We test drove three cars today: the Toyota Yaris Hatchback, the Nissan Versa, and the Honda Fit. We wanted to drive cars that are comparable to our Mazda 3 sport.
We didn't like the Yaris. While it is zippy, it's very small and loud. We also didn't like the center instrument console. The front seat wouldn't go far enough back for Ian to sit comfortably to drive it, and the place for the left foot wasn't comfortable for either of us. On the plus side, it had ok visibility. We wouldn't buy this car, although if I were buying a car for the first time and had no money, I'd consider this one. It's not at all right for the two of us, though.
We very much like the Versa. It's a lot like our current Mazda 3, with similar instrument paneling, feel, and comfort. It was a fairly quiet ride, too, which is nice. It felt like it had a lot of pickup as well. The back seat has a ton of space, even if Ian is the one in front. The car isn't quite as wide as our car, and so curling brooms would be hard to transport (yes, we brought a curling broom and a paddle to each test drive to see whether or not they would fit in the cars). The thing we're most concerned about is that the weatherstripping had come loose on the driver's side back seat window, and the right mirror was cracked. We assume that the mirror was cracked because of vandalism on the lot, but we want to look into maintenance issues on this car. Right now there is a promotion on for 1% purchase financing with 30% of the purchase prices of the car down. That is a plus :). The Versa is definitely in the running.
We didn't like the Fit at all. It isn't a safe car for me to drive because I can't see around the headrest to do shoulder checks. Stop laughing, you people! :) It isn't a picnic being 5' tall, and the car needs to fit both of us. It also was a bit of a noisy car. It's comparable to the Yaris; if I had to choose between the two, I'd pick the Yaris.
So it's come down to a choice between the Honda Civic Hybrid and the Nissan Versa. Put another way, we have to choose between our environmental ideals and a car that is very much like our current car. The Honda Civic Hybrid would be a bit of a compromise for us, as it's a bit narrower for Ian and it doesn't have 60/40 split seats (which we like for hauling stuff). The Versa is a lot like our current car but with better fuel economy and is fun to drive. It is less of a compromise and is less expensive.
How much are we willing to pay, and how much are we willing to compromise, for our ideals? I don't know. We're running the numbers now; I have to get an insurance quote on both to see how much each will cost us. We expect to make a decision by next weekend. We'll probably take the Civic out again to see what it's like, and we may end up taking the Versa out again as well. Really, I wish every car was a hybrid and that we didn't have to compromise our ideals for a car we love. Sigh.
Later on, we rented the movie Hard Candy. It is a strange movie and not at all suitable for children. It's about a girl who meets a guy on the internet and then meets him for coffee. Thing is, she's 14 and he's 32. She convinces him to take her back to his place, and some very bad situations ensue. It's not a sexual movie, though. The strangest thing about this movie is that it doesn't have a soundtrack, and most of the movie takes place in his house. In some ways, it's a very intellectual movie - a movie that makes you think - not just about pedophilia, which is obviously a huge theme, but also about what makes someone a psychopath. It is an interesting , albeit disturbing, movie that can at times seem slow-paced. I'd recommend it.