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From: C. E. White on 12 Oct 2009 07:51
My 81 year old Mother needs a new car. Her previous car, a 2005 Ford
Freestyle, was totaled in an accident. She really liked the Freestyle,
but Ford isn't making them any more and I don't see anything in the
Ford line-up that is a suitable replacement. She wants me to help me
buy her a new car, but she is not really helping out with clear
signals as to what she wants.
So far she has said she want somthing that she sets up high in (like
the Freestyle, or maybe even a little higher), but not too high (no
trucklike SUVs). It shouldn't be too small - my Sister has a RAV4 and
I get the impression she wants something a little bigger. She liked
the size of a friend's Honda Odssey, but when I told her it had
sliding doors, she said she didn't want those. She liked the way the
third seat worked in the Freestyle (mostly becasue it gave her a nice
deep well for the groceries when the seat was up. She does not want a
column shift (i.e., no Grand Marquis). She isn't worried about the car
having a lot of power (i.e., a four cylinder or small 6 is fine - she
never complained about the Freestyle which had the 3 liter V6). She
doesn't drive a lot, so gas mileage is not a big issue. She can afford
anything reasonable, but tends to be frugal. I prefer a vehicle from a
mainstream company that has a decent reputation for reliability (i.e.,
not Kia, VW, Hyundai) and not a "premium brand (no Lexus, Lincoln,
Cadillac, BMW, Merceedes). I tried to get her and my Sister to go look
at cars without me (it seems to me that when a woman shows up with a
man to car shop, the salesmen ignore the women and pick on the guy - I
hate it). So far this has not worked. She wants me to take her. I
don't want to spend days cruising car lots, so I want to narrow down
where we go. I have pretty much ruled out everything from Ford (Flex -
too big / boxy, Edge - too van like, Taurus - no wagon, Fusion - not
big enough - she is driving my Fusion now and definitely wants
soemthing bigger), GM (I don't see anything close to my criteria),
Nissan (Murano is too odd looking), Subura (no dealers within 60 miles
of my Mother). So that leads me to Toyota. I see three possibilities:
RAV4 - Both of my sisters have these and are happy. My Mother has
riden in them and seems less that enthusiastic about buying one. It
didn't help that I pointed out the horrible ergonomics of the RAV4s in
the past in her presence.(my bad - if only I'd known...)
Venza - I like the way these looks, but they got a unenthusiastic
review from Consumer Reports (not that that is all bad). My Mother
seemed luke warm when I showed her the pictures and read the reviews
to her. It is my personal favorite.
Highlaader - I think this would fit the bill, if it is not to tall.
She seems to be at least moderately interested
I'd be interested in hearing opinion on the relative merrits of the
Venza vs. Highlander. I am leaning towards the Highlander as the
nearest vehicle to the Freestyle and therefore likely to be the most
It is no good telling me that my Mother should test drive lots of
different cars. She isn't interested in doing that, and I don't want
to spend days / weeks trying to presuade her to go to different
dealers to try different cars. I am trying to hit a homerun the first
time out....maybe not possible, but I want to try. And I need my
Fusion back. I am stuck commuting in an F150 at the moment. Nice ride,
but a stupid commuter vehicle. The people at my day job are wondering
where all the broken peanut picker parts in the bed came from, why the
truck is always covered in mud, and why it has grass stuck in he
From: C. E. White on 12 Oct 2009 08:51
"dr_jeff" <utz(a)msu.edu> wrote in message
> My suggestion is to pick 3 vehicles she might like. Say a Toyota
> Highlander or RAV4, Ford Escape and Subaru Outback. Then arrange
> with Enterprise or another rental car place to rent one of each for
> a few days.
Actaully since my two Sisters both have new model RAV4s, she has been
in those. One of my Sisters prior vehicle was an Escape (totaled in an
accident), so whe has been in one of those. I actually suggested the
Escape, but she thought it was too small. I like the Outback fine, but
there is not a dealer within 60 miles of where my Mother lives and it
is not a common vehicle in her area. In m opinion that makes the
Outback a poor choice for her. I considered the idea of renting a
Highlander, but apparently none of the local rental places have those.
I could rent one from the Toyota dealer and might do so.
> Probably the most important things are the ease of getting in and
> out and getting groceries in and out.
> There are about 100 cars that might be suitable for her. She isn't
> helping you figure what would be a good car for her because she
> doesn't know either. Get three that might work, have her try them,
> and pick one.
Actually that is my plan, except I want to pick the right one first,
so I don't have to find two and three :)
Mostly I'd like to hear reasons why I might pick the Venza over the
Higlnader or vis-a-versa. If I was buying for me, I'd likely go for
the Venza, but I think the Highlander might suit my Mother better. I'm
just looking for justification for picking one over the other. I
figure as long as the vehicle is decent, she'll go with the first
choice. She hates shopping as much as I do. It would also be nioce to
hear opinions on the suitability of the four cylinder models of the
Highlander and Venza versus the V6 models. One Sister has a 4 cylinder
RAV4, the other a V6. I've driven the 4 cylinder RAV4 extensively and
find the power acceptable. I do wonder about the four in a Highlander
(it is a bigger 4, but still...). On the other hand my Mother rarely
drives on the highway and never has to climb hills or tow anything.
I am tempted to just buy one and show up with it.
From: C. E. White on 12 Oct 2009 11:02
"SMS" <scharf.steven(a)geemail.com> wrote in message
> C. E. White wrote:
>> My 81 year old Mother needs a new car. Her previous car, a 2005
>> Ford Freestyle, was totaled in an accident. She really liked the
>> Freestyle, but Ford isn't making them any more and I don't see
>> anything in the Ford line-up that is a suitable replacement. She
>> wants me to help me buy her a new car, but she is not really
>> helping out with clear signals as to what she wants.
>> So far she has said she want somthing that she sets up high in
>> (like the Freestyle, or maybe even a little higher), but not too
>> high (no trucklike SUVs).
> Hmm, high but not too high? The problem I see with my mother is she
> has trouble getting into higher vehicles at 86.
> The Highlander would be okay. Too bad that Subaru is out, I thin the
> Forester would be ideal. They closed the Subaru/Volvo dealer near me
> ages ago and built condos on the site, so I understand the lack of
> dealer issue, it greatly affects sales of vehicles when there are no
> dealers close (Chrysler is closing every dealer in San Mateo and San
> Francisco counties) and makes me uneasy about road trips where there
> are few dealers along the way.
> Go find her a 2007 Freestyle with low mileage and an extended
> warranty. You could buy two of them for the price of a Highlander.
> Unlike Toyotas, Fords lose value fast enough that a used vehicle
> isn't a total ripoff.
I thought about looking for a used Freestyle or Taurus X, but she
doesn't want a used vehicle. And I can't find any "new" 2009 Taurus
X's on the local lots.
From: C. E. White on 12 Oct 2009 11:03
"Fatter Than Ever Moe" <HardTimes(a)TheFarm> wrote in message
> A Buick, what else? That's what old ladies are supposed to drive.
> That's what my 83 year old mom drives and that's what my grandmother
> drove. White haired old ladies and Buicks they go together like...I
> can't think of anything that goes together better. A few years ago
> mom totaled the one she had and got another, I think 2005. All four
> fenders are dented now, she parks by ear and doesn't hear very well.
> See if you can get her try out a good used Buick and see if she
> doesn't like it.
From: ron on 12 Oct 2009 17:20
we've an 09 RAV4 and an 08 Highlander - I'd think for an older lady I'd go
with the RAV4, a it lower to get into . My mom at 88 was getting in/out of
my 02 Highlander fine with the grab handle. the 09 is higher by feel.
Don't quote me but I think that in the Highlander base or sport you can get
2 rows of seats with the well (covered) where the 3rd row goes. There is a
bit of well in the RAV4 but not big at all.
My wife (60) loves the RAV4 she had an 05 Avalon and says she feels better
and gets in/out of it a lot easier than the Avalon (she likes the "high
seat" as do soccer moms) I don't care (for me) the brake pedal placement on
the RAV as I must use the left foot for braking because of a stroke -
otherwise the RAV4 would do me just fine. its 2 or 3 mpg better than the
'lander with same v-6 around same trips
Ron in Idaho