A slightly larger, small used car for $15k or less
May 9, 2008 11:57 AM Subscribe
Buying a slightly larger, small used car for $15k or less, big enough for a growing family.
posted by codger to Travel & Transportation (32 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
We live in suburban Ohio, driving a 1998 Mitsubishi Galant that just turned 100k miles. This is also the year that the air conditioning decided to crap out.
While the lack of A/C is annoying, that's not the reason we're looking for another car. We've got an 18-month-old, and hauling her around (or even just having her car seat in the back) seems to have shrunk the backseat significantly.
We're not thinking SUV or mini-van yet, nor are we intending to add any other children to the family at the moment. However that said, we'll likely still be driving any car we buy now when we do have additional children (well, maybe one, I say) in the next 2-5 years.
Safety considerations may figure into this, but we haven't specifically discussed those yet.
So here's what I want: a 4-door sedan or wagon (though I won't rule out the Fit and its ilk until I've actually driven one) that's bigger, mainly in the backseat, than what I've got, for around $15,000. I've even gone as far as starting a spreadsheet with all of the specified numbers for the cars we're looking at, which unfortunately would rule out the Honda Civic which is smaller in every dimension but front head room. I realize that actually sitting in the cars will likely give me more feel for the size than just numbers alone, but it's a start.
I would also love to get better mileage - I've been hovering around the very low 20s in the city and know I can do better. To do so I think I need to stick with a 4-cylinder engine, but that's not set in stone. For me and my wife to both drive it, we're looking at an automatic transmission.
I prefer to drive cars until they die, and moreover would like cars that die later, so this does tend to rule out most American makes. If I'm wrong, please, let me know! I'm thinking that I'm going to look around 2-4 years old, with 20-40k miles on it.
Back to size, though, since not that many people have probably sat in a Galant, that Civic is probably a fine baseline.
If it matters, I'm 6' and broad-shouldered, and my wife is average height and build. Right now our (3' tall) daughter can kick the back of the passenger seat sitting in her car seat.
So, what can I find that's bigger than a Honda Civic with comfortable room for a child seat + assorted stuff reachable from the front seats, with good mileage, reliability and longevity, for under $15,000?