What's Next?

We have over 110,000 on my 2003 Town & Country. (We won’t even discuss my husband’s 97 Chrysler Cirrus, OK?) We need to take our son to college and we take drives down to family on Long Island once or twice a year. So, I need some room. Oh, and I drive about 200 + miles a month for work. So, what would be a good next car? Is a cross over a good idea? I would like better mileage. Are we good for a cash for clunkers trade in?

Are we good for a cash for clunkers trade in?

That depends on which engines you have in your two cars. See the fueleconomy.gov site. The “Combined MPG” value on that site must be 18 MPG or less in order for your vehicle to qualify as a cash-for-clunkers trade-in.

Cash for clunkers depends on the mpg listed for the car you turn in, the T&C should qualify. In my experience they get poor mpg.

As for your next car, I’d investigate the Toyota Venza, the 4 cylinder version. It should have good space, is smaller and lighter, the motor and drivetrain are sophistcated and tuned for good mpg.

There are a lot of other options you can consider also. Lot’s of competition in the “cross over” market. I prefer to call them station wagons which is not a “dirty” word to me. Station wagons have been and still are very adaptable and practical choices. Seats down and lots of room to carry stuff, seats up and comfortable seating for passengers, and still room in back fot the dog, groceries, and golf clubs.

According to the fueleconomy.gov site, none of the FWD 2003 Town & Country vans qualify. The 2.4, 3.3, and 3.8 engines all get an EPA combined mpg greater than 18.

The AWD 2003 Town & Country does qualify, since it has a combined mpg of 17.

Whats the reasoning in destroying perfectly good cars over a few mpg’s. Fuel use is not the only issue in the impact of a automobile on the environment.

My '01 Sequoia qualifies as a “clunker” but it is anything but in my opinion. A lot of cars that used to end up on used car lots are not going there now. This will have an impact on used car prices and selection.

Since they just destroy the motor I guess the rest of the car goes to salvage. This means more body parts, transmissions, starters etc. on the used parts market. New programs like this have ripple effects on other areas of the auto business. We’ll just have to see how it works out.

A crossover is a fine idea. But a minivan will always get better gas mileage for equivalent hauling capacity. There’s no better way to haul people or cargo that a van. If you can do without the cargo space and seating 4 is OK (5 for short distances) you should consider a small SUV, uh, crossover.

If you like Chrysler products, you might look at a Dodge Caliber. You’ll get mid-20s mileage on average. My BIL has a Kia Rondo and they like it. Then there are the usual suspects: RAV-4, CR-V, and Subaru Outback/Impreza.

I went to college with a VW Bug and got everything in including stereo and shot gun. Me thinks you just want a new car. Nothing wrong with that.

For smaller, I like the Pontiac Vibe (made by Toyota) or a little larger, the Toyota Rav 4 or the Honda CR V. I’ve heard the Honda is a little hard on the seats though.