Author Topic: AWD vehicle shopping  (Read 6740 times)

MountainTown

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AWD vehicle shopping
« on: April 29, 2017, 06:13:38 PM »
Ok like many Mustachians I have been adamantly against paying for the pricetag of AWD. Recently in the last winter I had a few bad scenarios(despite having studded snow tires) that caused me to want want to have one in this wintry, mountain state. On top of that I am frequently driving up mountains on dirt roads that are icey and sometimes plowed. So anyways I realize people may want to talk me out of AWD but I would rather not argue it. I realize it's an expense that I am paying more for and I am good with that given the bad situations I have had:

That being said, does anyone have any advice? I haven't shopped for a car for a looong time and always did it under the gun. Right now I have the next 6-9 months to take my time. Here is roughly what I am looking for:

Year: Doesn't matter much to me
Mileage: Prefer something below 70,000
Brand: I am partial to Toyota and Honda, but given the higher price tags I am open to domestics(any recommendations?)
Cargo: Doesn't matter much
FWD/AWD: Again, I am open to fwd but I think the AWD is a better fit as I am not offroading or doing much special towing at this point

Method of payment: Most likely cash. We have $83,000 saved up for a down payment on a house but we haven't bought yet so it would just come out of there.

Price: Would like to keep it under or around $15,000

Options: Don't need much fancy. I have seen some good deals on manual / stick shifts and manual would be fine with us

Does anyone have any favorite AWD vehicles? Any tips for shopping for one? I should mention I live in a state where Subarus and Toyotas are extremely favored and overpriced. A lot of people end up driving to Spokane, Wa for a deal. I could do that but honestly it seems like a pain in the ass. Is it worth it? Is there a more efficient way to do this??? I am pretty overwhelmed by how much time this has taken already.


Final question: What do people think about rebuilt titles? I have always been against but I had a friend who got some rebuilt one from a sketchy guy in Spokane...like more than half off. They have had no problems though lol and it's a nice subaru!

Did they just get lucky? I should say I know the resale value is affected but I tend to drive my vehicles into the ground. Our other car is a 2003 Toyota Corolla with just 130k miles on it. We love it but no AWD and it is starting to be a little less reliable on highway trips.

Left

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Re: AWD vehicle shopping
« Reply #1 on: April 29, 2017, 06:19:09 PM »
subaru... crosstrek if space doesn't matter, outback if family, forester for a couple without kids

I like toyotas, but well, I didn't like the rav4's awd system of not always being on. The mpg wasn't much better for being 2 wheels the majority of the time. plus toyota kind of owns subaru because they own part of the company that makes them

buy in a southern flat area, kansas has good deals on them

depends on the rebuild, might not get financing on it? I'd probably buy one too but I'm not mechanically inclined (not sure what else might need fixing later on or what was done to it prior)
« Last Edit: April 29, 2017, 06:23:03 PM by Left »

snacky

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Re: AWD vehicle shopping
« Reply #2 on: April 29, 2017, 06:35:25 PM »
I live in TerribleWinterLand and love my 2002 Subaru Outback to death. It handles weather like it's not even there. I've had a Toyota Matrix AWD and it was not nearly as good as the Subaru.

MountainTown

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Re: AWD vehicle shopping
« Reply #3 on: April 29, 2017, 06:57:27 PM »
Yea one that came up on my radar was a 2009 Subaru Forester with 57,000 miles and it's about $13,000. It's a standard...nothing fancy. But it seems like it's in cherry condition. The used car salesmen isn't exactly giving it away as the KBB is around $11,000 to $12,000 but it's also next to impossible to find a subaru with that many miles under 15,000..... I am thinking about trying that one out. It's about an hour away otherwise I would have looked at it already...

v8rx7guy

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Re: AWD vehicle shopping
« Reply #4 on: April 29, 2017, 07:32:00 PM »
I like the Honda CR-V.... I has a great engine with a timing chain rather than belt and it holds its value well.  If you want budget,  check out the Ford escape.

alsoknownasDean

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Re: AWD vehicle shopping
« Reply #5 on: April 30, 2017, 04:54:28 AM »
Are the roads salted where you are? If so, is it worth buying something from a non-salt area that's in better shape than local cars of the same age?

I'm surprised there's not a whole lot of people buying up clean, rust free used cars in the south, and shipping them up to the salted-roads states to be sold at a premium.

Cranky

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Re: AWD vehicle shopping
« Reply #6 on: April 30, 2017, 05:43:51 AM »
Much of the south is near the ocean, and cars get rusty from the salt in the air.

We have a Subaru Impreza, and absolutely love it for winter driving.

BlueMR2

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Re: AWD vehicle shopping
« Reply #7 on: April 30, 2017, 06:26:09 AM »
I'd look for an Impreza.  Lots of those around out there.  Good AWD car.

If on a really tight budget and you are mechanically inclined, look for '90's era Eagle Talon/Mitsubishi Eclipse.  Another good AWD platform albeit ones that are a lot more likely to have been abused in the past and need some love.  Plus side, parts are stupid cheap compared to Toyota/Honda and there is very large aftermarket/enthusiast support.

Another Reader

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Re: AWD vehicle shopping
« Reply #8 on: April 30, 2017, 07:00:07 AM »
I don't like the reliability issues with Subaru, but I think it makes sense where you are.  If they want that price for an 8 year-old car, I would buy new.  Here in the Bay Area, you can easily get 10 percent off the sticker price.

Fire1018

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Re: AWD vehicle shopping
« Reply #9 on: April 30, 2017, 08:31:02 AM »
We sprung for the toyota sienna AWD.  The AWD system broke down at ~70000 miles which cost about $2k.  That was probably a fluke, but the real issue was the lack of a spare tire...I specifically looked at the brochure to make sure it had one, but overlooked the fine print that said the AWD models did not have a spare.  Instead of a spare tire, I got the awesome run flat tire deal!  They are sized so you can only buy them from one manufacturer, and you are lucky if a set lasts 25,000 miles...oh yeah, they cost about $1000 for a set of them.

So, keep tire shopping in mind while considering your AWD.

It does drive pretty nice in the winter though.

MountainTown

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Re: AWD vehicle shopping
« Reply #10 on: April 30, 2017, 10:12:23 AM »
hmmm thanks everyone for the feedback. No salt roads here and no sales tax so that's nice.

It sounds like people are all about the subarus so I think I will check out this 2009 manual subaru. At $13,000 it seems like a great way to get a used subaru under 15k. Someone mentioned buying new. I looked at new and while I do see discounts/rebates, the reality is that is still another $10,000 I would be spending on a car. I guess it just doesn't seem like the mustachian approach? I would rather be able to save $10,000 now.

I should mention we could afford a higher price tag but I have been conservative. Does anyone think it's worthwhile to buy newer or at least "less" used. I guess I just assumed you were trading money for comfort and lots of new gadgets that aren't really necessary.

Dusty Dog Ranch

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Re: AWD vehicle shopping
« Reply #11 on: April 30, 2017, 10:57:41 AM »
We've been pretty happy with our Rav-4 here in north central WA. I like that you can lock it into 4WD, which we do to get up our driveway. It's a 2007 and we got a very good deal on it going through a broker who goes to the same auctions that the dealers do. True, not the greatest gas mileage out there, but better than our pickup!

Bonus, we can fit more cargo in it than our old pathfinder.

JLee

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Re: AWD vehicle shopping
« Reply #12 on: April 30, 2017, 11:01:01 AM »
We sprung for the toyota sienna AWD.  The AWD system broke down at ~70000 miles which cost about $2k.  That was probably a fluke, but the real issue was the lack of a spare tire...I specifically looked at the brochure to make sure it had one, but overlooked the fine print that said the AWD models did not have a spare.  Instead of a spare tire, I got the awesome run flat tire deal! They are sized so you can only buy them from one manufacturer, and you are lucky if a set lasts 25,000 miles...oh yeah, they cost about $1000 for a set of them.

So, keep tire shopping in mind while considering your AWD.

It does drive pretty nice in the winter though.

TireRack shows 56 different tire options for an AWD Sienna.

Davids

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Re: AWD vehicle shopping
« Reply #13 on: April 30, 2017, 12:31:25 PM »
If your budget is under $15,000.00 and below 70,000 miles you should be able to find plenty of used Honda CRVs with AWD in that range. Honda CRV is a great AWD vehicle. 2008 Honda CRV is what my wife drives and it is great.

Dave1442397

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Re: AWD vehicle shopping
« Reply #14 on: April 30, 2017, 01:40:12 PM »
Another thing to know with salvage titles is that some insurance companies won't insure them.

They can be a great deal if you get a pre-purchase inspection done, preferably at a dealer or with a mechanic who really knows the particular car you're looking at.

SnackDog

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Re: AWD vehicle shopping
« Reply #15 on: April 30, 2017, 02:01:21 PM »
Bad weathe and icy conditIons are best avoided. Do you absolutely have to drive then? How frequently does this occur? Could you just Uber in those occasions? It is quite wasteful to drag around a heavy AWD system in your car 365 days per year which you only use 2-3 days.

The Outback would be your best choice if you are determined. It has extra clearance for snow as well as advanced AWD and great mileage, few frills, reliable and  strong resale value. It drives like a car but has practicality of a wagon.

Trifele

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Re: AWD vehicle shopping
« Reply #16 on: April 30, 2017, 02:41:28 PM »
Another vote for Subaru.  I lived in awful-winter-weather land for many years, and had both an Outback and a Forester.  I prefer the Forester for the usability of the interior space.

An '09 Subaru will still have a timing belt rather than a chain, I believe.  I think they went to the chain in '11, so you may want to look for an newer model.  You should be able to find one under $15k.  I just bought a '12 Forester with 63,000 miles, manual transmission, for $14,500

Paul der Krake

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Re: AWD vehicle shopping
« Reply #17 on: April 30, 2017, 02:48:29 PM »
I drove a rebuilt title car for 4 years, then walked away from a collision with another vehicle twice its weight. It really depends on the type of damage.

I don't understand why you can't live with FWD with snow tires and the occasional chains for the really bad conditions. For $300-400 you can get *really* nice chains that take under a minute to put on.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Op06sHc-eDI

Compare $300-400 and a minute of your time once a week (or however often you need them) to the cost of purchasing and maintaining an AWD vehicle.




Mtngrl

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Re: AWD vehicle shopping
« Reply #18 on: April 30, 2017, 04:11:59 PM »
I'm currently on my third Subaru outback -- I love them. The one I'm driving now is a 2015 that had 30,000 miles on it when I bought it. I had previously been driving a 2008. I think the updates Subaru has made in the last few years would make searching for a later model worthwhile -- my 2015 gets much better gas mileage than the 2008 and has several added safety features that make winter driving easier and safer. Also, as someone above noted, no timing belt on this one that has to be changed. They also seemed to have solved the leaking gasket problem that plagued some older models. I drive in the mountains in snow and ice on rural roads and as long as you keep good tires on the car and use moderate speed, you will get through conditions that leave a lot of other cars stranded. FWIW, if you live in an area where Subarus are popular, they hold their resale value quite well.

dess1313

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Re: AWD vehicle shopping
« Reply #19 on: April 30, 2017, 05:42:38 PM »
got a subaru outback.  When i was test driving it, i drove past a truck that had slid into the ditch.  wasn't that icy.  the thing stuck to the road like glue.  even drove through a fairly large one sided snow bank you hardly even felt it with the AWD.  no drag or anything when most cars would be sucked sideways.  great gas mileage as well.  love love love subaru now.  used to have a toyota but i'm a convert

highflyingstache

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Re: AWD vehicle shopping
« Reply #20 on: April 30, 2017, 07:18:52 PM »
I'm going to buck the trend slightly, but in the same direction;

I, along with a high percentage of my mountain town, drive a Volvo V70, I don't have the model but the XC70 or V70XC variants are very popular. To be honest, depending on the year and model you'll find a great car, with comparable features to the subaru, typically I've seen higher quality parts, but that's weighted about equally to the higher price of them. The weakness I've seen specifically is the electrical system isn't so bulletproof. Then again, my car is now 13 years old. For the safety features it offers I'm extensively happy. As an echoed sentiment from above posters, winter doesn't exist, it really is that great in snow, ice, even black ice.

I think a few things I looked at in my selection were a car, not SUV/Van. I recognized a low Centre of Gravity was a good thing for winter conditions (roll over rate), safety rating and, the bonus of looking at older models of any vehicle, safety and mechanical weakpoints. I know all the major parts that will fail on my model year. Volvo's unique 5 cylinder inline engine is bulletproof, but there are problems, as with every car.

The further back you go for car history, the better information you have for such and typically more favourable insurance rates. Things like those rates, comparable over different models in the same year (V60 vs V70 vs outback, etc.) as well as premium or regular gas, part cost and availability, etc. all can add to the mix. I have a great mechanic that I can leave my car with, who certainly knows how to treat it, which makes all the difference.

Certainly around town there's a high amount of Volvo V60, 70s, Subaru wagons, hatchbacks, Jeeps, Toyota SUVs and pickup trucks of all variants.

Finally, although weight can be bad for millage, it certainly helps in the snow. I used to have a Jetta TDI. The thing was incredible. But the weight of the heavy framed Mk4 Jetta was bearing down on the front driving wheel. I've certainly seen Toyota Echo's perform better than some all wheels; they had 14" tires that concentrated the weight on the driving wheel, providing traction. A rear wheel drive, a wide tire car with a bigger distribution of weight or just generally light weight car may not fare so well. I blame that as a certain favour of my and many other good performing cars.

Finally, consider looking at a vehicle with a turbo. If you live in the mountains, the elevation changes you encounter could be worth the benefits of a turbo. Certainly at sea level it's a non issue, but I change over 1000ft elevation just on my drive home. You can't tune that, you can't prepare an normally aspirated engine for that, but my turbo is flawless, even at 6000 feet, where I regularly spend days off. Certainly makes a big difference to actual gas millage, everyone else is rated at sea level; when their non existent turbo can't add more air to the combustion of the engine, it does the only thing it can, run more rich with more gas. They're certainly more popular these days, on most of the models mentioned.

spokey doke

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Re: AWD vehicle shopping
« Reply #21 on: May 01, 2017, 07:37:45 AM »
I've shopped for practical AWD vehicles quite a bit in recent years and the subaru forester and the honda cr-v repeatedly take top honors in many of the reviews out there...we really like the forester.  I have read lots of reviews but don't yet have experience with the newer crop of subcompact crossovers, like the honda hr-v and the mazda cx-3, which are trying to compete with the impreza/crosstrek.  I like the clearance of the subarus and that is why we have the forester, but if we had a mazda dealer in my town, I'd consider their sportier cars.  Nothing against honda, but theirs never ticked as many of our boxes.

And for what it is worth, it sounds like your situation really calls for awd/4wd.  There's no way I'd be able to do the things I do without it in this mountain town...

v8rx7guy

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Re: AWD vehicle shopping
« Reply #22 on: May 01, 2017, 11:32:39 AM »
I just don't like the Forester.  I realize that it is extremely popular for the type of person who frequents this forum, and I can see the appeal, but there is just so much better out there.  Every time I talk to someone who has a Forester, they talk about how awesome it is, but when I ask them about the reliability it always comes down to those head gaskets.  Every single Subaru prior to 2013 (this is approximate, lots of arguments on the forums about where this ends) with a 4cyl engine is going to have to have the head gaskets replaced at least once in it's life.  Head gaskets are not supposed to be a maintenance item on a vehicle, but Subaru just never addressed the issue... and the replacement job is expensive.  When we test drove a Forester in our shopping for an AWD vehicle ourselves, we were pretty let down after all of the hype.  They are inflated in price and you just don't get a whole lot for your dollar.

I sincerely believe the CR-V is the better choice when comparing the two.

JLee

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Re: AWD vehicle shopping
« Reply #23 on: May 01, 2017, 11:37:19 AM »
I just don't like the Forester.  I realize that it is extremely popular for the type of person who frequents this forum, and I can see the appeal, but there is just so much better out there.  Every time I talk to someone who has a Forester, they talk about how awesome it is, but when I ask them about the reliability it always comes down to those head gaskets. Every single Subaru prior to 2013 (this is approximate, lots of arguments on the forums about where this ends) with a 4cyl engine is going to have to have the head gaskets replaced at least once in it's life.  Head gaskets are not supposed to be a maintenance item on a vehicle, but Subaru just never addressed the issue... and the replacement job is expensive.  When we test drove a Forester in our shopping for an AWD vehicle ourselves, we were pretty let down after all of the hype.  They are inflated in price and you just don't get a whole lot for your dollar.

I sincerely believe the CR-V is the better choice when comparing the two.

*non-turbo Subarus.

The Forester XT with the EJ257 (WRX STi engine, 2004-2005 only) and EJ255 (2006-2008) didn't have chronic head gasket problems.

FindingFI

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Re: AWD vehicle shopping
« Reply #24 on: May 01, 2017, 01:36:40 PM »
Another vote for Subaru.  Got a new 2011 Legacy fresh out of school (not my wisest choice, but hey it's done) and it's been great. Never once have I been stuck in the snow or ice.  A little over 100k miles and all I've replaced are the brakes and tires once in addition to regular tire rotation and oil changes, but no other major repairs.  Hoping to drive it for quite a few more years.

dess1313

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Re: AWD vehicle shopping
« Reply #25 on: May 02, 2017, 04:28:09 PM »
oh i forgot to mention my favorite part of the new subarus.....the eyesight technology.  its saved me from 2 crashes already!  that has saved me a low in both $$ and insurance premiums, as well as preserving the value of my vehicle.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=177jVdj64CE

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6SMSrqcGzGA

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kRniF4JQN2U

Fuzz

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Re: AWD vehicle shopping
« Reply #26 on: May 02, 2017, 06:23:02 PM »
For $15K, you should be able to do better than an 09 Forester. There is an 09 Forester for sale with about that many miles for $8K in my local paper. If you're looking at Spokane, you're not that far from me.

I have driven multiple AWD vehicles in the snow and like how the Subarus handle. They 5 cylinder volvos (sc 60, xc 70 and xc 90) are another option, but more expensive to repair. Don't know about the CRVs, but the Subarus should be worth it. I think the ID or OR craigslist would have a ton of great options.

steviesterno

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Re: AWD vehicle shopping
« Reply #27 on: May 03, 2017, 07:56:05 AM »
since moving to Texas we have bought 3 cars. We moved from PA where they salt. I will NEVER buy another car from up north again. It's cheaper to fly down, buy one, drive it up. the bottom of my truck looks brand new and it's 11 years old at this point. Crazy how much damage that salt and rain did to my older cars.

RWD

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Re: AWD vehicle shopping
« Reply #28 on: May 03, 2017, 09:09:18 AM »
If you really need functioning AWD you should get a Subaru. The CR-V (and similar other vehicles) is not much better than FWD.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=med9V-vO9d0

canyonrider

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Re: AWD vehicle shopping
« Reply #29 on: May 03, 2017, 10:06:09 AM »
I'm very surprised at all the love for used Subarus here. If I was in OP's shoes, I would take a 4th generation 4Runner (2005-09) with more than 100K miles on it over a used Subaru any day.

Both Subaru and Toyota command inflated used prices here in CO, but IMHO only Toyotas come close to justifying that premium.

MountainTown

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Re: AWD vehicle shopping
« Reply #30 on: May 06, 2017, 03:23:36 PM »
Thanks everyone for the comments! Still shopping haha

Goldy

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Re: AWD vehicle shopping
« Reply #31 on: May 06, 2017, 04:10:50 PM »
09 Subaru Impreza here and have had no issues aside from the head gasket that needed to be replaced at 60k miles.

younggunner

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Re: AWD vehicle shopping
« Reply #32 on: May 07, 2017, 07:35:18 AM »
Another vote for subaru!  No complaints here!  Bought a 2014 Impreza base model brand new.   Love it every time I drive it.   In fact, I would sell it for 15k if you are still shopping.  Has 37k miles. (Only because I need a truck)

Fire1018

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Re: AWD vehicle shopping
« Reply #33 on: May 11, 2017, 12:42:10 PM »
We sprung for the toyota sienna AWD.  The AWD system broke down at ~70000 miles which cost about $2k.  That was probably a fluke, but the real issue was the lack of a spare tire...I specifically looked at the brochure to make sure it had one, but overlooked the fine print that said the AWD models did not have a spare.  Instead of a spare tire, I got the awesome run flat tire deal! They are sized so you can only buy them from one manufacturer, and you are lucky if a set lasts 25,000 miles...oh yeah, they cost about $1000 for a set of them.

So, keep tire shopping in mind while considering your AWD.

It does drive pretty nice in the winter though.

TireRack shows 56 different tire options for an AWD Sienna.

Right now Tire Rack shows 65 tires that will fit my toyota sienna.  Only the Bridgestone Turanza and the Bridgestone Driveguard are run flat that will replace the original tires.  Have fun carting around your full size spare tire in the people space like I have resorted to, since I refuse to waste any more money on the run flat tires.

MountainFlower

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Re: AWD vehicle shopping
« Reply #34 on: May 11, 2017, 02:05:32 PM »
I don't get the Honda love around here.  They are notorious for needing a transmission overhaul at about 150 K miles.  I drive an Acura MDX (which is a Honda) and we're on our second rebuild.  If you want something to get you to 200K miles, skip the honda.  I second the Toyota recommendation.  That's what we would get except they don't work for my 6'4" husband.  We're thinking about a used Lexus next time as they are very plentiful and also Toyota.

I went to the car show recently with a friend and I liked the Nissan Rogues. 

JLee

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Re: AWD vehicle shopping
« Reply #35 on: May 11, 2017, 06:01:48 PM »
We sprung for the toyota sienna AWD.  The AWD system broke down at ~70000 miles which cost about $2k.  That was probably a fluke, but the real issue was the lack of a spare tire...I specifically looked at the brochure to make sure it had one, but overlooked the fine print that said the AWD models did not have a spare.  Instead of a spare tire, I got the awesome run flat tire deal! They are sized so you can only buy them from one manufacturer, and you are lucky if a set lasts 25,000 miles...oh yeah, they cost about $1000 for a set of them.

So, keep tire shopping in mind while considering your AWD.

It does drive pretty nice in the winter though.

TireRack shows 56 different tire options for an AWD Sienna.

Right now Tire Rack shows 65 tires that will fit my toyota sienna.  Only the Bridgestone Turanza and the Bridgestone Driveguard are run flat that will replace the original tires.  Have fun carting around your full size spare tire in the people space like I have resorted to, since I refuse to waste any more money on the run flat tires.

What year and model Sienna?

I don't usually carry spares around.  Roadside assistance is cheap.

daverobev

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Re: AWD vehicle shopping
« Reply #36 on: May 11, 2017, 08:27:02 PM »
I don't get the Honda love around here.  They are notorious for needing a transmission overhaul at about 150 K miles.  I drive an Acura MDX (which is a Honda) and we're on our second rebuild.  If you want something to get you to 200K miles, skip the honda.  I second the Toyota recommendation.  That's what we would get except they don't work for my 6'4" husband.  We're thinking about a used Lexus next time as they are very plentiful and also Toyota.

I went to the car show recently with a friend and I liked the Nissan Rogues.

Honda manual transmissions are good. Just not the autos!

And as others have said, Honda CR-V AWD is not worth all that much.

OP, a Subie is probably what you want. Or something with proper high/low - ideally you should test this stuff out *in the winter* on the roads you need to drive on.

MountainTown

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Re: AWD vehicle shopping
« Reply #37 on: May 11, 2017, 11:12:47 PM »
Thanks for all the advice. I am still finding any foreign aid to be insanely expensive....

I have plenty of time so I have put my # out to several dealers.

Trifele

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Re: AWD vehicle shopping
« Reply #38 on: May 12, 2017, 03:37:45 AM »
Just throwing this out there, OP -- but could you widen your search net WAY out?   Recently my brother, who lives more than halfway across the country, was car shopping.  He wanted something rare-ish (Toyota Camry with a manual) -- and was not finding what he wanted close to him.  So -- he shopped Autotrader in my area, and lo and behold found a great one.  I went and test drove it for him, then he came and bought it. Combined the car buying trip with a nice family visit. 

I think if you get outside that area where the good Subies are commanding such a premium you will find some better deals.

raven2963

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Re: AWD vehicle shopping
« Reply #39 on: May 12, 2017, 06:54:24 AM »
We have a 2014 Subaru crosstrek automatic, bought new for 20k.  Best bang for the buck.  They hold their value and are extremely dependable.


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TrMama

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Re: AWD vehicle shopping
« Reply #40 on: May 12, 2017, 02:52:31 PM »
Bad weathe and icy conditIons are best avoided. Do you absolutely have to drive then? How frequently does this occur? Could you just Uber in those occasions? It is quite wasteful to drag around a heavy AWD system in your car 365 days per year which you only use 2-3 days.

The Outback would be your best choice if you are determined. It has extra clearance for snow as well as advanced AWD and great mileage, few frills, reliable and  strong resale value. It drives like a car but has practicality of a wagon.

Actually, calling an Uber would be the absolute last thing I'd recommend if you need to go somewhere in bad conditions. You'd have no idea whether that car is any better in the snow than the car you already have or whether it's got decent snow tires on it. Even if the car is a good match for the conditions, you'd have no idea whether the driver knows how to drive in those conditions or whether he's going to take a corner, or intersections, too fast and get you hurt.

OP - I have a newer model Outback and it's performed great in the snow, we took it to a couple different ski hills this winter. However, I also made sure to put good snow tires on it the day after I bought it. The all season tires it came with are the "summer" tires.  It also gets better mileage than my husband's small sedan.

BDWW

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Re: AWD vehicle shopping
« Reply #41 on: May 12, 2017, 03:10:30 PM »
It's already been touch on, but most manufacturer's AWD systems suck. The only good ones are Subaru and Mitsubishi*. Most wait until the front tires lose traction before engaging the rears, and by that time it's often too late. The also don't actively determine where the power should go like the Subaru/Mitsubishi.  We have a Ford Escape, the AWD is largely useless. The range of situations where it is better than FWD is very narrow.

*Or something semi-exotic like the new Ford Focus RS. That's the one you really should get!

spokey doke

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Re: AWD vehicle shopping
« Reply #42 on: May 14, 2017, 08:33:56 AM »
It's already been touch on, but most manufacturer's AWD systems suck. The only good ones are Subaru and Mitsubishi*. Most wait until the front tires lose traction before engaging the rears, and by that time it's often too late. The also don't actively determine where the power should go like the Subaru/Mitsubishi.  We have a Ford Escape, the AWD is largely useless. The range of situations where it is better than FWD is very narrow.

*Or something semi-exotic like the new Ford Focus RS. That's the one you really should get!

While this isn't really news to me, I find it pretty depressing...as we have had a few Subaru's and I don't think that even their AWD is that great, having gotten my first after a couple 4wd's (Tacoma, and a Tercel 4wd wagon).  The delay from having wheels initially slip to when the other's kick in on the Subarus is far from ideal IMO.

I want my 4wd again...

wanderingdomer

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Re: AWD vehicle shopping
« Reply #43 on: May 14, 2017, 10:03:15 AM »
I second the comments on some of the Subaru Forester's head gasket issues. We have a 2009 Foerster that just required a $2,500 head gasket repair, and it still might not be fixed. I would strongly recommend looking at Consumer Reports for the reliability of used cars by model, year, and "system" (transmission, engine-major, electrical, etc).  The 2009 Foerster gets terrible ratings for the "engine-major" category.

elysianfields

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Re: AWD vehicle shopping
« Reply #44 on: May 15, 2017, 01:44:30 AM »
Finally, consider looking at a vehicle with a turbo. If you live in the mountains, the elevation changes you encounter could be worth the benefits of a turbo. Certainly at sea level it's a non issue, but I change over 1000ft elevation just on my drive home. You can't tune that, you can't prepare an normally aspirated engine for that, but my turbo is flawless, even at 6000 feet, where I regularly spend days off. Certainly makes a big difference to actual gas millage, everyone else is rated at sea level; when their non existent turbo can't add more air to the combustion of the engine, it does the only thing it can, run more rich with more gas. They're certainly more popular these days, on most of the models mentioned.

I concur with HFS's contention about turbo if your vehicle will make large elevation changes with any regularity, especially if you happen to have a diesel.

MountainTown

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Re: AWD vehicle shopping
« Reply #45 on: June 27, 2017, 09:15:12 AM »
Ok so I have been shopping a lot and learned about the market. One thing I have learned is that around here...anything only $1000 above KBB retail value is a "hot" deal and will probably sell in 1-2 weeks. This isn't what the dealers are telling me--it's what I've seen. Now...that doesn't mean they might not play with that number and bargain at end of month...

However one issue I have is I really don't need or want AWD that bad until winter. I can't help but draw this one-car situation out as long as I can. As soon as I buy it, that's more taxes, more maintenance, gas, insurance, etc. My other car is an old corolla with only 133k miles on it...I don't think I will sell it as ultimately it's just too good a car and I put permanent plates on it so I don't pay taxes on it anymore.

My question is...does it make sense to buy at the end of the year? Or...do people find that they get a better deal on AWD in the summer because less people are concerned about AWD ? I know that most of the car deals are supposed to be around November...but I wonder if this applies to AWD vehicles. Seems to me a lot of people will be competing and clambering to get that new shiny AWD for the winter.

Thoughts?? Should I wait...or should I try to snatch something up now?

Car Jack

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Re: AWD vehicle shopping
« Reply #46 on: June 27, 2017, 09:32:25 AM »
There are cars that hold their value at a somewhat unreasonable rate.  Subaru, Wrangler, Tacoma, Civic.  If you're buying used, you've forgotten to look at new car prices.  People very often buy the above vehicles used just *assuming* that they're cheaper than new.....and they're not.

I own 3 AWD vehicles.  Why?  Because there is NO 2WD vehicle that'll get up my driveway after a foot of snow.  With snow tires and limited slip differential, nope.  Been there, tried it, walked up to get my plow truck.  I know a LOT about Subarus and have owned maybe a half dozen of them (2 right now).

CVT:  Don't buy one.  You said you're ok with manual.  Buy a manual Subaru and avoid a CVT imploding out of warranty and costing you (I am not making this up) $8k for a replacement.  Subaru does not have any repair for CVTs.  When they crap the bed, they get replaced.  We replaced one in our 13 Crosstrek at 53k miles.  If you get a relatively young one, still under the 3/36 warranty, then get the gold 7 year 100k mile Subaru warranty from Mastria Subaru (look them up, they sell them at a discount).  Or avoid all that crap and get a manual.  My next car will be a manual Impreza sedan.  This is barely over your budget.  Heurberger Subaru in CO is the biggest dealer in the US and will give you a price over email.  I'd expect to pay in the $17-$18k for a new one.  Expect to get about 30 mpg on regular gas.  Buy a good set of snow tires on some used Subaru wheels (or check classifieds on craigslist and nasioc for wheels with tires cheap) and you'll get through winter just fine.  The impreza is on the new "global platform" that all the other models phase into starting next year (Crosstrek for sure). 

What else can I tell you.  My 3rd vehicle is a 4 door Wrangler.....favorite of Mustachians, right?

MountainTown

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Re: AWD vehicle shopping
« Reply #47 on: June 27, 2017, 10:17:31 PM »
thanks for the tip car jack...do you find it's better to buy an AWD vehicle in the summer? Or is it pretty much always better at end of year?