Hey all so I'm looking at getting a new car, as a grad present and I have decided after driving my sisters VW rabbit, that I'd like a smaller car, probably a hatchback. From looking around online it would seem that from reliability standpoints, Hondas are the way to go, and the fit seems nice and small, where as the Mazda3 has a whole slew of features in their tech package, keyless entry etc seems useful.
Anyone have either of these cars, or other reccemendations for smaller cars?
Is it your intention to have a car that is small, or is it the appeal of the higher gas mileage, etc?
I have a Toyota Prius, and Honda makes the Insight hybrid. Both are excellent, efficient cars that are not nearly so "small" as a subcompact, but which provide the same efficiency, with fewer tradeoffs. And, as per your request, they're both hatchbacks!
I can wholeheartedly recommend Prius to anyone who asks. It's a fantastic car. On my test drives, the Honda Insight lacked the "polish" and refinement of the Prius, and felt generally cheaper. But it also costs slightly less.
If you actually want a small car, just for the sake of having a small car, the SMART car gets almost the same gas mileage as my Prius, and is only 1/3 its size. Should be easier to park than anything else on the road, and if you get two you could wear them like roller skates!
Geo Metro, all the way.
You can't compete with the mileage with anything else out there (well over 40 MPG), and the hatchback means you can haul almost anything. Seriously. My wife and I just used ours to drive 230 miles round trip to haul back a lawn mower; cost us $20 in gas. The week before, we hauled a huge cockatoo cage 130 miles. This week, we got two dirt bikes loaded in the back. In every case, we were also carrying two adults and two children.
Every time, I swore that we couldn't fit everything. Every time, my wife's (2 door) Geo surprised me. And you can't beat the reliability and ease of maintenance, either. Heck, one man can pretty much reach in and pick up the engine!
Not sure what would be regarded as a subcompact these days. I would not get the mazda3. I was looking at one a few years ago and deciding between it and the Pontiac Vibe. I picked the Vibe (which I still miss. Great car.). My friend worked for a large drug company as a sales rep and was allowed to pick a company car from a large list. They had the vibe as an option but not the mazda3 (he went with a grand prix for the power on the highway). It seems the company had a few mazde3's before and due to the expense they caused due to issues with the transmissions they were no longer available for the reps.
Right now I got a Fiesta. Its excellent. Lots of room inside for such a small car and low maintenance. And if I were to go a bit bigger I'd get the Focus. They are great cars. Before getting the Fiesta I tried a few small cars. Hated the Yaris (hate the big spedometer in the middle of the dash) and the corsa (from Opel, don't think they are in US or Can) was too cramped inside. The VW's (Golf, Polo) felt like tanks.
I had a Honda Civic hatchback a few years ago but I don't think the Japanese cars as a good as they used to be (or more accurately, the quality is slightly less but the price is way too high for what you get).
Tech is nice, but the more bells and whistles, the more that can go wrong...and usually it is several hundred dollars worth of fix.
I have a Honda Fit, and would definitely recommend it to others. The fuel efficiency is adequate and it's still a blast to drive around town. You can really throw it into a turn. It handles as well as any front-wheel drive car I've driven. My Dad has a Mazda 3. It's a fine car. While it's less fun to drive, the interior is clearly nicer than my Fit.