In addition to me trying and failing to decide on a car for myself, I’ve also been helping my gf lease her next car. She’s leasing a Civic through this July, but the trade value and payoff are about the same right now so she can get out of it. She’s much easier to shop for than me.

Leasing is perfect for her, because she puts such low mileage on her car. The lease on her Civic has worked out great. It’s only $160/month, and all she’s had to pay for aside from that is insurance, gas, oil changes, and a 15k mile service.

For her next car, she wants an awd hatchback—because I’m selling my Jeep and she wants to be able to carry the random furniture she will inevitably purchase at garage sales to refinish—with heated seats, a backup camera, and maybe a sunroof. I’ve been doing the car scouting, and narrowing down the list to 2 cars for her to choose from, because I’m a car nerd and she hates car dealerships, and visiting 2 of them is all she’s willing to tolerate.

The finalists are a Subaru Impreza, or a Fiat 500X. Other cars I looked at and ruled out are the Honda HR-V because the lease payments on them are ridiculously high right now, and the Mazda CX-3 because its back seat and trunk are tiny, and it has terrible, almost Camaro-like visibility. The beltline and cowl are way too high. Sure it’s the “fun” one in this segment but it’s not that fun and it totally screws the pooch on the practicality aspect, which is the whole point of a vehicle like this. No way is some vintage dresser going to fit in a CX-3, even with the seats flipped down.

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She was all ready to jump on the Impreza bandwagon, until I brought her home a brochure from the Fiat dealer. Then she was all like, “I love how this looks but I thought it was too expensive!” I explained that Fiat/Chrysler aren’t selling enough cars, and they’re trying to move them with wild ‘n crazy deals, so the lease payments fit our budget.

Objectively speaking, the Impreza is a far better car than the 500X. It gets better mileage, it both handles better and has a comfier ride, you can see out of it better, it has a higher quality interior with much more comfortable seats, and is likely much more reliable. But, Imprezas and Crosstreks are everywhere here in Madison. I didn’t really even realize this until I started shopping for one, but they’re all over the place.

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The 500X has a heated steering wheel, an optional panoramic sunroof, and looks like a vintage streamline-era refrigerator. Its turn signal click-clack noise maker is the cheapest sounding turn signal I have ever heard in any vehicle. The interior looks nice in photos but the materials are kinda low rent in person.

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We’re going to check out both cars tomorrow, so we’ll see what happens. On paper, she’s all about that 500X, but maybe seeing it in person she’ll reach the same conclusion as me.