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  1. Default Help me choose which car to take?

    I'm planning to drive from Montgomery, AL to El Paso, TX this summer. A distance of about 1200 miles each way. I've made this drive before and I broke it up into two days. The first day I drove from Montgomery to Houston and stayed the night there and then drove the rest of the way from Houston to El Paso the second day.

    I have a 2010 Nissan Altima with about 34k miles. I've owned it since new and have maintained it properly. I also just put a new set of tires on it.

    I also have a 2012 Honda Civic with about 14k miles, also purchased new and maintained properly etc.

    Now the Civic gets better gas mileage, 39 to 40mpg highway. The Altima gets 27-29 MPG highway. These are real world numbers from my own experience with each car.

    So obviously the Civic is better on gas but the Altima is more comfortable and has more leg room, head room, is better insulated against road noise etc. I've made this drive before in the Altima when it was about 3 months old. Ill be doing quite a bit of driving while in El Paso so fuel economy is still a consideration there, too. Only myself and my 10 year old son will be going on this trip, if that matters.

    So which would you choose and why? Comfort over fuel economy?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Green County, Wisconsin


    Welcome to the RTA Forum!

    You've pretty much laid out the pros and cons of each options pretty well. Both cars are more than capable of making the trip. It doesn't seem like you've got any cargo issues to worry about. You're not traveling with other adults, so back seat room doesn't really matter. I'm guessing in El Paso you won't have any big parking issues (ie, if you expect to have to do a lot of on street parking, a small car can be an advantage.) The only other factor you didn't mention is which one you actually like driving more.

    So really, it just depends upon which matters more to you, cost or comfort. If you want to do the math, the Civic would save you $70-80. Personally, more often on a long trip, I'll go with the car that's more comfortable, but there are also other times where money is a little tight, and I'd rather save the cash. There's really no wrong answer here, just a matter of what is more important to you.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    South of England.

    Default Still not sure ? Let your son decide.

    As above really, but if neither saving a little money or having a little extra comfort is important to you and you really can't decide, give the decision to your co-pilot. I'm sure the little guy would appreciate and feel proud that Dad values his opinion. ;-)

  4. #4
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Southern California


    My husband and I put a huge value on our comfort as well as the cargo space when we are traveling. Sometimes a little (or a lot) more fuel usage is preferred in order to have a better ride. That's why we chose our pickup truck over a sedan, on our last 9000-mile trip. Believe it or not, we feel that the pickup was more comfortable than our sedan, and of course it "won" when it came to storage space!

    I also like the idea of asking your co-pilot. :-)


  5. Default

    Thank you for the thoughtful responses. I drive the Altima daily and I prefer it over the Civic. My "co-pilot" prefers the Altima since the back seat has an armrest with cup holders. Both have sattelite radios but only the Civic has an active subscription. Maybe I'll just pay for one month of service on the Altima to cover the length of our trip.

    So in every regard, the Altima wins save for fuel economy. Given the small savings the Civic provides seems like a big tradeoff for comfort over the long haul.

    I had already pretty much decided on the Altima, just needed some confirmation!

    Thanks again!

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