It's a New Car

One of our vehicles was nearing the end of its useful, economic life and so we began the process of searching out a suitable replacement.

The vehicle to be replaced was a Mazda Tribute - a 3.0 litre gas-guzzling SUV that has transported us safely but expensively for the past seven years. It was bought second hand in 2011 when it had around 60K on the clock and we'd taken it up to around 255K in our seven years of ownership.

We thought about buying a small or medium SUV as a replacement and had thought we'd buy another second hand one - something around 3 or 4 years old...

But some visits to local car yards pushed us towards something new instead as the market for second-hand, late-model SUVs is quite limited (and therefore relatively expensive). We looked at a couple of Mazdas (CX3, CX5) and also Hondas (CR-V and HR-V) and immediately dismissed the more expensive incarnations (the CX5 and CR-V).

We quite liked the CX3 but were told it was built on the same "platform" as the Mazda 2 - so you're effectively paying three thousand dollars for a larger cabin than the sedan or hatch offers. We also liked the Honda HR-V but it was similarly three or four thousand dollars more expensive than its sedan or hatch cousin/brother/sister.

The smaller SUVs also had poorer fuel consumption than the sedan or hatch. I'd worked out that our Mazda Tribute, at around 11 litres/100 km had cost us something like $8,000 extra in fuel than a vehicle using 8 litres/100 km over the time we had it. So we opted for a sedan/hatch rather than SUV.

We finally chose the Mazda 3 (same platform as the CX5) on the basis that you get more car for your money with a sedan or hatch than the equivalent SUV. These days we rarely need the extra space offered by an SUV so can save a few thousand dollars on the purchase price, and the same again over the life of the vehicle in fuel costs.

The final decision was a Mazda 3 hatch "Maxx Sport" in "eternal blue mica". The Maxx Sport is the first model up from the base Neo Sport and offers a range of safety features over the base. The next model up from that - the "Touring" was offering more aesthetic choices but we needed a vehicle, not a statement.

We also opted for an automatic - which added $2K to the price, but the salesman suggested that is reflected in the resale as the market for manuals is small and diminishing.

Being close to the end of year the deal was sweetened (if that's possible when paying someone over $20K) by going from a five to seven year warranty, and our $500 worth of accessories were also "free".

So there you have it. It's in the driveway and has its first thousand km on the clock.

And the Tribute was traded in.

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