So this post is really a plea for help. I’ve never owned a car. Growing up, I occasionally drove my family’s Mazda MPV to school when they would let me, but most days I rode my bike. For a while my father owned a black Alpha Romeo Spider, which was a beautiful car. I also loved my parents’ pea green pop-top VW camper, a relic of the seventies–some day I hope to subject my own family to this mode of vacationing. But then, there you have it, pretty much the extent of my car knowledge.
So here I find myself in Pittsburgh. Today I took a walk down Penn Avenue. The traffic rushed by. I was the only pedestrian for miles. When I finally reached an intersection I met another human, a homeless man carrying a small cardboard sign, and then it started to rain.
Yesterday I took a walk with my sister. We passed a store where they sold beer (which, by the way, is a whole thing here. You have to go to a beer store.) I thought I’d better take advantage of being there and buy a six pack…which I then carried the half-hour walk back home. I think I may have embarrassed her.
And again, this morning we were going to see friends who had kindly invited us for brunch. We thought we’d take the bus. Ha! Haha. Fussy babies and no nap later we looked at the bus schedule. Two transfers, and one bus per hour. Hm…
So if it was a pain not having a car in Brooklyn, here it’s laughable.
Anyway, I’m going on a bit, but what I really want is advice. We’d like to buy a car used. How old of a one is too old? Mileage maybe less than 60,000? My inclination is to try to find a car as cheaply as possible (Let’s get this over with and just get some wheels to get us around town!), but I’m fighting that, because that doesn’t seem wise, and I’d like to invest in something safe that won’t fall apart next year.
A few people have recommended the Mazda 5, a small minivan. Some say that’s no good because we’ll need four wheel drive for the icy winters. Frankly I’ve always fancied myself sort of a hybrid person. I’d love a Prius. But the Prius is so much more expensive–would fuel efficiency make it worth the price? And is it big enough? I’ve heard Subarus are solid. But maybe Honda is most reliable? Or, um, Scions are kind of cool. You can see I’m all over the place.
Please help. What recommendation do you have for a car that’s safe, reliable, big enough for a tall driver, twin babies, and all the cargo that comes with them, plus doesn’t get terrible gas mileage? What year? Where should we start? Leave a comment! Any thoughts much appreciated.