Sure why not?
I am gonna try and drive everything that is in my budget and interest.
Dodge Dart. First I drove the Rallye trim in a six speed. It was a mistake. The clutch was so light I thought I was going to smash my foot through the firewall. I think this is a pretty good looking car so it was the one I started my day with but the throw of the shift lever and the feather like clutch was so far from my GTI I was more hung up on making good shifts and such, I totally missed out on what the car was about.
Next up the Subaru 2.0 Impreza Sport wagon. I was not looking at this car at all. I wasn't even really looking at Subaru until it was mentioned in this thread. I want a sedan and now I am right back in a frikin hatchback! But wow! This car drives really well. The CTV transmission in the Subarus is out of this world. Mash your foot to the floor and the car just starts going faster and faster. Not a change in tone, nor a stutter, or even a hint of it shifting. You are going to feel the vibration of someone farting in the backseat before you feel this car shift. Really Impressive. I was kinda let down by the lack of "techy" toys in the Impreza after just driving the Dart with its 8 inch touch screen display.
The Legacy sedan. Too big, too heavy. That is what I thought anyway, probably more due to the fact that I have been in a hot hatch for 15 years. The seating is too low, steering too heavy and just a yawner. Not saying anything bad about it as it rides real nice but just seamed to be a snooze fest to me.
The Impreza sedan. Just what I thought it would be. I liked this car alot. Had the pep and responsiveness of the wagon and didn't feel so much like a tank like the Legacy. All in all, the Subaru line left a good impression. Everything looks well done, fit and finish wise, but it feels like they have been sleeping on all the bells and whistles that the others are putting out in this price range.
On to the Fords...I am with you Outfileld. The Fusion was the car I thought I wanted when starting all this process in motion. Problem is, it is pushing my budget a bit. I could get into a base model with a few options, but then I realized if I want a mid sized sedan, I wan't it all, leather, NAV, bluetooth, power everything, yadda yadda, even the Hybrid, now you are in the 35K range. I think this is one of the best looking cars on the road. I see them all the time and they look good coming the other way at you, but honestly when I was standing right above one. that Jag/Aston Martin look seemed to have gone away and it kinda looked, blah. I knew I couldn't afford what I wanted..so I didn't even ask to drive it.
The Focus sedan. Ahhhh the ol plastic sh*^t box. I HATE THIS CAR! O.k. not the one I drove, but the one I remembered. I used to do outside sales and did about a thousand miles a week in an early 2000's focus. I really didn't even want to look at this car but its in budget, and I am here so....
Guess what? Its still a plastic econo box. But the improvements can be seen everywhere. The plastic looks like, well, better plastic. There are two displays, one in the instrument cluster and one in the center con. Way too many buttons, but you know what? They bring out the nerd in you and you want to try them all. By far the most techy car of the bunch. Drives like, well a focus. The transmission is clunky and I asked the guy if they offered this car with CVT and he said this one had it. I kinda lol'd Don't know if he was b.s.ing me or not since I haven't looked it up. All in all, if I am gonna take the cheap way out, I will give it a second look, just for all those nerdy buttons! Thought about driving the ST hatch, but if I was gonna spend that kinda money on a boy racer, I'd be back in a GTI. VW ergonomics>*
Hey! What kinda test driver are you?? You went to the car you wanted to see first, dove a stick, then a bunch of AT's afterward. Hello light bulb!
Dodge Dart Limited. This is it, top of the heap for Dart with an AT in the 1.4 turbo. Nice car. Leather seats with great bolsters. Moon roof, keyless entry, push button start, 8 inch display again. Lets roll. Enjoyed the car much more this time. It is a "sporty" car. Not fast by any stretch. Bit of turbo lag, but pulls pretty good. There is a GT coming mid year with 184 HP and might be the perfect mix. I'm not gonna wait that long and it will probably push that car up to 30K.
Hungry..Lets go home..whoops wrong turn. Hey! There is a Mitsubishi dealer....
The Lancer GT. Nice. Nice. Nice. Loved this car, almost ended my search. Always have liked the exterior of the Lancer, it just looks like nothing else. Another bonus, you don't see a lot of them on the road. You can feel the Evo pedigree right away, this car feels like it is on rails, yank the wheel and it goes where you point it. There is torque steer in this car, and too much of it, but that doesn't really bother me. Its kinda like grabbing a handful of your girls hair and saying "yeah, take it" as she pulls away from you. Least amount of road noise of any car I drove today. The fit and finish is tight, even though there is quite a bit of plastic. They tried to make it look fancy and almost pull it off if you squint your eyes just a bit..hmmmm is that ebony on the dashboard? AT with paddle shifters, lets you control the revs if you like. Like the Sub's they are a bit lacking on the gizmos, but my daily commute is 5 miles so I'm not so hung up on that.
I went as far as letting them pull my credit, make me an offer and I can pick one up on Monday if I like, but there is the Civic Si, the Altima and the Korean cars to still try..we shall see.
as it stands today: Lancer, Impreza, Camry, Dart, Focus, Corolla S