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By Robert Rapier on Aug 16, 2008 with no responses

Suggestions for My Next Car?

I think I have put this off as long as I am able. Here is the situation. I am spending around two weeks a month in the Netherlands – and that will continue for a while. I have managed without a car for the past six months, but I think that’s about to have to come to an end. During my two weeks at home, I will have to spend some days in the office. I expect that I will make a 47-mile round trip 8-10 days a month. The reason I can no longer get by with just my wife’s car is that she will need a car at home during the day to ferry the kids back and forth to school (no bus, unfortunately) but also in case one of the kids got sick and had to be picked up.

I have entertained various alternatives. I have considered renting for two weeks a month. But that’s going to run me $300 to $500 a month. There is no public transportation between where I live and my job. I think the only real option I have is to buy a second car (unless someone has a better suggestion).

I would anticipate that I will drive at most 6,000 miles a year. I don’t think that’s enough to justify the expense of a Prius. I am looking for a combination of cheap and fuel efficient. I have gone back and reviewed previous posts on this subject, and several suggestions have been posted. A used Volkswagen TDI seems to be a popular choice. The Honda Fit has been mentioned. Various other Hondas, Nissans, and Toyotas have come up. I don’t see any Fords or GMs (except for a Saturn) that have been suggested.

So, what’s the ideal car for me? I will almost always be driving alone, and my top three priorities are safety, fuel efficiency, and price. What do you suggest, and why?