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I joined here to get some more information before I test drive the vehicles, and get a feel for what the current owners think.

My current car is an Infiniti G35 coupe, and I need a new car. $400 on gas per month, and 154k miles on the car, it's time for something w/ better mpg (I get ~20mpg w/ the G35), and more space.

After looking at a bunch of cars and small SUVs I think I have finally narrowed it down to a brand new custom ordered Mazda3 (I really hate buying cars new, but to get the unique set of options I want, I will have to), or a used CT200h. It just so happens that a Lexus dealership has exactly the CT I would want if I had my choice; basically a loaded CT in Fire Agate Pearl with the sand colored NuLuxe interior. The car has 32k miles on it, and they are asking $25k for it (it is a 2011).

So I have basically narrowed it down to the following pros and cons:
CT is much nicer on the inside.
Mazda3 is much nicer on the outside
CT is more comfy and has more room (or so it *seems* - the numbers show the 3 is slightly bigger on the inside, but it *feels* smaller for some reason) and gets better MPG.
The Mazda3 is a LOT more fun to drive, AND I can get it in stick shift!

So, how does the NuLuxe hold up? I believe I have read here that it holds up better than the leather interior, but it seems a lot thinner and less durable to the touch than leather(?)

When in bumper to bumper traffic, where I barely move for 20 minutes, if I stick it in EV mode, is it essentially infinity miles per gallon since the engine is turned off? How long can the car sit in EV mode in traffic before I have to turn the gas engine on and put it in Eco mode?

Is there anything I should look for in terms of reliability (even if that is related to things like interior trim as I know the real leather interior trim is subject to very early wear on the seats, for exmple)? What should I be looking for on a test drive, etc.?

Thanks for ay input!
 

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I paid $20K for my 2011 CT200h from a nonlexus dealer a few months ago.
I get 30 to 35 mpg in no traffic.
At 80 I get 35 mpg.

If you drive stop and go as you say, then you could be getting 40+ mpg. People on here say they get in the 40s or even over 50s. I never done it, but I dont have stop and go driving.

The nulux is actually awesome. It is spill and stain proof. I like the CT seats.
If you really like the CT, you can also look at the corolla S if you dont want a hatchback. Its the same size as the CT but has a trunk.

I cant imagine you wanting to drive a stick with stop and go driving.
I dont see any benefit from the stick.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Thanks for the info. 30-35 in no traffic, and 35 @ 80? That doesn't sound good at all. Consumer Reports reports a combined 42, but IDK if they just take the manufacturers word for it or test themselves. My ex-wife's gas engine Hyundai Elantra gets better mileage than that! Is your experience typical?

I don't like the Corolla at all. WHen my ex-wife went car shopping last spring I went with her and we test drove some Corollas and we didn't like the interior, the way they handled, and they just didn't feel solid to either one of us.

Stick in stop and go really isn't that bad if the clutch is light enough. Leave it in 1st and just work the clutch and gas. You make up for it driving around town and on other roads in non-rush hour traffic though. Driving a stick is just so much more fun (to me) than an auto.
 

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Mileage isn't everything; people tend to over emphasize it. But when you put all costs on paper and analyze it , mpg isn't necessarily the deciding factor or at least from a logical standpoint it shouldn't be. The payout period for a hybrid versus a standard gas engine is 3 or more years. I would get a Mazda Grand Touring S with a manual 6 speed or a Ford Focus ST. So bottom line Ct200h ~ $160 per month in gas and Mazda 3 about $250 per month. Is worth it to give up $90 per month for fun ?
 

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Mazda3 is a good choice, I subscribe to all the car magazine and CS and they all rave about the Mazda3 in handling and it has good safety rating. I also like stick and have kept my 20 year old Volvo for the engaging aspect of the manual despite Bay area stop and go traffic at times. I also like the sporty handling of the CT and do average about 47 mpg. I probably average about 65-72 mph on the highway 75% of the time and the rest stop and go and city. Go to fuelly.com to see what the others are getting.
 
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