BUYING A CAR IN 2015

BUYING A CAR IN 2017

(WITHOUT HAVING HEADACHES IN 2018)


SPECIFIC VEHICLE RECOMMENDATIONS - Small Wagons:

This is an old class that went away, but now it is back. Families with requirements for luggage or kid space but not wanting SUV or minivan gas mileage will love these. A young couple with a baby or a single person with several pets will find this category of vehicle quite satisfying. These are very useful vehicles, and handle much better than the older station wagons. Better styling, too. Regular gas except for very high performance versions.

Mazda Mazda3 5 door - Very competent, economical, and spacious. Actually fun to drive. Get a SkyActiv version instead of the cheaper car. The difference in gas mileage will make up the difference. Both higher versions get 4 disc brakes.

RATINGS:
Acceleration:
Braking:
Fuel Cost:
Seating:
Reliability:
Trunk space:
Towing:
Hauling:
Collision avoidance:
3 - Adequate for most situations
3 - Takes 120 to 125 ft to stop.  Good for non sports car.
5 - Over 30 mpg on regular or over 33 mpg on premium fuel
3 - Seats 4, okay for around town, a little crowded for trips
4 - Very good vehicle
4 - Swallows large household items
1 - Don't do it
3 - Easy to load and handles TVs and lawnmowers easily
3 - Has a decent chance of avoidance


Subaru Impreza Sport - Lower gas mileage and more expensive than Mazda because it is only available with 4 wheel drive. Excellent reliability. Available high performance versions. Best selected for snow areas.

RATINGS:
Acceleration:
Braking:
Fuel Cost:
Seating:
Reliability:
Trunk space:
Towing:
Hauling:
Collision avoidance:
3 - Adequate for most situations
3 - Takes 120 to 125 ft to stop.  Good for non sports car.
4 - 25 to 29 mpg on regular or 28 to 32 on premium fuel
3 - Seats 4, okay for around town, a little crowded for trips
5 - Best there is.  More reliable used than many new cars
4 - Swallows large household items
1 - Don't do it
3 - Easy to load and handles TVs and lawnmowers easily
3 - Has a decent chance of avoidance


Subaru Crosstek - Off road version of the Impreza Sport wagon. Lower gas mileage and more expensive than Mazda because it is only available with 4 wheel drive. Excellent reliability. Available high performance versions. Best selected for snow areas.

RATINGS:
Acceleration:
Braking:
Fuel Cost:
Seating:
Reliability:
Trunk space:
Towing:
Hauling:
Collision avoidance:
3 - Adequate for most situations
3 - Takes 120 to 125 ft to stop.  Good for non sports car.
4 - 25 to 29 mpg on regular or 28 to 32 on premium fuel
3 - Seats 4, okay for around town, a little crowded for trips
5 - Best there is.  More reliable used than many new cars
4 - Swallows large household items
1 - Don't do it
3 - Easy to load and handles TVs and lawnmowers easily
3 - Has a decent chance of avoidance


Scion iM - Completely redesigned with the speedometer thankfully in front of the driver. Very high reliability and very good gas mileage. 3 door or 5 door.

RATINGS:
Acceleration:
Braking:
Fuel Cost:
Seating:
Reliability:
Trunk space:
Towing:
Hauling:
Collision avoidance:
3 - Adequate for most situations
2 - Takes 125 to 130 ft to stop.  Average for today's cars.
5 - Over 30 mpg on regular or over 33 mpg on premium fuel
3 - Seats 4, okay for around town, a little crowded for trips
5 - Best there is.  More reliable used than many new cars
4 - Swallows large household items
1 - Don't do it
3 - Easy to load and handles TVs and lawnmowers easily
3 - Has a decent chance of avoidance


Scion tC - Doesn't look like a wagon until you open the hatch. Made by Toyota and sold at Toyota dealerships, this car is a sports car and a sporty personal runabout with a hatchback that allows for huge cargo space. Decent back seat room, Camry engine, long list of standard features, great quality and reliability, attractive styling, and low price make it a very attractive package. 4 cyl front wheel drive. Note that the Scion price tags are non-negotiable. Window sticker price is the price you pay. Negotiation is done on the value of your trade in vehicle. Performance enhancements are available as TRD (Toyota Racing Development) parts from the dealers.

RATINGS:
Acceleration:
Braking:
Fuel Cost:
Seating:
Reliability:
Trunk space:
Towing:
Hauling:
Collision avoidance:
4 - Quite spritely
3 - Takes 120 to 125 ft to stop.  Good for non sports car.
4 - 25 to 29 mpg on regular or 28 to 32 on premium fuel
2 - Seats for 2 adults plus 2 kids who don't fight
5 - Best there is.  More reliable used than many new cars
4 - Swallows large household items
1 - Don't do it
2 - Hauls large boxes, but you have to fit them into the trunk
4 - Performs well in emergency maneuvers


Ford Focus Hatchback - Cheaper to get than above cars, and resells for less. Reliability is good if you don't get ""My Ford Touch"". Surprisingly nice, roomy, and good driving car for the money. Better choice for situations where less money is available for purchase, and lower driving miles are anticipated.

RATINGS:
Acceleration:
Braking:
Fuel Cost:
Seating:
Reliability:
Trunk space:
Towing:
Hauling:
Collision avoidance:
3 - Adequate for most situations
2 - Takes 125 to 130 ft to stop.  Average for today's cars.
5 - Over 30 mpg on regular or over 33 mpg on premium fuel
3 - Seats 4, okay for around town, a little crowded for trips
3 - Decent reliability for long term ownership
4 - Swallows large household items
1 - Don't do it
3 - Easy to load and handles TVs and lawnmowers easily
3 - Has a decent chance of avoidance


Toyota Prius V - Wagon version of the Prius hybrid sedan, although a little larger with the same drive train, thereby sacrificing some gas mileage for additional space. Still gets excellent gas mileage with surprisingly high reliability, considering the complexity of being a gas/electric hybrid.

RATINGS:
Acceleration:
Braking:
Fuel Cost:
Seating:
Reliability:
Trunk space:
Towing:
Hauling:
Collision avoidance:
2 - Can keep up with traffic pretty well
2 - Takes 125 to 130 ft to stop.  Average for today's cars.
5 - Over 30 mpg on regular or over 33 mpg on premium fuel
3 - Seats 4, okay for around town, a little crowded for trips
5 - Best there is.  More reliable used than many new cars
4 - Swallows large household items
1 - Don't do it
3 - Easy to load and handles TVs and lawnmowers easily
3 - Has a decent chance of avoidance


Lexus CT - 4 cylinder gas/electric hybrid. Advertized as a midsize car, but it's just not that large. Most owners report 45 - 50 mpg. Gas prices have a huge effect on the price of this car. High gas prices allow dealers to ask several thousand over list price. You must do the math to see if the gas mileage is worth the price for you. Don't forget that the battery is very expensivs and has limited life. Toyota is saying that a new battery is on the horizon that allows even better gas mileage.

RATINGS:
Acceleration:
Braking:
Fuel Cost:
Seating:
Reliability:
Trunk space:
Towing:
Hauling:
Collision avoidance:
2 - Can keep up with traffic pretty well
2 - Takes 125 to 130 ft to stop.  Average for today's cars.
5 - Over 30 mpg on regular or over 33 mpg on premium fuel
3 - Seats 4, okay for around town, a little crowded for trips
5 - Best there is.  More reliable used than many new cars
4 - Swallows large household items
1 - Don't do it
3 - Easy to load and handles TVs and lawnmowers easily
3 - Has a decent chance of avoidance


Scion iM - Completely redesigned with the speedometer thankfully in front of the driver. Very high reliability and very good gas mileage.

RATINGS:
Acceleration:
Braking:
Fuel Cost:
Seating:
Reliability:
Trunk space:
Towing:
Hauling:
Collision avoidance:
2 - Can keep up with traffic pretty well
2 - Takes 125 to 130 ft to stop.  Average for today's cars.
5 - Over 30 mpg on regular or over 33 mpg on premium fuel
3 - Seats 4, okay for around town, a little crowded for trips
5 - Best there is.  More reliable used than many new cars
4 - Swallows large household items
1 - Don't do it
3 - Easy to load and handles TVs and lawnmowers easily
3 - Has a decent chance of avoidance


Toyota Yaris 5 Door - Completely redesigned with the speedometer thankfully in front of the driver. Very high reliability and very good gas mileage. 3 door or 5 door.

RATINGS:
Acceleration:
Braking:
Fuel Cost:
Seating:
Reliability:
Trunk space:
Towing:
Hauling:
Collision avoidance:
2 - Can keep up with traffic pretty well
2 - Takes 125 to 130 ft to stop.  Average for today's cars.
5 - Over 30 mpg on regular or over 33 mpg on premium fuel
3 - Seats 4, okay for around town, a little crowded for trips
5 - Best there is.  More reliable used than many new cars
4 - Swallows large household items
1 - Don't do it
3 - Easy to load and handles TVs and lawnmowers easily
3 - Has a decent chance of avoidance


Ford C-Max - Interesting vehicle. Hybrid. More room than the little Ford wagons, but still small. Almost van-like in it's utility. It is slow, but it's designed for around town gas mileage, not power. Don't get ""My Ford Touch"".

RATINGS:
Acceleration:
Braking:
Fuel Cost:
Seating:
Reliability:
Trunk space:
Towing:
Hauling:
Collision avoidance:
2 - Can keep up with traffic pretty well
2 - Takes 125 to 130 ft to stop.  Average for today's cars.
5 - Over 30 mpg on regular or over 33 mpg on premium fuel
3 - Seats 4, okay for around town, a little crowded for trips
3 - Decent reliability for long term ownership
4 - Swallows large household items
1 - Don't do it
3 - Easy to load and handles TVs and lawnmowers easily
3 - Has a decent chance of avoidance