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Help for my back ache

I have been driving a Chrystler minivan for over 10 years mostly because it was the only vehicle that I was comfortable driving in for long distances ( as well as bringing up 2 kids). It’s time to get into something smaller with better gas mileage but I don’t know how to find something that 1) sits up like my van, 2) adjusts like my van, 3) is high enough that I don’t have to squat down to get in and out of it. I really loved the Subaru I owned before that but travelling in it was excruciating. Any suggestions on a make and model that would fit the bill?

Two things I look for: Seatback will adjust so I can sit up reasonably straight, and good lumbar support. My Odyssey has seatbacks that are too reclined when on the highest setting, and when on a long trip, my tailbone hurts like hell. I had a Corsica where I needed to put a small cushion behind my lower back.

I would recommend going to dealers and sitting in different makes. Narrow your list down to those that seem comfortable, and then eliminate some of them by test drives. When you have it narrowed down to just a couple, rent these vehicles and take them on a trip of at least 100 miles.
Comfort is a personal thing. My wife and I have a 2003 Toyota 4Runner and a 2011 Toyota Sienna. These cars are comfortable for us for travel and comfort trumps gasoline mileage. I doubt that we will ever go back to a conventional car. However, some cars for us sit better than others. At different times, we both had to travel for our institution and had vehicles from the fleet. Neither of us were comfortable in the Honda Civic Hybrid. We both preferred the Ford Taurus. I was once provided with a Hyundai Sonata and it was not comfortable for me. On the other hand, I found the Ford Fusion to have a comfortable seating position as did the Ford Escape Hybrid. I found the Nissan Sentra comfortable to drive. I drove each of these vehicles to conferences where the round trip distance was between 300 and 700 miles. However, I would still prefer driving our 4Runner or Sienna.
My guess is that after driving different cars, you will decide that your Chrysler minivan is more comfortable. I think our Sienna has reasonable gas mileage for its size–16-20 around town and 24-27 on the highway. It is lower than some minivans which makes it easy to enter and exit, yet the seats are high.

I am with you on the Chrysler minivan. Have a bad back and the best seats have been the Caravan we have. The car has gotten old and less reliable for long road trips, so we now have a Honda CRV. Seats are a bit firm, but seating position is okay. You have to test a few cars and maybe rent them, but if you want the combination of good gas mileage and seating position, then small CUV/SUV’s is the place to start.

My wife has back problems, both our cars have adjustable lumbar support controls, maybe bump that option up in the priority list and test drive cars that offer that feature along with electronic height and tilt controls

We had a 1993 Oldsmobile 88 with all the accessories that Oldsmobile offered. The seat had the lumbar support and had the 6 way power seat. Yet, it was the most uncomfortable vehicle for me to drive that we ever owned. We found our 1990 Ford Aerostar Eddie Bauer much more comfortable for traveling than the Oldsmobile. We replaced that Oldsmobile with a 2003 Toyota 4Runner which we found much more comfortable and haven’t owned a conventional car since that time.

There are a plethora of compact SUVs which have upright seating and easy entry and egress. The economy in 2wd form is better then a minivan…but not much. I feel the are worth looking at. The are essentially, upright station wagons and should serve your converted life style as well as seating requirements just fine.

don’t settle for the round-the-block test drive either. Take it for a nice long cruise, even if it’s just around town

Been there, done that, made the mistakes, paid the price.

Alow me to suggest that you pick up a Consumer Reports New Car Preview in the local bookstore, select some models that look interesting to you, and spend a few weekends taking good, long test drives. Choose nothing until you’ve driven your final selections at least twice.

Back problems are different for each individual. The above is my suggestion.

In the minivan category, the Mazda 5 gets the best combined mileage at 34 MPH. A new Chrysler T&C gets 20. In SUVS, the Mazda CX-5 get 29 MPG combined, and the Highlander hybrid gets 28. The Buick Encore, Subaru XV Crosstrek, and BMW X1 sDrive 28i all get 28 MPG combined, too. You may find something in your price range on this list that seats you comfortably. SUVs and minivans have the higher seating that you want. I doubt that any cars will meet your needs.

My daughter-in-law has severe back and left leg problems. When she and my son were married, she brought a 1995 Mustang with a manual transmission to the marriage. She was unable to drive it comfortably, so they bought a minivan. Now, in order to have two vehicles they can both drive, they have a Chevrolet Uplander and a Chevrolet S-10 pickup with automatic. I think in your case, you should either stick to a minivan or a compact SUV. I liked the Ford Escape Hybrid that I was assigned to drive to a convention–a 500 mile round trip. The mileage, as I remember, was about 36 mpg.