New car advice from the car-o-sphere

Okay gang, looking for suggestions on a new car. Here’s the situation: I am a 45-year old lawyer who has been driving Honda Civics for the past million years. I drive 500+ miles per week (yes, per week), so have stuck with their line of hybrids. Times have changed and I am getting real tired of being cramped up for 500+ miles a week in a Civic. I’d like something just a little roomier and/or more comfortable. Combine that with low gas prices, and the need for a hybrid is not what it used to be. I also have a little more money now and, for once in my life, can afford something a wee fancier. I’ve narrowed my choices to the following: 1) the Honda Accord Hybrid, or 2) the Volvo S60. The Accord Hybrid is certainly roomier and gets up to 50 mpg, but the Volvo… well, Volvo. Thoughts? Or any other suggestions on cars? One caveat: I’m leaning European. Nothing against Honda, but I’ve been driving Asian my whole life and - with the exception of the Accord Hybrid - would like to try some Euro-flare. I am also aware of the VW Jetta Hybrid, but if I’m going hybrid it will be the Accord because it’s bigger than the Jetta and gets better mpg. Thoughts?

The Pius would meet your needs closest. That is, the larger Prius, since there are smaller ones as well. And, no doubt, you can write off your expenses against operating costs.

And 500 miles per week, or 26,000 miles a year is about right to justify a Prius.

Either the Prius or the Accord Hybrid, drive them both, see which you like. I’d also test out the Mazda 6, it gets good highway mpgs, and is (relatively) fun to drive.

Yeah, but… Prius. Call me egotistical, but I hate the way they look. I’d still go with the Accord Hybrid. At least it looks like a normal car.

Let me clarify my question a little. If mpg’s and overall cost of the cars aren’t huge factors (I’m not excluding them… they’re just not THE major factors), which is better? The Accord Hybrid or the Volvo S60?

Toyota Camry also comes in a hybrid version. Since you want a hybrid and a larger, more comfortable ride than a compact it is worth test driving.

If I was driving like that, I’d pick the Accord, just because reliability would be important. But @Marnet has a good point, there’s the Camry Hybrid, and there’s also an Avalon hybrid. That would combine some of the comfort of the Volvo with Toyota reliability.

The Volvo is more stylish (in my opinion) but less reliable and costlier to maintain. It’s really up to you which factor matters more.

As a very broad generalization, European cars are more stylish and have a better driving experience. Asian cars have better reliability and offer more features for the money. Again, the choice is yours.

Have you considered a Lexus GS, slightly used if necessary? That’s what I have. It offers a driving experience that’s both sporty and comfortable. The styling isn’t for everyone, but at least it’s not too bland. Of course the reliability is unmatched. The image is probably right for a middle-aged lawyer as well. On the other hand, the fuel economy won’t be as good as many other cars.

1 Like

That’s funny you should say that lion. My dad is a slightly above middle-aged lawyer and he got a Lexus to replace his Jeep a few years ago. He loves it. One thing to keep in mind is that most of them take premium gas which will of course make them costlier to run.

I have to put in another plug for a Mazda6. Beautiful cars in my opinion and less common than boring plane-jane Accords and Camrys, fun to drive, really great gas mileage. It’s an older generation than the current ones, but I love my 2012.

Good points lion9car. Image doesn’t really matter to me. I really just want a good reliable car, something more stylish and roomer than the civics I’ve been driving. I just like the way the S60 looks and feels, but the practical side of me keeps pulling back to the Accord Hybrid. gives a slight edge to the Accord, but I’ve read other comparisons that give the edge to the Volvo. I just need to shut up and make up my mind.

Just make sure you take whatever candidates on LONG test drives, we’ve had new car buyers come here complaining about seats, noise, whatever, that could have been avoided had they taken more than the 5 minute drive the dealer wanted.

@busstoppest From your remarks I gather your main complaint is the lack of comfort a Civic provides for that many hours driving each day. But you have found Honda hybrid to be reliable. Why not rent a hybrid Accord for several days typical driving and see if it is sufficiently more comfortable than a Civic? And rent the Volvo and put it through the same driving. Afterall, car ownership is a compromise between comfort, practicality, reliability, budget and asthetics. Only you can decide the relative merits of those factors as they apply to your criteria.

What about a Jetta diesel or Passat diesel? You will get great fuel mileage and decent size, especially with the Passat. VW reliability is a let better than it used to be.

Pick up a Consumer Reports new Car Preview at the bookstore, pick out a few that look interesting to you, and spend a few weekends doing test drives.

“what kind of car should I buy” is impossible for anyone but you to answer. Fortunately, CR compiles the best comparative database out there to make the job easier.

I think the best idea would be to rent a car of the type you’re thinking about, and drive it for a week or so in your daily routine, and see what you think. I’ve done it before, and it really helps to make a decision. You’ll know for sure if you like the seats, ergonomics, etc.

What kind of miles? Mostly hightway? City and highway, or all city. Most people don’r realize it, but hybrids really aren’t that efficient if the majority of your miles are highway. I own a Chevy Cruze Eco, 1/4L and 6 speed stick. I love it. It’s fun to drive, handles like it’s on rails, and I average around 40 mpg at the pump on regular. Best was 46.3. That’s doing better than many hybrids on the highway. For the record, about 90% of my miles are highway. I drive around 640 per week. (Yes, per week.) :smiley:

There are many cars out there that get decent mileage. At 500 miles a week, 50mpg hybrid = 10 gallons. 34mpg = 14 gallons. Call it $15 dollars or so per week more to open up your choices. We bought a KIA optima, $8k less in list price, and 100k warranty. Of course at your mileage warranty is not as big of an issue. Hybrids are nice, but is it really economical? 0% for 6 years for $8000 is about $110 per month. Gas $60 a month or so.

Ford Fusion Hybrid might be worth considering, in addition to that Accord Hybrid

Avoid the Volvo. It will be a money pit, if you keep it past warranty

No disrespect intended to Volvo fanatics, but that is my opinion

And I am certainly not in the minority . . . far from it

One more thing to consider . . . the Honda will hold its value FAR better than the Volvo


I’m gonna go off the beaten path and suggest a Mazda CX-5 or Ford Escape.
While they might not get the MPGs the hybrids get, the seating in crossovers tend be be a bit better than sedans. I used to own a Civic, but when I got my CX-7(predecessor to the CX-5), the road noise and comfort levels were night and day.

Mazda6 is a great option as well. You get European performance with Asian reliability. I have had my 6 for a year now and drive 30,000 miles a year and it drives wonderfully. I get 40mpg on the highway and 32mpg in mixed driving (I have a heavy foot).

The Mazda 6 was at the top of my list, until I sat in one at the car show. Not enough headroom, even without the sunroof. Odd, because I fit fine in the 3. But I need lots of headroom, so that’s not a problem with the car for 99% of folks.