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Vermonter ~ '20 Si Sedan – '94 Miata – '16 RAV4
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Discussion Starter #1
We aren’t payment buyers but we are serious budget people. So after we’ve done all the math on all of our expenses and income, all the TFL stuff, our budget for this car is 400/month, max of $450. So with current rates let’s say we are shopping around $22-23k.

This will replace our old Prius and be my primary commuter car. It will get a set of steelies and snows for winter.

So the Corolla SE is firmly in play. It fits all of our needs and wants, other than being well .. being a Corolla. J-Vins and already discounted at our local dealer where we bout our RAV4. This is the sensible choice I think.

VW GTI is probably not in play due to price and no local dealer.

Elantra GT N-Line would likely work financially but I’m not sure I’m sold. Again, no local dealer.

We’ll get at least $2k trade in for the Prius (first offer by notoriously chintzy dealer) and pay taxes out of pocket. We have Top Tier credit so I’d like to snag some of that cheap/0 financing.

Wifey wish list: Appreciably better MPG than the RAV4. Keyless entry & Push Button start if possible, Bonus points for factory remote start. Apple CarPlay. Comfortable. She does not care about sporty or fast.

My wish list is about the same except since it will be my daily commuter I’d like it to be fun to drive. I also value reliability very highly.

We will still have the Miata of course.

Used is totally fine but I’m not seeing enough price difference between lightly used and new to make me want to go used unless I find a very compelling reason.

We are not interested in any luxury makes, or overly complicated cars. We value simpler, cheaper but still engaging to drive and stuff that will last a long time as we keep our cars 10 years.

So what do you think? What obvious player am I missing? Do I forgo the six speed Corolla and just get a Camry with the bigger engine? That car feels bigger than we need.

Do I try to find a manual transmission Civic hatchback? Those are rare now unless I travel and Honda doesn’t seem to be making more.

I thought of the VW Jetta GLI but without a local dealer I’m not sure I want to go down that path. Also I’ve driven my neighbors newer Jetta a few times and I smack my head every time I get into it.

So I welcome any suggests or tips.
I will really be buying a car in the next couple of weeks or sooner. No TFL arguments please, we’ve taken care of all that.

Thanks!
 

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I'd say Mazda 6 sedan. Not too big, not too small, enough enthusiast cred at local car meets. Super reliable, and massive COVID-19 discounts available. That's what I would buy.

 

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2004 S2000, 2020 Volvo XC60R
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4 door Civic Si? Seems like the perfect blend of fun, reliable and great resale value
 

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We’ll get at least $2k trade in for the Prius (first offer by notoriously chintzy dealer) and pay taxes out of pocket. We have Top Tier credit so I’d like to snag some of that cheap/0 financing.
Toyota Camry Hybrid? 0% until the 3rd, might be a few bones above price range
 

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My choice here would be GLI, but given the lack of dealer and the fact that you're coming from a Prius..maybe another Prius? I'm concerned you'll ultimately be disappointed in the MPG you get with the other options...even if you're not concerned with the price of fuel, I know going from a fuel efficient vehicle to a less fuel efficient vehicle has always been tough for me.
 

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I just built a 2021 Corolla LE with Convenience package on their website. It has everything you ask for and the price is $22380. You guys have Toyotas and I assume you like them. So this would be right up your alley. You mention she does not care for sporty or fast so I would think this is the best choice. I am not sure why you are knocking it down in your original post. :confused:
 

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Goes in two directions
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Join us.

The reasons you list are the exact reasons I have one. I still maintain you try the SE Sedan for comfort sake but the hatch is where it's at for the points you list.

I did spring for the XSE over the SE because here in the states, the SE is not available with heated seats and SE climate is single zone instead of dual. Both are minute features in the grand scheme but the wife insisted and it was within budget anyway. With negotiating, the difference between the two was negligible. Signed paperwork and picked it up 13 March, and it already is closing in on 10K miles.

Let me know if you have any specific questions!
 

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DFW • ’21 V60 CC
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What about the Mazda 3? I haven’t driven the latest generation, but it should be fun to drive, somewhat more interesting than a Corolla, and shouldn’t require any frequent dealer visits.

Also, a lightly used VW in your price range might not be bad if you can find a 2018 or 2019 with the 6-year/72k mile warranty. No local dealer could be an issue, but I think that’s an issue you’re going to have with a lot of brands in central VT/NH.

As for your Prius, I’d definitely try and get some Carvana/Vroom offers for that, because $2k sounds ridiculously low. If not, advertise on VT and Western Mass craigslist and you can have it sold in 5 minutes, I’m sure :laugh:
 

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No way, the new Corolla (with the 2-liter) is way more fun than the new Mazda 3. The new 3 is tuned more for comfort than sport and has that janky twist-beam rear end; Corolla has rear multi-links (interesting how the two cars essentially switched places with the current generation).

If she doesn't mind driving stick, definitely get a 6MT sedan for a little more fun (hatch if your son will never be in the back). If mileage is the utmost priority, maybe consider the hybrid? It doesn't look that fun with the LRR bubble tires, though. Definitely don't get the LE sedan with the old 1.8-liter engine and old CVT. The one in ours is okay and it is pretty smooth/quiet/efficient but not that powerful (0-60 in 9 or 10) and the CVT doesn't have the physical launch gear like on the 2.0.

I know the new sedan is a little tighter in the back than our '17 (which is huge) but they have almost full-size room in the back and the trunks are large.

I will say that there is something overall, maybe intangible, maybe not, maybe placebo -- but, overall, my J-VIN Yaris feels better built and tighter than our Mississippi-built 'Rolla. Both have been total pleasures to own with zero issues other than a couple of easy recalls.
 

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Vermonter ~ '20 Si Sedan – '94 Miata – '16 RAV4
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Discussion Starter #13
So we liked the Corolla SE a lot. I want to test drive the Hatchback (they didn’t have any but can get one)



Positives: Perfect sedan size. Seat space is very good. Love the design of the dash shapes despite the tacked on big screen.

Nitpicks: the shifter is TALL but feels good. The Miata has spoiled me in this regard. Cup holders are pretty small. Wired Apple CarPlay only. No rear seat back releases in the trunk.
 

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Vermonter ~ '20 Si Sedan – '94 Miata – '16 RAV4
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36,197 Posts
Discussion Starter #15
Mazda 3 hatch. J-vin, and looks like a Ferrari FF from the back
We’ve owned a lot of Mazda’s but I think they are out for me this time. The 3 hatch has a massive rear blind spot now. The 6, like the Camry, is just way bigger than we want or need. Also no local dealer.
 

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Vermonter ~ '20 Si Sedan – '94 Miata – '16 RAV4
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Discussion Starter #16 (Edited)
Join us.

The reasons you list are the exact reasons I have one. I still maintain you try the SE Sedan for comfort sake but the hatch is where it's at for the points you list.

I did spring for the XSE over the SE because here in the states, the SE is not available with heated seats and SE climate is single zone instead of dual. Both are minute features in the grand scheme but the wife insisted and it was within budget anyway. With negotiating, the difference between the two was negligible. Signed paperwork and picked it up 13 March, and it already is closing in on 10K miles.

Let me know if you have any specific questions!
I think the next step is to have them get a hatch for us to test drive.

I don't see any XSE equipment that I feel is necessary over the SE on the sedan at least. THe BSM and RCTA would be nice to have but I don't want them enough to make me pay more. XSE sedan is also CVT only.
 

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Vermonter ~ '20 Si Sedan – '94 Miata – '16 RAV4
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36,197 Posts
Discussion Starter #19
Found a stick shift corolla hatch at another dealer, off now to drive that and a civic hatch at the dealer next door to them. :popcorn:
 

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Not sure if it is as appealing up there where you might want some sidewall, but one nice thing about the SE sedan is that it comes with the nice-looking (IMO) 18-inch wheels that come on the XSE hatch. The SE hatch comes with much plainer 16-inch wheels that throw off the whole look, IMO.

XSE


vs

SE



 
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