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All Weather Reliability for Emergency Services

The Right Car for Me | TrueDelta


I am the director of emergency services for a county and I live about 18 highway miles from my office. I need to be able to get to my office at any time, regardless of weather. I live in rural Maryland, so flooding and snow tend to be the biggest road-related issues. From a personal standpoint, I have two dogs and make regular trips downcountry or dirt roads or to the beach/bay, so my preference would be a vehicle that comes with leather trim - easier to clean! I currently own (and love) a dirty diesel VW Golf TDI, which has been fun but does terribly in the snow. My vehicle is also the primary family car and I'd like to rely less on my fiance to move large objects, so I'd like to go a little bigger than my beloved golf. I try to be eco conscious so I'd like the best MPG I can get, plus I'd like to stay on the small side in order to keep my car in my small-ish garage.

Some models that have caught my eye are the Subaru Forester and Outback, VW Alltrack and Tiguan, Lincoln MKX (2013), and Honda CR-V. Should I be considering others? Any American models I should be looking at?

Priorities: Reliability & durability / Handling / Warranty, maintenance cost

Need minimum of 5 seats

Will consider both new and used cars
Maximum mileage: 30000
Maximum age: 3 years

Maximum price: US $ 25000

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Response from samuel.bethune

6:24 am November 9, 2016

When I read your post the Subarus you mentioned were the first cars I thought of. The CRV is also an excellent choice. Forresters and Outbacks are popular with rural mail carriers on my part of the country so I believe their dependability have been well established. I also rented a Toyota RAV4 for a business trip and was very impressed with it so you should look at this as well.

The Alltrack is a relatively new model and athough you currently own a VW I would be remiss if I didn't mention their reliability has really been spotty, especially their automatic transaxles. If you look at those, consider a manual. They're more fun to drive. Good luck!


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Subaru Outback
Toyota RAV4

Response from Dnslater

6:29 am November 9, 2016

I think you are on the right track regarding your options. Remember that VW also offers the standard Golf Sportwagen in AWD for 2017 and it should get slightly better mileage than the Alltrack version. New Sportwagen is a pretty large car. Outback/Forester are both solid options. The Outback is pretty huge these days, so it may be too much if you want a small car. The Forester is a bit smaller in length, but more upright. Both of these options will sacrifice some mileage to the VW options and they have CVT transmissions, which aren't as engaging as VW's to drive. They do have a superior full time AWD system that Honda/VW do not offer. The Honda CR-V and similar mid sized SUV's are all good options as well.

I always tell people who are considering VW and Honda/Toyota that you have to think about priorities. With VW you get an extremely high quality interior and more engaging driving experience, along with classic styling, but the engaging driving experience comes with more "engaging" maintenance, so you have to pay to play. You might also consider the Mazda CX-5, which has some of the driving dynamics of the Germans, along with a high quality interior.

Whichever option you get, I recommend setting aside $1000 and getting a good set of snow tires given your job. Even with AWD, they make a big difference. FYI, I am selling back my 2013 TDI Sportwagen - which I love and have replaced it with a 2015 GTI. I am able to use the snow tires from the Sportwagen which makes it handle great in snow, and with a Yakima Skybox I can add cargo when needed.

Good luck!


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Mazda CX-5
Volkswagen Golf / Rabbit / GTI
Subaru Forester

Response from Bigdubs40

5:51 am November 11, 2016

I too have a Golf TDI and am in the buy back process. One other thing to consider is incentives some manufacturers are offering TDI owners. Volkswagen just announced a $1,000 owner loyalty discount, Mazda is reportedly offering $750 on top of already in place discounts. Hyundi and GM are reportedly offering employee type discounts. Spend a couple of days test driving because TDI owners on a few forums report dealers offering additional discounts hoping to draw more TDI buyback business. Volkswagen price cuts are large now and are enticing, however, I am staying away due to reliability concerns as well as cost of ownership and depreciation. Test drives will also help you determine what works best for you and once you narrow it down, which will give you the best SUV at your price point. And you can just tell aggressive sales people you aren't going to make a decision and buy until you complete the buyback process.


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Response from mkaresh

12:10 pm November 17, 2016

What Dnslater said, especially the parts about the CX-5 and the snow tires.


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Response from NormT

7:01 am July 18, 2017

I wouldn't trust any of those pseudo AWD systems, even Subaru when the steering wheeled turned slight it fails too, in the econobox cuv's for any emergency. They all have their week points.

AWD tested on snow.



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Jeep Wrangler
Chevrolet Silverado 1500
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