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Help! I need a new car

I had a Honda CR-V until 2 weeks ago, when it was stolen from in front of my house. I’m certain I won’t get it back, and I’m looking for a replacement vehicle. I’m really short, and I got used to the great visibility in the CR-V, so I’d like something that provides excellent visibility. I’m also interested in something with better gas mileage, reliability, and is affordable (I will be buying a used vehicle). I was thinking something like a small station wagon, with a body type similar to the VW Golf or Audi A3. Any suggestions are very welcome!

If you liked the reliability of your Honda, you will not like VWs or Audis. VW is close to the bottom of the list and Audis are even more expensive to maintain. Look for another CRV, a RAV4, Hyundai Tuscon/Santa Fe, or Subaru.

Mazda 3 hatchback comes to mind, as does Ford Focus. Nissan Versa is decent from what I’ve heard. Pontiac Vibe, and it’s sister car, the Toyota Matrix are good choices as well.

Depending on your budget(5k? 15k? 50k?) the badge on the car means less than how it was maintained. If your budget is only $5k, then you’ll want to avoid Euro cars, since they’ll likely cost more to fix when something goes wrong.

If you like the visibility, you are pretty much looking for another small SUV. Check here for gas mileage:

http://www.fueleconomy.gov/feg/findacar.shtml

In 2009, the Ford Escape/Mercury Mariner/Mazda Tribute hybrid triplets all have the best gas mileage. Pick a year and see what pops up. I searched SUVs, but you can search any category.

You might like a Ford Escape Hybrid if you can find a good one. I have a female colleague who collaborates with me on research papers. She is about 5’ 2" tall. On one 300 mile round trip to a conference, I was assigned a Ford Escape Hybrid from my institution’s vehicle fleet. She drove quite a bit of the way and found the Escape quite comfortable for her. I think we averaged about 36 mpg on the highway.

It seems that your neighbors may not permit you to own certain cars. You might want to search the net for cars with a low chance of being stolen. That hurts to be required to own a car that nobody wants but is a reality in some places.

Another vote for the Vibe and Matrix. Be aware, if you liked the visibility out of the CRV, you won’t get it with either of these cars or any of the lower wagon types. Compact SUVs have that inherent advantage…upright seating and good viability…excepting the Rogue.

I’d replace the CRV with a CRV.