If you're putting in that many miles, mostly highway, you may also want to consider a Volkswagen TDI. Should be as good or better than the Prius Liftback on the highway, and still very good in town. I regularly see Golfs advertised in the $22k-23k range (for MTs, so probably add another 1k for automatic). Golf will have cargo space in the same approximate ballpark as the regular Prius. If you need more space you could also look at the Jetta SportWagen TDI, which also puts you in the same price (and cargo space) range as a new Prius V. I'm a Minnesota native and visit there regularly. Lots of people there have TDIs and they work just fine in the climate there. They do take much longer to warm up than gas cars, so it is helpful to have an outlet to plug it in. With a coolant heater you can have instant heat from the moment you start the car (put it on a timer to come on an hour before you get in the car, so it doesn't run up your power bill too much). Do not under any circumstances buy a Volkswagen without an extended warranty, though, especially with the number of miles you drive. Just make sure to include that in your budget calculations. I'm assuming you need a hatchback for your courier duties, but the items you're carrying are small and a sedan is an option, you could also consider the Chevy Cruze diesel. Automatic only, easily available for under $23k despite the $26k MSRP, and rated 46mpg highway. Should provide similar mpg to a VW TDI if not slightly better.