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92dxman
92dxman SuperDork
9/14/16 9:15 a.m.

I'm going to go out in left field here and suggest a truck. You could get a 4 door Dodge Ram with a stick shift up until a certain point:

http://www.autotrader.com/cars-for-sale/vehicledetails.xhtml?endYear=2017&zip=19446&transmissionCode=MAN&doorCode=4&transmissionCodes=MAN&maxPrice=15000&showcaseListingId=0&mmt=%5BDODGE%5BRAM1504WD%5B%5D%5D%5B%5DRAM%5BRM1500%5B%5D%5D%5B%5D%5D&doorCodes=4&modelCode1=RAM1504WD&makeCode2=RAM&modelCode2=RM1500&showcaseOwnerId=64214697&startYear=2005&makeCode1=DODGE&firstRecord=0&searchRadius=0&listingId=434916684&Log=0 (Can't beat vinyl interior for cleaning messes up )

Nissan Frontier:

http://www.autotrader.com/cars-for-sale/vehicledetails.xhtml?endYear=2017&zip=19446&doorCode=4&transmissionCode=MAN&maxPrice=15000&transmissionCodes=MAN&showcaseListingId=432408525&mmt=%5BNISSAN%5BFRONTI%5B%5D%5D%5B%5D%5D&doorCodes=4&modelCode1=FRONTI&showcaseOwnerId=69520&startYear=1981&makeCode1=NISSAN&firstRecord=0&searchRadius=500&listingId=429834996&Log=0

(little high mileage and it's just for point of reference).

You can get the Frontier in crew cab configuration with stick shift and long bed if you want.

STM317
STM317 HalfDork
9/14/16 9:31 a.m.

If you like the idea of an SUV but want it lower, what about doing just that?

The big GM SUVs should all be really easy to lower. The PPV Tahoes even came lowered a bit from the factory, and had interiors that would be super easy to clean for baby things. Still probably the same height as the Flex unless you go crazy low, but it's an option.

volvoclearinghouse
volvoclearinghouse SuperDork
9/14/16 9:54 a.m.
ProDarwin wrote:
volvoclearinghouse wrote: You don't want a minivan or an SUV. Sounds like the Flex is the only answer. Go buy one.
dculberson in the first post of the thread wrote: The jump up in height to go to an SUV or minivan has so many compromises.
Does not compute. While the Flex may not be considered a minivan or SUV, it certainly has the height of one (or more).

I haven't measured them, and don't have the factory specs handy. The Flex looks lower than most minivans or SUVs, to my eye. And it's just about the wagonniest wagon that anybody currently wagons.

dculberson
dculberson PowerDork
9/14/16 10:09 a.m.

The Ford Flex is taller than I would like but it's not quite an SUV in my opinion. It's about 8" taller than a Buick Roadmaster wagon. Nobody would argue that the Roadmaster wasn't a wagon. So where's the cutoff? Roadmaster height? 2" higher? 6"?

Volvoclearinghouse, I agree totally that we are all illogical and irrational about vehicle choices. Myself very much included. If logic dictated we would all drive something like a diesel Chevy Astro.

Lots of food tor thought here and I'll keep it all in mind. Really I had hoped someone could say "oh the xxx is almost as big as a Roadmaster " but obviously nobody can magic that up.

I did like the lowered woody flex. Yes it's hideous but just the right kind of hideous.

ProDarwin
ProDarwin PowerDork
9/14/16 10:19 a.m.

Suburban 74.4"
Odyssey 68.4"
Flex 68"
Caravan 67.9"
Outback 66.1"
Rondo 65-68" (?)
Mazda5 63.6"
HHR 63.1"
XC70 63.1"
V70 60.9"
5 Series Wagon 58.7"
Magnum 58.3"
V90 58.1"
Toyota Crown 57.7"
Saturn L Wagon 57.3"
Mazda6 57.3"
Merc E400 55"

All those are cars mentioned in this thread.

Just seems to me that you are looking at keeping height to a minimum, yet you are looking at one of the tallest cars recommended so far.

Its hard to draw a line, but I'd probably call anything higher than 62" SUV/Minivan territory. I do like the idea of a Flex dumped like 6" though. Or a Tahoe dumped like 8-10" (assuming that's possible).

volvoclearinghouse
volvoclearinghouse SuperDork
9/14/16 10:30 a.m.

In reply to ProDarwin:

Nice googles. Now, what is the distance from the ground plane to the CG of all of those vehicles?

The thought of a lowered Tahoe seems enticing. Especially on some not-gawdawful wheels.

ProDarwin
ProDarwin PowerDork
9/14/16 10:45 a.m.

I didn't bother to google all the CG/track width . Wasn't sure if the feeling of instability in higher vehicles was the concern or the height due to clearance issues, ingress/egress, etc.

jv8
jv8 GRM+ Memberand Reader
9/14/16 12:20 p.m.

It makes no logical sense: I don't want a 3500 lb 64 in tall Mazda5 "van" so I'm going to buy a 4800 lb 68 in tall Flex "wagon".

I think it's just the style talking. I get it... the Flex is retro cool and can be had with high HP... but at some point you have to turn and stop 4800 lbs.

I never got the style bit... I see all the soccer moms driving SUVs and Flexi... those vehicles seem just as family oriented as the vans. I never once assumed an SUV driver is some young adventurous outdoorsy type. 1992 is long past us.

STM317
STM317 HalfDork
9/14/16 12:41 p.m.
jv8 wrote: It makes no logical sense: I don't want a 3500 lb 64 in tall Mazda5 "van" so I'm going to buy a 4800 lb 68 in tall Flex "wagon". I think it's just the style talking. I get it... the Flex is retro cool and can be had with high HP... but at some point you have to turn and stop 4800 lbs. I never got the style bit... I see all the soccer moms driving SUVs and Flexi... those vehicles seem just as family oriented as the vans. I never once assumed an SUV driver is some young adventurous outdoorsy type. 1992 is long past us.

Most people will prioritize straight line power and comfort/noise level over lightweight and underpowered when it comes to a family vehicle. They probably think something like "the family hauler doesn't need to pull .95g on a skidpad, but it should have the power to merge with interstate traffic while the kiddos sleep". Different people have different priorities. It's great to have different options.

volvoclearinghouse
volvoclearinghouse SuperDork
9/14/16 12:41 p.m.

4800 pounds... My wife's '91 Suburban doesn't weigh that much.

jv8
jv8 GRM+ Memberand Reader
9/14/16 12:46 p.m.
STM317 wrote:
jv8 wrote: It makes no logical sense: I don't want a 3500 lb 64 in tall Mazda5 "van" so I'm going to buy a 4800 lb 68 in tall Flex "wagon". I think it's just the style talking. I get it... the Flex is retro cool and can be had with high HP... but at some point you have to turn and stop 4800 lbs. I never got the style bit... I see all the soccer moms driving SUVs and Flexi... those vehicles seem just as family oriented as the vans. I never once assumed an SUV driver is some young adventurous outdoorsy type. 1992 is long past us.
Most people will prioritize straight line power and comfort/noise level over lightweight and underpowered when it comes to a family vehicle. They probably think something like "the family hauler doesn't need to pull .95g on a skidpad, but it should have the power to merge with interstate traffic while the kiddos sleep". Different people have different priorities.

I hear you but this is what the OP said:

"What I do worry about is enjoying driving the car.. and my wife enjoys driving fun cars too."

Now we are back at what it means to "drive fun cars"...

dculberson
dculberson PowerDork
9/14/16 1:31 p.m.

I never said I didn't want a mazda5. I also didn't define fun exactly but did say a Roadmaster is my reference point. Which one do you think is closer to a Roadmaster: a mazda5 or a Ford Flex?

If you can't have fun driving a Roadmaster I'm not sure what to tell you. I loved my Miata but I also love my gs430. Different fun but still fun.

A suburban or a caravan is competent. But not fun. Not in the "fun to drive" sense.

Fobroader
Fobroader Reader
9/14/16 1:47 p.m.

Flex with an Ecoboost or a Tahoe....for me the Tahoe if I had any kind of trailer to pull, but a tune and exhaust on an Flex would make for a fun grocery getter.

Klayfish
Klayfish UberDork
9/14/16 5:18 p.m.

I don't know if it was mentioned yet, but what about the Acura TSX wagon? Not quite Roadmaster size, but fairly big. Honda reliable and fun to drive.

1988RedT2
1988RedT2 PowerDork
9/14/16 5:49 p.m.

I've come to the conclusion that the answer is the 5-series BMW wagon, but I've never actually touched one, so I can't say how truly "big" it is, but I suspect it will do okay on the "fun-to-drive" thing.

Aspen
Aspen Reader
9/15/16 7:10 a.m.
1988RedT2 wrote: I've come to the conclusion that the answer is the 5-series BMW wagon, but I've never actually touched one, so I can't say how truly "big" it is, but I suspect it will do okay on the "fun-to-drive" thing.

You should drive one then, I found it too heavy and cumbersome so I bought an e91 instead. The 530s are now pretty old and were a little under powered. The 535i has the scary N54 engine with its many issues. Merc e350 would be sweet but also a scary prospect out of warranty.

volvoclearinghouse
volvoclearinghouse SuperDork
9/15/16 7:11 a.m.
dculberson wrote: I never said I didn't want a mazda5. I also didn't define fun exactly but did say a Roadmaster is my reference point. Which one do you think is closer to a Roadmaster: a mazda5 or a Ford Flex? If you can't have fun driving a Roadmaster I'm not sure what to tell you. I loved my Miata but I also love my gs430. Different fun but still fun. A suburban or a caravan is competent. But not fun. Not in the "fun to drive" sense.

I don't know. I drove a 1977 half-ton 2WD Sub for a few years as my only vehicle. Fun fact: NYS classified it as a "wagon" on the title. If you think driving a RWD American full frame wagon is fun, the 2WD suburban's not much different.

mazdeuce
mazdeuce UltimaDork
9/15/16 10:18 a.m.

Some of you guys need to expand your horizons a bit. There are a host of tall wagons that pretty much kick ass. BMW makes the X6M and others. Mercedes threw the big 63 motor in pretty much everything. Porsche has thrown some serious weaponry at the Cayenne. The seating position of these is higher than an old fashioned wagon, but the power and dynamics are worlds better.
There's some argument to the fact that we're at the golden era for hatchbacks and wagons, it's just that a lot of them are tall.

T.J.
T.J. UltimaDork
9/15/16 11:12 a.m.
mazdeuce wrote: There's some argument to the fact that we're at the golden era for hatchbacks and wagons, it's just that a lot of them are not actually wagons nor hatchbacks.

FTFY

I have no idea what an X6M is, but it's not a wagon in my book. It is an SUV minus any utility or a sports car plus a lot of weight and height, but it is nothing like a wagon or even what I would call a hatchback.

dculberson
dculberson PowerDork
9/15/16 11:18 a.m.
mazdeuce wrote: Some of you guys need to expand your horizons a bit. There are a host of tall wagons that pretty much kick ass. BMW makes the X6M and others. Mercedes threw the big 63 motor in pretty much everything. Porsche has thrown some serious weaponry at the Cayenne. The seating position of these is higher than an old fashioned wagon, but the power and dynamics are worlds better. There's some argument to the fact that we're at the golden era for hatchbacks and wagons, it's just that a lot of them are tall.

I am absolutely certain any of those would be a blast to drive, and especially love the crazy Cayenne. But I don't spend the kind of coin on cars that it would take to feed those things. A $15k Cayenne Turbo isn't going to cost the same to operate and maintain as a comparable Flex, MkT, Tahoe, etc.

It might be worth it to some people but not to me. I value my savings too highly. Maybe in 7 years when our 10 year plan is done. ;-)

mazdeuce
mazdeuce UltimaDork
9/15/16 11:26 a.m.

I'm not saying there aren't downsides, but people are spending too much time saying 'ew' to give some very good cars a chance.

tuna55
tuna55 MegaDork
9/15/16 12:00 p.m.
mazdeuce wrote: I'm not saying there aren't downsides, but people are spending too much time saying 'ew' to give some very good cars a chance.

I'm pretty sure that a lot of the cars you mentioned just now aren't even on anyone's radar simply because of their cost. You and the OP and the weary one make up almost all of the GRMer 1%er category in that regard.

No worries, I hope to have actual money someday too, but when I am trying to think of newer wagons, mentioning a Porsche doesn't even come to mind.

dculberson
dculberson PowerDork
9/15/16 12:12 p.m.

In reply to tuna55:

Ack! GRM 1%? My most expensive car right now cost me $4,000.

Oh, right, the house. ;-)

G_Body_Man
G_Body_Man SuperDork
9/15/16 12:30 p.m.

I went on the internet, and I found this. Air ride, yo!

mazdeuce
mazdeuce UltimaDork
9/15/16 1:06 p.m.

In reply to tuna55:

I get that, but the real start of SUV lunacy was about 10 years ago. The ML63 came out in 2007 and depreciation will let you buy one for less than a new Civic. Yes you get premium fuel and 17mpg and Mercedes costs, but there is a whole slew of these cars that are going to be dropping below $10k very quickly. Is that GRM money? Not for everyone, but you're close to super car levels of stupidity (at least what you can get away with on public roads) for used car prices. A whole generation of questionable marketing decisions is about to fall in our laps and it pays to keep eyes open.

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