Driving to Orlando...which car would you take?


OK, guys. I think I asked this question once before a year or two ago, but it’s that time again. And now more than ever, with gas prices the way they are, the question is so relevant!!!

With airline prices the way they are, there is no question in my mind that driving is the cheapest way to go. The cheapest airfare I found for the 4 of us to go Thanksgiving week is $1300!

So now that we’ve decided to drive again (3rd time…won’t be the last ), the question now becomes WHICH CAR DO WE TAKE??? We are driving almost 1100 miles each way.

We have a 2004 Honda Pilot and a 2007 Toyota Yaris. The Pilot only gets about 18 mpg all around, 22-24 highway. The Toyota Yaris on the other hand gets about 33-35 all around, 40mpg highway. DH is dead set on taking the Toyota Yaris. We have become budget busters and are trying to make this vacation reasonably affordable.

The Honda Pilot is EXTREMELY roomy, has the built in DVD player and will fit all of our stuff without question. We can fit a cooler in the back seat to stock with drinks and snacks for the road.

The Toyota Yaris is very SMALL…it’s a compact car. We’d have to bring a portable DVD player that the kids would fight over, we’d be a bit uncomfortable (DH especially, since he’s 6 feet…but he’s not the one complaining ) and we couldn’t fit a large cooler for our road trip drinks and snacks. It would have to be a small one.

I am estimating gas to be about $4.50. Being conservative, it will cost us approximately $700 round trip in gas taking the Honda Pilot. Keep in mind that includes all tolls, gas while in Florida and coming home with a full tank. If we take the Yaris, it will cost us approximately $350 in gas. So we’ll save about $350 by taking the Toyota Yaris.

So…which car would YOU take? Does the budget conscious in you go for the Yaris? Or is the comfort and convenience worth $350?

HELP! I need your HONEST opinions here.



I’ll be the first to vote, I’d go for comfort! Less fighting! And bring along snacks, which will help with less breaks on the road! :happy:

Only because I have done that road trip with two kids and the more they can spread out, spread out their stuff helps with the long drive! Less bickering if they can’t reach each other either! :laugh: :laugh:

I am shocked at the price of your airline tickets. We are doing the reverse travel . . . FL - Newark that same week, leaving Monday night, returning Sat after Thanksgiving and my tickets on continental.com were $218 each round trip! :blush:


Ugh, saving $350 sounds good. I don’t know if it is worth it. Obviously the way you describe it makes it sound bad.


The added room would be very nice… but I think I would make the Toyota Yaris work, since you are looking for what is most economical. I mean 1/2 the money in gas… wow.


Try this website:

AAA Fuel Cost Calculator

I’d go with the comfort. You can probably save that $350 somewhere else in the trip.


I would say take the smaller of the two.


I really think that you have to analyze just how much the small car will affect you. If it’s just smaller but still comfortable (and you’ve got a portable DVD player!), go for the Yaris.

But if the really small space is going to make you cranky, I think you have to assess the dollar value of that.

My DH is very tall, and also very budget-minded. I suspect he might choose the Pilot for such a long trip.


I voted for the Honda! We have the same issue at our house Honda vs. Toyota (not a Pilot and a Yaris but Civic and a Camry) and I hate the Toyota…it’s always having problems and whenever we take it anywhere we have drama!
But that really has nothing to do with your situation. I’d think comfort is worth $350. Especially with your kids being older and staying off site for some of your trip (right?! I’m not making this part up right) I think overall you’ll like the Pilot better.
And…if it makes you feel better gas hasn’t reached $4.00 in SC yet so you might save more money than you think. :laugh:


I was curious about what my DH would actually say to this, and he wrote me this back:

Mapquest lists the distance from NYC to Orlando as approximately 1,100 miles. According to my calculations, using the Pilot will only cost them an additional $105.75 at $4.50 per gallon. I figured this using an average of 20 MPG vs. 35 MPG (55 gals. of gas used vs. 31.5 gals.) At $4/gal. the extra cost is only $94.

Clearly the answer is to use the Pilot…


She did mention that the cash cost included all the driving they plan to do while in Florida. Returning with a full tank, and tolls…Just say’n:wink:


I’d do some serious thinking about the Pilot. While you’d save gas with the Yaris, it’s a hefty trip for a big guy and your little one so you’d be better off to have some wiggle room. We’ve done the New England to FL trip by car for many MANY years since my husband’s mother lived in Ocala until her passing a few years ago. We did it with 3 little ones in a station wagon 20 years ago…not bad-they had the way back to themselves since there were no car seat/seat belt laws back then and we travelled at night while they slept. We’ve done it in a compact car with 4 of us - not so good…little squashed…and a Geo with just us two old folks and a West Highland White Terrier (he was easier than the kids!). You’d still be saving money by driving, and you’d have room with the bigger car, so I’d definitely go bigger. And don’t forget to stop fairly frequently and walk! Oh - and have a good time! :laugh:


I would want the extra room and would be willing to pay for it. That’s a long drive to be stuck in a small car with 4 people. I have a VW Passat and we have taken it on long trips but Mike’s TrailBlazer (with a 3rd seat) is so much nicer to take. It has a DVD player and all the extra room for a cooler and all the luggage we could need.

That said, we have taken my car more and more this year. We used to take the TrailBlazer w/o thought but not with $4.00 gas. Just this weekend we took my car on a 2.5 hour trip that we normally would have taken the TB for the comfort.


Wow, I say go for the Pilot. Your sanity and overall well being is at stake the other way. Who wants to start off their vacation stressed out? I understand the cost factor, but, honestly, if it were me, I would go with the Pilot.


I voted for the Pilot because the Yaris just seems too small. By the time you pack all the bags and various things for the road you will have stuff packed in every crevice of the car. Florida is a fairly long drive from where you are so I think comfort would play a big part in your overall enjoyment. The savings would be nice but to crammed into a compact car for at least an 14 hour drive can test anyone’s patience.


I had to vote for the Pilot. If for nothing else but your sanity :blink:

We did 5 days in a 2-door Corolla when I was little, and it was crazy ridiculous!!!

It may cost more, but I think the roominess of the Pilot will be worth the $$.


The biggest consideration is how healthy your backs are. If either of you have ever had any problem with back pain, you must take the more comfortable vehicle.


I voted for the Yaris. I just think you could do so much with that $350. Just think of all the Mickey bars and Tinkerbell T-shirts you could buy!!


My gut says Honda for comfort and sanity for the family, but if its adventure you want drive the Yaris.


I voted for the Yaris, which is the new version of the ECHO-I drive a 2001 Toyota ECHO and love my car more than anything-especially with gas prices being what they are.


If it was just you and your husband going I would have said the Yaris because you could strech back the seats as far as possible & take turns driving while one spreads out in the back. ALTHOUGH, if the cost isn’t going to be THAT grand of a difference and you have two small children… go for comfort & space. You are going to want to pack extra “comfort” car stuff; like toys, games, snacks, drinks, etc… Not to mention luggage. Driving a compact car for that many miles with two small kids could make for a cranky situation real fast.