Help a fat guy buy a new car!
February 28, 2011 8:14 AM   Subscribe

After putting 176,000+ miles on my 2005 Ford Taurus, I'm in the market for a new car. My 2 previous cars have been a Mercury Sable and another Ford Taurus. I think I'm done with sedans for the time being and want something different. What kind of car should I buy?

So here's what I'm looking for:

1) Something that will fit me. I'm not your typical customer. I'm taller than average and much fatter than average. I need something easy to get in and out of it. Further, I need something easy to sit in for an extended period of time due to my commute.
2) As good gas mileage as possible (duh). I drive 40 miles a day one way for my commute.
3) I'm looking to spend somewhere in the mid-$20K range.
4) Something that doesn't look like another sedan or SUV. I really like the styling on some of the newer crossover vehicles.
5) I'd prefer to buy a new car, but I'm open to buying a used car. The '05 Taurus was one year old with 14,000 miles on it when I bought it. The previous 2 cars were bought new.

The two cars I'm considering most heavily right now are the Nissan Rogue and the Hyundai Santa Fe. They seem to have the most bang for my buck. Is there another vehicle out there that I'm missing?
posted by skitchen to Travel & Transportation (12 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Have you driven the Rogue? I think it would be pretty uncomfortable for tall+ fat + long commute.

I love our Rav4 - it gets decent gas mileage (and we have the V6 + 4WD - we're getting combined 23, I think?) and it's comfortable. I decided on that after driving: the Terrain; the Equinox (which I really liked, but couldn't get the deal I wanted on); two different Mazdas; two Nissans; and the Ford Escape.
posted by dpx.mfx at 8:21 AM on February 28, 2011

I seem to recall that the Santa Fe feels roomier than the Rogue. I also own a RAV and find it very comfortable, but the headroom is moderate so you'd need to try it out.
posted by selfnoise at 8:43 AM on February 28, 2011

What about the new Mitzibishi outlander sport ? OR the Subaru Outback?
posted by majortom1981 at 8:44 AM on February 28, 2011

I am pretty tall, but not too fat and have found that honda's fit me best. the Accord crosstour might fit your needs just fine (don't know the price though). I have always found nissans to be a pretty tight fit myself and most american car seats don't go back far enough for me (I am assuming they do this to preserve rear seat leg room). A RAV4 or CRV would also be a good choice assuming you fit, and are going to be cheaper than the accord. I am impressed with a coworkers Equinox but am leary about the long term with any american make. The build quality is definately better but they have about 30 years of crap reputation to overcome with anything that isn't a heavy duty pickup.
posted by bartonlong at 9:02 AM on February 28, 2011

Thirding the RAV4 recommendation. I have a friend who is 6 foot 5 and he has one, and loves it because it fits him. He's not large, but it seems to be a really roomy vehicle and would probably be worth a look.
posted by pdb at 9:04 AM on February 28, 2011 crossovers is a great place to start. Narrow it down to 3 or 4, and then get out there and test drive a few. Take your time, enjoy the search. is a great place to do further research when you've narrowed it down to 1 or 2 cars.
posted by joecacti at 10:44 AM on February 28, 2011

My dad is 6' 6" and loves his Subaru Outback, which gets pretty good mileage.
posted by ldthomps at 11:04 AM on February 28, 2011

To dpx.mfx: I haven't driven it yet - test drive likely this weekend. I'm hopeful because of similarities to the Murano, and according to Edmunds, its headroom is greater than Murano.

To majortom: I'd try the Outlander, but it's the first year for it. The old saw says, "Don't buy a new car in its first model year - wait until they work out the kinks." Also, a Subaru is near my short list, but the Forester, not the Outback. I know a couple of owners, though - I'll have to ask them.

To bartonlong: The Accord Crosstour is out of my price range. If I had that money, I'd buy a Murano. We had a bad experience with our local Honda dealer, but might consider one elsewhere. Their Element is also a possibility; it's their last year, though.

To Toyota recommenders: I'm not looking at them. Recent safety concerns have me a little skittish around them.
posted by skitchen at 11:47 AM on February 28, 2011

Mini Cooper Clubman. I'm 6'4" and it's easily the most comfortable car I've ever driven. Great gas mileage to fun ratio too.
posted by karizma at 12:00 PM on February 28, 2011

I drive a Subaru Forester and I'm glad to hear you're considering it. It's a comfortable and reliable ride. Subarus hadn't even crossed my mind when I was car shopping but my well-traveled boss/friend talked me into it and I've never regretted the decision. It's pretty decent on gas too, for an AWD SUV-thing. I got mine used (five years old) for $12,000.

I'm 5'10" and thin as a rail so I can't speak to how you'll fit in one. It feels roomy, to me. It sits at a good mid-range height off the ground so you neither duck down nor climb up into it.
posted by The Winsome Parker Lewis at 12:11 PM on February 28, 2011

Just to be clear, the Toyota brake issue was recently proven to be mostly consumer error, with a few because of misaligned floor mats.

Subarus are awesome, but if you don't need the AWD thing, beware that they are not great on gas.
posted by barnone at 1:39 PM on February 28, 2011

To all: I went out and bought a used 2010 Toyota Venza. We were impressed by the Toyotas in general, but the RAV4 didn't have enough leg room for my wife, and I wasn't interested in the Sienna. However, we both said, "Oooohh," when we tried on the Venza for size. We found a used one an hour away and bought it on March 12th. Six weeks and nearly 5000 miles later, it seems to be well worth the purchase.

Thanks for everyone's help!
posted by skitchen at 11:17 AM on April 28, 2011

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