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The family has a new whip...

  #1  
Old 11-22-2011, 10:11 PM
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Default The family has a new whip...

Background; Mrs. Shipo closed her small business in our town due to the crappy economy, and now that she’s managed to land a new job she needs a new car (we've milked the old minivan far too long).

The short list:
  • Chevy Cruze ECO 6-Speed
  • Ford Focus SE 5-Speed
  • Mazda Mazda3 i SkyActiv 6-Speed
  • Subaru Impreza 5-Speed
  • Volkswagen Golf 5-Speed
  • Volkswagen GTI 6-Speed

Sunday morning we set off to do the rounds (in my 2009 Mazda3 i TVE 5-Speed); first up was a Ford dealership where she drove a Focus SE 5-Speed. She liked the looks of the car, the fit and finish, the ride and handling, and the feel of the gearbox; unfortunately she didn't like the space (or lack thereof) in the back seat. A quick afterthought look at the Fusion SE 5-Speed sitting next to it and she said, "Nope, too big."

Next on the list was a combination Chevy and VW dealership. All it took was a walk past a Cruze for her to say "No." I should mention that she's in the fashion industry, and no matter how good the attributes of an item is, if it doesn't look good, she doesn't want it.

Across the lot to the VW side of the house, and before we'd even opened the door to a black 2-Door GTI she said, "Yup, this is the one!" After the test drive she dug her heels in and refused to even look at another car; she wanted the GTI, period, full stop, the end.

We now have a new 2012 2-Door VW GTI 6-Speed done up in black metallic paint sitting in the garage bay which has been occupied by a minivan since we moved here in 2002. It's kind of amazing how much space there is left over in the garage.

A couple of squawks about the GTI:
  • I think the 2-Door was a mistake in spite of the fact that she liked the looks better than the 4-Door model. Ingress and egress to the back seat sucks more than a bit, but once there it is plenty comfy and roomy. That and the step over from the driver’s seat to the outside pavement is a tad long; long enough for me to constantly be banging my calf muscle against the rocker panel. I’m thinking when the weather gets wet and slushy outside, this will translate to plenty of road gunk being transferred to one’s pant legs.
  • The 18 x 7.5 "Detroit" wheels are about the stupidest looking things I've ever seen, that and here in New England they're about as practical as a kick-stand on a horse. The good news here is that UPS just dropped off a sweet set of 17 x 7.5 Enkei Tuning Fujins wrapped with a set of 225/45 R17 Yokohama AVID ENVigors; I trust the car will both look and drive better once I get them mounted. That and I won't be afraid of every expansion joint or road imperfection within a one-hundred mile radius.

Driving impressions:
  • This thing is fast; maybe not as fast as a MazdaSpeed3, but way faster than anybody really needs a car to be (unless you're tracking it).
  • Compared to the delightfully communicative steering of my Mazda3, the steering feels somehow a bit artificial and numb; not necessarily bad, just not as all around sweet as my car.
  • The fuel economy seems to be pretty much identical as what I get from my 2.0 liter Mazda3 5-Speed; not stellar, but for a car with a conservatively rated 200 HP, not too shabby either.
  • The Bluetooth phone and music integration to my Blackberry is a thing of beauty; very-very well done in this regard.
  • The clutch and shifter are works of art; the best I've ever driven in a FWD car. The only cars I've ever driven with a nicer feel (and not by much I might add) were the likes of an S2000, a Miata, and an RX-7.
  • Gotta watch my speed when I drive this thing; it's easy to look down and see the needle in three-digit territory.

As for my wife (remember, it's her car), after nearly fourteen years of driving a minivan, she's having a difficult time wiping the silly grin off of her face.
 
  #2  
Old 11-23-2011, 01:46 AM
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Congrats on the new ride, keep us up on the MPG's... and don't make me laugh at you if you get a speeding ticket
 
  #3  
Old 11-23-2011, 06:21 AM
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First of all, Congratulations to "Mrs. Shipo" on the new ride!! I wish her, and you by extension, the best of luck with it and many happy years.
And of course pictures are a necessity... since you've never posted any of your own Mazda.

Is premium fuel still required in the GTI?

I think its interesting she refused the Focus for rear seat room, then settled on a 2 dr? And Golf's/GTI's were never really known for a lot of seat room either.

And I'm guessing that the salesman knew from the start he/she had a sale and that you're wife if not the most patient negotiator.
Mine is the same. I still blame her for blowing the deal I was trying to make on my Mazda. We ended up paying more for the car than we should have because of her impatience. She sometimes speaks when she shouldn't... A few more minutes of negotiations could have saved us hundreds on the car.

4 drs are infinitely more practical in so many ways, true. I love that I can strap in my lunch pack and thermos in the back seat, then easily retrieve them when I get to work. But a GTI w/4 drs is nearly sacrilege. Call me a traditionalist, but 2 drs is they way they were born and conceived, and if you want a GTI it should be a 2 dr. The GTI was never intended to be a practical, family car.

And VW shifters must have come a long way for you to be touting them. They used to be pretty sloppy and unfeeling... rubbery is often how they were described, and having owned a few Rabbits and one Golf myself I can attest to that.

The last VW I had, after my Civic got too bad to drive any more, was a low mileage '89 Golf, IIRC. It wasn't a very memorable car. It was a 2dr, white over a very deep blue interior, for all intents and purposes, it was black. It had a sunroof (the best part of the car,) a 5 speed (of course) but frankly it didn't do anything well!!

The handling was scary. The acceleration, slow. The mileage low, and the braking was also scary. More than once I overshot my mark in it. I didn't have it for very long. It had the optional "passive restraint" system. I had had an earlier Rabbit with this so I was familiar with its workings, but most passengers didn't care for it.


 
  #4  
Old 11-23-2011, 07:45 AM
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Originally Posted by virgin1 View Post

First of all, Congratulations to "Mrs. Shipo" on the new ride!! I wish her, and you by extension, the best of luck with it and many happy years.
And of course pictures are a necessity... since you've never posted any of your own Mazda.
I'll try on the whole picture thing. Sometime this weekend I'm going to yank the Detroits and mount the new Enkeis; I'll see if I can get some before and after pictures.


Originally Posted by virgin1 View Post

Is premium fuel still required in the GTI?
I've not yet read the Owner's Manual, but per the salesman (a very-very poor source of information in my book), any grade of fuel can be used but Premium is recommended for optimal performance and fuel economy. I'll report back when I get through the 400 page manual.

Originally Posted by virgin1 View Post

I think its interesting she refused the Focus for rear seat room, then settled on a 2 dr? And Golf's/GTI's were never really known for a lot of seat room either.
Hmmm, can't say I've ever heard that regarding the seat room in the Golf models; I've driven them before (back when I bought my Mazda3), and they always seemed to have plenty of room. I will say this, on paper and based upon our test drives, the Golf/GTI has an easy two inches of extra leg room than the Focus which puts it pretty much on par with my Mazda.

Originally Posted by virgin1 View Post

And I'm guessing that the salesman knew from the start he/she had a sale and that you're wife if not the most patient negotiator.
Mine is the same. I still blame her for blowing the deal I was trying to make on my Mazda. We ended up paying more for the car than we should have because of her impatience. She sometimes speaks when she shouldn't... A few more minutes of negotiations could have saved us hundreds on the car.
Pretty much the same story here; afterwards when I was explaining the situation to her she said, "Well, you should have kicked me under the table."

"Yeah," I responded, "and I would have been sleeping in the attic until after New Years."

Originally Posted by virgin1 View Post

4 drs are infinitely more practical in so many ways, true. I love that I can strap in my lunch pack and thermos in the back seat, then easily retrieve them when I get to work. But a GTI w/4 drs is nearly sacrilege. Call me a traditionalist, but 2 drs is they way they were born and conceived, and if you want a GTI it should be a 2 dr. The GTI was never intended to be a practical, family car.
Funny thing though, a 4-Door GTI is easily as practical as my Mazda3, just more fun and more expensive.

Originally Posted by virgin1 View Post

And VW shifters must have come a long way for you to be touting them. They used to be pretty sloppy and unfeeling... rubbery is often how they were described, and having owned a few Rabbits and one Golf myself I can attest to that.
I've driven VWs off and on for over thirty years and the shifter on the GTI is way-way beyond anything I've ever experienced out of Wolfsburg.

Originally Posted by virgin1 View Post

The last VW I had, after my Civic got too bad to drive any more, was a low mileage '89 Golf, IIRC. It wasn't a very memorable car. It was a 2dr, white over a very deep blue interior, for all intents and purposes, it was black. It had a sunroof (the best part of the car,) a 5 speed (of course) but frankly it didn't do anything well!!

The handling was scary. The acceleration, slow. The mileage low, and the braking was also scary. More than once I overshot my mark in it. I didn't have it for very long. It had the optional "passive restraint" system. I had had an earlier Rabbit with this so I was familiar with its workings, but most passengers didn't care for it.
I skipped 1980s VWs entirely; I went from a 1979 Scirocco 5-Speed (an absolute hoot to drive in spite of the massive 76 horsepower oozing from the engine) to a 1995 VR6 Passat GLX 5-Speed (a car which I still have fond memories of).
 
  #5  
Old 11-25-2011, 02:11 PM
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Pictures (finally):

With the 18" Detroit OEM wheels (soon to be sold):


With the new 17" Enkei Tuning Fujin wheels:
 
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Old 11-25-2011, 02:54 PM
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Nice... i like the Enkie's better as well.
 
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Old 11-25-2011, 03:36 PM
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Certainly a bit more traditional. And with more sidewall, the ride should improve also.

The question is, how does Mrs. Shipo like them?

And my last comment: FINALLY on his 1188th post we get a few pictures from Mr. Shipo, even if they aren't the Mazda!!
 

Last edited by virgin1; 11-25-2011 at 03:38 PM.
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Old 11-25-2011, 04:15 PM
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Originally Posted by virgin1 View Post

Certainly a bit more traditional. And with more sidewall, the ride should improve also.

The question is, how does Mrs. Shipo like them?

And my last comment: FINALLY on his 1188th post we get a few pictures from Mr. Shipo, even if they aren't the Mazda!!
The ride is a bit better, the handling seems a bit quicker, probably due to the fact that the new wheel/tire combination is an easy ten pounds per corner lighter than the OEM setup.

Mrs. Shipo likes the new wheels a lot.

The best news here is that I've found that some folks are getting over $1,000 for a new set of Detroits with new rubber (the factory wheels were yanked after 276 miles); I only spent about $1,275 for the Enkeis delivered.
 
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Old 11-28-2011, 03:21 PM
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I pray that I one day marry a woman as cool as your wife, Shipo.
 
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Old 11-28-2011, 03:35 PM
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Originally Posted by VB View Post
I pray that I one day marry a woman as cool as your wife, Shipo.
A few comments:
  • I wish you luck, they're hard to find but worth the wait.
  • While you're looking, enjoy the many, ummm, errr, "test-drives" you'll be offered along the way.
  • I started "dating" when I was 15 years old, I didn't meet my wife until I was 35; I've been very-very happily married now for nearly 18 years, but oh the memories...
 

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