• Post Reply Bookmark Topic Watch Topic
  • New Topic

What the heck vehicle do I get?  RSS feed

 
pollinator
Posts: 363
Location: NW Pennsylvania Zone 5B bordering on Zone 6
8
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
So I have sold my car (yes, my one and only car) to get out of the payment and I now have to find something to get back and forth to work in that I can purchase outright for up to $6500 max. I have been looking on craigslist and other sites for the last couple of days and I have myself thoroughly confused.

I want either FWD, AWD or 4X4 (I live on a steep hill and get plenty of winter snow). I have had a SUV for the past 12+ years and use it to haul anything and everything, including my very sizeable pooch. My preference is for a truck, SUV or wagon style vehicle again. I want to get something that I can run the wheels off of, was hoping for something with reasonable gas mileage (so I have been struggling with the diesel or gas thing - diesel certainly limits me $$) and I want something that I can have for a long time.

Truck - probably something smaller with a small crew cab but even then the gas mileage is terrible
SUV - had a full size Ford Explorer 5 years ago that I really liked, but it seemed to constantly need ball joints and I ended up replacing the transmission. I have thought about another one or possibly others (Saturn Vue, Nissan Pathfinder, etc.) but, again, mileage not very good
Wagon - I have primarily focused my interest on VW Passat/Jetta Wagon (Diesel would be great but they are $$) and Volvo 850 or V70 (older models). My only concern with these options is that they seem to sit so low and have problems with getting undercarriage damage (like cracked fuel pans) because of that.

If you were me, how would you prioritize what you wanted and what possible vehicles would you be considering? I am getting pretty frustrated as my mind runs in circles and I figured that my Permie family would throw out valuable observations that I haven't even thought of. HELP PLEASE before I go crazy!
 
Posts: 3363
Location: Kansas Zone 6a
32
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Diesel sounds good on the surface--usually 25-30% better mileage, last forever, etc.

BUT...

Diesel is 25-30% more per gallon, so the miles/$ fuel are pretty much the same.

Diesels need about 4x more for oil and filter changes (hold more, change more often).

Diesels tend to kill transmissions. Too much torque.



As for the vehicle/size/etc. I can't help much. I can tell you I had driven a truck for 5 years and switched to a MOTORCYCLE for 5 years, then I "upsized" back up to a corolla. I have learned how to pack it. I will carry lumber, feed, pretty much anything in that car. It does sit a little low for my gravel road and driveway, but it will get through way more than you think it would. And a set of cable chains will let it climb up an icy mountain.

So don't think you need 4wd for a couple snowy icy days. A month or more, probably worth it for peace of mind, but not worth the $$ for less.
 
author
gardener
Posts: 946
Location: 6200' westen slope of colorado, zone 6
65
  • Likes 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Subaru Legacy Wagon AWD. 98 or earlier. 4 cylinder.

Check it out, they are one of the most reliable cars ever. Read the car forums, and such, they are champion. I love mine. So much!

Used to own a much newer Volvo V70 AWD, it doesnt even begin to compare to the Subaru in terms of reliability or just the general confidence it instills in the owner.

After 98 Subaru made major design changes that made the wagons much less reliable. Similarly, the 6 cylinder and the Outback were never close to as mechanically sound. It's a specific one, the Subaru Legacy wagon AWD 4cyl, from like 90-98. There were lots made, so easy to find, and since they were built so well, all you need to find is one with decent mileage.

good luck!
 
gardener
Posts: 1351
Location: Cascades of Oregon
12
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I agree with Adam as a Subaru being something to consider. The Volvo and VW are great cars but but cost of parts maintenance and repairs are greater. (My family has owned a parts store for many years) Honda/Subaru followed by Toyota would be high on my list of suggestions as far as cars we sell the fewest parts for and observed reliability.
 
steward
Posts: 8019
Location: Currently in Lake Stevens, WA. Home in Spokane
291
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I know several people who own those Subaru Legacys,and they all love them. I am not so sure that many owners would want to sell theirs.

As a side note, I was told this evening by a Ford rep that the 2015 F-150 truck will incorporate a lot of aluminum. The 2015 will weigh 740 pounds less than the 2014. That should make quite a difference in fuel mileage.

 
Jen Shrock
pollinator
Posts: 363
Location: NW Pennsylvania Zone 5B bordering on Zone 6
8
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Does anyone know anything about the Honda Civic Wagons (Wagovan) that were manufactured from 1981 - 1991? They came in FWD and 4X4 formats. I might be able to get the good gas mileage I want with the 4X4 option too. I am thinking that they would last forever. I would love to hear from someone who has experience with them.

We have plenty of Subaru Legacy, even the 90-98 vintage for sale around where I live. Not sure why, but I am not totally crazy about them. I haven't written them off completely yet. Quite a long time ago, I did own a Legacy car, so I do know some about them. My aunt is a Subaru diehard too.

I am trying to retrain my brain on things because the reason that I got rid of my car was to get out of the payment and move toward being able to make decisions for a less stressful, more fulfilling lifestyle. (Keep in mind, I just sold a completely loaded GMC Acadia that I absolutely loved. I don't have regrets, I just want to find a vehicle that I really enjoy so that I am content with keeping it.) Trying to retrain one's brain to go for practical and the most bang for your buck when it is used to consumerism is quite an adventure.
 
master steward
Posts: 3903
Location: Anjou ,France
202
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Firstly I am shocked that deasil costs more than petrol as its much cheaper than petrol here than France .mind you its 1.40 a litre
Secondly have you thought of a landrover a little one they go forever dont rust And are FWD I saw one used for ploughing once.

David
 
Posts: 268
Location: Colo
3
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
If you want a small 4x4 truck with a supercab, I recommend a Ford Ranger 4.0 v6.
I've had a 1994 for over 10 years and it's been fairly reliable. Gas mileage sucks. 17 city/20 hwy.
Put some BFG All-terrains on it and you rarely even need to use 4x4 in the snow.
It's not gonna pull a 5th wheel, but it doesn't lack power.
The 5-speeds tranny's are fairly indestructible, but the slave cylinders are the weak point in the drivetrain.
I've heard to avoid 1998-2001 years, because of the front-axle set-up was changed and is troublesome.

I also have access to a 1998 Subaru, and like Adam mentions, they are great. I'm thinking of actually buying one similar soon, for myself instead of borrowing. Much better mileage for long drives into town, when a PU isn't needed. Subaru Brats are also great, but much older.

A buddy used to have a Civic like you asked about, Jen. It does have AWD, but it is still a Honda Civic. Anything over 3"-4" and you're gonna need to wait for the plows. But stability is increased with the AWD.
 
Posts: 10
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Isuzu VehiCROSS
 
steward
Posts: 2167
Location: Moved from south central WI to Portland, OR
199
bee bike chicken food preservation hugelkultur urban
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I recommend spending some time at Mr Money Mustache's web site. (Sorry, I'm on a phone and can't put in a link.) He will inspire you to bad-ass frugality like nobody else!!
 
Posts: 1554
Location: Cincinnati, Ohio,Price Hill 45205
23
forest garden trees urban
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I am going to have to buy a "new" work van, and I find myself drawn toward the Chevy Astro/Safari.
I really don't need an AWD, but they made such a model and it seems to be highly regarded. Might work for you.
Don't forget the trailer option, beats a pick-up truck in my mind.
 
Posts: 205
Location: Midcoast Maine (zone 5b)
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
If you end up thinking about a pre-98 Subaru Wagon make sure to check out the rear wheel wells. That is where my '96 rusted out. It was a common complaint with them around here (in snow and salt country). I also had problems with the starter when I sold it. But it lasted 220k miles, and I loved it. Now I have a used Prius that get twice the mileage, and holds far more that one would expect.

Thank you kindly,
Topher
 
Posts: 26
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Hi Jen
This may sound a bit odd, but I have a 2007 Toyota prius, which I have 182000+ miles on. I have used it for everything and it has been the most reliable and least expensive car I have ever owned. My friends call it my little truck. I replaced the front brakes at 165k when I tuned it up , because of the regenerative braking system it's very easy on the brakes. I can haul 10' boards/etc in my little (truck) car. It's not that pretty but it's amazing on the mpg. I would recommend getting snow tires like Bridgestone blizzaks/etc. and rotating the tires every 6k miles.
I've spent the last 6 months looking at cars/trucks/SUV And decided on a new 2015 subaru outback, which was a hard decision because it was between a new prius or outback. 50mpg average vs 25 mpg average. But I need( really want) a trailer hitch and the ability to carry on the roof.
There both great cars , although it's going to cost me another 1500-2000 $ a year for the outback(insurrance is much lower for outback,
My current prius is starting with me and the new outback will be in the garage , so I can save some $ on mpg.
Shop around and do the numbers. It's amazing what you learn. ( I figure I have saved 19000$ in fuel over 7 years since I traded in my 2005 tundra for the prius)
And gas is going to get higher every year
Good luck
Jon
 
Posts: 22
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
David Livingston wrote:Firstly I am shocked that deasil costs more than petrol as its much cheaper than petrol here than France .mind you its 1.40 a litre
Secondly have you thought of a landrover a little one they go forever dont rust And are FWD I saw one used for ploughing once.

David

The EPA wont let landrovers in , They dont meet the air quality rules .
 
Posts: 134
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Really disappointed with you Adam. The best kept secret then you post on a public forum so we will all have to pay more for our Subaru Legacies. Not sure I agree with your early model statement as my Subaru Legacy estate is 2004 seems just as solid as all the other Subaru cars that I have owned. My daughter is still alive thanks to the strength of a previous Subaru. She spun and went through a 9ft hedge backwards then rolled two and a half times and landed on the roof the only glass that broke was the window behind the drivers door which my daughter crawled through without a scratch. With the help of the local farmer we rolled it back onto its wheels and to my surprise the drivers door opened as normal. Turned the key in the ignition and drove it home.

I also agree with you Adam in respect of the 4 cyl being far better than the 6 cyl which makes newer models harder to find
 
Posts: 6117
Location: Arkansas Ozarks zone 7 alluvial,black,deep loam/clay with few rocks, wonderful creek bottom!
420
bike chicken fungi trees urban woodworking
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
we have a subaru outback that we really like...it is a 1998 and AWD. The gas mileage is terrible (21 on the back roads, 23 maybe 24 on the highway) even though we don't drive much. It is great for hauling lots of stuff inside and on the roofrack....and it is big enough to sleep in the back with the seats down. We at first thought we didn't need the all wheel drive but this past winter it was wonderful when we got stuck out a couple times in snow and some ice. Our dirt mountain road gets really hard to climb when it has rained a lot and this car is good for that. We've done a lot of front and rear suspension work but the engine and transmission seem great still and it is over 220,000 miles.
We tend to get whatever is reasonably priced whenever we feel our current car or truck isn't worth putting any more money into or dies completely....so we have had a good volvo station wagon that parts got too expensive on and a wonderful little nisson 1988 pickup that the motor said enough finally but after 250,000 miles.............
Good to know about the subaru Legacies......although whenever we are in the market our shopping is limited. We have never paid over $2000 for a vehicle.
 
Posts: 626
26
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
There are plenty of good options mentioned here. Don't get too paralyzed by over analysis. Don't worry, this one will wear out too and you can try the other thing.



Now for the practical advice:

I drove a '99 subi legacy wagon for quite a few years. Nice car, good in snow. Pulled a 5' x 9' trailer pretty well. There's not much need for a truck when you have a trailer like that.


Fuel economy was not that hot. Low 20's.


Then I got a vw jetta diesel wagon. If I drive it nice, it routinely get 46-48 mpg. Yes, diesel is more expensive. But, I'm also using less resources, so that counts for something.
I got to fill up half as often, so that was nice. It pulled the trailer just as good if not better. The subi boxer engines do not have lots of torque.

The surprising thing was, I put blizzak snow tires on the VW, and it got around ~just as good as the all wheel drive subi with "all season" tires.

The VW now has 190,000 miles on it, and runs as good as ever. Most gassers don't last that long.


Hope that was helpful.


troy
 
Julia Winter
steward
Posts: 2167
Location: Moved from south central WI to Portland, OR
199
bee bike chicken food preservation hugelkultur urban
  • Likes 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I should also put in a good word for a diesel Golf (Golf TDI). I had one for years, from over 100K to over 200K and it was awesome in snow and ice with real snow tires on it. The hauling ability is really good, it will hold two big dogs just in the hatch and if you can put down the back seat it holds oodles. I still remember the guys at the woodworking shop who didn't believe the table saw would fit in the Golf.

It did. And I also got 46-50 mpg with it.
 
Posts: 91
Location: Sudbury ON, Canada
1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
any thought on the Honda C-RV? especialy older models (the ones that look like jeeps). they are everywhere around here.
 
Time is mother nature's way of keeping everything from happening at once. And this is a tiny ad:
Video of all the permaculture design course and appropriate technology course (about 177 hours)
https://permies.com/wiki/65386/paul-wheaton/digital-market/Video-PDC-ATC-hours-HD
  • Post Reply Bookmark Topic Watch Topic
  • New Topic
Boost this thread!