I'm still not sure whether my wife and I will be able to really afford the Model S. We certainly are not in the market for a "luxury" vehicle and are making the stretch because we just have 70lb dog and a new daughter and want a bigger car than our current compact. Ideally one with the smallest carbon footprint (and it doesn't hurt that the Model S is sex on wheels). So I'm in the strange position of either buying a $70K car (the Model S), or likely half that for an alternative ($35k-ish).
Unfortunately there's nothing else that even comes close to the Model S's "fuel" economy while combining the space. The hybrid SUV's out there don't really give you much cargo capacity (just more head and elbow room), and their hybrid technology only makes them "less bad", but not exactly "good" (i.e. 30mpg). So I pulled together a list of alternates, none of which I'm particularly excited about. But I thought I'd share and see if there were other people in the same position looking for alternates.
So what's your backup plan in case the Model S doesn't pencil out for you?
Here are my top contenders, but I'd love to hear which one you think is best and get some ideas from other people:
Tesla Model S: $70,000 equipped, MPG = N/A (119 mpg equivalent), Cargo Capacity (CC) = 36.8 / 66 cu. ft.
Toyota Prius V: $37,000 equipped, 42mpg, CC = 34.3/67.3 cu. ft.
Ford Escape Hybrid SUV: $38,000 equipped, 35mpg, CC = 30.9/66.4 cu. ft.
Lexus RX450h Hybrid SUV: $50,000 equipped, 30 mpg, CC = 40.0/80.3 cu. ft.
VW Jetta Sportwagen TDI (Bio-Diesel Option): $30,000,MPG=38mpg, CC=32.8/66.9 cu. ft.
Mazda CX-7: $26,000, 26MPG, CC=29.9/58.6
Toyota Venza: $40,000 equipped, 26MPG, CC=34.4, 70.0
Ford Flex SUV: $42,000 equipped, 20MPG, CC=20.0/43.2/83.2
Audi Q7 TDI SUV (Bio-Diesel Option): $60,000 equipped, 20MPG, CC=10.9/42.0/72.5
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