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Economical Heavy Duty Family Hauler

The Right Car for Me | TrueDelta


I am a carpenter and thus need a vehicle that can contain all my tools while I commute back and forth to work(over 100 miles daily). I am also very tall and large and have family members who are the same. Fortunately, my family size is only four and I don't intend on growing it. In the past I have owned minivans and removed the back or middle row of seats. This configuration works but those were mostly junkyard cars and I'm seeking more reliability and fuel economy due to my lengthy commutes. I currently own a F150 which seats me and the family fine however, we have not enjoyed the open trunk bed nor the fuel economy during highway traffic. We do however love the power and the room. The favorite car I ever owned, and one I considered buying again, was the Saab 9-5 Wagon. This vehicle was really efficent and fun to drive. However, it was overly cramped and did not possess enough space to hold my tools, groceries, and family members. Another vehicle that comes close to satisfying my needs was the Ford Explorer. However, the explorer gets poor gas mileage(same or worse then my truck) and thus is not a viable solution. I don't know where to look. What do you suggest?

Priorities: Front seat room / Driving position & visibility / Towing

Need minimum of 4 seats

Will consider both new and used cars
Maximum mileage: 120000
Maximum age: 10 years

Maximum price: US $ 8000

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Response from colin42

11:01 pm February 5, 2017

This is a really tough request. A truck or large SUV sounds like the best bet for your desires. The newer models may give you good fuel economy ~ 25mpg highway, but these are way above your budget. My next suggestion would be a minivan - again sounds like you tried this approach.

So my suggestion is 2 vehicles. 1 for work, and 1 for family.

For work look for the most fuel efficent car that you like. A high milage gen 2 prius, ~05 can be had for around $4000.

For the family car an Explorer is a good choice, but maybe look for a model from a dead brand, such as Mercury or Saab.

For an off the wall suggestion look at the Mazda5 - they aren't large but seat 4 comfortable and and a large trunk, as long as the 3rd row if folded


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Toyota Prius
Mercury Mountaineer
Mazda Mazda5

Response from mwcten

10:36 am February 18, 2017

What about a Honda Element? You'd have to get one a little older and with more miles, but they're pretty relible and they do EXACTLY what you want (hold stuff plus 4 people) and can even be hosed out to clean.

Alternately, yeah the Mazda 5 might work, or just bite the bullet and get a reliable normal sized minivan, like a Toyota Sienna. Pickup trucks may have horsepower, but the minivan gives you the power where it counts - in your bank account.


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Honda Element
Toyota Sienna

Response from NormT

9:15 am July 13, 2017

I'd have to stick with the Chrysler minivan on the cheap or a Traverse, Acadia, Enclave as the 3-row crossover has the most room in the 3rd seat and the most cargo behind the 3rd row. It tow 5,000 lbs and see 25+ mpg on the highway when empty.


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GMC Acadia
Buick Enclave
Chevrolet Traverse
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