Looking for a car, a long car

Hello car talk community,

I have a horrible Mitsubishi Montero that sucks gas and blows head gaskets.

Its time to look for something else, but the problem is that I play String Bass and I am constantly lugging gear around.

What I need is a car with efficiency, reliability, an economical price range, ease of repairs, 4-cylider, and as long a car as possible. If they still made those ford taurus wagons, or if the Volvo wagons weren’t as difficult to repair…

Any suggestions?

Mazda 5?

Scion xB
Nissan Cube
Scion tC (with the rear seats down)
Countless others

Stop at eth bookstore and get a Consumer Reports Nre Car Buyers’ Guide. That’ll compare and contrast all the available choices. From there you can go on test drives. You can bring the fiddle to be sure it fits.

looks good, but I am trying to avoid cars that are closer to vans than to sedan/wagon. although it looks like the same MPG as the Mazda 3, 5 door

I think you need to take your string bass with you as you shop for a vehicle. I manage a small chamber orchestra and frequently am taking musicians to rehearsals and performances with their instruments, including string bass players. I have 2 string bass players and their intruments that I frequently take to rehearsals (I play French horn–no problem). Since I know I have to transport bulky instruments, I have a minivan. This allows me to take the two string bass players with their instruments, another horn player and myself to concerts or rehearsals.

In high school, I did manage to take myself, my horn, a string bass player and his string bass to a performance using a 1952 Dodge club coupe. The doors were extra long and I was able to fit the string bass on the right side. The horn went in the trunk and the bass player sat behind the driver in the back seat.

I’ve worked with two different harpists and each drove a station wagon. One had a Ford Taurus and the other a Volvo wagon. At any rate, take your string bass with you when you shop for a vehicle.

Those taurus wagons were great for the size! I used to have one and I wish I still did!

That’s too bad, as the 5 has the space of a van with the fuel economy of a hatchback. It seems that you are limited to hatchbacks like the Scion XB and Honda Fit.

The newer compact SUVs (RAV/CRV etc.) are no longer compact, and quite large and taller for easier loading than wagons. The RAV rear seats tumble neatly forward to floor level at the pull of a lever when at the rear tailgate. This feature alone could be a “clincher” for your needs.

Ford Flex.

My dad hauls his 1955 Epiphone in an 07 Focus 4 door hatchback.

Toyota Venza, Mazda 5, Ford Flex, Honda Crosstour, Hyundai Elantra touring(maybe, have heard mixed reviews on this one). Though you don’t really want a van, the Ford Transit would be a nice one to look at

After looking a little, I think I am going to look at a few Toyota Matrix’s. Not as long ideally, but really closer to the size I am looking for rather than a crossover or van. I have a bass player friend who has one and he loves it.

Should test a few this morning and see what I think.

Curious to learn how the Matrix turns out during your test drive. My wife and I have owned one for the past three years and like it. Doesn’t look like it from the outside, but you can fit a bit more than eight feet between the hatch and the dash with the front passenger (which also folds flat along with the rear seats) and rear passenger seats down. I used the car once to buy 20 eight foot long 2x4s along with some plywood that was cut up for some shelving. They all fit with all of the doors/windows closed. The Matrix should meet all of the requirements you listed. But if you need more room for additional passengers while carrying large things like a string bass, you’ll probably need a larger vehicle.