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Most cost effective 5 person car

High mpg is good, but not the end all be all.

Retaining value is bad because it means the used price is high and I drive’em to the bitter end.

Low cost is good, low maint is good, safty is good.

Probably at least two years old, I don’t need to spend thousands for new car smell.

So what are your opinions? :slight_smile:

There are dozens of models, maybe even hundreds, that meet your criteria. They range from a Hyundai Elantra to a Ford Crown Victoria.

What models do you like? Can’t you narrow down your list just a little?

I’d say Toyota Camry or Honda Accord, but they retain value, so you probably don’t want either of them. How about a Ford Fusion?

Your question has too many variables to provide a simple answer. Are you taking five people across town for dinner or across country? What’s the weather and road conditions? Are they all six-foot adults or in kiddy seats? You mention cost, MPG, maintenance and safety – these are also competing variables – one goes up and another goes down.

I’d look at a Toyota Avalon and well as any recent Yank Tank.


On your way home tonight stop by the local bookstore and pick up a Consumer Reports Used Car Buyer’s Guide. That’ll give you tons more information than we can fit here.

Happy hunting.

If cost effectiveness includes lifetime repair cost and value come trade in time combined with outstanding performance and reliability during ownership time; the car ownership world has spoken for years on the topic…used Camry/Accord. Your chances of a bitter end will be much sooner with anything else if trade in value is disregarded. That’s why their used value is higher.

If you don’t mind higher chance of breaking down as the car ages, anything else is a pretender…I still remember when the auto world said America had final made a car to compete and gave us the Tempo. The beat goes on and GM/Ford still lag behind as much as I’d like to say differently.
Even the new GM Obama won’t compete.

Crown Vic or Grand Marquis. Four million taxi cabs can not be wrong. The cops like them too…When the automatic transmissions in the FWD cars crap out, they are DONE. The tranny in the Panthers is the same one that’s used in the F-150 P/U. They hold up. If/when they do fail, $1800-$2000 gets you back on the road…

“Crown Vic or Grand Marquis. Four million taxi cabs can not be wrong. The cops like them too…”

As a retired cop, I can say that most liked them because the were large, good handling rwd cars with a better safety envelope and fwd stinks for our work. That’s all there was to choose from. Reliability was not an issue. The towns, county and states payed with your tax dollars. We would have had Accords/Camrys if it were. Unlike cars for personal use, repair turn around time was more important than ultimate reliability…that meant plentiful parts and dependable multisource service and keep it simple with minimal yearly change. Similar for taxis. It’s not practical to use a loaner Focus or rent-a-car while waiting for parts. the vehicles were too specialized with add on equipment. Private vehicles owned by the cops that I knew were in line with the general public and none I can recalled owned Crown Vics.

That was the issue with some institutions locally who tried Volvos etc. They were more reliable and functioned very well and many cops actually preferred them for town work, but repair time incl. parts and service was always an ongoing issue when it did occur. We didn’t work in Sweden.

Well since we are currently getting 24 mpg with our suburu forester, we want to get 30+ to keep gas costs in check. 35+ would be nice. Som where near the same space would be cool.

Also, I actually plan ahead so this purchase probably won’t be for about 2 years, just getting my preliminary research started.

THe VW jetta wag"e"n tdi at 40+ mpg looks interesting, vw doesn’t have a great rep for reliability, but that particular model seems to do ok. Any thoughts?

Yes, I was born yesterday.

I’m looking for people’s opinions.

its a family car so it goes every where town, work, across country. We live in OK so mixed weather but fairly mild winters usually. The suburu forester was a good mix of capacity, mpg, price and safety but we’d like to take the mpg up a notch.

Never under estimate the value of your personal feelings when it comes to a car. It should be a part of your decision.


So do you have anything more specific?

Okay, my opinion is that you should stop by the local bookstore and pick up a Consumer Reports Used Car Buyer’s Guide. That’ll give you tons more information than we can fit here.

I think “Joseph E Meehan”'s advice is well said…and needs no specifics for me.

You make an interesting point. Is trading a better safety envelope, plentiful parts and quicker turn around repair time for better reliability worth it for the average driver?

I prefer the plentiful parts and quicker turn around repair time. The independent transmission shop that did some work for me some time back prefered the rear wheel drive cars. They could pull the transmission, roll the car out while rebuilding the transmission and not tie up the service bay. With front wheel drive, the car was immobilized after the transmission was removed and the service bay would be tied up. If the Crown Victoria/Grand Marquis translates into lower repair costs and faster repairs, this may be a good trade-off for better reliability.

We traded an 05 Chev Malibu in Dec of 08 for a new car. I hated to trade it as it had no problems, never broke, had no recalls at that time. It had plenty of room including a large trunk and the gas mileage was excellent with the V6 engine. 32 mpg was easy according to the mileage computer which read about 1 mpg high. The car had 35,000 miles and we got only $9500 for it. I would have kept the car and traded our older car but we needed the trade value as we pushed the financial envelope on a new car.

2005 Chev Malibu. If you can find a Malibu Maxx wagon, you can marvel at the rear seat legroom which rivals cars of the late 1940s.

PS, the 05 Malibu had front and side air bags; good for safety and also had a power adjustable brake pedal position as well as tilt/telescoping steering wheel; nice features for tall or short drivers.

A 2006 Accord LX will cost a bit more than $13,000 from a dealer. Repairs and maintenance are estimated at $7900 for the next 5 years. A 2006 Ford Fusion SE would cost a bit less than $11,700 from a dealer and repairs/maintenance are estimated at $8400 over the next 5 years. That’s a $1300 difference in purchase price and only $500 in repairs and maintenance. I don’t see why someone who likes the Fusion should take it off the list because it is less reliable than the Accord.

BTW, the 2006 Malibu LT is a screaming deal at $10,100 from a dealer and repairs/maintenance estimates are $7200. That’s a whopping $3600 under the Accord. I think that you’ll agree that the Malibu is an uninspired design. But this sounds like the kind of car that jjjhhh is looking for - something that has not retained it’s value well and doesn’t cost a lot to keep running.

wow you managed to say the exact same obvious thing twice in a row. I’m impressed.

You still leave the criteria sort of broad. A Toyota Prius would work as it has relatively low maintenance, excellent MPG, and reasonable room. A Crown Vic would work as well. Just test drive a lot of cars and see which one you like best.

yes, I’m looking for things I haven’t thought off like the malibu. I wouldn’t have thought a malibu would be getting 32 mpg.

the prius is nice and trendy, and costly, but it seems not very economical in the long run compared to micro diesils like the jetta. But it does have a good record for maint, but not much cargo space. :confused: