car for long-distance driving

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azumagaoka
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car for long-distance driving

Post by azumagaoka » Sat Jun 23, 2018 11:18 am

Hi all, I'm looking to buy a car as I will need to drive from Champaign, IL to Charlottesville, VA about once every month starting this fall.
This would be a 11-hour drive so I want to make sure I will get an appropriate vehicle.
To experienced boglehead drivers, Would a Honda Fit be a capable choice?
I am also looking at a Subaru Impreza, as AWD seem to be a good choice for Midwest weather conditions, albeit the fuel economy is not as good.
Or perhaps Toyota's Camry hybrid? (although a new one would be a bit over my price range).

Finally, I am also wondering if you would choose to buy new or used for this purpose.
It will be my first car purchase in the U.S. so any thoughts and possibilities are appreciated!

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prudent
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Re: car for long-distance driving

Post by prudent » Sat Jun 23, 2018 11:34 am

Driving that round-trip every month for a year is around 17000 miles (plus whatever other driving you'll be doing). When you narrow your choices down, you might want to check with your auto insurer before deciding to see what your premiums would be for the different options.

What is your price range?

Jack FFR1846
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Re: car for long-distance driving

Post by Jack FFR1846 » Sat Jun 23, 2018 11:44 am

We just went through this and had decided either crosstrek or impreza. Neither save you a dime going used. After a couple complaint filled short trips with the family in our 13 crosstrek and 14 wrangler 4 door, I made the executive decision to go bigger. We ended up with a 17 Legacy limited. Legacys DO depreciate. We are really happy we did this. It is 1000% better riding than the crosstrek and we find it gets the same gas mileage.
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delamer
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Re: car for long-distance driving

Post by delamer » Sat Jun 23, 2018 11:46 am

While I understand that you’d want a car with good gas mileage, don’t overlook the comfort factor.

A car with supportive seats and that absorbs road bumps will be your friend.

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Re: car for long-distance driving

Post by Austintatious » Sat Jun 23, 2018 11:49 am

Consider a test drive in a Prius. Our 2010 model has about 178,000 miles on it, including several round trips from Texas to Colorado. I've been surprised at how comfortable it has been driving long distances. And the mileage is incredible (still getting 51 -52 mpg). I should mention that it's not the quietest of rides. I recently drove a 2018 model and I find it to be distinctly quieter. I'd recommend the car to anyone not requiring greater storage space or a higher ground clearance.

I also recently test drove a 2018 Subaru Forester. I was favorably impressed with the solid comfort of the ride and I would expect it to be very comfortable on long hauls. I also noticed the relative cabin quietness, and the responsiveness of the standard ( as in non-turbo) boxer engine. Sadly, the mileage is roughly half of what we realize in the Prius. I must say that I do like the Forester.

livesoft
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Re: car for long-distance driving

Post by livesoft » Sat Jun 23, 2018 12:32 pm

Might be cheaper to rent a car with unlimited mileage for such trips.
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-buzz-
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Re: car for long-distance driving

Post by -buzz- » Sat Jun 23, 2018 1:02 pm

livesoft wrote:
Sat Jun 23, 2018 12:32 pm
Might be cheaper to rent a car with unlimited mileage for such trips.
I was thinking the same thing, especially if the trips are only a few days. Keep from piling the mileage on your own car and save on maintenance costs.

Otherwise, I'd suggest something like a Toyota Highlander or RAV 4. Winter driving is a certainty and those are both available in AWD. Buy a low mileage used one. Drive it a couple of years and sell before the mileage gets too high.

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dm200
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Re: car for long-distance driving

Post by dm200 » Sat Jun 23, 2018 1:35 pm

It all depends on how you handle such long drives.

When I was in my 20's, I could drive my '67 VW Beetle long distances (almost) non-stop - just for bathroom (longer back then) and fuel.

Would not want to do that today.

A Toyota Camry could be a good choice -

Keep in mind the other needs as well - for local driving.

Sasquatch
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Re: car for long-distance driving

Post by Sasquatch » Sat Jun 23, 2018 1:37 pm

14 Subaru Outback here. Very Quiet & Comfortable. Longest straight thru drive has been 500mi. Worked great, AWD, good gas mileage.

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Re: car for long-distance driving

Post by bloom2708 » Sat Jun 23, 2018 1:42 pm

Is this work related?

My megacorp has a deal with Avis for unlimited mileage on all rentals.

A Fit would not be a good “fit” for such a long drive.

I would rent each time the type that fits the season.
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Re: car for long-distance driving

Post by adamthesmythe » Sat Jun 23, 2018 1:47 pm

I would not buy a Fit for regular long trips, unless I really really had to. Go for some reasonable degree of comfort.

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dm200
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Re: car for long-distance driving

Post by dm200 » Sat Jun 23, 2018 2:13 pm

maybe rent a car for a trip to test it out. enterprise often has unlimites miles

ElJefe302
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Re: car for long-distance driving

Post by ElJefe302 » Sat Jun 23, 2018 2:21 pm

As others have mentioned trying a rental car might be your best bet at first. If you have a Costco membership they have very good rates with car rentals, especially if you’re willing to wait for last minute deals. Most credit cards also offer rental car insurance coverage making the total cost of the vehicle even cheaper.

sport
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Re: car for long-distance driving

Post by sport » Sat Jun 23, 2018 2:29 pm

I would not buy a hybrid for this. My understanding is that the big mileage advantage for a hybrid is city driving. On the highway, conventional engines do almost as well. The new Camrys are rated 41 mpg on the highway. It is a comfortable and reliable car. It does not pay to get a late model used one as they cost nearly as much as new.

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Re: car for long-distance driving

Post by FireFool » Sat Jun 23, 2018 2:45 pm

ElJefe302 wrote:
Sat Jun 23, 2018 2:21 pm
As others have mentioned trying a rental car might be your best bet at first. If you have a Costco membership they have very good rates with car rentals, especially if you’re willing to wait for last minute deals. Most credit cards also offer rental car insurance coverage making the total cost of the vehicle even cheaper.
Be careful with this advice - most credit cards provide collision coverage for the rental vehicle (i.e. with the right credit card you don't need to buy CDW from the rental company) - you still need a form of liability coverage. If you own a vehicle that has liability coverage that coverage transfers over to temporary (under 30 days) rental vehicles. Likewise if you have Comprehensive & Collision coverage that too will tranfer, but in lieu of having that coverage many CC's will provide that coverage. If you don't have an insured vehicle of your own you will either need to purchase liability coverage through the rental company or purchase a non-owner/named operator policy for when you might rent vehicles. If you rent a vehicle every month it may be cheaper to get the non-owner policy for the liability coverage than paying the rental company each time.

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Re: car for long-distance driving

Post by helloeveryone » Sat Jun 23, 2018 2:52 pm

Jack FFR1846 wrote:
Sat Jun 23, 2018 11:44 am
We just went through this and had decided either crosstrek or impreza. Neither save you a dime going used. After a couple complaint filled short trips with the family in our 13 crosstrek and 14 wrangler 4 door, I made the executive decision to go bigger. We ended up with a 17 Legacy limited. Legacys DO depreciate. We are really happy we did this. It is 1000% better riding than the crosstrek and we find it gets the same gas mileage.
what was the issue w the crosstrek? i’ve been eyeing crosstrek versus forester as potential future car.

Jack FFR1846
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Re: car for long-distance driving

Post by Jack FFR1846 » Sat Jun 23, 2018 3:22 pm

The ride and passenger space are far better in the Legacy. This characteristic was amplified when my older weight lifter son constantly complained about the lack of room and the ride over bumps. We love the ground clearance of the crosstrek and it's been good on gas but there's no comparison in ride quality. Yes, I've driven a 2018 Crosstrek and there's little difference from our 13 Crosstrek limited.
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nicad2000
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Re: car for long-distance driving

Post by nicad2000 » Sat Jun 23, 2018 3:55 pm

Typically, larger, heavier cars are far more pleasant to drive on the highway for long distances. They will ride better, drift less, and may be quieter compared to an economy car or Prius. I am about to take an 800 mile road trip in my BMW 535i and am looking forward to it. 30 mpg too.

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dm200
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Re: car for long-distance driving

Post by dm200 » Sat Jun 23, 2018 3:57 pm

FireFool wrote:
Sat Jun 23, 2018 2:45 pm
ElJefe302 wrote:
Sat Jun 23, 2018 2:21 pm
As others have mentioned trying a rental car might be your best bet at first. If you have a Costco membership they have very good rates with car rentals, especially if you’re willing to wait for last minute deals. Most credit cards also offer rental car insurance coverage making the total cost of the vehicle even cheaper.
Be careful with this advice - most credit cards provide collision coverage for the rental vehicle (i.e. with the right credit card you don't need to buy CDW from the rental company) - you still need a form of liability coverage. If you own a vehicle that has liability coverage that coverage transfers over to temporary (under 30 days) rental vehicles. Likewise if you have Comprehensive & Collision coverage that too will tranfer, but in lieu of having that coverage many CC's will provide that coverage. If you don't have an insured vehicle of your own you will either need to purchase liability coverage through the rental company or purchase a non-owner/named operator policy for when you might rent vehicles. If you rent a vehicle every month it may be cheaper to get the non-owner policy for the liability coverage than paying the rental company each time.
We signed up for the Amex coverage - only used when you rent and is per rental NOT per day :) . We have liability because of the cars we own - and our older cars do not carry collision any more.

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Re: car for long-distance driving

Post by Beehave » Sat Jun 23, 2018 4:19 pm

2018 Camry LE with 4 cyl (non-hybrid) gets great mileage (close to older Camry hybrid). 2018 Camry hybrid LE gets Prius-like mileage. Very comfortable and safe. Not awd, but if winter driving is an issue (probably won't be?) get a set of Blizzaks or equivalent and you should be more than fine. Subaru Legacy has awd and very safe, Not as good fuel mileage but at least a large fuel tank). Camry should have bulletproof reliability for years.

Check out the LE (softer ride than Camry SE and to me much preferable) with regular gas engine mileage and see if hybrid's better mileage is cost-effective. The hybrid gets fine highway mileage. The XLE model comes with wider, lower tires which really cut down the fuel economy. So stick with the LE, in my opinion.

Stay safe on those long drives. Use rest areas if and when feeling tired.

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ram
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Re: car for long-distance driving

Post by ram » Sat Jun 23, 2018 4:32 pm

My Lexus LS 460 is an excellent long distance driver. A 6 yr old can possibly be had for the cost of a new Camry.
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Re: car for long-distance driving

Post by retired recently » Sat Jun 23, 2018 4:36 pm

My wife and I drove our Prius from NC out to California up into Vancouver over to Calgary and back going 8300 miles in a month and thought it was just fine. The Prius is a bit noisy compared to many cars if that bothers you. I am 5'6" so if you are tall it could also be an issue for you. We averaged around 55 mpg.

investor997
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Re: car for long-distance driving

Post by investor997 » Sat Jun 23, 2018 4:57 pm

Being more of a car guy, I'd probably go against conventional wisdom and look for a CPO BMW 535d. Very comfortable, quiet and luxurious, plus upwards of 40 MPG when freeway cruising.

azumagaoka
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Re: car for long-distance driving

Post by azumagaoka » Sat Jun 23, 2018 5:44 pm

prudent wrote:
Sat Jun 23, 2018 11:34 am
Driving that round-trip every month for a year is around 17000 miles (plus whatever other driving you'll be doing). When you narrow your choices down, you might want to check with your auto insurer before deciding to see what your premiums would be for the different options.

What is your price range?
Yeah I realized that this will be a lot of mileage. I'm currently looking for a used vehicle around $10,000-15,000, or a couple thousands more if its a new car.

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Re: car for long-distance driving

Post by pwesben » Sat Jun 23, 2018 5:55 pm

I'd suggest the Camry, but not the hybrid. Cheaper and the Camry still gets 49 mpg on the road and 32 mpg overall driving.
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Re: car for long-distance driving

Post by 02nz » Sat Jun 23, 2018 6:16 pm

Before buying a car (or even renting one, which I agree is almost certainly a better option), have you considered alternatives like flying? I'm seeing roundtrips for just over $300 from Champaign to Charlottesville, with a stop in Chicago. You'd spend around half that for just gas, so by the time you add in depreciation/insurance/maintenance or the cost of the car rental, flying is almost certainly cheaper, not to mention faster and less tiring.

My own recommendation for a car would probably be a lightly used Mazda6, which should be less than a comparable Camry/Accord while still getting decent mileage and reliability.
Last edited by 02nz on Sat Jun 23, 2018 6:22 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: car for long-distance driving

Post by 02nz » Sat Jun 23, 2018 6:20 pm

pwesben wrote:
Sat Jun 23, 2018 5:55 pm
I'd suggest the Camry, but not the hybrid. Cheaper and the Camry still gets 49 mpg on the road and 32 mpg overall driving.
Not sure where you're getting 49 mpg for a non-hybrid Camry. The most efficient non-hybrid 2018 Camry is EPA rated at 41 mpg on the highway. The OP's stated price range means he/she would likely be looking at an older model than that. 2017 and older models get 33 mpg on the highway, at best, and that's according to the (rather optimistic) EPA ratings.

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Re: car for long-distance driving

Post by whodidntante » Sat Jun 23, 2018 6:23 pm

I would get a Grand Marquis or Lincoln Town Car. I've owned a town car and it was more comfortable than my couch, LOL. They are also incredibly durable, cheap to buy, and cheap to own. At some point you'll replace the air suspension bladders but it's not that bad.

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Re: car for long-distance driving

Post by andypanda » Sat Jun 23, 2018 6:31 pm

"good choice for Midwest weather conditions"

I'm more familiar with the winter weather and year round traffic up and down the Valley on I-81 and across I-64 over Afton Mountain to Charlottesville. Will you be coming through WVA to Lexington VA and up I-81 with the semis and snowbird RVers to Staunton to get on I-64? I suppose there's a way to come across and get on I-81 north of Winchester VA to drive south, but the snow and ice can get a little deeper up that way and it's nothing but rolling hills and lots of local traffic.

Anyway, I've had 2 old 4-cyl Camrys, (and '60s V8 Chevys when I was at VA Tech), an '86 Subaru 4wd wagon, a 2001 Forester, a 2006 Avalon and a high end 2010 Highlander. Now I have a 2016 4Runner and my fiancee has a 2016 Avalon Touring. Living in Richmond and visiting my parents when they retired from D.C. and moved near the intersection of I-81 and I-64 - Stuart's Draft - and then for the 9 years they were in the Mennonite Retirement Community in Harrisonburg VA I have a personal preference for a minimum of a V6 for passing going up hills from a near standstill when caught behind a line of semis and RVs towing cars and all going 40 mph for miles on end.

A Highlander AWD or an Avalon (with a set of chains?) would suit me, but a real 4WD is certainly nice.

My mother was born in Waynesboro VA and my father across the mountain south of Charlottesville, both in the '20s. There are few things I dislike more than driving a flatlander's car in the hills. I don't mind slow, but I hate pokey. :sharebeer

Subaru gas mileage sucks, but their AWD is really great compared to most of the others. My 4Runner is like my '86 Subaru - high and low range part-time 4WD with a transfer case lever. Not always convenient, but superbly functional.

I agree with everyone who said to get something comfortable that fits you. I'm 6' and 210, but we're all built differently.

azumagaoka
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Re: car for long-distance driving

Post by azumagaoka » Sun Jun 24, 2018 7:43 am

andypanda wrote:
Sat Jun 23, 2018 6:31 pm
"good choice for Midwest weather conditions"

I'm more familiar with the winter weather and year round traffic up and down the Valley on I-81 and across I-64 over Afton Mountain to Charlottesville. Will you be coming through WVA to Lexington VA and up I-81 with the semis and snowbird RVers to Staunton to get on I-64? I suppose there's a way to come across and get on I-81 north of Winchester VA to drive south, but the snow and ice can get a little deeper up that way and it's nothing but rolling hills and lots of local traffic.

Anyway, I've had 2 old 4-cyl Camrys, (and '60s V8 Chevys when I was at VA Tech), an '86 Subaru 4wd wagon, a 2001 Forester, a 2006 Avalon and a high end 2010 Highlander. Now I have a 2016 4Runner and my fiancee has a 2016 Avalon Touring. Living in Richmond and visiting my parents when they retired from D.C. and moved near the intersection of I-81 and I-64 - Stuart's Draft - and then for the 9 years they were in the Mennonite Retirement Community in Harrisonburg VA I have a personal preference for a minimum of a V6 for passing going up hills from a near standstill when caught behind a line of semis and RVs towing cars and all going 40 mph for miles on end.

A Highlander AWD or an Avalon (with a set of chains?) would suit me, but a real 4WD is certainly nice.

My mother was born in Waynesboro VA and my father across the mountain south of Charlottesville, both in the '20s. There are few things I dislike more than driving a flatlander's car in the hills. I don't mind slow, but I hate pokey. :sharebeer

Subaru gas mileage sucks, but their AWD is really great compared to most of the others. My 4Runner is like my '86 Subaru - high and low range part-time 4WD with a transfer case lever. Not always convenient, but superbly functional.

I agree with everyone who said to get something comfortable that fits you. I'm 6' and 210, but we're all built differently.
andypanda: Thanks for the driving tips on I-81 and I-64! There's a lot to take notes from your very comprehensive reply, and from your experience, it would certainly a car with V6 and AWD/4WD is certainly worth having to drive in the area...

Also, huge thank for all the insights on this thread. After some thoughts and consideration, I have decided to rent a car for this for at least the first few months and see how it goes. Plan to also fly when CHO-CMI flights are at a reasonable price. I am very surprised at how cheap it is to rent a car via Costco Travel, and will start looking for options to have the vehicle insured as a non-owner.

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Re: car for long-distance driving

Post by goaties » Sun Jun 24, 2018 7:52 am

One issue with renting a car is that car rental companies almost never put snow tires on their vehicles, even when you rent them in areas that regularly get heavy snow. My best friend and I still have a good laugh over the day I tried to get up her driveway, in February, in central New Hampshire, with a car I'd rented in Manchester (NH).

azumagaoka
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Re: car for long-distance driving

Post by azumagaoka » Sun Jun 24, 2018 8:01 am

goaties wrote:
Sun Jun 24, 2018 7:52 am
One issue with renting a car is that car rental companies almost never put snow tires on their vehicles, even when you rent them in areas that regularly get heavy snow. My best friend and I still have a good laugh over the day I tried to get up her driveway, in February, in central New Hampshire, with a car I'd rented in Manchester (NH).
Wow, good to know... must be rough for you and your friend though.
Just checked Enterprise and found this, too.
Enterprise rental cars are equipped with all-season tires. Snow chains are not offered as additional equipment nor can snow chains be placed on rental vehicles.

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Re: car for long-distance driving

Post by sport » Sun Jun 24, 2018 9:04 am

goaties wrote:
Sun Jun 24, 2018 7:52 am
One issue with renting a car is that car rental companies almost never put snow tires on their vehicles, even when you rent them in areas that regularly get heavy snow. My best friend and I still have a good laugh over the day I tried to get up her driveway, in February, in central New Hampshire, with a car I'd rented in Manchester (NH).
Many years ago, I needed to rent a car In South Bend Indiana in the winter. I specified snow tires when I made the reservation with Hertz. When I got there, about 9:00 PM, a major snow storm was about to hit the next day. When I went to the Hertz counter at the airport, to get the car, I asked if it had the snow tires I requested. The answer was "no". When I complained, the response was "do you want the car or not?". That was in the day of rear wheel drive cars. So, the next day, I had some long distance driving in a blizzard without snow tires. That was in the 1970's and I have not rented from Hertz since.

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Re: car for long-distance driving

Post by livesoft » Sun Jun 24, 2018 9:10 am

I have driven in the snow lots. I wonder if the OP would even need to drive in the snow. It reads like there is some flexibility in the timing of these road trips, so if that is the case, one could choose not to drive in the snow or when heavy snow is forecasted.
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dm200
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Re: car for long-distance driving

Post by dm200 » Sun Jun 24, 2018 9:36 am

It has been a few years, but we used to drive north in the winter every year - and my opinion is/was that all weather tires and front wheel drive was fine in just about everything we encountered.

cu_
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Re: car for long-distance driving

Post by cu_ » Sun Jun 24, 2018 12:58 pm

Get one of the newer model cars with adaptive cruise control (different manufacturers have different names). Basically it lets you set the speed and the car slows down automatically if the car ahead of you slows down. Makes a huge difference on how tired you are after the drive. If you are going to drive that long distances on regular basis, you will get full utilization of whatever extra you pay of this feature.

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Re: car for long-distance driving

Post by RudyS » Sun Jun 24, 2018 3:37 pm

dm200 wrote:
Sun Jun 24, 2018 9:36 am
It has been a few years, but we used to drive north in the winter every year - and my opinion is/was that all weather tires and front wheel drive was fine in just about everything we encountered.
AWD would be better still.

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Re: car for long-distance driving

Post by randomguy » Sun Jun 24, 2018 3:56 pm

RudyS wrote:
Sun Jun 24, 2018 3:37 pm
dm200 wrote:
Sun Jun 24, 2018 9:36 am
It has been a few years, but we used to drive north in the winter every year - and my opinion is/was that all weather tires and front wheel drive was fine in just about everything we encountered.
AWD would be better still.
And snow tires would be even better. Maybe chains depending on where you are at. But on average all seasons and FWD is plenty to get you where you want to go. The ability to accelerate that AWD gives you is nice but far from essential. The big thing is things like stability control (i.e. pretty much any car in the last 10 years has it) for us bottom 95% drivers. I remember driving in the snow in the 80s/90s with snow tires and FWD cars and the occasional skid you hit was always a bit worrisome. If you didn't act you were in a ditch. Now a days the ESC light goes on and the car keeps on going straight. As long as you are not going to fast or tailgating, you are fine.

If you really need to go through 4" of unplowed snow, then none of the above applies. I doubt the OP is in that boat.

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Re: car for long-distance driving

Post by RudyS » Sun Jun 24, 2018 8:20 pm

randomguy wrote:
Sun Jun 24, 2018 3:56 pm
RudyS wrote:
Sun Jun 24, 2018 3:37 pm
dm200 wrote:
Sun Jun 24, 2018 9:36 am
It has been a few years, but we used to drive north in the winter every year - and my opinion is/was that all weather tires and front wheel drive was fine in just about everything we encountered.
AWD would be better still.
And snow tires would be even better. Maybe chains depending on where you are at. But on average all seasons and FWD is plenty to get you where you want to go. The ability to accelerate that AWD gives you is nice but far from essential. The big thing is things like stability control (i.e. pretty much any car in the last 10 years has it) for us bottom 95% drivers. I remember driving in the snow in the 80s/90s with snow tires and FWD cars and the occasional skid you hit was always a bit worrisome. If you didn't act you were in a ditch. Now a days the ESC light goes on and the car keeps on going straight. As long as you are not going to fast or tailgating, you are fine.

If you really need to go through 4" of unplowed snow, then none of the above applies. I doubt the OP is in that boat.
It all depends on where/when you drive. With 4" of unplowed snow, my 2015 Subaru Outback with AWD and all-season tires has no problem. But where it really is useful is getting through the ridges that the snowplows leave at ends of driveways. We deliver meals on wheels in Michigan. I guess that's not a typical situation though.

Someone above mentioned gas mileage. That car can get me 30 mpg on the highway if I stay within the speed limit.

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Re: car for long-distance driving

Post by atomicrc11 » Sun Jun 24, 2018 8:37 pm

My long distance driver is a 2014 Chevrolet Cruze Diesel. It is rated at 46mpg highway and with a 15gallon tank I can easily get 600 miles plus on a tank. With an all highway tank and few stops you can hit 700 miles. You could pick up a used 2014-2015 in your price range or if you wanted get a 2017 or 2018. The car drives wonderfully on the highway and especially with 2017+ models you cannot tell that it is a diesel.

If you prefer an SUV, the Chevrolet Equinox also comes with a Diesel engine option which would get you 40mpg highway. Depending on how you drive either vehicle you can exceed the rated MPG.

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Re: car for long-distance driving

Post by cfs » Sun Jun 24, 2018 8:49 pm

I do my monthly drive from home to home in two different states using rented cars, average miles driven during my trips around 1200. I have a good place to rent my cars. Good luck y gracias por leer / cfs
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Re: car for long-distance driving

Post by keepingitsimple » Sun Jun 24, 2018 8:53 pm

sport wrote:
Sat Jun 23, 2018 2:29 pm
I would not buy a hybrid for this. My understanding is that the big mileage advantage for a hybrid is city driving. On the highway, conventional engines do almost as well. The new Camrys are rated 41 mpg on the highway. It is a comfortable and reliable car. It does not pay to get a late model used one as they cost nearly as much as new.
I have been very happy with my 2017 Prius Four Touring and recommend it as a consideration (though I agree with others that the rental suggestion may prove a viable option). My current mpg for daily driving is 63-67, which is a combination of highway and city driving. I have also driven to the beach via the interstate (about an 8 hour trip) and averaged 61 mpg. My mpg somehow exceeds the EPA estimates and this mpg is without any special driving techniques or modifications. When the weather was cold, I averaged around 52-55 mpg. So I wouldn't personally discount the benefit of a hybrid. It's kind of fun to fill up at the gas station and see what range the car says you'll have until your next fill up. After filling up the other day, the car range indicator said 613 miles.

Edit: Just noted the OP's stated purchase price range. A quick search on carmax.com showed previously owned Toyota Prius' being available within the the price range for varying model years.

thangngo
Posts: 1047
Joined: Sun Feb 26, 2017 2:08 pm

Re: car for long-distance driving

Post by thangngo » Sun Jun 24, 2018 9:02 pm

azumagaoka wrote:
Sat Jun 23, 2018 11:18 am
Hi all, I'm looking to buy a car as I will need to drive from Champaign, IL to Charlottesville, VA about once every month starting this fall.
This would be a 11-hour drive so I want to make sure I will get an appropriate vehicle.
To experienced boglehead drivers, Would a Honda Fit be a capable choice?
I am also looking at a Subaru Impreza, as AWD seem to be a good choice for Midwest weather conditions, albeit the fuel economy is not as good.
Or perhaps Toyota's Camry hybrid? (although a new one would be a bit over my price range).

Finally, I am also wondering if you would choose to buy new or used for this purpose.
It will be my first car purchase in the U.S. so any thoughts and possibilities are appreciated!
I would consider flying if the ticket is cheap enough.

I enjoy road trip too, but not 11 hours drive every month. I typically do two 3,000+ miles road trip per year.

But if you're set on driving, just use your car to drive until it cannot do it anymore. I don't see a reason why you have to buy a car if you already have a car.

motorcyclesarecool
Posts: 465
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Re: car for long-distance driving

Post by motorcyclesarecool » Sun Jun 24, 2018 9:49 pm

azumagaoka wrote:
Sat Jun 23, 2018 11:18 am
I am also looking at a Subaru Impreza, as AWD seem to be a good choice for Midwest weather conditions, albeit the fuel economy is not as good
AWD cannot help your car to decelerate. Midwestern roads are straight and flat. AWD is for twisty, unplowed, unpaved roads where there is risk of getting stuck. Highway driving in midwestern winter far from the Great Lakes is a non-event. I might consider AWD for the first part of your trip crossing the Appalachians, if it even snows that far south, but once you’ve hit Ohio? Fugeddaboudit. Get winter tires for winter use. The marginal utility of AWD beyond that for your application approaches zero, and may lead to overconfidence.

You’ll want to make the 680 mile trip in as few stops as possible. I’d want a car with good fuel economy and maximum fuel range. Cars to consider: (range numbers per Cars.com)
-Chevy Cruze Diesel with 6-speed manual transmission. 702 Miles.
-Kia Optima Hybrid 729 Miles.
Their #1 car is a Jaguar diesel, probably out of your price range.
Understand that choosing an HDHP is very much a "red pill" approach. Most would rather pay higher premiums for a $20 copay per visit. They will think you weird for choosing an HSA.

HJG0989
Posts: 144
Joined: Sat Oct 13, 2007 2:18 pm

Re: car for long-distance driving

Post by HJG0989 » Sun Jun 24, 2018 10:17 pm

We test drove a lot of cars and settled on a 2014 Subaru Outback for cross country road trips (good in snow, big enough to feel safe on the highway and a comfortable ride) and a 2015 Honda Fit for the city (small enough to park and fun to drive).

We are happy with our decisions.

lazydavid
Posts: 1631
Joined: Wed Apr 06, 2016 1:37 pm

Re: car for long-distance driving

Post by lazydavid » Mon Jun 25, 2018 9:21 am

FireFool wrote:
Sat Jun 23, 2018 2:45 pm
Be careful with this advice - most credit cards provide collision coverage for the rental vehicle (i.e. with the right credit card you don't need to buy CDW from the rental company) - you still need a form of liability coverage. If you own a vehicle that has liability coverage that coverage transfers over to temporary (under 30 days) rental vehicles. Likewise if you have Comprehensive & Collision coverage that too will tranfer, but in lieu of having that coverage many CC's will provide that coverage. If you don't have an insured vehicle of your own you will either need to purchase liability coverage through the rental company or purchase a non-owner/named operator policy for when you might rent vehicles. If you rent a vehicle every month it may be cheaper to get the non-owner policy for the liability coverage than paying the rental company each time.
I carry UNOC even though I only rent a couple of times per year. It costs me $30/year, covers my deductible and any BS rental agency charges should anything ever happen while I'm renting.

I'll echo the suggestions by others to rent, and also advise against the Fit. I would intentionally drive myself into an abutment if I took regular 11 hour trips in something that noisy. Look for something comfortable and quiet. A used Lexus ES, Toyota Avalon, Acura RLX, Hyundai Azera or Genesis would be where I'd start.

lazydavid
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Joined: Wed Apr 06, 2016 1:37 pm

Re: car for long-distance driving

Post by lazydavid » Mon Jun 25, 2018 9:35 am

nicad2000 wrote:
Sat Jun 23, 2018 3:55 pm
I am about to take an 800 mile road trip in my BMW 535i and am looking forward to it. 30 mpg too.
Funny, I just got back yesterday from an 830-mile roundtrip in my BMW 335d, and other than very much wishing I had adaptive cruise control, it was a fantastic drive. Got 506 miles on one tank, which included 2 days of city driving at my destination. That works out to 33.2mpg on ultra wide summer max performance tires--would have been even better (and even quieter) on typical all-seasons. Firm, supportive seats and quiet power makes for an incredibly easy drive.

Have another 500+ mile trip to look forward to this weekend (summer tournament season for my son's club Lacrosse team). Might try to make it there and back on a single tank. :mrgreen:

andypanda
Posts: 69
Joined: Sun Nov 12, 2017 9:11 pm
Location: Richmond, Virginia

Re: car for long-distance driving

Post by andypanda » Mon Jun 25, 2018 9:56 am

"AWD for the first part of your trip crossing the Appalachians, if it even snows that far south,"

HAHAHAHAHAHA. Stop it, you're killing me. The worst part of the winter - even in Richmond - is that the snow isn't as bad as the ice layer under it, over it or in place of it. Or the driver's with no clue how to proceed.

Sometimes C-ville even gets a couple of feet at once. I still have family there - they stay home and leave the foolishness to the UVA students. From 2009.

Image

The AWD or 4WD is for when you get to where you're going and have to deal with the unplowed and untreated side streets and parking lots. I think Richmond has 3 dump trucks with plow blades, but we're 70 miles east of Charlottesville and 100 or so east of I-81. That's the joke about Richmond anyway... 3 plows.

From the City website...

"Removing snow from city streets is a service provided by Street Maintenance. When snow removal becomes necessary, city crews work around the clock to improve travel conditions on major transportation routes, allowing emergency services, education, and commerce to continue with minimal interruption. Residents should understand that snow removal is a public safety initiative. The program is not designed to provide convenient road conditions for extensive travel throughout the city."

Atilla
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Joined: Tue Feb 09, 2010 7:44 pm

Re: car for long-distance driving

Post by Atilla » Mon Jun 25, 2018 10:09 am

I do a fair amount of driving for work - sometimes 300+ miles a day. Picked up a low mileage used Infiniti M37X - for under $25,000. Comfort is VERY good - I'm not stiff at all climbing out of the car after a few hours driving.

Gas mileage is not the best you will get, but I see 26MPG highway regularly and it's a car on the larger side. Plus it's got all wheel drive for bad winter weather.

If quiet comfort is your goal, look for a used M37 or Q70. They are the same car and used prices are very reasonable for a car that sells for $50,000+ brand new.
The Village Idiot - here for your entertainment.

randomguy
Posts: 5800
Joined: Wed Sep 17, 2014 9:00 am

Re: car for long-distance driving

Post by randomguy » Mon Jun 25, 2018 11:13 am

andypanda wrote:
Mon Jun 25, 2018 9:56 am
"AWD for the first part of your trip crossing the Appalachians, if it even snows that far south,"

HAHAHAHAHAHA. Stop it, you're killing me. The worst part of the winter - even in Richmond - is that the snow isn't as bad as the ice layer under it, over it or in place of it. Or the driver's with no clue how to proceed.

Sometimes C-ville even gets a couple of feet at once. I still have family there - they stay home and leave the foolishness to the UVA students. From 2009.

Image

The AWD or 4WD is for when you get to where you're going and have to deal with the unplowed and untreated side streets and parking lots. I think Richmond has 3 dump trucks with plow blades, but we're 70 miles east of Charlottesville and 100 or so east of I-81. That's the joke about Richmond anyway... 3 plows.

From the City website...

"Removing snow from city streets is a service provided by Street Maintenance. When snow removal becomes necessary, city crews work around the clock to improve travel conditions on major transportation routes, allowing emergency services, education, and commerce to continue with minimal interruption. Residents should understand that snow removal is a public safety initiative. The program is not designed to provide convenient road conditions for extensive travel throughout the city."

There are two ways of reading this
a) They are totally unprepared for snow so you better buy a car that handles it
b) It snows so infrequently that they don't bother to prepare for it. In the rare event that it happens, schedule around it it.

I live in a midatlantic state and laugh about how snow storms shut it down while those same storms up in the midwest wouldn't even have canceled school much less shut them down for a week. It is all about if the location is prepared for or not.

In the OP case a lot comes down to flexibility. Most of the driving will be on highways. Outside of a the hours of when it is snowing, those roads will be driveable with just about anything. If you can tweak your arrival departure dates by a day or two to adapt, weather is a nonissue. AWD (and ground clearance) definitely helps in certain cases. Deciding if those cases happen enough to pay the AWD tax is up to you to figure out.

As far as range, I wish I could drive 400 miles without stoping:) The car is not my limiting factor.....

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