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Old 06-26-2014, 11:52 AM
straw straw is offline
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Default Car folks... buying a new car!

I joined a car forum hoping to learn a bit more, since I am definitely not auto-savvy. For those of you that are, maybe you can offer me some input?

I'm planning to buy used, ideally no older than 2004. Also looking for <100,000 km. I could probably do $250 as a monthly payment but my budget's $8k absolute max - I'm looking for a cheap little car. Based on my first couple searches this doesn't seem unrealistic but correct me if I'm wrong.

This will mostly be for driving around the city, trips up to the cottage (short drive but snow and dirt roads), and a bi-weekly/once-monthly visit to the man (4 hours round trip). I intend to look after the car well BUT I'm a total beginner. So I'd like something that's relatively easy and inexpensive (haha) to maintain.

Here's what I'm looking for:

+ 4 doors.
+ Small/medium in size.
+ Good mileage. I'm a pretty gentle driver and I'd like to see between 8 or 9 litres/100km as a 'lifetime' mileage. I'd expect slightly lower on highways.
+ Reliable. Or, good warranty - I want to know the company is good about taking care of its buyers.
+ Would prefer manual, but it's not a huge priority.
+ AWD a bonus for those cottage roads in winter, but also not a priority.

I'm not too picky about hatchback vs. sedan. Venice will most likely be riding in the back seat on a hammock anyway so I don't need trunk space for her. Decent storage space in the trunk is a bonus though. I don't need tons of power. As long as it can get me up the 500 meter steep hill at the cottage (in summer) I'm ok. And my boyfriend's 2002 Cavalier that HATES hills can do that.

I really like the look of the Mazda3 and there's plenty available in my area. What's the storage space on the hatchback vs sedan?
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Old 06-26-2014, 12:17 PM
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*blackrose *blackrose is offline
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(I'm interested in this, too!)

While I'm looking for newer and lower mileage, I've also been leaning heavily towards a Mazda3. The storage space is one of the questions I have as well.

I will say I loved both of the Civics I had. (A 2011, then a 2013.) I had no issues with them whatsoever, and my little 2011 Civic pulled me through some really tough snow/ice spots. I've had nothing but good experiences with Honda as a company.
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Old 06-26-2014, 12:56 PM
stardogs stardogs is offline
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DH has a 2012 Mazda3 sedan that he adores. The trunk capacity is impressive for a small sedan; he's used it to haul bales of pinestraw and bags of mulch in a pinch! So far it's been very reliable and easy to maintain. Gas mileage for him sits around 38mpg in mostly highway driving.
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Old 06-26-2014, 01:22 PM
iriskai iriskai is offline
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I have a friend who likes their Mazda 3 as well. I have a Honda Fit/Jazz that I love if you'd prefer a hatchback.
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Old 06-26-2014, 02:10 PM
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My son has a 2012 Mazda 6....he loved it until it left him stranded because of the key/immobilizer system (anti theft). It suddenly/randomly stopped recognizing his key as if he were trying to steal it. Total system shut down, not even a 'click' when you turn the key.

He came home on a leave (army...upstate NY) and of course it was a holiday, and of course he had to be back on base (11hours away) the next day when all this happened.

His car was just a bit of mileage out of warranty (warranty was 36k and he has 40k) so it cost him nearly $400 to be towed to dealer, new key and reprogram.

It's not an uncommon problem with Mazda. Do a google search, read threads in their forums before you decide on buying one.
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Old 06-26-2014, 02:26 PM
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I'll ask this question here, too: anybody know anything about the Chevy Sonic, or Chevy Cruze?
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Old 06-26-2014, 02:49 PM
straw straw is offline
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Thanks for the heads up on that Mazda problem, ACooper.

Someone also suggested an Impreza hatchback. I do like the look of the hatchbacks but I'm wondering what the storage space is like compared to the sedans.

And thanks Blackrose for your input on Honda. I will take a look at the Honda Fit, Iriskai! This is all super new and exciting for me.
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Old 06-26-2014, 03:08 PM
stardogs stardogs is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by straw View Post
Someone also suggested an Impreza hatchback. I do like the look of the hatchbacks but I'm wondering what the storage space is like compared to the sedans.
LOVED my Impreza! I had an old style that had more room for cargo than the newer models do (less of a slope in the back), but I feel like hatchbacks are always more space and more flexible for toting things than a sedan of the same size because you get more height in the 'trunk' area.
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Old 06-26-2014, 03:48 PM
straw straw is offline
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My forays into car forums have people telling me that the Imprezas are very sensitive to the type of coolant used and so there can be issues there if the wrong kind of coolant is used, or if it isn't changed frequently enough. With a second-hand car that's something I'm worried about.

And supposedly the Mazda3s are bad for rust? I live in a city with 5 to 6 months of salting and wet, nasty winter roads, so that is a huge turn-off for me too if they're going to need extra care to avoid rust.

Anyone got any good things to say about the Matrix? I'm being told if I want an easy, cheap-to-maintain car with few faults to go with a Corolla, and a Matrix is basically a hatchback version of that with AWD....
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Old 06-26-2014, 03:55 PM
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Puckstop31 Puckstop31 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by straw View Post
Anyone got any good things to say about the Matrix? I'm being told if I want an easy, cheap-to-maintain car with few faults to go with a Corolla, and a Matrix is basically a hatchback version of that with AWD....

I had a Pontiac Vibe (re-badged matrix) for 150,00+ miles with exactly zero non-routine maintenance. MANY long trips back and forth to see Tanya in Canada while we were dating and/or apart. Lots of room, decent mileage and does well in weather.

I recently had a look at what Toyota is doing with Matrix now and it seems they do not have a "middle" model any more. Either fairly basic or the super sporty one.

My $.02
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