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Old 04-20-2019, 11:20 AM
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I hate car shopping

Two years ago my van failed to pass smog and we can't figure out what's wrong. Since MrC is retired and I'm a housewife, we decided we really only needed one car. That has worked well for us. That is, until MrC totaled his 4Runner a few weeks ago. So now we need a new car, and kind of in a hurry. The cost of rentals is adding up fast.

I've spent the last week car shopping and the last two days test driving cars. MrC obsesses over small details and gets overwhelmed, so I've done all the work so far, narrowing things down to four choices. Today I'm taking him to test drive my picks. I thought I'd reach out for opinions here as well.

Our Needs:

One of my kids swaps between a wheelchair and a large, gait trainer style walker. We need inside space to haul his equipment. MrC also volunteers maintaining chairs for a wheelchair dancing group and hauls 4-6 rigid body ultra lightweight chairs at a time, to take them home for repairs or bring them to various venues. We have five offspring between the two of us and one grandchild (so far). Only two of the offspring still live with us, but one of them is the disabled child. MrC does like to go camping in the desert, but we don't go often (once every other year or so), who while all wheel or four wheel drive would be nice, it's probably cheaper to just rent an appropriate vehicle on the rare times we go. And with young adult kids, helping them move is going to be something that will happen fairly often over the next ten years. Also, his mother will either need to be moved to assisted living or will pass away in the next ten years, so we would like to have cargo and hauling capacity for cleaning out her house.

My picks in no particular order:

Pick one: Base model Toyota Highlander. We like the availability of third row seating. The 60/40 split bench in the back isn't a con because we will rarely use the third row, and when we do it will be for teenager hauling, so they can climb. Base model has decent towing capacity on both drive trains. It's also offered in a hybrid, which has some appeal. And it's a Toyota. Unless MrC crashes another car (and this is the third one he's totaled in the last 20 years), it will last until he has to give up his driver's license in 15-25 years.

Pick Two: Kia Sorento. A vastly more comfortable drive than the Highlander. Decent towing capacity on both drivetrains. One less seatbelt than the base Highlander, but equal to the higher trimmed highlanders. Slight reduction in fuel efficiency especially in the AWD, and really especially compared to the hybrid. Disabled child who lives with chronic pain says the back seat is far more comfortable to ride in. A few thousand dollars less than the highlander, and also has a much longer warranty. Being a newer company, it doesn't have the reputation for quality as Toyota, but Car and Driver, Consumer Reports, Edmonds, and a whole awful lot of just regular people say really nice things about the company in general.

Pick Three: Honda CRV. More expensive than Toyota and Kia in general. But I tend to like Hondas better (MrC prefers Toyota). Smaller car, but with a higher interior, the kid's chair sits upright on its wheels in the back, which reduced wear and tear. The chair is a $3k ultra light folding model, so this is not an insignificant consideration. Won't hold as many rigid frame chairs, because while it technically has more cargo space than the Kia or Toyota with both rows of seating down, most of the difference is in height, not length. Walker is a tight fit without the seat down, and you actually have to put it down to wiggle it in, then put it back up. That's annoying. But Honda also has a mobility assist program where for a nominal fee they will equip your car with wheelchair racks and other equipment if you need it for a short time. Also, their accident avoidance system is far and above better than anything else on the market, and considering that MrC has totaled three cars by rear ending people, this is a very attractive feature.

Pick Four: Kia Soul. This is what I've been driving as a rental. It's got a shocking amount of cargo space for a car in it's class. It will hold the same number of rigid body chairs as the CRV. Only comes in FWD. Kinda awkward looking. But the dash/control panel with the 7 inch touch screen is amazing. It's a reasonably comfortable ride, comparable with the Honda. It's also half the cost of the Highlander, which is attractive, and gets okay gas mileage.

So, thoughts?
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Old 04-20-2019, 11:31 AM
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Re: I hate car shopping



It is a tough called you are having my Dear... **Hugs**


If it was me... I will go with the Honda CRV.



Kia is my second.



Best wishes.


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Old 04-20-2019, 11:35 AM
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Re: I hate car shopping

I bought my wife a 2014 Sorento LX. V6, AWD, 3 row seating. Have 80k miles on it without any problems. Though I haven't use it, it comes with a 100k drivetrain warranty which the other's you listed dont. Kia and Hyundai are right up top of the list for reliability. The Kia Reliability Rating is 4.5 out of 5.0, which ranks it 1st out of 32 for all car brands
https://repairpal.com/reliability/kia
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Old 04-20-2019, 11:52 AM
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Re: I hate car shopping

With a few opinions out there, I will admit that my current front runner is the Sorento with the V6 engine in FWD. But the others have some advantages I'm not sure I want to give up. That Honda Accident Avoidance System is extremely attractive.
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Old 04-20-2019, 02:02 PM
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Re: I hate car shopping

Your group all provide an excellent base. Your application is wide ranging and will likely require you to place a value on each.
- AWD off-road really should sit at the bottom of your list since you are not in the great white north nor an active off-roaders. With what you are doing FWD with M&S tires will work for the vast majority. Your infrequent trips to the world of two-track roads comes down to road clearance as towing 'off-road' requires very specialized equipment that none of your list includes with the exception of the Toyota Highlander, if equipped optionally for such use.
- MrC.'s driving history, to me, is the driving force as the type of crashes are of the same nature and at this moment, Honda's accident avoidance system is the single best when tested for avoiding that type of accident. The cost difference of the models will likely be off-set over the next five years by the reduced insurance costs of the Honda. If not for this single issue, the other choices will likely provide slight advantages, but not enough to off-set the reduced insurance costs and your peace of mind.
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Last edited by SailBoat; 04-20-2019 at 02:05 PM.
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Old 04-20-2019, 05:42 PM
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Re: I hate car shopping

I love car shopping, would do so every year or so if economically feasible.

Not personally familiar with your choices, but Mr. C's driving history would strongly argue for the Honda. Forward Collision Warning and Collision Mitigation Braking System (from Honda.com) might prevent the next accident. Have you checked to see if similar is available with other vehicles in higher trim levels?

Agree with Steven's assessment of 4WD. No use purchasing extra weight and complexity when a rental for rare occasions might be more efficient.

Good luck!
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Old 04-21-2019, 10:17 AM
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Re: I hate car shopping

Scott, wanna come shopping with me? The dealerships we’ve been working with are in Escondido and Kearny Mesa.

MrC is trying to talk himself into a Highlander. It’s a lot of money. He’s also trying to convince himself he’s ok with FWD. so that’s progress. He just likes Toyota. It does have some accident avoidance features, but nothing like the Honda system. And unless he wrecks it, he will never buy another car.

One thing I’m going to propose, simply because I’m very attached to Apple CarPlay, is to get a Soul because it does most of what we want for half the cost, and then in the 2020, Toyota’s? When they start offering it, get a Highlander. I am going back to work after my youngest turns 18 13 months from now so are finances aren’t quite so scary.
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