New car - or 'Tell me what cars you have bought lately (that are interesting)'


#321

Are those street legal in Canada?


#322

Wow, never seen one of those in person. Looks like fun to drive though.


#323

I’m drooling heavily on the Opel Ampera. I think it will be outside my price range, but what a car.


#324

I’ve been enjoying my new Mazda RX-8 for the last couple of months. It’s silver w/o a spoiler, tan interior; gets random complements, including the Schlotzsky’s girl today. I like the fact that it’s not a muscle car, but is still pretty fast, that it handles very well - i can accelerate in any turn at highway speeds essentially to the speed limit -, and that (to me) it sounds better than a V8, though admittedly that puts me in the minority here in the US. I got a pretty good deal on a used 2009 with 12,000 miles that, apparently, was used as a dealer car for a couple of years and wasn’t actually listed as sold until last year, the crux of which means that it still has a couple of years of full factory warranty. I also like that i have a first gear that can take me to 30mph, yet i can shift into 6th gear at 50mph if i want to keep the engine under 3000rpm. I can drive it “civilized” or “hard”, and i always dual-class. So overall, it’s a lot of fun.

Cons? It’s… so lightly built, compared to big, ugly, but sturdy, American cars, that is. I feel like i might break some of the interior paneling or consoles if i put my weight against them. The paint chips off with the slightest touch; it’s almost seems like an M&M candy shell thickness. I think this is exacerbated by the whole exterior being made of plastic; there’s hardly any metal on the body. It also has some wicked road noise, so i’m hoping when the tires wear out (and they’re nearly there) to find a lower noise tire. I think the interior is very nice for the price thought it won’t win awards.

I’d like to take it to a track and try out it’s potential, just for kicks.


#325

You should do it because it’s also highly educational, and afterwards you will kick all sorts of Forza 4 butt. Talk to your regional NASA organizer.
http://www.nasaproracing.com/

It’s an absolute rush to drive in the dry. I’ve talked extensively to several Atom owners.* As far as street driving it goes, you have to wear a helmet all the time to avoid bits of 60mph+ debris slung from other vehicles from taking a chunk out of your face. Also, it’s open on the sides as well as the top, and you will be absolutely miserable in inclement weather without a rain suit.

*My original plan was for a used, Ohio-registered (hence transferable to any other state), Ariel Atom. But, the bank wouldn’t float me the few extra bills I needed at the time because it was a race car.


#326

I own an RX8, a 2004, and I’m confused. The only plastic on the car is the front and rear bumper. All the rest of the car (fenders, doors, hood, etc) is metal.


#327

Perhaps i should have said “it seems like” ^^.


#328

Me and my new Sentra are so much more boring than you guys. But I’m excited, so whatever.


#329

Any new car is fun!


#330

Just finished my 2nd HPDE. Great fun, and something everyone should try to get out to.


#331

Especially when it’s my new car!

But nah, I’m flippin’ ecstatic about the Sentra. It’s exactly the car I wanted: relaxing drive, fuel economy, comfortable, fun electronics (bumpin’ Bose sound system, satellite radio, 5" touchscreen nav system), and very affordable. I went into this car buying mode fully expecting to get the 2012 Focus (redesigned and awesome), but the Sentra blew me away while the MyFord Touch (i.e. Sync 2.0) system made me literally angry at its shitty design. And the Sentra was $6k cheaper than the comparably equipped Focus.

I’d highly recommend anyone in the market for a small sedan to look at the Sentra. It’s awesome, and I love mine.

This message has been brought to you by the fact that I got my new car about 24 hours ago and I want to tell everyone about how much I love it.


#332

Yeah, as much as I like Fords, the MyFord Touch stuff is apparently hideous, or at least, questionable. I was so-so on the normal Sync v.1.0 I had in my Fusion, and that was without the touch screen.

Nissan makes nice cars in general. I’d not mind a 370Z myself…


#333

I know, right? How do we make the rest of them understand?


#334

I’m glad you’re liking your Sentra, Adam. If I hadn’t had to lemon law mine, I’d probably share your excitement.


#335

What’s the main difference between NASA Pro and The Driver’s Edge?


#336

The Driver’s Edge (http://www.thedriversedge.net) is a for-profit group that runs HPDEs in Texas. They are well regarded by a number of track folks I know as for running a very well organized event.

NASA, or National Autosport assoc (http://www.nasaproracing.com/) is a competitor to the SCCA in that it sanctions and hosts a wide variety of car events per year, including road racing, autocrossing, HPDE, and more. They are nation wide, and like SCCA, organized into regions.

I’m in Texas, but so far my 2 HPDEs have been put on by PCA (Porsche car club) and BMWCCA (BMW, duh). Both events had great instructors, and were both safe and well run. I plan on attending a Driver’s Edge event in the future. Do check around, because I’ve heard of some really bad/unsafe events.

All of these events basically run the same way. You have classroom instruction, and in-car instruction. The instructors for the car club, NASA, or SCCA events are generally well experienced volunteers, while the pro companies like Skip Barber have more pro driver’s involved in instructing. The price varies from a few hundred to a few thousand for 2 days, depending on if its a club event of a full pro event. Some events are even like country club events, with fancy food and a clubhouse.

In Texas, we have many active tracks and active groups within driving distance, so thru a local car club I’m in I was able to find out from the track rats which events might appeal to me. I was event able to get an instructor who I already knew, and who drives the same type of car as I do. In other areas, you might be more limited and need to stick with NASA or whatever.


A description of my last HPDE I wrote

Was able to participate in my 2nd HPDE this last weekend at Motorsports Ranch (MSR).

Before you go to the track ,there are some safety basics. One, you need to get a helmet or plan to rent/borrow one. Then you need to get your car “teched” at a mechanic. Its basically a safety inspection with a few track specifics, like recently flushed brakes. For safety I did replace my stock brake fluid with a higher boiling point fluid, and my stock pads with performance pads with a higher heat tolerence. Many people at the track in the Novice group were running completely stock, but I wanted to be sure.

Anyway, the day began with check-in, then a classroom safety talk and intro to the track. The novices received extra time in this session to give people time with the very basics, like the flags and basic track courtesy. So basically we had 1 hr, and plenty of time to ask questions and understand things.

Then after a short wait, we had track session one (25min) which was no helmets, low-ish speeds. My instructor, also a MINI guy, took out my car and showed me around for 2 laps, then we swapped. I started off really slow, but as I gained confidence in the line I gained a bit of speed while still being very careful (no helmets, doh)

After the track, it was right back to the class for a debrief. After sharing what was saw/felt, the instructor started talking more about the line, vision, and weight transfer. All good stuff.

Session 2 was with helmets, so I started to really pick up speed. I was getting pretty good about hitting marks, but my instructor gave me feedback that I was being too abrupt on the controls and tended to pitch the car into the turn and then catch it. For a momentum car like a MINI, this was fun but not as fast as I could be. I did pass alot of folks, but also learned many drivers hated to give a MINI a point by. Speaking of, at a HPDE a pass is only done on the straights and when the driver ahead gives you a point by. This is for safety.

Back to the classroom. Now weight transfer for many people started to click, as a few of them had looped

Before session 3, I was able to catch a ride with my instructor in his car. As he was comfortable in his car, he was able to drive harder. With some track time under my belt, I was able to absorb many of his lessons better than before. My son Colin also got a ride, which was the highlight of his day.

Session three for me was about my instructor helping me brake later, and hit the turn-ins better. There are a couple of downhill, and downhill plus off-camber braking zones where you really have to threshold brake or the rear will come out on you. Great for learning. And on turn-ins, I was turning in early and/or cheating in. I think this was the session where I caught up to a Nissan 350 and expected a point by. But instead, as he accelerated out of the next corner he looped it right in front of me. Yikes!

Session four I really started to put things together, both smoother controls and better lines. My instructor continued to give me more details on how to attack specific corners. I was pumped for day 2.

Unfortunately day 2 was a rain out. Not just rain, but a flood where they could not use the track due to big standing water.

and a pic: http://hart-photography.com/photocart/index.php?do=photocart&viewImage=1422902


#337

Recently (June 2011), I bought a 2011 Mitsubishi Outlander Sport ES. So far, it has been a great vehicle. In the U.S., you get an automatic transmission (CVT and 6-speed Sportronic), FUSE (voice-activated Bluetooth), A/C, all power (L/W/M), a decent sound system, and alloy rims for $20,800 MSRP. I get about 40 mpg on the interstate and @23-24 mpg in town with regular octane.

However, I DO wish I had bought a base SE model. For an extra $1,200 or so, you get the FAST key (“smart” keyless entry), foglights, rain-sensing wipers, and extra amenities (more cupholders, rear dome light, etc.).

The only real negative about a Mitsubishi is the paint and finish aren’t quite as good as the Big Three (Honda, Toyota, and Nissan). The overall build quality is excellent, and the Mitsu warranty is the best in the business. So far, I’m very happy with my purchase.


#338

Yeah, it’s pretty amazing what you can get on base models nowadays. The only thing I miss that wasn’t on my base GTI is the Xenon headlights, but the jump up to the package that included those (and stuff I had little use for) didn’t justify the price.


#339

Okay, is this the “help me buy a car” thread? I hope so. Meghan and I are starting to look for a new primary car – we only have one now, which means that I’m spending an extra hour each day at work, and that’s starting to wear on me. All she’s had are Honda Accords, which are great cars, and I’m going to take the old car and she’s going to use the new one we get, since she drives more than I do. We’re looking for something used, but holy cats everything starts at like $20,000!

I know even less about car shopping than I do about house-shopping, since the only car I personally have ever owned was a 1992 Mustang LX (read that: not a real Mustang) that I bought for $1500 in 2003. I don’t have any idea what we’re wanting to spend because I have no idea how much a car costs, but I certainly didn’t think $20,000 for a 2009 Accord. But I am pretty dumb about cars, like we said.

Where should I start? And if that’s with “The Complete Moron’s Guide To Buying A Car,” then direct me to that!


#340

Well, you’ve defined your budget, but if you list some actual requirements you might get specific recommendations. Then once you know which car you want, read through the thread on how to buy a car.

Let me just preemptively assume that a Honda Fit is the car to get (new even!).