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Dad car, but fun to drive

The Right Car for Me | TrueDelta

windskisong

Current car is a 99 Nissan Maxima with 250k+ miles. Still has plenty of get up and go, corners like it's on rails, great comfortable leather seats.
Getting very expensive to maintain, and questionable for long trips.
Would like to get a fun to drive car, that gets better mileage than the 20ish that this gets, still has room for 3 kids in the back seat and a decent trunk. Needs to be reliable as I do put long miles on the car sometimes. Prefer leather because the kids ride in the car, but can live without.
My wife and (too soon) kids will drive this car, and I can get distracted too... so the automatic/safety braking would be great.
Love the Honda Civic 2010+ but its too small. Don't like the Accords before 2013 - sluggish, weak brakes, and ride like a Cadillac, and can't afford the 2013+.
Love the newer Ford Fusions, but not sure about reliability.
THANKS!

Priorities: Safety & braking / Handling / Reliability & durability

Preferred Bodystyle(s): Sedan / Hatch / Wagon

Car Needs: Daily commuter / Family transporter / Errands about town / Long trips / Fun toy

Primary Driver(s): Short driver

Need minimum of 4 seats

Will consider both new and used cars
Maximum mileage: 90000
Maximum age: 5 years

Maximum price: US $ 15000

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Response from Sokitset

9:31 am May 1, 2016

Have you considered a VW Sportwagen? I own a 2012 TDI model that would check most of the boxes you listed, if you can wait long enough for the diesel "fix" to be sorted out. If you can't wait, the earlier 2.5 L engine and more recent 1.8 L turbo will also provide similar smiles with good fuel economy. If your sense of speed is calibrated to the race track, look elsewhere.

The wagon format gets no street cred, but is my favorite feature of this car. Storage like an SUV when you need it (22 bags of mulch!). Car practicality all day long.

If you consider this route, I STRONGLY recommend a standard manual transmission rather than the DSG auto. The DSG (in my car, anyway) is wholly unpredictable, even in " manual" mode, and destroys a crucial connection to the car.

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Response from colin42

10:02 pm May 1, 2016

What about Cadillac CTS wagon? It meets most of your needs and a 2010 / 2011 should be in your price range.

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Response from mkaresh

2:03 pm May 2, 2016

The Mazda6 is roomier than a Civic, very fuel efficient for its size, reliable, and relatively fun to drive.

If you're referring to the current Fusion, they're reliable in our stats from the 2014 on.

An Infiniti G37 is more powerful than the Mazda or Ford, but no more fuel efficient than your Maxima.

The Acura TSX wagon is probably also worth a look, if you can find one within your budget.

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Mazda Mazda6
Ford Fusion
Infiniti G

Response from NormT

11:34 pm July 22, 2017

If the Buick Verano 2.0T is too small, the Buick Regal 2.0T might as both should be around $15,000.

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Buick Verano
Buick Regal
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