Author Topic: Best Car for Traveling Salesman  (Read 35156 times)

cbr shadow

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Best Car for Traveling Salesman
« on: January 16, 2014, 02:45:09 PM »
My wife drives a lot for her sales position.  She gets $0.57 per mile for driving.  Obviously she gets the same amount no matter what she drives, no matter what the weather, traffic, road conditions, terrain, etc.  The main thing we have control of is what car she drives (probably the largest factor).

Right now she has a 2011 Kia Sorrento which she likes a lot, but I'm toying with the idea of replacing it (with her approval, of course) for something more efficient since she's putting a good amount miles on the car.

2011 Sorrento, 60k miles, 24-27 mpg on hwy drives.  Current value: ~$14,500

Our other car (mine, usually) is a 2006 Honda Civic with 41k miles.  I bought it used this year and plan to keep this for a very long time.

What car would be a good fit for my wifes needs?  Here are the requirements

- Highway Efficiency
- Cargo space: We have (2) medium/large dogs and use the Sorrento to transport them.  They'll fit in the civic, but with their cages folded up they wont fit.  In reality this isn't used for this purpose very often.
- Bluetooth.  This could always be added later, but having Bluetooth is nice
- Reliable
- Safe.  I like that her Sorrento has more size (on top of good safety ratings).  I've heard both sides fo the argument for the likeliness of an accident happening, SUV rollover, etc and don't want to turn this into a safety only discussion.  I just don't want her driving a smart car next to an 18-wheeler.
-Look professional: Wife takes around clients fairly often so giving her a 1998 Tercel isn't an option.

I believe the best options would be:
Pontiac Vibe (used) - Essentially a Toyota Matrix but cheaper, ok gas mileage, good space inside.  The MPG's are similar to the Sorrento though, so I'm not sure this would be worth trading for

Honda Fit (2008+) - This seems to be a good option, but might lack a little bit in the "professional" requirement.  Maybe that's my own bias though.  Good MPG, good cargo space.

Prius - Another good option, but I don't like the idea of having a hybrid.  I had a 1st generation insight that I loved, but replaced the battery after having the car for a year, which made up for all of the good MPG's and hypermiling and then some.

Thoughts?

Thegoblinchief

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Re: Best Car for Traveling Salesman
« Reply #1 on: January 16, 2014, 02:49:12 PM »
Maybe a turbo-diesel wagon of some sort for space?

And I don't think a Honda Fit is any less professional than a Kia.

cbr shadow

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Re: Best Car for Traveling Salesman
« Reply #2 on: January 16, 2014, 02:55:29 PM »
I'd disagree about the Fit vs Sorrento being professional, but I guess it's a taste thing.
Which turbo diesel wagon would you recommend?  I haven't found one that I'd trust (reliability of German cars) or one that would be reasonably priced.

mrigney

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Re: Best Car for Traveling Salesman
« Reply #3 on: January 16, 2014, 02:56:36 PM »
Don't know if I'd let your experience with a 1st gen Prius dissuade you from buying a 4th gen Prius. Batteries have come a long way in 10 years, and so has gas mileage. We recently bought a 2010 Prius w/37k miles on it. Depending on what trim level you get, you could find one for probably as low as $14.5k. If you don't mind getting one w/60-80k, you can probably find one for 12k. And in the process double your gas mileage. If she's driving 20k a year (just a guess based on the traveling salesman title of the post), you'll put ~$1250/year in your pocket in gas savings. Not to mention things cheaper maintenance (tires for SUVs...back when we had one...were ridiculously expensive).

Not saying it's the car you should get, but don't discount it b/c of battery issues on a new tech 10 years ago.

Thegoblinchief

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Re: Best Car for Traveling Salesman
« Reply #4 on: January 16, 2014, 03:01:53 PM »
I'd disagree about the Fit vs Sorrento being professional, but I guess it's a taste thing.
Which turbo diesel wagon would you recommend?  I haven't found one that I'd trust (reliability of German cars) or one that would be reasonably priced.

No idea, to be honest. I was just throwing it out there as an alternative. Haven't kept up with cars for the past 5 or more years and, yeah, I'm generally skittish around German cars as well, more because they're a pain to work on in my experience.

As hatchbacks go, Prius has more cachet than a Fit, but I believe Fit has more usable space (despite being smaller).

The Guru

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Re: Best Car for Traveling Salesman
« Reply #5 on: January 16, 2014, 05:14:18 PM »
After researchiing small wagons- and test driving a Matrix- I wound up buying an '11 Hyundai Elantra Touring. Interior space is comparable to the Toyota, but much better appointed; less "economy-car" appearance. Highway mileage (observed) is in the low 30's. Plus the on-line owner/reviewers raved about the car. My only quibbles were with lack of power and much less common than the Matrix/Vibe

ritchie70

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Re: Best Car for Traveling Salesman
« Reply #6 on: January 16, 2014, 08:34:58 PM »
I'd disagree about the Fit vs Sorrento being professional, but I guess it's a taste thing.
Which turbo diesel wagon would you recommend?  I haven't found one that I'd trust (reliability of German cars) or one that would be reasonably priced.
To some, a Honda is a respectable brand that makes a great car while Kia is some weird brand that has something to do with Hyundai, and Hyundai to me will always be the company of crappy little econoboxes in the 80's and 90's.

In fact I know that Kia made the Ford Festiva during that same era, and I never met an owner of one who didn't say it was a great little car.

So it kind of depends on who her customers are.

If you want truly respectable, I guess you need to go get a nice Mercedes.

I don't think anyone in the US except the Germans are selling a diesel car. (In a quick google I saw mention of a Chevy Cruze diesel but that sounds like a crazy purchase to me.)

I'm on my second VW (since 2002) and both have been fairly reliable. The new one burns a bit of oil, but the older one went through ignition packs like a chain smoker through cigarettes, so there have been trade-offs. (I only ever paid for one set of ignition packs, though. VW picked up the cost every other time.)

ritchie70

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Re: Best Car for Traveling Salesman
« Reply #7 on: January 16, 2014, 08:38:20 PM »
Don't know if I'd let your experience with a 1st gen Prius dissuade you from buying a 4th gen Prius. Batteries have come a long way in 10 years, and so has gas mileage. We recently bought a 2010 Prius w/37k miles on it. Depending on what trim level you get, you could find one for probably as low as $14.5k. If you don't mind getting one w/60-80k, you can probably find one for 12k. And in the process double your gas mileage. If she's driving 20k a year (just a guess based on the traveling salesman title of the post), you'll put ~$1250/year in your pocket in gas savings. Not to mention things cheaper maintenance (tires for SUVs...back when we had one...were ridiculously expensive).

Not saying it's the car you should get, but don't discount it b/c of battery issues on a new tech 10 years ago.

It was actually a first generation Insight, which is a Honda, that he mentions.

By all reports, those were in fact pretty awful. Honda doesn't seem to be able to successfully do a hybrid. Toyota, however, is the master.

If she's doing high mileage, a used Prius is probably the way to go. From everything I've heard, hybrid or not, they're a very nice car.

DumpTruck

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Re: Best Car for Traveling Salesman
« Reply #8 on: January 17, 2014, 02:57:07 PM »
Prius is a great vehicle except for gawd awful steering. You have more steering feel if you were trying to drive a box of tissues.

The battery lasts about 6-8 years/100,000 miles. It will cost about $3k but I'd gander I could do it cheaper and def it's a DIY job.

Battery technology has not come a long way in 10 years. Battery tech is one of the slowest moving technologies around. The best advancement is the reduction in price as economies of scale and production are reached. Size and heat reduction are also improvements but that mostly has to do with  computer circuitry advancement. *disclaimer that I don't really know what I'm talking about, just have loose knowledge of this and I'm fine to be proven wrong!*

Most hybrid tech from other companies is licensed from Toyota I heard. Sometimes batteries do fail prematurely though.

As a corvette lover and never thought I'd say it, but I love driving my GFs prius. I play the game and get amazing mileage. It does fantastically in the deep snow with snow tires and YOU HAVE TO TURN OF TRACTION CONTROL and be careful to not overspeed the wheels during wheelspin situations.

Anyway, you already got a car OP, so congrats!

Spork

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Re: Best Car for Traveling Salesman
« Reply #9 on: January 17, 2014, 03:33:16 PM »
I'd disagree about the Fit vs Sorrento being professional, but I guess it's a taste thing.
Which turbo diesel wagon would you recommend?  I haven't found one that I'd trust (reliability of German cars) or one that would be reasonably priced.
To some, a Honda is a respectable brand that makes a great car while Kia is some weird brand that has something to do with Hyundai, and Hyundai to me will always be the company of crappy little econoboxes in the 80's and 90's.

you mean, like Toyota and Datsun were the crappy little econoboxes of the 70s?

ritchie70

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Re: Best Car for Traveling Salesman
« Reply #10 on: January 17, 2014, 10:53:38 PM »
I'd disagree about the Fit vs Sorrento being professional, but I guess it's a taste thing.
Which turbo diesel wagon would you recommend?  I haven't found one that I'd trust (reliability of German cars) or one that would be reasonably priced.
To some, a Honda is a respectable brand that makes a great car while Kia is some weird brand that has something to do with Hyundai, and Hyundai to me will always be the company of crappy little econoboxes in the 80's and 90's.
you mean, like Toyota and Datsun were the crappy little econoboxes of the 70s?

Somewhat the same. Except I wasn't paying attention to import cars in the 70's. I was too busy playing with Lego and Star Wars toys.

We're all a product of our past, and I paid most attention to cars from roughly '86 to '99, including working in auto repair most of the 90's, so that colors my view of brands.