By on January 14, 2009

TTAC commentator Kurt B writes: “I’ve been a long-time Mazda owner; I’m on Mazda number six. But I’ve finally hit the wall. The center stack is too wide in my current Mazda 3 and the seat doesn’t slide back far enough, which forces me to tilt my right foot to the right slightly while driving. Now that I’m approaching 40 (I suppose that’s the reason) I’m starting to get wicked hip and joint pain and a sore knee on drives over an hour, which are, unfortunately, too frequent these days. I also own a Mazda 6 wagon which is slightly better but not perfect. Headroom is another issue to be considered as I’m 6’4″. The Mazdas have no problem there.” So, assume that Kurt B wants the same car only better. What would that be?

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71 Comments on “Ask the Best and Brightest: What to Replace Mazda3?...”

  • avatar

    E39 M5, of course.

    I keep trying to think of another lighter, economy car that would work and I can’t!

  • avatar

    Have you tried the newest Mazda 6, the one that just came out? I understand it is larger inside than the previous generation.

    Trust me, I know what you mean about not being able to cope well with smaller cars as you get “unyounger”. In the four years since I’ve first had a Prius, I’m now tired of crashing and banging over the near 3rd-world-country Michigan highways on my commute. (The Prius has an “okay” ride but not as smooth as it could be – it has a twist beam rear axle instead of independent rear suspension).

    Which brings my next suggestion for you; I presume because you have enjoyed Mazda, that you like reliability, a little touch of sportiness, and good gas mileage.

    Take a peek at the 2009 Hyundai Sonata 4 cylinder (NOT V6). 0-60 in under 9 seconds, comfortable, and my wife’s 2007 (with 4 cog automatic when the new one gets better MPG and has a 5 cog automatic) got over 32 mpg on a 5000 mile trip to the Canadian rockies in July-August. At highway speeds, up 8000′ mountains, through towns… I call that phenomenal.

    I’ll put it another way; the MPG difference between the Hyundai Elantra and Sonata four cylinder is not great, but the comfort and room differences are vast.

    Bonus: the Sonata is manufactured in the United States, if you care about that. Not just assembled. Even the engine plant is on site at Montgomery, as well as a body press plant, body welding plant, paint shop (obviously) and of course, assembly hall. I’ve been there and it was first rate-phenomenal.

  • avatar

    How about the Volvo S40/V50/C30? Same great chassis as the Mazda3, but the thin console design may allow room to angle legs and feet more comfortably. (Though I vaugely to recall that there may be a bulky pod up under the dash behind the thin console in these cars.) Plus, Volvo’s are some of the most comfortable chairs in the industry…

  • avatar

    I am 6’2″ and fit into the Suzuki SX-4 perfectly, tons of room to spare!

  • avatar

    If size and luxury are important, nothing beats a Hyundai Genesis south of an S-Class. Just go sit in one, you’ll see what I mean. With wide seats, enormous headroom and back seats you can actually sit in comfortably.

  • avatar

    A Volvo on the C1 platform would be a great car, as they are a bit more “upright” in their seating than a Mazda. Also I’d suggest the Mazda5 if you care for a little more utility.
    Finally, there is always something like a CRV, RAV (or the new Nissan) that don’t have center consoles and are slightly higher off the ground and still offer decent fuel economy.

  • avatar

    The Mazda 3s are known to have uncomfortable chairs. The cushions are too short.Time to get a Swedish car with seats designed for grown ups.
    I have a Saab 9-3 and a Mazda 3 and I never take the Mazda if the trips are longer than 30 min.
    The seats are awful.

  • avatar

    I also am 6’4. I went from a Jetta to an Element (which isn’t as fun to drive). But for some strange reason, I really do like it.

    Get the Jetta!

  • avatar

    Sounds like your ready for a good mid size car. A Malibu LTZ 2.4 with 6 speed automatic proved an amazingly fun car to drive, was very quiet and comfortable, handled with aplomb and just looks plain better than a boring Camry. Also recommended, a 2009 Sonota SE 2.4 and 5 speed automatic or the new Mazda 6 2.5 L-4 if your dead set on that manufacturer.

  • avatar

    I am also a 6’4″ Mazda 3 owner pushing 40 and the seats are killing me. I have a 5 speed and during long commutes my right leg gets really tired. Left leg not so much. Between tired leg and numb ass, I am looking to change. Its a shame b/c otherwise the 3 is an awesome car.

    I agree with ScottGSO and think the Genesis is great. I driven the v6 and v8, both are extremely comfortable and a great value. I also find the Jetta and Passat to be comfortable, but my past relationship (’92 Passat) with Volkswagen has permanently scared me a way from the brand.

    Mazdas owned:
    – ’82-GLC
    – ’86-626 Turbo (best car I ever owned!)
    – ’94-Protege
    – ’06-3

  • avatar

    At 40, you should have a midlife crisis and buy an RX-8, even if you don’t fit in that car as well either. :)

  • avatar

    Agree with menno on the new Mazda6. If you likes your previous gen Mazda6 but it’s still not enough (head / leg) room, the new one should be bigger / better. Won’t be as fast as the Mazda3 (manual only available with the 4-cyl) though.

    Also try Nissan Altima 3.5 SE with a manual.

  • avatar

    Nissan Altima SE + Manual.

  • avatar

    I love the Mazda5 but at 6’2″ there’s just not quite enough leg room in the driver’s seat for me. The seat needs to slide back another two inches and then everything would be just fine.

  • avatar

    try the jetta (or rabbit / gti)…

    all can be had for under 25k,
    even under 20k well equiped…

    lots of room for tall folks.

  • avatar

    VW GTI 5-door or Jetta GLI.

  • avatar

    I’ve suffered through all sorts of beyond awful seats in old LTL semi-tractors.

    Even the worst seats can be improved with a few cheap additions.

    A simple $20 seat cover like this works well. A lumbar support pillow or rolled up towel for your lower back helps. A road-rest works well if you like to rest your right elbow on the window.

  • avatar

    If you like the way your 6 drives, you might want to check out a 2009 Ford Fusion with either the sport appearance package or the blue suede package, both of which give the car a sportier suspension. Since it shares the platform with the 6 they do drive similarly, plus, you can get a stick (if that’s your thing) in the upper trim levels. The seats were redone for 2009, and are very supportive, and if you can live without a sunroof, there is very good headroom front and back. Plus, with the 2010 car making an early debut, the 2009s already have good rebates (up to 2500) on top of employee pricing going until Feb. 2nd.

  • avatar
    Brian E

    Ford would tell you that the better Mazda3 is the Volvo S40. However, I’d recommend looking at a lightly-used first generation TSX.

  • avatar

    I thought I was the only one in the world with the center stack problem; everyone else thinks the 3 is a Jesus car. I really wanted to love it but came away lukewarm, and I’ve been holding out for the redesign.

    I second the GTI, or actually the Rabbit/Golf, or Jetta wagon. Great headroom even with the sunroof.

  • avatar

    I would say an E46 or E90 3-series. I’m 6’7″ and I have to put the seat a little forward in the E90. My E46 is very comfortable, though I admittedly am only 36 and don’t have any aches & pains.

  • avatar

    @eb – are you my long lost twin or something?
    Your list
    Mazdas owned:
    – ‘82-GLC
    – ‘86-626 Turbo (best car I ever owned!)
    – ‘94-Protege
    – ‘06-3

    My List:
    – 80 GLC (hand-me down) manual
    – 91 323 auto (cheap used buy)
    – 94 626 5sp
    – 2001 Protege 5sp
    – 2006 3 GX 5sp
    – 2006 6 GS wagon

    Thanks everyone for the suggestions so far and to Robert for posting this for me..much appreciated.

    One vehicle that has great legroom is the CTS but beside the styling I’m not a huge fan of the seats. It would be pretty hard for my to get a VW as I’m very wary of thier reliability..too many close acquaintances have been burned by constant maintenance woes.

    @Menno – “I presume because you have enjoyed Mazda, that you like reliability, a little touch of sportiness, and good gas mileage.”
    This is a good summary. I probably wouldn’t buy athe new 6 as I expect it to have bad resale – perhaps in a year I could pick up a slightly used one for a song. I’d rather not wait that long as I’m really getting tired of having a constantly sore hip.

    I was all gung ho about the G8 until I discovered that it is undrivable in snow even with decent Winter tires.

    Other factors – I live in Toronto and have two kids (aged 6 and 15 months)though this isn’t the primary family hauler (the 6 wagon is).

    Keep ’em coming folks…

  • avatar

    How about an Audi A3? It has very good seats, is practical and isn’t excessively expensive.

  • avatar

    I have a feeling that Kurt B could easily fit into a 08 or 09 CTS! :-) COTY!

    Even with a sunroof, he would have more than enough room for his stilts and his head. You can pick one up for $28K CND now ;-)

    Also, if he really wanted comfort… he could spring for a CTS-V with the Recaro Seats.

  • avatar

    @JG – M5 would be nice but is most likely out of budget (maintenance)
    @Redwood – at 36 I didn’t have any pains either…
    @schadenfred – I used to have the same problem with my 626 but it didn’t bother me as much then.
    @mikeolan – hadn’t thought of the Altima.. my friend has the 3.5 and I might try it out. I’ve sat in it as a passenger but don’t recall thinking it had abundant legroom.
    An 06 or 07 Corvette would be perfect… If I didn’t have kids or have to drive it year round (/cries a little).
    @NulloModo – thanks for the detailed info on the improvements with the new 6. I really hadn’t considered it due to the resale potential. I actually don’t find that the 6 wagon I have drives that well even compared the the 3. It crashes over bumps and we have a ton of potholes has a terrible turning radius, cornering is so-so and the brakes aren’t that impressive. I will go and drive an 09 anyway to see how it compares.

  • avatar

    Kurt, given your status as a (relatively) new dad and all, have you considered a Kia Rhondo? I don’t know about in Toronto, but here in Traverse City Michigan, the local stealership (high pressure Chevy/Honda/Kia franchise, unfortunately) is brooming left over 2008’s for $12,883. Same four cylinder engine as the Sonata (but it still has a 4 cog automatic). Sadly, the Rhondo is 26mpg (US) on the highway, vs 32 for the Sonata with the same engine.

    Aerodynamics obviously play a big part, there.

    Just so you know, what’s really nice about the Sonata vs. Prius, is the fact that I can turn off the traction control on the Sonata when necessary. As a northern climate dweller, you know as well as I, that sometimes traction control is not only not needed, but gets in the way. (Yes, I’m running full snow tires on both cars. All-season tires are actually “3 season tires” for us folks crazy enough to live in the snow belt). Yes, I’m fed up today! It’s 7 degrees F. outside for crying out loud!

  • avatar

    Volvo S60. Late model used cars are dirt cheap, and Volvo seats are some of the best. The seats in my A6 are also absolutely fantastic.

  • avatar

    I like the Nissan Altima. I haven’t driven the manual. The CVT is surprisingly responsive.

    What about the Volkswagen GTI?

    The new Ford Fusion/Mercury Milan will (theoretically) be available with a manual and the 4-cylinder. They might be hard to find.

    The Acura TSX is available with a manual. The previous generation car is in some ways better than the current one and has excellent reliability ratings.

  • avatar
    John R

    I’ve driven the 1st gen Mazda 6 and 2008 Altima 2.5. These two are kindred spirits IMO, they’re both a hoot in the corners and on/off ramps.

    You can get either the 2.5 or 3.5 Altimas off-lease for a good price and there is plenty of space. I’m 6’4″ myself and I was able to put both my legs under the steering wheel instead of near spread-eagle. That doesn’t happen often. I’m a long legged bastard.

    Economy is pretty good, too. I had an Altima 2.5 as a rental for two weeks while on business and I caned the crap of the car because it was a good time and company was paying for gas anyway. Still managed to get 26.7 mpg despite my efforts.

    My girlfriend’s father owns a 2004 Altima 2.5 and has had no major issues.

    I’ll tell you what you should check out. You might be able to get a previous generation Maxima for a song since the new car came out and its not half bad either. In my area ’07/’08 Maxima SEs with less than 15k miles are going for $17-19k (US). Plenty of room and power/economy is pretty decent. Also handles pretty well.

    That’s if you don’t wanna give the new 6 a try.

  • avatar

    @menno – No need for a family hauler – vehicle has to accomodate the kids on an occasional basis and most likely not all four of us at the same time.

  • avatar

    “Now that I’m approaching 40 (I suppose that’s the reason) I’m starting to get wicked hip and joint pain and a sore knee on drives over an hour, which are, unfortunately, too frequent these days.”

    Sounds like you’re ready for that Buick.

  • avatar

    Another thought – my brother bought an ’08 Infinity G35x. It’s very roomy and comfortable, handles well and looks quite nice (except for the dorky chrome spoiler lip). He lives in Rochester, NY, which has road and weather conditions similar to Toronto. The G rides well on the rust belt’s broken pavement and it tackles snow like a champ with the AWD system. Plus, now that the sedan has the 3.7 liter engine, it’s even better.

  • avatar

    I second the Malibu LTZ 2.4 with 6 speed automatic. I have an 09. Very comfortable, quiet, decent handling, adequate power. Gas mileage 32-34 on the highway at 70 +/- mph. Probably can find a good deal now.

  • avatar

    I’m 6’4″ with a 35″ inseam – I drove a Kia Rondo back from Wisconsin to PA – a nice vehicle, but the center console will likely be a resting place for your right leg – and it ain’t comfy.

    If you’re willing to give up a bit of handling, the Elantra SE that I bought in March has a nice open area between the center stack and floor – but, alas, the seat bottom is a bit short, and the height adjustment just brings you closer to the steering wheel.

    I made a “partial” solution by buying longer front seat bolts, and have about an inch of washers stacked under the seat mount – the extra 1″ of front tilt makes the car more comfy for longer trips.

    The Elantra has tons of headroom, BTW.

  • avatar

    @ radimus -Sounds like you’re ready for that Buick. Funny that.
    I actually sort of like the Lucerne for what it is (don’t boo me off the stage quite yet..) but the lack of folding rear seat is sad.

    What about a Legacy? Any tall folks with real world experience?

    Now I’m thinking I should be at the Detroit show trying these out. The Toronto show isn’t for another month… These recent long snow delayed trips have exacerbated the issue.

  • avatar

    The Jetta, Golf and Passat have the best seats in the business. Volvo and Saab do almost as well, but they cramp the driver (especially Volvo). They drive pretty well, too.

    You may want to consider the Fusion. Again, slightly cramped, but the seats are quite good. There’s a lot of Mazda in them. There’s also the Kia Rondo, which is surprisingly comfortable.

    I share your pain about centre consoles and seat track. It’s the reason I didn’t buy a Mazda5.

  • avatar

    Unfortunately, any sporting car with high amounts of lateral bolstering in the hips and lumbar are going to wreak havoc on you on long trips. I never realized this until I had to suffer 2 hours in the passenger seat of a WRX. They’re great in the twisties and at the track for 30 minutes, but not being able to move, relax, wiggle, and spread makes for massive pain when the minutes start compiling.

    One things I’ve found helpful is to have adequate thigh support. Being tall, this is difficult, especially in smaller cars, where all of your weight is supported by only your butt, as your knees and thighs are elevated above the seat. shaker nails it – getting the front of the seat tilted up high enough to support your thighs is key.

  • avatar
    Ed S.

    When I get hip pain after an hour of driving it always my wallet’s fault. Do you sit on your wallet? Maybe that’s [part of] the problem here.

  • avatar

    Kurt B,

    I had an ’05 Legacy wagon. It was definitely comfortable, but was plagued with problems that the terrible dealers proved incapable of fixing. It was also slow as a dog. (I skipped the GT because of the poor fuel mileage it got compared to the normally aspirated model.) Caveat emptor on that car. That said, I have plenty of friends who have had much better luck with Subies than I.

  • avatar

    One things I’ve found helpful is to have adequate thigh support. Being tall, this is difficult, especially in smaller cars, where all of your weight is supported by only your butt, as your knees and thighs are elevated above the seat. shaker nails it – getting the front of the seat tilted up high enough to support your thighs is key.

    So THAT’s why by butt is always killing me over long-distance trips, while nobody else in the car has that problem, as I’m 6’2″ and nobody around me is that tall. I’m learning something new every day…

  • avatar


    Maybe you need to start getting exercise. I’m 55 and I can drive all day in my Accord. I take twice yearly trips from Boston to northern Virginia, about 450 miles, and I’ve gone two NYC several times recently just for the evening, which is also 450 miles round trip, broken up by several hours. I could do the same sort of driving in my old Saturn SL2, which I had until I was 51.

    For exercise I generally run a little more than half hr a day, sometimes bicycle, sometimes do stairmaster, sometimes walk up and down the stairs carrying weights. I do start to get miscellaneous pains if I don’t exercise for 4-5 days in a row.

    Short of that, could you install a better driver’s seat?

  • avatar

    An Outback may be to your liking…slightly elevated over the Legacy, seats are about average but the center console eats up less room than the 3.

  • avatar


    Infiniti M35x. Pick up one used on Ebay for a song. Buy a lease return and get the extended warranty for piece of mind.

    Good size back seat, AWD, reliable. It’s a close 2nd to the G8 GT for snowy climates

    My neighbor just leased one and it is NICE!

  • avatar

    As a side note…

    @David Holzman- Was that you on NPR yesterday, named David and referencing TTAC?

  • avatar

    Take a peek at the 2009 Hyundai Sonata 4 cylinder (NOT V6). 0-60 in under 9 seconds, comfortable, and my wife’s 2007 (with 4 cog automatic when the new one gets better MPG and has a 5 cog automatic) got over 32 mpg on a 5000 mile trip to the Canadian rockies in July-August. At highway speeds, up 8000′ mountains, through towns… I call that phenomenal.

    Forget the Sonata, it has the same center stack problem. I rented one recently and my lower leg was sore after 20 minutes of driving with it resting against the edge of the center console.

  • avatar

    Kurt…you want to hold onto the good handling but improve comfort? Only possible option I see is a VW GTI. I’ve seen the horror stories as well, but I know people who are happy with their VW’s so…your choice.

    Everything else in class is a big downgrade from the Mazda 3 considering the relationship between space and performance it offers. I suppose going up a vehicle class makes sense, but only if you want to risk losing that fun-to-throw ability that only small cars have. Don’t do it, kids’ll fit no problem in a hatchback’s rear seats. Possible exception…a used Subura Forester Turbo, the ultimate family wagon, but the new ones really suck if what you like is a sporty hatch.

  • avatar
    Steve Biro

    Kurt… if you’re interested in a Legacy (my brother has one and has had no problems), you’d better get an ’09 fast. The new-style ’10 versions are FUGLY.

    Meanwhile… if you’re thinking about an Altima, remember this car is the only one among those suggested that is also offered as a two-door model. Perhaps, with the kids, you don’t want a two-door. But if they only have to ride with you occasionally and you like the sporty styling, check out an Altima coupe 2.5.

    In keeping with the above suggestion, how about an Accord coupe with the larger 190-hp four-banger (standard in the two-door model)? The coupe has a sportier suspension set up than the four-door and there’s lots in room inside, two doors or not.

    There are a few fun cars available for less then 25K new… but precious few have two doors, which I personally prefer.

  • avatar

    Maybe you need to start getting exercise. I’m 55 and I can drive all day in my Accord.

    That’s a valid point up to a certain height. Past around 6’2-4″, you can be an Olympic decathlete and your average car will wound you.

    I’m not in as good shape as I once was, but in the right car (generally something European) I can do seven hundred kilometers in a sitting. I’ve done this, three times, in rented Volkswagens and a few times in my own Saab. Attempting more than an hour in a Corolla is a recipe for hurt.

    The problem, for taller drivers, is neck pain (because of inadequate support due to too-low headrests or too-reclined seatbacks resulting from insufficient headroom) to thigh support (short, angled and/or too-low cushions, which exist to create the illusion of space and generally don’t affect short** drivers). For the record, I’m 6’9″ and have a special hatred for certain GM and Toyota models for this very reason.

    Whatever you buy, make sure you rent it for a day before. Go for a good, long drive: if you’re not aching after an hour and a half, it’s probably ok.

    ** “Short” is under six foot four.

  • avatar

    Apparently you may want to consider the new Camry SE. Check out Sajeev’s review.

    If you go VW, make sure you get a german built GTI or Rabbit. Stay away from the Mexican cars.

  • avatar

    shaker: “I made a “partial” solution by buying longer front seat bolts, and have about an inch of washers stacked under the seat mount – the extra 1″ of front tilt makes the [Elantra] more comfy for longer trips.”

    That brings back memories. I did the same thing on a ’74 Datsun [Nissan], and several Mazdas. Removing the gas pedal in the Datsun also gave me a tiny bit more leg room. Very well built cars, but sized for short people. I’m convinced a factor in the VW Bug’s success in America was that the ergonomics suited big-boned northern Europeans.

    You have to wonder if car companies try out their designs before putting them on the market. Neither my wife nor I can tolerate Chrysler vans’ unique pivot point for accelerator pedals (don’t most folks push with the ball of the foot, not the heel?). Their catcher-mitt shaped seats, also a “feature” for decades, give no back support. Other makes are bad about installing “dead pedals” on the assumption the driver’s left leg is six inches shorter than the right one. And/or the gas pedal should be four inches from the firewall, or positioned ideally for people with a middle leg.
    Overall, I think GM has done best in this area. But foot-wide consoles are found everywhere, as if they still housed automatic transmissions. Maybe they’re the moder equivalent of bundling boards.

    A telescoping steering column is more important to driver comfort than up/down adjustment.

    Trying cars at auto shows is problematic (they disconnect the batteries, and tend to leave the power seat adjusted for basketball centers) but the Fusion/Milan seems worth a test drive. Heck, I’ve learned to rent a car model and drive it quite a ways before seriously considering buying.

  • avatar

    How about the C30?

  • avatar


    I missed it, where do you live? I saw potholes so I know it must be either a temperate zone or someplace that is broke.

    I am on Subaru number 5 (a Legacy GT Spec. B). That might be about the size you are looking for. I must ad that with the occasional exception they are great, well built and dependable cars.

    Your “injuries”, though make it a little challenging. The bolstered seats in my Spec. B are supportive and firm. I cannot comment, however, on lower-ranked members of the order. My 6’3″ brother has an Outback and loves it. He fits fine…and is about at your age (still a child). He’s coming off a Passat sedan and bought the OB – as I once did – when he became a father.

    Volvo has the best seats in the industry…though they sure don’t drive like Subies. The A3 may be a good choice, but the cost/content/crash rating ratio isn’t what a Subaru’s is.

    As always, pick the dealer by the service department.

  • avatar

    Stay away from Camry, Corolla.

    Those seats suck and will ruin your back and ass. :) Seating position is nice, infinitely adjustable, though.

    Why not a used 2007 S80? 23k-24k for a CPO. Built for tall 40 yo Scandinavians and stuff.

  • avatar

    Doesn’t anybody live near an Acura dealership? That ’04 TL is a really nicely appointed car and for $15k it’s yours. While the little ones probably won’t treat it with the same level of respect you do, at least they won’t be in it that often that you’ll mind. It handles, has a nice engine, and you can count on it hanging around for another 10years.

  • avatar

    new Mazda 3 or Mazda 6

    try the RX-8 too – its a joy to drive and has plenty of space in it.

  • avatar

    What about a Taurus/500/Sable? They are effectively like big new Volvos, only more comfortable, better made, and far more reliable. The high hip point may also be good for your legs & back.

    Older MB C or E-class are also supremely comfortable long distance cruisers, but you need to be careful with condition,engine choice, and options to keep repair costs in line.

  • avatar

    @dgduris – Toronto
    @David Holzman – Exercise? Part of the hip and knee issue is due to ice hockey and snowboarding… lol – but I get your point.
    @psarhjinian: I agree that it particularly difficult for tall folks. GM seats on rental vehicles destroy my back.
    @netrun: I’ve read that the 04 TL is a don’t touch vehicle unless the transmission has been replaced. Nice car though.

    My To Do list a result of the suggestions so far.
    Test drive the following:
    09 Maz 6
    possible Subaru
    Infiniti G35/M35 – would have been better with the $ a parity due to the crazy high MSRPs in Canada.
    Buick (for commenter Radimus lol)
    Volvo (though my boss has one and it’s always in the shop)

    Anybody (under 6′)want to buy an 06 Maz 3 GX 5sp with 62,000kms on it? I’m willing to let it go cheap ;-)

    cheers everyone

  • avatar

    Well, let us know whichever one you’ll pick!


  • avatar

    I currently own a Mazda3 also (’06, 5-door). I’ve also been contemplating a trade and here are the cars on my short list-

    Volkswagen Rabbit & GTI
    Audi A3

    These are showing a lot of potential-

    2010 Ford Fusion
    2010 Mazda3
    2009 Hyundai Elantra Touring

  • avatar

    Genesis also sounds good but I’m sure will be a much better sued buy than new. Will add it to my 2 cars from now list.
    Perhaps I’ll also add the Accord Coupe to my list.
    Used Maxima looks good too.. and I don’t think they ever sold a manual tranny on the 04+ models in Canada but I’m seeing some in the US on eBay.

  • avatar

    I’m with Holzman. The best vehicle for getting rid of those approaching middle aged aches and pains is a bicycle.

  • avatar

    I’d suggest a Saab 9-5. I know it is not the prettiest, but you can pick one up for 5-cents, and they are big inside, get decent mileage for a big turbo, and the seats are so comfortable that you will never know what hit you. Actually, I bet you could find a dealer car for close to $20-$23K at this point with less than 10K miles.

  • avatar

    Why not a used 2007 S80? 23k-24k for a CPO. Built for tall 40 yo Scandinavians and stuff.

    You’d think that, but it’s not. The modern Volvo has distressingly little headroom, mostly due to the low roofline and mandatory sunroof. Saabs are better, but present a whole other whack of issues unrelated to seat comfort. If you go Saab, go with the 9-5 (the seats are better, the mechanicals less complex and the whole car less flakey) and get it checked out by a reputable Saab mechanic. If you’re in Toronto, this means The Saab Specialist at Queen and Parliament.

    Again, I can’t stress this enough: if you’re tall and want the ultimate in comfort, you choices are Golf, Jetta and Passat.

    ETA: I noticed you’re Canadian. You might want to try the Mercedes B200T.

  • avatar

    It might be wise to go as practical, cheap, and used as you can manage. No idea how used SX-4s are holding up in terms of reliability and residuals.

    Is there any chance that a seat swap might keep you in the 3? Say swap out the front seats from an S40?

    Otherwise I would throw in my lot with the first gen TSXers out there. I suspect that would immediately dissuade you from an Accord coupe.

  • avatar
    Bruce Banner

    Maybe you could try Holzman’s car instead of his excercise regime. Honda Accord FTW. They even made it bigger for you this year!

    Honda Accord.

  • avatar

    @eh_political – do you know if that would be a direct swap? Also, how would that affect seat travel backwards as that’s part of the issue.

    to add insult to sore hip the drive home took over two hours tonight due to a pileup on the highway.

    The better half won’t swap her 6 wagon (that I bought her) for the 3. Her idea, move closer to work.
    Ya right, I might as well buy a ZR1 and a Volvo as that would still be much cheaper than moving to a closer neighborhood.

  • avatar


    I haven’t the foggiest, that really is a question for a 3 fansite. I suspect you would be looking at something completely aftermarket, but you might get lucky. It’s a pity to give up such a lovely car with only 63k.

  • avatar
    Usta Bee

    I know what you mean by having leg pain when you’re pushing 40. Last year when I was 41 I broke my leg and ankle and drove myself to the emergency room.

    I also drove after they put the cast on my right leg from the toes up to my knee. I had to accelerate by pushing down on the top of my knee with my hand, that was a bitch, left foot braking was fun too.

  • avatar

    @Kurt, I’m 61, 6′ 1″, retired (also live in the Toronto area), have some back issues and can drive my ’04 Accord EXL V6 6 speed Coupe all day without any problems. Good seat travel and the centre stack doesn’t bother me (it does in other cars). Gets 37 MPG highway on regular too. Perfect car for you except for being 2 door & the access to the rear seats.

    About to trade it on a used 545i, 330i or A/S4 due to my usual winter cabin fever insanity to do something about cars. I shop very much based on seating excellence and driving comfort together with decent performance. Looked at Infinity as its the other obvious lower cost choice compared to the above. I found the clutch spring weighting was wrong plus the odd seat adjustment panel location feels uncomfortable. By the way with the Sonata it had (until it was fixed in the current model) too short a bottom of the seat which many found uncomfortable.

  • avatar

    Maybe you could try Holzman’s car instead of his excercise regime. Honda Accord FTW. They even made it bigger for you this year!

    I’ve been in the Accord. It’s big, but the headroom is lacking, as it is in just about every mainstreamer excepting the Camry, which suffers from short seat cushions. The mandatory sunroof in the TSX makes it an even worse choice.

    I did get some time in an IS250 recently, which can be had without sunroof. The front seats in that car are awesome (the rears are for small, legless children). I tried the Mercedes B200 on a lark, and even with the sunroof it’s very comfortable. If you can stand driving the Ultimate Poseur Machine, it’s a pretty good car.

  • avatar

    I have a Mazda three aswell, and I really want to get rid of it. it’s way to cramped in the back and I have to hold onto the roof to even get out! I’ve been looking for a while and I’ve come with two options, if ur willing to pay more for a better car, As in more interior space and way batter looks than the mazda, consider the Volvo c30, but e car that I would strongly recommend for a replacement for the Mazda would have to be the Toyota gt-86, or the Subaru BRZ, Orr the scion fr-s, either way they are all the same car, same looks, same handling, just different brands, whichever you choose, you will not be disappointed. You get a boxer engine with around 200 bhp, you sat nav, climate control, everything, for just around 27,000 for a fully equipped model! A brand new Mazda three from 5 years ago was 1000 dollars more! I know that dosn’t seem like much, but you want to save some money, whichever the choice, either the c30 or the subaru, Toyota, scion trio, your well caterd for and get allot for your money

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