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What's the best vehicle for my needs?

tidestertidester Posts: 10,059
Having a hard time finding the right vehicle to fit your needs? Let's talk about it here!


  • bigbutrbigbutr Posts: 111
    I currently work for the USPS doing rural mail delivery 2-3 days a week and am looking at replacing my current vehicle. It is a still-in-pretty good shape 1996 Chevy S-10 extended cab truck with a little over 86,000 miles on it. I average around 14 mpg on my route, which encompasses about 75 miles and something like 600 plus boxes.
    I plan on driving the truck until it quits, though I've heard with proper maintenance, that 4.3 Vortec V6 will run forever. I managed to suck up some water into the engine on one day :sick: , but after draining, drying and new fluids, it runs even better (mileage actually went up from 12 to 14 after that, though I can't figure out why ). :confuse:
    I've looked at numerous small SUV's (RAV4, CRV, Element, new FJ Cruiser, Escape Hybrid, HHR among many) and even some cars, though I don't really need another car since my 96 Beretta with just over 80,000 miles is still running strong and delivering right around 30 mpg.
    The only requirements necessary are being able to drive the vehicle from on or half-of the passenger seat without sitting on a gear shifter and plenty of storage space.
    The Element seems to fit the overall package, but I'm a little concerned with some reports of poor gas mileage, and that's just regular driving, not the hard stop-and-go I subject my truck to.
    Plus, I don't know if I void any warranty coverage since I'm sure the hard work will strain some parts. I ask this because one of our other rural carriers bought a right-hand drive Jeep Wrangler (made specifically for rural mail delivery) but was told if she used it in that manner, she voided her warranty coverage. How crazy is that? :confuse:
    Sorry if I rambled on, but if there are any other rural carriers out there, I'd like their thoughts. Any other thoughts are appreciated as well.

    Panama City, Florida
  • yoroseyorose Posts: 1
    We are presently driving a 1997 Lincoln Towncar that we would like to replace within the next few of years. We like the Lincoln's comfortable ride and the fact that the seats sit higher than many other cars. (It is getting harder on our knees to get in and out of vehicles that are too low to the ground.) For our next car, we have considered SUV's, but believe the ride would be rougher than we are used to. Minivans are a possiblity, but that's more space than we need. Any recommendations on a car that would meet our needs? Is there any way we can compare seat heights other than physically getting in and out of each car? Thank you!
  • imidazol97imidazol97 Crossroads of America I70 & I75 Posts: 24,336
    There's a discussion group here about vehicles for elderly and diabled. It's not had many posters recent weeks

    the link is
    Disabled and elderly

    2014 Malibu 2LT, 2008 Cobalt 2LT, 2015 Cruze 2LT,

  • tidestertidester Posts: 10,059
    I'm thinking this topic is a little more general so there can be more interaction.

    Anyone got any suggestions for bigbutr or yorose?


    tidester, host
  • prosaprosa Posts: 280
    I've heard that many older people like the Ford 500 because its seats are at a height that makes it easy to get in and out of the vehicle.
  • jipsterjipster Louisville, KentuckyPosts: 5,812
    I think the Toyota Avalon, with power seats, would be a good choice.
  • pernaperna Posts: 533
    I've heard that many older people like the Ford 500 because its seats are at a height that makes it easy to get in and out of the vehicle.

    I'll second this recommendation. The Ford Five Hundred has a similar step-in height to a minivan (I believe it's the same platform Volvo uses on its XC90 - station wagon looking thing). My mother uses a Nissan Quest (and Pontiac Montana before it) to tote my disabled 90 YO great aunt around.
  • pernaperna Posts: 533
    The Element seems to fit the overall package, but I'm a little concerned with some reports of poor gas mileage, and that's just regular driving, not the hard stop-and-go I subject my truck to.

    I would try to find a Ford Ranger with a bench. Those things will literally run forever, and are much heavier-duty than something like an Element.

    I've seen local mail carriers using Ford Escapes, but you can't get those with bench seats.
  • lv2drvlv2drv Posts: 132

    There are many crossover utility vehicles that may fit your needs. I have osteoarthritis in my hips and currently it is hard for me to get out of my Intrepid. Examples of crossovers are the Toyota Highlander, Ford Escape, Acura MDX, Mercury Mariner, Honda Pilot, etc. My favorite and the one I will buy is the Hyundai Santa Fe. I'm getting it because it is easy to get in and out of. I have also tested the Highlander and it was easy, too. The others would be similar.
  • Karen_SKaren_S Posts: 5,092
    A large local newspaper is looking to interview 18-25 year olds on what type of car they are looking to purchase. Please send an e-mail to [email protected] no later than Friday, August 18, 2006 by 2:30 PM PT/5:30 PM ET containing your daytime contact information.
  • Hey yawll,
    Its finally time to think about my first car to use on the road. As I near 16, my old truck will just not be enough. My parents have descided to get me a new car that will be broke in before I leave for collage in the coming years. A few alternatives that I have come up with is the Kia Rio/ Hyundai Accent. Any info on those cars will be greatly appreciated. Another would be the Chevy Aveo. Possibly, I might consider the new Nissan Versa, and the Suzuki SX4. Any advice will be greatly appreciated in relations to this topic. Any input on the cars listed above or any others you would reccomend along those lines will be greatly appreciated. Thanks!
  • cjuricacjurica Posts: 7
    Hello everybody;

    I am looking to get into a newer car. I dont mind used, I have '05 Tahoe now, wife has a '03 Audi A4 1.8 convertable, I want to trade in Tahoe to get something around $30,000, keping in mind we will be having babies on the way. I have never been a big import guy but am open to anything, my auto will be the main car. So i need 4 doors, not big on getting another big SUV, but would like something cool. I just need some ideas on what to look at,

  • Kirstie_HKirstie_H Posts: 11,077
    So... are you thinking sedan, or maybe a crossover? As a person who has *had* babies, I can tell you that getting a vehicle with back seats that don't require bending way down to access is a BIG plus when dealing with infants in car seats.

    Crossovers are kind of nice in this regard because they allow you to get kids in and out of the vehicle without being a contortionist - you can plop them right in at your waist level or higher.


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  • cjuricacjurica Posts: 7
    I just dont want to look like a scooer mom, i am a 34 year old guy who wants something cool but willing to be pratical
  • Have you considered the Chevy Eqinox, the Pontiac Torrent or the new Suzuki XL-7? Suzuki may be an import but its XL-7 is derived from the Eqinox plsatform so you might get a better deal on the Suzuki than you can the Chevy/Pontiac. If so, then its a steal. I guess these vehichles are big enough without being a quote" big SUV " I hope this helps you friend.
  • roundtriproundtrip Posts: 105
    A friend bought an Equinox. Nice looking car on the outside but a kinda strange tricolor inside. It rode comfortably for the 2 miles I was in it. :P I don't think mileage is too great, but she wanted something with lots of room. She's a big girl and needed her space.
  • cjuricacjurica Posts: 7
    oh wow, thats hard core, Well i am a big boy 6'-3" 250, so i need some space too, i was thinking maybe a hardtop jeep wrangler, or a mini cooper s, i wonder how hard it would be to get the eugrats in and out of those cars?
  • mirthmirth Posts: 1,212
    You may want to look at the Ford Edge crossover coming this fall.
  • dtownfbdtownfb Posts: 2,918
    If you don't have babies yet, you may want to consider a CR-V or RAV4. Good amount of space without the mileage penalty. The Mazda5 is another possibility, part sedan, part minivan. I have to agree with kristie Easier on the back if don't have to bend so much to put your child in a car seat. If the babies are coming soon, buy your car seat and take it with you as you shop to make sure it fits in the back seat.

    Don't knock the minivans. Sales have gone up and there are more choices on the market. Best use of space in a passenger vehicle adn they get decent gas mileage. BTW if you are about to be a daddy, forget cool.
  • What do you guys think of the Malibu Maxx? That might be what you are looking for. If you like style you can opt for the SS with the 3.9L V6, and if you want low cost, opt for the base with the 3.5. I think that car would be addiquit even if you see kids in your near future.
  • dtownfbdtownfb Posts: 2,918
    Remember he wants cool..
  • Hello all,

    I made a mistake and bought a 2006 Scion xB. Its a great little car but not for me. Now that I owe so much on a new car the only thing I can afford is a new Ford with the 0% financing going on in my area on 06 models that havent been sold. My dream car has always been the new mustangs. I have a chance to get one of those or go with the safer choice of an 06 Ranger. I had a truck before the scion and I live in Pittsburgh, PA so the truck would be better for the winter and im also a big guy 6'2. I drove the mustang and im not uncomfortable and i freakin love it. What should I do?
  • michaellnomichaellno Posts: 4,300
    Ready, set, go!

    (now ducking to avoid all the posts sure to follow)

    Eric, how much do you owe on the Scion? What are your payments? Do you have any equity?

    I suspect that the majority of advice you're going to get will be of the type "stick with the Scion until its paid off".

    We'll see.
  • i owe about 18g on the scion, $331 a month. Both the mustang and ranger will take me to about $390-420 a month for 6 years. I really dont care what ppl say about the scion. I hate it and im not keeping it. I can afford the monthly payment on a new car. Im looking for advice on whether to buy the mustang or ranger. im not looking for advice on whether to keep the scion
  • ashlashl Posts: 3
    Whatever you trade into make sure that really are going to love it for the next 60 - 72 months. Generally when trading out from a car with a little negative equity you will be in a seriously "BIG" neg equity situation.

    Put as much cash into the deal as you can possible afford to without going hungry. Finance as short a term as possible too. Friendly advice from some who sees $5K, $7K, $10K, $15K :surprise: negative equity on a daily basis.
  • Hi, I'm in the market currently for a car for a college student, so a little sporty but not too much, reliable, and a good car overall. I have 16,5000 total to spend on the car so that includes sales tax/registration, etc. meaning the selling price should probably be around 15-15k. Any suggestions?
  • cccompsoncccompson Posts: 2,388
    Are you looking for new or used? If the former, you're pretty much limited to econoboxes. You have a mighty wide selection if the latter.
  • i can buy new or used, only difference is used takes a lot more time to negotiate/find IMO. any good suggestions?
  • steine13steine13 Posts: 2,759
    Go new. Those cars tend to hold their value -- i.e. expensive to buy used, so new is the way to go. Also, they tend to be cheap to run.

    I'd look at the usual suspects: Toyota Corolla -- last year of production for this generation, should be able to get deals, plus super reliability. Honda Civic, probably a tad pricey. Honda Fit, you'll love it or not. I think it's a great car.

    The littler Scions, maybe. The styling is a little, uh, different. A used Protege for $10 or $11 if you can find a newish one in great condition. A cheapo Tacoma, if you can handle transporting only two people or three for short distances... GREAT resale value.

    A Pontiac Vibe or Toyota Matrix if you can handle the noise. Great car otherwise, I used to own one and will again. The Vibe sometimes gives you a good deal if the incentives are aligned right. It's the only domestic I would recommend, except maybe a good deal on an '03+ Focus. The earlier ones can be a mess. Prices are low for what you get.
    Oh, and get a stick if at all possible. Econoboxes with auto are a pain, with a stick, theyr'e kinda cool.

    There. That ought to get you started...
  • Hey, thanks a lot for the response! Quick question though - when you're talking about the Corolla's and Civics, are you talking about brand new 2006 ones? I haven't done any research on the Civic, but can I really get a Civic for 16k-16.5k OTD? Probably the base with no additional features.
  • british_roverbritish_rover Posts: 8,458
    I just helped my sister negotiate a deal on a Corolla S 2006 model with auto transmission and a couple of other options like sunroof and some other stuff for around 17,000 OTD. This was all over the phone as my sister is in NC and I am in CT.

    I am sure you could get a more base model corolla for 16k OTD or less.
  • Hey british, thanks for the response. What were all of the features of the car and what was MSRP/invoice? How much did you manage to get it below invoice? And lastly, how did you negotiate over the phone? Called the internet manager and just did the whole negotiating in an hour?

  • steine13steine13 Posts: 2,759
    Called the internet manager and just did the whole negotiating in an hour?

    british_rover is in the business, so he will be taken seriously over the phone. You're not, and chances are you will get nowhere with a phone call.The reason behind it can be found over and over on this board, I won't go into it.

    For details on what stuff costs, check TMV right here on edmunds, and then go and check the "prices paid" forums for the cars you're interested in.

    Be aware there is a certain amount of, ah, embellishment going on in those forums. Discount the ones that got their car "$2000 behind invoice, minus the rebates, and free oil changes for life".

    If you stick to the serious posters, you'll get a good idea, I think. Most cars (probably not the Civic, yet) sell for close to invoice when new. Rebates can be found on a little easier than here on Edmunds, but they are available both places.

    And always always ask the dealer nicely before you decide what to get... I've been surprised at times at what was available.

    Once you've figured out a car and the price you're willing to pay, if the negotiation takes longer than ten minutes, you're doing it wrong or the store isn't run properly.

  • british_roverbritish_rover Posts: 8,458
    Yeah it helps when you know exactly what the person on the other side of the phone is thinking.

    It also helps when you know when he is lying his [non-permissible content removed] off. The first guy my sister was with was just no good but he tightened up after I called his BS.

    I think I got the car for a couple of hundred behind invoice. My sister qualified for a 400 dollar marketing support for being a recent college graduate. So they made about 200 bucks on her that way. Then they put 4650 on her VW which seemed fair to me but I don't know the market down there so maybe 5,000 dollars was real money.

    She seemed to get a good rate for her credit history which is minimal so the rate was pretty high but it was also fair. She did buy an extended warranty out to 100,000 miles which I told her not to buy but she bought it anyway.

    All in all they probably made 1,000 to 1,500 dollars off of her depending on what the trade was worth.
  • one last question: when you said that I should be able to get a Corolla for ~16k did you mean a Corolla S without the features your sister got or a CE/LE? and what would recommend, a more loaded CE/LE or a base S?
  • british_roverbritish_rover Posts: 8,458
    She liked the look of the Corolla S better but I am sure you could get a move loaded CE/LE for less then 16.
  • I did a quick checkup on Edmunds, a new 06 auto LE w/ side airbags, alloy wheels, and ABS has an invoice of $16,460, are you saying I should be able to get it down to 16k?
  • british_roverbritish_rover Posts: 8,458
    Maybe. She had just graduated from college and so qualified for the 400 dollars of marketing support for recent college grads.

    So basicly she bought the car for invoice after the 400 dollars in marketing support.
  • cccompsoncccompson Posts: 2,388
    The problem may be in actually finding one equipped that way. At least around Central Ohio, it has historically been somewhat difficult to find Toyotas equipped with optional safety equipment.
  • thats weird.. ABS and side airbags are pretty important IMO..
  • british_roverbritish_rover Posts: 8,458
    Yeah I know. It is one of the reasons I have never been a huge fan of toyota. Why make safety equipment optional in the first place??????

    Then because of the way Toyotas distribution system is set up in most of the country it is very difficult to get certain options and impossible to special order anything.
  • Karen_SKaren_S Posts: 5,092
    A reporter seeks to interview anyone who recently bought a vehicle that was less expensive than their previous one, and was motivated to do so by the economy. Please respond to [email protected] by Monday, September 4, 2006, and be sure to include your daytime contact information and make/model information on the vehicles of interest.
  • cccompsoncccompson Posts: 2,388
    I agree completely and, as a result, I believe I've passed on buying a new Toyota three times since 1993. Each time I bought something else that had the safety gear as standard equipment.

    The problem is not nearly so bad today as ABS, etc., has become virtually universal. Sadly, some companies (notably Ford) are still lagging although I will say in Ford's defense that at least theiir optional safety options are (usually) readily available.
  • mirthmirth Posts: 1,212 going to start putting the safety options in standard this model year.
  • hey, i finally found a decent corolla, and now I just needsome quick advice: 06 silver Corolla LE automatic, side airbags/ABS/audio value package/carpet floor mats/all weather guard package. Edmunds lists MSRP as $18.1k, invoice as $16.4k. Dealer said that with decreasing gas prices, he MIGHT offer me invoice for this car (which is pretty BS IMO, I won't buy the car unless its invoice or lower).

    so, is invoice a good deal or can I go lower, or what I should I do if dealer refuses to offer invoice?

    thanks, advice is appreciated
  • I think if you can hit invoice then that is probably just fine. Are you a recent college graduate because if so I think toyota has marketing support for people who graduated college in the last two years.
  • british, I am still very jealous that you were able to get a 06 S with sunroof/other options for 17k OTD. if I choose to buy this car it will be at least 17.5k OTD.

    also, I looked back at one of your old posts and you said that I could get a "less loaded" compared to your sisters S for 16k OTD or less. how is this possible? even a barebones LE or S is ~16k invoice, meaning OTD price would be more than 17k. maybe I'm missing something here.
  • Well this was in north carolina so the sales tax on cars is very low. My sister was also trading in a car worth about 4,600 dollars so she didn't pay any sales tax on that part of the purchase price.
  • thanks for the quick response. one last question: you said I could get a corolla for 16k OTD. what kind of corolla is this?
  • i'm looking to buy a car for a HS teenager. I prefer a car thats reliable/safe and a little sporty (a compromise I made with my son). I am willing to spend $15,000 for the car before taxes, registration, title, etc. Any advice/suggestions would be appreciated.
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