Blogs Car Info Our Show Deals Mechanics Files Vehicle Donation

I'm lazy

would like advice on a zippy,reasonably priced new car that gets around 35mpg-Thanx,Kevin

Instead of getting random recommendations for anonymous strangers on the internet–who may have hidden agendas or prejudices–I urge you to buy a copy of the Consumer Reports New Car Buyers Guide. This will provide objective information and it can be found at large news stands, such as the ones at Barnes & Noble bookstores.

No matter how well-intentioned the recommendations might be from people in this forum, you need to see the wealth of objective information contained in that CR publication.

I was about to ask you the same thing except I need to be able to pull a trailer.

+1 to VDC’s suggestion. He’s checked every important box.

oh come on guys, we recommend cars to people all the time. why is kevin any different? because he s a regular?

Is that 35 mpg combined, or on the highway? How big does it need to be? Do you expect to use the back seat for adults (even if infrequently.) What is a reasonable price for you? The median new car sells for around $30,000. Zippy feeling or actually quick. Some cars with average performance numbers can still feel quick.

The compact and mid-size classes are full of good cars and surprisingly few outright duds. I’d rely on the CR reliability ratings of previous years to weed out some of the least reliable cars. But you’ll still have plenty to choose from. If I had to suggest one compact it would be the Mazda3. It has typical Japanese build quality but is a livelier drive than a Corolla or Civic. Great gas mileage, too, and it comes as either a hatch or a sedan. The mid-size Mazda6 is also a winner.

Mazda3 5-door, Kevin. The 2L gets 40 on the highway and 30 in the city; average is 33 MPG. With the 2.5L, you get 37/27/31. The Cruze diesel gets 46/27/33. My daughter has a gas Cruze and likes it a lot. The diesel drives like a 6-cyl according to the auto testers.

Thanks Wes and thanks Mark,I should have said 35 hiway,I want something that will scoot up tp 80mph quickly(came to roost yesterday when I was driving the Dakota to Wythville(20 mpg and doesnt like to run over 75 mph) I was thinking mazda,have they resolved the reliability issues and do the skyactive engines have any quirks?-Kevin

Their reliability is very good. When they introduced the SkyActiv engines the reliability dropped slightly, but that’s to be expected with such a substantial redesign. The only complaint I’ve heard is that they are a little noisier and coarser sounding than the very best (like the sweet Honda fours.) For that kind of efficiency and performance, slightly more noise seems a reasonable tradeoff. Other than that, they work just like any other good engine.

The Mazda 3 with either the 2.0 or 2.5 (I suspect the OP will be happier with the 2.5) was the first thing that came to my mind. The only real “quirk” that I can recall with the Skyactiv is that on cold mornings it’s designed to idle faster to get the engine up to operating temp quicker. It’s the other car I was considering before buying my new Forester (haven’t taken a long enough highway trip to judge but a crosstown trip at 60mph averaged 32)

The New GTI gets up to 34mpg on the highway and would have that zippy feel you want, but it’s a new generation so we’ll see how reliable these turn out to be.

If there’s one coming up reasonably close to you go to one of the auto shows where they will have one of most every model on display and some have opportunities to test drive. You’re the one spending the money not us, so get what you feel is the best choice for you.

OK,thanks again,the diesel Cruze again?(really going to have to look into that) been researching,the Mazda3 is definitly in contention(with the 2.5 around here the smaller engine wouldnt have any mileage advantage)now I know Nissan reliability is great,is an Altima worth considering(whats with the dual exhaust on the 4cyl?I dont really want that monster V-6,because it does carry a mileage penalty)-thanks again-Kevin

The Altima uses a CVT, with the risks that entails. If you don’t run your cars to high mileages this may be OK. The guy who owns it next can decide whether to replace it.

I quite like the GTI, but its reliability is average at best. That means it is very good for a German car.

Well I was doing some checking and the Altimas are a better deal then a comparable Mazda 3,but I’m still not sold on the CVT,thanks Mark-no thanks on the volkswagen,after past experiences,I will not do European cars(the mechanics have such attitudes around here and believe or not I can do a lot of work on the Japenese cars myself) they dumbed down the Sentra,so its off the list and I dont want a bubble car that needs a lot of throttle to cruise at 80 mph ,the old dodge is funny about were the sweet spot is in drafting a boxy vehicle(maybe its my imagination,but lets say its not even close to dangerous following distance)-Kevin

Wes, I never recommend cars to people. I don’t believe anybody can choose the right car for anybody else. I always recommend a source of comparative information for them to refer to instead.

To think I could choose a car for you or anybody else is folly. Heck, I couldn’t even make my EX happy; how could I possibly make YOU happy?

I also have a philosophical aversion to making other people’s choices for them.

I drive a Mazda6 with the Skyactiv engine. It is great fun to drive and I get 39 on the highway and 34 in mixed driving. It has lots of room and you can decide how much you want to spend based on whether you get the Sport, Touring or Grand Touring. The engine has plenty of zip and I have fun zooming around the mountain roads (curvy and hilly) near my house.

“To think I could choose a car for you or anybody else is folly”

To my mind, asking somebody “what is the perfect car for me?” is like asking somebody where I should go on vacation, or what I should eat for dinner. Nobody else truly understands another person’s wants, needs, desires, likes, or dislikes–and as a result recommendations from others are always going to be…imperfect.

Like mountainbike, I think that people should pore over print materials that evaluate and compare vehicles in the same size & price class in order to make a valid decision for themselves.

never?.., :slight_smile:

My daughter has a Mazda CX-5 with the 2L, and the power is adequate. While I haven’t driven the Mazda3, it is 500# (17%)lighter, and that will make performance a bit better.

I always recommend cars to people because I am not telling them what to buy, just suggesting something they might want to investigate. I can’t imagine that someone would take any of the suggestions here buy a car just beciause anyone recommended they look at it.

There are such a large number of cars made that the research can take forever. If someone asks for suggestions and gives enough info to narrow things down, I’m happy to help.

Well, wes, “never” is more of a life’s goal than an actual operating policy. I try to be perfect always, but I have my moments.