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Choosing a vehicle
#1
Hello all.  I'll be moving in to a vehicle in a few months.  I have a full time job in the suburbs (with access to a full kitchen), a safe place to park, and a cheap gym membership.  I've spent years dealing with health issues and have racked up morgage sized debt.  I had planned on taking a few years to travel in a van before all the health stuff started, so I am familiar with how to make that happen.

Since I will be working full time, I am torn on what vehicle to choose.  I do home visits, and sometimes transport people, so I need to have the option to use the back seats.  If I get a van it would be the Town and Country, because the seats fold flat.  I am pretty minimalist, and I have access to a kitchen and storage at work.  I don't know if I want to be driving a minivan every day around town; I do spend a lot of working hours driving. I'm considering vehicles such as a Prius, or an SUV.  I'll roll up my sleeping pad every morning and tidy up the living space, and if anyone asks, I'll tell them I store my camping gear there for weekend trips.  I already spend much of my time at parks, and there's a library right by work.

So basically I'm asking for advice.  I need to best mpg I can get while still having space to live.  I'm 5'6", and it looks like I won't have any issues having enough space to stretch out.  I'm trying to figure out which SUVs have seats that fold flat, so I can just fold them down at night and roll out my sleeping pads without building a sleeping platform, and I'm having trouble finding that online.  What about the Prius, do the back seats fold flat with the cargo area?  I'd also like to sit up in bed, but it looks like that's not possible with the Prius. If I could I'd probably go with that.  I know several people live in a Prius, but I can't tell if there's room to sit up in bed.

I'm planning on going vehicle shopping this month so I can give my new set up some test runs before my lease runs out, work out the kinks.
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#2
What about a mid-size or compact pickup with a crew-cab style cab (room for 4 people) with a pickup topper or shell for the bed?

Won't get the mpg of a Prius of course, but might fit your other needs.
Never trust a camp cook with lots of shiny new pans...
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#3
I have a prius v the larger wagon type, and if I did not convert the suburban, the prius v would be a great vehicle as it does get 46 + mpg and very roomy
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#4
I part-time out of a Prius and while it works, it's cramped. Even though you said that you have access to storage, it's still going to be cramped. I'm the same height so I know.

The minivan seems a better idea, decent gas mileage and if you get one with folding down seats, you can reconfigure it how you want to daily. Since your job requires (it sounded like) transporting people (get the insurance right for this liability), you'd want room for their stuff as well, sometimes they have things that go with them, medically. I definitely think a full-sized van is out as far as gas mileage goes, if you aren't all that comfortable driving a "mini"van around town, a full sized would bother you more.


I can't comment on the Prius V other than it will cost you likely about double that of a mid 2000's minivan.

My Prius (gen 3 2011) has been very good on all things maintenance and still gets 53+ city but as far as living and working out of it (living is fine but changing it up daily?  No), I'd rethink that.
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The following 1 user says Thank You to This world isn't home for this post:
emme32 (12-18-2017)
#5
Thanks guys.  I have a feeling a minivan would be the better choice, but they are not fun to drive.  I haven't considered a truck because of the gas mileage. I do get reimbursed from work, but it never really covers the whole cost of driving.  Plus I do a lot of driving in my personal life; I live in a very sprawling area, unfortunately.  

I would need to convert it back each day, in case I need to transport anyone, and just so my boss doesn't know I'm living in a vehicle.  There aren't any prius Vs available for me to check out.  I've been doing a lot of reading the last few days.  I'll go check out a town and country minivan, a newer CR-V and Rav-4.  The SUVs have much better gas mileage, especially since I do so much city driving.  

Thankfully my work has all the required insurance, and I've never needed to transport more than 2 people at a time, but I don't want them looking in the back and wondering if I live there.  I'm finally well enough to work full time, and I want to get out of debt within the next 10 years.  That's not likely to happen paying rent.
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#6
A passenger van/wagon with the driver's seat & passenger seat up front and one row of seating behind, all else removed to make room for your home which is separated by a partition that includes an access door and of course this all is cleverly concealed. From the outside, nothing to arouse suspicion and inside nothing would be visible to your passengers, and you would be very comfortable without having to make house every day. MPG's will not be the best you can get, but too much emphasis in this area will disregard vehicles designed to meet your needs. Your needs are the focus in the long term view. If you still want fun to drive, get a bicycle for your time off.
Cheers, Rick
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