Which Car? Cruze Eco, Mazda 3, Prius C

Discussion in 'Start Your Journey Here' started by joshdurston, Apr 19, 2013.

  1. joshdurston

    joshdurston Rogue Canadian

    Hi, I've been a member for a while but haven't really posted.
    I'm switching from driving a company car, to a per kilometer reimbursement.

    My commute is mostly high speed divided highway with speeds rarely less than 65mph (100km/hr speed limit). Roundtrip it is 220km (sometimes shorter as I travel to various jobsites).

    In the past I've been able to maintain a 5.3l/100km avg in my 2006 TDI Jetta.

    My shortlist:

    1. Prius C (2)
    2. Mazda 3 Skyactiv sedan (automatic for low rpm at higher speeds)
    3. Chevy Cruze Eco (manual transmission)
    4. Possibly a used 3rd gen Prius liftback

    The Prius C kills the Mazda and Chevy on shorter tester drives (easily gets below 5l/100km without even trying). But not sure how it will do at prolonged 70-75mph speeds, and it doesn't have the same amenities.

    I would appreciate hearing some opinions.
  2. waltermlee

    waltermlee Well-Known Member

    220 km (about 136 miles) round trip eliminates using a plug in or BEV.
    +70 mph top speed reduces the fuel efficiency advantage of most hybrid tech - diesel fuel is more expensive but it shines at this speed.

    Why have your excluded a used VW Jetta TDI in your list?

    Ignoring that question...

    Prius C - best city (low speed) mpg ...@70 mph should get about 42-45 mpg in ideal driving conditions
    Mazda 3 - best acceleration and handling ... closer in performance to VW Jetti TDI than the other three cars
    Chevy Cruze Eco MT - quietest cabin and softer ride... probably better comfort/ride of all the other cars..
    Prius Liftback - best highway (high speed) mpg.. @70 mph should get about 45-48 mpg in ideal driving conditions

    Other cars you might want to consider:
    2012 Honda Insight (mild hybrid)
    2010 Honda CR-Z (mild hybrid/performance tuned)
    2012 Hyundai Sonata Hybrid ( hybrid electric mode works up to 74 mph, I would think this car would have a softer and quieter ride than the Cruze Eco).
    2012 Kia Optima Hybrid ( very much like the Hyundai Sonata Hybrid)
    Last edited: Apr 19, 2013
  3. joshdurston

    joshdurston Rogue Canadian

    Thanks for the response, I was unsure about Hybrids North of 70mph. Having driven a coworkers Prius Gen 2, the mileage falls off quickly when you get past 65mph it seems.

    I really like my TDI in the past but got a little spooked about the high pressure fuel pump failure rate on the common rail motors. I didn't even attempt to get good mileage and good best the rated mileage easily on every tank.

    I was holding out of the Mazda 6 diesel but it always seems to be 6months further away.

    I did think about the CRZ hybrid, but have some concerns about Honda Hybrids.
    My work vehicle is a 2009 Honda Civic Hybrid with 120,000kms on it, at 110,000km it got it's 2nd replacement battery (3rd lifetime battery). Has the CRZ resolved the battery problem? I manual transmission hybrid is appealing.

    I'll have a look at the Hyundai/Kia Hybrids, I wrote them off as been too pricey and technologically inferior to Toyota.

    When considering the Insight to the Prius C, it seems that the Prius C is a better car from a hybrid tech perspective even if it is small than the insight.
  4. waltermlee

    waltermlee Well-Known Member

    Last year I got 44 mpg on a +400 mile segment of a road trip on the super highway going 75-80 mph (mainly going 80 mph) in the pouring rain off the Ohio Turnpike in April when the temperature was about 65 f degrees in my 2010 Toyota Prius - u can see my drop in MPG by visiting my Cleanmpg mileage log @ Hyperdrive 1 (by mileage log link on the top left column of this page). I was disappointed with the drop but I was told it wasn't that bad for 80 mph.

    My guess is that at 75 mph the fuel efficiency most of the non-towing smaller frontal surface vehicles which have a Cd of less than .28 and have a curb weight of less than 1.5 tons will hover close to or around 40 mpg - At 75 mph, tail end turbulence causes the vehicle to lose 2 to 10 mpg with pickup trucks losing the most fuel efficiency. The Honda Insight has a very small frontal surface and reasonable aerodynamic body ... I like the Honda fit interior much more but at 75 mph - its notch hatchback would suffer more than the Insight's ... At 75 mph I would think that you wouldn't be using the Honda's hybrid's HV battery which normally doesn't contribute that much at highway speed. If you can wait - VW says that they are coming out with a diesel hybrid... not sure how soon or if that's just a bunch of hot air though... I have to see it before I can believe it. The Chevy Volt sure took a very long time in development before it made it to the showroom. In 2015 - the 4th generation of the Toyota Prius will be in the showrooms ( last year - there's been some thrashing about in Toyota R&D about what the next Prius should look like with some arguing Toyota/scion/Lexus needs a sportier Prius/hybrid model, next year we will probably get a sneak peak of the changes as well). If you get a used Prius make sure you get LLR tires with it because on the super highway every little bit helps.

    If you had to haul any cargo- the Prius v, Jetta Sportswagen TDI, and the Elantra Touring get good fuel efficiency and have quite a bit of cargo capacity.

    A good reason to ignore diesel is because the vehicle will be driven in subfreezing temperatures - diesel engines don't like running is really cold weather and would need to be warmed up to work...

    At <= 35 mph speeds, the Prius C has much better fuel efficiency than the Insight.
    At +70 mph speeds, the Prius C and the Insight are closer match with respect to fuel efficiency and other factors might weight more heavily.
    Do a high low speed test drive at the dealership with a scangauge or torque app iMPG gauge if you want some proof....

    At speeds greater than 65 mph, most of the work pushing a vehicle forward is done to defeat aerodynamic drag
    At speed lower than 40 mph, most of the work pushing a vehicle forward (to gain momentum and speed) is done to defeat rolling resistance (internal and external).
    Last edited: Apr 19, 2013
  5. PaleMelanesian

    PaleMelanesian Beat the System Staff Member

    If you're going to consider a Honda,

    At those speeds I'd look at the Civic hybrid over the Insight. It has better gearing and a bigger battery pack, both of which help at higher speeds. It should be more reliable than the previous generation, since it now has lithium batteries.
  6. priusCpilot

    priusCpilot George

    Like you said the VW are problem cars and not worth touching.

    If your your going to get amenity you need to step up to a Prius C Trim 4. If you do that then you can option the larger wheels which comes with the quicker ratio steering rack and since its 2500lb car, it handles real nice.

    The easiest and least expensive car to maintain over ANY car. The best resale value over ANY car.

    If you don't go hybrid then Mazda 3 hands down! Best overall gas engine car!

    On a trip from LA to Vegas going 65-75 but slower going up a large mountain. I did get 54mpg
  7. rfruth

    rfruth Well-Known Member

    For a non hybrid I like the Cruze (nicer interior, the Eco comes with "17 wheels and a rear spoiler in the US) but the 2013.5 Cruze (will be called 2014 ?) will have minor cosmetic changes (think resale value) the 2015's will have new engine choices as well (if that matters)
  8. xcel

    xcel PZEV, there's nothing like it :) Staff Member

    Hi Josh:

    My $0.015...

    I would pass on the Cruze Eco as its poor rear seat room and especially overall value which includes total cost of ownership are subpar. The ECO is a bit pricey up front and like most Chevrolet's, its resale will kill you at trade-in time.

    Trade in or resale is a big deal and you should always consider it in your total price calculations.

    If you are not in a hurry, the standard yet buzz bombish 2013 Civic LX with the 5-speed stick should be available for < $16K this summer. With the new interior, by far best standard displays, and its recent IIHS Top Safety Pick "+" rating including a really good performance on that nasty small overlap crash test make it the one to "watch". When 12 LX's with a stick were being offered for < $14.5K locally, it was hard to pass up even with its garbage interior. "[]If[/i]" a 2013 LX with a stick can be picked up for < $15K later this summer, there is no better value in the industry. Fuel economy wise, its EPA is underrated.

    Another sleeper is the fact the Dart is "quietly" available for more than $4,000 USD off MSRP here in the Chicago area. It has one of the best interiors but fuel economy wise, not sure yet.

    Another value play is the Elantra. It is by far the best looking C-segment, arrives with quite a bit of standard equipment you will not receive in any of its competitors and with upwards of $2K knocked off the GLS with an AT, is also a very affordable offering.

    Fun to drive and great overall fuel economy still belongs to the Mazda3 with the 2.0L partial SKYACTIV motor but its face really needs to be redone. The 2015 will receive that treatment and is probably too far away. Its real world fuel economy will impress beyond that of the Cruze ECO and I believe it can be picked up for $17K including D&H right now. In the 0 to 60 race, it will best its competitors.

    While the Prius c has shortcomings compared to the rest you are considering (it's a smaller B-segment vs. C-segment), fuel economy, reliability, resale and lowest total cost of ownership are its mainstay. With Toyota starting to deal on the Prius lineup, I bet a package 3 will be available for around the $20K mark sometime this summer.

    I have not been following the all-new Sentra that closely either. It’s a sharp looking C-segment and it is available with a $3,799 discount just like those being placed on the Altima SV/SL ($5,499 off MSRP) at Nissan of Portland. I would not dismiss it by any means. Best rear seat room, best looking profile, decent displays, and one of the best and most modern interiors and with the CVT, possibly the best fuel economy at higher speeds for most.

    The all-new 2014 Kia Forte’ has the most style and is the most competitively priced on an MSRP basis. Given how new it is however, it is doubtful it will be offered for an out the door price like that of the Sentra or Civic in the next three months.

    Moving up to the D-segment is also a consideration but be careful with this one. In some cases, your insurance costs for a D-segment will make it more affordable at the pump than the B/C segment. You will have to ask your insurance agent for quotes on the various cars. In the D-segment, the best fun to drive and efficient will be the Mazda6 Sport with the stick. Lack of Bluetooth in the Sport with a stick however pisses me off. The Sonata and Altima can be purchased in the $20K range as well.

    All in, there are a ton of great offerings out there in the B, C and D-segment and do not be lead by an EPA number as we have seen a lot of gaming in recent years.

  9. joshdurston

    joshdurston Rogue Canadian

    I've been tempted by the Mazda 6 and 2013 Accord, and would consider if their real world consumption was not too far off of the 3 or Civic.

    Regarding the Mazda 3 I'm torn between the auto and manual transmission. Auto has lower RPMs@60mph but manual's seem to historically get better real world mileage.

    I think I'll drop the Cruze from consideration it seemed so good I had to consider it even if it wasn't my favorite. Resale is a good reason not to buy it.

    I'm from Canada and it seems the deals are never quite as good up here. Prius aren't being discounted here yet and dealers refuse to haggle saying they'll sell them at list anyways.
  10. ItsNotAboutTheMoney

    ItsNotAboutTheMoney Super Moderator Staff Member

    Well, if Canadian car allocation works the same as US car allocation your best bet for a deal is to be an inventory mover. If allocation is based on sales, cars sitting on lots cost them current and future profits.
    - have money ready for a quick sale
    - communicate only with Internet/Fleet sales using the Internet
    - contact as many dealers as possible
    - give them a target to hit
    - be patient (the cheapest chocie is almost always to keep your current car)
    - don't be fussy about trivial stuff like color
    - be willing to accept a desirable higher trim at base trim prices (you don't have to tell them that, of course, but the higher margins on high trims give them more room for maneuver)
    - be prepared to pay to ship or fly-drive to take advantage of large price differentials

    If you're really looking to save a better route could be to buy a used car from a US dealer accustomed to cross-border sales. Or you can buy privately and use a company that can handle an import. Apart from the 3, all of the cars you're looking at are over a year old, so there will be used cars on the market.
  11. herm

    herm Well-Known Member

    Josh, how many miles do you drive in a year?.. and how is the diesel car availability in Canada?.. regarding the cold we have ways of dealing with that in this forum.

    It looks like you drive about 18k miles a year, a bit on the high side of normal.. but hwy miles are easy on cars. I assume you want to get rid of the TDI due to soon-to-come maintenance and repair issues?.. those could quickly eat up any possible savings that diesel offers. The advice here is to use some bio-diesel or a lubricity additive. A 2009 car is practically new and you should get high resale values.
  12. joshdurston

    joshdurston Rogue Canadian

    I should clarify I've already sold the diesel Jetta a year or two ago, and am currently driving a company owned 2009 Honda civic hybrid. Civic is disappearing in a week or two so I need to find something soon.
    I'm driving 30-40,000km a year. (20-25k miles).

    The 2012 I've mentioned are mostly new old stock, but generally I'm looking to purchase new. Might mean 2013s at this point.

    Regarding the cold weather, my diesel always started and ran fine in the cold weather. I blocked off the grill. Took a while to warm up the motor but it had heated seats and an electric heater that were sufficient. I do think VWs are more expensive to own due to maintenance and service costs being higher. I did everything up to and including brake jobs myself to reduce this differential to a palatable level. Gave me 5.3l/100km 3 seaons and closer to 5.8l/100km in the winter due to idling and cold weather.
  13. joshdurston

    joshdurston Rogue Canadian

    Narrowed it down to either the Mazda 3 or 2014 6. Not sure to go auto or manual transmission. Auto means substantially less highway rpm , but manual better low speed around town mileage and more fun.
  14. msirach

    msirach Well-Known Member

    My 2 cents: My wife drives to a meeting once a month and gets reimbursed for the mileage. She gets 50 cents per mile and with her mpg in her 2010 Prius liftback for a total of $22.50 for 45 miles. With her erratic mpg, the cost per mile is about 7 cents for a total cost of $3.15 per trip. That's a very good profit. With the cargo capacity of the Prius, it would be my choice for your car.
  15. joshdurston

    joshdurston Rogue Canadian

    I wanted a Prius but the finance rates on 2013 prius are too expensive here in Canada.
    If the rate was 1.9% or less than the Prius would be a no brainer.
    Maybe I should consider a used one?
  16. xcel

    xcel PZEV, there's nothing like it :) Staff Member

    Hi Josh:

    While it will cost you more to own a Mazda3 or 6 over the longer term, do not forget that you will be driving this vehicle for a very long time. If there is a reason for you not to consider a Prius today and it is by no means perfect, purchase what you want to drive from both a desire and need standpoint.

    My desire would be to drive the all-new 2014 Mazda6 with the upcoming 2.2L SKYACTIV-D when it finally arrives. My needs are I do not need a car whereas Marian did and thus the 13 Prius PHEV-11 is sitting in her garage space right now.

    Buying a new car is so much fun. An almost endless array of really good vehicles to choose from and most are pretty darn fuel efficient too :)

    Buy what you desire but make sure it is fuel efficient and cost effective enough to save your retirement. Prius' in particular hold their resale like nothing else while saving at the pump. Combined, the Prius provides the lowest total cost of ownership over any given time frame.

  17. joshdurston

    joshdurston Rogue Canadian

    Thanks for insight Wayne. It's a dose of common sense, it's a slippery slope of upselling yourself if you're not careful.

    I just found out that thru a corporate discount I can get Ford cars at:
    dealer invoice - 0.4% + $275

    That makes the Cmax/fusion a contender even if the MPG isn't quite up to Toyota standards.
    Especially with the current 0% financing. If I don't go Ford maybe I'll stick with the Prius C it does what I need really well (gets me to and from work cheaply).
  18. Prozac

    Prozac Well-Known Member

    I would say that car shopping is fun, buying SUCKS! I must say I have been very fortunate with my last two purchases, though. The Equinox was just a matter of haggling my trade-in, which they had already offered me more than anyone else. It was so heavily discounted, no one could beat the price. An oops in their internet advertising gave me an additional $1k off, and we ended walking out with the perfect vehicle for our family well below MSRP, including the ttl.
  19. xcel

    xcel PZEV, there's nothing like it :) Staff Member

    Hi John:
    You said it so perfectly nothing more needs to be added!

  20. joshdurston

    joshdurston Rogue Canadian

    Just an update.
    I went with a 2013 Mazda 3 Skyactiv Sedan with the manual transmission.
    I hope the higher highway rpm is offset by better city mileage versus the automatic transmission.

    I loved the look of hatch but the sedan has better aerodynamics and was $1000 cheaper.
    I pick it up next Monday evening if they have the car prepped.

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