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Finding a potential replacement for gasoline car is difficult...

Discussion in 'Cars and Transportation' started by anticitizen13.7, May 17, 2015.

  1. anticitizen13.7

    anticitizen13.7 Enemy of the Status Quo

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    I drive an 8th Generation Honda Civic sedan. I am really hoping that it will last me until Model 3, but there is the possibility that I may need to replace it at some point with a vehicle that can carry a lot more bulky stuff.

    With a Tesla, there isn't much compromise. With gasoline cars... there are some serious tradeoffs to consider.

    A Model S or Model X is unfortunately not an option, as it is outside of what I would be comfortable spending on a car, and also because it is too wide for my junky antique garage.

    I outlined general aspects of a vehicle that I would like:
    1. Good handling. A lower center of gravity and manual transmission help a lot. My Civic has both. It is not fast, but once it gets going it is actually pretty entertaining to drive on twisty roads.
    2. Reasonable power. The Civic is not fast, but the manual tranny can make the most of the small 140hp engine. 0-60 in about 8 seconds if pushed, which is much better than the automatic counterparts.
    3. A hatched cargo area. Civic sedan is unfortunately not all that great for transporting stuff in large-ish boxes. The trunk is about 12.5 cubic feet, but the shape of the compartment, intrusive hinges, and low height make it fairly useless for anything except small suitcases and stuff that can be squished. Items can be put in the second row, but this obviously means that fewer people can sit there.
    4. AWD would be a nice bonus.
    5. Driver visibility. Civic has big windows and I can see pretty well most of the time.
    6. Reliable.

    Looking at Honda's lineup:

    I have always liked the Honda Fit. It has smaller exterior dimensions than Civic, but it seems to be bigger on the inside. It has low CoG, available 6-speed manual transmission, and "magic seats" that fold several ways to accommodate various needs. It can swallow a ton of cargo. Car and Driver says it will go 0-60 in 7.7 seconds thanks to the tiny 1.5L engine having a fancy head with dual overhead cams, direct injection, and variable timing control. The downside? Not a very refined car in terms of road noise. At slightly less than 2600 lbs, I'm not sure how safe it is, although it does get high ratings from NHTSA (5 stars all around) and IIHS (rated Good in almost all categories).

    Honda has something new called the HR-V. It's a compact crossover related to the Fit. It can be had with a manual transmission. Unfortunately, it also weighs 2900-3000 lbs., and uses the same engine as the Honda Civic, an old 1.8L port injected engine, and is therefore kind of slow, and even slower with the optional AWD. AWD also makes fuel economy suffer substantially (down to 32 MPG highway and 27 city from 35 MPG highway and 28 MPG city in 2WD). Visibility is hampered by the styling of the C-pillars.

    The rest of Honda's product portfolio doesn't really interest me.


    I also looked at Subaru:

    Forester comes standard with AWD and is available with a 6-speed manual. It has top safety ratings all around, great 360 degree visibility due to huge windows, and a huge cargo capacity. However, the ride height detracts from some of the fun factor, and the higher price tier (it's in the 25k price range) is also a downside, as is the slightly lower fuel economy relative to the lighter Hondas. The smaller Impreza rides lower and has a manual transmission, but the 2.0L engine is underpowered.

    Ideally, I would like a sporty, medium sized station wagon. Actually, the Audi Allroad would be great. Except for the fact that it's in the 50k price range, doesn't have a manual transmission, and is a Volkswagen Auto Group product of which I am skeptical of the long term reliability. I suspect that Model X would be even better, with sportscar handling AND a gigantic amount of carrying capacity thanks to the EV powertrain.


    Other considerations:

    Mazda3: I don't like the styling
    Ford Focus hatch: Cramped inside
    Ford C-Max hybrid: sorta Model X-ish like, but somehow manages not to look as sporty.

    Gasoline cars have become an exercise in frustration for me... a more affordable Tesla cannot arrive soon enough.
     
  2. c041v

    c041v Member

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    #2 c041v, May 18, 2015
    Last edited: May 18, 2015
    I'm with you.

    I recently grudgingly purchased my 2012 Audi S4 as I could not find a better alternative at the moment given my needs and the original conditions under which I came into the car (Very low lease buyout from a previous owner that didn't seem to mind losing money) It's not perfect, but I've had good luck with VWAG products over the years and having something that's still under warranty is important to me.

    That said, I can't wait to get into some sort of Tesla, but I just cannot justify the S at this time given that I'm only driving about 100 miles/160km per MONTH for the next 6 months. I hate paying for Gas/Oil Changes and I really don't want to even have a car at all, but I can't quite justify getting rid of it either. I suppose I can introduce some sort of forced savings program, because I don't want to wait until Model 3 but a new S is too expensive for the time being. I did want an X for a long time, but with the introduction of the D, I'd be fairly satisfied with a 70D or 85D.

    edit: I'd consider myself a car guy, but after driving several Model S' there is literally nothing else I want right now. Every ICE no matter how refined or nice feels like a Dinosaur compared to the S.
     
  3. David99

    David99 Active Member

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    What about the "Prius V". It has a lot more cargo space and is overall a fantastic car.
     
  4. anticitizen13.7

    anticitizen13.7 Enemy of the Status Quo

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    I've never liked the way Toyotas drive. The steering and suspension generally feels all wrong to me.

    The Prius V is the right shape and size. However, everything else about it is inadequate. It is slow. At 3,300+ lbs. and with only 134 horsepower, it crawls to 60 mph in 10.3 seconds (http://www.caranddriver.com/reviews/2013-toyota-prius-v-test-review). The steering appears to be like other Toyotas: numb/lifeless (http://www.caranddriver.com/reviews/2013-toyota-prius-v-test-review-essentially-a-small-minivan-page-2)

    From the articles:

    I would not be able to stand driving something like this. My Civic has nicely weighted steering with superb road feel, responsive brakes, and power on tap if the manual transmission is used correctly. It likes to hustle but still has a lifetime fuel economy of just above 30 MPG after several years.

    If Toyota offered a Prius V that was powered and tuned like its cars from the Scion sub-brand (FR-S and Tc come to mind), I'd probably consider it. Tuned like a Toyota? Forget it.
     
  5. HeavyAaron

    HeavyAaron Member

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    I'll put a plug in (ha-ha) for my RAV4 EV. It's Tesla powered, has that large cargo area you like, the visibility you are after, it's certainly quick (7 second 0-60 and all the torque in the world being an EV), low CG, so excellent handling for an SUV - among the best.

    Reliability may be more questionable. Mine has been perfect, but others have not been so lucky, and there is a recall right now.

    They are not AWD (in fact they are the only RAV4s which are *not* AWD), they are FWD.

    You'd get your Tesla today - sort of, and it seems to meet most of your criteria.
     
  6. GSP

    GSP Member

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    Anti citizen,

    Would a Kia Soul EV meet your needs?

    If not, perhaps the "coming soon"(2016, I think) Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV?

    GSP
     
  7. dj905

    dj905 Member

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    When I had the Tesla Roadster and needed a car for the winter, I struggled to find something that would have space, and would feel somewhat "peppy". After a series of depressing test drives in a number of cars which I had previously thought were at the top of my list (Audi A4, BMW 3-series X-Drive), I ended up in a surprising place. With a VW Golf TDI SportWagen (also called Jetta in some markets). While I liked the look and handling of those other cars, I found they really felt anemic vs. the Roadster. Although the TDI wasn't really faster, the high torque off the line makes it feel faster, and just a bit more like an EV.

    The bottom line is that the combination of the high torque of the diesel, comfortable driving position, and relatively low cost gave me a brand new car for the same price as a used version of one of the other cars.
    A few years later, I purchased the Model S, and sold the TDI to a friend.

    Here is a review of the manual version of the Golf TDI wagon... the manual DSG version is excellent.

    2015 VW Golf SportWagen: The Diesel Manual Wagon Is Alive In America!

    Good luck with your difficult choice.

    David
     
  8. Bangor Bob

    Bangor Bob Member

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    #8 Bangor Bob, May 18, 2015
    Last edited: May 18, 2015
    Welcome to my world, my Prius (which I hate) has 230,000 miles and probably won't last 'till the Model 3. I'm thinking off-lease Volt to tide me over. My driving ya-ya's can come from my motorcycles till then.

    In the meantime, don't discount the driving fun of a Forester, especially 1st-generation manual turbo model. A set of coilovers and a good set of tires is all they need. Terrible gas mileage of course, low 20's. And premium at that.

    And yes, the 3 is needed like, yesterday.
     
  9. anticitizen13.7

    anticitizen13.7 Enemy of the Status Quo

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    Neither of these solutions works, because they are not Supercharger compatible.


    Volkswagens look nice and drive well, but I'm unwilling to put up with the reliability problems. Several of my friends and family have owned VW and other German brands and they have generally not had good experiences with these cars after a few years.
     
  10. anticitizen13.7

    anticitizen13.7 Enemy of the Status Quo

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    Unfortunately Subaru doesn't sell the Forrester XT with a manual anymore. The older ones I think are not as safe or refined.
     
  11. abasile

    abasile Independent Software Eng.

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    Can you consider a CPO (Certified Pre-Owned) Model S for about $50K? There have been some very good deals, and the deals on used Model S cars will probably get even better when the Model X starts selling.
     
  12. anticitizen13.7

    anticitizen13.7 Enemy of the Status Quo

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    It's not so much the price as the size of the Model S that is my problem. Model S is too wide for my parking setup. A Honda Accord is about as wide as I can comfortably accommodate right now, although that could change if I move. If I bought an S today, I would live in fear of either knocking out the side mirrors, or taking out the garage entirely. It is old. I actually think that in a collision vs. a Model S, the Model S would win:scared:

    I can hold out til 2018 and Model 3. I own my Honda Civic outright, so I am not under the time pressure of a lease to obtain a new car anytime soon.
     

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