CarTalk.com Best of Deals Car Reviews Repair Shops Cars A-Z Radio Show

New car advice

I am buying a new car and was thinking I should get a hybrid but the more I read, the more I am unsure. The majority of miles I put on my cars are highway driving. I live in a small town so there isn’t much “city driving” involved. Should I just look at sedans that get good mileage & forget the hybrid? I want something <180 in long, with good safety features, good mileage, & upscale accessories but not an expensive model, ie no Lexus etc.

Your driving profile would indicate that you would save little or nothing by using (and paying for) a hybrid. 

I would not consider a hybrid under your conditions. 

Good Luck

The new base Accord is full size, goes 0 to 60 in less then 8 seconds and gets 40 mpg highway (CR review). Find me a hybrid this size in this price range ($23k) that can approach these numbers. Get a Consumer Report auto buyers guide and check these numbers out vs wimpy small hybrids and expensive intermediates. In addition to the Accord, there are plenty of other better choices then hybrids for your use…In town, sure. Unfortunately it’s over 190 inches long.

Thanks but the Accord is too big for me. The Civic is one of the choices & it is just under 180 in long now.

The Accord is 191" long. @Wheatenmom, you are looking at a compact or subcompact car if you want to stay at or below 180". You can get the top line trim in any model car. A Honda Civic EX or EX-L might work for you. I suggest that you look at a Ford Focus Titanium sedan as well. The Chevy Cruze 2LT or LTZ are excellent cars in the same class but are 181" long. Is there a reason for the upper length limit?

I’m With JT. Check Out The Chevrolet Cruze.
It’s A Lot Of Car For The Money And Excellent MPG (Eco Model - Up To 42 MPG).
The Diesel Cruze Will Be Available In The U.S. Soon.

When you shop these cars be sure and compare the warranty coverage given by the manufacturers, both a bumper-to-bumper warranty and a drivetrain warranty.

Since you live in a small town (I live 20 miles from my small town) you’d be wise to stick with a make/model available at a dealer there.

What car makes have dealers in your area ?
I’d even narrow to brands that have another dealer not too far distant in case the nearby dealer proves less than desirable and the competetion is a good thing, too.

CSA

@Wheatenmom
When you said that the majority of your miles is on the highway, and you can have a more comfy car that gets as good mileage as the Honda Fit and betters most of the compact recommendations in performance, I personally would go for the ten extra inches just to avoid the really comparably poor rides of sub 180 inch cars including the Ciivic…

You’re very unlikely to break even on a hybrid with mostly highway miles. Looking elsewhere makes sense to me.

I saw an attractive car on the road today by happenstance, a Chevy Sonic. I have no idea what it’s price/reliability/performance rating is – look in Consumer Reports for that info – but it fits your max length spec I think, and has pretty good lines.

Is the limit in length due to the size of a garage or other parking restrictions?

The Mazda 3 comes really close(180.7inches long) and is coming out with their diesel engine here pretty soon(no release date yet that I’ve seen). Or you can get the skyactiv gas engine good for almost 40mpg highway

What about a Corolla? It should fit your needs.

I agree with bscar2, the Mazda 3 would be a good choice with very good mileage, especially on the highway. I’d pass on the Corolla though, as it actually gets pretty mediocre highway mileage (EPA rates it at 34 hwy vs. 40 for the Mazda 3, or even 42 for the Cruze Eco manual or 41 for the Civic HF)

The gas mileage isn’t the most important factor. You should look at vehicles that meet your needs and then look at the TOC, total owner cost. Considering this, the Corolla should not be taken off the list.

Have two 2007 Civics great mileage reliable as sunshine,but they are murder on a long trip(my bad back tells me so anyway) Yaris too small?-Kevin