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From Giant to Economy Size - Couples Choosing

Karen_CMKaren_CM Posts: 5,030
edited April 1 in Ford
In today's economy many families are seeking to downsize from the SUV/Minivan to a more economical ride. Are you and your spouse/SO considering a smaller vehicle? What do you want? What does he/she want? And after the final decision, will you still be speaking to each other? :-)

Community Manager If you have any questions or concerns about the Forums, send me an email, karen@edmunds.com, or click on my screen name to send a personal message.

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Comments

  • euphoniumeuphonium Great Northwest, West of the Cascades.Posts: 3,341
    Mostly interested in a new body design Lincoln Town Car with the 5.4L engine followed by a 6 speed transmission weighing at least 4,000 pounds and able to transport 6 in comfort. MPG is not as important as comfort and safety.

    I refuse to be feared into such tin cans as the Pious from Toyota as they are not as comfortable and safe. Among our friends, only the Academia nuts are falling for the "Green" cars, but not the friends in the financial business i.e. stock brokers, small manufactuers, & profitable business owners. ;)
  • Karen_CMKaren_CM Posts: 5,030
    Okay, that's you, but what about your spouse, assuming you have one? Has she expressed an interest in a smaller vehicle?

    Community Manager If you have any questions or concerns about the Forums, send me an email, karen@edmunds.com, or click on my screen name to send a personal message.

  • michaellnomichaellno Posts: 4,300
    In the (almost) 11 years my wife and I have been married, we've gone through some downsizing ....

    '98 Ford Expedition to
    '02 Ford Explorer to
    '04 Saturn VUE to
    '08 Saturn VUE

    The wife still likes the view from a vehicle that sits higher, so it's not likely that she'll ever go back to driving a 'regular' car. As our kids have gotten older we find that we don't need as much room for passengers and cargo.

    The new VUE gets about 19-21 MPG in a combination of city and semi-rural driving. On the highway we have gotten up to 24 MPG. This is the XR model with the 3.6L V6, 6-speed automatic and AWD (EPA estimates are 16 city and 22 hwy).

    As for me, I've stuck with cars for the most part:

    '98 VW New Beetle
    '03 Saturn L300
    '03 Ford Focus

    The Saturn is now my daily driver, but since I work from home 90% of the time, the Saturn doesn't get too many miles put on it -- about 4,000 since January. I've been getting 23-25 MPG from it.

    Since it's paid for, it doesn't make sense for me to downsize into something smaller or more fuel efficient.
  • euphoniumeuphonium Great Northwest, West of the Cascades.Posts: 3,341
    She continues to be content with the '95 T Bird I bought for her as it was what she wanted at the time. It is interesting to me that only a year earlier she wanted the new 94 Town Car. So, we bought that, but then she wanted the T Bird, so there you go.

    We are retired and she was a pharmacist who used to drive a Chevrolet Luv 4 speed stick shift to work. On weekends, it hauled her gardening needs. She prefers I make the transportation decisions & I prefer she make the dwelling choices.
  • andre1969andre1969 Posts: 22,106
    that with most couples, if they can afford it, it's probably best to just get two vehicles. That way each can get what they really want. My grandparents on my Mom's side of the family always had a car and a truck. Granddad would usually pick out the truck, and Grandmom would usually pick out the car, and they'd both be happy. On my Dad's side, they always made do with one car, but luckily their tastes were both similar. Plus, Granddad would usually get Grandmom whatever she wanted. Thankfully she didn't have extravagant tastes, or she could have bankrupted him!

    My Mom and stepdad bought an '08 Altima together a couple months ago, and the process got so long and dragged out that Mom was ready to strangle him. My stepdad is the type to research the hell out of something and second-guess himself every step of the way, whereas Mom just wants to buy the thing and be done with it. Well first they went back and forth between an Altima and an Accord, which took forever. Finally they decided on the Altima, but then my stepdad went into mental lockdown when it came to choosing between leather or cloth. They were all set to get the car one Saturday and my stepdad suddenly wanted to hold off and think it over some more. Mom was ready to kill him. My stepdad called me on the phone and asked my opinion. I think the model they got was a 2.5 SL...leather, sunroof, alloys, abs, etc. Pretty well loaded. They were getting it for something like $24K out the door. I told him I thought that was a steal at that price, and they finally broke down and got it.

    And now, that they have this nice new car? Well I have yet to see it. They still drive their old '99 Altima back and forth to work. Every time they've come up here, they'd always bring the old one. I think the '08 just sits, mostly. Great use of financial resources, there. :shades:
  • gagricegagrice San DiegoPosts: 29,091
    but what about your spouse, assuming you have one? Has she expressed an interest in a smaller vehicle?

    You must be kidding. My wife does not like being in anything smaller than her LS400. The Sequoia is just about right.
  • euphoniumeuphonium Great Northwest, West of the Cascades.Posts: 3,341
    "Buy her whatever she wants for in the long run it is much cheaper than a divorce".

    Will you be married for over 53 years? :) :) :)
  • mattandimattandi Posts: 588
    We began looking back mid-winter. Really would have bought something by now, but got side tracked looking at houses as well. Figured we'll complete the house thingy first. We're not in a big hurry.

    Life details
    2 young kids - 3 and 5 yo
    she works full time, teacher
    I stay home mostly with the 3 yo, work very part time
    currently have one car, 2000 Saturn LW2 wagon
    take regular road trips throughout the year to visit family, mine scattered around NC and hers in MD
    go tent camping 3 or 4 times every summer, often with large groups with lots of equipment and supplies, even just the four of us fill up the wagon
    my mom lives near us, she is getting older and doesn't like to drive much anymore, we are her taxi, she often tags along on trips
    there is a fair chance of another kid in the future
    often have a friend tagging along with our girls, guessing that will become more common
    eventually I'll most likely go back to work more full time

    It just screams minivan, huh? They really don't bother me so much, but she just does not like them. We did look at them, the Sienna and the Sedona were the favorites.My wife just could not get her heart into a box on wheels.

    I like SUV's. Love the space and utility, but don't like feeding them. She really does not like how they drive. The big just gets to her. Took an Acadia for a test. Her immediate reaction was, "It just feels so big." My heart sank.

    She does like wagons a lot, but there aren't any new that offer more than five seats. That's one of our deal breakers. So we moved on to mid CUV's.

    Drove a Veracruz. She liked it. I was impressed as well. It remains on our short list. A little more cargo capacity would be nice though. So next up was the Taurus X. Liked that on as well. Now money becomes an issue. North of $30k is right at the top of what we figure fits in the budget, but not real comfortable pushing the limit. Things get much more comfortable at mid 20's or so. Seems dealer inventories are heavy on the more optioned vehicles. Gizmos and gadgetry are not priorities for us. We're content with more basic.

    Go for a second look at something we initially wrote off, a Kia Rondo. One drive and my wife is hooked. It's roomy, drives the way she likes, and it just felt right to her. The top trim is quite comfortable and decently appointed. I'm wary of it for some irrational, image driven rationale, but it remains in contention.

    Waiting to closely check out the Journey and the Flex.

    Since we're not in a big hurry, we're also curious what may start to turn up used.

    We are still on speaking terms through it all. ;)
  • fezofezo Posts: 9,411
    We are still on speaking terms through it all.

    That would certainly help if you are thinking about a third kid....

    Other than the minivan phobia you're looking in the right places.

    Of course minivans were great by me until I became the primary driver on one of them. An SUV wouldn't cure that issue. I like cars - they are more responsive.
  • euphoniumeuphonium Great Northwest, West of the Cascades.Posts: 3,341
    We are still on speaking terms through it all.

    That would certainly help if you are thinking about a third kid....


    Not when "actions speak louder than words". ;)
  • mattandimattandi Posts: 588
    That would certainly help if you are thinking about a third kid....

    Kinda what I was thinking. :blush:

    Vans really don't bother me. My ego has survived a Saturn LW2, I figure it can take just about anything. She is insistent that she does not want one. I really did like that Sienna. Her best friend has one, so we'll keep working on it.

    I have a soft spot for two seat roadsters. My first car was a '72 MGB. Not exactly a very family friendly choice. :(

    She grew up with wagons, so she is comfortable with them. Even though the CUV craze is supposedly the alternative to the SUV craze, I look at most of them and see what the wagon has evolved into, they just got a little taller. The Journey looks promising, but I would be lying if I didn't admit that Chrysler's current state of affairs worries me.
  • mattandimattandi Posts: 588
    Weeelllllllll, a little sweet talk doesn't hurt. And KarenS was interested in how the marital communications were holding up.

    beside, gotta figure there must be room in the buggy for all sorts of activities. Including a casual conversation of course. ;)
  • gagricegagrice San DiegoPosts: 29,091
    Her immediate reaction was, "It just feels so big."

    My wife and I hit a big deer in Sun Valley Idaho with my 3/4 ton 4X4. It was not driveable so I traded it at the local Chevy dealer on a new 1998/99 Suburban. We test drove a Tahoe before deciding. We both liked driving the Suburban. From then on she drove the Suburban and I ended up with her little Camry. I hated driving it but what you do to please your better half. When we divorced I kept the Suburban as I had bought it in my name only. She was not pleased getting stuck with her little Camry. I did offer to buy her one of the first Prius that came into San Diego. She drove it and hated it. My wives have all liked bigger vehicles. I am the same. I would buy a small diesel car to run errands. None available so far. We may replace the LS400 with an E320 CDI, if it ever quits or needs major repair. It is 19 years old and runs great.
  • mattandimattandi Posts: 588
    Oh I really like the GL320 CDI. I suspect she would like it too. Just a little out of reach right now. Were the budget different, I'd buy one in a second.
  • 1stpik1stpik Posts: 495
    Some of my neighbors are finally trying to down-size from their full-size SUVs to small cars. But they're hitting a wall when it comes to trading in their SUVs.

    Few dealers want them, and those that do are offering thousands below book value. So they're basically stuck with the gas guzzlers, and those $100 fill-ups.

    Even $4/gallon can't make 'em give away their Suburbans and pay full sticker for a Corolla. I don't blame them.
  • lemkolemko Posts: 15,198
    My girlfriend and I drive similar size cars - my 1988 Buick Park Avenue and her 2005 Buick LaCrosse are roughly the same size with the same type of engine - the 3.8 V-6. Her LaCrosse may actually be a bit longer and heavier than the Park Ave. I doubt either one of us would want to go any smaller.

    She has driven much smaller cars in the past: a 1986 Chevrolet Sprint and a 1991 Mercury Tracer but says she wouldn't feel safe in those kinds of cars these days. She also has absolutely no interest in a minivan or SUV. I also doubt very much she'd feel comfortable driving my 1989 Cadillac Brougham or even my 2007 Cadillac DTS Performance, but she did drive a 1966 Ford Galaxie 500 back in high school and I have pictures of her driving a recent model Mercury Grands Marquis.
  • jchan2jchan2 Posts: 4,956
    has been to simply expand the fleet; which has been aided by the addition of a teenage driver to the household. (aka.. we would have been expanding the fleet anyways, regardless of gas prices) Instead of using the guzzling minivan (20 MPG) as someone's daily driver, we just added a Nissan Altima (30 MPG averages) to the household..

    Of course, we made this call back in Jan. when a gas receipt showed gas at $2.84/gallon. Ah, those were the days! :P

    I'm glad we made that decision, though. Actually, given how few miles we've put on the minivan since we've gone from 3 to 4 cars, we may just continue to hold on to the van for the rare occasions when its needed and leave it parked in the driveway- afterall, the car's paid for, and insurance is not too expensive on it.

    So now, I'd say we're quite well hedged for high gas prices. For around town jaunts, we can choose from the Altima or the Civic (both averaging 30 MPG) and for longer highway trips we just take the Infiniti. (averaging 25-27 mpg, depending on driving conditions)

    But of course, when its time to replace the Infiniti (the mileage is piling on rather quickly for some reason) we're looking into a smaller, more efficient vehicle. Maybe not necessarily a hybrid, since the deals aren't there, but perhaps an extremely well equipped 4 cylinder Accord would fit the bill nicely.
  • jkinzeljkinzel Posts: 735
    We plan on buying a new car this Fall or after the first of the year if our 1993 Explorer last that long.

    We have been married for 32 years and she usually gets the car and I have a pick-up, so she picks what she wants. We are also the type of people that buy a car and drive it to the end. We purchased the Explorer new in the Summer of 1993 and it now has 200300+ miles on it and is in good condition.

    We had planned on getting a 2008 Taurus, but the wife really likes the Explorer for loading and unloading of groceries and whatever else she might haul and wants to stay with that type of vehicle.

    So with fuel prices on the rise along with everything else, she has put me in charge of finding a replacement that won’t kill us with long term operating cost and at present we have narrowed it to two choices.

    The 2009 Ford Escape or the 2009 VW Jetta Sports Wagon TDI. I really would like the Sports Wagon TDI just for the mileage alone, tough to beat 40 to 45 MPG with a diesel. We will have to see how VW markets this product and if they slap big premiums on the TDI. VW has also had in the past some problems with reliability (usually electrical and interior, drive train seems bullet proof) so the jury is still out for VW.

    The 2009 Ford Escape is suppose to be coming with a new and improved I-4 and a 3L V6 married to a 6 speed transmission that should greatly increase the mileage over the 2008’s
  • autoboy16autoboy16 Posts: 992
    those electrical problems in the vw's are pretty much gone since 2003+. The new jetta ranked quite well in reliability surveys.

    Don't forget about the Tiguan Suv that'll get the TDI engine next year too! Not 45mpg, but still it'll be good. The Sportwagon is a pretty solid car.

    I personally want a Jetta TDI! I have no problems getting an 06 with the 1.9l. Just that... YOU CAN"T FIND THEM!! There are two in my area. A red one selling for $29k and a silver one selling for $27k...

    Since I'm still not even of age to become married (17 until september), I don't have much to contribute. The GF has an 08 Yaris and I have a 95Accord v6 that'll likely be replaced with either a Jetta TDI or Jetta 2.5. IMO, there isn't any compact/midsize car that drives that solidly with as good crash scores as the Jetta with as many features for the money.

    Sure the mpg isn't the best (2.5 pre-08 19/28 post-08 21/29) but I just want better mpg than what I'm getting (16/22 which is slightly below revised EPA). and both Jettas gives me that :) . BTW the 2.0T is nice... but the insurance isn't... :sick:

    -Cj
  • suydamsuydam Posts: 1,016
    WE didn't really downsize but we did sell the Mazda6 wagon that we both loved because it really is not a very fuel efficient vehicle. We bought a used Pontiac Vibe. Still have the space and room for dogs but much better on gas! Not as much fun to drive but it's the around-town vehicle, and we still have our Nissan Maxima for fun and long trips. The difference in monthly gas costs is quite striking. I'm very happy that we made the switch (actually a year ago when gas prices began climbing).

    You don't always have to downsize to see fuel savings. Assuming you aren't driving a large hulking SUV to start with.
  • gagricegagrice San DiegoPosts: 29,091
    the wife really likes the Explorer

    My brother in law just bought a used 2007 Explorer and traded in his 1996 Explorer. He is not happy with the mileage on the new one at all. Says the best he has gotten in 16 MPG. He used to get 20 MPG with the 1996 Explorer. They left this morning for Seattle so I should get the trip mileage with the non CA designer gas when they return. They both like the comfort and ease of getting in and out of the Explorers. I am hoping the VW Sportwagon is a comfortable vehicle.
  • qbrozenqbrozen Posts: 17,612
    I really really wanted the wife to get something smaller and more economical, but she just wouldn't go for it. We wound up going from our 18 mpg Pacifica (a lease, so no trading involved) to an XC90 getting about 21 mpg. So a slight bit better. No matter how hard I tried, she wouldn't hear of a station wagon. I had her leaning towards a V70, but after driving the XC90, she was hooked. And if we had gotten the V70, she would have been settling and I know she'd be hating it in no time.

    As for me, the only thing I liked about my Accord was the 27-28 mpg. I wound up with an AWD G35. I thought I'd be looking at 23-24 mpg, so not a big drop. So far its also been getting 21 mpg. Does that make me dislike it or think about trading AGAIN? Nope. It is what it is and I really like the car, which is more than I can say about the Honda. So it costs me more to fuel it. Oh well. That's the cost of enjoyment, I suppose.

    '13 Stang GT; '15 Fit; '98 Volvo S70; '14 Town&Country

  • raychuang00raychuang00 Posts: 541
    I think what we could see in the USA over the next 4-5 years is the proliferation of what Europeans call multi-activity vehicle here in the USA.

    That's why Honda is looking at selling the Japanese Domestic Market (JDM) Stream model here in the USA, and the replacement for the Edix/FR-V model now in development could be sold here in the USA, too. Two good examples of this type of vehicle already on sale in the USA are the Mazda5 and the Kia Rondo.
  • flash11flash11 Posts: 98
    We have 2 vehicles and one son-5 years old.
    One is a 2005 Dodge Grand Caravan SXT and the other is a 1999 Mazda Protege LX.
    Both vehicles have worked out great. No issues. The Caravan is a dream to drive and love it except now the gas prices are biting a bit into our budget, not much for now though. The Mazda was a very practical economy car.
    We plan on buying a mid-sized hydrogen cell commuter car like the GM Chevy Equinox hydrogen cell car or a Chrysler Ecovoyager when they come out in 2011 to replace the van, and do not plan on considering any gas engine cars at all. We are fed up with the outrageous prices of gas lately and know it will get out of control and continuously raise.
  • gagricegagrice San DiegoPosts: 29,091
    I hope your current vehicle last a lot of years. Unless you are in LA or NY and have big bucks for a lease it will be MANY years before you see Fuel cell vehicles for sale. Here is one slight issue that you don't see much about.

    GM fuel-cell director Byron McCormick promises that the hydrogen-inhaling Equinox will behave much like a regular car. It will start up in sub-freezing temperatures (until now a technical hurdle for the water-generating powerplant) and get to 60 mph in about 12 seconds. However, the fuel cell's life expectancy is just 50,000 miles owing to corrosion issues inside the stack.

    They will be for wealthy folks that can give GM publicity.

    The Equinoxes will go to ordinary drivers, politicians and others who influence policy, celebrities and high-profile people whose opinions seem to count. And, by the way, to members of the media — who, not being included in the previous groups, presumably aren't ordinary, don't influence policy, don't offer opinions valued by others and aren't celebrities. Oh, well …

    Car companies still are developing the technology. At its current stage, it works pretty well but is so expensive that you'd have to pay hundreds of thousands of dollars to buy a fuel-cell vehicle. Even four years hence, when the first could be in ordinary auto showrooms, they'll still probably be prohibitive. Automakers will market them with subsidized leases instead of selling them outright.


    Better think about a plug in hybrid in 2011. Fuel cells are just plain expensive. As long as Platinum is over $2000 per oz it will remain expensive. Unless they can come up with a cheap substitute. They would have to have it now to consider marketing a fuel cell car in 2011. The Volt may be your best chance.
  • mattandimattandi Posts: 588
    I think it is much more likely that we will see more hybrid technology or a few more diesels in family friendly vehicles long before fuel cell goes mainstream. I am also expecting we'll see a few more small people-haulers like the Mazda5 or Rondo in the US. Should be somewhat more affordable to most of us than fuel cell technology, at least in the near term.
  • tidestertidester Posts: 10,109
    As long as Platinum is over $2000 per oz it will remain expensive. Unless they can come up with a cheap substitute.

    Nakajimakinzoku of Japan has developed a fuel cell that reduces platinum requirements by 99%

    And Daihatsu of Japan has developed a fuel cell that does not use platinumat all.

    tidester, host
    SUVs and Smart Shopper
  • gagricegagrice San DiegoPosts: 29,091
    From the link you gave us:

    Currently, Daihatsu uses about 100 grams of platinum per vehicle in its hydrogen-based fuel-cell vehicles under development.

    In todays market that is about $6609 worth of platinum per vehicle. It is no wonder the typical fuel cell vehicle in testing costs the mfg about $500,000. And only 13 places around LA to fuel up for less than 200 miles. They have a loooooonnnnng way to go with fuel cells.
  • tidestertidester Posts: 10,109
    The operative word in that quote is currently. It will certainly be a great savings to them and their customers when they bring their new platinum free fuel cell to market.

    tidester, host
    SUVs and Smart Shopper
  • gagricegagrice San DiegoPosts: 29,091
    We spend a lot of time with the fuel cell issues. I agree that anyone bringing a cheap fuel cell stack to the market will be in control. The other part that may be as important is the hydrogen storage tank. At 10,000 PSI it is not something I would feel good about in a vulnerable location in the car. Think Hindenburg.
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