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      02-09-2008, 12:34 PM   #1
spacedogg
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Commuter car for ~$17k...suggestions?

Hmmm...deciding that I may just return my 325i at the end of lease and lease something else new.

However this means that I should probably get a commuter car that I can put high mileage on. I typically drive a 200 km or 124 miles each day...so probably around 60,000 km or 38,000 miles per year. 90% of it is cruising highway speed. This will become the "beater car". Good mileage will be the priority.

I'm thinking of staying with something Japanese because of the high reliability. Although, I'm not really interested in hybrids...also out of my budget range anyway. Diesel VW would be an option, but I hear VW have a lot of annoying electrical problems...so probably not going to go with that. Not particularly thrilled with the idea of driving a Mini Cooper...and probably would be on the higher price end of the spectrum anyway.

So currently thinking of the following:

2006 - 2007 Honda Fit
2006 - 2007 Nissan Versa
2002 - 2004 Honda Si (or Canadian SiR)

Any other suggestions? What would you pick?
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      02-09-2008, 01:10 PM   #2
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I vote for the Fit. It has good utility room and has a sporty drive (for an economy car).
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      02-09-2008, 01:31 PM   #3
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Honda, period.
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      02-09-2008, 01:35 PM   #4
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Anybody care to try to convince me to get a late model Mercedes 190E? Back when MB was still making overengineered cars?
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      02-09-2008, 01:50 PM   #5
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VW GTI
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      02-09-2008, 02:13 PM   #6
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Honda Fit!
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      02-09-2008, 02:23 PM   #7
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Quote:
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VW GTI
+1


or

Mazda 3
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      02-09-2008, 02:26 PM   #8
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Honda Fit hands down; Practical, versatile, fun, and economical. Great in every sense of the word. I'm not 100% for the looks of it, but I would never call it ugly. You can get it with Honda's praised MT, or you can opt for an AT with paddles. Funny, the Civic and Accord don't even have paddles for their ATs.

You'll love how it drives. My friend's dad's girlfriend got one and she loves it. The thing is really tossable. Who says you need speed to have fun, ya know?
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      02-09-2008, 02:27 PM   #9
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Quote:
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VW GTI
Not what I would consider a commuter. Maybe a golf or something, but not a GTI/GLI.
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      02-09-2008, 02:29 PM   #10
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You can get a gti in the 22k range

My sister just got an r32 and i had to idea how fun those cars are to drive
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      02-09-2008, 02:44 PM   #11
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Used 06+ Civic Si should be available for under or around 17.

Most fun FWD car ive driven.
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      02-09-2008, 03:07 PM   #12
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Si out of those choices, but if I had to drive as many miles as you did, i'd really look into getting the current civic over the last gen, even if it meant going non-si. It's a really nice package
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      02-09-2008, 03:42 PM   #13
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Guys, if it's a beater or a commuter, gas mileage should be a top priority when you're giving out suggestions. A Civic Si and a GTI aren't what I'd call the economical models of the range. A plain Civic or a Golf is a much better choice. Smaller cars are much better. Hence my reasoning for the Fit.
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      02-09-2008, 03:59 PM   #14
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honda civic si
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      02-09-2008, 04:27 PM   #15
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*sighs* ^^
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      02-09-2008, 04:56 PM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bimmer Loyalist View Post
Guys, if it's a beater or a commuter, gas mileage should be a top priority when you're giving out suggestions. A Civic Si and a GTI aren't what I'd call the economical models of the range. A plain Civic or a Golf is a much better choice. Smaller cars are much better. Hence my reasoning for the Fit.
I agree, but also he did mention that he was looking at the last gen Si, thats why i recommended it.
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      02-09-2008, 05:07 PM   #17
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      02-09-2008, 09:06 PM   #18
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Thanks for the suggestions guys.

So I test drove the Honda Fit LX, Honda Civic DX-G and Nissan Versa S today. As this will likely be the family beater, I only test drove the cars equipped with automatic transmission. Manual tranny will be for the next "pleasure" car I get on the next lease.

All cars were equipped with A/C, power door locks, power windows.

Honda Fit
The reviews are right...the Honda Fit is a very good product. It has a clever interior (all seats can fold flat and in various configurations). Rear space with two adult passengers is actually roomy enough. The Fit manages to feel somewhat upscale despite all the plastic inside...good use of a large and legible radio display. The throttle response is excellent. While you can't say it is "torquey", it is very eager while starting from a stop (0 to 20 mph). It also has the best mileage of all three cars because it has the smallest engine. For a mass market car, I was surprised that the ride was rougher than I expected--it had the roughest ride of all three cars. This problem was probably compounded by its short wheelbase.

A couple places where you notice where they cheaped out. No keyless remote (only available on the next trim level "Sport"). No telescoping steering wheel. WTF? How much more would have that added to the price? $30? Paddle shifters for the automatic are only available on Sport level.

Honda Civic
The Honda Civic is the grand daddy of all compacts. And frankly, I think they totally screwed the pooch on this one. Honda has bloated the Civic. The dash is too wide and far forward--likely they designed to make the cabin feel more spacious. In reality, it makes you feel you are piloting a boat of a car with 6 feet of hood (much like a 1970/80 American car). Throttle response is definately is not snappy as the Honda Fit...but similar to the previous generations. I was disappointed to say the least. Obviously, it is slightly more spacious than the Fit and also provides marginally better ride comfort.

Definately does not feel sporty. Disappointing to see Honda meddle with a recipe that has worked for over 20 years and not get it right. I'm sure the Si version with a manual tranny drives way better...but that's quite a bit more than the other cars.

But even the base Civic comes with a telescoping steering wheel. Gee...thanks.

Nissan Versa
Jeebus...this thing is cheap. When you do the calculations, you can drive away with $0 down for 60 months @ 2.9%. Payments will be approximately $370 taxes included. (And you Americans get even better pricing than us Canadians). How cheap is that?!? You could get 7 of these cars and drive a different colour for each day of the week!

And that's even before negotiation. And the Versa comes more well equipped than either of the Hondas. It also has a softer/smoother ride than both the Civic and Fit. Servicing will likely be cheaper too given that it doesn't have a rubber timing belt--it is metal so the first required tuneup is past 120,000 kms. Rear leg room is probably more spacious than the Civic and definately more spacious than the Fit. There is acres of headroom too. Although the seats are not as clever as the Fit and do not fold flat into the floor.

From the driver's seat, you definately feel like you are driving a smaller car than the Honda Civic. Yet, despite having the largest engine and most horsepower, it feels no faster than the Civic. Still no telescoping steering wheel. Sigh. This is what Jeremy Clarkson would say about the Versa: given the Nissan-Renault alliance, it's no surprise that the Versa's engine reminds you of a French surrender monkey.

A lot of noise shouting "vive la France" as you go, but really a wuss when you actually beat on it. Not exactly a sporty feeling car...but likely the car your mom would be happy to drive.

Honda v. Nissan
Bottom line...the Nissan Versa comes much better equipped and the sales people are much willing/eager to cut a deal than Honda. Honda sales do not even want to negotiate on pricing. Basically they want MSRP...especially on the Fit, given how popular it is. WTF? Are you BMW?

Honda doesn't even include any floor mats in the Honda Fit so you have to throw that into the negotiation. Bloody penny pinching.

The cost conscious side of me would likely buy a Nissan Versa. It has the most features (for the money) and feels very spacious.

But I wouldn't buy the Versa.

The eagerness of the Honda Fit just won me over. Sure it costs more than Versa (especially if you factor things like keyless remote). It also has a harsher ride that jostles you up and down on bumpy roades. But it has a more clever interior. It looks slightly more attractive too.

Sure it costs more...but I would say just work that little bit harder at your job so you can pay for it. The Honda Fit is the best of these three.
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      02-09-2008, 10:36 PM   #19
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Garage List
How about a Smart? Small, cheap, and great gas milage.
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      02-09-2008, 11:51 PM   #20
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Smart Car FTW!
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      02-10-2008, 12:02 AM   #21
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wheres natureboy lol, im sure he'll vote for the fit
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      02-10-2008, 01:47 AM   #22
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How about a Smart? Small, cheap, and great gas milage.
You're paying near Fit-price and getting a car that's about half the size (exaggerated of course).
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