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Discussion Starter #1
Okay, I was afraid it would come to this. I drive my Insight 25 miles each way to work on highways; it's the perfect commuter car, and meets every objective I had when I bought it. My wife drives the family car, which of course is what we use when we take the kids to their activities. When my wife takes her car into the shop, we rent a four-door for her to drive until it's ready -- and we save enough on gas with my car to more than pay for the rentals.

This has worked fine for the year since I bought the car. But as those of you whose children are older than mine know full well - children, and their activities, change over time. This fall, both boys are taking part in more activities, and they are starting to overlap.

Big problem -- without a back seat, my wife and I can't each take a child to an activity (upcoming birthday party and cub scout meeting forced the issue).

I really don't want to trade in the Insight -- I can't see giving up 60mpg for the 99% of the driving I do. But it's just not practical to rent a car every time we have to take the boys to different activities.

I'm thinking about getting a cheap, used, but reasonably reliable third car to drive on those occasions when I need to carry a boy in the back. I'm sure this doesn't make economic sense - insurance on a third car will far outweigh savings on gas from the Insight. But there are other reasons not to burn gasoline.

Has anyone faced this issue? Any recommendations - with safety in mind, of course, since the whole purpose is to carry our children. HCH and Prius would be nice, but they're probably still too new to be in the price range I'm aiming for...

Thanks!

MF
 

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I think the picture in my signature says it all! Actually, I bought the CR-V new in 2002 to commute in knowing that I would be turning the keys over to my son when he started driving in the fall of 2003. It is a 2WD with side air bags, has close to 40,000 miles on it, and has never given us any problems. I send him off to school everyday without any concern that it will get him there and back.

It also fits every purpose you describe above for a 3rd car. This model has been out since 2002 and I'm sure you could probably find a good used one for a reasonable price. I knew I would never use the 4WD so I avoided this to keep costs down as well.

Good luck!
 
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Hi MikeF:

___I currently own an Acura MDX (wife’s), an 03 Corolla LE w/ Auto (son uses that one for back and forth to work starting today), Ranger XLT (Landscape vehicle), and the Insight 5-speed (my monster commute daily driver). I was in a similar predicament but fortunately, the Insight receives about 2X the fuel economy out on the highway as the Corolla and easily off-sets the extra insurance. Now that my son has started his career, he can pay the insurance on the Corolla and I can use it whenever he isn’t ;) Or not depending :(

___Here is some detail of the Corolla’s fuel economy capability with notes describing who was doing the driving as well as type. As you can tell, the wife and son are not capable of high fuel economy under any circumstance although they are mostly city drivers. With your Insight experience to guide you, a Corolla or Civic will do you quite proud, I am sure.

The Rolla

___Anyway, a used Civic or Corolla would be a great and relatively inexpensive third car vs. an HCH or Prius I or II. Both of these non-Hybrid’s can achieve great fuel economy when driven with a Hypermileage style just as the Insight has taught you already …

___If you were more concerned with emissions, you have fewer but decent choices to consider. There are probably a number of used 03 Accord or Camry PZEV’s from the New York, Vermont, Maine, or Massachusetts area for you to purchase at an ok but more expensive price. If new, you might want to consider an 04 Accord or Camry PZEV given you are close enough to pick them up from any of the states mentioned. I know of 04 Camry LE’s w/ Auto that were going for a touch > $16K a month ago here near Chicago. A new 04 Accord LX w/ Auto was advertised for ~ $17,100. If you do purchase new, please consider a PZEV as it is the best thing you can do for your local environment given most of your miles will probably be inner city/suburban type jaunts anyway.

___Good Luck

___Wayne R. Gerdes
___Hunt Club Farms Landscaping Ltd.
___[email:3s6lgg37][email protected][/email:3s6lgg37]

 

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I don't quite see why the Insight doesn't suit your situation: you have two boys, each going to different activities - so I would think that in cases where you need to use both cars to transport them you would only be transporting one of the boys - and you have one passenger seat. Have I missed something?
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Unwilling to risk a boy in the front seat

My oldest is almost 7; both are still in booster seats.

Even though the Insight has a d-ring at the rear for the tether from the booster seat, I just don't feel comfortable putting a child in the "suicide seat" with an adult-force airbag in front of him. I've followed the other threads about going in aftermarket with a switch to disable the airbag -- that seems like a non-trivial decision to make. Even the owner's manual says something to the effect of "be sure the seat is REALLY far back when a child is sitting in it."

I just don't feel like taking the risk. I'll spend a little money instead.

Good suggestions so far -- although Xcel's "new" options are way above my price range. 2wd would probably be okay, though. Of course, if I go that route, I'm guaranteed to miss something because one of the boys and I are stuck in the snow... :)

MF
 

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Discussion Starter #7
An old Subaru is an interesting idea. I did see some of the smaller Impreza wagons on the way home from work today.

Thanks for the suggestion!

MF
 

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Can't beat a Civic for "cheap, used, but reasonably reliable". Or an Accord for that matter.

For a third car, I would imagine you want something that is low-maintenance as a primary condition, so you need a Honda, or something that is newer and still under warranty.

Have a Protege5 for my 3rd car right now. Zoom zoom. ;) I'm partial to Mazdas.
 

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I suggest a Volvo station wagon. My favorites are the 240s, built from the late 70s to '91... They're the classics, and they're easily good past 200,000 miles, and you should be able to get a good one for $1,000-3,000.

The one thing I miss with my Insight is when I'm cruising garage sales, or driving down the street, and I see a neat armchair or bookcase or sheet of plywood... The Volvo could have taken it. Moving was fun with a Volvo. And it was good for camping, too; with the seat folded down and a thick foam pad, it was the most luxurious of tents. Volvo's rear-wheel drive is so nice for turning and for dealing with snow and ice... And the 240s had just gorgeous visibility, being a glass box on wheels. My '83 was getting about 22 mpg at 220,000 miles, for what that's worth.
 

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I vote for a Subaru Impreza wagon or Subaru Legacy wagon.
And winter tires and summer tires because "so much is riding on your tires" so even premium 'all season' Michelins are not good enough.
 

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Civic VX

'92-'95 Civic VX. 50 mpg, seating for 4, lightweight, and inexpensive. It's the closest thing to an Insight after the CRX HF and other CRX models, but with the extra seating.
 

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I'd find a nice clean Accord Wagon. I have a '95 and it's just a brilliant machine. Only '94 & '95 models were sold in Canada, but you have the benefit of having more recent '96 & '97 models in the States too. As close to a free car as you can get as the resale value is probably now stalled for a long time for a clean one. It will always start and run well, its practical, economical enough on gas, and IMHO it looks great next to any 2005 station wagons.

I run studded Nokians in the winter and the car will go through anything.
 

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Re: Unwilling to risk a boy in the front seat

MikeF said:
My oldest is almost 7; both are still in booster seats.
Ooooh. That makes more sense.

What about a first-generation Prius? With all the demand for the newer one, they can be found for not too much money. Or perhaps a liftback of some sort--the large opening in the trunk helps fit a lot of things. I once picked up two doors in my Celica.
 
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Hi MikeF:

___I test drove a brand new 04 Accord Sedan I4 w/ Auto - EX-L w/ NAVI about a week ago. NAVI’s come with an instantaneous so you know what type of fuel economy you are receiving. Out on the highway at anything below 58 mph, the gauge was pegged at 50 mpg. That is the max the Accord Instantaneous meter reads unfortunately. Severe oversight by Honda on that one :( I did have the dealership press up the tires to 40 all around. After 15 miles of city and 13 miles of highway, I parked her with 44.3 mpg on the screen. If I would have had the stick, I could have done even better given the urban driving distance just to get to the highway. With that, picking up a lightly used 03 LX might be a better value then you think. A new 04 EX-L w/ NAVI was south of 22K with auto and it doesn’t sound like you are interested in that. The 03 - 05 Corolla and Civic’s also offer > 50 mpg in a mixed environment and especially out on the highway. Any 02’s or prior, forget about it … The Cd’s are too high and their ICE’s aren’t that thrifty. Remember that PZEV info I posted on page 1? That Accord LX can be found in a used PZEV format as well. Still a bit on the expensive side but it might behoove you to take a look just for the fun of it given your 5 passenger needs as of late ;)

___Good Luck

___Wayne R. Gerdes
___Hunt Club Farms Landscaping Ltd.
___[email:1assvq92][email protected][/email:1assvq92]

 
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