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Challenge: 7 PAX for driver with long legs and 4 feral boys; max $5k

The Right Car for Me | TrueDelta

crac0018

Due to a change in financial priorities, I'm looking at shedding car payments and purchasing a cash vehicle. Need a 6-7 passenger vehicle. I have 4 boys: two in car seats and 2 in booster seats, so I think this limits me to 3-row vehicles. It'll be a daily driver, so something reliable-ish. I drive about 50-60 miles/day in mixed driving. Also, I'm tall, with long legs and a "short" torso (I think minimum front seat leg room is 42" for me to fit comfortably).

I'm not brand loyal and willing to drive just about anything that fits the above criteria, whether it's an SUV, minivan, or wagon. I'm also not worried about aesthetics; I currently drive a Lincoln MKT, which I've been told looks hilariously awful.

If whatever you suggest is considered generally reliable, I'm fine getting something with 200k miles with records of maintenance.

Whatever exists out there for me would ideally be $5k or less. If that's just not possible, then max of $7,500.

FYI: It was suggested to me to look for late 90s/early 2000s Land Cruisers. I did, but to get in my price range I'm looking at one with 400k miles. Just seems a tad high compared to other cars out there. I like the idea of mid-2000s Highlander, but I'm concerned with front seat leg room (haven't sat in one yet). Need more ideas!

Priorities: Price or payments / Reliability & durability / Front seat room

Need minimum of 7 seats

Will consider both new and used cars
Maximum mileage: 200000
Maximum age: 15 years

Maximum price: US $ 7500

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Response from LectroFuel

2:02 am May 17, 2019

Toyota Sequoia, Toyota Sienna, Toyota Highlander, or 2006 and newer Honda Pilot. The Land Cruiser hasn't lost much of its value and won't be the best choice for you.

The minivan does a better job at hauling things around in comfort compared to an SUV. Therefore I think the Sienna is the best car for you. After that probably the Sequoia. SUV prices are inflated. Minivan prices are not.

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Toyota Sienna
Toyota Sequoia

Response from AcuraT

10:12 am May 18, 2019

Almost totally agree with Lectrofuel. Your best bet is a minivan, full stop. Even those may not be in your price range without going tp a high mileage car. A good site to try is Truecar.com. If I use it in my area, a Toyota Sienna does not go below $5000 until you go back to 2008 and 175,000 miles and FWD. Toyotas do last a long time, but even at that point, rubber seals need replacement on the engine which will cost a few hundred dollars each time you replace one unless you do it yourself (I should know, every car I have owned at this milegae around this point needs them unless I do it myself, then the valve cover engine seal I did myself one time cost me about $60 in parts). For some reason, at that mileage there are a few cars available and all have about the same mileage and price.

If you raise that ceiling to $7000 you can get a much lower mileage Sienna that will be more reliable. For $6495 you can get in my area a 2006 7 passanger AWD Sienna with only 104,000 miles. This car will at this point would probably not need as much effort to keep on the road for at least a few years. A 2005 FWD 8 passenger Sienna goes for $5600 with 94,000.

So while I agree with Lectrofuel, for $5000 you are going to have to go pretty old and high mileage to get what you want which brings other issues. If you go up a litlte on price and are willing to go a little older on the model year, I would stick with Toyota for the most reliable option and get a lower mileage car.Unfortunately, for really long life unless you know what you are doing I would stick with Toyota still in this day and age.

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Toyota Sienna

Response from crac0018

9:51 pm May 18, 2019

Ok, that's two confirms for a Sienna. I'm rather pleasantly surprised actually. If you told me a Toyota minivan in my range was doable I would have thought you were referring to the old Previa. I checked out Truecar and Autotrader and there are several examples well in my range that are relatively close. I like the idea of one of these older Sienna's!

And I'm prepared to have to spend some money on maintenance on one of these aging beauties. I also understand there's no guarantee something catastrophic won't happen. I'm fine with the risk.

A neighbor had a Hyundai minivan (Entourage, maybe?) which she said she loved for several trouble-free years. I haven't been able to find much info on these. Anyone have an opinion?

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Response from LectroFuel

2:19 pm May 19, 2019

I wouldn't buy an Entourage. Those were made before Hyundai quality was up to par. They were not really good. Same goes for the Kia Sedona. The newer Kia Sedonas are good, but are out of budget.

One of my neighbors got one when they were new and I believe it was qualified as a lemon. This is only one example so take it with a grain of salt.

I think the 2007-2010 Siennas were a little more reliable than the 2004-2006. I don't think the Previa was a very good car in terms of maintanance. Mid engine, some had superchargers, hard to work on. It was pretty cool though.

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Response from AcuraT

9:34 pm May 19, 2019

Consumer Reports only reports on cars they can get over 100 responses. On the Entourage, that is only for one year as it did not sell great back then and as Lectrofuel states, they had not figured out quality yet with modern six sigma practices.

In any case for that one year, as further evidence, the Entourage in 2007 scores below average overall - far worse than the Toyota Sienna. No matter what the year, the quality of those cars is higher than any year from Hyundai back then (the last year the Entourage was made was 2008).

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