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Dpvog
Dpvog New Reader
7/6/09 4:26 p.m.

In reply to jikelly: I wind up renting a lot of cars, so I get a lot of experience driving new or almost new random mid-sized family sedans. Unfortunately, they tend to have automatics (except in Europe) and so I can't tell you much about how manuals drive, but I've been very impressed with the Pontiac G6, and the Ford Fusion here. Camry is a nice car, but it's bland to drive, and I can't imagine anyone autocrossing one. Since the G6 and the Fusion are both pretty popular, you should be able to find a good deal either new or used. I don't know about the manual if you're shopping used though, that might be really tough to find. I know the base model 4 door Subaru Impreza with AC. pw, pl, 5spd manual, 4wd, and 170 h.p. is 16k brand new, in the wrapper, which is a great deal, and it moves along quite smartly, but the fuel mileage is pretty much a joke. Look for 17city and 22 hywy in real world driving, and worse if you have a heavy foot. -Doug

billy3esq
billy3esq Dork
7/6/09 5:08 p.m.

It's been said (more than once), but I'll throw in another vote for the Mazda 6. My wife has a wagon, and even with the automatic I enjoy driving it.

A friend of mine just got his wife an Outback and she loves it.

Bobzilla
Bobzilla HalfDork
7/6/09 5:13 p.m.
ddavidv wrote: Boring but safe choice: Hyundai Sonata. Fun but not cheap: BMW 3 or 5 series (even used). Under the radar: Mazda 6 "I fear not depreciation": Ford Fusion Fire sale choice: Pontiac G8 What my wife would pick (and I trained her): Subaru

Sonata is only "boring" to those are looking for an appliance. H&R makes a nice spring for the Sonata that turns a leasurely ride into something a bit more.... playful. Plus, with lower resale and cost to own/maintain you could buy a gently used one and have money in the bank compared to the rest of the cars listed.

dyintorace
dyintorace GRM+ Memberand Dork
7/6/09 5:23 p.m.
Bobzilla wrote:
ddavidv wrote: Boring but safe choice: Hyundai Sonata.
Sonata is only "boring" to those are looking for an appliance. H&R makes a nice spring for the Sonata that turns a leasurely ride into something a bit more.... playful. Plus, with lower resale and cost to own/maintain you could buy a gently used one and have money in the bank compared to the rest of the cars listed.

I've said it before on this board as well. For a commuter, the Sonata is great. I wouldn't call it an enthusiast's car, but the A/C will freeze you out (important here in the swampy state of FLA), the stock stereo will make your ears bleed and both the interior and trunk space are outstanding.

JohnW
JohnW New Reader
7/6/09 5:39 p.m.

Brand new Civic LX, 4 door, 5 speed. Then go find some lightly used, stock Si suspension that someone took off when they added aftermarket stuff to their car.

The current Civic is only a little bit smaller than a '98 Camry on the inside, gets high-30s mpg on the interstate and rides well. There may be better performance cars, but compared to a Camry, it is reasonably sporty. Just a good car all-around with cheap ownership costs.

fastmiata
fastmiata New Reader
7/6/09 9:10 p.m.

My wife has had two successive Nissan's; '94 Altima and '01 Maxima. Neither car ever had to go back to the dealer. The Altima still had the stock clutch in it at +190k; the Maxima only had 103k on it when we sold it to buy the MS6. Brakes, tires and oil were the only expense items on those cars. I dont know any better recommendation.

Fit_Is_Slo
Fit_Is_Slo New Reader
7/6/09 9:12 p.m.
scardeal wrote: I'd say Fit Sport...

Now here is a smart man!

81gtv6
81gtv6 GRM+ Memberand Reader
7/7/09 12:59 p.m.

SAAB 9-5 Aero. Cheap to buy, great engine, big inside, safe and will mid to low 30's on the highway.

The second and third gear thrust in those things will make you smile no matter what kind of day you are having.

PaulY
PaulY Reader
7/7/09 1:14 p.m.
81gtv6 wrote: SAAB 9-5 Aero. Cheap to buy, great engine, big inside, safe and will mid to low 30's on the highway. The second and third gear thrust in those things will make you smile no matter what kind of day you are having.

Even though I haven't driven a 9-5, I believe you on the thrust = smiles. My 9000 turbo has that effect. Acording to Top gear, the 9-5 will out accelerate a similar year 911 turbo from 50-70.

My dad loves his Mazda 3, I've driven it a bit and it's a blast to drive, even with the base engine and auto. The trunk is huge, we fit 12 boxes of wine, with 12 bottles in each box back there. The rear seat is good as well, I'm not very tall at 5'7" but I found I had decent leg room back there.

93celicaGT2
93celicaGT2 Dork
7/7/09 1:16 p.m.
PaulY wrote:
81gtv6 wrote: SAAB 9-5 Aero. Cheap to buy, great engine, big inside, safe and will mid to low 30's on the highway. The second and third gear thrust in those things will make you smile no matter what kind of day you are having.
Even though I haven't driven a 9-5, I believe you on the thrust = smiles. My 9000 turbo has that effect. Acording to Top gear, the 9-5 will out accelerate a similar year 911 turbo from 50-70. My dad loves his Mazda 3, I've driven it a bit and it's a blast to drive, even with the base engine and auto. The trunk is huge, we fit 12 boxes of wine, with 12 bottles in each box back there. The rear seat is good as well, I'm not very tall at 5'7" but I found I had decent leg room back there.

The 9000 Aero had the fastest top gear acceleration numbers in the WORLD for any production car tested for a couple years. Beating lambos, porsche, ferrari, etc....

I had one. I believed every second of it. That all went out the window with an application of an HX35. But i wasn't too angry about it.

pinchvalve
pinchvalve GRM+ Memberand SuperDork
7/7/09 2:12 p.m.

Drive a Mazda 5. It is a little Wagon thingy, but is great to drive and can be had with a manual. Very practical and good on gas to boot.

alfadriver
alfadriver HalfDork
7/7/09 2:46 p.m.

I'm not going to post my obviously biased choice (thankfully, others are).

But.

If you do choose my obviously biased choice, new, PLEASE contact me.

That would be for the F.

Good luck with the choice- all the main choices out there are quite good.

Eric

jikelly
jikelly New Reader
7/8/09 12:35 p.m.

We did a little car shopping after work yesterday. My wife drove the Vibe and the Mazda 3. She liked the mazda better than the pontiac. I didn't drive either, but just sitting in the two cars I could tell the mazda had more creature comforts than the pontiac. The interior felt much nicer and features better layed out in the mazda. Standard Car and Driver report I know, but really it was nicer. I wouldn't say the materials were way better in the Mazda, but everything seemed to be situated better.

The Vibe's interior felt roomier. It was bigger inside. The Vibe also had much stronger acceleration than the 3. I could tell the engine had more power than the Mazda's.

The mazda we drove was an 08 and priced at 15,000 with 42,000 miles on it.

I think the Vibe was 19,000 something new.

My Wife's thoughts...

Wife said: really the only things i have to say is that visibility didn't seem great in the vibe, it handled pretty well, but still felt a little "big" the mazda 3 was a fun little car, and i liked the bit of handling, but it had really little pep. flooring it off the starts felt like half-pushing the camry pedal
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