Joined: 21 Dec 2005
Buy American and quality at the same time.
Can it be done? Hmm I am thiking not. The problem American car manufactures face is the Japanese people will work like 60 hours a week for the same if not more pay than Americans work in a 40....... Now, America will be in trouble if we don't shape up our act, work harder and long for the same as other people and face the fact that we are going to have to buy the American product wich is going to cost like a lot more than the imported product...........
my little rant.
Actually the Toyota Corolla is built in California and if you still consider California America, then it can be done.
Joined: 16 Oct 2005
Location: obviously not where you are
I would stick to the Honda/Toyota route as well. They last forever and they get great gas mileage.
We will be going after a CR-V (same chasis as the Element) in the next couple of months with the arrival of our first child drawing near. We considered the minivan route but after researching the MPG data on consumerreports.com you are actually far better off with the CR-V/Element or even the RAV-4.
Friends had their minivan totaled by a snow plow, and got 100% coverage, since it wasn't their fault. They shopped around and around, looked at the 2006 Rav4 and went that route without much hesitation. They said the fit and finish plus mileage was hard to beat for the money. They liked it better than the Element or CR-V which were the other choices until they drove the 2006 Rav4. They pick it up in 10 days, if it's delivered as scheduled. Last they heard, it was on a slow boat from Japan, but just offshore at the west coast import location in California.
I'm anxious to look at the new RAV4. Apparently it's longer than last year's version but I haven't done enough research to know whether overall seating room has improved. I'm pretty tall and don't really fall on the toothpick side of the equation and the previous model didn't give me enough room to be comfortable on long trips. The CR-V is borderline too small but tolerable for me.
Perhaps we should look into it. I do prefer the styling of the Toyota over the Honda.
Joined: 18 Jun 2005
Location: Longfellow, Minneapolis
Brad, I didn't read this thread until now and I haven't read all the comments, so excuse me if I'm repeating anything here.
Re: the Taurus - Tauruses get pretty damned good mileage, especially for their size - 31 highway and 25 city was what I measured on my old '97 Taurus. It's a big car and solid. It's completely unexciting - it'll never get your heart rate or blood pressure very high - but if economics matters most, it's a solid choice.
The Accord 4-cyl - Fantastic choice, the best you've presented here. Great mileage (mid 30s highway), little maintenance, lasts forever. And best of all, it's fun to drive.
The Prius - Techie-friendly, and it gives you bragging rights, but that's about it. You'll *NEVER* recoup the extra cost in gas savings unless you drive it 40K per year or keep it for 15 years, both of which I seriously doubt. The same goes for all current hybrids - they aren't economically a very good choice (though they're not a *bad* choice per se, and since the vast majority of pollution by new cars comes from the manufacture of said new cars, and batteries are far more toxic and hard to destroy than gasoline, they aren't much better for the environment either.
I'd go with an Asian 4-cylinder midsize car - the Mazda 6 really trips my trigger, but a Honda Accord 4-cyl, Toyota Camry 4-cyl (blah but reliable), Nissan Altima (less reliable than the others but still good), or Hyundai Sonata (cheaper than the others, fun to drive, great warranty, almost as reliable as the Camry) are all solid choices. And every one of these except the Camry is available with a stick if you want it. The Accord, Altima, 6, and Sonata are all pretty sporty with a stick, and they're all comfortable, reliable and interesting with either a stick or an automatic.
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