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Fuel efficient family hauler, fast

The Right Car for Me | TrueDelta


I am looking for a wagon or an SUV. I am willing to pay around 12k for it. I want to be able to fit about a 7' item with the seats folded down.

I want to be able to use it for daily driving duty so it has to get around 20-25 mpg in mixed city/highway as a minimum.

It cannot be a Subaru though. I have had enough problems with mine.

Preferred Bodystyle(s): Coupe

Need minimum of 5 seats

Will consider both new and used cars
Maximum mileage: 70000
Maximum age: 10 years

Maximum price: US $ 12000

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Response from mwcten

8:39 am April 14, 2016

You should check out if you can fit your stuff into a Honda Fit. I've fit over a dozen 8' 2x8's in mine with the front seat down. You can even 3 people plus 8' stuff by putting half the back seat up; half down.

The next step up in size would be a Mazda 5, which is kind of a small minivan and would be close for fitting 7' behind the front seats without the back seats.

And the usual suspects for reliable low cost of ownership minivans would be the Toyota Sienna, Kia Sedona, and Honda Odyssey.


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Honda Fit
Mazda Mazda5
Kia Sedona

Response from jasonmreece

4:05 pm April 14, 2016

mwcten suggested my two top picks-

The Honda Fit seems to defy the laws of physics when it comes to interior space. Somehow it has more space inside than significantly larger cars. The folding front seat also helps with long items. They're very good cars with excellent reliability, great fuel economy and they're fun to drive (especially with manual transmission).

The Mazda5 is another great choice. Go for a 2012-2014 model, they have the upgraded 2.5L engine versus the 2.3L in the 2006-2010 models (there was no 2011). The updated styling introduced in 2012 also improved the looks quite a bit. It also has the unique ability (for a vehicle of this size) to carry six passengers). The middle row has captains chairs with dual armrests and they can move 6" back/forward to make more room for second or third row passengers. The entry-level Sport is well-equipped, but the mid-level Touring is a nice upgrade.


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Honda Fit
Mazda Mazda5

Response from mkaresh

9:03 pm April 20, 2016

I like both the Fit and the Mazda5, but neither is quick and I'm not sure they can carry a seven-foot-long object. The Mazda might be able to.

Only minivans and largish crossovers can fit a seven-foot-long object behind the driver seat. If you don't need the front passenger seat, these fold on some vehicles.

Fast compacts with folding front passenger seats include...

Chevrolet offered the compact retro-styled HHR with a 250-260 horsepower turbo engine through 2010. Reliability isn't great, but they offer a rare combination of quick acceleration, compact dynamics, and cargo space.

My wife used to have the similar Chrysler PT Cruiser. I carried seven-foot bookcases in it with the hatch closed.

Various fairly quick Saabs, Volvos, and VWs (including the Tiguan) also offer this feature. reliability isn't a strength with these either, though, especially not once they're available for $12,000.

For better reliability than the above, you might check whether the Pontiac Vibe and Toyota Matrix have enough cargo space. They're fairly quick when powered by the 158-horspower 2.4-liter engine (offered in top trim levels, GT in the Vibe). The 2003-2008 version was offered with a high-revving 180-horsepower engine, but possibly only with a manual transmission.

If you want a seven-foot cargo floor behind the driver seat, then ignore all of the above except possible the Volvo V70 wagon.


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Chevrolet HHR
Volkswagen Tiguan
Pontiac Vibe

Response from wingerr

7:52 am April 26, 2016

Response from wingerr

8:02 am April 26, 2016

I've been looking for something of a cargo hauler at the present moment myself but more towards height capability rather than length, so I was interested in the 2010 to 2013 Ford Transit Connect wagon, which has a 6 by 4 foot cargo floor area. 7 foot items would be no problem. Its 2012 EPA combined city/highway rating is 24, which meets the specs.
Power is through a 2 liter Ford Focus powertrain, so it's no barn burner given the additional mass, but it's okay given reasonable expectations.
The wagon has 5 passenger seating.
These have been used by taxi cab fleets and go to the 250,000 mile and up, so I expect it should be able to provide a decent service life.
They restyled it in 2014 and it's become more of a big minivan, 7 passenger and lower roof line, so it wasn't what I wanted.
The premium package option gets rear quarter panel windows, which improve visibility to a pretty panoramic view all around.
There are predominantly cargo van trim out for sale so they'd have to be screened out, as those won't have rear seating.
I'm about to get either a 2012 premium package one at $11k or a 2013 for another $4k but with lower miles and certified preowned warrantied, probably the latter.


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Ford Transit Connect

Response from NormT

11:55 pm July 21, 2017

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