Author Topic: 10 Cars for smart people updated list???!  (Read 19315 times)

cavalofun

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10 Cars for smart people updated list???!
« on: December 23, 2014, 09:43:51 PM »
Hey fellow mustachians!

Just got t-boned by a driver running a red light. My lovely old car is totaled and looking for a new Mustachian option.  Only problem is... from Upper Peninsula Michigan and need something that can handle the winters (i.e. 4wd with higher ground clearance, issues with rust and all that). Any ideas on newer models that run good in harsh winters but low price and good MPG? My price range is in the used range about $7,500 tops. Any ideas?

webform

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Re: 10 Cars for smart people updated list???!
« Reply #1 on: December 24, 2014, 05:48:10 AM »
Used jeep (newer wrangler or older grand Cherokee) would be my pick for da UP

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Re: 10 Cars for smart people updated list???!
« Reply #2 on: December 24, 2014, 05:51:21 AM »
http://www.mrmoneymustache.com/2014/12/01/all-wheel-drive-does-not-make-you-safer/

Are you off-roading or climbing mountains? 

Some days I seriously wonder if people ever read the blog...
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MoneyCat

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Re: 10 Cars for smart people updated list???!
« Reply #3 on: December 24, 2014, 05:59:34 AM »
A Honda Fit with winter tires would probably do the trick, unless you live on the side of a mountain and they don't plow.

BPA

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Re: 10 Cars for smart people updated list???!
« Reply #4 on: December 24, 2014, 06:09:24 AM »
http://www.mrmoneymustache.com/2014/12/01/all-wheel-drive-does-not-make-you-safer/

Are you off-roading or climbing mountains? 

Some days I seriously wonder if people ever read the blog...

+1

However, I have managed to live my whole life without a vehicle, so I may be biased.

daverobev

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Re: 10 Cars for smart people updated list???!
« Reply #5 on: December 24, 2014, 09:07:20 AM »
Canada calling. Manual trans Civic or Matrix/Vibe.

Just like in every other fucking car thread.

No offence OP.
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RetiredAt63

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Re: 10 Cars for smart people updated list???!
« Reply #6 on: December 28, 2014, 07:02:57 PM »
My friend has a Kia soul - nice little car, easy to handle, good clearance, good gas mileage, reasonable cargo room (not as good as my Mazda 3 hatchback, but she is not trying to carry a dog crate in the back).
You know about winter tires, of course.
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MikeBear

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Re: 10 Cars for smart people updated list???!
« Reply #7 on: December 28, 2014, 07:21:41 PM »
It appears almost NONE of you are very familiar with Michigan's UP winters? Depending on where he lives up there, 4 wheel drive is pretty much mandatory. We are talking about 5 feet of snow at times, and two lane blacktop is only about 20% of the roads up there. The rest is dirt, gravel, and forest fire-lanes. Oh yeah, there ARE mountains up there!

OP, I suggest a used Subaru car with 4 wheel drive. You just can't kill or stop them in the snow.

luigi49

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Re: 10 Cars for smart people updated list???!
« Reply #8 on: December 29, 2014, 01:54:12 PM »
I worked in midland during winter and was driving a corolla rental with no problem.  Snow was 5 inches.

Jack

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Re: 10 Cars for smart people updated list???!
« Reply #9 on: December 29, 2014, 02:19:41 PM »
It appears almost NONE of you are very familiar with Michigan's UP winters? Depending on where he lives up there, 4 wheel drive is pretty much mandatory. We are talking about 5 feet of snow at times, and two lane blacktop is only about 20% of the roads up there. The rest is dirt, gravel, and forest fire-lanes. Oh yeah, there ARE mountains up there!

ಠ_ಠ

Fun fact: the Forest Service road network (380,000 miles) is more than twice as large as the national highway system (161,000 miles). And by "national highway system" I mean all US highways (e.g. Route 66), not just Interstates.

But guess what! Forest Service roads don't get twice as much traffic as the highway system. (In fact, FS roads only serve 1.7 million vehicles per day, nationwide. That's less than the number of daily commuters in a single decent-sized city.)

What's my point? My point is that the fact that only 20% of the roads in Michigan are paved is irrelevant, given that the OP probably does the vast majority of his driving on the paved portion.

OP, I suggest... 4 wheel drive. You just can't... stop them in the snow.

Literally, because four wheel drive is completely irrelevant for braking, but gives you false confidence to go faster than you would in a two wheel drive car.

(I'm not saying Subarus are bad at braking; I'm just saying that if they're good at it, it's not because of the four wheel drive.)
« Last Edit: December 29, 2014, 02:23:24 PM by Jack »

gaja

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Re: 10 Cars for smart people updated list???!
« Reply #10 on: December 29, 2014, 02:23:48 PM »
The other day my kids woke me with "Yay! There is 40 cm (16 inches) more snow now than when we fell asleep!". My Nissan Leaf, with its low center of gravity, handles it beautifully. The roads are usually relatively plowed, but we don't always bother plowing our driveway very carefully.

We also have mountains and hills. This summer the electric car association tested different cars in the Troll road (10% incline). Nobody had any problems, but then we didn't get more than half an inch or so of snow/sleet (it was after all late June). Several of the cars also went up to Herdalssetra, while they were in the area. That's a dirt road with up to 22 % incline. https://www.flickr.com/photos/elbilforeningen/

I did not like the Tesla Roadster going downhill on summer tires and sleet. But the BMWi3 handled well, as did the Ford Focus, Tesla S, Volkswagen e-UP and e-Golf, etc. The Buddy is incredibly fun in steep hills, it outruns most others going uphill. But you can't claim it to be comfortable or safe.
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jba302

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Re: 10 Cars for smart people updated list???!
« Reply #11 on: December 29, 2014, 02:42:07 PM »
The other day my kids woke me with "Yay! There is 40 cm (16 inches) more snow now than when we fell asleep!". My Nissan Leaf, with its low center of gravity, handles it beautifully. The roads are usually relatively plowed, but we don't always bother plowing our driveway very carefully.

We also have mountains and hills. This summer the electric car association tested different cars in the Troll road (10% incline). Nobody had any problems, but then we didn't get more than half an inch or so of snow/sleet (it was after all late June). Several of the cars also went up to Herdalssetra, while they were in the area. That's a dirt road with up to 22 % incline. https://www.flickr.com/photos/elbilforeningen/

I did not like the Tesla Roadster going downhill on summer tires and sleet. But the BMWi3 handled well, as did the Ford Focus, Tesla S, Volkswagen e-UP and e-Golf, etc. The Buddy is incredibly fun in steep hills, it outruns most others going uphill. But you can't claim it to be comfortable or safe.

If the roads are plowed, I agree with this. With blizzaks my civic will do anything necessary on a normal commut. I do occasionally miss having a TJ on 33" tires for those times where plowing isn't happening in a timely fashion.

MikeBear

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Re: 10 Cars for smart people updated list???!
« Reply #12 on: December 29, 2014, 02:43:18 PM »
I worked in midland during winter and was driving a corolla rental with no problem.  Snow was 5 inches.

I've lived 10 miles away from Midland for 25 years. It's NOT the upper peninsula (UP), and doesn't get near the amount of snow the UP does.

Eric

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Re: 10 Cars for smart people updated list???!
« Reply #13 on: December 31, 2014, 01:55:47 AM »
Come on Mike, they have snow plows!  Lots of them!  Any front wheel drive car will be fine with snow tires, and probably fine without them.

Oh yeah, there ARE mountains up there!

Barely.  I doubt the OP works in the Porkies, so we're probably safe here.
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JLee

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Re: 10 Cars for smart people updated list???!
« Reply #14 on: January 02, 2015, 09:06:16 AM »
Come on Mike, they have snow plows!  Lots of them!  Any front wheel drive car will be fine with snow tires, and probably fine without them.

Oh yeah, there ARE mountains up there!

Barely.  I doubt the OP works in the Porkies, so we're probably safe here.
Compromise on money-saving everywhere else, but for the safety of your family and others on the road, don't cheap out on tires unless you only drive on plowed/sanded/salted roads.

I grew up in northern New Hampshire, where I also have ~5 years experience as a police officer.  If you're spending much time driving in bad weather you really should have good tires.  I drove a Subaru with snow tires.  I also didn't have the option of calling in to work on those days where the radio says "Stay home everyone, it's dangerous out there."

http://www.tirerack.com/videos/index.jsp?video=23

Snow tires also provide improved handling and stopping distance on dry pavement when compared to all seasons. The rubber compound is designed for colder temperatures.

Please don't think that "I did it for a week with no problem" is a thorough and accurate assessment of winter driving safety. You are much better off with a FWD car and snow tires than you are with something AWD/4WD on all seasons.

Self-employed-swami

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Re: 10 Cars for smart people updated list???!
« Reply #15 on: January 02, 2015, 07:06:46 PM »
Canada calling. Manual trans Civic or Matrix/Vibe.

Just like in every other fucking car thread.

No offence OP.

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Re: 10 Cars for smart people updated list???!
« Reply #16 on: January 26, 2016, 04:35:59 PM »
We had 8 inches of snow this past weekend. Snow was piled up here and there on the road due to tire tracks, etc.

I don't think I'd feel very good driving some low bodied car which was shoving the radiator and air conditioner condenser through this crusty snow as you drove along. Potentially expensive repairs. Maybe Michigan snow is all powder. Where I live it ranges from powder to a icy/crusty mess. And around here snow plows should not be relied upon.

Also - maybe it is flat where you live. Around here we have many "hills and hollers". FWD won't do diddly on a hill when the front wheels are unloaded as the car chassis squats towards the rear wheels on a hill. On our AWD vehicle there are many times where FWD would clearly just not get the job done. Any load in the back of the vehicle can also exacerbate the low traction FWD situation. Am thinking of all the small trucks I've used/seen/driven with loaded beds. Front wheels get really light. If it was FWD it would slip all over the place.

Snow tires might be worthwhile but we don't get enough snow to justify the effort or expense. All-Season works well here - even in deep snow. Clearly if I lived a little further north snow tires would be worthwhile.

Rather than trying to drive the tiniest car you can find to maximize MPG - get your savings by driving less, keeping your vehicle longer, carpool, do your own maintenance, buy older vehicles, etc.

I love tiny cars - like the original Fiat 500 small - but there are times and places I am not going to drive a "flimsy car" in adverse conditions. If you can get by with a subcompact car then go for it but don't cut corners and buy the wrong tool for your needs just to maximize your MPG. MPG only represents a small part of your vehicular TCO.

JLee

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Re: 10 Cars for smart people updated list???!
« Reply #17 on: January 26, 2016, 05:36:10 PM »
We had 8 inches of snow this past weekend. Snow was piled up here and there on the road due to tire tracks, etc.

I don't think I'd feel very good driving some low bodied car which was shoving the radiator and air conditioner condenser through this crusty snow as you drove along. Potentially expensive repairs. Maybe Michigan snow is all powder. Where I live it ranges from powder to a icy/crusty mess. And around here snow plows should not be relied upon.

Also - maybe it is flat where you live. Around here we have many "hills and hollers". FWD won't do diddly on a hill when the front wheels are unloaded as the car chassis squats towards the rear wheels on a hill. On our AWD vehicle there are many times where FWD would clearly just not get the job done. Any load in the back of the vehicle can also exacerbate the low traction FWD situation. Am thinking of all the small trucks I've used/seen/driven with loaded beds. Front wheels get really light. If it was FWD it would slip all over the place.

Snow tires might be worthwhile but we don't get enough snow to justify the effort or expense. All-Season works well here - even in deep snow. Clearly if I lived a little further north snow tires would be worthwhile.

Rather than trying to drive the tiniest car you can find to maximize MPG - get your savings by driving less, keeping your vehicle longer, carpool, do your own maintenance, buy older vehicles, etc.

I love tiny cars - like the original Fiat 500 small - but there are times and places I am not going to drive a "flimsy car" in adverse conditions. If you can get by with a subcompact car then go for it but don't cut corners and buy the wrong tool for your needs just to maximize your MPG. MPG only represents a small part of your vehicular TCO.
Heh, that would be why. Snow tires make a huge difference.

Watch these, especially the second video from the 1:40 mark.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ERtK8q2PxGg
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iXjzYbpt9Ow

I have a lowered Mazdaspeed6 (AWD) with snow tires and we got 2 feet of snow last weekend. I had no problems going anywhere - actually plowed through a fair amount, as you can see from the snow level on my bumper (all fresh snow, nothing had melted and iced over). I would drive a FWD car with winter tires before an AWD car with all seasons.

Jeremy E.

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Re: 10 Cars for smart people updated list???!
« Reply #18 on: January 26, 2016, 05:55:26 PM »
We had 8 inches of snow this past weekend. Snow was piled up here and there on the road due to tire tracks, etc.

I don't think I'd feel very good driving some low bodied car which was shoving the radiator and air conditioner condenser through this crusty snow as you drove along. Potentially expensive repairs. Maybe Michigan snow is all powder. Where I live it ranges from powder to a icy/crusty mess. And around here snow plows should not be relied upon.

Also - maybe it is flat where you live. Around here we have many "hills and hollers". FWD won't do diddly on a hill when the front wheels are unloaded as the car chassis squats towards the rear wheels on a hill. On our AWD vehicle there are many times where FWD would clearly just not get the job done. Any load in the back of the vehicle can also exacerbate the low traction FWD situation. Am thinking of all the small trucks I've used/seen/driven with loaded beds. Front wheels get really light. If it was FWD it would slip all over the place.

Snow tires might be worthwhile but we don't get enough snow to justify the effort or expense. All-Season works well here - even in deep snow. Clearly if I lived a little further north snow tires would be worthwhile.

Rather than trying to drive the tiniest car you can find to maximize MPG - get your savings by driving less, keeping your vehicle longer, carpool, do your own maintenance, buy older vehicles, etc.

I love tiny cars - like the original Fiat 500 small - but there are times and places I am not going to drive a "flimsy car" in adverse conditions. If you can get by with a subcompact car then go for it but don't cut corners and buy the wrong tool for your needs just to maximize your MPG. MPG only represents a small part of your vehicular TCO.
They don't make front wheel drive trucks as far as I know. On hills, snow, ice or whatever else, a FWD car with snow tires will have less accidents than an AWD car without snow tires. Here is an article MMM wrote on the subject,
http://www.mrmoneymustache.com/2014/12/01/all-wheel-drive-does-not-make-you-safer/

Racer X

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Re: 10 Cars for smart people updated list???!
« Reply #19 on: January 27, 2016, 07:46:31 AM »
I worked in midland during winter and was driving a corolla rental with no problem.  Snow was 5 inches.

I've lived 10 miles away from Midland for 25 years. It's NOT the upper peninsula (UP), and doesn't get near the amount of snow the UP does.

Seriously.  Even if the OP lives in the "big city" of Marquette, that's 6 hours north of Midland! 

I have a small FWD hatchback that I put snow tires on during the winter and it does absolutely fabulous right up to the 5-6 inch mark.  After that the front end becomes a miniature snow plow.  At the 7-9 inch depth mark, the car bottoms out and driving becomes difficult to impossible. 

The wife's 4x4 SUV with snow tires has only been tested up to a 26 inch snow fall, but we haven't found anything to stop it yet. 

diggingout

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Re: 10 Cars for smart people updated list???!
« Reply #20 on: January 27, 2016, 07:54:06 AM »
A Honda Fit with winter tires would probably do the trick, unless you live on the side of a mountain and they don't plow.

I beg to differ. I'm from southeast Michigan and my Honda Fit couldn't even handle getting out of my parking lot. The clearance is not high enough and a few winters ago, I had to have friends help dig me out. We discovered that the Fit is only single wheel drive. Literally, only the front driver tire spun, which did not help me get out of my parking spot several times.  Even with winter tires, my tires ended up losing their tread in one winter because of how often I got stuck, and I needed $700 worth of transmission work all thanks to the winter of 2013-2014.

JLee

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Re: 10 Cars for smart people updated list???!
« Reply #21 on: January 27, 2016, 08:25:53 AM »
A Honda Fit with winter tires would probably do the trick, unless you live on the side of a mountain and they don't plow.

I beg to differ. I'm from southeast Michigan and my Honda Fit couldn't even handle getting out of my parking lot. The clearance is not high enough and a few winters ago, I had to have friends help dig me out. We discovered that the Fit is only single wheel drive. Literally, only the front driver tire spun, which did not help me get out of my parking spot several times.  Even with winter tires, my tires ended up losing their tread in one winter because of how often I got stuck, and I needed $700 worth of transmission work all thanks to the winter of 2013-2014.

Every car with an open differential has one drive wheel per axle. That's how open differentials work.  A 4wd truck will give power to one front wheel and one back wheel (assuming an absence of limited slip differentials or lockers).

diggingout

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Re: 10 Cars for smart people updated list???!
« Reply #22 on: January 27, 2016, 08:58:02 AM »
A Honda Fit with winter tires would probably do the trick, unless you live on the side of a mountain and they don't plow.

I beg to differ. I'm from southeast Michigan and my Honda Fit couldn't even handle getting out of my parking lot. The clearance is not high enough and a few winters ago, I had to have friends help dig me out. We discovered that the Fit is only single wheel drive. Literally, only the front driver tire spun, which did not help me get out of my parking spot several times.  Even with winter tires, my tires ended up losing their tread in one winter because of how often I got stuck, and I needed $700 worth of transmission work all thanks to the winter of 2013-2014.

Every car with an open differential has one drive wheel per axle. That's how open differentials work.  A 4wd truck will give power to one front wheel and one back wheel (assuming an absence of limited slip differentials or lockers).

i know you're right, but I think the clearance and the weight of the car didn't help. I was just offering my experience with the car in the same state as the OP.

daverobev

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Re: 10 Cars for smart people updated list???!
« Reply #23 on: January 27, 2016, 09:37:13 AM »
A Honda Fit with winter tires would probably do the trick, unless you live on the side of a mountain and they don't plow.

I beg to differ. I'm from southeast Michigan and my Honda Fit couldn't even handle getting out of my parking lot. The clearance is not high enough and a few winters ago, I had to have friends help dig me out. We discovered that the Fit is only single wheel drive. Literally, only the front driver tire spun, which did not help me get out of my parking spot several times.  Even with winter tires, my tires ended up losing their tread in one winter because of how often I got stuck, and I needed $700 worth of transmission work all thanks to the winter of 2013-2014.

Every car with an open differential has one drive wheel per axle. That's how open differentials work.  A 4wd truck will give power to one front wheel and one back wheel (assuming an absence of limited slip differentials or lockers).

i know you're right, but I think the clearance and the weight of the car didn't help. I was just offering my experience with the car in the same state as the OP.

To be fair, you needed $700 of trans work because you did not know not to burn your clutch out if the wheels spin.

You may wish to invest in a set of tread mats http://smile.amazon.com/Portable-Tow-Truck-Traction-Pads/dp/B0046CZKIA/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1453912392&sr=8-1&keywords=snow+traction+mats and a folding shovel. Depends on the conditions, of course.

My car gets stuck easily if it thaws/freezes because it is heavy and rear wheel drive, so it makes its own little icy rut to sit in. Less now that it gets parked on the drive rather than the grass. I found my traction mats pretty useless actually, but the shovel got me out when I dug down a bit and was able to rock back and forth (gently).
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gaja

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Re: 10 Cars for smart people updated list???!
« Reply #24 on: January 27, 2016, 09:39:17 AM »
Almost all cars in Norway are front wheel drive, a lot of them are small (top 3 in 2015 were VW Golf, Toyota Auris, Nissan Leaf). Winter tyres are mandated (the police will check), and if you live in harsher regions most people prefer studded tyres. It is all down to how you drive and good tyres.
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Jack

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Re: 10 Cars for smart people updated list???!
« Reply #25 on: February 01, 2016, 02:04:25 PM »
They don't make front wheel drive trucks as far as I know.

Behold, the Volkswagen Rabbit Pickup (front wheel drive, same as any other Rabbit):



JLee

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Re: 10 Cars for smart people updated list???!
« Reply #27 on: February 01, 2016, 05:27:49 PM »
They don't make front wheel drive trucks as far as I know.

Behold, the Volkswagen Rabbit Pickup (front wheel drive, same as any other Rabbit):



And next you're going to tell me the Honda Ridgeline is a truck? :P

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Re: 10 Cars for smart people updated list???!
« Reply #28 on: February 02, 2016, 09:23:19 AM »
Almost all cars in Norway are front wheel drive, a lot of them are small (top 3 in 2015 were VW Golf, Toyota Auris, Nissan Leaf). Winter tyres are mandated (the police will check), and if you live in harsher regions most people prefer studded tyres. It is all down to how you drive and good tyres.

And how many steep hills you have to traverse.

Making Cookies

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Re: 10 Cars for smart people updated list???!
« Reply #29 on: February 02, 2016, 09:42:48 AM »
So truck = something that can carry 2000lbs+ and 4x8 sheets of building materials? ;)

I've carried engines and transmissions in little trucks like the Rabbit Caddy, Fiat Fiorino, etc. Have carried many building materials in these little trucks too.

Most of the Euro brands have tiny trucks like these. I wish we had more of them available new here in the USA.

I'd like to see the American daily driver fleet include more of these and fewer of the 25ft long / 7000+ lb toy pickup trucks some people commute in.

I don't see the point to a nearly 4 ton vehicle to carry 500 lbs of weekend project materials and that's what I often see at the local hardware store. That said - it's your toy. Enjoy.

I might carry ~750 lbs of materials in a ~400 lb utility trailer. If I'm buying tons of materials for a large construction project I'd likely just have them delivered rather than own a big pickup year 'round.

Don't get me wrong - I borrowed a 2500 series Ram 4x4 + gooseneck trailer to tow home 10000 lbs of railroad cross ties recently. I value a good HD truck / trailer combo.

gaja

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Re: 10 Cars for smart people updated list???!
« Reply #30 on: February 02, 2016, 10:14:37 AM »
Almost all cars in Norway are front wheel drive, a lot of them are small (top 3 in 2015 were VW Golf, Toyota Auris, Nissan Leaf). Winter tyres are mandated (the police will check), and if you live in harsher regions most people prefer studded tyres. It is all down to how you drive and good tyres.

And how many steep hills you have to traverse.

Oh, yes, sorry. I have only tested the small front wheel Golf in 12 % slope on very slippery wet ice*. But I guess you meant steeper hills than that? Or did you want to quantify number of hills? I usually only count mountains when I'm driving. One of my old work commutes was over three mountain passes. What slope and height does it need to be to count as a hill?

*I know far too few words for ice and snow in English. What I'm trying to describe here is the type of ice you get when the ground is frozen but it rains. We call in "rain cooled from below", or "klink" (=the sound of your head as it hits the ground). It instantly freezes upon contact with the ground, and makes an invisible layer of very wet and slippery ice. You have to react differently in a front wheel and back wheel drive car, when you are trying to correct the slide out**.

**Again, vocabulary difficulty. What do you call it when you are driving on ice and the back end of the car goes a different direction than the front end, but less than 40 degrees angle compared to the driving direction, so that is still possible to compensate, stay on the road and keep driving? Like this: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t4aYQehhfj4
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JordanOfGilead

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Re: 10 Cars for smart people updated list???!
« Reply #31 on: February 02, 2016, 10:52:55 AM »
http://www.mrmoneymustache.com/2014/12/01/all-wheel-drive-does-not-make-you-safer/

Are you off-roading or climbing mountains? 

Some days I seriously wonder if people ever read the blog...
I can honestly say that after having driven my first awd (rental for work) vehicle in a snow storm a couple weeks ago, awd makes a huge difference in handling in the snow, especially in circumstances when a fwd car would tend to understeer and keep sliding forward, the awd dodge journey I was in was able to turn the back tires (I believe the power distribution was something like 90% front, 10% rear) just enough to keep the vehicle stable. AWD doesn't help you stop better, but it makes a significant difference in turning and not getting stuck.

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Re: 10 Cars for smart people updated list???!
« Reply #32 on: February 02, 2016, 10:55:40 AM »
*I know far too few words for ice and snow in English. What I'm trying to describe here is the type of ice you get when the ground is frozen but it rains. We call in "rain cooled from below", or "klink" (=the sound of your head as it hits the ground). It instantly freezes upon contact with the ground, and makes an invisible layer of very wet and slippery ice. You have to react differently in a front wheel and back wheel drive car, when you are trying to correct the slide out**.

I think you're talking about 'freezing rain' which hits surfaces and forms 'glaze ice' (a term I've never heard outside that Wikipedia article), or, if it's on a road, 'black ice' (a term that is much more common).

That's one of the reasons Atlanta has such a poor reputation for winter driving: we hardly ever get snow, but black ice is much more common.

**Again, vocabulary difficulty. What do you call it when you are driving on ice and the back end of the car goes a different direction than the front end, but less than 40 degrees angle compared to the driving direction, so that is still possible to compensate, stay on the road and keep driving? Like this: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t4aYQehhfj4

Based on the description (not the video, since I won't watch it at work), you're talking about 'fishtailing.'

JordanOfGilead

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Re: 10 Cars for smart people updated list???!
« Reply #33 on: February 02, 2016, 11:03:47 AM »
They don't make front wheel drive trucks as far as I know.

Behold, the Volkswagen Rabbit Pickup (front wheel drive, same as any other Rabbit):


I love it. I have to get one of those!

mtn

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Re: 10 Cars for smart people updated list???!
« Reply #34 on: February 02, 2016, 11:05:12 AM »
Wow. Most people here clearly do not understand the UP. They have this big puddle there, I think it is called Superior. It creates this thing called "Lake Effect Snow". Think Buffalo NY levels of snow.

Folks, it isn't the streets. Those will be plowed sooner than later. It is the parking lots, the driveways, the side roads (and yes, there are a lot of them that aren't paved even aside from the Forest Service roads). Heck, there were years that my Grandpa's driveway in Menominee (southernmost point of the UP) would get holes in it so big during the winter that when we went up the first time in the spring, before we even pulled up to the house we'd park the car barely in the driveway and get out and patch it. This was a gravel driveway. Why? Because we were in a minivan, and it didn't have the ground clearance for the holes.

OP, with a $7500 budget I'd be looking at an older 4Runner, or else Jeep Cherokee (XJ). Both are slightly less reliable than the sun. 4Runner is nicer, Jeep is probably cheaper and there are a lot of them up there. Whatever you get, I would get snow tires. Budget $1k for it, it is worth it. I just did it for the car I bought on Saturday--the tires are getting put on now, on Tuesday morning!

Signed, a guy who drove a Miata year round in Chicago, and who's cousin lives in Marquette and got a 4x4 truck after he said he didn't need one and 2wd snow tires was fine.
« Last Edit: February 02, 2016, 11:10:16 AM by mtn »

JordanOfGilead

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Re: 10 Cars for smart people updated list???!
« Reply #35 on: February 02, 2016, 11:07:55 AM »
*I know far too few words for ice and snow in English. What I'm trying to describe here is the type of ice you get when the ground is frozen but it rains. We call in "rain cooled from below", or "klink" (=the sound of your head as it hits the ground). It instantly freezes upon contact with the ground, and makes an invisible layer of very wet and slippery ice. You have to react differently in a front wheel and back wheel drive car, when you are trying to correct the slide out**.

I think you're talking about 'freezing rain' which hits surfaces and forms 'glaze ice' (a term I've never heard outside that Wikipedia article), or, if it's on a road, 'black ice' (a term that is much more common).

That's one of the reasons Atlanta has such a poor reputation for winter driving: we hardly ever get snow, but black ice is much more common.

**Again, vocabulary difficulty. What do you call it when you are driving on ice and the back end of the car goes a different direction than the front end, but less than 40 degrees angle compared to the driving direction, so that is still possible to compensate, stay on the road and keep driving? Like this: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t4aYQehhfj4

Based on the description (not the video, since I won't watch it at work), you're talking about 'fishtailing.'
Fishtailing if the back end goes back and forth (like a fish's tail), oversteer if the back end slides out and you are able to straighten up without whipping back and forth.

JordanOfGilead

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Re: 10 Cars for smart people updated list???!
« Reply #36 on: February 02, 2016, 11:08:07 AM »
So truck = something that can carry 2000lbs+ and 4x8 sheets of building materials? ;)

I've carried engines and transmissions in little trucks like the Rabbit Caddy, Fiat Fiorino, etc. Have carried many building materials in these little trucks too.

Most of the Euro brands have tiny trucks like these. I wish we had more of them available new here in the USA.

I'd like to see the American daily driver fleet include more of these and fewer of the 25ft long / 7000+ lb toy pickup trucks some people commute in.

I don't see the point to a nearly 4 ton vehicle to carry 500 lbs of weekend project materials and that's what I often see at the local hardware store. That said - it's your toy. Enjoy.

I might carry ~750 lbs of materials in a ~400 lb utility trailer. If I'm buying tons of materials for a large construction project I'd likely just have them delivered rather than own a big pickup year 'round.

Don't get me wrong - I borrowed a 2500 series Ram 4x4 + gooseneck trailer to tow home 10000 lbs of railroad cross ties recently. I value a good HD truck / trailer combo.
I loaded about 500lbs of scrap steel in the back of my Scion tC for a welding project. Dropped the suspension by about 2" in the rear and I wouldn't do it on a regular basis, but how often am I going to come across 500lbs of free steel? Not often enough to justify owning a full-sized truck, that's for sure. If I could find a reliable small truck that got comparable mileage (like the above rabbit), I would probably go for it though.
« Last Edit: February 02, 2016, 11:10:11 AM by JordanOfGilead »

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Re: 10 Cars for smart people updated list???!
« Reply #37 on: February 02, 2016, 11:12:33 AM »
Almost all cars in Norway are front wheel drive, a lot of them are small (top 3 in 2015 were VW Golf, Toyota Auris, Nissan Leaf). Winter tyres are mandated (the police will check), and if you live in harsher regions most people prefer studded tyres. It is all down to how you drive and good tyres.

And how many steep hills you have to traverse.

Oh, yes, sorry. I have only tested the small front wheel Golf in 12 % slope on very slippery wet ice*. But I guess you meant steeper hills than that? Or did you want to quantify number of hills? I usually only count mountains when I'm driving. One of my old work commutes was over three mountain passes. What slope and height does it need to be to count as a hill?

Think Appalachian mountains. Think North Carolina, Tennessee, Georgia, Virginia. Lots of shady roads where ice and snow freeze early and thaw slowly. We don't get that many snows here and they rarely last more than a week but when these snows happen, they can be a problem.

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Re: 10 Cars for smart people updated list???!
« Reply #38 on: February 02, 2016, 11:24:10 AM »
I loaded about 500lbs of scrap steel in the back of my Scion tC for a welding project. Dropped the suspension by about 2" in the rear and I wouldn't do it on a regular basis, but how often am I going to come across 500lbs of free steel? Not often enough to justify owning a full-sized truck, that's for sure. If I could find a reliable small truck that got comparable mileage (like the above rabbit), I would probably go for it though.

I agree totally. I've hauled stuff home on the roof rack, in the back of the car with the seats folded down, etc.

This was my solution: http://www.brenderup.com/en-gb/gb/accessories/house-and-garden

Our's is five or six years old now.

I lost my last grandparent recently and while cleaning out her apt I inherited her bedroom suite for our teenager. Nice basic, non-gender specific hardwood furniture. My mother told me to borrow a truck and rent a U-haul trailer. I asked why? I'll come with our 7x4 ft Brenderup 1205 (?) and our old CR-V.

Well I was reminded we had a day to empty the apartment. Big deal. Worst case scenario, I haul the furniture to my parents' garage for a day of storage and make two trips to my home 100+ miles away (~25 mpg).

Got everything in the little trailer plus the mirror/headboards inside the car with ease with the folded bedframe on the roof-rack.

I had to leave the trailer top at my parents' house for a week or so until we came again to fetch it (different trip event) but no big deal. Everything came home safe and scratch free.

I like big trucks but can't justify the TCO b/c a four cylinder tow vehicle and a utility trailer gets my jobs done.

Jack

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Re: 10 Cars for smart people updated list???!
« Reply #39 on: February 02, 2016, 11:34:07 AM »
Heck, there were years that my Grandpa's driveway in Menominee (southernmost point of the UP)

Oh, that's a town? I had a spaceship named that in a sci-fi video game and thought it was a made-up alien word!

Almost all cars in Norway are front wheel drive, a lot of them are small (top 3 in 2015 were VW Golf, Toyota Auris, Nissan Leaf). Winter tyres are mandated (the police will check), and if you live in harsher regions most people prefer studded tyres. It is all down to how you drive and good tyres.

And how many steep hills you have to traverse.

Oh, yes, sorry. I have only tested the small front wheel Golf in 12 % slope on very slippery wet ice*. But I guess you meant steeper hills than that? Or did you want to quantify number of hills? I usually only count mountains when I'm driving. One of my old work commutes was over three mountain passes. What slope and height does it need to be to count as a hill?

Think Appalachian mountains. Think North Carolina, Tennessee, Georgia, Virginia. Lots of shady roads where ice and snow freeze early and thaw slowly. We don't get that many snows here and they rarely last more than a week but when these snows happen, they can be a problem.

A front-wheel-drive car with snow tires would do just fine. The trouble with the southern Appalachians is that there isn't enough snow and ice to justify owning snow tires, so people make do with all-season (or all-terrain on a truck) instead and then think they need a 4x4 because their tires suck.

Of course, even snow tires that are "wasted" on dry roads most of the time would still be cheaper than owning a 4x4...

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Re: 10 Cars for smart people updated list???!
« Reply #40 on: February 02, 2016, 11:41:22 AM »
Thanks for the help in growing my vocabulary guys, black ice and oversteer was what I meant. Although it can turn into fishtailing if you are too eager.

Almost all cars in Norway are front wheel drive, a lot of them are small (top 3 in 2015 were VW Golf, Toyota Auris, Nissan Leaf). Winter tyres are mandated (the police will check), and if you live in harsher regions most people prefer studded tyres. It is all down to how you drive and good tyres.

And how many steep hills you have to traverse.

Oh, yes, sorry. I have only tested the small front wheel Golf in 12 % slope on very slippery wet ice*. But I guess you meant steeper hills than that? Or did you want to quantify number of hills? I usually only count mountains when I'm driving. One of my old work commutes was over three mountain passes. What slope and height does it need to be to count as a hill?

Think Appalachian mountains. Think North Carolina, Tennessee, Georgia, Virginia. Lots of shady roads where ice and snow freeze early and thaw slowly. We don't get that many snows here and they rarely last more than a week but when these snows happen, they can be a problem.
Ok, thanks for clarifying. Still going to stick with my previous statement. If you take a google image search on Strynefjellet, Geirangervegen, ěrnesvingene (eagle road), and Trollstigen, you will see the type of roads I'm talking about. Small front wheel cars work fine on these roads, if you have good tyres and drive carefully. Yes, I do get that in regions where snow and ice is not common, there will be problems. But I do not agree that the blame should be on the cars.

As to snowfall and ice: the Norwegian definition of summer is "when the snowfalls are so light, and the ground temperature is so high, that the snow no longer sticks to the road". It is also known as "usually a day in July, but sometimes it doesn't come until August". In 2012 or -13, summer was very early and three whole days, 12th.-14th. of June. That was a good year.

@mtn I guess this is similar to Lake effect snow: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DM9QHnfDHdQ
The subtexts are not very good. What they are saying is that it is kind of a record for this time of year, in that so much snow has come on so short time. But the amount of snow in itself is quite common, it just normally comes over longer time periodes.
Travelling southern Norway, Iceland and the Faroes in an electric car: http://travelelectric.blogspot.no/

JordanOfGilead

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Re: 10 Cars for smart people updated list???!
« Reply #41 on: February 02, 2016, 11:44:34 AM »
Heck, there were years that my Grandpa's driveway in Menominee (southernmost point of the UP)

Oh, that's a town? I had a spaceship named that in a sci-fi video game and thought it was a made-up alien word!

Almost all cars in Norway are front wheel drive, a lot of them are small (top 3 in 2015 were VW Golf, Toyota Auris, Nissan Leaf). Winter tyres are mandated (the police will check), and if you live in harsher regions most people prefer studded tyres. It is all down to how you drive and good tyres.

And how many steep hills you have to traverse.

Oh, yes, sorry. I have only tested the small front wheel Golf in 12 % slope on very slippery wet ice*. But I guess you meant steeper hills than that? Or did you want to quantify number of hills? I usually only count mountains when I'm driving. One of my old work commutes was over three mountain passes. What slope and height does it need to be to count as a hill?

Think Appalachian mountains. Think North Carolina, Tennessee, Georgia, Virginia. Lots of shady roads where ice and snow freeze early and thaw slowly. We don't get that many snows here and they rarely last more than a week but when these snows happen, they can be a problem.

A front-wheel-drive car with snow tires would do just fine. The trouble with the southern Appalachians is that there isn't enough snow and ice to justify owning snow tires, so people make do with all-season (or all-terrain on a truck) instead and then think they need a 4x4 because their tires suck.

Of course, even snow tires that are "wasted" on dry roads most of the time would still be cheaper than owning a 4x4...
That is a problem considering there is a difference between a truck's "snow" tires and normal "winter" tires. Snow tires tend to have very deep tread, spaced further apart to grip and pull in the snow whereas winter tires have about the same tread depth as all-season or summer tires with a slightly different pattern and much softer compound. Winter tires are good any time the average driving temperature is below freezing, snow or not. They just so happen to also work much better in snow/ice than all-season and summer tires.

Not all winter tires are snow tires. Not all snow tires are winter tires (there are some all-season snow/mud hybrids out there)

Jack

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Re: 10 Cars for smart people updated list???!
« Reply #42 on: February 02, 2016, 12:03:01 PM »
Think Appalachian mountains. Think North Carolina, Tennessee, Georgia, Virginia. Lots of shady roads where ice and snow freeze early and thaw slowly. We don't get that many snows here and they rarely last more than a week but when these snows happen, they can be a problem.

A front-wheel-drive car with snow tires would do just fine. The trouble with the southern Appalachians is that there isn't enough snow and ice to justify owning snow tires, so people make do with all-season (or all-terrain on a truck) instead and then think they need a 4x4 because their tires suck.

Of course, even snow tires that are "wasted" on dry roads most of the time would still be cheaper than owning a 4x4...

That is a problem considering there is a difference between a truck's "snow" tires and normal "winter" tires. Snow tires tend to have very deep tread, spaced further apart to grip and pull in the snow whereas winter tires have about the same tread depth as all-season or summer tires with a slightly different pattern and much softer compound. Winter tires are good any time the average driving temperature is below freezing, snow or not. They just so happen to also work much better in snow/ice than all-season and summer tires.

Not all winter tires are snow tires. Not all snow tires are winter tires (there are some all-season snow/mud hybrids out there)

Keep in mind that where I live, today's high is 70░F and I biked to work in shorts and short sleeves this morning. On February 2, in what's supposed to be the middle of winter. Although I apparently don't know the fine points distinguishing between "snow" tires and "winter" tires, what I do know is that neither would be the correct choice for driving around on today (which is why nobody around here uses them)!

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Re: 10 Cars for smart people updated list???!
« Reply #43 on: February 02, 2016, 12:19:28 PM »
EXACTLY!

Our weekend weather was like your's today. Can't imagine rushing around to swap tires as often as our weather changes here in the mid-south. ;)

AWD isn't that much more expensive than FWD. 1 mpg penalty on my vehicle and the original cost was ~$1500 more. About what it cost then to buy the automatic transmission versus the 5MT.

The automatic transmission? Now THAT'S a waste of money... ;)

Jack

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Re: 10 Cars for smart people updated list???!
« Reply #44 on: February 02, 2016, 12:27:23 PM »
EXACTLY!

Our weekend weather was like your's today. Can't imagine rushing around to swap tires as often as our weather changes here in the mid-south. ;)

AWD isn't that much more expensive than FWD. 1 mpg penalty on my vehicle and the original cost was ~$1500 more. About what it cost then to buy the automatic transmission versus the 5MT.

Eh, $1500 is still a lot. Around here, the best solution is to go 2WD + all-season and stay home when it's icy. (Although to be fair, that strategy may not work as well somewhere like Asheville.)

JordanOfGilead

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Re: 10 Cars for smart people updated list???!
« Reply #45 on: February 02, 2016, 01:18:18 PM »
Think Appalachian mountains. Think North Carolina, Tennessee, Georgia, Virginia. Lots of shady roads where ice and snow freeze early and thaw slowly. We don't get that many snows here and they rarely last more than a week but when these snows happen, they can be a problem.

A front-wheel-drive car with snow tires would do just fine. The trouble with the southern Appalachians is that there isn't enough snow and ice to justify owning snow tires, so people make do with all-season (or all-terrain on a truck) instead and then think they need a 4x4 because their tires suck.

Of course, even snow tires that are "wasted" on dry roads most of the time would still be cheaper than owning a 4x4...

That is a problem considering there is a difference between a truck's "snow" tires and normal "winter" tires. Snow tires tend to have very deep tread, spaced further apart to grip and pull in the snow whereas winter tires have about the same tread depth as all-season or summer tires with a slightly different pattern and much softer compound. Winter tires are good any time the average driving temperature is below freezing, snow or not. They just so happen to also work much better in snow/ice than all-season and summer tires.

Not all winter tires are snow tires. Not all snow tires are winter tires (there are some all-season snow/mud hybrids out there)

Keep in mind that where I live, today's high is 70░F and I biked to work in shorts and short sleeves this morning. On February 2, in what's supposed to be the middle of winter. Although I apparently don't know the fine points distinguishing between "snow" tires and "winter" tires, what I do know is that neither would be the correct choice for driving around on today (which is why nobody around here uses them)!
We have a high of 58 today here in southern Ohio, but the "average" temperature over the last couple weeks has still been pretty cold. The only negative consequence to using winter tires in warm weather is you will experience faster-than normal tread wear due to the softer compounds. A lot of people I work with have a cheaper(ish) set of wheels that they keep winter tires on and just change their tires out around thanksgiving (or when we're projected to get our first snowfall, whichever comes first) and leave them on until about Easter, sometimes later if weather dictates.
The reason for this is the dramatic swings in weather in our area. We had a windchill in the negative teens and 6" of snow two weeks ago, and now we are projected to have highs near 60 all week. The perception is that it's better to be safe than sorry in the winter months. It's usually less than $1000 for a set of winter wheels and tires off tirerack and to a lot of people, that expense (plus new tires every 5-7 years) is worth negating the risk of totaling their car.

Also, I sense from your reply that I may have come across as somewhat condescending and I would like to apologize for that. I was just agreeing with your statement, "The trouble with the southern Appalachians is that there isn't enough snow and ice to justify owning snow tires, so people make do with all-season (or all-terrain on a truck) instead and then think they need a 4x4 because their tires suck," and further emphasizing (although, I admit, not very clearly) that it would make more sense to buy a set of spare wheels with good winter tires than to drive a 4x4 truck with all-seasons.

Jack

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Re: 10 Cars for smart people updated list???!
« Reply #46 on: February 02, 2016, 02:57:55 PM »
Also, I sense from your reply that I may have come across as somewhat condescending and I would like to apologize for that.

Not at all. I see that my tone mistakenly implied annoyance where none actually existed.

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Re: 10 Cars for smart people updated list???!
« Reply #47 on: February 12, 2016, 10:21:27 AM »
EXACTLY!

Our weekend weather was like your's today. Can't imagine rushing around to swap tires as often as our weather changes here in the mid-south. ;)

AWD isn't that much more expensive than FWD. 1 mpg penalty on my vehicle and the original cost was ~$1500 more. About what it cost then to buy the automatic transmission versus the 5MT.

Eh, $1500 is still a lot. Around here, the best solution is to go 2WD + all-season and stay home when it's icy. (Although to be fair, that strategy may not work as well somewhere like Asheville.)

Well $1500 when it's new. I have no idea what the difference in price is when the vehicle is several years old.

Another way to look at it: FWD will all-season tires vs AWD with all-season tires.

We just went through another snow. FWD sedan would not pull itself up our driveway. AWD CR-V did just fine.

Jack

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Re: 10 Cars for smart people updated list???!
« Reply #48 on: February 12, 2016, 11:23:35 AM »
EXACTLY!

Our weekend weather was like your's today. Can't imagine rushing around to swap tires as often as our weather changes here in the mid-south. ;)

AWD isn't that much more expensive than FWD. 1 mpg penalty on my vehicle and the original cost was ~$1500 more. About what it cost then to buy the automatic transmission versus the 5MT.

Eh, $1500 is still a lot. Around here, the best solution is to go 2WD + all-season and stay home when it's icy. (Although to be fair, that strategy may not work as well somewhere like Asheville.)

Well $1500 when it's new. I have no idea what the difference in price is when the vehicle is several years old.

Still $1500, if not more.

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Re: 10 Cars for smart people updated list???!
« Reply #49 on: February 12, 2016, 11:34:38 AM »
EXACTLY!

Our weekend weather was like your's today. Can't imagine rushing around to swap tires as often as our weather changes here in the mid-south. ;)

AWD isn't that much more expensive than FWD. 1 mpg penalty on my vehicle and the original cost was ~$1500 more. About what it cost then to buy the automatic transmission versus the 5MT.

Eh, $1500 is still a lot. Around here, the best solution is to go 2WD + all-season and stay home when it's icy. (Although to be fair, that strategy may not work as well somewhere like Asheville.)

Well $1500 when it's new. I have no idea what the difference in price is when the vehicle is several years old.

Still $1500, if not more.
$1500 + less efficient, probably 5mpg less efficient