Last post on May 20, 2013 at 2:50 PM
You are in the Sedans
What is this discussion about?
Chevrolet Malibu, Nissan Maxima, Mazda MAZDA3, Nissan Altima, Honda Accord, Honda Civic, Hyundai Elantra, Lexus IS 250, Acura TSX, Car Comparisons, Sedan
#2926 of 3286 '11/'12 Hyundai Elantra Limited vs. '12 Mazda3 i Touring vs. Dodge Dart SXT
Nov 19, 2012 (11:47 am)
I am definitely torn with this one. I've been researching cars for about 4 months now while I've been working on selling my truck privately. I'm pretty close to the point where I'd be willing to just trade it in, be happy to get what I owe on it, and cut it even. Anyway, after a long 4 months of researching sedans on the Internet, pricing them out, talking to some dealers here and there, I'm still pretty torn between three sedans. The 2011/2012 Hyundai Elantra Limited, the 2012 Mazda3 i Touring, or the 2013 Dodge Dart SXT. For a good month or two I was completely sold on a Mazda3. I hadn't really considered the Hyundai Elantra at all, but I heard that Hyundai was really making a comeback and doing some good things, so I checked it out and I fell in love. Then, I discovered the brand new Dodge Dart, and I fell in love again. The exterior of the Dart is a thing of beauty, and then interior is so clean and it's one of my favorites I've seen. I've only been reading about the Dart for the past day or so, so I definitely don't claim to know everything about it. What I do know though, is I am torn. Now, one of the main things I'm looking for in my vehicle is fuel efficiency. I know the Dart with the 1.4L engine is rated 39 MPG hwy, which is up there with the Mazda3 at 40 MPG hwy, and the Elantra which is also rated at 39 MPG hwy, so in that aspect I consider all 3 of them pretty much a tie. Unless I'm missing something and one of them is rated higher than what it really gets. Another big thing for me is the exterior. I know that's personal taste and the Dart definitely wins that one for me. Interior is another must-have for me. I want the inside to loo just as good as the outside, considering it's what I'm going to be seeing the most. Next point would be how fun it is to drive. And finally, front leg and head room. I'm 6'2". The only two vehicles I've ever owned and driven on a regular basis is my old 1989 Jeep Wagoneer, and my current 2003 Dodge Ram. Big vehicles. I'm making the switch to a sedan for, well, obvious reasons. My big Ram is killing my wallet. And a midsize sedan is just out of my price range. For the most part, I've researched all of these main focus points for me pretty thoroughly. However if anyone possibly has anything to add, personal experience with any of these vehicles, anything commonly overlooked, and anything like that I would greatly appreciate reading about it. I just need that final nudge towards one of these vehicles to force me to make up my mind and dive in. Thanks guys (and gals)!
#2927 of 3286 Re: '11/'12 Hyundai Elantra Limited vs. '12 Mazda3 i Touring vs. Dodge Dart SXT [markwillis]
Nov 19, 2012 (12:08 pm)
Have you spent much time driving cars to know you're not going to go crazy making this move? With the exception of my sports cars, I absolutely hate driving a typical car after driving trucks/SUV's for the last 15+ years. I'm not going to recommend any of them but will recommend you find a rental lot and pick up any of these (the Dart may not be on the rental lots yet...but it might be) and spend a few days on your normal commute. You've probably be averaging 15mpg on a good day with the Dodge...and I will say there are quite a few 20-25mpg SUV's you might find more appealing over all. Gas mileage is a big deal...but so is your sanity if you buy something you absolutely hate after a few weeks. And the cost of getting out of a brand new car will likely be prohibitive for you since it sounds like you're stretching yoru budget pretty hard to get into this. And that's another issue I don't recommend at all. Buy a used one and keep some money in the bank (or finance less).
#2928 of 3286 Re: '11/'12 Hyundai Elantra Limited vs. '12 Mazda3 i Touring vs. Dodge Dart SXT [sebring95]
Nov 19, 2012 (12:24 pm)
I'm only 21 so I'd say I've been driving larger vehicles for 5+ years or so. I may take your advice and rent for a few days just to try it out. Or maybe see if I can find a dealer willing to let me test drive it overnight. But either way that'll have to wait for about a month, as I'm currently deployed right now. Although whenever I go home on leave I drive my mom's 2001 Pontiac Grand Prix or my fiancee's 2005 Dodge Stratus, as I have to leave my truck on the other side of the country. So, I do drive cars every now and then. It is most certainly odd driving one when I've been driving my truck for a few months, but I go back and forth so much I could get used to either one. But once I get used to being so low to the ground and not being able to see as much, I can get into driving them and enjoy the extra peppiness that comes with not driving a full-size truck. However, don't get me wrong, I still dream of getting myself a nice Ford F-150 here in 10 years or so.
#2929 of 3286 Re: '11/'12 Hyundai Elantra Limited vs. '12 Mazda3 i Touring vs. Dodge Dart SXT [markwillis]
Nov 19, 2012 (1:47 pm)
The Elantra has recently been down-rated. The 40 MPG for it turned out to be "testing error" or something. I'd skip it for now. The Dart will get EPA, and is a torque-rich motor (that's a good thing), but that 1.4L wants premium, so factor that in. I don't know how the Dart does, but I know the Mazda3 actually gets its EPA rating or better in real life. They're both pretty fun to drive.
If you want to still maintain some cargo capacity, the Mazda3 is available as a hatchback. The Dart's got a lot more gadgets though.
#2930 of 3286 Re: '11/'12 Hyundai Elantra Limited vs. '12 Mazda3 i Touring vs. Dodge Dart SXT [markwillis]
Nov 19, 2012 (7:37 pm)
I haven't driven the Dart but have checked it out. I like the exterior but the interior was not as impressive. Maybe in the higher trim with leather it would be. Also the back seat was surprisingly tight for such a large car... the Elantra has more room.
If I had to choose between these 3 I'd go with the Mazda3. Great handling, buttoned-down ride, excellent fuel economy, reliable. Who knows how reliable the Dart will be? The Elantra is good looking and roomy, and pretty economical, but not the crisp handling of the Mazda3.
Also at least in my area it's possible to get a 2012 Mazda3 Touring sedan for about $16,500. Great deal on that car. I'd go for the hatch myself though.
#2931 of 3286 Re: '11/'12 Hyundai Elantra Limited vs. '12 Mazda3 i Touring vs. Dodge Dart SXT [backy]
Nov 20, 2012 (2:08 am)
IMO, a better choice for about the same money would be to get a basic Ford Mustang. With the V6, it gets 30 highway and is quite a bit more usable than the Dart. Also, a whole lot faster as well.
See, by the time you option out the Dart, you're pushing $18-19K, and it's not really much different than a basic V6 mustang in terms of features. Also, in terms of reliability, I'd put my money on Ford over Dodge.
#2932 of 3286 Re: '11/'12 Hyundai Elantra Limited vs. '12 Mazda3 i Touring vs. Dodge Dart SXT [plekto]
Nov 20, 2012 (7:03 am)
Plekto, the OP is looking at compact, FWD, 4 door 4 cyl compacts with around 40 MPG. Where exactly does a 30 MPG RWD 2 door Mustang with vestigal back seats come in?
#2933 of 3286 Re: '11/'12 Hyundai Elantra Limited vs. '12 Mazda3 i Touring vs. Dodge Dart SXT [bpizzuti]
Nov 20, 2012 (7:45 am)
I'd recommend a Tacoma. They're really fast and get great mpg.
#2934 of 3286 Re: '11/'12 Hyundai Elantra Limited vs. '12 Mazda3 i Touring vs. Dodge Dart SXT [plekto]
Nov 20, 2012 (8:51 am)
There is also the basic fact that the cheapest Mustang costs close to $21,000 even with all available incentives while the Dart goes for $16,500, according to Edmunds True Market Value numbers.
But overlooking such factors is what our man Plekto is famous for, right?
#2935 of 3286 Re: '11/'12 Hyundai Elantra Limited vs. '12 Mazda3 i Touring vs. Dodge Dart SXT [mr_gone]
Nov 20, 2012 (11:18 am)
Actually, Truecar has a Dart at around $18K by the time you get the SXT version, which you have to TO GET AIR CONDITIONING FROM THE BUMS.
The Base model is a total stripper that even rental companies won't want to buy as it is below their minimum equipment requirements. I mean, who actually makes you pay for air conditioning and floor mats these days? What is this, 1990?
So you have to start with at least the SXT for $18K. Plus another $1100 for an automatic if you want that. And to add insult to it all, it's not the 40mpg highway turbo model. It gets 24/34 with the automatic, or a whopping 5mpg better than, well, a typical V6 sedan.
$19,540 was the price I got locally via truecar including destination charge. For a Dart with just A/C and automatic. Zero other options. Add in decent paint or better sound or anything else and you just hit $20K.
If he wants high MPG, it's $20K plus automatic, or $21K. The idea of a $16K car to run around in was left in the dust a long long time ago.
Remember, that a base model Prius, which has all of this standard as well is $23K. And it actually DOES get 40mpg. The second you hit 20K, you're faced with alternatives that crush the econoboxes flat. 20K for a Dart vs 23K for a Prius? He will save $500 a year in fuel with the Prius, guaranteed. And have a lot less depreciation than in a Dodge.
I keep bringing the Mustang up because it's a good vehicle and a stunning deal for the money. 300HP and 30mpg highway? That's got to be worth something in the calculation as well. Whenever I see econoboxes creeping towards 20K, I recommend it as it comes with all that stuff standard, is better built, and that 300HP engine is (IMO at least) well worth the extra thousand dollars.
When I recommend cars, I ignore the number of doors first, since it's really an aesthetics thing and very low on most people's list of must-haves, generally. 2 vs 3 vs 4 vs 5 doors is usually a "whatever" if push comes to shove. A lot of people can manage to live with a 2 door car if it's just hauling around the occasional friend or maybe fitting a child seat back there.
I also largely ignore MPG if the poster is asking for the impossible. 40mpg means a TDI engine or a hybrid. Anything else in real-world driving won't get better than about 30mpg combined. LOT of cars get 25 combined or so, though. Like a bog standard 4 cylinder Camry. Or 3/4 of everything GM makes aside from its trucks. Anything that does get 40mpg highway, though, is well over 20K. Every last one of them charges you a small fortune for that MPG gain, be it a hybrid or a super economy engine.
Unless he drives 50K a year, 5mpg isn't worth having to settle for a tin can on wheels. Which is kind of what the Dart is unfortunately turning out to be. It's nice, but it's just not worth $19K.
Now, if he wants a simple thing to get around in and needs 4 doors, for 16K or less, he might consider a Jeep Patriot. It's really a small wagon that's been lifted 3 inches. I consider it a wagon and not a SUV in any case. Jeep does as well, considering that it has a "brother" version which is the Compass. Unibody construction as well. Not a truck by any stretch of the imagination.
That said, it does drive well. It's dirt cheap. It hauls a lot. 23/30 isn't so bad, either. So why consider one?
It's the price of a Yaris for the base model. Add in a few options, air conditioning, and you're still just under $16K. And that's the OP's real price goal. The only real down-side is that you must get the manual. It's a good manual as well - easy to drive. But it will save you a fortune later on as the CVT is a hateful thing that's expensive to fix - just avoid it and get the manual. It's the least expensive new vehicle that I know of that's worth considering.