Dilemma: what car? (in Off-topic)

bartjan February 23 2008 11:15 AM EST

For my job I can choose a company car. Basically any "normal" car is allowed, as long as it runs on diesel or lpg.
My job is a "short" 135 kilometers drive from my home (which takes almost 2 hours with normal traffic). I'm also a little taller than the average person cars usually are designed for (1.98m), so it's important for me that I end up with a car that I can drive every day, without needing to visit a chiropractor...

This is why my choice at the moment is the Ford Mondeo. It's not the cheapest car (I have to pay extra for anything above the budget the company allows me), but with any car smaller than this I either hit the roof with my head, can steer the car using my knees, or have my right leg pressed against the center console.

What makes the choice difficult is the Toyota Prius. It has its flaws (seats are horrible, knees are touching the steering wheel and in stormy weather the car catches the side wind like a sail), but because of tax rules, this car will be a *lot* cheaper than the Mondeo (I don't have any exact numbers, but I estimate it to be about 250 euro *a month* cheaper than the Mondeo).

So my dilemma is: can I endure the Prius for about 2.5 years, or is it better to go for the more expensive Mondeo. The bad seats in the Prius I can fix by replacing the driver's seat for a custom made seat, if needed.

A related, but different dilemma: what color?

QBRanger February 23 2008 11:19 AM EST

I personally like the Mazda 3. I am 6'3" and have little problem with the seat back.

Alternatively the Honda Civic is an outstanding auto.

The color: Black of course

AdminQBnovice [Cult of the Valaraukar] February 23 2008 11:21 AM EST

Prius- use the gas money you save to buy a full blow race seat with a harness... that'll get some looks.

Color - those cheese wedges come in different colors?

j'bob February 23 2008 11:28 AM EST

I've heard fairly tall people can fit nicely into a Dodge Caliber.
course, fairly tall people can fit anywhere nicely if ya slice em right.

Brakke Bres [Ow man] February 23 2008 11:29 AM EST

Stay away from the Skoda, that is a real back breaker.

Brakke Bres [Ow man] February 23 2008 11:34 AM EST

look here
Please note above link is a dutch site.

Relic February 23 2008 11:53 AM EST

I am between 6'3" and 6'4" and I drive a VW Passat 1.8L Turbo, I have plenty of room and it is kinda sporty with a nice sound system (Monsoon).

AdminG Beee February 23 2008 12:01 PM EST

Given that it's a company car and you won't have to cover service or repair work I'd say you should go with whichever car you're most comfortable in. Comfortable = cost too :)

If you were paying for repairs and service out of your own pocket then I'd 100% recommend the Mondeo. It's got a fantastic record for reliability and I know from experience (my father owned one) that it's a good sensible car for people who do serious mileage. It's the most popular company car in the UK.

bartjan February 23 2008 12:07 PM EST

I've compared dozens of different cars, and already have reduced the selection to just these 2. Please don't try to expand the list, I'm trying to reduce it ;)

Henk, I've driven a Škoda Octavia for about a week. I don't recall the seat being that bad. The car itself was a step back from the car I had before it (Audi A3), but better than the car they gave me after that week (Opel Vectra) which I still am driving. The seat in the Opel is the main problem I have with it.

Black is a nice color for a car, but black on the Mondeo is *very* black ;)

AdminG Beee February 23 2008 12:36 PM EST

Silver is a good colour to go with. Doesn't show up the dirt in the same way many other cars do.
Avoid black unless you're prepared to wash it before and after each journey. Certainly looks good when clean, but is impossible to keep it that way. At least for me in the UK with the rubbish weather.

Silver Mondeo - that's what I'd go for if I were you.

Unappreciated Misnomer February 23 2008 12:55 PM EST

toyota > ford imo

color: dark grey/charcoal

Don't Panic February 23 2008 12:58 PM EST

I'm 6'2'' 280 and I drive a Mini. You should at least take a look. I absolutely love my car, super comfortable, fun to drive, sport, and by the way, built by BMW.

QBRanger February 23 2008 1:21 PM EST

If it is just a choice between the 2, then get the Ford.

Be comfortable. I drive 29 miles a day to work and the comfort is key for me.

Does your work pay for gas, upkeep, maintenance?

bartjan February 23 2008 1:44 PM EST

Yes, all costs (except traffic tickets of course ;) are paid by the company. That's also why it has to be a diesel or LPG engine, as those are cheaper than benzine (gasoline) at the gas station. About once every 3 days I tank a full tank of diesel, at a total cost of 400+ euro each month. This is all paid by the lease company.

My current car is silver. Maybe it's because of the winter, but every time I look at it I feel the need to wash it. Again.
For the Mondeo, I tend to go for a dark gray color. The Prius I drove for a test drive (a 340km test drive) was 'Southern Bronze'. A nice color for that car.

Wasp [C and S Forgery Lmtd.] February 23 2008 1:54 PM EST

Mondeo's are okay. Go for the 2 liter engine minimum, otherwise they are under-powered. There are some strong tdci engines available for the modeo's as well. They are spacious and comfortable and my girlfriends dad who is 6 foot 5 had plenty of head room : )

Tezmac February 23 2008 2:08 PM EST

If you only want opinion on the two cars you mentioned, I'd get the Ford as it's the most comfortable and you'll be spending what sounds like 4 hours a day in the car.

If another reasoning on the Prius was gas mileage, be aware that if you're doing mostly freeway driving, you won't see as much return from a hybrid as they have more benefit in the stop-and-go city traffic.

As for color, silver was the highest sold color the past few years for compacts and mid-size cars. So you might be able to get a better deal on an "off" color. I remember a few years ago, one of the dealers here was having a sale on green VW's because they couldn't move them. However, if resale is a concern, then silver or white would be the way to go.

AdminG Beee February 23 2008 2:12 PM EST

You could always go for a bike though. If I remember correctly Tez has a nice shiny blue one :)

IndependenZ February 23 2008 2:13 PM EST

Definitely a Toyota Prius. Fix the seat with the money you save from taxes. 250 euro a month is a nice sum to spend on other nice things, and over 2,5 years, you'll have gained 7500 euro. You could buy a new Daihatsu! :p

Tezmac February 23 2008 2:14 PM EST

Haha, very true! I don't know of any bikes that run on diesel though!! Mine would probably have a fit if you fed it that. :O)

Wasp [C and S Forgery Lmtd.] February 23 2008 2:24 PM EST

Sorry but the Prius is just not cool. It's got the looks of a pair of cloggs. Get a decent TDCI engine in your ford modeo, or even better, get a 1.9cdti vauxhall. Those are nice big cruisers as well.

The prius is just all out ugly!

Armageddon February 23 2008 2:32 PM EST

I say that you should find an electric car. If you spend 4 hours a day driving to and from work everyday, then you would save a lot of money on fuel. With an electric car, you save 4 hours of fuel burning your money away.

If you can find a fuel efficient car, it might run 30mi (48km)/ per gal of fuel

Where I live, unleaded gasoline costs $3.10/ gal

To drive 30mi/ gal for 84.4mi (135km) would cost me about $9.30

This means, driving to and from work would cost me almost $18.30

If I worked 5days/week, going to and from work would cost me almost $100.

If I worked 4weeks/ month, that would cost me almost $400.

If I worked 10months/ year, that would cost me $4,000.

With the final total, you could take off $500 for calculating errors, and you still end up with $3,500.

Lets say that the electric car takes $1,500 electric costs to recharge, you still save $2,000.

That extra $2,000 a year could go to whatever you want. A new car, a cruise, a vacation, a new plasma tv for your bathroom, etc.

Invest in electric cars.

bartjan February 23 2008 2:46 PM EST

Instead of getting a company car, my employer also gives me a few other options:
- Public transport. Well, I relied on public transport to get me to the job interviews and it resulted in being 15 minutes too late for the first one and 75 minutes too late for the second one. Still got the job, but lost all faith in public transport.
- Get the budget for the car+gas added to my income and use my own car/whatever to get to the job.

This second option, combined with the fact that I do have a driver's license for cars *and* bikes would mean that using a motor cycle to drive to work an interesting alternative. However, what they budget for gas costs is for an average commuter. I'm not average and spend twice as much on gas ;)
Also, I have no place to store a bike indoors...

My current car is an Opel with a 1.9 diesel, so I guess the same as in a Vauxhall. Motor works fine, but I have a list of other things that annoy me ;)
The Mondeo would have a 2.0 TDCi, but would be the 115HP one. Sounds under powered compared to the 140HP one, but I don't need the HP's for my daily drive.

Armageddon, I do not have to pay the gas bill, so I really don't care how fuel efficient the Prius is ;)
The point is that (in my country) you have to pay taxes on a company car if you also use it to drive privately in it. For normal cars that tax is based on 25% the catalog price of the car (a $40,000 car would cost me $350 a month ($40000*25%/12*42%). Eco cars such as the hybrid ones, but also a few very small ones (Toyota Aigo) are taxed at only 14% of their catalog price. A $40,000 Prius would cost me $196 a month. This, besides the fact that the Prius is a cheaper car in itself, means that the Prius is a much cheaper car than the Mondeo.

Oh, by the way, 250 euro is about $370 US. What's the current US:CB conversion rate? ;)

TheHatchetman February 23 2008 2:51 PM EST

"Yes, all costs (except traffic tickets of course ;) are paid by the company. That's also why it has to be a diesel or LPG engine, as those are cheaper than benzine (gasoline) at the gas station."


AdminJonathan February 23 2008 6:05 PM EST

> I say that you should find an electric car.

Bartjan already explained why fuel efficiency is a non-concern, but even if it were, I don't think anyone makes a production electric car that can go 270 km between charges.

AdminG Beee February 23 2008 6:09 PM EST

Here was me thinking that the electric car was out of the equation because he wouldn't be able to get one with a cable long enough. :)

Wasp [C and S Forgery Lmtd.] February 23 2008 7:17 PM EST

Obviously the car would run on Duracell's and wouldn't need a cable Beee :P

TheHatchetman February 23 2008 7:20 PM EST

8 AA Duracells will run anything for at least a little while :P

AdminG Beee February 23 2008 7:33 PM EST

i need to learn to think outside the box.

Brakke Bres [Ow man] February 24 2008 6:31 PM EST

Skoda is fine bart, but if you drive it more then an hour, or stuck in
traffic your back will kill you. Ow and the new Ford mondeo released in
europe has a 7 month delivery time on it. (levertijd van 7 maanden erg leuk)
Ow and the CB dictionary doesn't like all these car names
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