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What's the best DD car option

  • Ford Focus

    Votes: 3 9.1%
  • VW TDI

    Votes: 5 15.2%
  • Subaru

    Votes: 17 51.5%
  • Other options

    Votes: 8 24.2%

  • Total voters
    33
1 - 20 of 112 Posts

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Fuck talk, Duck walk!
Joined
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15,001 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
As my current daily driver ZR2 Sonoma is nearing the end of its life I need to look into something else. My typical daily drive is from White Lake to Livonia, so a car is a logical decision :(

My current thoughts are as follows with the following requirements: 2000-2008 model year range, manual transmission.

1. Ford Focus: SVT or 3 Door hatch. Pretty simple, easy to fix, easy access parts...

2. VW TDI Golf/Jetta/bug: I like the idea of a Golf but have no experience with VW's; heard of wiring/electronic issues, replacement part cost?

3. Subaru Impreza/WRX: Only option with AWD & manual trans. That's about all I really know, heard of oil consumption & leaking issues, replacement part cost?

4. Some other option: HHR, Aveo...something else.

What does the greater audience say about options 2-4. Looking for first hand opinions.
 

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skillicous
Joined
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12,844 Posts
no way I would touch a diesel with the price of fuels as they are.
 

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circling the drain
Joined
·
35,864 Posts
It's the newer ones that had the issues. That's not what I'm looking for.
I had a 99 RS coupe that had 150k on it, manual trans, burned some oil but always ran good, want to say I was getting about 27mpg. 2.5 non turbo.

Wife currently has a 2015 impreza, 2.0 non turbo hatch back. Fun car to drive. Currently getting about 30-32mpg, but I am told it should get closer to rated mpg once it breaks in. We have less than 4k on it.

Head gaskets and oil consumption are hit or miss on the subaru's. Across all models and most years. The head gaskets are easy to do if you run into that, and the oil consumption is annoying, but not a problem if you keep an eye on oil levels.

Parts were not expensive when I bought them for my 1999. They were also very easy to remove/install.

I personally would not be too worried about having the turbo wrx, if you just want a reliable commuter the n/a cars do the trick, kinda slow off the line (both of ours behave the same), but once over 20 mph or so they seem "peppy" and are very fun when driven in a spirited manner. they corner well, brake well, etc.

if you want a little extra speed and are not concerned with the added reliability/cost concerns associated with the turbo, then of course the WRX is a more fun car than the ones I have owned thus far. I've driven both the WRX and the STi multiple times and they are a lot of fun in my opinion.

The subaru's hold their value well, so unless you are willing to pay for it, you're going to get a car that is either high miles, or beat on, but they seem to be pretty durable and easy to acquire parts for. Within reason.

Regarding the VW's, I've tried multiple times to buy one, but I have never been able to bring myself to do it due to horror stories about the electrical systems. Many seem to have good luck with the VW tdi's and getting good mileage, but I don't think they are worth the premium in cost (both vehicle and fuel) for the little bit of mileage advantage you're getting, unless gas goes up over $5.
 

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Yooper In Training
Joined
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7,048 Posts
I'm not sure why I'm even responding here, because you're an askhole who will do whatever you want despite recommendations, but I'll give it a go anyway.

I've had 2 of the cars on your list: a Focus and a Subaru.

The Focus was a 2001 ZX3 3 door hatch with a 5 speed. The 5 speed made it so I could at least pretend it was a fun car even though it was boring as could be. It handled ok so I could throw it around on curvy roads, but with 130hp I don't think anything other than a manual would be tolerable if you want to stay awake driving it. I got it with about 145k miles and sold it with about 175k. I didn't have to do much to it but it seemed above average to work on. Parts were cheap in both cost and quality; typical throwaway car. Good inexpensive beater, but certainly not a car built to last. Don't buy one with 200k miles and expect it to last indefinitely. Mine was awful in snow and rain, but that may have been due to crappy tires. Hydroplaning like mad, couldn't go up the slightest incline, etc.

I've had 2 different Subaru's, both 2.5RS Impreza's. Don't buy a WRX for an econobox. They're fun and powerful, but lifespan is shortened with the turbo, you'll have to run premium fuel, and you'll get worse mileage doing it. Better for a fun car, worse for a DD meant to save you money. A WRX will cost significantly more in maintenance, fuel, and insurance from day 1. Get a non-turbo 2.5L Subaru, whether it's an Impreza, Outback, Legacy, or Forester. They're all good, solid, reliable cars that still make plenty of power and torque for a commuter. Manual and auto are both good choices. Manual is obviously more fun but can suck in traffic. The 2.5L can run for 300k miles without much issue but will require typical maintenance like timing belt every 75-100k. Some have head gasket issues, which is a pretty easy job. I think they fixed the gasket design issue around 2003-2004. Subaru's are the most well thought out, easiest, non-frustrating vehicles to work on that I've ever touched. Everything just makes sense and is packaged correctly. Parts are fairly cheap too. They'll go anywhere in any weather. It's unreal how those things claw through deep snow. They're still small and light so will get pushed around at speed in deep rutted snow, but they'll go anywhere. I've had my fullsize 4WD truck with good tires struggle in deep snow that my Impreza didn't even seem to notice.
The downside: Subaru's all have crazy high resale value. It's very hard to find one for a decent price. Mine has a rebuilt title from a previous accident, and needed head gaskets, so I got it for a great price. Had I not found that kind of deal I'd still have the Focus.

I have no personal experience with TDIs, but they seem hit or miss depending on year. Some people I know with older ones love them and say they last forever, but it seems like the people with mid 2000s year range can't keep the damn things running for more than a week. Definitely do your homework if you go that route.


Cliff notes: If you can find a good deal on a 2.5 non-turbo Subaru, buy it.
 

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NO RELIGION WAT!
Joined
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28,166 Posts
It's a commuter car. Get something cheap, reliable, and awesome on gas.
My 2012 Fiesta just clocked in at 120k and still getting great gas mileage.
I use one of my 4wd's if the snow is bad.
 

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Fuck talk, Duck walk!
Joined
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15,001 Posts
Discussion Starter #11
I'm not sure why I'm even responding here, because you're an askhole who will do whatever you want despite recommendations, but I'll give it a go anyway.

I've had 2 of the cars on your list: a Focus and a Subaru.

The Focus was a 2001 ZX3 3 door hatch with a 5 speed. The 5 speed made it so I could at least pretend it was a fun car even though it was boring as could be. It handled ok so I could throw it around on curvy roads, but with 130hp I don't think anything other than a manual would be tolerable if you want to stay awake driving it. I got it with about 145k miles and sold it with about 175k. I didn't have to do much to it but it seemed above average to work on. Parts were cheap in both cost and quality; typical throwaway car. Good inexpensive beater, but certainly not a car built to last. Don't buy one with 200k miles and expect it to last indefinitely. Mine was awful in snow and rain, but that may have been due to crappy tires. Hydroplaning like mad, couldn't go up the slightest incline, etc.

I've had 2 different Subaru's, both 2.5RS Impreza's. Don't buy a WRX for an econobox. They're fun and powerful, but lifespan is shortened with the turbo, you'll have to run premium fuel, and you'll get worse mileage doing it. Better for a fun car, worse for a DD meant to save you money. A WRX will cost significantly more in maintenance, fuel, and insurance from day 1. Get a non-turbo 2.5L Subaru, whether it's an Impreza, Outback, Legacy, or Forester. They're all good, solid, reliable cars that still make plenty of power and torque for a commuter. Manual and auto are both good choices. Manual is obviously more fun but can suck in traffic. The 2.5L can run for 300k miles without much issue but will require typical maintenance like timing belt every 75-100k. Some have head gasket issues, which is a pretty easy job. I think they fixed the gasket design issue around 2003-2004. Subaru's are the most well thought out, easiest, non-frustrating vehicles to work on that I've ever touched. Everything just makes sense and is packaged correctly. Parts are fairly cheap too. They'll go anywhere in any weather. It's unreal how those things claw through deep snow. They're still small and light so will get pushed around at speed in deep rutted snow, but they'll go anywhere. I've had my fullsize 4WD truck with good tires struggle in deep snow that my Impreza didn't even seem to notice.
The downside: Subaru's all have crazy high resale value. It's very hard to find one for a decent price. Mine has a rebuilt title from a previous accident, and needed head gaskets, so I got it for a great price. Had I not found that kind of deal I'd still have the Focus.

I have no personal experience with TDIs, but they seem hit or miss depending on year. Some people I know with older ones love them and say they last forever, but it seems like the people with mid 2000s year range can't keep the damn things running for more than a week. Definitely do your homework if you go that route.


Cliff notes: If you can find a good deal on a 2.5 non-turbo Subaru, buy it.
:thumb: thanks for the info, this is what I was wanting to hear.
 

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Sand Slut
Joined
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1,522 Posts
I love the Shit out of my 13 Chevy Sonic Hatch 1.4 turbo.

Gets great mileage, its peppy and fun to drive, has great head and leg room for tall people (even if it looks like it doesn't from the outside).

Set of winter tires on some steelies and it is the best car Ive ever owned for the winter too.

Also you can pick them up low miles for pretty damn cheap and still have factory warranties.
 

Attachments

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circling the drain
Joined
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35,864 Posts
What these guys said. :sonicjay:

I had a 99 RS coupe that had 150k on it, manual trans, burned some oil but always ran good, want to say I was getting about 27mpg. 2.5 non turbo.

Wife currently has a 2015 impreza, 2.0 non turbo hatch back. Fun car to drive. Currently getting about 30-32mpg, but I am told it should get closer to rated mpg once it breaks in. We have less than 4k on it.

Head gaskets and oil consumption are hit or miss on the subaru's. Across all models and most years. The head gaskets are easy to do if you run into that, and the oil consumption is annoying, but not a problem if you keep an eye on oil levels.

Parts were not expensive when I bought them for my 1999. They were also very easy to remove/install.

I personally would not be too worried about having the turbo wrx, if you just want a reliable commuter the n/a cars do the trick, kinda slow off the line (both of ours behave the same), but once over 20 mph or so they seem "peppy" and are very fun when driven in a spirited manner. they corner well, brake well, etc.

if you want a little extra speed and are not concerned with the added reliability/cost concerns associated with the turbo, then of course the WRX is a more fun car than the ones I have owned thus far. I've driven both the WRX and the STi multiple times and they are a lot of fun in my opinion.

The subaru's hold their value well, so unless you are willing to pay for it, you're going to get a car that is either high miles, or beat on, but they seem to be pretty durable and easy to acquire parts for. Within reason.

Regarding the VW's, I've tried multiple times to buy one, but I have never been able to bring myself to do it due to horror stories about the electrical systems. Many seem to have good luck with the VW tdi's and getting good mileage, but I don't think they are worth the premium in cost (both vehicle and fuel) for the little bit of mileage advantage you're getting, unless gas goes up over $5.
I'm not sure why I'm even responding here, because you're an askhole who will do whatever you want despite recommendations, but I'll give it a go anyway.

I've had 2 of the cars on your list: a Focus and a Subaru.

The Focus was a 2001 ZX3 3 door hatch with a 5 speed. The 5 speed made it so I could at least pretend it was a fun car even though it was boring as could be. It handled ok so I could throw it around on curvy roads, but with 130hp I don't think anything other than a manual would be tolerable if you want to stay awake driving it. I got it with about 145k miles and sold it with about 175k. I didn't have to do much to it but it seemed above average to work on. Parts were cheap in both cost and quality; typical throwaway car. Good inexpensive beater, but certainly not a car built to last. Don't buy one with 200k miles and expect it to last indefinitely. Mine was awful in snow and rain, but that may have been due to crappy tires. Hydroplaning like mad, couldn't go up the slightest incline, etc.

I've had 2 different Subaru's, both 2.5RS Impreza's. Don't buy a WRX for an econobox. They're fun and powerful, but lifespan is shortened with the turbo, you'll have to run premium fuel, and you'll get worse mileage doing it. Better for a fun car, worse for a DD meant to save you money. A WRX will cost significantly more in maintenance, fuel, and insurance from day 1. Get a non-turbo 2.5L Subaru, whether it's an Impreza, Outback, Legacy, or Forester. They're all good, solid, reliable cars that still make plenty of power and torque for a commuter. Manual and auto are both good choices. Manual is obviously more fun but can suck in traffic. The 2.5L can run for 300k miles without much issue but will require typical maintenance like timing belt every 75-100k. Some have head gasket issues, which is a pretty easy job. I think they fixed the gasket design issue around 2003-2004. Subaru's are the most well thought out, easiest, non-frustrating vehicles to work on that I've ever touched. Everything just makes sense and is packaged correctly. Parts are fairly cheap too. They'll go anywhere in any weather. It's unreal how those things claw through deep snow. They're still small and light so will get pushed around at speed in deep rutted snow, but they'll go anywhere. I've had my fullsize 4WD truck with good tires struggle in deep snow that my Impreza didn't even seem to notice.
The downside: Subaru's all have crazy high resale value. It's very hard to find one for a decent price. Mine has a rebuilt title from a previous accident, and needed head gaskets, so I got it for a great price. Had I not found that kind of deal I'd still have the Focus.

I have no personal experience with TDIs, but they seem hit or miss depending on year. Some people I know with older ones love them and say they last forever, but it seems like the people with mid 2000s year range can't keep the damn things running for more than a week. Definitely do your homework if you go that route.


Cliff notes: If you can find a good deal on a 2.5 non-turbo Subaru, buy it.
 

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bdd
Joined
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2,385 Posts
The only car I would consider of your options is a Subaru . Keep an eye on oil consumption.. My nephew is putting a new motor in his 09 turbo because he asummed he could go 4000 miles between changes, without checking it.

Worked in a vw audi shop for 15 yrs, wouldn't ever buy one that wasn't aircooled. They are over complex German engineered junk. Just one example...Most car makers use one or two control arms per corner. Vw and Audi use 4-6 per wheel so any suspension work costs 4-5 times as much as a normal car. They regularly blow timing belts way before the recommended service interval and when they do they bend every valve...

Also wouldn't touch a focus, or any Ford product. They are a complete pile of shit, same as an escape. They are underpowered, raffle, shake, they are just garbage. I would buy a kia before a ford...
Dodge neon is ten times the car a focus will ever be. And I hate dodges....

As a certified tech who works on all brands of cars I would be looking at a Hyundai for a cheap beater.. Better quality then Honda or Toyota imo, and cheaper to buy and maintain.
 

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FAWK YEAH!!
Joined
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22,634 Posts
As my current daily driver ZR2 Sonoma is nearing the end of its life I need to look into something else. My typical daily drive is from White Lake to Livonia, so a car is a logical decision :(

My current thoughts are as follows with the following requirements: 2000-2008 model year range, manual transmission.

1. Ford Focus: SVT or 3 Door hatch. Pretty simple, easy to fix, easy access parts...

2. VW TDI Golf/Jetta/bug: I like the idea of a Golf but have no experience with VW's; heard of wiring/electronic issues, replacement part cost?

3. Subaru Impreza/WRX: Only option with AWD & manual trans. That's about all I really know, heard of oil consumption & leaking issues, replacement part cost?

4. Some other option: HHR, Aveo...something else.

What does the greater audience say about options 2-4. Looking for first hand opinions.
I had a 99 RS coupe that had 150k on it, manual trans, burned some oil but always ran good, want to say I was getting about 27mpg. 2.5 non turbo.

Wife currently has a 2015 impreza, 2.0 non turbo hatch back. Fun car to drive. Currently getting about 30-32mpg, but I am told it should get closer to rated mpg once it breaks in. We have less than 4k on it.

Head gaskets and oil consumption are hit or miss on the subaru's. Across all models and most years. The head gaskets are easy to do if you run into that, and the oil consumption is annoying, but not a problem if you keep an eye on oil levels.

Parts were not expensive when I bought them for my 1999. They were also very easy to remove/install.

I personally would not be too worried about having the turbo wrx, if you just want a reliable commuter the n/a cars do the trick, kinda slow off the line (both of ours behave the same), but once over 20 mph or so they seem "peppy" and are very fun when driven in a spirited manner. they corner well, brake well, etc.

if you want a little extra speed and are not concerned with the added reliability/cost concerns associated with the turbo, then of course the WRX is a more fun car than the ones I have owned thus far. I've driven both the WRX and the STi multiple times and they are a lot of fun in my opinion.

The subaru's hold their value well, so unless you are willing to pay for it, you're going to get a car that is either high miles, or beat on, but they seem to be pretty durable and easy to acquire parts for. Within reason.

Regarding the VW's, I've tried multiple times to buy one, but I have never been able to bring myself to do it due to horror stories about the electrical systems. Many seem to have good luck with the VW tdi's and getting good mileage, but I don't think they are worth the premium in cost (both vehicle and fuel) for the little bit of mileage advantage you're getting, unless gas goes up over $5.
I'm not sure why I'm even responding here, because you're an askhole who will do whatever you want despite recommendations, but I'll give it a go anyway.

I've had 2 of the cars on your list: a Focus and a Subaru.

The Focus was a 2001 ZX3 3 door hatch with a 5 speed. The 5 speed made it so I could at least pretend it was a fun car even though it was boring as could be. It handled ok so I could throw it around on curvy roads, but with 130hp I don't think anything other than a manual would be tolerable if you want to stay awake driving it. I got it with about 145k miles and sold it with about 175k. I didn't have to do much to it but it seemed above average to work on. Parts were cheap in both cost and quality; typical throwaway car. Good inexpensive beater, but certainly not a car built to last. Don't buy one with 200k miles and expect it to last indefinitely. Mine was awful in snow and rain, but that may have been due to crappy tires. Hydroplaning like mad, couldn't go up the slightest incline, etc.

I've had 2 different Subaru's, both 2.5RS Impreza's. Don't buy a WRX for an econobox. They're fun and powerful, but lifespan is shortened with the turbo, you'll have to run premium fuel, and you'll get worse mileage doing it. Better for a fun car, worse for a DD meant to save you money. A WRX will cost significantly more in maintenance, fuel, and insurance from day 1. Get a non-turbo 2.5L Subaru, whether it's an Impreza, Outback, Legacy, or Forester. They're all good, solid, reliable cars that still make plenty of power and torque for a commuter. Manual and auto are both good choices. Manual is obviously more fun but can suck in traffic. The 2.5L can run for 300k miles without much issue but will require typical maintenance like timing belt every 75-100k. Some have head gasket issues, which is a pretty easy job. I think they fixed the gasket design issue around 2003-2004. Subaru's are the most well thought out, easiest, non-frustrating vehicles to work on that I've ever touched. Everything just makes sense and is packaged correctly. Parts are fairly cheap too. They'll go anywhere in any weather. It's unreal how those things claw through deep snow. They're still small and light so will get pushed around at speed in deep rutted snow, but they'll go anywhere. I've had my fullsize 4WD truck with good tires struggle in deep snow that my Impreza didn't even seem to notice.
The downside: Subaru's all have crazy high resale value. It's very hard to find one for a decent price. Mine has a rebuilt title from a previous accident, and needed head gaskets, so I got it for a great price. Had I not found that kind of deal I'd still have the Focus.

I have no personal experience with TDIs, but they seem hit or miss depending on year. Some people I know with older ones love them and say they last forever, but it seems like the people with mid 2000s year range can't keep the damn things running for more than a week. Definitely do your homework if you go that route.


Cliff notes: If you can find a good deal on a 2.5 non-turbo Subaru, buy it.
I love the Shit out of my 13 Chevy Sonic Hatch 1.4 turbo.

Gets great mileage, its peppy and fun to drive, has great head and leg room for tall people (even if it looks like it doesn't from the outside).

Set of winter tires on some steelies and it is the best car Ive ever owned for the winter too.

Also you can pick them up low miles for pretty damn cheap and still have factory warranties.
The only car I would consider of your options is a Subaru . Keep an eye on oil consumption.. My nephew is putting a new motor in his 09 turbo because he asummed he could go 4000 miles between changes, without checking it.

Worked in a vw audi shop for 15 yrs, wouldn't ever buy one that wasn't aircooled. They are over complex German engineered junk. Just one example...Most car makers use one or two control arms per corner. Vw and Audi use 4-6 per wheel so any suspension work costs 4-5 times as much as a normal car. They regularly blow timing belts way before the recommended service interval and when they do they bend every valve...

Also wouldn't touch a focus, or any Ford product. They are a complete pile of shit, same as an escape. They are underpowered, raffle, shake, they are just garbage. I would buy a kia before a ford...
Dodge neon is ten times the car a focus will ever be. And I hate dodges....

As a certified tech who works on all brands of cars I would be looking at a Hyundai for a cheap beater.. Better quality then Honda or Toyota imo, and cheaper to buy and maintain.
Just because all the quoted posts make it so long to scroll to the bottom.


I think $ vs repair costs vs cost to buy vs not caring what boring commuter you have, focus is hard to beat.

Buy them dirt cheap, maintain only safety concerned stuff, throw away when done.

Isn't their a $500 focus for sale on here right now?
 

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skillicous
Joined
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12,844 Posts
I loved my SVT Contour, and they can be found dirt cheap now.
 

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Whoop Whoop
Joined
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17,241 Posts
As my current daily driver ZR2 Sonoma is nearing the end of its life I need to look into something else. My typical daily drive is from White Lake to Livonia, so a car is a logical decision :(

My current thoughts are as follows with the following requirements: 2000-2008 model year range, manual transmission.

1. Ford Focus: SVT or 3 Door hatch. Pretty simple, easy to fix, easy access parts...

2. VW TDI Golf/Jetta/bug: I like the idea of a Golf but have no experience with VW's; heard of wiring/electronic issues, replacement part cost?
Tdi's are harder to come by, making them a little more expensive. Michigan cancer didn't help. Great for fuel economy

3. Subaru Impreza/WRX: Only option with AWD & manual trans. That's about all I really know, heard of oil consumption & leaking issues, replacement part cost?
Replacement parts weren't really any worse than anything else. I had an 05 legacy. Head gasket and oil pickup tubes cracking were the two main ones.

4. Some other option: HHR, Aveo...something else.

What does the greater audience say about options 2-4. Looking for first hand opinions.

See above for answers. I like the sonic we got for the wife most recently. Parts are cheap, 1.4t can be made quite peppy, and murica.
 
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