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Time to upgrade our family hauler!

  #1  
Old 02-22-2019, 07:29 PM
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Time to upgrade our family hauler!

Good evening! Well as the title states, we are in the market for a new family hauler. The vehicle being replaced is a very much loved '03 Mercury Grand Marquis that we have owned for more than 10 years. Sadly it only has 110k miles but here in the salt belt, it is rotting away before our eyes and slowly becoming unsafe.

We are a young family of 3 with a possible 4th in the future, our child is 4 and this will be my wifes car that gets driven on very short commutes and weekend travels, and we also have a 4wd Nissan truck if the weather really gets that bad.

We have always owned boring cars that are practical and reliable (crown vic, grand marquis, corolla, ranger, etc), always doing my own obsessive maintenance and repairs, and owning a vehicle for as long as possible. Her only requests is it to be a hatch for hauling the dog/family etc, an automatic, no sport utility, reliable, and unique.

I enjoy reading and learning as much as possible, so if anyone has any comments feel free to chime in and let us know if we are on the right track with a Fit or look for something more suitable. Thanks so much for your time and have a wonderful weekend.
 
  #2  
Old 02-22-2019, 08:17 PM
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The Fit would be a great choice. I could Fit all 4 of us (2 car seats) in my Fit and it was not to bad on space. We have a Pilot as the family vehicle now and it is much better suited for the task but not so great on MPG. If its a small dog the Fit would do well and if you pack light for trips.
 
  #3  
Old 02-22-2019, 09:23 PM
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Originally Posted by GolNat View Post
The Fit would be a great choice. I could Fit all 4 of us (2 car seats) in my Fit and it was not to bad on space. We have a Pilot as the family vehicle now and it is much better suited for the task but not so great on MPG. If its a small dog the Fit would do well and if you pack light for trips.
We got 2 car seats and a double stroller in my GK. Granted there wasn't much room left in the trunk but you could cram stuff in the dead spaces. We typically use a 4runner for family hauling but it was in the shop so we used my fit instead.
 
  #4  
Old 02-22-2019, 11:16 PM
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Originally Posted by 2Rismo2 View Post
We got 2 car seats and a double stroller in my GK. Granted there wasn't much room left in the trunk but you could cram stuff in the dead spaces. We typically use a 4runner for family hauling but it was in the shop so we used my fit instead.
It's surprising what you can fit in such a little car!! Yea we used my Fit sometimes but it was tight if you took anything more then a stroller. The extra room in the Pilot is so much nicer. It's nice not having to play Tetras when you need to pack the kids up. They have so much stuff!!!!
 

Last edited by GolNat; 02-22-2019 at 11:22 PM.
  #5  
Old 02-22-2019, 11:48 PM
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The Fit would be too small. Being a young family with small children, I would look for a tank, especially if you care for your wife's safety. To save the cost of purchase, how about one of those older Mercedes GL models. They depreciated an awful lot, but they solid cars. When my kids were small, I bought a used MBZ 300E, four door sedan to haul them around. I think buying a new car to be used in salted highways is a waste of money. Buy an used car from non salted area.
 

Last edited by wasserball; 02-22-2019 at 11:53 PM.
  #6  
Old 02-23-2019, 07:16 PM
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Welcome 1967c10. It's good to see someone doing some research in their next car purchase.

Can't speak to how the Fit handles everyday family duties. For something with a bit more space and is "unique" , have you looked at the KIA Soul? What are your other choices?
 
  #7  
Old 02-23-2019, 10:13 PM
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I love using my Fit as the day-to-day family runabout. The kids are pre-teens (tweens?), but they fit just fine in the back. Occasionally the dog sits back there with them. And the trunk holds all of their stuff - rollerblades, scooters, basketball bags, etc.

For longer trips, we use the minivan (Odyssey). The extra room is great (the kids are farther away from my ears). We are usually shuttling our kids' teammates to/from games, so the extra capacity helps. And, especially around the holidays, all the room for presents and luggage comes in handy.

So one is a maxi-Fit, or the other is a mini-Odyssey.
 
  #8  
Old 02-23-2019, 10:47 PM
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Originally Posted by wasserball View Post
The Fit would be too small. Being a young family with small children, I would look for a tank, especially if you care for your wife's safety. To save the cost of purchase, how about one of those older Mercedes GL models. They depreciated an awful lot, but they solid cars. When my kids were small, I bought a used MBZ 300E, four door sedan to haul them around. I think buying a new car to be used in salted highways is a waste of money. Buy an used car from non salted area.
This is bad advice.

OP, I think you are on the right track. Happy hunting :)
 
  #9  
Old 02-24-2019, 08:00 PM
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Really appreciating the feedback everyone is contributing! Also wanted to give an update since I made my original post, but first to answer some above questions. As far as wasserball suggesting an older car from the south and maybe a big car like a Mercedes. Well I did want to get another Crown Vic ex police cruiser from the south, but after 10 years my wife just wants something different than a panther platform car, and she is also done with big cars for a bit, as I even suggested a clean police Tahoe. In reference to the Mercedes suggestion, the middle of nowhere town i'm from here in Minnesota, I don't know if anyone has ever seen or heard of a Mercedes ha!

Action Jackson asked what other vehicles are on our list, well my mother owned a Soul for 5years and was a great car, and may still be on our short list, but the wife says she sees to many of them around town. As far as other choices, it really comes down to deciding if we have a second child and getting something bigger like a Rav4 or CRV, but if we have just our daughter we are leaning more FIT, Juke, maybe an Element.

Yesterday we did drive a Fit for the first time, and wow, we were genuinely surprised and really loved it. We only drove a base model trim 2016, but did get a good feel for it, I think it would serve us well, kind of like marmaladedad mentioned, seemed alot like a mini minivan! on the other end of the spectrum, we drove a VW GTI and a VW Tiguan. The dealer we went to was also a VW dealer so thats why we wanted to give them a shot since they were both smaller and hatches. Both very nice and fun to drive cars, but the big thing about VW that holds me back is reliability, especially gas turbo automatic VWs! This is why im also afraid of Subarus, reliability. I think they are great for those who trade often, but not for a shadetree mechanic who keeps vehicles for 10 years plus. Thanks again for all the input, and keep it coming!
 

Last edited by 1967c10; 02-24-2019 at 08:03 PM.
  #10  
Old 02-24-2019, 08:36 PM
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If early reporting on this forum is any indication, we've seen some reliability issues with the GK5.

Faulty injectors. Premature starter failure (tends to be the pushbutton start models). Warped rotors before 10K. Carbon buildup on the backs of the valves from the new direct injection engine. Stuff that we didn't see on the earlier iterations of the Fit.

Some of the issues can be traced back to teething problems at the Celaya plant, like warped rotors that resulted from not being properly annealed. Others, like the DI buildup, are not a simple fix unless you start messing with catch cans and the like. If your injectors go, they're not cheap. They have to be sold in matched flow-rate foursomes, and typically you'd be looking at $1500-2000 to replace. So I don't think Honda has worked out all its QC problems with the GK5 just yet.
 
  #11  
Old 02-25-2019, 04:38 PM
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Originally Posted by bargainguy View Post
If early reporting on this forum is any indication, we've seen some reliability issues with the GK5.

Faulty injectors. Premature starter failure (tends to be the pushbutton start models). Warped rotors before 10K. Carbon buildup on the backs of the valves from the new direct injection engine. Stuff that we didn't see on the earlier iterations of the Fit.

Some of the issues can be traced back to teething problems at the Celaya plant, like warped rotors that resulted from not being properly annealed. Others, like the DI buildup, are not a simple fix unless you start messing with catch cans and the like. If your injectors go, they're not cheap. They have to be sold in matched flow-rate foursomes, and typically you'd be looking at $1500-2000 to replace. So I don't think Honda has worked out all its QC problems with the GK5 just yet.
Those were early on reports about the Mexican 2015 GK5s. My personal 2015 EX has had only a problem with the clutch switch and that was fixed under warranty. My 6 speed manual, assembled in Dec. 2015 has been very satisfactory, but I drive very little. under 10k at this point.

For the OP, I'd suggest the HRV except it appears to be under powered but it does have the Magic Seats. The Civic hatch has a sloping hatch, no Magic Seats, therefore less practical.. .
 
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Old 02-25-2019, 05:45 PM
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Can you borrow a kid lol? Once we had 2 children the extra room in an SUV is very nice!!! Yes you can make a Fit work and if your wife doesn't want a bigger vehicle then it would be the best choice IMO. My wife much preferred driving the Pilot and having the extra space though.
 
  #13  
Old 02-25-2019, 08:52 PM
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You will 100% need snow tires for the Fit. And I think you'll max out the space pretty quickly. How about an HRV?
 
  #14  
Old 02-27-2019, 08:37 AM
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For hauling around the family we have a CRV. We picked it up last year, it's a 2015 cert. pre-owned. We're super-happy with it. A big part of it is the dealer too. Our local dealer has excellent service. Loaners, a shuttle, free car wash... they've really done it right.
 
  #15  
Old 02-27-2019, 08:47 AM
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Since the OP has a 4 year old, they probably won't have to deal with a dual stroller by the time another child comes around. I think the trunk space is manageable with a single stroller.
 
  #16  
Old 02-27-2019, 12:21 PM
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The Fit may be economical and spacious but IT'S only a sub-compact and will tightly address your current requirements. With a young family, you should buy a larger vehicle which will handle your growing needs.
Your on the right track by considering getting a CRV or Toyota RAV, they're reliable and maintain value. Since your located in rust bucket country, look at something depreciated. Used, or, year of end model. I'd include the Soul with this bunch. Two of my friends have them and rave about it's tight build quality and utility.
Happy shopping!!!
 

Last edited by ROTTBOY; 02-27-2019 at 12:28 PM.
  #17  
Old 02-27-2019, 02:25 PM
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It's crazy how people think you need a giant car just because you're having a kid. My wife and I made due with a Ford Contour for the first year of our son's life and a Mazda Protege5 for the next 6 years of his life after that. Both have less usable space than the Fit but worked fine for us. Admittedly we usually traveled light with a diaper bag, stroller and playpen being the most we'd take with us and that was only on overnight trips.

When we decided we were only having one kid, we replaced the Protege5 with a 2007 Mazdaspeed6 and a 2006 Mazda MX-5 Miata. If just one of us had to take him anywhere we opted for the Miata 90% of the time. We just ordered our 3rd MX-5 Miata, a 2019, and our son is now 18. He loves driving manual transmission cars and we're sure it was because he spent the last decade in the front seat of an MX-5.
 
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Old 02-27-2019, 02:50 PM
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Originally Posted by sjd View Post
It's crazy how people think you need a giant car just because you're having a kid. My wife and I made due with a Ford Contour for the first year of our son's life and a Mazda Protege5 for the next 6 years of his life after that. Both have less usable space than the Fit but worked fine for us. Admittedly we usually traveled light with a diaper bag, stroller and playpen being the most we'd take with us and that was only on overnight trips.

When we decided we were only having one kid, we replaced the Protege5 with a 2007 Mazdaspeed6 and a 2006 Mazda MX-5 Miata. If just one of us had to take him anywhere we opted for the Miata 90% of the time. We just ordered our 3rd MX-5 Miata, a 2019, and our son is now 18. He loves driving manual transmission cars and we're sure it was because he spent the last decade in the front seat of an MX-5.
When my brother and I were small, my parents had a ford tempo coupe & a geo tracker 2 dr convertible.

The biggest car I remember them having until my dad decided to become a truck guy (ie: buy the hugest pickup for no clear reason) was an XJ Cherokee because he liked to off-road.

Cars are getting bigger for the same reason houses are. Americans convey size with status & generally seem to avoid close company with their fellow humans as often as possible.
 
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Old 02-27-2019, 02:58 PM
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Originally Posted by sjd View Post
It's crazy how people think you need a giant car just because you're having a kid. My wife and I made due with a Ford Contour for the first year of our son's life and a Mazda Protege5 for the next 6 years of his life after that. Both have less usable space than the Fit but worked fine for us. Admittedly we usually traveled light with a diaper bag, stroller and playpen being the most we'd take with us and that was only on overnight trips.

When we decided we were only having one kid, we replaced the Protege5 with a 2007 Mazdaspeed6 and a 2006 Mazda MX-5 Miata. If just one of us had to take him anywhere we opted for the Miata 90% of the time. We just ordered our 3rd MX-5 Miata, a 2019, and our son is now 18. He loves driving manual transmission cars and we're sure it was because he spent the last decade in the front seat of an MX-5.
Yeah try fitting enough luggage/stuff for 5 people including a toddler for a week long trip in any of those vehicles you've listed... I drove from VA to Mississippi and back in my 4Runner and everything fit inside. It was tight and wouldn't want to do that unless I had to.

We're actually looking at getting an Odyssey to replace the 4Runner now that we have 2 kids. When my parents are here for a few months, we can't go anywhere unless we take two vehicles which is not ideal. I was hoping to postpone it for a few years, but just got a raise that would essentially pay for the vehicle upgrade. So I'm hoping to give my wife what she wants versus what she needs.
 
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Old 02-27-2019, 03:10 PM
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Originally Posted by mike410b View Post
Cars are getting bigger for the same reason houses are. Americans convey size with status & generally seem to avoid close company with their fellow humans as often as possible.
Agree. We also live in 1000 square feet.

Originally Posted by 2Rismo2 View Post
Yeah try fitting enough luggage/stuff for 5 people including a toddler for a week long trip in any of those vehicles you've listed... I drove from VA to Mississippi and back in my 4Runner and everything fit inside. It was tight and wouldn't want to do that unless I had to.

We're actually looking at getting an Odyssey to replace the 4Runner now that we have 2 kids. When my parents are here for a few months, we can't go anywhere unless we take two vehicles which is not ideal. I was hoping to postpone it for a few years, but just got a raise that would essentially pay for the vehicle upgrade. So I'm hoping to give my wife what she wants versus what she needs.
We did trips in all of the vehicles I mentioned. We did a trip from Toronto to Pittsburgh with 3 people and luggage in the Protege5 without issue. We also did a week long trip from Toronto to Boston with 4 people and luggage in the Mazdaspeed6 without issue.

That's fine if you need space for 5 people. We didn't. I'm not saying that if you have to buy a Fit for all your needs, I'm saying that for a young family (without grandparents) a Fit would be a fine car. The Odyssey is actually the ideal vehicle if you have to move a lot of people and stuff but not everyone does.
 

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