Which of these automatics will be more reliable down the road?
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    1. #1
      Member 2.0T_Convert's Avatar
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      Which of these automatics will be more reliable down the road?

      My commute will be changing from mass transit to a 13 mile drive over war zone pavement and constant traffic. Due to an injury I have limited use of my right wrist. The following are some cheap used cars that meet my criteria for having sufficient tire meat, sunroof, heated seats, and two pedals. All options are also "cheap" to insure in NJ.

      Edit: Ideal budget is $15K or under.


      ChyrCo 200 (4-cyl) - 2015+ MY
      Ford Focus - 2012+ MY
      Fiat 500 - 2014+ MY
      Fiat 500L - 2014+ MY
      Buick Encore
      VW Jetta - 2012+ MY (no planet killing diesels)

      Options that lack one or two features but are still "cheap" to insure.

      Chevy Spark - 2014+ MY
      Scion iQ - (cheapest option for insurance)


      The Ford seems like a logical choice but is powershift a time bomb waiting to happen.... the Fiats supposedly solved early issues by the 2014 model year... The Spark went from 4-speed obsolete to CVT as of 2014... Buick wins praise from CR for reliability... The 200 is stupidly cheap... the Jetta is using an ancient ole' reliable 2.5L that might be what slowly rotates planet earth.




      Last edited by 2.0T_Convert; 04-17-2017 at 12:17 PM.
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    2. #2
      Senior Member AZGolf's Avatar
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      Aside from the Buick and Scion, it's like you made a list of the least reliable cars available in the US.

    3. #3
      Member 2.0T_Convert's Avatar
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      Quote Originally Posted by AZGolf View Post
      Aside from the Buick and Scion, it's like you made a list of the least reliable cars available in the US.
      What makes the Chevy unreliable? (aside from the touchscreen glitches)
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    4. #4
      Member adrew's Avatar
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      Dual-clutch Focus = no (especially an older one)

      The ZF 9-speed in Chrysler form has had some teething issues. My boss has a Jeep with it and it has horrible logic and has some shift flare that I noticed from the passenger seat.

      Encore is probably the most bomb-proof with a regular GM 6T40 6-speed. Scion CVT isn't fun but I haven't heard any issues with the Toyota CVT.

      What is your budget?
      Last edited by adrew; 04-17-2017 at 12:14 PM.
      Improving the signal-to-noise ratio

    5. #5
      Member TangoRed's Avatar
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      I'd go with the Jetta and call it a day, unless you're going to get a MY 2016+ Chrysler 200. You can get a pretty loaded one for cheap w/the revised ZF 9-speed.
      Quote Originally Posted by Doug Butabi View Post
      And on the tenth day of the two thousand fifteenth year, TCL finds out about rich people.

    6. #6
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      Quote Originally Posted by 2.0T_Convert View Post
      Options that lack one or two features but are still "cheap" to insure.

      Chevy Spark - 2014+ MY
      If you get a Spark for a 13 mile commute, why not the EV version? While it has only 82 miles of range, that should be good for at least two round trips of your 13 mile commute. If you are fine with the range constraint, the EV is probably the best version of the Spark, with better handling, ride, and acceleration than the regular Spark (and its 1-speed transmission is not as complex as other transmissions).

      http://www.consumerreports.org/cro/n...s-us/index.htm

      Quote Originally Posted by Consumer Reports
      Changes to the Spark's weight distribution and suspension, to deal with the extra 560-pounds of battery weight, contribute to more responsive handling, making the Spark EV feel sporty. Ride comfort is also significantly more compliant and tied down than in the regular Spark.

      Producing about 130 hp and 400 lb.-ft. of torque, the electric motor is a gift that keeps on giving. Press the go-pedal and the car catapults forward, but unlike some EVs, the thrust doesn't wane. The Spark EV keeps gathering speed enthusiastically all the way to its top speed of 90 mph. The sprint from 0-60 mph is claimed to be between 7.5 and 8 seconds, which is more than believable.
      Last edited by tjl; 04-17-2017 at 12:19 PM.

    7. #7
      Jetta 1.4T
      Quote Originally Posted by RS-SIX View Post
      You guys are missing the point with manuals...not only does not one want to drive a manual, many active safety systems do not work with manual transmissions. Soon manual trans cars are going to be the most dangerous cars on the road. If they dont die a natural death, they will be outlawed.

    8. #8
      Member Unilateral Phase Detractor's Avatar
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      Quote Originally Posted by tjl View Post
      If you get a Spark for a 13 mile commute, why not the EV version? While it has only 82 miles of range, that should be good for at least two round trips of your 13 mile commute. If you are fine with the range constraint, the EV is probably the best version of the Spark, with better handling, ride, and acceleration than the regular Spark (and its 1-speed transmission is not as complex as other transmissions).

      http://www.consumerreports.org/cro/n...s-us/index.htm
      On that note, how about one from your list slightly modified, a Ford Focus Electric? All the virtues of the regular two pedal Focus minus transmission problems. It helps that it doesn't really have a transmission, just a single speed reduction gear.

    9. #9
      Member 2.0T_Convert's Avatar
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      Quote Originally Posted by tjl View Post
      If you get a Spark for a 13 mile commute, why not the EV version? While it has only 82 miles of range, that should be good for at least two round trips of your 13 mile commute. If you are fine with the range constraint, the EV is probably the best version of the Spark (and its 1-speed transmission is not as complex as other transmissions).

      http://www.consumerreports.org/cro/n...s-us/index.htm
      Hmmm possibility. I have garage parking and the usage meters for each unit are across the wall. Outside my realm of knowledge on if/how to wire a setup.

      Looks something like these except all in a row against the interior wall.



      Quote Originally Posted by adrew View Post
      Dual-clutch Focus = no (especially an older one)

      The ZF 9-speed in Chrysler form has had some teething issues. My boss has a Jeep with it and it has horrible logic and has some shift flare that I noticed from the passenger seat.

      Encore is probably the most bomb-proof with a regular GM 6T40 6-speed. Scion CVT isn't fun but I haven't heard any issues with the Toyota CVT.

      What is your budget?
      $15K roughly.

      Insurance is a deciding factor as some "cheap" cars like a Corolla are stupidly expensive to insure.

      Quote Originally Posted by TangoRed View Post
      I'd go with the Jetta and call it a day, unless you're going to get a MY 2016+ Chrysler 200. You can get a pretty loaded one for cheap w/the revised ZF 9-speed.
      It feels weird to say it but this is shaping up to be an ideal choice. I had a bad experience with my GTI but the boat anchor 2.5 might be a better choice.
      Sent from my tablet while sipping weak drinks over fancy brunch with a view

    10. #10
      Member vwpiloto's Avatar
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      How about a Toyota Yaris iA? It's basically a rebadged Mazda 2 sedan. MSRP is just over $15K.

    11. #11
      Member jai5's Avatar
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      FV-QR

      Chevy Cruze?
      Past: 94 Jetta, 89 Accord (beater), 97 Jetta GT, 91 Mazda 626 (beater), 02 Audi A4, 07 Civic (commuter), 06 BMW 330i, 12 GTI

    12. #12
      Member 2.0T_Convert's Avatar
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      Quote Originally Posted by vwpiloto View Post
      How about a Toyota Yaris iA? It's basically a rebadged Mazda 2 sedan. MSRP is just over $15K.
      Too cheap and lacks the cheerful demeanor of the Fiat/Chevy.

      Quote Originally Posted by jai5 View Post
      Chevy Cruze?
      Considerably more to insure.
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    13. #13
      Member vwpiloto's Avatar
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      Given the low miles you'll be driving, and that seemingly the car is going to get beaten up on crappy pavement, how about a lease? Something like a basic Mini Cooper with 7,500 miles per year, or another car with similar pricing and lease rate? The total out of pocket after 3 years may not be so different than buying a $15K car, unless of course you plan to keep the car for a longer period.

    14. #14
      Member jai5's Avatar
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      The problem with a lot of the compact cars you posted is the small wheelbase will really impact your ride quality over those crappy roads.
      How about an Accord?
      Past: 94 Jetta, 89 Accord (beater), 97 Jetta GT, 91 Mazda 626 (beater), 02 Audi A4, 07 Civic (commuter), 06 BMW 330i, 12 GTI

    15. #15
      Member 2.0T_Convert's Avatar
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      Quote Originally Posted by jai5 View Post
      The problem with a lot of the compact cars you posted is the small wheelbase will really impact your ride quality over those crappy roads.
      How about an Accord?
      I can deal with ride quality for a short ride and my bigger concern is low profile tires.

      Larger cars run are trouble because my parking spot is an immediate right turn upon entering the narrow garage corridor. I was in a Genesis Coupe over the weekend and even with RWD it took serious effort to maneuver.
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    16. #16
      Member adrew's Avatar
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      Quote Originally Posted by 2.0T_Convert View Post
      Too cheap and lacks the cheerful demeanor of the Fiat/Chevy.
      If the lux gear isn't super important I would really give them a look. They are pretty nicely equipped and actually pretty decent to drive, with a very good automatic.

      I would skip the Chevy if you ever have to deal with fast traffic -- modest power plus JATCO CVT (our Mirage had similar power and the same transmission) isn't a recipe for much fun. I mean, they will get you places and keep up with traffic -- but you have to beat the snot out of it to merge into 80 MPH traffic (get a running start and hear 6000+ RPM all the way up the merge ramp) and it will rev to 5500 to pull a grade on the highway at 75-80 MPH. They do great and can flirt with 50 MPG in 55-60 MPH country driving but you have to drive them pretty hard to not be an impediment. To illustrate that point, we're getting roughly the same 'round-town MPG in the Corolla as in our old Mirage. (35-37 MPG).

      How much does the insurance vary? Ours is like $425/6 months on the '17.
      Improving the signal-to-noise ratio

    17. #17
      Member Stevo12's Avatar
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      Here's a dark horse: a '12-'13 Mazda3. Maybe even a '14 will sneak in, but resale on the '12-'13 models has really tanked. I priced out trade-in on our '13 with 80,000 miles, and it was $6K.

      Why a '12-13? Because that's when they introduced the Skyactiv motors, and they've been nothing short of brilliant for an all-new engine design, particularly a direct-injected one. The automatics are also decent, and actually get better fuel mileage than the manual ones. But being that they're not much changed from the earlier second-gens

      Furthermore, '12 is the first year you can get an optioned-up 3 with the high fuel mileage motor. All higher-trim '10-'11 models (and some '12+ models) have the non-DI 2.5L which is good on power, but poor on fuel in city driving. The Skyactivs were available all the way up to the Grand Touring level. We took a '13 GT for an extended test drive (because that was the 'only manual' they had) and my wife was almost swayed into the extra $50/mo for the GT because of all the features - better stereo, sunroof, leather, heated seats, etc.

      The '14 is a better overall package, but I think the '12-'13 is a sleeper in terms of value. I bet you can get a low-miles Skyactiv GT for around/under $10K
      Last edited by Stevo12; 04-17-2017 at 01:17 PM.

    18. #18
      Member adrew's Avatar
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      Quote Originally Posted by 2.0T_Convert View Post
      I can deal with ride quality for a short ride and my bigger concern is low profile tires.

      Larger cars run are trouble because my parking spot is an immediate right turn upon entering the narrow garage corridor. I was in a Genesis Coupe over the weekend and even with RWD it took serious effort to maneuver.
      Have you ever driven a Yaris? It is a great city car -- comical turning circle and 65-series tires. The automatic is an ancient 4-speed unit that is kind of dumb but also bombproof.

      Maybe a Fit EX-L? They have leather, sunroof and heated seats. Tires are a bit short but you could put some more comfort-oriented ones on there.
      Improving the signal-to-noise ratio

    19. #19
      Member 2.0T_Convert's Avatar
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      Quote Originally Posted by adrew View Post
      If the lux gear isn't super important I would really give them a look. They are pretty nicely equipped and actually pretty decent to drive, with a very good automatic.

      I would skip the Chevy if you ever have to deal with fast traffic -- modest power plus JATCO CVT (our Mirage had similar power and the same transmission) isn't a recipe for much fun. I mean, they will get you places and keep up with traffic -- but you have to beat the snot out of it to merge into 80 MPH traffic (get a running start and hear 6000+ RPM all the way up the merge ramp) and it will rev to 5500 to pull a grade on the highway at 75-80 MPH. They do great and can flirt with 50 MPG in 55-60 MPH country driving but you have to drive them pretty hard to not be an impediment. To illustrate that point, we're getting roughly the same 'round-town MPG in the Corolla as in our old Mirage. (35-37 MPG).

      How much does the insurance vary? Ours is like $425/6 months on the '17.
      *sigh*

      Insurance varies from $166 per month on a 6-mo policy for the iQ, $200+ for most economy sedans, and $300+ for anything fun like a GTI. Luxury bargains like a Regal or MKZ fall in the expensive price bucket. I suspect the Encore is only cheap because small engine and SUV status.

      I left the Fit off my list. Definitely an option just with more miles than the rest.
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    20. #20
      Member TangoRed's Avatar
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      I'm going throw a complete wild card in your direction, since you're only looking at penalty boxes:

      Used Jeep Compass/Patriot with the Hyundai 6-speed. Among the few things nice C&D had to say about it was the cushy ride quality. And it's got to be dirt cheap to insure. Note- test model had the CVT, but they can be had with the 6-speed auto.

      http://www.caranddriver.com/comparis...ude-4x4-page-2
      Last edited by TangoRed; 04-17-2017 at 01:46 PM.
      Quote Originally Posted by Doug Butabi View Post
      And on the tenth day of the two thousand fifteenth year, TCL finds out about rich people.

    21. #21
      Quote Originally Posted by 2.0T_Convert View Post



      It feels weird to say it but this is shaping up to be an ideal choice. I had a bad experience with my GTI but the boat anchor 2.5 might be a better choice.
      My tiptronic has 156k on it. Changed the fluid every 50k. No issues at this point. Knocks wood...

    22. #22
      Member Avus's Avatar
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      Based on the available brands from OP, i choose GM.
      “I am not a Mac user unless under duress.” - John Carmack

    23. #23
      Member nemesis099's Avatar
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      Quote Originally Posted by Unilateral Phase Detractor View Post
      On that note, how about one from your list slightly modified, a Ford Focus Electric? All the virtues of the regular two pedal Focus minus transmission problems. It helps that it doesn't really have a transmission, just a single speed reduction gear.
      Quote Originally Posted by tjl View Post
      If you get a Spark for a 13 mile commute, why not the EV version? While it has only 82 miles of range, that should be good for at least two round trips of your 13 mile commute. If you are fine with the range constraint, the EV is probably the best version of the Spark, with better handling, ride, and acceleration than the regular Spark (and its 1-speed transmission is not as complex as other transmissions).

      http://www.consumerreports.org/cro/n...s-us/index.htm
      As someone who leased a Ford Focus electric I think a leased electric car might be a good option. I put nothing down and the payment plus insurance was below $300 a month on mine with 10,000 miles a year. If you don't need to drive that far this should be more than enough and if you plug it in overnight you can just use a regular 120 volt. Only thing I will warn you about is that in cold weather they can loose a lot of range, mine dropped from 80 to 45 when it was cold out. Newer versions could have better systems and larger batteries (mine was a 2013).

    24. #24
      Member 2.0T_Convert's Avatar
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      Quote Originally Posted by TangoRed View Post
      I'm going throw a complete wild card in your direction, since you're only looking at penalty boxes:

      Used Jeep Compass/Patriot with the Hyundai 6-speed. Among the few things nice C&D had to say about it was the cushy ride quality. And it's got to be dirt cheap to insure. Note- test model had the CVT, but they can be had with the 6-speed auto.

      http://www.caranddriver.com/comparis...ude-4x4-page-2
      I'm looking at penalty boxes, not rolling EBT card boxes
      Sent from my tablet while sipping weak drinks over fancy brunch with a view

    25. #25
      Member saron81's Avatar
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      The Focus would have a 7 year/100k warranty on the trans, FWIW.

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