Author Topic: Best Used Hatchback To Buy  (Read 8228 times)

Sphinx

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Best Used Hatchback To Buy
« on: April 18, 2014, 08:32:18 PM »
I walk and bike when I can, but being a senior living in rural Ontario, I need a car.  I haul things for my garden, as well as groceries etc. and like the comfort when I take day trips.  My old 1999 Ford Taurus stationwagon is rusting out so much, my mechanic says it is not safe, and I am looking for a replacement.  I looked at Mazdas, Kias, and Fords today.  I like basic, without a lot of computerized features, and I am thinking one to three years old.  I thought about another Ford, but the Consumers Reports, and online reviews I have read warn against the 2011, 2012, and 2013 Ford Explorers, and Ford Escapes -- transmission problems, and the computerization, touch screens etc. are a pain.  I really like the looks of the 2009 Ford Escapes, even though the back seats are hard to put down -- I do that a lot when hauling things --  and it is a bit older than I usually buy. I bought my present car in 2002, and it has hardly given me any trouble.

 Any suggestions would be appreciated. The car dealership my family used for generations, out in the country, has changed hands, and it is no longer a good place, so I have to more or less start fresh. Please tell what you like, and why -- also what to avoid, and why.  Thanks for your help.

PindyStache

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Re: Best Used Hatchback To Buy
« Reply #1 on: April 18, 2014, 09:04:27 PM »
MMM's list has several hatchbacks--Scion Xd or Xb, Toyota Matrix, Ford Focus, Mazda 3 (too much focus on being "sporty" imo), etc. An 04 Matrix is our family car and the back seats fold down very easily, don't need to even remove a wheel to get my bike in there, even alongside a car seat. I'd recommend it, but the more recent models actually have less cargo capacity, so I'd look for a mid-00's model. We found an amazing 03 Matrix with 86k miles and manual windows/locks/etc. but didn't have car seat latches so was a dealbreaker for the wife.

Previous car was an Elantra, which was also good for 10 years for us until transmission blew (no idea how typical this is).

The Explorers and Escapes you cites aren't hatchbacks, but mid-size SUV's.

horsepoor

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Re: Best Used Hatchback To Buy
« Reply #2 on: April 18, 2014, 09:07:15 PM »
Honda Fit.  Gets 40 mpg, loads of cargo space, and should last forever.

Milspecstache

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Re: Best Used Hatchback To Buy
« Reply #3 on: April 18, 2014, 09:12:10 PM »
I really like the Nissan Versa.  Very cheap yet should be quite dependable.  At least 35 mpg.

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Re: Best Used Hatchback To Buy
« Reply #4 on: April 18, 2014, 09:50:12 PM »
If you're thinking one to three years old, I'd recommend the Toyota Prius or Ford Focus in the small car class and the Subaru Outback or Prius V in the mid-sized class. In the small SUV class, I'd recommend the Honda CR-V.

Frankies Girl

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Re: Best Used Hatchback To Buy
« Reply #5 on: April 19, 2014, 03:48:20 AM »
The husband's daily driver is a 2004 Scion Xa. Over 100,000 miles, no issues, averages 36 mpg. And it can hold so much stuff! It's a branch of Toyota, and they're supposed to be very reliable. The husband plans on driving it until it dies as he still loves it. They only made these from 2004-2006, so they are getting a bit harder to find, but they're worth taking a look at even if they are outside of your age range. Xd was the model they changed to, and I've heard they are good cars as well, but no personal experience with them...

Oh, and I do know that the Xb - the wagons that look like funky little boxes - were a consumer reports best buy for many years. They are super on interior space and should be just as reliable.

RetiredAt63

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Re: Best Used Hatchback To Buy
« Reply #6 on: April 19, 2014, 05:12:30 AM »
I have a Mazda3 Sport - that is the hatchback version.  I can get two pallets into it, just.  I know Mazda has the "sporty" reputation, but I am not a performance car person, and I like it just fine.  I had a Subaru Outback before that, and I think it held a bit more, but was definitely more expensive to run with the AWD.  However, it did have higher ground clearance, which can be an advantage when parking in fields (i.e. fairs).  Both have easy-to-put-down back seats, I think the Mazda is a bit easier.  I also like the rear cover better on the Mazda, to hide whatever is in the back.  In neither of them do the back seats sit perfectly flat, unfortunately

General advice, this is what I did - take whatever you are likely to carry a lot to the dealership - I took my dog's crate.  if it wouldn't go in the back of a car, I didn't want that car  ;-)  Also, how much of a lip is there at the back and how wide is the actual hatch opening?  Many years ago I had a Saab hatchback, before they got crazy expensive - I loved that car, flat at the back (no lip), so it was easy to get things in and out, very wide opening so no problem with wide loads getting stuck going in or out, seats went down perfectly flat (but with more difficulty, you actually had to fold the bench down instead of just the seat backs).

I like buying cars in winter, you get to see how they drive in rotten conditions - I test drove my first Mazda in December, in snow, over a windy route and very windy bridge, snow-covered parking lots, slushy highways.  Now that it is April, you can't do that (I hope, winter has gone on long enough), but a test drive in a bad storm (heavy rain, lots of wind) would be a good idea.  Plus you would be the only person at the dealership ;-)  And if they don't want you driving a test car in those conditions, what does that say about the car?

Since you have no dealership love any more, if there are two cars you like about the same, which one has a better local dealership?  I really like my dealership, they do good work at a reasonable price (not much more that the local Canadian Tire), are really good about loaners if needed, had all sorts of awards for service.  Especially if your car is still under warranty, your dealership matters.

Zaga

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Re: Best Used Hatchback To Buy
« Reply #7 on: April 19, 2014, 05:57:04 AM »
I just recently got a Kia Soul, and it's been great!  Very comfortable, back seats fold down, etc.  Also, my DH is a larger man with broad shoulders, he fits in it comfortably.

My first choice was the Honda Fit, but DH couldn't quite sit in it comfortably.  The Soul was a very good second choice.
« Last Edit: April 19, 2014, 07:09:34 AM by Zaga »

Sphinx

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Re: Best Used Hatchback To Buy
« Reply #8 on: April 19, 2014, 06:22:50 AM »
These are all very helpful comments.  I think I will expand my request for help to include mid sized SUV's.  I realize that bottom clearance could be important.  I like to go to country fairs, or farms.  I usually end up parking on rough ground when I go berry picking.  I love these country activities. 

Would anyone care to comment on Ford Escapes as well as Honda mid size SUV's please ?  I guess you would get better millage with a Hatchback, but is there a mid size SUV that is ok on millage, and that has good storage space in the back, with seats easy to put down ?  I especially don't want a car with lots of problems that is in the shop all the time, or has expensive parts.  That is one reason I stayed with Fords most of my life.  I had really good luck with them -- not sure what to do now.  Thanks for all the help.  I really need it ! Please keep the comments coming !

RetiredAt63

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Re: Best Used Hatchback To Buy
« Reply #9 on: April 19, 2014, 06:35:10 AM »
Interesting article in Friday's Ottawa Citizen.  They asked repair shops to comment on the 5 best-selling cars in Canada for ruggedness.  I have turned the results into a table.  Note some categories have ties.

Best-selling: 1. Honda Civic     2. Hyundai Elantra    3.  Toyota Corolla    4.  Mazda3    5. Chevrolet Cruze

Here is the assessment:
                            1. Honda Civic   2. Hyundai Elantra  3.  Toyota Corolla  4.  Mazda3  5. Chevrolet Cruze

Metal damage                  5                          4                          2                         3                     1                         
 (hard to damage)
Paint damage                   2                         3                           1                         5                     4                     
 (durability)
Trim Durability                 2                         3                           2                         3                     1   
Paint Quality                    1                         2                           1                         2                     2
Price/availability               2                         1                           3                         3                     4               
  of parts
General repairability         3                         1                           3                         4                     2             
                         
I am hurting about the Mazda scores, but so far (4 years) my car is still in very good shape in terms of looks.

I will agree about some aspects - my last Mazda3 got rear-ended, very lightly, and needed not only a new bumper but also the support bar.  Fortunately the other driver's insurance covered it, it was not cheap.  My present car is red, and I haven't been rear-ended once. I was rear-ended (none seriously) in cars that were silver, dark blue, and dark green.  One of those was a Subaru Outback, and it did not need repair, so that is a point in favour of Subaru.

Come to think of it, all but one of those accidents was in Quebec - the other was a very rainy night when the car behind me slid into me at a stop sign on a hill.  Not that I don't get tail-gated in Ontario, but maybe the red makes people more aware of the car?

BlueMR2

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Re: Best Used Hatchback To Buy
« Reply #10 on: April 19, 2014, 06:46:35 AM »
My Dad has a Pontiac Vibe.  He's pretty tough on cars, hauls lots of things in them that they're really not designed to handle, but this thing keeps on going and going...  Lots of room with all the seats down too.

sulaco

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Re: Best Used Hatchback To Buy
« Reply #11 on: April 19, 2014, 07:07:05 AM »
My Dad has a Pontiac Vibe.  He's pretty tough on cars, hauls lots of things in them that they're really not designed to handle, but this thing keeps on going and going...  Lots of room with all the seats down too.

Toyota Matrix == Pontiac Vibe

kwasibor

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Re: Best Used Hatchback To Buy
« Reply #12 on: April 19, 2014, 08:30:23 AM »
I had a Hyundai Elantra Hatchback for 10+ years that I loved.  When it was time for a new car, we wanted may of the same features you requested and decided to downgrade a bit to the Hyundai Accent 5 door. 

We test drove the Honda Fit, Kia Rio and the Ford Fiesta and found the Hyundai to handle the best, have the roomiest feeling interior, & great price point.  Not to mention Hyundais excellent warranty (100K)

We have had ours for over 2 years and love it  We also are really pleased with Hyundai as a whole...their cost of ownership is low and never really had significant problems.


horsepoor

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Re: Best Used Hatchback To Buy
« Reply #13 on: April 19, 2014, 08:51:51 AM »
These are all very helpful comments.  I think I will expand my request for help to include mid sized SUV's.  I realize that bottom clearance could be important.  I like to go to country fairs, or farms.  I usually end up parking on rough ground when I go berry picking.  I love these country activities. 

Would anyone care to comment on Ford Escapes as well as Honda mid size SUV's please ?  I guess you would get better millage with a Hatchback, but is there a mid size SUV that is ok on millage, and that has good storage space in the back, with seats easy to put down ?  I especially don't want a car with lots of problems that is in the shop all the time, or has expensive parts.  That is one reason I stayed with Fords most of my life.  I had really good luck with them -- not sure what to do now.  Thanks for all the help.  I really need it ! Please keep the comments coming !

How about a Honda Element?  Cavernous interior for hauling things around, and they have rubber flooring instead of carpet - they're basically made for messy activities.  I think they come in 2 and 4 WD.  Not sure about clearance, but probably more than most cars, and should be fine with going to the types of places you describe.

You might also consider a small van.  My dad has a Dodge - I think it is a Caravan?   That has rear seats that fold into the floor.  He is really active and takes it everywhere, sleeps in it on road trips, hauls small boats inside or on the roof, camps in it.  I think it gets around 22 mpg?  I'm sure it could tow a small trailer, which you might want to do if you need to haul loads of compost and stuff for the garden.

CarDude

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Re: Best Used Hatchback To Buy
« Reply #14 on: April 19, 2014, 08:57:56 AM »
These are all very helpful comments.  I think I will expand my request for help to include mid sized SUV's.  I realize that bottom clearance could be important.  I like to go to country fairs, or farms.  I usually end up parking on rough ground when I go berry picking.  I love these country activities. 

Would anyone care to comment on Ford Escapes as well as Honda mid size SUV's please ?  I guess you would get better millage with a Hatchback, but is there a mid size SUV that is ok on millage, and that has good storage space in the back, with seats easy to put down ?  I especially don't want a car with lots of problems that is in the shop all the time, or has expensive parts.  That is one reason I stayed with Fords most of my life.  I had really good luck with them -- not sure what to do now.  Thanks for all the help.  I really need it ! Please keep the comments coming !

The only mid-sized SUV Honda sells is the Pilot, which sounds like overkill from what you've described. The Ford Escape is a small SUV, like the Honda CR-V. If you're looking for a reliable small SUV, I'd stick with the CR-V, although lots of folks like the Escape, Rav4, and Forester too. In the mid-sized range, there's the Pilot, Toyota Highlander, Ford Edge and Explorer, Jeep regular and Grand Cherokee, etc. From a reliability perspective, I'd rank the CR-V as the most reliable small SUV and the Highlander as the most reliable mid-sizer.

rtrnow

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Re: Best Used Hatchback To Buy
« Reply #15 on: April 19, 2014, 09:30:17 AM »

We test drove the Honda Fit, Kia Rio and the Ford Fiesta and found the Hyundai to handle the best, have the roomiest feeling interior, & great price point.  Not to mention Hyundais excellent warranty (100K)


The 100K warranty is a bit of a gimmick IMO, at least for the mustachain. The warranty is non-transferrable. So it only applies if you buy the car new which no one (i hope) around here is going to do.

I have the Fit and really can't say enough good about it. Cargo space is great (much better than the mazda 3 or versa), 40mpg, oil changes 12-14k miles, and no fancy features to break as compared to many newer cars. If you buy certified used then you'll get a 100k warranty to boot.

Ipodius

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Re: Best Used Hatchback To Buy
« Reply #16 on: April 19, 2014, 10:17:32 AM »
Another vote for the Honda Fit - super reliable, tons of space inside, drives very well for it's class, great gas mileage.


grantmeaname

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Re: Best Used Hatchback To Buy
« Reply #17 on: April 20, 2014, 09:19:38 AM »
I'm thinking about trading down to a CRX - now that's a hatchback.

I do love the Vibe/Matrix/xA though - the Vibe gets way better mileage than my Sebring and holds way, way more. It's odd that I know of a car the same age as mine that can do everything better than the one I've got now.

katon

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Re: Best Used Hatchback To Buy
« Reply #18 on: April 20, 2014, 09:36:31 PM »
Another vote for the Honda Fit - super reliable, tons of space inside, drives very well for it's class, great gas mileage.

+1000
Amazing car and aptly named - I still can't quite believe *how* much can fit in the hatchback....

iwanttobelive

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Re: Best Used Hatchback To Buy
« Reply #19 on: April 21, 2014, 02:39:25 PM »
A high millage Toyota Prius. The Battery packs should be good up to 250K miles, and if you know how to use a socket set and volt meter you can replace the damaged cells yourself.

It gets 45-55 mpg highway/city. You can get them at a steep discount over 100K miles. Its a hatch that's comfortable, drives well, caries a lot of stuff. Maintenance on the car is really easy. Overall they are really good cars (I am speaking from experience).

acroy

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Re: Best Used Hatchback To Buy
« Reply #20 on: April 21, 2014, 03:02:47 PM »
Pontiac Vibe is awesome value. Since Pontiac went bust the prices have dropped even though it's a Toyota underneath.
I'm one of the sporty Mazda types, so we have an old Protege5. 12yrs, 135k miles, zero issues. Original front brakes. Best Car Ever!