I’m looking for a little help picking a new used car. My wife and I are expecting our second kid any day, and when she goes back to work in a few months, we’ll need a second car.
Currently, we’re sharing a 2000 BMW 540, 6 speed, lots of fun. But it takes premium gas, and lots of it. And, while diy maintenance isn’t nearly as bad as some say, there is a cost to the premium ride, power, handling, etc. And the (legal, official, etc) tow hitch options for this car are limited.
So, I’m looking for something that can safely and comfortably carry two car seats, get over 30 mpg on the highway, and once a month or so, pull a 4x8 utility trailer to the hardware store for a few sheets of plywood, or mulch, or whatever. It won’t replace the F250 crew cab I sold a few years ago, but it will be much more practical 350 days a year.
I’d also like to stay within sight of the fit and finish of the 14 year old beemer (no trabants please) and my wife and I are both about 6 feet tall, so our knees will not work with a civic with the car seats back there.
As to price and age, we’d like to stay under $8k in the Houston TX market, prefer less than about 8 years old. I’ve done complete suspension, cooling, and fuel system replacement in the driveway, and ground up rebuilds in the garage, but with the second kiddo, I don’t intend to buy a “mechanics special.”
We drove a company Focus hatchback for a year, with one car seat, but it was a 2013, and I’m not seeing any of that generation, with a top trim level, available for a price I want to pay.
We’d also prefer a manual transmission.