Author Topic: Best hatchback out there  (Read 23913 times)


  • Stubble
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  • Location: Southern Tier NY State
Mazda 3 user report
« Reply #50 on: June 11, 2014, 07:57:09 AM »
I did an analysis 18 months ago when we replaced our Jeep with a Matrix. My spreadsheet is a little out of date, but you might still find it useful. This was my methodology
Good luck!

mlipps has great advice imo!
also, last time we got a car, Edwards dot com had decent life-of-vehicle cost estimates (including maintenance, insurance & depreciation in addition to gas).

Definitely test drive your finalists - a *real* test drive, not just around the block - hard acceleration vs. soft (with any mpg stats monitored); aggressive downshifting & braking, up & down hills, cornering, parking/backing up, merging on highway, stop & go, etc - can easily fit all this in a 10 or 15 minute stretch but the salesperson might be surprised, apparently most folks choose 'around the block'.

If you do get a new car, once you decide on the make & model you can do an aggressive internet search to find what you want at the best $, usually your local dealer can either match or actually get you that exact car by swapping with the other dealer if it's within a given distance (depends on dealer, but up to 500 miles is possible)

We have a Mazda 3 hatchback and love it.  Manual skyactiv transmission (this is our second M3 hatchback, our first didn't have skyactiv so was much lower mpg).  Our mpg is low-mid 30s in town and high30s-low40s highway.  Easy on acceleration and you could beat those stats; hypermile and you could likely obliterate them! If you don't care about "sporty", this may be more engine than you need, could get even better mileage or lower purchase price with a different car.

Likes: great gas mileage, great "drive" feel, roomy (plenty of back seat leg room vs. many hatch's, w/all seats but driver folded can fit several pre-hung doors and/or 8' lumber, will *not* fit 4'x8' sheet goods inside). 

Dislikes: minor, but we love everything else so why can't they perfect these too?  installed TomTom gps is ok but interface is worse than older Mazda installs (no reason imo to seek installed GPS); total of 4 things to reset each gas refill if you want by-the-tank info (how about a 'reset all mileage' choice?); fine on snow but must be more careful than you'd expect on ice as torque is relatively powerful in low gears (we have snow tires)


  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
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Re: Best hatchback out there
« Reply #51 on: June 11, 2014, 08:29:56 AM »
I just upgraded from a Honda Fit to a Ford Focus.  I loved the handling and utility of the Fit.  Its ability to carry cargo bordered on the ridiculous.  It was a tin can though - super loud on the highway, crappy ride on bad quality roads, and picked up door dings in a stiff breeze.  I think the cost of bodywork really added up over the years!  The Focus is a larger car, yet has less room for cargo and the back seats don't fold flat.  Also, there are no special considerations for tall or long cargo like the Fit, which is turning out to be a pain now that I am moving.  The Focus is much more comfortable and refined though.  It feels much safer as well.


  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
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Re: Best hatchback out there
« Reply #52 on: June 11, 2014, 09:25:34 AM »
My 15 year old camry has over 200k and engine is still solid. And I dislike how ford "focuses" so much on the music hookups of their focus and not so much the transmission/engine.

I love our 15-year-old camry also! Hoping it makes it to at least 200k miles--we bought it at 96k miles, and it now has 170k. It is our primary car, though it wouldn't be too catastrophic if we needed to rely on public transport for a week or two, but had to replace the evap system (around $2000) last year. We decided to do that because we couldn't get a comparable car for $2000, and now we have a brand new evap which hopefully will last a while.


  • Pencil Stache
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    • Flipping A Dollar
Re: Best hatchback out there
« Reply #53 on: June 11, 2014, 09:43:59 AM »
I love my 2006 Scion xB. Road noise is my one big complaint. Other than that, I'd avoid the newer models. They're bigger and have worse mileage. Their sales tanked when they "fixed" things from the older model. I'm guessing that you don't want that kind of car though since it's not on your list!


  • Handlebar Stache
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Re: Best hatchback out there
« Reply #54 on: June 11, 2014, 10:19:00 AM »
okay I'm going to comment before I forget what I was going to say, and then go back and read everyone else's comments...

you didn't have the Nissan Versa on your list, I bought mine new in 2012 and totally love it.

- cheap as hell
- good interior space for a hatchback, I notice when I compare it to other hatchbacks it looks pretty tall from the outside
- have driven it in a few Tulsa ice storms with regular tires with no issues

- back seats don't fold down to be actually flush with the "trunk" space. this doesn't bother me, but sounds like it might be annoying for your uses? (dogs etc... we only have one so he just rides in the back seat)
- you might find road noise to be an issue. I don't notice it because my previous 17-year-old vehicle had a rear door that didn't actually shut 100% and that was definitely louder. we have taken the Versa on multiple 10- to 16-hour road trips and it doesn't drive us insane or anything, but I do think it is probably on the loud side.
- I find that gas mileage is not quite as amazing as I hoped, but then again I do like 90% city driving.

also, I know you have already made this decision but I just wanted to say good choice because hatchbacks are AWESOME! here is mine with one of those backyard storage container things in it last year:

I was so proud.


Wow, a phone plan for fifteen bucks!