Author Topic: Considering a smaller car, have concerns  (Read 4193 times)

StartingEarly

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Considering a smaller car, have concerns
« on: November 26, 2014, 08:46:33 PM »
I have a 2008 escape hybrid awd.  I live in Wisconsin and live on a corner house so we are often plowed in pretty decent both at the driveway and at the street depending on the snow pattern and plow times.  I am somewhat on call and have to have a fast response time when I do get called.  I would like a small hatchback, the issue I have is ground clearance.  With my current vehicle I can back out over the berm and it weighs enough and is high enough to plow through it.  I don't know that a small vehicle would be up to the task.  Does anyone have a small car that they know is capable of doing this without damage?

soontoberichteacher

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Re: Considering a smaller car, have concerns
« Reply #1 on: November 26, 2014, 08:57:38 PM »
You could look into used Subarus that tend to have higher ground clearance. And for what it's worth, my aunt and cousins live in Wisconsin and all drive small cars (Prius, Tercel, Corolla) and none have mentioned this issue. But your situation (corner lot) may be unique.

StartingEarly

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Re: Considering a smaller car, have concerns
« Reply #2 on: November 26, 2014, 09:04:10 PM »
The Escape Hybrid is rated at 27 highway 30 city, I don't think there are many Subarus other than a newer even more expensive than my 08 Escape would get better mileage.  If I was getting another all wheel drive vehicle I would be back to square one mileage wise or would be driving an almost new (not mustachian) vehicle

Monkey Uncle

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Re: Considering a smaller car, have concerns
« Reply #3 on: November 27, 2014, 04:28:02 AM »
I don't want to punch too hard, but why can't you shovel yourself out?  Surely it doesn't take too long to shovel a gap that is wide enough to get your car out.  It's good exercise for a young person such as yourself, assuming you are physically able.  Seems odd that 5 minutes of daily physical labor is enough to keep you from making a choice that could save you thousands of dollars over the lifetime of your next car.

Bateaux

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Re: Considering a smaller car, have concerns
« Reply #4 on: November 27, 2014, 05:17:15 AM »
Keep the Escape unless it has major problems. 

StartingEarly

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Re: Considering a smaller car, have concerns
« Reply #5 on: November 27, 2014, 07:26:10 AM »
It's not five minutes.  When we get dumped on by a foot of snow about three feet of chunky heavy show is pushed about five or six feet into our driveway.  The snow blower won't handle it and it takes sometimes a half hour to hour to clear it out.

Thegoblinchief

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Re: Considering a smaller car, have concerns
« Reply #6 on: November 27, 2014, 09:10:46 AM »
It's not five minutes.  When we get dumped on by a foot of snow about three feet of chunky heavy show is pushed about five or six feet into our driveway.  The snow blower won't handle it and it takes sometimes a half hour to hour to clear it out.

Yeah, getting through plow detritus sucks. When I had my Civic, I wouldn't even attempt getting into or out of my alley if the plow had been by until I blew it out with the snowblower. Mine (good 2-stager) can handle it, but it still takes 5-10 minutes to clear a car width path.

Depending on where in the state you are it's only a few times of year, and then of those few times only a certain percentage will have you in an on-call situation. So it comes down to how many times of year this comes up versus how many miles you drive, and what you'd actually save in gas.

For example, a jump from 30mpg to 40mpg saves you $25 per 1,000 miles with gas at $3/gal.

Know how many miles you drive versus how many times you're  on-call. Do the math to quantify it and make the choice.

If you do go the small car route, you also might find it necessary to keep snow tires around to keep enough grip to have fast response time even in crap roads, so that could also wipe the savings right there.

Since I only drive a few thousand miles a year, I'd personally keep the more capable vehicle.
« Last Edit: November 27, 2014, 09:12:42 AM by Thegoblinchief »

TheThirstyStag

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Re: Considering a smaller car, have concerns
« Reply #7 on: November 27, 2014, 10:51:50 AM »
Since yours is a hybrid and considering your needs, I think it makes perfect sense to keep the Escape. 

Forcus

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Re: Considering a smaller car, have concerns
« Reply #8 on: November 27, 2014, 11:13:15 AM »
Yeah is there some reason you want to "downgrade" from the Escape?

We have an 09 Escape, FWD, 2.5L 4 cylinder, manual. Has been very reliable and more fuel efficient than my Focus. Also has tons of room. It is considered small compared to any new crossover so I feel like the only reason to downgrade would be if there was a significant gain. Cost savings, or some other need that wasn't being met. Absent that I don't see a reason to downgrade unless there is an option you have that saves significant money. Essentially you have a hybrid hatchback..

If you still want to "downgrade" I'd consider a FWD car with high clearance and snow tires. This is sort of a unicorn because most FWD cars are low by design. All I can say here is I have frequently "plowed" my way through snow berms without damage. Maybe even sometimes with a little air time. Snow generally will not damage the bottom even if you hear it scraping (but solid ice will). Alternatively like someone else said, grab a shovel. However snow tires will be no benefit if you get high centered - either you didn't have enough speed backing out or the snow field was long enough that it got packed up under your car and your wheels are spinning uselessly in the air. But worse case scenario, you have to shovel it out.


Bikeguy

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Re: Considering a smaller car, have concerns
« Reply #9 on: November 28, 2014, 10:19:41 AM »
Keep the Escape.   High enough MPG and your snow situation/ on call situation makes for no other easy option.