We've been considering the new Dodge Dart ever since we saw the early release at auto shows. But after commuting "troo da notch" from South Abington Township into Scranton and back in the snow, Joe started to wonder if something a little bulkier and with four-wheel-drive might not be a better option. My dad got a bead on a 2011 Dodge Durango just traded in at the dealership he and I (and half our family) have dealt with for years.
So now, dilemma: which would be better?
In terms of price, they're pretty much even. We could get a brand-new Dart for about the price of this Durango (which has 40,000 miles on it already - although Dad knows the previous owners and they do maintain their vehicles well). We haven't priced out insurance yet. New (aka with warranty) vs. used is a consideration.
The Dart would get far better gas mileage. The Durango would have far better hauling capacity. But it's not quite that simple. We've seen the Dart in person, and it is no slouch in the trunk department, or legroom for that matter.
Here's what we're asking ourselves:
- Do we need the extended cargo room of the Durango? BabyD is our first child, and while we hope to have more, two-kid space is not a pressing need. We have a mental wish list of things we want to do to the house, but so far Petey has sufficed for hauling supplies (sometimes much to my dismay). We go to Ocean City, Md., every summer (or hope to) but don't haul a ton of equipment. But on the flip side, anywhere we go now for more than a day trip will require all sorts of baby equipment. Petey can handle that, as can a Dart, for short-term trips, but maybe the Durango would be better for longer trips.
- What will be better in bad weather, or are they both sufficient? Joe said that none of his fellow workers who live up here drive SUVs - they all have sedans. The Dart is bigger and theoretically sturdier than his Sunfire. The Durango has 4WD and more tourque as opposed to the Dart, though it has front-wheel-drive which isn't horrible. I've not had problems with Petey in snow, so I imagine the Dart is also pretty good in it. But there's always that security of a larger, heftier, 4WD vehicle like the Durango.
- Which is more important - more space or better gas mileage? This is really the one we keep dancing around. We crunched some numbers and estimated that the Durango will cost about $800 more in gas per year (Side note: I did just read today that gas prices are expected to go down in 2013, with the average family saving about $200 for the year). Is it worth it to get a sturdier vehicle with more space? Or to turn it around, do the gas savings of the Dart make up for having less room?