Author Topic: Used Car Advise  (Read 494 times)


  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
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Used Car Advise
« on: September 21, 2019, 01:21:41 PM »
I am a 24 year old male living in Alaska in need of a new car. Being in Alaska I feel like I could use a slightly larger awd vehicle for safety purposes and getting around the beautiful state in all weather conditions. However the frugal side of me wants to get something with just fwd and great gas mileage. These are the options I am a considering thus far and was hoping to get some input from you guys on what you would do. Also I just accepted a new job that pays very well and I have zero debt and a significant sum invested ,so all of these options are easily within my budget.

2004 Toyota Matrix awd ~76k miles - $6,500
2014 Honda CRV awd ~76k miles - $13,000
2009 Toyota Prius ~84k miles - $8,000
« Last Edit: September 21, 2019, 01:26:40 PM by AK_Mustache »


  • Stubble
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Re: Used Car Advise
« Reply #1 on: September 21, 2019, 10:30:28 PM »
It's been said that (assuming you're thinking about snow) 4WD should not be thought of as a safety feature, it's a utility feature. 2WD and 4WD vehicles all have 4WB (4-wheel braking) and 2WS (2-wheel steering) so if anything 4WD is an anti-safety feature -- it makes it easier to get going too fast under shitty conditions such that you can't stop or evade. Safety features for snow are really good, dedicated, snow tires and a good-handling car (not a tank on wheels that weighs so much it'll just continue like a bulldozer once you get it going).

Now, if you have to drive on totally unplowed roads under really shitty conditions, you might need AWD. Or if you have to drive through mud or something. But that's not a safety issue, because not being able to drive until conditions improve isn't really less safe...


  • Walrus Stache
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Re: Used Car Advise
« Reply #2 on: September 21, 2019, 11:25:46 PM »
In Northern Manitoba, people seem to all drive Subarus.   I am not sure if that is the fact that the primary (only?) dealership is a Subaru or what.  However, they claim Subarus do best for maintaining seals and conditions past -40'C.

Take that with a grain of salt.  (Pun!)

anyway, a big part of choosing a car for very cold climates is how they perform mechanically at those low temps / over night, etc.

-- if you live away from the warmer coastal regions, that is.


  • Handlebar Stache
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Re: Used Car Advise
« Reply #3 on: September 22, 2019, 03:47:17 PM »
Read up on Prius operation in that climate, just in case it's an issue -


  • Bristles
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Re: Used Car Advise
« Reply #4 on: September 23, 2019, 12:48:05 PM »
All the options youíre considering are more reliable than the industry average vehicles, so thatís good. Hereís some info that might help you make youíre decision:

2004 Toyota Matrix gets 73/100 reliability score, and this site also has links to actual gas mileage and owner ratings

2009 Toyota Prius gets 91/100 reliability score, but I agree with Dave that the cold Alaska climate might give the Prius battery issues

2014 Honda CRV has 81/100 reliability score


  • Senior Mustachian
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Re: Used Car Advise
« Reply #5 on: September 23, 2019, 12:57:43 PM »
Tires.  Dedicated snow tires make the biggest difference. 

Do you routinely drive on unimproved roads (e.g. logging roads, rutted dirt roads, etc.?)  If not, you do not need AWD nor a particularly high ground clearance. 

An AWD vehicle with all-season tires will be no match to a FWD vehicle with dedicaded snow tires, particularly when it comes to accelerating, turning and stopping.  I've lived in Quebec and northern New England FWIW.