Author Topic: help me choose a new car, and do we keep the old car?  (Read 13364 times)

sagebrushmama

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 19
help me choose a new car, and do we keep the old car?
« on: December 20, 2014, 10:06:39 PM »
We have a 2000 Subaru Forester with 150,000 miles that averages 25 mpg.  I love it, but every couple of years it costs us about $2,000 in repairs.  We have two kiddos now, both under 3 and both rear-facing.  My hubby's knees are touching the dash.  So, we need a car with more interior room.  We also love outdoor activities (camping, skiing, mountain biking). 

I'm wondering if there are any front wheel drive cars out there that a) get good fuel economy; and b) have good clearance that we could take in the snow or camping on rougher roads.  Or do we just bite the bullet and buy a newer Subaru that has better fuel economy? 

And yet another question, do we keep the old Suby with very low resale value ($3,000?) and buy a newer, more fuel efficient car (like a Honda Fit)?  Or get rid of the old Suby and get a newer Suby?  We have been a one car family forever, but now with two kids in a very not bike friendly area, I wonder if it would be more worth it to just keep the old car and not drive it much.

sagebrushmama

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 19
Re: help me choose a new car, and do we keep the old car?
« Reply #1 on: December 21, 2014, 01:41:03 PM »
Does anyone have a Honda Fit?  How is it for off-road adventures?  In snow?

RWD

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 4206
  • Location: Mississippi
Re: help me choose a new car, and do we keep the old car?
« Reply #2 on: December 21, 2014, 04:59:53 PM »
The Honda Fit has 5.9 inches of ground clearance, according to one source I found. The 2000 Forester has 7.5 inches of ground clearance. Depends where you want to take it if the loss of an inch and a half of clearance will cause problems.

Pretty much any car will handle snow as long as you equip it with four proper snow tires.

I'm not sure the Fit has more interior room than your Forester. You'd have to take a look at one to see if the interior is large enough for your needs. Alternatively, deal with a smaller interior  for a while longer and eventually your kids will grow out of the rear-facing car seats.

If you decide you really need the extra ground clearance and interior space it might be worth looking at vehicles like the Toyota RAV4 and Honda CR-V.

As a side note, my wife and I test drove a Honda Fit earlier this year and we hated it.

zolotiyeruki

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 3671
  • Location: State: Denial
Re: help me choose a new car, and do we keep the old car?
« Reply #3 on: December 21, 2014, 05:28:53 PM »
Forgive me if I sound a bit judgmental, but I think you've presented yourselves with a false dichotomy.  The lack of legroom due to rear-facing seats is a very temporary problem.  I've got two kids under the age of 3 (plus a bunch older), and only the baby faces rearward. Our 2-year-old faces forward.  I assume one of your kids is also 2 (hence the "under 3" comment).  Is there a reason he/she still faces rearward?  If you can flip him/her to face forward, you'll gain the needed inches of legroom.

If your problem is one of "it's an old car that's costing us money to repair," then treat that as a separate problem.  From a strictly financial perspective, if you assume 7% returns, in order for it to be worth getting a new-to-you car, it'd have to be under $14k plus have no repairs.

sagebrushmama

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 19
Re: help me choose a new car, and do we keep the old car?
« Reply #4 on: December 21, 2014, 09:38:18 PM »
Thanks for the info on the Fit.  I'll look into a RAV4 or a CRV.  Those were on my list 5 years ago when we bought the Suby. 

I know the kiddos are only short term, but it means at least another year with my hubby's knees right at the dash till the oldest (2.75 years old) turns forward.  We plan to rear face until 4 with both.  I know you can turn them around earlier, but most people now recommend for kiddos to be rear facing as long as possible, up to 4 years old. 

I'm so torn about the car.  zolotiyeruki, you are right to have me re-examine my assumptions.  I think my problem with this suby is just a bunch of things added together--I thought Subarus were supposed to be reliable, but we have major repairs more frequently than I would like (it is a 2000, and I have read elsewhere that early 2000s have more mechanical problems).  Add to that the lack of space and sorta crappy fuel economy, and I think hubs might get upset if we don't do something about the car situation.  Doesn't help that his coworker just bought a new subaru, either. 

Goldielocks

  • Walrus Stache
  • *******
  • Posts: 6812
  • Location: BC
Re: help me choose a new car, and do we keep the old car?
« Reply #5 on: December 21, 2014, 10:22:19 PM »
Get rid of the old Subaru, and buy a new to you (used) vehicle with LOTS of legroom in the backseat. 
e.g., Subaru Legacy Wagon??

We test drove this, and it is great -- low height for extra storage for camping on top.  Great for long drives and hauling construction materials for low cost house repairs.
Best of all -- LOTS of legroom for teenagers.  Those 3 year-olds grow first into back of seat kickers, then long-legged teenagers (which on very long drives is a bad idea in a small car).

If you plan to buy a 5 year old vehicle, and keep it for >10 years you need a single, multi-functional vehicle that will fit a full grown family, with room for all your storage / hauling needs, with decent mileage.   One fully task-worthy vehicle will greatly decrease your desire for another one or a second one in your future.

Alternative -- if you use transit / are very urban with light hauling needs, you can get away with a much smaller (single) vehicle.  Possibly a combination of  transit / bike / car share + small vehicle that you own.
« Last Edit: December 22, 2014, 12:37:37 AM by goldielocks »

alsoknownasDean

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 2245
  • Age: 36
  • Location: Melbourne, Australia
Re: help me choose a new car, and do we keep the old car?
« Reply #6 on: December 22, 2014, 12:22:36 AM »
Are there lower profile carseats? Surely there's something out there designed for folks with smaller cars.

mwulff

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 289
Re: help me choose a new car, and do we keep the old car?
« Reply #7 on: December 22, 2014, 02:07:38 AM »
Seriously, turn your kids around now and then look for a car that fits. 2,5 year olds can face forward in an appropriate seat and be just fine and how often do you crash a car anyway?

I remind you of this post by the man himself: http://www.mrmoneymustache.com/2012/06/07/safety-is-an-expensive-illusion/

Just flip the kids and recompute your space-needs.

zolotiyeruki

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 3671
  • Location: State: Denial
Re: help me choose a new car, and do we keep the old car?
« Reply #8 on: December 22, 2014, 09:52:55 AM »
I know the kiddos are only short term, but it means at least another year with my hubby's knees right at the dash till the oldest (2.75 years old) turns forward.  We plan to rear face until 4 with both.  I know you can turn them around earlier, but most people now recommend for kiddos to be rear facing as long as possible, up to 4 years old. 

I'm so torn about the car.  zolotiyeruki, you are right to have me re-examine my assumptions.  I think my problem with this suby is just a bunch of things added together--I thought Subarus were supposed to be reliable, but we have major repairs more frequently than I would like (it is a 2000, and I have read elsewhere that early 2000s have more mechanical problems).  Add to that the lack of space and sorta crappy fuel economy, and I think hubs might get upset if we don't do something about the car situation.  Doesn't help that his coworker just bought a new subaru, either. 
Frankly, (and I hope you'll forgive the rant) I think the "keep them facing backwards until age 4" is freaking ridiculous, along with the whole crowd (and industry) that tries to keep kids in car seats or boosters until they hit *12*.  A few years back I took some time to look into the actual injury and fatality statistics according to NHTSA with regard to car seats.  I wasn't looking at the "backwards until 4" statistics specifically--I was looking at laws that keep kids in boosters or car seats until age 8 vs age 7.  And what I found was this:  You're reducing your child's risk by about 1 in one million.  Seriously.

I also don't want to rush to judgment, so I just now did some more research.  And here's what I found:
1) Sweden is the country people point to for requiring rear-facing up to age 4.
2) In the US, the CDC says only until age 2 for rear-facing seats.
3) Pretty much every other source I can find says "backwards until age 2."

I haven't been able to find any hard *data* for keeping kids facing backwards until age 4, either against or in favor.  But think of it this way:  such a practice is targeting a fairly narrow slice of accidents:  those which are severe enough to seriously injure your children if they're facing forward, but not so severe that they would seriously injure your children even if they're facing backwards.  In other words, most accidents will either be minor enough that facing forward is fine, or so severe that it won't matter which way your kids are facing.  It's a bit tricky to explain--does that make sense?

In any case, here's my personal experience:  all our kids (and we have 6) are much happier facing forwards.

(Also, be wary of studies funded, directly or indirectly, by manufacturers!)

tweezers

  • Stubble
  • **
  • Posts: 201
Re: help me choose a new car, and do we keep the old car?
« Reply #9 on: December 22, 2014, 10:25:10 AM »
We have a Honda Fit and 2 littles in carseats (both forward facing now).  We love it but its pretty crap in the snow, and the clearance between the tires and the wheel wells won't accommodate chains.  Our other car is a 1993 civic and its the one we take if its snowy and we have to drive somewhere (We live in the PNW where snow is pretty rare so the roads are barely cleared and everything shuts down....the civic is shockingly awesome in the snow).  If you do a lot of winter activities where road conditions will be unfavorable then the Fit isn't a great option.

sagebrushmama

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 19
Re: help me choose a new car, and do we keep the old car?
« Reply #10 on: December 27, 2014, 08:58:27 PM »

Quote
Frankly, (and I hope you'll forgive the rant) I think the "keep them facing backwards until age 4" is freaking ridiculous, along with the whole crowd (and industry) that tries to keep kids in car seats or boosters until they hit *12*.  A few years back I took some time to look into the actual injury and fatality statistics according to NHTSA with regard to car seats.  I wasn't looking at the "backwards until 4" statistics specifically--I was looking at laws that keep kids in boosters or car seats until age 8 vs age 7.  And what I found was this:  You're reducing your child's risk by about 1 in one million.  Seriously.

I also don't want to rush to judgment, so I just now did some more research.  And here's what I found:
1) Sweden is the country people point to for requiring rear-facing up to age 4.
2) In the US, the CDC says only until age 2 for rear-facing seats.
3) Pretty much every other source I can find says "backwards until age 2."

I haven't been able to find any hard *data* for keeping kids facing backwards until age 4, either against or in favor.  But think of it this way:  such a practice is targeting a fairly narrow slice of accidents:  those which are severe enough to seriously injure your children if they're facing forward, but not so severe that they would seriously injure your children even if they're facing backwards.  In other words, most accidents will either be minor enough that facing forward is fine, or so severe that it won't matter which way your kids are facing.  It's a bit tricky to explain--does that make sense?

In any case, here's my personal experience:  all our kids (and we have 6) are much happier facing forwards.

(Also, be wary of studies funded, directly or indirectly, by manufacturers!)

I have been wanting to respond for a week, but didn't have time until now.  That's fine that you face your kiddos forward.  I still am pretty set on rear-facing ours for as long as possible.  I saw a TedTALK, I believe, about seatbelts being safer for older kiddos than car seats or booster seats that face forward (Stephen Dubner?).  So I'm not convinced car seats are really a great improvement over seatbelts, especially given how often people improperly install carseats.  That said, I do think the data support rear facing for as long as possible (the data, plus all my doctor friends).  But the CDC does only say until age 2, I won't argue that. 

Are there lower profile carseats? Surely there's something out there designed for folks with smaller cars.

Unfortunately, we have one of the most compact car seats on the market (made for compact cars).  And we are still scrunched, I was surprised.  The inside of old foresters are ridiculously tiny.  But you were right to ask.

Get rid of the old Subaru, and buy a new to you (used) vehicle with LOTS of legroom in the backseat. 
e.g., Subaru Legacy Wagon??

We test drove this, and it is great -- low height for extra storage for camping on top.  Great for long drives and hauling construction materials for low cost house repairs.
Best of all -- LOTS of legroom for teenagers.  Those 3 year-olds grow first into back of seat kickers, then long-legged teenagers (which on very long drives is a bad idea in a small car).

If you plan to buy a 5 year old vehicle, and keep it for >10 years you need a single, multi-functional vehicle that will fit a full grown family, with room for all your storage / hauling needs, with decent mileage.   One fully task-worthy vehicle will greatly decrease your desire for another one or a second one in your future.

Alternative -- if you use transit / are very urban with light hauling needs, you can get away with a much smaller (single) vehicle.  Possibly a combination of  transit / bike / car share + small vehicle that you own.

Thanks for the suggestion, I will add that to my list of cars to look at.  Sounds like maybe a Honda Fit goes off the list, especially if we keep only one car.  I really would love to have just one car to rule them all.  Fun fact, from April-December this year we drove only 1,300 miles.  That includes a camping trip to Montana from Utah.

For everyone else who commented, thanks a ton, I really appreciate the input.

DeltaBond

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 526
  • Location: U.S.
Re: help me choose a new car, and do we keep the old car?
« Reply #11 on: December 28, 2014, 06:05:45 AM »
I went from a 2010 Honda CR-V  (way too topheavy and didn't feel safe - I almost sent OVER a guard rail on a foggy night once) to a 2013 Honda Fit... then got rearended badly.  Here I am a year later and I'm just now recovering from that accident.  After I was rearended, I got a Honda Accord that I am now going to get out from underneath as it was more money than it was worth.

You have a family, please don't get a tiny car.  Subarus are so much safer.

To answer your questions, Fits don't have much clearance.  My 6'2" husband still has a fit, and its roomy enough for him, but barely.  He'll be getting rid of that, too, as its still too much money for what it is.

My vote is to find yourself a used Subaru that you all fit comfortably in, keep the old one as a back up and maybe pass along to a child at some point.  If you aren't driving it as much, maybe you can skimp on the repairs, but $2K every few years is pretty low cost to have a car overall.

BlueMR2

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 2046
Re: help me choose a new car, and do we keep the old car?
« Reply #12 on: December 28, 2014, 06:29:52 AM »
but $2K every few years is pretty low cost to have a car overall.

This.  Unless you have something under warranty still, plan on at least $1000 a year.  Some years nothing will happen.  Other years something major might.  It's still cheaper than the hit from swapping cars.  Not to mention not the "devil you don't know" problem with getting another car.

To me this whole thing sounds like you (the OP) just want a newer car and are trying to justify it any way possible.  Your current situation sounds like it may be less than ideal, but is both short term and acceptable.  I'm tall and quite familiar with having my knees up against the dash of cars (or even curled up in the back of small cars).  Not that big of a deal really.

paddedhat

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 2229
Re: help me choose a new car, and do we keep the old car?
« Reply #13 on: December 28, 2014, 06:35:24 AM »
I went from a 2010 Honda CR-V  (way too topheavy and didn't feel safe - I almost sent OVER a guard rail on a foggy night once)  Subarus are so much safer.

This is a classic "perception VS. reality" comment.  The 2010 CR-V is equipped with electronic stability control, and was tested and rated among the safest of SUVs for resistance to roll-over. The fact that you "almost" lost control, and though you might of went over a guardrail is the point. I have flipped vehicles while off-roading, at speed, and I can assure you that most folks that, "nearly rolled" were less that a third of the way there, when the vehicle bounces back on to the tires.

My vote is to find yourself a used Subaru that you all fit comfortably in, keep the old one as a back up and maybe pass along to a child at some point.

I doubt that it's possible to justify keeping the car as a back-up, since the OP drives very little and spends large amounts of coin, regularly, to maintain the thing. As for keeping it long enough to give to one of the kids, REALLY? You can't be serious. "saving" a nearly thirty year old vehicle, for a kid. Sorry, but no.

As for the "Subarus are so much safer", comment, please provide all the data. Subarus are a cult car. They are far more expensive to maintain than a comparable Toyota or Honda, and until recently their fuel economy sucked. The OP probably dropped large coin into head gaskets and wheel bearings, just like most of them. Hey OP, don't follow the herd, there are far better choices out there than used subbies.
« Last Edit: December 28, 2014, 06:37:25 AM by paddedhat »

chasesfish

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 3511
  • Age: 38
  • Location: South Carolina
Re: help me choose a new car, and do we keep the old car?
« Reply #14 on: December 28, 2014, 06:35:30 AM »
150k?  You have another one hundred thousand miles on that car.  It sounds more like you just want a new car verses a financial decision.  2k/year in repairs isn't that much money compared to the higher insurance and tax cost of a newer car plus tying up 8-15k in an automobile. 

sagebrushmama

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 19
Re: help me choose a new car, and do we keep the old car?
« Reply #15 on: December 28, 2014, 05:22:46 PM »
Quote
The OP probably dropped large coin into head gaskets and wheel bearings, just like most of them. Hey OP, don't follow the herd, there are far better choices out there than used subbies.

How did you know?!?!?  It's like they are known for those problems ...  Add to that list a busted timing chain that blew up the engine (I now know what an interference engine is).

paddedhat

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 2229
Re: help me choose a new car, and do we keep the old car?
« Reply #16 on: December 28, 2014, 07:26:06 PM »
Quote
The OP probably dropped large coin into head gaskets and wheel bearings, just like most of them. Hey OP, don't follow the herd, there are far better choices out there than used subbies.

How did you know?!?!?  It's like they are known for those problems ...  Add to that list a busted timing chain that blew up the engine (I now know what an interference engine is).

I have friends in the repair business, and get to hear the downside of just about everything that rolls.

Their take on the situation is that,  when it comes to used cars, anything that eats expensive wheel bearings, head gaskets, tires and gas as well as a typical Subaru does, is best avoided. That said, they really do have a cult following, and are grossly overpriced used cars in many markets, as a result. I follow another forum, where a member is an independent mechanic from Vermont. He has been financially blessed by gaining a rep. as the local go to Subaru guy. He once commented that it's a really weird relationship that a typical Subbie owner has with their car. If they stick with him, he will eventually do $4000-5000 worth of legitimate repair work to their car, that would never be required of most other brands, yet they never bitch too much, or think of driving anything else.  In my case, I have driven several Honda products over hundreds of thousands of miles and never spent more than the typical maintenance costs, and a very occasional low cost repair, none of which ever approached anything close to what you spent on head gaskets, or the broke timing chain debacle. Subaru is currently producing an excellent product and I wouldn't hesitate to buy a brand new one, if it suited my needs and financial sensibilities (which it does not) The bottom line on much of their older products is that they are fair, at best, and can be hellasciously expensive to keep on the road, if you're unlucky.

klystomane

  • Stubble
  • **
  • Posts: 180
Re: help me choose a new car, and do we keep the old car?
« Reply #17 on: December 29, 2014, 10:10:10 AM »

Quote
Frankly, (and I hope you'll forgive the rant) I think the "keep them facing backwards until age 4" is freaking ridiculous, along with the whole crowd (and industry) that tries to keep kids in car seats or boosters until they hit *12*.  A few years back I took some time to look into the actual injury and fatality statistics according to NHTSA with regard to car seats.  I wasn't looking at the "backwards until 4" statistics specifically--I was looking at laws that keep kids in boosters or car seats until age 8 vs age 7.  And what I found was this:  You're reducing your child's risk by about 1 in one million.  Seriously.

I also don't want to rush to judgment, so I just now did some more research.  And here's what I found:
1) Sweden is the country people point to for requiring rear-facing up to age 4.
2) In the US, the CDC says only until age 2 for rear-facing seats.
3) Pretty much every other source I can find says "backwards until age 2."

I haven't been able to find any hard *data* for keeping kids facing backwards until age 4, either against or in favor.  But think of it this way:  such a practice is targeting a fairly narrow slice of accidents:  those which are severe enough to seriously injure your children if they're facing forward, but not so severe that they would seriously injure your children even if they're facing backwards.  In other words, most accidents will either be minor enough that facing forward is fine, or so severe that it won't matter which way your kids are facing.  It's a bit tricky to explain--does that make sense?

In any case, here's my personal experience:  all our kids (and we have 6) are much happier facing forwards.

(Also, be wary of studies funded, directly or indirectly, by manufacturers!)

I have been wanting to respond for a week, but didn't have time until now.  That's fine that you face your kiddos forward.  I still am pretty set on rear-facing ours for as long as possible.  I saw a TedTALK, I believe, about seatbelts being safer for older kiddos than car seats or booster seats that face forward (Stephen Dubner?).  So I'm not convinced car seats are really a great improvement over seatbelts, especially given how often people improperly install carseats.  That said, I do think the data support rear facing for as long as possible (the data, plus all my doctor friends).  But the CDC does only say until age 2, I won't argue that. 

Are there lower profile carseats? Surely there's something out there designed for folks with smaller cars.

Unfortunately, we have one of the most compact car seats on the market (made for compact cars).  And we are still scrunched, I was surprised.  The inside of old foresters are ridiculously tiny.  But you were right to ask.

Get rid of the old Subaru, and buy a new to you (used) vehicle with LOTS of legroom in the backseat. 
e.g., Subaru Legacy Wagon??

We test drove this, and it is great -- low height for extra storage for camping on top.  Great for long drives and hauling construction materials for low cost house repairs.
Best of all -- LOTS of legroom for teenagers.  Those 3 year-olds grow first into back of seat kickers, then long-legged teenagers (which on very long drives is a bad idea in a small car).

If you plan to buy a 5 year old vehicle, and keep it for >10 years you need a single, multi-functional vehicle that will fit a full grown family, with room for all your storage / hauling needs, with decent mileage.   One fully task-worthy vehicle will greatly decrease your desire for another one or a second one in your future.

Alternative -- if you use transit / are very urban with light hauling needs, you can get away with a much smaller (single) vehicle.  Possibly a combination of  transit / bike / car share + small vehicle that you own.

Thanks for the suggestion, I will add that to my list of cars to look at.  Sounds like maybe a Honda Fit goes off the list, especially if we keep only one car.  I really would love to have just one car to rule them all.  Fun fact, from April-December this year we drove only 1,300 miles.  That includes a camping trip to Montana from Utah.

For everyone else who commented, thanks a ton, I really appreciate the input.

Just wanted to chime in that I commend you for sticking to your guns with wanting to keep your kids rear-facing; the point being that you want to do what you feel is best for them.

People have won lotteries and have had stranger things happen to them with worse odds than one in a million.

DeltaBond

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 526
  • Location: U.S.
Re: help me choose a new car, and do we keep the old car?
« Reply #18 on: December 29, 2014, 10:50:54 AM »
I went from a 2010 Honda CR-V  (way too topheavy and didn't feel safe - I almost sent OVER a guard rail on a foggy night once)  Subarus are so much safer.

This is a classic "perception VS. reality" comment.  The 2010 CR-V is equipped with electronic stability control, and was tested and rated among the safest of SUVs for resistance to roll-over. The fact that you "almost" lost control, and though you might of went over a guardrail is the point. I have flipped vehicles while off-roading, at speed, and I can assure you that most folks that, "nearly rolled" were less that a third of the way there, when the vehicle bounces back on to the tires.

My vote is to find yourself a used Subaru that you all fit comfortably in, keep the old one as a back up and maybe pass along to a child at some point.

I doubt that it's possible to justify keeping the car as a back-up, since the OP drives very little and spends large amounts of coin, regularly, to maintain the thing. As for keeping it long enough to give to one of the kids, REALLY? You can't be serious. "saving" a nearly thirty year old vehicle, for a kid. Sorry, but no.

As for the "Subarus are so much safer", comment, please provide all the data. Subarus are a cult car. They are far more expensive to maintain than a comparable Toyota or Honda, and until recently their fuel economy sucked. The OP probably dropped large coin into head gaskets and wheel bearings, just like most of them. Hey OP, don't follow the herd, there are far better choices out there than used subbies.

As for the guard rail thing, I can see your point, but you were not there.  And for the other part, both my brother and sister got 30 year old vehicles.... my post was just a suggestion, on an internet forum.  All the data you're wanting can be researched on the internet, just the same way I found it.

zolotiyeruki

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 3671
  • Location: State: Denial
Re: help me choose a new car, and do we keep the old car?
« Reply #19 on: December 29, 2014, 02:35:31 PM »
I doubt that it's possible to justify keeping the car as a back-up, since the OP drives very little and spends large amounts of coin, regularly, to maintain the thing. As for keeping it long enough to give to one of the kids, REALLY? You can't be serious. "saving" a nearly thirty year old vehicle, for a kid. Sorry, but no.
gs, just like most of them. Hey OP, don't follow the herd, there are far better choices out there than used subbies.
That point is one I'm trying to internalize--I have visions of passing my current car (a '95 corolla with 195k miles) to my kids when they get old enough to drive (for the oldest, that's 7 years from now).  I've thought about buying a second car of the same generation to use for parts.  But I have to keep reminding myself that the used car market is VERY liquid, and in 7 years I'll be able to buy a much better car with the same money that I'd spend on a parts car now.  But dangit, I LIKE my car!

Davin

  • Stubble
  • **
  • Posts: 111
  • Age: 49
  • Location: Eureka, California
Re: help me choose a new car, and do we keep the old car?
« Reply #20 on: December 29, 2014, 06:18:17 PM »
I had a '98 Forester and a 2000 Outback. They are great cars, but at 150,000 miles they start to get expensive to maintain.  Despite this, I just sold my Outback with 148800 miles on it for $5k. People in snowy, rainy rural areas will pay way over blue book for them, because despite what people may tell you, you know they handle great in inclement weather. I don't know what car you should get to replace it, I'm inclined to look for another Subaru myself, maybe a new XV Crosstrek (braced for face-punch). Whatever you do though, I think you should sell the Forester while it still has high value, because it is a rapidly depreciating outlet. I plan on putting the money I made of mine towards the purchase of its eventual replacement. As far as cargo room is concerned, I think you should bring the car seats with you when you go to look at cars. It may be a pain in the ass, but the only way to know if its a good fit is to try them out. Good luck!

DeltaBond

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 526
  • Location: U.S.
Re: help me choose a new car, and do we keep the old car?
« Reply #21 on: December 31, 2014, 06:26:36 AM »
I'll be interested to hear what you all decide to do.  Cars are tricky, and there are always a lot of ways to look at it all.

JLee

  • Walrus Stache
  • *******
  • Posts: 6089
Re: help me choose a new car, and do we keep the old car?
« Reply #22 on: December 31, 2014, 06:32:56 AM »
I went from a 2010 Honda CR-V  (way too topheavy and didn't feel safe - I almost sent OVER a guard rail on a foggy night once)  Subarus are so much safer.

This is a classic "perception VS. reality" comment.  The 2010 CR-V is equipped with electronic stability control, and was tested and rated among the safest of SUVs for resistance to roll-over. The fact that you "almost" lost control, and though you might of went over a guardrail is the point. I have flipped vehicles while off-roading, at speed, and I can assure you that most folks that, "nearly rolled" were less that a third of the way there, when the vehicle bounces back on to the tires.

My vote is to find yourself a used Subaru that you all fit comfortably in, keep the old one as a back up and maybe pass along to a child at some point.

I doubt that it's possible to justify keeping the car as a back-up, since the OP drives very little and spends large amounts of coin, regularly, to maintain the thing. As for keeping it long enough to give to one of the kids, REALLY? You can't be serious. "saving" a nearly thirty year old vehicle, for a kid. Sorry, but no.

As for the "Subarus are so much safer", comment, please provide all the data. Subarus are a cult car. They are far more expensive to maintain than a comparable Toyota or Honda, and until recently their fuel economy sucked. The OP probably dropped large coin into head gaskets and wheel bearings, just like most of them. Hey OP, don't follow the herd, there are far better choices out there than used subbies.

Head gaskets haven't been a problem in ~12 years or more.

paddedhat

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 2229
Re: help me choose a new car, and do we keep the old car?
« Reply #23 on: December 31, 2014, 01:14:22 PM »

Head gaskets haven't been a problem in ~12 years or more.
A bit of research on Google, and on Subaru specific forums, will find you countless examples of folks dropping $2-3K on head gaskets on Subarus that are far newer than your claim. It also appears that once a Subaru is five years old, or so, it starts to get the dreaded "Black dot" on the Consumer reports user surveys, in the major engine repairs column. I've said it repeatedly. They are a cult car. They are overpriced due to a greatly inflated reputation, and there are far better choices out there. If you have one, great, keep it running and drive the wheels off. But spending a premium for a car with sub-par reliability, sorry but I'll pass on that silliness.

JLee

  • Walrus Stache
  • *******
  • Posts: 6089
Re: help me choose a new car, and do we keep the old car?
« Reply #24 on: December 31, 2014, 01:21:11 PM »

Head gaskets haven't been a problem in ~12 years or more.
A bit of research on Google, and on Subaru specific forums, will find you countless examples of folks dropping $2-3K on head gaskets on Subarus that are far newer than your claim. It also appears that once a Subaru is five years old, or so, it starts to get the dreaded "Black dot" on the Consumer reports user surveys, in the major engine repairs column. I've said it repeatedly. They are a cult car. They are overpriced due to a greatly inflated reputation, and there are far better choices out there. If you have one, great, keep it running and drive the wheels off. But spending a premium for a car with sub-par reliability, sorry but I'll pass on that silliness.

I was under the impression that the head gasket issues were primarily on the non-turbo motors prior to 2002. I've never owned a non-turbo Subaru myself, and went from a fun AWD car ('04 Forester XT) to a fun RWD car when I moved to Arizona (no longer needed AWD).  I bought it at 103k, sold it around 125k, and it's now well past 130k with no head gasket issues (I am friends with the new owner).

I paid 7k and sold it for 8k 2 years later.  My "Subaru price premium" didn't bother me.

YMMV.

paddedhat

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 2229
Re: help me choose a new car, and do we keep the old car?
« Reply #25 on: December 31, 2014, 03:37:02 PM »
I paid 7k and sold it for 8k 2 years later.  My "Subaru price premium" didn't bother me.

YMMV.
Funny how that works, eh?  We bought a new 2010 CRV for $22.7K.  Three years later, my wife destroyed it in a deer collision with 75K miles on it. The insurance co. called and ask if I would settle for $19.6K ?   $3100 in depreciation for a using a new car for 40 months and 75K miles, yea that check will be just fine, LOL.   All because fools pay ridiculously high prices for slightly used Hondas, Toyotas and Subbies.

sagebrushmama

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 19
Re: help me choose a new car, and do we keep the old car?
« Reply #26 on: January 05, 2015, 06:03:40 PM »
Well, just to complicate matters, we hit a deer over the weekend.  Minimum of $2,700 in repairs with a $500 deductible.  So now we have to decide if we total the car out and spend the repair money on a new car or just fix this one.  I don't like the idea of buying a new-to-us car under duress, I was planning on several months to research and look around.  The body shop guy also says he has a friend who would buy our car wrecked.  And we just put new snow tires on the car.   Why is this so complicated?!  Why are cars so expensive?!?!?!  Yuck.

JLee

  • Walrus Stache
  • *******
  • Posts: 6089
Re: help me choose a new car, and do we keep the old car?
« Reply #27 on: January 05, 2015, 06:22:36 PM »
Well, just to complicate matters, we hit a deer over the weekend.  Minimum of $2,700 in repairs with a $500 deductible.  So now we have to decide if we total the car out and spend the repair money on a new car or just fix this one.  I don't like the idea of buying a new-to-us car under duress, I was planning on several months to research and look around.  The body shop guy also says he has a friend who would buy our car wrecked.  And we just put new snow tires on the car.   Why is this so complicated?!  Why are cars so expensive?!?!?!  Yuck.

If you find another car that takes the same tire size, swap tires?

kimmarg

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 749
  • Location: Northern New England
Re: help me choose a new car, and do we keep the old car?
« Reply #28 on: January 05, 2015, 07:37:52 PM »
We have a Honda Fit and 2 littles in carseats (both forward facing now).  We love it but its pretty crap in the snow, and the clearance between the tires and the wheel wells won't accommodate chains.  Our other car is a 1993 civic and its the one we take if its snowy and we have to drive somewhere (We live in the PNW where snow is pretty rare so the roads are barely cleared and everything shuts down....the civic is shockingly awesome in the snow).  If you do a lot of winter activities where road conditions will be unfavorable then the Fit isn't a great option.

My 2013 Fit is great in the snow! Manual transmission and good snow tires. I haven't tried to put chains on so I can't dispute the other comment on that. High quality snow tires (possibly with studs) make a world of difference. We had 110 days of snow cover last year so I saw some sketchy roads. Only freezing rain with NO salt gave me problems..... But no car without chains can handle that.

sagebrushmama

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 19
Re: help me choose a new car, and do we keep the old car?
« Reply #29 on: January 29, 2015, 11:21:54 AM »
Well, we decided to keep the old suby, fix the headlight and blinker but leave the rest unfixed and drive it as long as we can.  But now we seem to be having some other mechanical issues that we need to take it into the mechanic for.  If it's a cheap fix, we'll fix it and keep looking for a newer car.  But if it's going to cost more than a couple hundred dollars to fix, we may just sell it to the body shop guy who wanted it for $1000 or so. 

I wish I could say we'd fix the car ourselves, but neither I nor hubs are familiar with cars (he's a bike mechanic, which is awesome but doesn't help for cars), we don't have any friends or family nearby that could help, and we don't have a ton of time (2 little kids, 2 jobs, etc. etc.). 

I just don't know when to call it quits on an old car.  Any advice?

sagebrushmama

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 19
Re: help me choose a new car, and do we keep the old car?
« Reply #30 on: February 10, 2015, 01:52:56 PM »
Just a little update.  We have fixed up the old suby enough to drive around while we "car shop," though we basically have one choice for a car in our area similar to what we are looking for.  We found a 2012 Toyota RAV4 with 47,000 miles.  It seems to be in good shape, though I am taking it in to a mechanic this week to have it looked over.  The dealer is asking $17,300, I plan to offer $15000.  We probably won't be able to buy it all in cash (we just paid off our mortgage!), but I figure we can safely cover about half.  My husband wants to wait to buy a new subaru with the IMBA discount (2% off dealer invoice), but I still think 21,000 is too much for a new car (assuming we could buy one that cheap).  He wants the warranty and the ability to drive it for 10+ years with few repairs.  I think we can get at least 10 good years out of the RAV4 (that's about 100,000 miles of driving for us).  Any thoughts?

FastStache

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 257
Re: help me choose a new car, and do we keep the old car?
« Reply #31 on: February 10, 2015, 03:25:29 PM »
Forgive me if I sound a bit judgmental, but I think you've presented yourselves with a false dichotomy.  The lack of legroom due to rear-facing seats is a very temporary problem.  I've got two kids under the age of 3 (plus a bunch older), and only the baby faces rearward. Our 2-year-old faces forward.  I assume one of your kids is also 2 (hence the "under 3" comment).  Is there a reason he/she still faces rearward?  If you can flip him/her to face forward, you'll gain the needed inches of legroom.

If your problem is one of "it's an old car that's costing us money to repair," then treat that as a separate problem.  From a strictly financial perspective, if you assume 7% returns, in order for it to be worth getting a new-to-you car, it'd have to be under $14k plus have no repairs.

From a child safety standpoint it is much better to keep the seat rear facing as long as possible, even up to the age of 4.

jbfishing

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 25
  • Age: 50
  • Location: Earth
Re: help me choose a new car, and do we keep the old car?
« Reply #32 on: February 10, 2015, 05:43:52 PM »
If you have $7500 cash why don't you just buy a used car for that price?    It sounds like you don't even drive that much.  If you are borrowing for a car maybe you forgot you are at the MMM forums?  MMM has a post on AWD vs snow tires you should check out.

deborah

  • Senior Mustachian
  • ********
  • Posts: 10603
  • Location: Australia or another awesome area
Re: help me choose a new car, and do we keep the old car?
« Reply #33 on: February 10, 2015, 07:36:12 PM »
On child restraints and rear facing vs front facing, I looked at the Australian Standard, and the technical reasons behind it http://www.neura.edu.au/sites/neura.edu.au/files/page-downloads/Technical%20Report_2.pdf Looks like after 2 years old the studies are inconclusive on front vs rear facing.

Quote
Of the six studies that qualified for inclusion, five concluded that rear facing restraints are the safest for children until this style of restraint is outgrown. One study of fatalities only (Du et al., 2008) found that the fatality risk was not significantly different between restraint types.

Field studies indicate that RFCRs offer 88-96% reduction in the risk of fatal and serious injuries to properly restrained infants compared to no restraint. A US study based on a large cohort of child passengers aged 0-23 months involved in all types of crashes reported children in this age group were 70% more likely to incur a serious injury if in a forward facing child restraint than a rearward facing child restraint (Henary et al., 2007). However, that study did not include tethered restraints (forward or rearward facing) that are used in Australia, and is thus of limited applicability.

There is no evidence of serious neck injuries in correctly used Australian forward facing restraints for children over 6 months of age. Currently data are not available on the actual optimum age/size until which RFCR are most effective, however on balance, the evidence suggests that children should stay rearward facing as long as they fit within a rearward facing restraint. Further research is required on this issue.

neo von retorch

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 3622
  • Location: SE PA
    • Fi@retorch - personal finance tracking
Re: help me choose a new car, and do we keep the old car?
« Reply #34 on: February 11, 2015, 09:36:40 AM »
2012 Toyota RAV4 with 47,000 miles $15000 10 good years
2015 subaru 0 miles $21,000 10+ years
Assuming you drive 10k / year you're looking at 100k (total 147k) on the RAV4 for a cost of $0.15 / mile.
Subaru should get you to that same 147k easily... (15 years) for a cost of $0.14 / mile.

$6000 for the additional 47,000 miles is $0.13 / mile in purchase cost.

If you drive a lot less, say 6k / year, now you're looking at 60k (total 107k) on the RAV4 for a cost of $0.25 / mile
Subaru should easily get you past 107k but for comparison over that 18 years of driving, you're paying $0.196 / mile

Finally if you drive a crazy 15k / year (total 197k) on the RAV4, cost is $0.10 / mile (before repairs, of course)
Subie, 197k (13 years), cost is $0.107 / mile (before repairs)

So really if you can keep your car for a very long time and don't drive way too many miles (<= 10k/year), the Subie is actually cheaper in the long run (before considering insurance and gas.)

thurston howell iv

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 422
Re: help me choose a new car, and do we keep the old car?
« Reply #35 on: February 11, 2015, 01:07:28 PM »
Our 2004 subaru impreza wrx has been a near perfect car (bought it new pre-mmm). 180k on the clock. I did change the timing belt at the proper interval and just recently replaced the clutch. Other than a broken center diff (which I replaced cheaply) and one O2 sensor it's been fine. Never been to the dealer- ever.

Not sure why you're having so many issues. Additionally, I wanted to add that a good friend of mine who is 6'7" has a little 2003 impreza wrx wagon as his dd and it does not hinder him one bit. Not sure how tall the DH is but a forester seems a bit bigger than the little impreza... Just sayin'

Anyway, final bit of my .02 is that nearly ALL of the issues you may have or will have with this car are already documented with pictures, tutorials, etc... It's a VERY popular car and therefore there are many forums dedicated to the maintenance and care of them... I know you say you don't know how to work on a car but there's no excuse to to at least try a few things yourselves. If DH can fix bikes, he can turn a wrench on a car. It's not rocket surgery.

Keep the car, research the issues and the solutions will be readily available to you. That car should last for a very long time.


« Last Edit: February 11, 2015, 01:09:37 PM by thurston howell iv »

zolotiyeruki

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 3671
  • Location: State: Denial
Re: help me choose a new car, and do we keep the old car?
« Reply #36 on: February 11, 2015, 03:12:47 PM »

From a child safety standpoint it is much better to keep the seat rear facing as long as possible, even up to the age of 4.
People keep saying that, but I have yet to see (and believe me, I've looked!) any solid evidence of any significant reduction in risk.  My impression is that it started somewhere and got spread around enough that people started treating it as accepted wisdom.

I'd be happy to be proven wrong, though--can you point me in the direction of some solid scientific studies supporting the "backwards until 4" recommendation?

zoltani

  • Guest
Re: help me choose a new car, and do we keep the old car?
« Reply #37 on: February 11, 2015, 03:29:20 PM »
I do not have any recommendations, but I know that when I was with a friend in a Honda Fit on some forest service roads I kept having to get out and kick rocks out of the way. These same rocks would have been no problem in my subaru legacy wagon. If you care about ground clearance then you might want to look elsewhere.

Sid Hoffman

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 771
  • Location: Southwest USA
Re: help me choose a new car, and do we keep the old car?
« Reply #38 on: February 11, 2015, 08:17:05 PM »
Assuming you drive 10k / year you're looking at 100k (total 147k) on the RAV4 for a cost of $0.15 / mile.
Subaru should get you to that same 147k easily... (15 years) for a cost of $0.14 / mile.

$6000 for the additional 47,000 miles is $0.13 / mile in purchase cost.

There's a lot more to it than that.  You mentioned a few when you said maintenance and gas, but resale is another big one, and resale is better in most parts of the country for Toyotas than it is for Subarus.  Also, cars bottom out at some point, usually $3-4k for a car in good running order regardless how many miles are on it.  Clearly the $21k Subaru has further to fall on its trip to $3k than a $15k used Toyota.  This is part of why used cars almost always win for cost of ownership, since depreciation curves are non-linear, with a very rapid drop when still relatively new, then a gradual drop the older they get.  Then there's also the opportunity cost of that $6000 being invested versus going towards car loan interest.

In general, I lean towards saying the OP is right, and the lightly used Toyota is the smarter buy here, if they truly do "need" a high clearance vehicle, especially if the RAV4 is one of the 4-cyl models, since those get better gas mileage and are cheaper to service.  Still, even Toyota's V6 is pretty nice as a $15-16k used vehicle with impressive fuel economy for such a powerful engine.

sagebrushmama

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 19
Re: help me choose a new car, and do we keep the old car?
« Reply #39 on: February 12, 2015, 10:43:20 AM »
If you have $7500 cash why don't you just buy a used car for that price?    It sounds like you don't even drive that much.  If you are borrowing for a car maybe you forgot you are at the MMM forums?  MMM has a post on AWD vs snow tires you should check out.

I have read (and watched videos) about AWD vs. snow tires.  If it was just that issue, no problem.  But I can't find a front wheel drive car that gets good clearance, and thats why we are looking for an SUV.  We are an outdoor family, and want one reliable car to do it all.  For just driving around town?  That's what bikes are for.  We also need a more reliable outdoorsy vehicle than what $7500 can buy--that's the suby we have now that has given us a lot of trouble. 

Additionally, we had a chunk of cash we were sitting on--despite advice on not borrowing for a car, it was still a smarter financial decision to pay off the mortgage ($90,000 at 4.5%), compared to 2.4% on a much smaller car loan (say, $10,000).  We are cash poor at the moment because we paid off the mortgage and my husband and I are both currently working 3/4 time so at least one of us can be home with the little ones.  But as I mentioned above, we just totaled our suby and it hasn't been that reliable, plus we don't fit in it very well (this is a real problem, not just complainy-pantsness). 

Assuming you drive 10k / year you're looking at 100k (total 147k) on the RAV4 for a cost of $0.15 / mile.
Subaru should get you to that same 147k easily... (15 years) for a cost of $0.14 / mile.

$6000 for the additional 47,000 miles is $0.13 / mile in purchase cost.

There's a lot more to it than that.  You mentioned a few when you said maintenance and gas, but resale is another big one, and resale is better in most parts of the country for Toyotas than it is for Subarus.  Also, cars bottom out at some point, usually $3-4k for a car in good running order regardless how many miles are on it.  Clearly the $21k Subaru has further to fall on its trip to $3k than a $15k used Toyota.  This is part of why used cars almost always win for cost of ownership, since depreciation curves are non-linear, with a very rapid drop when still relatively new, then a gradual drop the older they get.  Then there's also the opportunity cost of that $6000 being invested versus going towards car loan interest.

In general, I lean towards saying the OP is right, and the lightly used Toyota is the smarter buy here, if they truly do "need" a high clearance vehicle, especially if the RAV4 is one of the 4-cyl models, since those get better gas mileage and are cheaper to service.  Still, even Toyota's V6 is pretty nice as a $15-16k used vehicle with impressive fuel economy for such a powerful engine.

You guys, thanks a hundred times over!  I will think these data over.  The RAV4 is indeed a 4 cylinder.  Strangely enough, a new suby and a used RAV4 cost the same to insure. 

I do not have any recommendations, but I know that when I was with a friend in a Honda Fit on some forest service roads I kept having to get out and kick rocks out of the way. These same rocks would have been no problem in my subaru legacy wagon. If you care about ground clearance then you might want to look elsewhere.

I would love to find a front wheel drive that has plenty of room and good clearance.  But I think that just puts me back into the realm of an SUV!  There are a couple of RAV4s nearby (200 miles away!) that are FWD only, this might be an option.


From a child safety standpoint it is much better to keep the seat rear facing as long as possible, even up to the age of 4.
People keep saying that, but I have yet to see (and believe me, I've looked!) any solid evidence of any significant reduction in risk.  My impression is that it started somewhere and got spread around enough that people started treating it as accepted wisdom.

I'd be happy to be proven wrong, though--can you point me in the direction of some solid scientific studies supporting the "backwards until 4" recommendation?

I don't know how solid the science is here, but you can let me know what you think.  http://csftl.org/why-rear-facing-the-science-junkies-guide/

Anyway, final bit of my .02 is that nearly ALL of the issues you may have or will have with this car are already documented with pictures, tutorials, etc... It's a VERY popular car and therefore there are many forums dedicated to the maintenance and care of them... I know you say you don't know how to work on a car but there's no excuse to to at least try a few things yourselves. If DH can fix bikes, he can turn a wrench on a car. It's not rocket surgery.

Keep the car, research the issues and the solutions will be readily available to you. That car should last for a very long time.

You are right, I think we are going to keep it and work on it, but we still need a reliable vehicle for camping trips, etc.  One of my neighbors has expressed an interest in helping us work on our car, I plan to hit him up for some help.  We will see if it makes sense to keep the old suby and get a newer car, or just keep a newer car.  Part of the problem will be getting both kids to daycare and ourselves to work next winter.  Hubs and I can manage when the weather is nice (we'll just bike, one of us drops the kids off, the other picks them up), but when the roads are snow-covered and dark in this rural oil and gas town (read: no bike lanes and riding in a snowy road in the dark with big diesel trucks driven by assholes 50% of the time), it just doesn't feel safe.

Gin1984

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 4850
Re: help me choose a new car, and do we keep the old car?
« Reply #40 on: February 12, 2015, 10:46:54 AM »
If you have $7500 cash why don't you just buy a used car for that price?    It sounds like you don't even drive that much.  If you are borrowing for a car maybe you forgot you are at the MMM forums?  MMM has a post on AWD vs snow tires you should check out.

I have read (and watched videos) about AWD vs. snow tires.  If it was just that issue, no problem.  But I can't find a front wheel drive car that gets good clearance, and thats why we are looking for an SUV.  We are an outdoor family, and want one reliable car to do it all.  For just driving around town?  That's what bikes are for.  We also need a more reliable outdoorsy vehicle than what $7500 can buy--that's the suby we have now that has given us a lot of trouble. 

Additionally, we had a chunk of cash we were sitting on--despite advice on not borrowing for a car, it was still a smarter financial decision to pay off the mortgage ($90,000 at 4.5%), compared to 2.4% on a much smaller car loan (say, $10,000).  We are cash poor at the moment because we paid off the mortgage and my husband and I are both currently working 3/4 time so at least one of us can be home with the little ones.  But as I mentioned above, we just totaled our suby and it hasn't been that reliable, plus we don't fit in it very well (this is a real problem, not just complainy-pantsness). 

Assuming you drive 10k / year you're looking at 100k (total 147k) on the RAV4 for a cost of $0.15 / mile.
Subaru should get you to that same 147k easily... (15 years) for a cost of $0.14 / mile.

$6000 for the additional 47,000 miles is $0.13 / mile in purchase cost.

There's a lot more to it than that.  You mentioned a few when you said maintenance and gas, but resale is another big one, and resale is better in most parts of the country for Toyotas than it is for Subarus.  Also, cars bottom out at some point, usually $3-4k for a car in good running order regardless how many miles are on it.  Clearly the $21k Subaru has further to fall on its trip to $3k than a $15k used Toyota.  This is part of why used cars almost always win for cost of ownership, since depreciation curves are non-linear, with a very rapid drop when still relatively new, then a gradual drop the older they get.  Then there's also the opportunity cost of that $6000 being invested versus going towards car loan interest.

In general, I lean towards saying the OP is right, and the lightly used Toyota is the smarter buy here, if they truly do "need" a high clearance vehicle, especially if the RAV4 is one of the 4-cyl models, since those get better gas mileage and are cheaper to service.  Still, even Toyota's V6 is pretty nice as a $15-16k used vehicle with impressive fuel economy for such a powerful engine.

You guys, thanks a hundred times over!  I will think these data over.  The RAV4 is indeed a 4 cylinder.  Strangely enough, a new suby and a used RAV4 cost the same to insure. 

I do not have any recommendations, but I know that when I was with a friend in a Honda Fit on some forest service roads I kept having to get out and kick rocks out of the way. These same rocks would have been no problem in my subaru legacy wagon. If you care about ground clearance then you might want to look elsewhere.

I would love to find a front wheel drive that has plenty of room and good clearance.  But I think that just puts me back into the realm of an SUV!  There are a couple of RAV4s nearby (200 miles away!) that are FWD only, this might be an option.


From a child safety standpoint it is much better to keep the seat rear facing as long as possible, even up to the age of 4.
People keep saying that, but I have yet to see (and believe me, I've looked!) any solid evidence of any significant reduction in risk.  My impression is that it started somewhere and got spread around enough that people started treating it as accepted wisdom.

I'd be happy to be proven wrong, though--can you point me in the direction of some solid scientific studies supporting the "backwards until 4" recommendation?

I don't know how solid the science is here, but you can let me know what you think.  http://csftl.org/why-rear-facing-the-science-junkies-guide/

Anyway, final bit of my .02 is that nearly ALL of the issues you may have or will have with this car are already documented with pictures, tutorials, etc... It's a VERY popular car and therefore there are many forums dedicated to the maintenance and care of them... I know you say you don't know how to work on a car but there's no excuse to to at least try a few things yourselves. If DH can fix bikes, he can turn a wrench on a car. It's not rocket surgery.

Keep the car, research the issues and the solutions will be readily available to you. That car should last for a very long time.

You are right, I think we are going to keep it and work on it, but we still need a reliable vehicle for camping trips, etc.  One of my neighbors has expressed an interest in helping us work on our car, I plan to hit him up for some help.  We will see if it makes sense to keep the old suby and get a newer car, or just keep a newer car.  Part of the problem will be getting both kids to daycare and ourselves to work next winter.  Hubs and I can manage when the weather is nice (we'll just bike, one of us drops the kids off, the other picks them up), but when the roads are snow-covered and dark in this rural oil and gas town (read: no bike lanes and riding in a snowy road in the dark with big diesel trucks driven by assholes 50% of the time), it just doesn't feel safe.
Your link only mentioned data for the age two recommendation for rear facing, nothing there has any studies for age 2-4.  "Presently, the only data with hard numbers comparing injury when rear versus forward facing are centered around that age group."  Not entirely true though, the only data supporting rear facing was under 2.
« Last Edit: February 12, 2015, 10:48:38 AM by Gin1984 »

Forcus

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 714
  • Location: Central Illinois
Re: help me choose a new car, and do we keep the old car?
« Reply #41 on: February 12, 2015, 11:41:16 AM »
Congrats on paying off the mortgage! That is a big deal and I agree with your thinking.

In any case it sounds like you are in the market for a crossover / car-based SUV. I see nothing wrong with a CRV or similar vehicle. In fact my wife has a 2009 Escape with a 4 cylinder and manual transmission. It gets 2 MPG better than my 2002 Focus hatchback and it has more power, room, towing ability, etc. No drawbacks other than it's not what I would call fun to drive. I can't say a CRV vs. Civic is the same deal simply because I don't know but our crossover vs. hatchback is "better" in almost all respects than the seemingly more logical option.

deborah

  • Senior Mustachian
  • ********
  • Posts: 10603
  • Location: Australia or another awesome area
Re: help me choose a new car, and do we keep the old car?
« Reply #42 on: February 12, 2015, 11:46:58 AM »
On child restraints and rear facing vs front facing, I looked at the Australian Standard, and the technical reasons behind it http://www.neura.edu.au/sites/neura.edu.au/files/page-downloads/Technical%20Report_2.pdf Looks like after 2 years old the studies are inconclusive on front vs rear facing.

Quote
Of the six studies that qualified for inclusion, five concluded that rear facing restraints are the safest for children until this style of restraint is outgrown. One study of fatalities only (Du et al., 2008) found that the fatality risk was not significantly different between restraint types.

Field studies indicate that RFCRs offer 88-96% reduction in the risk of fatal and serious injuries to properly restrained infants compared to no restraint. A US study based on a large cohort of child passengers aged 0-23 months involved in all types of crashes reported children in this age group were 70% more likely to incur a serious injury if in a forward facing child restraint than a rearward facing child restraint (Henary et al., 2007). However, that study did not include tethered restraints (forward or rearward facing) that are used in Australia, and is thus of limited applicability.

There is no evidence of serious neck injuries in correctly used Australian forward facing restraints for children over 6 months of age. Currently data are not available on the actual optimum age/size until which RFCR are most effective, however on balance, the evidence suggests that children should stay rearward facing as long as they fit within a rearward facing restraint. Further research is required on this issue.
Your link only mentioned data for the age two recommendation for rear facing, nothing there has any studies for age 2-4.  "Presently, the only data with hard numbers comparing injury when rear versus forward facing are centered around that age group."  Not entirely true though, the only data supporting rear facing was under 2.
So all the evidence you have come up with and that I have come up with is all saying that rear facing until two is good, there is no evidence for the two to four group.

FastStache

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 257
Re: help me choose a new car, and do we keep the old car?
« Reply #43 on: February 13, 2015, 07:39:10 AM »
It just seems like a logical conclusion for rear facing versus forward facing. Most accidents would force the child's head forward and the rear facing seat tries to minimize this force. Also, a child's head is still a large portion of their body weight. I vote as long as they fit properly keep them rear facing. The studies won't show that forward facing is safer than rear facing and may show they are just as safe as each other.

FarmerPete

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 346
Re: help me choose a new car, and do we keep the old car?
« Reply #44 on: February 13, 2015, 10:55:20 AM »
It's fine to rear-face your kids as long as you want to.  Just realize that this is a want, not a need.  You need to follow the law.  If the law says two years, than do it for two years.  Anything over that is your choice.  Personally, I wouldn't choose to spend $15k on a choice, just so that I could be more paranoid about safety than our over paranoid culture already is.

As far as keeping two cars goes, make sure you fully realize what that decision is going to cost you.  Even if your Subaru was fully functional and required no repairs, you're going to have to pay a considerable amount for insurance, registration, inspection (if applicable), etc.  The idea that a car that's been costing $1-2k a year in repairs is going to suddenly need no repairs because you're using it a little less is dumb.  It's still going to require almost as much work to keep it going.  Personally, I'd do everything in my power to keep my family a 1 car family.  It's REALLY hard to reduce the number of cars once you've already increased it.  For me, when I priced it out, I put the incremental cost of ownership on one of my cars at ~$3k a year.  That was what I calculated I would save on my insurance, fuel, maintenance, registration, repair, and replacement funding annually.

sagebrushmama

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 19
Re: help me choose a new car, and do we keep the old car?
« Reply #45 on: February 14, 2015, 11:29:00 AM »
I did a few more imperfect calculations today, and found the following cost per mile, keeping either car to 150,000 miles and assuming no repair costs:
2015 Subaru Forester: 15 years ownership, approx. $0.32 per mile
2012 RAV4: 10 years ownership, approx. $0.31 per mile

It seems like a toss up, but I don't know which car will be more reliable after 150,000; or which will have more expensive repairs after 100,000 miles.   Also, we'd have to keep the new car at least 5 years longer to make it about equal to the Toyota.  Thoughts?

Goldielocks

  • Walrus Stache
  • *******
  • Posts: 6812
  • Location: BC
Re: help me choose a new car, and do we keep the old car?
« Reply #46 on: February 14, 2015, 11:03:10 PM »
I like Subaru's, a lot. Almost bought one myself...They do seem to have more repairs at high mileage, though.

I don't know much about high mileage RAV4's, though.