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Best 4-Door Safety, Mileage, and Cargo?

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posted on Jun, 4 2007 @ 10:30 AM
The wife and I are expecting a baby here in the next 3 months, and it's time to replace one of our two-door deathtraps with a safe, fuel-efficient car capable of hauling all the associated baby stuff and the occasional load of construction materials or furniture. What I'm hoping for is some good suggestions.

We'll be buying used, as there's no point in buying anything later than a 2006, since in the first 2 years the average car depreciates something like 60% of its value, and we're looking to spend about 12k or less. We also don't want a car that's too old, because certain laws passed in 2003 require certain baby car-seat features to be installed, and we want those.

Our Requirements:
4 Doors
Safe (5 stars on front, no less than 4 stars on sides and rear)
Fuel Efficient (26 avg mpg+)
Year Range 2004-2006

Preferably spacious, and long enough to haul a small load of 2x4's in, but not an absolute requirement.

Anyway, I'd appreciate any suggestions y'all can offer.


posted on Jun, 4 2007 @ 09:13 PM
How about a Pontiac Vibe? It's one of those newish SUV/Station wagon crosses.

it's the same thing as a Toyota Matrix, but because it says Pontiac instead of Toyota on the back the prices are cheaper than the Toyota most of the time.

posted on Jun, 4 2007 @ 11:22 PM
Investigate the Honda Odessey or the Honda Element, the only thing that even resembles an SUV that I would even consider owning.

[edit on 2007/6/4 by GradyPhilpott]

posted on Jun, 5 2007 @ 07:09 AM
We strongly considered the Vibe, but my mother has a vendetta against Pontiac for some reason. While this certainly doesn't preclude our ability to buy or own a Pontiac, I'd rather just avoid that whole conversation with her.

And we considered the Element as well, but the safety rating on it was poor in some places, so we gave up on that idea (looks spacious though, and gets good mileage).

And the Odessey would be fine with me, but the wife utterly refuses to even consider a minivan.

So far our top contenders have been:

2007 Dodge Caliber (KBB starts at $16,165+) Auto CVT
2006 Toyota Matrix (KBB starts at $16,480+)
2004 VW Jetta Wagon (KBB starts at $13,800+)
2006 Ford Focus Wagon (KBB starts at $12,500+) (not to be confused with the sedan)

Best overall safetry rating was the Caliber, closely follwed by the Jetta.
Ford Focus Wagon has no crash rating available.
Matrix and Focus sedan both had a 3 somewhere in their star ratings.

Best mileage was the Matrix (29/34), closely followed by Focus (26/32).
Jetta was the worst mileage at (24/30)

All but the Jetta are rated with the EPA's "SmartWay" label, which means it is enviornmentally groovy. The Jetta does not have the label because it does not apply to 2004 models (it's only as of 2006). However, it's emissions fall well above the mark for SmartWay requirements.

Going back through our finances though, we may have to get something even cheaper. So whereas before we were really only looking at station wagons, now we're considering 4D sedans that are fuel efficient, safe, and cheap.

posted on Jun, 5 2007 @ 02:53 PM
I love my 2003 Honda Accord and I can't say enough good things about it.

posted on Jun, 11 2007 @ 09:47 PM
I just got myself a Prius, and I'm very happy so far (I'm on day 4)

You'd be surprised at the amount of room in these baby's, too. Go take a look at one, it won't hurt. I promise.

posted on Sep, 6 2007 @ 07:39 PM
2002-2003 Subaru WRX wagon or 2002-2004 Subaru Impreza Wagon. Great cars, the 2.0L flat four will easily last 250,000 miles with normal maintenance, great protection (especially the 02-03 models), and AWD. Plus, my WRXs get between 23-26 city and 28-32 highway. Not too bad of gas mileage for a car that can outrun any V8 powered car on the market. I know they are out of your year range, but Subaru has all the car seat modifications in the cars (LATCH system) and has one of the best if not THE best safety reputation.

As for safety, first of all in adverse weather AWD is a lifesaver. Drove in a snowstorm from Seattle to Portland along the coast (no I-5 for me) with my 1 1/2 year old son and my wife in the car, saw a ton of folks off the road, and didn't have a single problem. It also has side airbags for the front seats and in the 02-03 models, there is a MASSIVE roll bar above the passenger compartment. It is about 6 inches thick and actually has the roof headliner molded around it. This car has a racing pedigree in the world's toughest series (WRC) and can take a massive beating while keeping it's owner and family safe. There is a reason both me and my wife drive them (both 02s) and it will hopefully be the car my sons learn to drive on.

[edit on 6-9-2007 by Taliesin]

[edit on 6-9-2007 by Taliesin]

posted on Oct, 10 2007 @ 08:23 AM
If you go here, these people know their stuff about mileage, and some of them work for dealerships ... drive all kinds of cars.


posted on Oct, 15 2007 @ 09:18 PM
I work in the salvage industry doing primarily euro / sports cars for a living. I specialize in BMW.

My vote for your needs:

Toyota Corolla "S" package

production Sept of 2003-2006+

Has child Isofix system you need

a company experiencing its golden years

Highest assembly quality /materials quality

High value retention on used

Virtually indestructible components (in the way of "component wear") With regular maintenance.

This is not a heavy service car.

Cheap parts new and especially salvage (engines / transmissions etc)
-the market is flooded with them

High mileage is OK & normal 250-300K

87 Octane OK

Safe collision vehicle

Load through fold down rear seats

Easily self serviceable or by an independent (doesn’t require excessive special dealer tools or proprietary diagnostic equipment for every service)

Easy to keep clean an recondition if necessary

The not so goods...

-don't buy one over 60K (or any car over that mileage if you plan on keeping it nice)

-poor cornering / handling over 75mph

-not roomy if you're a big person, not perfect for cross country drives.

-not the best winter vehicle (when I say this remember......I'm spoiled I'm an Audi guy) So buy nokian hakkapelita or Michelin X-Ice tires.

-windshield pits / chips easy (by design / angle) don't follow too close!

-occasional squeaks from dash panels (on all toyotas)

Keep in mind all the mileage ratings are totally unrealistic and it depends ENTIRELY how you drive and your daily weight/load.

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