By on July 3, 2014

julesz

Over the past five years, my home has often resembled the fabled Island Of Misfit Toys, with various people coming and going as fate decreed. That would make me King Moonracer, then, and it has made the infamous Vodka McBigbra the island’s princess. In the near future, however, she’ll be moving out to spend more time with her family. This will reduce but not eliminate her ability to call on my fleet of random cars for backup when her well-traveled 2005 Hyundai Accent requires repair.

It’s new-car time, then. She has the ability and willingness to buy a new 2014 Mitsubishi Mirage DE with continuously variable transmission — having driven a stick-shift M35 truck during her stint in the Army, Vodka’s done with clutch pedals 4 lyfe, yo. I’m inclined to agree with her proposed purchase, John Pearley Huffman’s unfriendly Times review aside.

But surely you have other opinions.

The approximate requirements are:

  • Well under fifteen grand out the door
  • Warranty lasting as long as the payments
  • Automatic transmission
  • Air conditioning
  • And that’s it

We’ve looked at a few low-mileage Accents, but the used-car market is feverishly hot right now thanks to the Obamaconomy/Boehnerdoggle’s wholesale relocation of the middle class to a buy-here-pay-here lot. As much as this woman has suffered in our relationship already, I don’t care to extend that suffering with the acquisition of an Aveo. The Fiesta’s DCT makes me nervous.

I honestly don’t know. The Mirage seems like a decent deal. She rarely drives on the freeway and is physically small (5’5″ and 115 pounds) so the packaging of Mitsubishi’s Thai takeout seems reasonable. What say you? Should we just head over to the Mitsu dealership on Monday and make it so?

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112 Comments on “Ask The Best&Brightest: Is Vodka’s Future Just A Mirage?...”


  • avatar
    Matt Foley

    The Mirage badly needs 25 more hp, and a 10-year warranty is only good if there’s a dealer around to honor it. Will Mitsubishi still be here in five years, let alone ten?

    Vodka would be happier in a Versa Note, methinks.

    • 0 avatar
      DeeDub

      Versa Note is an excellent suggestion. Maybe also hunt for leftover ’13 Honda Fits. With the new generation showing up, dealers should be making deals on any last gens still clogging their lots.

      • 0 avatar
        juicy sushi

        I would agree with the Fit suggestion, and I’ve got a Versa Note. I like it a lot, but I doubt you could get one with the CVT for well under 15 grand. A lightly used or late stock Fit may be doable though, and the Tardis-like interior space is perfect for anyone.

    • 0 avatar
      Detroit-Iron

      Dealer proximity is a killer. I am in a fairly populous area and the nearest Mitsu dealer is probably 20 miles+ through some of the worst traffic in the US.

  • avatar
    Maymar

    Well, if she’s been suffering behind the wheel of said Accent for years (says the owner of an ’04), at least the Mitsubishi will likely be familiar.

  • avatar
    salhany

    Why buy new? At 15 grand there are many not-abused used cars that would be much better than a new Mirage. I would think you could find a 4 or 5 year old Honda Accord with auto/air for 15K or so. Reliable as an anvil and likely a far better driver than the Mitsu.

  • avatar
    psarhjinian

    Yaris.

    They’re practically indestructable, not too expensive to buy and very inexpensive to keep. They aren’t Accent/Spark/Versa cheap, and they’re kind of miserable, but they’re automotive cockroaches, topping Consumer Reports’ rankings for the past decade.

    You might not need the warranty (though you can buy one through Toyota) and at least the parent company doesn’t have solvency issues.

    • 0 avatar
      Sam Hell Jr

      Similarly, I bet there are some ’13 Scion xD’s out there looking for a home. I think I’d rather have a Note at this price point, but if all you want is an economical little mile-eater made out of Toyota Neverbreakium…

    • 0 avatar
      juicy sushi

      Jack may have objections to that idea:

      https://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2013/11/rental-review-toyota-yaris-le/#more-663722

      • 0 avatar
        30-mile fetch

        How could it be any worse than a Mirage?

        The real problem might be finding a 5-door for well under $15K. They sticker at 16.something.

        • 0 avatar
          psarhjinian

          Do they really? The five-door Yaris in Canada starts at $15K; I’d figure it would be cheaper in the US, what with the usual gouging…

          …and wow, you’re right. This has to be one of the few cases where Canada gets a cheaper MSRP.

          I’d still pick the Yaris or xD. Actually, if you can find it, a CPO Yaris _sedan_ is probably a more livable option: it’s quieter, rides better and retains the Echo’s more sane seating position (though if you’re not tall, this isn’t a big deal)

    • 0 avatar
      ctg

      How much does she drive?

      My younger sister had similar requirements and ended up with a Prius C. She also looked at a Yaris, but once you took into account how much she drives, the gas savings made sense. She’s averaging roughly 60mpg in her commute.

      It breaks the 15k rule, but not by much, and the gas savings make it worth it if you drive a lot. She got the base model out the door for just under 17k. It’s not my type of car, but it’s fun in its own way. And Toyota hybrids seem to be super reliable.

  • avatar
    qest

    OK, the basic requirements are helpful, but is there nothing more she desires in a car than that?

    When you say “out the door” we need to at least know what state she’s registering in to compute taxes.

    How long does she plan to keep the vehicle, and about how many miles per year? Is that consistent mileage, or might she take off across the country one year? Even if she doesn’t lease, residual value may be a consideration.

    What’s the Hyundai worth, and can we use that in addition to the $15k, or have you already figured that in?

    I know you’re not supposed to judge a deal on monthly payment lest a dealer swindle you with it; however, I’m not selling her anything, so it should be safe to discuss with me. Some vehicles have low rate financing and others don’t, so that should be a consideration for the B&B. What does her bank offer her to compare?

    What did she like about the Hyundai? What did she dislike?

  • avatar
    djsyndrome

    Mazda2. This generation is about over, and deals are everywhere. Under 15k out the door may limit her to the Sport model, so no cruise or alloys,

    35k miles in mine with no trouble whatsoever.

    • 0 avatar
      TMA1

      Agreed, that was my first thought.

    • 0 avatar
      ...m...

      …likewise, and likely to stick around longer than mitsubishi to honor obligations, to boot…

      • 0 avatar
        TMA1

        Another good point. Mazda appears to be on the upswing with a new factory in Mexico, a Toyota partnership, and great reviews – Mitsubishi has one foot out the door already.

    • 0 avatar
      Richard Chen

      Fitzmall.com does have the Sport/auto for $14k and change:

      http://www.fitzmall.com/Inventory/SearchResults?Conditions=NEW&Makes=Mazda&Models=Mazda2&Trims=4dr+HB+Auto+Sport&Styles=&Prices=&Miles=&Regions=ALL&Stores=&KeyWordSearch=&Sort=Price-ASC&inventoryGrid_length=10&Wholesale=&UseCriteria=true

    • 0 avatar
      MAGICGTI

      And most important, it’s an honest-to-God Japanese car. It possesses the characteristics of Toyota, Honda, etc. of yore, the general feel of being exceptionally well-screwed together. It won’t age poorly like the Koreans (modern GM/Daewoo included).

      I get wanting a warranty lasting as long as the payments, but with the Mazda I’d be comfortable owning it out-of-warranty and making payments on a shoestring budget. Not so much the others.

      If he credit isn’t ruined I’ve seen the 0% for 60 months out there as well.

      • 0 avatar
        PonchoIndian

        Hey Magic
        Did you happen to skip over Baruth’s article on how well the rental Cruze has aged, as in, it shows no wear and tear after 55K hard miles?
        I think your “opinion” is a little out dated and out of touch.

        I’ve got a Cruze with 75K on it that I’d put money on you not being able to tell from new other than the stone chips.

        • 0 avatar
          MAGICGTI

          No, I might have even posted in it. Not sure why opinion needs quotes, and do some reading on the Spark and Sonic woes. It’s very real, and the Aveo itself was a rolling turd. Calling it disposable doesn’t do it justice.

          Can’t opine why the Cruze seems to last but notice I didn’t mention the Cruze.

  • avatar
    stevelovescars

    How about a Fiat 500 Pop? I’ve seen these advertised with very low miles for far less than your price target. While slow, they should run circles around the Mirage and are at least cheerful places to spend time. In my experience (had a rented Pop for a week and owned an Abarth) they are more than capable of freeway trips. Seems a number of these went to rental fleets in base trim with automatics and alloy wheels. Everything else she needs was standard (A/C, power windows, etc.).

    It doesn’t sound like she needs four doors and the little Fiat is quite roomy for “stuff” with the back seats down and actually not too bad at carrying people with a smaller driver up front.

    • 0 avatar
      djsyndrome

      It’s entirely possible that Ms. BigBra is a fan of her car starting every morning and not catching fire while she sleeps.

      • 0 avatar

        This would be the requirement for most of the “normal world”, by the way-reliable, doesn’t ask for much, and all the stuff we obsess about, not even on the radar.

        Pretty lady, BTW. Crank open the wallet and help her with this purchase.

      • 0 avatar
        qest

        Hey!

        How are we going to support the Italian economy if we have no more car companies to give them and don’t buy their unreliable cars?

        Maybe we can give them Congress for free?

        • 0 avatar
          andyinatl

          Actually since the second coming of the Fiat in 2011/12, their cars have been more reliable than GM/Ford cars. I would rather have Fiat than any of the new ecoboost Fords/GM cars

      • 0 avatar
        Vojta Dobeš

        Small, basic Fiats are usually pretty reliable.

  • avatar
    Arthur Dailey

    Korean (Hyundai/Kia not Daewoo/Chev). Good warranty, the manufacturer/dealer will be around for the duration and a decent reliable auto much like her old Accent but improved.

    That being said we are also looking at the Scion Xd for my daughter. A Yaris in a nicer package with a more usable configuration.

    If you were buying used I would recommend a Hyundai Elantra Touring. In Europe these competed with the Golf.

  • avatar
    danio3834

    2013 Chrysler 200 Limited. Just got someone into one yesterday. V6/6speed, 26k miles, 1 year in service, leather, remote start, touch screen radio and fancy wheels for $14,200 not including tax.

    Brand new 2014 LX models without the goodies can be had for slightly more.

  • avatar
    SomeGuy

    CPO Chevy Sonic LS or LT. Auto with the 1.8L engine.

    Done. 5yr/100k warranty, CPO increases the bumper-to-bumper warranty.

    • 0 avatar

      I totally agree!

      Jack, how could you forget the Sonic? Tails and I aren’t happy with you.

    • 0 avatar
      matador

      The Sonic was my thought, too. All a Mitsubishi Mirage would cause is you to [Open her Cheddar Bugles] while thumping to [Led Zeppelin IV] while being broken down. Notice, the broken down part isn’t redacted.

      Mitsubishi may have a long warrant,y but if there are few dealers, who’ll service the [Cotton-Picking] thing?

      ———————-

      The Sonic seems to be decent, and a good value for money. It has Air Conditioning, Automatic Transmission, a decent warranty (With MANY Chev. Dealers Available), plus it has tons of room in the back for plenty of [Epic Comic books] and enough space for Miss Big-Bra to do [Her makeup].

      The Sonic seems like a solid choice to me.

  • avatar
    30-mile fetch

    Avoid the Mitsu, their future presence in this market is not a given. Not many alternatives if you insist on brand new, though. Versa S sedan is the only one I can think of with an MSRP well below $15K.

    Unless you think you will be able to convince a dealer to knock $1500 off an already low-margin Yaris, I’d seriously consider a more respectable used B-segment car like a Sonic with the NA 1.8 or an Accent/Rio.

    She will have to give up 20-30K miles of newness, but I think she will get more car in the long run.

  • avatar
    LALoser

    I have had no problems with Mitsubishi. 2 RalliArts, Lancer SE (AWD), and an Adventure. The SE was just as boring as any other work a day grey box, but never let me down.
    The new Mirage is not my cup of tea, but 2 people I know bought in, and really like them. You can get excellent discounts with 0% financing, and if you dig-in, a free extended warranty.
    Oh! I forgot: The Mirage owners only drive on the freeway 10 to 20 per cent of the time. One guy bought his over a Spark because of discounts.

  • avatar
    bomberpete

    I’ve dealt with John Pearley Huffman and think he’s a nasty prig with demands that are irrelevant to 98% of new car buyers. Still, I have to agree with him — the Mirage is an inferior machine to the Nissan Versa and Mazda2, and by miles. There are great deals on Mazda2 now, but the Versa is a little “softer” in the daily driving experience. Either feels like a real car, not reconditioned sardine tins like the Mirage.

    If the lovely Ms. McBigBra is OK with going CPO, move on up to a ’10-’12 Fit, Civic, Accord, Camry, last-gen Fusion, etc. By your own admission she’s suffered enough, so fer crissakes Jack, help her out with the vig on a nice, safe, reliable set of wheels.

  • avatar
    dude500

    A new Mirage is likely worse than a 3yr old Chrysler 200 with 50k miles in terms of driveability, reliability, longevity, dealer and manufacturer support, comfort and price.

    If warranty is important, you can still tack on an unlimited drivetrain warranty from the factory, as long as the existing warranty hasn’t expired. http://www.chryslerwarrantys.com

    • 0 avatar
      MAGICGTI

      I highly, highly doubt that a used 200 will outlast a new Mirage but stranger things have happened. I do agree that a used 200 with give the most bang-for-the-buck.

      There is a poster on another forum who, driving carefully, regularly achieves 50 MPG in his new Mirage CVT. That’s really impressive. Before I buy any car I check Fuelly for real-world MPG. I don’t imagine the 200 would be great. Also, most used 200s will be off-fleet and that’s a definite concern.

      • 0 avatar
        PonchoIndian

        So a Mitsubishi (the 200 is a Mitsubishi, unless it has the 3.6, in which case it has a Chrysler engine/trans) won’t last as long as…a lower class Mitsubishi? Huh?

        • 0 avatar
          MAGICGTI

          News to me, I thought it was Imported From Detroit.

          So it’s all Mitsubishi? Like, if you took it apart everything would have the Diamond Star logo? Mitsubishi did the supplier selection and negotiation?

          Or is this another TTAC idea where if a car shares a part with another make then it’s a rebadge.

          • 0 avatar
            PonchoIndian

            Hmm, lets see, it is a Mitsubishi co-designed chassis, shares an engine with Mitsubishi and Hyundai in 4 cyl form, as well as a transmission.

            Not that there is anything wrong with any of this, just not sure why you think it won’t last at least as long as a CVT equipped Mirage.

      • 0 avatar
        danio3834

        “Also, most used 200s will be off-fleet and that’s a definite concern.”

        Why? Regular maintenance regimens aren’t your thing? I’ve bought many, many ex-fleet and rental cars and aside from the odd cosmetic issues, none have been a problem mechanically.

  • avatar
    PrincipalDan

    Auto Trader Search within 100 miles of Powell, OH – New Cars, Automatic, less than $15,000, Nissan Sentra (since the Versa was getting mentioned so much), any Hyundai, any Kia (since she already has Accent experience).

    http://tinyurl.com/pjwvyjj

    65 results and that was with severely limiting the manufacturers. I’d suggest Sentra because the increased wheelbase would likely make it easier to get your kid’s car seat in and out of the car. IIRC the little Baruth is hers.

  • avatar
    DeeDub

    Jack – if I remember correctly you raved about the current gen Kia Rio. Why aren’t you suggesting she buy one of them?

  • avatar
    SCE to AUX

    Lots of good suggestions here.

    But I wholeheartedly agree with one: Don’t get a Mitsubishi. The Nissan Leaf is selling at half the rate of the entire Mitsubishi brand, which isn’t long for this market.

  • avatar
    PonchoIndian

    sweet baby jesus…you’re asking these guys!

    I would think she’d want something more substantial than a Mirage after going on the t-cup ride in Jack’s Lincoln.

    A 10 year warranty is great in theory, until you realize you actually have to use it and spend substantial time at the dealership.

    I would think you’ll be able to find a decent ride for that kind of money, add in a nice cpo or extended warranty and still be ahead of the game. Carmax maybe? A CPO Cruze or Sonic can be had cheap and if done right get a better warranty than a new one. I’ll bet you could even find a leftover Corolla at a large dealership that will be willing to wheel and deal to get rid of it.

    • 0 avatar
      30-mile fetch

      “I would think she’d want something more substantial than a Mirage after going on the t-cup ride in Jack’s Lincoln.”

      Keep in mind that unlike front impact scores, side impact scores are independent of the test vehicle’s mass, so it is quite likely that a crappy new B-segment car would have protected its passengers better in that wreck.

      • 0 avatar
        Jack Baruth

        Also, she wasn’t the one in the accident, nor is she my baby momma, in this era of khaki-clad fantasy-football league “men” even an ugly bastard like me can date widely. :)

        • 0 avatar
          PonchoIndian

          1000 pardons sir for my assumption she was the lucky girl in the Lincoln.

          I think anyone who doesn’t spend the majority of their time playing some kind of video game already has one up on the fantasy-football league “men”.

          • 0 avatar
            Jack Baruth

            That girl, who has no McNickname but probably should have one, is thinking about selling her Z71 Tahoe. Maybe Silvy will buy it!

    • 0 avatar
      tjh8402

      I agree with PonchoIndian on the idea of something used with the carmax warranty if the warranty is a big deal. Assuming she gets terms similar to DeMuros, I did a nationwide search for automatic transmission, <$12k, and <40k miles and got 126 matches (although 56 are Smart cars). There's a Buick Century, Malibus, Focuses, a Crown Vic, a Mazda 2, Mazda 6, 3 (!!!) Grand Marqis (don't tell Sajeev), Milan, Versa, Astra, Xa…you get the idea.

  • avatar
    mjz

    I think the Spark was the only “minicar” to do acceptably in recent crash tests. The previous (2013) Fit did very poorly as I recall.

  • avatar
    jpolicke

    Lots of good suggestions here. Bottom line is that 15k on the gently used market will get you something nicer and more dependable than that third world sh1tb0x Mirage. If you want security you can get a warranty from Chrysler which is a lot better than those fly-by-nights that base their business model on ignoring do-not-call lists.

  • avatar
    MAGICGTI

    Don’t worry about the Fiesta DCT, on one of the Fiesta forums there’s a medical courier with over 500k on his 2011 Fiesta SE sedan. He did replace the PowerShift DCT but IIRC around 280k miles. He is on his second one, obviously.

    The Spark and Sonic aren’t doing so hot in reliability. I think the Mirage would be a great city car but the Fiesta is so much more substantial. As much as I don’t like Toyota the Yaris is hard to beat.

    Behind the Fiesta DCT, I’d look for an automatic Mazda2. Even though it’s a 4-speed and doesn’t get great mileage with it I think it’s the most car for your buck. Dealers are wanting to give them away and there is a new one on the horizon.

    Before she buys I’d have her try out a manual Fiesta 1.0T, or any manual. I get that she’s done with them, but this is the class of car where a manual still makes a big difference in MPG on some of these cars.

    You’d also be surprised that new cars aren’t selling for much more than similar used ones, and the real loss leaders are the Cruzes, Focuses, etc. A stripper one of those would be fantastic. Also if she’s military, college-grad, etc. the rebates stack up.

    • 0 avatar
      bomberpete

      I’ve driven lots of miles in both Fiestas and the Mazda2. Go with the Mazda2. While that Fiesta handles well and that DCT may not be a grenade, I hate the way it drives. It’s jerky and seems awful to live with — especially climbing hills. The MPG is worse than the Mazda2 and the Versa, and even some mid-size cars. Finally, whether you care what CR says or not, they say the small Fords aren’t reliability champs.

  • avatar
    J.Emerson

    If she wants something really small, go for a Spark. It might not last forever, but I’d give it more of a chance to make it to 150,000 than any Mitsubishi product.

    Otherwise, virtually everything else in the B segment is a better choice. Another Accent, a Yaris, a Sonic, anything.

  • avatar
    ajla

    She could probably swing an auto Patriot with AC for right at $15k OTD.

  • avatar
    baconator

    OMG! An actual picture of the fabled Vokda McBigbra! This is, no kidding, probably the most exciting thing that will happen to me all day.

    Re: the car, try the Kia Soul or Saturn Vue. The Soul can be either new or used – it’s possible to bargain a base model down below the $15k cap, and a 2-3 year old one will still have 7-8 years of warranty left.

    Vues seem to be above-average reliable and are noticeably cheaper than CRVs/RAV4s/Escapes of similar vintage.

  • avatar
    turboprius

    As much as everyone hates them, a previous generation Corolla could be a good choice. I’ve found several Certified Pre-Owned ones within 30 miles of my area that cost under 15 grand and have a one year warranty, as well as a year of roadside assistance. On a 2010 LE with 65K miles, say, she’ll still have 2.5 years and/or 35K left of the original warranty (per the CPO guidelines). I filmed a 2010 LE last year, and it was a good little car. Only reasons people hate them is because the interior quality is atrocious, they’re boring, and they have a four speed automatic.

    Also, why do you call her Vodka McBigbra? Just call her her actual first name at the very least, please, or just give her a less crude name. I wasn’t offended, but some people may be. Thanks.

    • 0 avatar
      Jack Baruth

      That was a nickname I gave her a while ago and when I started writing about her on TTAC I kept it because I didn’t want anything I said about her to appear on Google searches for her actual name — she’s no longer in the exotic entertainment business and has a day job now.

      It was popular enough that I expanded the concept: Drama McHourglass, Curvy McLegalbriefs, and so on. I’ve had a few requests to be given a McName, and one person — Kiki the Dutch girl — who has refused to even consider one :)

  • avatar
    FreedMike

    OK, the warranty in the Mitsu is nice, but is the company going to be around longer than the warranty? Good question.

    How about a lightly used newer Accent, or maybe stretch the $15000 envelope a bit for a new one?

  • avatar
    Volt 230

    Get a DeLorean time machine and go back 10 yrs and you will find good offerings for under $15k, otherwise, used market, the Misu has received horrible reviews.

  • avatar
    bomberpete

    Mitsubishi Motors as a company isn’t going anywhere. They can afford to sink more cash for a little while more. Still, as a going US entity well….Peugeot and Alfa dealers hung on for a little while, now Saab and Suzuki dealers are trying the same. Still, I do believe Mitsu US will outlast her tolerance for that Mirage.

  • avatar
    Dan

    How cheap is that Mirage when, four or five years later, it’s wrecked (stolen, your lifestyle changes, whatever) and you get $6000 for it?

    How cheap is it when a door or hatch gets bashed in and junkyard examples don’t exist?

    Buying an offbrand new is a false economy. A cheap new car looks like a Corolla, or a Prius if you drive enough.

  • avatar
    taxman100

    Jack – the Mirage would be perfectly fine. It was designed to be lightweight and simple, so operating costs would be as low as possible. If the Elio doesn’t pan out, I’m looking in that direction.

    Expand your search on Cars.com to include northeast Ohio – there are dealers up near Akron/Cleveland selling Mirage DE with CVT for under $13,000. I make the drive up I-71 to buy most of my cars.

  • avatar
    canddmeyer

    The heck with the car. I want to know more about the island princess!!!

  • avatar
    mjz

    2014 Chevy Spark LS with CVT prices out at $14,307 on the Chevy website. Think this would be a better choice than the Mirage, with at least acceptable crash ratings. Much better dealer network too. And it even has standard 15″ aluminum wheels! Woohoo!

  • avatar
    Volt 230

    Spark forums always mention about inadequate a/c output and how dealers cannot seem to know what to do about it, maybe it just came with bad a/c but if you live in a super hot climate, perhaps this is not the car to own.

  • avatar
    MarionCobretti

    The Kia Soul. Hatfield has one with an A/T advertised at $15,164 , and Ricart has one at $15,369. While fuel economy seems atrocious for a wheezy 1.6 four banger (31 highway!?), the Soul in all other respects seems to be a damn nice car, with many more bells and whistles than the Mirage, along with orders of magnitude more style. And it too has a 100K powertrain warranty. Although both of those dealers are somewhat notorious for advertising prices with every possible rebate thrown in, I’d imagine you could get one under 15 if you really tried.

    Plus, if I learned anything from AutoTrader’s little O.A.G. marketing gimmick yesterday (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pCOqExuef6E), it’s that ladies love Kia Souls.

    Also rans:

    The Sonic Hatch is a good looking little car. It looks like Byers Chevrolet and Chevrolet of Dublin both have a few auto-trans models discounted into the mid-to-high 15,000’s. There’s currently 1,500 cash on the hood on them, so you *may* be able to get one under 15K. At that price you’re getting the icky 1.8, rather than the nifty 1.4 Turbo, though.

    Ford Fiesta. Jim Keim Ford has a ton of base-model A/T sedans advertised at 15K flat.

    Kia Rio. Meh.

    • 0 avatar

      1.8= not icky and much better reliability ratings. Same hp output, too.

      • 0 avatar
        MarionCobretti

        Okay, so not icky, but certainly less desirable. I have no experience with them in automatic guise, but I sampled a couple of manual Sonics recently, and the 1.4 is a much better drive by far. The car has more torque available pretty much everywhere. As a result the car feels peppy and enjoyable to drive. It also sounds better and returns better mileage as well. The naturally aspirated 1.8 seems mirthless by comparison (admittedly , it was probably not helped by only having five cogs to the 1.4T’s six).

        I’m not sure about their reliability, but I can see how the turbo car would lag in that area. But if I was buying a Sonic, I’d want to pony up for the turbo.

        It’s ultimately irrelevant here, as Vodka ain’t gettin’ the General’s 1.4T *new* in either of the Chebbies it comes in at her price point.

        Although, speaking of new, there’s a nice example of a barely used 2013 Cruze with the icky but competent 1.8 and less than 6,000 miles sitting at a Columbus dealer, and it’s just under the magic $15K mark:

        http://www.ricart.com/certified/Chevrolet/2013-Chevrolet-Cruze-dca2b7d00a0a00e062c7587dd3320cce.htm

        Plus, I seem to recall Mr. Baruth having some nice things to say about the Cruze recently. Hmm…

  • avatar
    MarionCobretti

    Also, this ain’t new, but at one year old with less than 6K miles, it seems appealing, and I seem to recall you liking the Cruze:

    http://www.cars.com/go/search/detail.jsp?tracktype=usedcc&csDlId=&csDgId=&listingId=606090237&listingRecNum=22&criteria=feedSegId%3D28705%26rpp%3D50%26transTypeId%3D28113%26isDealerGrouping%3Dfalse%26sf2Nm%3Dmiles%26requestorTrackingInfo%3DRTB_SEARCH%26yrMn%3D2012%26sf1Nm%3Dprice%26sf2Dir%3DASC%26stkTypId%3D28881%26PMmt%3D0-0-0%26rn%3D0%26prcId%3D28843%26zc%3D43002%26rd%3D50%26crSrtFlds%3DstkTypId-feedSegId-pseudoPrice-pseudoYear-pseudoMileage-transTypeId%26mlgId%3D28867%26stkTyp%3DU%26mlgMx%3D40000%26prMn%3D14000%26sf1Dir%3DDESC%26prMx%3D16000&aff=national&listType=1

  • avatar
    Mandalorian

    Panther or Buick 3800! I beat you all to the inevitable!!!

    Just kidding. 15 grand will get an almost new Impala. Otherwise a sixth gen (swoopy) Hyundai Sonata comes to mind.

  • avatar
    mikedt

    Honda’s leasing Fits for $179 in my neck of the woods. $1800 down.

  • avatar
    CJinSD

    http://www.cars.com/go/search/detail.jsp?tracktype=newcc&csDlId=&csDgId=&listingId=609354145&listingRecNum=82&criteria=feedSegId%3D28705%26rpp%3D50%26transTypeId%3D28113%26transTypeId%3D28115%26isDealerGrouping%3Dfalse%26sf2Nm%3Dlocation%26requestorTrackingInfo%3DRTB_SEARCH%26sf1Nm%3Dprice%26sf2Dir%3DASC%26stkTypId%3D28880%26PMmt%3D6-0-0%26rn%3D50%26prcId%3D28646%26prcId%3D28645%26zc%3D43065%26rd%3D50%26crSrtFlds%3DstkTypId-feedSegId%26stkTyp%3DN%26mkId%3D20053%26mkId%3D20017%26mkId%3D20068%26mkId%3D20089%26mkId%3D20077%26mkId%3D20030%26sf1Dir%3DDESC&aff=national&listType=1

    Your local dealer is heavily discounting 2014 CR-V EX-Ls. I’d buy them both for this price.

  • avatar
    Flipper35

    Locally there is a 2014 Avernger SE for under $14k.

    http://www.lancasterdodge.net/new-inventory/index.htm?model=Avenger&amp;

    • 0 avatar
      MarionCobretti

      My god! There’s a black one with a Pentastar just across the border in KY for under 16K. In every respect, it’s a terrible car. But…dat torque! I need to step away from AutoTrader for the afternoon and go drink away these thoughts of buying an Avenger.

  • avatar
    Dave M.

    2014 Nissan Sentra SV for $15300

    http://www.robbinsnissan.com/vehicle-details/2014-nissan-sentra-sv-houston-tx-id-6314828

  • avatar
    Prado

    my pick. 2011 Civic. The last year prior to the botched redesign. Find one still under the 3 yr warranty, and then buy an extended ‘factory backed’ Honda warranty online for however long she wants.

  • avatar
    Lorenzo

    My experience with women tells me she’s going to get the Mirage and this post/comment section is immaterial. The opinions are all over the place already, and easily dismissed. So Mirage it is. The real question is what color, and with a new car she’s limited only by the dealer selection and her personal preferences, and our opinions are neither required nor desired, thank you. What’s YOUR experience with women buying cars?

  • avatar
    05lgt

    5 year old V6 Camry auto and an aftermarket warranty. I saw examples in Ohio with less than 100k and $2k room for the warranty.

  • avatar
    vvk

    I recommend Lexus GX. Its resale value is so good that you can drive it for 5 years and it will cost you under $15k in depreciation.

  • avatar
    niky

    Coming hugely late to this. If you’re going new, the Mirage is a decent choice, though I’d rather the manual.

    The Spark feels more solid, but it’s cramped, and mechanically, the Mirage’s 1.2 is much sweeter than that lump under the Spark’s hood. (the Mirage is quicker, as well, despite the lower power output).

    Given it’s at the end of its shelf-life, the Mazda2 might just be a steal. I’ve always loved the way it drives, and even with the 4AT, it’s a lot of fun. The only dingbats you can throw at it are the small back seat and the high revs on the highway.

  • avatar
    calgarytek

    Why not send her to Steven Lang? Technically, you get warranty as long as you make the payments, or something like that.

  • avatar
    -Nate

    She’s cute , good going Jack .

    You have _no_idea_ what ‘ Mc Big Bra ‘ really means ~ I can’t attach photos else I’d show you =8-) .

    Related Q. : a Lady I know is looking to buy a 2007 Honda RAV4 for $7K .
    Are these any good ? problems ? .

    Should she run away or what ? .

    TIA ,

    -Nate

  • avatar
    Master Baiter

    Nice headlights.

  • avatar
    ShoogyBee

    If she *has* to go new, then I’d go with a Mazda 2 or a Nissan Versa Note. If one can get a Sentra for around $15K, then that would be a reasonable contender as well. It sounds like the Mazda 2 can be had for hundreds, if not a thousand or two, less than either of the Nissans.

    Just over a year ago, I bought a CPO 2010 Camry LE (4 cyl, power driver’s seat, moonroof) with 31K miles for $16K even. It was in perfect condition and if I had to do it all over again, I’d go for that Camry over any of the aforementioned vehicles in a heartbeat.

    But again, if having a new car under a full warranty is that important to her, then the Mazda and Nissans would be reasonable options.

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