Bigger car, less economical but more safe.. Get used to smaller car over time?

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kjvmartin
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Bigger car, less economical but more safe.. Get used to smaller car over time?

Post by kjvmartin » Thu May 16, 2019 5:33 pm

I am coming out of a Equinox lease and our other family car is a minivan.

Previously my cars have always been midsize sedans. Chevrolets, Mazdas, etc. My intent was and may be still to purchase a more economical commuter. I test drove a Civic, Accord, Elantra, Sonata, Camry, Mazda3, Mazda6, Corolla, and Camry. I'm nothing if not thorough about figuring this out. I've noticed a huge uptick in the average size of vehicles around me during my 2 hours of round trip commuting each day (this is a newer job).

I really noticed this from the drivers seat of a Honda Civic. It seems like only about 10% of the vehicles in my area are actual cars anymore. Pickups, SUVs, Crossovers, Minivans. I never used to feel like safety was a major concern in a smaller vehicle, but it just seems like in the event of a crash I would be much more likely to be on the... squished... end of the accident. Is this unreasonable? The average cost for the SUV market is significantly higher than for a comparably equipped sedan. Has anyone switched out of an SUV to a car and actually felt comfortable again?

kjvm

Jags4186
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Re: Bigger car, less economical but more safe.. Get used to smaller car over time?

Post by Jags4186 » Thu May 16, 2019 5:39 pm

kjvmartin wrote:
Thu May 16, 2019 5:33 pm
I am coming out of a Equinox lease and our other family car is a minivan.

Previously my cars have always been midsize sedans. Chevrolets, Mazdas, etc. My intent was and may be still to purchase a more economical commuter. I test drove a Civic, Accord, Elantra, Sonata, Camry, Mazda3, Mazda6, Corolla, and Camry. I'm nothing if not thorough about figuring this out. I've noticed a huge uptick in the average size of vehicles around me during my 2 hours of round trip commuting each day (this is a newer job).

I really noticed this from the drivers seat of a Honda Civic. It seems like only about 10% of the vehicles in my area are actual cars anymore. Pickups, SUVs, Crossovers, Minivans. I never used to feel like safety was a major concern in a smaller vehicle, but it just seems like in the event of a crash I would be much more likely to be on the... squished... end of the accident. Is this unreasonable? The average cost for the SUV market is significantly higher than for a comparably equipped sedan. Has anyone switched out of an SUV to a car and actually felt comfortable again?

kjvm
I feel very uncomfortable driving big SUVs. In fact, the worst driving experience I ever had was renting an Infiniti QX80 and driving it for about 400 miles. A big 6000lb SUV. I never felt like I had good handle on how much traction the vehicle had, and the body roll was ridiculous. I much prefer smaller cars where you sit very low to the ground. I love my Honda Civic.

bryanm
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Re: Bigger car, less economical but more safe.. Get used to smaller car over time?

Post by bryanm » Thu May 16, 2019 5:52 pm

Your intuition is correct: smaller cars are "more dangerous" in the average crash. See, for example, this study which found that "the fatal accident rate is inversely proportional to vehicle size."

I drive a small car (a Leaf), and drove larger cars in the past. You do get used to it, but that doesn't mean it's actually safer. That said, I view it as an arms race, and have personal reasons not to continue that race and instead to drive a smaller (greener) car.

One interesting factor that the study doesn't address is tendency to get into an accident in different cars. I have no hard data, but I suspect that in my Leaf, with all of it's 2018 bells-and-whistles, I'm much less likely to get into an accident than in my old Ford truck. Perhaps that evens out the safety issue.

zeep
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Compact SUV vs MidSize Sedan

Post by zeep » Thu May 16, 2019 6:12 pm

One thing I have wondered about is the impact of height vs. weight. That is, say a compact SUV vs a midsize sedan.

My guess is that basic physics says weight has more of an impact, absent poor design.

I was originally looking at midsize sedans, but have started looking at compact SUVs/CUVs for the higher seating position even though I don't need the cargo capacity or an SUV otherwise.

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Re: Compact SUV vs MidSize Sedan

Post by foamypirate » Thu May 16, 2019 6:26 pm

zeep wrote:
Thu May 16, 2019 6:12 pm
One thing I have wondered about is the impact of height vs. weight. That is, say a compact SUV vs a midsize sedan.

My guess is that basic physics says weight has more of an impact, absent poor design.

I was originally looking at midsize sedans, but have started looking at compact SUVs/CUVs for the higher seating position even though I don't need the cargo capacity or an SUV otherwise.
I certainly think that height does play a factor as well. The thought goes through my head a lot when I drive my Corvette, while I'm sitting next to a bunch of big trucks and vans in traffic, about what a t-bone accident would look like. I'd pretty much get a bumper straight to the head...

Granted, a Corvette would be an extreme example, and doesn't have a strong b-pillar like a regular sedan would, so not exactly apples to apples.

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AAA
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Re: Bigger car, less economical but more safe.. Get used to smaller car over time?

Post by AAA » Thu May 16, 2019 6:28 pm

The website https://informedforlife.org addresses a lot of auto safety issues and its ratings appear to give a lot of weight (no pun intended) to vehicle weight.

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Watty
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Re: Bigger car, less economical but more safe.. Get used to smaller car over time?

Post by Watty » Thu May 16, 2019 6:38 pm

It is hard to really generalize some big cars have bad statistics and some smaller cars are better than you might expect.

Here is a website where you can look up the driver death rates for different models that can give you some insight into which cars are safer.

https://www.iihs.org/ratings/driver-dea ... -and-model

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Re: Bigger car, less economical but more safe.. Get used to smaller car over time?

Post by thx1138 » Thu May 16, 2019 6:57 pm

Mass almost always helps in a collision. Too much mass too high can increase the chance of a roll over though. On the other hand I really don't like having pick-up truck bumpers pointed at my head and under-run collisions with trailers are about as deadly a collision as you can be in. So on the balance I prefer a heavier vehicle than a midsize sedan and one that is a bit higher as well. The various cross-over SUVs (e.g. Forester) fit the bill pretty well for me.

As to a commuting vehicle of course as far as cost savings goes that's where you'd be tempted to save money with a smaller vehicle. But of course that is also when you do your most driving and are most likely to be in an accident.

I view it from a mini-max optimization view. I'm happy to pay a bit more in expenses for a larger, safer vehicle. And I hope I'm never in a collision where it matters. Sort of like insurance but of course more important as insurance can repair long term injuries or bring you back to life. Same reason I'd never get on a motorcycle and I'd never attempt a bike commute mixed in with vehicular traffic.

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kjvmartin
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Re: Bigger car, less economical but more safe.. Get used to smaller car over time?

Post by kjvmartin » Thu May 16, 2019 7:53 pm

thx1138 wrote:
Thu May 16, 2019 6:57 pm
Mass almost always helps in a collision. Too much mass too high can increase the chance of a roll over though. On the other hand I really don't like having pick-up truck bumpers pointed at my head and under-run collisions with trailers are about as deadly a collision as you can be in. So on the balance I prefer a heavier vehicle than a midsize sedan and one that is a bit higher as well. The various cross-over SUVs (e.g. Forester) fit the bill pretty well for me.

As to a commuting vehicle of course as far as cost savings goes that's where you'd be tempted to save money with a smaller vehicle. But of course that is also when you do your most driving and are most likely to be in an accident.

I view it from a mini-max optimization view. I'm happy to pay a bit more in expenses for a larger, safer vehicle. And I hope I'm never in a collision where it matters. Sort of like insurance but of course more important as insurance can repair long term injuries or bring you back to life. Same reason I'd never get on a motorcycle and I'd never attempt a bike commute mixed in with vehicular traffic.
I’m with you there. Trying to find the best overall value for a small to midsize SUV or crossover now. I just used to wonder to myself “why all the bigger vehicles?” until I actually drove one. I suppose I’m more of a conformist than I thought.

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Re: Bigger car, less economical but more safe.. Get used to smaller car over time?

Post by RJC » Thu May 16, 2019 7:59 pm

Is there any truth to this table from a MMM blog post?

Image

It seems to say that mid to full-size cars are generally safer than SUVs.

The full blog is here: http://www.mrmoneymustache.com/2012/06/ ... -illusion/

thx1138
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Re: Bigger car, less economical but more safe.. Get used to smaller car over time?

Post by thx1138 » Thu May 16, 2019 8:09 pm

More comprehensive and up to date data than the MMM post:

Image

Image

Images from https://informedforlife.org/viewartcl.php?index=83

The IIHS has many publications on this. Heavier and higher is generally better.

Be aware older stats do show SUVs as less safe than you’d expect because many years ago SUVs didn’t have to meet a variety of safety standards cars did. Not so anymore.
Last edited by thx1138 on Thu May 16, 2019 8:12 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Bigger car, less economical but more safe.. Get used to smaller car over time?

Post by stoptothink » Thu May 16, 2019 8:11 pm

RJC wrote:
Thu May 16, 2019 7:59 pm
Is there any truth to this table from a MMM blog post?

Image

It seems to say that cars are generally safer than SUVs.

The full blog is here: http://www.mrmoneymustache.com/2012/06/ ... -illusion/
That's not in fact the conclusion of that blog at all. That being said, I 100% agree with the sentiment. The chances of dying in a car accident are miniscule and the delta regarding deaths by different vehicles isn't all that significant. I also hate driving land barges. I'll take my chances and save the many tens of thousands of dollars by driving a smaller car. By minimizing my driving, I am decreasing my chances of dying in a car accident by an exponentially larger factor.

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Re: Bigger car, less economical but more safe.. Get used to smaller car over time?

Post by RJC » Thu May 16, 2019 8:17 pm

stoptothink wrote:
Thu May 16, 2019 8:11 pm
RJC wrote:
Thu May 16, 2019 7:59 pm
Is there any truth to this table from a MMM blog post?

Image

It seems to say that cars are generally safer than SUVs.

The full blog is here: http://www.mrmoneymustache.com/2012/06/ ... -illusion/
That's not in fact the conclusion of that blog at all. That being said, I 100% agree with the sentiment. The chances of dying in a car accident are miniscule and the delta regarding deaths by different vehicles isn't all that significant. I also hate driving land barges. I'll take my chances and save the many tens of thousands of dollars by driving a smaller car. By minimizing my driving, I am decreasing my chances of dying in a car accident by an exponentially larger factor.
It's not at all? The blog says:

"The measurement is a little different, since this chart compares fatalities per 100,000 vehicles instead of per mile. But we can still reasonably estimate that my subcompact car is about 16.85/12.34 = 37% more dangerous than a full-size SUV. (also note that midsize cars are safer than SUVs of any type, further proving that the S is for Sucka)."

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Re: Bigger car, less economical but more safe.. Get used to smaller car over time?

Post by sk2101 » Thu May 16, 2019 8:24 pm

RJC wrote:
Thu May 16, 2019 7:59 pm
Is there any truth to this table from a MMM blog post?

Image

It seems to say that mid to full-size cars are generally safer than SUVs.

The full blog is here: http://www.mrmoneymustache.com/2012/06/ ... -illusion/
dont know, but it does not agree with what the IIHS says:
https://www.iihs.org/topics/fatality-st ... -occupants

stoptothink
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Re: Bigger car, less economical but more safe.. Get used to smaller car over time?

Post by stoptothink » Thu May 16, 2019 8:25 pm

RJC wrote:
Thu May 16, 2019 8:17 pm
stoptothink wrote:
Thu May 16, 2019 8:11 pm
RJC wrote:
Thu May 16, 2019 7:59 pm
Is there any truth to this table from a MMM blog post?

Image

It seems to say that cars are generally safer than SUVs.

The full blog is here: http://www.mrmoneymustache.com/2012/06/ ... -illusion/
That's not in fact the conclusion of that blog at all. That being said, I 100% agree with the sentiment. The chances of dying in a car accident are miniscule and the delta regarding deaths by different vehicles isn't all that significant. I also hate driving land barges. I'll take my chances and save the many tens of thousands of dollars by driving a smaller car. By minimizing my driving, I am decreasing my chances of dying in a car accident by an exponentially larger factor.
It's not at all? The blog says:

"The measurement is a little different, since this chart compares fatalities per 100,000 vehicles instead of per mile. But we can still reasonably estimate that my subcompact car is about 16.85/12.34 = 37% more dangerous than a full-size SUV. (also note that midsize cars are safer than SUVs of any type, further proving that the S is for Sucka)."
I think we are just looking at it from a slightly different angle. Either way, I simply don't understand those who feel the need to drive huge SUVs or buy new cars every few years because of the safety angle; the delta in risk is so small that it just doesn't make sense (to me). I can think of a million more cost effective ways to decrease my chances of early death, and driving these huge vehicles sucks.

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Re: Bigger car, less economical but more safe.. Get used to smaller car over time?

Post by ssquared87 » Thu May 16, 2019 9:07 pm

Based on all the articles I’ve read and iihs information it seems midsize (accord, Camry, Mazda 6) is a good blend of safety and economy. Keep in mind these aren’t small cars at all. The current civic which you test drove is roughly the size of a 2003 accord.

As to your question of getting used to it...yes you do. I had a 2011 bmw 328. After it was totaled, I switched into a 98 M3 which is much smaller. The first 2 weeks or so I felt very intimidated on the road. After that it didn’t bother me.

One more thing to consider. Size/weight is important in a collision, but materials and crumple zone is also very important. When my 2011 BMW 328 weighing 3.5klbs was hit, I was at a dead standstill and rear ended by a 28k lbs box truck. The truck was traveling in excess of 45mph and pushed me into a pickup truck. There was no damage at all to the passenger compartment. The cop on the scene said I was lucky I wasn’t driving a car with lower grade steel as the passenger compartments on cheaper cars use lower strength steel in the passenger cage. After doing research on it, I found that BMW, Volvo and Mercedes use a much higher percentage of boron steel in their chassis than Toyota or Ford or Chevy. Just an anectdote from my personal experience take it with a grain of salt, but I’m very glad I was not sitting in a Prius when that truck hit me. Nevertheless the car was totaled and I ended up needing back surgery but it could have been far worse.

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Re: Bigger car, less economical but more safe.. Get used to smaller car over time?

Post by skierrex » Thu May 16, 2019 9:32 pm

https://www.iihs.org/ratings/driver-dea ... -and-model

The overall driver death rate for all 2014 and equivalent models during 2012-15 was 30 deaths per million registered vehicle years. Eleven models had driver death rates of zero. The highest death rate was 104 for the Hyundai Accent, a four-door minicar.

By comparison, a 2014 Honda Odyssey has a death rate of 8 deaths per million registered vehicle years.

When I bought my minivan, I believe it had the lowest death rate. It looks like the Audi A6 has it beat now!

Why save money if you aren't going to live to spend it?

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Re: Bigger car, less economical but more safe.. Get used to smaller car over time?

Post by randomguy » Thu May 16, 2019 10:06 pm

RJC wrote:
Thu May 16, 2019 7:59 pm
Is there any truth to this table from a MMM blog post?

Image

It seems to say that mid to full-size cars are generally safer than SUVs.

The full blog is here: http://www.mrmoneymustache.com/2012/06/ ... -illusion/
MMM has an ax to grind on subjects and manipulates numbers to get the conclusion he wants. SUVs in 2004 were more dangerious than cars. It isn't 2004 and the rollover issues that those SUVs haven't been an issue for over a decade.

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Re: Bigger car, less economical but more safe.. Get used to smaller car over time?

Post by Starfish » Fri May 17, 2019 12:13 am

Watty wrote:
Thu May 16, 2019 6:38 pm
It is hard to really generalize some big cars have bad statistics and some smaller cars are better than you might expect.

Here is a website where you can look up the driver death rates for different models that can give you some insight into which cars are safer.

https://www.iihs.org/ratings/driver-dea ... -and-model
Data is good but you have to make sure you compare apples with apples.
The type of car has a self selected group of drivers.
For example I am willing to bet that Acura TSX or VW CC drivers have less change of driving drunk or high 30 miles over the speed limit than Chrysler 200 drivers.
Also in a minivan you can stick (and kill) a lot of people. And probably with 3 screaming kinds in the back is not the safest driving experience.

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Re: Bigger car, less economical but more safe.. Get used to smaller car over time?

Post by Starfish » Fri May 17, 2019 12:19 am

RJC wrote:
Thu May 16, 2019 7:59 pm
Is there any truth to this table from a MMM blog post?

Image

It seems to say that mid to full-size cars are generally safer than SUVs.

The full blog is here: http://www.mrmoneymustache.com/2012/06/ ... -illusion/
Yes and no.
SUVs in 2004 were horrible. SUVs nowadays are much safer.
However SUVs still lack a lot in active safety (maneuvering, avoidance, braking, acceleration, agility). But in an accident with a small car they win. They might not have the same advantage against a medium or large sedan.
randomguy wrote:
Thu May 16, 2019 10:06 pm

MMM has an ax to grind on subjects and manipulates numbers to get the conclusion he wants. SUVs in 2004 were more dangerious than cars. It isn't 2004 and the rollover issues that those SUVs haven't been an issue for over a decade.
Why, they know how to manipulate gravity?
It's simple physics: tall SUV has higher center of gravity, bigger tires, softer suspension so it's easier to roll over.
It is true that it's much less of an issue but still inferior to a good car.
Last edited by Starfish on Fri May 17, 2019 4:59 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Bigger car, less economical but more safe.. Get used to smaller car over time?

Post by bottlecap » Fri May 17, 2019 1:03 am

These posts are always fun to listen in. Everyone can make the data say what they want. The driver is still the most important thing. Look ahead, anticipate, don't make quick moves.

I would be very skeptical of 15 year old data because, well, an easy google search tells you how much things have changed and how useless it is.

Moreover, fatality rates for individual models vary wildly, so some SUVs beat some cars and vice versa. I don’t know about you, but I don’t drive an amalgamation of all the vehicles in my vehicle's class - I drive a very specific one. If I am worried about safety, I better worry about that one and not the averages.

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Re: Bigger car, less economical but more safe.. Get used to smaller car over time?

Post by Valuethinker » Fri May 17, 2019 2:19 am

kjvmartin wrote:
Thu May 16, 2019 5:33 pm
I am coming out of a Equinox lease and our other family car is a minivan.

Previously my cars have always been midsize sedans. Chevrolets, Mazdas, etc. My intent was and may be still to purchase a more economical commuter. I test drove a Civic, Accord, Elantra, Sonata, Camry, Mazda3, Mazda6, Corolla, and Camry. I'm nothing if not thorough about figuring this out. I've noticed a huge uptick in the average size of vehicles around me during my 2 hours of round trip commuting each day (this is a newer job).

I really noticed this from the drivers seat of a Honda Civic. It seems like only about 10% of the vehicles in my area are actual cars anymore. Pickups, SUVs, Crossovers, Minivans. I never used to feel like safety was a major concern in a smaller vehicle, but it just seems like in the event of a crash I would be much more likely to be on the... squished... end of the accident. Is this unreasonable? The average cost for the SUV market is significantly higher than for a comparably equipped sedan. Has anyone switched out of an SUV to a car and actually felt comfortable again?

kjvm
It's not really resolvable, I don't think - we just throw stats at each other.

You may wish to drive a Crossover vehicle - a couple of friends have Subarus, also the Toyota Hybrid RAV4 is quite good (a couple of friends have bought those). That seems a reasonable compromise on the size v. safety wars.

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Re: Bigger car, less economical but more safe.. Get used to smaller car over time?

Post by KenBen40 » Fri May 17, 2019 6:37 am

I feel safer driving a midsize car than a van. Though, small vehicles also carry little credibility.

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Re: Bigger car, less economical but more safe.. Get used to smaller car over time?

Post by tadamsmar » Fri May 17, 2019 7:18 am

RJC wrote:
Thu May 16, 2019 7:59 pm
Is there any truth to this table from a MMM blog post?

Image

It seems to say that mid to full-size cars are generally safer than SUVs.

The full blog is here: http://www.mrmoneymustache.com/2012/06/ ... -illusion/
That's 2004 data. Since 2004, all vehicles have introduced a feature called stability control. This made all vehicles much less likely to roll over so it changed the SUV vs cars equation.

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Re: Bigger car, less economical but more safe.. Get used to smaller car over time?

Post by Jack FFR1846 » Fri May 17, 2019 7:22 am

Starfish wrote:
Fri May 17, 2019 12:19 am
Why, they know how to manipulate gravity?
It's simple physics: tall SUV has higher center of gravity, bigger tires, softer suspension so it's easier to roll over.
It is through that it's much less of an issue but still inferior to a good car.
There is no longer a Suzuki Samuri kind of narrow track, high, extremely short wheel base vehicle out there anymore. So physics laws remain (whew!). If you look at Jeep (now Wrangler) CJ to YJ to TJ to JK to JL, the track gets much wider and wheel base follows. So designs were changed to reduce rollover incidents. Certainly I agree that SUVs have a higher center of gravity than cars do. They also don't handle as well, so like the old Audi vs Volvo commercial, while the Volvo has great safety features to protect the passengers when it hits the barrier, the Audi, with its superior handling drives around the barrier.
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Re: Bigger car, less economical but more safe.. Get used to smaller car over time?

Post by Colorado13 » Fri May 17, 2019 7:52 am

Sample of 1: I did the opposite: drove a small/midsize SUV and no longer like driving cars. I prefer sitting up higher and having better visibility of traffic around me, which feels safer to me when so many other vehicles are also larger/not small-car sized. There is minimal trade-off vs. a car in terms of gas mileage with some of the economical SUVs.

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Re: Bigger car, less economical but more safe.. Get used to smaller car over time?

Post by sunny_socal » Fri May 17, 2019 8:13 am

Just get an SUV and be done with it. Toyota Highlander for the win.

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Re: Bigger car, less economical but more safe.. Get used to smaller car over time?

Post by Nowizard » Fri May 17, 2019 8:19 am

Some, larger vehicles are quite economical in terms of reliability, mileage and expense (Repairs and insurance). Our Odyssey, for example, is currently getting 5+ mpg with regular unleaded and is extremely reliable. Not sporty, particularly since our children are adults, but it can serve to carry many things from Home Depot/Lowe's/Grocery, etc. and is good for excursions and taking several people to social events. Not ideal for those more subject to latest style or who like a more prestige appearance.

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Re: Bigger car, less economical but more safe.. Get used to smaller car over time?

Post by 22twain » Fri May 17, 2019 8:46 am

Nowizard wrote:
Fri May 17, 2019 8:19 am
Some, larger vehicles are quite economical in terms of reliability, mileage and expense (Repairs and insurance). Our Odyssey, for example, is currently getting 5+ mpg [...]
Did you leave out a digit there? :shock:
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Re: Bigger car, less economical but more safe.. Get used to smaller car over time?

Post by dbr » Fri May 17, 2019 9:04 am

I went to CSUV over sedan because current design sedans are too hard to see out of and too hard to enter/exit. An additional benefit is higher clearance helpful when the snow gets deeper. Fuel economy is of no consequence as our annual mileage is too low for an effect.

The weight effect on risk of death and injury to occupants is just unavoidable physics among many factors involved.

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Re: Bigger car, less economical but more safe.. Get used to smaller car over time?

Post by H-Town » Fri May 17, 2019 9:09 am

kjvmartin wrote:
Thu May 16, 2019 5:33 pm
I am coming out of a Equinox lease and our other family car is a minivan.

Previously my cars have always been midsize sedans. Chevrolets, Mazdas, etc. My intent was and may be still to purchase a more economical commuter. I test drove a Civic, Accord, Elantra, Sonata, Camry, Mazda3, Mazda6, Corolla, and Camry. I'm nothing if not thorough about figuring this out. I've noticed a huge uptick in the average size of vehicles around me during my 2 hours of round trip commuting each day (this is a newer job).

I really noticed this from the drivers seat of a Honda Civic. It seems like only about 10% of the vehicles in my area are actual cars anymore. Pickups, SUVs, Crossovers, Minivans. I never used to feel like safety was a major concern in a smaller vehicle, but it just seems like in the event of a crash I would be much more likely to be on the... squished... end of the accident. Is this unreasonable? The average cost for the SUV market is significantly higher than for a comparably equipped sedan. Has anyone switched out of an SUV to a car and actually felt comfortable again?

kjvm
It's a fallacy. Following this logic, you should drive no less than a tank. The car company has higher margin selling SUV than a sedan and they are feasting on an irrational fear of safety.

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Re: Bigger car, less economical but more safe.. Get used to smaller car over time?

Post by MI_bogle » Fri May 17, 2019 9:14 am

kjvmartin wrote:
Thu May 16, 2019 5:33 pm
I am coming out of a Equinox lease and our other family car is a minivan.

Previously my cars have always been midsize sedans. Chevrolets, Mazdas, etc. My intent was and may be still to purchase a more economical commuter. I test drove a Civic, Accord, Elantra, Sonata, Camry, Mazda3, Mazda6, Corolla, and Camry. I'm nothing if not thorough about figuring this out. I've noticed a huge uptick in the average size of vehicles around me during my 2 hours of round trip commuting each day (this is a newer job).

I really noticed this from the drivers seat of a Honda Civic. It seems like only about 10% of the vehicles in my area are actual cars anymore. Pickups, SUVs, Crossovers, Minivans. I never used to feel like safety was a major concern in a smaller vehicle, but it just seems like in the event of a crash I would be much more likely to be on the... squished... end of the accident. Is this unreasonable? The average cost for the SUV market is significantly higher than for a comparably equipped sedan. Has anyone switched out of an SUV to a car and actually felt comfortable again?

kjvm

From IIHS, per million vehicle years, the model years 2011-2014, the driver death rates are as follows:

Civic (39) Corolla (43), Elantra (44), Sonata (33), Camry (39). Couldn't find the Mazda 3 or 6 for some reason

That's in comparison to all car rate of 30

Compared to your Equinox at 23 for the 4WD and 33 for the 2WD

Importantly, the confidence intervals for most of these all overlap.

There is a substantial amount of variation in the number of cars of each model, and likely confounding variables such as driver behavior differs among brands, model type, and location. For example, one might posit that the driver behavior of a minivan owner may be slightly different than someone driving a Audi convertible. And that someone driving in northern Minnesota might have a different car choice and risk factors than that of southern Texas


And even more important IMO is to take the larger view picture and realize that the odds of getting into a serious crash are very low, and getting seriously injured or hurt are even lower still. Do not mistake relative difference for real world significance. A large relative difference between a very low probability event doesn't really mean a heck of a lot in the real world.

The reason nobody can ever agree in these threads is that in general folks find it difficult to accurately judge risk, and then even once risk is judged, have different opinions on how much a moderate reduction in risk is worth

Basically it boils down to if you want to spend potentially thousands more dollars to reduce risk of serious injury or death from minuscule to slightly more minuscule

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Re: Bigger car, less economical but more safe.. Get used to smaller car over time?

Post by dbr » Fri May 17, 2019 9:17 am

In any case the largest single variables affecting risk in auto accidents are driver behavior*, which is under your control, and exposure in miles in a vehicle per year, which is also under a person's control to a degree.

*alcohol/drug use, distracted driving, fatigue, reckless driving, inattention to conditions, poor education and training, physical impairments, age related deficiencies (younger drivers), failing to use seat belts, driving while committing/fleeing/chasing a crime etc.

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Re: Bigger car, less economical but more safe.. Get used to smaller car over time?

Post by Slacker » Fri May 17, 2019 9:40 am

dbr wrote:
Fri May 17, 2019 9:17 am
In any case the largest single variables affecting risk in auto accidents are driver behavior*, which is under your control, and exposure in miles in a vehicle per year, which is also under a person's control to a degree.

*alcohol/drug use, distracted driving, fatigue, reckless driving, inattention to conditions, poor education and training, physical impairments, age related deficiencies (younger drivers), failing to use seat belts, driving while committing/fleeing/chasing a crime etc.
Except the risk of drivers in other vehicles is not under your control so much...

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Re: Bigger car, less economical but more safe.. Get used to smaller car over time?

Post by Atilla » Fri May 17, 2019 9:44 am

I have always leaned toward larger vehicles for the safety factor. My ideal crumple zone is the other guy who hits me. :happy
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Re: Bigger car, less economical but more safe.. Get used to smaller car over time?

Post by FlyAF » Fri May 17, 2019 9:47 am

I live in TX where your manhood is based on the size of diesel truck you roll coal with. I drive a sedan and hope to baby jesus I never get in an accident.

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Re: Bigger car, less economical but more safe.. Get used to smaller car over time?

Post by dbr » Fri May 17, 2019 9:52 am

Slacker wrote:
Fri May 17, 2019 9:40 am
dbr wrote:
Fri May 17, 2019 9:17 am
In any case the largest single variables affecting risk in auto accidents are driver behavior*, which is under your control, and exposure in miles in a vehicle per year, which is also under a person's control to a degree.

*alcohol/drug use, distracted driving, fatigue, reckless driving, inattention to conditions, poor education and training, physical impairments, age related deficiencies (younger drivers), failing to use seat belts, driving while committing/fleeing/chasing a crime etc.
Except the risk of drivers in other vehicles is not under your control so much...
Yes, that is so.

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Re: Bigger car, less economical but more safe.. Get used to smaller car over time?

Post by randomguy » Fri May 17, 2019 10:18 am

Starfish wrote:
Fri May 17, 2019 12:19 am
randomguy wrote:
Thu May 16, 2019 10:06 pm

MMM has an ax to grind on subjects and manipulates numbers to get the conclusion he wants. SUVs in 2004 were more dangerious than cars. It isn't 2004 and the rollover issues that those SUVs haven't been an issue for over a decade.
Why, they know how to manipulate gravity?
It's simple physics: tall SUV has higher center of gravity, bigger tires, softer suspension so it's easier to roll over.
It is through that it's much less of an issue but still inferior to a good car.
And yet those good cars have a higher death rate. Why? Because rollover death rate doesn't matter given how low it is in both classes these days. That SUV is slightly more likely to rollover but that tends to not be fatal these days (i.e. they reinforced the roofs so you don't get crushed) and meanwhile it does better in all the other types of crashes. The net is that the SUV is safer than the car.

Look at the civic versus CRV (same platform, same maker)

Honda CR-V 4WD 14 (6-22) 10 4 0
Honda Civic 39 (28-49) 27 11 2

That car has 2x the death rate. Back in 2004 the numbers were much closer

Honda Civic 74 (60-89) 47 27 7
Honda CR-V 4WD 67 (40-95) 41 24 22

And it should be noted how much safer both cars are in 2014 than 2004. The same general trend applies to most cars.

Now there are definitely clunkers of cars out there. Last time I looked there were some Fords suv with absurd death rates. You look at the crash test videos and you see why they get poor ratings.

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Re: Bigger car, less economical but more safe.. Get used to smaller car over time?

Post by Jack FFR1846 » Fri May 17, 2019 10:20 am

Yes, they should bring back the Hummer H1. When I had my Lotus Elise, I was killed many times by large SUVs driving over me in my tiny car. Like, wicked killed. Think of the children.
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Re: Bigger car, less economical but more safe.. Get used to smaller car over time?

Post by stoptothink » Fri May 17, 2019 10:23 am

Jack FFR1846 wrote:
Fri May 17, 2019 10:20 am
Yes, they should bring back the Hummer H1. When I had my Lotus Elise, I was killed many times by large SUVs driving over me in my tiny car. Like, wicked killed. Think of the children.
:thumbsup

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Re: Bigger car, less economical but more safe.. Get used to smaller car over time?

Post by JackoC » Fri May 17, 2019 10:23 am

Starfish wrote:
Fri May 17, 2019 12:13 am
Watty wrote:
Thu May 16, 2019 6:38 pm
It is hard to really generalize some big cars have bad statistics and some smaller cars are better than you might expect.

Here is a website where you can look up the driver death rates for different models that can give you some insight into which cars are safer.

https://www.iihs.org/ratings/driver-dea ... -and-model
Data is good but you have to make sure you compare apples with apples.
The type of car has a self selected group of drivers.
For example I am willing to bet that Acura TSX or VW CC drivers have less change of driving drunk or high 30 miles over the speed limit than Chrysler 200 drivers.
Also in a minivan you can stick (and kill) a lot of people. And probably with 3 screaming kinds in the back is not the safest driving experience.
I agree there's likely a some effect in those stats from the different kinds of drivers who drive different kinds of cars. That's probably also part of the reason some luxury brand models have much lower death rates than comparable 'mass market' brand vehicles. Some might be the additional safety features on luxury models but some is probably also that more mature (though not very old) and better off people tend to buy luxury models and a disproportionate % of really bad drivers are young and/or poor (again excluding very old drivers). That factor would not apply in comparing mature, well off people on this forum who don't buy luxury cars for frugality reasons to similar age and income range of people who do buy luxury models.

However, and I go with the unprocessed iihs numbers compared to processed graphs on some blog, the differences in death rate between good sized luxury models and little econoboxes is not at all 'marginal', it's a multiple. If even some of that is due to mass, and some of it surely is, that's just physics, it IMO justifies having an at least say 3500# vehicle. When I've bought or helped out on kids' cars I've never agreed to anything smaller. It's also a reason I'm willing to chip in enough to get the latest models with most safety features. If other people think that's wasting money that's fine for them. I don't insist on huge vehicles though. Our own two cars are both BMW sedan/coupes around 3500#, one of our kids bought a 4500# Lexus SUV we owned, another has a new Honda SUV around #3500 . Driving enjoyment is the main reason we have the BMW's not safety. But we believe they are pretty safe. And we are not trying to minimize every $ in transport, no reason to. Everyone has their own tradeoffs in their own situations but sometimes on threads like this I see what I what believe is wishful thinking in claiming that the difference in safety of old/small/cheap cars v bigger/newer/upscale ones is negligible and I don't believe that's so.

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Re: Bigger car, less economical but more safe.. Get used to smaller car over time?

Post by midareff » Fri May 17, 2019 10:43 am

kjvmartin wrote:
Thu May 16, 2019 5:33 pm
I am coming out of a Equinox lease and our other family car is a minivan.

Previously my cars have always been midsize sedans. Chevrolets, Mazdas, etc. My intent was and may be still to purchase a more economical commuter. I test drove a Civic, Accord, Elantra, Sonata, Camry, Mazda3, Mazda6, Corolla, and Camry. I'm nothing if not thorough about figuring this out. I've noticed a huge uptick in the average size of vehicles around me during my 2 hours of round trip commuting each day (this is a newer job).

I really noticed this from the drivers seat of a Honda Civic. It seems like only about 10% of the vehicles in my area are actual cars anymore. Pickups, SUVs, Crossovers, Minivans. I never used to feel like safety was a major concern in a smaller vehicle, but it just seems like in the event of a crash I would be much more likely to be on the... squished... end of the accident. Is this unreasonable? The average cost for the SUV market is significantly higher than for a comparably equipped sedan. Has anyone switched out of an SUV to a car and actually felt comfortable again?

kjvm
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Re: Bigger car, less economical but more safe.. Get used to smaller car over time?

Post by Watty » Fri May 17, 2019 12:00 pm

The original question was;
.... Get used to smaller car over time?
I used to drive a Honda Fit when I was commuting and that is one of the smaller cars you can get. Most of my driving was on suburban roads with maybe a 45 mile an hour speed limit in stop and go traffic but driving at 55 was not uncommon when the traffic was flowing well. I also did occasional highway driving and longer road trips.

I had been driving a Camry before I had the Fit and I quickly got used to driving the smaller car but I also drove a lot more defensively because it was a small car. I live in the south where a lot of drivers in large pickups and SUVs are basically idiots and they would sometimes tailgate me which you never really get used to. In addition to being intimidating that was dangerous since a small car like that likely has a lot shorter stopping distance then a big truck or SUV so that if I had to do an emergency stop they would have rear ended me. Conversely I would sometimes follow a large SUV or truck and feel pretty confident that if there was a problem that I could stop a lot quicker than them so I was not likely to rear end them in an emergency stop.

One thing that had not been mentioned is that a lot of vehicles in the road are large delivery trucks, concrete trucks, and semi-trailers that are much larger than even a large SUV. If you are in an accident with one of those the size of your car will likely be a secondary factor in how bad the accident it.

After I retired I no longer needed a commuter car so replaced the Fit with a Corolla which is still not huge but it has a lot better ride for long road trips and many of the new advanced safety features.

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Re: Bigger car, less economical but more safe.. Get used to smaller car over time?

Post by Presintense » Fri May 17, 2019 12:42 pm

I just downsized from a Toyota Sequoia to an VW GTI. Sure, if I collide with a behemoth vehicle I’m going to be reduced to something spreadable like cream cheese. But there were times I felt the extra weight was dangerous too. Stopping, swerving, etc. were slow. What’s funny is that my insurance went down switching from a 2005 Sequoia to a 2019 GTI. I thought that was counterintuitive but maybe it’s because now I’m less risk to others.
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Re: Bigger car, less economical but more safe.. Get used to smaller car over time?

Post by DonIce » Fri May 17, 2019 12:57 pm

Yes, bigger heavier cars are, in general, safer in a collision. That's just physics. Of course there is variation from one specific car to another based on their particular designs and features.

Driving is by far the single riskiest activity that an average individual does on a regular basis. Car accidents are the #3 cause of death (after cancer and heart disease) across all Americans, and the #1 cause of death for Americans younger than their 50s. Reducing your risk of being killed or seriously injured in a car crash is worth a bit of extra money.

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Re: Bigger car, less economical but more safe.. Get used to smaller car over time?

Post by Thesaints » Fri May 17, 2019 1:07 pm

kjvmartin wrote:
Thu May 16, 2019 5:33 pm
Bigger car, less economical but more safe..
Only the first 50% of the statement is correct. Safety is measured not only considering the consequences of an accident (and here too it is not straightforward to conclude that the larger the better), but also the probability of one. Minivans in particular are pretty nasty: bad visibility, they maneuver like oil tankers and tend to be softer above the lower chassis.
I'd take being inside a BMW 3 series in an accident over being inside a Honda Odissey any time.

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Re: Bigger car, less economical but more safe.. Get used to smaller car over time?

Post by sunny_socal » Fri May 17, 2019 1:34 pm

Thesaints wrote:
Fri May 17, 2019 1:07 pm
kjvmartin wrote:
Thu May 16, 2019 5:33 pm
Bigger car, less economical but more safe..
Only the first 50% of the statement is correct. Safety is measured not only considering the consequences of an accident (and here too it is not straightforward to conclude that the larger the better), but also the probability of one. Minivans in particular are pretty nasty: bad visibility, they maneuver like oil tankers and tend to be softer above the lower chassis.
I'd take being inside a BMW 3 series in an accident over being inside a Honda Odissey any time.
Did you not read the thread? BMW for fun but Odyssey for safety. And visibility in Odyssey > BMW.

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Re: Bigger car, less economical but more safe.. Get used to smaller car over time?

Post by Kayakr » Fri May 17, 2019 1:51 pm

What makes you think an SUV is safer? Their handling characteristics are crap. http://www.accessmagazine.org/fall-2002 ... afer-cars/

Probably just pay a small premium and buy midsized cars.

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Re: Bigger car, less economical but more safe.. Get used to smaller car over time?

Post by H-Town » Fri May 17, 2019 2:01 pm

Get outa my way.

Image

Yep. It's easy to spot those dudes on the road. Doesn't make it safer for them.

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Re: Bigger car, less economical but more safe.. Get used to smaller car over time?

Post by MichCPA » Fri May 17, 2019 2:15 pm

RJC wrote:
Thu May 16, 2019 8:17 pm
stoptothink wrote:
Thu May 16, 2019 8:11 pm
RJC wrote:
Thu May 16, 2019 7:59 pm
Is there any truth to this table from a MMM blog post?

Image

It seems to say that cars are generally safer than SUVs.

The full blog is here: http://www.mrmoneymustache.com/2012/06/ ... -illusion/
That's not in fact the conclusion of that blog at all. That being said, I 100% agree with the sentiment. The chances of dying in a car accident are miniscule and the delta regarding deaths by different vehicles isn't all that significant. I also hate driving land barges. I'll take my chances and save the many tens of thousands of dollars by driving a smaller car. By minimizing my driving, I am decreasing my chances of dying in a car accident by an exponentially larger factor.
It's not at all? The blog says:

"The measurement is a little different, since this chart compares fatalities per 100,000 vehicles instead of per mile. But we can still reasonably estimate that my subcompact car is about 16.85/12.34 = 37% more dangerous than a full-size SUV. (also note that midsize cars are safer than SUVs of any type, further proving that the S is for Sucka)."
This data is from 2004 which was before electronic stability control and new rollover rules increased SUV safety. It is also important to note that the modern Compact Crossover was an entirely new concept at that point.

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