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What's the best vehicle for my needs?

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  • qbrozenqbrozen Posts: 22,100
    edited April 2010
    Sorry, but I'm not sure what you are referring to. To be honest, ever since subscribing to the "no overlap in the mirrors" method, I have no blindspots.

    It took me a long time to figure out what people were referring to with this method because I had a very hard time finding a clear explanation. For example, this one on cartalk makes no sense to me. How far you lean will depend completely on the size of the car, the size of the person, etc, etc. It is inexact.

    Here is my explanation, which was easily understood by my wife, so it MUST be easy for everyone. (LOL. yeah, yeah, boo hiss)

    It is simple. For safety, do this while not moving. Set the rearview. Then, while looking at each sideview, set them so they are picking up the scenery right where the rearview ends.

    In other words, when a car is coming up on your right, at one point, the car's left headlight will be in the far right of your rearview while its right headlight is in the far left of your sideview. This way, there is never a time a car is NOT in a mirror until it is right next to you, easily visible out your front side windows.

    It takes a little getting used to, but after just a few miles of this on a highway, you'll wonder why you never had them set this way before.

    '17 F150 Crew 2.7; '67 Coronet R/T; '14 Town&Country Limited; '09 LR2 HSE. 44-car history and counting!

  • fezofezo Manahawkin, NJPosts: 10,330
    Ah, you hit on one of my fussy points.

    I'm a nut on mirrors. I will grant that not having much of a functioning left eye adds to it but, yeah, you ought to be able to completely trust your mirrors to see all around the car. Driving a convertible makes it a little trickier. Sharing a vehicle makes it nuts. Maybe I need to look more at that Volvo with memory for 3 drivers....
    2013 Mazda 5 Grand Touring, 2010 Toyota Prius IV. 2007 Toyota Camry XLE, 2004 Toyota Camry LE, 1999 Mazda Miata
  • jeffyscottjeffyscott Posts: 3,855
    I don't know about your "scenery" method, I think that would mean the mirror settings would depend on how distant the scenery you are focusing on is? The distant scenery should have overlap.

    Whatever method you use, you can check if they are properly adjusted by looking in your mirrors and seeing if you can always see a car in one mirror or another as it is passing you, as the pictures here demonstrate: http://www.linquist.net/motorsports/tech/mirrors/

    I like the way this one shows correct, too wide, and too narrow:
    http://www.smartmotorist.com/car-accessories-fuel-and-maintenance/adjusting-your- -mirrors-correctly.html

    My thought is the reason for the head leaning method is there may be times you will want to be able to see the side of your car and to do that you can just lean your head. I do this when backing around cars in my driveway just about every day.
  • benjaminhbenjaminh Posts: 2,877
    Thanks! Great explanation. I read it to my wife (minus the top part... :shades: ).

    We're going to try it out...
  • plektoplekto Posts: 3,738
    Actually this is the way that they were designed to be used. Somewhere along the line too many idiots decided to use them as parking helpers instead of their original purpose. With predictable results.
  • bex8400bex8400 Posts: 1
    I want a Jeep Wrangler....wife wants kids....We have 2 sedans now. One is 13 yrs old But has only 70k on it..Kicking the Idea of getting me a vehicle I actually want...I am a mechanic and think new car prices and paments are not worth it...I need reminded of a fun yet practical make/model..prefferably 4x4 for weather and beach/ lite towing
  • plektoplekto Posts: 3,738
    Get a previous generation Tacoma. It's worlds better in terms of reliability compared to a Wrangler, and just as good off-road. Plenty of aftermarket parts and accessories as well. If you go off-roading, most everything now is Toyota or Jeep. The Tacoma is more likely to be approved by the wife, though, since it's fairly car-like and modern inside. The NEW Wrangler is nice and all, and is decently livable with a family, but it's at least 5K more than a used Tacoma, since you'd have to get a 2007 or newer one.

    The last year for the older, better (for off-road use) model was in 2004, which is also the sweet spot in terms of used prices. They also don't have any of the parts involved in the Toyota recalls.

    http://www.autotrader.com/fyc/vdp.jsp?ct=u&car_id=275199809
    This is a typical example. It's big, safe, and has plenty of space for kids. Just get some sliders and an internal roll cage put in and you're good to go.
  • shaunpgshaunpg Posts: 3
    I recently started a new job and need to purchase a used vehicle in the 10k-15k range that will fit my commute. I travel 40 miles on freeways, followed by 2 miles on rough truck trails to get to a job site (each way.) I need a good balance of highway comfort, gas mileage, and off-road capability. I won't be hauling anything except people, so a full-size pickup or suv seems like overkill.

    What's my best bet given these restraints?
  • mirde98mirde98 Posts: 95
    Subaru Forester, Mitsubishi Outlander, Toyota Rav4, Honda Crv. All those have 4cyl engine for good MPG, they come with AWD for light off road. They sit 5 in good comfort. And all have above average reliability.
  • plektoplekto Posts: 3,738
    I know it sounds a little broken-record-ish, but a small truck like a Tacoma/Nissan/Dodge/etc with a 4 cylinder engine is also a good thing to consider. Most also come with 4x4 which is a good thing to have if you are dealing with dirt roads when it rains or snows at various times throughout the year.(or if for no other reason than to pull your co-workers out of the mud)
  • sebring95sebring95 Posts: 3,238
    Couple questions: How rough are these "roads" and how many people will you need to haul? I like the Subaru idea assuming the roads aren't horrible. The AWD system in the Subes is better than most of the other AWD choices out there. I would go that route before a CRV, RAV4, etc.

    The 4cyl pickup idea is ok, but you're only going to get a reg cab with that engine and that's miserable in my book, even without passengers. Could be an option though.

    I have similar needs. I drive about 30 miles on two-lane state routes, and then sometimes have to go back into mining/quarry roads that are very rough. Most drive real trucks or SUV's (with frames) otherwise they get destoryed quickly. I went with a Pathfinder this time (had a Tundra before) and overall it works out great. I average about 20mpg which isn't bad in my book, but if you want to do better you'll have to go with something more car-based.
  • suydamsuydam Posts: 3,017
    Yes, that is broken record-ish. What part of "good on gas mileage" and "highway comfort" did that poster miss? I second the first posters ideas: go with the Subaru, RAV-4 or CRV. You do want the 40-plus miles to be a comfortable ride-- it's a much longer part of your commute.
    '14 Buick Encore Convenience
    '17 Chevy Volt Premiere
  • mirde98mirde98 Posts: 95
    Absolutely right. Outlander and Forester have more "personality" and soul. And sportier handling. Rav4 and CR-V are more soulless and boring to drive BUT impressive as well. And all 4 have available AWD, 4Cyl engines (good MPG's) and all 4 have ABOVE average reliability. Small pick ups available these days like Nissan Frontier 4cyl give 17/22 and 4x4 is only avail with V6. Or a Tacoma also like Frontier is 17/22 but is avail 4x4 with the 4cyl engine. But none of those 2 are a good option for someone doing alot of highway driving. The only thing left to see is how "Rough" are those roads to get to work once you're out of the highway.
  • qbrozenqbrozen Posts: 22,100
    Definitely a subie. As someone else stated, the AWD system is superior to most other systems out there. Not to mention, the ground clearance of the Forester, for instance, is greater than most other compact SUVs, too.

    '17 F150 Crew 2.7; '67 Coronet R/T; '14 Town&Country Limited; '09 LR2 HSE. 44-car history and counting!

  • shaunpgshaunpg Posts: 3
    Thanks, I'll definitely look into the Forester. The trails won't be too rough when dry, but there are enough ruts and rocks that bringing in my 03 Civic Coupe is out of the question. A small SUV should provide enough ground clearance to get around out there without taking damage.
  • jchan2jchan2 Posts: 4,956
    I would also recommend some sort of Subaru as well along with the Mitsubishi Outlander.

    If you are willing to look older, I would recommend the previous generation Nissan Pathfinder/Infiniti QX4. They seem to be pretty refined yet also pretty tough off road.

    A Toyota 4Runner of some sort might also be an option, but I'm not sure how well they ride as they seem to be less refined than the Pathfinder/QX4 duo.
  • plektoplekto Posts: 3,738
    edited May 2010
    Actually, the previous generation 4Runners are by far the best off-road SUV out there. My friend has one and side by side it beat(if barely) his fully-built Wrangler. He took both out and ran them around in the California Desert(serious stuff near the Mexico border). He sold the Wrangler. Modern technology just simply beat the competition's 30+ year old design.

    The big downside is that the fuel economy, even with the V6, is terrible. But it is the best SUV currently made in terms of how it drives on the road and off the road.

    That said, almost nothing with 4wd will get better than about 25mpg. A Tacoma 4x4 or say, an Isuzu or Mitsubishi or similar small 4x4 truck with a 4 cylinder engine might just get 25mpg, but not much more. That's why I recommended it. And the majority of them are almost the size of a full-size pickup from 20 years ago now. So they fare very well in terms of interior space, comfort, and most of all, crash-tests. Certainly nothing like the little nasty trucks of the late 90s.(GM aside - the Canyon is still a tiny piece of junk that a Tacoma towers over)

    Note - there is another possible option that is overlooked, and that is the Jeep Patriot. It's rated at 27 highway and actually can get 30 on long highway drives. But check this review - it actually can handle off-roading:

    http://www.expeditionwest.com/equipment/reviews/patriot/index.htm

    It's the only thing that I can think of that will be good for commuting, get almost 30 mpg, and actually can do well off-road. Why? because it has a part-time 4x4 system, so it's 2wd most of the time. But unlike 95% of the small SUV competition, it's not an active 4x4(AWD) type system. That is, it doesn't try to out-think you or do its own thing. Unless you select it and manually lock the system into 4x4 mode. Then it stays there just like a real 4x4 or say, a Subaru(all wheels are always receiving power).

    note - IIRC, the Rav-4 also has a locking transfer case option on one model. Without this, it's pretty much useless off-road.
  • So I have 4 grown up kids and sometimes we all go places together also but most often there's only 4-5 of us in one car. I currently am leasing an Explorer that can fit 7 and my Wife has a Civic. I live in DC area so there's Snow to contend with also. Lease on my Explorer is up soon and I am at a crossroads.

    Should I buy a Large SUV that will comfortably fit 7 (Sequoia, Expedition etc) or a Sedan (Accord, Altima etc) and a Mini Van (older model) for those occassional times when all of us need to go somewhere? I personally like SUVs and have a relatively short commute so Gas prices are not a barrier. I am consdering used vehicles.

    Suggestions?
  • plektoplekto Posts: 3,738
    edited January 2011
    I'd actually get a single full sized sedan. Most can get 25-30mpg highway and can fit 5 people nicely. Since 95% of the time, you'll be using it with 1-2 people in it, it's best to get something that has proper road manners and decent fuel economy.

    Now, which one, that's a harder question. I personally loathe front wheel drive, but you might not care. That said, you can get CPO large sedans for pennies on the dollar lately.(same with used large SUVs). If you must have cargo space, get a wagon.

    The best wagon in terms of CPO price and performance is the CTS. Everything else is bland(Volvo/etc), uninspiring(Flex), too small(TSX/etc), or has terrible reliability(BMW/Audi/etc). It's fantastic as a daily driver. The only ones that are close to it are the Mercedes and BMW wagons, but they will eat you alive in repairs and upkeep. The rest are simply boxes made for 4 people plus some cargo.

    Large sedans, though, are easier to shop - I just thought that I'd get the one decent wagon out of the way. :)

    My short list would be:
    - Any of the larger Cadillac or Buick sedans. Get the largest engine you can, though - a V6 is NG with a car this heavy. I especially like the Lucerne CXS(V8). Reminded my of a Mercedes S420 from the late 90s, which is amazing for GM to pull off. The Cadillac DTS is under-appreciated but depreciates quickly. Yet, it's a nice vehicle. The new STS is even better.

    - The Ford Taurus or a Mercury Grand Marquis - Big cars are really nice. The trunk space is immense in both. The Marquis has the same trunk space as the cargo area of a Fit(!). But sure to get one that hasn't been used in a fleet/as a taxi/limo/etc. This is only 5-10% of the entire sales, so you might have to search a bit, though it's well worth it, IMO.

    - Lexus ES/GS/Acura TL. These are also nice, but you might be looking at 5+ years old for something that's affordable. A bit un-inspiring. Also consider the Toyota Avalon, though it's as bland as white undies.

    - Infiniti M35. It's big, it's luxurious. It's the most reliable luxury sedan currently, slightly beating out Lexus. But CPO, there's a huge difference in price. Like the Volvo S80, it's off of most people's radar, so it can be a great deal a couple of years used.

    - Hyundai also makes a nice full-size sedan. It didn't drive better than most of the others, though - just inexpensive and decent enough.(reminded me of the Lexus, honestly - a bit plain and needing some more soul.

    My top CPO picks out of that are the CTS/STS and the Lucerne (V8). Second place goes to the Grand Marquis as you can get one 1-2 years old for about 20K. I'm driving one now as a daily driver and even at 11 years old, everything still works. It's essentially as tough as a SUV. Repairs are half the cost of most other vehicles as well.
  • sebring95sebring95 Posts: 3,238
    It's pretty hard to justify two vehicles from a cost standpoint even if you drive tons of miles. Do you really need to go for the larger size SUV? I assume you've gotten along ok with your Explorer? There are similar options that are better these days...new Explorer & GMC Acadia have reasonable 6-7 passenger seating. Not for a long trip or anything...but again they would be as good/better than your current Explorer. The Sequoia, Expedition, Tahoe crowd is a little more comfy but you also move into the less agile, more thirsty group that may just be excess. IMHO you can either get by with an Explorer size or you need a true 7-pax vehicle like a minivan or a Suburban. Those actually have room for 7-pax + luggage.
  • plektoplekto Posts: 3,738
    Except he only needs 4-5 people max. That's pretty much any large car, some wagons, and even some smaller SUVs. A large 15mpg 6000lb SUV isn't required at this point.

    And minivans suck. They just plain eat your soul every moment you spend in one. Unless you absolutely need one due to having a giant family or are using it as a portable toolbox(ie - locksmith or detailing business or something simila) , just avoid them.
  • sebring95sebring95 Posts: 3,238
    Actually he said he was looking for something that could seat 7...but generally only carried 4-5. We're quite happy with our Honda Odyssey. We've had Suburbans, Tahoes, etc. and Odyssey is best yet. Just can't tow much with it. I've owned/been in the largest sedans....your Grand Marc, 7-series bimmers, older A8 etc. and they're still too crowded for five adults by my standards. Since cars can't haul 7...my point was it makes no sense $$ wise to go with two vehicles.
  • jeffyscottjeffyscott Posts: 3,855
    Why not just buy a vehicle that can carry 4 or 5 and take a second vehicle, such as your wife's civic, when there are more?
  • plektoplekto Posts: 3,738
    So I have 4 grown up kids and sometimes we all go places together also but most often there's only 4-5 of us in one car.

    That means he has to fit 6 in a pinch(once or twice a year for a family trip I'd wager) and most of the time, 4-5 at most. That does change my recommendations a bit since I thgout it was 5 instead of 6.

    6 is fine. 7 is not required. The trick is to find a car that can fit 6 adults. A *few* of the larger sedans can fit 6 adults in a pinch and are perfectly fine for 5 adults. The Grand Marquis and a few others fit the bill, and are dirt cheap a couple of years used as a rule, since they all are domestics.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Full-size_car
    The ones that have 6 passenger seating:
    Buick Lucerne
    Cadillac DTS
    Chevrolet Impala
    Crown Victoria/Grand Marquis/Towncar

    It's a short list of vehicles with a bench seat in front, but two adults are positively swallowed like they are sitting in easy chairs in a Crown Vic's back seat. I've taken a limo to the airport(Towncar) with three slightly overweight adults in the back seat and we were perfectly fine. Downright comfortable to the point where one of us actually fell asleep on the way there.
  • plektoplekto Posts: 3,738
    (Wouldn't let me edit) - part 2:
    Hip room / Shoulder room (in increasing size)
    V8 specs for the most part, since 6 people in a V6 will be snail slow. These are NEW MPG figures, so expect highway mileage to be on the high side as they all :P are nearly idling at 65-70mph in overdrive.

    Lucerne
    Front 56.1 / 58.0
    Rear 57.0 / 57.0
    15/23(V8) Expect actual combined mpg to be 20 and 23 due to tall gearing.

    Impala
    Front 56.4 / 58.7
    Rear 57.2 / 58.6
    16/24 for the V8. Taller gearing than the Lucerne or DTS. ~21 Average.

    DTS
    Front 56.9 / 60.0
    Rear 56.7 / 59.2
    Same MPG as the V8 Lucerne. FWD and tall gearing means 25mpg isn't uncommon on the highway with cruise on on long trips.

    Grand Marquis
    Front 58.0 / 60.6
    Rear 58.7 / 60.0
    15/23. 19 mpg combined (real world results in my car) - 25mpg highway on long trips.

    All 4 use regular 87 octane gas.
  • suydamsuydam Posts: 3,017
    Since you like the Explorer, why not a used Explorer hybrid? That would take care of most of your needs most of the time.
    '14 Buick Encore Convenience
    '17 Chevy Volt Premiere
  • robr2robr2 BostonPosts: 8,862
    I'd look at something like the Edge that can carry five and something like Enterprise to rent a mini-van for the times you need to carry more.
  • trailrunztrailrunz Posts: 8
    Hey Everyone,

    New to the forums and selective car buying. I am starting a new job as a traveling salesman and will be putting a lot of miles on a car - daily road trips. My current car (Nissan Sentra) gets great gas mileage but isn't going to cut it when it comes to comfort - the drivers seat is really uncomfortable and I'm a big guy and very cramped in the Sentra.

    Can anyone suggest a car under $20k that gets good gas mileage and has a high level of comfort? I will be receiving mileage compensation, so the gas mileage is equally as important as the comfort of the car.

    Thanks for any advice and/or direction!
  • sebring95sebring95 Posts: 3,238
    I'm in/out of a lot of rentals which seem to be typical sub $20k cars. I like the Malibu's and Fusions quite a bit. Both are comfy (i'm tall) and get good mileage. The Camry to me has too short of a seat cusion. Had a few VW Jettas...but not sure I'd buy one of those as a long-term proposition. Also been in the new Sonata a couple times and was impressed but it's short on head room for some reason.
  • suydamsuydam Posts: 3,017
    How about one step up? the Nissan Altima has good fuel economy and is larger and more comfortable than the Sentra. It's also the top family car according to Consumer Reports.
    '14 Buick Encore Convenience
    '17 Chevy Volt Premiere
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