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Does a car for my needs exist?

The Right Car for Me | TrueDelta


My Need (Most Important Stuff):
Backroad commuting through Chicago winters 100 miles per day, so something that can safely handle all weather conditions.
Longevity and reliability- Commute is almost 50 miles each way.
Fuel economy- Keeping the commute cost as low as possible.

My Wants (Not a Requirement But Definitely Would Be Helpful):
Family of six- It would be nice to fit the family in if the family vehicle was out of commission.
Towing- For a small boat.

No trade in, trying to keep cost under $15k, used is fine as long as mileage is under 70k unless it is a brand that is known for high mileage capabilities.

Recommendations greatly appreciated. Looking to buy asap.

Priorities: Fuel economy / Reliability & durability / Price or payments / Towing

Preferred Bodystyle(s): Sedan / Hatch / Wagon / Minivan / SUV

Car Needs: Daily commuter / Towing or hauling

Need minimum of 6 seats

Will consider both new and used cars
Maximum mileage: 70000
Maximum age: 7 years

Maximum price: US $ 14900

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Response from avshelden

10:45 pm July 23, 2015

I have to say, I'm interested to see what others come up with, your requirements are pretty close to what would want for my next vehicle, although I don't need to worry about a family of 6.

The fit 6 requirement drives the need for a 3rd row, which usually is compatible with something that can tow, but not something that gets good MPG.

I know general advice is spend money on good snow tires and not AWD, but I love having that peice of mind, especially for me when my priority is getting to the ski slopes here in VT.

That said, my first thought was something like a Volvo XC70 with a 3rd row seat option as I'm not an SUV fan, but these only get ~20MPG highway.

On the more fuel effiecient side, I like the Jetta TDI wagon. Our 2003 GLS Sedan has been a great car, but I haven't been in a newer one. I do have a skating buddy who loved his ~2011 TDI wagon and I would expect the deseil engine to give you the ability to tow more than another car of this size, but honestly, I'm not any sort of expert on that.

Focusing on MPG and AWD, I come up with the Subaru Impreza. I'd go with the Sport Hatchback for styling. It also beats the Volvo and VW both for reliability in the TrueDelta surveys. The latter two are both "average" compared to better than average for the Subaru.

My view unfortunatley is that you're right, I don't see anything that fits all of your criteria and you'll have to try to rank what is most important to you.

Good Luck!


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Volvo XC70
Volkswagen Jetta SportWagen
Subaru Impreza / Outback Sport

Response from mwcten

11:15 pm July 25, 2015

Yeah, that doesn't really exist. Can you do a two car solution? Get a cheap hauler and a small commuter car? That might lower your overall costs to do that. Also, could you clarify how much what you're hauling weighs? Towing a 1,000 lb motorized rowboat is a whole different animal from a 6,000lb large boat plus trailer.

Assuming you're going for something like 2,000 lb+ towing capacity, you're going to be stuck chosing between German compact diesels (+mpg -reliability, only 5 seats) or something like a RAV4 (you can find them v6, 7 seats, but only 20 or low 20s mpg) or Honda Pilot. But if you can split the functions, get a beater old SUV plus a little commuter car.


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Toyota RAV4

Response from mkaresh

10:51 am August 1, 2015

The 2006-2012 Toyota RAV4, the 2007 and up Mitsubishi Outlander, and the 2014 and up Nissan Rogue were offered with a third row that will do in a pinch. The last, though the most fuel-efficient, is probably too new to fit within your budget. And its long-term reliability is unknown.

It'll probably be easier to find the Mitsubishi with a third row than the RAV4 with one, and you'll be able to get a newer one within your budget, but the Toyota has an edge in reliability (except for the 2006).

Going up half a size class, the 2007 and up Hyundai Santa Fe and 2011 and up Kia Sorento have been available with a third row.

All of the above were offered with both four- and six-cylinder engines. The larger engines are better for towing and performance, but worse for fuel economy.


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Mitsubishi Outlander
Toyota RAV4
Kia Sorento
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