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Author Topic: Help me find my next car...  (Read 848 times)
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kratz
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« on: March 31, 2012, 02:53:39 PM »

So with the new job, I'm going to be commuting, and I need a new vehicle in which to do this.

The drive is all interstate, and for half the year it'll be a little windy at times, but mostly great... the other half of the year it'll be often closed, and usually not ideal travel conditions (hopefully by winter I'll be telecommuting some days).

New car requirements:
Front or AWD - something I could snow tire up for winter with front would be fine.
Decent gas mileage, obviously.
Not stupid looking.
Not brand new, and not super fancy - I just don't care that much.
Also, not super crappy.
Must be comfortable for a 6' 2" guy.
Ideal: Large enough that I could put the family in it, and a some gear in the back when we go on a few car trips a year.
Roof rack or trailer hitch on which to mount a bike rack is key.
Preference would be some sort of hatchback of wagon.
4 doors would be preferable... unless we count then hatchback... then 5.

Our current 'travel' car is a 2001 Subaru Forester (though I actually blew this car up on my way to the interview yesterday, so who knows), and it is *incredibly* uncomfortable for me on longer car trips... I get major sciatic pain/cramping in my right leg in this car... not totally sure why, maybe I'm not upright enough?

My initial thought was some sort of Subaru because of the AWD, but the comfort thing could be an issue unless things have majorly changed (I know the new Forester is massively different and more comfortable, but I think those are going to be more than I want to spend), and friends who know more about cars than I do said that any AWD will impact the gas consumption and that I'll be better off with a front wheel drive car that I can swap snow tires onto.
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gellar
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« Reply #1 on: March 31, 2012, 03:00:46 PM »

Weird, I had the same issue (right leg and sciatic) in my old Impreza as well.  I found removing my wallet helped some, but it was still probably one of my primary complaints about the car and probably why I got rid of it.  Maybe that's just the way Subaru makes seats?

Your friends are 100% correct on gas mileage vs awd.  Really the primary advantage to AWD is to avoid swapping and/or chains.  If you don't care about that, FWD is the way to go.

I have no specific suggestions primarily due to my lack of familiarity with that market. 
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kratz
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« Reply #2 on: March 31, 2012, 03:12:08 PM »

I wear my wallet on my left... sometimes it helps if I stick something under my right leg further down, like a wadded up t shirt or something.  On long trips I'm dyin' though.
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kratz
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« Reply #3 on: March 31, 2012, 03:15:26 PM »

Also, I tried calling Car Talk, but it's busy!
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Nonnahob
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« Reply #4 on: March 31, 2012, 03:24:18 PM »

Try a used Vw jetta TDI if you're after gas mileage, ive got a 2010 and love it. Probably average 50mpg on the highway. Another buddy of mine just bought a 2006 used version of the same and would echo my sentiments. A roof rack is an easy install on it, too.
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Harpua3
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« Reply #5 on: March 31, 2012, 04:44:45 PM »

I have a 2010 impreza  and my wife has a 2011 legacy. Neither of us have even had those comfort issue. Quite the opposite actually. Also, the 2012 impreza just got redesigned. Awesome looking. Never had anything other than gm cars til this point. We LOVE these cars now!
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kratz
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« Reply #6 on: March 31, 2012, 04:54:02 PM »

How tall are you?
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SkyLander
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« Reply #7 on: March 31, 2012, 06:28:27 PM »

You can probably find a pretty nice Mazda hatchback that's a few years old. I think 09 was really good right before they added the goofy happy front end. My friend has the sedan version and he is 6 foot and seems to be comfortable in it. What about a crossover? Either a Sorento or Tuscon or something?
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kratz
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« Reply #8 on: March 31, 2012, 09:12:39 PM »

It seems like most things that are a decent size, especially wagons/hatchbacks, are all under 30mpg... I keep coming back to Subaru... later model Outback would be so nice for everything other than the mpg... but even looking at FWD cars in a similar price range (Nissan, Chevy, Ford), they are all in that same 27mpg sort of range...
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« Reply #9 on: April 01, 2012, 02:38:49 AM »

My wife went from a Forester to a Honda Fit, and loves the new car. Her top priorities were cargo capacity, reliability, and economy. It's averaged nearly 40 mpg over its first 10,000 miles. I have no opinion on hauling a family because we never use the back seats, but the balance between economy and cargo space can't be beat. The cubic footage is a bit less than a Forester, but the difference is all vertical space.
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kratz
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« Reply #10 on: April 01, 2012, 05:22:07 PM »

Current frontrunner might actually be a 2009 or newer Forester... apparently actual drivers (including a buddy) report better than promised highway mileage (30mpg is what my buddy gets), and with that redesign they got a lot roomier and more comfortable inside... it would be a great car for all the stuff I do other than commuting, and I could always pass it to my wife if I decide in 6 months that I need an actual commuter.  Both of our current vehicles are old and need to go before too awful long... and our current Forester might be going away pretty soon since the engine just blew up.
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Octavious230
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« Reply #11 on: April 01, 2012, 06:00:22 PM »

The new Ford Focus is pretty sweet. I almost grabbed it when I was shopping for a car, but the deal I got on a Accord was too good to pass up. I'm totally regretting it as the Accord with 5K miles has tranny issues. I'm sure they will fix it for free, but WTF.
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Mithridates
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« Reply #12 on: April 01, 2012, 08:23:40 PM »

I just bought a new Ford Focus and I really like it.  Mileage has been good, 34-35 mpg for a mix of city/highway driving.  I think it looks great and while it is a small car, it is roomy enough for me(6'0") and the kids. 
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gellar
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« Reply #13 on: April 01, 2012, 08:31:00 PM »

Your commute is 100 miles PER DAY?  So effectively 25,000 miles per year?  You need to buy a beater for that commute and that commute only.  Low cost, high mpg, and high reliability should be your only considerations.
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Mystic95Z
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« Reply #14 on: April 01, 2012, 09:47:53 PM »

Have you seen the new Kia Optima? Its gotten really good reviews and looks really nice. Will probably be my next car once I retire my Lincoln LS.

http://www.kia.com/#/optima/explore/photos/
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kratz
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« Reply #15 on: April 02, 2012, 01:52:53 AM »

Quote from: gellar on April 01, 2012, 08:31:00 PM

Your commute is 100 miles PER DAY?  So effectively 25,000 miles per year?  You need to buy a beater for that commute and that commute only.  Low cost, high mpg, and high reliability should be your only considerations.

Maybe... but there ARE other considerations.
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kratz
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« Reply #16 on: April 02, 2012, 02:02:39 AM »

Quote from: Mystic95Z on April 01, 2012, 09:47:53 PM

Have you seen the new Kia Optima? Its gotten really good reviews and looks really nice. Will probably be my next car once I retire my Lincoln LS.

http://www.kia.com/#/optima/explore/photos/


New Optimas seem insanely expensive... the nearby dealership has a bunch... none under $27K.
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Devil
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« Reply #17 on: April 02, 2012, 02:37:04 AM »

I would offer opinion, but don't want to risk being called a racist again!  icon_wink

My Subaru was awesome!
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Morgul
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« Reply #18 on: April 02, 2012, 02:41:26 AM »

Honda Accord
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Harpua3
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« Reply #19 on: April 02, 2012, 04:21:02 AM »

Quote from: kratz on March 31, 2012, 04:54:02 PM

How tall are you?

7ft 3... Um , more like 5-11 or 6ft.
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Harpua3
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« Reply #20 on: April 02, 2012, 04:25:58 AM »

Quote from: kratz on March 31, 2012, 09:12:39 PM

It seems like most things that are a decent size, especially wagons/hatchbacks, are all under 30mpg... I keep coming back to Subaru... later model Outback would be so nice for everything other than the mpg... but even looking at FWD cars in a similar price range (Nissan, Chevy, Ford), they are all in that same 27mpg sort of range...

I get 24 or so only on traffic. But 32 or so on freeway. My wife's legacy gets slightly better mpg and she is all freeway, where as I'm all traffic. But I can't complain. I drive 7 miles to work, she drives 28... I've had this car for 17 months and I only have 9,000 miles. She got her car over a year later and is close to passing me up..
« Last Edit: April 02, 2012, 04:27:56 AM by Harpua3 » Logged
kratz
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« Reply #21 on: April 02, 2012, 04:29:16 AM »

Hrm, 2012 Impreza does have good MPG, it would seem... old ones seemed to be the same as Forester/Outback, but the 2012 is saying 36 highway.

Subaru is apparently offering 0.9% through tomorrow.  I had identified a potential Forester, but maybe the Impreza is worth a drive.
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kratz
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« Reply #22 on: April 02, 2012, 04:57:40 AM »

The Focus 5 door is also intriguing... seems like it might be larger than the Impreza, but comparable fuel efficiency and FWD...  I just don't know how much I'm going to want the AWD if the roads are bad?  Buddies here seem to think if I put on snow tires in the winter than the FWD is just as good.  It has the benefit of being test driveable right next to my work... might check that out in the morning.
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gellar
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« Reply #23 on: April 02, 2012, 06:56:43 AM »

Dude... new car + that commute = pain. 

First, you're going to take a much larger hit in depreciation after the first year (even more so than the standard new car depreciation) so any sort of catastrophic accident in the first few years will leave you ridiculously upside down.  For example, a standard 2012 Subaru Impreza with 25,000 miles is worth $1,000 less than one with 'normal' miles in the first year alone.    You could of course counter this with gap insurance, but that costs money too.  And that's trade in value.  Private Party Value drops to LOL NO.

Second, your new car warranty would last all of 18 mos.  So after 18 months, you have zero 'new car' benefits but still have the new car payment for 42 more months on a standard loan.

I'm not saying it's not a good idea, I'm just saying it's a risky financial one.
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kratz
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« Reply #24 on: April 02, 2012, 04:54:17 PM »

But...

2011 Impreza: 27mpg highway
2012 Impreza: 37mpg highway

2009 - 2011 Foresters are selling for like 19K... 2012 w/ manual would be 20K... and have a 3 year warranty.  If there was a catastrophic accident it would be:
Covered by warranty
Covered by insurance

Not sure what other kind of accident you might mean?  Do you mean like an accident to me working?

I'm not looking at a car as an investment... (though I'm trying to not be 100% stupid about it.) I'm looking for the best car that meets my needs: decent mileage + could fit the family + can haul bikes (and haul them to the trailhead) + I fit in it comfortably.  There is no perfect car for all of these things, so it's all some level of compromise.  If I start telecommuting even two days a week (or work 4 10s, and then do a day of telecommuting, or whatever) in a few months, that will have a MAJOR impact on overall mileage.

I drove the Focus hatchback this morning... it seemed okay, but I did feel sort of cramped in it headroom wise.  Storage space was sort of limited as well, and ground clearance was sketchy.  Lots of fancy techy features to sync to your phone and whatnot that were sort of cool, but all that stuff is secondary to me as long as whatever I get has an AUX jack for my mp3 player.

I hope to drive the Impreza and Forester this evening if I can con a buddy into driving me down to Colorado...

Today is the last day of Q1 incentives - does anyone know how to find out what a manufacturer's Q2 incentives will be?  We met with our credit union this morning, and they said our credit was A+, that we could get 2.75% through them, and that we would have no problem getting the best deals through manufacturers as well... which through Subaru through the end of today is 0.9%.
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Harpua3
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« Reply #25 on: April 02, 2012, 05:12:18 PM »

Quote from: kratz on April 02, 2012, 04:29:16 AM

Hrm, 2012 Impreza does have good MPG, it would seem... old ones seemed to be the same as Forester/Outback, but the 2012 is saying 36 highway.

Subaru is apparently offering 0.9% through tomorrow.  I had identified a potential Forester, but maybe the Impreza is worth a drive.

I love my car, but man the newer impressa is a beautiful looking machine...
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gellar
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« Reply #26 on: April 02, 2012, 05:18:08 PM »

1) It wouldn't have a 3 year warranty, it'd have a 36,000 mile warranty which you'd blow through in 18 mos given your projected travel.
2) Insurance only covers the current value of the car, not what you owe on it.  If the appraiser goes 'well sir, your car has 20,000 miles on it so I'm gonna knock $2,000 off the projected value for that', they are well within the rights to do so.  This CAN be covered with what's called 'Gap Insurance', but this is an additional cost (I think per year?).

Remember the 25,000 miles assumes you don't use it for fuck all outside of work - no family trips, no biking expeditions... I think this is a reasonable guess per year even IF you add in telecommuting.

We can chat moar in IRC.  I'm hopping in.
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« Reply #27 on: April 02, 2012, 05:56:43 PM »

You could buy a low-mile used 2009 or 2010 Honda Fit for 1/3 the price of a new Impreza or Forrester and use that exclusively for 36-38mpg commuting and continue to use your existing Forrester for biking/etc. 
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kratz
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« Reply #28 on: April 02, 2012, 05:58:14 PM »

Existing forester may be donezo... needs a new engine.

We may buy this forester, then in a few months once things are more settled, get a full on commuter and shift this car to the wife/kid and taking trips.
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kratz
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« Reply #29 on: April 03, 2012, 03:53:18 AM »

2012 Impreza is very impressive... waiting 12 weeks to get one with a hatchback, less so.  I would love for that to be my commuter.

Current not-perfect solution was the Forester.  Our current Forester is toast - new engine, and somewhere between $3000 and $5000 to replace it, on a car that is probably worth about that much WITH an engine.  So we have no family car that can go on the highway... so the Forester was the answer to that question, and will also suffice to commute for a while at least.

The next question is what to do with the existing vehicles, and what can we find that will commute better, at least during good weather, and be a decent vehicle.  I'm feelin' worn out from thinking about shit and spending a bunch of money, even though we got, in the end, a good deal on something that will be very useful to us overall, even if it does pose more questions and is not a perfect solution.  I *think* I made a decent decision in an imperfect situation.

I'm sure gellar will now tell me 20 reasons this was idiotic.
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Chaz
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« Reply #30 on: April 03, 2012, 04:05:33 AM »

If you need something cheap that gets good mileage for the commute, I like my Fiesta a lot.  It's definitely not a big car, but I usually get about 40mpg on the highway, and it's definitely a kick to drive.  I also confirmed you can fit a bike inside it, though not super comfortably. 
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