Recently I was convinced to create a budget for myself, something I have ignorantly not done for my entire adult life. After checking my payment history I learned I have been paying renters insurance each month for a place I haven’t lived at for nearly a year.
I contacted the insurance company (Allstate) and they said they could only refund me for last month even with proof of not living there for the last year. I was curious if there was anything more I could do to get my money back.
I noticed that on the GTI I’d be getting 3 MPG over the EPA combined estimate but on the Mazda3 I’m getting 3 under the EPA combined estimate.
I can short-shift the GTI under 3K RPM and still feel fast enough, but with the Mazda3, I’m taking it to 4K RPM, dropping down to 4th gear to pass on the highway, etc.
What’s been your MPG story?
I just received a call from my insurance company saying someone filed a claim that I hit their parked car a little more than a week ago. I have no memory of this, and informed my insurance of this. They stated they were going to follow up with the other insurance to review the claim.
I have a scrape on my car from about 2 years ago when I pulled out too fast from a parking garage and hit the pole. I don’t have any proof it was from before last week. I have witnesses that have seen the scrape, but no picture evidence. I’m concerned the claim is going to include this scrape.
I’m still waiting to hear back for more information from my insurance company, but any advice? I’m nauseous at the idea I may have bumped someone and not even noticed.
Any advice or input is much appreciated.
This post won’t be a flowery story written as if I’m a car journalist. I may write that up another time, but for now this will just be a summary of all my notes for anyone curious to enjoy (plus the car is a few years old and has been extensively covered by now). Also feel free to ask any questions on stuff I didn’t think to cover or mistakenly left out. I would have put AMA in the title, but it seems kind of pretentious. Here’s what it looked like.
The not so good:
You’re going to want to pack light because the trunk is quite small, and there’s just about zero storage for anything in the cabin.
The car is so low and with such wide door sills that it’s pretty difficult getting in and out. I’d suggest pushing the driver’s seat all the way back each time you get in and out and then adjusting it back once you’ve seated. Then when you do get it the beeping tone it gives you is deafening. Every single time you get in. I tried to rush to close the door or put on my seatbelt but no… every time you have to put up with a beep that’s so loud it hurts your ears, and I’m not even sure what it was for.
The seats have a lot of thigh bolstering but much less for your mid-section which I find strange. You also can barely recline the seat even when you slide it forward which means it’s less comfortable. I never use lumbar in almost any car, but it felt like this one needed a cushion there because the shape of the seat back seems to make no ergonomic sense. I’d swap these out ASAP if I were to have one.
Because it has no power steering, the effort it takes to say parallel park is laughable. That combined with the very poor rearward visibility means maneuvering into a parking space can be a stressful, sweaty experience. This car is made to just get in and go. Don’t look back, don’t stop.
The steering wheel is too thick and a weird shape with a flat bottom. I’d prefer a round wheel without so much meat to it. Also the paddles for the dual clutch transmission are on the wheel itself in very non-Italian style and I’d prefer they were fixed on the column like the Giulia is.
The ride is very firm since the car is so stiff and has such a short wheelbase. The front end of the car and steering will also be upset by any little groove or dip or road imperfection, so you have to pay attention and keep your hands on the wheel basically at all times so you aren’t thrown off course.
Lastly, the fuel tank is really small. 10.5 gallons according to google, but both times I stopped when it warned me my range was —, it only filled up 8 gallons and change.
The powertrain is a mixed bag. The motor makes great power and torque but the turbo lag is pretty noticeable, and I’m not sure I love the sound. The thing is really bassy and farty. If you like the Fiat 500 Abarth then you’ll like this as it’s like that sound on steroids. I don’t think the car sounds bad, but it also isn’t an exotic noise and kind of wears on you with the drone and buzzing after a while. The gearbox is actually pretty good and gives you those farts on throttle upshifts similar to say an Audi S4 with the DSG box. It’s quick to upshift if you’re bombing down the road and pretty good with downshifts if you don’t catch it by surprise, but other times it does get a little tripped up. I love my manuals, but I was so focused on all the new sensations this car provided that I didn’t miss one too much. It could use another gear though for cruising on the highway at speed when you’re coming back from your canyon run.
Now on to the good:
Talk about curb appeal. The car starts seducing you before you even get in it. People stare and want to figure out what it is. What else can you buy that looks this exotic at this price point? A Lotus Evora is about the only thing I can think of.
When you get in and step over those super wide carbon door sills, you feel like you’re in something special. It seems like a baby supercar or race car.
Driving the car with the manual steering is so different from anything I’ve ever driven before. It’s not so bad once you get moving, but will continue to weight up in the corners as you lean on it more and more. You really have to muscle it around, but it’s hard to argue with the connection to the car and to the road that affords you.
The handling is excellent. The car has tons of grip and just begs you to keep pushing it. That said, it may take you some time to calibrate your brain to how different all the inputs are and how the car reacts to you. It’s not a car I could get in and really push right from the get go. The car also handles mid corner bumps very well. It’s quite stable. This is a sore spot for me because it’s not a strong suit of my old, portly 911 Turbo.
The brakes are unreal. Between the grippy tires and the light weight of the car it will stop on a dime. It really makes it nice to drive on unfamiliar roads because if you get surprised by a corner and realize you’re going in too hot you can really stomp on the brakes to get yourself slowed down at just the last minute and not have a shit your pants moment.
The word I kept using when getting out of the car was that the thing was “hilarious.” It’s just a silly car in so many ways. Clown car size and proportions, and really just a riot to drive around. Boring is a word you could never use to describe the Alfa 4C. Because the car has so many quirks it also gives the thing a real personality. It’s stupidly involving to drive. Every time you get in it there is a sense of theatre and occasion to what you’re doing. This car will get under your skin and burn in your memory. Would I ever buy one? The logical comparisons would be to a Lotus Elise which I have yet to drive or the standard, the Porsche Cayman. The Cayman as a car is just going to be miles better at almost everything. That said, if you drove the two back to back, I have a strong feeling you’d get out of the Alfa smiling that much wider because it’s such an experience. It’s supremely flawed yet so endearing. If I was made of money and already had bunch of other cars, then the choice may not be as easy as you’d think.