My question is exactly what it says on the title. For the past 12 years I've lived in a downtown area and all my workplaces have been metro accessible. I've gotten by with car shares and rentals...
My question is exactly what it says on the title. For the past 12 years I've lived in a downtown area and all my workplaces have been metro accessible. I've gotten by with car shares and rentals and borrowing other people's cars when I really needed them. but I'm applying for a job that would have about 45min to 1 hour commutes each way and will need a car to get by. I'm also just looking forward to having one, both because I have a dog now and my wife and I will start trying for a kid soon and it just seems more convenient to get around than relying on lyfts.
Yet having been out of needing to care about cars for 12 years, the modern world of everything being electronic is new and scary to me. Apparently transmissions don't need to shift gears anymore, there are alerts and alarms and sensors everywhere. . . I'm lost. I need help folks.
So here's what I'm looking for, ordered by priority:
- Visibility! I live in a city with busy streets and am terrified of accidentally killing a cyclist or scooter. So visibility is important to me, both blind-spot visibility and visibility on turns. Every rental or car share I've used has had shit for rear visibility. This includes the Ford Fiesta, the Mercedes GLC, and the Mercedes GLA. The Chevy Cruze has been okay, but still pales in comparison to the faithful 1999 Sentra of my youth.
- Fun! I haven't owned a car in forever. I want to enjoy driving it. A manual is out as my wife will need to drive it too, but something that feels peppy and has a good drive feel is important to me. I really like to "feel" like I'm driving and want something with really responsive steering and an okay amount of pick-up. We don't need to be getting into racer level, but I also don't want it to feel like I'm struggling to merge onto the highway (as I often do in a rental Fiesta or Cruze).
- Easy to park. Again, I'm in a city and parallel parking can be a giant pain and I always feel guilty holding up the people behind me when I'm doing it. Some of these features to alert when you're close to the car behind you or the simulated overhead view that some cars can give you seem great. I'd probably just settle for a backup camera and proximity sensors though.
- Cost of ownership
- Roomy and easy to get in and out of, including loading dogs and car seats for kids. I want to be able to drive around 5 people comfortably, with decent shoulder room and not make people feel cramped on long drives.
- Not too "basic." As in, I value some level of novelty and originality and would prefer something unique that not everyone else has. This is the most childish of my requests, so I don't rank it too highly.
Price-wise I'm leaning towards around $30,000 and could maybe be persuaded to get to around $40,000 for something that's REALLY perfect and cheap to own long-term. I'm currently considering a Prius, the Mazda3, a VW Golf, and a Toyota Rav4. I generally prefer sedans because of the responsiveness and drive-feel.
My logical brain is leaning Prius, but my inner teenager is saying "DO NOT GO GENTLE INTO BEING A LAME OLD MAN!!" The Golf and the Rav4 Hybrid are kind of tied. The Rav4 is bigger and harder to park, but it is roomier and has a lower cost of ownership. The Golf seems easier to park and would be more fun to drive, but it's also kind of expensive if I opt for a GTI or sport version. Plus it has less room, seems less luxe, and. . .I don't know it just looks kinda bland. I'm definitely leaning towards a low-mileage certified pre-owned whichever way I go just to not have to pay for depreciation.
So, any advice? Any other suggestions? Anything, feature-wise, I should be paying particular attention to?
The Mazda3 hatch seems really nice, but I'm worried I will 100% kill a cyclist