Decisions on a Two Car Strategy

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steadyhand
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Decisions on a Two Car Strategy

Post by steadyhand » Sun Apr 15, 2018 10:25 am

As a family, we have two cars right now, Car 1 (a 2012 Prius ~100k miles), and Car 2 (a 2007 Odyssey FWD, ~115k miles). Car 1 serves as the fuel-efficient commute vehicle for my wife. This commute is 85 miles one-way, but she needs to do it only 2 or 3 days a week and only 9 months a year (so about 100-120 days a year). Here in the midwest, the highways are straights, flat with traffic non-existent, so one way commute time is about 1 hr 15 mins. Car 2 serves as the family vehicle around the city and on long road-trips. Two kids, both less than 9 years old at this point, so many more years of family trips left. This second car is used by to go to work, a short commute, if I am not biking.

As the cars are getting older, we are planning replacements to at least one of them, if not both and we are considering what to replace, when, and with what. We like non-luxury cars generally which are reliable and not high-maintenance. Between Hondas and Toyotas, the former has been more fun to drive and hence a bit more preferable. Open to others.

For car 1, my wife would like something of a higher ride (crossovers or bigger), technology like adaptive cruise and lane keep assist. Something that is fuel-efficient would be desirable as we put at least 15k miles on it per year. Cargo space, AWD are not that important for this car. Lumbar support for seat is very desirable; the prius is awful in that regard.

For car 2, we would like something with lots of room for the family (like the odyssey already has), with technology like ACC and LKAS in the long-term to make it easier for long trips. For this car having AWD will be more useful (don't need it locally in Kansas but maybe in other places where we go). Fuel efficiency not as important as we put less than 10k per year on this car. A Crossover like the CR-V should be ok in terms of space.

Due to our desire for latest safety technology features, anything we buy will have to be new or lightly used. The issue we have is that there are not too many fuel-economical Car 1's out there, with the CR-V at 34 mpg and the Forester at 31 mpg as options. EV crossovers would be nice on the wallet we feel, but they do not exist yet with the range (250+) we want. The Hyundai Kona EV coming out for 2019 may be an option but not sure yet.

So one strategy is to get a (fuel-inefficient) crossover Car 1 like the CR-V for now, wait out 2 years until a better Car 1 option comes out and then use this CR-V as a Car 2. With this strategy, we are still unsure which of our older cars we should sell to make space. The odyssey has the extra room (but the CR-V gives us a lot of that), while the Prius is more fuel-efficient for local city errands.

Another option is to just keep waiting for the right Car 1 to come out, sacrificing on not having the latest tech. features and comfort (for car 1), and hope both cars stay reliable, and put up additional maintenance needed as they get older (has increased a bit in the past year for both).

We are not planning to take a car loan on either, unless we have a really low-interest option in which case our capital can be put to better use. Would appreciate any thoughts on what you would have done at a similar crossroad.

livesoft
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Re: Decisions on a Two Car Strategy

Post by livesoft » Sun Apr 15, 2018 10:48 am

FWIW, you could have 3 cars. When you get a new car, don't give up the old car.

We have 2 cars that have staggered ages like your cars. We've been married 35+ years and have had 6 cars in that time including the 2 we currently have, so we keeps cars about 12+ years and try to have one car under 8 years old.

Also note that in 8 years you will probably have a teenage driver who will probably end up getting your oldest car at that point.

Personally, I wouldn't worry about MPG, but we don't use much gasoline anyways. Also, I think "latest tech" is not all that as long as one has airbags and ESC ... both of these have been in my cars since 2001 models. Even your Prius is new enough to have a backup camera and seatbelts.
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02nz
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Re: Decisions on a Two Car Strategy

Post by 02nz » Sun Apr 15, 2018 11:00 am

For Car 1, check out the Kia Niro. It's a hybrid crossover, with the higher seating point that your wife wants, and it gets around 45-50 mpg. For Car 2, a new Odyssey may be the way to go if you want maximum space. CR-V is a good choice but read about the oil issue (including on this forum). My own choice for a compact crossover/SUV would be the Mazda CX-5, stylish and (for this segment) fun to drive, a little bit less space than the CR-V. The RAV4 and Forester both have complete redesigns that should be out by this fall, also worth checking out. I'd advise against the current-generation RAV4 and the Nissan Rogue, both of which are completely mediocre.

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dm200
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Re: Decisions on a Two Car Strategy

Post by dm200 » Sun Apr 15, 2018 11:04 am

Have you checked out the Toyota Camry Hybrid? Maybe that (as a lttle larger) might satisfy the need/desire for a fuel efficient commuting (long) car)?

While I would not do it longer term, maybe 3 cars for a while might be OK

stan1
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Re: Decisions on a Two Car Strategy

Post by stan1 » Sun Apr 15, 2018 11:21 am

I was going to suggest looking at the Kia Niro hybrid and Mazda CX-3/CX-5/CX-9 family also. Can also wait a little longer and see the 2019 RAV4 Hybrid.

One think you need to be careful about with many of the crossovers is visibility. Many have large C-pillars that make it hard to see out the rear of the vehicle resulting in large blind spots. Smaller CUVs also have large A-pillars, raked windshields, and dramatic hood drops which can make it hard to perceive where the front of the car is when parking (including pulling into a garage). People seem to be buying them despite these potential issues, but it is something to consider as you do test drives.

livesoft
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Re: Decisions on a Two Car Strategy

Post by livesoft » Sun Apr 15, 2018 11:37 am

stan1 wrote:
Sun Apr 15, 2018 11:21 am
... and dramatic hood drops which can make it hard to perceive where the front of the car is when parking (including pulling into a garage).
This is where old tech comes into play: My 2011 beeps whenever the sensors detect something close, so one doesn't have to see much if they still can hear. :)
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billfromct
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Re: Decisions on a Two Car Strategy

Post by billfromct » Sun Apr 15, 2018 11:58 am

When I owned 2 cars, I would get a new car every 6-7 years, so I had a fairly new car for trips & the older car for around town.

I bought a new Camry L about 2 months ago for $22,300 "out the door".

I'm very impressed with the fuel economy which is 35-36 mpg around town (not city driving).

I have only done a little highway. Last Friday, after I filled the tank and took a 60 mile highway only trip, according to the mpg gauge, it was 51.3 mpg.

Around town, the mpg gauge has been about 1-2 mpg more than my calculation of miles driven/fill-up gallons.

The EPA highway rating is 41mpg. It will be interesting to see what the highway mpg mileage will be when I take a long trip.

bill

Sarah Saverdink
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Re: Decisions on a Two Car Strategy

Post by Sarah Saverdink » Sun Apr 15, 2018 12:24 pm

Random data point -- We own a 2005 Prius that now has 230k miles on it. We bought it 4 years ago at 100k miles and it's been fantastic, no major issues or repairs needed. We're in New England, so it's well acquainted with salt and less than desirable winter conditions. Chances are your 2012 Prius still has a lot of life left in it and there's no "need" to upgrade it for several more years.

BuckyBadger
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Re: Decisions on a Two Car Strategy

Post by BuckyBadger » Sun Apr 15, 2018 12:42 pm

I wanted to chime in with my support of your wife's desire for adaptive cruise control. I also have a long highway commute that i have to do three times a week. Adaptive cruise control has recently made my drive significantly less stressful for me.

For what it's worth, i have a 2015 Subaru Outback that we got in 2017. That's my highway car that has the bells and whistles. I usually claim that to be the perfect vehicle but i supposed that doesn't work for your two car specifications.

We're having our first kid in September and our car number 2 is an older well maintained Honda Element.

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Watty
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Re: Decisions on a Two Car Strategy

Post by Watty » Sun Apr 15, 2018 12:45 pm

steadyhand wrote:
Sun Apr 15, 2018 10:25 am
Car 2 (a 2007 Odyssey FWD, ~115k miles)
....
Would appreciate any thoughts on what you would have done at a similar crossroad.
My basic car buying strategy is to buy reliably rated new cars that don't depreciate quickly, like most Hondas and Toyotas, and then to sell them when they are about ten years old. A well maintained Honda or Toyota like that which is a one owner car and never in an accident will sell for a surprising amount which makes upgrading to a new car more affordable. This is not the cheapest way to own a car but it gives me a reliable car at a reasonable price.

One thing to remember when you see average prices on the internet is that half the cars sold for more than the average and a one owner car that had never been in a accident will sell for a lot more than the average price.

The way I figure this is that you will have operating costs with any car but what you can control is the monthly costs of depreciation and non-routine maintenance. Unless you are unlucky a ten year old Honda or Toyota may have required minimal non-routine maintenance and the monthly depreciation over ten years is also pretty reasonable.

By proactively replacing a car you can also wait for a great deal on the next car you buy and that can also help your save money. I will start casually watching for really good times to buy a car when my current car is about 8 years old so I can wait several years to buy a car when there are great deals. I have had to replace a car in a hurry and that is not a good way to shop for a car.

I would start watching for good deal to replace the Odyssey especially late in the summer when year end clearance specials start. I would pick at least three acceptable models and within reason buy whichever is the best deal since at some price buying your third choice car may make sense.
steadyhand wrote:
Sun Apr 15, 2018 10:25 am
Car 1 serves as the fuel-efficient commute vehicle for my wife. This commute is 85 miles one-way, but she needs to do it only 2 or 3 days a week and only 9 months a year (so about 100-120 days a year).


Fuel efficiency is great for lots of reasons but financially you are not looking a huge savings since she will only commute a few days a week for part of the year.
livesoft wrote:
Sun Apr 15, 2018 10:48 am
Also note that in 8 years you will probably have a teenage driver who will probably end up getting your oldest car at that point.
+1

steadyhand wrote:
Sun Apr 15, 2018 10:25 am
The issue we have is that there are not too many fuel-economical Car 1's out there, with the CR-V at 34 mpg and the Forester at 31 mpg as options.
With those many of the safety features you wanted are optional and may require a higher level of trim. Toyota has added a lot of safety features to all of their cars so may be able to get what you want for less with a Toyota.

In addition to the RAV4 something like a Camry or even a Corolla could be workable for your wife's car and these might be easier for the kids to learn to drive in a few years and could last them through college even if your wife puts a lot of miles on it. They gradually upsize cars and I recently bought a 2018 Corolla and it is almost the size of an early 2000's Camry I had. For a smaller car it has decent back seats so I would not automatically rule it out. I was able to get it for the low$15,000s plus about $2,000 in local taxes and registration. I just had it on a road trip last week and the adaptive cruise control is really a nice feature to have. I was getting about 41 MPG on the highway. Here is the post I did about my car buying experience which would apply to whatever car you decide to buy.

viewtopic.php?f=11&t=239526&p=3746230&h ... e#p3746230

JHU ALmuni
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Re: Decisions on a Two Car Strategy

Post by JHU ALmuni » Sun Apr 15, 2018 12:49 pm

steadyhand wrote:
Sun Apr 15, 2018 10:25 am
As a family, we have two cars right now, Car 1 (a 2012 Prius ~100k miles), and Car 2 (a 2007 Odyssey FWD, ~115k miles). Car 1 serves as the fuel-efficient commute vehicle for my wife. This commute is 85 miles one-way, but she needs to do it only 2 or 3 days a week and only 9 months a year (so about 100-120 days a year). Here in the midwest, the highways are straights, flat with traffic non-existent, so one way commute time is about 1 hr 15 mins. Car 2 serves as the family vehicle around the city and on long road-trips. Two kids, both less than 9 years old at this point, so many more years of family trips left. This second car is used by to go to work, a short commute, if I am not biking.

As the cars are getting older, we are planning replacements to at least one of them, if not both and we are considering what to replace, when, and with what. We like non-luxury cars generally which are reliable and not high-maintenance. Between Hondas and Toyotas, the former has been more fun to drive and hence a bit more preferable. Open to others.

For car 1, my wife would like something of a higher ride (crossovers or bigger), technology like adaptive cruise and lane keep assist. Something that is fuel-efficient would be desirable as we put at least 15k miles on it per year. Cargo space, AWD are not that important for this car. Lumbar support for seat is very desirable; the prius is awful in that regard.

For car 2, we would like something with lots of room for the family (like the odyssey already has), with technology like ACC and LKAS in the long-term to make it easier for long trips. For this car having AWD will be more useful (don't need it locally in Kansas but maybe in other places where we go). Fuel efficiency not as important as we put less than 10k per year on this car. A Crossover like the CR-V should be ok in terms of space.

Due to our desire for latest safety technology features, anything we buy will have to be new or lightly used. The issue we have is that there are not too many fuel-economical Car 1's out there, with the CR-V at 34 mpg and the Forester at 31 mpg as options. EV crossovers would be nice on the wallet we feel, but they do not exist yet with the range (250+) we want. The Hyundai Kona EV coming out for 2019 may be an option but not sure yet.

So one strategy is to get a (fuel-inefficient) crossover Car 1 like the CR-V for now, wait out 2 years until a better Car 1 option comes out and then use this CR-V as a Car 2. With this strategy, we are still unsure which of our older cars we should sell to make space. The odyssey has the extra room (but the CR-V gives us a lot of that), while the Prius is more fuel-efficient for local city errands.

Another option is to just keep waiting for the right Car 1 to come out, sacrificing on not having the latest tech. features and comfort (for car 1), and hope both cars stay reliable, and put up additional maintenance needed as they get older (has increased a bit in the past year for both).

We are not planning to take a car loan on either, unless we have a really low-interest option in which case our capital can be put to better use. Would appreciate any thoughts on what you would have done at a similar crossroad.
The cars aren't that old they can easily last another 50K miles with minimal maintenance if there are no known issues. I would wait a couple more years before I think about replacement vehicles.

GAAP
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Re: Decisions on a Two Car Strategy

Post by GAAP » Sun Apr 15, 2018 1:04 pm

~100K miles? Those cars are just getting warmed up. We've run most of ours for over 300K, my truck closer to 400K. I've got almost 100K on my motorcycle... 15K miles a year is roughly average, those cars should be good for another decade or more.

I agree with no loans -- the only car loan that I would consider is 0%, otherwise you're just adding interest to the depreciation cost of the asset.

I would set aside reserves each year to match or exceed depreciation. When the cars get too expensive to keep fixing, you'll have a fund to replace them.

Having said all of that, this sounds more like want than need, so find the most efficient way to meet your desires.

steadyhand
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Re: Decisions on a Two Car Strategy

Post by steadyhand » Sun Apr 15, 2018 1:25 pm

Got some diverse and nice viewpoints so far which we will keep in mind.

Some responses I wanted add are below.

The Kia Niro seems to fit a lot of what car 1 should be, but wife does not like how Kia's drive. Perhaps a case of wanting everything which may not be possible.

The Mazda's are good for car 1 or 2 but fuel economy does not match up to even the CR-V but could be a car 2.

Our home only has a 2 car garage and I am trying to not keep cars on the driveway If I can, so a third car may be not be an option. Especially considering that I use my bike most of the time except in bad weathe, so one of the cars is already not used a lot except family road trips and occasional short trips around town.

I do agree that these cars may have many more miles on them. So at this point desiring more tech features may be more of a want, especially for car 2. But having adaptive cruise can really help on the long commute and make one less tired, so car 1 I feel gets closer to a need. Being a mom at home in the evenings may be easier with some help with the stress of driving. Also car 1 needs to be realiable and comfortable, which it is not proving to be at this point, so we are very inclined to swap that one.

I am leaning towards looking out to put one or both of my cars on sale and see if we can get a good price. If it looks like it, then I may look for late model year clearances this summer. If that doesnt work, we can hang onto both for some more time, eventually changing out car 1.

Although the sedans are good fuel economy wise, they lack the seating comfort we would ideally like that a higher ride gives. I joke to my wife that perhaps she could just switch jobs to become a truck driver :D

We like the CR-V but I am following the oil dilution threads. Hoping 2019's would be fixed somehow before they come out, but I may not be sure.

stan1
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Re: Decisions on a Two Car Strategy

Post by stan1 » Sun Apr 15, 2018 1:32 pm

Sounds like you are looking for a pink unicorn (they don't exist). Keep driving the two cars you have now until they become more unreliable or expensive to repair. With a more urgent need to make a decision the options will suddenly become clearer.

02nz
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Re: Decisions on a Two Car Strategy

Post by 02nz » Sun Apr 15, 2018 1:52 pm

steadyhand wrote:
Sun Apr 15, 2018 1:25 pm
The Kia Niro seems to fit a lot of what car 1 should be, but wife does not like how Kia's drive. Perhaps a case of wanting everything which may not be possible.
I have not driven the Niro myself, but other Kias I've driven in the last few years were surprisingly good, no worse than average. The Korean cars have come a long way, first in reliability, then in driving dynamics. Try it before you write it off.
steadyhand wrote:
Sun Apr 15, 2018 1:25 pm
The Mazda's are good for car 1 or 2 but fuel economy does not match up to even the CR-V but could be a car 2.
The difference is actually pretty small. The 2018 CX-5 2WD gets 28 mpg combined (in my experience that's the most relevant number), compared to 30 mpg for the comparable CR-V (with the more expensive 1.5L engine). That's less than a 10% difference.

As a counterpoint to those suggesting three cars, I'd also consider upgrading just one, and seeing whether you could live with just that car. Your wife is only using it a few days a week; can you get by with Uber or similar on those days? You could definitely come out ahead if you eliminate the cost of insurance, maintenance, and depreciation on a second vehicle.

lazydavid
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Re: Decisions on a Two Car Strategy

Post by lazydavid » Sun Apr 15, 2018 1:57 pm

Don't sweat too much about mpg. It matters, but not as much as you think. My current DD has averaged 28.7mpg over its lifetime. My commute is 61 miles roundtrip, plus a bunch of other driving my son around for activities and such (25 miles roundtrip to club sports 3x/week being the major one). If I went from 29 to 25mpg it would cost me an extra $220 per year. Chump change. Was recently helping a friend shop to replace his 2001 Jetta with 206k that was "totaled" when the bumper cover was cracked in a rear-ender, and calculated that for his usage (54 mile roundtrip commute plus ancillaries), the gap between 27mpg and 20mpg (which is a really big gap) is a whopping $40/mo. It's not zero, but is also not the end of the world.

My friend wound up with an Outback, which is well below his target mpg, but meets his needs perfectly.

Katietsu
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Re: Decisions on a Two Car Strategy

Post by Katietsu » Sun Apr 15, 2018 2:20 pm

A few random comments on the comments.

I used to refuse to take a Kia rental car. But more recently, I have proactively chosen a Kia a few times. So I would try it out if your wife has not test drive a Kia in the last few years.

I am having trouble putting a CRV in the running to replace an Odyssey, space-wise. Even the Pilot has less space than the Odyssey, in my experience, and the Pilot is significantly larger than the CRV. I would make sure the CRV has enough space for your needs.

At 15,000 miles a year, I would not worry too much about small variations in gas mileage. Even at $4 a gallon and a 5 mile/gallon difference, you are only talking about less than a dollar a day difference in gasoline costs.

steadyhand
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Re: Decisions on a Two Car Strategy

Post by steadyhand » Sun Apr 15, 2018 8:44 pm

Thanks all the comments here have been very valuable ranging from giving the Kia a try to not letting mpg's bog us down!

We really appreciate the time you all put in to offer your experience up for others.

jlawrence01
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Re: Decisions on a Two Car Strategy

Post by jlawrence01 » Mon Apr 16, 2018 2:28 am

steadyhand wrote:
Sun Apr 15, 2018 10:25 am
As the cars are getting older, we are planning replacements to at least one of them, if not both and we are considering what to replace, when, and with what. We like non-luxury cars generally which are reliable and not high-maintenance. Between Hondas and Toyotas, the former has been more fun to drive and hence a bit more preferable. Open to others.

I have seen a lot of people get rid of perfectly functioning vehicles because their cars are "getting old" or "may leave me stranded" or "might die at some point down the road. And often, when the next car has any problems, they wish they had the older car.

Personally, the day that my car dies, I will run down to the local Hertz or Enterprise location and rent a car for a week. I have a good idea as to the two or three models that I want to buy and I will make the purchase at that point.

I have done the "three car approach" before. First, I was surprised that although we had two drivers and three cars, insurance companies charges us as much for the 3rd car as the 2nd. Second, there is no guarantee that two of the cars won't go down.

denovo
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Re: Decisions on a Two Car Strategy

Post by denovo » Mon Apr 16, 2018 3:39 am

steadyhand wrote:
Sun Apr 15, 2018 10:25 am
As a family, we have two cars right now, Car 1 (a 2012 Prius ~100k miles), and Car 2 (a 2007 Odyssey FWD, ~115k miles). Car 1 serves as the fuel-efficient commute vehicle for my wife.
These cars each have 60k-100k miles left on them. This conversation is not ripe. You have plenty of years to save money without worrying about a new car.
"Don't trust everything you read on the Internet"- Abraham Lincoln

denovo
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Re: Decisions on a Two Car Strategy

Post by denovo » Mon Apr 16, 2018 3:42 am

jlawrence01 wrote:
Mon Apr 16, 2018 2:28 am



I have seen a lot of people get rid of perfectly functioning vehicles because their cars are "getting old" or "may leave me stranded" or "might die at some point down the road. And often, when the next car has any problems, they wish they had the older car.

Also, if you are keeping on regular maintenance and actually doing all those "checks" that the owner manual suggests, the chance of your car randomly imploding is very low.
"Don't trust everything you read on the Internet"- Abraham Lincoln

inbox788
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Re: Decisions on a Two Car Strategy

Post by inbox788 » Mon Apr 16, 2018 3:53 am

Avoid the 3 car situation if unnecessary. It's simplifying not worrying about insurance, registration, oil changes, maintenance, etc. on an additional car.

Is there anything wrong with either vehicle? Just keep up with maintenance and both should last you another 5 or more years and approach 200k miles.
steadyhand wrote:
Sun Apr 15, 2018 10:25 am
...the highways are straights, flat with traffic non-existent [yet] wife would like something of a higher ride (crossovers or bigger), technology like adaptive cruise and lane keep assist.
Sounds like wife just wants a new car. No reason not to be honest and shop for the car you want without having to make excuses. Presumably you can afford it and you drive enough and it's not extravagant, so be comfortable. Lumbar support is a small reason to choose a car, but if that's important to you, then you have to go sit in a bunch of cars to decide.

Consider alternative fuel vehicles before eliminating them. I just got an advertisement for the Toyota Mirai 300 mile range Hydrogen with 3 free years of fuel. And don't rule out electric cars until you're sure you can't charge at work (you'll only need half the range). Look into that opportunity to get some nice incentives and free power and several additional car choices that can fit your needs. And of course see where the Tesla supercharging stations are near your home and work, which more than likely will make those viable candidates ( https://www.teslacost.com/model ).

Kia Nero Hybrid (and the new plug in) mentioned above is a nice replacement for Car 1 to consider. Have you actually test driven them yourself or basing on others opinions? I've driven a couple of Kia rentals and had favorable impressions. Not luxury, but not cheap either (like I felt test driving a Fiat 500 or even the BMW i3 interior).

lazydavid
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Re: Decisions on a Two Car Strategy

Post by lazydavid » Mon Apr 16, 2018 5:01 am

inbox788 wrote:
Mon Apr 16, 2018 3:53 am
Consider alternative fuel vehicles before eliminating them. I just got an advertisement for the Toyota Mirai 300 mile range Hydrogen with 3 free years of fuel.
The Mirai is only available in certain parts of California, because all 200 of the public Hydrogen pumps are in southwestern CA (mostly in the Los Angeles area). And it starts at $59k. Yes three years of free fuel is nice, but it doesn't make up for the fact that you're paying sixty grand for a Camry.

Hillview
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Re: Decisions on a Two Car Strategy

Post by Hillview » Mon Apr 16, 2018 7:35 am

Another thought is that as inbox says if your wife just wants another can and you can afford it (not sure what your financial situation is) and if she is worried about safety features (and to be fair there have been a lot of new features in the last several years) happy wife happy life (if you can afford it). We have a Mazda CX-5 that is maybe 6 years old and it is great.

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BL
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Re: Decisions on a Two Car Strategy

Post by BL » Mon Apr 16, 2018 8:31 am

Hillview wrote:
Mon Apr 16, 2018 7:35 am
Another thought is that as inbox says if your wife just wants another can and you can afford it (not sure what your financial situation is) and if she is worried about safety features (and to be fair there have been a lot of new features in the last several years) happy wife happy life (if you can afford it). We have a Mazda CX-5 that is maybe 6 years old and it is great.
+1
That is a long commute, so if she can afford it, I suggest going ahead and find a comfortable, back-friendly, higher vehicle that pleases her.

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