Car Choices

Karen is looking to replace her car soon.  This, of course, means that we’re in research mode.  The criteria are simple enough to list: MPG at or above 30; all wheel drive; wagon/hatch/suv/crossover body style; a back seat that will comfortably seat an adult; 4-doors; and, a styling that appeals to Karen.

Simple right?

Except then throw in the fact that Tripp wants a healthy amount of torque for spirited driving and good handling.  Also, keep in mind that Karen comes from a Ford family.  The company faithfully employed her father for 30-some years and continues to treat its employees and retirees well.

Not as simple anymore.

Any car must also fit within the tight garage of our house, limiting the size of the vehicle to, at most, 90 inches wide and 190 inches long.

Really not as simple anymore.

So, we’ve boiled it down to three possibilities.  Each gives up a little on the constraints.  The potentials are: Subaru 2007-2009 Outback XT – Infinity 2012 EX – Ford 2013 Escape.  Some others that might fit but have been ruled out for this-or-that include: Volvo 2010 V50; Audi used A4 Avant; BMW used 530xit; Mini Countryman; and, Subaru 2013 Outback.

Returning to the contestants, we have the following information:

FUEL ECONOMY

Subaru 2009 Outback XT: 18 city, 24 highway

Infinity 2012 EX: 17 city, 24 highway

Ford 2013 Escape is undetermined at this time.  However, fuel mileage can estimated by looking at the current Ford Edge crossover (21/30).  The two vehicles are similar in size and weight (potentially) and use the same 2.0L Ecoboost Engine.  It is harder to estimate what the AWD Escape will generate, as there are no Ford products that use the same engine with AWD.  The Volvo S60 T5 is, from what I can tell, licensed technology of the Ecoboost.  Again, Volvo doesn’t offer that engine with AWD so there is no real comparison to make.  The most we can say with the current data is that the 2013 Escape is unlikely to get better than the Edge’s 21/30MPG.

 

PERFORMANCE

Subaru 2009 Outback XT: 243HP, 241Tq on a vehicle weight of 3600lbs

Infinity 2012 EX: 297HP, 253Tq on a vehicle weight of 4,000lbs

Ford 2013 Escape: 285HP, 253Tq and a likely curb weight of 4,000+lbs (based on the FWD Edge’s 4000lbs).

 

SIZE

Mazda 2004 3 (current car) is 69in wide and 178in long.

Subaru 2009 Outback XT is 70in wide and 189in long.

Infinity 2012 EX is 71in wide and 182in long.

Ford 2013 Escape is 82in wide and 178in long.

Thus, we’re looking at a conundrum of sorts.  The Outback will be harder to park front-to-back while the Escape will be harder to park side-to-side.

 

CONCLUSIONS

Bottom line, there are compelling reasons to select any one of the choices.  The Escape has the best estimated gas mileage and may be a better performing vehicle for towing (another potential criteria).  It will not, however, drive like a lighter and lower car and it is the widest of the choices, pushing the limits of our garage.

The Infinity has the closest dimensions of all the vehicles, gets the same gas mileage as the Outback and is the highest trim level of any of the choices.  It also has the best HP rating and worst fuel mileage.

The Outback has the most room in the back seat and is a car rather than an SUV or crossover.  However, it pushes the limit of our garage in the length category and gets worse fuel mileage than the Ford.

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