Suggestions for type of car to purchase



I am in outside sales in Calif. Here’s my list: comfort, easy to get in and out of the car, fuel economy, would like a hatchback for easy access and transport of my samples. I have been driving a '94 camry for the last 11 years. My average is 18K/miles year. I seriously considering a Subaru outback. It is easy to get in and out of, the seats are comfortable and it has a lift back. I think the biggest downside is that the mileage isn’t great.

I also like the idea of a car I’d want to use on weekends some fun trips. I have a dog-any opinions on leather care and maintenance-it does get hot in the Summer where I live. (The sunroof option only comes w/ the leather so any opinions on sunrooves.) This is my first new car-I’ve had 5 used ones which I kept a long time:a celica, 2 vw bugs, a honda accord and the camry.



Depending on the size of your dog, it may be very hard on the leather seats. You will probably want to keep the dog’s seat covered with an old carpet scrap or something.

Consider the openness of a hatchback or wagon. Are your samples something that you need to keep hidden? Do you REALLY need the AWD of a Subaru? Don’t get me wrong, I like 'em, but fail to see the necessity for most folks.


Thank-you for your response. Could you suggest another car(s) to research.


The Nissan Versa hatchback, Scion xA, Toyota Matrix (or Pontiac Vibe), Honda Fit. The Versa, I think, is the most comfortable of the bunch.


I own a 2003 Pontiac Vibe and it is truly a great car, I love it. The Vibe and Toyota Matrix are the same car so you even get to choose which body style you like better. Under the skin the Vibe is a Toyota, so no worries about reliably. In my opinion this car is the perfect combination of versatility, fuel economy and quality.


IMHO all these cars will be a serious let down after owning a Camry (even 11 year old gyration). They are decent run abouts but not the comfort you need for 18k mile/year.

It really is too bad honda/toyota do not offer wagons anymore in Camry/Accord. We moved to Subaru Legacy however we only travel 7500 miles/year and require AWD for our winter ski house.

A poster stated Vibe/Matrix which are better than the smallish cars however its not comfort either.

If I were you I would see if a Toyota Camry 4 cylinder or Honda Accord 4 cylinder would fit the bill. They offer incredible comfort and very good mileage considering you don’t feel your trapped in a box.

I am a former 25k/year commuter in a small car and its not a pleasant thing. I love telecommuting!(annual mileage on my car is 5k miles)


A Vibe/Matrix isn’t much smaller than a 94 Camry and thus would probably not be a let down. Smaller than a modern Camry yes. A Vibe or Matrix will also have far more usable space than the 94 Camry. I’m a not so small man and I drive the Vibe about 40k a year with no complaints.


I like the Chevy Malibu Maxx. It will get 30+ MPG on the highways. It is comfortable and easy to get in, plus with GM’s 100K warranty you will be covered for a long time as well. PLUS it is less money then the Subby, but act fast as this is the last year for the MAXX and what it out there is all that is left.


I’d take a look at the Mazda 5 and Mazda 6. There is a 4 door hatch version of the 6 and a station wagon version. The 5 might or might not appeal. I like their looks, but others don’t, but they have lots of space for dogs, etc.

The Dodge Calibre maybe. How about a Chevy HHR? The Vibe and Matrix twins also come to mind. Even the venerable old PT Cruiser might work for you.

Personally, I dislike a sunroof. It takes away headroom, it’s a hole in the roof, I never use it, and it costs extra. I’ve had a couple cars with sunroofs, including my current Honda Accord, but only because I had no choice.


I agree with the Mazda recommendations, especially the Mazda6 wagon.

I drove a Dodge Caliber for a week as a rental, and I hope I NEVER have to get in one again. You can’t see out of the darn thing in ANY direction. It was horrible to drive in traffic because of the lack of visibility. A really poor design.


The VW GTi or Rabbit might work for you. The Rabbit is a GTi with less features, and is a lot less expensive. They are small compared to the Subaru or a Vibe, but get much better gas mileage. Test drive them and see if you like them.



Another vote for the Mazda…again, for economy, I’d avoid AWD unless you’re in snow ctry. New RAV 4 with 4 cly in 2wd would be some what economical, very roomy and decent handling.


“It really is too bad honda/toyota do not offer wagons anymore in Camry/Accord. We moved to Subaru Legacy however we only travel 7500 miles/year and require AWD for our winter ski house.”

Toyota does…they are the RAV 4 and Highlander in 2 wd. Don’t know if you can get the CRV in 2 wd…


Hyundai Elantra hatchback. Great Hyundai reliability (as good as the Asians), cheap to buy and insure, and great fuel economy.

If you don’t like that, look at a Hyundai Tuscon (a mini-SUV.) Or a Santa Fe (larger SUV.) Both are comfortable, offer great accessories, and again, cheap and good mileage.

Minivans would work, although you’d want to look at the Asian makes, seeing as GM’s suck, Ford stopped making minivans, and Chrysler’s are the best American brand, although only because GM’s suck so much. But the Asian brands minivans are, in my opinion, over priced.

Other cars to look at: Mazda 3(or Mazdaspeed 3 for some real hooning abilities), Mazda 5, Mazda 6 wagon, Dodge Magnum (with a Hemi it can provide lots of hooning fun), Ford Focus wagon, Ford Crown Victoria (because I recommend this car to pretty near everyone), Ford Escape, Chevy HHR, Chevy Malibu Maxx (I think it’s been mentioned already), uh… can’t think of anymore, although I’m sure there are plenty out there. You could also look at some SUVs, as Ford and GM make some half-decent models (Chrysler, unfortunately, doesn’t… their models suck.) I’d maybe suggest doing some online research at different companies websites, narrow down the cars you might like, and take a day and test drive them at your local dealers. Good luck.


Wow. Thank-you for all of your suggestions.
I’ve been out test driving and am still baffled.
I DO want comfort comparable to a Camry. Test drove the Accord '07-not a hatchback obviously.
The back gate on the Rav 4 is problematic-if I’m parallel parked I can’t get to my samples and I’d like to avoid an SUV. The CRV does not have lumbar support (and I don’t care for the look of the new one anyway). The Highlander is too big. I haven’t seen the Malibu MAXX in person but it looks like a monster and do I really need a 6 cylinder . I wish the Subaru didn’t have AWD because no, I don’t need it but the seats are comfy. Any feedback on the small volvo wagon?
I’m off to test drive a newer camry-no liftback but…my current one is burning oil. UGHHH. You are all great.
Thanks for feedback on sunroof as well.


The Malibu Maxx isn’t all that big, about the size of a Ford Fusion, maybe a little smaller. It comes with a 3.5L V6, and is a very decent car. I’ve driven an 05 Malibu sedan, and it’s a very good car. Only problem I noticed was the manual shift feature for the transmission didn’t work right, but otherwise it was a good car. I’d certainly recommend you take a look at it.