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Old 06-18-2015, 11:36 AM   #1
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Opinions on a used car?

Hi everyone!

So, as I'm sure you all can see from my profile, I've got a 2013 Jeep Wrangler Rubicon, and my wife has a 2015 Grand Cherokee Overland V8, both purchased new. Trouble is, I've got a long commute in stop-and-go traffic now, so my Wrangler's manual transmission and fuel economy are starting to get to me (and I no longer need it for towing and camping since we've got her Jeep).

So, I'm looking to get something else about the same age, preferably economical and reasonably sporty, for about half of what my Wrangler is worth so I can put away a decent amount for a rainy day. Hertz Car Sales has a location near here, and they've got decent prices and include a 1 year warranty and 2700 Gold Plus points with my rental. I can get a 2013 Mazda 3 for 11-12k or an Altima for 12-13k, both with about 50,000 miles. I'm thinking the Mazda might handle better and generally be more fun, but the Altima would be more comfortable and practical. Anyone who's driven both have any thoughts, or any other models I should consider? Or any other dealers, for those of you around Detroit? (As an aside, I'd love a V6 Altima or Accord, but is the extra performance really worth 5 or 6 grand more?)
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Old 06-18-2015, 05:05 PM   #2
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If you have a stop and go commute, have you considered a Prius? They are reliable, low maintenance, and get insanely good mileage in all types of traffic, but especially in stop & go.
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Old 06-18-2015, 05:52 PM   #3
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I hadn't actually, but that looks like a good idea... I hear they don't handle particularly well, but I'll definitely have to test drive one! As an engineer, I tend to appreciate novel technology.
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Old 06-18-2015, 09:18 PM   #4
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You don't buy a Prius to ride the twisties in the mountains, but they're not bad either.
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Old 06-19-2015, 12:08 AM   #5
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I'd recommend diesel for good consistent economy, and performance but I gather they are not a very conventional choice in the US. Most hybrids can't come close to diesels in terms of economy and performance, at least on this side of the pond!

There's a big choice out there, choose wisley!
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Old 06-19-2015, 05:35 AM   #6
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Yeah that's true... just wish there was a mainstream (reasonably priced) hybrid that's also sporty, but I guess it's a tradeoff between grip and rolling resistance, and most Prius buyers would prefer the latter.

Looking into the Jetta TDI Sportwagen too actually (which is basically your only choice in diesel compacts around here), but with our bigger engines and emissions controls, the diesels here don't get the mileage they do on your side of the pond. (I was really impressed with a Passat 1.9 TDI we rented in Italy a few years back.) At least diesel fuel is at parity with regular gasoline now. (It's usually 10-15% higher.) Every state here is different, but in Michigan, the fuel tax is per gallon (not a percentage of the price), and it's higher for diesel since it's mostly commercial trucks that use it.
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Old 06-20-2015, 03:45 AM   #7
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Mazda 3 2.0l is a good choice if you want good FE from a gas vehicle. It will use 1/2 or less fuel than the Jeeps do. Its a fun car to drive with an AT - even "funner" with a stick.

Watch local craigslist ads for private party sales - I bought a Mazda 3 2.5l with 50k miles for $10k even recently. Dealer prices for same make, model, mileage and condition were $3k higher.
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Old 06-21-2015, 07:54 AM   #8
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Hey, thanks for all the advice everyone... Lucky you finding that Mazda 3 - all the ones I saw on Craigslist were either dealers or older than I wanted. I generally like Mazdas, but the 3 seemed a little small for me since I often pick up bulky auto parts for work. I test drove a previous-gen (2012) Mazda 6, and unfortunately came away less than impressed - the chassis and steering were brilliant for the class of course, but the engine definitely felt down on power by today's standards, and the transmission was really slow to respond in manual mode. I could deal with that if the fuel economy ratings were stellar, but they aren't. The seats were a bit too narrow for my wife to get comfortable as well. The Prius had the same comfort issue for me, along with feeling less composed over potholes and uneven pavement. (The roads here in metro Detroit are terrible.)

So that left the Nissan Altima. I test drove both engines and ultimately decided the acceleration and sound of the V6 were worth the extra expense and fuel economy hit. I spent a little more than I originally intended, but still managed to put away a few grand. (How fortunate that Wranglers have crazy high residual values!)
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Old 06-21-2015, 09:27 AM   #9
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Must be nice to live in a country where a V6 is considered an economical choice! Just joking, good luck with the new ride
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Old 06-21-2015, 10:40 AM   #10
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Must be nice to live in a country where a V6 is considered an economical choice! Just joking, good luck with the new ride
Lol, funny thing is the previous-gen 2.5L Mazda 6 is rated exactly the same as the V6 Altima at 22 city / 31 hwy / 25 combined... Not a competitive powertrain by today's standards. From what I've read the V6 only accounts for 10% of sales, so hopefully that'll help me on resale. Thanks all!
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