So in this post:
I asked you all to guess which is the leading contender overall and which is the leader from a pure driving perspective.
From a pure driving perspective, the Corolla hatchback is the leading contender.
From an overall perspective, the Elantra GT hatch is the leader.
My GF found that the Corolla ‘felt’ the most peppy, felt less claustrophobic and felt more ‘light on its feet’
However, the back seat was the tightest. And because of that, it tipped things in the Elantra’s favour... which felt almost as sporty, but with much better rear seat space.
She went into this thinking the Mazda 3 is what she would get. But the Mazda 3 had the worst outward visibility and felt ‘chunky’. It didn’t have the same lighter sporty feel of her old Mazda.
And the Civic she found drove ‘heavy’. And even though it was the fastest on paper, she said it didn’t feel fast.
One other note.. I was with her for the Corolla, Elantra and Mazda test drives... and I found the Mazda had the nicest engine note and probably was the one that felt the most ‘upscale’.
So if you have a Mazda 3 from the 2000s and just want something new that feels closest to it, get the Corolla hatchback if you don’t care too much about rear seat space.
Now the question remains... what will happen after she test drives the Tesla Model 3 SR+?
Note that she CAN technically afford it. But it will push her payment at least a couple hundred per month above the $500/month limit she set for herself.
Will she love it enough to spend the extra $$,$$$?
Anyone one want to make any bets on that?