Which hatchback should I pick?


#1

I am moving to Boston with my wife and an 3 months old infant. After rethinking, we plan to buy a hatchback now. We will buy a Van later when we have our 2nd child. We want a hatchback for the cargo space and back windscreen wiper. We think the back wiper will be useful in snow season.

We prefer compact car. Our choices are Subaru Impreza, Toyota Matrix, Hyundai Elantra Touring and Mazda 3 hatchback. The cargo space of Impreza is relatively small and the maintain might be more expensive. Hyundai is cheap and large, but not sure about the reliability. Mazada 3 is a fun car, not sure the reliability. Toyota Matrix got a low owner satisfaction in consumer report. Honda fit got high rating but it is a subcompact and I am not sure if it is safe on the highway.

Any suggestions will be highly appreciated.


#2

My suggestion is to test drive each car and buy the one you like best.


#3

My Mazda3 with 80K miles has been fairly reliable. Reconsider buying a van for only two children when you get to that point.


#4

Whichever one you want.

I would think hard about your need for AWD. If you don’t need it, I’d eliminate the Impreza, simply because of maintenance/repair expenses associated with AWD. The Matrix and Mazda3 should have roughly equal reliability, and the Elantra is not far behind, if at all anymore.

I’m with patrick on the van, though. If you only have 2 kids, there is no need for a van. Sure, its nice, but you’ll find any midsize sedan works just fine it you don’t insist on taking the kitchen sink with you. I grew up with family trips (4 of us) in what is now considered a subcompact by size - smaller than a Yaris, and it worked just fine.


#5

Thanks. I will definitely think about the Van. I kind of inclined to Hyundai Elentra Touring now. It has everything we need and it is cheap, reliable, and safe.


#6

Ford Fiesta.


#7

We didn’t need a van until the 3rd child arrived. Even then, we tried to get by with a Taurus sedan (early 1990s). Get the smaller car and if you decide you need a larger car after the 2nd is born, then buy your van then. It’s really a cargo issue with only 4 of you in the family. I think I’d go for the Elantra, too. Whatever you get, make sure it has 4 doors. Placing your kids in a child seat in the back of a coupe will get old in a day or two.


#8

I know a frequent poster on here used to work for a Subaru and Mazda dealership and he said that he didn’t see too many Mazdas come in for repairs.
If you are buying new, then just about all your choices will be reliable for years to come, as long as you maintain them well(maintenance includes more than just changing the oil). If you’re buying used, then it’s a crap shoot either way, and each vehicle should be checked out by a mechanic before you buy.
The Mazda and Hyundai will likely give you more standard equipment than the Toyota or Subaru


#9

When my two were young I found a minivan to be invaluable. Each child could have his/her own seat, and each could bring a friend. And when my daughter was still a baby it gave us a platform on which to change her diaper when necessary while my son sat in the other seat with his toys.

All of your picks are good. My preference would be either the Matrix or the Hyundae.But there are now other good options available like the Nissan Cube. The choice is really up to you folks.


#10

I believe Kia now sells the Forte as a 5-door hatchback. It might be the functional equivalent of the Elantra Touring.

I can’t blame you, though. I like the Elantra Touring, too. I’m considering one as a replacement for my Subaru Legacy wagon.


#11

Along with the one child if you are “active”, into kayaks and/or bikes, take a look at the Honda Element. It won’t get as good mpg as your other choices but they last a long time are very well built, have few repairs, and have the flexibilty to allow you to change lifestyle and hobbies without needing to change cars. When the 2nd kid or more come along you’ll be ready.


#12

Agree; the two that really stand out are the Mazda 3 hatchback and the Elantra Touring. Both will be economical and reliable and have lots of space for carrying bulky objects.
I rented a Matrix a few months ago and was not impressed with the visibility, cheap looking interior and noise level.


#13

Get a Matrix or Pontiac Vibe, they are the same car. You can put a full size washer or dryer in the back and get 30mpg+ all day long. Also I’ve owned my vibe since 03 and put on over 160k miles and it has never had a single thing go wrong with it.