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neon4891
neon4891 UltimaDork
1/31/13 12:56 p.m.

Last week or so, I came here contemplating a 4th gen Taurus. I'm glad to say I have come to my senses. My deadline on car replacement is July 1st, so I have some time. The best advice from my last thread was, "what do I really need?" here goes.

Fun factor, this is following 8 years in DOHC neons, the later half being an R/T. I can deal with 'driving a slow car fast', as long as there is something to enjoy while driving it.

FWD or AWD, RWD isn't the best option with my commute(multiple steep, twisty roads with lake effect snow), but could be livable for the right car.

25-30mpg mixed. This is why I don't have a wrangler.

Seating is tricky. I can count on 1 hand the number of times I have had a person in the back seat of my car in the past year. 2 seat would work, but if I go 4 seat, I want it to be able to hold 4 adults without discomfort. This can be overlooked for a 3 door hatch, doubly so if I can actually remove the rear seat instead of just folding it down.

Cargo, I like to carry my bike with me, it fits in the back seat of my neon with the front wheel pulled. Being able to do this is a plus, but not a deal breaker. Same goes for loading my kayak on the roof. Otherwise room for 2-3 bags of groceries would be enough.

Reliability, I want something in the realm of oil and tires. No german style full cooling system rebuild, or GM replace the wheel bearings every 6-12 months.

CC is a must, otherwise I would just pick up a 3 door accent and call it a day.

I would like to avoid frame-less doors, I'm tired of door seal being dependent on how the window is rolled up.

That is all I can think of for now.

My top picks include a del Sol, but $4-5k for a 15+ year old honda is hard to swallow, and finding a not riced example is hard. The best one I found (on cars.com)on the east coast is a 95 Si with 117k for $4k in NC.

After that would be a bug eye WRX wagon with the useless rear seat pulled freeing up cargo room. But... locally subarus pull a big premium, and I'm nervous about the prospect of a high mileage, turbo car that most likely has not lead an easy life.

Something newer and more pedestrian that fits the bill?

neon4891
neon4891 UltimaDork
1/31/13 1:06 p.m.

Other ideas, focus zx3(rear seat pulled), forte, soul, 5spd fusion?

And I forgot to mention, I want to stick with 3 pedals.

Javelin
Javelin MegaDork
1/31/13 1:10 p.m.

Mazda Protege5 comes to mind.

mazdeuce
mazdeuce Dork
1/31/13 1:14 p.m.

My MK1 focus was a fantastic car. I hauled the world in the back and even slept in it a few times with the rear seat folded down. The rear seat folds flat, or really really close, so there really isn't any real benefit in pulling it. They are a remarkably practical car.

Klayfish
Klayfish Dork
1/31/13 1:25 p.m.
Javelin wrote: Mazda Protege5 comes to mind.

This is exactly what I was going to say.

What's the budget? You mentioned Forte. My wife has an '11 Forte hatch as her DD, and it's fantastic. I drove it the past couple days and was about ready to steal her keys.

1988RedT2
1988RedT2 UltraDork
1/31/13 1:33 p.m.
Javelin wrote: Mazda Protege5 comes to mind.

This! What are the early Mazda 3's going for?

kurk9
kurk9 New Reader
1/31/13 3:53 p.m.

Honda civic Hatch, Scion tc.

shelbyz
shelbyz New Reader
1/31/13 4:23 p.m.

I like your bugeye wagon idea. I have one myself and I love it.

Got it in May for $5900. It was a bone-stock one owner dealer maintained car w/ 146k. Not easy to find them that way, but they pop up from time to time. As long as they've been maintained, high miles are no big deal for these. I know someone who has a bugeye with 29Xk miles and I've got a buddy that has pretty decently modified bugeye wagon that runs low 12's/high 11's thats on the stock bottom end with over 230k.

Their achilles heel seems to be the 5speed trans. They hold up just fine if modifications are limited to what is referred to as "Stage 2" (full exhaust, intake and tune) and launches and WOT shifting are kept to a minimum. Once you start breaking into the turbo upgrade game or introduce a clutch that is stiffer than necessary, the trans becomes a ticking time bomb. The five speed was a little better for the 04-05 cars, and then improved a little more for the 2006-2007 cars. 6 speed swaps from the STi solve the issue but the cost is roughly 2 decent Neons.

The only issue I have with mine is rust. It's been in Michigan it's whole life and its starting to show. Although, I've seen picture of bugeye's from the east coast that are way worse....

I have to disagree on the backseat being useless. The backseat in mine gets used regularly (mostly for it's intended purpose ;) ) and one of the usual passengers is a 380+lb. dude that never complains. He himself has a Mazdaspeed 3 and I ABHOR sitting in the back of that thing. The back seat folds down level with the trunk floor and if I remove their front wheels, I can get mine and my GF's mountain bikes in the back without a problem.

But yes, they are generally overpriced and beat on. Just thought I would share.

neon4891
neon4891 UltimaDork
1/31/13 5:05 p.m.

Budget is hard to say. I'll be saving what I can, but cash buy/ down payment is likely $2-3k, and if the bank is involved I'm limited to the 10 year/100k mile limit. I don't want borrow more than 10k.

neon4891
neon4891 UltimaDork
1/31/13 5:21 p.m.

If I end up in a Kia, I would like to be the one out of my siblings to have a good Korean car. Sister 1 had a mid 90s Hyundai that just went to E36 M3 before 100k. Sister 2 had a 02 deawoothat suffered an engine failure and they couldn't get the parts to fix it.

Did I just thread jack my own what-car?

electricdustcart
electricdustcart None
1/31/13 5:52 p.m.

I'm happy with my MK1 ZX3. It's pretty fun to drive, gets good mileage (high 20s mixed, low-mid-30s highway, YMMV of course), and can haul a surprising amount of stuff. It's possible (probably depending on what you ride) to fit a fully assembled bike in the back if the seats are folded down, and two adults can sit comfortably in the back seat. Mine is a 2001 and has been good to me, though I gather that cars from 2002 and later are viewed more favorably from a quality standpoint.

mndsm
mndsm PowerDork
1/31/13 6:21 p.m.

Depending on the budget- step up to a Mazdaspeed3, or go with a regular 3. I've had both, and I love them. The fast one is starting to drop in price- I saw an 07 at a DEALER with 68k on the clock for 13. Thats low mileage for these things- always see em with another 10-20k on the clock for that price.

Cuda
Cuda New Reader
1/31/13 6:39 p.m.

In reply to mndsm:I can't imagine driving a Mazdaspeed 3 in the snow. They are great cars though.

For a cheep ride, I have pretty similar requirements to you, except snow. Florida doesn't get snow too often, but we get a ton of rain. I have had 5 neons through the years, but I am (hopefully) picking up a 318ti on Tuesday. Might want to look into those.

mndsm
mndsm PowerDork
1/31/13 6:54 p.m.

Ms3 in the snow? Oh god is it ever fun. I'm about 2.5" lower than stock, but I've got wicked snow meats on it. The thing is a TANK... and boost only adds to the amusement.

shelbyz
shelbyz New Reader
1/31/13 8:18 p.m.

I agree. My buddy has an MS3 on snows around 16" steelies and the thing gets around as good as any other FWD car.

Not sure how you'd feel about them, but first generation Vibe GT's are getting really cheap. They have the revvy and bulletproof 2ZZ/6speed drivetrain from the Celica GTS. My Dad has a base model and its got miles of space under the hood to work on it, and it dwarfs my WRX wagon in cargo space. The GT also gets over 30MPG on the highway.

NGTD
NGTD Dork
1/31/13 8:56 p.m.

Personally I like the Bugeye Wagon.

Head south and get one without rust if you can.

The 5spd's aren't that bad if you can find one that hasn't been driven by some ham-fisted punk that boosted the crap out of it.

My 02 has almost 70k miles on it and shifts as smooth as new.

shelbyz
shelbyz New Reader
2/1/13 10:49 a.m.
NGTD wrote: Personally I like the Bugeye Wagon. Head south and get one without rust if you can. The 5spd's aren't that bad if you can find one that hasn't been driven by some ham-fisted punk that boosted the crap out of it. My 02 has almost 70k miles on it and shifts as smooth as new.

Yea, the only way you'll have problems with the 5 speed is if has been beat on or has seen a good amount more power than stock.

My 2002 WRX wagon has 158k and shifts like butter. It was bone stock and primarily a daily driver up to 146k, and then I added "stage 2" mods around 150k. I'm still pretty nice to it though.

Appleseed
Appleseed PowerDork
2/2/13 2:24 a.m.

What's wrong with another Neon?

JohnRW1621
JohnRW1621 PowerDork
2/2/13 8:00 a.m.
neon4891 wrote: CC is a must, otherwise I would just pick up a 3 door accent and call it a day.

Why not the 3 door Accent? I assume CC means cruise control. Do Accents not have cruise control? If not there should be an aftermarket option available.

neon4891 wrote: If I end up in a Kia, I would like to be the one out of my siblings to have a good Korean car. Sister 1 had a mid 90s Hyundai that just went to E36 M3 before 100k. Sister 2 had a 02 deawoothat suffered an engine failure and they couldn't get the parts to fix it.

Hyundai (Kia) has advanced by leaps and bounds. Daewoo is/was total crap.

aussiesmg
aussiesmg UltimaDork
2/2/13 9:26 a.m.

Just clocked 100K in my 2011 Elantra, not a single thing has gone wrong, still has original brake pads. Got 43 mpg on the trip to the Rolex 24 last weekend, on snows. Huge interior space for 5, trunk fits a wheelchair. We liked it so much we got another for her.

 photo Oct2012003.jpg

... and it's manual

neon4891
neon4891 UltimaDork
2/2/13 9:49 a.m.

In reply to Appleseed: I've been driving neons for for almost 9 years, I want something different.

In reply to JohnRW1621: 3 door accents with manual and CC are rare. Most that show up are base models. Same goes for the yaris.

In reply to aussiesmg: Still like your elantra then? Those are on my list.

With the soul, is it on the SCCA ban for roll over due to tallness?

Hal
Hal Dork
2/2/13 3:55 p.m.

2003-2004 Focus ZX3 or ZX5 with the 2.3L Duratec engine. Shouldn't be too hard to find as that engine was standard in the "green" (New England) states. Should also be well within your budget.

ProDarwin
ProDarwin SuperDork
2/2/13 4:20 p.m.

Saturn Wagon, Protege 5, Focus Wagon

The interior of the Saturn and Focus will unfortunately remind you of driving a Neon. P5 has a nicer interior for sure, but also slower and very rust prone from what I understand.

My bike fit fine in the back of my Saturn Wagon without removing the seats (just fold them down), and without removing the front tire. For what it's worth I now have a sedan and much prefer just throwing my bike on the roof. Especially after a ride when its all muddy.

Having spent a lot of time with bugeyes... good luck getting 25+mpg. You can pull down a little more than that on the highway, but its a miracle to get more than that mixed driving. My 2.5RS average was ~23ish. Meanwhile, all of the above cars should average around 30 or higher mixed.

belteshazzar
belteshazzar UberDork
2/3/13 8:23 a.m.
shelbyz wrote: Not sure how you'd feel about them, but first generation Vibe GT's are getting really cheap. They have the revvy and bulletproof 2ZZ/6speed drivetrain from the Celica GTS. My Dad has a base model and its got miles of space under the hood to work on it, and it dwarfs my WRX wagon in cargo space. The GT also gets over 30MPG on the highway.

i want one of those

neon4891
neon4891 UltimaDork
2/3/13 9:59 p.m.

new contender, Saturn Astra. GM delta platform(ion, cobalt, hhr) but an orphan. thoughts?

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