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Thinking about a new car

Hey Folks! With an expanding family and a getting-on-in-years Sable (1997) that needs an update, I’ve been looking into cars and have come to elicit your thoughts and suggestions…

I have a 2 year old, and a fiance. She does not drive, so her attachment to the car is primarily aesthetic, while mine is comfort. I’m a big guy - 6’3 390Lbs, and the little sable is a pain to get in and out of. She LOVES the look of the RAV-4 and the newer CRV’s and that sort of “Crossover” style. I’m looking for something easy to drive that I’ll be comfortable in.

SO, I’m also considering a Minivan… versatility, space, car seats/kids without door dings to neighboring cars - all good things. Anyone have any solid experience and/or suggestions with something a few years old (looking to spend about $10k cash on it) that fits the bill of styled similarly to the crossovers, AWD, and fits a big guy? I’d like some reasonable fuel efficiency - I commute about 20 miles each way (highway) daily plus road trips to Chicago etc. I live in the Twin Cities (MN).

Thanks everyone! LOVE the forum.

Legroom is in short supply even in minivans. I think a midsize car may be a better fit so to speak. As models change from year to year It is going to be an matter of trial and error, unless someone has a link to legroom on current year vehicles. A Chrysler 300 was good for me.

I can tell you that the “4th generation” (beginning in 2010) Subaru Outbacks have an incredible amount of hip and leg room as a result of their new design, especially as compared to earlier iterations of the Outback.

In my 2011 Outback, if I put the driver’s seat as far back as it goes, my feet are a few inches away from the pedals, and I am 5’11". Obviously, I need the seat a few inches further forward than you would, but I was amazed to see just how much legroom is possible in this new version of the Outback. And, even with the seat all the way back, the rear passengers still have legroom that is more than adequate.

And, a 4th Generation Outback with the 2.5 liter engine and CVT transmission is rated for 22 mpg city/29 mpg highway. However, many owners of these vehicles report highway mileage on long trips to be in the range of 32-33 mpg. Also–the ride quality is much better than what you would encounter with other vehicles in this class. The interior room, the ride quality, and the gas mileage comprise the good news.

The bad news is that a 2010 Outback probably can’t be bought for less than $16k (Subarus tend to retain their resale value better than many other makes). But–if you keep looking, you just might luck-out at a price a bit lower than that.

If I was going to pick up the Subaru I’d be inclined to spend a bit more money - $15k would be a comfortable price point - but also this is a purchase I’m planning for ~5 months so (theoretically) the price would be a bit lower by then. I’ve always wanted a Subaru, and when I was younger yearned for an STI, haha.

You might consider a 2007 Kia Sedona. It’s not the best of the minivans, but that means you can pick one up for a lot less than a 2007 Odyssey or Sienna. The Odyssey will be about $5000 more and the Sienna about $3000 more. Test drive one and see if you like it. You might also consider a loaded 2007 Kia Rondo. My 6’4" BIL fits in it and they love theirs. I’ve been in it and it si comfortable on long rides.

I am 6’ tall, height mostly in legs and fit fine in the CRV, but I have the seat all the way back. Were I to grow another inch, I would need a new car.

When it comes to used minivans, the Dodge/Chrysler products have a high depreciation and many available in the used market. Unfortunately $10K does not go that far nowadays, so Toyota/Honda would be off the table. The Kia suggested here is another choice, but from what I have looked and heard their minivan reliability long-term has not been great. Granted, when talking used cars, the previous owner is more important than the make.

“The Kia suggested here is another choice, but from what I have looked and heard their minivan reliability long-term has not been great.”

There are a few Sedona owners who frequent this forum, mostly because they have ongoing mechanical issues with their vehicles. While their experiences could be isolated ones, and/or the result of neglect & abuse by previoius owners, it is interesting to note that Consumer Reports places the 2002-2011 Kia Sedona on their list of “Used cars to avoid”, due to a much-worse-than-average reliability rating in their surveys.