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car to buy / avoid (Golf/GTI/Mini) ?

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car to buy / avoid (Golf/GTI/Mini) ?

Old 09-19-20, 12:24 PM
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expatCanuck
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car to buy / avoid (Golf/GTI/Mini) ?

Greetings -

We're looking to replace our 2014 CX-5 with something smaller. Current candidates include the VW Golf (2016-18), VW GTI (2016-19) or a Cooper S 4-door (2016-19).

I'm wondering if any folks here have successfully hauled 2 bikes with these vehicles -- particularly if they've used a hitch-mount carrier. Or, alternatively, have horror stories to recount.

Any & all insight welcome.

Thanks kindly.
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Old 09-19-20, 12:27 PM
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alcjphil
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Too bad the USA doesn't get the Golf Sportwagon. I can fit 2 bikes inside easily
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Old 09-19-20, 12:42 PM
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Originally Posted by alcjphil View Post
Too bad the USA doesn't get the Golf Sportwagon. I can fit 2 bikes inside easily
The US does get the Golf Sportwagen. For a while it was branded as the Jetta Sportwagen, but it has been sold in the US as the Golf Sportwagen since 2015.
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Old 09-19-20, 01:20 PM
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Originally Posted by alcjphil View Post
Too bad the USA doesn't get the Golf Sportwagon. I can fit 2 bikes inside easily
Subaru Impreza 5 door. My son got one for $22k out the door and 0%
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Old 09-19-20, 03:31 PM
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Tried an Impreza ~4 years ago. I'm only 5'11", but have a disproportionately long torso, and it didn't have enough headroom.

I will double-check the specs, tho'. We drove a standard '99 Forester for almost a decade -- loved that car.
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Old 09-19-20, 04:00 PM
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Originally Posted by expatCanuck View Post
Tried an Impreza ~4 years ago. I'm only 5'11", but have a disproportionately long torso, and it didn't have enough headroom.
My son is 6'4" and fits. I'm 5'11" and had a 4 door.
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Old 09-19-20, 05:37 PM
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i canít be of much help I havenít driven a car in three years but if need to know about the NYC subways reach out!
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Old 09-19-20, 05:58 PM
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My Ford Focus ST and my current Fiesta ST are awesome for my purposes. Unfortunately Ford no longer makes them so it would have to be used.
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Old 09-19-20, 09:14 PM
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I had a 2 door MINI for 17 years and 240,000 miles. I was very happy with the car but it did require a good bit maintenance. Fortunately I was able to do most of the work myself (including replacing all the bearings in manual transmission) which kept the cost under control. Normally carried one bike inside and both wheels had to be removed. Also had a hatch rack but wasnít overly fond of it. Hitch installation on the car was problematic due to the exhaust system.
I looked at newer MINIs for a replacement but did not care for the interior look and they didnít seem all that comfortable (but Iím a tall old guy). After looking a number of choices l got a GTI; now almost 2 years still very pleased with the car. Itís a blast to drive and will do just over 40 mpg on the highway. Two bikes can fit inside with blankets and front wheel removal. I added a Stealth Eco hitch which has an easily removable receiver so you canít see the hitch when itís not in use. For a rack I went with a Thule Helium 3. The setup has been very solid and trouble free, frequently carrying 2 bikes. The Thule rack is light weight and reasonably compact to store. I considered the platform type racks (Oneup and others) but their price and overall size seemed like a lot to have to deal with.
Good luck with your choice
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Old 09-20-20, 05:25 AM
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Originally Posted by bruce19 View Post
My Ford Focus ST and my current Fiesta ST are awesome for my purposes. Unfortunately Ford no longer makes them so it would have to be used.
Thanks for the input. Used is fine. I'm considering 2017 onwards.
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Old 09-20-20, 05:29 AM
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Originally Posted by Hank195 View Post
I had a 2 door MINI for 17 years and 240,000 miles. I was very happy with the car but it did require a good bit maintenance. Fortunately I was able to do most of the work myself (including replacing all the bearings in manual transmission) which kept the cost under control. Normally carried one bike inside and both wheels had to be removed. Also had a hatch rack but wasnít overly fond of it. Hitch installation on the car was problematic due to the exhaust system.
I looked at newer MINIs for a replacement but did not care for the interior look and they didnít seem all that comfortable (but Iím a tall old guy). After looking a number of choices l got a GTI; now almost 2 years still very pleased with the car. Itís a blast to drive and will do just over 40 mpg on the highway. Two bikes can fit inside with blankets and front wheel removal. I added a Stealth Eco hitch which has an easily removable receiver so you canít see the hitch when itís not in use. For a rack I went with a Thule Helium 3. The setup has been very solid and trouble free, frequently carrying 2 bikes. The Thule rack is light weight and reasonably compact to store. I considered the platform type racks (Oneup and others) but their price and overall size seemed like a lot to have to deal with.
Good luck with your choice
Thanks, Hank. What year GTI?

I've encountered the EcoHitch in my research. Big fan of the no-drill install.
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Old 09-20-20, 06:10 AM
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Originally Posted by expatCanuck View Post
Thanks for the input. Used is fine. I'm considering 2017 onwards.
I had a 2014 Focus ST and could get two road bikes in the back with front wheels off. I now have a 2016 Fiesta ST. I've put one bike in the back but I generally use a Saris rack to transport two bikes. FWIW either ST comes only with a manual transmission. If you're into cars at all, both cars are quick and handle really well. My Fiesta ST also gets around 30 mpg in general driving. The Focus (255 hp) is faster than the Fiesta (198 hp). But, the Fiesta is a better balanced car for real world driving. The Focus has more hatch space. Both have been trouble free. Good luck in your search for the right car.
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Old 09-20-20, 07:28 AM
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Best car I have owned. '81 Mercedes 240D with a 4 sp maunual trans. Rock solid. 30mpg. You can find high mileage drivers for $2000, stellar low mile examples at $5000. Cast iron engine will do a million miles.
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Old 09-20-20, 07:47 AM
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I have a GTI with a One-Up USA rack and I’m happy with the setup. I can also fit my road or gravel bike inside with the seats folded down.
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Old 09-20-20, 11:53 AM
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Originally Posted by expatCanuck View Post
Tried an Impreza ~4 years ago. I'm only 5'11", but have a disproportionately long torso, and it didn't have enough headroom.

I will double-check the specs, tho'. We drove a standard '99 Forester for almost a decade -- loved that car.
Auto manufacturers should publish the stack and reach of their cars.
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Old 09-20-20, 01:38 PM
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Originally Posted by big chainring View Post
Best car I have owned. '81 Mercedes 240D with a 4 sp maunual trans. Rock solid. 30mpg. You can find high mileage drivers for $2000, stellar low mile examples at $5000. Cast iron engine will do a million miles.
When stuff was made of metal and by people. 👍 SAABs and Volvos from that era are also great. Is that tranny on the floor or column?
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Old 09-20-20, 02:09 PM
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If you want something smaller, I drive the Mazda 3 hatchback and have a Kuat trailer on the back. I can afford a more expensive car, but I'm really happy with my Mazda. It's reliable, comfortable and relatively fun to drive. I'd think twice about purchasing a Mini or a VW. Everyone I know who has had a VW, including me was happy with it for about 2-3 years, then many problems start with the cars. For me, it is important for a car to be reliable; when I turn the key, I want it to get me where I'm going. As far as the Mini, I haven't researched them recently, but I've heard good and bad. I've had my Mazda 3 for seven years now with no problems.

Good luck with whatever you purchase.
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Old 09-20-20, 02:28 PM
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I bought the first Mini Cooper S in Ventura County. I knew one of the test engineers and actually got to tour the test facility in Port Hueneme. I drove it for a couple of years and decided I wanted a convertible with the JCW upgrade. I got nearly what I paid for the first one so I was happy. The 2006 convertible was the last year for the supercharger and the JCW did not disappoint until the ac went out... three or four times! Then they replaced the top for some cracking in the rubber piece above the door( like an anti drip trim). When the car got to about50k miles I was getting on the freeway and when I accelerated the clutch started slipping! I never abused the car in a way that would put unusual load on the clutch.The dealer wanted somewhere around $4000 to fix and clutches are not covered by warranty. I found an independent guy that the mini maniacs club used and paid $2200 including all new bushings in the front end. I will never buy another one. They are a lot of fun to drive but expensive to maintain , and they need a lot. The newer larger Mini’s don’t look that good to me anyway, too big. It’ called a Mini !
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Old 09-20-20, 04:01 PM
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Originally Posted by Mulberry20 View Post
When stuff was made of metal and by people. 👍 SAABs and Volvos from that era are also great.
Wagons rule. I'm partial to Volvos having owned three of them over the years. The V60 CC is a nice ride and would make a great bike hauler.


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Old 09-20-20, 05:35 PM
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Reliability is number one in my book. Owned and operated all of them and hands down Toyota and Volvo 240 are the best I have had experience with. Mini's are fun as heck to drive, but will empty your wallet in a hurry once out of warranty. VW is a bit better, but still not low on the maintenance side to keep me in the fold. The wagons are really nice though, and will hold a couple of bikes if loaded properly.
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Old 09-21-20, 08:05 AM
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Originally Posted by TiHabanero View Post
Reliability is number one in my book. Owned and operated all of them and hands down Toyota and Volvo 240 are the best I have had experience with. Mini's are fun as heck to drive, but will empty your wallet in a hurry once out of warranty. VW is a bit better, but still not low on the maintenance side to keep me in the fold. The wagons are really nice though, and will hold a couple of bikes if loaded properly.
Had a Mini and agree 100%. One of the most problematic cars I have ever owned. Fun to drive. Not fun and very expensive to fix.

I will also agree with Toyota for reliability. I have had a number of them and they all went way over 200,000 miles without issue.

Put a class one hitch on it and you can get a bike rack. I have a bike rack and can mount up to 4 bikes.
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Old 09-21-20, 09:31 AM
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If you enjoy the act of driving get the GTI. If you're a "I just want to go from point A to B" then go with the Golf, Subaru, or Toyota. Mazda 3 is a great car (we own one). You can get a Class 1 hitch for just about anything. But, the one thing you need to keep in mind is that Class 1 has a 200 lb. tongue weight limit, so if your rack and bikes (e-bikes for example) weigh more, you may be asking for problems.

If you do decide to go Euro, I recommend getting a warranty - either remaining original warranty that will cover you for at least a year, or a certified pre-owned warranty. We've owned lots of cars from the VW family and BMW family, and I would never own one without a warranty as repair costs could eat your lunch.
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Old 09-21-20, 09:37 AM
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The Ford C-Max is a hidden gem and an outstanding value for a car.

The best part? Hybrid operation means that oil changes happen ever 15k miles and brakes last 100k miles.

It can fit two bicycles with the rear seats folded down.
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Old 09-21-20, 09:51 AM
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Originally Posted by Bassmanbob View Post
If you want something smaller, I drive the Mazda 3 hatchback and have a Kuat trailer on the back. I can afford a more expensive car, but I'm really happy with my Mazda. It's reliable, comfortable and relatively fun to drive. I'd think twice about purchasing a Mini or a VW. Everyone I know who has had a VW, including me was happy with it for about 2-3 years, then many problems start with the cars. For me, it is important for a car to be reliable; when I turn the key, I want it to get me where I'm going. As far as the Mini, I haven't researched them recently, but I've heard good and bad. I've had my Mazda 3 for seven years now with no problems.

Good luck with whatever you purchase.
Thanks. Took a Mazda3 out for a drive two days ago. It's on the short list. My CX-5 has been plenty reliable, as was my 1980 Mazda GLC Sport (5-sp. manual) - my first car.
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Old 09-21-20, 10:01 AM
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Originally Posted by Mojo31 View Post
If you enjoy the act of driving get the GTI. If you're a "I just want to go from point A to B" then go with the Golf, Subaru, or Toyota. Mazda 3 is a great car (we own one). You can get a Class 1 hitch for just about anything. But, the one thing you need to keep in mind is that Class 1 has a 200 lb. tongue weight limit, so if your rack and bikes (e-bikes for example) weigh more, you may be asking for problems.

If you do decide to go Euro, I recommend getting a warranty - either remaining original warranty that will cover you for at least a year, or a certified pre-owned warranty. We've owned lots of cars from the VW family and BMW family, and I would never own one without a warranty as repair costs could eat your lunch.
I hear you. I am indeed an engaged, 'spirited' driver. But this vehicle will also be used for commuting. and driving a standard in stop & go gets old fast. But, if I need a fix, my better half sometimes lets me drive her roadster (a '97 Z3 with just over 15K).


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