Dear Sajeev and Steve,
My wife has recently started insisting (more along the lines of demanding) that I get a new(er) car. While the junkyard gem 97 civic has only served me about a year, it has only cost me $1000 total. With 270k on the odometer and counting, it is really starting to show its age but runs 80 down the road with cold air and no issues. I drive 130 miles round trip everyday with practically all of it on the interstate. The civic gets 34-38 mpg which is the part I like, but I am starting to question the reliability.
So now I am looking for a good commuter car. The only option that I am dead set on is cruise control for the obvious reason. While initially an 08 Impreza hatch grabbed my attention, 26 mpg was unacceptable for me. So now I am left searching again. I have test drove the Mazda2 and Fiesta and either would meet my needs as far as size goes. They both seemed pretty peppy for all 100 hp. I have plans to test drive an Accent but havent made it that far yet.
So now for the question, what else should I consider? I have no issues with buying CPO or used. We have an extra car in case something did happen to the civic so I am really in no hurry except for the nagging about how much dislike there is for the civic.
- Price <25k, preferably <=20k
- Cruise control
- Throw kids (7&9) in back in a pinch
- good radio
- >=35 mpg highway, city doesn’t matter
- heated seats
- cheap/easy maintenance
I dunno what’s worse: the fact that there’s no proper successor to a 1990s Honda Civic (the 6th generation was the last I really cared for) or that your wife makes you feel that way. Then again, I understand how pressure from a loved one makes something as mundane as a new Civic be more like torture to own. This V8 Luxo Barge fanatic finally gave into such pressure and decided a little four banger truck was all I needed.
Quite honestly, the latest Ford Focus and Hyundai Elantra get the mileage you need, have the stuff you want and get pretty amazing mileage. And they’ll be far more refined than an old Civic on the highway. While I have problems with your need for leather (think of the depreciation!), these will be the right way to go. But I am still feeling nostalgic for the good old days of Hondas, and wonder if we’ll ever get a light-ish weight runner like ye olde Civic ever again.
I would go at least one step up in size to a compact vehicle.