Author Topic: Options I'm overlooking for <$3k small hatchback?  (Read 1705 times)

ketchup

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Options I'm overlooking for <$3k small hatchback?
« on: September 22, 2016, 03:20:39 PM »
Another car thread!

My household has been down to zero vehicles (not by choice) for about a month now, so it's time to start looking for a new-to-me one.

I'm looking for a small hatchback (must be hatchback) that's good on gas.  It also (unfortunately) needs to be an automatic and have air conditioning for female and pet reasons respectively.  Cruise control a plus.  I don't care about any other features at all.  And it needs to look "less shitty" than our late Geo Metro (GF will be often using it for work purposes).  I'd like to spend no more than three grand (less is even better).  Less than 150k miles, and less than 125k would be even better.

I'm pretty familiar with most cars that fit that mold, but are there any I'm missing (or any on my list I have cause to avoid)?

My shortlist so far:
2003-2009 Pontiac Vibe / Toyota Matrix
2009-2010 Hyundai Accent hatchback
Honda Fit (most are either really high miles or out of my price range)
Toyota Yaris hatchback (most are either really high miles or out of my price range)
2004-2007 Scion xA/xB
2004+ Toyota Prius (occasionally one pops up in my price range)
2003+ Ford Focus hatchback (this definitely appears to be the cheapest of my options)
Nissan Versa
Mazda 3

tweezers

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Re: Options I'm overlooking for <$3k small hatchback?
« Reply #1 on: September 22, 2016, 04:04:14 PM »
Older model Honda Civic hatchbacks, although they might not meet the "look less shitty" criteria.  We have a 1993 civic hatchback that I bought in 2003 for $1800.  Its a teenage boy car for sure (i.e. put dual exhaust pipes and paint it neon pink), but an awesome car....45 mpg on the highway, and has only had expected maintenance costs.
 


zoltani

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Re: Options I'm overlooking for <$3k small hatchback?
« Reply #2 on: September 22, 2016, 04:33:03 PM »
IDK about the market in your area, but I am also looking for a hatchback, and given your criteria you are searching for a unicorn, at least from what I've seen in the Puget sound area. I think the ford will indeed be your best bet in this range.


ketchup

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Re: Options I'm overlooking for <$3k small hatchback?
« Reply #4 on: September 22, 2016, 05:39:07 PM »
Older model Honda Civic hatchbacks, although they might not meet the "look less shitty" criteria.  We have a 1993 civic hatchback that I bought in 2003 for $1800.  Its a teenage boy car for sure (i.e. put dual exhaust pipes and paint it neon pink), but an awesome car....45 mpg on the highway, and has only had expected maintenance costs.
 
I'll look into those.  Looks like the '95-'00 generation was the last of the Civic hatchbacks.  I'll have to run them by the GF as far as the "look less shitty" criteria.

If I didn't have to care how it looked, I'd just get another ~$1000 Geo Metro and call it a day.
IDK about the market in your area, but I am also looking for a hatchback, and given your criteria you are searching for a unicorn, at least from what I've seen in the Puget sound area. I think the ford will indeed be your best bet in this range.
There's definitely examples of each on the list in my area pretty often, if not a ton (Chicago area).  I might be looking at a red Vibe with 109k on it for $3k tomorrow.
Subaru wagon?

http://seattle.craigslist.org/skc/cto/5745688966.html

http://seattle.craigslist.org/see/cto/5787787161.html


Maybe, but those are pretty thirsty on gas.

Thanks for the responses so far everyone!

Jack

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Re: Options I'm overlooking for <$3k small hatchback?
« Reply #5 on: September 22, 2016, 06:06:39 PM »
It also (unfortunately) needs to be an automatic...

No it doesn't. You only think it does. (The only exception is if the intended driver is missing an appendage or something.)

...for female... reasons

And missing that "appendage" doesn't count!

Seriously: back when my wife and I were dating, I told her that I wasn't going to quit driving a stick and she was going to have to be able to drive my car in an emergency, so she was going to have to learn too. She learned. All cars in our household from then on have had manual transmissions. "Female" is not an excuse.

Now, moving on...

I recommend the Hyundai Accent. I owned a 2003 model; it was great. If it weren't for the fact that it was crushed in my driveway by a falling tree, I'd still be driving it. The Hyundai Elantra GT is probably good too, if you want a larger 5-door hatchback.

Otherwise, the obvious answer is 1999-2006 Honda Insight. 70+ MPG! Gigantic odometer readings are likely, but it's a Honda so who cares?

Older model Honda Civic hatchbacks, although they might not meet the "look less shitty" criteria.  We have a 1993 civic hatchback that I bought in 2003 for $1800.  Its a teenage boy car for sure (i.e. put dual exhaust pipes and paint it neon pink), but an awesome car....45 mpg on the highway, and has only had expected maintenance costs.
 
I'll look into those.  Looks like the '95-'00 generation was the last of the Civic hatchbacks.  I'll have to run them by the GF as far as the "look less shitty" criteria.

For a Civic hatch you'd want the '92-'95 version, specifically the VX trim level. For '96 and newer you'd want the HX, but that only came as a coupe.

Another good option along the same lines would be an '88-'91 CRX HF.