Automotive

Which sub-compact car to buy?

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  • Jun 15th, 2016 10:22 am
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[OP]
Jr. Member
May 4, 2007
140 posts
28 upvotes

Which sub-compact car to buy?

I am looking to buy a small car for commuting 25 km each way from North Vancouver to Richmond - so mixture of city streets and slow highway. It needs to hold two child seats since i have to drop kids at daycare on the way.

This will be our second car so I doubt that it will be used for much else.

I am not a "car" person - to me it is just a way to get from A to B.

Cars that I am looking at are

Honda Fit LX
Nissan Versa SV
Hyundai Accent GL

any others that should I consider?

I like the Honda but it is over $6000 more than the Hyundai and nearly $3000 more than the Nissan. Is it worth the extra money?

I am likely to keep the car a long time. I have had my current car 14 years.
44 replies
Deal Addict
Aug 19, 2011
4218 posts
3142 upvotes
Markham
Since you will have little ones in the back, I'd start by looking at the safety ratings for that category car:

http://m.iihs.org/mobile/ratings/mobile ... s/minicars

The results are sombering, Some of these cars rated "Poor" on the new(ish) small overlap test. Only two achieved TSP/TSP+!

If you can move up to the next two categories, things get much better:

http://m.iihs.org/mobile/ratings/mobile ... small-cars

http://m.iihs.org/mobile/ratings/mobile ... dsize-cars

I think with all the deals VW is running, you could pick up a TSP+ Jetta will probably whit in your reach.

Also remember to factor in Insurance for total cost of ownership. Those poorly rated compact cars will indeed cost more than a slightly more expensive Jetta for example to insure so will cost more over time.

Hope this helps.
Deal Addict
Sep 3, 2005
3166 posts
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Vaughan
Most are going to say honda is the most reliable. I say choose the car you like.

I owned currently own a hyundai, 2.5 years old. Some minor issues, but nothing major. I owned a honda before that for 9 years. That car minor issues too. I did have to change the head gasket on the honda after 8 years, but still pretty good, as no other major problems with that car.

My honda's resale value was great imo. My hyundai's resale value at the moment isn't as good.

With all that said. I still love my hyundai. Buy the car you like the most, and feel most comfortable driving. If you want to save a few bucks. Buy a used 1-2 year old car.
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Deal Addict
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Feb 24, 2014
1172 posts
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I would avoid the VWs given that you plan on keeping the car for 10+ years. You want a car with good reliability and that is cheap to maintain and repair if necessary. Plus, Honda and Kia/Hyundai offer standard 5 year/100,000km warranties. What is your budget on a new car?

Hyundai Accent LE
Honda Fit
Kia Rio

All fairly good options but as other poster had mentioned, Honda will probably have the best resale value down the road.
Deal Fanatic
Aug 29, 2006
7726 posts
1607 upvotes
The Fit is best in class by all measures and most comparison reviews which is why it is more.
The Devil made me buy it - RFD. :twisted:
[OP]
Jr. Member
May 4, 2007
140 posts
28 upvotes
The Honda Fit is $23000 on the road which is the maximum that I really want to spend. The VW looks like it would be at least $2000-3000 more than this. But if I can spend less I have plenty else that I can use the money for. The wife wants a new bathroom :)

I want an automatic and prefer a hatchback.

I looked at a one year old Honda Fit but it was only $2000 less than new. Doesn't seem worth it to me.

In BC I don't think that any of these vehicles will have much impact on insurance. Could someone correct me if I am wrong.

The extra warranty on thd Hyundai is nice.

I found a number of comparison reviews online mostly which concluded that the Fit was the best. But all seemed to assume much closer pricing than I am finding.
Deal Expert
Aug 2, 2004
33721 posts
7359 upvotes
East Gwillimbury
I suggest you test drive them all and pick the one you like. You will be spending every day in this car for the next 10 years. You should drive something that you like. Doesn't matter if it costs more.

I don't know how you can stand the traffic from Vancouver to Richmond. The bridges are a nightmare.
Newbie
Jun 8, 2016
55 posts
157 upvotes
payam1981 wrote: Since you will have little ones in the back, I'd start by looking at the safety ratings for that category car:

http://m.iihs.org/mobile/ratings/mobile ... s/minicars

The results are sombering, Some of these cars rated "Poor" on the new(ish) small overlap test. Only two achieved TSP/TSP+!

If you can move up to the next two categories, things get much better:

http://m.iihs.org/mobile/ratings/mobile ... small-cars

http://m.iihs.org/mobile/ratings/mobile ... dsize-cars

I think with all the deals VW is running, you could pick up a TSP+ Jetta will probably whit in your reach.

Also remember to factor in Insurance for total cost of ownership. Those poorly rated compact cars will indeed cost more than a slightly more expensive Jetta for example to insure so will cost more over time.

Hope this helps.
+1

You might also consider cars with tracking and stability control, they are life saving when you need them.
Deal Addict
Aug 19, 2011
4218 posts
3142 upvotes
Markham
itIsI wrote: The Honda Fit is $23000 on the road which is the maximum that I really want to spend. The VW looks like it would be at least $2000-3000 more than this. But if I can spend less I have plenty else that I can use the money for. The wife wants a new bathroom :)

I want an automatic and prefer a hatchback.

I looked at a one year old Honda Fit but it was only $2000 less than new. Doesn't seem worth it to me.

In BC I don't think that any of these vehicles will have much impact on insurance. Could someone correct me if I am wrong.

The extra warranty on thd Hyundai is nice.

I found a number of comparison reviews online mostly which concluded that the Fit was the best. But all seemed to assume much closer pricing than I am finding.
Base Jetta will be under 23K on the road and can get 0% APR. Judging based on some of the posts around RFD you could knock 2-3K from that price too right now.

Civic is also a good option as it is a TSP+ but here in ON Civics are more expensive to insure due to popularity with thieves.

Do NOT get Accent or Rio as you have kids in the car daily. Both scored terribly in crash tests.
Deal Expert
Aug 2, 2004
33721 posts
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East Gwillimbury
Shallos wrote: You might also consider cars with tracking and stability control, they are life saving when you need them.
No snow in Vancouver or Richmond. Just a lot of rain.
[OP]
Jr. Member
May 4, 2007
140 posts
28 upvotes
Gee wrote:
I don't know how you can stand the traffic from Vancouver to Richmond. The bridges are a nightmare.
Actually on an average day the drive through Vancouver is more aggravating. But it is the unaverage day when the bridges excel in generating frustrating.
Sr. Member
Aug 5, 2011
525 posts
78 upvotes
NORTH YORK
For Hyundai, the 2017 Elantra LE (lowest model that's automatic) is $22,110.99 tax in and 0% over 5 years. It's bigger than the subcompact car so that'd give you a little more room to work with. The 2016 rating seems decent and they apparently updated the structure to be stronger for 2017.
[OP]
Jr. Member
May 4, 2007
140 posts
28 upvotes
payam1981 wrote:
Do NOT get Accent or Rio as you have kids in the car daily. Both scored terribly in crash tests.
Not sure that I would describe it as terrible. The only bad result is small overlap which if I understand the test correctly is related to driver safety not the rear seats. Obviously that is not good but it has nothing to do with hsving kids in the car.
[OP]
Jr. Member
May 4, 2007
140 posts
28 upvotes
Gee wrote: No snow in Vancouver or Richmond. Just a lot of rain.
And on the off chance there is snow, I don't drive - too many incompetent people out there
Deal Fanatic
Nov 24, 2013
6214 posts
2964 upvotes
Kingston, ON
Shallos wrote: +1

You might also consider cars with tracking and stability control, they are life saving when you need them.
Stability control (which includes traction control) is on all cars now. Even a $9,995 Nissan Micra.

OP, Fit is great for room and flexibility in this class, but I would keep an open mind to Versa for the price savings, especially if you don't mind having an A-B type car. Accent would probably be the most cramped, like a Fiesta or Rio.

Have you considered a Toyota Yaris sedan? It's actually the new generation Mazda2, which isn't sold here as a Mazda for some reason. The reliability and fuel economy would be good, and it has a good automatic too.
Deal Fanatic
User avatar
May 2, 2006
7460 posts
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GTA
Out of the ones you've listed, Fit is the best choice (reliability, safety, resale value)... May want to check Mazda3 ($23K should be doable).

Oh, and stay away from VW.
Deal Addict
Aug 19, 2011
4218 posts
3142 upvotes
Markham
itIsI wrote: Not sure that I would describe it as terrible. The only bad result is small overlap which if I understand the test correctly is related to driver safety not the rear seats. Obviously that is not good but it has nothing to do with hsving kids in the car.
I was referreing to the "Acceptable" side impact rating. Some of the actual raw datapoints from the side impact test are pretty poor.
Deal Expert
User avatar
Feb 26, 2004
26999 posts
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Get the Accent. Lots of incentives right now. It's more comfortable and quieter than the other two. Best warranty.
[OP]
Jr. Member
May 4, 2007
140 posts
28 upvotes
Thanks for the comments everyone.

I have test driven all 3 cars and would be happy with any of them but preferred the Fit. But it costs so much more - just not sure that it is worth it. If the difference was smaller it would make the decision easier.

Are Honda likely to have any incentives any time soon?
Jr. Member
User avatar
Jul 19, 2013
166 posts
42 upvotes
Toronto
itIsI wrote: Thanks for the comments everyone.

I have test driven all 3 cars and would be happy with any of them but preferred the Fit. But it costs so much more - just not sure that it is worth it. If the difference was smaller it would make the decision easier.

Are Honda likely to have any incentives any time soon?
It is more expensive but it will also retain value better, so you pay more upfront and get more when you sell it. Honda doesn't have as good incentives because they sell without them.

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