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16 January 2008 @ 05:25 pm
More car waffeling: that's about the size of it  

Poll #1122415 Mini-van

Do you think there is something inherently wrong with me driving something called a "mini-van"?


So I'm still fretting over this, even though I'm not buying until May, but that's just kind of who I am.

Today concern is size. I use my car for 4 basic things: hauling stuff (mostly groceries but sometimes other things), driving to Pittsburgh and Canada, taking greg to work once a week and myself to taiko classes once or twice a week. A little less than half my milage on my car is driving the long trips. I'm also hoping that taiko will be requiring me to haul more drums, but I'm really not sure how much of a factor, if any, that should be in deciding on which car.

Here are my top two choices and my current car and how they stack up size wise (the pictures are close to being on the same scale:) The second number is the difference from my current car.

lengthwidthheightwheel basempg

SW2 (current car)






So here are my concerns. Will I feel that extra 4.6" in my length? Is there something about size that maybe I'm not considering?

Poll #1122416 I've got bigger for you...

Do you think I will notice the size difference when driving and parking?

I don't think it's a big enough difference to be worried about.
you will notice those extra ~5 inches
you will sometimes notice them, but not enough that it should change your mind about what car to get

Please tell me any "and my car was too big/just small enough" stories you might want to share.

There is also the issue of mpg.

Poll #1122417 putting out fires

The mpg of the mazda5 is...

So much worse than the pruis, you should be really sure you need the extra cargo space
bad, but not something you'll notice, given you only drive ~5000 miles a year
bad, you should save the environment! support the efforts to become less dependant on foriegn oil!
bad, but the bottom line on hybrids environmentally isn't as good as we'd all like to beilve.
Not that bad, given it's transport flexibliy.
just a guy made of dots and lines: drivercrs on January 16th, 2008 11:26 pm (UTC)
I'd say only go with the Prius if you feel like voting with dollars.
Fashionable, but unable to tell fact from fictiontesting4l on January 17th, 2008 12:24 am (UTC)
From what I can tell, the biggest difference will be that the nose doesn't stick out as far as you're used to.

That gas mileage is worse than my '91 Aerostar's -- also a minivan and likely a damn sight heavier.

Personally, I'd say you should look at a car other than the Prius or the Mazda5.
Someone I am is waiting for my courageforgotten_aria on January 17th, 2008 02:31 am (UTC)
Do you have a suggestion, or perhaps a car I missed? This is the result of widdling a much longer list down.
Fashionable, but unable to tell fact from fictiontesting4l on January 19th, 2008 02:09 am (UTC)
A couple that bounce to mind that you may have already considered. Ford Focus or the Volkswagon Golf?
Fashionable, but unable to tell fact from fictiontesting4l on January 19th, 2008 02:09 am (UTC)
Oh hell -- those don't qualify for cargo space, do they?
katybeth on January 17th, 2008 12:49 am (UTC)
Have you looked at the Matrix?
(I don't know its stats, just that several friends have one and like it, for carrying both people and cargo.)
Jvisage on January 17th, 2008 01:25 am (UTC)
FWIW, when jadia and I were looking at cars last year, we found that the Matrix (and the Fit, and the Scions) was really annoyingly noisy on highway driving. A fine city car, but not something I'd want to drive to Pittsburgh.
Someone I am is waiting for my courageforgotten_aria on January 17th, 2008 02:03 am (UTC)
As far as I can tell the Matrix isn't any better than the mazda3 (the orginal car that took me in the direction of mazda in the first place,) except with better gas milage but is more expensive and doesn't have an aux in.
Jadiajadia on January 17th, 2008 02:02 am (UTC)
I bet you already thought of this, but the numbers you are using don't say anything about cargo space. The prius has a lot less than the other cars, due to the gigantic battery in the trunk. My personal opinion is if you want to haul stuff, you can't get the prius.

I also don't think you'll notice 5", but I don't know. This is where test driving makes a big difference. Do a parellel parking exercise on your test drive. (That's the only place I find the length to actually matter.) It's not just the length for parallel parking - it's also the turning radius.
Someone I am is waiting for my courageforgotten_aria on January 17th, 2008 02:22 am (UTC)
the prius actually has pretty good cargo space by the numbers. The problem is the numbers are all in cubic feet which is almost useless because I don't pile things to my ceiling and if I'm transporting alot of stuff, it's almost always big, non-rearangable things.

I can't seem to find a nice little diagram about dimensions.

But since you mentioned it, my SW2 has 25/58 cubic feet (seats up, seats down), the prius has 14.4/44? (I can't find the number now, but I know I've seen it) and the mazda5 has 44/70.9 but something stupidly small with all three rows of seats.
Someone I am is waiting for my courageforgotten_aria on January 17th, 2008 02:51 am (UTC)
Bah, take all those numbers with a grain of salt. I can't acutally figure out a "standard" way of messuring anything. One review claimed that the mazda only had 44 with both back rows folded, but mazda says otherwise.

jweissbrass_rat on January 17th, 2008 02:51 pm (UTC)
My first reaction to the prius was also, that you can't possibly haul stuff in it. Then I remembered that Hobbit has pictures of how much stuff he's managed to get into his. Of course, you'll still want to measure if you have specific drums you're worried about hauling.
Someone I am is waiting for my courageforgotten_aria on January 17th, 2008 04:47 pm (UTC)
I found that page while reasearching cars, then couldn't find it again when I was looking for it. I failed to notice it was by an acquaintance.
Jadiajadia on January 17th, 2008 07:50 pm (UTC)
It feels to me that you've reached the point where you really need to just go and see these cars in person. You may need to do more research after that, but just go and see how big the space feels to you. Or you can just measure stuff yourself when you are there. If you've already done that please just disregard the comment,but it doesn't sound like you have.
gmpe on January 17th, 2008 03:21 am (UTC)
You have to go and crawl around the cars to really know if it matters. When we were looking at cars, we ruled some our because abce is tall and the ceiling might have been tall in the middle, but started sloping in the wrong place, so he felt like he was about to be squashed when he was sitting in the seat. It might be worth taking a tape measure to stuff you want to moe regularly. Also remember to check out how easy it is to access various storage spaces, back seats you might use as storage space, etc. in terms of being able to get things in and out. Also. sometimes, when you're getting groceries, for example, more smaller spaces may be good so they don't slosh around. If you're moving drums or lumber or furniture, on the other hand, one large space is probably much more useful. How flexible/configurable is the space in each vehicle?

All of those are design decisions that just won't show up on a chart. Some of them might be in the text of reviews, such as Consumer Reports does. Still, I would recommend crawling around the cars. If you're in the same city as a car show, definitely go check it out. I know there is one in November-ish in Boston, but maybe there's another one as well I haven't bothered with? Or just go to a dealer and check it out.