
The Focus comes on strong too though and isn't a featherweight! Good luck Chef!
Here's a link to the Car and Driver article:
The Focus is the SFE (confusing all the trims, eh? haha) but the SE had great MPG too.
Word to both you and Heat Bucks.
Buy her something with a bit more protection Chef.
If fuel economy is an issue, most makers produce a diesel version of all their models these days, and they aren't the old rattlers they used to be.
A lot of the diesels are as quiet as the petrol equivalents.
Great call on the hallowed and to my chagrin, now defunct, "panther platform" legends of Lincoln, Ford and Mercury respectively. Make a goal to cop (no pun intended) a rare 2003-2004 Marauder but get Black on Black, if this interests you of course.
I also love the Crown Vic "LX Sport" models with the center console shifters, black on black again and you get the sunroof. The first edition is 2002 Andrew, but as you may know the 2003 and onwards models had more power but I love the look of the 2002's.
Even more rare there was a Grand Marquis available with the center console shifter under the "LSE Trim" however, correct me if I'm wrong, not all LSE models had the center console shifter available, sunroof and the exact same engine and output as the LX Sport models.
Ford has quickly become my favorite car company on so many levels and for so many reasons. And I agree completely that the panther platform cars are amazing in case of an accident and the ride quality is so soft and creamy.
I'm a real car nut but unfortunately I haven't had the opportunity to drive any of the EcoBoost models that I'm so impressed by. It's definitely on my bucket list to have an F-150 EcoBoost or even sweeter, a Taurus SHO for a week or two.
I grew up admiring the 1990's SHO Taurus Models with the Yamaha engines.
And the new Mustangs are truly ridiculous in terms of value and performance. The 2011 Mustang GT versus the 2011 BMW M3 if you were to see the comparison and remove the labels from the statistic heading the numbers are nearly identical. The M3 of course won the comparison and at nearly double the cost, I was stupefied to read that.
Heck the "girly" (hate reading that for a car) V6 Mustangs "puts out" 306 horsepower! And the King Ranch F-350's I could on and on.