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Green vs Safety & Cush

Shortly, we need to get a new car for me to commute roundtrip 30+ miles of freeway driving, regular city errand driving and some hauling of kids (at least a 5 seater). Other car is Honda Odyssey minivan. We’d be replacing an ancient Ford Windstar with 180,000 miles and most things not working. In the past, we have owned Toyota, Honda and Subaru wagons. When we got the Honda (used), my family committed that next car purchase would be hybrid. Problem: I’d love green, but I want 5 star safety more. My commute is through congested freeway where my family was in horrible accident that totaled our car–a Subaru Forester–yet injured no one–except emotionally! So now, the debate is between Prius and Forester. Pluses for me with Forester are greater safety, feeling of security (higher position), available manual transmission (I love to drive stick) and–don’t laugh–HEATED SEATS (as I get older, these subzero days are killers even with my thickly padded tush). Pluses of Prius are fuel economny and family peace. I have pointed out to hubby & son that I am the key breadwinner so my safety should be a priority but… So, then I looked at Toyota RAV–no manual transmission (or heated seat–can I buy heated seat pads?). Any advice? Am I being a safety wimp? I know I am a wimp with the cold… Thanks in advance for your thoughts. P.S. Highlander Hybrid is too big.

My story is somewhat macabe (ugly).My best friend while I was in Switzerland was a junior coroner (really just picked up dead people) He told me from what he saw with his own eyes is the Mercedes protects the occupants best in high speed crashes.

Even Mercedes has limits where it will not help (as we saw in France) he said more people walked away from crashes while driving Mercedes that any other car. Some one must not have made it if he got called. I would not want that job for any amount of money but he married into the company.

How about a Camry hybrid? That Prius is tight for 5.

It’s time to sit down and do some RATIONAL thinking. When people have a horrible accident, they are driving SOMETHING. It could be the safest car in the world! Most cars now are safe enough provided the driver takes reasonable care. Nearly all accidents are caused by “driver error”. Inother words, your best investment is a $200 DEFENSIVE DRIVING course. All my family members have taken such a course as well as a winter driving course. Your AAA has a list of such courses.

When it comes to cars, it seems your first requirement is SPACE; the best value for money is a Kia minivan which has: 1) stickshift, 2) very good safety rating and 3) oodles of space, 4) a very reasonable price, and 5) a very good warranty.( A Prius is likely too small for your needs; a Subaru Forester in no safer than most other vehicles.) My neighbor’s son bought a Kia minivan, and their family just loves it.

My neighbor’s wife was in a severe accident in her Honda Civic, and she “solved” her problem by buying a $45,000 Acura MDX SUV. She blamed the accident and injuries on the Civic, an irrational conclusion.

In all cases, buy a car you feel good driving and controlling. A little while ago I watched a very short oriental woman struggle to park a full size Cadillac Fleetwood downtown. I’m sure her husband bought the car for her. My wife refused to drive such unmanageable vehicles.he feels perfectly safe in her Nissan Sentra with Michelin X-ICE winter tires.

Don’t let any salesman know your have safety as a priority. He will push the most expensive vehicle on the floor as the safest, the others as “death traps”.

There are very few unsafe vehicles left on the road.

After re-reading your post, I’d say the Forester is fine. I’d argue there’s no ‘green’ difference, given the lack of batteries and extra motors. If you like the Forester, and you’re driving, and your buying, that should be enough.

You have to go with how you feel about safety. Subarus are safe cars as are many others. With the experience you have had, I would never vote against your personal experience. If you think you’ll feel better with it, and it serves your needs, buy it. Green cars are too far away to make a significant impact on the overall economy.

Rational debate be damned–if a car co. built a car that saved the life of me and my family, I’d be inclined to reward that deed by continuing to buy that co’s products.

How can you be sure that a car actually saved your life? How do you know that you wouldn’t have lived anyway in a different car?

Airbags, seatbelts, crush zones, etc. They all make a car safer, not safe. It’s not like a 30 mph crash is certain death in a subcompact and you are bulletproof in a huge Mercedes.

I am constantly amazed at all the people who “wouldn’t be caught dead in one of those death traps” yet have no qualms about turning on the radar detector and driving like they are on their way to a fire. Go fast enough and the forces of a collision will overwhelm even the “safest” car in the world. Go fast enough and even the best brakes in the world won’t stop you in time.

It is difficult to predict what car is going to be safer. Any car can be more or less safe depending on the specific accident.

The best data IMO is the federal crash test. Interestingly enough there are small cars that do very well and there are large SUV’s and Truck that are rated poor. Height does not seem to play a roll. A lower car is less likely to roll over and rollovers are are very bad things In an accident.

One last note.  The most important safety feature in any car is the driver.

meanjoe; over the years my life has been “saved” by the folollowing cars I had collisons in:

  1. 1948 Dodge 4 door; T bone collison, car rolled over and I walked out with a scratched elbow.

  2. 1966 Chevelle Malibu; very slippery road; skidded into large concrete gate pillar. Wore seatbelt and escaped with no injuries but car was totalled.

  3. 1980 Olds Delta 88; rearended by truck. No whiplash, no injuries. Car was severely damaged. Wore seatbelt.

I’m not sure why I should buy a 4 door Dodge Charger (no way!), a new Malibu (maybe if Gm stays in business) or a Buick Lesabre (not likely), the closest car to what an Olds 88 would be like.

I am thankful for my driving instruction received in the army, the AAA defensive driving course, and my wife who is trained in emergency aid and response, and constantly reminds me to be proactive.

I would go with the Jetta TDI. Incredibly safe and gets 45-50 miles on the highway.

Thanks, all, for your input. Good food for thought! By the way, the accident in which our Subaru was totaled occurred when we were stationary in bumper to bumper traffic. Somehow the fact that cars were not moving escaped the notice of 4 teens in one of their moms’ car, and it rearended us going 60 mph. Absolute miracle that none of the teens died, either. Our car was smashed between their car and the pick-up truck ahead of us. A Subaru sandwich…