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Best small car for a college grad?

by iheartcars / May 27, 2008 9:28 AM PDT

Hi, I'm a new college graduate as of this week and I'm going to be
buying a new car so I was hoping to find someone here who knows about
cars. I need this to drive around boston in (so they need to be able to
handle in the snow). My parents are helping me out with the down
payment so this is pretty much it for my price range (I don't want to
have to take on much more debt). I've narrowed it down to the Toyota
Yaris, the Honda Fit and the Hyundai Accent. Anyone see a clearcut
winner between these? Right now I'm leaning towards the Fit because I'm
partial to Hondas. Here are the car choices:

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best small car
by wcunning Roadshow staff / May 28, 2008 2:52 AM PDT

Amongst the choices you've laid out, I would go for the Honda Fit, as it comes standard with traction control and offers a good amount of room inside. However, I would also consider the Ford Focus, for the Sync system, and the Scion xD or xB. The Scion's also come with traction control, have iPod integration standard, and are from Toyota.

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Fit! Or Versa?
by kazoomaloo / May 28, 2008 4:04 AM PDT

I'll second the endorsement of the Fit. I graduated about 4 years ago and since then have moved about 4 times. The 4 doors of the Fit will give you a little more versatility and the interior is remarkably configurable. The Yaris is servicable, but I haven't heard too much ooh-aahing about it. The Accent would probably be suitable (and cheaper) but is a pretty meh car.

Another car to consider, though I hate to muddy the process, would be the Nissan Versa - you can get a pretty nicely loaded Versa with bluetooth and keyless entry/ignition for under $17,000. It's a little bigger than the other 3 you mentioned but will get similar mileage with the CVT. Another commenter mentioned the Focus - that's a nice little car, too, with good mileage on the freeway but not so great around town.

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Adding the Versa and the Focus
by iheartcars / May 28, 2008 5:19 AM PDT

these are really helpful thoughts. I'm adding in the versa and focus to my comparison per the other comments on the thread..

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On the Fit
by make_or_break / May 28, 2008 11:48 PM PDT

The Fit has been well received, but therein lies the problem; it's become such a popular choice with people trying to save on gas bills that in many areas it's becoming HARD to find one. Giving the circumstances regarding fuel prices, around here small, more fuel-efficient cars like the Fit have waiting lists that can be several months deep. And even if one happens to make it past all the consumers that are pre-ordering the car, you can probably expect to pay a premium mark-up in many markets, if you're not already getting raked through the coals at the time of a pre-order.

The Versa is a viable choice. I'd also recommend the base Mazda 3 for about the same amount of money, if driving dynamics means anything to you. But keeping it on the most affordable end isn't easy; many of these cars, including the Fit (look at a factory-tarted Fit S, for example), can get relatively expensive quickly if you start eyeballing the available options, even disregarding the dealer mark-ups that are happening right now.

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by streamline35 / May 28, 2008 12:32 PM PDT

I would agree with the honda fit. Consumer reports rates it as far and away the best economy car. With the manual transmission they got 34 mpg overall (realistic, not estimated), and 32 with the auto.
The Versa is also supposed to be nice, though the gas mileage is unimpressive at 28 mpg (again, a CR tested number. I find them to be quite accurate), plus it's a tad pricier.

I wouldn't bother with the yaris or the focus. As much as i like toyota, the yaris is supposed to be pretty bad (except for it's good gas mileage, about the same as the fit). And as for the focus, there you loose the hatchback, plus the gas mileage is just god-awful (CR is still testing it, but so far they reported they're getting about 24 mpg overall).
Oh and the accent was supposed to be alright, but overall the versa and the fit are definitely the top two budget cars (with the manual transmission fit being at the top)

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if u can afford it...
by Sheemo44 / May 28, 2008 12:54 PM PDT

look at the VW rabbit. it doesnt have as great gas mileage as the rest but it is easily the most fun of the pack to drive, best performing, and also performs well in the snow. i believe base is around 16k w/ an automatic w/ tiptronic.

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by snicka12 / June 1, 2008 7:41 AM PDT

small car, has all wheel drive, mpg is like 29/25which isint great, but its due to the all wheel drive. but its a perfect car for snow adn city.

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by CornerStone__ / June 2, 2008 12:07 PM PDT

Fit first, own one, and no problems + fun to drive, and good on gas, bad:expensive

Accent 2nd, best warranty around!

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Avoid Yaris!!!
by cant_get_enough_tech / June 8, 2008 5:49 AM PDT

For your own safety, avoid the yaris. It doesn't even come with ABS! Also it isn't safe.

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by run_va / June 9, 2008 12:30 AM PDT
In reply to: Avoid Yaris!!!

Look at the track record, it speaks for itself. Civic over the fit simply because there's more car to it Wink

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Small Car? Try a Saturn Astra!
by stevesd619 / June 12, 2008 11:49 PM PDT

I know that this wasn't on your list, but you owe it to yourself to check out the Astra. It's a little more money, but you'll get a LOT of extra safety & comfort features like standard OnStar, Actve Head Restraints (to help prevent whiplash), six airbags, RainSense wipers, Heated Outside Mirrors (great in Boston, I'm sure!), cruise control. You can also get Heated seats for only $250 and StabiliTrak & Traction Control for another $495 (both well worth it, especially in New England). If you look at the other cars, I think you'll see that the Astra is a worthy alternative, and it still gets 30 MPG on the highway with an Automatic (32 MPG with a stick shift)! It's also a LOT more solid feeling than most of those other cars - just slam the doors and you'll see. Good luck with whatever car you choose!

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