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transition from family wagon to smaller car

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transition from family wagon to smaller car

Old 01-29-13, 02:59 PM
  #1  
rumrunn6
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transition from family wagon to smaller car

I thought I could make the transition from a family wagon/suv to a smaller more individual centric "car" but it seems my 17yr old son and 15.5 yr old daughter think it's not time yet. I think I'll have to wait until they are both out of the house or maybe until their 20s?

If you are in your 50s and made the transition, when and how did you do it?
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Old 01-29-13, 03:07 PM
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My wife and I have a 2001 VW Passat wagon, which we plan and hope to keep running another 12 years or so, since it is and has been the perfect size and configuration for us. We also have a 1996 Audi A4 sedan, which is fun to drive, but I miss the extra cargo capacity a small sport wagon offers. We have never owned a minivan, SUV, or large wagon.
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Old 01-29-13, 04:00 PM
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We needed the mini-van to transport the team members ,dancers etc while they were in highschool.Then it was handy to move them in and out of college.They are all out of college I use it now as a bike mobile.
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Old 01-29-13, 04:04 PM
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I have a Mazda6 wagon and love it. If I had to replace it, I'd consider a Subaru wagon.

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Old 01-29-13, 04:14 PM
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Had a small mpv that was a joy to drive- and had plenty of space for the family and bikes on camping trips to France. But coming up for retirement and the wifes small car would be enough for the pair of us. Except I did not realise how much space two people and a tent and the two bikes I now wanted to take would require.

Got a VW Campavan (RV) to replace the MPV and it will take The grandkids and their belongings and 3 bikes with ease.
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Old 01-29-13, 04:18 PM
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The only thing wrong with my Sentra is that it is not a wagon... with a wife and 2 teenage daughters the extra cargo capacity of a traditional wagon would be a nice thing.

Would love to find an early 90's Sentra or Corolla wagon with front wheel drive (I hate the look of the new euro sport wagons)... despite living in the land of snow and ice I have rarely felt I had a need for all wheel drive and high quality winter tyres address all my traction needs.

If I could find a squeaky clean Tercel AWD wagon (Caribe) that might change my mind... these were a great car and had one for business use for some time and my aunt also had one to ensure she could manage un-plowed country roads and these car would go places many SUV's feared to tread and got exceptional mileage.
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Old 01-29-13, 04:30 PM
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Originally Posted by stapfam View Post
Had a small mpv that was a joy to drive- and had plenty of space for the family and bikes on camping trips to France. But coming up for retirement and the wifes small car would be enough for the pair of us. Except I did not realise how much space two people and a tent and the two bikes I now wanted to take would require.

Got a VW Campavan (RV) to replace the MPV and it will take The grandkids and their belongings and 3 bikes with ease.
When I first decided to retire I had a small car, SUV, and a dedicated off road vehicle. After I retired I was down to the SUV and the compact. Bought a Travel Trailer, Caravan for Stapfam, and started back cycling. Decided I didn't need two vehicles and sold the compact. I need something big enough to haul the trailer and four or five bikes and my riding buddies.
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Old 01-29-13, 04:32 PM
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Comments from just a family of three with a suburban/semi-rural home to maintain:

We own two "compacts", a Honda Civic (hers) and Chevy Aveo. Two cars are necessary as the wife travels for work for a week at a time. That said, I'd really like to own just one automobile!

We've owned larger vehicles in the past, but back in the days of lesser expensive fuel costs.

A bicycle with the front wheel removed fits comfortably in either car with the back seat down. My Aveo sports a flatbed roof rack which can accomodate three bikes, or luggage, or two canoes, or two enormous storage containers used to haul recycling, tree branches or whatever isn't wanted in the car's interior. It doesn't seem to be an inconvenience to strap things down before leaving.

Both cars deliver 32-35 mpg in around town trips, 40+ on the highway. They're cheaper to insure and maintain, and really much handier and easier to wheel around town. The disadvantage that comes to mind immediately in the distinct mass disadvantage in a collision with SUV's and trucks...but then I ride a bike!
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Old 01-29-13, 04:51 PM
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I'm 53, drive a Chevy Astro and we're a family of four with two sons in college. The Astro tows our travel trailer, hauls kids for our church youth group to camps and other events (room for 7 students plus me driving and, as I seem to be the favored driver, it is usually full), transports my sons' stuff between home and college (some times requiring the removal of both rows of back seats to fit it all in) and handles pretty much any appliance/home improvement hauling I throw at it. It will be a while before I give any thought to down sizing.
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Old 01-29-13, 04:55 PM
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I can say that our small Toyota Echo has never seemed cramped even when camping with three people and three bikes.

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Old 01-29-13, 05:44 PM
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Wife and I just transitioned from a 7 passenger mini van and GM full-sized xtra cab V8 truck to a new little Subaru Forester and a used 2000 GM full-size standard cab V6 truck. This was after nearly 2 decades of owning small and large trucks, SUVs, and mini vans).

We just couldn't justify owning such large vehicles after our kids grew-up/moved out (we also sadly lost our 2 large dogs to old age).

It took us several years of "talking and hum-hawing" about it. Then one day (late last year) my wife decided to buy her Subaru (bought the "down-sized" truck a month or so later). That was it. Done deal.

Both vehicles get much better gas mileage and I now have more room in my garage.

Should have done it 2 years ago...
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Old 01-29-13, 06:12 PM
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Just sold my '83 Bonneville Wagon. The new owner plopped it into a body shop and is having it restored.

As for me, the "new" vehicle is a Specialized Hard Rock and shopping panniers, with a Bikes at Work trailer in case I have to carry something big.
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Old 01-29-13, 06:29 PM
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Love my wheels. 10 years old now. A bugeye WRX wagon:



Yea, it's homely as an abandoned mutt, but:
  • Has a roof rack.
  • Room in back for a bike or two.
  • Gotta scrunch a little, but I've slept in the back.
  • Much safer than it looks.
  • Very effective AWD. Good for mild off road exploring and skiing.
  • Decent mileage.
  • Goes like spit if you want it to ... truly fun to drive.

Note the lightbar of the CHP there behind me.
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Old 01-29-13, 06:45 PM
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I had a Plymouth Voyager while my three kids were in high school. I pretty much had to--a combined total of eight years of marching band, soccer, swimming, herds of teenagers, and lots of musical instruments, wet towels, and smelly gym bags. When my boys went to college I traded it in for a Yaris hatchback. My kids said, "We can't all fit in that little car!" I said, "I know....but my bike fits nicely in the hatch!"
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Old 01-29-13, 06:54 PM
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More pictures from various trips:













And this car gets 39 MPG.

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Old 01-29-13, 07:08 PM
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Originally Posted by TromboneAl View Post
More pictures from various trips:













And this car gets 39 MPG.
What mpg does it get with the bikes on the car?
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Old 01-29-13, 07:22 PM
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Originally Posted by Bikey Mikey View Post
What mpg does it get with the bikes on the car?
I actually have our mileage records from the trip related to that last set of photos (just wife and me in the car).

The first day we only got 29 MPG, but that involved driving up into the mountains. The next tanks were 33, 37, 38, 39, 39, 34 and 35 MPG. Short answer: About 34 MPG. That was with the bikes on the back, and of course it was all highway driving.

IIRC, with the bikes on top, it's a few MPG lower.
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Old 01-29-13, 08:34 PM
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Originally Posted by John E View Post
My wife and I have a 2001 VW Passat wagon, which we plan and hope to keep running another 12 years or so, since it is and has been the perfect size and configuration for us. We also have a 1996 Audi A4 sedan, which is fun to drive, but I miss the extra cargo capacity a small sport wagon offers. We have never owned a minivan, SUV, or large wagon.

I'm driving an Audi A4 Avant so I'm getting the best of both worlds.
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Old 01-29-13, 08:59 PM
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Kids are long out of the house. Our 2002 Jetta diesel wagon has 300K miles and still runs like a watch. Rumors abound that the next generation diesel wagon (2014) will be larger. If that turns out to be true my wife's Passat will be out the door in a millisecond. I'd buy a diesel Passat wagon tomorrow if VW imported one; heck, the only wagon in their lineup is the Jetta.

I'm keeping our Jetta wagon until they bury me in it.
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Old 01-29-13, 09:14 PM
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Current bike hauler is a 2001 Mazda minivan, which swallows either a long wheelbase recumbent or our tandem, right down the middle, plus another 'normal-size' bike or two. On the inside, that is. Also can carry long or short bikes on the roof. When the Mazda leaves the family, will probably move to something smaller and carry the long bikes on top. Nice to be able to haul big things but not entirely necessary.
No hurry to ditch the minivan - just barely more than a hundred grand miles on it. Nothing has broken that couldn't be fixed, so far.
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Old 01-29-13, 09:43 PM
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Sold my last car in '84. You'll never guess what I use for transportation...
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Old 01-29-13, 10:07 PM
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Toyota Matrix with four touring bikes and 4 people and gear@30 mpg. It is a bit crowded with 4 (what do you do with all those front wheels), but quite roomy with just my wife and me.

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Old 01-30-13, 06:17 AM
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I waited until I was 61. . Since I commute to work by bike and use the rail system in Philadelphia extensively, my car is mostly about being fun to drive these days. I got a Genesis Coupe in December that is loads of fun.
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Old 01-30-13, 06:40 AM
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Well we went from a 01 Range Rover to an 08 smart for two. It took a little adjustment but at the same time we sold our home in Maine and moved to Florida. Here is a pic of the smart with two kayaks and bikes (under cover) at a stop over at the in-laws on the way to their new home few years ago. Currently the stable includes an old 95 Saab conv (in FL owned since new) and an 01 audi TT roadster (in storage in CT for the summer months). The smart is the main auto and commonly referred to as our mechanical bike rack.

And the smart in its new role in Fl.
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Old 01-30-13, 08:34 AM
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The kids were in college before the minivan needed a lot of work, so we traded to a hybrid.

Then I went and got a bigger sedan so we could pull a trailer to help them move.

But I drive less now, and get much better mileage when I drive, so moving wife to hybrid saves lots of gas.
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