Author Topic: Clown Car Question: Trade in SUV or drive into the ground?  (Read 4931 times)

jabber

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 24
Clown Car Question: Trade in SUV or drive into the ground?
« on: July 20, 2014, 02:39:33 PM »
Before you send me to Clown Car reprimand-land, consider:

Currently, wife drives 2005 SUV with 120K miles with combined mileage of 17mpg, despite gentle driving habits. Estimate 14k miles in the next 12 months and 10K miles per year for the following 3 years.  We'll be moving to a lower COL area and closer to work/school/stores.
Most of the drive time this is with 3 children and the 4th due in Nov.
She totaled the sedan 3 months ago and, instead of purchasing a new vehicle, we're down to just the SUV.

I commute 38 miles/day 5 days per week by bicycle and will continue for the next year.

Four months ago, we test-drove the Mazda5 and determined in to be unsuitable for camping trips, which are as frequent as possible, and known upcoming road trips, to include one across country to the lower COL area.  This is despite known capacity extenders, such as hitch mounted cargo boxes and roof-top cargo boxes.

Full-sized minivans on the market seem to offer only marginal improvement on mileage (I calculate approx 6-7 mpg improvement) and present a reliability risk over the well-maintained SUV currently driven.  Reliability is a first-order concern in the next 4-years, during which the family salary will be temporarily suppressed.

Thank you for the mustachian advice!


jabber

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 24
Re: Clown Car Question: Trade in SUV or drive into the ground?
« Reply #1 on: July 20, 2014, 03:02:46 PM »
Clarification:
2005 SUV is paid off (paid $17k cash for it in pre-mustachian 2011) and values at about $9500.

abhe8

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 486
Re: Clown Car Question: Trade in SUV or drive into the ground?
« Reply #2 on: July 20, 2014, 03:05:30 PM »
so you want to replace the family SUV? or you want to buy a 2nd SUV? i'm not sure of the question. but i can give my experience.

we have 4 children (ages 1, 3, 5 and 7) and we drive/road trip/camp a lot. we also live in the country and dh is self employed as a small farmer. so we have a 2005 suburban with about 140k miles. its great for us. we need the space for road trips, we bike frequently (and since we live in the country) and take the bikes with us and we tow a (rented) trailer about once a month. I love having space for a stroller, big trips to farmers market that require the wagon, camping trips, costco and so on. since we live farther out, we plan our trips very carefully, to include many stops, so its usually a full car.  I drive a little toyota matrix hatchback to work (4.5 miles away) and plan to start biking when they widen our country road to add a bike lane (coming later this year).

i think its a great plan for us and don't see us changing anytime soon. we plan to drive the suburban into the ground, and hope it will make it another 7-10 years. it actually gets better gas milage then our 1997 4runner we just sold last year when we bought the matrix. hows that for funny!

I looked long and hard at a mini van, but the cargo room is just not there. and I use my space all the time, not just a few times per year on vacation. another factor to consider is the car top and hitch mount luggage racks will really drive down yoru gas milage, so if you plan to use them all the time, thats something to consider. we have a car top carrier for long trips but we use a hitch mount bike rack, so cant' put cargo there.

Amy

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 11
Re: Clown Car Question: Trade in SUV or drive into the ground?
« Reply #3 on: July 20, 2014, 03:35:30 PM »
The car meets your needs, is paid for and reliable. You use it to its fullest capacity a decent percentage of the time. It is not extraneous; indeed it is your only car. Why trade all that for an unknown? Just to save about $70/month in gas? (And less in years 2-4.)

Ohio Teacher

  • Stubble
  • **
  • Posts: 127
Re: Clown Car Question: Trade in SUV or drive into the ground?
« Reply #4 on: July 20, 2014, 05:38:16 PM »
Drive it into the ground.  It's 9 years old and paid off.  Since you paid cash for it, I am going to assume you don't have a hair-on-fire debt emergency that necessitates the raising of cash.  With soon to be 4 kids, it sounds like this vehicle is a good fit.  You might get marginal gas savings with another vehicle, but I agree with Amy in that it introduces a lot of unknowns that may outweigh the savings.

philby85

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 42
Re: Clown Car Question: Trade in SUV or drive into the ground?
« Reply #5 on: July 20, 2014, 05:58:58 PM »
Don't forget to include the additional cost of tyres, insurance and registration for a SUV. Since you are doing low mileage, the additional cost of SUV tyres is going to be minimal, but should still be factored in.

If you are using the car as it was intended to be used and just just as a people mover to get the kids to school, then you are probably best to hold onto it. Keep servicing it regularly to keep it reliable and drive it into the ground.

You could improve your fuel efficiency by driving a little slower on the highway.

jabber

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 24
Re: Clown Car Question: Trade in SUV or drive into the ground?
« Reply #6 on: July 20, 2014, 08:33:48 PM »
Thanks for the input.  So far, consensus is to drive the paid off SUV into irreparable dust. Anyone out there disagree?

For clarification to abhe8, the question is to replace the SUV or not.  We do not intend to purchase a second vehicle anytime in the next four years.

La Bibliotecaria Feroz

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 4675
Re: Clown Car Question: Trade in SUV or drive into the ground?
« Reply #7 on: July 20, 2014, 08:52:06 PM »
IMO, once that fourth child is on the way, you get to drive as big a car as you want :-). No face punches coming from this direction! When it really starts to go, you can more fully evaluate whether a minivan would be better. I have an old Accord that is bigger than our family needs, but I plan to drive it into the ground.

jabber

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 24
Re: Clown Car Question: Trade in SUV or drive into the ground?
« Reply #8 on: July 22, 2014, 09:08:07 PM »
Frugal P, thank you for holding back the punches.

  I took a look at your blog and it looks like you have some recent experience with car decisions.  I hope the accord does the job for you guys now that the CRV has moved on.  Before we had a total loss, we used our Jetta for almost all of our family (of 5) travel over a few miles, including occasional camping using the rooftop soft case.

Cheers

La Bibliotecaria Feroz

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 4675
Re: Clown Car Question: Trade in SUV or drive into the ground?
« Reply #9 on: July 22, 2014, 09:20:26 PM »
Frugal P, thank you for holding back the punches.

  I took a look at your blog and it looks like you have some recent experience with car decisions.  I hope the accord does the job for you guys now that the CRV has moved on.  Before we had a total loss, we used our Jetta for almost all of our family (of 5) travel over a few miles, including occasional camping using the rooftop soft case.

Cheers

Thanks for checking out the blog, Jabber! We actually just got back from a camping trip in our Accord! I think the older ones may have bigger trunks than the new ones and Mr. FP is a kickass packer. We may eventually need some sort of cargo extender if we get more gear, but it all made it in this time.

Did you get three kids in the back of that Jetta? I always admire people who can fit three kids across :-).

jabber

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 24
Re: Clown Car Question: Trade in SUV or drive into the ground?
« Reply #10 on: July 30, 2014, 09:32:07 PM »
Three kids in the back of a sedan is not insurmountable by any means.  It may be a little easier for children who aren't able to buckle themselves in a third row.  Probably the best approach is to use the cheapest car seats, which tend to have the most narrow widths.  No problems with the 2005 Jetta we no longer own.  I could see problems with a subcompact style.

DarinC

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 308
Re: Clown Car Question: Trade in SUV or drive into the ground?
« Reply #11 on: July 30, 2014, 10:25:02 PM »
Are you going to drive anything after 4 years? If so, I'd go with a used 2nd gen Prius. It's easy to underestimate how much you'll drive/spend on gas if something unexpected comes up. Plus, having two cars makes it easier to fix one yourself when the other needs repair and this can save mucho dinero. The downside is extra insurance/registration, but with that kind of difference in gas mileage my WAG is that you'll break even after  ~50k miles on the Prius. From that point it's all gravy. Well... technically it's all gravy before that since your used Prius won't depreciate to 0 within 50k miles, but assuming it does simplifies the calculations.

jabber

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 24
Re: Clown Car Question: Trade in SUV or drive into the ground?
« Reply #12 on: August 05, 2014, 05:53:30 PM »
I like the look of the Prius Hatchbacks with greater cargo space (though don't care for when they sneak up on me while on my bicycle), however, the future 2nd car will most likely be a 6-seater to handle the whole family.  I like the Mazda 5 for all but trips calling for more cargo capacity.  For the foreseeable future (next 4 years), we should be able to stick with one car.  A lot of dealership shops offer a courtesy car if they are working on ours, so maintenance/repair work is not a huge deal.  After 4 years, I will be applying for new jobs, so might have more opportunity to live near work like I plan on living <1 mile from the job I'm contracted to start next summer for 3 years.

Stay Mustachian and Thank You for the Helpful Input