Sunday, October 03, 2010

New Car - Hyundai Elantra Touring

In early September I wrote about needing a new car.  By the end of the month the noise made by the faulty connecting rod bearing in our Saturn SL2 was increasing so badly we were afraid to drive it unless absolutely necessary.  We traded it in to the dealer, and purchased a new car.

We were looking at the Honda Fit and the Hyundai Elantra Touring, and decided upon the latter.

The deciding factor was actually comparing cargo space side-by-side.  We packed up our Saturn as we normally do for car camping or driving to visit family in California.

Then we drove to the Hyundai dealer, borrowed the Touring, and loaded it up with our stuff. If we put the sleeping bags in the back seat foot well, then everything fit without totally blocking rear visibility and allowing for two car seats in the back seat(since we hope to have another child soon, God willing).

Then we drove the Touring to the Honda dealer, to compare the back storage space side-by-side.  Notice the three round beverage coolers don't fit.

The comparison was decisive, and more visibly apparent if we put in less stuff. The Honda Fit could not fit a large cooler aligned lengthwise with the car. A cooler that size had to be positioned sideways.

But the Touring could do this, with room to spare.

As a family's second car the Fit might be a wise choice.  But we did not think we could comfortably camp or drive to visit family in California with the Fit.

Tangentially, I have no idea how the Honda Fit and Hyundai Elantra Touring were given official ratings with such similar cargo space (20 and 24 cubic feet, respectively).  Looking at the cargo space side-by-side is dramatic.

How much will the larger Elantra cost us?  We cannot say for sure, but the answer seems to be "not much".

Although my wife and I obviously cannot predict gasoline prices for the next decade, nor the expected repair costs for years eight, nine, and ten of owning a Honda Fit, we did our best with a ballpark estimate and found that the smaller car was only about $4,000 less expensive to own for a decade.

Initial Purchase: With the power of Costco pricing and then ruthless bargaining, we negotiated both car dealerships to below invoice price.  The end result was that the Touring cost $750 more than the Fit.

Extended Warranties: The Touring's bumper-to-bumper extended warranty costs $1,800 and brings the coverage to 10 years.  The Fit's costs $1,290 for seven years.

Insurance: With our good driving records, over ten years the Touring would cost $1,800 more than the Fit to insure.

Gasoline: Using 11,000 miles per year and $3.20 per gallon, we estimate that over ten years the Touring would cost $2,730 more than the Fit (23 versus 28 mpg).

Repairs: What would annual repair costs be for years 8, 9, and 10 for the Fit?  A wild guess is about $500 per year, so the Touring saves $1,500 over ten years.
So the Touring costs $400 more per year.  (We ignore depreciation, since we always drive our cars until they die instead of selling them used.)  That's a reasonable cost for having twenty more horsepower, traction control, three more years warranty, spaciously wide seating with a nice arm rests, and another half inch between the front of a forward-facing car seat and the back of the front seats--without even considering how it frees us from needing to purchase airline tickets to visit family each year.

My only remaining question is why so many people in Eugene own a Subaru Outback.  Do that many people really use all-wheel drive and the extra cargo space?  It just doesn't compare to the Touring for mileage, warranty, or reliability.  If you're not really big on camping, why pay more?


Lady 8:2Faye said...

First, congratulations on the new car. I agree with you getting the Hyundai over the Honda: while the Fit may have been cheaper at the moment, that extra years of warranty and maintenance would've been horrible in the long-run!

Second, I have never considered owning a Hyundai (well, okay, maybe the Elantra at first, but, being between a rural area and a major city made me seriously reconsider). Since it is an SUV, does it sit off of the ground pretty well? I know some SUVs sit seriously low to the ground - lower than some compact cars to an extent.

Hope you have a blast with the Elantra Touring!!! :)

David V.S. said...

Hi, Faye,

It's not an SUV. The car is the standard Hyundai Elantra but with a station wagon back instead of a sedan back end.

Anonymous said...

Enjoyed reading your posts about the E.T. We love ours, it's sad how amazingly rare this car is even in Massachusetts.

Also sad that Hyundai is discontinuing the fantastic small wagon platform in favor of a less capacious 5 door hatchback when the model is refreshed with the new (and greatly improved power/mpg wise) engine& drvetrain now seen on the latest Elantra sedan.

Also, regarding your point/question about folks buying Outbacks instead of ETs, cargo capacity can't be too much of a factor, as the Subie (when it was still a wagon (through 2010) and not an suv like the current model) has 33.5 cubic feet of cargo capacity way back, and 66 cubic feet max, 7 and 1 cubic feet larger.

Drive well.