Small Car recommendations...

Posted by: Adrian

Small Car recommendations... - 05/20/10 12:48 PM

I've decided to start looking at buying a small car, probably an '09 or an '08 with low mileage, preferably stick shift, something in the $15-20K range. Reliability would be at the top of the list, after that being(equally)...fun to drive, economy, and comfort. My short list would include the Mini, Civic and perhaps the Mazda 3. Any thumbs up or horror stories on these vehicles out there? any other good small cars I'm overlooking?
Posted by: pmbuko

Re: Small Car recommendations... - 05/20/10 12:52 PM

The Mazda 3 is very fun to drive. Move it up your list. \:\)
Posted by: Adrian

Re: Small Car recommendations... - 05/20/10 12:53 PM

Do you have one, Peter?
Posted by: MarkSJohnson

Re: Small Car recommendations... - 05/20/10 01:00 PM

Murph was discussing a Mini not all that long ago. I seem to remember something about parts/service being problematic as far as price goes...
Posted by: tomtuttle

Re: Small Car recommendations... - 05/20/10 01:00 PM

I'm interested in the conversation, too.

But I need a sunroof. \:\)

I looked at a Scion tC. Don't love the design, and I know they are coming out with a complete revamp for 2011. Plus, it is apparently ungodly expensive to insure. It was pretty cool, though.

Also sat in a Hyundai Genesis coupe. Very nice, but a little more money. Same with a Nissan Altima.

Did not like the Kia Forte Koup. Seemed cheap.
Posted by: Adrian

Re: Small Car recommendations... - 05/20/10 01:21 PM

Mark, Andrew sent me a very in depth review of his Mini via pm and basically summed it up this way:

positives....good fuel economy, excellent handling, roomy up front, decent power for it's size, overall fun to drive, handles well in winter with caveat below...

negatives....low mounted fan on hydraulic steering pump prone to getting jammed up if driven on snowy roads possibly causing failure of the pump ($$), requires 91 Octane

In summary, he and his better half said they would definately buy another one, probably one of the more powerfull models.
Posted by: ClubNeon

Re: Small Car recommendations... - 05/20/10 01:25 PM

I've driven a Mazda 3. I'm not a fan of front wheel drive cars, but what ever Mazda did with the differential design made it one of the most stable FWDs I've ever driven. Still it prefers to understeer when pushing it (too) hard through a corner.

Tom, get a Miata. Largest sunroof you'll find. \:\)
Posted by: PeterChenoweth

Re: Small Car recommendations... - 05/20/10 01:43 PM

Civics are fine, but what about a Honda Fit?

A co-worker has a 2007 and really likes it. He commutes to work daily and has racked up about 120,000 miles since he bought it new in '07. Nothing has broken. And he's even a bit nutty and will take the thing semi-offroading on camping and fishing trips. Other than gas, just scheduled maintenance, front brake pads, and a set of tires. The interior has a few squeaks and rattles, but the engine and transmission are still going strong. I've ridden in it plenty of times and it's a decent little car. It's not a sports car but it's zippy (his is an auto - manual would be better), gets good gas mileage, but has a great amount of cargo & passenger space for its size. Here in the US they're about $15k, brand new. As a small, inexpensive, reliable, good-mpg commuter car, it's just about perfect, IMHO.

My sister has a 2005 Scion TC. I think it has about 70k miles on it now. She has not had any trouble with it, though she does complain that it seems to go through tires quickly. It's actually her second TC; the first one was totalled when someone T-boned her at 30mph. She walked away from it unharmed. I don't recall her commenting on high insurance rates, but she's a she, so YMMV.

Mazda3's are nice cars too. Never owned one, but I've come close to buying one, twice. Previous generation and the new current generation. They drive well and are decent-handling little cars for the money. Good MPG and I think they're fairly reliable, though I don't know for sure. MazdaSpeed3's are a riot, but probably not what your'e after. ;\) One caveat - the higher-speced Mazda3's may have the premium stereo, which is Bose. Good luck with that. \:D

What about a Subaru Impreza? I used to have an Impreza WRX and it was a great little car. The regular Impreza 2.5's aren't as crazy-fun, but they're still nice cars. Not the best MPG in their segment but Subie's are generally quite reliable and you do get AWD, which might be handy for those arcic Canadian winters up there. ;\)

I've test driven Mini Coopers. While they handle well and are fun to drive, the regular Mini's aren't exactly speed demons. Cooper S's are *much* better, as far as fun-to-drive-ness. But do check insurance rates. If you are thinking about a used Mini, make sure you've got a Mini dealer nearby. Not that Mini's are unreliable (I don't know), but you will likely need a dealer sooner or later. Mini dealers are few-and-far-between in some parts of the world. Not only can they be a pain to get to (gotta take a day off work, etc), but it also means they can charge whatever they want becuase they have no competition from other Mini dealers. They don't allow Mini dealer's on every corner as you'll find with Honda, Toyota, Ford, etc dealers.

I used to own a Saab that required a 200-mile (round trip) drive to get it to the dealer. I convinced myself it wouldn't be a big deal when I bought it. Turned out to be more of a PITA than I thought. Never again will I buy a car whos dealer is more than 30-40 minutes away.

The best advice I could give is that for whatever makes/models you're interested in, find their respective forums online. Every car model has an enthusiast website (or two or twenty) where owners will discuss and gripe about their cars. Do a little lurking. Look at the FAQ's for common complaints and/or problems. In an hour, you'll know more about the car than any salesman.

Good luck with whatever you chose!
Posted by: pmbuko

Re: Small Car recommendations... - 05/20/10 01:55 PM

I don't have one, but my brother does, my boss does, and a coworker does. All three love their cars.
Posted by: Adrian

Re: Small Car recommendations... - 05/20/10 01:58 PM

Thanks Peter. You make a good point about the number of Mini dealers, there are quite a few in S. Ontario, but scattered around the province. I've also heard that Subies are a little hard on fuel compared to it's counterparts, but are generally quite reliable. I never really thought of the Honda Fit, I'll check them out. More than likely they use the same engines as the Civic(?).
With the Mazda 3, I've heard mixed things from people I know who've owned them. They're either in love with their '3' or they've had what seems like an inordinate amount of problems with them. One of my neighbours has had several clutch failures, but I'm leaning towards the belief that it's her driving style, or lack thereof.
Posted by: pmbuko

Re: Small Car recommendations... - 05/20/10 02:04 PM

My wife and I were considering a Honda Fit for a while. We liked the test drive. It's a zippy little car (when not loaded with passengers...) I insisted I'd only get one if it was the sport model with manual transmission. My wife can drive stick fine, but she prefers auto, so the car dropped off our list.
Posted by: PeterChenoweth

Re: Small Car recommendations... - 05/20/10 02:09 PM

At least for 2010, the Civic uses a 1.8L 150hp engine while the Fit has a 1.5L 117hp engine.
Posted by: 2x6spds

Re: Small Car recommendations... - 05/20/10 02:14 PM

I don't think any car maker makes a better, easier to use or smoother manual transmission and clutch than Honda. I have had 2 Honda Preludes, 2 Acura Legends, and an S2000, all with manual transmissions. Every one of them has been a joy to drive and shift.

I've also had a BMW 540 6 speed. No comparison. Honda/Acura nail manual transmissions.

I like the Civic. I test drove a 2009 Civic Si coupe and loved it. I've heard good things about the Mazda 3, but have never driven one. I test drove a Fit with my secretary and it was a very pleasant little car.

BTW, yes, I am a Honda fan, because Honda has earned my loyalty. I have had zero problems with my Honda Acuras. That really is some record.
Posted by: michael_d

Re: Small Car recommendations... - 05/20/10 03:22 PM

Vette's are pretty small. I'd stick with one of the C6 models.
Posted by: Adrian

Re: Small Car recommendations... - 05/20/10 03:26 PM

Porsches are smaller
Posted by: RickF

Re: Small Car recommendations... - 05/20/10 04:07 PM

While on the subject of sports cars, next week yours truly will be sporting around in a lime green Lamborghini ... somehow or another my son managed to watch over one for a couple of days while the owner is out of town and the much more readily available funds than me guy told my son he could use it at his disposal. I'm not too crazy on the color but what the hey.

Back to real life, I have an '08 Toyota Corolla that I bought new specifically for my drive to and from work and I just turned 100k miles on it this past Saturday. It's been a great little trouble free ugly car with crappy paint and beer can thin sheetmetal that serves it's purpose but whenever it's time to graveyard the little Japanese jewel I believe I'll opt for something a little more domestic.

I still hate driving the little mouse trap of a car and whenever I get back in my trusty ol' 3/4 ton pickup truck I actually feel as though my ass is finally sitting in something substantial once again ... also helps to keep my offensive driving skills sharpened.

Mike a good friend of mine has a late model C6 that I've driven a time or two and I absolutely love the thing, if I were into the sport cars that's what would be in my garage.
Posted by: Adrian

Re: Small Car recommendations... - 05/20/10 06:04 PM

I wouldn't mind getting a domestic small car but whenever I hear about the little car with 4-500,000kms on it, it's nearly always a Honda, Toyota or VW.
Posted by: pmbuko

Re: Small Car recommendations... - 05/20/10 06:14 PM

Subarus also last a long time. At least the ones with the 4 cyl (boxer) engines.
Posted by: RayLewis

Re: Small Car recommendations... - 05/20/10 06:39 PM

A fried of mine has a Mazda 3 and really likes it. I was just in it last week, and think it is very nice.
Posted by: RickF

Re: Small Car recommendations... - 05/20/10 07:04 PM

 Originally Posted By: Adrian
I wouldn't mind getting a domestic small car but whenever I hear about the little car with 4-500,000kms on it, it's nearly always a Honda, Toyota or VW.


Will you be putting 4-500,000kms on it?
Posted by: Adrian

Re: Small Car recommendations... - 05/20/10 07:12 PM

Just using it as a general reliability comparison. The only way I could put up mileage like that is if I continue to stalk Mark. It's a long haul from S. Ontario over to his house you know ;\)
Posted by: MarkSJohnson

Re: Small Car recommendations... - 05/20/10 07:22 PM

Geez. Now I feel guilty.

Is there something I can do to make it more convenient for you? \:\)
Posted by: Adrian

Re: Small Car recommendations... - 05/20/10 07:24 PM

I think you should chip in for the gas! \:D
Posted by: JohnK

Re: Small Car recommendations... - 05/20/10 09:56 PM

Adrian, you said "small", but didn't specify how many seats would be adequate. If two will do, don't consider anything other than the MX-5 Miata.
Posted by: mazzum

Re: Small Car recommendations... - 05/20/10 10:29 PM

Just bought my second Mazda 3 2 weeks ago. Really enjoyed the first one. Put 105k miles on it in 3 years with nothing but oil changes, tires and brakes. Yes I drive a lot. My oldest turned 16, gave him the car and bought a new 3s with the sunroof and Bose (actually sound really good for stock) option. 17" wheels 2.5lt but no leather. It has bluetooth as well which is great if traveling alot. Paid 19200, pretty good deal. Really fun to drive.
Posted by: Adrian

Re: Small Car recommendations... - 05/20/10 10:48 PM

John, I never even thought of a Miata but they're generally well above the $$ range I was considering, unless I get an older one.
Posted by: davidsch

Re: Small Car recommendations... - 05/21/10 07:19 AM

I have 181,000 miles on my 2000 Honda Civic and I still drive it daily. It is both fun and realiable and gets 31 mpg. My next car will probably be a Civic as well. My boss has a Mini that is a fun car but it is too new to comment on the reliability.
Posted by: PeterChenoweth

Re: Small Car recommendations... - 05/21/10 11:17 AM

Miata's are great. They're a blast to drive, reasonably afordable, and reliable. The manual transmission in a Miata is one of the best in the world. Just a joy to drive. Miata's are very good cars.

But do make sure you drive one *with the top up* before buying. My wife & I took one for a test drive one on a lovely spring day with the top down. Perfect! But then we decided to be thorough and flipped the top up. At 6' tall, I didn't fit. With the top up, I have to drive with my head tilted to the side. 6 footers can fit in a Miata, but it's all about the individual leg-to-torso ratio. I have a longer torso and shorter legs, and so I really just don't fit in a Miata.

We ended up buying a Pontiac Solstice GXP instead of a Miata because I could comfortably fit in the Solstice with the top up. The Solstice was a really fun car (RWD, 260hp, 2-seater, convertible), but we recently got rid of it. Too many problems for a car with only 40,000 miles...

Posted by: tomtuttle

Re: Small Car recommendations... - 05/21/10 11:35 AM

Interesting observation, PeterC.

You and I are about the same size, and I also have problems "fitting" in many cars - primarily because I much prefer to drive sitting up relatively straight. Since I wear trifocals, it just hurts my neck and back to recline much and still be able to see the road through the top optic in my glasses.

I'm more interested in "comfortable" than I used to be, especially related to ingress/egress. It sucks to get old but it beats the alternative.
Posted by: BlueJays1

Re: Small Car recommendations... - 05/21/10 11:58 AM

 Originally Posted By: 2x6spds
I don't think any car maker makes a better, easier to use or smoother manual transmission and clutch than Honda. I have had 2 Honda Preludes, 2 Acura Legends, and an S2000, all with manual transmissions. Every one of them has been a joy to drive and shift.

I've also had a BMW 540 6 speed. No comparison. Honda/Acura nail manual transmissions.

I like the Civic. I test drove a 2009 Civic Si coupe and loved it. I've heard good things about the Mazda 3, but have never driven one. I test drove a Fit with my secretary and it was a very pleasant little car.

BTW, yes, I am a Honda fan, because Honda has earned my loyalty. I have had zero problems with my Honda Acuras. That really is some record.


I couldn't have said it better myself. \:\)
Posted by: Adrian

Re: Small Car recommendations... - 05/21/10 12:15 PM

Are there any Altima(2.5) owners here? I know it's considered a mid-size car, but seems to get similar economy to many smaller cars. I've read mixed reviews on the reliability of the CVT.
Posted by: medic8r

Re: Small Car recommendations... - 05/21/10 02:01 PM

I can't say anything about the Altima in particular, but I love my 2001 Nissan Maxima. It is at 103,000 miles and drives just like it did when new. I've only had to do expected maintenance - brakes, struts, an O2 sensor. The V-6 engine made Ward's 10 Best Engines list that year. In fact, Nissan's VQ-series V-6 made the list every year from the list's inception in 1995 through 2008. Last year, it got bumped out by newer competition, I guess.

Anyway, I love Nissan like my wife loves Honda. She's had a 1995 Civic and a 2002 CR-V.

I think you would do well with any of the mentioned Japanese products - the Altima, Mazda 3, Honda Fit or Civic, or Subaru Impreza. Have fun test driving!
Posted by: FordPrefect

Re: Small Car recommendations... - 05/21/10 02:48 PM

I've got the Altima coupe 2.5 with the CVT, no problems at all (knocks on head) , currently at 45k. Good mileage and respectable performance. Best dealership I've ever dealt with so I'll probably going to end up in a 350 or 370Z. Or C5/C6 or Z4. decisions decisions.
Posted by: medic8r

Re: Small Car recommendations... - 05/21/10 03:00 PM

Wayne, I like the way you think. I would love to have any of those two seaters.
Posted by: jakewash

Re: Small Car recommendations... - 05/21/10 03:45 PM

To me it boils down to the same considerations we give avr's, pick the one with the right features and cost you like and go with it. Chances are you will be very happy with any of the cars you are looking at.
Posted by: pmbuko

Re: Small Car recommendations... - 05/21/10 05:19 PM

I have a rental Altima right now. It took me a little while to get used to the shiftless CVT. It's a bit sluggish off the line, even if you turn off the overdrive setting, but once you're moving, it can be pretty zippy. I've had it since Monday and have been doing about 5 miles of city driving daily since then, but the gas gauge still shows full.

I had four people in the car yesterday and it didn't act too weighed down.
Posted by: St_PatGuy

Re: Small Car recommendations... - 05/21/10 08:15 PM

 Originally Posted By: PeterChenoweth
Miata's are great. They're a blast to drive, reasonably afordable, and reliable. The manual transmission in a Miata is one of the best in the world. Just a joy to drive. Miata's are very good cars.

But do make sure you drive one *with the top up* before buying. My wife & I took one for a test drive one on a lovely spring day with the top down. Perfect! But then we decided to be thorough and flipped the top up. At 6' tall, I didn't fit. With the top up, I have to drive with my head tilted to the side. 6 footers can fit in a Miata, but it's all about the individual leg-to-torso ratio. I have a longer torso and shorter legs, and so I really just don't fit in a Miata.



I test drove a Miata back in '03 and agree with you on the fit. I have the short legs long torso body ratio and just couldn't quite fit in the car. I'm 5'11" and felt cramped. I wanted the seat to go back one more notch. The thing that killed me was top of the windshield was directly in my line of sight--i had to duck to see the streetlights.

*sigh*

It was really fun to drive, though, and I did enjoy the way the transmission felt. I want to test drive one of the newer models to see if the fit has changed at all.
Posted by: fredk

Re: Small Car recommendations... - 05/21/10 08:51 PM

 Originally Posted By: jakewash
To me it boils down to the same considerations we give avr's, pick the one with the right features and cost you like and go with it. Chances are you will be very happy with any of the cars you are looking at.

Thats pretty much how I bought my car. I never expected to end up with a Matrix, but it ended up with a few features I really wanted at the right price.

Take a look at Hyundai as well. They have consistanly improved their quality over the years and offer a lot of value for the money. Without extra Toyota discounts, I would have ended up in an Elantra Touring, despite the few features the Matrix has.
Posted by: JohnK

Re: Small Car recommendations... - 05/21/10 10:26 PM

Sean, the MX-5 which arrived in '06 is somewhat bigger and has more room for the driver. So yes, I'd suggest that you try both the convertible and the retractable hardtop.
Posted by: St_PatGuy

Re: Small Car recommendations... - 05/21/10 10:49 PM

That is good to know! Thanks, John.

I like the hardtop. I think the Arizona sun would destroy the ragtop in one summer.
Posted by: St_PatGuy

Re: Small Car recommendations... - 05/21/10 10:55 PM

John, I kinda get the feeling you drive a Miata, yes?
Posted by: JohnK

Re: Small Car recommendations... - 05/21/10 10:58 PM

Yep.
Posted by: St_PatGuy

Re: Small Car recommendations... - 05/21/10 11:01 PM

Zoom zoom!
Posted by: ClubNeon

Re: Small Car recommendations... - 05/22/10 12:06 AM

The newest generation of Miatas are much more masculine looking too. Really like them. If only the had a rotary engine.

Sitting here in my Mazdaspeed t-shirt.

I own 3 RX-7s, a 1991 convertible with a blown engine, a 1990 TurboII with no engine, and a 1986 GXL with that burns oil badly. I love them.
Posted by: fredk

Re: Small Car recommendations... - 05/22/10 12:23 AM

I saw a used RX-8 for sale for just under 20k last year. Only a couple of years old. I was tempted for a split second, but I can't afford another midlife crisis
Posted by: CV

Re: Small Car recommendations... - 05/22/10 12:27 AM

 Originally Posted By: fredk
I was tempted for a split second, but I can't afford another midlife crisis


What was the midlife crisis you had?
Posted by: St_PatGuy

Re: Small Car recommendations... - 05/22/10 01:12 AM

 Originally Posted By: ClubNeon

I own 3 RX-7s, a 1991 convertible with a blown engine, a 1990 TurboII with no engine, and a 1986 GXL with that burns oil badly. I love them.


I picture Chris sitting in his cars in the driveway making engine noises while he pretend steers.
Posted by: CV

Re: Small Car recommendations... - 05/22/10 01:14 AM

All with his huge chest bouncing around.
Posted by: St_PatGuy

Re: Small Car recommendations... - 05/22/10 01:18 AM

Honk honk, indeed.
Posted by: 2x6spds

Re: Small Car recommendations... - 05/22/10 10:31 PM

Here are some of my personal favorites:

2009 Acura TL


The incredibly comfortable Acura RL


9000 rpm fun machine


A wonderful balance of sport and luxury, the Acura LS coupe with 6 speed manual transmission

Posted by: Lampshade

Re: Small Car recommendations... - 05/22/10 10:40 PM

I am not joking.

Honda Fit
Posted by: 2x6spds

Re: Small Car recommendations... - 05/23/10 12:39 AM

Fit is a great wee car.

Not joking.
Posted by: Adrian

Re: Small Car recommendations... - 05/25/10 06:47 PM

I'm really liking the 2011 Hyundai Sonata . It's a tad over what I was budgeting, but compares very favourably or better than the Accord, Camry and Altima.
Posted by: MarkSJohnson

Re: Small Car recommendations... - 05/25/10 06:59 PM

Adrian, I saw an episode of Motorweek last week where they did a shootout with 10 or so family sedans, and the Sonata was their first choice. I think it was in conjunction with cars.com if that makes searching easier.
Posted by: CatBrat

Re: Small Car recommendations... - 05/25/10 08:03 PM

Then there's this classic!
Posted by: Adrian

Re: Small Car recommendations... - 05/25/10 09:03 PM

Thanks Mark, I just watched a test of the '11 Sonata on PBS's Motorweek. They seemed quite impressed with the car as have the major car magazines.
Posted by: jakewash

Re: Small Car recommendations... - 05/26/10 05:18 AM

Hyundai has come alonggggggg way from the Pony. I am impressed by what they are offering these days.
Posted by: medic8r

Re: Small Car recommendations... - 05/26/10 12:45 PM

Be careful with Motorweek. I don't think they've ever reviewed a car they didn't like.

Maybe I should tell the producer to lower his happy pills?!
Posted by: Murph

Re: Small Car recommendations... - 05/26/10 12:48 PM

I gave up on that show after they evaluated an SUV's offroad capabilities by driving down a dirt road with a couple of puddles.
Posted by: Adrian

Re: Small Car recommendations... - 05/26/10 02:13 PM

Many of the other magazines, MT, CD and R&T, have tested the '11 Sonata and it would appear to be at least as good as the major players in the mid-size market and likely cheaper with a few more bells and whistles to boot. Agreed on Motorweek though, they aren't particularily critical of any vehicle they test.
Posted by: Ken.C

Re: Small Car recommendations... - 05/26/10 03:44 PM

Neither is R&T, really.
Posted by: 2x6spds

Re: Small Car recommendations... - 05/26/10 05:20 PM

I think the new Hyundai Sonata is beautiful. Car magazines love it. Bravo Hyundai - they set their goals high and are achieving them.
Posted by: fredk

Re: Small Car recommendations... - 05/26/10 06:13 PM

Hyundai also rates consitantly well in terms of initial quality and ongoing repair/maintenance.

Its like buying and 'almost Honda' at a considerably lower price.

Really, despite all the press as of late on recalls, the quality of vehicles in general now is head and shoulders above what it was 20 years ago. The difference between the top quality manufacturer and the also rans is miniscule.
Posted by: Adrian

Re: Small Car recommendations... - 05/31/10 05:55 PM

On comparing US Hyundai with Hyundai Canada, I have to say I'm a little pissed....as usual, they are charging MORE for the Sonata here, TWICE as much for delivery $720 US vs $1595 CD !!!!, barely more than HALF the power train warranty 100,000 miles vs 100,000 kmters, and NO sport model on top of that.
Posted by: Adrian

Re: Small Car recommendations... - 06/07/10 03:12 PM

Oh-killee, doh-killee! I finally got around to test driving the '11 Sonata....

I went to a Hyundai dealer down Mississauga way, and found the same salesman I had previously talked to a couple of weeks back about the new Sonata. I told him I was interested in a test drive and also wanted their appraiser to have a look at my 01 Z71 Silverado as well. The Sonata was the mid level model, with quite a lot of standard equip't as well as the moonroof and mag wheels. The car is quite roomy, both in interior space, as well as a deceptively large trunk...I say deceptive, because it is one of those cars with an extended back window and a small trunk lid which belies the actual depth of the trunk. The interior seemed nicely styled and laid out, this car had the cloth interior, not the leather of the top model(Ltd). On getting in the car, I noticed it had a fairly low roofline...I'm used to sitting fairly upright in my Silverado, but I would consider myself to be of average height at 5'11" and I had to lower the seat some, all electrical seat adjustments btw.

So, I start it up, and pull out cautiously out of the dealer's lot and onto the main road. I'm being extra cautious since I've not driven a car for several years, only pick-up trucks. The ride and handling was very nice on this car, the steering felt nice and taut, with no slop in it. The brakes were far "touchier" than I'm used to in any vehicle I've ever owned, so I had to keep that in mind as I drove through traffic to go for a blast on the highway. I turned the radio off so I could listen to the engine, a 2.4L 4 banger, but with a fairly decent output of 198hp. There wasn't too much room on the highway, but I gave her some shtick where I could. The engine was quite responsive for a small mill, albeit I think it could have been somewhat smoother. This may be due in part to the fact that the last half dozen cars I have owned have had everthing from large V8's and V6's to flat 6 turbos. This is the first four banger I've driven since the early 90's, a Mercury Capri.

Overall, the car rode well, is well appointed with standard equip't, economical, reasonably powered for a small engine, handled nicely and looked fresh with a unique design compared with it's competition. My only complaint would be that taller drivers over 6 ft say, *may have some headroom problems.

The salesman was very friendly at this dealer, absolutely NO pressure whatsoever...I went there because my neighbour had bought his Sante Fe from them a couple of years back and gave him a deal 'thousands' below what two other Hyundai dealers had offered. The trade in value of my truck was quoted at close to $6k, taxes included, which wasn't unreasonable from my own research on wholesale prices for 01 Z71's. It needs some repairs, and let the dealer know what I knew it needed...the dreaded Silverado ABS sensors, and new window motors. All in all, a fair offer I thought, and he said there was a couple of grand to work with on the Sonata as well. I thanked him, and let him know I was going to check out a couple of other cars bfore I made a decision....

So! on my way home, there are other Hyndai dealers so I figured I'd stop in to one of them, now that I had some impressions of the car, the amount to 'work' with, and my trade in value. I pull into the "other" dealer, and no sooner had I walked over to one of their cars...a slick talking college bwaah comes strolling out of the dealership, something the other dealer never did, either time I went there. I tell him i'm interested in the new Sonata, and would like to know what my trade in was worth. He asks me what I thought it was worth to which I told him, I had looked up the wholesale value of the truck online and had that information in my pocket, and had also received a quote from another dealer. First, he said my info must be for the "retail" price of my Silverado(it isn't) and also wanted to know how much the other dealer had offered for it. I declined to say anything until they had given me THEIR trade-in quote....

"Well", he says " if your lookin' for 3..4..5 thousand on your truck...it ain't gonna happen".

I politely smiled at him then and said, "Well, thanks for your time, but I've been offered $6K for it, so I'll not waste any more time here".

"Oh?" he says, "well let me get the appraiser to have a look at it."

..."No thanks, thanks for your time"....and I left. I knew I couldn't trust the guy.

Obviously if I buy this car, I'll go back to the first dealer!
Posted by: pmbuko

Re: Small Car recommendations... - 06/07/10 03:25 PM

I love it when slick salesmen eat crow.
Posted by: MarkSJohnson

Re: Small Car recommendations... - 06/07/10 03:26 PM

I love it when sick crows eat salesmen...
Posted by: Adrian

Re: Small Car recommendations... - 06/07/10 03:40 PM

What are we crowing about?
Posted by: medic8r

Re: Small Car recommendations... - 06/07/10 03:58 PM

Ask Alan, the wise one.
Posted by: Adrian

Re: Small Car recommendations... - 06/07/10 03:59 PM

Who? I mean...HOO?
Posted by: jakewash

Re: Small Car recommendations... - 06/08/10 11:03 AM

I think I hear an owl in this thread.
Posted by: Adrian

Re: Small Car recommendations... - 06/08/10 11:52 AM

A third Hyundai dealer told me my trade-in was worth between $5-7000....makes me want to go back to that other clown and give him a piece if Mark's mind.
Posted by: jakewash

Re: Small Car recommendations... - 06/08/10 12:46 PM

Not too big of one I hope. I think he is getting dangerously low as it is ;\)
Posted by: sonicfox

Re: Small Car recommendations... - 06/08/10 12:56 PM

I have a 2010 Nissan Versa HB. I also test drove both a Toyota Yaris and a Honda Fit. Out of all three, I liked the Fit the best. The Yaris was the first car I drove, but it was immediately excluded as soon as I drove the other two vehicles. It felt and looked cheap on the inside and too much exterior noise. In the end, I went with the Versa because it saved me $3500...which is a big deal to ME. However, the Versa gets the worst gas mileage out of them all, at around 24mpg, but I believe it's simply a larger car then the other two. I also like that it's quiet in it's interior (AND roomy!) for a car in it's class, is definitely comfortable, and it drives smoothly down the road. I admit it's sort of boring, but it's priced right, and I actually DO enjoy driving it. Anyway...just a suggestion. I think it's worth the test drive... just for the heck of it. But, if the dealer doesn't take at least $2000 off it's retail, don't bother. The Fit would be the best choice in that case.
Posted by: jakewash

Re: Small Car recommendations... - 06/08/10 01:27 PM

You are correct Mary, the Versa (compact) is in a different classification than the Fit and Yaris (both subcompacts)
Posted by: tomtuttle

Re: Small Car recommendations... - 08/22/10 12:02 AM

Fist bump!

No, wait, "Thread bump".

I wanted to revive an old thread rather than start a new one. Recycling and all, you know.

First, Adrian, did you decide to get the Sonata? Sorry if I missed the news elsewhere.

My daughter turned 16 and got her license. She'll be a junior in high school this year and very athletic. I have to practice boy killing. Anyway, she's going to get my beloved 1994 Toyota Camry coupe to drive. It was the first year of the coupe and it is a great car, albeit showing its 150k miles.

So, I'm looking around at cars. It's been kind of fun, but I am still conflicted. Mrs. Tuttle drives a 2004 Corolla and we also retain a 1999 Ford Windstar minivan for its transcendent utility. But I don't really want to drive the van every day, because it isn't fun, gets crappy mileage and we want to preserve it so that we don't have to buy a truck or another van or something for the relatively few times we need it.

So, I can basically get what I want. Yay! I'm looking primarily at relatively recent, nice used cars with ~40k miles or less.

But I'm a practical sort and have a distant past still resonating with good old fashioned Catholic Guilt. I also have a bad back.

I looked at some nice coupes - Nissan Altima, Infiniti G35 - and did not fit. Same thing with the Miata.

Drove - and loved - a 2006 350Z convertible. Not sure about only having 2 seats and also not sure about how much use I could actually get from a convertible in Seattle. I LOVE having a sunroof, because I can decide on-the-go about getting some air and they are quiet.

Drove - and did NOT love - a BMW 328i.

Drove and kind of liked a 2010 Subaru Legacy. Really a very nice car. CVT, luxurious, all-wheel-drive, quite good mileage. It even looks pretty nice to me. Ultimately, I decided I didn't want to spend $24-25,000 on a Subaru. Although I didn't drive it, I came to the same realization about a Hyundai Genesis Coupe. I know that may not make sense to everybody, but I obviously keep cars a LONG time, and I just can't talk myself into those brands (and many others) for the long haul.

Where I'm at right now is a 2005 Audi A4 3.2 quattro or a 2006 Acura TL. I like the styling of the Acura better. I fit in both but haven't driven either one. I'm a little concerned about the reliability of the Audi, but it is a seductive car.

Also considering a newer Honda Accord (especially the Coupe) and Infiniti G35 sedan, but neither one of those are really getting me excited. This might be my only shot at a midlife crisis car, albeit a pretty conservative one.

Suggestions and comments greatly appreciated.
Posted by: 2x6spds

Re: Small Car recommendations... - 08/22/10 12:13 AM

If it's a real mid life crisis ... consider a Honda S2000 (2000-2001) low mileage. The rush from 6000-9000 rpm is intense, the acceleration white hot.
Posted by: Adrian

Re: Small Car recommendations... - 08/22/10 10:39 AM

Tom, I test drove a Sonata a while back it and have to say it would be at or near the top of my list for cars in it's class. It handles nice, very taut and responsive steering, has imo very attractive styling and offers more backseat legroom than most other smaller cars. It's really a mid sized car with small car economy with plenty of power(for a 4 banger 200hp). Btw, in the US you can get a nice sport version of the Sonata, there's also a turbo version coming out this year too. My only complaint would be the lack of headroom...anyone approaching or over 6 ft, might find the roofline a bit low, but I'm used to having plenty of room from driving trucks so take that with a grain of salt. I think the Sonata gives you more bang-per-buck than the compareable Japanese vehicles by comparison and I'd suggest a test drive of one if you're in the market. Hyundai has come a long way in the last few years.

I ended up replacing my Silverado with another pickup truck, an '10 Sierra 4x4 1 Ton with the Duramax/Allison combo. Couldn't argue with the GM employee pricing being offered here at the moment, I got a $14,600 discount. This will be my company vehicle and my personal transportation for now, until I get a small car down the road.
Posted by: Adrian

Re: Small Car recommendations... - 08/22/10 10:45 AM

One other point of contention about some cars, for me anyway, is the fact that they require PREMIUM fuel. I expect that on a high end sports car, but not on a lower performance vehicle. I always work that fact into the claimed mileage by subtracting 10%, about the difference between regular and premium(in Ontario).
Posted by: Ken.C

Re: Small Car recommendations... - 08/22/10 11:17 AM

Just about anything with a turbo will want premium.

Tom, I'm surprised about your concern over Subarus. Around here, they're considered to be extraordinarily reliable cars. In fact, they're hard to find used...

That said, my boss's Subaru has had a lot of repairs over the years, but he's also got 180000 miles on it. It's a 2001. My coworker has a 2007 WRX STi, and afaik, the only expensive thing has been the tires.
Posted by: Adrian

Re: Small Car recommendations... - 08/22/10 11:43 AM

...and speeding tickets.
Posted by: michael_d

Re: Small Car recommendations... - 08/22/10 12:08 PM

I love car shopping and spending other folkís money!!

I need a very firm, no BS budget to work with. Everyone has a ďwould like to spendĒ number and a number in the back of their head somewhere that they know they will cough up. Knowing that at the onset would help. If you are considering used, be very careful with regards to buying used performance cars. You have two types of buyers. 1) Those who canít drive and buy them because they want bragging rights. You are usually OK with buying their rejects, but make sure you have a mechanic buddy look them over real good. 2) Those who buy them to drive them like they stole them. Some of these actually know how to maintain them and drive the hell out them without destroying the drive train. Some know how to drive, but couldnít care less about maintenance. Be cautious with this type of previous owner.

Do you want four doors, or are you OK with a two door? Do you really want room for four adults, or two, or more? What do you consider fun? My idea of fun is probably different than yours. For instance, I will not consider driving a sports car with a slush box, even if it has a manual mode and steering wheel mounted paddles. Yuck, manual for me to have fun. When I shift and accelerate, if the passenger can raise his / her arms, then itís under powered. You said you like convertibles, really?? If so, get one and donít settle. I love rag tops and am more than willing to put up with cons to having a convertible. This want, unfortunately, reduces the playing field and most high performance cars do not offer a rag top option (Z06 vette for example). Also, donít believe all the BS that you have to buy an import to get quality or performance. You usually hear this crap from folks who get their information from magazines and donít actually know squat or have real hands on experience. Also, with regards to imports, if itís used, it probably does not have a warranty. If it breaks, be prepared to cry when you get the bill. Audi is extremely expensive to repair. A friend of mine just paid 12K to get the transmission replaced on his A6. Audi used to be very reliable, not so much anymore. You might be better of with a VW. They are basically the same car.
Posted by: fredk

Re: Small Car recommendations... - 08/22/10 01:09 PM

Quote:
...even if it has a manual mode and steering wheel mounted paddles.

I feel the same way. The funny thing is that those paddles come from the F1 world, which I consider the ultimate sporsts cars.
Posted by: Adrian

Re: Small Car recommendations... - 08/22/10 01:29 PM

The paddle shift was first used about 100 yrs ago at LeMans. Porsche advanced the paddle shift on their 956/962 Group C cars in the early 80's long before F1 adopted them as standard practise in the mid 90's(unsuccessfull attempts in the early 70's).
Posted by: MarkSJohnson

Re: Small Car recommendations... - 08/22/10 01:39 PM

I've never driven a car with a paddle shift, and don't even know how they work....

::holding out my Man Card to be taken from me::
Posted by: MarkSJohnson

Re: Small Car recommendations... - 08/22/10 01:46 PM

Just looked it up on Wiki...

::Putting the Man Card back in my wallet and shutting up now::
Posted by: tomtuttle

Re: Small Car recommendations... - 08/22/10 01:49 PM

Thank you, gentlemen. I knew I could count on your wisdom.

Ken, I'm talking about spending more than I've ever spent on a vehicle before. It's a LOT of money for us. I suppose it is a prideful thing, but I want to feel happy and excited to drive this car for a long time, and I'm just not sure that a Legacy is going to get me there. A WRX would, but is probably out of my price range and is also probably too small. Plus, they're ugly.

Well, Mike, aren't you helpful? smile

I'd like to spend $19,000 but would probably go up to $24,000. Used would need to have <50k miles. I don't need four doors. I don't need room for four adults, but it might be nice to be able to get me and two kids in there (but I'm not married to that either). I have to have a sunroof, but might be willing to get a convertible (although I'm scared of "what the hell was I thinking?"). I MUCH prefer a stick, but am having a lot of trouble finding well-appointed cars so equipped.

Mike, your definition of "fun" is a much higher standard than mine. A stick with good torque and a sunroof is fun. If I have to get an automatic with a manual mode, I want some luxury to go with it.

No VW's. I've never sat in one for more than ten minutes that didn't give me agonizing back pain. Seriously.

I'm a little concerned about cost to insure true sports cars.

I need to "fit" and be comfortable. I'm only 6' tall, but I drive sitting up, so head room is an issue.

For a while, I thought I wanted a Mazda 3 (full circle on this thread) but it's just a little small and I absolutely hate the front end styling from the last couple years. Looked at a 2008 or 2009 Mustang and didn't like the way things worked inside, and would have to get a convertible since the coupe roof is so small and virtually round.

Okay, so here's a list: Acura TL, Civic Si, Accord Coupe, 350Z, Miata (probably don't fit but will try again), S2000, G35 sedan, Mustang convertible, Camaro.

What am I missing?
Posted by: Adrian

Re: Small Car recommendations... - 08/22/10 02:17 PM

A used Mini? Mazda 6(used ones not so economical)? Mitsu Eclipse?
Posted by: merchman

Re: Small Car recommendations... - 08/22/10 02:19 PM

Mazda RX 8?
Posted by: HomeDad

Re: Small Car recommendations... - 08/22/10 02:43 PM

Quote:
What am I missing?


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MQZ_n3mbsng wink
Posted by: Ken.C

Re: Small Car recommendations... - 08/22/10 03:06 PM

Considering I think most modern performance cars are pretty ugly, save the Vette and stuff that gets up into the 100Ks...

I forget, is the Boxster on the list? Maintenance is probably expensive, but I know you can get those fairly cheap.

As for paddle shifters, there's two varieties: the automatic with paddle shifters, 'cause it's the thing to do these days, and the sequential manual gearbox. Which is what they use in F1, and in many higher end performance cars. I think VW actually uses those, though.
Posted by: michael_d

Re: Small Car recommendations... - 08/22/10 03:51 PM

Well that certainly narrows down the choices Tom. I really like the 2011 Mustang GT. Theyíve upped the anti on them quite a bit this year and theyíre over 400 HP now. You might just want to give one a whirl. I drove a 2010 GT500 and can attest that it is an absolute animal, but too front end heavy for me (although the 2011 is 100 pounds lighter in the front this year with the new al block). The standard GT should put a smile on your face. But, I think itís outside your budget. The Ford Fusion is a nice little car worth a look. Really, no joke, itís a nice car. The Camaro is a slick car, but everyone has one. Iím holding out to see what the Z28 brings to the table. Both are outside your budget though. I hate Subaruís. They ride like a brick and donít have enough power to pull a string out of a catís ass. One rig you might want to look at is a Jeep Grand Cherokee SRT-8. You might be able to find one used in your price range. Itís not a car, getís horrible gas mileage, but they are definitely a fun ride. All wheel drive, 425 hp. I know you can get a SRT-10 (pickup) used for about 25K, but I reckon thatís a real stretch for you. I owned one for a while. They definitely do not drive like a truck, but have many of the benefits of a truck, like visibility, head room, bed, can pull a boat, etc. I know, Iím no helpÖ Have fun and get what YOU want before youíre too damn old to enjoy it.

Oh, you might be able to find a used caddy CRX. Nice friggin ride! I rented one and drove it all over Wa last fall. Sporty, good gas mileage, luxury.
Posted by: Adrian

Re: Small Car recommendations... - 08/22/10 04:27 PM

What does a used Pontiac G8 go for?
Posted by: tomtuttle

Re: Small Car recommendations... - 08/22/10 07:26 PM

Hadn't thought about the G8 - that's a solid suggestion.

Mike, you're no help wink J/K. But I'm not buying a Jeep Cherokee anything. The only Dodge I remotely considered was a Chrysler Crossfire, and there don't seem to be enough of them with low enough miles.

I've tried to like the Fusion, but it suffers from terminal boringness. How can you dismiss a Camaro because everyone has one and suggest a Fusion, for God's sake? wink I'll keep some kind of Mustang on the list. I don't think I need as many HP as you do for my personal "fun" threshold.

The Caddy CTS is a good suggestion, but it's probably not going to be sexy enough for how much it costs.

How about a 2004 Vette? Not that I can even suggest it to my wife with a straight face. Talk about living the cliche.

I sat in a RX-8 today - nice. A little small, but I'll probably drive one just to make sure it doesn't change my life.

Ken, seriously, capital costs and maintenance on a Porsche?!?!
Posted by: Adrian

Re: Small Car recommendations... - 08/22/10 07:40 PM

You could find a 911 about 10 yrs old, reasonably low mileage in the low $20's. Most Porsches have lower than average mileage on them(for the yr) and they are well above average for reliability, imo. Just make sure you get an accredited Porsche dealer/mechanic to check the car out first, making sure it's got up to date maintenance records ect. You could drive a car like this for several years and either get most of your money back when you sell it, or possibly make a few bucks on reselling it like I did(after driving it for 5 yrs).
Posted by: MarkSJohnson

Re: Small Car recommendations... - 08/22/10 08:04 PM

First you guys make me want to justify an outboard amp, and now you help me justify a Porsche?

With friends like you, who needs Amex?
Posted by: merchman

Re: Small Car recommendations... - 08/22/10 08:11 PM

Originally Posted By: HomeDad


Nice! smile
Posted by: michael_d

Re: Small Car recommendations... - 08/22/10 08:21 PM

The Fusion, if you get it with the right options actually looks pretty cool. Without the larger wheels and upgraded trim, they are boring. A neighbor of mine has one all tricked out and I think it looks pretty sharp. The Camaro is the flavor of the week. My neighbor has an SS and it's a sweet ride, but damn, you can't drive two blocks anywhere without seeing one. If I get a Camaro, it'll be a pre70 or the new Z28. The Z28 is rumored to be available with a rag top, which is what I want. The Mustang GT 500 comes in a rag top, which is really tempting, but Iíve have to get a 2011 and thatís 60K.

Have you ever seen the SRT? Scary friggin fast and eats corners like crazy with its AWD. One of my bud's girlfriend has one and let me take it for a spin with her riding along. I had her screaming for her life. Now she begs me to take her for a ride. You shouldnít dismiss it so quick without at least looking at one.

A used CTS can be found for about 25K. With the 18" wheels, it's pretty sexy. I'd look for the V model with the V8, but that would be over your price range, probably in the high 30's.

You serious about the vette? If so, let me know, I'm looking for one right now. Make sure you stick with the C-5 chassis. They stick to the road much, much better than any previous version. I want one dark red, rag top, six speed and HUD. 08-10's with low (less than 20K) miles are going for about 40K. 5K for a supercharger and youíre up around 650 HP.

Another car worth looking at is a Charger (even though you apparently don't like Dodge). Dodge is giving them away right now. The RT with AWD and 5.7 is going for about 25K, new.

The G-8 was about 30K new with all the bells and whistles and a 6.2 ltr. I forgot about them. Not sure why they didn't sell that well cause they were a heck of a bargain. I did drive a GTO once. I wasnít impressed.

If you like Nissan, a fun one to test drive thatís totally out of your price range is the GT-R. You might be able to find a used 09 for 50K, maybe. They are about 80K new. An optometrist I know has one and took me for a spin in it after we got into an ďimport verses American muscle car debateĒ. Holy crap, what a ride. This is one car that is seriously under appreciated by the performance snobs of the world. I usually donít get nervous, but I was going through some serious sphincter pucker problems during that little ride.

Let me know if I can provide further assistance. I'll do my best to talk you into spending 50K.
Posted by: tomtuttle

Re: Small Car recommendations... - 08/22/10 09:13 PM

grin Mike, you're awesome. But I'm not spending 50k. I'm half serious about the Vette. People seem to take good care of them. Obviously, I'd have to get an older one to get into my price range.

Thanks for the Porsche perspective, Adrian. I hadn't thought of it that way.

HomeDad, you make me sick. Still. grin
Posted by: michael_d

Re: Small Car recommendations... - 08/22/10 09:43 PM

Ebay Motors is a good place to look. I steered you wrong earlier. You want a C-6. 2005 or newer. Not sure what I was thinking.... You can do a search with all kinds of filters to find what you want in your price range. If you wait till spring, I plan to go on a road trip looking for one.

But seriously, test drive the GT-R. That's the most incredible car I've been in a long time. What makes it so damn fast (other than a 3.6 0-60 and, 12 second quarter and +1 g cornering) is it's super smart and driver friendly, IE: any idiot can drive it well. Too well in many cases. It's compared to the 911-GT3.
Posted by: Lampshade

Re: Small Car recommendations... - 08/22/10 10:10 PM

I didn't any posts after yours (Tom's) so I don't know the other responses. "I didn't want to spend $25,000 on a Subaru" caught my interest. Subarus are excellent cars.
Posted by: JohnK

Re: Small Car recommendations... - 08/22/10 10:37 PM

Tom, Miata, Miata, Miata. Someone 6' tall, unless maybe their upper torso is unusually long, should "fit" well in an MX-5.
Posted by: HomeDad

Re: Small Car recommendations... - 08/22/10 10:44 PM

Tom,

Lots of great choices out there depending on what you want out of the car. One of the best places to find out what some of these cars are all about without test driving everything is to go to their forums and see what the real owners say about their enjoyment, true maintenance costs and problems, many times you can find great buys off these forums from guys that have been very meticulous about their vehicles.

As Michael pointed out you ought to test drive a GT-R or a ZR1, they both set the bar pretty high in power and handling, and that will help you decide where along that line you want to go. Last year after seeing all the specs. on all the new cars I wanted a new sports car, but my wife gave me that are you crazy look, so rather than buying I've spent the last year modifying my Acura,(Supercharger,headers,exhaust,air induction and a bunch of other goodies)Now It's running around 440hp and weighing less than 2900 lbs, it can be pretty scary when jumped on, but there's nothing like knowing the powers there smile So my advice is get a little more than you want in power and handling to keep the car exciting for years to come.

Good luck with the hunt.
Posted by: Adrian

Re: Small Car recommendations... - 08/22/10 11:10 PM

Didn't Tom say something about a $20k budget?
Posted by: HomeDad

Re: Small Car recommendations... - 08/22/10 11:23 PM

We always like to stretch budgets, but there are some very nice cars available in that price range, RX8's, 350Z's, Corvettes would be some of my choices.
Posted by: Murph

Re: Small Car recommendations... - 08/23/10 08:03 AM

Ditto on the Subarus. I have a friend who I have been semi-seriously trying to talk into selling me his 06 WRX. He seems to have had zero issues outside of general maintenance and it sure is fun to drive.

I also know a few folks whit Foresters who swear by their toughness, although I honestly never researched Foresters so I can only pass on their comments.
Posted by: Adrian

Re: Small Car recommendations... - 08/23/10 09:12 AM

I've never considered Subarus to be all that economical or powerfull(exc wrx), but I've heard they are reliable.

Also styling is questionable.
Posted by: Murph

Re: Small Car recommendations... - 08/23/10 10:05 AM

No, not super powerful but it's the perfect compromise for our climate here. Unlike most sports cars, I could actually drive it year round (all wheel drive & reasonable clearance for winter ) or without fear of bottoming out on our horrendously awful roads here. With no native stone, (except crumbly sandstone,) all our roads sink into potholed or bumpy patched hell in just a couple of years after a fresh paving.

I actually like the subdued styling in that it doesn't scream midlife crisis. If I see another convertible Miata or Audi TT Roadster driven with a guy wearing a brand new Tilly tied around his neck, I'm going to scream. crazy laugh
Posted by: tomtuttle

Re: Small Car recommendations... - 08/23/10 10:33 AM

So, if I promise to eschew the Tilly, we're okay then?

I meant no offense to Subaru, their owners or devotees. I agree that they are good cars. They just don't invoke the emotional response - FOR ME - I'm looking for right now.

I need to find a 2006 or later Miata with the retractable hard top and see how I fit.
Posted by: Adrian

Re: Small Car recommendations... - 08/23/10 11:11 AM

Forget the Tilly hat, Tom. Get yourself a baseball cap and a lowered Honda with spinners and your all set homie!
Posted by: Murph

Re: Small Car recommendations... - 08/23/10 11:14 AM

Absolutely Tom,
I meant no offense either and certainly none taken. It's really the latest Tilly fad around here that gets me amused more so than the cars. You could add any convertible at all into my sentence and my intent would be the same.

My Tilly hatred goes back to a story a few years ago I think I may have even posted about a hiking trip down to camp in Fishing Cove, Cape Breton. We ended up sharing the location with a family of folks all in their finest LL Bean camping clothes and matching Tillys for everyone. They seemed friendly enough until I tried to politely mention to the father that he might want to collect water for his fancy new water filter pump further up the stream because he was down where it was still tidal and was assuredly still salt water. He quickly became very taken back, very rude and essentially told me where I could go while he continued to pump salt water through his filter.

I let him have at it and then awaited the inevitable outcry from his kids when they tasted the "pristine mountain water" he bragged loudly about as he walked back to his tents. Very amusing!!!

My apologies to authentic Tilly types everywhere. If it's salt faded, sun faded, dusty, dirty or maybe has a tooth byte or two in the rim, then they are definitely the best hat you could have bought.
Posted by: MarkSJohnson

Re: Small Car recommendations... - 08/23/10 11:38 AM

I had to look up Tilly hats... in the same thread where I had to look up paddle shifters.

You guys make me feel stupid.... or at least like I have to get out of my office more...
Posted by: michael_d

Re: Small Car recommendations... - 08/23/10 11:43 AM

Originally Posted By: HomeDad
Tom,
I've spent the last year modifying my Acura,(Supercharger,headers,exhaust,air induction and a bunch of other goodies)Now It's running around 440hp and weighing less than 2900 lbs, it can be pretty scary when jumped on, but there's nothing like knowing the powers there smile So my advice is get a little more than you want in power and handling to keep the car exciting for years to come.


2900? 440hp? Wow! Sweet! I bet it's a frigin rocket now. Folks forget about the whole power to weight ratio much too often. I used to have a Nova trailer queen at 2600 pounds with 750 hp. Ran an 8.8 with that one.

I have a thing for good ol' American V8 powered cars, but seriously considering picking up the GT-R. If it came with a manual, I'd be all over it.
Posted by: MarkSJohnson

Re: Small Car recommendations... - 08/23/10 11:50 AM

And now I'm looking up GT-R.......

The ignorance just flows out of this office....
Posted by: Ken.C

Re: Small Car recommendations... - 08/23/10 11:54 AM

I'm not really fond of the looks of the GT-R, but you can't argue with the performance.

Tom, have you considered a Viper? wink
Posted by: Murph

Re: Small Car recommendations... - 08/23/10 12:49 PM

Last year for the Viper. Which means you have to order one of the 50 only Viper SRT10 "Final Edition" models.

If you buy one, I'll definitely change my mind and go to Dwight to see it......
Posted by: HomeDad

Re: Small Car recommendations... - 08/23/10 01:03 PM

I like the exterior of the Viper but Imo the interior is just fugly. It's a great car as long as you don't have to go around any corners smile
Posted by: Ken.C

Re: Small Car recommendations... - 08/23/10 01:04 PM

Agreed. Although the only time I ever drove one was 8 years ago.
Posted by: tomtuttle

Re: Small Car recommendations... - 08/23/10 01:05 PM

Ken, I had not. Just need more zeroes.

You guys are no longer helping. It was amazing for a while there, though.
Posted by: medic8r

Re: Small Car recommendations... - 08/23/10 01:16 PM

Originally Posted By: kcarlile
Agreed. Although the only time I ever drove one was 8 years ago.

Tall guy's wedding, right?
Posted by: Ken.C

Re: Small Car recommendations... - 08/23/10 01:18 PM

My wedding, actually.
Posted by: medic8r

Re: Small Car recommendations... - 08/23/10 01:20 PM

Originally Posted By: tomtuttle
You guys are no longer helping. It was amazing for a while there, though.

Yeah, you're lucky to have kept our collective ADHD in check for that long. However, there are those (myself included) who like to think of ADHD as not just a deficit of attention, but more specifically a disregulation of attention, as most folks with ADHD can focus quite well or even hyperfocus on things they like - cars, for example.
Posted by: medic8r

Re: Small Car recommendations... - 08/23/10 01:22 PM

Originally Posted By: kcarlile
My wedding, actually.

Ah, I was thinking it must have been Peter's because he was the one that originally told me about that drive. I remember him being relieved that he could fit in the Viper.
Posted by: HomeDad

Re: Small Car recommendations... - 08/23/10 01:23 PM

Not sure if it was mentioned, but the BMW M3 is a really nice performance all around car and can be had at some very reasonable prices.
Posted by: MarkSJohnson

Re: Small Car recommendations... - 08/23/10 01:25 PM

Originally Posted By: Murph
If you buy one, I'll definitely change my mind and go to Dwight to see it......

Seriously, you'd go to see a car but not make the trip for US... your best friends?*

*Yeah, I admit I'm being a bit presumptuous here!
Posted by: Ken.C

Re: Small Car recommendations... - 08/23/10 01:25 PM

He said that he didn't fit/like the BMW 3 series he tried. Pity.
Posted by: 2x6spds

Re: Small Car recommendations... - 08/23/10 01:41 PM



One Six Speed

[img:center][/img]

Two Six Speeds.

Legend is gone and missed. Dinan Stage II chip, Kone exhaust, RM Racing Intake, Brembo brake package ... a great ride.

HomeDad, what did you do to your Acura and which one is it???? I want a ride.
Posted by: Murph

Re: Small Car recommendations... - 08/23/10 01:59 PM

Originally Posted By: MarkSJohnson
Originally Posted By: Murph
If you buy one, I'll definitely change my mind and go to Dwight to see it......

Seriously, you'd go to see a car but not make the trip for US... your best friends?*

*Yeah, I admit I'm being a bit presumptuous here!


You have me all wrong. It's because you are my friends that I am dreaming up unlikely excuses to go. They have to provide hope while being generically unlikely enough so I can honestly say "but Honey, I never ever thought he would ever reallly do it."
Posted by: tomtuttle

Re: Small Car recommendations... - 08/23/10 02:03 PM

The S2000 is still on the list wink I'm pessimistic about finding one I can afford.

BMW's vex me. They are sweet, but seem needlessly expensive (i.e. I don't want to pay for quite that much fun) and I know a number of friends who have had terrifically expensive repair bills on them.

The 328 I drove was not appreciably "better" than a comparable TL or G35, but was certainly more expensive.
Posted by: HomeDad

Re: Small Car recommendations... - 08/23/10 02:18 PM

Quote:
HomeDad, what did you do to your Acura and which one is it???? I want a ride.


Nice S2000!, I have a 1994 NSX, Comptech Supercharged, Comptech headers, Downforce stack intake, Taitec GT exhaust, Downforce air intake, NSX-R rear spoiler,twin carbon clutch,Carbing shock tower brace, Eibach springs, drilled rotors, entirely redone interior with Momo quick release steering, larger injectors and fuel pump,HID's, other cosmetic mods and everything is CARB legal. I'm almost finally finished, I just want to replace my Momo 17" and 18" wheels with something in a Volk or Advan racing type wheel. Then I'll snap some good shots. And all this started when I just needed to change the clutch. smile
Posted by: tomtuttle

Re: Small Car recommendations... - 08/23/10 02:20 PM

Good grief, Michael. That sounds great.
Posted by: 2x6spds

Re: Small Car recommendations... - 08/23/10 02:33 PM

I'd love to pick up a 3.2 liter NSX. It is a perfect supercar. Simple, luxurious, ergonomically perfect, snicky Honda 6 speed, great handling all out of the box. Of course, with the Comptech forced induction treatment the NSX morphs from darn quick to Oh My Goodness.

I also had the Eibach prokits on my Legend, and Koni shocks all around, camber adjuster thingies, Kevlar wrapped stainless steel brake lines, don't recall what kind of shock tower brace I had.

Toodle in a 2009 TL. Nice car.

I've been thinking of a Comptech supercharger for the S2000, but figure I need to upgrade the diff and clutch to handle the added torque.

Enjoy your NSX. A really classy ride!!!!
Posted by: RickF

Re: Small Car recommendations... - 08/23/10 02:37 PM

Tom whenever you decide on the car that one of these guys are going to set you up with ... can I be the first to have dibs on whatever Axiom gear your gonna have to sell? What AVR did you say you have, I need an upgrade.

grin



Posted by: Murph

Re: Small Car recommendations... - 08/23/10 03:07 PM

Tom, in an attempt to become useful again, Mini Coopers have come up in this thread before (or another, I'm too lazy to go look.)

However, if you could get your hands on a John Cooper Works (The souped up Mini Cooper) I think you would have a BLAST of a car that most surprisingly provides you with amazing comfort for a tall guy such as yourself. In my lowly, regular Mini Cooper, I still have about 4 inches to go in the seat slider and I'm 6' even.

The "John Cooper Works" Mini is essentially a mini race car. It's fast and it handles like a car that costs more than twice as much. It may be only 211 horsepower but you have to consider that this is in a car weighing just a hair more than 2600 lbs. 0 to 62MPH in 6.9 seconds.

While you can certainly get faster cars, it's not bad considering the base model can be had for under 30,000.
I actually thought of it because you have mentioned that fitting in the car will be a big part of your decision. I have never seen you in person but I do have an old neighbor who we lovingly refer to as "the Big German" at 6'3" 240 lbs and he says he is just as comfortable in our Mini as in his own Murano.
Posted by: MarkSJohnson

Re: Small Car recommendations... - 08/23/10 03:10 PM

Originally Posted By: Murph
It may be only 211 horsepower but you have to consider that this is in a car weighing just a hair more than 6400 lbs.

Hmmmmm...I'll pass. smile
Posted by: Murph

Re: Small Car recommendations... - 08/23/10 03:17 PM

Originally Posted By: MarkSJohnson
Originally Posted By: Murph
It may be only 211 horsepower but you have to consider that this is in a car weighing just a hair more than 6400 lbs.

Hmmmmm...I'll pass. smile


OK, Yes, I Typoed, Smartguy!

It has been corrected.



Posted by: MarkSJohnson

Re: Small Car recommendations... - 08/23/10 03:18 PM

::Us short people have to stand up to all you six footers::
Posted by: tomtuttle

Re: Small Car recommendations... - 08/23/10 04:01 PM

Thanks, Andrew. I should have retained a Cooper S on my list. I think even that level of HP might be "enough" for me as long as the ergonomics and other factors are satisfying.

Rick, I've been working this thing for a while. Already got Mrs. Tuttle to the point of "buy whatever you want". Of course, we all know there's a fine line between that phrase and "go ahead".
Posted by: Ken.C

Re: Small Car recommendations... - 08/23/10 04:07 PM

As much as I like the idea of a Mini, I have to point out that they're BMWs, with the associated repair and maintenance costs.
Posted by: Adrian

Re: Small Car recommendations... - 08/23/10 04:49 PM

Originally Posted By: tomtuttle
Already got Mrs. Tuttle to the point of "buy whatever you want".

Ok. In print that looks fine. But HOW did she say it...was she daring you, did she have a threatening tone in her voice, was she waving a 5 qt roasting pan in the air when she said it?
Posted by: RickF

Re: Small Car recommendations... - 08/23/10 05:01 PM

I'm guessing in the same general tone as 'I don't really want anything for my birthday.'

Tom I know this may be way out in left field but my wife bought her Volvo S80 new in '05 and this is the longest she has ever owned a car, Bimmers, VWs, Mustangs and Camaros ... she's had 'em all but this S80 has been the best. Very seldom do I ever drive it but whenever I do I am always so impressed with the car, stylish, good power and very comfortable.




Posted by: tomtuttle

Re: Small Car recommendations... - 08/23/10 05:24 PM

Thanks, Rick!

No, I think I'm okay at home. Just have to be prudent with the bottom line. "Whatever I want...within reason" is legitimate and sincere.

I actually sat in a 2007 S60 and liked it quite a bit, although I'm not sure it is "interesting" enough for me to feel satisfied (see Subaru). I guess I decided that I liked the Acura better for that kind of car, although it is more money.
Posted by: Adrian

Re: Small Car recommendations... - 08/23/10 05:26 PM

Tom, I think a G8 might be for you.
Posted by: tomtuttle

Re: Small Car recommendations... - 08/23/10 06:21 PM

Here's a revelation...

How about a Volvo S60 R AWD, 300HP Turbo, Edmunds says 0-60 in 5.4 seconds.

What would be wrong with that?

Of course, this seems to be the only one in the NW and it's about 150 miles away.
Posted by: Ken.C

Re: Small Car recommendations... - 08/23/10 06:24 PM

I've got an 850 Turbo wagon from the mid 90s. about 50hp less than that, but the predecessor of that model. It accelerates pretty well, but maintenance costs are remarkably high--it's almost always >$400 when we take it into the shop. I like the car, but not well enough to get another one--other than the cargo space and the flat back, which is sort of moot when you're looking at the sedan...
Posted by: tomtuttle

Re: Small Car recommendations... - 08/23/10 06:31 PM

Thanks, Ken!
Posted by: Ken.C

Re: Small Car recommendations... - 08/23/10 06:36 PM

OTOH, I look at those pictures, and damn, I like the looks of that car. Especially the wheels. Not quite the wheels from the '95 T5-R (those were graphite), but it's a nice looking car.
Posted by: tomtuttle

Re: Small Car recommendations... - 08/23/10 07:22 PM

Apparently, it is an automatic frown and hence, a full second slower 0-60. It *looks* like a stick, but the dealer assures me it is an automatic, albeit a fancy 6-speed one with manual mode.

Still having trouble with that fun/comfort balance thing.
Posted by: michael_d

Re: Small Car recommendations... - 08/23/10 07:32 PM

Originally Posted By: tomtuttle
Here's a revelation...

How about a Volvo S60 R AWD, 300HP Turbo, Edmunds says 0-60 in 5.4 seconds.

What would be wrong with that?

Of course, this seems to be the only one in the NW and it's about 150 miles away.


I bought my X-wife one of those (and a house, and half of everything else). I think it was an 05. Too small for me to get in / out of without cussing a bit, but once seated, it was OK and I'm 5'10". The seats were very comfortable for long rides (I love all Volvo seats). It's a solid little car, will hold the road well at over a buck 130. Doesn't get there real fast, not fast enough for my tastes, but over all, a damn nice car. If I were looking at sedans, the S80, V8 AWD would be on my short list. I prefer them over an A6 by a long shot.
Posted by: Zarak

Re: Small Car recommendations... - 08/23/10 07:39 PM

Didn't read a lot of the thread, but read the part about the WRX and Legacy. WRX was my last car, and I have a Legacy now, so I can speak to this. The WRX was a lot of fun. Handles well, all wheel drive for bad weather, and FAST!

I got my Legacy in Jan 2009 (end of Dec 2008 technically). I knew a baby was not far off (had our first this past December) so I wanted something 4 door, preferably with a little more space than the WRX, but still something fun. I drove a bunch of cars and ended up with the Legacy GT. The GT is the key part of that. It is still plenty fast (mid 5's 0-60 if I recall) and handles well, but is a bit smoother of a ride and has more room in the back for the car seat.

I've had good luck with Subaru maintenance wise as well. I'd recommend it to you.

I would steer clear of Audi/VW. They are about as bad as it gets for reliability, at least according to consumer reports. My wife had an Audi and it fit the CR assessment. Always seemed to be things going wrong with it. She has a Honda CRV now and it's been good.
Posted by: Murph

Re: Small Car recommendations... - 08/24/10 06:45 AM

Originally Posted By: tomtuttle
Apparently, it is an automatic frown and hence, a full second slower 0-60. It *looks* like a stick, but the dealer assures me it is an automatic, albeit a fancy 6-speed one with manual mode.

Still having trouble with that fun/comfort balance thing.


Nothing wrong with an automatic transmission with a manual mode if it's a well designed system, although many are not well designed. A lot of drag racers have gone that route and are liking it.
Posted by: michael_d

Re: Small Car recommendations... - 08/24/10 10:33 AM

Automatics are a must for serious drag racing if you want to win races. But, that includes trans-brakes and stall converters. The Nova I mentioned earlier launched at 5200 rpm where peak torque was being developed. It had a built two speed power glide, which is the typical choice for transmission on the drag strip as you only have one shift. The power glide also has less torque robbing components as the three or four speeds do. But thatís the drag strip, for road racing and just general screwing around and having fun, a car without a manual and clutch just isnít as much fun and you wonít find them on many race winning road race cars.

Tom Ė The V60R my X had was equipped with the automatic. Itís just has the typical ďmanualĒ mode that pretty much all cars have nowadays. Itís not actually manual by any stretch of the imagination, but simply allows you to bounce up and down at will by tapping the lever back and forth. Itís better than nothing, but a far cry from the real thing.
Posted by: Murph

Re: Small Car recommendations... - 08/24/10 11:25 AM

I have also seen government rebates for purchasing a new standard shift vehicles but I have no idea if they apply in your location. They are based on green initiatives for the 'better' gas mileage.
Posted by: Adrian

Re: Small Car recommendations... - 08/24/10 12:32 PM

We had that initiative 1 or 2 yrs ago here, I'm not sure if it still applies.

Say, I wonder if they consider a PDK or DSG an auto or manual?
Posted by: tomtuttle

Re: Small Car recommendations... - 08/24/10 12:35 PM

I am very grateful to you guys for your ongoing counsel. I expect that - before too long - you will be reduced to the overanalyzer's spousal reaction of "I don't care anymore - just buy something"

It's a fun journey and it helps me a lot to bounce things off you all.

I drove a 2010 Miata Grand Touring 6-speed with the retractable hard top last night. Man, that was FUN. It sounded right and felt great when I was driving and shifting. Very exhilarating. Problem is, I had quite a time getting in and out of it even though my back is actually in pretty good shape at the moment. I have a sedentary job and have never been overly fit or flexible, so the ingress/egress was pretty uncomfortable given how low the car is.

When I started this journey, I had pretty much dismissed convertibles for a number of solid reasons, including higher insurance, noise, ingress/egress, and general impracticality. Thanks to your bad influence, the availability of retractable hard tops at (attainable?) prices and a couple of transcendent test drives in glorious summer weather, I had put convertibles back on my "potential" list. The reality is that it is dark, gray and "gonna rain soon if it's not right now" for 8 months of the year in Western Washington. Since I'm looking for a daily driver, I really should get a grip and remember my longstanding assessment that it's pretty stupid to own a convertible in Seattle unless you plan to only drive it part of the year.

I've also discovered that I am quite a bit pickier about color, trim level and options than I have ever been before, and that's okay. Because of lifestyle, economics, family, and a general outlook of automobiles as transportation appliances, I'd never really cared too much about some of these details. Now, there are more available goodies than ever, and I find myself wanting to indulge in a few of them. It's weird to have this conscious realization that my decision-making paradigm has shifted due to not only technology, but being at a fundamentally different place in life.

So, now I really want the seats to be comfortable. Having steering-wheel mounted audio controls is pretty much a deal breaker. Heaven help me, I've come to have a preference for heated seats.

And - thanks to Mike for helping me crystallize the concept - I really do need to get a stick. After driving the Miata last night, it was pretty clear to me how much I've missed that level of involvement. I don't have a stop-and-go freeway commute anymore, and there just is no substitute for that level of control. It's gone from preference to deal-breaker. And wow, is it damn difficult to find manual-shift versions of some of these cars.

I apparently owe the Subaruians an apology, and appreciate their patience in showing me the omissions in my knowledge. I incorrectly thought that the Legacy GT afforded changes in trim but not in drivetrain, and now stand happily corrected. Special thanks to Zarak for finally getting through to me. Perhaps I will try to find and drive a 2007-08 Legacy GT SpecB.

But I'm still not sure how I feel about turbocharged engines. My frame of reference from many years ago was that basically any turbo was an inevitable and expensive repair.

Finally, as much as I'd like to throw caution to the wind and do whatever it takes to indulge my motoring whimsy, I have realized that I am fundamentally pretty darn risk averse and it really pisses me off when things are broken. So, I've discounted certain makes like Audi, BMW, Mercedes, etc. because of my perception that I don't wait to wait or pay for the boat from Stuttgart.

Seems like I've always dreamed of having a German car, and now it appears that I really don't want one after all.

Murph, not even naked vegetarians in a Prius can get tax credits any more.

I might end up with a Civic Si after all. Even if I could find one of the obscure stick-shift GT's (like the Volvo or TL), there probably aren't enough of them in existence for me to feel good about parts availability.

I gotta go do something else with my life.

Thanks for being there.
Posted by: Adrian

Re: Small Car recommendations... - 08/24/10 12:42 PM

Ok...you've settled at least on the transmission. Now we have to attach a car to it.

Do you prefer rwd over fwd, Tom? that's something you haven't brought up.
Posted by: pmbuko

Re: Small Car recommendations... - 08/24/10 12:44 PM

awd. You want awd. smile
Posted by: Adrian

Re: Small Car recommendations... - 08/24/10 12:52 PM

2011 Porsche Turbo.

Tom I'll schedule a test drive at Pfaff Porsche when you visit, bring your checkbook.
Posted by: michael_d

Re: Small Car recommendations... - 08/24/10 01:16 PM

Porsche, great car, but the same damn thing year after year. This video review mirrors my thoughts..... http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zYWk-nat1ok&feature=search

Tom - Thanks for this little distraction, regardless of what you do. It's been the most interesting thread on these boards to me for a long time. Now to just put this little journey of yours into perspective, you said you want a car that's fun, but it needs to be a daily driver. That's OK and quite doable. However, you really should not put the words "fun" and "practical" in the same sentence. Fun (RE: performance) is not practical. So stop worrying about that practical piece. It doesn't matter if you have four days a year to enjoy the top down or not. That's four days you will have a truly enjoyable time, if that's your bag. I love convertibles. There's nothing like having the air and open space around you. If you want that, get it and don't worry about the practicality of it. Good call on the imports. Unless you are buying new with warranty, I would not give that a second thought. Mercedes has gone so far to remove the "owner DIY" repair piece, that they have eliminated the dip stick.
Posted by: Adrian

Re: Small Car recommendations... - 08/24/10 01:20 PM

Jeremy Clarkson is a Ferrari Fan boy so anything he says about Porsche should be taken in that context.
Posted by: HomeDad

Re: Small Car recommendations... - 08/24/10 01:25 PM

A lot of good choices out there, for myself looking at value and fun I keep going back to the 350z, my brother in law owns one and it's a fun ride, with surprisingly more space in the rear than it seems.
Posted by: Murph

Re: Small Car recommendations... - 08/24/10 04:20 PM

Originally Posted By: tomtuttle
Murph, not even naked vegetarians in a Prius can get tax credits any more.


I officially spit out my coffee laughing at that one Tom!!
Posted by: pmbuko

Re: Small Car recommendations... - 08/24/10 04:26 PM

Yeah, you need to be a gluten-free vegan to even claim a credit -- and even then they'll likely deny you.
Posted by: fredk

Re: Small Car recommendations... - 08/24/10 10:01 PM

That was quite an amusing review Michael. I seem to rember him doing a review of an open frame 2 seater built in Britain a couple of years ago that he described as the most fun you could ever buy for $50K. THAT was a sports car.
Posted by: JohnK

Re: Small Car recommendations... - 08/24/10 11:18 PM

Tom, was that you that was driving that gorgeous black MX-5 GT near Milam Mazda last night?
Posted by: medic8r

Re: Small Car recommendations... - 08/25/10 12:39 AM

I've enjoyed my 2001 Maxima - runs like new at 109,000 miles - and can imagine that the 350Z would be a lot of fun. At 6'4", I fit (snugly) into one in the showroom a few years back. Didn't drive it, and visibility is not as good as I'd like, but you get that with a bunch of the roadsters when their tops are up. Also, as far as Nissan/Infiniti goes, I'm surprised you didn't fit better into the G35/G37.

A friend just got a 2008 Volvo C70 - the hardtop convertible - for $2k under book value. Only had 13k miles on it. It would stretch your budget a little into the upper $20s. He also got an extension on the warranty, paid $1000 or so for 6 years/100k bumper-to-bumper protection. I've had that one on my radar since it came out.

Good luck with the pondering. I hope to give this thread a bump myself in a year or two. I had a 1997 Z3 that was a lot of fun despite numbers that are positively anemic by today's performance standards. I had the 1.9L, 138 HP, 0-60 in 8 seconds model. It handled great and was torquey enough for me. I would love to get the M roadster version of that car.
Posted by: 2x6spds

Re: Small Car recommendations... - 08/25/10 01:14 AM

If you're not shifting, you're not driving, IMHO.
Posted by: tomtuttle

Re: Small Car recommendations... - 08/25/10 01:38 AM

Very good, John. Yes, that was me.

JP, I just needed a little more headroom in the G35 and 350Z coupes. The 350Z convertible was really sweet, but I really thought the interior materials were kind of cheap and clunky. Still on the list, though.

Yes, I looked at the C70. I don't love the way it looks with the top down, but I'll bet it would be wonderful. It is yet another car that theoretically was built with a manual transmission, although none of them seem to be on the market.

I need to go drive some more candidates.
Posted by: michael_d

Re: Small Car recommendations... - 08/25/10 09:51 AM

Tom, did you say you tried the Infinity G37? I'm too lazy to look. If not, the G37 has a "Sport" option in either sedan or coupe or convertible. The sport version comes with a manual six speed, 320 plus HP and some pretty slick wheels / tires. The convertible is actually a retractable hard top, which might just be the thing you need where you live. I have not driven one, but Infinity has always impressed me overall. New, they're about 35K, so you should be able to find one a year or two old in your price range with warranty. Just another thought....
Posted by: medic8r

Re: Small Car recommendations... - 08/25/10 10:03 AM

Agreed, Michael, the G convertible seems like a winner. I was hoping they'd come out with one for the longest time. I'm surprised that I've never actually seen one on the road, or at least not with the top down. I'd have thought they'd have sold a ton of them, but no.
Posted by: tomtuttle

Re: Small Car recommendations... - 08/25/10 11:28 AM

Hmmm... Thought I couldn't afford it, but will definitely check further. Great idea.

No ruminations on reliability and/or joyfulness of modern turbo 4 and 5 cylinder engines?
Posted by: michael_d

Re: Small Car recommendations... - 08/25/10 11:45 AM

Turbo's are OK. Not many moving parts to screw up, they run off exhaust gasses, so they are a great power adder that does not rob torque to do it. But the engine needs to be designed for one or they totally suck (proper valve overlap, timing, etc). I don't particularly like them because they take time to spool up unless you go with a staged, multi turbo system. But, when they get to speed, hold on...

You really want one of these, you know you do, just buy one...(video posted at the Z06 forum I lurk at)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t7kk0pfpFcI
Posted by: Adrian

Re: Small Car recommendations... - 08/25/10 11:57 AM

As long as you use the correct oil, change regularly, and don't push the engine/turbo hard before it's warmed up properly, you should be fine. Keep in mind there are "mild" turbos that only put out a few psi(Volvo?) vs some highly compressing ones at 20+ psi. Aside from poor design like the ones you may have seen back in the 80's, today's turbos are far more reliable. I would expect you'll have to use premium fuel on most, if not all turbo engines these days if the extra fuel expense is an issue and likely synthetic oil(although many cars use synth these days anyway).

I don't know if car companies these days recommend this or not re turbo engines, but in my owners manual of the '83 930 I had, Porsche recommended you drive the car for a few minutes to get the oil temperature up, then open up the throttle to activate/clear the wastegate...I think it was to clear any condensation that may have settled there.
Posted by: pmbuko

Re: Small Car recommendations... - 08/25/10 12:41 PM

That video really makes me think the driver is a douchebag. HEY LOOK AT ME AND MY AWESOME CAR YOU REALLY MUST LOOK SEEE!!!!1111

Nice car, but looks like he can't really drive it well. frown

I like this Corvette video better:
http://devour.com/video/america-still-builds-rockets/
Posted by: HomeDad

Re: Small Car recommendations... - 08/25/10 01:08 PM

GTR video, now this is insane!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=A-BErFDWCI4
Posted by: Murph

Re: Small Car recommendations... - 08/25/10 02:14 PM

Originally Posted By: pmbuko
That video really makes me think the driver is a douchebag. HEY LOOK AT ME AND MY AWESOME CAR YOU REALLY MUST LOOK SEEE!!!!1111

Nice car, but looks like he can't really drive it well. frown


Just the way he was holding the wheel shows that he has little experience nor serious driving skills. I'd be afraid to get in a car that fast with him based on that alone.

Also, I would have been a lot more impressed with his power turn if he had ended up pointing down the road instead of at 90 degrees to it.
Posted by: tomtuttle

Re: Small Car recommendations... - 08/25/10 03:20 PM

Can't afford a Z06. You'll have to give me a ride in yours.

Looks like used G37 Sports are in the mid $40's.

That GR-R video is nuts. 200 mph?!
Posted by: michael_d

Re: Small Car recommendations... - 08/25/10 03:52 PM

You guys were supposed to be paying attention to the car, not the driver... The way it was idling speaks volumes to the power the thing is making, because it isn't just a stock LS-7 under the hood and they have 500 of the factory floor. He's at least 550. I reckon it's a gear head thing.
Posted by: michael_d

Re: Small Car recommendations... - 08/25/10 04:00 PM

Tom - Ebay motors has over a dozen sport model G37s in the 20's. Buy it now prices right at 30K, so you should be able to get them for about 25K.

I am negotiating with someone right now that is selling her Z06. I may just do a drive by your house if I get it and drive it home.
Posted by: MarkSJohnson

Re: Small Car recommendations... - 08/25/10 04:04 PM

OK, but you better drive it well so you're not a douchebag! wink grin
Posted by: HomeDad

Re: Small Car recommendations... - 08/25/10 04:27 PM

Quote:
I may just do a drive by your house if I get it and drive it home.


Keep on driving towards Calif. I want a ride, I'll have the Vino ready!
Posted by: RickF

Re: Small Car recommendations... - 08/25/10 04:30 PM

According to Google Earth, Florida isn't *that* far from California.

I'll have the redneck beer ready.

grin
Posted by: michael_d

Re: Small Car recommendations... - 08/25/10 05:23 PM

Well the car's in Kansas, so I may need to take a few pit stops along the way. I'm almost afraid my offer is accepted. I wasn't planning on buying anything yet, but if she accepts it, I'll be on a plane to at least check it out in person. I knew I shouldn't have took an interest in this thread... Tom's going to cost me a lot of money I didn't want to spend.

No worries Mark, I can drive well enough to keep em' off the guard rails and between the fog lines.

How far away from Paso Robles are you Michael? I'm still planning to head there this fall.
Posted by: tomtuttle

Re: Small Car recommendations... - 08/25/10 05:40 PM

Originally Posted By: michael_d
Tom's going to cost me a lot of money


We gotta be there for each other, buddy.
Posted by: HomeDad

Re: Small Car recommendations... - 08/25/10 05:59 PM

Quote:
How far away from Paso Robles are you Michael?


In a Z06 about 45 minutes smile Normal drive for me with the family is 2 hours or less. We do the trip often since my brother in law lives off the coast down there, we already plan to do Thanksgiving there. Let me know when you plan on making the trip, other than having to be in SF in late October for my wife's work with a quick trip to Napa our calendars free.
Posted by: tomtuttle

Re: Small Car recommendations... - 08/25/10 06:04 PM

Mike, not all G37 Sport models are the retractable hard top (which they didn't start making until 2009 and costs a lot more). The convertible weighs a whopping 450 pounds more but I don't fit in the coupe. Sweet ride, but clearly out of my league. Pity. STILL not spending $50k. Nice try, though.
Posted by: michael_d

Re: Small Car recommendations... - 08/25/10 07:20 PM

Oh... I tried, I'm here for you. Then how about 51K? Just think how good you'd look in this one, and it's all modded out so you'd never have to do anything to it! Just think of the future dollars you'd save by spending a little bit more now!

http://forums.corvetteforum.com/c6-corvettes-for-sale/2592364-2006-custom-z06-2lz.html

Posted by: tomtuttle

Re: Small Car recommendations... - 08/25/10 07:50 PM

And it's even close to home!

Too bad those rims are so fugly.

That was a close one.
Posted by: RickF

Re: Small Car recommendations... - 08/25/10 07:58 PM

That's a beautiful Z06, I really like the silver and black paint scheme and think the wheels look great myself ... I could see me driving around in that car. cool
Posted by: tomtuttle

Re: Small Car recommendations... - 08/25/10 08:56 PM

Whichever of you guys buys it, stop by while you're so close.
Posted by: michael_d

Re: Small Car recommendations... - 08/25/10 09:20 PM

You might want to take a peak at some of the other vettes listed there Tom. There's a slew of folks in a bad place right now and toys need to go to pay bills. (Sad state of affairs, but can be good for others who are more fortunate.)

Michael, I'll shoot you a note as soon as we get our plans finalized. I have live fire training at Texas A&M in Oct sometime and need to work around that. It's rained damn near every day this summer. I'm due for some sunshine and grapes. Even if you're in the Bay area when we are, we could also grab some chow at Danko's. Ken said he'll buy dinner if we let him tag along.

Buy it Rick, buy it. You deserve it!!
Posted by: Murph

Re: Small Car recommendations... - 08/26/10 07:41 AM

Beauty of a car. I'm starting to adjust to open concept wheels but the realistic part of my brain reminds me that I'm admittedly a lazy detailer so exposing another 'normally hidden' part that I'd have to keep pristine doesn't appeal to me. Although if I owned something like that, perhaps enough pride would kick in that I'd actually enjoy keeping it looking perfect.
Posted by: Adrian

Re: Small Car recommendations... - 08/26/10 08:09 AM

I like the wheels myself. Beautiful car, but the cheezy little skull on the hood needs to go.
Posted by: Murph

Re: Small Car recommendations... - 08/26/10 08:18 AM

Ya, I was afraid to mention that because I was hoping he would buy it and then we could make fun of him. Until he peels it off. Then he just has a wayyyyy better car than me.
Posted by: Ken.C

Re: Small Car recommendations... - 08/26/10 11:46 AM

At least the skull means something. It's the logo of the high end Corvette team. Possibly their racing team, but I'm not certain about that.
Posted by: RickF

Re: Small Car recommendations... - 08/26/10 12:00 PM

Looks like you are absolutely right my only other 'we like black wheels' club member...



Yellow and black ... sexy!
Posted by: Ken.C

Re: Small Car recommendations... - 08/26/10 12:01 PM

Love those things. Wish they had stayed in GT1, but so be it.
Posted by: Adrian

Re: Small Car recommendations... - 08/26/10 12:06 PM

Gt2 is more competitive. Nobody else was racing in GT1 except Corvette.
Posted by: Ken.C

Re: Small Car recommendations... - 08/26/10 12:07 PM

Yeah, I know. I just miss GT1, really.
Posted by: Adrian

Re: Small Car recommendations... - 08/26/10 01:43 PM

GT1 racing in the late 90's was fantastic.
Posted by: tomtuttle

Re: Small Car recommendations... - 08/26/10 07:52 PM

Get a room.

Okay, here's what's new with me.

I drove a 2004 Honda S2000. I fit just fine and it was very exhilarating. The ingress/egress was marginally easier for me than the Miata. I would have to get a very good deal on the one I drove (which is possible but unlikely) due to its relatively high mileage, absence of tonneau cover and holes in the top. I enjoyed driving it a lot, but it may be too raw of an experience for me on a daily basis. I am deeply concerned that its absolute demand to be driven at high RPM's would result in unfortunate encounters between me and the local gendarmes. Likewise, RWD isn't necessarily an asset for me given our weather - I'm not sure I should drive hard enough often enough to justify it. Still on the list.

Also drove a 2008 Civic Si coupe. It was also a complete blast to drive. Like the S2000, it doesn't really grab you until about 5500 RPM. It was comfortable and surprisingly roomy. I rather liked the ergonomics, but the sunroof is really tiny and I'm not sure I can talk myself into buying what I consider to be a relatively ugly car. OTOH, I can get one that is practically new within my budget. Even accelerating through corners, the FWD isn't off-putting. Still on the list, but emotion is fading somewhat. If I can change my thinking about how it looks and stop being seduced by convertibles, I might be done.

I like how both the Hondas use the naturally-aspirated VTEC engine. I like how they are reasonably economical and reliable.

Talked to my insurance company. They don't seem to care if I get a PRHT or soft-top Miata, which I thought was odd. All the sports cars I've been looking at are within about 5% of each other annually. They don't like insuring 350Z convertibles much. Also somewhat less keen on the Si. Overall, it looks like I don't really have to factor insurance cost into the equation.

I want to drive a RX-8. I'm a little skittish about the rotary, including the potentially SUV-like gas mileage. But those extra seats in the back would be handy, and it seems to strike a good balance between performance and manners. Wish the Honda looked like that.

Still thinking a lot about 350Z and Miata.

I'm not finding reasonably priced examples of late-model Subaru GT's. I would like to drive one of those, too.

I've virtually given up on European cars now for various reasons.

Can't find any Acura TL or Infiniti G35 with a stick. The G37 is too much money.

"Hey, let's watch the indecisive, risk-averse guy try to buy a sports car"

grin
Posted by: Ken.C

Re: Small Car recommendations... - 08/26/10 07:55 PM

Originally Posted By: tomtuttle

"Hey, let's watch the indecisive, risk-averse guy try to buy a sports car"


I get to buy a sports car?
Posted by: tomtuttle

Re: Small Car recommendations... - 08/26/10 07:56 PM

We can start a club.
Posted by: Ken.C

Re: Small Car recommendations... - 08/26/10 07:57 PM

I'm not sure about that. On the one hand, it seems wise to pool our decision making capabilities. On the other, it seems like it might be hazardous from a privacy standpoint.
Posted by: michael_d

Re: Small Car recommendations... - 08/26/10 08:29 PM

You're experiences with the lack of torque at lower RPM is what you'll find with all the 4 and 6 cylinders, unless their supercharged. The Rotary, not so much. The rotary actually has a great looking torque curve for an IC engine. This is also an issue with V8's to some extent. I used to struggle with this for years when I was building engines for money. I just couldn't get the young and stupid to understand that more isn't always better or more fun. They'd have some magical HP number in their heads more for bragging rights than winning races or having fun. You just can't have low end torque and high RPM horsepower both without stealing from one or the other with push rod activated cylinder valves. One day, F1 tech with solenoid actuated valves will trickle down and we'll have both, but that's a long ass way's off.

Maybe you should start looking at vettes Tom. A quick search shows several base model C-6 vettes with manual transmissions at or close to 25K. Here's a good buy>>>> http://forums.corvetteforum.com/c6-corve...emans-blue.html

Posted by: ClubNeon

Re: Small Car recommendations... - 08/26/10 08:52 PM

I don't get where the myth of RWD being a liability in low traction situations comes from. Tires can only ever deliver some fixed amount of grip. When that is reduced it better to not have to divide what remains between both accelerating and cornering.

As long as its nose is not acting as a snow plow, I can drive my RX-7 in the snow better than anything else I've owned except the AWD AMC Eagle wagon.

The rotary engine just has the ability to use more fuel if you ask it to. If you keep your foot out of it, you'll get pretty good mileage. (I've never got good mileage from mine though.) smile
Posted by: ClubNeon

Re: Small Car recommendations... - 08/26/10 08:59 PM

Oh, over-steer vs. under. That's another thing that freaks me out about FWD cars, is that they're all set up to under-steer (heck, most American designed RWD cars do too). If I come into a corner too hot, I'd rather have the tail coming around, where I can correct with the throttle, than have the nose push out, where I go off the road.

Trailing throttle steer is something that takes a little getting used to. The first time I did get my RX-7 sideways from bit too much welly, I panicked, and lifted completely. Yeah, that was bad. I went from tail-out, to a complete spin in the opposite direction. Best thing to do, is stay on it, apply a little reverse lock of the wheel, and modulate your foot as needed.
Posted by: tomtuttle

Re: Small Car recommendations... - 08/26/10 09:16 PM

Mike, I actually looked at (and drooled over) that car last night after you posted the link to that board. That would be a fantastic car.

Two problems - it's in Kentucky, and I've revised my mental budget down a little bit. Given that I'm finding pretty interesting candidates in the models I mentioned earlier under $20k, I would kind of like to stay in that range.

Chris, point taken on the RWD issue. I'm a dinosaur. I appreciate your perspective very much.

Y'all are great. Thanks again for being there.
Posted by: GOD

Re: Small Car recommendations... - 08/26/10 09:36 PM

So, you're gonna eliminate an entire choice you said was a blast to drive, 'cause of a sunroof????

Girls make decisions like that!

What's next--cup holder too short a reach??

Seriously. Of all the Toyota, Mazda and Honda/Acura products I've had, Best overall has always been Honda. Best resale now. Used to be 'a Toyota,' or some other Japanese pallandrome. Mazda was fun to drive, but not awesome with age, unlike my Toyota's, Honda's/Acura.

200,000 in 8 yrs. on a Toy I bought new. Never replaced the clutch or any lamp inside or out. Got > 10% of new value when I sold it.

So, me, Honda vote. FWIW.
Posted by: tomtuttle

Re: Small Car recommendations... - 08/26/10 09:41 PM

Thanks for the vote, Bob smile

You know, now that you mention it, the cup holder in the S2000 was REALLY lame.

I might be down to these:

350Z
RX-8
Miata
S2000
Civic Si

Which is really quite a freaking accomplishment for me.
Posted by: michael_d

Re: Small Car recommendations... - 08/26/10 10:53 PM

Hey, cup holders are pretty damn important! I use mine every day, and now that Bob brought it up, I absolutely hate the F'ing things that GMC decided to "re design". The previous cup holders worked just fine. Now I get friggin coffee all over the place every time I hit a stinking pot hole! I'm trading the bitch in for a Dodge. Thanks Bob! And I was going to actually keep this truck till you just had to mention the damn cup holders.
Posted by: HomeDad

Re: Small Car recommendations... - 08/27/10 01:22 AM

Quote:
I might be down to these:

350Z
RX-8
Miata
S2000
Civic Si (substitute Porsche boxster) smile


Looks good!
Posted by: 2x6spds

Re: Small Car recommendations... - 08/27/10 02:09 AM

350Z, big V6 cobby at high rpm.

RX8, torqueless down low, rotary reliability questions, terrible gas mileage.

Miata - the avatar like second coming of the British sports car, terrific handling, spritely acceleration, awful grill which appears to be smiling for no reason, starts even in the rain (not British).

S2000, better with the smaller 2.0 liter engine and 9000 rpm red line.

Civic Si, best exhaust note and engine music of the crowd, great handling, roomy, comfortable and Honda ergonomics, excellent fuel economy. Honda reliability. Snickiest stick shift and clutch this side of the S2000.
Posted by: ClubNeon

Re: Small Car recommendations... - 08/27/10 03:02 AM

Originally Posted By: 2x6spds
RX8, torqueless down low, rotary reliability questions, terrible gas mileage.

I swear rotaries have the same problem with oft repeated misconceptions outside of their owner group as does Axiom.

Yes, the engine has very little torque off of it's 750 RPM idle. But that's because it revs to over 8 grand. It's more like you have your choice of three different engines, depending on how you shift (which is why one should always have a manual transmission mated to a rotary).

Keep it below 3500, and you've got a mild-mannered, grocery getter, that will turn out 35 MPG around town easily. You're not going to win any 1/8 mile drag races, but you'll also not sit and spin in the rain or snow (my brother test drove the last model year of Camaro--before they came back; without traction control it'd turn the tires to smoke if you did anything more than crack the throttle--unused torque is unused torque).

From 3000 to 5000, you've got a sprightly car that moves around in traffic in such a way you'll be smiling all the while you're behind the wheel. This is where I spend most of my time. Averages about 25 MPG driving like this.

Above 5000, and the engine becomes an entirely different beast. The throttle response is so crisp, that if you wiggle your little toe you'll gain or loose 5 MPH. It's hard to keep from bumping the red line (I don't like warning beep of the RX-8 as much as the buzzer of the '7) the engine revs so easily from here up. Do this all the time and you'll be looking at 15 MPG.

Reliability question? Are you still living in the '70s? My 1986 GLX coupe has over 200,000 on the clock. My '91 convertible made it to 193,000 before popping an apex seal. The RX-8 is even more refined. Also, it isn't like piston engine where if it breaks you've probably damaged it really badly. A lost apex seal will run about $1500 for a rebuild.

The reason people think the rotary gets poor fuel economy, is because Mazda lists it as a 1.3L. It should really be compared to a high-revving 2.6L V12. 4-stoke engines only move half of their displacement during one revolution. So a 2.6L V12 would have 6 combustion events, and displace 1.3L of volume for every 360 degrees of crank travel. A 2 rotor engine on the other hand will displace it's entire 1.3L and have 6 combustion events (3 faces on each of the 2 rotors) for each rev.

The characteristics of a rotary are not for everyone. But stop saying the highs will make your ears bleed, and their impedance is so low it'll blow up your amps.
Posted by: St_PatGuy

Re: Small Car recommendations... - 08/27/10 08:59 AM

Tom, I have been enjoying this thread immensely! I hope you find a car that suits you. So far, all the suggestions have been great.

I understand how you feel about convertibles--i got bit by that bug earlier this year and have yet to shake it. Of all the cars you have test driven, I've only had experience in the Miata. Yes, it was a snug fit, too snug at the time (JohnK says the newer models offer more room), but it was a blast to drive. No, not a horsepower monster, but instead a well-balanced FUN car to drive.

Other than that, it's been fun reading about your experiences because you've hit most of the cars that I want to try out if and when I buy a new one!
Posted by: Adrian

Re: Small Car recommendations... - 08/27/10 09:06 AM

I would also add the Boxster to the mix. A low mileage '03 "S" model goes for near $20k US, or a non "S" model, could get one a little newer.
Posted by: Murph

Re: Small Car recommendations... - 08/27/10 09:06 AM

Originally Posted By: ClubNeon
Oh, over-steer vs. under. That's another thing that freaks me out about FWD cars, is that they're all set up to under-steer (heck, most American designed RWD cars do too). If I come into a corner too hot, I'd rather have the tail coming around, where I can correct with the throttle, than have the nose push out, where I go off the road.

Trailing throttle steer is something that takes a little getting used to. The first time I did get my RX-7 sideways from bit too much welly, I panicked, and lifted completely. Yeah, that was bad. I went from tail-out, to a complete spin in the opposite direction. Best thing to do, is stay on it, apply a little reverse lock of the wheel, and modulate your foot as needed.


The other problem with suddenly letting off the gas in a corner is that it changes the weight distribution of the car just as suddenly and that can also be catastrophic. Especially considering many people are driving cars with soggy suspensions built for a smooth ride, not tight cornering.

Unless of course, you are doing it on purpose to initiate a 180 because you just noticed you drove by a Tim Hortons.
Posted by: Adrian

Re: Small Car recommendations... - 08/27/10 09:15 AM

Originally Posted By: Murph

Unless of course, you are doing it on purpose to initiate a 180 because you just noticed you drove by a Tim Hortons.

LOL, good one Andrew laugh . Of course, there's probably another Timmies at the next intersection anyway....
Posted by: tomtuttle

Re: Small Car recommendations... - 08/27/10 12:25 PM

Sean, I'm glad to see your post. I've missed your participation lately. Hope your life is wonderful and satisfying.

I'm not sure about the Boxster, guys. That's one car that I didn't get an insurance quote on (and which could very well be in a different league). Plus, I do have to get a ~3-5 year older model to get into my budget. And honestly, I'm scared of the expense for maintenance and repair. My perceptions may not be accurate, but color me leery (or Leary, for the weekend) at this point. I'll keep an open mind.

Chris, that's great information. I've perused but not studied some of the forums (which was a Fantastic suggestion, btw). My understanding is that plugs/wires/whatever-ignition is a frequent and fairly costly maintenance item (whole bit every 25k miles or so for $300 if I DIY). Comments?

I LOVED RX-7's, especially the last generation. But I'm not into a "hobby" car at the moment.

2x6, I enjoyed and appreciated your concise observations. I don't have a frame of reference for the pre-1994 S2000, but I'm still undecided about the raw sports car personality as my daily driver. The others on my list seem a bit more, I don't know, "comfortable"?

Something else has started to nag at the edges of my mind lately. I've had some cars in the past that - while not "rare" - were not sold in high quantities. Consequently, the availability of parts and repair expertise was somewhat limited locally. It was sometimes inconvenient. Likewise, the availability of after market products is proportional to the volume of similar models sold over time. In that regard, I wonder if the RX-8, S2000 and Boxster might be somewhat less desirable TO ME than the other models I listed.

Butt warmers are starting to matter. I'm sick.

Posted by: Ken.C

Re: Small Car recommendations... - 08/27/10 12:36 PM

My coworker had an S2000 about 10 years ago. Loved it.
Posted by: Adrian

Re: Small Car recommendations... - 08/27/10 12:43 PM

If you are looking at one of the "performance" Honda's, don't assume that because it is a Honda that it will be economical. From my own research on smaller cars, I've found that only the baser models of Hondas get the better economy, once you get into the Si's and S2000 there's quite a difference in fuel consumption if that's important to you. Still much better economy than a '78 Granada, just sayin'.
Posted by: HomeDad

Re: Small Car recommendations... - 08/27/10 12:48 PM

Quote:
Civic Si, best exhaust note and engine music of the crowd, great handling, roomy, comfortable and Honda ergonomics, excellent fuel economy. Honda reliability. Snickiest stick shift and clutch this side of the S2000.


I love Honda's and overall the Civic SI is probably the most reliable car of the bunch, but IMO not in the same class as the other vehicles mentioned. It's considered one of the most affordable small cars along with the Ford Fiesta and Honda fit, not a sports car, and there are probably a million of them on the road.

Tom, just my opinion but get something sporty, break the mold and have some fun on the road. And if you get a chance drive the Boxster,it's a neat little car.
Posted by: ClubNeon

Re: Small Car recommendations... - 08/27/10 01:11 PM

Originally Posted By: tomtuttle
Chris, that's great information. I've perused but not studied some of the forums (which was a Fantastic suggestion, btw). My understanding is that plugs/wires/whatever-ignition is a frequent and fairly costly maintenance item (whole bit every 25k miles or so for $300 if I DIY). Comments?

Rotaries, because of their oil injection, do tend to fowl plugs if not driven spiritedly often enough. But yeah, 25k miles is probably about right. I had never priced out the RX-8 plugs, and assumed they'd be about $48 for the set, like the RX-7. Nope, the set of four plugs will run $103.02. Wires probably should be replaced every-other plug change. The factory OEM NGK wires run $42.69 for the set. The coils are pretty robust, and only need replaced if they fail, they're $43.33 each.

So...
$103.02 every 25k miles
$145.71 at 50k
$319.03 if you need to replace all 4 coils with plugs and wires
Posted by: Ken.C

Re: Small Car recommendations... - 08/27/10 01:25 PM

Rawk! spark plugs, spark plugs! Rawk!
Posted by: ClubNeon

Re: Small Car recommendations... - 08/27/10 01:30 PM

I still have an edit button...
Posted by: Ken.C

Re: Small Car recommendations... - 08/27/10 01:35 PM

Yes, but you haven't used it.
Posted by: ClubNeon

Re: Small Car recommendations... - 08/27/10 02:40 PM

I resisted the temptation.


Why are there no pain killers in the jungle?

Because, parrots eat 'em all.

Oh, I guess that joke doesn't work outside of Europe.
Posted by: ClubNeon

Re: Small Car recommendations... - 08/27/10 02:42 PM

What did the mathematician name his malnourished parrot?

Poly no-meal.

That's better...or worse.
Posted by: Adrian

Re: Small Car recommendations... - 08/27/10 03:25 PM

If the parrot died would he call him Poly Gone?
Posted by: tomtuttle

Re: Small Car recommendations... - 08/27/10 05:45 PM

Man, I was certainly hoping that there weren't 10 unread, USEFUL posts in this thread when I returned.
Posted by: fredk

Re: Small Car recommendations... - 08/27/10 07:25 PM

laugh you've been here long enough to know better.
Posted by: sonicfox

Re: Small Car recommendations... - 08/27/10 08:11 PM

Originally Posted By: BobKay
So, you're gonna eliminate an entire choice you said was a blast to drive, 'cause of a sunroof????

Girls make decisions like that!


Coming from a GIRL, I'd like to just say that if you are going to spend a lot of money on something, if something (no matter how petty anyone thinks it is) bothers you about it, you shouldn't just *settle*, you know?

There...I've said my peace.

Tom...out of curiousity (even if you aren't considering it), have you seen the Saturn Sky? It caught my eye the other day as I didn't even know Saturn made a sports car.
Posted by: pmbuko

Re: Small Car recommendations... - 08/27/10 08:29 PM

Saturn is no more.
Posted by: Zarak

Re: Small Car recommendations... - 08/27/10 08:35 PM

I still think you should at least drive a Legacy GT. If you can't find a used one to drive go drive a new one just to see what they are like.

I actually had it down to the Legacy and the Civic Si when I was looking. The Legacy seemed to be a better every day driver, as it was a bit roomier and much quieter. The Si was pretty loud.
Posted by: tomtuttle

Re: Small Car recommendations... - 08/27/10 09:05 PM

I agree with Mary - if something bugs me before the purchase, it's going to bug me even more later on.

I like the look of the Saturn Sky, although not as well as the Pontiac Solstice (it's GM twin). They are very cool looking. PeterC commented that his started to show unpleasant signs of wear at an early stage. They are very low - I think the ingress/egress is even worse than a Miata because of the significant door sill. Still, it might be fun to drive one and see if they want to just give it away to get rid of it. I think consensus among the automotive press is that the Sky just isn't quite as good a car as the Miata.

Yes, Zarak, I'm sure you're right. I should drive a Subaru GT before taking the plunge. Damn list expander.

I drove a 2005 RX-8 (in Grand Touring trim) today. I liked it quite a bit. The engine was so smooth, and very powerful as Chris described (higher RPM). I thought it was similarly fun to the S2000 and Si in that respect. I like how it has more than 2 seats and something of a trunk. It corners really well, yet doesn't have a punishing ride. I like how it looks. The problems were that I really don't fit very well - my head kind of brushes the head liner in an annoying way in my preferred driving position. And the sunroof is really laughably small - to the point where I'm not sure it satisfies one of my key criteria.

I guess I'm still not sure where I'm going to compromise exactly.

Still have the Volvo S60 R in the back of my head. I probably need to drive it to put it to rest, but there isn't one close.
Posted by: merchman

Re: Small Car recommendations... - 08/27/10 09:18 PM

RX-8 Tom, you know you want it! grin
Posted by: St_PatGuy

Re: Small Car recommendations... - 08/27/10 11:01 PM

Originally Posted By: sonicfox


Coming from a GIRL, I'd like to just say that if you are going to spend a lot of money on something, if something (no matter how petty anyone thinks it is) bothers you about it, you shouldn't just *settle*, you know?

There...I've said my peace.



That is spot on, Mary. Exactly the way I felt when I made my first car purchase. Ended up stretching my budget a bit to get a car I REALLY liked and wanted. Yes, it was more expensive, but I did not have any regrets when I wrote my payment check out every month. That right there tells me I made the right choice for me.
Posted by: Adrian

Re: Small Car recommendations... - 08/27/10 11:24 PM

Tom, forgive me for saying this, I can't be the only person thinking this here....but isn't the Miata a bit, umm, "girly".

If you're planning on dropping a 5.0 in there, I'll take that back of course.
Posted by: 2x6spds

Re: Small Car recommendations... - 08/28/10 12:58 AM

Hey Club Neon, 3 profiles --- sounds like the S2000. Tom hope you're feeling better. The S2000 is pretty much a single purpose fun machine without any storage space in the passenger compartment. I have fit 2 golf bags in my trunk though.
Posted by: a401classic

Re: Small Car recommendations... - 08/28/10 02:24 AM

Originally Posted By: Adrian
Tom, forgive me for saying this, I can't be the only person thinking this here....but isn't the Miata a bit, umm, "girly".

If you're planning on dropping a 5.0 in there, I'll take that back of course.


Or the Speed6 AWD drivetrain. Now that would be a fun drive!

Scott
Posted by: Lorenzo1000

Re: Small Car recommendations... - 08/28/10 06:58 AM

Originally Posted By: Adrian
Tom, forgive me for saying this, I can't be the only person thinking this here....but isn't the Miata a bit, umm, "girly".

If you're planning on dropping a 5.0 in there, I'll take that back of course.


Perhaps this is what he needs:
Miata
Posted by: RickF

Re: Small Car recommendations... - 08/28/10 07:20 AM

Originally Posted By: Adrian
Tom, forgive me for saying this, I can't be the only person thinking this here....but isn't the Miata a bit, umm, "girly".

If you're planning on dropping a 5.0 in there, I'll take that back of course.

I'm with Adrian on this, but of course this is coming from a guy who's idea of a sports car is 6k pounds of four wheel drive and a big diesel engine or maybe a '70 Chevelle SS 454.

And I certainly agree with Mary, nothing worse than beating yourself down the road just because you 'settled'.
Posted by: fredk

Re: Small Car recommendations... - 08/28/10 09:16 AM

I'm glad this thread started after I bought my car. I'd be flat broke and spending all my time in traffic court.

That V8 Miata is pretty cool Lorenzo.

Tom, I bet you could pick up a good used Miata and convert it to a V8. Why compromise. wink
Posted by: Adrian

Re: Small Car recommendations... - 08/28/10 09:21 AM

OR!! he could pick up a 5.0L Mustang and drop a Miata engine in it! how many people have done that? cry
Posted by: MarkSJohnson

Re: Small Car recommendations... - 08/28/10 10:12 AM

After driving a minivan for 15 years, I'd be happy with the regular Miata....
Posted by: michael_d

Re: Small Car recommendations... - 08/28/10 12:25 PM

You should definitely test drive a Volvo S60R. It didn't do it for me, but after reading all your comments, I think you are going to like it, a lot. And seeing how you actually considered buying a Miata, I can't help you further. smile I've said this before, but I find the seats in the newer Volvo's to be the extremely comfortable, but not in a squishy girly boy kind of way. They are supportive for rallying and holding you in position, but you can sit in them for long road trips, get out and not have a numb ass or tweaked back. The only car I've found to have better seats was a Bentley with a sticker price of 180K pounds sterling. The S60 doesn't have much head room though, but you can compensate so some degree by lowering it.

So the gal decided to keep the Z06 that I was trying to buy. I'm back to plan A; buy one this spring.

Happy Birthday Tommy. I hope mama's good to you today.
Posted by: fredk

Re: Small Car recommendations... - 08/28/10 12:54 PM

Quote:
The only car I've found to have better seats was a Bentley with a sticker price of 180K pounds sterling.

I hope you put on your best suit for that test drive.
Posted by: tomtuttle

Re: Small Car recommendations... - 08/28/10 01:06 PM

So, how do you guys think JohnK is going to feel about you trying to shame me out of a Miata?

Lorenzo, that Monster Miata site is really something! I had no idea. Probably not for me at this time, but I love to learn and to have new things to hope for.

I actually considered the Mazdaspeed6 - but there were only two years made (2006-07, I think). I'm not sure that Mazda has enough AWD drive experience for me to overcome the inherent disadvantages of decreased mileage and more stuff to break. I trust the AWD systems from Subaru, Volvo, Audi, etc. a bit more. Also, I just don't think it's a very attractive car. I guess I continue to value a bit of whatever I consider to be "style"; that whole wolf-in-sheep's clothing thing that the Sentra SE-R, WRX and others have going doesn't really entice me.

I'm going to revisit Z cars and try to find an S60 (hopefully R) soon.

Thank you again for feeding my obsession.

Mike, thanks for your ongoing friendship in spite of my recent near lapse in judgment.
Posted by: HomeDad

Re: Small Car recommendations... - 08/28/10 01:20 PM

Quote:
So, how do you guys think JohnK is going to feel about you trying to shame me out of a Miata?


He will rationally explain that HP is HP and only a certain amount is needed to reach optimum performance.
Posted by: michael_d

Re: Small Car recommendations... - 08/28/10 01:45 PM

Originally Posted By: fredk
Quote:
The only car I've found to have better seats was a Bentley with a sticker price of 180K pounds sterling.

I hope you put on your best suit for that test drive.


Naw, it was at the London Heathrow airport, so no test drive other than me making vroom-vroom sounds and air shifts. But I do travel with a sports jacket and rolex so my flip flops, tee shirt, boarder jeans, ball cap and two liters of Scotch I picked up at the duty free shop didn't seam too out of place. The stiff showing the car wasn't terribly excited over my request to sit in it (it was surrounded by those red velvet ropes meant to keep people away from something). But, being a Brit, he must have felt compelled to be "proper" and indulged me with a strong sense of barbaric "American Yank" tolerance.
Posted by: fredk

Re: Small Car recommendations... - 08/28/10 01:51 PM

That's too funny.
Posted by: jakewash

Re: Small Car recommendations... - 08/28/10 02:32 PM

I had a bit of a soft spot for the Supra in twin turbo form.

http://www.suprastore.com/19sutwtu6spb.html
Posted by: Adrian

Re: Small Car recommendations... - 08/28/10 04:05 PM

The Supra was a very quick car...whatever happened to it, was Toyota having problems selling them?
Posted by: ClubNeon

Re: Small Car recommendations... - 08/28/10 04:40 PM

The three big Japanese super cars disappeared from the US in the mid-90s. The biggest problem was the new smog specs. Though they did live on a little longer in Japan.

Both Mazda with the RX-7, and Nissan with their Z, stopped shipping to America after 1995 (when the new smog regs went into effect). Toyota held out a little longer with the Supra with the last one shipping in 1998. But the RX-7 and Supra went until 2002 in Japan. The Z took a two year hiatus in Japan from 2000 until 2002, when it was then reintroduced to the world as the 350. Of course Mazda brought out their RX-8 in 2003. Toyota has only shown concepts of a possible Supra-like car at auto shows, no real plans at this point.
Posted by: tomtuttle

Re: Small Car recommendations... - 08/29/10 09:45 PM

Drove a 2007 BMW 328i today.

There must have been something wrong with me or wrong with the car last time I drove a BMW. Because this thing effing rocked.

If I'm willing to pay for it, is there any reason why I shouldn't buy this car?
Posted by: merchman

Re: Small Car recommendations... - 08/29/10 09:48 PM

Quote:
is there any reason why I shouldn't buy this car?


Nope!

Beautiful looking car Tom. smile
Posted by: Ken.C

Re: Small Car recommendations... - 08/29/10 10:23 PM

Doooo iiiiiit...

Ok, to be honest, I have heard that maintenance and parts on BMWs can be quite expensive. But you should do it anyway.
Posted by: Adrian

Re: Small Car recommendations... - 08/29/10 10:59 PM

It's a lovely car, Tom.

I've heard the same, Ken. The problems I've heard mostly about Bimmer's is usually to do with expensive electrical repairs.

One other thing is a *new* '11 Sonata runs about the same price, and I believe the body style was designed by the same guy. I know the Hyundai's probably not your thing(headroom was tight for me), but a test drive wouldn't cost you anything Tom.
Posted by: fredk

Re: Small Car recommendations... - 08/29/10 11:34 PM

Nice car Tom, not to mention that its a much more respectable sports car for us old guys. wink

I was surprised at your original comments as I had an opportunity to ride in a 323i years ago with a guy who used to race motor cycles professionally. I'll never look at British traffic circles the same again.
Posted by: medic8r

Re: Small Car recommendations... - 08/30/10 12:33 AM

Thumbs up! I also was surprised that you hadn't liked BMWs the first time around. They generally are very good cars for the active driver.

No idea what the blue book is, and too lazy to look it up, but if you can get a good deal, I think this one should give you lots of pleasure.
Posted by: HomeDad

Re: Small Car recommendations... - 08/30/10 12:44 AM

I say go for it, awesome color by the way. wink
Posted by: 2x6spds

Re: Small Car recommendations... - 08/30/10 01:59 AM

3 series with a 6 speed manual transmission? Oh yeah.
Posted by: pmbuko

Re: Small Car recommendations... - 08/30/10 09:54 AM

Tom, das rote deutsches Auto mit eine Sechsgang-Schaltgetriebe wŁrde ganz ausgezeichnet sein.
Posted by: Murph

Re: Small Car recommendations... - 08/30/10 12:15 PM

Originally Posted By: Adrian
OR!! he could pick up a 5.0L Mustang and drop a Miata engine in it! how many people have done that? cry


NOOOOO. Absolutely no Mustangs unless they are classics. There are just too damn many on the road. They have become the Honda Civic of muscle cars.

hmm, I wonder who I offended this time. blush Sorry.
Posted by: Murph

Re: Small Car recommendations... - 08/30/10 12:20 PM

And on the BMW. It's a beauty. Although I will kid you somewhat for purchasing a "family Car" (4-door). It will only be to mask my jealousy though.
Posted by: a401classic

Re: Small Car recommendations... - 08/30/10 01:56 PM

Originally Posted By: tomtuttle
Drove a 2007 BMW 328i today.

There must have been something wrong with me or wrong with the car last time I drove a BMW. Because this thing effing rocked.

If I'm willing to pay for it, is there any reason why I shouldn't buy this car?


I call shotgun!

SCott
Posted by: RickF

Re: Small Car recommendations... - 08/30/10 03:53 PM

Originally Posted By: tomtuttle
Drove a 2007 BMW 328i today.

There must have been something wrong with me or wrong with the car last time I drove a BMW. Because this thing effing rocked.

If I'm willing to pay for it, is there any reason why I shouldn't buy this car?



So ... you do own it by now, right Tom?

That's a beauty!
Posted by: Adrian

Re: Small Car recommendations... - 08/30/10 04:13 PM

Originally Posted By: tomtuttle
Drove a 2007 BMW 328i today...this thing effing rocked.

Could be the springs are no good, maybe the shocks are shot.


grin wink
Posted by: RickF

Re: Small Car recommendations... - 08/30/10 04:26 PM

Adrian during the NASCAR Nationwide race from Montreal (beautiful road course BTW) yesterday one of the cars had the same problem and it turned out that the left front anti-sway bar bracket had broken, you think maybe Tom's car could have had the same issue?

Easy fix though.
Posted by: JohnK

Re: Small Car recommendations... - 08/30/10 09:57 PM

Yeah, Adrian; gotta watch out when those cars rock. Also, some might say that it's a bit, umm, "manly".
Posted by: tomtuttle

Re: Small Car recommendations... - 08/30/10 10:10 PM

Well, I'm done. Stick a fork in me. That just happened.

I was seduced.



2007 Mercedes SLK-280. Power retractable hard top. 3L V6. 6 speed. 40k miles.

Incredibly fun to drive. It was a little more than I wanted to spend, but I got what I consider to be a good deal. In the end, I liked this one the best, so I bought it.

I'm happy grin

Besides its sedanhood, the BMW also displayed a known "metallic ticking" engine defect. Apparently, you have to get it fixed under warranty or it's $4,000 for a new head. BMW is saying that it's not really a problem, but they're still fixing it under warranty. Hmmm. Don't want me a ticking engine.
Posted by: medic8r

Re: Small Car recommendations... - 08/30/10 10:21 PM

Nice! Out of nowhere comes a dark horse, another Teutonic option that proved impossible to resist.

Now you can get a refund on your plane ticket and drive cross-continent to Dwight!
Posted by: JohnK

Re: Small Car recommendations... - 08/30/10 10:27 PM

Very good, Tom; enjoy. A bit of a dark horse candidate, but it probably would have been my second choice of all your possibilities.
Posted by: HomeDad

Re: Small Car recommendations... - 08/30/10 10:49 PM

Very nice Tom! I certainly forgot all about the SLK's, great choice and I think you will have some fun with that beauty.
Posted by: sonicfox

Re: Small Car recommendations... - 08/30/10 11:13 PM

VERY NICE! Classy and sporty at the same time. I love it!
Posted by: jakewash

Re: Small Car recommendations... - 08/30/10 11:41 PM

Very nice car, swing by my place on the way to Dwight and pick me up smile
Posted by: 2x6spds

Re: Small Car recommendations... - 08/30/10 11:42 PM

I'll tell ya what, that's a fine looking piece of machinary you got there ...
Posted by: fredk

Re: Small Car recommendations... - 08/31/10 12:15 AM

Originally Posted By: medic8r
Nice! Out of nowhere comes a dark horse, another Teutonic option that proved impossible to resist.

Now you can get a refund on your plane ticket and drive cross-continent to Dwight!

+1 We want to take that sucker for a spin!
Posted by: Ken.C

Re: Small Car recommendations... - 08/31/10 12:15 AM

Sweet! I've noticed that your car gets cooler every time you pick me up at the hotel when I'm in Seattle.
Posted by: RickF

Re: Small Car recommendations... - 08/31/10 03:51 AM

27 pages and I don't believe Mercedes was mentioned once, lol.

Congrats on the beautiful car Tom!
Posted by: a401classic

Re: Small Car recommendations... - 08/31/10 04:05 AM

Originally Posted By: RickF
27 pages and I don't believe Mercedes was mentioned once, lol.

Congrats on the beautiful car Tom!


+1

And Adrian didn't get either small OR car.

Go Figure.
Posted by: MarkSJohnson

Re: Small Car recommendations... - 08/31/10 05:50 AM

Awesome car, Tom! I'm happy for you!

Now you get to have these on simple commutes: grin grin grin grin grin grin
Posted by: Ajax

Re: Small Car recommendations... - 08/31/10 06:11 AM

oh GAD! First there is "room envy," now I've got "auto envy" Sheesh! frown
Posted by: MarkSJohnson

Re: Small Car recommendations... - 08/31/10 06:20 AM

You got room envy? YOU GOT ROOM ENVY? smile
Posted by: pmbuko

Re: Small Car recommendations... - 08/31/10 07:06 AM

Congrats, Tom! Which kid got the first ride, and did they fight over it? smile
Posted by: cb919

Re: Small Car recommendations... - 08/31/10 07:26 AM

That's a real beauty you picked there Tom, nice choice! Have you named it yet? Will it be a 'he' or a 'she'?
Posted by: onn

Re: Small Car recommendations... - 08/31/10 07:43 AM

Very beautiful car you have there Tom. I can hardly wait to see it in Dwight when you drive it down. grin
Posted by: St_PatGuy

Re: Small Car recommendations... - 08/31/10 09:14 AM

That is a sweet looking car, Tom!! I'm happy you found something! Congratulations!!!
Posted by: Adrian

Re: Small Car recommendations... - 08/31/10 09:25 AM

Congratulations, Tom. That's a nice set of wheels!!
Posted by: medic8r

Re: Small Car recommendations... - 08/31/10 10:26 AM

Originally Posted By: cb919
That's a real beauty you picked there Tom, nice choice! Have you named it yet? Will it be a 'he' or a 'she'?

I have a friend who names his cars; his BMW 5 series is Wolfgang.

I say that if Peter B. ever gets a ride in Tom's car, he must speak only in enthusiastic German.
Posted by: medic8r

Re: Small Car recommendations... - 08/31/10 10:31 AM

Kind of like the guy who plays Hitler in Downfall.
Posted by: Ken.C

Re: Small Car recommendations... - 08/31/10 10:38 AM

Now, With Extra Stringy Hair Waiving!
Posted by: Murph

Re: Small Car recommendations... - 08/31/10 10:45 AM

Awesome car!!!!!!!!!
Posted by: pmbuko

Re: Small Car recommendations... - 08/31/10 11:09 AM

So when do we get to see you in this car?
Posted by: GOD

Re: Small Car recommendations... - 08/31/10 11:57 AM

So it was Honda/Nissan, et al., then, THWACK, a Benz!

And a waaaaay cool one at that! Glad you got what you really wanted. Now I don't have to judge you by your posts in order to hate you. grin
Posted by: tomtuttle

Re: Small Car recommendations... - 08/31/10 12:42 PM

Thwack, indeed.

You are all so kind - thank you. Whether healthy or not, your support and encouragement are meaningful to me.

Quote:
I say that if Peter B. ever gets a ride in Tom's car, he must speak only in enthusiastic German.


LOL! Yes, I think so, too.

Peter, Alex (13) was with me throughout the whole process, so he got the first ride. I scared him quite a bit on the BMW test drive. Emily (16) asked me what it's like to be so fancy.

I decided to be slightly less risk averse. I don't feel good about it. I'm actually horrified about potential repair costs. The dealer offered me an extended warranty ($4,000 for 4 years / 48,000). My wife HATES those things, and prefers to roll the dice. I'm not so sure, but here I am. Her parents both have Mercedes (Dad has an older S320 and Mom has a newer C230 which I do not fit in). So, I'll just blame them.

I do love Japanese cars. Except for a couple Fords along the way, that's basically all I've ever had. Problem was, when I started looking at sports cars, they were just too damn small. I liked this car a lot better than the 350Z, Miata or S2000 (which are probably the direct comparables) and obviously better on balance than anything else I drove. Honestly, I was pretty set to get the BMW, and with this car I pondered "if not now, when?" as far as a vehicle like this. It is extremely comfortable. The V6 is amazing, the shifter was fun and intuitive right away and the power/weight ratio provides the requisite fun. There's a bit more technology than I'm comfortable with, but Mike D - the car does have a dipstick.

I figure it's a good midlife crisis car and slightly less stereotypical than others I considered. I really didn't think I could find a retractable hard top that I could afford. Julie kept telling me to get what I want as long as it wasn't a waitress.

Of course, it rained today (but I drove it anyway). Sorry to have caused the end of Summer, everybody.
Posted by: CatBrat

Re: Small Car recommendations... - 08/31/10 12:46 PM

That doesn't exclude the stripper.
Posted by: Zarak

Re: Small Car recommendations... - 08/31/10 12:53 PM

Congrats on your purchase. One piece of advice.

Stop looking and don't drive anything else! You don't want to find something out there that you think you might like better and regret it later.

Kinda like buying speakers!
Posted by: GOD

Re: Small Car recommendations... - 08/31/10 01:01 PM

Oh, and "enthusiastic German" is definitley counterintuitive. Unless one sees similarities between enthusiasm and hostile aggression.

I'll mention it to my shrink, Dr. Freudenriech. (No bull, that's really his name. German accent included, of course.)
Posted by: sonicfox

Re: Small Car recommendations... - 08/31/10 04:47 PM

Originally Posted By: tomtuttle
Emily (16) asked me what it's like to be so fancy.


You watch, Tom...in no time, Emily is SOOOOO gonna want to drive that beauty to school! shocked
Posted by: tomtuttle

Re: Small Car recommendations... - 08/31/10 05:24 PM

Mary, she has to learn how to drive a stick-shift first...on her Mom's Corolla grin
Posted by: fredk

Re: Small Car recommendations... - 08/31/10 07:36 PM

Ha! Its even a 007 approved car (or at least one of its ancestors).
Posted by: MarkSJohnson

Re: Small Car recommendations... - 09/04/10 08:12 AM

I have simpler tastes than Tom. I want one of these. After years and years of mini-van driving, it just looks like fun.
Posted by: 2x6spds

Re: Small Car recommendations... - 09/04/10 10:48 AM

Ola Mark. That CRZ sure is a good looking little car. Just needs another 100 HP to make it all it could be.
Posted by: fredk

Re: Small Car recommendations... - 09/04/10 01:21 PM

Somehow I was expecting a picture of a bumper car.
Posted by: Kruncher

Re: Small Car recommendations... - 09/04/10 02:35 PM

I drove an '89 CR-X for about 6 years and put over 100,000 miles on it. It was a TON of fun. My most memorable drive was probably going down the coast highway (101?) from Washington state through Oregon to California. Gorgeous driver's roadway.

But it was quite noisy and didn't feel as solid as the nicer cars do these days.

After watching the videos (thanks for the link) I'd love to try a CR-Z.

Beauty Mercedes, BTW, Tom. A really excellent choice.
Posted by: tomtuttle

Re: Small Car recommendations... - 09/04/10 08:36 PM

Thanks, Kruncher.

Mark, I saw a CR-Z up close (on the day I drove the Si and S2000). It was one of the ugliest machines I've ever seen in my entire life. But I suppose if you're IN it, you don't have to look at it.

But, you know, subjectivity and all that.
Posted by: MarkSJohnson

Re: Small Car recommendations... - 09/04/10 08:45 PM

I saw one at the dealership yesterday, and liked it.

As I said, I have pedestrian tastes and it just looked like "fun" to me...especially in comparison to the van.

But, you know, subjectivity and all that. grin


Posted by: michael_d

Re: Small Car recommendations... - 09/04/10 11:08 PM

Originally Posted By: tomtuttle
Well, I'm done. Stick a fork in me. That just happened.

I was seduced.



2007 Mercedes SLK-280. Power retractable hard top. 3L V6. 6 speed. 40k miles.

Incredibly fun to drive. It was a little more than I wanted to spend, but I got what I consider to be a good deal. In the end, I liked this one the best, so I bought it.

I'm happy grin

Besides its sedanhood, the BMW also displayed a known "metallic ticking" engine defect. Apparently, you have to get it fixed under warranty or it's $4,000 for a new head. BMW is saying that it's not really a problem, but they're still fixing it under warranty. Hmmm. Don't want me a ticking engine.


Tom - this is the first time I've been able to see your pic, due to being at a remote location. Nice looking car! I'm glad you found something. So how much exactly was "a little more than I wanted spend"? LOL

Good job keeping your focus and completing your mission!
Posted by: ClubNeon

Re: Small Car recommendations... - 09/08/10 01:09 PM

I was looking for this video, just found it again. A bone-stock RX-8 at Lagnua Seca. When I talked about keeping the engine above 5 grand, and the red line beep, you can see both demonstrated here.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o1pVm1haIjk

Pay close attention to after the 1:40 mark, as he crests the blind hill, and enters a series of downhill corners. That's what makes Lagnuna my favorite track.
Posted by: RickF

Re: Small Car recommendations... - 09/08/10 01:49 PM

First thing I noticed about the video is that the driver is using his right foot for both gas and brakes, seems like most of the road racers I've seen use the left foot for braking and right foot for gas, of course I know it's just a matter preference.


How's that new SLK working out for you Tom?
Posted by: Adrian

Re: Small Car recommendations... - 09/08/10 01:56 PM

Tom's trying to bring it as his carry-on.
Posted by: ClubNeon

Re: Small Car recommendations... - 09/08/10 02:08 PM

Originally Posted By: RickF
First thing I noticed about the video is that the driver is using his right foot for both gas and brakes, seems like most of the road racers I've seen use the left foot for braking and right foot for gas, of course I know it's just a matter preference.

Really, even with a clutch? My dad taught me to heal/toe like the driver does in the video. The idea is to have the clutch pressed with the left foot, while braking into a corner, and also bringing the revs up on the engine for the down-shift. I use the ball of my right foot hard on the brake, while just bumping the throttle with the outside of my heel.

Modern race cars with paddles, or other clutchless manuals, I've seen left-foot braking.
Posted by: RickF

Re: Small Car recommendations... - 09/08/10 02:08 PM

I think he ought to bring it just so that he can load up all 15 people for the Friday night out on the town.

That's what I think.

laugh
Posted by: RickF

Re: Small Car recommendations... - 09/08/10 02:17 PM

I thought most of the NASCAR guys used left foot braking on the road courses Chris, of course my thinking could be wrong.
Posted by: ClubNeon

Re: Small Car recommendations... - 09/08/10 02:26 PM

You may be right on that, I don't watch NASCAR, and am not even sure of the tech used in their cars these days. F1 has paddle shifters, WRC has clutchless manuals. But you'll see most people with production vehicles in GT driving like the guy in the video.
Posted by: RickF

Re: Small Car recommendations... - 09/08/10 03:27 PM

I couldn't find any NASCAR foot cams but you are right, it looks like most everybody in the production and GT cars drive like the guy in the video. I do know that almost all of the NASCAR guys do not use the clutch on the road course so that may be why they brake and gas like they do.

Either way, that is some really fun stuff to watch.
Posted by: Ken.C

Re: Small Car recommendations... - 09/08/10 03:41 PM

I was watching an Indycar race (or was it F1?) where the announcers specifically called out who was left foot braking and who wasn't, and it actually seemed to play into the race results.
Posted by: RickF

Re: Small Car recommendations... - 09/08/10 03:50 PM

I bet it would take a lot of practice to left foot brake, I've tried a few times in my personal vehicle and it sure wasn't easy. My tendency was to always use too much brake and it felt like I was 'punching' the brake with the left foot.
Posted by: Ken.C

Re: Small Car recommendations... - 09/08/10 03:55 PM

I've done that too--after owning just a stick for awhile, we went to a dealer and test drove an automatic. Instinctively, my left foot went to the left pedal and tried to slam it to the ground when I went to stop...
Posted by: tomtuttle

Re: Small Car recommendations... - 09/08/10 03:56 PM

Rick, I'm digging it every day. smile
Posted by: ClubNeon

Re: Small Car recommendations... - 09/08/10 03:59 PM

Well, these guys are left-foot braking on purpose. That is to say being on the throttle and brake at the same time. It can make a huge difference in a front-wheel drive car, as you can help tame the understeer by braking the rear end. I'm not sure of the dynamics of what happens in an F1 car when the brakes are applied while still under throttle, but these drivers really know their cars, if there is something that'll get another 1/10 of a second out of a lap, they'll find it.
Posted by: Ken.C

Re: Small Car recommendations... - 09/08/10 04:03 PM

Oh, absolutely.
Posted by: Adrian

Re: Small Car recommendations... - 09/08/10 04:47 PM

All of the "three pedal" racing I've seen through the years, involves the right foot toe on the brake and the heel blipping the throttle to match the speeds of the engine and trans on downshifting...hence the term heel-and-toe. I'm sure there are a couple of race car drivers out there with their own unique style, maybe like Paul Tracey was when he was younger...right AND left foot on the accelerator pedal.
Posted by: michael_d

Re: Small Car recommendations... - 09/08/10 07:54 PM

Can't see his feet, but cool video of the 2011 GT500. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aR7PIZhFUdc&feature=player_embedded
Posted by: Adrian

Re: Small Car recommendations... - 09/08/10 10:18 PM

Here's a video that shows a kind of side foot technique on a Carrera GT. Placement of the pedals would be key to this type of shifting.
Posted by: ClubNeon

Re: Small Car recommendations... - 09/08/10 11:58 PM

Shoes help too.

That pedal layout is pretty typical in race cars. In cars like my RX-7 where the brake pedal is wide rather than tall, the heel is involved more to cover the space between the two.

I wish I could see the track for the drive. At the start he double-clutches instead of heel/toe during a two gear down-shift.
Posted by: Murph

Re: Small Car recommendations... - 09/09/10 08:14 AM

I'm far, far from a professional driver but I used to do some ice track racing on the river where I grew up. It was a just for fun, organized event a few weekends every winter when the ice conditions were good. I think I started to Heel and Toe as a natural reaction to the conditions. Nobody told me to do it, it just seemed to develop on it's own as you desperately tried to learn how to control the car on ice.

It was a lot of fun as the ice leveled the playing field as far as fast cars vs. the regular cars. The only traction aid allowed/required were road legal, studded tires. A good driver could trade cars with anyone and still win the race.

However, I don't do it in my daily driving but I have found myself resorting to it in offroad situations. Although as far as rock crawling goes, my old Jeep was geared pretty low so I could literally sit on a steep incline, leave my foot on the brake while I engaged the clutch and the engine would actually overcome the brake and start moving forward without any risk of rollback without any fancy brake feathering.
Posted by: Adrian

Re: Small Car recommendations... - 09/09/10 08:19 AM

According to the description, it sounds like Porsche's test track but a picture-in-picture would have been nice to see the shifting points.
Posted by: tomtuttle

Re: Small Car recommendations... - 01/06/11 02:11 PM

Well, I wanted to keep my car story in one place and I do enjoy recycling threads.

It has been unseasonably clear and cold here recently, so I've had the opportunity to drive quite a bit with the top down. Just awesome. Butt warmers, FTW!

This one is on Tacoma's glorious waterfront. That is Commencement Bay (part of Puget Sound aka the Salish Sea) in the background.


On New Year's Day, my son and I went for a ride towards Mt. Rainier. We only went about 20 minutes from home to get great sunset views from Orting (which will probably be buried by a lahar someday).


Better shot of The Mountain. Crappy camera phone. Foreground disstractions uncropped to retain scale.


Me likey.

But, I don't fly an airplane for a living or have a boat, and sunset is at about 5:00 pm.
Posted by: pmbuko

Re: Small Car recommendations... - 01/06/11 02:29 PM

Originally Posted By: tomtuttle


Tom, you park like an a**hole.
laugh
Posted by: Ken.C

Re: Small Car recommendations... - 01/06/11 02:29 PM

Snerk.
Posted by: tomtuttle

Re: Small Car recommendations... - 01/06/11 02:46 PM

Oh, totally. I had to sign a binding pledge agreement when I bought the car.
Posted by: CV

Re: Small Car recommendations... - 01/06/11 02:48 PM

A true a**hole would break the agreement?
Posted by: RickF

Re: Small Car recommendations... - 01/06/11 02:51 PM

Originally Posted By: tomtuttle

But, I don't fly an airplane for a living or have a boat...

Tom you are a smart man indeed! grin

You know the camera phone picture looks like a painting, it's kind of neat.
Posted by: Adrian

Re: Small Car recommendations... - 01/06/11 02:53 PM

Originally Posted By: RickF

You know the camera phone picture looks like a painting, it's kind of neat.


Actually it's a $19 print from Walmart. Tom's foolin' us.
Posted by: MarkSJohnson

Re: Small Car recommendations... - 01/06/11 02:59 PM

Is he?

Or, is he really only fooling himself?

::nods in agreement::
Posted by: tomtuttle

Re: Small Car recommendations... - 01/06/11 03:14 PM

Quote:
Tom you are a smart...


I woulda bet money on that going a different direction.
Posted by: GOD

Re: Small Car recommendations... - 01/06/11 04:33 PM

Remember, according to a recent survey, MB convert's. have a 404% more likely chance of being pulled over. Cripes! The speeding tix alone woulda paid for thaht Honda. Yessiree.
Posted by: michael_d

Re: Small Car recommendations... - 01/06/11 04:44 PM

This thread of your cost me a lot of money Tom. I was quite content with wishful thinking till you inspired me to indulge an urge to satisfy a mid life crisis driven, completely impractical acquisition. I'm sending you a bill.
Posted by: tomtuttle

Re: Small Car recommendations... - 01/06/11 06:01 PM

Excellent, Mike. Tell your story (with pics, natch).

I'll forward your invoice to the Tuttle family payables department. If it has proper backup and management signatures, you can expect remittance according to our existing policies.
Posted by: davidsch

Re: Small Car recommendations... - 01/07/11 07:46 AM

Yea, Mike. Let's see what your mid-life crisis has brought. I can't afford anything nice in my mid-life crisis, we had kids too late.
Posted by: medic8r

Re: Small Car recommendations... - 01/07/11 08:06 AM

Originally Posted By: tomtuttle
I'll forward your invoice to the Tuttle family payables department. If it has proper backup and management signatures, you can expect remittance according to our existing policies.

Love it!

Since your listed interests include doing whatever your wife tells you to do, I knew exactly what you meant by that. It has taken me a while, but I have learned the wisdom of your ways, master.
Posted by: michael_d

Re: Small Car recommendations... - 01/07/11 11:28 AM

Pics will have to wait. The car's in route to a specialist in Dallas for a few performance enhancements and chasis dyno tune. After that's done, it get's shipped to me. Z06
Posted by: tomtuttle

Re: Small Car recommendations... - 01/07/11 11:38 AM

Sweet! I figured it would be a Z06. You should drive it from Dallas to Seattle, give me a ride, and THEN put it on the boat. wink

David, it just means you have to delay your crisis for a while.

JP, say it with me - Happy Wife, Happy Life.
Posted by: GOD

Re: Small Car recommendations... - 01/07/11 11:39 AM

Tom's lying. Yeah, like "Mrs. Tuttle" TOLD him to buy the Benz instead of the Honda. Get real.
Posted by: tomtuttle

Re: Small Car recommendations... - 01/07/11 11:41 AM

She steadfastly told me to get whatever I wanted as long as it wasn't a waitress.
Posted by: medic8r

Re: Small Car recommendations... - 01/07/11 11:46 AM

Yeah, I get the same message, except substitute "drug rep" for "waitress".
Posted by: GOD

Re: Small Car recommendations... - 01/07/11 11:51 AM

Originally Posted By: tomtuttle
She steadfastly told me to get whatever I wanted as long as it wasn't a waitress.


So, a nurse, a schoolteacher, or a dominatrix were (are) still in the running?
Posted by: tomtuttle

Re: Small Car recommendations... - 01/07/11 12:03 PM

It's a Spirit of the Law thing, Bob. wink

Besides, didn't you know my wife is a school nurse who wears black a lot?

Kidding. She's a toymaker.
Posted by: GOD

Re: Small Car recommendations... - 01/07/11 12:14 PM

I love "spirit of the law" situations. They're soooo maleable.
Posted by: danmagicman7

Re: Small Car recommendations... - 01/07/11 01:18 PM

Tom, do you have a keggerator in the trunk?
Posted by: tomtuttle

Re: Small Car recommendations... - 01/07/11 01:20 PM

No, Dan, to use a real estate term, the trunk is "quaint".
Posted by: GOD

Re: Small Car recommendations... - 01/07/11 01:32 PM

Actually, I think the buzz words are cozy and intimate.
Posted by: CV

Re: Small Car recommendations... - 01/07/11 02:25 PM

Originally Posted By: medic8r
Yeah, I get the same message, except substitute "drug rep" for "waitress".


I made out with a Pfizer rep once. Still the hottest woman I've had that kind of contact with. Ha ha. See, I'm not as boring as you thought! Of course, she stayed the night in my apartment, and that's all I got? Maybe I am as boring as you thought.
Posted by: Da_Gimp_Pimp

Re: Small Car recommendations... - 01/07/11 02:57 PM

That's awesome, Charles!

If I had a Pfizer rep sleep over at my house, I'd use the line "wanna try out your little blue pill"? Or "the last time I tried your blue pill, it didn't work. You are a representative and must know best....."
Posted by: medic8r

Re: Small Car recommendations... - 01/07/11 03:15 PM

Wow, Charles, cool beans. Drug rep action is usually quality stuff!

Or so I've been told, I mean. Ahem. *straightens tie*

Sometimes for fun I'll troll the boards at CafePharma and read the stories. The Playground is ... interesting.

Hey, maybe you could find yourself in a thread! wink
Posted by: jakewash

Re: Small Car recommendations... - 01/07/11 03:20 PM

I would have thought there would be a thread about all of us on there already.
Posted by: medic8r

Re: Small Car recommendations... - 01/07/11 04:11 PM

Hey, you passed CV to become #4 on the list again. Congrats.
Posted by: Ken.C

Re: Small Car recommendations... - 01/07/11 04:24 PM

Quick, Charles, post something inane! That shouldn't be too hard, right?
Posted by: medic8r

Re: Small Car recommendations... - 01/07/11 04:27 PM

Oh, SNAP !!!
Posted by: Ken.C

Re: Small Car recommendations... - 01/07/11 04:33 PM

That would have been more satisfying if it had been someone who's not nearly as nice as Charles.

Like Cam.
Posted by: medic8r

Re: Small Car recommendations... - 01/07/11 04:34 PM

Speaking of which, I was sad to see that Jaime Pressly of "My Name Is Earl" got arrested for DUI earlier this week.

Talk about an "Oh, SNAP" moment.
Posted by: medic8r

Re: Small Car recommendations... - 01/07/11 04:35 PM

Originally Posted By: kcarlile
Like Cam.

DOUBLE SNAP!!!
Posted by: pmbuko

Re: Small Car recommendations... - 01/07/11 05:06 PM

Originally Posted By: kcarlile
That would have been more satisfying if it had been someone who's not nearly as nice as Charles.

Like Cam.

You're only saying that because you can outrun him.
Posted by: Ken.C

Re: Small Car recommendations... - 01/07/11 05:11 PM

Yeah, but he carries a crowbar.
Posted by: Da_Gimp_Pimp

Re: Small Car recommendations... - 01/07/11 07:56 PM

Originally Posted By: pmbuko
Originally Posted By: kcarlile
That would have been more satisfying if it had been someone who's not nearly as nice as Charles.

Like Cam.

You're only saying that because you can outrun him.


laugh

Originally Posted By: kcarlile
Yeah, but he carries a crowbar.


And I'd use it........ wink smile .
Posted by: michael_d

Re: Small Car recommendations... - 03/27/11 09:38 PM

Originally Posted By: michael_d
Pics will have to wait. The car's in route to a specialist in Dallas for a few performance enhancements and chasis dyno tune. After that's done, it get's shipped to me. Z06


The weather has not been cooperating for me to take some real pics with natural lighting. I spent a couple days detailing the thing. It's still on the race ramps waiting for the carbon fiber ZR1 front splitter. I couldn't wait for warm weather, so I took it out once for a quick blast with temps in the high 20's. The tires don't like ambient temps under 40, so I had to keep my foot out it, which was pretty hard to do. Downshifting to second at 'highway speeds' and hitting to go pedal put the traction control into a state of irritation. The car is wicked fast. It's inevitable that I'll either kill myself, get thrown in jail or loose my license or some combination of those in short order as soon as I get to play with it. It ended up making 525/480 rwhp/trq with the engine mods. It lost 30 peak hp tuning it for 89 octane verses 93.










Posted by: Lampshade

Re: Small Car recommendations... - 03/27/11 10:07 PM

That is a monster. Enjoy yourself.
Posted by: tomtuttle

Re: Small Car recommendations... - 03/28/11 02:23 AM

Yay, Mike! I want to go for a ride!
Posted by: RickF

Re: Small Car recommendations... - 03/28/11 04:16 AM

The new ride is gorgeous Mike, congrats man!
Posted by: MarkSJohnson

Re: Small Car recommendations... - 03/28/11 06:49 AM

Purdeeeee!
Posted by: Murph

Re: Small Car recommendations... - 03/28/11 08:01 AM

Beautiful Car. I bet it is a blast to drive.
Posted by: davidsch

Re: Small Car recommendations... - 03/28/11 08:06 AM

Great looking car!
Posted by: St_PatGuy

Re: Small Car recommendations... - 03/28/11 08:27 AM

Sweet!!

That is awesome, Mike!
Posted by: medic8r

Re: Small Car recommendations... - 03/28/11 08:52 AM

That'll make the drive to the next homecoming bash so much more enjoyable (and short!). Nice car!
Posted by: fredk

Re: Small Car recommendations... - 03/28/11 10:09 AM

Hey, thats not a small car... sure is purdy though.
Posted by: Murph

Re: Small Car recommendations... - 03/28/11 10:35 AM

Well, it's not very tall. That could count as small.
Posted by: jakewash

Re: Small Car recommendations... - 03/28/11 10:51 AM

Looks great Mike, I am with ya on what comes next, lost license ect. That is why I do not own anything remotely like that.
Posted by: Adrian

Re: Small Car recommendations... - 03/28/11 12:52 PM

What mods have you made to the car, Mike? specifically engine-wise.
Posted by: pmbuko

Re: Small Car recommendations... - 03/28/11 01:17 PM

I think you may have found the fastest way to your next incarnation in that car. wink
Posted by: michael_d

Re: Small Car recommendations... - 03/28/11 05:47 PM

Thanks guys.. The pictures suck. I had the camera ISO set to auto with a 3200 max for taking moon shots during the eclipse a few weeks ago. It snapped these off with too high of an ISO and they are all grainy. Iíve had a few guys shoot me PMís asking for the pictures and didnít want them thinking I was ignoring them.

Engine mods are pretty mild Adrian. Probably about 115 hp gain from OEM at the crank is all, when considering they come tuned for 93 octane fuel and 505 crank hp from the factory. I wanted to keep good low rpm street manners without cam surge and also keep the torque curve flat (makes 350 at 2000 rpm) or have the spark in retard all the time with our crappy fuel, so I did not want a real aggressive cam or tuning that would require me to keep a drum of aviation fuel in the garage for mixing. A shop who works on cars like this put in a different cam, ported the intake, installed a K/N cold air induction and a set of long tube headers with high flow cats and X-pipe. Then tune it for 89 octane fuel and engine mods. The mufflers are modified as well. Thereís two modes; stealthy quiet and louder than hell. The loud mode is basically just straight pipes through the mufflers. I have a remote control switch that opens / closes the muffler outlet valves on the straight pipe side. At 3500 rpm it automatically opens the valves too. Brakes have been upgraded as well as the shocks and a bunch of dress up stuff.

Iíve had a few fast cars in my time, but nothing like this car. Itís fast off the line, rolling at just about any speed and corners hard enough to really need a five point harness and sticky tires. And that was taking it easy. When racing (on an approved track of courseÖ) the 1-2 shift is 60 mph, 2-3 is 90 mph and 3-4 is 120 mph. Not sure about the 4-5 or 5-6, but I do know the front end starts to float at 190 mph. The front splitter and side skirts should help that some, but I really need a louvered hood if I get serious about one mile runs over 190 (not likely).

It's a pretty small car. 3050 pound curb weight without fuel. Iím 5í10Ē, 190 pounds and it takes some wiggling to get into it. Iím glad the car has easy access that re-positions the seat and steering wheel, or Iíd have a heck of a time getting in / out. It just looks bigger than it really is. Similar to a viper. My buddies 2010 SS Camaro is noticeably bigger when they are parked side by side.
Posted by: tomtuttle

Re: Small Car recommendations... - 03/28/11 08:28 PM

scuse me while I wipe this drool of my keyboard.

That's so cool, Mike. I hope you really enjoy it.
Posted by: Ken.C

Re: Small Car recommendations... - 03/28/11 08:29 PM

Don't drool on your trackpad. Handy tip from my almost 2 year old daughter.
Posted by: Adrian

Re: Small Car recommendations... - 03/28/11 10:02 PM

Originally Posted By: michael_d

Engine mods are pretty mild Adrian. Probably about 115 hp gain from OEM at the crank is all, when considering they come tuned for 93 octane fuel and 505 crank hp from the factory. I wanted to keep good low rpm street manners without cam surge and also keep the torque curve flat (makes 350 at 2000 rpm) or have the spark in retard all the time with our crappy fuel, so I did not want a real aggressive cam or tuning that nd a bunch of dress up stuff.

That's plenty of power for the street. I think too many guys go for the huge HP numbers then regret it later when they lose the driveablity or overpower the chassis.
Posted by: MarkSJohnson

Re: Small Car recommendations... - 03/28/11 10:18 PM

Yeah, that'll work, if that's all you got.

(Says the mini-van driver!!) smile
Posted by: Lampshade

Re: Small Car recommendations... - 03/28/11 10:25 PM

I am very curious as to why you tuned it to 89 octane. My guess would be you are still going to put 93 in the tank but have no faith about what you are actually getting out of the pump so better to be careful. Or is 93 hard to find where you live?
Posted by: Adrian

Re: Small Car recommendations... - 03/28/11 10:31 PM

I think we should try Murph's moonshine in that vette!
Posted by: fredk

Re: Small Car recommendations... - 03/29/11 01:01 AM

Originally Posted By: Adrian
I think we should try Murph's moonshine in that vette!

Crop dusting?
Posted by: Murph

Re: Small Car recommendations... - 03/29/11 07:27 AM

Did you Dyno it yet? You know we love graphs here.
Posted by: MarkSJohnson

Re: Small Car recommendations... - 03/29/11 07:37 AM

It just better be a flat graph is all.....
Posted by: michael_d

Re: Small Car recommendations... - 03/29/11 11:11 AM

90 octane is premium in Alaska, and it sucks as well. I had it tuned for 89 because that is the closest thing to our crappy gas the tuner could find in Dallas. The newer GM ECM's have two different timing curves. When the knock sensors detect detonation, the curve defaults to the less aggressive timing curve. The EMC will not reset to the more aggressive timing curve unless the fuel tank is topped off. It's just better to tune the things for the gas available and turn off the dual curve toggle. I use EFI Live and usually tune my own vehicles, but didn't want to mess with this one because I'd never be able to load it up in third or fourth gear like the tuner can with a chassis dyno.
Posted by: Adrian

Re: Small Car recommendations... - 03/29/11 01:25 PM

90 is "premium"??? what's the regular octane rating up there?
Posted by: Ken.C

Re: Small Car recommendations... - 03/29/11 02:11 PM

3
Posted by: michael_d

Re: Small Car recommendations... - 03/29/11 04:19 PM

87 is regular, 89 is mid grade.

It's a joke. An oil producing state with refineries all over the place, the highest fuel prices in the US and we have crap gas.
Posted by: Ken.C

Re: Small Car recommendations... - 03/29/11 04:28 PM

In CA, it's 87, 89, 91.
Posted by: Adrian

Re: Small Car recommendations... - 03/29/11 05:00 PM

Ont's is 87, 89, 91, 94.
Posted by: medic8r

Re: Small Car recommendations... - 03/29/11 05:34 PM

Typically in GA, SC, NC, VA in my travels I have seen 87, 89, and 93 at most pumps. Occasionally the top octane is 92 instead of 93.

Interestingly, the price difference between 87 and 89 is usually the same as that between 89 and 93, making 89 seem like the biggest rip-off.
Posted by: Craig_P

Re: Small Car recommendations... - 03/29/11 07:45 PM

Absolutely gorgeous car, though I feel bad for you trying to keep black in detail shape. Swirl marks show up so easy.
Never been there, but I imagine Alaska has some great driving loads. Have fun!
Posted by: HomeDad

Re: Small Car recommendations... - 03/29/11 09:07 PM

Very nice Michael! I think you need to bring it on down to Cali. and we can do some fun runs.
Posted by: JohnK

Re: Small Car recommendations... - 03/29/11 10:44 PM

Gorgeous car, Mike. One thought I had was that with all the money you put into tuning it, did you ever consider the tires. As you mentioned, below about 40 degrees those summer tires get a bit greasy. Tires that fit the front and are a bit narrower for the back, such as the Continental Extreme Contact DWSs, could extend your safe driving temperatures quite a bit(not heavy snow, of course)and give up very little in warm weather cornering.
Posted by: 2x6spds

Re: Small Car recommendations... - 03/30/11 01:48 AM

If you want to pay through the nose, you can get 100 octane gas in California from select 76 stations.
Posted by: Murph

Re: Small Car recommendations... - 03/30/11 08:00 AM

Originally Posted By: Adrian
Ont's is 87, 89, 91, 94.


You Ontario folks just always have to have an extra one of everything! Just like grade 13 in your high schools. wink
Posted by: michael_d

Re: Small Car recommendations... - 03/30/11 09:44 PM

Originally Posted By: JohnK
Gorgeous car, Mike. One thought I had was that with all the money you put into tuning it, did you ever consider the tires. As you mentioned, below about 40 degrees those summer tires get a bit greasy. Tires that fit the front and are a bit narrower for the back, such as the Continental Extreme Contact DWSs, could extend your safe driving temperatures quite a bit(not heavy snow, of course)and give up very little in warm weather cornering.


Thanks John, Iím pretty partial to the looks of the car myself. Iím still in disbelief when I look at it in my garage. Iím also still wondering why in hell I bought it. Itís certainly the most impractical thing Iíve ever bought by a long shot.

Finding Z rated tires for this thing is a point of contention. Iíve been looking, as I know Iíll need some before long. I want to go with a run flat, as the car does not have a spare. The Z06 forum guys tend to like PS2ís and Bridgestoneís, but most of the guys BSíing on the forums live somewhere warm. Iíll check out the tires you mention. I need 275/30/19 and 335/30/19ís. 345 will fit as well. 325 are also an option, but probably not quite wide enough for acceleration traction. I was spinning shifting into second at 5000 rpms / 50 mph and redline is 7000. I spun a bit shifting into third too, but wonít mention the speed. It definitely got my attention to say the least. Hopefully, they will not spin as easily with warmer temps.
Posted by: Lampshade

Re: Small Car recommendations... - 03/30/11 09:50 PM

Do the tires warm up after driving a bit or can you not overcome the ambient temperature?
Posted by: Da_Gimp_Pimp

Re: Small Car recommendations... - 03/30/11 10:03 PM

Originally Posted By: Craig_P
Absolutely gorgeous car, though I feel bad for you trying to keep black in detail shape. Swirl marks show up so easy.


Beautiful car, Mike (even though I don't like Vette's much). Black is the only colour of vehicle I'd have; hence my newly painted black van. Craig is right about blemishes though. Have you thought about getting it clay barred yearly at least? I highly recommend it. Then follow up with a good wax and polish.
Posted by: JohnK

Re: Small Car recommendations... - 03/31/11 01:37 AM

Mike, if run flat and the very wide rears are absolute musts, the Conti tires I mentioned aren't suitable. I was aware of the sizes and that they're run flat, but I thought that a change was possible.

First, I think that run flats suck. I don't have a spare, and carry one of those emergency kits to shoot goo into the flat so that you can limp to a repair station. Hope that I never get a flat.

The Conti has the size for the fronts, but there's nothing wider than 295 for the rears. This should still be okay for handling, but if it absolutely has to be wider for acceleration, then it's out.
Posted by: michael_d

Re: Small Car recommendations... - 03/31/11 10:29 AM

Even with the tires warmed up, the cold asphalt plays into the equation. Michelin has a new PS tire coming out that is supposedly better than the previous version. I may end up with them at $550 ea.

I've had four different black vehicles through the years. After the first one I told myself never again and I've repeated that after each vehicle since. When I detailed it last week, I started with some Dawn dish soap, then used clay, then washed again with a shampoo, then I polished it. I used a new system by Meguiars with a Griot's 6" random orbital polisher. It was my first time using power tools on paint and am amazed at how easy it was and how well it turned out. The Meguiars kit is a two part system designed for use with these RO polishers. It uses micro fiber pads and it's just about impossible to screw up your paint. Look it up if interested.... they call it their Microfiber DA correction system. I bought it here.. http://www.autogeek.net/newproducts.html
Posted by: Adrian

Re: Small Car recommendations... - 04/15/11 06:41 PM

Hyundai has built a Sonata station wagon that they're displaying at some of the car shows. It's not known yet whether it'll make production for North America, but they'd be crazy not to sell it here.

Drove a $61K '11 Yukon for a couple of days, this was the 5.3L/6-speeder, fully loaded, leather, sunroof, blah, blah, blah. Nice riding vehicle but it was the shorter wb version which was noticeable on the highway compared to my '10 Sierra (I'm sure the longer wb Yukon would ride better on the hiway). These 6spds don't seem to work as well with a gas engine from my limited experience with the Yukon(vs my 6spd/Duramax). It never seemed to be in the right gear wherever I was driving, as if you needed to kick it down to a lower gear to wake the engine up. I guess they're trying to squeeze all the mileage they can out of it, and the tranny is set-up as such. All in all, I don't think it was anymore economical than my diesel and imo, not worth 61K(maybe 40-45K).
Posted by: MarkSJohnson

Re: Small Car recommendations... - 04/15/11 07:39 PM

With the popularity of the Smart Car, there's a whole bunch of new, small cars coming to showrooms!

Smart Car:




Smorvette:




Smaudi A3 AWD:




Smamborghini:




Smorsche:




Smerrari:



Even a small horse for those who want to use no gas at all!

Posted by: Adrian

Re: Small Car recommendations... - 04/15/11 07:43 PM

No Smasserati?
Posted by: MarkSJohnson

Re: Small Car recommendations... - 04/15/11 07:45 PM

Adrian, you're never satisfied. Get Pegged.

(My new phrase!)
Posted by: Adrian

Re: Small Car recommendations... - 04/15/11 07:47 PM

I'd rather be Kelly'ed.(Bundy).
Posted by: CV

Re: Small Car recommendations... - 04/16/11 12:24 AM

Smappy Smirthday?
Posted by: michael_d

Re: Small Car recommendations... - 04/16/11 09:38 PM

Originally Posted By: Adrian
These 6spds don't seem to work as well with a gas engine from my limited experience with the Yukon(vs my 6spd/Duramax). It never seemed to be in the right gear wherever I was driving, as if you needed to kick it down to a lower gear to wake the engine up. I guess they're trying to squeeze all the mileage they can out of it, and the tranny is set-up as such. All in all, I don't think it was anymore economical than my diesel and imo, not worth 61K(maybe 40-45K).


I know exactly what you are talking about. My 08 Sierra Denali has the 6.2 and six speed. I had mine for about two months before I had it tuned. Woke it up big time, my mileage went up 15% and the thing shifts wonderfully now. The down side to this is GM knows if the thing has a tune and the warranty is effectively voided. You can program a spare ECM, swap it out as needed, but the tranny has its own control module inside the tranny, so you can't swap it out very easily. It can only be tuned via on board lap top and interface cables. There is a guy who sells a kit now, where I bought mine from. He sends you a control unit that you just plug into the interface adapter, then you down load the tune for the engine and tranny. You drive the rig, copy the monitoring file to a disk and email it back to him. He looks the data over, tweaks the tune as needed, then sends the file back to you. They you just down load the updated file. He also includes five other tuning profiles based on the data you send him and all you do is select the tune you want to run (towing, racing, economy, etc). My truck does not drive anything like it did stock. Pretty slick. I don't like to advertise, so if anyone is interested, PM me and I'll give you his name and web sight.
Posted by: St_PatGuy

Re: Small Car recommendations... - 04/17/11 09:46 AM

I remember tuning my VW Bug with a timing gun and a wrench.

These fancy schmancy cars nowadays with their computers. . . . .pfffffft!


wink
Posted by: Craig_P

Re: Small Car recommendations... - 04/17/11 09:14 PM

Originally Posted By: michael_d


Finding Z rated tires for this thing is a point of contention. Iíve been looking, as I know Iíll need some before long. I want to go with a run flat, as the car does not have a spare. The Z06 forum guys tend to like PS2ís and Bridgestoneís, but most of the guys BSíing on the forums live somewhere warm. Iíll check out the tires you mention. I need 275/30/19 and 335/30/19ís. 345 will fit as well. 325 are also an option, but probably not quite wide enough for acceleration traction. I was spinning shifting into second at 5000 rpms / 50 mph and redline is 7000. I spun a bit shifting into third too, but wonít mention the speed. It definitely got my attention to say the least. Hopefully, they will not spin as easily with warmer temps.


Are you dead set on runflats? They're heavier, more expensive, and ride harsher than normal tires, which I'm sure you know. A lot of people I know with vehicles that come with runflats switch them out once they're done, and then keep a fix-a-flat kit of some sort in the trunk (some get the fancy air pump/sealent combo, some just the fix-a-flat can). I know once I need new tires I'm gonna ditch the runflats.

Another thing to consider, especially since you're living in Alaska, is a runflat is good for 50 miles once it loses pressure. When you're out on a trip or cruise, will 50 miles get you anywhere useful?
Posted by: Murph

Re: Small Car recommendations... - 04/18/11 09:21 AM

Add some tire plugs to the kit too. I've run over items as large as screwdrivers and the cans just won't fix holes that size.
Posted by: tomtuttle

Re: Small Car recommendations... - 04/18/11 01:42 PM

Hey! I want to talk about tires, too!

Or maybe they are "tyres". I forget.

Anyhoo, it only snows about twice a year in Tacoma, and I don't really plan on driving my roadster those days, but it is my daily driver. I need new front tires (they are a different size than the back). After independently identifying the Continental DWS and then seeing JohnK's recommendation, it occurred to me that maybe I really don't need "all season" tires, and that perhaps the DW would offer better performance and wear. I'm unsure about how to weight road temperature when looking at this question.

I really don't want to spend more than about $400 all-in for a pair of tires, so any of you elitists can just take your suggestions for Bridgestone Potenzas elsewhere. wink
Posted by: Craig_P

Re: Small Car recommendations... - 04/18/11 03:13 PM

Do you do much cold weather driving? It's not just snow that summer performance tires are bad in, it's cold weather. Anything below maybe 45 degrees F and they turn hard and lose a lot of grip.

Wear differs between various models and brands, but generally speaking, summer performance will wear quicker than all seasons, but offer more grip, it's a trade-off. So your switch to the Contis should gain you performance (a fair amount) but will wear quicker.

Also, if you're just getting new fronts, I wouldn't recomend mis-matching with the rears. The different grip offered by a different kind of tire could cause unwanted handling changes and even make the car unstable during handling (depending on if it indroduces over or understeer). If you're only replacing 2, you should match to what you have. Or get 4 new tires. That would be the rational advice anyway, you are free to do whatever you want smile
Posted by: michael_d

Re: Small Car recommendations... - 04/18/11 03:22 PM

You're signing your own death warrant if you mix / match tires and do any sort of rallying in that car. You want equal grip at all four corners. Sometimes you can get away with swapping out new rear's or fronts, but only if they are the same make / model. Don't mix Tom, and I don't care if anyone disagrees, they are full of crap.

As far as ambient temp, that applies to Z rated tires more than what you'll need for that Benz. When you get into Z tires, things get complicated, and down right expensive.

I have always liked Michelin tires, you might want to hop on over to Tirerack.com and see what is available in your tire size. Nito makes a very good tire at generally, a lower price point than Michelin. I'm beginning to think Goodyear has forgotten how to make a good tire.

Craig -

Yes, unfortunately, I have to go with run flats when I burn through the Nito's on the car now. Shouldn't be long at the rate I'm going.... 50 miles is better than nothing. It might just get me into cell phone range in nothing else. Plugging a tire on this car will be extremely challenging if it's on the car. There's no way to actually lift it to change a tire without a low profile floor jack. I have four inches of clearance in the front too. I do have a can of fix a flat in the car, but sure hope I never have to use it. The stuff is about impossible to get off the rim/tire and sensers.
Posted by: tomtuttle

Re: Small Car recommendations... - 04/18/11 03:31 PM

Thanks, Craig. I appreciate the advice.

I'll probably just stick with the all-seasons, most likely the DWS.

I've already got mismatched tires - Michelin Pilots on the front and some kind of Toyo on the rear.

I'm not a very demanding driver most of the time, and the car is fun whether I'm pushing the envelope or not.

The fronts/rears obviously wear at different rates and are different sizes, so getting all four of them at the same time is only a temporary solution, especially if they stop making a particular model of tire. I'm not going to get too worked up about it.
Posted by: tomtuttle

Re: Small Car recommendations... - 04/18/11 03:35 PM

Sorry, Mike - I was typing my reply to Craig and did not see your post.

I think I actually DO have to get Z rated tires.

I've always had good luck with Michelins, too. But they are spendy.
Posted by: michael_d

Re: Small Car recommendations... - 04/18/11 05:53 PM

What are the tire sizes? And how much are you willing to spend for a set of four? Dicount Tire has pretty good prices. The sell Nitto too. The Nitto Invo is well regarded for all around performance in various conditions.
Posted by: tomtuttle

Re: Small Car recommendations... - 04/18/11 06:26 PM

Hey Mike,

Thanks, buddy. I can use help here, obviously.

225/45-17 (Front)
245/40-17 (Rear)

Looks like I can get the Nitto Invos for a little less than the Continental DWS.

I'm less interested in "performance" than I am in:
- safety in wet/cool
- quiet
- durability

Based on the reviews, I am a little concerned that I'll wear the Nitto's out too quickly for my liking.
Posted by: Adrian

Re: Small Car recommendations... - 04/18/11 06:56 PM

I used Toyo tires on my last pickup, excellent tire, I noticed a modest increase in economy from the Firestones they replaced.
Posted by: JohnK

Re: Small Car recommendations... - 04/18/11 10:29 PM

Tom, I'd suggest the DWSs for your situation. TireRack prices both sizes at $134.
Posted by: jakewash

Re: Small Car recommendations... - 04/18/11 11:10 PM

Hard to beat Tire Rack's pricing.
Posted by: Ken.C

Re: Small Car recommendations... - 04/19/11 12:21 AM

You done bought a Mercedes. The tires are going to be expensive! We've got a Volvo 850 Turbo that calls for Z rated tires. They're pricey... I have no brand advice for you, but personally I prefer to stick with brands I recognize: Bridgestone, Michelin, Pirelli. Had good luck with Pirelli P Zero Mud and Snow last time around. This time I had to buy cheapo tires in Oregon since there was snow and my FIL swore that our Pirellis were bald.
Posted by: Adrian

Re: Small Car recommendations... - 04/19/11 08:34 AM

Personally, I don't really like Michelins. Always thought they were overpriced compared to most other brands, probably to support their racing program, and no better quality.
Posted by: michael_d

Re: Small Car recommendations... - 04/19/11 10:39 AM

Tom -

I put your tire sizes into both sights; Tirerack and Discount Tire. Both have different brands available. I filtered high performance, Z rated, all season.

You have lot's of choices. Some brands I've never heard of. Some brands that I know make a good tire, and some brands that I know make shity tires. The tires I'd be looking at in order of price, (with mileage rating if shown), are:

Michelin PS A/S Plus - $714 (45,000 mile warranty)
Bridgestone Potenza RE 760 Sport - $630
Yokahama Advan S.4 - $598
BFG G-force Super Sport - $550 (35,000 mile warranty)
Continental DWS - $536 (50,000 mile warranty)
Yokahama Avid - $510 (45,000 mile warranty)
Nitto Invo - $486
Dunlop SP - $482

I do not know a whole lot about these tires through personal experience. I do know that the Z06 and ZR1 guys really like the Nitto Invo for all around 'all season' performance. They also mention Michelin a lot. They do not mention the Mich AS much, as they tend to prefer the regular PS2 for the track and the AS does not have a lot of size options for the Z's. I have never used Continental, but if JohnK likes them, I'm certain they will be good tires. I, like Adrian, have had good luck with Yoko's on trucks, but I have no idea if their car tires are any good. I have always liked BFG's, on either car or truck. Great tire, usually great value. I wouldn't buy GY or Firestone tires for my car, period. I've had too much bad luck with both over the years. Dunlop makes great tires. Don't let the price fool you. Their drag tires are all over the place. I've not used Pirelli before, but some people like them. They've always been overly expenive (the most usually).

If you would like, I can ask a question on the Z06 forum about this. Most, if not all of them, have a few other cars in their stable.
Posted by: tomtuttle

Re: Small Car recommendations... - 04/19/11 11:56 AM

Wow. Thanks, Mike. That was very kind of you to spend so much time.

All those prices are plus mounting/balancing/disposal/etc, right?

I'm still scared of how soft the Nittos seem to be. I'm sure they would be fun, but I need them to be fun for more than 7,000 miles, if you know what I mean.

I've heard good things about the Bridgestones and Yokohama S.4. Seems like the Michelin PS A/S get mixed reviews from the SLK guys.

I don't want to incite anybody, but I might want to factor in country of manufacture in my criteria. I haven't looked that up for any of these, although I do have some suspicions. Does anybody KNOW whether any of these models are made in North America?

I hadn't really strongly considered the Dunlops. Interesting.

Has anyone actually used the Tirerack deal where you buy tires from them and have them shipped to some local independent for installation? It's an interesting concept, but I wasn't familiar with any of the shops that showed up on their preferred list in my area.
Posted by: michael_d

Re: Small Car recommendations... - 04/19/11 12:41 PM

Well I am researching tires for my own needs too Tom, so it's no biggy. Ya, the Nitto's don't last teribly long. The Invo's do last longer than mine, the NT05's. I think I can get about 10,000 miles out of mine, maybe. But I doubt I'll put more than 2000 miles a year on the car, if that. Nitto's are made in Japan. I have not checked the others.
Posted by: Craig_P

Re: Small Car recommendations... - 04/19/11 03:23 PM

Originally Posted By: tomtuttle
Has anyone actually used the Tirerack deal where you buy tires from them and have them shipped to some local independent for installation? It's an interesting concept, but I wasn't familiar with any of the shops that showed up on their preferred list in my area.


Yep. Bought my winter wheel/tire combo this way. Smooth and easy. Since I bought wheels as well, the tires came mounted and balanced. Basically you get an email saying they've shipped, then one once they've arrived. At this point, you contact the installer to make the appointment. Hard to beat TireRack's prices, and from what I've read, their service is excellent (if there's any problems afterwards).
Posted by: RickF

Re: Small Car recommendations... - 04/19/11 03:42 PM

Originally Posted By: Adrian
Personally, I don't really like Michelins. Always thought they were overpriced compared to most other brands, probably to support their racing program, and no better quality.

Adrian I ran Michelins for years and years on all of my 3/4 ton pickup trucks and haven't found anything else that would last nearly as long. I don't know much about their car tires but several guys I know run them on their trucks and they are also very happy with them.

I now have Nitto TerraGrapplers on my truck and that's only because I'm not running it up and down the highway everyday, otherwise it would be another set of Michelins.
Posted by: Adrian

Re: Small Car recommendations... - 04/19/11 07:07 PM

Last time I bought tires(for my last Silverado), the tire guy sold a number of brands including both Michelins and Toyos and he actually recommended the less expensive Toyos($180) over the Michelins($230). There's a lot of good tires out there, but imo, some charge too much because of their expensive marketing campaigns(advertising/racing/blimps!!). The only tire I recall having problems with were from General(owned Bridgestone, Dunlop, Uniroyal, Toyo, General, Firestone...)
Posted by: JohnK

Re: Small Car recommendations... - 04/19/11 10:27 PM

Yeah, Tom; on two recent occasions I bought from Tire Rack and had them shipped to one of their local recommended installers. Price and service were both excellent, and it's likely that all my future tire buys will be handled that way.

One thing to check in comparing installation prices is to see if lifetime(of the tires, not you)balancing and rotation is included.

It appears that NS Performance would be a good outfit for putting the DWSs or whatever on a Mercedes.
Posted by: medic8r

Re: Small Car recommendations... - 04/19/11 11:35 PM

Last time I got tires, my local NTB matched the Tire Rack price. I bought a five year alignment program (paid for itself in the first year) and got free rotation AND alignments every time I got an oil change.

I'm in the market for new tires myself, so I am reading with interest. My five year alignment expired last month, and I am thinking of going with a local chain that has a low price guarantee plus no additional (mounting/stem/etc/etc) fees.
Posted by: CatBrat

Re: Small Car recommendations... - 04/20/11 07:59 AM

Man. You people are so passe. I bought new tires last year.
Posted by: Lampshade

Re: Small Car recommendations... - 04/20/11 09:51 AM

I have Michelin Primacy Mxv4 and they are the best tires I have ever had.
Posted by: pmbuko

Re: Small Car recommendations... - 04/20/11 10:17 AM

My tires turn as well as anyone else's.
Posted by: MarkSJohnson

Re: Small Car recommendations... - 04/20/11 10:20 AM

My tires are tired.
Posted by: CatBrat

Re: Small Car recommendations... - 04/20/11 10:27 AM

My fav tire, so far, has been Goodyears Assurance Triple Treads.
Posted by: Da_Gimp_Pimp

Re: Small Car recommendations... - 04/20/11 11:57 AM

When I'm in my van, I'm on eight tires. Beat that!
Posted by: pmbuko

Re: Small Car recommendations... - 04/20/11 02:52 PM

I can walk.
Posted by: CatBrat

Re: Small Car recommendations... - 04/20/11 02:54 PM

I've been known to crawl before.
Posted by: Da_Gimp_Pimp

Re: Small Car recommendations... - 04/20/11 03:55 PM

Originally Posted By: pmbuko
I can walk.


Holy s*&t that's funny laugh !

Originally Posted By: CatBrat
I've been known to crawl before.


laugh laugh When inebriated?

I needed a good laugh today. Thanks, guys!
Posted by: jakewash

Re: Small Car recommendations... - 04/22/11 12:06 AM

My personal preference for tires is Michelin(I agree they are overpriced), I have had 3 sets now of varying design and sizes for different vehicles and all of them have been very good all around tires for our crazy weather here.

I have had Yoko's as OEM tires on a few vehicles and they are good as well but never seem to last as long as the Michelins. The BFG's I have owned(before they were bought by Michelin) were very good as well. I worked in a shop that sold Toyo's and I have always been pleased with the results they produce.
Posted by: real80sman

Re: Small Car recommendations... - 04/22/11 11:36 AM

Originally Posted By: CatBrat
My fav tire, so far, has been Goodyears Assurance Triple Treads.


I had the Comfort Treads on our van. Loved 'em. Great in the snow, and much quieter than the OEM tires.
Posted by: Adrian

Re: Small Car recommendations... - 04/24/11 07:10 PM

Earlier today I went to the local auto mall and had a browse around...Sunday, no salesman, woo hoo! Anyway, had a look at a number of small cars the most impressive of which(to me) seemed to be the new Hyundai Elantra, a roomy, nicely styled, very economical car and starting at only $16k-ish as well as the new Chevy Cruze also with nice(not as good as the Hyundai imo) styling and a starting price around $17k. If you want the most economical Cruze, the ECO, it's around $20K or more though. Least impressive to me was the Ford Fiesta...$23-24K with a few options, seriously Ford? $3k more than a similarly equipped Civic? wonder how their marketing dep't will spin that one, eh Mike? never mind the paintjobs(fuscha? mus-terd?). I'm seeing a few turbos being added to some of the small domestic engines, I'm not sure how that'll work out based on some of the turbo cars Dodge and Ford tried to bring out a number of years ago. Time will tell, I guess. Mazda 3 looks and sounds like a fun car to own, but to me it appears like they're falling behind in the fuel economy wars with Honda, Hyundai and even Chev and Ford now. Nothing Dodge or Toyota makes in a small car really interest me much, so I never checked them out.
Posted by: MarkSJohnson

Re: Small Car recommendations... - 04/24/11 07:17 PM

I like the new Elantra also. Joyce just bought a 2008 Elantra, but I was pushing her to buy a new 2011 model with the redesign.

I just got back from a weekend in RI, and we took her Elantra. I have to say it's the best small car I've been in. Drove very, very nice and has logical controls, etc. She's just never bought a new car and I thought she should for once, and the 2011 re-design looked slick and had much higher MPG ratings to boot. I told her that for the purchase price difference, it might be made up over the life of the car with fuel savings.
Posted by: Adrian

Re: Small Car recommendations... - 04/24/11 07:19 PM

Yeh, the new one is very economical, pretty close to the VW diesels which are much more $$.
Posted by: real80sman

Re: Small Car recommendations... - 04/24/11 07:47 PM

About 3 weeks ago, I drove both the Elantra and the Civic. The Elantra looked better, had a nicer interior, and had WAY more content. I really wanted to love that car, but at the end of the day, the Civic just drove better and was more refined. It had a better shifter, better clutch, smoother motor (especially at high revs), and felt more planted on the road. Couple that with 0.9%, and it was a no brainer. Bought the Civic. For someone not as anal about driving dynamics, the Elantra is a heck of a car.
Posted by: Adrian

Re: Small Car recommendations... - 04/25/11 09:31 AM

The Civic is an excellent small car, probably the barometer for the industry. I went to my local dealer here, and couldn't seem to find a stickshift base Civic amongst the 50 plus sitting in the lot to see where the price starts at. Looks like the '12's are more less a carry over from the '11's, the only difference obvious to me was the tail light, rear quarter area. Mpg's have gone up some, too.
Posted by: medic8r

Re: Small Car recommendations... - 04/25/11 11:32 AM

If I were in the market for a small car, I'd have the Honda Civic and Honda Fit at the top of the list. Good info, Adrian.
Posted by: 2x6spds

Re: Small Car recommendations... - 04/25/11 02:46 PM

Honda Civic or Fit for me as well.

I test drove a 2010 Honda Civic Si, 6 speed. Loved it!
Posted by: medic8r

Re: Small Car recommendations... - 04/25/11 04:11 PM

You are a gentleman and a scholar.
Posted by: Adrian

Re: Small Car recommendations... - 04/25/11 04:11 PM

I don't like the Fit(stylewise) but I'd definitely put the Civic on my shortlist of small cars.
Posted by: Spoiler

Re: Small Car recommendations... - 04/25/11 04:47 PM

Originally Posted By: 2x6spds
Honda Civic or Fit for me as well.

I test drove a 2010 Honda Civic Si, 6 speed. Loved it!


How did it compare to your S2000? smile
Posted by: 2x6spds

Re: Small Car recommendations... - 04/25/11 05:53 PM

The S2000 is quick up to 6000 rpm and white hot from 6000-9000 rpm. The engine is unique - 2.0 liter naturally aspirated 4 cylinder putting out 240 HP. Since this is an audio site, I am compelled to say, the engine sound quality is not great. The handling of the 2000 model requires respect and over-steer is possible. The 6 speed has the shortest throws of any stock manual offered (at least it did in 2000). Shift effort is light, The clutch is perfect. Interior amenities are minimal. Interior storage space almost non-existent. Mine was dynoed at Auto Wave in Westminster or Fountain Valley at an S2000 dyno day and had the highest output at the rear wheels - 227.7 HP. I think it was Motor Trend which tested an S2000 0-60 at 5.2 seconds. I have never tracked mine, but I can tell you that on the very few occasions I have revved it to 7000 rpm and side stepped the clutch, I believe I hit 60 in that or less.

The Civic Si is quick and pleasant. The sound quality of its 200 HP 4 cylinder is spectacular. It revs beautifully, sewing machine smooth. The 6 speed/clutch combo are as good as anything I've ever driven. I didn't really push it, but its FWD handling felt secure and accurate. Steering felt superb. Ride was very well damped. Driver's seat was very comfortable. I loved it.
Posted by: Adrian

Re: Small Car recommendations... - 04/25/11 05:57 PM

The new Civic Si is using a larger displacement 4cyl, with lower revs(7000 redline vs 8000, I think), probably for more driveability with higher torque at lower engine speeds.
Posted by: 2x6spds

Re: Small Car recommendations... - 04/25/11 06:18 PM

The 2.0 liter S2000 engine (the F20C) red lines at 8900 rpm, fuel cut off at 9,100 rpm. The lower revving 2.2 liter engine in later S2000s red lines at 8,000 rpm. Very disappointing.

The 2010 Si had a 2.0 liter 4, put out a tick under 200 HP, and red lined at a tick under 8,000 rpm.

The 2012 Si is not as high strung or high revving. Also very disappointing.
Posted by: michael_d

Re: Small Car recommendations... - 04/27/11 06:07 PM

This isn't really a 'small' car, but it's small to me so I'll mention it. I just rented a Chrysler 200 (ya, that's a 2, not a 3). It had 4 miles on it and it was a bare bones ride. I was very impressed with its acceleration. Damn thing winds up to 6500 quicker than hell and pulls pretty darn hard from about 3000 up. It had crappy tires so it was soft in the cornering, but I'm sure it would handle pretty good with real tires. Deceivingly large trunk space as well as good interior room. Anyone looking for a car this size might want to take one of these for a spin. I'd like to see what the loaded models are like.
Posted by: Adrian

Re: Small Car recommendations... - 07/04/11 10:33 PM

Browsed through my local Honda dealer's lot this past weekend. They're a fairly large dealer with a huge inventory (esp Civics, Accords, CRVs) but I guess the disaster in Japan has hit them hard...the other dealers in the automall are leasing space off of them because their inventory has all but dried up. Now, Focuses, Fusions, F150s and a combination of Mazdas, Subarus ect, populate the lot that used to have a good 100 or so Civics and 30 or more Accords sitting on it.
Posted by: tomtuttle

Re: Small Car recommendations... - 11/08/12 05:50 PM

I'm just going to recycle and repurpose this thread.

Now, I need an SUV. We have a 1999 Ford Windstar van that has served us well, but it's starting to do really weird electrical stuff and it has ~170k miles on it.

So, we need something for Mrs. Tuttle to drive. She is used to having the van at her disposal, which means never having to pack light for a road trip. Also, the dog seems to be immortal. We anticipate additional road trips for kids' swim meets, and we need to be able to take ice chests, pop-up canopies, chairs, etc. The Missus also has an annoying weakness for catering meets that our club hosts. I think that we're both still in denial about empty-nesthood in a few years, and want to entertain the idea that all four of us might go somewhere for fun. She doesn't seem to be responding to my inquiries as to the relative importance of seating more than 5 people (which comes up rarely).

I wouldn't mind having AWD, but I'm not sure I'm prepared to pay extra for it. We stay on the road. It rarely snows in Western WA.

We both like the idea of the Fords because they are made in America by union workers at a company that didn't take bailout money. Also, the back seats fold FLAT. Not just down, flat. I poked at but have not yet driven newer Explorer, Flex and Edge. I think the Escape might be too small. I seriously need to figure out what will and will not fit in the garage.

We would probably buy something 2-3 years old for ~$25k or less.

Subarus are a non-starter. Every time I ask Mrs. Tuttle about them, she says "did I become a lesbian?" to which I enthusiastically say "it does not seem so". Pity. About the Subaru, I mean.

Now, I think nothing is better for these purposes than a van. I think we should probably get an Odyssey or a Sienna. But there's some stigma there, and I think she's ready to not have a minivan just for the sake of not having a minivan.

I like the looks of the Mazda CX-9 and Volvo XC90 (I still haven't gotten over the seats in the S60 I didn't buy. Dreamy). Of course, also considering the CR-V and the RAV4, but I'm not sure they are big enough. My sister-in-law has a Highlander and it is "too small". Man, I hope gas gets cheaper, because I feel like I'm looking at 14mpg.

I'm pretty sure that we'll dance around this thing for a while and then get a Flex unless she absolutely hates driving it. Mrs. Tuttle thinks they're cool. They look like a bloated Mini Cooper to me. Or a station wagon on steroids. Whatever. Happy wife, happy life.

What say you?
Posted by: exlabdriver

Re: Small Car recommendations... - 11/08/12 06:31 PM

Tom:

Due to continuing reliability issues with an early production CUV from a big name Asian manufacturer, a couple of years ago I happily traded it in for a 2011 Toyota Venza AWD. It's designed in America, built only in America solely for the North American market.

I've taken it on a long trip to the desert southwest with 3 adults last fall & it is simply a wonderful vehicle. The 270 HP V6 has been used for eons in many of their models & is therefore now quite bullet-proof. It maintains good power up in the high country that might make the the 180 HP 4 Cyl strain a bit. The AWD is a must even though we infrequently get snow here either. But when we do - it's always that wet, heavy stuff & lots of it - AWD is worth every penny.

The only downside that I've found is that I'm kinda dreading having to change the rubber down the road as the rims are big 20 inchers. Could be expensive; however, these OEM tires seem to be wearing much better than my previous CUV that were toast in 20,000 miles - ridiculous.

Check the Venza out...

TAM
Posted by: tomtuttle

Re: Small Car recommendations... - 11/08/12 06:42 PM

Thank you, Tom! We will definitely look into it. I appreciate you taking the time to give me the benefit of your experience.
Posted by: fredk

Re: Small Car recommendations... - 11/08/12 06:43 PM

Originally Posted By: exlabdriver
...
Check the Venza out...

TAM

Station wagons are cool, right? Particularly if you play one of those cool albums you own while driving them... Say, Perry Como. wink

On a serious note, how much extra cargo space does the hatch buy you over the Camry? I'm quite happy with my Matrix because of the extra space the hatch gives me. I would imagine you gain quite a bit with the larger Camry.
Posted by: real80sman

Re: Small Car recommendations... - 11/08/12 06:52 PM

Tom, Ford does seem to be on a roll. Even being a Honda fanboy, they certainly have my attention with their latest offerings.

My wife has a thing for the new SantaFe, but with 3 kids, space (seating with tag along friends) would be a concern. The Sorento is based on the same platform, but has an available 3rd row. It would definitely be on our list. *Disclaimer - I haven't driven either one.
Posted by: tomtuttle

Re: Small Car recommendations... - 11/08/12 07:31 PM


Quote:
Station wagons are cool, right?


I know, right? How is it any cooler than a van? Opinions vary on how hideous the Flex is, but it's clearly that same mold.

I looked at (but didn't drive) a Sorento. I liked it, but with the equipment I wanted, it wasn't really meaningfully cheaper than some of the other alternatives that I liked a bit more. I didn't know it was the same platform as the Santa Fe; I thought the Santa Fe was "smaller".

We're really at the beginning of the process. Thanks, guys.
Posted by: HomeDad

Re: Small Car recommendations... - 11/08/12 08:07 PM

This weekend we bought a certified 2008 Honda Odessey EXL with DVD and Nav., and as much as I'm embarrassed to say it I love this van. 4 years ago someone paid over 37,000 dollars for the car and we got it for less than half that.
Tom the wife has a 2011 Rav4 and has been extremely happy with it as a commuter, the kids aren't crazy about it only because there are no air or heating vents for the rear seats.To me it's a great little vehicle for running around town.
Posted by: tomtuttle

Re: Small Car recommendations... - 11/08/12 08:41 PM

Thanks, Michael!

I know Mark also loves his Odyssey.

When we first got our (humble by comparison) van, I was amazed how comfortable and practical it was. It has always seemed to me that - whether you are talking about houses, cars or TV's - there is no substitute for "bigger" as a measure of luxury.

I'd like to get something like you did with some creature comforts, too. Looked at the Lincoln MKX (Ford Edge) and it was lovely. Likewise, I would consider a Cadillac SRX or Buick Enclave (in theory) if I could get the right price. But I'm not sure I trust GM enough.
Posted by: JohnK

Re: Small Car recommendations... - 11/08/12 09:46 PM

Tom, I don't have any personal experience with SUVs(have never even driven one), but the December issue of Consumer Reports concentrates on the reliability factor and has some good info.

It begins with "Only two years ago, Ford was Detroit's poster child for reliability...Since then, a perfect storm of reliability problems has dropped Ford to next to last among the 28 brands in our survey".

Toyota and Mazda have about the top performance(their tests)and reliability(owner reports)combination. Of the ones you mention, the Toyota Highlander and Mazda CX-9 are ranked at the top of the midsized SUV category.
Posted by: tomtuttle

Re: Small Car recommendations... - 11/08/12 11:48 PM

Very interesting, John. Thank you. Is the implication that Fords before a certain model year might still be good options?
Posted by: JohnK

Re: Small Car recommendations... - 11/09/12 12:14 AM

Apparently so.
Posted by: exlabdriver

Re: Small Car recommendations... - 11/09/12 02:15 AM

My Venza ain't no stinking 'station wagon', ha!! It's actually a CUV which is a compact SUV. SUVs are big - too big for me plus my wife & guzzle more gas as well.

The Venza is a Camary on steroids. The hatchback body style is so practical, convenient & looks good as well.

I think that Ford's recent reliability problems are centered on their attempt to integrate aircraft type electronic aids into the cockpit. This is most difficult to accomplish in cars considering that aircraft reliably fly themselves without much fear of colliding with other traffic. It doesn't quite work that way in rush hour freeway traffic. All of these gadgets are proving to be unsafe distractions rather than aiding the driver. I believe that Ford's gizmos are proving to be quite unreliable as well.

CR generally doesn't like all of those doodads...

TAM
Posted by: Ken.C

Re: Small Car recommendations... - 11/09/12 09:03 AM

Dude, that's not even raised (not that most "SUV"s these days have more ground clearance than a car). Give up, it's a wagon. And there's nothing wrong with that.
Posted by: MarkSJohnson

Re: Small Car recommendations... - 11/09/12 10:19 AM

Originally Posted By: tomtuttle
I know Mark also loves his Odyssey.


No, no. You always get that wrong.

It's "Mark is an Oddity".

As usual, I have nothing helpful to post.
Posted by: CatBrat

Re: Small Car recommendations... - 11/09/12 10:20 AM

I has car.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nq2Q8OGezhk
Posted by: MarkSJohnson

Re: Small Car recommendations... - 11/09/12 10:23 AM

My primary concern is that he /she is not watching the road.
Posted by: exlabdriver

Re: Small Car recommendations... - 11/09/12 12:30 PM

It ain't a wagon unless its got fake wood on the sides, ha!

BTW, it does have more ground clearance than the Camary & is longer as well. Mid 6 secs to 60 as well which is pretty good for a 4000+ lbs vehicle.

Powered rear hatch that's fun to play with - although I wonder about using it at -30 degrees in the winter.

Two sunroofs too. The Info Screen is too small & useless in bright sunlight - do they not test these things out??

Interestingly, my XM/Sirius Radio still operates after almost 2 years when I've never paid a subscription. I rarely listen to it anyway here as it continually breaks lock due to the tall trees here & mountainous terrain. Too far north for reliable sat reception I guess.

Overall, it' an excellent CUV...

TAM
Posted by: michael_d

Re: Small Car recommendations... - 11/09/12 12:42 PM

Originally Posted By: tomtuttle


We would probably buy something 2-3 years old for ~$25k or less.

Subarus are a non-starter. Every time I ask Mrs. Tuttle about them, she says "did I become a lesbian?" to which I enthusiastically say "it does not seem so". Pity. About the Subaru, I mean.

I like the looks of the Mazda CX-9 and Volvo XC90 (I still haven't gotten over the seats in the S60 I didn't buy. Dreamy).

What say you?


You and your "budgets" Tom. Meh, you have a benz, suck it up and buy what you want.

Good for the misses, Subarus irritate me. 9 out of 10 Subaru drivers should not have a licence from what I've seen the past thirty years living where it does snow. I do my best to stay clear of any Subaru I see on the road. The type of people that buy them are afraid of poor road conditions because they can't drive, so they buy a Subaru thinking it will magically save them.

I love Volvo seats.

My misses needs a new SUV too. I've been looking into them a bit. Will probably buy a Euro model. Deliberating between the Volvo X60, BMW 5X or VW Touareg. Ya I know, no help to you at all.
Posted by: medic8r

Re: Small Car recommendations... - 11/09/12 12:49 PM

Michael, I saw a black Touareg a couple of years back that I thought was the most beautiful SUV I've ever seen. Really elegant exterior styling.

It's not as functional, but as far as exterior styling goes, an exec here at work has an Infiniti FX35 that is similarly gorgeous. YMMV.
Posted by: Adrian

Re: Small Car recommendations... - 11/09/12 12:55 PM

Linda just got rid of her '98 CRV with 250km on it and replaced it with a low mile '11 CRV. We checked out the RAV4's which are equally as good as the CRV, by most accounts, but in the end we thought the Honda looked and rode better and the safety rating and resale appeared to be better as well.

The Venza is a nice looking vehicle but I was a little surprised to see more reliability concerns on it than the RAV4's which use the same motors. Maybe it's just because they needed to work the bugs out, or due to the Camry chasis idunno.

If the CRV or RAV4 are large enough for your purpose Tom, I'd have those at the top of my list.
Posted by: michael_d

Re: Small Car recommendations... - 11/09/12 01:02 PM

I have two friends that have the Touareg, diesel engines in both. Very nice rigs, dependable, outstanding in the snow and ice. You can get them with every option for about 50K. Probably the best bargain around in this category. I suspect a person could find one used for considerably less. The BMW is pissing me off. They have so many freaking options for the X5, that by the time you figure out what you would like, you are looking at 75K. I probably will not buy one. I really like the new Range Rover Evoque, but Land Rover does not have dealers in Alaska.

I think Infiniti makes some pretty killer cars.

The new Dodge Darango is pretty nice, as well as the new Jeep Grand Cherokee. They both have a strong Mercedees Benz influence.
Posted by: Adrian

Re: Small Car recommendations... - 11/09/12 01:11 PM

What about Audi or Porsche SUV's, Michael?
Posted by: medic8r

Re: Small Car recommendations... - 11/09/12 01:13 PM

Originally Posted By: michael_d
I think Infiniti makes some pretty killer cars.

The new Dodge Durango is pretty nice, as well as the new Jeep Grand Cherokee. They both have a strong Mercedes Benz influence.

I'm pretty sure my next car is going to be an Infiniti G35/G37 convertible. Somewhere, Ray3 is waking up at the mention of his beloved Infiniti. For now, though, my 2001 Maxima refuses to give up the ghost, so I'm happily enjoying it and the BOSE audio, ha.

My Mom has had two Durangos and has been a Dodge person ever since she got a Coachmen-modified van new in 1975 that we used for camping and vacations all through my childhood.

I was wondering about the new Durango, which they billed as autobahn-tuned, etc from their brief marriage to Benz. Mom's latest is still the previous generation.
Posted by: MarkSJohnson

Re: Small Car recommendations... - 11/09/12 01:38 PM

Originally Posted By: Adrian
Linda just got rid of her '98 CRV with 250km on it


Is that, like, 1600 miles Americuhn?
Posted by: Adrian

Re: Small Car recommendations... - 11/09/12 01:57 PM

9,842,516,640 inches.....approx.
Posted by: michael_d

Re: Small Car recommendations... - 11/09/12 02:49 PM

Originally Posted By: Adrian
What about Audi or Porsche SUV's, Michael?


Honestly, I think they are both ugly. The BMW was hideous to me until they redesigned the look last year.

A friend of mine has a GMC Acadia in the Denali trim. Pretty nice ride.
Posted by: fredk

Re: Small Car recommendations... - 11/09/12 06:38 PM

Originally Posted By: exlabdriver
My Venza ain't no stinking 'station wagon', ha!!

grin

Originally Posted By: exlabdriver
It ain't a wagon unless its got fake wood on the sides, ha!

grin grin

My dad had one of those. It also had a 460 under the hood. That engine was bigger than a subcompact. cool

Tom. How about a Chrysler Magnum? If you're gonna get a wagon, might as well get one with attitude.
Posted by: exlabdriver

Re: Small Car recommendations... - 11/09/12 07:36 PM

If there are engine reliability issues with the Venza engine, it must be the 4 Cyl as I don't think that the RAV4 has the bigger V6.

The V6 is really a nice engine & more suited to the portly weight of the vehicle - it probably doesn't work as hard, especially in hilly country that is common around here...

TAM
Posted by: JohnK

Re: Small Car recommendations... - 11/09/12 09:39 PM

Tom(lab)in the CR survey I mentioned to Tom T. both Venza models were reported as well above average in reliability, but the 4-cyl was a bit higher(highest in the "wagon" category). The V6 was the one receiving a "recommended" check mark however, because of better performance.
Posted by: jakewash

Re: Small Car recommendations... - 11/10/12 12:18 AM

To the best of my knowledge the Venza issues are more trim/options related, ie. wind noise etc. than actual power train.

The Rav4 is available with the same v6 as the Venza. The Venza truly is a Camry wagon on steroids, it is built on the same platform as the Camry from which the Rav4 is also derived.

Funny how Ford has some issues yet their Mazda counterparts rate well, might have something to do with the clientel buying them as many Fords are the same vehicle.
Posted by: exlabdriver

Re: Small Car recommendations... - 11/10/12 12:38 AM

My early production 2007 Mazda CX7 is the reason that I have a Venza today. Check CR's Reliability Ratings for the 2007 model year - mostly black circles the last time that I looked. During its initial offering it was a CR's Recommended Buy but fell off after a couple of years; however, reliability did improve dramatically in later model years. It was a nice, sporty CUV actually, with fantastic brakes but I couldn't live with wondering what major component was going to fail next.

This was a fine example of bringing a new model to the marketplace a year too early. Based on what I saw with mine & others on the auto forums, it cost this manufacturer a bundle in warranty work...

TAM
Posted by: Adrian

Re: Small Car recommendations... - 11/11/12 10:42 AM

I think Hyundai is nuts for not bringing the i40 to North America.
Posted by: tomtuttle

Re: Small Car recommendations... - 11/13/12 04:59 PM

Adrian, you are just in the bag for Hyundai, aren't you? smile

One of the first Venza ads was filmed in Tacoma. Of course, they've never filmed a Tacoma ad in Tacoma, but that's another story.

I drove a Ford Edge. Amazing technology. I liked the moonroof a lot (it had a separate panel in the backseat, too). Pretty peppy. Easy to drive. But I think it's too small.

I also drove a 2010 Honda Pilot EX-L. VERY nice, indeed. I expected it to feel more like a truck, but found it pretty maneuverable. Comfortable seats, flat-folding rear seats, enough room, good sunroof, adequate if unspectacular acceleration. Problems: too expensive, no bluetooth. Strong candidate if I can find one priced and equipped acceptably.

Still looking possible after additional research and/or poking: Ford Flex, Volvo XC90, Mazda CX-9, Toyota Highlander, Acura MDX, Lexus RX350.

And - just for Mike - I'll also still consider a Mercedes ML350 if the right one bites me on the butt.

Most of these are going to be too expensive. Isn't everything.
Posted by: St_PatGuy

Re: Small Car recommendations... - 11/13/12 11:18 PM

Tom, I look forward to reading more of your test drive experiences.
Posted by: tomtuttle

Re: Small Car recommendations... - 11/13/12 11:38 PM

Good lord, your life is even more boring than I thought.
Posted by: tomtuttle

Re: Small Car recommendations... - 11/13/12 11:40 PM

Oh, and the ML is too small and the GL is just.... too... Much. In every way. So, no Benz.
Posted by: MarkSJohnson

Re: Small Car recommendations... - 11/14/12 08:44 AM

Originally Posted By: tomtuttle
no Benz.

Are you rigid on that?



Jeeez, where's my coffee?
Posted by: Adrian

Re: Small Car recommendations... - 11/14/12 09:41 AM

Originally Posted By: MarkSJohnson
Originally Posted By: tomtuttle
no Benz.

Are you rigid on that?


Not sure if he's rigid on the benz but I'm thinkin' he's liking the flex.
Posted by: Ken.C

Re: Small Car recommendations... - 11/14/12 09:46 AM

Is the Pilot a 7 seater? If so, do the rear seats have a 60/40 split?
Posted by: tomtuttle

Re: Small Car recommendations... - 11/14/12 10:02 AM

Ken, I think it seats 8 and does have the 60/40 split. There was a new model for 2009 and I'm not positive about models prior to that, but I think they are configured the same.
Posted by: Ken.C

Re: Small Car recommendations... - 11/14/12 10:07 AM

oooooh. That sounds good.
Posted by: tomtuttle

Re: Small Car recommendations... - 12/23/12 09:20 PM

The answer is 2007 Acura MDX. It has more miles than I wanted but, oh God, what a drivetrain. I'm smitten.
Posted by: fredk

Re: Small Car recommendations... - 12/23/12 10:40 PM

So sexy too.

Posted by: tomtuttle

Re: Small Car recommendations... - 12/24/12 12:46 AM

Nailed it. laugh
Posted by: St_PatGuy

Re: Small Car recommendations... - 01/02/13 07:57 AM

Originally Posted By: tomtuttle
The answer is 2007 Acura MDX. It has more miles than I wanted but, oh God, what a drivetrain. I'm smitten.


Congrats on the car, Tom! laugh
Posted by: Murph

Re: Small Car recommendations... - 01/02/13 09:50 AM

Grats! Where are the pics?
Posted by: Ken.C

Re: Small Car recommendations... - 01/02/13 10:37 AM

Congrats, Tom. How's the cargo capacity?
Posted by: MarkSJohnson

Re: Small Car recommendations... - 01/02/13 11:03 AM

Congrats, Tom! Where are the pics of the cargo capacity?
Posted by: medic8r

Re: Small Car recommendations... - 01/02/13 11:56 AM

Tom, congratulations and felicitations. Men at Work's Cargo had the capacity to make me dance and air drum in the 1980s.
Posted by: tomtuttle

Re: Small Car recommendations... - 01/02/13 12:46 PM

Well, you guys are in fine form today.

I'll try to get some pictures of the actual vehicle and post them soon.

Until then, the reviews from Edmunds and Car and Driver seem pretty accurate. Ours is gray on the outside.

We have the Sport model but I don't know that I've pushed it enough to know whether or not the Active Dampers really do much of anything. I found that all the luxury appointments ended up being important to me, and I achieved sunroof, steering wheel mounted audio controls, seat memory, heated leather, bluetooth, AWD, HID lights, etc. The 3.7L VTEC and the 5-speed automatic are just sublime. Really a great powertrain.

Ken, it has "less" cargo area than some other SUV's (like the 2009-forward Pilot and the GM Lambda platform). But it's still quite a bit bigger than the two-row SUV's, and I think it strikes a good balance. I used the Edmunds total cargo capacity figures to supplement the precision of my "looks like" methodology.

That being said, there is simply nothing better than a minivan if you need space. SUV's just can't compete. For example, you can seat 5 in an Odyssey and still have quite a bit more cargo area than seating only 2 in an MDX. We got an SUV instead of another van because our dog and kids are getting older (14, 15 and 18). We have different needs so we could afford to prioritize performance over cargo capacity.

My opinion is that if you aren't going off-road and are considering an underwhelming/underperforming SUV, you might as well get a van. I also think if you have a large/growing family, you need to not kid yourself and just get a van. Better MPG and more space. Sorry, Ken, but you need a van.

Cockpit looks like this:



and the cargo area looks like this (except ours is the black leather):



I'm happy with everything (so far) except the payments.
Posted by: Ken.C

Re: Small Car recommendations... - 01/02/13 12:53 PM

I tend to agree with you, Tom, but my wife likes the idea of a SUV better.
Posted by: Da_Gimp_Pimp

Re: Small Car recommendations... - 01/02/13 01:10 PM

Originally Posted By: Ken.C
I tend to agree with you, Tom, but my wife likes the idea of a SUV better.


....Until it tips over smile.
Posted by: medic8r

Re: Small Car recommendations... - 01/02/13 01:36 PM

Originally Posted By: Ken.C
I tend to agree with you, Tom, but my wife likes the idea of a SUV better.

Well, that goes against the conventional wisdom, dunnit?! The hubby wants the van and the wife has eyes for an SUV.

I second Tom (or third Tom and you) and vote for the van as well, knowing that my vote means squat where the will of a wife is concerned, mine or otherwise.

Good luck, my friend.
Posted by: tomtuttle

Re: Small Car recommendations... - 01/02/13 02:44 PM

Well, good luck, Ken. The problem is that you don't drive "the idea of" a van or SUV. You drive, load, unload and use "the reality of" the vehicle. And - for us - The Reality of having a van when our family was young and growing was absolutely the right choice. No regrets.
Posted by: sonicfox

Re: Small Car recommendations... - 01/02/13 03:11 PM

My sister-in-law once said she'd never own a van and become a soccer mom. Well, guess what? She lied. grin With two kids, the van has become a "must" have vehicle now.
Posted by: CatBrat

Re: Small Car recommendations... - 01/02/13 03:28 PM

I used to have a van. Does that count? Right now I've driven the same old Chrysler POS for the past 13 years. It really burns be up when I see my retirement funds go up then down 20k overnight. I think, that could of been a new car. One of these days I'll learn to hit the sell button when funds go up.
Posted by: Spoiler

Re: Small Car recommendations... - 01/02/13 05:37 PM


Beautiful! I love Acura interiors in general.
Posted by: Spoiler

Re: Small Car recommendations... - 01/02/13 05:47 PM

Originally Posted By: CatBrat
I used to have a van. Does that count? Right now I've driven the same old Chrysler POS for the past 13 years. It really burns be up when I see my retirement funds go up then down 20k overnight. I think, that could of been a new car. One of these days I'll learn to hit the sell button when funds go up.


20K overnight? You must have quite a potential nest egg there. smile
Posted by: CatBrat

Re: Small Car recommendations... - 01/02/13 06:59 PM

More like running high risk, and watched closely. 10 years trading experience preparing to do that for retirement. Just haven't hit the minimum goal I've established for retirement yet. If I don't do high risk, I'll never be able to retire (comfortably).

Been jumping in and out of things. Last time I didn't jump out in time, was hoping for more. But I gained a little. Experience has taught me to always sell at a profit, even if it's a small one as the stock is falling towards my buy point.

Bulls make money, bears make money, but pigs get slaughtered. How true, I was trying to be a pig.
Posted by: CV

Re: Small Car recommendations... - 01/03/13 01:42 AM

Originally Posted By: sonicfox
My sister-in-law once said she'd never own a van and become a soccer mom. Well, guess what? She lied. grin With two kids, the van has become a "must" have vehicle now.


My last vehicle was a minivan, and I really liked it. With vehicles, I'll always go for function over form. It's just hard to argue with the versatility. Either I can hold a lot of passengers, or I can take the seats out and hold a lot of crap. What's not to love about that? But this could be part of why I'm single.
Posted by: Murph

Re: Small Car recommendations... - 01/03/13 07:31 AM

Single man with a minivan. Either I give you cheers for brave nonconformity or cheers at a brilliant add-on to your plot to score soccer moms. Either way, no one should be worried about why they choose what they choose. Even if I'm admittedly guilty of it at times.

I do like the interior Tom. Oddly enough, I was in that exact vehicle just yesterday driving with a colleague to a meeting. It may have been off by a year or so but your pics are even the same color. I was shotgun and very comfortable. I would not probably have taken note of that except I was scrutinizing the layout after your announcement.
Posted by: tomtuttle

Re: Small Car recommendations... - 01/03/13 10:00 AM

Don't judge me!

smile
Posted by: pmbuko

Re: Small Car recommendations... - 01/03/13 05:32 PM

Originally Posted By: Murph
Single man with a minivan. Either I give you cheers for brave nonconformity or cheers at a brilliant add-on to your plot to score soccer moms.

It gives you something to talk about right off the bat....

INT. STARBUCK'S - MORNING

Soccer mom standing in line, sees a man parking his minivan outside. Her (attempted) surreptitious gaze follows him as he enters the cafe and gets in line behind her.

She orders a grande decaf coffee with room for cream and heads to the cream and sugar station. He joins her there shortly afterward with his venti mocha, which he starts dusting with nutmeg.

WOMAN

I noticed you pull up outside. Is that the new 2013 Honda Odyssey?

MAN

Yeah, it's got the three-row side curtain airbags with rollover sensor and one-motion 60/40 split 3rd-row magic seat. I love it.

WOMAN

Doesn't it also have dual-stage, multiple-threshold front airbags?

MAN

Sure does.

SHORT PAUSE AND A SMASH CUT TO...


EXT. OUTSIDE THE MAN'S MINIVAN

We see the minivan rocking with smeamed up windows.
Posted by: Ken.C

Re: Small Car recommendations... - 01/04/13 05:00 PM

Not to take away from Peter's narrative, but we did manage to drive to Indiana and back in a Honda Civic. All 5 of us.
Posted by: Adrian

Re: Small Car recommendations... - 01/04/13 05:37 PM

Today's Civic is probably bigger than yesterday's Accord, fwiw.
Posted by: Ken.C

Re: Small Car recommendations... - 01/04/13 05:39 PM

Ain't that the truth. My 2001 Civic feels about 5x less nimble than my old 1991 Civic.

On the other hand, I'm not sitting on the ground, I have air conditioning, and it's not smushed.
Posted by: pmbuko

Re: Small Car recommendations... - 01/04/13 11:17 PM

Two average-sized guys and I drove 250 miles from Camarillo, CA to Ensenada, Mexico in a Ford Festiva in 1994. I was in the back seat. We saw some things on the road that convinced us never to do it again.
Posted by: HomeDad

Re: Small Car recommendations... - 01/08/13 09:19 PM

Well this is our new-used minivan, if you don't like it, Talk to the dog!

Posted by: Ken.C

Re: Small Car recommendations... - 01/08/13 09:37 PM

Zat an Odyssey?
Posted by: HomeDad

Re: Small Car recommendations... - 01/08/13 11:45 PM

Yep, 2008 EXL.
Posted by: Adrian

Re: Small Car recommendations... - 01/23/13 11:01 PM

Just a little update on our new/used 2011 Honda CRV...

Overall, we're pleased with it after 3-4 months. It's reliable, quiet, reasonably powerful for a 4 cyl(180hp), looks good and handles very well.

The not-so-good;

I believe the steering ratio is too quick for an SUV, it seems more atune to a sports car. On the highway, attempting slight corrections seem exaggerated because of this(we had an older '98 CRV that drove more "relaxed" by comparison). Ergonomically, the seats are comfortable enough but the arm rests (centre) are too high...we both felt this, kind of jams your elbow up, there's no adjustment for it, just flip it up out of the way. I would also have to say that fuel consumption is somewhat poorer than we expected, not terrible, but well off the Canadian fuel guidelines.
Posted by: chesseroo

Re: Small Car recommendations... - 01/24/13 12:19 PM

Originally Posted By: Adrian
Just a little update on our new/used 2011 Honda CRV...

Overall, we're pleased with it after 3-4 months. It's reliable, quiet, reasonably powerful for a 4 cyl(180hp), looks good and handles very well.

The not-so-good;

I believe the steering ratio is too quick for an SUV, it seems more atune to a sports car. On the highway, attempting slight corrections seem exaggerated because of this(we had an older '98 CRV that drove more "relaxed" by comparison). Ergonomically, the seats are comfortable enough but the arm rests (centre) are too high...we both felt this, kind of jams your elbow up, there's no adjustment for it, just flip it up out of the way. I would also have to say that fuel consumption is somewhat poorer than we expected, not terrible, but well off the Canadian fuel guidelines.

I've found the ride of Toyota equivalents to be much softer esp. in the suspension. You can really feel the more sport like steering in the Honda.

Our older CRV has been a great vehicle for size, capacity and esp. in the winter, the AWD.

Fuel consumption is never as good as advertised.
Hell, Kia recently admitted they embellished on fuel consumption claims.
You can only really use some of those numbers as relative to each other to give you an idea of what cars might be better in that regard.