Help me find another car
May 10, 2016 1:03 AM   Subscribe

I'd like to get a car with backup cameras, blind spot monitoring, brake assist, and HD radio for under $30k USD. It could be new or used. I have a Mazda3 right now and like it quite a bit. But I'd prefer something with better safety technology and a quieter ride if possible. I've been looking at other Mazdas and Volvos, but I'm not set on either. I'd like to avoid VW and (perhaps) Toyota for sketchy business practices. I'm in SoCal, if that matters. Thanks!
posted by persona au gratin to Travel & Transportation (15 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Best answer: My Subaru Crosstrek has all of those safety features (via their EyeSight package) and HD radio for under $30K. I think all or most Subarus have the EyeSight package as an option. I can't say the Crosstrek has a super quiet ride, but it's not bad and I hear that it's quite a bit better than in earlier model years.
posted by dayintoday at 3:20 AM on May 10, 2016 [3 favorites]

Best answer: This is exactly why my parents bought a Subaru last year.
posted by phunniemee at 4:06 AM on May 10, 2016 [3 favorites]

Best answer: How old is your Mazda 3? I drive a 2010 s sport and my husband has a 2013 i grand touring that has almost all those features and is a remarkably nicer car.
posted by notjustthefish at 4:20 AM on May 10, 2016 [1 favorite]

Best answer: My Honda Civic has all that stuff, my favorite is the camera that turns on when my right blinker goes on, I can see everything to my right and it gives me a tracker to tell me if I have enough room to merge over.

Also, my Honda was only $20k.
posted by Ruthless Bunny at 4:56 AM on May 10, 2016 [9 favorites]

Best answer: I have a 2014 Mazda3 Grand Touring and liked how it drove versus the competition. They did a major redesign in 2012 or 2013. At least where I live there are no used ones available -- they get snapped up fast. It has the safety package you're looking for and is quieter than my old Mazda.
posted by *s at 8:00 AM on May 10, 2016 [1 favorite]

Best answer: Oddly enough, I've got a 2016 Mazda3 and it has all that stuff. For about $25K, you can even get it with adaptive cruise control, lane-departure warning, and other whizzy features based on forward-looking cameras.

I will say that the car feels pretty tank-like, but the drawback to that is that it has poor outward visibility. The A pillars are huge and I find myself moving my head back and forth like a chicken when going through turns, and you really need the blind-spot monitoring because the blind spots from the C pillars are so big.
posted by adamrice at 8:00 AM on May 10, 2016 [1 favorite]

Best answer: Yep, get a Subaru with EyeSight, BSM, and rear cross-traffic alert (Legacy, Outback, Crosstrek).
posted by sgo at 8:49 AM on May 10, 2016 [4 favorites]

Best answer: You can get a used Mercedes SUV (2012 ish) for that price.
posted by ramix at 10:42 AM on May 10, 2016 [1 favorite]

Best answer: Subaru is very highly-rated for safety, if that's a priority. They're not quite the best in other aspects. Personally, I could go for almost any automobile designed in Japan.
posted by ovvl at 6:32 PM on May 10, 2016 [3 favorites]

Best answer: Newer cars tend to have really thick A and B pillars (and sometimes C as well) for safety - in my experience this means "safer if I crash" but also "bad visibility: more likely to run into stuff". So I guess it depends on what your safety needs are - recent (pre 2012 ish) cars may have better visibility but slightly fewer safety features.

I had a 2002 VW that was great - I could see everything and driving felt like it was an extension of my body.

My current 2014 car (Chevy) I can't even see the edge of the hood in front, and the A B and C pillars are so think I've had a few narrow misses making turns into pedestrians.

If I was gonna crash, I'd rather be in the 2014 Chevy, but I feel like I'd be less likely to crash in the 2002 VW.

posted by soylent00FF00 at 6:38 PM on May 10, 2016 [1 favorite]

Best answer: I bought a 2015 Mazda 3 Grand Touring in July after my Honda was totaled in a driver's side impact. Wasn't considering Mazda at all but it was second only to Subaru in Consumer Reports safety ratings. If you're looking for safety, value, and bells and whistles, you're not going to do better for the price.
posted by good lorneing at 7:20 PM on May 10, 2016

Best answer: Yay for HD radio! So much great stuff in the FM band that nobody knows about.

May I suggest a used Chevy Volt? You can get a 2013 for about $15k, and that's the year when that model really hit its stride. You don't even need to plug it in (it has a gas engine) but if you do it's a lot more fun to drive. Plug into a regular wall outlet overnight. If you live in a multi-unit dwelling that's more complicated though ...

Backup camera, built like a tank, way quieter than just about any other car.
posted by intermod at 8:12 PM on May 10, 2016

Response by poster: I knew MF would come through. I'd never even considered a Subaru, and the Legacy is looking pretty nice. I'll drive it alongside the Mazda3. And I'll see if there are Volts around. I've had problems with blind spots in the Mazda3, which is one reason I wanted the cameras. Thanks all!
posted by persona au gratin at 9:24 PM on May 10, 2016

Best answer: I love my Legacy with EyeSight. I actually bought two of them.
posted by Capri at 12:14 PM on May 11, 2016 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: Capri: that's what I'll likely get!
posted by persona au gratin at 12:11 AM on May 12, 2016

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