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Old 12-25-2012, 11:23 AM   #1
CharlieRose
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Considering My Next Car

I've owned my 2012 Focus SE for about 1 1/2 years now, and I've got 30,000 miles on it already. My Focus is great, and I have no significant complaints about. I'm getting high mileage, commuting comfort, and a decent amount of pep for a $17,000 car. I was thinking about what I may buy next when the time comes, and thought it would be interesting to keep track of my list of contenders here (and update them over time).

I recognize the cars on this list aren't all "apples-to-apples," but they happen to be the cars that have my attention at the moment. Major upsides (green) and downsides (red) are highlighted. Let me know if you've got others you think should be here, or problems with any of my picks.

My current car:

Ford Focus SE, 5 speed MT, FWD, 160hp / 146ft-lb, 36 MPG highway, 446 mile fuel range, $17K


Contenders in order of most to least likely:

1. Ford Focus ST, 6 speed MT, FWD, 252hp / 270ft-lb, 32 MPG highway, 387 mile fuel range, $26K
Comment: Best bang for your buck. Fun car, but also works as a daily driver.

2. Volkswagen Golf TDI, 6 speed MT, FWD, 140hp / 236ft-lb, 42 MPG highway, 609 mile fuel range, $25K
Comment: Could commute for nearly 2 weeks between fill-ups.

3. Scion FR-S, 6 speed MT, RWD, 200hp / 151ft-lb, 30 MPG highway, 396 mile fuel range, $24K
Comment: Maybe the most fun car here, but not a great daily driver--especially in winter. Under-juiced engine for the carʼs styling.

4. BMW 128i, 6 speed MT, RWD, 230hp / 200ft-lb, RWD, 28 MPG highway, 392 mile fuel range, $32K
Comment: Maybe the most refined car here, but you pay for it. Poor fuel economy and RWD is rough in the winter.

5. Cadillac ATS, 6 speed MT, RWD, 272hp / 260ft-lb, 30 MPG highway, 480 mile fuel range, $34K
Comment: May be a bit too big for me. RWD poses winter driving challenges. Expensive, but reportedly a great drive.

6. Hyundai Genesis 2.0T R-Spec, 6 speed MT, RWD, 274hp / 275ft-lb, 30 MPG highway, 516 mile fuel range, $27K
Comment: Of course the RWD...also tempting to jump to the 3.8 liter V6 for a couple thousand dollars more. Not a fan of the front exposed bumper.

7. Subaru WRX, 5 speed MT, AWD, 265hp / 244ft-lb, 25 MPG highway, 422 mile fuel range, $27K
Comment: Ugly, but due for an update, which may make it better. The AWD is a huge bonus in the winter.

8. MazdaSpeed3, 6 speed MT, FWD, 263hp / 1280ft-lb, 25 MPG highway, 397 mile fuel range, $24K
Comment: See dragonpalm's experience with this car--not a great review.



Last edited by CharlieRose; 12-30-2012 at 10:59 AM.
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Old 12-25-2012, 10:51 PM   #2
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Good list, another one to consider is the Mitsubishi Ralliart, but my vote goes to the ST.
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Old 12-26-2012, 03:25 AM   #3
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Out of those I'd narrow it down to the ST, wrx, and tdi. The Frs/brz must be a hoot to drive but it doesnt seem practical. Based on your needs I'd probably go wrx, but the ST will net you better mpg...probably
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Old 12-26-2012, 04:00 AM   #4
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Mazda Speed3?

6 speed MT, FWD, 263hp / 280ft-lb, 25 MPG highway, $24K
0-60 5.2 sec

Comments: Standard dual-zone automatic climate control, Bluetooth® hands-free phone and audio capability† and 265-watt Bose® audio system with 10 speakers. Available 5.8" color touchscreen display with navigation system, Pandora audio, HD Radio, and SiriusXM™ Satellite Radio with free 4-month subscription**
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Old 12-26-2012, 09:41 AM   #5
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Consider which of those cars you mentioned above require premium fuel. I know the ST doesn't need it but runs optimally on higher octane, that can affect your operating costs yearly on whichever you choose.

Now, with that said, Your list is one that I'd say is after my own heart. lol. I LOVE the styling, power, MPG of the ST but I've had a lot of bad experiences already with my 2012 Ti. Its been in the shop for damn near every TSB Ford has and this is the first time I've been back to owning a Ford in a lot of years. Previous vehicles were imports. So it scares me to start over again with another FORD and have to deal with those possible quality issues again. I would personally seriously consider the VW TDI. I have a friend who has one and the fit and finish, inside and out is top notch.
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Old 12-26-2012, 10:07 AM   #6
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VW's have horrendous reliability issues especially with electrical problems. I know a few friends with recent model passats and jettas and they have all been in the shop for electrical issues which have not been resolved after having multiple switches and relays replaced. VWs are known for this.
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Old 12-26-2012, 10:18 AM   #7
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I'm partial to Subis and I'd opt to go with the WRX STI if you're going over the $30k mark;I love mine especially the ability to adjust the bias front to rear of the AWD plus just a stage 1 reflash through the Accessport will net you a 30hp bump for cheap.
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Old 12-26-2012, 10:35 AM   #8
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BMW's are cute, but consider the range of the car. 1 series is your entry level BMW. 7 Series is the top of the line, If i were to buy a BMW i would wait till i could afford a 5 series or higher. the 3 series have notorious electrical issues. so with that what the heck is wrong with teh 1 series to make a cheaper model. what did they cut out or reduce to lower the costs? If i were you i would basically equate the 1 series BMW to the Chevy Aveo. Its cute, it has the Badge, but i would not want it sitting in my driveway. especially with the costs of repairs on what are considered higher class imports.
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Old 12-26-2012, 12:08 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TheGlassMaker View Post
Mazda Speed3?

6 speed MT, FWD, 263hp / 280ft-lb, 25 MPG highway, $24K
0-60 5.2 sec

Comments: Standard dual-zone automatic climate control, Bluetooth® hands-free phone and audio capability† and 265-watt Bose® audio system with 10 speakers. Available 5.8" color touchscreen display with navigation system, Pandora audio, HD Radio, and SiriusXM™ Satellite Radio with free 4-month subscription**
Former 2011 Speed3 w tech pkg owner here.
Downsides: 18/25 MPG (real world combined is less than 20 MPG if you drive it aggressively, like you will). Has a difficult (and noisy) manual transmission and clutch that seemed to resist being moved quickly. Bad stock motor mounts that add to the poor launching and shifting. Rough daily driver (loud at highway speeds, stiff over road bumps, engine shakes noticeably with AC on, rattles).
It's still a fun car, but you get what you pay for. It's definitely a tuner as you will want to modify the car asap. Just my opinion. Drive one and find out for yourself. Go Ford ST!
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Old 12-26-2012, 12:25 PM   #10
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I had a very similar list I went thru last week. Eliminated the GTI for maintenance expenses, if you consider the WRX STI as mentioned above be prepared to see a sticker price of over $40k. Can't really compare that car to a ST for mutliple reasons esp being awd. The Speed 3 was ok, but had terrible torque steer issues. Being able to negotiate a ST2 with nav and moonroof to the price of a base WRX sealed the deal for me. Before you dis the ST for issues you've had with your previous Focus, go drive one, you will be surprised how much tighter it handles and performs, coming from a '12 ti owner. (Now the wife's ride). Good luck with your decision!.
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