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Old 07-02-2009, 02:28 AM   #21
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If you're looking at the Insight, what about a Prius?

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Old 07-02-2009, 08:30 AM   #22
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I'll vote, and both have been recommended,

Mazda3 S-2.3---I have one, in stick and love it. I picked up an '05 new, early in 06 and got it for 16k flat fully loaded. With your gov't rebate, ur looking at 12.5k which is a sick deal. 80k miles so far, no complaints. Though I gotta say, 2 carseats would make things a lil tight imo. The trunkspace is huge once you throw down the seats, BUT 2 carseats takes that option away and I see you wanting more room back there if you have 2 kids.

VW TDI Jetta Wagon---#1, I think this will meet your space needs much better. I have an 08 Jetta, and trunk space is great, with 2 kids I def wouldve gone wagon. Plus the TDI's weren't available. I have a 2.0T, DSG trans and love it. Drove manual, and liked it as well, but was not available at the time. You should be well under 20k with ur rebate and have everything you need.
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Old 07-02-2009, 10:16 AM   #23
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Welcome to the world of kids! Well if you really need to fit 2 car seats I'd look at something more like the Mazda5. It's basically a low riding minivan that looks more like a Fit or a Vibe. My wife hates minivans, but she likes it. Lots of Miata guys move to it when they start having kids as you can get it with a 5speed and I think some of the Mazda 3 stuff will just bolt on. We have a 98 Accord and 1 car seat, but hoping for another child soon. Two carseats in a car even the Accord's size is going to be packed. You have to take into account ALL the other stuff like strollers. Doing a roadtrip this weekend and we pack that car to the brim with just one kid (stroller, high chair, Pack-n-Play, toys, suitcases. Anyway, Mazda 3 is a cool car, but I wouldn't try and put more than 1 kid/carseat combo in it.
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Old 07-02-2009, 10:26 AM   #24
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Welcome to the world of kids! Well if you really need to fit 2 car seats I'd look at something more like the Mazda5. It's basically a low riding minivan that looks more like a Fit or a Vibe. My wife hates minivans, but she likes it. Lots of Miata guys move to it when they start having kids as you can get it with a 5speed and I think some of the Mazda 3 stuff will just bolt on. We have a 98 Accord and 1 car seat, but hoping for another child soon. Two carseats in a car even the Accord's size is going to be packed. You have to take into account ALL the other stuff like strollers. Doing a roadtrip this weekend and we pack that car to the brim with just one kid (stroller, high chair, Pack-n-Play, toys, suitcases. Anyway, Mazda 3 is a cool car, but I wouldn't try and put more than 1 kid/carseat combo in it.
Haha, I remember those days. That's why I said **** it and bought an Expedition. Even the Pontiac Torrent we had before that was uncomfortable once you packed all the kids stuff in. My expedition however, we can load it and still have PLEEEENTY of space left. Gas mileage sucks but you have to give some where.
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Old 07-02-2009, 12:01 PM   #25
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Most people have recommended cars that were not on the list. That isn't helpful.

I have driven the Mazda 3 five door with the 2.3 and thought it was very tall for a sporty car, but quite roomy. The suspension isn't soggy like some entry level roomy cars because Mazda wants to eschew a sporty image. The seating position is very high. This gives it nice visibility, but makes it feel like it leans too much when you push it hard. You probably won't be autocrossing it so that shouldn't matter much. (BTW - for those of you touting the benefits of the MS3, it is a torquey brute in a straight line at the autocross, but also leans too much, and corners like crap on the hard stock skinny rubber. We put 17" wheels and Kumho MX's instead of the factory 18" and it did much better, but it was still heavy and very tall). The possibility of Ford parts sharing is frightening because I worked at an auto parts store during college and we sold a lot of Ford electronics and electrical parts.

I have driven the Matrix and was unimpressed by the shifter location and the driving position/ergonomics. The hard surfaces in the rear and fold down area on the seatbacks it seems would lead to loads shifting around, but would be utilitarian if you were hauling bricks(?). Overall, frumpy riding and unimpressive.

The Corolla was fine as a passenger, but I didn't drive it. I don't doubt it would be a reliable ten to fifteen year car. I liked the dash layout better than the Matrix, which is odd because they are supposedly related platforms. The Corolla has the typically firm Toyota seat bottoms, which is good for the long term structure of the seat, but can be less than desirable on very long rides. It has a cable throttle which would probably be more reliable than a fly-by-wire throttle. I like things simple because they break less and they are cheaper to fix if they do. The newest Corolla is less stodgy looking than it's predecessor, but not as sexy as the 3. And I think the utility of a five door wins over the argument for many people. But there is Toyota reliability.

The Fusion. The front end is uglier than homemade sin. And I have never had good long term luck with Ford plastics. From the switchgear to the electronics, to the interior panels, to the tendency of the underhood plastics to get prematurely brittle. I've owned four Fords. Never going to make that mistake again. But I keep vehicles longer than most people. And if you are talking about keeping it ten years, then you are going to keep it longer than most people also. Remember, they are all cute when they are puppies. What's it like when it's an old dog?

Honda Civic, like the Corolla will be typically very reliable and cheap to maintain. Both will be likely to be the least trouble-prone on the list. The Honda will probably have a firmer suspension than the Toyota, and they both have firm seats instead of cushy sofas. A finance guy I am friends with has had me ride along a couple of times in his. The power is more than adequate for on ramp merges and daily commuting, and the interior layout is nice. The windshield is really long front to back and is laid over at a steep rake. This is nice for aerodynamics and wind noise, but lets a lot of sunlight into your lap and onto the dash. Even with an extra tinting strip added to the top of the windshield, you can get a lot of UV on you in the front seat. This might be more important to me because I am in Florida and you are in Kansas. The dash is large because it is so long front to back. The back seat is quite roomy and has lots of legroom. Civics will also hold their value at the end of ten years pretty darn well. Honda has high marks for quality over time.

Insight? Heavier and more expensive than it needs to be with really skinny tires and a soft suspension. Nope. Not unless you start carrying a purse.

I have been a Toyota driver lately, but I think I would probably go with the Honda first and the Corolla second depending on how they felt to you and your wife to drive and how your child and gear would fit. Mazda 3 third, not because I dislike it, but thinking the long term reliability and cost to own might be a little higher. Matrix - not a fan. Ford - better than a Schwinn, but less reliable than one.

My wife asked to stop and look at a Suzuki SX4 five door the other day. That was a surprise. That would be a big change from her Montero Sport. I guess the advertising works.
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Old 07-02-2009, 01:35 PM   #26
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I'll vote, and both have been recommended,

Mazda3 S-2.3---I have one, in stick and love it. I picked up an '05 new, early in 06 and got it for 16k flat fully loaded. With your gov't rebate, ur looking at 12.5k which is a sick deal. 80k miles so far, no complaints. Though I gotta say, 2 carseats would make things a lil tight imo. The trunkspace is huge once you throw down the seats, BUT 2 carseats takes that option away and I see you wanting more room back there if you have 2 kids.

VW TDI Jetta Wagon---#1, I think this will meet your space needs much better. I have an 08 Jetta, and trunk space is great, with 2 kids I def wouldve gone wagon. Plus the TDI's weren't available. I have a 2.0T, DSG trans and love it. Drove manual, and liked it as well, but was not available at the time. You should be well under 20k with ur rebate and have everything you need.
+1

TDI averages 30+mpg, 50 on hwy. TONS of torque. A friend has one, really nice.

There are aftermarket turbo kits for the Mazda 3, a magazine ( cant remember which) recently did an install, and comparo.
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Old 07-02-2009, 02:44 PM   #27
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just sell the kids.
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Old 07-02-2009, 02:50 PM   #28
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LOL! I did not expect so many replies.

First, I don't have any kids yet, but are looking to have two a couple years apart. I imagine there will be two car seats for a while.

After thoroughly working over the cars on my list the Civic LX and Mazda3 5-Door are clear standouts. The Civic is a huge win in the money dept. The Mazda 3 trounces the Civic in the I'd actually want to drive it dept.

Regarding the Ford Fusion Lol @ "all cute when they are puppies" comment. Old Yeller any one?

Toyota Corolla, no way Jose. Underpowered and the suspension was way too soft. I took a mildly spirited test drive in an Corolla S. My take: Pathetic and soul sucking. Handling felt unsafe and it was easy to kick in the electro nannies.

Honda Insight would be fine around town. On ramp acceleration barely adequate. Less passenger room than civic. Handling sub-par, could definitely tell you were dragging around a heavy battery pack. Definitely, would be stuck in the slow lane on the freeway.

I appreciate the suggestions. Would not even consider a Volkswagon TDI, one would be very hard pressed to buy Diesel fuel around here. Total cost of ownership would not seem to favor this choice either.

Prius is roomier and claims better millage than the Insight, but looses just about every where else.
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Old 07-02-2009, 03:12 PM   #29
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On the numbers game here's what it boils down too...

Black 2009 Civic LX for $15895 ($900 below invoice) Less $4500 credit.
$11,395 + Tax, Tag & Title

Red 2010 Mazda 3 5-Door for 18266 ($500 below invoice) Less $3500 credit.
14,766 + Tax, Tag, & Title


Driving wise, the Civic is acceptable and gets better millage. The Mazda 3 is way more car for around $3500 more out the gate. Better handling and braking, more power, more room, more attractive, but also more gas, more repairs.

Ugh, Help!
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Old 07-02-2009, 03:44 PM   #30
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$3500? Hmm. That is a whole 'nother Miata. That's a lot of money in reality, and it's more than that when you add interest.
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Old 07-02-2009, 03:55 PM   #31
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$3500? Hmm. That is a whole 'nother Miata. That's a lot of money in reality, and it's more than that when you add interest.
No loans. Straight up $3500. Not exactly chump change, but will only buy a tired old Miata.
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Old 07-02-2009, 06:44 PM   #32
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No loans. Straight up $3500. Not exactly chump change, but will only buy a tired old Miata.
Or a shitload of better go-fast parts and tires.
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Old 07-02-2009, 10:57 PM   #33
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The Honda will absolutely retain its resale value better than the Mazda. Total cost of ownership over five years or so will be much less with the civic...
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Old 07-04-2009, 12:40 PM   #34
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So exactly how does this "Cash for clunkers" rebate work? Is it only towards new cars or can you get if you trade in for a used car? I have a 00 F150 V8 that I no longer need. Id like to trade it for something more economical for my wife to DD and leave the Expedition in the drive way for long hauls or when I need to tow the Miata.
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Old 07-04-2009, 12:52 PM   #35
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Red 2010 Mazda 3 5-Door for 18266 ($500 below invoice) Less $3500 credit.
14,766 + Tax, Tag, & Title


Not doubting pricing changes, but 18+k for a Mazda3 S sounds a bit much. Rather than a 2010, look into a left over 08/09. Probably save yourself a cool 3-4grand.

As I mentioned in my previous post, I paid 16k flat for a fully loaded, brand new 05, in 2006.


And not to beat a dead horse, but I seriously think your overestimating the amount of room these cars have. 2 car seats in a 3, + stroller and baby bag, and your pretty much maxed out. I can't see you packing them up for a weekend trip for example (stroller(s), baby bags, toys, playpen, etc, etc, etc)
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Old 07-04-2009, 02:51 PM   #36
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Hey man, I've got a 2006 MS6 I'll make you a good deal on.

Fits what you're looking for 100%, only it is used. VERY well taken care of, though.

Don't buy something ------y like the Honda Prius or the Toyota Prius... That's just...... No... Plus they can't get out of their own way :P

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So exactly how does this "Cash for clunkers" rebate work? Is it only towards new cars or can you get if you trade in for a used car? I have a 00 F150 V8 that I no longer need. Id like to trade it for something more economical for my wife to DD and leave the Expedition in the drive way for long hauls or when I need to tow the Miata.

I've heard the cash for clunkers required trade in of a vehicle that gets less than 19mpg but the catch as I understand it, the vehicle has to be DESTROYED for the credit to apply...

Last edited by elesjuan; 07-04-2009 at 03:01 PM.
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Old 07-04-2009, 04:07 PM   #37
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Originally Posted by MazDilla View Post
On the numbers game here's what it boils down too...

Black 2009 Civic LX for $15895 ($900 below invoice) Less $4500 credit.
$11,395 + Tax, Tag & Title

Red 2010 Mazda 3 5-Door for 18266 ($500 below invoice) Less $3500 credit.
14,766 + Tax, Tag, & Title


Driving wise, the Civic is acceptable and gets better millage. The Mazda 3 is way more car for around $3500 more out the gate. Better handling and braking, more power, more room, more attractive, but also more gas, more repairs.

Ugh, Help!
I avg 30-33 mpg on my 3 man its not that bad.
For those of you not in the know the cash for clunkers thing has a varied amount of rebate depending on the dif in Epa mpg and only applys to new vehicles wich blows. Another assholeish gem in the program is that the vehicle has ot have been licensed for a year before it is traded wich kills me. Cause to do that is atleat a 1k dollar trouble for me would be much easier if i coulda just drove one of my other cars up there and got rid of it. Seriusly this insurance **** is a major scam.
http://www.cashforclunkersfacts.com/ the site so you can educate yourselfs.
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