Prius owner seeks advice for new family vehicle

Discussion in 'Gen 2 Prius Main Forum' started by JBJAG, Apr 22, 2006.

  1. JBJAG

    JBJAG New Member

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    Ok - so my wife and I love our Prius and will be keeping it as our comuter vehicle -

    However we'd like to get rid of our '04 Mitsubishi Montero SUV and get something more enviromental friendly and ecconomical to run - (I currently get about 16-18mpg on average with this SUV)

    We have 4 children + a dog and a stroller so size and space is important!!

    We like to take long road trips up into the mountains (skiing) and occasional off road trips to go camping - hence 4 wheel drive is also important.

    We'd definately like front, side and rear head curtain airbags to protect us all especially the kids in the event of a roll over or side impact collision.

    I'm considering an all wheel drive mini van - but I am concerned that I'm not gonna get that much better gas milage in one of those - and none of them are hybrids.....

    My next option is to go Bio-Diesel and convert a Diesel Ford Excursion 4x4 to run on Vegi oil Bio diesel - anyone got any good ideas or experience with bio-diesel -

    I've heard that MPG stays the same or might increase but it runs clean and costs less than gasoline especially if you make it yourself.....

    In an ideal world I'd buy a 7 passenger bio-diesel Hybrid SUV with 4 wheel drive and airbags all arround - it's a shame they don't exist yet......

    regards to all -
     
  2. hycamguy07

    hycamguy07 New Member

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    <div class='quotetop'>QUOTE(JBJAG @ Apr 22 2006, 04:15 PM) [snapback]243728[/snapback]</div>
    I would research these on www.edmonds.com
    look at the mileage most get epa rated 17 cty & 26 hwy..
     
  3. Tideland Prius

    Tideland Prius Moderator of the North
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    Highlander Hybrid?

    It definitely beats the Montero on emissions, beats it on fuel mileage but depends how tempted you are to dip the accelerator ;). It has 7 seats (probably can fold one side of the 3rd row to make space for the dog.

    Otherwise, hold out for a Hybrid Sienna... whenever that comes.. probably 09 when the Sienna gets revamped.
     
  4. priusblue

    priusblue New Member

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    <div class='quotetop'>QUOTE(Tideland Prius @ Apr 22 2006, 04:38 PM) [snapback]243735[/snapback]</div>

    I agree - if you really want all that, then highlander hybrid looks like your best best. My advice, though, because the HiHy is so pricey, just get a regular (non AWD) minivan or something with 3rd row seating with the best MPG that meets all of your everyday needs, and just rent a 4x4 SUV when you go on those trips, unless you go everyother weekend or something. With $3 gas, you'll come out better, and have less impact on a daily basis. The Excursion is a monster! I got beside one the other day - a woman was driving it and indeed had 4 kids in the back, and I couldn't imagine trying to maneuver and park that thing. You'd be hard pressed to make enough biodiesel to keep up with it.
     
  5. cwerdna

    cwerdna Senior Member

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    <div class='quotetop'>QUOTE(JBJAG @ Apr 22 2006, 01:15 PM) [snapback]243728[/snapback]</div>
    Are you planning on buying a new or used diesel SUV? If it's new or has a warranty left, I'd imagine that you could kiss the engine and emissions warranty goodbye if you're going to run it on >5% biodiesel.

    I haven't found the Ford direct equivalent of this statement by VW http://www.vw.com/contactus/faqs.html#5.1 but I think https://www.fleet.ford.com/showroom/environ...lTechnology.asp is close enough.
     
  6. hycamguy07

    hycamguy07 New Member

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    Or you could get that Honda cube thingy it has an optional tent that conects to the rear....
     
  7. Tideland Prius

    Tideland Prius Moderator of the North
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    Honda Element? that's a 4 seater.
     
  8. JBJAG

    JBJAG New Member

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    What's up with E85 FlexFuel vehicles ? and why on earth can't you get E85 anywhere in California ?
    Seems to me they are cleaner than regular diesel fuel vehicles - an '06 Flex Fuel Yukon XL 4x4 running E85 would probably suit my family's needs - perhaps I could brew my own E85 at home in the garage and risk blowing up the entire neighbourhood !! The politics of this country / state are infuriating......
     
  9. DocVijay

    DocVijay Active Member

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    Your choices are very limited. For a family with four kids and a dog, there isn't much out there that it going to fit everyone AND get good mileage.

    You are in a situation like us where you have to start making compromises. It's one or the other, as like you said, getting both simply isn't aoption right now.

    Biodiesel is a good idea IF (and a big IF) you can get it. Yes, you could make your own, but where are you planning on making the 45 gallons that the Excursion holds? If you can find a place locally that has it, then great, just fill up with regular diesel if you need some until you can get more bio-diesel.

    The Excursion is a good idea if you regularly travel with your dog. The mileage is actually exceptionally good considering the capabilities of the vehicle, around the 20's highway. There are also several companies that make power add-ons for the diesels, like intakes, exhaust, and electronics that boost power by 100-250 hp over stock and up to 500 extra lb-ft of torque. Now this may seem excessive, but it has a strange benefit of giving up to 25% higher mpg! Go figure. In a gas vehicle, you loose mileage with stuff like that, with a diesel, you gain! Anyway, if you add those things, but you still drive conservatively, you will notice a huge gain in milage. However, if you get lured into the temptation of testing what 1000 lb-ft of torque feels like, you mileage will drop...


    Right now we have a Volvo XC90 T6 AWD. It has room for seven, and has front side and curtain airbgs. Very, very safe car. It also has all sorts of nice extras too. The Volvo averages 18-19 mpg, and is very comfortable. In a year or two we are going to repace it with a Mercedes R500 (the new SUV/minivan/whatever you call it), which also seats seven. Both have all-wheel drive. The Excursion was my first choice, but my wife doesn't like the sound and "stigma" of driving a diesel. Of course, diesel is currently being reformutlated to be much cleaner (by 2008 I think), so that will be much less of an issue soon.

    Form the research I did recently on new cars/minivans/SUV's, there aren't many options that can seat a family of six and get great gas mileage. THere are some minivans that get in the mid to high 20's, but they have smaller, under-powered engines, and tend to get bogged down if you load up the entire family. That trade-off again.

    My final opinion is don't compromise on safety and comfort for a few more miles per gallon. I care more about my kids happiness and well being than anything else, and if that is reduced by going up 10 mpg in a new car, I won't do it.

    If you need a big car, just get one. Of course it would be nice if the Excursion got 40 mpg, but it doesn't. If you need it, just get it (or minivan or whatever). Just don't compromise mileage for the wrong things.


    PS. Right now you can get a Powerstroke Excursion for $10k off the sticker price. Probably really good financing too!

    PPS. You could just get two Priuses if you both drive, but then you'd only be getting the equivalent of about 25 mpg...
     
  10. Begreen

    Begreen Member

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    Perhaps look at the Ford Escape Hybrid? In general, their owners seem pretty satisfied.
     
  11. Betelgeuse

    Betelgeuse Active Member

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    Not to be a naysayer, but I don't think you're going to find an auto out there that seats 6 people, has room for a dog, a stroller, and presumably luggage, has good off-road/snow capabilities AND gets good gas mileage. At this point, it just doesn't seem to me that such a thing is out there. If you only go off-roading or to the snow a few times a year, then it makes sense to buy some sort of minivan for every-day travel (if the Prius can't do this), and rent an SUV when you need it.

    If you're willing to give up most off-road capabilities, a minivan might be the answer. I've heard good things about the Honda Odyssey.

    If you're willing to give up the "great mileage" requirements, a SUV might be the answer. Keep in mind that there are sutuations where an SUV is the appropriate car to buy. If you are going to be doing a lot of off-roading and routinely need to move a lot of people/equipment, then it makes sense. The thing that I (and many people here) object to is the 2-person family that never leaves NYC and buys the Excursion.
     
  12. JBJAG

    JBJAG New Member

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    Thanx for the intelligent reply - DocVijay

    Yes I have considered the Volvo's for there excellent safety features - but I wouldn't get the space I need or much better MPG than I allready am getting.

    Like you said what I need and want doesn't exist yet -

    A diesel Excursion converted to Bio diesel would solve the space issue and would be 'green' or at least greener than regular diesel -

    I have a bio diesel retailer about 35 miles from me - and if I decide to produce my own, storing a couple of 55gal drums of home brewed (or retail purchased) bio diesel in my garage shouldn't be too much of a problem - yes a PITA to made, store and fill up etc but I guess that's the price one pays trying to go 'green'.....

    The safety of a Excursion in an accident is my next topic of research - according to the laws of physics 'usually' the heaviest vehicle involved in an accident 'usually' comes out the best...

    yes I know there are many factors which can affect occupant injuries when involved in an auto accident - so by just driving the bigest dosen't automatically make you the safest.

    I quess my questions lead to what would you / and your family be riding in if you knew you were going to be in an accident - a huge SUV like an Excursion or a Volvo wagon with multiple head,side,front, rear etc airbags etc.......I know it's a loaded question and not one I'm expecting anyone to answer - it's just where my head is at right now -

    I want, big, safe, green and cheap to run (if I went bio diesel - and made it myself) and yes I know it'll take some time to recoup the costs of bio diesel production. But at .85c per gal for biodiesel compared to what you'd pay at the pump for regualr diesel there is definately a case to be made for the stuff.

    Re. the flex fuel vehicles - it looks like E85 will be comming to CA in the not to distant future (a year or 2 perhaps) but the stuff still isn't much cheaper than gas and MPG is worse, + it'll be many years before it's at every pump........the frustrations mount.

    In the mean time I'll keep researching and asking questions.
    James
     
  13. EricGo

    EricGo New Member

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    I'd go for two fuel efficient cars, and rentals for road trips. If local commuting with all four kids is relatively uncommon, just use both cars to do it.

    Unrelated to FE, there is a lot to be said for being able to separate the kids more than six inches in a single vehicle.

    The problem with buying a gas guzzler for trips is getting stuck using it all the rest of the time. A 25 mpg HiHY makes no sense if 90% of the time at most two people are in it.
     
  14. Kablooie

    Kablooie Member

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  15. JBJAG

    JBJAG New Member

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    sadly I couldn't find one with rear airbags in the back - although I sould be pretty safe in one even if I get hit by an excursion. ;)
     
  16. DocVijay

    DocVijay Active Member

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    <div class='quotetop'>QUOTE(JBJAG @ Apr 23 2006, 02:53 PM) [snapback]244000[/snapback]</div>
    Yes, the Volvo has about the same space as your current car, so it doesn't really solve the space issue or the mileage issue, but that's what I have, which is why I used it as an example. Plus you can't beat the safety.

    If you have biodiesel available, you could go that route. A diesel will run on bio without any sort of "conversion" necessary. THe only adjustment you need to make is getting used to the smell of french fries when you drive!

    I wouldn't bank on E85 yet. Too rare and as you said, price is not any less and economy is worse, so it balances out to be the same costwise. It is greener, but is it green enough to make up for the many negatives?

    As for which would I rather be in in an accident? Well, the Excursion has a GVWR of just over 8000 pounds. The Volvo's is just over 6000 pounds; it's no lightweight either, so mass is not as much of an issue in a collision with an average car. As for safety, the XC90 is better than the Excursion for sure, but Ford owns Volvo, and many of the extreme safety features used in it have already migrated over to the Explorer and soon the Expedition. The whole controversy about the heavier vehicles being more dangerous is in reference to waht tehydo to the OTHER vehicle. Call me selfish (and I'd tell anyone to f*** off if they did), but in an accident my ONLY priority is to keep MY family safe. If the other car didn't want to get so damaged they shouldn't have caused the accident (I'm a safe driver, and I don't cause accidents :D ). So if your priority is your wife and children, then a heavier car is preferrable. Of course the mpg goes down with weight, but that just goes back to the trade-off thing again.

    Speaking of Expedition, the new 2007 has all the safety features you need (same as the XC90), and the long wheelbase model has all the space you need. The only down side is the lack of a diesel option... Maybe it will be made available later.

    So let's see where we are at, "I want, big, safe, green and cheap to run..."

    Big - pretty much any large SUV, such as Excursion, Suburban, etc... (I'm going by bigger than what you already have). Ford Escape Hybrid will NOT be even remotely big enough.

    Safe - well, Volvo has that clinched for the 7 passenger SUV's, but others are catching up. Yes, the extreme mass of the Excursion will certainly help. Most cars today are pretty safe.

    Green - well, you say you want more then 16-18 mpg, but that may be the unacheivable goal here. It's simply too tough to get the capacity without adding weight, which compromises the mileage. Biodiesel is certailny the greenest option out there now I think.

    Cheap to Run - a diesel is usually cheaper to run than a gas engine. Considering there is no conversion cost for bio, this may be the best bet. Plus, if you need regular diesel, you can just fill it up. It's certainly the most flexible in fuel options. Some of the others simply don't exist in anything other than special markets, too limiting.

    I think an SUV is really the only way to go for now. I'm really not impressed with any of the AWD mini-vans. We looked at the Sienna, but got the XC90 instead.

    Now as for the post on getting two more fuel efficient cars, that just won't work. They already have one Prius, they don't need another. If you drive both, you're effectively getting the same mileage as a bigger car. And it's is VERY inconvenient to drive two cars on along trip. I would prefer to keep the family in one car than in two. Plus, the parents can take turns driving with one car. With two, driver fatigue becomes an issue and certainly makes it more unsafe over onger distnces. You could just take longer to get there, but with kids that is NOT an option.

    We have the Prius for general driving, but on long trips we take the Volvo. We get 1/3 the mileage, but it's more confortable, roomier, and has space for all the necessary gear. I love my Prius, but it's just TOO limited in many ways. When our next child arrives in July, the Prius will be used less and the Volvo more.
     
  17. hycamguy07

    hycamguy07 New Member

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    Ok I have it!

    The ultamate Family mini van, It has space for the kids, a cpl of dogs and even suit cases!!!
    Its the 118 wheel base Dodge Sprinter
    2.7-liter (I-5) Turbo Diesel engine produces 154 horsepower at 3,800 RPM and 243 pounds-feet of torque from 1,600 to 2,400 RPM. w/5spd auto, with all the toys! MSRP $34,223

    [​IMG]
     
  18. IsrAmeriPrius

    IsrAmeriPrius Progressive Member

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    <div class='quotetop'>QUOTE(priusguy04 @ Apr 23 2006, 02:26 PM) [snapback]244038[/snapback]</div>
    You left out the its best feature. It is built in Düsseldorf, Germany, by Mercedes Benz.

    Car and Driver
     
  19. Tideland Prius

    Tideland Prius Moderator of the North
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    ok, this might be a joke but I thought I'll just throw in the idea.

    There are several... wait.. a lot of Japanese imported cars here where I live. They're just flooding the place because if a car is 15 years old, they don't have to meet Canadian specifications (bumper, DRLs etc etc). There are several "K" cars arriving. These are cars with under 67hp. If you get the vans, they usually have 4WD and seat seven. Some are bigger, some are smaller. There are also larger vans (i.e. more suitable for our roads instead of the tiny little flower delivery vans) like the Toyota Hiace 4WD (there's one parked in my neighbour's driveway) that seats 7 like a minivan, they usually have diesel engines and ~100hp (no idea how much torque) and are pretty fuel efficient.
     
  20. cwerdna

    cwerdna Senior Member

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    <div class='quotetop'>QUOTE(IsrAmeriPrius @ Apr 23 2006, 03:06 PM) [snapback]244043[/snapback]</div>
    That's supposed a good thing? Mercedes as a brand was dead last in reliability for 5 year old vehicles in the April 06 auto issue of Consumer Reports. They didn't fare quite as badly at http://www.jdpower.com/news/releases/press....asp?ID=2005089 but are still well below average.

    At (the story is gone from Autoweek), German drivers ranked Mercedes #32 out of 33 in terms of overall customer satisfaction.
    http://72.14.203.104/search?q=cache:j91Y6k...lient=firefox-a
     
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