What Car Should I Buy?

I am starting school in 2 weeks. I need a car for the commute. Here’s what I’m looking for

  • Low cost of ownership over the next 3 years while I’m in school. Maybe $13k used
  • good MPG (100 mile round trip commute)
  • comfortable for passengers to study in
  • ok for an infant in the back
  • probably a hatchback for hauling stuff

Top contenders right now are:

  • Honda Fit. I sat in a 2015 and the back seat didn’t have enough clearance for me. I think the older models are ok but have to check
  • Mazda 3
  • Honda Civic
  • Nissan Versa
  • Ford Fiesta

What do YOU recommend I test drive?


Here are some cars I knocked off the list

  • Toyota Prius. The A-pillar makes a terrible blind spot for me. I keep nearly hitting pedestrians in Megan’s Prius. :-(
  • Honda Insight. I’m way too tall to sit in the back seat :-(
  • Toyota Matrix. Terrible visibility in the front


It seems a lot of  newer cars get better MPG… a 2008 Mazda 3 or Fit gets 33MPG, the same cars in 2015 get 40, saving about $400/year in gas!



  1. Michael says:

    A 2015 ford fiesta is a peppy little car, but it’s harder for me to get into the backseat than to get in and out of my mg. It also has the same visibility problems as the toyota yaris and prius.

  2. Rick L says:

    We love our Honda Fit’s, but if you are over 5′ 11″ you won’t fit :). I recommend checking out the Honda Civic Hybrid. An engineering colleague of mine has had one for ten years and it has been trouble-free. He also has two kiddos and they fit just fine in the back seat (one is in a car seat, the other sits in a regular seat). The Honda Civic is a larger car than the Fit and should have good visibility to the rear. We also checked out the CRV and it has the same poor rear visibility that the Prius has.

    We highly recommend Walnut Creek Honda if you want to look at Honda. I really dislike car dealers and these guys are wonderful, low-pressure and professional.

  3. lee says:

    Thanks Rick and Michael! Megan and I bought a 2012 Prius C Two yesterday!

    Michael’s comment about the Fiesta took it off the list and saved us some time in shopping. Concerning the Fit, the moonroof on the 2015 Honda Fit EX and EX-L makes the ceiling lower such that I can’t ride in the back seat! The 2015 Fit LX (the lowest model) doesn’t have a moonroof so it’s not a problem. Also, the Fit 2009-2013 has even more headroom.

    I’ve been getting better than 50MPG driving around for the last day. And the car is fun to drive :-)

  4. Michael says:

    2 gallons of gas a day is pretty sweet for a hundred mile commute. How much of a hit do you take on highway miles when you can’t use the batteries?

  5. lee says:

    I’ll tell you soon. But it looks like I’m getting 55MPG highway!

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