Help in buying fuel efficient vehicle


I am looking into buying a more fuel efficient vehicle. I currently drive a 2003 Expedition and love it but it is a gas hog.

Here is my criteria:

6 or 7 passengers- we usually have 4 people + two large dogs (with seats flipped down) or 2 adults, 4-5 children (I a not concerned about leg room in rear),

towing capability --usually just (2) 4-wheelers.

4 wheel drive - We have a cabin in the mountains and have gotten in trouble a few times with only AvTrac on our Expedition.

Option 1: best fuel efficiency regardless of price

Option 2: best value (performance, durability, price, fuel efficiency)

note: We get an employee discount at GM and Ford.


I think what you have is probably pretty good. With an average of 6 people/dogs combo, towing a couple of four wheelers, and needing 4 wheel drive you won’t find much better. You could get a smaller vehicle for when you don’t need the Expedition, or get a small vehicle and sell your Expedition and rent a larger SUV when you need to go up to the mountains.


I would buy a 3 seat minivan with the smallest engine, and rent a large SUV for the few times you need to trailer and go to the mountains. Or you can sell the Expedition and buy a Suburban for towing. Or, keep the Expedition and drive it less. That’s what most people do when they find they have a gas hog!


I can’t think of a better car, but I can make one suggestion that might make what you have more efficent.

Simple rule, keep the maintenance up and be sure to drive like a little old lady. Not the one from Pasadena.


It sounds like you’re one of the few people who actually need one of those huge SUV’s. You’re not going to find a vehicle that can do all of those things that gets better mileage, so you need to break down how often you use each of those capabilities and if it would justify getting a second vehicle. If it does, you could keep the Expedition and buy a small hatchback or wagon that you’d drive most of the time. Or, what might be a better idea, would be to sell the Expedition and get the small wagon or a minivan as your “nice” car, and then buy an older pickup to use as a toy-hauler and just take both cars up to the cabin-- it’ll be better than paying the extra gas year-round. A Subaru wagon would be a good main car in this scenario, since the Subaru AWD system is probably better than the one on your Expedition and if the issue is traction instead of ground clearance, it’ll have no trouble getting to your cabin.


If you have the 4.6L engine, you get about 13 city, 18 highway (13/18) with your Expedition. You seem to need a similar truck. A Chevy Suburban 1500 with 4WD will get 14/19 MPG. A 4WD Explorer will get 14/19 also. A Sequoia 4WD gets 13/18. You won’t get much better mileage unless you downsize significantly. I think you need to just keep on with your Expedition. Toyota Sienna is available with AWD, but I’m not sure that ground clearance is enough for your application. Even then, mileage is 16/20. You won’t save enough in gas to make the trade worth it.


7 passenger RAV 4 V6…forget the discount…or why ask if you’re going with GM or Ford anyway. Best fuel economy of ANY car that fits your criteria; except discount.


What about a Toyota Highlander hybrid or a GM Tahoe Hybrid. Do you think those would be worth the expense? I really don’t want to have a third vehicle (I drive my husband’s Nissan Altima when ever I can - which isn’t often)

Is there any other hybrids that can hold 6 people and tow?


It’s NOT just the towing…but the total weight (trailer and people) you have to be concerned about.

I think the Highlander is too small. The SMALLEST vehicle would be something the size of the Explorer or Chevy Mid-size SUV (forget what they call it now). 4-5 people plus 2 dogs in a Highlander for any length of time is NOT going to be fun. My personal choice would be the pathfinder. It has 3rd row seating, and can easily tow up to 5,000lbs. It will accommodate everyone bot not as comfortably as the Expedition.

Granted a smaller SUV will get better gas mileage, but you’re NOT going to save a lot of money here. The cost of a newish vehicle will offset any savings you might gain.


I guess the Rav4 has grown. But there is no cargo room inside when the 3rd row is used for seating. You’d need to use a roof carrier or toss your gear into whatever is towed.