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What kind of car should I buy? Late 50s, single woman

I don’t keep up with car TV ads so I don’t know much about marketing directed toward certain target audiences. I want to avoid making a silly choice. I’ve always driven Toyotas and like them but am open to other ideas. I have a 2001 Corolla and don’t want anything much larger, maybe as large as a Camry. I have a bike rack that I put on the trunk to carry my bike to trails and organized rides. I work in a low-level professional position in Washington, DC, live in the suburbs and commute by Metro subway. I’m divorced with grown kids and want to try out online dating.

A new Corolla is almost as large than a 2001 Camry. I would recommend a Toyota Matrix, which is really a station wagon (Hatchback) version of the Corolla. The seats fold down in the back and you can put your bike inside without needing a bike rack.

If you don’t need a hatchback, a new Corolla sedan will be the same great car is has been for over 30 years. Others to consider are Honda Civic, Mazda3 (sedan or hatchback), and Hyundai Elantra. All are easy on gas.

For a single person you will find today’s family cars (Camry, Accord, Hyundai Sonata) very large.

“I’m divorced with grown kids and want to try out online dating.”

Congratulations! I say start living, buy a 3 - 4 year old Miata, put your top down and have some fun. Not only will it put a smile on your face every time you drive, but it will improve your dating life as well (guaranteed).

I second Twotone’s suggestion. Several years ago, my doctor wrote a prescription for me on his prescription pad that stated “For Triedaq’s continued mental health, he should have a Mazda Miata”. Unfortunately, he signed the prescription on the side where it allows a generic substitution and my wife interpreted that to mean that a Toyota Sienna minivan was a legitimte substitute.

If your bike would fit inside a Toyota Matrix, that would be a good generic substitution for the Mazda Miata.

Miata is a great choice, especially in sunny southern California. However, in DC with the possibility of driving to work in blisteringly cold weather and snow, a Subaru BRZ or Scion FR-S will show a fine taste in automobile with less compromise

What’s wrong with your Corolla? You seem to imply that a car will help your online dating. Men in their 50s don’t give a damn what car you drive. Just have a clean car and that’s all you need to do in that department.

Mazda 3 is a good choice. pretty good mpg with the skyactiv engine

The Miata is available with a folding hardtop that seals up nice and snug. Not that I’m saying you should get one, but if you like the idea of a convertible, they do make a Miata for places with winters.

I’m very happy with my new Hyundai Elantra GT hatchback. It has a nicer interior and a few more extras than a Toyota Matrix, Kia Forte, Ford Focus, or Mazda3 (our second choice). We were specifically looking at hatchbacks but those cars also come as sedans, plus a few more (Civic, Sentra). It’s a very good class of cars, as are the next size up. The Matrix is the Corolla hatchback.

What’s surprising is how few duds there are out there, at least among foreign makes. The US brands were doing better but have been backsliding of late. For reliability reasons (per Consumer Reports) I’d avoid the Focus and Chevy Cruze and Sonic. The Dodge Dart is still too new to say, but I found its interior unimpressive,with a lot of sloppy seams and an overall nineties Pontiac vibe (in a bad way.) I hope the US car industry ups their reliability because those cars have some good qualities.

Stick with Toyota, just visit a dealer and try out the current models. I’d steer you to an Avalon for the luxury, but a Rav4 might appeal to you.

Consider a Ford Focus (hatchback version). Great gas mileage and room to put your bike in back or put a bike carrier on the back.

“However, in DC with the possibility of driving to work in blisteringly cold weather and snow…”

You must not be talking about Washington, DC. It’s rarely like that here. And it’s flat terrain for the most part.

Red cardinal, if you want a sedan, consider a Honda Accord. The 2013 Accord is smaller than the previous generation. I have a 2005 Accord EX V6 and it has been reliable. No repairs in 110,000 miles.

Make sure that your bike rack fits on whatever you consider unless you don’t mind replacing it. If your paperwork for the rack doesn’t say, look it up on line at the manufacturer’s web site. It will certainly work on a Corolla, but maybe not a larger sedan.

And give us a bit more to go on. Do you want a sedan or coupe or hatchback or SUV? I get the idea that a sedan is what you want, but you need to tell us. Also, I doubt that your bike rack will fit a hatchback or SUV. How much are you willing to spend? What features do you want in your car?

@my2cents I happen to consider the Focus a cheaply made vehicle. It screams low quality to me! Unless you’re impressed by all the cheap plastic. My 1994 Tercel is put together better than that.

It seems to me that when you have the bike on the car, that you will attract a more outdoosy guy. And when you have the rack off, you will attract a more sedate-intellectual guy.

Me, I carry a chainsaw, bike clothes in the back seat, and next week, clamming utensils.

So, what type of rack do you have? :-}

I think you need a Subaru, maybe a forester.

How many miles on the Corolla you have? Don’t be wasting your money on cars you do not need…

I guess European family cars are pathetically cheap. That’s what the Focus was designed to be. I think tge interior is pretty decent, and better than decent in the Titanium variant. But I thought the Hyundai Elantra was even nicer (Hyundai has come a long way in the last few years when it comes to styling, inside and out.) The Focus interior was nicer than the Matrix, Civic or Corolla, and pretty close to the Mazda3.

Your car needs are pretty generic. (hopefully your dating needs are more specific-- lol) Since you appear to be willing to consider other vehicles besides Toyotas, I’d probably take your time and test drive a lot of different vehicles to get a better idea of what it out there and what you like. Maybe similar to dating… And probably like dating, some of the ones you like will probably be unpractical and unreliable, and impossible to live with on a daily basis.

Maybe make test driving cars a weekend project for a few weeks. If you like something, see if you can rent one for a day. If you can stand it after a day, then commit to buy. Hmm, more parallels with the dating process.

@db4690 lol…and I happen to think you’re stuck in the '90s. Remember “have you driven a Ford lately.” I remember an article I read a few months ago saying the Ford focus was challenging the Toyota tercel as the worldwide sales leader! Anyways it’s your right to have an incorrect and unfounded opinion. :wink:

Whoops…I meant Toyota Corolla…I just had a brief 90’s moment!

Second Uncle’s advice. A new Corolla would be just fine. Many Toyota owners get lulled into thinking every other car is just as reliable. Not many are. So don’t Chance it. If the funds are there, treat yourself to a new Camry… Don’t listen to those guys who want you to get a Miata. They are tiring as an only car and the people who recomend them are too cheap to buy one themselves. Ever thought about a Vette…just kidding.