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Unread 09-21-2009, 06:50 PM   #1
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Default Starting a family, car suggestions?

Situation:

Some of you may know, but for those who don't, my wife is pregnant. WooHoo.

Anyway, we currently have a 2001 Saturn SL2. It has been a great car and just 200,000 miles. Unfortunately for my wife, it is very low to get in and out of. I'm sure that when she gets a bit bigger and when we need a car seat (separate occurrences ) we may need something a bit taller. We have ridden in our friends' Pontiac Vibe and it sites up about chair height and has plenty of room for carseats, strollers, etc.


Options:
  1. Buying new car
  2. Buying used car from dealership
  3. Buying used car local
  4. Buying used car from used dealership


Requirements:
  1. Sits up higher, about normal chair height, van height, etc.
  2. Decent MPG (no large SUVs, etc.)
  3. Price is not TOO important but less than $15,000 would be ideal. We are students and our income isn't too steady so we'd like to pay for it mostly up front.
  4. Hatchbacks are nice but not necessary. Must have decent size trunk.


Things I Don't Know
  • I don't mind buying used if it is a car that will last.
  • I don't know what to look for on craigslist or online, etc.



So there you have it. A cheap car/suv that would server our purposes. We are located in East Idaho near Idaho Falls, 83440. Let me know if you would like any other information.

Help me out. Thanks in advance.

Last edited by ieatfish; 09-21-2009 at 06:55 PM.

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Unread 09-21-2009, 07:16 PM   #2
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A 2000+ Jimmy or Blazer would be similar to a Vibe, but a little bigger. I pull right around 20mpg with mine...best part about them is that they're reliable but have some power too.
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Unread 09-21-2009, 07:35 PM   #3
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Brand new I'd suggest a Focus wagon. Good car, pretty peppy(I think you can even have the sport package on it...ZX1 or something, I forget), can be had with a 5-speed, and they'll get 30MPG on the highway. I don't know if it will be high enough, tho, as it's still car based....you can go poking around the Focuses on the lot to see if they're too low.

Used, maybe a V6 5-speed Explorer? The 5-speed models, barely I'll admit, fit into your MPG range. The automatic exploders are 13-15mpg affairs, steer clear.
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1997 Ford Explorer XLT | 4.0L Vulcan V6 | 5-speed automatic | shift-on-the-fly 4WD | 210,000 miles | Running 95% - Needs brakes on all four corners + bald tires
1989 Ford F150 | 300cid six...again | 5-speed | 4x4 | 160K | Needs brakes done as well. Oi!

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Unread 09-21-2009, 07:48 PM   #4
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Thanks for the suggestions, we'll look into them for sure.

My wife also took a liking to the Dodge Caliber today. Anyone know anything about them (reliability, problems, etc.)?

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Unread 09-21-2009, 07:54 PM   #5
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I've heard a few horror stories of the Calibers, but i've heard some people that have them and never have an issue. Personally these days i try to stay away from Dodges/Chrysler just because their corporate issues...and because i've heard so many people buy them because of their lifetime warranty and they don't stand behind said warranty. That's just my opinion.

It sounds like a Focus is a little small for what fish wants, am i correct?

Remember, if something DOES go wrong for Blazers, typically it's a cheap and easy fix, because they're so common. But i do guarantee you'll get at least 17mpg, because that's what i get when i'm driving in town with a heavy foot. If i back off she'll do 20.
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Unread 09-21-2009, 08:01 PM   #6
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Stay away from the Caliber.

Are Mini-Van's an option?

A nice large sedan is the 2010 Camry. More than enough room, but it's not exactly very high off the ground.

I've always like the Mazda Hatchbacks also.

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Unread 09-21-2009, 08:06 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Retrospekt View Post
Stay away from the Caliber.

Are Mini-Van's an option?

A nice large sedan is the 2010 Camry. More than enough room, but it's not exactly very high off the ground.

I've always like the Mazda Hatchbacks also.
Mini vans are also fine if one fits the bill.

As for sedans, as long as they are high, they will work. Once we have a couple candidates we will head to try them out.

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Unread 09-21-2009, 08:15 PM   #8
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IF you do get a minivan, get the Dodge. Dodge has been building them since...well, since minivans became popular. The caravan is 100% responsible for minivans becoming popular over here IMO, and my mom has a 1994 Chrysler variant. Decent vehicle, 220K and still runs like a champ.


O, and stay the hell away from GM minivans. If you want to know why,

Then observe the fail.
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Tired Iron ain't got no time to wear out...

My rigs:

1985 Ford F150 | 4x2 | 300ci OHV inline six | 4-speed OD manual | 310K | No power brakes | Running 100% - It hasn't driven this good in 15 years!

1984 Ford F150 | 4x2 | 300ci six | granny four | 3.55 rear end | 210K | Brakes shot. Rear drums are doing most of the work. Not fit to drive due to that.
1997 Ford Explorer XLT | 4.0L Vulcan V6 | 5-speed automatic | shift-on-the-fly 4WD | 210,000 miles | Running 95% - Needs brakes on all four corners + bald tires
1989 Ford F150 | 300cid six...again | 5-speed | 4x4 | 160K | Needs brakes done as well. Oi!

Last edited by Kenny McCormick; 09-21-2009 at 08:17 PM.

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Unread 09-21-2009, 08:19 PM   #9
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You might look at something like a Chevy Equinox or maybe one of those minivan-SUV looking things, forget what they call them.

EDIT: Uplander, thats it. They are pretty good...not sure if you can get them cheap enough though.

Don't mean to pick out all Chevs, but they seem to fit your bill better than Fords..maybe the Edge, but i'm not sure about them..maybe someone else can chime in?

EDIT 2: TestECull, i've heard quite the opposite. I've heard past Chrysler minivans have been great but they've gone downhill...and i've only heard GOOD things about GM minivans..i know several people with Uplanders.

EDIT 3:

Tell me again how GM Minivans seem to always fail? Excellent crash test.
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Read the rules! | DO NOT REPLY TO SPAM
2009 Pontiac G8 GT - 6.0L, 6AT - 95k miles | 1994 Chevy Blazer K5 - 350, 5MT - 140k miles | 2006 Mazda 3 S sedan - 2.3L, 5MT - 130k miles
Wife's Car: 2013 Chevy Volt - 70k miles
Bikes: 1979 Yamaha XS 750 | 1985 Honda Sabre 700


Last edited by Mike; 09-21-2009 at 08:22 PM.

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Unread 09-21-2009, 08:27 PM   #10
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The uplander is the bastard offspring of a TransSport and a Blazer. It isn't a minivan.


Also note: I never said 'new' with the van. My 'new' suggestion is a Focus wagon. The '94 Chrysler van my mom has is pretty epic as far as reliabilty, it's as new as I'd go if I were in the mind to get a minivan in the first place.


Edit: Better Uplander crash. Yours was full frontal, so it can't be compared to the offset I posted.



It seems to be stronger, but like I said, that thing isn't really a minivan...to be honest, I don't even know what to call it.
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Tired Iron ain't got no time to wear out...

My rigs:

1985 Ford F150 | 4x2 | 300ci OHV inline six | 4-speed OD manual | 310K | No power brakes | Running 100% - It hasn't driven this good in 15 years!

1984 Ford F150 | 4x2 | 300ci six | granny four | 3.55 rear end | 210K | Brakes shot. Rear drums are doing most of the work. Not fit to drive due to that.
1997 Ford Explorer XLT | 4.0L Vulcan V6 | 5-speed automatic | shift-on-the-fly 4WD | 210,000 miles | Running 95% - Needs brakes on all four corners + bald tires
1989 Ford F150 | 300cid six...again | 5-speed | 4x4 | 160K | Needs brakes done as well. Oi!

Last edited by Kenny McCormick; 09-21-2009 at 08:29 PM.

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