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Old 08-30-2009, 12:54 PM   #1 (permalink)
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advice on the best not-so-efficient car

I'm hoping to get some advice on what to do from the forum.

So it's basically like this:
I'm a moderate hypermiler (avid P&G'er, occasional EOC'er, no mods though), but my wife just doesn't share my enthusiasm. In fact, it's almost time for us to get her a new car, and she just insists that she needs a car higher up off the ground (meaning SUV or something like that).

I've basically convinced her that if we do get a SUV, it need to be a hybrid or get at least 25 MPG combined. But, I'm having a hard time deciding where to go from there. The Escape/Tribute Hybrid looks like a decent option. So does the Honda Element (high up off the ground, but not too big). Any other suggestions/ideas?

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Old 08-30-2009, 01:30 PM   #2 (permalink)
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While not a big deal, my wifes stock saturn Vue gets 26mpg with a V6.
I can get better out of it.
Wait till she lets me mod it......
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Old 08-30-2009, 11:44 PM   #3 (permalink)
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A jacked-up Metro customized in her Favourite colours.
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Old 08-30-2009, 11:51 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Old 08-31-2009, 08:08 AM   #5 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JasonG View Post
While not a big deal, my wifes stock saturn Vue gets 26mpg with a V6.
I can get better out of it.
Wait till she lets me mod it......
The Vue Green Line is not a bad option, as long as I can stomach the fact that Saturn is going bye-bye in a few years.
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Old 08-31-2009, 09:21 AM   #6 (permalink)
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The FWD 4-cyl Ford Escape comes very close (22/28/24 MPG combined) and would doubtless be cheaper. As you pointed out, the Escape Hybrid easily exceeds your threshold. (Don't forget that the Mercury Mariner is also a re-badged Escape, so you might have another option there.)

Not a big fan of Jeeps, but per fueleconomy.gov, both the (non-4wd, manual) 4-cyl Jeep Compass and Patriot meet your 25 MPG combined criteria.
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Old 08-31-2009, 10:21 AM   #7 (permalink)
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Find out what she really wants in a car. She may be naming traits she likes because she has a specific model in mind already.

Some people prefer an upright seating position. This can be found in some Scions which also deliver what you want: small, green, and inexpensive. She might even like the Fit.

If what she really wants is a car that places her eyes higher up, you could try to argue that the race to be taller than the other cars on the road is an arms race that everybody loses, but perhaps she won't go for that sort of rational argument.

She may have bought in to the SUV-for-prestige trend. You could buy her an Escalade, or you could take one of the Toyota Matrix / Pontiac Vibe twins and tell her it's a small crossover SUV. With its upright seating position, roof six inches higher than my station wagon, and unimpressive gas mileage, how could it not be an SUV? The same could be argued, to a greater or lesser extent, about a Mazda5, Subaru Outback, and Honda Fit.

If the new Escape Hybrid comes with a driving style assist gauge, that alone will save you hundreds of gallons of gas.
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Old 08-31-2009, 01:08 PM   #8 (permalink)
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If my experience with the "fairer sex" is any yardstick... just let her drive whatever she wants however she wants.

The smartest SUV's in the world are called "minivans" and "station wagons" and nobody likes them - coolness and usefulness are at extreme opposite ends of the spectrum. That's why the very coolest cars in the world won't fit a handbag, let alone any groceries, and some of the very smartest cars in the world get crapped all over (have you ever actually spent some time using an Aztek? they're brilliant cars!!)

So all that goes to say, don't mess up domestic harmony over some magical MPG number. If your wife wants to drive a big honkin 4x4 she never takes off pavement and never tows construction equipment around with, rather drive a smart vehicle like a compact wagon or van... well, let her. Beats sleeping alone.
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Old 08-31-2009, 01:48 PM   #9 (permalink)
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25 mpg as a goal?
that is many many jacked up vehicles. do not necassarily squash the power to a four banger, or even tranverse drivetrain. you could find a longer term runner, inspired to give longer term repairs. Once the little transverse SUV is done, the others can keep going. the new car cost and claiming need is in a different $15k+ saving realm before interest.
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Old 08-31-2009, 03:01 PM   #10 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RobertSmalls View Post
Find out what she really wants in a car. She may be naming traits she likes because she has a specific model in mind already.

Some people prefer an upright seating position. This can be found in some Scions which also deliver what you want: small, green, and inexpensive. She might even like the Fit.
I've probed, definitely. She's not a very comfortable driver to begin with; we lived in NYC for a while, and while I drove occasionally, she never did. So, she feels more comfortable higher up.

Quote:
Originally Posted by RobertSmalls View Post
If what she really wants is a car that places her eyes higher up, you could try to argue that the race to be taller than the other cars on the road is an arms race that everybody loses, but perhaps she won't go for that sort of rational argument.
Been down that road. I tried the SUVs-are-only-safer-because-everyone-is-driving-one argument. Not worth getting into that further.

Quote:
Originally Posted by RobertSmalls View Post
She may have bought in to the SUV-for-prestige trend. You could buy her an Escalade, or you could take one of the Toyota Matrix / Pontiac Vibe twins and tell her it's a small crossover SUV. With its upright seating position, roof six inches higher than my station wagon, and unimpressive gas mileage, how could it not be an SUV? The same could be argued, to a greater or lesser extent, about a Mazda5, Subaru Outback, and Honda Fit.

If the new Escape Hybrid comes with a driving style assist gauge, that alone will save you hundreds of gallons of gas.
Mentioning GM made me grimace. But the Matrix or the Fit is definitely a possibility, thanks!

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