New or Used: Reading Your Wife's Mind Edition

Sajeev Mehta and Steve Lang
by Sajeev Mehta and Steve Lang
new or used reading your wife s mind edition

TTAC Commentator TrailerTrash writes:

It’s coming. My next car has been determined to be a hatch AND a stick. And here is the problem…my wife does not want a stick again. The Ozark hills require a little room for error at hill stopping. She has promised to consider one, IF it has the clutch feel that is not as brutal as out last (Cherokee).I have narrowed it down to a few cars. My choices show the need for speed…

Audi A3: Like the diesel and AWD.

VW GTI: But not a real fan of its profile.

Upcoming Ford Focus with 2.0 EcoBoost?

Nissan Juke?

Impreza WRX: Not really happy with the cost, but love the AWD.

Mazdaspeed3: everybody says poor things about the stick movement.

Mitsubishi Lancer Sportback: Haven’t driven one but would like some comments on it.

Do any standard trans come with hill assist? Now I know nobody has yet to really give the coming Focus EcoBoost a hard test, but maybe this is something we should hold tight on until it is given the workout.

Steve Answers:

You won’t be able to read your wife’s mind. A hard clutch can be an enormous pain and in the end, she has to see the next vehicle as a pleasurable ride. With that in mind…

Subaru models have the road holding abilities and the hill stopping you so desire along with a light stick. But I would definitely not opt for a WRX if future maintenance costs are your concern. A Legacy, Forester, or Impreza model will offer a six-speed along with the AWD. If she likes the feel of the Subaru stick, the choice at that point will come down to shape and interior accommodations. All of the Subarus are perfectly fine vehicles.

The Mini Cooper is another consideration. On areas of the country with smooth roads a Mini with a stick will give a far nicer driving experience than any of the Subarus. I always tell folks it’s the best BMW you can buy for the money. But if the roads are rough, forget it. The Ozarks are a pretty wide territory so I would suggest test driving a few used ones with substantial mileage on them to see if you would enjoy this car down the road.

Sajeev Answers:

How do you define a mostly subjective aspect of a vehicle? I doubt we can come to a definitive definition of an easy to use gearbox. While the last Saab 9-3 I drove had a horribly vague and rubbery shifter, I’m sure someone will tell me this vehicle has the best action they’ve ever felt. So just give up, or let your wife do all the shopping.

I see the middle ground: DSG and TDI. Sure, it’s in a trouble prone, super costly VW. Yes, VW dealerships are hated for reasons all and sundry. But a slightly-used Jetta TDI with a DSG is a fun little oil burning rocket. I suspect both you and your wife will love it. At least until the factory extended warranty (that you must purchase) runs out. After all, who needs excess time and money when you can have a sweet shifting DSG with Diesel torque and impressive economy?

Need help with a car buying conundrum? Email your particulars to, and let TTAC’s collective wisdom make the decision easier… or possibly much, much harder.

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2 of 45 comments
  • Vvk Vvk on Dec 29, 2010

    BMW E91 (3er wagon) has hill holder that works great. I recommend RWD over AWD but they are almost impossible to find with a stick.

  • SilverCoupe SilverCoupe on Dec 29, 2010

    I have an Audi hatch [a 2000 TT], but for my wife I recommended the WRX wagon [a 2002, to replace her '94 Saab 900 Turbo], all the cars hatches with manuals. We have had each of the cars for about a decade, and while I generally like my Audi, my wife just loves her WRX. The WRX has remained trouble free at over 100,000 miles, while the TT has required occasional work, though nothing I consider excessive for a ten year old car. If we had to have only one car, the A3 would be a good compromise, but if your wife likes the WRX, why not just get her one? I know that my wife has her eyes on a new WRX, when the time comes that she needs to replace this one. Me, I'll probably stick with Audi, as style is more important to me than it is to my wife. And for what it's worth, my wife had no trouble getting to work on Monday, with a foot of snow on the ground in Philadelphia. [I am off this week, but I have never had any problems in the snow in the Audi, either.] Picking a wife who drives a stick [and lets me buy whatever car I want] - that's that key to happiness!

  • ToolGuy a) Coolb) My rocker panels are looking hopelessly outdated
  • Art Vandelay Tassos and EBFlex can watch videos of peter puffing while puffing each other's peters in this bad boy!
  • Art Vandelay When it is in electric mode it is so quiet that you can almost hear EBFlex and Tassos puffing each other's peters.
  • Art Vandelay They have to price them this high to keep EBFlex or Tassos from getting one and sullying the company's good name by puffing each other's peters in it
  • Art Vandelay EBFlex and Tassos can stream videos on YouTube now of them puffing each other's peters. They'll have to use a Mercedes for TikTok though