I have a few requirements, and it seems that I can't find any cars out there within the last 3 years that suit me.
1) Seats 5. I have three kids.
2) Can add a hitch receiver to it. I have a pair of hitch-mount bike racks.
3) Can toss a fully assembled bike in the trunk. In case of Thunderstorm.
4) Should fit in garage. New house, cramped garage. I have 3 kids.
5) Manual. I like to drive.
6) Close to, if not significantly more than, 200hp. I like to drive.
7) Sportscar Suspension. I like to drive. Fast. Around curves.
I currently have a Mazda6 wagon. Suits me perfectly, but is 10 years old. Since 1/1 this year, I've put about $2500 into it and now am facing a $500+ job to repair the shift linkage cables.
I've looked at the Mazda3 series cars, too small.
I've looked at Subaru's, but I live in flat suburbia and have no desire to be climbing mountains or offroading. I like the idea of AWD for winter and wet weather driving, but I don't want to sacrifice sports-car-like handling. And the Impreza-based models aren't big enough for the bike, or powerful enough for merging onto the highway. It's an uphill short ramp with a very tight 90 degree turn.
I tried a CX-5, but during the test drive, when I wanted to see what pickup it had, I realized that my slow, conservative driving already had the pedal to the metal and was barely moving. And it doesn't fit an assembled bike.
Suggestions? What do you like?
I'm just too picky, but that's what happens when your "perfect match" begins to age.
(So, after writing this, I took a look at the VW site -- the TDI is only 140-hp & 236 ft/lbs torque; the regular gas version is 160hp. I still suggest checking it out, but it may just not have the umph you want -- I was impressed, but I'm not that serious of a driver.)
I'm /very/ happy with my 6-speed 2010 VW TDI Sportwagen. It seats 5 (via a 3-seat bench in the back...). I often drop the seats and toss a bike in the back, with the front tire attached, and it fits fine although I also drive without the rear headrests, which makes this simpler.
I don't have a hitch attachment, but I've seen them with that accessory.
Despite being a diesel, it has roughly the same performance characteristics of a Subaru Outback Sport (unless I'm really misremembering). It also gets 40-50 mpg if you decide to drive it efficiently on the highway ;)
It *does* fit in a normal, single-car garrage, but it's a tight fit. You'll want to compare with the footprint of your Mazda 6.
Thank you so much for the reply, this is exactly the type of info I need. I think the footprint is fairly similar. My wife just started looking online at the sportwagon about an hour ago. The house power sounds low, but still worth a look. VW isn't normally known for their reliability, but the sportwagon itself got decent marks.
The 2.5, 5 cylinder gas engine halls A$$, we have one, it gets 31 on the highway, is available with a 6 speed, and very reliable. We have 100,000 miles on ours.
After months, I finally settled on the AWD 5spd WRX. Similar price, smaller than the TDI sportwagen, but a little zippier at 265hp/244ft-lbs. At least the bike COULD fit in the back if I took out all of the crap that is in there. 18mpg is nothing like 31mpg, but I only drive about 50 miles per week, so I'm not worried too much about $200/year in extra gas.
The best news is that because it is shorter than the Mazda6, it fits in the garage with the hitch rack still attached. So no need to remove the bike rack in the winter.
Thanks for your thoughts all!