So What Does This All Mean?
It’s simple really. While some people are driving, looking at other cars saying, “Ooh, I like that,” there are other alternatives at the same price point. We even spoke briefly about vehicles that begin below the $20,000 mark like the Mazda 3 and the Honda Civic, and can be well optioned up to the $25,000-plus price point.
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With so many choices available, there is a lot of research required. Keep in mind that almost all of these cars have similar horsepower, torque, and drivetrain arrangements. All of these cars come with an automatic transmission or a CVT. Is that what you prefer the most? Test out the CVT in dense traffic or in passing situations, and make sure the transmission is right for you. Otherwise, it’s nice to know there are manual transmission vehicles available to add more control with a driver’s discretion.
It’s amazing how far things have come along. Twenty years ago, compact cars and sedans floated around 130 horsepower. Ten years ago, 160 horsepower out of a compact four-cylinder engine was the standard. Now? Even with similar displacement, 185 horsepower became the new standard, as shown by the Mazda 6, Mazda 3 Touring, and Honda Accord Sport. More importantly, all of them come with similar gas mileage ratings.
It really is that competitive out there.
Maybe it’s the new Japanese 276 horsepower agreement, though it’s very possible that some cars, namely the Honda Civic Touring, underrated their power numbers.
From my personal experience, so take it for what it is, cars from Honda and Toyota tend to understate their average gas mileage. It tends to be easier to achieve the average of the EPA ratings or better. In regards to Subaru and Mazda, that hasn’t always been the case, but personally, I think it’s easier to achieve EPA ratings with a manual transmission. A slight change in driving behavior is required, but at least there’s always the option to have a bit more fun when the roads get twisty.
If you want to check gas mileage ratings by automotive enthusiasts like yourself, check through Fuelly.com. You may be pleasantly surprised.
The best news is, all of these cars are great for long-term use. Every day I’m on the road, I see a growing number of Mazda 3’s and Mazda 6’s. Honda vehicles are everywhere. Subaru announced yesterday during the Impreza reveal, that 96% of the cars of the past ten years are still on the road.
You can own a practical car. You can own something that is fun to drive. You can even own one that’s easier to personalize and upgrade. All of that is available around the $25,000 price point.
We do live in a golden age of cars. It isn’t just the hypercars or the supercars, it’s the daily drivers as well.