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Ocn Tests The Waters

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Today, I went to York, PA and drove some vehicles. I am in another car buying mood, as some of yous have gleaned from my rambling. So without further ado...

2013 Subaru XV Crosstrek manual, blue with tan cloth

Drives nice, easy shifting manual, excessive engine noise at highway cruise speed, and road noise on a coarse section of 4-lane blacktop. I kept trying to upshift, but I was already in high gear. Weak stereo. Nice high hip point for excellent vision. $23k. Ride is stiffer than my Patriot if you can believe that. It's well-sprung. Spoke to sales guy about my dislike for CVTs. He says people actually like them, but when pressed, he wouldn't cough up any names. Would be hard to find a manual in a color I'd want, per sales guy. I was a bit disappointed in this one, because I really like the looks of the car. Grade: B-

2013 Chevrolet Sonic RS manual, red with black leather/suede

Very impressed with the ride, the quietness and smoothness. Feels solid as a rock to drive. Much less vibration through the wheel than my Cruze was with the same motor. 6-speed manual is a cinch to drive, no danger of stalling it out even on the first try. Nice outward vision. I like certain parts of the interior. The seats and steering wheel are very nice. Still not sold on the instrument cluster, the new-style radio/interactive touch screen, the lack of a CD player and full center armrest, or the dash and door trim materials. Simple to find a Cyber Gray or white one with manual and roof at another dealer that he could get. Sales guy seemed borderline desperate, but nice enough, if a bit uninformed. For example, he was singing the virtues of the "Ecotec 1.8" in the RS (I gently told him I think the RS has the 1.4t), and hadn't heard of the Fiesta ST with its massive power advantage ("it can't get good fuel mileage, with 197 horsepower". I had to tell him the RS and ST have identical EPA mileage ratings. I realize that is on paper and not the real world though.) No reflection on the car, I need to say. $21.8k Grade: A

2013 Ford Fiesta SE sedan manual, Ruby with Stone cloth

I was instantly comfortable in this familiar car. Very easy to drive this manual. Feels solid to drive, and handled the country road part of the loop beautifully. Squishy dash does not sound hollow when I tap it with my thing. Padded door armrests, flip-down armrest on driver's seat, like the Sonic (will be remedied in the '14 which has a full center console armrest). Simple red display screen will also be remedied with a full-color one on '14 as well. Not really a fair comparison to the others because it is not a 2014, which is what I am interested in. Still a sweet driving little car with excellent visibility. Sales guy looked Amish, but was nice. I would not be caught in the sedan Fiesta when the hatch is so much cooler. Sunroof is tiny and kind of far back, preventing full enjoyment. It does have a one-touch open feature, which seems to be lacking in the Sonic (per Chevy sales guy). Least expensive entry today, at $17.0k Still, I have to give a Grade: A

2013 Ford Focus SE hatch manual, red with gray and black cloth

The quietest, most substantial entry in today's group. Very solid feeling. Manual gearchange like buttah. Nice looking, informative dash display screens in full color. Would not start, "Amish" sales guy had to get his jumper box, but it's all good. He said I was better at reaching the jumper points than his sales guy colleagues (the battery is under a black plastic, snap-on cover). Visibility out the front is fine, but with the rakish, low roof, visibility over my shoulder was not the best. Nice interior, even though this one did not have the expensive leather seat/17" rim package. Flat load floor with rear seats folded, a feature the Fiesta hatch lacks. Handled great on country road stretch of loop. $20k ($1800 less MSRP than a Sonic RS). Grade: A

So. I am going to wait until full prices and specs are available at the dealer on the 2014 Fiestas before I make a final choice. Sales manager printed off the order guide, but there are no "official" prices in their computers as of yet. The corporate website Build&Price that I've been to is just to give an idea, I've learned. But at $18,785 if the prices are accurate, "my" 2014 Fiesta would be the least expensive of all the serious candidates from today's group (even cheaper if I decide to forego the small sunroof). $3k less than a Sonic RS equipped the way I'd want it. $5k less than a Focus SE with 17" rim package. $5k less than the Subaru. Yet it still has plenty of new, meaningful upgrades and features over a sweet chassis and an economical, yet plenty fun engine and trans mechanism.

If I use the old rule of thumb, $20/monthly payment per $1k borrowed, then a 2014 Fiesta SE Sport the way I'd want it would be about $60/month cheaper to buy than my next choice (right now after today, could change before a final decision) Sonic RS. Working in the Sonic's favor: it is available right now, this minute.

Edited by ocnblu

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on the subject of the Subaru:

That salesguy was a snowjobber. He should have gone out of his way to find just the car you want, if he really wanted to make that sale.

on the subject of the Sonic:

That salesguy really didn't want you to buy the Fiesta.

on the subject of the Fords:

I'm really liking the Focus, myself.

Edited by Turbojett

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the reason sticks need jumpstarting is because few ever some to look at them.....sadly, also the line about limited color choice and availability on sticks is also pretty true....although, yes, try to help the customer and at least search.....

i went to drive a fusion today and asked if they had a stick, sales dude said 'special order only'. Not sure if that's true but if a more major ford dealer doesn't want to stock a fusion stick then most of the stick sales must be going to the focus and fiesta.

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Did you give the Dart a try? Of the ones in the group you tested I would pick the Focus, hands down. Ours is averaging 34 mpg in mostly town driving. Its fun to drive, very substantial feeling, the interior is really nice, the switchgear feels high quality, and besides the recall to have the transmission reflashed its been problem free.

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2014 refreshed Fiesta does look pretty fancy. I like the nose job and the 16" SE Appearance Pack wheels. I'll take one in Blue Candy, please!

  • Upvote 2

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i went to drive a fusion today and asked if they had a stick, sales dude said 'special order only'. Not sure if that's true but if a more major ford dealer doesn't want to stock a fusion stick then most of the stick sales must be going to the focus and fiesta.

I have been told be several Ford dealers that a stick Fusion is special order only. I have been looking for a stick at every Ford dealer I have driven past since they came out.

Edited by jwbouch

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I still want to drive a Mazda 2 hatch with manual, we have a couple at work. We have no manual 3s that I know of. zoom-zoom? I think not, without a stick.

I mentioned I was glad to see a selection of manual vehicles at the Ford store. Sales guy said people want them. Perhaps it is an indictment of the Ford automatic in Focus and Fiesta?

Yeah on the Spark. The Spark and Sonic have nicely arranged dashes and door trims, but the look and feel just don't match either Ford, imo.

Sonic RS is so good looking, sitting low on its 17s. Is it possible to overlook some interior quirks (as I see them) and just stick with Chevrolet out of tradition? Of course it offers a great drive, as well.

I like the Dart, and saw quite a few on the road over there yesterday, but it is a sedan, and I don't really want a sedan (learned from Cruze, another nice sedan, not for me).

I did breeze through our Chrysler lot to see if we have any '14 Patriots with 6 speed auto. Nada. I know dealers can order them, not sure when they're slated to hit lots. But then again, after driving these other vehicles, I am realizing how outclassed the Patriot really is. The refinement level of every vehicle I drove is worlds better than my Patriot.

2014 Fiesta SE Sport manual in Performance Blue seems like, overall, the best set of virtues that I'm looking for for the money. The improvements and the changes make me believe Ford is working hard to make their smallest car stand out in the crowd. And that new face, especially in non-ST guise, has really grown on me.

Bad things about the Fiesta? Still no availability to order a '14. And the Ford sales guys say they can't get Fiestas toward the end of the model year, so they run out every year (which doesn't affect me directly, but it does speak to Ford distribution issues). AND... it might take 12 long, agonizing weeks to get a factory order. Because the Mexican Fiesta plant ships the cars to Venezuela before they come north to America. Makes no sense to me.

So then... the next thing is... do I want a car now... or can I wait? I'm in a mood to buy, yes, not gonna lie. We're on the edge of Spring, my new job is going well, and I have my commute that makes me realize the Patriot is not the companion for the job... 21.5 MPG and a short driving range, and all that. When these issues come into play, then I'm back to Sonic RS...

Edited by ocnblu

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I feel very good about the VW Golf. It would have to be a 2-door TDI with manual. Or if the new small gas turbo 4 were available.

Finding a Golf TDI 2-door manual might be difficult, and it would have a $24k MSRP. They are a fine car though. Now you have me thinking again.

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Damn it, there are TDI Beetles with manual all over the place... except the Lancaster dealer. VW dealer in York, PA, has some, and the dealer in Lebanon, PA. $24.5k MSRP and wicked cool. :scratchchin:

Edited by ocnblu

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To be honest with you, I'm not a small car enthusiast. Since the wife wanted to look at a smaller car for commuting purposes, we checked out several the past couple of months (we're delyaing any car purchase plans at this time). Having said that, I never really checked out the '14 Fiesta at the Philadelphia Auto Show and haven't paid attention to it online. I just Googled it and is this it?

2014-ford-fiesta-euro-spec-wheel-closeup

I'm not a fan of Ford's big mouth bass styling direction. The front of the car looks like it wants to suck-up everything on the road in front of it (Ford, by Dyson :lol: ). I know the Sonic has a larger split grille opening too, but it's not nearly as large as the Ford Fiestas.

Though, having personally driven this:

post-418-0-78756200-1362326007_thumb.jpg

I can say I really enjoyed the go-cart feel of this car. I really enjoyed the ride, handling and performance of the Sonic LTZ Turbo (it was automatic, though I know you want the manual). I felt there was a good amount of room in the Sonic and felt very comfortable. I told the wife the Sonic LTZ or RS would be the small car I'd go for (over the Spark that she was interested in).

Now the VWs.. I really like the new Beetle ;)

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I know I was going to stay out of this, but what Roger just said changed that slightly.

What about a new Beetle?

How does it stack up re your requirements?

It easily out-styles the rest of the candidates here.

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I am going to check out a TDI Beetle, maybe tomorrow evening after work at the York VW dealership. Good idear.

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I feel very good about the VW Golf. It would have to be a 2-door TDI with manual. Or if the new small gas turbo 4 were available.

Finding a Golf TDI 2-door manual might be difficult, and it would have a $24k MSRP. They are a fine car though. Now you have me thinking again.

This would be my choice bar far...of the groovy Focus ST....but for that kind of coin, one could have a Verano.

I am going to check out a TDI Beetle, maybe tomorrow evening after work at the York VW dealership. Good idear.

An excellent idea, sir!

To be honest with you, I'm not a small car enthusiast. Since the wife wanted to look at a smaller car for commuting purposes, we checked out several the past couple of months (we're delyaing any car purchase plans at this time). Having said that, I never really checked out the '14 Fiesta at the Philadelphia Auto Show and haven't paid attention to it online. I just Googled it and is this it?

2014-ford-fiesta-euro-spec-wheel-closeup

I'm not a fan of Ford's big mouth bass styling direction. The front of the car looks like it wants to suck-up everything on the road in front of it (Ford, by Dyson :lol: ). I know the Sonic has a larger split grille opening too, but it's not nearly as large as the Ford Fiestas.

Though, having personally driven this:

attachicon.gifIMG_6909.JPG

I can say I really enjoyed the go-cart feel of this car. I really enjoyed the ride, handling and performance of the Sonic LTZ Turbo (it was automatic, though I know you want the manual). I felt there was a good amount of room in the Sonic and felt very comfortable. I told the wife the Sonic LTZ or RS would be the small car I'd go for (over the Spark that she was interested in).

Now the VWs.. I really like the new Beetle ;)

I am a small car guy myself, try a sportier small car that's more of a go kart and you'll be hooked...I was.

Getting 34-36 in the Cooper S is a bonus as well with today's gas prices....even as an S it will top 40 on the road....

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Oh I'm sure the Mini Cooper S is a fantastic small car, there's plenty of them in my employer's parking lot in Princeton, NJ! But if I was going for a Mini, I would really only consider the Countryman model ;)

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Um yeah. Test drove a 2013 black over quartz leatherette Beetle TDI 6 speed manual this evening after work. A word: fantastic.

Great pull from the diesel engine off the line. Can leave it in a high gear and let it power smoothly up hills. And the drive... the steering/ride/handling... made me remember what I love about Volkswagen. Corners so intuitively... looks just beautiful, inside and out. Really appreciate the much improved packaging over the previous Beetle. MSRP: $24,560

Proposed sale price: $23,560. I owe $16k on the Patriot, they are offering me $17k in trade-in value. With $5k down, payment around $284/munt on a 6 year note.

Left without giving an answer, told them I needed to think. :scratchchin:

Went to Chevy dealer, spoke to sales manager about a 2013 Chevrolet Sonic RS with sunroof. He valued my Jeep and put together a proposal on paper, same as at VW dealer. MSRP: $21,845

First sheet he came out with showed a proposed sale price of full MSRP. With $15,500 in trade-in value. And he did not factor in the current $500 rebate on the Sonic RS. Pissed me off. Like I'm stupid? I told him to sharpen his pencil.

Revised proposed sale price: $21,062. $16k trade-in value. With $4200 down, payment around $270/munt on a 6-year note. $14 less a munt than the Beetle TDI.

Now, I ask you... what would you do?

Edited by ocnblu

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Of the last two, I'd seriously consider the Beetle TDI. Seems like it would be a great commuter car..and road trip car. Overall, I'd have to seriously consider the Golf or Beetle....I'm generally not a small car fan, but a small solidly built diesel I could go for..and I really like VW interiors...

Edited by Cubical-aka-Moltar

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