Author Topic: Which used hatchback to choose?  (Read 1336 times)

AceStache

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Which used hatchback to choose?
« on: September 20, 2020, 01:28:57 PM »
Looking for a new vehicle for the gf, and we'd both kind of prefer a hatchback.  Ideally looking for something in the $5-$8,000 range, 2010 or newer, and under 125k miles.  I think our first choice would be a Honda Fit.  Also like the idea of a Prius, just feel a little uncertain with never owning/driving one before. I just seem to prefer Honda and Toyota quality, especially where smaller cars are concerned. 

Just curious if anyone has any input on recommendations or some other hatchback models to keep an eye out for or to avoid.

Thank you for any input you'd like to offer!

Greystache

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Re: Which used hatchback to choose?
« Reply #1 on: September 20, 2020, 06:02:46 PM »
I own a 2003 Pontiac Vibe with 125K on the clock. It has been very reliable. The Toyota Matrix is the same car with different sheet metal and nameplate. The Pontiacs  tend to be slightly cheaper to buy used.

cincystache

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Re: Which used hatchback to choose?
« Reply #2 on: September 20, 2020, 07:05:15 PM »
I own a honda fit 2009. It is an awesome mustachian car.

I have also heard good things about the vibe/matrix which seems slightly larger than the fit.

Mazda 3 makes a hatchback as well that I've heard good things about.

Prius cars are great but I worry about a 10 year old prius. They are probably more expensive to buy than a similarly aged Fit and if there is an issue with the hybrid system I assume it would be far more expensive to repair than anything that would break on a Honda Fit... The gas mileage is great but assuming you aren't driving around like a clown all over the place you probably will come out ahead financially with a Fit assuming lower purchase price and maintenance costs over your ownership.


terran

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Re: Which used hatchback to choose?
« Reply #3 on: September 20, 2020, 08:49:12 PM »
I own a 2003 Pontiac Vibe with 125K on the clock. It has been very reliable. The Toyota Matrix is the same car with different sheet metal and nameplate. The Pontiacs  tend to be slightly cheaper to buy used.

If memory serves, the drivetrain on these are both toyota, so reliability should generally be up to toyota standards.

alsoknownasDean

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Re: Which used hatchback to choose?
« Reply #4 on: September 20, 2020, 09:05:30 PM »
Hyundai Elantra Touring? It's a wagon but still reliable.

Mazda3 is a good choice too. Maybe a Mitsubishi Lancer as well (although CVT transmission)?

How many miles per year? City or highway?

AccidentialMustache

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Re: Which used hatchback to choose?
« Reply #5 on: September 20, 2020, 10:40:53 PM »
The 2010 fit is same model as 2009, so I wouldn't exclude 2009 from your search if you're happy with the 2010 and found a '09 with low miles. 2008 was a different generation and there's reasons to prefer the 2009.

Fish Sweet

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Re: Which used hatchback to choose?
« Reply #6 on: September 20, 2020, 10:56:26 PM »
I'd recommend one of the 2010-2014 Honda Insights (not to be mistaken for one of the 2019 and onward Insights, which are sedans.)  They're nice little hybrid hatchbacks that seemed to have been snubbed popularity-wise in favor of the Prius and was eventually discontinued - and as a result, a used Insight is much cheaper than a used Prius of the same year and mileage.  Gas mileage is better than the average Fit, somewhat less spacious but you're still getting hatchback levels of trunk space.  It drives smoothly and imo handles great, and the small size and agility makes it great for maneuvering into and out of tight spaces.   

I'm not particularly knowledgeable about cars, but I AM a happy owner of an Insight that's only cost me one battery replacement and the odd oil change in the last 3+ years.  That said, it's not an ultra powerful machine lol and can take a little bit to really get up to speed.  That, and the AC doesn't blow super cold, if those are important car traits for you.

Malcat

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Re: Which used hatchback to choose?
« Reply #7 on: September 21, 2020, 05:09:34 AM »
There are tons of little hatchbacks out there.

Where I live, the Fit and Prius are obscenely overpriced used, so there's no point, and one would be better off buying a new one and driving it forever.

Hyundai Accent would be a good alternative, as they've been around for a billion years.

I ended up with a Chevy Sonic because I barely drive and got a very, very good price on it from a buddy who owns a garage. This car will have to need some pretty intense repairs in order to lose out cost-wise to a used Fit.

chemistk

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Re: Which used hatchback to choose?
« Reply #8 on: September 21, 2020, 05:53:51 AM »
I'll second the notion that there are plenty of good hatchbacks out there.

The Fit and the Prius are easily the top two options.

I know it's a popular car around here but the Matrix and Vibe should be viewed with caution these days. They are both aging and even the best kept examples will be due for major service in the next few years, regardless of who manufactured the cars parts always age and need replaced. The sheetmetal is also primarily GM sourced (thx NUMMI) and so will be especially prone to rust after a number of years.

Back to it, I always try and nudge people toward the Prius just because they're such robust cars. Battery replacement should never be a concern, because 1) you can drive the Prius on a battery that's older for a long time and just accept the lower MPG or 2) battery replacement should only be about $2k with labor. It's true that in markets where environmentally friendly cars are popular, Prii tend to have higher resale prices, but don't rule out the possibility of buying one from another region sight unseen and having it shipped to you for a nominal fee.

flyAway

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Re: Which used hatchback to choose?
« Reply #9 on: September 21, 2020, 07:59:53 AM »
I have a 2003 vibe bought in 2009. It is now at 266k miles and definitely requiring more repair. Weíre close to being ready for a new to us car (hatchback) too.

The vibe was great and I do recommend it. Iím just tired of driving it myself! :-) We also own a 2012 sonic.  I donít recommend it - small/cramped and headrests/etc make visibility a challenge.

The hyundai has caught my eye, as well as, suburu models.  Any thoughts on those?

joe189man

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Re: Which used hatchback to choose?
« Reply #10 on: September 21, 2020, 09:09:02 AM »
i have a 2010 mazda 3 hatch its great, had it since new, fits 8 ft lumber and 20 some bags of mulch and can take the kids to school or travel 1000 miles across the country

great car

AMandM

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Re: Which used hatchback to choose?
« Reply #11 on: September 21, 2020, 10:56:53 AM »
We have a Hyundai Elantra Touring. It's a little bigger than the Accent, and the Touring is the hatchback/wagon model. It is a great car, with an impressive amount of cargo space for a car that size. Super reliable. We've never had to repair anything, only do maintenance, except for replacing the clutch after teaching teenagers to drive stick on it.

AceStache

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Re: Which used hatchback to choose?
« Reply #12 on: September 21, 2020, 09:37:21 PM »
Thank you all for taking the time to respond.  Lots of good information here, and some recommendations I hadn't thought of.

She only has about 20 miles round trip to work, and doesn't do a ton of driving outside of that.  I have a 2015 Honda Civic, which we drive anytime we go out of town, or in town for that matter. lol.  But I'm a junkie for good mileage, low maintenance vehicles with solid reputations for lasting.  So I'd like to get her one as well, but with a hatchback for the times we do need the extra cargo space.

I had peeked around at the Mazda 3, but it's getting quite a few recommendations, so it looks like I need to look more at those.  I wondered about the Hyundai's.  I think I've always unfairly dismissed them as lower quality Honda/Toyota wanna-be's.  But it sounds like those who have owned them have been super happy with them, so that's much better than my uninformed judgement.

I'm also looking at the Subaru Impreza after it was mentioned.  We live in Michigan, so the thought of having an AWD vehicle to use in the snow while still getting great MPG at all other times is enticing, though might mean needing to step up in price.
« Last Edit: September 21, 2020, 10:10:31 PM by AceStache »

Malcat

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Re: Which used hatchback to choose?
« Reply #13 on: September 22, 2020, 05:32:22 AM »
Thank you all for taking the time to respond.  Lots of good information here, and some recommendations I hadn't thought of.

She only has about 20 miles round trip to work, and doesn't do a ton of driving outside of that.  I have a 2015 Honda Civic, which we drive anytime we go out of town, or in town for that matter. lol.  But I'm a junkie for good mileage, low maintenance vehicles with solid reputations for lasting.  So I'd like to get her one as well, but with a hatchback for the times we do need the extra cargo space.

I had peeked around at the Mazda 3, but it's getting quite a few recommendations, so it looks like I need to look more at those.  I wondered about the Hyundai's.  I think I've always unfairly dismissed them as lower quality Honda/Toyota wanna-be's.  But it sounds like those who have owned them have been super happy with them, so that's much better than my uninformed judgement.

I'm also looking at the Subaru Impreza after it was mentioned.  We live in Michigan, so the thought of having an AWD vehicle to use in the snow while still getting great MPG at all other times is enticing, though might mean needing to step up in price.

Hyundais are cheaper and lower quality than Toyotas and Honda's, and that's why you pay so much less for them.

You have to consider what you want from a car, and then spend appropriately. As I said, in my region, there's absolutely no point in buying a used Fit or Prius, they're just way too expensive used. The difference between a used Fit and a used Accent would cover thousands in repairs in my case.

Look at the prices, look at what it is that you are trying to buy by paying extra, and decide if it's worth it for you.

Everyone and their idiot brother knows that Toyotas and Hondas are more reliable cars, which means that everyone and their idiot brother are willing to pay a premium for them.

There is great value to be found in other brands as a result.

Mazdas used to be up there with Toyotas and Hondas in this area, but the used market is much, much cheaper because they are famous now for rusting up here. I personally would never buy a Mazda 3 because of the known rust issues in my region. If I lived somewhere without salt though, I would probably think otherwise.

Do some reading, look at what's available, and realistically assess what you need from a car.


Kris

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Re: Which used hatchback to choose?
« Reply #14 on: September 22, 2020, 05:45:40 AM »
Thank you all for taking the time to respond.  Lots of good information here, and some recommendations I hadn't thought of.

She only has about 20 miles round trip to work, and doesn't do a ton of driving outside of that.  I have a 2015 Honda Civic, which we drive anytime we go out of town, or in town for that matter. lol.  But I'm a junkie for good mileage, low maintenance vehicles with solid reputations for lasting.  So I'd like to get her one as well, but with a hatchback for the times we do need the extra cargo space.

I had peeked around at the Mazda 3, but it's getting quite a few recommendations, so it looks like I need to look more at those.  I wondered about the Hyundai's.  I think I've always unfairly dismissed them as lower quality Honda/Toyota wanna-be's.  But it sounds like those who have owned them have been super happy with them, so that's much better than my uninformed judgement.

I'm also looking at the Subaru Impreza after it was mentioned.  We live in Michigan, so the thought of having an AWD vehicle to use in the snow while still getting great MPG at all other times is enticing, though might mean needing to step up in price.

I came here to say Subaru Impreza.

chemistk

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Re: Which used hatchback to choose?
« Reply #15 on: September 22, 2020, 05:51:27 AM »
Thank you all for taking the time to respond.  Lots of good information here, and some recommendations I hadn't thought of.

She only has about 20 miles round trip to work, and doesn't do a ton of driving outside of that.  I have a 2015 Honda Civic, which we drive anytime we go out of town, or in town for that matter. lol.  But I'm a junkie for good mileage, low maintenance vehicles with solid reputations for lasting.  So I'd like to get her one as well, but with a hatchback for the times we do need the extra cargo space.

I had peeked around at the Mazda 3, but it's getting quite a few recommendations, so it looks like I need to look more at those.  I wondered about the Hyundai's.  I think I've always unfairly dismissed them as lower quality Honda/Toyota wanna-be's.  But it sounds like those who have owned them have been super happy with them, so that's much better than my uninformed judgement.

I'm also looking at the Subaru Impreza after it was mentioned.  We live in Michigan, so the thought of having an AWD vehicle to use in the snow while still getting great MPG at all other times is enticing, though might mean needing to step up in price.

On Mazda:

Since 2013, the Mazda3 (and most of Mazda's North American lineup in general) should be considered an entirely different fleet of cars vs. pre-2012ish Mazda's.

Although a smaller automaker, the modern Mazda is on par or sometimes even superior to Honda and Toyota in terms of reliability and long-term durability.

We owned a 2014 CX-5 and sold it to my in-laws last year. We live in salt-happy PA and it has nearly 120k miles without any issues. Not a speck of rust to be seen. Pre-2012 and going all the way back to the early '00s, the bodies and some other components of most Mazdas were designed and supplied by Ford and are not going to be great long-term. The drivetrains are all Mazda designs though.

The Mazda3 is a smaller hatchback than the other cars in its class and especially the rear hatch is a small opening for what you get. They are highly enjoyable to drive though.

On Subaru:

I'd advise against. I won't link to it but there's a MMM article if you need one 'from the source' on why AWD is not needed, even in Colorado.

For whatever you buy, buy a set of snow tires. Ideally have them mounted on their own dedicated steel rims, so you don't need to pay someone to swap them for you. For $600, I had a set of 4 good snow tires mounted on black steel rims for our Mazda. If there was a storm on the horizon, I could have all 4 snow tires mounted on the car myself in under half an hour.

I grew up in MI. People from MI are conditioned (since many own trucks and SUV's) that winter weather means you need AWD or 4X4. A set of 4 snow tires on a FWD car will allow you to outperform an AWD or 4X4 in probably 90% or more bad weather situations. I've shared this anecdote a number of times now, but it's worth sharing - I once drove my FIL's Prius to work in a snowstorm. With just winter tires (and the massive help from the heavy batteries in the back limiting fishtailing), I was able to pass stuck 4x4 vehicles going uphill in >6" of snow.

Ecky

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Re: Which used hatchback to choose?
« Reply #16 on: September 22, 2020, 07:20:08 AM »
We have and love the Fit. I would recommend it any day of the week.

The cheapest ones are slightly outside of your price range, but you can find a plug-in hybrid Hyundai Ioniq occasionally for less than $10,000. It has an absurdly useful hatch, can drive 30 miles on electricity alone, and then is good for 59mpg on gasoline after that. For my driving patterns, that would mean zero gasoline used for 99% of my trips (commuting), and an extremely economical vehicle for those longer drives. Plus even the oldest ones still have 6 years left on the factory warranty.

« Last Edit: September 22, 2020, 07:21:56 AM by Ecky »

RetiredAt63

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Re: Which used hatchback to choose?
« Reply #17 on: September 22, 2020, 08:12:26 AM »
Re Mazda, my 2010 Mazda 3 Sport hatchback is coming up on 290,0000 km.  I am meticulous on maintenance, it should be good for a few more years now that I am driving less.

I see lots of Mazdas here in Ottawa, they are a decent winter car.

Paper Chaser

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Re: Which used hatchback to choose?
« Reply #18 on: September 22, 2020, 08:44:20 AM »
Thank you all for taking the time to respond.  Lots of good information here, and some recommendations I hadn't thought of.

She only has about 20 miles round trip to work, and doesn't do a ton of driving outside of that.  I have a 2015 Honda Civic, which we drive anytime we go out of town, or in town for that matter. lol.  But I'm a junkie for good mileage, low maintenance vehicles with solid reputations for lasting.  So I'd like to get her one as well, but with a hatchback for the times we do need the extra cargo space.

I had peeked around at the Mazda 3, but it's getting quite a few recommendations, so it looks like I need to look more at those.  I wondered about the Hyundai's.  I think I've always unfairly dismissed them as lower quality Honda/Toyota wanna-be's.  But it sounds like those who have owned them have been super happy with them, so that's much better than my uninformed judgement.

I'm also looking at the Subaru Impreza after it was mentioned.  We live in Michigan, so the thought of having an AWD vehicle to use in the snow while still getting great MPG at all other times is enticing, though might mean needing to step up in price.

Given the situation, I'd really look hard at a hybrid, PHEV or even full EV like a Leaf. What about a Ford CMax? They're a hatchback hybrid. The standard hybrid gets Prius-like fuel economy. There's a PHEV version that could probably complete most of your driving tasks without using any fuel at all, but still gets hybrid fuel economy if yo need to take it on a longer drive so there's no 'range anxiety' like a full EV. They're WAY cheaper to buy than a similar Prius. IF you opt for the plug-in version, it will probably have extremely low running costs and need the absolute minimum of maintenance too.

I've got the same PHEV powertrain in my Fusion. I plug in every night. I have a commute that's 20 miles each way. It had a lifetime fuel economy of 43mpg when I bought it and in the 23k miles that I've added, I've been able to drag that economy up to 89.9mpg and climbing. Because a bit more than half of my driving is electric, the only maintenance that I've needed in those 23k miles is a single oil change, regen braking should really extend the life of the manual brakes, there is no starter to need replacement, etc.

They're based on the Focus platform which scares some people off, but the problematic Focus transmissions are very different from the CVTs offered in the Ford hybrids (which are nearly identical to what's in the Prius, and was actually licensed tech from Toyota in the beginning). The hybrid components are all warrantied for 10yrs/100k miles too.

The larger hybrid battery does reduce cargo volume, so if you need maximum cargo capacity, they might not work, but if you want a commuter that's cheap to buy and cheap to drive/own, with the occasional need for cargo moving, I think they're worth a close look.

NYC did a pretty revealing study on their fleet maintenance costs that shows just how much a hybrid/PHEV/EV vehicle can save in maintenance costs over a more traditional ICE. Compare the gas Fusion, hybrid Fusion and PHEV (Energi) Fusion costs, or the Focus/Focus Electric disparity:
https://www.axios.com/electric-vehicle-maintenance-newyorkcity-fb1c2704-14dd-4026-a0d1-0d82f5bc6d19.html

Jouer

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Re: Which used hatchback to choose?
« Reply #19 on: September 22, 2020, 11:27:24 AM »
Hyundai Elantra Touring? It's a wagon but still reliable.

Mazda3 is a good choice too. Maybe a Mitsubishi Lancer as well (although CVT transmission)?

How many miles per year? City or highway?

I have a 2012 Elantra Touring, the last year they made them before switching to the sportier hatchback. Love, love, love this car. Pretty peppy too, considering. When this one konks on me I'd buy a newer model if they made one.

mm1970

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Re: Which used hatchback to choose?
« Reply #20 on: September 23, 2020, 04:06:45 PM »
I own a 2003 Pontiac Vibe with 125K on the clock. It has been very reliable. The Toyota Matrix is the same car with different sheet metal and nameplate. The Pontiacs  tend to be slightly cheaper to buy used.

If memory serves, the drivetrain on these are both toyota, so reliability should generally be up to toyota standards.
My 2006 Matrix finally passed 150k miles and is still going great...of course, I've only driven it 550 miles in 6 months...COVID

AccidentialMustache

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Re: Which used hatchback to choose?
« Reply #21 on: September 23, 2020, 09:11:55 PM »
I'd recommend one of the 2010-2014 Honda Insights (not to be mistaken for one of the 2019 and onward Insights, which are sedans.)  They're nice little hybrid hatchbacks that seemed to have been snubbed popularity-wise in favor of the Prius and was eventually discontinued - and as a result, a used Insight is much cheaper than a used Prius of the same year and mileage.  Gas mileage is better than the average Fit, somewhat less spacious but you're still getting hatchback levels of trunk space.  It drives smoothly and imo handles great, and the small size and agility makes it great for maneuvering into and out of tight spaces.   

I'm not particularly knowledgeable about cars, but I AM a happy owner of an Insight that's only cost me one battery replacement and the odd oil change in the last 3+ years.  That said, it's not an ultra powerful machine lol and can take a little bit to really get up to speed.  That, and the AC doesn't blow super cold, if those are important car traits for you.

Drive an insight, on a sunny day, down a highway with center-of-lane cracks patched with black tar and see if it's the car for you.

We have a fit, not an insight, because the road just off the back bumper went through the vertical glass, reflected off the back hatch, off the mirror, and into my eyes as a driver. Not only is it super distracting to have something "wiggling" all over your rear view mirror, but it also makes it harder to see out your rear view if you actually want/need to.

Joel

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Re: Which used hatchback to choose?
« Reply #22 on: September 23, 2020, 09:13:42 PM »
I really like my 2018 Honda Civic hatchback, but I doubt the user models will be affordable enough for what you are looking for.

Frugal Lizard

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Re: Which used hatchback to choose?
« Reply #23 on: September 24, 2020, 06:49:00 AM »
I love my Nissan Leaf.  Great amount of space.  The quiet when driving and never ever having to fill up in cold weather.  The joy of pulling into my garage and plugging in....

ketchup

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Re: Which used hatchback to choose?
« Reply #24 on: September 24, 2020, 08:17:50 AM »
Hyundai Accent checking in.  Bought it last year for $2500 (2010 with 91k on it).  Fantastic car, given us no issues at all (now at 115k).  We also had a 2009 in the past that died at 262k miles.  They last.

Hyundai used to be cheap garbage in the 90s but they've gotten a LOT better since that reputation was earned.  Anything 2007+ or so seems to be solid from what I've seen.  The used Toyota/Honda premium, as others have pointed out, is often not worth it.

tthree

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Re: Which used hatchback to choose?
« Reply #25 on: September 24, 2020, 08:35:02 PM »
Love my 2008 Saturn Astra....I've barely driven it though, still less than 100,000km:)

max924

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Re: Which used hatchback to choose?
« Reply #26 on: September 25, 2020, 10:45:33 AM »
Does not look like it was mentioned here, but I would recommend the Toyota Yaris. I own the 2010 sedan version and can't recommend enough! We have hard winters here and it does fine with snow tires. I have owned it for 5 years now, with zero complaints.

Also would second the matrix/vibe if you find a good example. Don't recommend a Mazda/Subaru.

Full Disclosure: I am not a real car mechanic, but I have been fixing/rebuilding cars for 25 yrs now.

Yaris all the way... Fits are good too but more $$ (although the yaris hatch is smaller than the fit).

TheAnonOne

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Re: Which used hatchback to choose?
« Reply #27 on: September 25, 2020, 12:30:20 PM »
You can get a Chevy Volt in that range. Gen 1.

Pro's you may never buy gas again. It's high tech. It's quick. It has gas backup. From what I have seen: One of most loved cars by their owners.

Con's you'll hate yourself for waiting so long. Sometimes the heat isn't as strong as you'd want if you live in the north, but all you do is switch to gas for 5 minutes and then back to EV.
« Last Edit: September 25, 2020, 12:34:03 PM by TheAnonOne »

BDWW

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Re: Which used hatchback to choose?
« Reply #28 on: September 25, 2020, 02:40:48 PM »

[snip]

They're based on the Focus platform which scares some people off, but the problematic Focus transmissions are very different from the CVTs offered in the Ford hybrids (which are nearly identical to what's in the Prius, and was actually licensed tech from Toyota in the beginning).

If you can find a focus/fiesta hatchback with a manual transmission, it could be a very good deal. They have a unreliable reputation based solely on the terrible powershift (automatic) transmission. 

Malcat

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Re: Which used hatchback to choose?
« Reply #29 on: September 26, 2020, 04:44:22 AM »
Does not look like it was mentioned here, but I would recommend the Toyota Yaris. I own the 2010 sedan version and can't recommend enough! We have hard winters here and it does fine with snow tires. I have owned it for 5 years now, with zero complaints.

Also would second the matrix/vibe if you find a good example. Don't recommend a Mazda/Subaru.

Full Disclosure: I am not a real car mechanic, but I have been fixing/rebuilding cars for 25 yrs now.

Yaris all the way... Fits are good too but more $$ (although the yaris hatch is smaller than the fit).

Yaris is awesome and comes in hatchback here.

Ecky

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Re: Which used hatchback to choose?
« Reply #30 on: September 26, 2020, 07:14:25 AM »
You can get a Chevy Volt in that range. Gen 1.

Pro's you may never buy gas again. It's high tech. It's quick. It has gas backup. From what I have seen: One of most loved cars by their owners.

Con's you'll hate yourself for waiting so long. Sometimes the heat isn't as strong as you'd want if you live in the north, but all you do is switch to gas for 5 minutes and then back to EV.

There are also a few very expensive things that go wrong with Volts. The second gen are less reliable overall, GM seemed to cheap out on the transmission and there are a couple of sensor related electrical issues with the batteries that require (expensive) dealer service. I was quite pro-Volt until (anecdotal, I know) a close friend had his in a shop for 5 months and ended up out nearly $5,000 when the transmission grenaded its input shaft, GM was unable to get another one, and there was no GM dealership within several hours that had anyone who could work on one.

twe

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Re: Which used hatchback to choose?
« Reply #31 on: September 26, 2020, 11:58:40 AM »
You can get a Chevy Volt in that range. Gen 1.

Pro's you may never buy gas again. It's high tech. It's quick. It has gas backup. From what I have seen: One of most loved cars by their owners.

Con's you'll hate yourself for waiting so long. Sometimes the heat isn't as strong as you'd want if you live in the north, but all you do is switch to gas for 5 minutes and then back to EV.

Couldn't agree more. I have a 2017 Volt-it's hauled plenty of construction supplies, 10 ft long copper pipe, concrete, etc. I haven't put gas in it since February and it's still full. For the 2-3 times a year I take it on a long trip, it's a great ride. And battery-once you drive one, you'll never go back.