Downsizing from an SUV. Any suggestions for a mid-size four door HATCHBACK car?


I’m currently driving a full size SUV and I can no longer justify commuting in a vehicle that gets such poor gas mileage. I’m looking for a mid size four door car with a hatchback. Something similar to a Chev Malibu Maxx. Nothing ultra expensive, I’m looking to spend 12,000-15,000 for a used with moderately low miles.

Any suggestions?

Any feedback on the Malibu Maxx?


Another choice may be a Mazda6 wagon with a 4 cylinder. The Malibu is a decent choice.


Oh good, a chance for me to complain, once again, about the fact that Toyota and Honda abandoned the station wagon market more than ten years ago. If I could buy a late-model Camry or Accord station wagon there would not be a Subaru Legacy wagon in my driveway.

The Mazda6 is available as either a 4-door hatchback or a station wagon. Way to go Mazda!


agreed 100%. I’ve finally come to accept that the SUV is the new station wagon. Except (car based) SUVs add extra metal that only adds a bit to vertical height and doesn’t provide any real extra capacity.

I’ve been eyeing the subarus, but I really don’t want to take the MPG hit for AWD. Why can’t we get a nice 15-25k FWD, mid sized car-based wagon anymore?

There are a few, to be sure, but not enough.


You’re correct about the mileage hit with AWD. My Legacy gets about 5 mpg less than my Accord sedan with the same size engine. The AWD is nice when it snows, though.

I refuse to accept that the smaller SUVs are station wagons. I still want an Accord or Camry wagon. The are available in other markets (at least the Accord is), so why not here? Simple; there’s more profit in the SUVs.

If this doesn’t change my next car may well be a Mazda6.


Before my wife got her Windstar, she had a 1991 Taurus wagon that got about 23 mpg in local driving. By comparison the Windstar got 19 to 20 mpg and our 2006 Sienna van gets about 20 to 21 under the same conditions. Highway mileage for both vans is in the 25 mpg range. The Taurus wagon had more interior room than the 2000 Blazer I’m driving now. Taurus’s depreciate quickly, so it shouldn’t be too hard to find a nice one in your price range.

I considered replacing the Blazer with a new Saturn Vue. The FWD 4 cyl manual Vue (23/28 mpg) lists for 18k, with the 3k rebate, I could have got it for 15k new. Once I crunched the numbers, it was cheaper to keep the Blazer.

I would look at the Mazdas, they seem to have a lot of hatchbacks.

Good luck,

Ed B.


Mada makes two models that may be suitable for you, the Mazda6 and the smaller Mazda3 in hatchback style.

You may do even better with the Dodge Caliber, new this year. The base model might be had for around $12,000 I believe.


Thanks all for the input. I will check out the Mazdas.



You might also look at the Matrix and Vibe.


A vibe/matrix is a serious let down in comparison to a any mid-size car in ride comfort. Its built on a small car platform.


for better gas mileage get the Matrix or Vibe
for more room and versatility, check-out the Mazda5
This looks like the last year for the Maxx. Better get one now if you want one. Gas mileage is good, but you will probably pay more for the Chevy over the long term.


And a mid-size is a serious let down compared to the full size SUV the OP is driving. He didn’t make that one of his selling points. I’m sure the OP will drive anything he considers and make a choice that’s right for him.

But is it really worth downsizing? A Suburban gets about 15 MPG, compared to a Malibue’s 25. The savings is around $1000 per year at $3/gallon and 12,000 miles annually. It will take 12 years to pay off the difference. I’d keep the big Ute. The cost savings isn’t there unless the OP drives a whale of a lot. Even at 24,000 miles per year the payoff is 6 years away.