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Help me decide: Mazda3 hatchback or RAV4

Old 08-06-2008, 12:06 AM
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Help me decide: Mazda3 hatchback or RAV4

My criteria:
A vehicle that can haul things occasionally, but more often haul a couple of 65 pound dogs in the back in comfort.
It would be a daily driver, but also for fun outings. Needs to haul a kayak. The RAV4s all have roof racks. I think it's an aftermarket option on the Mazda3.

I test-drove a Mazda3 hatchback today and a RAV4 earlier.

In the RAV's favor: Much more cargo room. Two dogs in the back would have lots of headroom and space. Decent pickup with the four cylinder, but I'd be inclined to go with the six-banger, because it's there.

In the Mazda's favor: Better gas mileage. Feels more like a car, and it's cheaper. I'm looking at a sport model with moonroof and six CD changer for a lot less than a RAV4.

I like both. Don't know if I want to spend more money on a RAV4 that gets poorer mileage. But don't know if the Mazda will have enough room for the dogs.
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Old 08-06-2008, 01:23 AM
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Originally Posted by No More Oldsmobiles View Post
My criteria:
A vehicle that can haul things occasionally, but more often haul a couple of 65 pound dogs in the back in comfort.
It would be a daily driver, but also for fun outings. Needs to haul a kayak. The RAV4s all have roof racks. I think it's an aftermarket option on the Mazda3.

I test-drove a Mazda3 hatchback today and a RAV4 earlier.

In the RAV's favor: Much more cargo room. Two dogs in the back would have lots of headroom and space. Decent pickup with the four cylinder, but I'd be inclined to go with the six-banger, because it's there.

In the Mazda's favor: Better gas mileage. Feels more like a car, and it's cheaper. I'm looking at a sport model with moonroof and six CD changer for a lot less than a RAV4.

I like both. Don't know if I want to spend more money on a RAV4 that gets poorer mileage. But don't know if the Mazda will have enough room for the dogs.
Well, I'd say it comes down to whether or not the dogs fit. If they do, I'd personally go for the 3. I'd prefer a hatchback over SUV... but I also dont haul a whole lot of stuff so SUV would only be useful if I had too much gas money sitting in my pocket and my 8 already takes care of that for me
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Old 08-06-2008, 02:39 AM
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i'd say take your dogs down to the dealership with you and take them on the test drive.
i am sure the dealer will let you do that IF that was the deciding factor for you, and with the economy going downslope. i am sure the dealer will be more than happy to accomodate your request.
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Old 08-06-2008, 02:52 AM
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I'm sure if you folded down the rear seats in the 3 (a lovely thing about hatchbacks is the seats fold allllllll the way down), the RAV-4 wouldn't even come close.
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Old 08-06-2008, 02:55 AM
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My parents just bought a 08 limited rav4.
I personally like it. It gets up pretty quick.
If you have questions or want pics id be more than happy to answer/take em.
Have you looked into an FJ cruiser?
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Old 08-06-2008, 07:24 AM
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I'd take the 3. If you don't need to do much hauling and just need to fit the dogs regularly, I'd take the 3 on its handling and mileage merits. That's just me, even with utilitarian cars, I'll always take the most fun to drive. My Speed 3 fits all kinds of junk, I think you'd be surprised by its capacity. The only problem you may have would be fitting long things, like big ladders and long 2x4s.
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Old 08-06-2008, 11:41 AM
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*Quietly observing*
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Old 08-06-2008, 01:06 PM
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If you don't need the ground clearance, go for the 3.
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Old 08-06-2008, 01:58 PM
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honda element. middle price wise. little lower mpg, but more cargo room than the rav4. rear seats disappear. easily cleaned/can be hosed out for doggie "mistakes."
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Old 08-06-2008, 02:24 PM
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when I had my 3 I absolutely loved it. In fact I miss it every once in awhile. I would highly recommend the 3 and if you are looking new, I know for a fact you can get a 2008.5 White Speed 3 Sport for 21,450, I almost traded the 8 for it. And that speed three is a beautiful car, I love it!
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Old 08-06-2008, 02:56 PM
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I hope this is in addition to the 8, NMO, not instead of.

The nice thing about the RAV4 is that the older you get, the better you match your vehicle.
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Old 08-06-2008, 04:24 PM
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I vote for the 3 as well
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Old 08-06-2008, 07:55 PM
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Do what I did I get a Legacy GT wagon!
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Old 08-07-2008, 07:05 PM
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Thanks for the input, everyone.

Originally Posted by Jethro Tull View Post
I hope this is in addition to the 8, NMO, not instead of.

The nice thing about the RAV4 is that the older you get, the better you match your vehicle.
It will be in addition to the 8. My Oldsmobile is ten years old.


Originally Posted by briann View Post
My parents just bought a 08 limited rav4.
I personally like it. It gets up pretty quick.
If you have questions or want pics id be more than happy to answer/take em.
Have you looked into an FJ cruiser?
Thanks for the offer, but I've been to the dealer's lot a couple of times and have the brochures, etc. Haven't looked at an FJ Cruiser, but I don't need the offroad ability.
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