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madm
04-11-2012, 11:16 PM
We had many Toyotas and loved them all. We still have a 1981 Toyota SR5 pickup that is beat up exterior with 130K miles and it is the most reliable extra vehicle ever! It serves as our yard waste/landfill/furniture moving vehicle. Our first car was a Corolla which went to about 200K miles. We still have a 1997 Celica with 90K miles and it gets 30 MPG. My daughters have had a Scion tC, 4Runner, Civic, and CR-V, all of them great cars. The only drawback of the small vehicles you mention is their safety in a highway crash. My daughter totaled her Civic in a hydroplaning accident at 60 MPG one night returning to college in a torrential rainstorm. The car was so light it just flew all over the place when it hit a pool of water. The same thing can happen in the snow. She is lucky to be alive since another car hit her passenger side as she careened across the lanes of traffic. If you are concerned about safety, I recommend a small SUV which will be a little bit bigger and heavier and have better traction in rain and snow. The other advantage of the small SUV is that you can haul a lot of stuff in the back, which is great for a college student having to move herself in and out of apartments. Compared to the aging BMWs we now have, the Toyotas and Hondas are very economical to run and service, and it's easy to find mechanics who work on them. One of the criteria we use when buying a car is to make sure there is a local dealer and/or service place so that we can get repairs done close to home. As you might guess, we don't like American cars mainly because they don't last and have poor reliability. We had a Ford Explorer 10-20 years ago - the transmission went out at 85K miles and every seal in the engine leaked at 100K miles. What a piece of junk! The most long-lived cars we've had are a Volvo wagon (current owner says it's still going at 250K miles) and my 1999 BMW 528i (currently at 234K miles and doing fine).

PDilemma
04-11-2012, 11:59 PM
In defense of non-Toyotas...since the American car bashing was launched.

My dad just sold an 18 year old Buick with nearly 300,000 miles on it. It ran great. He would have kept it if they did not have two newer nicer vehicles with lower mileage. Since my mother can't drive anymore, he decided there was no reason to have three.

Kelleys6th
04-12-2012, 03:01 AM
On the Edmonds.com site, you can compare 4 cars of your choice and get a review and suggestion of which car will fit your specific wants and needs. I found this site great and it really helped me with my decision in buying my new car.
Edmonds.com

Good luck!

Karina1974
04-12-2012, 12:33 PM
The only drawback of the small vehicles you mention is their safety in a highway crash. My daughter totaled her Civic in a hydroplaning accident at 60 MPG one night returning to college in a torrential rainstorm. The car was so light it just flew all over the place when it hit a pool of water. The same thing can happen in the snow. She is lucky to be alive since another car hit her passenger side as she careened across the lanes of traffic.

It wasn't the weight of the car that was the issue, so much as the fact that she was traveling at 60 MPH :eek: in a rain storm. I see a lot of SUVs and 4WD vehicles off the roads during traffic report footage on TV during snow storms. One must tailor their driving to the road conditions at hand, and that was a scary way for your daughter to learn that lesson.

I was in a similar type of accident (hydroplaning off the bottom of a highway onramp in a light rain because I braked on the curve right before the merge) in a Ford Taurus, which is bigger and, thus, heavier than a Civic (it weighs about 3,000 pounds). Luckily, there weren't any other cars around (about 5-10 seconds later would have been a different story, though!), but I ended up spinning across the 3 lanes and putting my back end into a guardrail. I was ticketed for "speed not prudent for prevailing road conditions." For months afterwards I avoided at onramp even in good weather, and I hated driving in the rain (snow has never been an issue for me).

cruisin
04-12-2012, 01:31 PM
^^ You're right, SUVs can hydroplane. And, you don't have to be going too fast. I was driving my SUV on a rainy day, going under the speed limit - 40 MPH. My front, rear tire, hit a puddle. The puddle tugged at the tire and my car spun. Rotated 3 times, hit the median strip (which was canted), and rolled over. Top of the car facing oncoming traffic. Fortunately, it was early morning, traffic was light, and the cars behind me realized what was happening and slowed down. Fortunately, the car rolled onto the driver's side and not all of the way onto the roof. The engine did not die, so I was able to open the sun roof, push my daughter out and get out myself. When the police came, they said that the road I was on was treacherous in the rain, because it has a lot of oil that comes up. Said I was obviously not speeding because of the way my car ended up. Also said that there are similar accidents like that, in that same area, at least 1-2 times a month. But the town refuses to do anything about it. Like repave to change the surface and fix the poor drainage. As an aside, neither my daughter or I had a scratch. My Toyota SUV had $18,000 worth of damage and 150,000 miles on it. The insurance company did NOT total it, they fixed it. We put another 100,000 miles on it and sold it. AFAIK it's still running.

WindSpirit
04-12-2012, 02:20 PM
My daughter totaled her Civic in a hydroplaning accident at 60 MPG one night returning to college in a torrential rainstorm. The car was so light it just flew all over the place when it hit a pool of water. The same thing can happen in the snow. She is lucky to be alive since another car hit her passenger side as she careened across the lanes of traffic. If you are concerned about safety, I recommend a small SUV which will be a little bit bigger and heavier and have better traction in rain and snow. My cousin crashed her Land Rover after driving over a small bit of snow and ice. They had to cut the trees out to get it out. I don't think she was going more than 35 on that road.

Of course neither my example or yours prove that one is better than the other, but SUVs do have a much higher risk of a rollover. And then you become a missile and a threat to others on the road. Hardly something that screams safety.

I don't know why we're even talking about SUVs in this thread. The cars on skateycat's list couldn't be more opposite from SUVs. And most, BTW, have excellent safety ratings.

cruisin
04-12-2012, 11:24 PM
SUVs just came up with regard to madm's post about the safety of the smaller cars. Karina1974 and I were just saying that SUVs (AKA bigger cars) are just as likely to hydroplane as small cars.

Hydroplaning is very different from skidding on ice/snow. The wheels loose contact with the road, and you have no control over the car at all. It happens on a wet road, not an icy one.

WindSpirit
04-13-2012, 04:50 AM
SUVs just came up with regard to madm's post about the safety of the smaller cars. I thought I was talking to madm.

Anita18
04-13-2012, 05:40 AM
The only drawback of the small vehicles you mention is their safety in a highway crash. My daughter totaled her Civic in a hydroplaning accident at 60 MPG one night returning to college in a torrential rainstorm. The car was so light it just flew all over the place when it hit a pool of water. The same thing can happen in the snow. She is lucky to be alive since another car hit her passenger side as she careened across the lanes of traffic.

If you are concerned about safety, I recommend a small SUV which will be a little bit bigger and heavier and have better traction in rain and snow. The other advantage of the small SUV is that you can haul a lot of stuff in the back, which is great for a college student having to move herself in and out of apartments.
Keep in mind that "safer for you" means "less safe for others." SUVs are safer because they are taller. In a crash with a sedan, the SUV's bumper would cause MUCH more serious damage to the sedan than vice versa.

I mean, do you really want to be that kind of SUV driver? :o

And all kinds of cars hydroplane. Weight doesn't matter. If the car is going too fast and goes into a deep-enough puddle, it WILL hydroplane. In fact, the heavier the car, the more dangerous it might be, because it'll hit obstacles with higher momentum. Greater weight to offset speed will be a detriment in that case.

I hydroplaned very slightly in my Civic (which isn't really that light of a car - try my sister's 96 Chevy Prism! :rofl: ) taking an exit in the rain, going 35mph. It was scary, but I was going slow enough that I regained control with plenty of time to avoid things. You just have to be careful. And know that you cannot drive regular speeds in the rain.

I mean, I live in LA, and in one storm, we had near whiteout conditions on the freeway because of the kickup. Everyone drove 35 mph very nicely, with a lot of space between each car. And everyone I'm sure got to their destinations safely. I was actually quite impressed. :lol:

Karina1974
04-13-2012, 12:30 PM
Hydroplaning is very different from skidding on ice/snow. The wheels loose contact with the road, and you have no control over the car at all. It happens on a wet road, not an icy one.

I would much rather drive in snow than in rain, especially after that accident I mentioned I was in, which occured 10 years ago next month. I still remind myself "don't brake on the curve" no matter what the road conditions are.

Didn't help that, when I took AAA's defensive driving course the first time, probably that year or the year after this happened, when they show that video about "how to deal with skidding/losing control on wet pavement" they showed a clip of a Taurus of the same vintage as mine losing control going around a curve on wet pavement, and spinning out. I thought I was going to be sick the first time I saw that. My mother was taking the course with me, and she leaned over and asked me "are you OK?" Ah... no. :(

cruisin
04-13-2012, 01:43 PM
Keep in mind that "safer for you" means "less safe for others." SUVs are safer because they are taller. In a crash with a sedan, the SUV's bumper would cause MUCH more serious damage to the sedan than vice versa.

I may be restating your point. But SUVs, in and of themselves, are not less safe for others. The problem with SUVs are the stupid drivers who think SUVs can be driven at normal or faster speeds, under any road condition. SUVs do have more traction in snow. But, on packed snow, ice, wet roads, they will skid/hydroplane just as easily as any car. The difference is that, since they weigh more, they have more momentum. Making them harder to stop. If people drove SUVs as cautiously as they should, they would be safer. That said, see below.


I would much rather drive in snow than in rain, especially after that accident I mentioned I was in, which occured 10 years ago next month. I still remind myself "don't brake on the curve" no matter what the road conditions are.

The worst part (emotionally) of my accident was that I was doing everything right. I was going 15 MPH below the speed limit. I was familiar with the road and knew it was slick in the rain, I was being extra careful. But, because of poor drainage and right lane puddling, my tire yanked out. It was terrifying to feel that even when you are being diligently cautious, you can lose control. I still, almost 10 years later, hate driving in the rain. I drive (probably too) slow, and I leave enormous space between my car and the one in front of me. Only problem, half the time, is the jerk behind me (who has not figured out that you should drive slow in the rain and leave space) tailgating :roll eyes:!

madm
04-13-2012, 06:57 PM
It wasn't the weight of the car that was the issue, so much as the fact that she was traveling at 60 MPH :eek: in a rain storm. I see a lot of SUVs and 4WD vehicles off the roads during traffic report footage on TV during snow storms. One must tailor their driving to the road conditions at hand, and that was a scary way for your daughter to learn that lesson.

I have to agree that speed was an issue given the conditions, but the highway speed limit here is 75MPH and she was going 15 MPH below it. Now she realizes that she would need to go something more like 40MPH in those conditions or just pull off the road and let the storm pass. Personally I believe that she would have faired much better if she had been driving my old BMW sedan with traction control and electronic stability. Her current car is a Honda CR-V with both of those features and she feels much safer driving it than the older Civic that had neither of those.

I also agree about SUVs not being that much safer - we have a lot of stupid SUV drivers in Colorado who think they can drive the speed limit in a downpour or blizzard, and they often end up in a ditch due to poor judgment. The main point about safety with SUVs is not so much that they are easier to control as they are built like tanks and can survive a catostrophic crash better than a small car. That said, everyone has to make the tradeoff between better gas mileage vs. driving a car that is better suited for adverse winter conditions. Fortunately we have more than one car so we can have one for good mileage and sporty driving, and another for handling the worst weather Mother Nature can dish out. If I lived in a warm climate, I would choose a smaller car like the poster is looking at.

cruisin
04-13-2012, 09:20 PM
^^ Actually, traction control and electronic stability would not have helped her in a hydroplane situation. The tires lose contact with the road when you hydroplane, that is why it is so dangerous.

skateycat
05-24-2012, 08:37 PM
Hello again!

I have just test driven 3 of the cars on my list

2012 Kia Forte
2012 Honda Civic LX
2012 Toyota Corolla

I did not like the brakes on the Kia Forte. Way too grabby, and I had to think too hard about braking carefully for my comfort. The salesman tried to tell me it was a new car thing and that it would get better, but the Honda and the Toyota were not like that.

I liked the Honda and the Toyota equally well. They both rode nice. The Honda gets slightly better mileage. I like the creature comforts and the dash a little better in the Toyota. The salesman asked if I wanted to get a call from him and was agreeable when I said no, I will call you when I'm ready. The Kia salesman was also pleasant, but I'm going to kick the Kia off my list.

agalisgv
05-24-2012, 08:47 PM
And know that you cannot drive regular speeds in the rain. Sure you can drive regular speeds in the rain. You cannot do that in flooding conditions (obviously), or if the rain is coming down so heavily you have no visibility. But otherwise, I think you'd have to be a pretty poor driver to not be able to drive normally in the rain.

Would also point out more accidents are caused by people driving too slow than too fast.