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Old 04-19-2018, 04:36 AM   #1
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Best Compact commuter car? Must have room for dog crate and car seat.

First time posting. I am looking for a commuter car that gets very good mpg. I need to fit a dog crate in the trunk with one of the seats layed down and a child car seat in the other back seat. Looking at ford fiesta and nissan left. Any ideas?
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Old 04-19-2018, 06:39 AM   #2
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Did you mean a Nissan Leaf?

Are you looking for new or used? Just sedan, or is hatchback okay? What's the budget?

The Honda Fit should work. I see the Mazda2 hatch is back for 2018, and the sedan version is available as the Toyota Yaris iA.

If it isn't over budget, it is hard to beat a Prius for fuel economy, cargo, and reliability.
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Old 04-19-2018, 09:47 AM   #3
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Honda Fit is perfect. There is no car I know of with a more adaptable load area for its size. And as you can see, from my UK Jazz version, mpg is excellent.
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Old 04-19-2018, 11:23 AM   #4
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Honda Fit/Jazz comes to mind. Good luck.
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Old 04-19-2018, 01:06 PM   #5
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New Honda Civic is pretty practical with its high rear hatch, and very fuel efficient engines too. If economy is top priority, then I'd consider a diesel, or a hybrid but be warned more hybrids have auto boxes if you can live with that.
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Old 04-20-2018, 12:49 PM   #6
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Hi
1st post too !
You cannot beat an Audi A2 in my opinion for all round practicality.
I have done over 200k miles and almost allways get over 70mpg (uk gallon)
Any diesel engine, avoid wide/heavy wheels
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Old 04-23-2018, 03:54 AM   #7
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Absolutely recommend a hatchback or wagon hatchback. The dog crate thing, and anything else that's big and bulky is so much easier to manage with a hatchback than a sedan or coupe.

I've been looking at subcompacts and researching prices, and as good as some specific brand/models might be, I would not part with the amount of money that it takes to own a new or used Honda Fit, Ford Fiesta, Chevy Sonic, or a Kia Rio 5, which are the highest rated in the group, but they start at $16K and up, and used ones keep value pretty good. There is a Toyota Yaris, aka Mazda 2, but it is not rated as highly but is just as expensive as the top-rated in the group. If you're willing to spend that kind of money, you could get a more refined and just as economical compact car like a Civic hatchback, maybe a year older for about the same money and get about the same mpg. MPG is hurt in the subcompact class due to these cars being shorter and higher drag. They mostly have about the same drag as one of the newer-designed full size pickup trucks like the new Ram 1500, and so all that drag hurts highway performance and fuel economy. So, if you're willing to spend the bucks it takes to get a new or slightly used Fit, for instance, then I'd instead, opt for maybe a year older bigger compact car for about the same price and get about the same fuel economy. You'd have more utility and as good or better mpg, but if you don't plan on owning it for long, then you could get a pretty good price out of selling a used Fit.

Another consideration, because I don't know what you want or expect out of a car is that there are also what I'd call advanced power train vehicles such as the Toyota Prius, Honda Insight, and Chevy Cruze Hatchback diesel. And those are even more money, however, with respect to one of these advanced vehicles, you may reach up to 50 mpg if you're willing to pay big bucks for top mpg.

How long do you want to keep it? How much do you want to pay? How important is performance and or refinement? How fast do you need to cruise along your commute.

I'm in to good fuel economy myself, but I'm not willing to pay a bunch for it. And whatever I get I plan on driving it for a long, long time. So if you rule out the more expensive subcompacts, which all of those listed above are really expensive for what they are unless you really find a deal, and if you don't want one of the larger compact cars, and you want a hatchback like I've suggested, and you don't care about resale value, then you'll get down to three cars: Mitsubishi Mirage, Nissan Versa Note, and Chevy Spark. I'll rule out the Fiat 500 for you, because it's 2 doors, and the dog crate may be an issue. So those three subcompacts are inexpensive as new (from $13K-$14.5K in a basic form) and are rated poorly and so start at a low price and value goes down to nothing pretty quickly after it's bought, and so if you are a prospective buyer and want a late model used commuter car for cheap and plan on driving it a while, then you may be able to get a 2-3 year old hatchback with low miles for under $9K.

Personally, I'm very heavily trending towards the Mirage as basic as I get get with a 5-speed; slightly used if I can find one with a 5 speed. It doesn't come with cruise control and that's my only hesitation, and to get cruise, I'd likely have to opt for the CVT transmission which is a non starter for me. The Mirage is second lowest priced car in America behind the Versa Note in so far as MSRP, but the actual price that customers are paying makes it the lowest priced. People are getting Mirages' for under $12K in some markets from some dealers. Be forewarned though, if resale is important to you, don't go this route, because they start cheap and lose value fast. They have a reliability score of 2 by J.D. Power, which is the lowest rating they give, but I can't find anything specific in the lower trimmed versions that would make me worry about the reliability of a Mirage. The have only 78 hp. zero-to-sixty is measured as "eventually". It takes full synthetic oil, but only barely more than 3 qts. Takes regular gasoline. There is actually room in the engine compartment to work on it, and some do-it-yourselvers prefer the Mirage over other subcompacts for this reason. The base model has hard-to-find 14" rims/tires, but aftermarket 15s are easily found, as they are more common in the subcompact market.

The Mirage has 47 cubic foot of space and is technically (the way the EPA classifies it) a compact car and not a subcompact due to it's supreme use of space. So that tells you it's got more room than a Spark or a Versa Note. Also, of the three, the Mirage is the only one that excels at mpg beyond that of a compact car like a Corolla or a Civic or a Focus. With the CVT, it's rated as the highest non-hybrid; non-electric light vehicle in the market with a combined rating at 39. The 5-speed is rated at 37. Even the Cruze diesel sedan with 52 highway mpg, has a lower combined rating than the Mirage with the CVT. The Mirage has a 5 yr, 60,000 mile warranty, and a 10-yr, 100,000 mile power train warranty, because Mitsubishi is trying to survive this market. It's 0-60 time is around 11.7 for the CVT and has not been measured with the 5-speed manual, but is also very slow.

If you can drive a 5-speed manual, and price and mpg reign supreme in your mind with the cheapest and most fuel economical car that will work for your needs, and you're not worried about the value of the vehicle and you're not worried about whether or not Mitsubishi leaves the North American market, then the Mirage is for you.

Second place for me is Chevy Spark. It has four big doors, supposedly rides pretty refined. It has 20 more horses than Mirage, but it'll likely return mpg at 40 or below. It's also the smallest 4-door hatch in America and so has the least interior space, and so you'd have to check it out. It's sold as a 5-speed or a CVT. The Mirage will likely return mpg over 40 and maybe near 50 in some circumstances, as it is reportedly way underrated on mpg. The Spark was redone in 2016 and rates better for handling, driving dynamics, steering, etc than the Mirage and rates pretty well in that regard from 2016 and up. It has a J.D. Power reliability score of 2.5 versus Mirage @ 2. The Mirage was redone in 2017 and supposedly improved the ride and handling that was very bad before that according to reviews, but since this car has such little relevance in our car market, there are no real reviews out there that examine the improvements versus pre-2017s. Don't let the pro reviews full you though. Mitsubishi has consistently sold around 22,000 of these per year in the U.S. alone and customer reviews are outstanding. Compare that sales number to the Fiat 500, which started out as a hot item, but has steadily lost sales. it's now down to around 7,000 units per year.

The Chevy Sonic and Ford Fiesta are going away as new vehicles just as gas prices are starting to creep up (odd). Chevy will keep the Spark, and Ford will no longer sell a subcompact in North America.
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Old 04-23-2018, 04:03 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by oko1 View Post
Hi
1st post too !
You cannot beat an Audi A2 in my opinion for all round practicality.
I have done over 200k miles and almost allways get over 70mpg (uk gallon)
Any diesel engine, avoid wide/heavy wheels
Only two diesel compacts sold in America not counting luxury brands. Chevy Cruze diesel sedan and Chevy Cruze Hatch. Both with a 1.6L 4 cylinder with 52 mpg on the highway. At or about 136 hp and 235 ft-lb torque at peak. Starts around $24K MSRP.
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Old 04-23-2018, 04:50 AM   #9
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How about a Kia Niro Hybrid?

https://www.kia.com/us/en/vehicle/niro/2018/features
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Old 04-23-2018, 08:19 AM   #10
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I would not recommend the Mirage, been voted "the worse car you can buy" for a few years running now, it comprises way too much, ride quality, safety, comfort, quality, space, performance, handling, it's quite a dreadful car in almost every aspect. The only thing it has going is that's it's cheap to run, but honestly, for the price, you're better spending your money on something decent and second hand.
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