Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Will you be my personal shopper?


Ridiculous. The whole time I was driving home, I thought, "One pothole, and the mirror is going to shift me into neutral..."

No seriously. Can you guys recommend a new car for me? Presently, I have such a small car that I can't fit anything in it. For example, I have a 30 - 24" (ish) photo that I need to take to the framer, and I don't have enough trunk space to take it there. So it's gone unframed for a long while. And when I am buying benches and chairs and desks, etc., I have to arrange to have them delivered. So dumb. I am over it.

So - can you recommend a cute(ish) car... maybe a crossover or an SUV? If you love your car and you can actually haul more than 3 cans of paint and a small mirror in it, then tell me all about it! I need some help here. (Can't be a super new model. I am big on buying used. Must have existed circa 2006.)




48 comments:

Emily said...

I have an 07 honda fit that I am in love with. It fits your needs and is worth consideration. Bonus: the bottoms of the back seats fold UP so you can place tall things on the floor behind the front seats (think potted plants or lamps) Behold: http://youtu.be/xPkb0bo-_V0

Emily said...

I feel I should also add: 30mpg in the city (i've never gotten less than 27, even with it loaded down and me sitting in traffic) and over 40mpg on the highway. Further: it's a breeze to park :-)

tomt said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
tomt said...

You might consider a Honda Element, though not in the color shown. I think that it looks best in bright colors.
It has at least in some models magical seats that fold out of the way.
It's no longer made, but has a funky character. I'm not sure, but I think that it can be hosed out. How cool is that?

If you drive a lot, there are cars with better mileage.

MirandaJ said...

Honda Element. I am a stylist & former florist and I can't imagine driving anything else even though I feel like a Lego person in my car.

Angela said...

They've stopped manufacturing the Element. Get the Fit! I have a serious crush on mine. (I've even hauled a loveseat once) It can even tow a small trailer. Win!

the quarter rat said...

Volvo 740 - 960 wagons. With regular oil and belt changes they're good for 300k miles, tough as shit and cheap enough for a second car.

SM Ortega said...

Saab 9-3 4dr hatch. Mine is 2002. No mechanical problems in the 10 years I've owned it. Other plusses- I have put 10 ft long hardwood planks with the hatch closed, 36x48 inch frames, even 8-12 ft long 4x6's (hatch unlocked, red flag at the end. Routinely put 2 road bikes with the front wheels off in it. Gets in the high 20's gas. The minus- Saab is in receivership.

Kristin said...

I live my Ford Escape. It holds so much stuff, especially when you fold down the rear seats. It gets decent gas mileage (18/23) and drives like a car even though it is truck sized. The first model year was 2001, so you should be able to find lots of used options.

Wendy said...

Consider a Hyundai Sonata. It has a large truck with back seats that will fold down for trunk expansion. Great mileage, very dependable, not too expensive. I will concede that the it as not as spacious as an SUV....but I think it IS better on mileage. Just a thought.

Anonymous said...

Toyota venza

Anonymous said...

Forget the status apparatus stuff and get an old beater Toyota truck. I'm an Antiques dealer, at auction in North Carolina every week and would be screwed without it.

Decorno said...

Thanks everyone. This is super helpful.

To the antiquing truck person, I bet it is the most practical for frequent hauling, but I think I need something closed. The added benefit of a new car will be putting my two pugs in a back seat. (Which I won't be able to do in a truck, and can't do in my current two-seater.)

Keep 'em coming.

Jules said...

My last car,a BMW, like many men I've dated was an eye-catching dreamboat and *completely* unreliable. I finally ditched it and "settled" for a Honda CRV. which is like the "nice guy" of vehicles. That can take some getting used to but it's comfortable, drama free and cute. I admit the attraction was not immediate but now I'm in love. (Also the Honda CRV was recommended to me by my BMW mechanic who took pity on me when I cried in his shop the last time the BMW stranded me on the freeway.)

Anonymous said...

Jetta Diesel Wagon. Totally changed my life. Gets 40+ mpg and fits everything I've tried to put in it (vibrating plate compactor, 20 bags of mulch, my husband's massive speakers, two bicycles, etc.).

David said...

I still have my 06 LR3 (now the LR4) and still love it. Horrible rep I know, but I've had no issues. Mileage is dreadful, but I easily hauled home a buffet just last weekend.

Decorno said...

David, I had to google LR3. (Was I supposed to know it was a Land Rover? Don't make me get my decoder ring out...)

Decorno said...

Jules - that made me laugh. My current car is like that. I am in love, but it breaks my heart a lot.

Anonymous said...

VW GTI

Jonathan A. said...

Many of the above readers seemed to have missed the cute(ish) request. Most of the Hondas look like insects ready to bite and while a 90s Volvo will go forever, I suspect Decorno has better things to do than spending time peeling off crusty bumper stickers from Lillith Fair. Clearly a lady with at least a smidgen of taste, Decorno deserves something respectable: perhaps an Audi A3 (small but cones with fold down seats, hatchback, decent looks), Mercedes ML or GLK, or VW Tiguan (small SUVs). If you want even more vehicle, the Range Rover and Range Rover Sport are superb - terrific design, lots of practicality, but quite expensive.

Decorno said...

"while a 90s Volvo will go forever, I suspect Decorno has better things to do than spending time peeling off crusty bumper stickers from Lillith Fair"

hahahaha!!

I am in love with you.

Lynn said...

Loved my 1999 Lexus RX300 (their smallest SUV) which I bought used and drove for another 10 years. Never had any issues its entire life until the transmission died at 185,000 miles. Peppy, cute, and I once fit a Pottery Barn chair-and-a half in the back (my love for the car lasted much longer than for the chair!). My only advice is to find a good mechanic for normal maintenance because the dealer will bend you over. I guess they have to make money somewhere since the car never needs fixing.

I always said I would replace it with the newest model, but instead went carless (moved to Europe).

Maison Luxe said...

BMW X3. For shizzle, this car is the real deal. I can't imagine life without mine!

Purchased after driving a convertible Saab for 5 years and always being embarrassed by the amount of times I had to put the top down to accommodate the ridiculously large furniture I was cramming into it! :)

Mrs. Bama said...

Volvo XC60 - the volvo crossover. It is the #1 selling Volvo here in Europe because the amount of interior space is mind-blowing for a crossover. It comes standard with City Safety (the car stop itself from collisions in under 20mph traffic - a great insurance break). It's reliable, absolutely beautiful, and you get luxury without breaking the bank. My brand new XC60 fully loaded is cheaper than my husband's stripped down new BMW3 series sedan. Another perk: When I was visiting the states this spring, I noticed hardly anyone has them, opting for the larger, and I think quite unattractive XC90. With the XC60 you end up driving something pretty unique - perfect for cities, but also practical to stow and truck around all your stuff.

kcorbeau said...

A Subaru. With a roof rack. I have an Impreza wagon, and can fit SO MUCH STUFF in it. And tied onto it. But a used Impreza or Outback or Legacy wagon would work just as well.

Peg Grady said...

I am a painter and have a Toyota Yaris hatchback that my 3' x 4' canvases fit in just fine. In fact, I brought a blank canvas to the dealer and told him that if the canvas doesn't fit, the car isn't coming home with me. I've schlepped numerous sculptures, chairs, paintings, all sorts of stuff in her. She gets about 34 mpg driving around town (not too much stop and go here) and 40 on the freeway. I would highly recommend you check it out (but I think 2007 was the first year it was made).

Beth said...

We have a 2006 Scion xB, and it's surprisingly well-designed for interior storage. If you fold down the back seats, you can bring home basically anything. They are affordable and they're Toyotas, so they should go forever.

Anonymous said...

Mini Cooper..seriously you can put a washer and dryer in the fold down seats. Decent on gas too. They hold their value as well.

Anonymous said...

I've driven a Toyota 4Runner since I was 17. I drove my first one for 10 years and I've had my current one for 4. They last, never need service, retain their value and have a good amount of cargo space without being a huge beast to park.

Feisty said...

I have a Toyota RAV4, I think 2005? It holds a ton of stuff, the backseats can be removed, and I use it for hauling my two giant doofus labs all the time.

One of my co-workers who enjoys getting every scrap of info she can before making a decision picked the model (she's my personal shopper). If you get 2006 or newer, they have MP3 ports and more interior room.

Mine has a tapedeck and is standard shift. I get a little more than 35 mpg on the highway, usually about 27 mpg in town (DFW traffic).

I think it's a cutie, have never tried to haul a sofa though.

Kelly said...

Whoa. I sold a mirror that looks EXACTLY like that when I moved 7 years ago... did you get that over in the Maple Leaf neighborhood?

Freaky.

Anonymous said...

I'm a designer and I have an Acura MDX which was my dream car. I coveted it for years. It was worth the wait. It was the first vehicle I purchased that was basically new (demo)in the color I wanted. I'm in my mid forties, so that is kind of pathetic. I have hauled 4'x6' paintings, bar stools, and car pools. Perfect when I turn into "soccer Mom". Consumer Reports ranks it as a "best buy". I'm sorry if that is too geeky and main stream but I researched the crap out of it. The only downside is you have to use premium gas. Mileage is decent for a SUV of this size.

Richie Designs said...

Honda CRV

once the seats are down you could practically load a dining room set or about 25 bankers boxes. I love mine [and it's old and runs great]

---
one note on the Element - per the other note. It's essentially the same car as the CRV but without the noise dampening of the interior. heard bad things about internal noise of the car.

liz z said...

i second the mini coop! my mom gave me hers [2004] and repairs are a bit pricey, but minimal. great mileage since i don't live on long island anymore, the back seats fold flat, and you can fit a keg in the trunk.. just fyi

Kristin said...

I don't have a car but rent small ones frequently. I think the Ford hatchbacks are great; I especially like the Focus. They drive well, too. Better than other makes. There is a Dodge hatchback, I think the Calibur, that is also pretty good. I like the smaller Hondas, too, but haven't had any in a hatchback which seems necessary for you. Avoid small Toyotas and the really cheap brands.

Anonymous said...

I recently had to get rid of my 10-year-old VW Polo, which I thought was small, and the only thing I could afford was a Toyota Aygo. I think it's so small it isn't even sold in the U.S. A little bigger (but much cheaper) than a Smart. My purse is enough to fill the trunk. The Polo had buttons for both front windows on the driver's side; the Aygo has only the driver's button. No problem! I can easily reach the passenger-side button without even leaning. It also has only one windshield wiper, which sort of freaked me out the first time I used it. Too small for you. Too small for me, except in price.

Krysta said...

For a decently priced, used car that drives well and is not bad to look at- I have been pretty happy with my Saturn Vue (I think I have a 2008 model). They also made it is a hybrid if you're into that sort of thing.

Kari said...

I recommend the Toyota Rav4. The seats fold totally down and you can fit a ton! It is also fun to drive and has good gas mileage. My best friend has one (I am a NYC girl so have only the MTA to schlep my stuff) but with her I have helped haul a full size dresser, trees for her garden, and in our most ridiculous move an 8ft by 4 ft. mirror. For that one we had to ride much like your picture, with the headrests off the seats and the back of this huge mirror ready to decapitate us if we were rear ended. The mirror (a steal from a salon going out of business) looks great in her house though!

Anonymous said...

RAV4 or Honda Pilot. They are both reasonably priced when buying used. The Pilot comes loaded with all sorts of extra goodies and gets great gas mileage for an 8 passenger SUV.

dwr said...

Ok, Decorno. I was in your situation last year. I'm a decorator who always had coupes or convertibles. The things I thought I could do or tried. There is a LOT you can get into a Saab convertible if you just try realllly hard, as someone else mentioned.

I love driving, which really rules out an SUV. I need contact with the road. I want to feel those corners. The choice had to be a wagon. I have no idea why they're so unpopular in the US. My choices ended up Mercedes, BMW and Audi, all used by the way, so really reasonable.

I've mostly had European cars, so I guess I've been used to slightly higher repair costs. Find a good foreign specialist mechanic and you'll be fine. My guy never fails to give me several options if it's going to be expensive.

I bought a 2006 5 series wagon last year. I LOVE IT. They stopped importing the 5 wagon in '09 so...here's hoping that BMW wises up, or that Americans start buying wagons. It's a tank with good lines and I get 25 mpg in mixed driving. The only downside is the premium gas.

Anonymous said...

I bought my Honda Fit the day they came out, in 2006. You would be astonished at what I have hauled in it. A dishwasher. Armchairs. A dining table. The bottom rails of an upholstered KING bed. Tall-ish plants. Moved offspring to college. Once fit myself and three others in it, with someone's bike in the back. I owned a Suburban for years, but this is hands down the best car I have ever owned.

stephendrucker said...

Big question is, do you like to drive? If you do, buy German. I love my VW Golf. Handles like a sportscar, and you can haul almost anything with the rear seats down.

Decorno said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Decorno said...

I love to drive. At the end of long vacations, the thing I most want to do is come home and have American coffee and drive my car. (I currently drive a Mercedes SKL55 AMG, which is a very zippy V8).

I've been eyeing a wagon-ish Audi and VWs. I like your recommendation and I'm going to look more seriously at VWs now. I really need a car that goes. I had an Xterra in my life recently and it's just a slow piece of shit. I can't go backward when it comes to handling, and don't want to go too far backward when it comes to speed.

THE BRICK HOUSE said...

Scion XB 2005.

I can haul a credenza, queen bed rugs and chairs in that beast AT THE SAME TIME. I got a full danish sofa in that bitch.

Seriously. It is the greatest little affordable van/car in the world. All the seats fold flat.

LB said...

Honda Fit.
I have several friends who own them. You can fit 2 bikes in the back if you lower the seats. Also, there is nothing *under* the backseats. You can flip them *up*!! Freaking awesome. If I could buy a fit in Norway, I'd be driving it instead of a Fiat 500.

Jane Kilpatrick Schott said...

I have had my Toyota Scion xB since they hit the market in 2004 and I LOVE IT! It reminds me of an English Taxi and I can fit more into this little box than most SUV's. 32 miles to the gallon and it is so much fun. Parks anywhere in any city with lots of traffic. And the price is very, very reasonable. And it's a Toyota.

Anonymous said...

I hope you got a VW Golf TDI. I have one. It drives just like the GTI (meow) but it's reliable and gets phenomenal mpg.