Author Topic: Help me choose a new car  (Read 6401 times)

TheMadRussian

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Help me choose a new car
« on: December 08, 2013, 09:10:42 PM »
Okay, here's my story. Like a lot of new Mustachians, I currently find myself behind the vehicle of a fairly ridiculous vehicle for my situation. The good news is that I am down to two ridiculous cars from three as I sold my Porsche a few weeks ago.

So, our family currently has 2 Toyota Land Cruisers. They're awesome vehicles and I love them to death, but they get about 12 MPG no matter what. Even with the engines turned off and being towed by another truck...these things will still use a gallon of gas for every 12 miles traveled! ;)

The one I'm thinking to sell is a 1997. It's the older of the two and actually my favorite, but we just don't need two of these types of vehicles in our fleet. Some might argue that we don't need any at all, but I do like having one around for towing a trailer, Home Depot runs, ski trips and other 'trucky' types of activities. Moreover, both my wife and I live within 2 miles of work, so neither vehicle actually sees a lot of miles.

In my mind, what would be a perfect replacement vehicle is something with ~ 30 MPG and the size and cargo capacity of a minivan, but as far as I can tell, that doesn't exist. The cargo capacity is important to me as I do a lot of hobby construction (like MMM) and a smaller hatchback just wouldn't do. Currently, the 'best' vehicle that seems to match what I need is the Scion xB or Mazda5. Out of the two, I like the prior a little more as it's more utilitarian and can be had cheaper on the used car market. Both I think might be capable of pulling my 9 foot utility trailer. I've also considered the Matrix/Vibe and Focus Wagon but ultimately deemed them a little small for my tastes.

But I'd like to hear from the MMM peanut gallery. Any fuel-efficient, good-cargo-carry-capacity, reliable and not-too-expensive options I should be considering?
« Last Edit: December 08, 2013, 09:13:34 PM by TheMadRussian »

Self-employed-swami

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Re: Help me choose a new car
« Reply #1 on: December 08, 2013, 09:24:57 PM »
Where are you?  (Toyota hasn't made a true Land Cruiser in North America in the 2000's, just the FJ).  If you are in Australia/Indonesia/South America, and you've got a newer diesel land cruiser, I'm jealous!  I'd love to have one for work, despite their poopy gas mileage.

Anyway, back to what you actually asked (the car-applicable MMM posts):

http://www.mrmoneymustache.com/2011/11/28/new-cars-and-auto-financing-stupid-or-sensible/

http://www.mrmoneymustache.com/2011/05/02/car-strategies-to-cut-your-costs-in-four-or-more/

http://www.mrmoneymustache.com/2011/04/29/living-well-on-the-trailing-edge-of-luxury/

http://www.mrmoneymustache.com/2011/04/19/how-to-come-out-way-ahead-when-buying-a-used-car/

http://www.mrmoneymustache.com/2012/03/19/top-10-cars-for-smart-people/

http://www.mrmoneymustache.com/2011/12/08/turning-a-little-car-into-a-big-one/

http://www.mrmoneymustache.com/2012/09/04/its-never-too-late-to-ditch-your-gas-guzzler/

I've included the link to why you don't want to finance as well, although I didn't get that impression from your post.  I'd look again at the 2003-2007 matrix, as they were a little larger than they are now.  If you've got one 'hauling' vehicle in the other land cruiser, you don't need to double up.

Happy car shopping!

Edit: I somehow didn't know that they have been selling gasoline Land Cruisers in the US?!  I'm going to assume that you are referring to those, and not the cooler, diesels :(

I learned something new today!
« Last Edit: December 08, 2013, 09:29:02 PM by Self-employed-swami »

TheMadRussian

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Re: Help me choose a new car
« Reply #2 on: December 08, 2013, 09:47:07 PM »
Indeed, they do sell Land Cruisers (40, 60, 100 and 200 series here in the States...no 70's though!). All gas...and almost without exception wooded and cow-skinned out since the 1990's. The 97 is my favorite as it's the last of the truly rugged Land Cruisers in my opinion, with solid axles front and back and front, rear and center differential lockers. All of that said, I live in suburbia and I'm not planning to go overlanding any time soon...and especially not at 12 MPG! ;)

I'll check out the older Matrixes but they do look a little small to me. Since we both work and the other Land Cruiser is actually my wife's car, I'd prefer to get something a little more utilitarian so I'm ready to go at a moment's notice. Anything you can think of with the MPG of a Matrix but with a bit more cargo capacity?

NinetyFour

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Re: Help me choose a new car
« Reply #3 on: December 08, 2013, 09:52:21 PM »
Wait, how do you get to your work (which you said is within 2 miles of home)?  Please don't say that you drive...

Self-employed-swami

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Re: Help me choose a new car
« Reply #4 on: December 08, 2013, 10:12:53 PM »

I'll check out the older Matrixes but they do look a little small to me. Since we both work and the other Land Cruiser is actually my wife's car, I'd prefer to get something a little more utilitarian so I'm ready to go at a moment's notice. Anything you can think of with the MPG of a Matrix but with a bit more cargo capacity?

Did you read the 'making a smal car bigger' post?
;)

Argyle

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Re: Help me choose a new car
« Reply #5 on: December 08, 2013, 10:28:55 PM »
If you're getting along and doing everything you need to with two Land Cruisers, wouldn't one Land Cruiser be enough?  In other words, sell one of the dinosaurs and don't buy a second vehicle?

Self-employed-swami

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Re: Help me choose a new car
« Reply #6 on: December 08, 2013, 10:35:43 PM »
And if your wife is driving to work everyday, she ought to be doing it in the smallest car possible.

TheMadRussian

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Re: Help me choose a new car
« Reply #7 on: December 08, 2013, 10:53:20 PM »
Well, yeah, we're both driving our cars to work everyday. I ride a bike for fun once in a while but to be honest our city is not very bike friendly. Bottom line, I'm Mustachian in a lot of ways but biking everywhere isn't one if them (yet at least).

My wife isn't giving up her car but I definitely don't need two of these things. But I do want something a little bigger. And let's notdforget that even the MMM family has 3 vehicles! ;)

NinetyFour

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Re: Help me choose a new car
« Reply #8 on: December 09, 2013, 04:25:07 AM »
So what about walking to work?  Less than 2 miles each way?  Easy peasy.  Super way to start/end every day.

Yes, the MMM family has vehicles, but it it my understanding that they hardly every use them, especially not for trips less than 2 miles.

Spork

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Re: Help me choose a new car
« Reply #9 on: December 09, 2013, 08:17:24 AM »

I'll check out the older Matrixes but they do look a little small to me. Since we both work and the other Land Cruiser is actually my wife's car, I'd prefer to get something a little more utilitarian so I'm ready to go at a moment's notice. Anything you can think of with the MPG of a Matrix but with a bit more cargo capacity?

FWIW: I have an 05 Matrix.  I'm 6'2" and cannot put the seat all the way back (because it goes that far back).

I don't know what your cargo requirements are, but for this size car, it is cavernous.  If you fold down the back seats and open the hatch, you can put quite a lot in there.   I've put 12ft lumber in there (routing between the driver seats) and 16ft trim (bendy enough to go from left rear to right front.)

It is by no means an exciting car...  but if you want to start at location A and drive to location B, using not-so-much gas:  it works fine.

jba302

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Re: Help me choose a new car
« Reply #10 on: December 09, 2013, 09:05:25 AM »
You could walk to work, shouldn't take more than 20 minutes and you get some free exercise.

brewer12345

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Re: Help me choose a new car
« Reply #11 on: December 09, 2013, 09:11:54 AM »
If you love the cars I would not sell either one.  You drive 2 miles to work?  Not worth driving a little shitbox to save gas over that distance.

MoneyCat

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Re: Help me choose a new car
« Reply #12 on: December 09, 2013, 09:16:51 AM »
You could try a Mazda 5.  22 city/28 highway and you could probably increase that by hypermiling.  That should give you more than enough cargo/people hauling space.

yyc-phil

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Re: Help me choose a new car
« Reply #13 on: December 09, 2013, 09:33:13 AM »
I would simply keep the Land Cruisers, and walk to work instead. My own commute is about 2 miles. It takes 10 minutes by bike even at Yellowknife's -30 temperature, and a fast 20 minutes by foot.

gimp

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Re: Help me choose a new car
« Reply #14 on: December 09, 2013, 09:41:51 AM »
2 miles is a fairly leisurely 35 minute walk. Just enough time to really contemplate something about work or life, without getting bored and tired. Good exercise too; you'd be walking enough each day to make a difference. And even in the harshest cold, you wouldn't freeze, as long as you're properly dressed.

If you do that and after a couple months you see the car just sitting... and sitting... and sitting there, you might do well to sell it and not replace it with anything. You will really have to calculate its total costs as it sits there. Depreciation has pretty much already finished, so now it's just maintenance, taxes, insurance, fees, yada yada, and the occasional gas. If you end up needing a car for 20 miles a month, you'd hardly notice the difference between a 12mpg car and a 120mpg car. But if you end up needing it for 20 miles a month, you might do well to just use whatever your wife drives.

You might eventually sell both and buy one car, for your wife to drive daily, with a good mileage rating and a decently large capacity. There are actually plenty of SUVs out there that are built on a sedan base, not a truck base, which get around 30MPG, plus or minus a few miles. Then you can walk to work, your wife drives, and you occasionally borrow the car to do construction-y things.

frugaldrummer

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Re: Help me choose a new car
« Reply #15 on: December 09, 2013, 11:17:53 AM »
Yeah, I vote for the Matrix too, especially if you are keeping one of your Landcruisers (which can always be used to carry the rare extra-large load).

My Matrix will accommodate my entire drum kit, or carry my vibraphone.  I've brought home Xmas trees in it.  I'm always surprised at how much it can carry.

Self-employed-swami

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Re: Help me choose a new car
« Reply #16 on: December 10, 2013, 12:35:55 AM »
VIBRAPHONE!


Seriously, we could cram all sorts of crazy things in the back of our 2005 Matrix.

turboseize

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Re: Help me choose a new car
« Reply #17 on: December 10, 2013, 04:19:30 AM »
2 miles is just 3.2 kilometres. That's 30minutes walk (if you walk slowly). NEVER would it cross my mind to start up a car for such a short distance... (Think of all the unnecessary wear cold starting does to an engine!)

Walk to work. Both of you. Sell one land cruiser (the newer one, as you like the older one more) and keep the other as a hobby. But acknowledge it is just that: a hobby. A landcruiser is cool and fun, but it is NOT a means of transport if there are paved roads where you live.
Besides: You do not need a car. Especially not for your commute.
« Last Edit: December 10, 2013, 04:21:09 AM by turboseize »

yyc-phil

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Re: Help me choose a new car
« Reply #18 on: December 10, 2013, 08:49:10 AM »

My Matrix will accommodate my entire drum kit, or carry my vibraphone.  I've brought home Xmas trees in it.  I'm always surprised at how much it can carry.

A vibraphone, is it a phone and a vibrator all in one? The genius of Man never ceases to amaze me!
« Last Edit: December 10, 2013, 08:52:14 AM by ykphil »