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Looking for a new car

I live near the Boston, Massachusetts (MA) area all of my life. I drive from the Boston area to Shrewsbury (it’s right next to Worcester). I drive on main roads and sometimes there are uphills as well as downhills along the way. MA has all kinds of crazy weather. I need a car that can handle snow, sleet (once in a while we have hail) and rain. It’s not often do we see the sun. MA has A LOT of potholes, construction and digging. My price range is about 7K to roughly 25K. I’d prefer NOT to be in debt for the rest of my life. I want a car. I DO NOT want a pickup, a hatchback nor a coupe. i MIGHT consider an SUV, but that will be a last resort since gas prices are ridiculously high. I’m not to keen on station wagons, vans or minivans either. I have a Nissan Sentra right now and driving during the winter season SUCKS!! Not sure IF I want to deal with another car that has RWD and/or FWD. Since I can’t change a tire nor do I have the space…changing from regular tires to winter tires seems pricey and time consuming.

Any suggestions???

If I read your post correctly you’re looking for an AWD sedan, coupe, or possibly a hatchback.

What’s your price range?

Would you consider a 2WD vehicle and a set of dedicated winter tires?

"I drive on main roads and sometimes there are uphills as well as downhills.“
Does This Have Anything To Do With " I drive A LOT to and from work.” ? :wink:

Are you new to MA ? Just choose whatever car you’d like. Personally, I’d go with a larger size FWD car for safety, comfort, and traction. We’ve got several and they are great for what you’re talking about.

Don’t get anything with those big wheels and low profile tires. The pot-holes will have their way with them.


I’m from up there (slightly North of Boston), and I don’t remember any specific type of vehicle being preferred (as an overall public preferral) over another. Personal preference is a different matter.

Got to /agree with mcparadise…if you don’t want FWD, and don’t want RWD, AWD is what’s left. You’re talking Jeep, Subaru…Audi? Some specific models, really.

And Go CSA…A normal, FWD car, nothing too frilly, and you’re good to go. Cheaper to fix and keep on the road, too.

Take a look at a 2 to 3 year old Chevy Malibu LT. It’s a reliable car; on par with anything else in the mid-size class. It will cost about $2000 less than a comparable Accord or Camry.

1 MAJOR thing to consider with A/4WD is that you’ll need your tires to match very closely in size. So you’d have to get used to hearing “You need 4 new tires.” if you have a problem with 1 tire. No mixing and matching of tires either. Must have same tread pattern, as well. You’ll also get a mileage penalty getting AWD.

You might consider buying a Mini Cooper, they have a tiny gas tank at 10 gallons, 13 for the S model. Most cars have tanks that range from 14 to 20 gallons, and depending on their gas mileage, you might actually come out ahead getting a fuel efficient SUV over a larger sedan. Lets say you wanna get an AWD Ford Fusion, it’s rated 17/24 mpg because you’d need to get the V6 engine to get the AWD and has a 16.5 gallon tank. # Width: 72.2 in. # Height: 56.9 in. # Length: 190.6 in. # Wheel base: 107.4 in.

Compare that to a Ford Escape AWD, which you can get with a 4cyl. which is rated 20/26 with a 17.5 gallon tank. # Width: 71.1 in. # Height: 67.8 in. # Length: 174.7 in. # Wheel base: 103.1 in.

As you can see, the Escape is not only more fuel efficient, it’s actually smaller than the Fusion in terms of dimensions(except height), though it’ll cost $4 more to fill it up due to the slightly larger gas tank, and it’ll give you tons more room for hauling things in the cargo area.

I like the Mini but there is an issue to consider w/it. Low ground clearance. It will get hung up on an unplowed road before most other cars due to the ground clearance. It a fun and capable car even in the snow/ice w/winter tires (I drove one around an ice track on Lake George) but dont try a road/snowbank/large parking lot with 8" of unplowed snow, you will highcenter and be left spinning.

A lot of people think they “need” AWD, What they really need is a good FWD car with a good set of winter tires and a session or two w/a good winter driving instuctor (and some use of the common sense the good Lord gave them).

And the Mini is the least reliable car in America according to JD Power. Even worse than Land Rover!

There are so many people out there who will do anything, including buying awd cars to avoid rotating to winter tires. Mount winters on spare rims and have the garage do it. It’s actually cheaper and safer over the life of the car in tire expense doing this instead of just using all seasons which have to be replaced with less than half the tread worn to get adequate winter traction. As far as cars are concerned, low profile tires are poor in winter and I would sacrifice some economy to avoid them. Corollas and the new Focus come standard with traction control (which is an awesome traction aid)and can handle anything on road that Mass has to dish out. I avoid subcompacts because of the tire issue and compacts like Corollas, Focus, Civics and new GMs will ALL serve your needs.

I’d highly recomend a Toyota Matrix AWD, I’ve had mine for 5yrs and I love it. Good mileage, reliable and great on snow/ice. Yes FWD is ok when the streets are plowed, but when you are facing unplowed side streets like we had here in Chicago back in Feb that’s another story. Even with the AWD I still go with winter tires because of the safety factor.

Check out Subaru models. You might be happiest with a 4 door Legacy sedan. All Subaru’s are AWD all the time. While I’d still recommend winter tires, if the tires that come on your new Subaru aren’t very good in the snow you can put Nokian all season tires on the car. The Nokians are very good in snow and will give you a great handling Subaru sedan.

Unless your commute is west of Worcester…you DON’T need 4wd/awd…FWD will do fine. We’ve been living in NH for 30 years and wife has had fwd vehicles most of that time…and NEVER EVER had a problem driving in snow…NEVER EVER put snow tires on…just used decent all-season tires. IMHO…there are very few populated places in the US that you NEED/SHOULD HAVE 4wd/awd…MA isn’t one of them.

Geez Mike, winter tires are not just about traction but also about reducing stopping distances. Besides, my kids are worth the one time expense. I have an winter package (Old rims/tires) and do the switch over myself.

“Geez Mike, winter tires are not just about traction but also about reducing stopping distances”

Yes I understand that…But take a look at when you will actually NEED the tires…Even this record breaking winter in the Boston area…there were only about 10 days of snow more then 3". And there’s a lot of plows around here…I know-I’ve seen them. 99% of the time you’re driving on DRY or maybe a little wet pavement.

I stand by my statement…Winter/Snow tires in the Boston area are NOT needed. For those 10+ days you may be driving in snow…yes they do help…

I don’t know about the Boston area, but here in Chicago another issue we have is that most homes have unattached garages. Add to this the fact that these alleys do not get plowed at all period. I used to get stuck back there trying to back my minivan into my garage before I put winter tires on it.

Am looking for a car, not a van or mini van, that can accommodate three car seats for children. Suggestions welcome.

“Am looking for a car, not a van or mini van, that can accommodate three car seats for children.”

Any full size sedan should do the trick, but unless your children don’t annoy each other, I suggest that you reconsider. If you must have a car, you should check out a Grand Marquis or Crown Victoria; a new Taurus should work, too. Place the 3 seats in the rear (you don’t have to strap them in) and see if they fit. Then look at how close the kids will be. We tried 3 seats in the back of a 1987 Taurus at first. The seats fit, but it was a more pleasant trip when we got our first minivan.

The car that can fit 3 car seats across will most likely get the same mileage as a mini-van, minus the extra cargo room the van has.

Take all 3 seats with you and test the various vehicles out, then try a minivan on for size