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Thread: TheBenior's GTI and Ducati Monster 696. Da Bears, dabears, dabears, dabears.

  1. #131
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    You can't trust rubbers!

  2. #132
    THE KING IN THE NORTH! TheBenior's Avatar
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    In the past year, I replaced some the rusting, leaking rear Koni Yellows with some Sensen Mazda5 shocks, which was the cheap Mazdaspeed3 shock upgrade. I had a forward shock bolt break on me, which is a common 1st Gen Mazda3 issue. It was tack welded from the top, so I dropped it out (huge PITA), replaced it with a bolt and had my cousin weld the top of the new bolt. Hatch struts also got replaced since it would fall on me when it was in the single digit Fahrenheit range.

    However, the drivetrain started making a lot of noise at idle, which is typically valves caked in carbon deposits. That's a common direct injection issue with early DI engines like this one. I've heard it's worse with short city trips where you don't really open up the car, which is what I spent most of my first 6 years of ownership doing.

    My Potenza S04 tires were also starting to dry rot from age.

    These two things wouldn't be that big of an issue, but since I'd crawl under the car now and then, the underside had gotten distressingly rusty over the past 11 years. A month back, I was driving to work when I heard a clunk and saw something flying behind me on the highway. A thin brace had broken in half, the remaining half dragged until I got to work and cut it off with bolt cutters. The sad thing was that I wasn't surprised that a rusty brace broke; I was just surprised that this particular brace was the one that broke. That was pretty much the last straw for the Mazdaspeed3 for me. I could spend a while cleaning the valves or pay somebody a grand to do it. I could get new tires. However, the rust dissuaded me from dumping the better part of a couple grand into an 11 year old car.

  3. #133
    THE KING IN THE NORTH! TheBenior's Avatar
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    Part 2 now that I'm on a device with a physical keyboard:

    With that in mind, I thought about cars to replace the Mazdaspeed3 with. A new hot hatch was preferred since I'd like the option to cart my kids about if the CX-5 is in the shop for any reason, and the boy is still rear facing, which takes up a ton of room. If that weren't the case, I'd be shopping BR-Z/86, ND Miatas, or even a pony car. However, after a brief renaissance, US market hot hatches seem to be in decline again. Mazdaspeed is gone, the Focus is gone, the Fiesta ST and MK7 Golf are in their last model years (rumor has it the regular Golf MK8 at the very least will not be coming to the US market).

    I narrowed down my vehicle search to sporty compact 4 doors (preferably hatches) under $30k decently equipped since I've been spoiled by my Mazdaspeed3 and CX-5, both of which were Grand Touring trim. Better fuel economy than my Mazdaspeed3 would also be a plus since it was rated for 18 mpg city, 26 mpg highway, and I averaged 22-23 mpg in my mostly highway commute with moderate to light traffic that's 10 miles longer than when I bought my Mazdaspeed3. Vehicles I considered off the top of my head were the Fiesta ST, Golf GTI, Civic Si, and Corolla hatch. The Fiesta ST and GTI had fairly aggressive cash incentives or low financing, but the cash incentives were appealing since I could get excellent loan terms from my credit union. The WRX and Civic Type R fall into a similar class of vehicle, but they're both a bit pricey for me, and the WRX is not a hatch.

    I wish I had tales of test driving everything in the class, but I went and test drove a GTI S. I was looking for a Cornflower Blue Rabbit Edition, but that one was still in transit from Puebla. The S trim's interior was nice enough for me where I didn't want to spend extra for an SE or Autobahn model, and the Rabbit Edition has the same interior. I don't think it's quite as nice as some reviewers make it out to be, even by class standards. The Civic Si does feel pretty cheap in comparison, but Titanium trim Focuses and Mazda3s had and have some pretty nice compact car interiors too. The GTI seemed zippy enough with its claimed 228hp (though they regularly dyno around that at the wheels). It's definitely not as overtly sporting as my Mazdaspeed was even when it was stock. I say that when you say you want to hoon about, the GTI says, "Ja, ve shall go for ein sporting drive," whereas the Mazdaspeed chugs a Monster Energy, slaps you in the face, and says, "FUCK YEAH, GO TIME!" Still, the GTI is the closest thing to my Mazdaspeed3 that's still for sale under $30k. Handling seemed pretty similar to what I remember my Mazdaspeed3 handling like when it was stock, though with a more comfortable ride.

    So, the dealer tried to push a GTI from the lot on me, which I get since they know if you leave you're probably not coming back to buy a car. However, I made my willingness to put down a deposit on the Cornflower Blue Rabbit Edition to be known, and I waited a week for it to show up. I applied for a loan from my credit union the day before, and they told me that they'd get back to me in 3 business days. A week later, the GTI showed up a day earlier than the freight estimate, and my credit union still hadn't approved my loan in spite of my credit score being 150 points higher than the minimum for their best rate. I called them after the dealer called me, and the person I talked to said they'd email somebody to expedite things. They still hadn't approved it a couple hours later when I got to the dealer. I called again, and it turned out I got approval pretty quickly when I said that I was at the dealer that very moment.

    So, here's the Mazdaspeed3 replacement:
    IMG_20190619_151413.jpgIMG_20190619_151419.jpgIMG_20190619_211211.jpgIMG_20190619_170257.jpgIMG_20190619_211116.jpg

    The Rabbit Edition is mostly an appearance package with black wheels, black spoiler, black mirror caps, 2 special colors (CF Blue and Urano Gray) but also adds Adaptive LED headlights and keyless entry without having to step up to SE or Autobahn trims. For 2019, GTIs got an extra 8 rated horsepower, the Performance Pack brakes, and a mechanical LSD standard. In less beneficial changes, when VW did the 2018 facelift, they pulled the ability to easily upgrade the factory stereo to a higher trim model. 2018-2019 models have a dummy shark fin GPS antenna that merely plugs a hole in the roof. It doesn't even provide radio reception since that's in the back window. I could see this making sense if VW wanted to only make one roof, but the models that have satellite radio/navigation optional also have moonroofs, so they make 2 different roofs anyway. The stereo also lost 2 rear tweeters, going from 8 total speakers to 6. If I want to upgrade to an infotainment system that includes Android Auto/Carplay, I either need to go aftermarket and hope that all the car controls work, or go through the trouble of retrofitting the previous higher trim stereo, which includes replacing the glovebox among other things.

    Other tidbits:
    -Judging by VW's claimed 3031 lb curb weight and published review weights as high as 3261 lbs, there's a hefty difference between a manual S trim GTI and a DSG SE/Autobahn trim. The flip side of this is that manual transmission GTIs seem to often beat the 24 city/32 highway mpg ratings.
    -Heated/blind spot monitoring mirrors, heated seats, heated washer nozzles!
    -I kind of miss auto climate control already (only comes in SE/Autobahn models)
    -I'm perfectly fine with not having a heavy panoramic sunroof
    -A rear facing car seat fits better behind me in the GTI than it does in the CX-5 in spite of the CX-5's supposed extra 3" of legroom. Thinner seatbacks, I suppose.
    -Mirrors are on the small side. You definitely need your mirrors set properly in the GTI. I'm thinking I could use the European aspherical mirror glass.
    -Infotainment system is much faster than in my CX-5. Waze direction prompts still get cut off :l
    -I'll probably get the windows tinted. Nothing too dark though, I don't want to make backing up my driveway in to my garage at night a pain in the ass.
    -I easily averaged 29 mpg in a mostly highway trip to a restaurant in the burbs while the car was loaded with my family, and was seeing high 30s on the highway portion.

  4. #134
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    That is a gorgeous color.

  5. #135
    So awesome. Seems like a great DD choice. I love those seats, too.

  6. #136
    I'm gooder. Phil_SS's Avatar
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    My all time favorite colors on a car is french blue or a nice deep green. So I am all over that color choice.

    Car looks awesome as well, as Cuda stated, the seats are so choice.

  7. #137
    THE KING IN THE NORTH! TheBenior's Avatar
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    Thanks, speaking of the seats, I was surprised that the side bolsters hug my skinny self pretty well. I remember that not being the case in Mk5 GTI, and I weigh about the same as back then.

    I went and ordered the factory Euro aspherical mirrors. However, they're backordered, so it may take a month for me to get them.

  8. #138
    THE KING IN THE NORTH! TheBenior's Avatar
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    IMG_20190624_172656.jpg

    Never saw that in the Mazdaspeed3, and not just because it didn't have a fuel economy display.

  9. #139
    THE KING IN THE NORTH! TheBenior's Avatar
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    Turns out the Euro mirror glass wasn't backordered, and I installed them and some generic Amazon front mudflaps today. I assumed that a 2015-2017 set would fit, but VW changed the rear skirt enough that the rears don't fit. Not too big of a deal since I paid $23 for the front and rear set, and the OEM VW front set alone would be $46+ shipping online, or $58 at a dealer.

    The mirror glass swap went surprisingly smoothly, I didn't break the old glass, any plastic tabs, or the connectors for the heat and blind spot monitoring functions.

  10. #140
    THE KING IN THE NORTH! TheBenior's Avatar
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    Today I picked up the car from getting the windows tinted. I went with Illinois legal 35% on the side windows and rear window/backlight and a 20% strip at the top of the windshield.
    IMG_20190628_112028.jpg

    I also put on a tow hook front licence plate mount to get it out of the front grille
    IMG_20190628_151719.jpg
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