Car Shopping – This Time, It’s for Real

[cue ominous movie trailer music and Don LaFontaine]

In a world where filling your gas tank means taking out a second mortgage and hoping for a Congressional bailout…

Yes, we’ve finally decided to make a change.  But it’s not the Suburban that’s going – not this time, anyway (evil laugh).  It may be a gas hog, but it’s paid for, I don’t drive it very far, and it’s still running well.  Our 2001 Mercedes E320 4Matic wagon, on the other hand, is just too demanding a car for us.  Great ride, solid as a… well, I was going to say “solid as a bank vault” but that wouldn’t be saying much, I suppose.  Room for seven, and decent gas mileage (29 mpg highway, 23-24 in mixed driving) to boot.  And it’s been reliable, but when it needs repairs – heck, even when it needs routine maintenance, yikes!  That giant sucking sound is the money being vacuumed out of our checking account.

Having now been beaten into submission by our uber-German taskmaster (the car, not the service manager), we have set out on a quest to find something less exalted, something less expensive, something… with a warranty.  This has set us to thinking about what we really need from a car.  After doing some preliminary research into the limits of what is available, we have come up with a few basic criteria:

  • all-wheel or four-wheel drive,
  • as close to 20mpg city and 30mpg highway as possible,
  • real passenger space for five (not just two up front and three bags of groceries in the rear seat),
  • cargo/trunk space for backpacks, sports gear bags, and the occasional saxophone, and all for
  • less than $30,000.

So, who are our contestants, Johnny?

First off, three siblings from Michigan (via Kansas City, Missouri and Hermosillo, Mexico), meet:

Next, a rough-and-tumble pair also from right here at home:

Adding international flavor, please welcome:

A late entry to our contest is:

Another hopeful who wasn’t quite tall enough for the adult rides and didn’t make the field:

On our next episode of “Car Shopping,” it’s “The Rules.”  (Not to be confused with “The Rules.”)

One thought on “Car Shopping – This Time, It’s for Real

  1. Pingback: Car Shopping - The Rules « Rummaging About

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