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Hatchback owners? Mazda 3, Toyota Matrix, Ford Focus


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I'm really interested in getting a:

 

- Toyota Matrix

- Mazda 3 5-door

- Ford Focus SVT 5-door

 

http://www.phait-accompli.com/crap/cars.jpg

 

They're sporty like rally cars but all of them come from reliable companies and are good on gas. The price range isn't too bad either. I've been seriously considering saving up all earnings for 1 year and buying one of them used. So my question is: who owns any of these? Care to comment?

 

There is a small issue I read about the Focus and I think the Matrix - a couple drivers couldn't see the hood, making it a bit hard to judge parking distance ahead of them.

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Mazda :thu:

 

My truck was in for some repairs and I rented a Mazda hatchback, At first I hated the fact that I was driving a P.O.S. 4-cylinder hatchback. but I have to admit, that thing had some POWER! I dusted one of them little lowered Hondas with the fart-pipe and it got great gas mileage. I can't speak for the Ford or the Toyota, but I've driven the Mazda...that little f*cker had some bawls. :thu:

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I'm leaning towards the asian cars because of their reliability... a Subaru Impreza is also a cosnideration - in fact it's my dream car... they are about $18k, but the performance models are $25 to $35k. I'm not wild about fast cars but it does have a pull.
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http://www.mitsubishicars.com/images/2004/out/outlander_main.jpg

 

and i just got this mitsubishi outlanger last week. it has a bigger 4 cylinder engine (2.4 v 1.8) and seems a lot sturdier on the open road. it only cost 13,000 with air, power package and auto compared to 15k on my corolla. give it a look

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We just bought a new Focus 4 door 2 months ago. So far it has been a joy.

 

As for the parking qualm... sounds like somebody needs to learn how to drive. :freak: EVERY new vehicle you drive requires an adjustment in perception of both front and back clearances. I find parking this car a joy, parallel or straight.

 

My only qualms with the Focus regard the interior. My 1991 Ford Escort (The car we replaced. First car I ever bought.) had some room between the door and the driver's seat. The Focus, for all it's interior room, does not. It was odd at first, but now I don't miss it at all. The other issue is the headrest. It's not at all comfortable at first, though this is not the first compact car I've had this complaint about. Again, it took some getting used to, but now is comfortable.

 

We just took our first road trip in it, from Nashville to Northern Illinois and back, a few weekends ago. It handled flawlessly. I discovered, with the cool-for-summer weather, that the car get's significantly better gas mileage with the A/C off. 25 - 27 mpg with A/C, 35+ w/o A/C. That seems to be more contrast than I experienced with the Escort, my wife's 1989 Chevy Cavalier, or the 1999 Mercury Sable she drives now.

 

Denise works for Ford Credit, so I can't very well compare price for you as she gets A-plan pricing. Dealer cost plus all rebates, incentives, including hidden ones that allow dealers to sell at or near cost and still make a profit. We even bought into the extended warranty to 5 years/100,000 miles bumper to bumper because it was through Ford and was available to us for pennies on the dollar.

 

We didn't check out either the Mazda or Toyota, so I hope this helps you compare them but I can't comment on the comparisons/contrasts of these vehicles. (Again, we also bought a 4 door sedan.)

It's easiest to find me on Facebook. Neil Bergman

 

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Originally posted by Phait:

I'm leaning towards the asian cars because of their reliability... a Subaru Impreza is also a cosnideration - in fact it's my dream car... they are about $18k, but the performance models are $25 to $35k. I'm not wild about fast cars but it does have a pull.

I bought a car about a year ago, and I was one great deal on a Mazda away from picking up a Subaru WRX sedan - although the wagons are pretty cool too.

 

Eventually I'm going to purchase an STi :eek:

 

If you can afford it and find recently used WRX I'd say go for it - if you take care if it it could last forever, they look great, handle great, are great in bad weather, and the wagons have room to haul equpiment.

*Howard Zinn for President*

**Pilsner Urquell for President of Beers!**

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Cars dot com is an excellent place to do comparisons. There is a link to a direct comparison of the unit you are interesed in, along with several direct competitors, or you can choose your own comparison.

Each description page also has a J.D. Powers rating on it.

 

Our Joint

 

"When you come slam bang up against trouble, it never looks half as bad if you face up to it." The Duke...

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Originally posted by Cereal:

and i just got this mitsubishi outlanger last week. it has a bigger 4 cylinder engine (2.4 v 1.8) and seems a lot sturdier on the open road. it only cost 13,000 with air, power package and auto compared to 15k on my corolla. give it a look

Cereal, New? Used? If new, where? That's on our look at list & that price is killer.

 

Our Joint

 

"When you come slam bang up against trouble, it never looks half as bad if you face up to it." The Duke...

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Mitsubishi is offering killer deals, so I woudl at least drive an outlander, though I think the front end looks like ASS Which.

 

I would NOT buy a focus.

 

Toyota First, mazda 2nd

 

BTW, the Pontiac Vibe is a re-badged matrix. The radio is the only difference. If you know someone who can get yo the GM discount, that woudl be the way to do it.

 

Also, look at the Scion xB. Pretty funky, but cheap, built by Toyota and woudl hold a boat load of gear.

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Originally posted by deanmass:

...I would NOT buy a focus...

Obviously an informed opinion. :rolleyes:

 

Other than an obvious bias against Ford, and perhaps all American automobile manufacturers, do you have any factual reason to not buy a Focus??

 

Since I bought mine I've asked several people about theirs. So far I've heard nothing but stellar comments about their Focus'. And my questions were actually biased towards the negative to try and draw out the issues people have dealt with. (One is a 2001, the others were more recent.)

 

I have nothing against Toyota or Mazda, but why make such an obvious biased statement without offering one reason why someone shouldn't buy a Focus? :confused:

It's easiest to find me on Facebook. Neil Bergman

 

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OK, I will offer a reason, other than the FACT that while the Focus has been a consumer reports best buy, there have been constant reliability issues.

 

I test drove 2 focu-i.

 

Both were impressive. For Fords.

 

Both had shit transmissions, just like the Tempo I owned, the 2 escorts I owned. The drive trains are sloppy and noisy, just like on the previous incarnations of small cars for Ford.

 

Both had fit and finish that were spotty. One had an obvious interior trim flaw, the other looked as if the hood was cocked to one side.

 

I get A Plan via 3 relatives that work for Ford OR retired. There is little chance I would choose to buy one.

 

I also test drove a Matrix. I loved it. Sat lower than I wanted to sit, or I would have purchased it. I have owned 2 Corollas, and have never had anything but routine maintenance issues with them.

 

I test drove a Mazda 3 wagon about the same time. Very nice small car, but under steered a bit and was smaller inside.

 

I chose Saturn Vue. Why? Sat higher, better towing capacity, 0 percent financing, great local dealership. I think the Matrix and/or the Mazda were better built cars, but I was willing to make some trade offs, and they had a special sport pack on heavy discount with it. I paid 17.5K for a stick with air and all power, plus a tow pack and a kayak rack.

 

Oh yeah, back to my Ford stories...

 

My wifes 1987 Escort ran like a champ for years, but, the tranmission drove me BATTY. It hunted gears, and when you put it in park, a ROLL of 2 fee was normal. Yeah yeah, parking brake...

 

My 1993 Tempo was cheap, had air and 4 doors, which is what I needed at the time. It handled like ass, had a weird seatingposition, and the classic 'sorta kinda Ford Tranny'. I had a Volvo 240 Wagon at the same time, which was older. My wife chose to drive it.

 

The 1994 Escort I bought was pretty good, but it had a manual transmission. The drivers door FELL OFF the third day we owned it. The air stopped working 2.5 weeks later, and it took 4 weeks to get it fixed CORRECTLY.

 

My 1996 Ford Ranger was OK as well, as long as I did not try to maintain 70 mph up a small hill in 5th with non one in the car but myself. ( 250lbs, btw). This situation completely blew when I was hauling my DJ gear around KC, MO. No power. It was a manual 4 cyl. Did I mention it got terrible gas maileage for a 4 banger?

 

My 1992 (?) Aerostar handled like crap in the winter, even with snow tires on. I had the transmission worked on several times. I hated it and sold it.

 

I would never have even BOTHERED to test a focus had it not been for the incessant whining of my retired father in law, and the great reviews it was getting, but it is simply not the same class of car as a toyota or mazda. It is closer than ever before, but not close enough to make me buy one OR recommend to someone they should. Since the string of Fords, I have owned 3 Civics and one Accord. No problems with ANY ...EVER.

 

The Saturn has had 2 minor problems. One was the shift linkage broke 3 months after I bought it, and I had to have it towed and was without a car for 5 days. The seat base ripped out of the driver seat, which is being replaced under warranty. They replaced the from springs because they were squeeking so badly it was disrupting the RADIO. There is a recall now on the rear springs.

 

So, I have explained myself. Maybe now you can explain why you are so quick to jump on someone offering a personal opinion, and why you don't really have a reason for supporting Ford so adamantly.

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Kwitcherbitchin, both of yas, and thank you for your insights :D

 

Anywho, that Mitsubishi seems like a damn nice deal, but it looks like an SUV, and I'm not ready for one, what with all the rollover issues and gas miledage. If it's not an SUV, well then, maybe it's another option.

 

Now, are most import cars easy to get parts for? I've sometimes heard some brands are hard to get for. I guess these are mostly the Euro cars (VW, for example).

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Originally posted by Phait:

Kwitcherbitchin, both of yas, and thank you for your insights :D

 

Anywho, that Mitsubishi seems like a damn nice deal, but it looks like an SUV, and I'm not ready for one, what with all the rollover issues and gas miledage. If it's not an SUV, well then, maybe it's another option.

 

Now, are most import cars easy to get parts for? I've sometimes heard some brands are hard to get for. I guess these are mostly the Euro cars (VW, for example).

it's not an suv.
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it is more like Subura Forester, or the ilk....small wagon..Pretty cool....The outland sit about the same height as a Matrix/Focus/Phaitus Maximus

 

And!

 

I have something else to say about Ford..(Good)

 

IF you have not seen a new Mustang in the flesh, you are in for a real treat. They are INCREDIBLE looking in person. If they drive and handle 50% better than the old ones, they are gonna sell tons of them. Since the Mustangs don't have the low end tranny parts usually, these puppies are worth noting.

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There's just been one of them big reliability survey-test things done over here and overall, Japanese cars came top by far, with the Germans being the worst!

 

The Mazda 323 scored 100% as did a couple of Toyota Corolla models. Ford Focus did well too, scoring 95%

 

The Mazda & Toyota models you're after aren't mentioned, probably because there are different models in the US and/or the same models have different names. All Mazdas and Toyotas tested scored in the high 90's if not 100%

 

I had a 1990 Honda Accord when I was in the States and it was easy to get parts for.

 

Good luck

 

John Scotsman

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Originally posted by deanmass:

...So, I have explained myself. Maybe now you can explain why you are so quick to jump on someone offering a personal opinion, and why you don't really have a reason for supporting Ford so adamantly.

Thanks for the explanation. Previous experience with the company must be given a hard look.

 

As for me being, "so quick to jump on someone offering a personal opinion", your opinion, so far as any of us knew, was based on nothing factual. You may as well have said, "Ford sux!" (intended mispelling. ;) ) or "Korn Rulez!"

 

Now that you've dispelled that miscommunication your opinion has quite a bit more validity. Why you left out your experience test driving the Focus, if not your previous Ford experience, from your original post is beyond me. But to dismiss someone who asks you to back up your opinion with reason is silly.

 

As for your continued spin that I, "don't really have a reason for supporting Ford so adamantly.", I suggest you re-read the thread.

 

In my original post I mentioned my own previous Ford experience which was very good on several accounts. (1991 Escort and 1999 Mercury Sable.) I could have included much more about my brothers' and parents experiences with Ford, before and/or now that Denise works for Ford Credit. A lot of it is not good. A lot of it is very good. I chose to include the most pertinent info about my own experience, particularly with my previous compact Ford and my current one.

 

AND, I mentioned prominently that we did not test drive the other cars mentioned, I have no personal experience with them and therefore cannot make a comparison.

 

How much less biased towards Ford could I be? Just because someone called you on your lack of information doesn't justify a complete spin of the other person's opinions.

 

Bottom line: You originally offered no substance with regards to your disdain for the Focus. You then attack me as being biased and similarly not backing up my statements, though that couldn't be further from the truth. Thanks for elaborating on your reasons for your opinion.

 

Sorry to go so OT, Phait, but you asked for information and (I would assume) informed opinions regarding these cars. I'm glad Deanmass saw fit to give you specific points to question the purchase of a Ford rather than simply insult the brand without reason.

It's easiest to find me on Facebook. Neil Bergman

 

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Fantasticsound, it's all good. My original thoughts regarding reliability were supported in other's replies as well, so it looks like I'm getting a good car whichever I go with. But I am bumping the Mazda to top interest, Matrix 2nd, and Focus 3rd.
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Phait, you have to get real. First, you need something to haul stuff with. Big stuff. A person always has to haul big stuff. I don't know why. So, you need a pickup box. Next, you live in Wisconsin. Snow, ice, sleet. You need 4x4. Next, as you get older, and your back goes to hell, you need something big to get in and out of. Small cars = no. Big trucks = yes. Don't worry about gas mileage. If your back hurts enough, you will pay whatever gas costs. You may not be able to afford satellite tv, but you will pay for the gas. Get away from those small things you are looking at. Get a truck.

bbach

 

Beauty is in the eye of the beer holder.

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I have had my Matrix for a little over a year and love it. It easily fits my drumkit in the back and the passenger seat folds flat so you can get long objects in if needed. When considering cars as you are I bought a consumer reports issue where they rate the vehicles from that year, it helped me alot.

 

It did well in the Michigan winter, I have an '03 XR model, manual transmission. Also I found this forum of Matrix owners if you want more info, good luck! :) -Scott

 

http://www.matrixowners.com/modules.php?name=Forums

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We have a '97 Ford Escort wagon and my father-in-law had a '97 Escort and now has a 200? Focus. (The Escort is the predecessor of the Focus.) We've been happy with ours and have had no troubles with it. To be fair, ours is low on miles (short commutes), but my father-in-law is a salesman who drives throughout NY, NJ, and CT to see clients, putting lots and lots and lots of miles on his cars in a short period of time. Neither his Escort nor his Focus have required more than routine maintenance.

 

We also have a 2004 Toyota Corolla -- somewhat similar to the Matrix. We've been very happy with it so far: very comfortable and responsive to drive.

 

In my opinion you probably can't go wrong with any of them. That's obviously a generalization, and there might always be particularities with a specific vehicle -- despite the maker's best efforts to give you a standardized, reliable product.

 

Peace.

--SW

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Snow, ice, sleet. You need 4x4.
Nope, I know a thing or two about driving in the winter and you really don't need 4x4, but a stick shift might come in handy.

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