What kind of car should I buy?
February 11, 2018 5:52 PM   Subscribe

I'm getting ready to trade in my 2010 Honda Insight for something newer. Please help me figure out what to buy, based on the following criteria:

-I prefer cars in the small- to mid-size range, but it has to be big enough to fit my 6'2" partner comfortably.

-Must get good gas mileage. My Insight currently gets about 45+ mpg.

-I probably want a sedan of some kind. I have no kids, but always seem to be carrying around a dog or two, or some boxes of whatever.

-I'm considering a plug-in electric car, possibly a Chevy Volt. I'm wary of the Nissan Leaf because I do occasionally take long trips and am worried about running out of charge.

-Open to considering non-electric, non-hybrid cars if they are very good on gas.

-The car will mostly be used for urban/suburban commuting, with occasional longer trips and possible very-long trips.

-I will probably buy a used, but recent, car - maybe a 2016 or 2017 model.

Thoughts or suggestions? Volt owners, what do you think of it?
posted by southern_sky to Travel & Transportation (9 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
Prius Prime is probably one to consider. It's a good six grand cheaper than all of its competitors, you plug it in when you get home at the end of the day and you have 25 miles of all-electric or 640 miles of highway range in the morning. You also get the Prius liftback and fold down seats for IKEA cargo.
posted by Talez at 6:19 PM on February 11, 2018 [1 favorite]

We bought our first car last year, a 2013 Prius, and have been extremely happy with it. I drive it 4 days a week on short city trips and have to fill it up once a month. Our (small) dog loves it.
posted by rustcellar at 7:14 PM on February 11, 2018

I bought a three year old used Leaf, and Iā€™m pretty happy with it. Dirt cheap to purchase and maintain. I did get a model with DC fast charging. I take road trips of a few hundred miles in it, but the vast majority of my trips are short. I also have young kids so they want to stop about that often anyway. For long trips I rent or borrow something bigger and gas powered.
posted by RikiTikiTavi at 7:59 PM on February 11, 2018

We have a 2013 Volt, and we love it. When we bought it (2015) it was much more affordable and had better range than a plug-in Prius. No maintenance issues at all yet.

Our all-electric range varies from 22 miles in the dead of Wisconsin winter to around 40 miles under ideal conditions. Your driving style and tolerance for not using the heater will effect your range a lot. Newer ones have about 10 miles more range than ours.

My husband is about 6'2" and its comfortable for him both as a driver and passenger. 80-lb dog rides with us occasionally, and is fine in the trunk but prefers a back seat. Lots of other crap regularly goes in there. Its not as much cargo space as our other hatchback (Toyota Matrix) because the seats don't fold completely flat, but its not bad.
posted by juliapangolin at 8:38 PM on February 11, 2018 [2 favorites]

My 6ā€™3ā€ husband loves his 2013 Volt. I would imagine they have only improved since then.
posted by gryphonlover at 9:02 PM on February 11, 2018

Our 2015 Honda Fit ticks all of those boxes. Great on gas (we average in the mid-40s), fold flat rear seats make it SUPER useful for hauling stuff, and I'm 6'5" and can drive it comfortably.
posted by saladin at 3:31 AM on February 12, 2018

I came in here to say what saladin just said. I have a 2015 Fit and it's great. Good gas mileage, and it is insane what you can haul in it. I literally hauled a pre-hung exterior door home from Lowe's in mine.

A Prius will be a quieter, smoother, and of course more fuel-efficient ride. I would have bought a Prius if it had been in the budget for us at the time. But I love my Fit.
posted by middleclasstool at 6:09 AM on February 12, 2018

I love my Kia Niro. It gets 45 MPG, fits my GSD in the way back, and is tall enough for a 6'3" friend to sit comfortably in the passenger seat. They're a bit cheaper than the Prius, but have all the now-standard bells and whistles (Bluetooth, rear-view camera, etc).
posted by suelac at 11:04 AM on February 12, 2018

The Honda Civic underwent a generational change in 2016.
It's about the size of an Accord now, not really a compact car.

Gas mileage on the 2.0 liter gas engine is claimed to be 42 mpg on the highway.
But most people get better than that on the highway

In the city claimed is 32 mpg , but most don't achieve that, maybe 28- 29.

There's a turbocharged 1.5 liter which gets slightly better mileage perhaps 1 or 2 mpg better.

Might be worth a look.

There's a new Honda hybrid coming out soon Honda Clarity , I think.
Final cost is heavily dependent on various government rebates
posted by yyz at 3:10 PM on February 12, 2018

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