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Old 05-19-14, 01:43 AM   #1
no1mad
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I think my wife is having a mid-life crisis...

The woman loathes the car shopping experience, but we've started shopping around to replace our Pacifica. We figure we can get something more fuel efficient and a lower payment. If we are going to do this, it will most likely be Memorial Day weekend, so I've got to scour the interwebz for reviews on the various models that we (fine, I) are interested in.

Budget has a hard limit of $25k, need at least a real 5+ MPG gain minimum over the current 18- she's willing to sacrifice some fuel economy for a roomier cabin- and has to seat four humans and a as yet to be acquired dog comfortably (preferably with enough room in the back seat for a 6' Clyde).

What we looked at so far (and the reactions are my wife's, as this will be her baby/daily driver):

-Ford: Fiesta "sardine can", Focus and Escape "I dunno...", Fusion "say, this could work...". We go back for a test drive on Saturday- and she's never met a Ford car she liked save for '64.5-'67 Mustangs.

-Chevy: Cruze and Malibu "don't like the steering wheel"

-Hyundai: Tucson Limited "nice, but over budget, doesn't have the fuel economy" and a base 4cyl Sonata "it's alright, but I wanna see what else is out there"

-Nissan: Altima 2.5 SV w/CVT "I like it, but I wanna take that Fusion for a spin".

However, since we've been living with minivans and SUV's for more than a decade, I've decided to add compact SUVs to the mix. What is slated to be looked at on Saturday (remember, base w/few options):

Honda Accord and CR-V, Mazda6 and CX-5, Nissan Rogue and another look at the Altima (though at a different dealer, b/c we didn't like the aggressive sales push at the first place), Kia Optima, Toyota Camry and RAV-4, and whatever Subarus we can find that fits the budget (wife had good luck with one before I met her), maybe look at a VW Passat (though VW's have a mixed bag of reviews). She's not interested in Mopar brands (even though we currently have a Chrysler and a Jeep), so they are out.

If anyone knows where I can find real world fuel economy numbers for any of the above, I'd appreciate it.
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Old 05-19-14, 03:16 AM   #2
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Yes the Ford Fiesta is small. I wanted to like it and its a good drive but the lack of a fold flat back seat was a deal breaker for me. I wasn't expecting miracles as far as luggage capacity goes but I was expecting a better effort at maximising its capacity. I bought a Ford Focus last year. GREAT car, refined, great handling. The Europeans get a Focus wagon. We don't get it in Australia but maybe you get it in the US. My manual 2 ltr averages 7.9 litres/100 km around town. 6.5 litre/100 km on the highway. These figures I've recorded on the tripmeter.

I just noticed your working in MPG US. Should have known. The conversion is 30 MPG city and 36 MPG highway.

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Old 05-19-14, 05:29 AM   #3
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Chevy Equinox- EPA 20/32 =small SUV- right about $24000 -OK car-certainly will significantly beat your Pacifica mpg
Shame their are soooo few true SWs.Pretty sure we don't get a Focus wagon anymore-last was maybe 2008 or so.
The Altima you mentioned-good car.
Corolla-always a good reliable FE choice if big enough-certainly well under $20,000.

The current crop of minivans will beat your Pacifica MPG also- but the Toyota and Odyssey-waaay too pricy.Roomy of course-the Mopar will certainly be the cheapest minivan-but no mopar for you-and $25000-not sure if they are that inexpensive-Dodge does discount heavily,so maybe

Check the Corolla-and even a base Camry would be under $25,000 (sale certainly)-dull reliable great FE Toyotas-

Oh-you MIGHT find a Prius-the hatchback is roomy-for $25000-especially if you go online and willing to travel
They get spectacular mpg-and big enough for our leggy greyhound(she is small female but even a small female is a decent sized dog-70 lbs-fairly tall)

Check the Prius Camry Corolla Altima(did already) Focus Equinox-maybe dodge minivan-all should be under or near the $25,000-hunt internet depts in near by states-you might find a great deal on a Prius-worth traveling to buy-save $1000's in some cases
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Old 05-19-14, 07:16 AM   #4
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Our 2009 CR-V gets about 24mpg overall average according to the dash. The newer ones are slightly better.
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Old 05-19-14, 09:46 AM   #5
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I have a Prius and it's pretty roomy. I average 46-49 mpg. It looks like Toyota is having a special where you can get a $1500 - $2000 cash incentive right now for some cars. An added bonus is that all maintenance and oil changes are covered for the first 2 years/25,000 miles.
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Old 05-19-14, 09:57 AM   #6
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Well, my ma has had 2 Rogues, both AWD. Gave her a call, and she says the current one shows a 23 mpg average over the last year. Says at highway speeds without an incline, she's seen it cross 30 mpg. On a related note, Nissan reliability is awesome. I recently had to part ways with my 1986 Nissan D21 not hecause the drivetrain failed, but because the frame snapped in half. From what I've heard, this is the norm. The chassis disintegrates before the drivetrain quits. Not sure how directly this translates to the newer models, but I do know that the current 2.4L motor is a descendant of the Z24i that was in my truck.


On the note of the Chevy Equinox mentioned in earlier posts: I drove a rental from Milwaukee to Pittsburgh on a work trip a few months back, and was fairly impressed. Averaged 32 mpg ( all highway of course) until I hit the Appalachian foothills, all while lugging a couple hundred pounds of cargo. Roomier than the Rogue, but can't speak to its reliability.

Last edited by awfulwaffle; 05-19-14 at 11:47 AM. Reason: Typos
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Old 05-19-14, 10:25 AM   #7
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I have a Prius and it's pretty roomy. I average 46-49 mpg. It looks like Toyota is having a special where you can get a $1500 - $2000 cash incentive right now for some cars. An added bonus is that all maintenance and oil changes are covered for the first 2 years/25,000 miles.
We will be checking out what Toyota has to offer, but the problem with the free service is that due do her work shift/sleep pattern, there is a very small time window where one or the other wouldn't be impacted by going to the dealer. Even if the dealer's service department was open on Saturdays, more than likely it would be reduced hours and conflict with her work schedule.
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Old 05-19-14, 10:49 AM   #8
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Today is the Mrs. B'day....I just pulled the trigger on a 2014 Buick Verano, which will be a surprise for her when she gets home tonight.
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Old 05-19-14, 10:54 AM   #9
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If anyone knows where I can find real world fuel economy numbers for any of the above, I'd appreciate it.
Real world fuel economy numbers completely depend on where and how you drive. I own a 2010 Rav4 269 hp V6 0-60 in 6 seconds. It moves. I also have a 2003 Wolfsburg VW Jetta 1.8L turbo. Both of them my wife and I average on a daily basis at or up to 2 mpg higher than that highway rating. We are both very aggressive drivers. Others who don't live in the middle of nowhere complain about only getting 19 mpg with the Rav4 V6 while I am consistantly seeing 26-27 mpg.

It's all in where and how you drive.
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Old 05-19-14, 12:05 PM   #10
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If it is a mid life crisis shouldn't she be looking at something like this?

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Old 05-19-14, 12:19 PM   #11
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I was about to say, get her a used 350z, and a trailer for the dogs and get over it.
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Old 05-19-14, 12:23 PM   #12
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Seats 5 comfortably, could carry two large dogs, will go anywhere, and cost less than 2k with no payments... the difference between this and a 25k vehicle (a new Jeep Cherokee is in the mid 30's) will pay for a good deal of fuel and mileage on the highway has been in the mid to high 20's (when I keep my foot out of it) which is better than what I expected.



Buying new means you are tossing away a good deal of money right at the point of purchase because of depreciation.

Our car is a '93 Nissan Sentra which gets very good mileage and also seats 5, albeit with less room than the Jeep, and gets good highway mileage which has been as good as 37mpg (U.S.) on road trips.... and we have less than $1500.00 into the car which has been super reliable.
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Old 05-19-14, 12:35 PM   #13
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Buying new means you are tossing away a good deal of money right at the point of purchase because of depreciation.
This is why we have a 2009 CR-V instead of a 2012 CR-V... or even the 2011 we had gone in to look at that day. Well, that and leather seats.
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Old 05-19-14, 12:53 PM   #14
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At the risk of being laughed off the forum..... take a look a Fiat 500L. They are really a great car for the $$ and the dealers are making great deals on them right now. I have a 500C and love it!.... but then again that's my BIG car as my other DD is a smart.
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Old 05-19-14, 01:00 PM   #15
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At the risk of being laughed off the forum..... take a look a Fiat 500L. They are really a great car for the $$ and the dealers are making great deals on them right now. I have a 500C and love it!.... but then again that's my BIG car as my other DD is a smart.
I love small cars with lots of room
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Old 05-19-14, 01:12 PM   #16
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If you want a compact SUV, I got a mitsubishi outlander a year or so ago for ~20k and that gets ~25 mpg or so, so it runs right about in your desired ranges. It's ok. Not spectacular, and the engine could use a little more oomph, but we'd moved from being car free to a city where that couldn't continue and had a limited window to buy a new car and this one did us ok as far as price and ability to make regular trips back to see the family with all the gear hauling kids entails. And it fits 16 bags of mulch in the back. More and you'll need multiple trips. Did 42 bags in 3 trips 3-4 weeks back.
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Old 05-19-14, 01:51 PM   #17
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Real world fuel economy numbers completely depend on where and how you drive. I own a 2010 Rav4 269 hp V6 0-60 in 6 seconds. It moves. I also have a 2003 Wolfsburg VW Jetta 1.8L turbo. Both of them my wife and I average on a daily basis at or up to 2 mpg higher than that highway rating. We are both very aggressive drivers. Others who don't live in the middle of nowhere complain about only getting 19 mpg with the Rav4 V6 while I am consistantly seeing 26-27 mpg.

It's all in where and how you drive.
Understood. She's a bit of an aggressive driver- likes to drag off the line at lights (but is careful to avoid breaking traction or speed limit), but her commute is like 70% highway miles and she has discovered the value of cruise control after being pulled over for speeding ~5 mph over (got a warning).
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Old 05-19-14, 01:54 PM   #18
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If it is a mid life crisis shouldn't she be looking at something like this?

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I was about to say, get her a used 350z, and a trailer for the dogs and get over it.
She is not a fan of convertibles at all, nor is she a fan of coupes as a family car.
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Old 05-19-14, 02:02 PM   #19
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At the risk of being laughed off the forum..... take a look a Fiat 500L. They are really a great car for the $$ and the dealers are making great deals on them right now. I have a 500C and love it!.... but then again that's my BIG car as my other DD is a smart.
My Father-in-Law's ex GF has a Fiat 500. They both raved about it, but my wife just doesn't like small cars. I will get her to at least look at a Fit when at the Honda lot.
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Old 05-19-14, 02:05 PM   #20
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If you want a compact SUV, I got a mitsubishi outlander a year or so ago for ~20k and that gets ~25 mpg or so, so it runs right about in your desired ranges. It's ok. Not spectacular, and the engine could use a little more oomph, but we'd moved from being car free to a city where that couldn't continue and had a limited window to buy a new car and this one did us ok as far as price and ability to make regular trips back to see the family with all the gear hauling kids entails. And it fits 16 bags of mulch in the back. More and you'll need multiple trips. Did 42 bags in 3 trips 3-4 weeks back.
Nearest Mitsu dealer is ~80 miles away (which is why I didn't list the Outlander/Outlander Sport as potential).
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Old 05-19-14, 02:17 PM   #21
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My Father-in-Law's ex GF has a Fiat 500. They both raved about it, but my wife just doesn't like small cars. I will get her to at least look at a Fit when at the Honda lot.
We had a first-gen Fit until the double stroller didn't fit (all puns intended!). It really was a great car. The 3rd-gen model comes out soon for 2015, and there is also the smaller-than-a-CR-V SUV called the HR-V. I just got an email about it from the local Honda dealer.
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Old 05-19-14, 02:49 PM   #22
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Honda CRV would work. No one's mentioned the Kia Soul yet. Good rear seat room for the size in the Soul, and doors and seat height make for decent access for larger folks into the rear seats. No sure about a large dog in the Kia Soul hatch area though. The CRV has as much rear seat room and a somewhat bigger hatch area.
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Old 05-19-14, 02:56 PM   #23
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My Father-in-Law's ex GF has a Fiat 500. They both raved about it, but my wife just doesn't like small cars. I will get her to at least look at a Fit when at the Honda lot.
Ah, the 500L is the large fiat with four doors and lots of room. It's a 500 in name only.... take a look.2014 FIAT 500L | Sophisticated, Fun Urban Utility Vehicle | FIAT USA
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Old 05-19-14, 03:07 PM   #24
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Honda CRV would work. No one's mentioned the Kia Soul yet. Good rear seat room for the size in the Soul, and doors and seat height make for decent access for larger folks into the rear seats. No sure about a large dog in the Kia Soul hatch area though. The CRV has as much rear seat room and a somewhat bigger hatch area.
I love our CR-V. With the roof rack, there is pretty much no limit to what I can pick up at Home Depot or what we can carry with the kids.
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Old 05-19-14, 03:36 PM   #25
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This is why we have a 2009 CR-V instead of a 2012 CR-V... or even the 2011 we had gone in to look at that day. Well, that and leather seats.
I have lived with the burden of car payments and never want to go there again... even though our vehicles are 21 and 23 years old they run like new and I paid cash for both and not having a car payment means that more money stays in the bank and if the car / truck needs work we have it at hand.

The car was $1.00 and was running well when I got it but have done the front brakes, replaced the muffler, replaced the steering rack last week, and made sure it was properly tuned up with a new set of wires, rotor, and plugs. It is one of the best cars I have owned and my last Nissan Sentra went 1.1 million km so I expect this car will last another 700,000 km.

The NIssan has 260,000 km on the odometer which is just broken in for a Sentra which is a really under-rated car.

It helps when one's mechanical skills go beyond working on bicycles...

The Jeep needed a new harmonic balancer and speed sensor which were not hard to install... it also came with new winter tyres on their own rims which made it a great deal. It is also a fully loaded Briarwood so it has all the creature comforts one would want.

I am not a fan of many new cars as I don't like the high rear pillars, small windows, and poor rear visibility... the Toyota Prius and Ford Focus have to be 2 of the worst cars I have driven in this respect although both are nice cars to drive.

We don't use our vehicles for commuting and don't rack up a lot of miles so people who do this might want something newer and with a warranty to cover the inevitable costs of wear and tear.

On the other hand, I'd have no worries driving either of our vehicles across the country.
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