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Buy for love...or practicality?

I’m buying my first car (used) and I’m completely torn between the practical Corolla and the more fun Jetta. I drive 50 miles a day to and from work, so I obviously need something reliable and safe but since I spend so much time in the car, I want to have fun. Honestly, what is the better choice?

You can have it both ways. Buy the Corolla S model. Under US driving conditions, it does everything the Jetta does and does it with much more reliability and lower operating costs.

In another post we learned that the Jetta was a “chick” car, rather than a performance model.

I admire Volkswgen’s advertisng prowess; turning a Mexican built mediocre car, which the Germans do not rate as a fun car, into a US status symbol.

The only Volkswagen that can be classified as fun and sporty is the GTI.

You owe it to yourself the drive the following cars before buying anything:

  1. Mazda 3
  2. Honda Civic
  3. Corollas S
  4. Subaru Impreza

All the above are more fun to drive than the Jetta, in my opinion, and are infinitely more reliable.

I’d do some research on Jetta reliability before going much farther. They don’t rate very highly.

A agree with Docnick. There are other good choices, and if fun is high on your want list, check out the Mazda3. The Jetta has absolutely nothing on the 3 as far as driving dynamics go, and the reliability is MUCH better.

You can have both.

One more vote for the Mazda 3. Civic’s also fun.

Another agreement with above…never fall in love with a car, it won’t love you back. No high maintenance mates or cars; they both wear on you pretty fast.

“Civic” and “fun” do NOT belong in the same sentence. Unless you’re talking about how a Civic is not fun.

  1. Subaru Impreza

While the Impreza may be a fun car to drive(I only test drove a Forester and a Tribeca), the AWD system can be a bit much for someone who isn’t fully aware of how picky it is. And a used one can be a shot in the dark as far as how the previous owner(s) took care of it. If an Impreza had mismatched tires, I’d run, not walk, away from the vehicle.

I shall also vote for a Mazda 3, or a Mini Cooper, if you can find one in good shape.
However, no matter what you’re looking at, get it inspected by a mechanic(not Jiffy Lube type places) and pay the $100, or whatever they charge. It may seem like throwing money away if you keep taking vehicles back and forth to the shop, but that $100 may save you thousands in the long run.

Try a Scion tC. You’ll love it. Practical to own and a blast to drive. And you can put eight foot long 2x4s in it!

Hey thanks for all the suggestions! I think I’m definitely off the Jetta kick, especially after driving the Corolla S and the Mazda 3 - but wow, am I in a fight with a few dealers. Almost bought last night, but at the last second they threw in a $300 DOC “fee” which to me was totally asinine, so I walked away, and they literally let me without saying a word. What happened to car salesmen who actually want to make a SALE?!

They want to make a sale, but they also want to make money. Everyone has a point of view, and theirs is just as valid as yours is. You dodn’t tell us anything else about your deal, so we don’t know if the price with the $300 fee is a good one. Try another dealer and see if you can get a deal that you like. Just be aware that smaller cars are more popular and subject to smaller discounts. They are also marked up less than a truck, so savings are less on that front as well. You might check edmunds .com to see what others are paying in your zip code.

Unfortunately these doc fees are common. To get a good deal you have to have leverage, that being another dealer you can bargain with. Ask for the ‘out the door’ price, including all fees and taxes, and compare deals. The one with the $300 doc fee may come out the best.

I called them this morning and they caved (at least a little bit) and took an extra $200 off the car, so I ended up paying an extra $100 but it was still a great deal. I’m sure I’ll have just as much fun in my 2005 Corolla S as any of the other cars! I was surprised at how peppy it is for such a little thing. And as icing on the cake, it’s white - the exact color I wanted. Thanks for all the help, I’m moving in less than 2 weeks and needed to make this deal happen as fast as possible!!

Sounds you got a good price on a good car - enjoy!

Bestfortune with your new little demon. Have fun, and let us know how it works out.

BTW, you sound like a young guy, and I need a young opinion. I’m in the market for another car for my teen girls. Do you have any suggestions? I’d like to keep it under $16,000 on the road.

I just went through that for my 16 year old son. Got him a used 2007 Forester, good crash ratings, lots of room, not too fast, great visibility…right at your target price.

Regarding, Docnick’s post I would change “2. Honda Civic” to “2. Honda Civic [i]Si[/i].” Actually, the Civic Type R would be better if you could get your hands on one.