Right off the bat, let me say that this thread is purely theoretical only, a thought experiment if you will…
Lets say, for the sake of argument, that I decided I no longer like my '07 Saturn Ion and wished to trade out of it into a different vehicle, the two vehicles being considered would be a VW Rabbit, base model, 5 speed manual, 2 door hatch, and a Mazda 3, base model, 5 speed manual, 5 door hatch, both vehicles with A/C
the Mazda stickers at slightly more, is built in Japan, and has a rather good reliability record
the VW Rabbit is slightly less expensive, is built in Germany, and at least on paper/the Intertubes, has a slightly lower reliability record
which one is the better overall car, performance, handling, fuel economy?
I couldn’t care less about “gadgety” features, I’m a form-follows-function kinda’ guy, heck, the Ion has manual crank windows and a manual transmission and that’s the way i likes it, I even turn off the insipid “Traction Control” thingy because I don’t want or need any automated “helpers”, I want pure, unadulterated functionality, if it doesn’t improve fuel mileage, handling, or performance, it’s irrelevant
to reiterate, this is a thought experiment only, while I’m not in love with my Ion (it’s a good, basic, reliable car), I wouldn’t be heartbroken if I found a killer deal on a better vehicle, I can’t argue with the car payment on the Ion ($209/mo for 72 months, 0% interest), and I’ve had it for a year, and have yet to roll 10,000 miles (it’s got about 8600 on the odo…)
Not to mention, with the economy in a downward spiral, it would not be the best time to get into another loan, especially since I’d be carrying the balance of the Ion loan on top of the other car, even if the dealer “pays it off” (actually rolls it into the payments on the new car loan)