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Fuel-efficient big non-SUV

The Right Car for Me | TrueDelta


Gasoline makes so little sense, but I'm not ready to get on the hybrid train until lithium-ion batteries are standard, since nickel ones are so bad for the environment, heavy, and deteriorate more quickly. mostly use my car for long trips and moving a lot of stuff, so great fuel efficiency and lots of inside space is important. hate SUVs, would rather have a minivan or an actual van, but wagons are my favorite. Not interested in a pickup, need passenger space. Just lost a really great Subaru Forester, would DEFINITELY get another one if the gas mileage was more stellar. Wishful thinking about getting a diesel and converting it to run on used vegetable oil..... Don't know how to drive automatic. Not into a lot of computerized features: the fewer, the better.

Priorities: Fuel economy / Cargo capacity / Driving position & visibility / Reliability & durability / Exterior styling

Preferred Bodystyle(s): Wagon / Hatch / Minivan

Car Needs: Family transporter / Long trips

Primary Driver(s): Tall driver

Need minimum of 5 seats

Will consider both new and used cars
Maximum mileage: 200000
Maximum age: 15 years

Maximum price: US $ 12000

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Response from mkaresh

7:47 pm March 13, 2015

How much do you need to carry? You ask about large vehicles, but a Forester isn't large. Do you need to carry more than the Forester could?

There are no minivans or largish crossovers with great fuel economy. In these you'll most likely get high teens in the suburbs and low 20s on the highway.

The most fuel-efficient wagon in your price range is the Jetta SportWagen TDI (EPA ratings 29/39). I'd just be a little concerned about reliability, since those in your price range will have 90k+ miles on them. The gas JSW will be less expensive, and EPA ratings are still higher than other alternatives (24/31).

Another good combination of fuel economy and practicality in your price range is the Chevrolet HHR. EPA ratings were 22/30, the highest of the vehicles I mention here except for the Jetta SW TDI. Few people care for the styling, but this makes them especially affordable as used cars.

The Mazda5 compact minivan has more cargo space than the JSW or HHR, but isn't as fuel efficient (22/28).

If you need something much larger than these, then maybe the Dodge Magnum (a large wagon, but without a lot of cargo space, offered through 2008) or a minivan.


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Volkswagen Jetta SportWagen
Chevrolet HHR
Mazda Mazda5
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