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  #1 (permalink)  
Old 26 Aug 2007, 07:47 pm
Clay
Guest
 
Posts: n/a
Default Unicorn Hunting: Comfy wagon/SUV with great mileage

Greetings! I'm shopping for a car that may not exist. My requirements
list isn't long, but it's hard to find them on the same car.

1) Absurdly comfortable front seats. I'm 6'2" and get back pain
whenever I drive any of my current cars for more than 30-60 minutes. I
"only" weigh 190, but have long legs for someone by height.

2) Good winter traction. We live in rural New England and have a 400-
foot sloped gravel driveway. 4WD isn't a requirement (our FWD Passat
is adequate for example), but better ground clearance would be great
(our current cars frequently scrape on the dirt roads around here --
including one recent event that broke TWO catalytic converters).

3) Great gas mileage. As you can tell from the fact that one of our
cars runs on waste vegetable oil (see below), we care a lot about
reducing emissions. This is actually more important, to us, than fuel
savings. That is, we don't mind paying $5,000 extra for a car that
will save us only $3,000 in gas costs over the life of the vehicle.

3a) Manual transmission. I have never owned an automatic and I don't
like them. They have worse mileage and I don't enjoy them as much (I
also like how manuals force me to pay attention to my driving --
neither my wife nor I have ever had an accident in over 30 combined
years driving 5-speeds).

I've heard that the Prius has surprisingly good leg-room, but all our
driving is rural -- so a hybrid doesn't seem like the right
technology. I also hate automatics.

I have a friend with a 5-cylinder Volvo wagon -- she says she gets 35
MPG highway. I haven't tried driving it, but perhaps this is the best
combo of the above choices.

I'm also looking at SUV options (Ford? Honda?), because I notice my
back hurts a lot less in vehicles (like our pickup truck) with an
'upright' seating position.

I sat in my stepmother's Subara Forester for a few minutes and I'm
pretty sure the front seat is too cramped. Same with the few minutes I
spent in a Toyota Highlander Hybrid.

For reference, these are our current/recent cars, and what we liked
and didn't like:

a) 1987 Nissan Sentra (2-door). My first car, but I soon realized that
driving it was like jabbing an ice pick in my lower back. My father-in-
law was a mechanic so we ripped out the front seat and drilled some
more holes in the seat frame so that it could go farther back (to the
point that no one could fit in the back seat). This was a great
solution, but not one that makes sense for me any more.

b) 1996 VW Golf. Another great car. Suprisingly comfortable front
seats.

c) 1999 Nissan Frontier Pickup Truck. Great reliable pickup truck, but
somewhat cramped seating, and not a good all-around vehicle for a 3-
person family.

d) 1999 VW Jetta Diesel, with a "GreaseCar" kit to run on waste
vegetable oil. Starting to show it's age -- less reliable than the
Japanese cars I've owned. Horrible winter traction, and less
comfortable than the Golf.

e) 2000 VW Passat 6-cylinder. The weight helps gives this car much
better snow traction than the Jetta, but it's mileage is poor, and the
front seat is the LEAST comfortable of any car I've ever owned. Alas,
I didn't notice this in the 20-minute test drive.

I would love feedback from other people like me, who've had trouble
finding a comfortable car. I really wish the dealers would let me test-
drive a car for a day (or a week) so I could truly assess whether the
car was suitable for long drives.

Thanks in advance for any help!

Clay

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  #2 (permalink)  
Old 26 Aug 2007, 08:49 pm
Jeff
Guest
 
Posts: n/a
Default Re: Unicorn Hunting: Comfy wagon/SUV with great mileage

Clay wrote:
> Greetings! I'm shopping for a car that may not exist. My requirements
> list isn't long, but it's hard to find them on the same car.
>
> 1) Absurdly comfortable front seats. I'm 6'2" and get back pain
> whenever I drive any of my current cars for more than 30-60 minutes. I
> "only" weigh 190, but have long legs for someone by height.
>
> 2) Good winter traction. We live in rural New England and have a 400-
> foot sloped gravel driveway. 4WD isn't a requirement (our FWD Passat
> is adequate for example), but better ground clearance would be great
> (our current cars frequently scrape on the dirt roads around here --
> including one recent event that broke TWO catalytic converters).
>
> 3) Great gas mileage. As you can tell from the fact that one of our
> cars runs on waste vegetable oil (see below), we care a lot about
> reducing emissions. This is actually more important, to us, than fuel
> savings. That is, we don't mind paying $5,000 extra for a car that
> will save us only $3,000 in gas costs over the life of the vehicle.
>
> 3a) Manual transmission. I have never owned an automatic and I don't
> like them. They have worse mileage and I don't enjoy them as much (I
> also like how manuals force me to pay attention to my driving --
> neither my wife nor I have ever had an accident in over 30 combined
> years driving 5-speeds).
>
> I've heard that the Prius has surprisingly good leg-room, but all our
> driving is rural -- so a hybrid doesn't seem like the right
> technology. I also hate automatics.
>
> I have a friend with a 5-cylinder Volvo wagon -- she says she gets 35
> MPG highway. I haven't tried driving it, but perhaps this is the best
> combo of the above choices.
>
> I'm also looking at SUV options (Ford? Honda?), because I notice my
> back hurts a lot less in vehicles (like our pickup truck) with an
> 'upright' seating position.
>
> I sat in my stepmother's Subara Forester for a few minutes and I'm
> pretty sure the front seat is too cramped. Same with the few minutes I
> spent in a Toyota Highlander Hybrid.
>
> For reference, these are our current/recent cars, and what we liked
> and didn't like:
>
> a) 1987 Nissan Sentra (2-door). My first car, but I soon realized that
> driving it was like jabbing an ice pick in my lower back. My father-in-
> law was a mechanic so we ripped out the front seat and drilled some
> more holes in the seat frame so that it could go farther back (to the
> point that no one could fit in the back seat). This was a great
> solution, but not one that makes sense for me any more.
>
> b) 1996 VW Golf. Another great car. Suprisingly comfortable front
> seats.
>
> c) 1999 Nissan Frontier Pickup Truck. Great reliable pickup truck, but
> somewhat cramped seating, and not a good all-around vehicle for a 3-
> person family.
>
> d) 1999 VW Jetta Diesel, with a "GreaseCar" kit to run on waste
> vegetable oil. Starting to show it's age -- less reliable than the
> Japanese cars I've owned. Horrible winter traction, and less
> comfortable than the Golf.
>
> e) 2000 VW Passat 6-cylinder. The weight helps gives this car much
> better snow traction than the Jetta, but it's mileage is poor, and the
> front seat is the LEAST comfortable of any car I've ever owned. Alas,
> I didn't notice this in the 20-minute test drive.
>
> I would love feedback from other people like me, who've had trouble
> finding a comfortable car. I really wish the dealers would let me test-
> drive a car for a day (or a week) so I could truly assess whether the
> car was suitable for long drives.
>
> Thanks in advance for any help!
>
> Clay



This reference lists every vehicle made for 2008 MY:
http://www.fueleconomy.gov/feg/FEG2008.pdf

And http://www.fueleconomy.gov/feg/FEG2007.pdf for the 2007 MY.

They group vehicles by type and list the engine, transmission, and mileage.

You can do a comprehensive search and narrow your search easily.

I drove a Saturn Vue (available with 2WD and 4-cyl) and liked it. The
Ford Escape and Tribute might meet your needs. I would also look at the
Hyundai, Suzuki, MiniCooper, Fonda Fit, Ford Edge, Pontiac Vibe. As far
as what is comfortable for you, sorry, but I have a different back than you.

You might or might not be surprised how big the Fit and Mini Cooper are.

Jeff
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  #3 (permalink)  
Old 26 Aug 2007, 09:19 pm
Michael Pardee
Guest
 
Posts: n/a
Default Re: Unicorn Hunting: Comfy wagon/SUV with great mileage

"Clay" <cjd@sportsmogul.com> wrote in message
news:1188175671.846117.187750@r34g2000hsd.googlegr oups.com...
> Greetings! I'm shopping for a car that may not exist. My requirements
> list isn't long, but it's hard to find them on the same car.
>
> 1) Absurdly comfortable front seats. I'm 6'2" and get back pain
> whenever I drive any of my current cars for more than 30-60 minutes. I
> "only" weigh 190, but have long legs for someone by height.
>
> 2) Good winter traction. We live in rural New England and have a 400-
> foot sloped gravel driveway. 4WD isn't a requirement (our FWD Passat
> is adequate for example), but better ground clearance would be great
> (our current cars frequently scrape on the dirt roads around here --
> including one recent event that broke TWO catalytic converters).
>
> 3) Great gas mileage. As you can tell from the fact that one of our
> cars runs on waste vegetable oil (see below), we care a lot about
> reducing emissions. This is actually more important, to us, than fuel
> savings. That is, we don't mind paying $5,000 extra for a car that
> will save us only $3,000 in gas costs over the life of the vehicle.
>
> 3a) Manual transmission. I have never owned an automatic and I don't
> like them. They have worse mileage and I don't enjoy them as much (I
> also like how manuals force me to pay attention to my driving --
> neither my wife nor I have ever had an accident in over 30 combined
> years driving 5-speeds).
>
> I've heard that the Prius has surprisingly good leg-room, but all our
> driving is rural -- so a hybrid doesn't seem like the right
> technology. I also hate automatics.
>

The Prius would do very well in the economy department and (depending on how
you and the seats fit together) it would probably handle your height. The
ground clearance and traction requirements are deal breakers, though. All
Prius models have relatively little ground clearance - around five inches -
and too much vulnerable stuff under the car. The hatchback models have a
tactic of shutting down power to the wheels once slippage starts and is only
overridden (partially, at that) with full throttle. The hybrid system
doesn't have an actual automatic transmission so much as a power delivery
system. I am also partial to manual trannies and occasionally really
frustrated with automatics but I really like the way the hybrid power train
works. Still - no way where you drive.

The Ford Escape Hybrid may overcome the ground clearance problem, but I've
heard bad things (maybe outdated) about the usable traction. That's
something somebody with direct experience would know be able to tell you
about.

Mike



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  #4 (permalink)  
Old 26 Aug 2007, 09:41 pm
Ray O
Guest
 
Posts: n/a
Default Re: Unicorn Hunting: Comfy wagon/SUV with great mileage


"Clay" <cjd@sportsmogul.com> wrote in message
news:1188175671.846117.187750@r34g2000hsd.googlegr oups.com...
> Greetings! I'm shopping for a car that may not exist. My requirements
> list isn't long, but it's hard to find them on the same car.
>
> 1) Absurdly comfortable front seats. I'm 6'2" and get back pain
> whenever I drive any of my current cars for more than 30-60 minutes. I
> "only" weigh 190, but have long legs for someone by height.
>
> 2) Good winter traction. We live in rural New England and have a 400-
> foot sloped gravel driveway. 4WD isn't a requirement (our FWD Passat
> is adequate for example), but better ground clearance would be great
> (our current cars frequently scrape on the dirt roads around here --
> including one recent event that broke TWO catalytic converters).
>
> 3) Great gas mileage. As you can tell from the fact that one of our
> cars runs on waste vegetable oil (see below), we care a lot about
> reducing emissions. This is actually more important, to us, than fuel
> savings. That is, we don't mind paying $5,000 extra for a car that
> will save us only $3,000 in gas costs over the life of the vehicle.
>
> 3a) Manual transmission. I have never owned an automatic and I don't
> like them. They have worse mileage and I don't enjoy them as much (I
> also like how manuals force me to pay attention to my driving --
> neither my wife nor I have ever had an accident in over 30 combined
> years driving 5-speeds).
>
> I've heard that the Prius has surprisingly good leg-room, but all our
> driving is rural -- so a hybrid doesn't seem like the right
> technology. I also hate automatics.
>
> I have a friend with a 5-cylinder Volvo wagon -- she says she gets 35
> MPG highway. I haven't tried driving it, but perhaps this is the best
> combo of the above choices.
>
> I'm also looking at SUV options (Ford? Honda?), because I notice my
> back hurts a lot less in vehicles (like our pickup truck) with an
> 'upright' seating position.
>
> I sat in my stepmother's Subara Forester for a few minutes and I'm
> pretty sure the front seat is too cramped. Same with the few minutes I
> spent in a Toyota Highlander Hybrid.
>
> For reference, these are our current/recent cars, and what we liked
> and didn't like:
>
> a) 1987 Nissan Sentra (2-door). My first car, but I soon realized that
> driving it was like jabbing an ice pick in my lower back. My father-in-
> law was a mechanic so we ripped out the front seat and drilled some
> more holes in the seat frame so that it could go farther back (to the
> point that no one could fit in the back seat). This was a great
> solution, but not one that makes sense for me any more.
>
> b) 1996 VW Golf. Another great car. Suprisingly comfortable front
> seats.
>
> c) 1999 Nissan Frontier Pickup Truck. Great reliable pickup truck, but
> somewhat cramped seating, and not a good all-around vehicle for a 3-
> person family.
>
> d) 1999 VW Jetta Diesel, with a "GreaseCar" kit to run on waste
> vegetable oil. Starting to show it's age -- less reliable than the
> Japanese cars I've owned. Horrible winter traction, and less
> comfortable than the Golf.
>
> e) 2000 VW Passat 6-cylinder. The weight helps gives this car much
> better snow traction than the Jetta, but it's mileage is poor, and the
> front seat is the LEAST comfortable of any car I've ever owned. Alas,
> I didn't notice this in the 20-minute test drive.
>
> I would love feedback from other people like me, who've had trouble
> finding a comfortable car. I really wish the dealers would let me test-
> drive a car for a day (or a week) so I could truly assess whether the
> car was suitable for long drives.
>
> Thanks in advance for any help!
>
> Clay
>


Hmmm. performance and reliability are not on your list of desired traits?
Lots of leg room tends to come with larger vehicles, which tend to be less
fuel efficient and environmentally friendly than a smaller vehicle.

Look at the Scion xB, which has a surprising amount of interior room, good
fuel economy, FWD, and available manual transmission. Check out the Ford
Escape, Toyota Rav4, Honda CRV & Element, and new Highlander.
--

Ray O
(correct punctuation to reply)


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  #5 (permalink)  
Old 27 Aug 2007, 05:21 am
Elmo P. Shagnasty
Guest
 
Posts: n/a
Default Re: Unicorn Hunting: Comfy wagon/SUV with great mileage

In article <1188175671.846117.187750@r34g2000hsd.googlegroups .com>,
Clay <cjd@sportsmogul.com> wrote:

> I've heard that the Prius has surprisingly good leg-room, but all our
> driving is rural -- so a hybrid doesn't seem like the right
> technology. I also hate automatics.


Why does rural driving rule out a hybrid?

As for the transmission....if you're truly interested in using less fuel
and reducing emissions, you should take a close look at the Prius.
True, you can't shift it yourself--but if you look very closely at the
technology, you'll be amazed at what Toyota has done. It doesn't have a
conventional transmission, or even a conventional belt-driven CVT, at
all. The geniuses at Toyota figured out how to do a hybrid drivetrain,
and determined how the power should be managed, and the result is
amazing.

Like it or not, the Toyota method is the wave of the future for
passenger cars.

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  #6 (permalink)  
Old 27 Aug 2007, 05:27 am
newsgroups.comcast.net
Guest
 
Posts: n/a
Default Re: Unicorn Hunting: Comfy wagon/SUV with great mileage

Alas, much as we love our Prius for its consistent 50 MPG, it has the LEAST
comfortable and least adjustable seats of any car I've ever ridden in since
the elementary school bus.

Sorry it doesn't exist, but what you need (and I'd buy one too) is a 40 MPG
Volvo V70 Hybrid.

--
-RL


"Elmo P. Shagnasty" <elmop@nastydesigns.com> wrote in message
news:elmop-1977F6.06211727082007@nntp1.usenetserver.com...
> In article <1188175671.846117.187750@r34g2000hsd.googlegroups .com>,
> Clay <cjd@sportsmogul.com> wrote:
>
>> I've heard that the Prius has surprisingly good leg-room, but all our
>> driving is rural -- so a hybrid doesn't seem like the right
>> technology. I also hate automatics.

>
> Why does rural driving rule out a hybrid?
>
> As for the transmission....if you're truly interested in using less fuel
> and reducing emissions, you should take a close look at the Prius.
> True, you can't shift it yourself--but if you look very closely at the
> technology, you'll be amazed at what Toyota has done. It doesn't have a
> conventional transmission, or even a conventional belt-driven CVT, at
> all. The geniuses at Toyota figured out how to do a hybrid drivetrain,
> and determined how the power should be managed, and the result is
> amazing.
>
> Like it or not, the Toyota method is the wave of the future for
> passenger cars.
>



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  #7 (permalink)  
Old 27 Aug 2007, 08:02 am
bigjim@backpacker.com
Guest
 
Posts: n/a
Default Re: Unicorn Hunting: Comfy wagon/SUV with great mileage

There's only one choice for you- try a Subaru Outback. My 04 got 29
mpg fully loaded driving cross country and the AWD will handle
anything you would attempt in a stock vehicle and be 100% reliable for
a long time. Try it. The 4 cyl is plenty powerful and a manual is
available.


On Aug 26, 8:47 pm, Clay <c...@sportsmogul.com> wrote:
> Greetings! I'm shopping for a car that may not exist. My requirements
> list isn't long, but it's hard to find them on the same car.
>
> 1) Absurdly comfortable front seats. I'm 6'2" and get back pain
> whenever I drive any of my current cars for more than 30-60 minutes. I
> "only" weigh 190, but have long legs for someone by height.
>
> 2) Good winter traction. We live in rural New England and have a 400-
> foot sloped gravel driveway. 4WD isn't a requirement (our FWD Passat
> is adequate for example), but better ground clearance would be great
> (our current cars frequently scrape on the dirt roads around here --
> including one recent event that broke TWO catalytic converters).
>
> 3) Great gas mileage. As you can tell from the fact that one of our
> cars runs on waste vegetable oil (see below), we care a lot about
> reducing emissions. This is actually more important, to us, than fuel
> savings. That is, we don't mind paying $5,000 extra for a car that
> will save us only $3,000 in gas costs over the life of the vehicle.
>
> 3a) Manual transmission. I have never owned an automatic and I don't
> like them. They have worse mileage and I don't enjoy them as much (I
> also like how manuals force me to pay attention to my driving --
> neither my wife nor I have ever had an accident in over 30 combined
> years driving 5-speeds).
>
> I've heard that the Prius has surprisingly good leg-room, but all our
> driving is rural -- so a hybrid doesn't seem like the right
> technology. I also hate automatics.
>
> I have a friend with a 5-cylinder Volvo wagon -- she says she gets 35
> MPG highway. I haven't tried driving it, but perhaps this is the best
> combo of the above choices.
>
> I'm also looking at SUV options (Ford? Honda?), because I notice my
> back hurts a lot less in vehicles (like our pickup truck) with an
> 'upright' seating position.
>
> I sat in my stepmother's Subara Forester for a few minutes and I'm
> pretty sure the front seat is too cramped. Same with the few minutes I
> spent in a Toyota Highlander Hybrid.
>
> For reference, these are our current/recent cars, and what we liked
> and didn't like:
>
> a) 1987 Nissan Sentra (2-door). My first car, but I soon realized that
> driving it was like jabbing an ice pick in my lower back. My father-in-
> law was a mechanic so we ripped out the front seat and drilled some
> more holes in the seat frame so that it could go farther back (to the
> point that no one could fit in the back seat). This was a great
> solution, but not one that makes sense for me any more.
>
> b) 1996 VW Golf. Another great car. Suprisingly comfortable front
> seats.
>
> c) 1999 Nissan Frontier Pickup Truck. Great reliable pickup truck, but
> somewhat cramped seating, and not a good all-around vehicle for a 3-
> person family.
>
> d) 1999 VW Jetta Diesel, with a "GreaseCar" kit to run on waste
> vegetable oil. Starting to show it's age -- less reliable than the
> Japanese cars I've owned. Horrible winter traction, and less
> comfortable than the Golf.
>
> e) 2000 VW Passat 6-cylinder. The weight helps gives this car much
> better snow traction than the Jetta, but it's mileage is poor, and the
> front seat is the LEAST comfortable of any car I've ever owned. Alas,
> I didn't notice this in the 20-minute test drive.
>
> I would love feedback from other people like me, who've had trouble
> finding a comfortable car. I really wish the dealers would let me test-
> drive a car for a day (or a week) so I could truly assess whether the
> car was suitable for long drives.
>
> Thanks in advance for any help!
>
> Clay



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  #8 (permalink)  
Old 27 Aug 2007, 08:03 am
bigjim@backpacker.com
Guest
 
Posts: n/a
Default Re: Unicorn Hunting: Comfy wagon/SUV with great mileage

Hybrids are for wimps. I hate getting stuck behind those putt putt
priuse

On Aug 27, 6:27 am, "newsgroups.comcast.net" <RLut...@Comcast.net>
wrote:
> Alas, much as we love our Prius for its consistent 50 MPG, it has the LEAST
> comfortable and least adjustable seats of any car I've ever ridden in since
> the elementary school bus.
>
> Sorry it doesn't exist, but what you need (and I'd buy one too) is a 40 MPG
> Volvo V70 Hybrid.
>
> --
> -RL
>
> "Elmo P. Shagnasty" <el...@nastydesigns.com> wrote in messagenews:elmop-1977F6.06211727082007@nntp1.usenetserver.com...
>
>
>
> > In article <1188175671.846117.187...@r34g2000hsd.googlegroups .com>,
> > Clay <c...@sportsmogul.com> wrote:

>
> >> I've heard that the Prius has surprisingly good leg-room, but all our
> >> driving is rural -- so a hybrid doesn't seem like the right
> >> technology. I also hate automatics.

>
> > Why does rural driving rule out a hybrid?

>
> > As for the transmission....if you're truly interested in using less fuel
> > and reducing emissions, you should take a close look at the Prius.
> > True, you can't shift it yourself--but if you look very closely at the
> > technology, you'll be amazed at what Toyota has done. It doesn't have a
> > conventional transmission, or even a conventional belt-driven CVT, at
> > all. The geniuses at Toyota figured out how to do a hybrid drivetrain,
> > and determined how the power should be managed, and the result is
> > amazing.

>
> > Like it or not, the Toyota method is the wave of the future for
> > passenger cars.- Hide quoted text -

>
> - Show quoted text -



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  #9 (permalink)  
Old 27 Aug 2007, 08:08 am
Elmo P. Shagnasty
Guest
 
Posts: n/a
Default Re: Unicorn Hunting: Comfy wagon/SUV with great mileage

In article <1188219838.775780.127950@r34g2000hsd.googlegroups .com>,
bigjim@backpacker.com wrote:

> Hybrids are for wimps. I hate getting stuck behind those putt putt
> priuse


It's not the tool, it's the operator.

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  #10 (permalink)  
Old 27 Aug 2007, 08:30 am
Roadie
Guest
 
Posts: n/a
Default Re: Unicorn Hunting: Comfy wagon/SUV with great mileage

On Aug 26, 8:47 pm, Clay <c...@sportsmogul.com> wrote:
> Greetings! I'm shopping for a car that may not exist. My requirements
> list isn't long, but it's hard to find them on the same car.
>
> 1) Absurdly comfortable front seats. I'm 6'2" and get back pain
> whenever I drive any of my current cars for more than 30-60 minutes. I
> "only" weigh 190, but have long legs for someone by height.


A Volvo XC90 will be roomy, have good winter traction and get passable
milage. A Subaru Outback will be somewhat smaller, get marginally
better milage, have a manual gearbox and be passably roomy.

Unfortunately the combination of large roomy vehicle with a manual
transmission, all wheel drive that gets very high milage does not
exist.

>
> 2) Good winter traction. We live in rural New England and have a 400-
> foot sloped gravel driveway. 4WD isn't a requirement (our FWD Passat
> is adequate for example), but better ground clearance would be great
> (our current cars frequently scrape on the dirt roads around here --
> including one recent event that broke TWO catalytic converters).


I doubt that you will find a 4WD passenger vehicle. More likely will
be AWD.

>
> 3) Great gas mileage. As you can tell from the fact that one of our
> cars runs on waste vegetable oil (see below), we care a lot about
> reducing emissions. This is actually more important, to us, than fuel
> savings. That is, we don't mind paying $5,000 extra for a car that
> will save us only $3,000 in gas costs over the life of the vehicle.


AWD vehicles typically do not get great milage.

>
> 3a) Manual transmission. I have never owned an automatic and I don't
> like them. They have worse mileage and I don't enjoy them as much (I
> also like how manuals force me to pay attention to my driving --
> neither my wife nor I have ever had an accident in over 30 combined
> years driving 5-speeds).


Very few passenger vehicles have manual transmissions. The only one I
can think of that couples a manual gearbox and AWD is the Subaru
Outback. It was quite comfortable when I drove one and I'm 6'.

>
> I've heard that the Prius has surprisingly good leg-room, but all our
> driving is rural -- so a hybrid doesn't seem like the right
> technology. I also hate automatics.
>
> I have a friend with a 5-cylinder Volvo wagon -- she says she gets 35
> MPG highway. I haven't tried driving it, but perhaps this is the best
> combo of the above choices.


If it is an AWD vehicle I doubt that it gets 35mpg. Indeed the
standard front wheel drive non-turbo car would likely get 28 to 30 mpg
on the highway.

Given that you apparently have back problems that should be the first
criteria for you. Develop a list of cars that fit your frame and can
accomodate a sore back. Beyond providing a list of cars with roomy
front seating tt is literally impossible for someone on the internet
to guess which car will fit you properly.

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