Last post on May 23, 2013 at 6:56 PM
You are in the Sedans
What is this discussion about?
Chevrolet Malibu, Nissan Maxima, Mazda MAZDA3, Nissan Altima, Honda Accord, Honda Civic, Hyundai Elantra, Lexus IS 250, Acura TSX, Car Comparisons, Sedan
#2882 of 3289 Re: Help me find my new commuter [akamrtoad]
Oct 26, 2012 (9:40 am)
Taking all your concerns into consideration you should go with the Passat TDI SE with Sunroof and Navigation. You may not need the Navigation but that level gets you the fog lights and nicer wheels etc. Go with the Premium if you can afford it. You can acquire the SE with Sunroof and Nav for less than 30K. It has the BEST backseat room and great mileage, the mileage is usually better than advertised. Advertised is 42mpg on highway but people are getting almost 50mpg while doing 70mph on the highway.
#2883 of 3289 Re: Help me find my new commuter [akamrtoad]
Oct 26, 2012 (9:50 am)
I commend you for having a thorough list of needs.
Unfortunately, its a TOUGH list when taken together. Since you mentioned the Camry, I'll assume you don't want a manual transmission.
The biggest problem I see is the seating. As you said, finding one wide enough for that is damned near impossible. I know I wouldn't be able to do it in my volvo.
The only new wagons I can think to check out are the Jetta wagon and Ford C-max Hybrid. I have no idea if they'd fit all the carseats. Probably not. Maybe the Passat. Again, I have no idea with those carseats. You have to get out there and try them.
Otherwise, I'd be looking at the used market. A 2010 528i would get pretty close to your targets, I think. A little down on mileage (28mpg highway) but score high in sportiness.
#2884 of 3289 Re: Help me find my new commuter [akamrtoad]
Oct 26, 2012 (10:00 am)
VW Passat TDI (turbo diesel.) Under $30K, EPA rated 30 mpg city, 40 hwy. I heard a guy saying he routinely gets 47 mpg with this car. Can't vouch for its reliability, but it's within an inch of the Camry in backseat dimensions and I'd guess it would be a lot more fun to drive.
There's also the new Ford Fusion that should be out soon, with many trim options and better looks than in the past. Hybrid is 47 mpg, both city and hwy. Price and size similar to Passat.
Do us a favor -- test them both and tell us what you think, okay?
#2885 of 3289 Re: Honda, Kia, Hyundai, or Mazda?? [backy]
Oct 26, 2012 (10:11 am)
In addition to the Passat, I'd also look at the new Altima. Decent driver, economical to operate, and decent size back seat. The good news is they'll all three be in boosters before you know it.
#2886 of 3289 Re: Honda, Kia, Hyundai, or Mazda?? [hondaman2010]
Oct 26, 2012 (1:39 pm)
Ford is now or about to put a three-cylinder engine in its Fiesta and Focus that is supposed to be both economical and punchy. Extremely light weight, which is important for handling purposes in a front-wheel-drive car. I've never driven either, but they get very positive reviews from those who enjoy driving. I also read that they're relatively quiet, unlike the Fit.
I doubt the Civic will be so different for 2013 that it's worth waiting for them -- they're stuck with that design for at least a couple more years. They can tweak it a bit, but this generation has been roundly booed. Your negative reaction to the Accord you're driving is widely shared -- the new one seems to address a lot of the misgivings people have about the 2008-12 size.
By the way, I don't mean to sound down on Honda. My family owns three of them.
As for the Mazda3, I had high hopes for the SkyActiv engine finally addressing the relatively poor MPG of the 3, but apparently the trade-off is that it's fairly stodgy in terms of performance.
#2887 of 3289 Re: Help me find my new commuter [akamrtoad]
by kyfdx HOST
Oct 27, 2012 (5:16 am)
Three car seats?
Why wouldn't you want another mini-van? Seems like a good choice, until you get one kid out of a booster, and the twins out of carseats..
I mean, I know why you don't want another minivan, but that seems like the perfect vehicle for your situation....
#2888 of 3289 Re: Help me find my new commuter [kyfdx]
Oct 27, 2012 (7:08 am)
Three car seats across is rough in anything smaller than a crew cab pickup. Nice part about a minivan or three row SUV is that you don't have to have them all in a row. If the size is an issue, you could consider a small people mover like the Mazda5. It'd be nice if the Ford C-Max also offered a third row but it doesn't currently do so...
#2889 of 3289 Re: Help me find my new commuter [akamrtoad]
Oct 28, 2012 (4:01 am)
I hate to see it but I see you in another minivan. No other vehicle will give you the room and power you need. The newer ones get much better mileage than your old one. You don't mind a minivan, why not go with another? Yes, they'll be out of car seats but you'll be hauling around their friends too, and who would want to miss that fun? These are your minivan years. They'll be over before you know it. Advice from a mom of 3.
#2890 of 3289 Re: Help me find my new commuter [akamrtoad]
Oct 28, 2012 (7:20 pm)
I've had friends try this and 3 seats in the rear means a minimum of about 60 inches across. Most car seats with the arms in a position where they can be raised suck up the entire rear seat position, leaving nothing in the middle for a booster if one is on each side. This means you're stuck with either something that is very boxy and upright so that the seats can be pushed out towards the edges or something that is very large.
You can get everything that you want in a car except for MPG. You'll have to settle for about 25mpg. *(one exception, see below)
Option 1A - A Chevy Colorado/GMC 1500 crew cab. It gets 18/25 mpg and while that's not 30mpg, it will fit the criteria quite well. It also will haul cargo and that's worth considering with kids in the mix. (bikes, trips to the mega-discount-warehouse, furniture for their room, etc) GM also makes the most reliable automatic transmissions. GM also has huge year-end incentives.
It really does fit 2 seats and a booster. This is because the cab is boxy and unlike most cars, you really can push it all the way to the side.
Option 1B: A Toyota Tacoma crew cab. This gets 24mpg highway. They used to offer a 4 cylinder version but it's now all V6 plus automatic. More expensive, a little more reliable. Toyota never offers year-end incentives that amount to much.
Option 2A: A full size GM car. Get a Buick Lucerne with the V6 engine. The upside of these are that they can get up to 26-27mpg highway and are big and safe in a crash. It rides very nicely on long trips thanks to the long wheelbase and huge suspension.
Option 2B: A Toyota Avalon. Toyota's version of the same thing. Big, heavy, but gets about the exact same MPG as a Camry. A win-win for those who need more space compared to the Camry. The downside, again, is that a CPO GM car or one a the end of the year is sometimes 5K or more less than a similar Toyota.
Note - you can also get a third row vehicle, but precious few exist that have the third row ahead of the rear axle. This means the kid in the rear will be part of the crumple zone. Many minivans actually fail this criteria as well, so you;'re almost stuck with a Suburban is you want a 3rd row and something that is safe. Or perhaps an actual van.
There is one vehicle that fits all of your criteria. A Jeep Patriot.
NOTE - the 2013 model has slightly changed gearing, so it gets 1mpg better than the 2012. fueleconomy.gov lists it as 23/30 with the 2.0 engine and manual transmission. Jeep makes excellent manual transmissions, is it's the choice to get.
It's actually a nice enough vehicle and really is not a SUV, either. It's more like a raised wagon. The pros are good visibility, good bad-weather performance, and a dirt cheap price.
Note the $15500 price.(!) You can literally buy two of these for your budget, so it's a compelling choice. Ignore the NAV (honestly, your phone now does a similar job if you have an android or iPhone), forget about leather (kids will trash it anyways), and don't bother with the terrarium (sunroof) option. Forget the 4WD as well unless it's important to you. The middle trim model has everything you really want.
- Premium Sound (a must have)
- Green Paint (same as the "Jeep" green on the Wrangler - very nice looking)
- Security and Cargo group (includes side airbags and homelink)
That's it. Truecar/Cars Direct/etc have it quoted for $20K.
Sure, you have to shift your own gears. But it'll get 30mpg and haul a lot of cargo as well. All without looking like a minivan.
#2891 of 3289 Re: Help me find my new commuter [plekto]
Oct 29, 2012 (5:58 am)
Some folks are assuming alot about the carseats in question. At 3 years old, depending on the size of the children, they can be in high-back booster seats, which can take up way less room than a full "baby" seat.