Subaru Impreza or Hyundai Elantra?
December 9, 2012 9:05 AM   Subscribe

Hyundai Elantra GT hatchback '13 or Subaru Impreza hatchback '13?

After totaling my 2006 Ford Focus last week, I'm suddenly in the market for a new car. I hated the Ford Focus and don't want to be stuck with a car I don't love.

I drive about 800 miles a month for work on top of my regular daily use of the car, so good mileage is a must. Other musts are 1.hatchback 2. Good safety ratings 3. Affordable - around 20K max.

I've tried the Ford Fiesta, Mazda 3, and Honda Fit and hated all three. I loved the Hyundai from the beginning and just test drove it again and still loved it. It feels roomy and solid, great mileage, good price, good safety ratings. But of the 2 cars I mentioned most people say to go with the Subaru. I liked the Subaru but it wasn't as comfy as the Hyundai and I didn't love it. I'm torn because Subaru has a great reputation for long lasting cars and safety.

Help me make a decision based on the best info available.
posted by Sal and Richard to Shopping (12 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
I wouldn't discount how YOU feel about the car in your decision. I bought the car I loved (incidentally, it's on the list of cars you hated) over choices that others might view as "smarter" and four years later, I still feel grateful to be able to drive it, each time I sit down behind the wheel. I even look forward to my 800 mile drives, because it's quality time with my car.
posted by capsizing at 9:42 AM on December 9, 2012

As a Subaru owner (I have a 2003 Legacy wagon), I will tell you I love my car, but it's not without its quirks. Subarus will run forever with proper maintenance, but they're noisy, randomly squeaky and sometimes expensive to fix. It's AWD, if you need to replace one tire after all 3 have a little age on them, you'll need to replace all four for example. My car is not the most comfortable either. But in all kinds of weather conditions it's reliable and fun to drive. I have often heard it said that Subaru is a car company run by engineers instead of designers, so take that for what it's worth. Subarus have kind of a cult following. There are a multitude of forums for enthusiasts if you're really interested in reading from die hard owners.
posted by Phoenix42 at 9:53 AM on December 9, 2012

Best answer: Unless you need the all wheel drive due to weather-related road conditions, I'd get the Hyundai. In general, I think that Subarus can be overvalued by enthusiasts while Hyundais are undervalued. Hyundais are reliable, last a long time, and are reasonable to maintain. Also, get the car you love. You're not taking medicine, you're buying something that you'll spend a lot of time in.
posted by quince at 10:10 AM on December 9, 2012

Best answer: Both cars will probably make you happy so you really can't lose. Having said that I think the Hyundai is the better car, for 2013 at least. It's a car of the year winner all over the place, the Suby not so much.

The Subaru has a higher quirkyness factor though, if that gets a point from you.
posted by Cosine at 10:25 AM on December 9, 2012

Best answer: The Hyundai is going to get better mileage and probably be more comfortable most of the time. The AWD system Subaru has is awesome and is what sets the car apart from its competitors, however if you don't actually need a rugged AWD system for weather or bad roads than you pay more for it initially in the price of the car and more every time you fill up (worse mileage due to weight and drag of having a drive system on all 4 wheels) and more when you need to get it worked on (the suspension is significantly more complicated and the AWD system has several more parts to break and wear out than a FWD or RWD car). I really, really like Subaru and some of the cars I have liked owning the most were Subaru but they have required more maintenance than similar cars that weren't AWD/Subaru and when broken were more expensive (parts only, i do my own car maintenance/repairs). I am really, really trying to get my mom to buy a Hyundai veloster to replace her Subaru outback (we no longer live where it snows much) but I think she is going to buy the new Subaru XV Crosstrek (a really neat new car Subaru is making-kinda a small outback). BTW I am kinda tall (about 6'2") and have found old Hyundais fit me better than most cars (hondas from about 1990 to the mid 2000 fit me the best of any cars). Subarus seats don't quite go far enough back for me.
posted by bartonlong at 11:27 AM on December 9, 2012

A year ago I bought a new Hyundai Santa Fe. I'm very pleased overall, but I have to say I am not at all impressed by the interior materials. The silver plastic dash and door components aren't that great looking when pristine, but the stuff seemingly scratches at the blink of any eye. Overall, things are kind of "plastic-y" looking inside.

This bugs me enough that I'm not sure I would buy it again.
posted by imjustsaying at 1:26 PM on December 9, 2012

If you like the Hyundai better, buy the Hyundai. It has a 10 year, 100,000 mile power train warranty, so I wouldn't worry so much about reliability.
posted by cnc at 2:07 PM on December 9, 2012

Happy 2010 Impreza hatchback owner here. I don't need the AWD, per se, but the extra space created by folding down the seats has been wonderful for carting music gear around. Picked up a Wurlitzer electric piano (with speaker cabinet attached) a few weeks ago and it all slid in the back very easily.

21-26 MPG is what's advertised for my car, but I routinely do better than that.
posted by emelenjr at 2:27 PM on December 9, 2012

I got the 2003 Hyundai Elantra new in 2003. It's been a very good car for us to date. The only thing I find to be a source of annoyance is that to change the driver side headlight requires that you pull the battery out, and so I always make my mechanic do it. I like being able to do extremely basic maintenance like change lights, so meh. On the upside the lights aren't burning out so often that I have much chance to really fume about this...
posted by susanbeeswax at 2:36 PM on December 9, 2012

Best answer: Given that you like the Hyundai best, it gets better gas mileage and has a warranty that can't be beat, I think you have your answer. Especially if you're going to keep the car for a while. I drive a 2011 Outback which I really like, and my son bought the Elantra this summer and he loves it. The new engine in the Elantra get very high marks.
posted by PaulBGoode at 5:38 PM on December 9, 2012

Seconding quince about only deferring to weather-related concerns, since you sound like you really prefer the Hyundai. I don't know how the Hyundai's reputation is for driving in bad weather, but we have a 2012 Impreza and a 2009 Focus. I drive the Focus when the forecast is good and the Impreza when it's not. After rocking at least 35 mpg highway in the Ford for three yrs, it was a bit of a shock to fill up the Impreza and to find that it is basically impossible to get better than 30 mpg with it. However, I was driving the Impreza in the situation described in my recent ? "Who's in charge here?" and it was a champ. I would have had to abandon the Ford at some point that night (my husband nearly did...) due to the weather conditions and no plowing or salting. With the Subaru, I was able to drive in a ditch to get around tractor trailers parked on an offramp and make my way back out, in snowy, ice conditions (I don't recommend unless desperate...). And the Ford has done pretty well, compared to say, the Honda Civic I had a few years ago (I understand this is related to tires, etc. but the ABS and skid-control seem to work very well), so it's not like I think the Ford is unworthy (I don't know what the 2006 Focus is like, but we didn't like the 2012, hence the switch to Subaru). I am relating this only because I saw that you live in Massachusetts, so I assume a fair part of your driving is in the Northeast.
posted by Tandem Affinity at 7:18 PM on December 9, 2012 [1 favorite]

I've got a Hyundai Elantra and love it. But one thing they didn't tell me and I didn't find out until too late is that they no longer come with a spare tire. (They give you a little tire repair kit instead.) Just something to be aware of -- wish I'd known when I bought it.
posted by la petite marie at 9:45 PM on December 9, 2012 [1 favorite]

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