The Volt has been great so far but will be retired either this month or next. It has served us well so far but with some recent adjustments and changes, we got my wife a larger car and now we need a larger car for myself as well.

Criteria:
  • $20k all-in max. Wife got the nice car, I can work with simple.
  • Needs to reliably cover ~20k miles annually. Assume all maintenance will be kept up to date. I'd like to squeeze out 3-4 years of good service out of it and it have some value after that period.
  • Reasonably spaced back-seat. In the meantime needs to comfortably accommodate a rear-facing infant carrier and will transition to a regular child's car seat with time.
  • Cargo area - has to be a hatch for easy loading. The most critically sized item that I need to carry is a multi-position ladder is 43" long and 20" wide. It can either fit in the long way (in direction of car) or the short way (perpendicular to car) WITHOUT having to drop the rear seats. Other Pelican cases and work bags are easy enough to arrange. When the taller 24' foot ladder is used, seats will be dropped to accommodate the folded ~6ish foot length but that's fairly rare that I need to take the longest one out.
  • Reasonable efficiency for it's size
  • Interior fit and finish that's decent and has some soft touch surfaces.


Those are the most important. Short of going to Carmax and going hatch to hatch, I wanted to see if the TCL collective can point out some models for consideration.

Interesting fact - I dropped in to a Toyota store on the way from a site and the new '20 RAV4 doesn't fit the trunk criteria whereas the previous gen works!

Looking forward to your thoughts and feedback!