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The Right Car for Me | TrueDelta


This will be a dog mobile - 2 big dogs, to work, for chores, and on vacations.

My last 4 cars have been Subarus and all got at least 260K miles before they gave it up. I want another something that will last 18 years and 260K miles.

I must have AWD or 4WD to get up my driveway. Or something I can easily put chains on when I'm 80. I loved the low cargo floor of the Legacy Wagon (easy for the old dogs) but there are solutions for higher floors if I can attach a tow bar. And effective ventilation and AC are important.

I don't care about GPS (I know how to read a map), streaming movies (the dogs prefer singalongs), or fancy wheels (round works).

I could become fond of heated seats. Yes I could.

Priorities: Cargo capacity / Reliability & durability / Price or payments

Need minimum of 2 seats

Will consider both new and used cars
Maximum mileage: 40000
Maximum age: 3 years

Maximum price: US $ 24000

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Response from AcuraT

10:52 am March 15, 2019

Closest thing to what you have now is the Subaru Outback. Besides about 10% burning oil, they are very durable cars still. My parents own two of them and besides occasionally burning oil, they all last 200,000 miles. I am nearing 90,000 on my Legacy sedan and the only thing it does is burn oil - which I manage. No other issues and I have the loaded model.

The only thing is the floor is not quite as low as your old Subaru Legacy wagon so check that out. Want a lower floor? The only wagon that is similar to that Legacy is the Buick Regal TourX, and it is lower to the ground than the Subaru. Problem is it is probably out of your price range as it just launched last year and they are probably not that cheap. This will probably last 200,000 as well with only few more issues than a Subaru as GM sedan quality generally speaking has been decent as of late.

Struggling to come up with another option that meets the 200,000 miles rule. VW Alltrack meets your physical requirements but doubt it will give you 200,000 of troublefree miles for example. Maybe others have some other ideas.

One question, why not the Outback since you owned four Subaru's previously?

Best of luck.


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Subaru Outback
Buick Regal

Response from 2932Pippiznewcar

12:08 pm March 16, 2019

The height of the cargo floor is a problem for the dogs but it is solvable. I wasn't sure if the Outback wasn't becoming a snowflake car as it got SUV'd. It wasn't showing up as reliable as it once was - Forester is higher rated but I wonder about the overall height and rollover potential.


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Response from AcuraT

3:48 pm March 16, 2019

It really is not an SUV. Secret: The Outback, Legacy, and Forrester all are on the same platform now as they are all redesigned and share the same one. My parents last car was the Forrester but they moved to the Outback as they all got bigger when they went for a new car (last car was a 2003 and 2004 Forrester, they now own a 2015 and 2016 Outback).

According to the NHTSA the Outback and Forrester share the same rollover rating - 4 stars not 5. The Legacy get a 5. The reason is the height of the suspension. The legacy is lower to the ground (6.5 inches) to the outback and forrester (8.5 inches). Four is not good as five, but it is not unsafe. It depends on what you want - and you want a wagon.

I am guessing the Buick TourX will get a 5 as it is closer to the ground like the Legacy, but it has not been tested yet. The VW Alltrack gets four stars as well (higher off the ground).

The problem you are going to run into is there are not really any top notch reliable wagons anymore. I would say the Toyota Matrix/Pontiac Vibe which both can make it to 250,000 because they are Toyota powertrains - but they were discontinued in 2013 and still only get four stars on the NHTSA rollover. Some feel they are underpowered but they are very durable and come with AWD.

The biggest issue is the SUV craze - it has essentially put the offerings on wagons few and far inbetween. Most are just luxury models now, but Subaru and Buick offer relatively reasonably priced options. The most durable by far is those older Toyota Matrix and Pontiac Vibes, but you will have to go back 5 years to get those. After that you only have the Subaru and Buick with any chance of reliablity. You are probably right, the reliablity may have declined some since your Legacy wagon - but the problem is, there are not many options unless I am forgetting something besides the two listed.

I ran into the same issue when my about 12 year old Saab 9-3 with 180,000 on it had a tree fall on it. I did not really like any of the wagon options, so I caved in and bought a Buick Envision (2018) at a huge discount because GM launched a revised model in April 2018 (2019 model) right when this happened. So I bought to my shock a Buick SUV for $17,000 off for about $34,000 loaded instead of $52,000 list. I figure even if I have issues after 150,000 miles with that immense savings, it will take a lot of repairs to make up that price savings. It also drives pretty well and gets almost the gas mileage of the old Saab and I needed AWD as well. I live on a mountain now and the FWD cars with snow tires cannot get up it so for the last 9 years that car could not be driven if it snowed much at all when I moved to CT.


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Response from Sea-Dan

11:36 pm March 16, 2019

The loading height would be less with the Golf Alltrack but you would be sacrificing space and reliablity compared to the Outback. I was thinking that you could get the Alltrack for less, but to my surprise a quick check revealed it's starting price about a grand more then the OB! So that is yet another strike against the VW although overall its a very nice car.

Like AcuraT, I think your plumb out of other options in your price range. While they are clumpsy you could always get a ramp for the dogs. I'd say go for the OB (I did in 2015 & I'm liking it just fine, including the Eyesight and other safety features).


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Response from LectroFuel

11:38 pm March 17, 2019

I think the top cars you should be looking at are the 2015 and newer Subaru Outback, 2014 and newer Forester, and 2017 and newer Toyota RAV4. The Subaru's have safety features available on mid level trims and is called EyeSight. The Toyota has every active safety feature standard on every trim. These systems have proved to be invaluable to almost everyone that owns them.

Next, these three cars are some of the most easy to live with. Big windows, easy to see out of, easy step-in height, reliable powertrains, and durable interiors.

These SUVs people are in love with are not very prone to flipping over like, say, an old trucky SUV like an old Explorer or Suburban. You should not worry about worry about flipping over since they all have electronic stability control. You would have to try to make one flip. With that said, a high center of gravity is not ideal for cornering, which is why I don't feel the love for SUVs. It just doesn't feel right to me.

I think an Outback with EyeSight is the best option for you. Get a 2015 to take advantage of depreciation. After that I'd take the RAV4. Also get a ramp for the dogs. My neighbor uses a ramp for her several dogs with her 2013 Explorer, which has a fairly normal loading height for an SUV. Seems to work very well and the dogs probably like it a lot too.

Good luck and please tell us what you buy!


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Subaru Outback
Toyota RAV4
Subaru Forester
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