*to Hanlon's razor: Never attribute to malice that which is adequately explained by stupidity.

Monday, 14 April 2014

Why no wagons? Why the boats?

Yes, I know I've written plenty against cars, but I haven't had to live in Toronto with two kids using the city's crap transit: with one was bad enough.  We'll never get one car per adult!  With two kids in Tokyo there's no call for a vehicle, and driving here's no pleasure and expensive besides (tolls).  I am returning to North America, and that means sprawl, and poor transit or none.  However, if you don't need your car to commute, you're an idiot to own one.

Owning in Canada: an average of $10K/yr all costs in, including gas, maintenance, insurance and depreciation.

Not owning in Canada: an average of $5.5K/yr if you're profligate
- $100/month on transit
- $300/month on car rental, if frequent
- $50/month on taxis

I need a third seat row, though not a luxurious one.  I'm not getting a fucking truck, just because I bred.

I'm in early middle age, but married late enough not to justify mid-life crisis: I ought to get a sedan.  However, I have a mother and MIL I'll need to fit in sometimes, along with a wife, and two child seats, which waste a fuck-tonne of room (the seats).  I'm not getting a van or truck, because besides driving like a building, the premium on buying, running and insuring is going to be an extra 25% or more.  Nobody's making a station wagon, though.  That's what I really need.  It'd also let me carry cycling and camping gear when I get to, or sleep in the back on long drives when the family's in Japan and I am not.

I'm cheap, but too cheap to buy a PITA that will cost me more in repair and poor ride quality, so GM and Chrysler are out (besides, fuck their bail out!), so is Toyota after their lies about their accelerators, and European cars are not worth the premium.  They don't make three row sedan/wagon/van vehicles anyway. There are these, and all come out around $30K new in Canada with options you'd want (less in the US, despite the dollar, as usual) after taxes.


Kia Rondo

Mitsubishi Outlander

Am as partial to Honda as against GM, from owning one of each, but they make nothing in this class.  Nor does Hyundai or Nissan.  Am I missing anything?  Can't be much over $30K CAD, parks, drives and weighs more like a sedan than a truck, and has a third seat row (both second and third rows folding away, ideally flat).

Given the three pictures, I am partial to the Mazda5, but if the recent reliability and build quality of the Kia and Mistubishi are as good I could be swayed.  However, only the Mazda's got the sliding rear door, and my MIL and mother are near opposite sides of seventy years.  What a shame there are so few choices for what's kind of an ideal car for North America.


  1. I'm partial to the Subaru Outback...

    1. No third row of seats. Not going to use it often, but essential when I do.

  2. Having come from a minivan family, if you go with a vehicle with a sliding passenger door they can be cumbersome. They are either heavy to open and shut: tricky for weak old folk or really small kids. Or you can go with the awesome electric doors that automagically shut themselves. More chance for mechanical failure but comes in handy. I am more for the traditional passenger doors.

  3. We went for the Mazda5, despite the dog ugly front end which will probably be fixed in a year. Tried the Kia Rondo, but the roofline is really low, and I didn't like the way it drove. I do wish that Honda had an option here like the Stream. There is the Chevy Orlando. My wife did not want to consider a north american option. Shame that Ford opted not to bring the 3 row version of the C-Max across the pond.

    1. Good to know about the roofline, as I am over 6', for which reason I wouldn't go with a sunroof on any, as you lose a few inches' headroom. Rented the Mazda 5, by another name, in Japan and was happy enough with it. Roof's still low enough for me to get a canoe on.