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Old 03-09-2010, 03:22 AM   #21
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Maybe I have lived overseas too long....I really don't get the American fascination with "passing at highway speeds"......and the Honda Fit being "such a small car". I have an almost 4 year old Honda Jazz here in the UK....it has about 78 horsepower(I think they bumped it up to around 95 in the last update version)....I pass people on the motorway (highway) all the time...it's easy....you push the pedal down and it goes faster. Now....it doesn't go past the cars so fast it sucks the other cars windows out, but how fast do you need to pass someone? And "small" car? Well, it's not a big car....but I put 5 decent sized people in mine and unless you are driving all day there isn't a problem. Now..the last poster mentioned the RAV4 which is ones of the cars I am thinking about when I retire in 16 months. I would be more than happy buying a Fit.....but my wife doesn't like to drive anyway so we are just looking for one vehicle that will do as many jobs as possible....decent gas mileage, room to haul things, etc. I keep reading things about the CR-V saying how underpowered it is. I just don't see it....how fast do you NEED to go? It might not be great for towing, but very few people do that.
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Old 03-09-2010, 07:18 AM   #22
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I do not get the obsession with overlarge engines either, unless you plan on towing. Then you actually have a use for the extra cylinders.

On the subject of size, frankly there are so many monster trucks on the road here that you are risking it in a bitty car.
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Old 03-09-2010, 08:00 AM   #23
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Since the thread has drifted away from the original mini car question, I'll paddle a bit more and offer the 2010 Chevy Equinox as a possibilty.
Ours now has 7K miles and thus far, I'd give it .
Good looks, very safe (so they say) big enough to haul a fair amount of stuff, extremely comfy interior.
Real world gas milelage (with 4 cyl) 26 MPG combination city/hill and dale Ozarks. Highway at 73-75 almost always 29 MPG, and on slower highways where 60 is the norm, we have done 36 MPG.
This one is fairly loaded w/ sunroof, rear camera, leather, big booming sound system, so on, and it stickered at ~$28,200. Other models at around 24K.
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Old 03-09-2010, 08:23 AM   #24
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We looked at the Fit and ended up with a Civic.

Did you look at replacing the BMW with another BMW?
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Old 03-09-2010, 08:39 AM   #25
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Subaru Forester is an excellent all round vehicle that would likely meet your needs.

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Old 03-09-2010, 10:01 AM   #26
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Now....it doesn't go past the cars so fast it sucks the other cars windows out, but how fast do you need to pass someone?
A lot depends on the type of roads you use. There are still many great places in the US with two lane roads. When you are in rural MS stuck behind that logging truck, you want to spend as little time as possible in the opposing lanes, and being able to pass quickly is a safety issue.

As far as the mass of the car--all else being equal, a larger car is safer than a smaller one. There's not much use in saving for ER and retiring early just to end up squished in an microcar accident as you try to save an additional $10 per month in gas costs. Of course there are diminishing returns, but my next car will have good crash test results and won't weigh less than 3000 lbs. That's not a big car (e.g a Toyota Matrix weighs more than that), but it ain't tiny, either.
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Old 03-09-2010, 10:34 AM   #27
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Regarding BMW replacement and passing power (just to sorta tie in this video clip): Video: BMW S 1000 RR pulls off the old tablecloth trick — Autoblog
Magic!

We have been trying out cars - revisited the cube and Fit - the cube is quieter on the road and has a real L driver's foot rest - a touch more comfortable leg position for me; I prefer its seats, both of us are good with the cube's seats. The Fit has more real functional storage area.

We drove a couple used Pontiac Vibes - essentially Toyota Matrixes - didn't care for them at all, ditto a G6.

Drove a used Subaru Outback, which felt pretty good and had a solid feel - have mixed feelings about the Subie - replaced a motor on one back in my air-cooled VW days and finding a water cooled opposed-4 engine was pretty cool, but the car was horrible to push around - I retain an impression of great rolling resistance and 4-wheel drive has never resonated with me. Big bucks for a new outback..

I've considered replacing the BMW with another BMW - there is a '95 318ti (4-cylinder hatchback) on Craigslist for $2500. 195k miles, torn seat, needs ball joints and tie-rods, needs O2 sensors.... and it's a 2 door and doubt it has anything like the utility of the Fit. OTOH, it's a BMW. Had a '91 318i - very light, and at higher RPMs its engine just sang - would put a big smile on my face whenever it whipped off it's nebish glasses and went into full Valkyrie mode. The gal didn't care for that car because it didn't have power off the line and its lightness was perceived as "tinny". The 318Ti is very, very used.

Rav4 is a car she has liked the look of for some years - we haven't tried it yet.

We looked at some larger cars but they just aren't us. They get real negative response from the gal. We have years of VW bug & rabbit driving, years with Chevy Sprints (3 cylinders, no waiting), and now years of BMW time - her in a 325i and I in a couple 5-series. The 5s because they could carry the loads for work and are better highway cars. The smaller cars just say "fun" to us, rather than sedentary burgher. You sure can get a lot more with a used car - unfortunately, that more includes problems....
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Old 03-09-2010, 10:51 AM   #28
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We looked at the Fit but ended up buying a VW Rabbit. The Fit felt a bit flimsy and just wasn't gutsy enough.

The Rabbit on the other hand feels like a solid car. It has a lot of pickup and really takes off on the freeway when you put the pedal to the metal.

We use the Rabbit as our small car, as our other car is a Honda CRV.
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Old 03-09-2010, 12:25 PM   #29
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how fast do you need to pass someone?
If you drove in the mountains you would understand, you get stuck going up a grade behind a tractor trailer or RV which goes slower and slower the further the grade goes so now you're going 40 in a 65 zone and people are whizzing by you at 75 in the other lane. Well, the only way you are going to get out of being stuck there is to pull out and punch it and if your car can't pick up at all going uphill, then cars will be piling up behind you until your car can find its cojones and get some acceleration going. Safer for everyone if your car can accelerate quickly even on a considerable uphill grade.

Obviously not everyone needs to deal with this issue, ymmv.
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Old 03-09-2010, 12:33 PM   #30
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If you drove in the mountains you would understand, you get stuck going up a grade behind a tractor trailer or RV which goes slower and slower the further the grade goes so now you're going 40 in a 65 zone and people are whizzing by you at 75 in the other lane. Well, the only way you are going to get out of being stuck there is to pull out and punch it and if your car can't pick up at all going uphill, then cars will be piling up behind you until your car can find its cojones and get some acceleration going. Safer for everyone if your car can accelerate quickly even on a considerable uphill grade.

Obviously not everyone needs to deal with this issue, ymmv.
Yup, and it really puts $hit eatin grin on your face when you can do that while towing a 6000 lb trailer. Which why I really like my suburban.
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Old 03-09-2010, 02:19 PM   #31
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I think you kind of make my point.....if you are worrying about crashes....it's the people who are impatient and doing the passing that are what worry me coming the other way. I live in N. Yorkshire....just a few hills/tractors/sheep/rock walls on the roads here since this is an agriculture area. Maybe it's just me maturing....I certainly can't pass people without plenty of room with this gutless (but dependable) car of mine, I relax and pass when appropriate.....if it takes me an extra minute to get to work I can live with that. I have kind of stopped riding my bike because of the aggressive drivers cutting it so close because they just can't be bothered to slow down and wait a second before passing when there is room. Until something happens, we always think it is the "other guy" who is causing the driving problems.

Actually, the car I would like would seat 8 or so, get 40+mpg, do under 7 seconds to 60, have AWD, dependable as hell, and handle like a sports car....or Rolls....oh, and cost under $20K. I certainly am considering the RAV4 AWD when I retire to the Spokane area...I don't drive enough for the gas mileage to bother us that much.
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Old 03-09-2010, 03:27 PM   #32
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I think you kind of make my point.....if you are worrying about crashes....it's the people who are impatient and doing the passing that are what worry me coming the other way.
Yes, we are talking about totally different driving environments, here. I'm talking about a highway with two or three lanes of traffic all going uphill, (there is no oncoming traffic) and this "uphill" lasts more or less for 60 miles till you cross over the continental divide and start going back downhill... That reminds me of that saying, "Europeans think 200 miles is a long distance; Americans think 200 years is a long time."
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Old 03-09-2010, 03:35 PM   #33
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Yup, I hear those Toyota's have great acceleration. Yesterday in California a Cop car had to get in front of a Toyota just to slow it down.
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Old 03-09-2010, 03:38 PM   #34
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Yup, I hear those Toyota's have great acceleration. Yesterday in California a Cop car had to get in front of a Toyota just to slow it down.
Ha, yeah, who knew a prius could even go 90?
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Old 03-10-2010, 02:29 AM   #35
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I will add a +1 for the Mazda 5. We have a 2007 and it handles amazingly, with astonishingly excellent steering and a tight turning circle. Very practical and shorter than my Acura TL, and it handles better, too (but less power).

I don't know how somebody would be too tall, as this is a tall vehicle that has multiple inches of space due to the high roofline.
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Old 03-10-2010, 04:12 AM   #36
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DS has a Fit. We bought it for him and are likely to get one for DD at some point, and possibly one for ourselves as a toad for the RV we would ike to buy. Small, efficient, fun, roomy enough for a Costco run, comfortable enough for the DW and me to drive 400 miles or halfway to DS's living venue from our home (the second half the next day). DW also prefers small cars, although we have a 2005 Honda Odyssey for her driving pleasure now (needed the room for getting to and from the airport with a load of luggage, the 2 of us, 2 kids and my parents who pick us up from and drop us off at the airport).

Sis in law had a Cube, had problems with it, but I don't recall the nature of the problems.

Let us know what you decide.

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Old 03-10-2010, 11:56 AM   #37
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In the search to maximize enjoyment while minimizing overall costs this has been found - think the negative may have been flipped and the sound is sort of funny on the vocals, but worth a listen:
SoundRacer V8 Turns Family Car Into Fire-Breather
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