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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
My weakness is being a perfectionist. I want the best possible deal in both the short run and the long run. But I also want the car to be entertaining.

I'm coming from a 2010 Sonata that I bought used in 2014 at a discount because it had "hail damage" on it. I think more water damage happened than just hail. Everything has been rusting. It had a total paint job when I bought it. It must not have been done very well, because it's been rusting and boiling e.v.e.r.y.w.h.e.r.e. (lol). Transmission pan's leaking. CV joint is loose. A/C broke. There is exhaust fumes coming out the vents when I use warm air. Tires are all shot. It's been sitting in the driveway for a few months and now all the brakes all around are rusted a lot. It apparently will take over 4 grand (Canadian $) to certify the car. I think I'll sell it as-is for (hopefully) 500 bucks. If not, the wreckers will pay me 200. Disappointing to see a car game over like this when it just turned 10.

So... I've been shopping around. I came across this cute little ex-rental 2018 Cruze Hatchback with 70k (km) on it. Test drive took me straight onto the highway from a stop. At first I thought, geez, that's pretty sluggish. I then clued in that the turbo might not be engaging much because the car was warming up. This was at about -5C temperature, from a cold start. Drove 3 minutes, exited, got back onto the highway the other direction back to the dealer, stepped on the gas a bit to merge traffic, and I thought, hmm, it's ok-ish, but my Caravan has more gutso that that.

I then left it at that and started to look for Accords and Camrys. That was super aggravating because the used prices of those cars are absolutely stupid high. It's like they're made of gold or something. I consider age to be the major public enemy number one for a car. So, a higher mileage newer car feels more appealing to me than an older lower mileage one. And especially so with my 2010 Sonata having come to an end, with 200k (km) on it. Engine is great, but the body and various mechanics on it is shut.

Then started to look into Sonatas again. Much better prices. Found out about the infamous engine recalls, engine fires, engines failing on the spot without the ability to start it ever again. Something about an engine factory in Alabama at fault for leaving metal grindings inside the engine, killing the engine from the inside out as you drive. Hyundai has been offering a recall / fix where they program the ECM (electronic control module) to "detect" a failing engine and put it in limp mode so that you can get it off the road and to the dealer. They lengthened the power train warranty to 200k, which is quite incredible. It seems that it's mostly the 2011 and 2012 models that are greatest risk for this horrible problem. So I aimed for the 2015-2017 years. Funny enough, that same recall applies to models all the way up to 2018. It's done as a precaution. Same long 200k warranty. I've seen ads of Sonatas with new engines put in. It's seen it only once where a 2015 had a new engine in it. Lots of pre 2015 ones, both 2.4L ones and the 2.0T ones (the latter more so). I feel that the 2016-2017 is the safest bet. I test drove a 2017 and a 2016 one. I liked the solid feel of it. I like how it doesn't have the turbo complication. I like how the rear seats have so much space. It feels fairly wide and spatious inside. Highway noise I think it's slightly less quiet than the Cruze.

I then took that same Cruze hatchback for a second test drive. I took my 10 year old son with me. He * l o v e d * it. It was unclear if he loved it because of the car, or because of the fact that "it has a screen" and it does Android Auto, lol. He's been going on how he wants me to buy it. He doesn't mind the smaller backseat space.
I got to drive it without the sales guy tagging along. So I drove it a little harder. Totally differente experience than the first time. It had spunk. It was snappy. The wheel spin easily. It didn't feel slow or sluggish or lethargic at all. The handling feels great. It reminds me of a '91 Civic Si had once, but with much more gutso.

I found out about the whole tuning thing. Got a quote to do the Trifecta thing. Was warned to re-flash stock if/when bringing it to the dealer for whatever reason. I might actually not do that, because I do not care enough that I really must have that whole extra second for racing at the traffic light. I won't start any road fights anyway. I'm well past that point now. So long as it doesn't suck, I'm good.

Warranty. Found out that in 2019, GM reduced the power train warranty from 160k down to 100k. So that 2018 is covered to 160k (km). Question: does that include everything to do with the turbo? It would put my mind at ease. I hope it's not just the engine itself and transmission, and then not all the other parts that are involved in making the car move. Does power train include everything that makes the car move?
Consumer Reports and many if not most other credible sources across the internets, rate the 2016+ Cruzes high. High reliability. I've been looking around the forums here and it's mostly good. It's understandable that many people only have something to say when they want to solve a problem.
I've pretended to own the car using the GM website, entered the VIN, and it verified that the power train is indeed covered to 160k.

Mexico. The hatchback is made in Mexico, not Lordstown in the US. So, that probably means it sources various parts from outside the US. I believe the transmission is a US one. Should I worry about the hatchback being a Mexico made one... I figure that it's a world market version of the Cruze, and actually pretty good, if not better even than the US one. Perhaps it's the same expected quality.

Right now, it's a slow time for car sales. It's almost February now. Cars are sitting on lots and they're not moving. Dealers are desperately trying to protect their prices. I actually made an offer earlier on that Cruze and it was turned down! The price has now dropped to almost the same price as what I offered.

So, it comes down to a choice for me, between a 2016 Sonata or the 2018 Cruze hatchback for about the same price. About the same mileage. I can't choose! I remain worried about the Cruze reliability. Resale value probably sucks, but I'd be driving it until it rots and then it's game over anyway. So I'm not too too worried about the value tanking further. I worry about the Sonata using more gas. Normally I feel the EPA ratings are accurate, but I think they're off on the city economy for the Sonata and I bet it's higher than what they claim. This because of what I've seen other people say about it. Some reviewers claim it's not as good as what the EPA claims, the Sonata that is. Another whole thing that noone ever talks about, is if you run a 15 minute errand with a cold engine in a cold climate. The fuel economy that includes such warm up phase. All the tests are with nicely warmed up engines and nice weather conditions. But where I am, for a good part of the year, it's below 0 Celsius. "Oh I'll just drive to the library and back because my book has arrived" - my wife says. Ok, so she's currently taking the van, and it uses like 12.5+ liters / 100 km on a short run in the cold weather. Longer trips, the van is not bad, at under 9 liters / 100 km easily. Short runs, which we do most of the time, we can use something smaller. So, given we have a big honking van for utility purposes (eg. you should see how much crap we take with us on vacation, lol), it makes sense that the run around car is something smaller, like that Cruze.
But... it would also be nice that with 2 kids, we use that 2nd car for normal runs also. Like going for their sports practices. I wouldn't want to get stuck everyone hating the cramped space and wanting to take the van every time. Decisions. First world problems. Lol. However, my 10 year old will do anything to be near that screen. Might wear off though...

So what I'm after here, besides just sharing my "problem", is advice how the 2016+ Cruze might be a wise choice. Is it reliable. Does that power train warranty protect me for a while. Is it being made in Mexico a problem. Is it a really bad idea to do the Trifecta thing (if I get tempted too much). Does it suck for short cold runs. Are other people using it with people in the back seat a lot. How many miles are people getting out if it? What's considered high mileage enough where it starts to develop problems.

Edit: I forgot to mention that I tried an Elantra. I was shocked how cramped it feels in the back. At least the Cruze was possible for a 6.2 feet adult to sit there. The Elantra is impossible! They're cheap on the used market though. Oh how I wished my wife could drive standard, what money we could save, lol...
 

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Your post is too long. I had a 2006 Sonata 3.3V and it was the perfect car. The CRUZE in comparison is like driving a Vega, which remarkably were made in the same plant
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Short version:
1) Is a 2nd gen 2016+ Cruze hatchback a wise choice?
2) Is it reliable?
3) Does that power train warranty protect me from any mechanical problems that are responsible for getting the car to move (including the turbo)?
4) Is it being made in Mexico a problem?
5) Is it a bad idea to do the Trifecta thing?
6) Does it suck for short cold runs in cold climates?
7) Are other people using it with people in the back seat a lot.
8) How many miles are people getting out if, and how does it compare with other brands in that aspect?
9) What's considered high mileage enough where it starts to develop problems?
10) What would you pick between a 2016 Sonata and 2018 Cruze hatchback with the same mileage and at the same cost, and why?
 
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