new car help

sarahbnJanuary 17, 2007

I want to buy a new car my current car is a 1998 honda odyssey it's a great car but it got about 140,000 miles on it and it's costing way too much money to repair.

I went to look at the ford escape 4 wheel drive hybrid it's very expensive But the size is perfect. Is it a safe car? any opinions? Thanks.

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steve_o

A buddy of mine just bought one (not hybrid, though). It's not bad, though, like most "sport-utility" vehicles, it's a little short on both sport and utility. :-p

I really would recommend thinking hard about exactly what it is you want from your next vehicle. An Escape (or a RAV-4 or CR-V or Forester) is not going to provide the space you have in your Odyssey or any other minivan, if that's important to you.

Four-wheel-drive is nice, but unless you're going off-road, you can get almost all of the traction benefits of 4WD with traction control and by buying a pair of good summer tires (and, depending on where you live, good winter tires on a set of spare wheels) -- and not have to pay the fuel mileage and repair penalties of 4WD.

Balanced against the mileage and "cleanliness" benefits of a hybrid are several other costs:
- hybrids typically cost more than the same vehicle with a gasoline-only engine;
- the dealer may be your only source of service because few independent shops will be able to invest the money in diagnostic tools and training;
- no one is willing to guess what it will cost over the long-term to be carrying around in your car an extra set of batteries and -- essentially -- a second motor;
- hybrids also are notorious for getting great mileage in stop-and-go city traffic but not coming close to their EPA estimates on the open road. Be very careful if you're justifying the cost of a hybrid based on fuel savings alone.

As for safety, use your favorite Web search engine to look for the terms ford escape crash test and see if the Escape meets your expectations.

My personal two cents is that most of the people buying SUVs are not buying them for the right reasons. Unfortunately, those choices cause longer-term problems in excessive gasoline use and greater injuries to people who are not in their own oversized vehicles.

    Bookmark   January 17, 2007 at 9:56AM
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sarahbn

Buying a car to me is like going to the dentist not my favorite thing. My odyssey was the smallest minivan at the time a 4-cylinder engine front wheel drive. It's just so exspensive to repair. I have never owned a 4 wheel drive. I always wanted to but never have I do like to go birdwatching and I would like a safe energy efficient clean air producing car to get me there.

    Bookmark   January 17, 2007 at 10:40AM
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steve_o

Well, if you plan to go off-road, then the Escape hybrid is in the running. If you plan to drive someplace and then hike to the birdwatching (healthier for the environment anyway), there are plenty of other "safe energy efficient clean air producing" choices. Be aware that, unless you use the 4WD off-road or on very steep terrain, all it really will do for you is steal fuel mileage and cost more to maintain and fix.

You might want to look for cars (station wagons, CUVs, etc.) marked ULEV, SULEV, or PZEV (Ultra Low Emissions Vehicle, Super Ultra Low Emissions Vehicle, or Partial-Zero Emissions Vehicle). Several of these will offer you very good real-world gas mileage and emit very low levels of most pollutants, without the expense and redundancy of hybrids.

    Bookmark   January 18, 2007 at 1:58PM
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sarahbn

Thanks! Do you know where I could find those? I'm not sure exactly what those are and who makes them.

When I bought the honda odyssey in 1998 it was much smaller than the ones out now. It had an identical twin by izuzu an oasis and the gas milage was not good 21 miles per gallon. They've become enormous now and I would prefer something smaller.

At the time none of my kids drove now they all do. One has a car a ford focus and I was thinking of giving this one to my 18 year old son.

    Bookmark   January 19, 2007 at 7:24PM
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steve_o

Many manufacturers make ULEV/SULEV/PZEV vehicles. The link below lists the PZEVs/SULEVs available for sale in California.

Another vehicle that might fill the bill for you is the Volkswagen Golf/Jetta/New Beetle TDI (turbodiesel). California (and the four other states which use CARB rules) is not crazy for diesels, but, in many respects, they should be: modern passenger-car diesels produce much less CO and volatile hydrocarbons than most gas-engine cars. NOx and particulates (soot) are higher. But gasoline is very volatile and releases lots of vapors in production, delivery, and transmission to your car that diesel does not -- none of which is captured in CARB's pollution measurements. In fact, biodiesel (made from legumes or grains) is non-toxic (can't say that about gasoline!). And I routinely get 40+ mpg on my TDI in city/highway driving; hybrids are notorious for not meeting their EPA mileage estimates on the highway. Only problem with a VW TDI is finding one: there are very few available right now. But you might find one used. A TDI and a good set of winter tires (or severe-service-rated all-season tires) will take you anywhere you want to go unless you want to go rock-hopping.

Here is a link that might be useful: California list of PZEV vehicles

    Bookmark   January 21, 2007 at 8:23AM
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christopherh

MY Expedition is ULEV.

But if you're goint to go birding and your minivan does the job, iwould suggest you look at a Subaru. AWD is standard and they will take you where you want to go. Subaru is the number one selling car in norhtern New England because of it's economy and ability to get Granny where she wants to go. There are many used car dealerships around just stocking Subarus.

By the way, there are a lot birders here in Vermont and I see many of them going on our dirt roads in Subarus. The Forrester is a nice little SUV.

The Escape is a good vehicle. Hybrid? I really don't think the mileage justifies the extra cost unless you're going to keep it for the same miles as your Honda.

    Bookmark   January 24, 2007 at 8:05AM
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chris61

I have had an Escape(06 non-hybrid) for about a year. It is very nimble and peppy around the city but the cargo use is disappointing. Groceries are put on the floor of the back seat and the rear seats are a pain to fold flat. On the highway it is noisy and you can really feel cross-winds. After buying found out it is prone to roll-overs. I would not recommend it. Won't buy another. I prob will look at Subaru next time.

    Bookmark   January 31, 2007 at 10:23PM
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eal51

I would suggest you check out the Subaru line of cars.

AWD, exceptionally reliable, fuel efficient and comfortable to drive.

Enjoy the journey.

eal51 in western CT

    Bookmark   February 3, 2007 at 11:29AM
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