2009 Corolla, Mazda 3, Civic or Sentra ?

Discussion in 'Community Discussion' started by Intense, Jun 7, 2009.

  1. Intense macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Sep 18, 2008
    Location:
    toronto
    #1
    We've narrowed our choices to a four door sedan, that's in between the yaris/ versa and accord/camry ...

    so we're looking at the 2009 corolla, mazda 3, civic or nissan sentra.
    all base models, no gimmicks + automatic transmission + air condition

    priority is for front seat space, low gas consumption and the one that would most likely cost less in parts and maintenance in the long run considering driving it 20km a day to and from work and a half a day of driving trip once a year. This is going to be our car for a long time, we're planning on financing it. I am going to visit the dealerships in a couple of days to test drive them.


    which would you prefer or generally recommend and why ?
     
  2. abijnk macrumors 68040

    abijnk

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    Oct 15, 2007
    Location:
    Los Angeles, CA
    #2
    Is the Ford Focus available where you are? If so I would recommend checking those out. I bought one in January and am very very happy with it.
     
  3. Eidorian macrumors Penryn

    Eidorian

    Joined:
    Mar 23, 2005
    Location:
    Indianapolis
    #3
    Hopefully they've widened it this time around. I'm elbow to elbow with my passengers in the 2006 model over my Elantra.

    My vote goes for the Mazda3.
     
  4. abijnk macrumors 68040

    abijnk

    Joined:
    Oct 15, 2007
    Location:
    Los Angeles, CA
    #4
    I have the 2009 coupe, so I can't really compare, but it is a good car for a good price, so its worth looking in to.

    The new Mazda 3 is a stunning looking car. The previous models drove very very well, so I'd imagine the new ones do, too.
     
  5. Eidorian macrumors Penryn

    Eidorian

    Joined:
    Mar 23, 2005
    Location:
    Indianapolis
    #5
    Yeah I was looking at the Focus as well but I ended up on the Elantra. I drove a 2006 Focus Sedan around for some time. It was annoying to bump elbows with my passenger and hit their knee when shifting.

    Then again the latter seems disturbingly prone in the smaller Fords over the past 20 years.
     
  6. Scarlet Fever macrumors 68040

    Scarlet Fever

    Joined:
    Jul 22, 2005
    Location:
    Bookshop!
    #6
    If you're looking for an A to B car, you can't beat the corolla. Even though they are desperately dull to drive, they are reliable and well-built. If you're looking for something with a bit more character, the Mazda 3 or Ford Focus are both brilliant cars. They can do that quiet tootle around the streets, but if you feel like having a bit of fun, they'll respond.
     
  7. abijnk macrumors 68040

    abijnk

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    Oct 15, 2007
    Location:
    Los Angeles, CA
    #7
    That's funny, because I traded in an Elantra to get my Focus. :) Although, I drive an automatic, so shifting isn't an issue for me.
     
  8. Eidorian macrumors Penryn

    Eidorian

    Joined:
    Mar 23, 2005
    Location:
    Indianapolis
    #8
    Which year Elantra and trim?

    My Elantra is automatic. I enjoy it.
     
  9. abijnk macrumors 68040

    abijnk

    Joined:
    Oct 15, 2007
    Location:
    Los Angeles, CA
    #9
    It was a 2005 GLS. Good little car, just had a few issues from the original owner.
     
  10. Eidorian macrumors Penryn

    Eidorian

    Joined:
    Mar 23, 2005
    Location:
    Indianapolis
    #11
    I happen to have a 2005 GLS right now. It's a great for what little driving I need to do. I believe I put in a little over 4,000 miles in the past year.

    I'll give the newer Focus a test drive with some friends. They seem to be into that sort of thing.
     
  11. abijnk macrumors 68040

    abijnk

    Joined:
    Oct 15, 2007
    Location:
    Los Angeles, CA
    #12
    You're close to where I traded mine in, maybe its the same one! :p

    I love the coupe version of the focus. The engine is nice and peppy (for a 2 liter i4), and the handling is surprisingly good. I would imagine the 4-door flexes a bit more, but still has a good ride.

    sorry to kind of hijack your thread OP, hope you can get something out of our discussion.
     
  12. FX120 macrumors 65816

    FX120

    Joined:
    May 18, 2007
    #13
    Really? When I first saw the new models the first thing that came to mind was that the design team was high on something, and sat around thinking "lolz wut wuld it loook liek if we maed da front air dam WEEELY WEEELY BIG!!!!"

    [​IMG]

    Horrible looking car IMO.
     
  13. abijnk macrumors 68040

    abijnk

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    Oct 15, 2007
    Location:
    Los Angeles, CA
    #14
    To each his own I suppose. I saw it back in November at the L.A. auto show and really liked it. Seen a few on the road and think they look pretty good.
     
  14. amd4me macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Nov 19, 2006
    #15
    The VErsa is a really great car. I had one while I was in Hawaii. It was such a fun little car. And it had this sort of soul that most economy cars don't posses. If I were in the market for something economical I would buy a Versa in a heartbeat.
     
  15. Eidorian macrumors Penryn

    Eidorian

    Joined:
    Mar 23, 2005
    Location:
    Indianapolis
    #16
    Mazda3 Hatchback good sir.

    I doubt it's your Elantra. :p

    It's surprising how peppy some of these 2.0L cars can be. Given how little driving I really do I think I'll go with a Fiesta Hatchback in a few years. Yes I know it's smaller!
     
  16. Demosthenes X macrumors 68000

    Demosthenes X

    Joined:
    Oct 21, 2008
    #17
    Given your requirements, the Toyota is a dead winner. Amazing fuel economy, unshakeable reliability, and cheap services. Look no further.

    Actually, do look at the Honda Civic, because either of those two will be perfect for your needs.
     
  17. duncanapple macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Jun 12, 2008
    #18
    I've gotta go with the Honda Civic. Its decent looking and all that, has plenty of pep (honda four cylinders are great cars - dont look at just max HP, look for cars with a nice even/smooth power band - ie it makes efficient horsepower/torque at all RPMs) and you cant ignore the fact that hondas have a PROVEN track record of rock solid reliability (as you said you plan to keep this for a long time). I know some will argue the other manufacturers have made good strides in reliability (such as the mazda) but imo, the first 3-5 years are not that impressive - a car SHOULD run flawlessly in that time. The real test is when your car is ten years old, is it still working pretty much as new? Only a handful of cars brands/models can do that. Honda is one of them.

    The other thing to look at it how well it holds its resale. Even if you plan to drive it until the wheels fall off, its nice to have an option to sell. Even if you sell it to a 16 year old new driver when the car is 10 years old, the honda is likely to still have some life left.

    Im obv a believer in Honda, but I think they make not just some of the most reliable cars, I think they also have a great value (ie build quality, types of materials used on the interior, etc).

    Either way good luck!
     
  18. yg17 macrumors G5

    yg17

    Joined:
    Aug 1, 2004
    Location:
    St. Louis, MO
    #19
    My dad has a 2009 Mazda 3 and he loves it. I've driven it a few times and it's not a bad car to drive. The only other car on your list that I've driven was a Civic, and that had to be the most boring car I have ever driven. I hated that car, fortunately I only had it as a rental for a weekend, I couldn't imagine what I'd do if I owned one :D
     
  19. steve2112 macrumors 68040

    steve2112

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    #20
    Go for the Mazda3. I have owned three Mazdas in a row, two Proteges (ancestor of the 3), and a Mazda 6. I bought the first Protege in 1996 after looking at the Corolla and Civic. It was cheaper than those two, but the quality was just as good. Plus, it was a lot more fun to drive. I don't have anything against Toyota or Honda, but I believe their reputation has caused price inflation. The 3 is almost like a small luxury car, and was one of the first small cars to have some of its features. I don't like the styling on the new 2010 model, but some people do. It is still a wonderful car, though. I loved the rental model I drove after someone did some free body work on my 6.
     
  20. SLC Flyfishing Suspended

    SLC Flyfishing

    Joined:
    Nov 19, 2007
    Location:
    Portland, OR
    #21
    I had a 2005 Mazda 3 S model, with the 2.3 liter engine that I believe is still in use. That car was fantastic!

    I also had a 2003 Toyota Corolla which was a nice car, but as others have said, was incredibly boring to drive. My grandmother has a 2004 Civic and that's terrible too. My younger sister has a 2006 Nissan Sentra 1.8S which is also pretty nice, but fits in better with the Corolla crowd than the Mazda3 crowd. The Nissan has been restyled since she bought hers, and I think it's probably nicer now than hers is, but hers feels like it may not be built as well as the other 3 choices you've listed (though the Civic is not that solid IMO either). When I say not built as well, I'm mainly referring to the vehicle's body and appointments, not the drivetrain. I've no doubt that any of the models you listed will run smoothly and without troubles for a decade or more if the proper care is given. The Nissan (and to a lesser extent the Civic) just feel hollow and lightweight. The Mazda and Toyota felt much more solid.

    I kept the Mazda3 for 68,000 miles, never once had even the slightest hiccup and when I traded it in for my current vehicle it still drove and felt like new. I felt like that car was every bit as reliable as the Toyota I owned. The Toyota won by a good margin in fuel economy, but the Mazda was still approaching 30 MPG so it wasn't bad at all.

    If you want a car which emphasizes economics above all then the Toyota is the winner. If you want a car that's still economical, but has some personality and is a joy to drive, then the Mazda can't be beat in this price range.

    My vote goes to the Mazda3 (as someone who's owned newer models in two of your choices and has a good deal of personal experience with the third and fourth).

    FWIW I'm driving a Nissan now, but it's a Pathfinder so my personal Nissan experience doesn't really apply. I do love that Pathfinder though!

    SLC
     
  21. dmr727 macrumors G3

    dmr727

    Joined:
    Dec 29, 2007
    Location:
    Southern California
    #22
    I've driven the Mazda 3, Civic, and Corolla as rental cars in the last few months, and the Mazda 3 was definitely the most fun. The Civic struck me as the most solidly built, but these were all rentals, so who knows? I also wasn't a fan of the Civic's dash - it made me feel like I was driving a minivan. The Corolla left no impression on me one way or the other.

    So based on just driving them (i.e. not knowing about things like maintenance and gas mileage), I think I'd get the Mazda 3.
     
  22. Abstract macrumors Penryn

    Abstract

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    #23
    Agree completely. I think the Corolla (and Civic) are the best solution to a problem (unless your problem is boredom), and will give you the most space and best fuel consumption. I do follow cars a bit, and fuel economy is not Mazda's forté. ;) Compared to the Civic, you'd probably be disappointed. Also, the Mazda3 isn't as big as a Civic or Corolla, as far as I remember.

    The Sentra isn't supposed to be very good in terms of driving feel or anything. It also has an ugly style. It's basically their Civic, but uglier. In that case, I'd rather just get a Civic.


    Having said that, I'd get a Mazda3 in red. ;) Otherwise, get the Civic. It's a very nice, solidly built car with a comfy interior. Its not uncomfortable to drive, and Honda engines are nice.



    EDIT: Another one not on your list is the Hyundai Elantra Touring (or i30 in other markets), which is essentially a wagon with great steering. Should be a similar length as the Mazda3, handle better than the Civic, Corolla, and Sentra.
     
  23. Rt&Dzine macrumors 6502a

    Rt&Dzine

    Joined:
    Oct 8, 2008
    #24
    I haven't checked out the 2009 models, but recently the Corolla was tight on leg room. The Civic had plenty of leg room. Corolla had a more comfortable seat, but front space was tighter (I'm tallish and slender).
     
  24. danny_w macrumors 601

    Joined:
    Mar 8, 2005
    Location:
    Austin, TX
    #25
    Since you are considering a Versa, you might look at the Scion xD. My wife just bought an xD after comparing the Nissan Versa, Toyota Yaris, and Honda Fit. After she saw and drove the Scion there was no going back. It was far and away the best car in the group for her needs, and the best value with the most standard equipment.
     

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