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Recommend a small used SUV or wagon

Discussion in 'Off Topic' started by 9mmguy, Jun 24, 2012.

  1. 9mmguy

    9mmguy Portland, OR Member

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    Hi all,

    I am looking for a second car that can haul around two adults, a small child, and a dog. The dog is pretty rambunctious and needs his own space in the car, which is why our current small sedan won't work out. Here is the catch: We have money to spend on a million things, and another car isn't necessarily at the top of the list, so the car can't be more than $5,000 - less is better.

    I was thinking of a late 90s Jeep (not Grand) Cherokee or an older Subaru Legacy wagon or Outback. Looks like the Jeep would be both more fun and more reliable, but I am throwing the two out there so you get an idea of what kind of cars I am looking for. What other makes/models have you had good experience with?
     
  2. safetyman

    safetyman Clark County, WA Active Member

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    Toyota Rav4s or Honda CRVs are pretty good cars that have all-time AWD, a second row of seats for the toddler, plus space in the back for your pooch.
     
  3. Garg

    Garg east of portland metro Hold my beer..... watch this Bronze Supporter

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    Can't beat Subaru really. I have two, and they just keep going (knock on wood)...
     
  4. MrNiceGuy

    MrNiceGuy between springfield and shelbyville Well-Known Member

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    another vote for the subaru.

    I love cherokee's.... i've had 3.
    But i'll put my outback against it for reliability any day.

    Plus, this subaru is a BEAST in the snow.
    My wrx's were good too, but this outback is just superb.
    The only thing I have to remember is to take my front license plate off when I go up to play in the snow, otherwise it will get pushed into the bumper and bent up... again.
     
  5. Benihaus

    Benihaus Portland American

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    I had a 95 nissan pathfinder XE V6 ultra base model(power nothing and 5 speed, with cloth interior).. that truck went anywhere I ever asked it honestly wish I would have never sold it.
     
    JSJPDX and (deleted member) like this.
  6. Bernoulli

    Bernoulli Guest

    I'd vote against the Cherokee. I had one - early 90s I think. Great engine surrounded by junk in every area. I'm a Mitsubishi fan, but the Subarus, Rav4s and CRVs are all good vehicles.
     
  7. techiej

    techiej vancouver, wa Active Member

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    We've got a Honda Element and it is great if you need space for the dog or to haul stuff around.

    The rear seats can be pulled to 90 degrees vertical and flat (against side) to give you more space...individually. This leaves a tie-down (where the seat is normally attached) to which you could secure a crate if desired.
     
  8. sandman1212

    sandman1212 NW Oregon Active Member

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    J.E.E.P...Just empty every pocket, they usually need a lot of work when theye are older. I had two, one was a wrangler and the other a Cherokee. I was (and still am) pretty heavily involved in the community and ran around with a club that has 60+ members...Jeeps consistently cost money, unless you are into the fun aspect and hobby, I would suggest staying away from Jeeps. The fuel mileage is also HORRIBLE! I have a Mazda Tribute that seems to be good and not a bad price. If you can find a RAV 4...go for it!
     
  9. Zepoll

    Zepoll Keizer Active Member

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    This is a great post. I'm in the same boat and looking for a similar vehilce. While I do agree that the RAv4/CRV and Outback are all great choices, they don't meet the less than $5,000 that the OP listed as a maximum price range.

    Here are my thoughts:

    Dodge Durango: We've owned one(MY '99), and of all the cars we've owned, the Durango was one of our favorites. It's SUV'ish, but not super big, which meant my wife (small in frame) was very comfortable driving it. Plus, at the time we were dealing with car seats and it was easy for my 5' 4" wife to manuever the car seats in/out of the rig vs the F150 we had which was a pain in the patootie... Can be found for under $5,000. The Con: Horrible gas mileage.. something like 12 miles a gallon. Shoot man.. my V8 '82 Dodge Ram Charger almost gets that and it's a POS.

    Late 80's early 90's Toyotya 4Runner: Great reputation, and you'll always be able to sell it privately.

    Suburban or Tahoe: I won't put a link because they're everywhere. Any car you get for under $5,000 is going to have issues, just know that when you go in. But at least you'll have space for everything. I'm considering this route cause with a suburban, theirs a million out there, you can pack everything up, including the dog, your guns, tables, all those water filled milk jugs and a BBQ and go spend the day out somewhere. Just know you'll have money spent on auto repairs. And make sure your roadside assistance is current on your insurance. :)

    Volvo V70: Volvo's are AWD and will go forever. But when they require maintenance they can get a little spendy. Still a great option.
     
  10. JSJPDX

    JSJPDX East Portland Gold Supporter Gold Supporter

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    Late 90's or early 2000's Nissan Pathfinder can be had in the OP's price range. We have a 2000 that has had nothing other than routine maintenance and is at around 260K miles. Milage is okay as well for a mid sized SUV at around 18 city and 23 highway.
     
  11. tank3d

    tank3d Eugene Member

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    Currently you can find a mid to late 90's 4Runner for around $5000. I am too looking for something similar. my price range is 7-10K. I have decided on either a 97ish Toyota Landcruiser or 00-02 4Runner. Trying to find something with less then 150K miles. These cars should go 400K miles as long as you maintain them well. This could probably be had for 7500. 2001 Toyota 4Runner 4X4 $8900
     
  12. tank3d

    tank3d Eugene Member

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  13. Nwcid

    Nwcid Yakima and N of Spokane Well-Known Member

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    Another thing to think about is fuel milage. Most people believe that buy buying these small/midsize SUV's they are going to get better fuel milage. I use to believe it too but have come to learn the truth.

    My '75 Jimmy with built 350, 10 mpg average
    Parents '92 Chevy 1500 extended cab with 350, 15 mpg average
    My '99 Dakota extended cab with 318, 12.5 mpg average
    My '99 3/4 ton Suburban with 454, 11.5 mpg average
    Parents '00 Chevy 1500 extended cab with 327, 17 mpg average
    Ex's 2006 Chevy trailblazer with v6, 15 mpg average
    My '04 Chevy 3500 Crew cab long box dually with Duramax, 18.5 mpg average. Pulling my ~6500 lb trailer over the hills and back roads (not HWY) I am averaging about 13.5 mpg

    I talk to many people that have the midsize SUV's that get 14-15 mpg which sucks if you think you are buying a midsize to save on fuel over a full size rig.

    If you want small because you want smaller you have been given lots of good choices.
     
  14. Ought Six

    Ought Six Snoqualmie Valley area Active Member

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    I also have a '95 Pathfinder. The only modification I have done it to put B.F. Goodrich T/A Mud Terrain radials on it. It is fantastic off-road, and equally good on-road. There is plenty of room in the back. It has been super-reliable. I was lucky and picked up a luxury model in very good condition for under $3000. It just passes 200k miles, and still runs perfectly. Plenty of power, and very comfortable as my daily driver. I expect to get another 100k out of it. The only drawback to it is the mileage; about 20 mpg, which dropped to 17 mpg when I put the off-road tires on it.
     
  15. Glockman19

    Glockman19 Hillsboro Active Member

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    From someone who has worked on many cars,partially as my profession, all vehicles have their short comings. A chevy Blazer is pretty good rig, a few issues but parts are everywhere and pretty cheap. Nissan's run along time with their famous "valve tick", Jeeps are fairly decent but suck down the fuel. For the price your looking at if you want a small SUV I would go with a RAV4 if you want a slightly bigger SUV look at Isuzu Rodeo (same assembly line as Honda Passport but a lot less Money). And if you can find a 2000's fullsize chevy with 4.8/5.3 it will get close to the same fuel economy as a lot of the mentioned models, 19-21 hwy. Plus you get towing ability and much more room
     
  16. Dunerunner

    Dunerunner You'll Never Know Well-Known Member

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  17. jp1985

    jp1985 Linn County, Oregon Active Member

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    IMO go with an outback they are awesome cars and get great gas mileage mine gets 25 city 30 hwy. I also love Cherokee though and have owned 5 (not grand Cherokees i hate them) the thing to look out for when getting a Cherokee is the exhaust manifold they almost always will be cracked, and if looking at Subaru check head gaskets as they are very well known for head gasket issues. they both have great cargo room in the back for a dog i put 3 labs in the back of my Cherokees and 2 in my outback. i liked the Cherokee being higher up than my outback and i like 4x4 better than AWD just imo i like being in control of the wheels hehe not that i dislike my awd outback though its great as well. i sold my Cherokee to get the outback and don't regret it but i do miss it heheh. IMO cant lose with either. just be careful about the head gaskets with any outback and be sure and get them checked so you dont end up buying the car then having to put 1500 into a head gasket fix.

    JP
     
  18. 9mmguy

    9mmguy Portland, OR Member

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    Wow, thanks for all the feedback, guys, I really appreciate it. Seems like there are a a lot of Subaru fans out there, and with Portland full of them, they are definitely on the shopping list. I will also look into Japanese SUVs and the other recommendations from this thread. Keep 'em coming!
     
  19. jp1985

    jp1985 Linn County, Oregon Active Member

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    Oh i also forgot to mention when looking at outbacks first gens for sure and some second gens check the coolant over flow very first thing for any signs of oil in it as those are the first signs of a head gasket going followed by smoke and burning oil smells. hope that helps i learned this as i did hours of research and constant calls to my mechanic before i found the right one :) i ended up with a 2001 outback and i love it! i don't get to drive it as much as i would like though because the wife loves it so much she ninjed it from me. all joking aside we are looking for another first or second gen for that reason and they are affordable and easy to find. I prefer manuals because i love to feel in control of the vehicles gears and shifting times but when it comes to manual vs auto with the outbacks they both are great and nothing wrong with either it just boils down to personal pref.

    Sorry i dont mean to chat your ear off but i have tons off helpful advice about outbacks since i was just in the same boat as you where but i do sort of miss the good old Cherokee hehe also have a lot of knowledge about them.


    hope this helps

    JP1985
     
  20. Sun195

    Sun195 Pugetropolis, WA Well-Known Member

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    We've had two Subaru Outbacks, so I guess we like them. They're the swiss army knife of cars. I also have a 4Runner, but when it snows, I take the Outback. We've used it to haul a two-year-old (and all of his baby/toddler junk) and a doberman around. I've also gone on several multi-thousand mile road trips in them - longest was 4,000 miles in ten days. I can get anywhere from 27-29 mpg on a long road trip.

    Do check for head gasket issues. Our first one blew its head gasket at 55k (I think) - smelled kind of like maple syrup when it was running. Not the end of the world if it happens, but not great either.