Shopping for a new car

I have been eyeing the latest generation of Honda Civics for about 4 years now. I have been a car enthusiest for years but I never considered newer low clost cars as being sporty or fun to drive. By accident I bought a 2 door civic EX in 2000 and within a year of learing about the car I bought I discovered I had a hot car in sub compact car terms. Over the years I have made some light modifications including adding a rear stablizer bar, AEM intake and MSD Ignition system. It has been a lot of fun tinkering with the car and I have to say it is a great feeling to work on a car that likes to be worked on. I wish I could say the same about my first two cars but I can’t.

History
The purchase of my first Honda Civic in 2000 was pratically driven on fate. The Pontiacs I owned (1982 Grand Prix and 1988 Boneville) and the bad luck I observed friends have with their Fords and Chrystlers really encouraged me to take a look at Hondas. My dad would be very disappointed if I ever bought a car that wasn’t made in America. I am sure he meant that to mean only buy American brand cars, he was pretty understanding after I expalined that the Honda car I was about to buy in 2000 was actually made in Ohio. About that same time both my mom’s and dad’s cars (1997 Saturn SL2 and 1996 Saturn SL) had mechanical problems. Mom’s brakes at 25k miles were not working properly and needed replaced under the warranty. Dad’s car was in wrose shape, at 77k miles the head cracked and needed to be replaced. Luckily he purchased the 100k mile extended warranty and took advantage of that. At the time I made my decision I was debating between the 2000 Civic EX Coupe and the 2000 SL2 Sedan. Unfortunate events in the past and present drove the decision.

Research
So now we are at the year 2007 and I am looking at purchasing a new car. I decided to look at all the cars available that would meet my current needs. I made up my mind a few years ago that the next car I buy will have more power and have exceptional handling. More recently since I have been married I have decided the car needs to be pratical enough to handle the next 5-10 years. Last it has to get decent gas mileage.

Below is a list of the cars I looked at with a brief explanation why I eliminated it from the list.

  • Honda Civic Si Sedan – Sporty with 197hp 6 speed transmission, 4 doors is ready for a family, gets over 30 mpg highway and it is the car to be compared with the rest below.
  • Mazda Mazdaspeed3 – I am no fan of the styling. Other than that this car is a pretty good match.
  • Dodge Caliber RT AWD – Where the heck did this thing come from. It’s current sport model only provides 172hp and gets 23-26 mpg. It appears if you want the manual transmission you must also get the all wheel drive. Most likely theSRT4 that follows will be priced comparable to a WRX, which is out of my price range.
  • Nissan Sentra SE-R Spec V – It is a pretty sharp car but reading about the history of the car’s mechanical problems has turned me off. If you trust that Nissan ironed out all the mechical problems then this may be the car for you.
  • Mitsubishi Lancer GTS – In my opinion this is the best styled 4 door in the sub-compact market. It lacks power and the reviews (Motortrend Example) make it sound like the sport model was an afterthought.
  • Chevy Cobalt SS Supercharged Coupe – Unfortunately the car is a 2 door. Otherwise this car would be a good contender.
  • Chevy Cobalt SS Sedan – This model does not have the package of performace options that I seek. If only they made a Cobalt SS Supercharged Sedan, darn.
  • Saturn Redline – The dashboard is centered in the middle of the dash and it only comes in 2 doors.
  • Subaru Impreza WRX – Car exceeds the price range that I am looking at.
  • Scion tC – This car only comes in 2 doors and the performance options are dealer installed.
  • Toyota Corolla – They really lack a sport model in this model car.
  • Chevy HHR – This car is not really in the same market but if they packaged one with the same performance package as the Cobalt SS Supercharged Coupe I would have to take a serious look at it. In particular, if someone made a real performer with this kind of car they would clean up. It appears the new Dodge Caliber may hit this target but I think the HHR has more potential with its design and functionality. Unfortunately this is a GM car, these are the same folks that killed the Fiero 5 years too early creating a market that was then fulfilled with the Civic Del Sol’s and Miata’s.

Decision
Based on the previous experience I have had over the past 7 years with my current Honda and the overall package the car comes with, I’ve decided to purchase a 2007 Civic Si Sedan.

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