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Fuel efficient,, reliable, inexpensive car that comfortably holds two carseats?

post #1 of 11
Thread Starter 

My 98 Camry is creeping over 210,000 miles now, and I need a new car. I only have one LO, but I am a nanny, and so frequently have another child in my car. The idea of a minivan, with captain's chairs, sounds divine with two toddlers in car seats, but I don't really need that third row. A really spacious backseat would be awesome though. 

 

My budget is $6500-7000 in order to keep my monthly payments manageable. I need a car with good gas mileage (city and highway), which is another thing keeping me away from the minivans. I need over 20 mpg city, but 24+ is preferable. I also want a super reliable, not-super-high mileage car that is not going to break down on me or need a ton of repairs! I apparently am going to be driving on snow/ice in Seattle (this is my first winter here) so something that handles that okay would be preferable as well. Suggestions?


Edited by ihugtrees - 11/20/10 at 8:13am
post #2 of 11

I have a 2001 Saturn SL1 that I really like.  And I tell myself that constantly, because in an ideal world I could afford another car payment.

 

But really, it gets 30 mpg in town and 35-40 on the expressway, it handles well in the ice (won't get through deep snow, however), fits 1-2 car seats comfortably, and is cheap.  I have 125,000 miles on it and a girlfriend has an identical car with 180,000 and we're both reasonably happy with them.

 

I have a RF Radian in the center of the backseat, and have also placed a Marathon in the center with loads of room for me.  I've also done one RF seat and one FF seat on each side with no problem, and would imagine that having both RF would work as well. 

 

I think that they go for $3,000 to $4,000 right now, and getting parts has never been a problem.

post #3 of 11

I don't know how it would handle in the snow, but we have an 05 Civic and absolutely love it.  It easily handles two large carseats, and get 30+ in the city and nearly 40 highway.  It has 100,000 miles on it (just this week) and it has been nothing but amazing.

post #4 of 11

I have no idea on the car issue but I wanted to say snow won't be much of a problem. I've lived here 17 years and it very rarely snows. You'll hear talk of it, but not much present. Better to buy a car that handles rain well! ;)

post #5 of 11

Are you having problems with the Camry or is it just the miles & age?   We have a 2000 camry getting close to 200,000kms & no problems with it (knock on wood).

 

anything bigger than a car you aren't going to get the mileage you want.  Have you found times when you wanted a bigger vehicle with the 2 kids? If not then I wouldn't bother getting a bigger vehicle.

post #6 of 11

I love my Ford Focus.  I would check out prices for those.  It's not a huge backseat, but it's more than adequate for 2 car seats - I have a 5 & 3 year old.  The trunk space is also quite good for the size of the car.  The mileage is good - I average about 28 with mostly local driving, over 30 when I'm a doing a decent chunk of highway.  I have a manual.  The front seats are also notably comfortable. 

post #7 of 11

We love our Subaru Forester. They are fairly affordable, get good gas mileage and are just really sturdy, reliable cars. It can fit two car seats and has a great trunk area (more like a station wagon trunk).

post #8 of 11

My husband's Honda Civic is 7 yrs old and still runs like new. It has never needed a repair and easily fits 2 car seats. We got it for under 15K because we negotiated it down. This time of year, you might be able to get 0% financing.

post #9 of 11
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by KellyAnnW View Post

I have no idea on the car issue but I wanted to say snow won't be much of a problem. I've lived here 17 years and it very rarely snows. You'll hear talk of it, but not much present. Better to buy a car that handles rain well! ;)


Except it is today! Eek!!! :)

 


 

Quote:
Originally Posted by CarrieMF View Post

Are you having problems with the Camry or is it just the miles & age?   We have a 2000 camry getting close to 200,000kms & no problems with it (knock on wood).

 

anything bigger than a car you aren't going to get the mileage you want.  Have you found times when you wanted a bigger vehicle with the 2 kids? If not then I wouldn't bother getting a bigger vehicle.


I'm not having any problems with it, but I'd rather sell the Camry now before something DOES go wrong and I'm stuck with a payment on a useless car.



Quote:
Originally Posted by berry987 View Post

We love our Subaru Forester. They are fairly affordable, get good gas mileage and are just really sturdy, reliable cars. It can fit two car seats and has a great trunk area (more like a station wagon trunk).



I've heard they have issues with the engine...head gaskets, I think? You've had no problems with that? I <3 Subarus but was afraid because I've heard about those problems.

post #10 of 11

I second getting a Saturn. I have a 2002 SL1 that I love. I previously had a 1994 SC2 (a 2 door coupe with a slightly more powerful engine than the SL1 or SC1) which I bought when it was 9 years old with 121k on it. I drove it for a few years, and gave it to my brother when dd was a baby and it had about 145k on it. He sold it at 192k, and it needed a water pump and muffler. It still ran great despite the fact that he pounded the snot out of that car.

 

Both Saturns were great in the snow. (I lived in upstate NY.) I also put snow tires on them, which made them even better in the snow. Other cars would be slipping and sliding, and I just went where I needed to go. 

 

You may be able to find a station wagon version of the Saturn, but those are harder to find.

post #11 of 11

Well, anything will accommodate two car seats, so don't let that influence your decision.

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