Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Vote 2008!

As FoxyJ hinted at recently, we're starting to think about getting a new vehicle. Our Chevy Cavalier has served us well for the past seven years, but we're ready for something newer, bigger, and hopefully more fuel efficient. More specifically, we're looking for a vehicle that (a) has power locks, windows, and remote entry; (b) has more cargo space for road trips, room for two car seats and a third adult passenger for when we give rides, and possibly for two car seats and a booster (this is not an announcement--I'm talking about sometime in the next five years here); and (c) gets more than the average of 23 MPG that our current car gets--not just so we can feel smug about being environmentally friendly, but so we can cut down on gas costs and most importantly contribute less to global warming. The problem is that (b) and (c) conflict. As of yet they don't make hybrid vans, so our options are a bigger sedan that gets better mileage or an efficient minivan that gets about the same mileage as what we currently get. It's a tough call because we don't technically need a van, but it sure would be nice to have that extra space.

What do you think? Should we be more Earth-friendly and get one of these hybrids:

Toyota Prius

Toyota Camry Hybrid

Honda Accord Hybrid

or should we be slightly less Earth-friendly and get one of these vans:

Kia Rondo

Mazda5

?

Foxy points out that we don't drive much and will probably drive even less in Davis, so it's not like we'd be guzzling all that much gas in either case. But I really like the idea of a car that gets 45 MPG. Any thoughts?

30 comments:

Earth Sign Mama said...

You will not be sorry with a van/wagon. It is wonderful to have a little more space. Since much of your driving involves traveling long distances to visit people (who love to have you come and visit them)...that extra room will be very valuable. Plus, the legs in the back seat will only be getting longer as the years rush by.

bawb said...

My stepmom and boss are both very happy with their Camry hybrids.

[kɹeɪ̯g̊] said...

Go with the "kill the earth less" option.

Scot said...

I’ve never cared much for my car, but I love my prius, everything from the bluetooth phone to the smug satisfaction while filling up. Rob has a SUV, but when we are all together we drive the prius now almost exclusively and it works well with our family size.

I vote to join us in being self-satisfied npr-listening eco-snobs.

Samantha said...

I just have to say--I bought my Honda Accord a year ago. It's not a hybrid, and it was a couple of years old (23,000 miles on it). I get about 44 mpg on the highway and 37 mpg in town. That's easily as good as the hybrid gets and the car is a little larger. We fit five people--two large adults (Darrin and DJ), two smaller adults (Adam and I), and one puny teen (Tabitha)--fairly comfortably in the car. My recommendation--get a Honda, hybrid or otherwise. Second choice--Toyota.

Mindy said...

Mazda 5! I think it is a good compromise of having enough space and saving the planet. If you get a smaller car the chances of fitting 3 car seats (in the event you should need 3) in the back are slim so make sure you measure the car and the car seats. I am sure you remember how much room an infant carriers take up!)

Julie said...

If you can get away with it, I would go for a large car. I can tell you while our van is supposed to fit 7, I wouldn't want to sit in the back, it's not paricularly roomy back there, and there's not a large amount of "trunk" space either. I've decided vans and such only give you extra space when at least half the seats are not filled with people. As was stated before, some of the newer cars get great gas mileage so you could not even get a hybrid and save $. And maybe by the time you need a van you would be wanting two cars anyway, so you buy a car now and add a van later.

Mama said...

I think in the long run, you'll save getting a van now.

Otherwise, you'll turn around in a few years and be forced to get a van - possibly even before the more fuel efficient car is paid for.

My experience is that my kids' stuff gets bigger. Soon, there will be soccer games (gear to tote) and friends sleeping over (so them to tote) and carpooling for school - yadda yadda - you just can't go wrong getting a somewhat bigger car now while the prices are still lower.

When you have a larger car, you can carpool as well, and that will ultimately save in mileage/cost.

Iin a few years, you could replace the Cavalier with a hybrid. That would be great!

Th. said...

.

We, with similar requirement, are planning on getting a Mazda5.

Mama said...

Oh - I should share that I know someone with a Mazda5 who looooooves it.

JB said...

If you're looking to get a hybrid, I would recommend taking a good look at www.fueleconomy.gov first.Lunk and I were looking at the reported actual mileage for hybrids vs. their non-hybrid counterparts and they're disappointing! Though, if you're mostly concerned with toxic emissions, they're a better (if much more expensive) way to go.

Can't beat a Prius for gas mileage, though. It's pretty hard to see out their back windows, but you get one of those back-up cameras.

If you're going for reliability and a car that will hold its value well, you can't beat a Honda Civic (if you're 6' tall or taller, you might want to be sure you sit in the backseat first, because your head might scrape the top). . . um. I'm gonna stop now.

Good luck!!

JB said...

Oh. One more thing! Camry non-hybrids get 30+ mpg on the highway and at least 26 mpg in the city. They are very reliable (of course, depending on how well they've been maintained--get the paperwork to prove it if you can!) and they hold their value well, just not as well as the Hondas. Lunk says they're starting to catch up with them, though, so that may not be as true now as it was a few years ago when we were avidly looking for a new car.

playasinmar said...

You know electricity isn't magic, right? The more you use the more coal gets burnt.

Just sayin'

Mr. Fob said...

Thanks for the opinions, everyone. You've given us a lot to think about.

Yeah, JB, we've been using that fuel economy site as our bible as we've been trying to find a good efficient vehicle. You're right--there are a lot of non-hybrids that are just as efficient as their hybrid counterparts, and a lot of hybrids that serve mostly to make people feel good about themselves while they continue to use a lot of gas.

Playa, you know that hybrids don't use coal-produced electricity, right? Electricity is generated as the motor runs. Magically.

Mama said...

OK - I asked my mother-in-law about her Prius for ya.

She looooooves it, but it's too small to fit car seats. They hit the back of her seat and make her uncomfortable. (But I think your kids would be in boosters?)

SenecaSis said...

How about a hybrid mini-SUV? Like the Ford Escape Hybrid or the Mazda Tribute Hybrid? Or the Toyota Highlander?

Mr. Fob said...

Yeah, I think we'll want to test out how well the car seats fit in whatever vehicle we're thinking of buying.

The problem with hybrid SUVs is that, like station wagons, they have a lot of extra cargo space but no extra passenger space, really. And for the most part they get about the same gas mileage as a non-hybrid sedan, but cost about $10,000 more. They are pretty, though.

kadusey said...

I'd go for one of the larger options. We've got a Toyota Corolla right now, and can barely fit our infant car seat in the back and still have enough room for us to sit in the front. I don't know how its back seat space compares to the hybrids, though.

Mr. Fob said...

The sedans we're looking at are larger than the Corolla, but still any sedan is going to feel kind of crowded with a couple car seats.

Curiously, does anyone reading these comments have much experience with Hyundais--either the Sonata or the Elantra?

JB said...

The Sonata is a nice car. The one I know of is well maintained and hasn't had a problem I know of yet. . . guess I ought to ask them about that before I go making blanket statements about them, though.

Also, the Prius has regenerative brakes. It uses kinetic energy to juice up its battery, how cool is that?! And the other energy comes from lovely chemicals, but it isn't from coal-burning. Unless it's also a plug in, but those suckers can get 70+ mpg in the city!

Mr. Fob said...

That is way cool. I wish I could use kinetic energy to juice up my batteries.

SenecaSis said...

Your sister M had a Hyndai Elantra.

Mr. Fob said...

Yes, and it was very nice.

SenecaSis said...

Just to validate my suggestion of a hybrid, mini-SUV:

According to http://usnews.rankingsandreviews.com/
cars-trucks/2008-Ford-Escape-Hybrid/
(sorry, I don't know how to link it), the Ford Escape Hybrid gets 30 city and 34 highway, and has an MSRP of about $27K...

Mr. Fob said...

That is good mileage, I'll give you that.

Rebecca said...

I say:

http://www.motortrend.com/gas_prices/33/california/yolo/davis/index.html

And it's only going to go higher.

Rebecca said...

Hm, it looks like that whole link didn't go through, so I'll try putting spaces in it...:

http://www.motortrend.com/gas_price s/33 /california/yolo/davis/index.html

In any case, it looks like gas in Davis is like $4 right now. And climbing.

Mr. Fob said...

So you're saying we should sell our car and just use our bikes?

Recession Cone said...

We're hoping to get a Mazda5. But not until we have child #3 - we'll survive in our plastic Saturn until then... =)

Mr. Fob said...

We testdrove the Mazda5 on Wednesday and liked it a lot. But then we drove the Kia Rondo and liked it even more.