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Dog and activity car

The Right Car for Me | TrueDelta


We have outgrown our Honda Civic and are looking to replace it with something that can fit 4 adults, 2-3 dogs, and hiking gear. So far, the Subaru Outback and Forester seem to be the best options that I've seen, but they are pretty expensive cars so we are open to whatever works best. Our max budget is about $14,000, but we would prefer to spend less than $12,000 if possible.

In addition to the Subarus, we are looking at reliable mini-vans (Honda Odyssey, Toyota Sienna) or small SUVs (CR-V, Rav4). Any suggestions for what would meet our needs that will be reliable for another 7-10 years, safe, and will fit people and dogs that may be less well known?

Priorities: Reliability & durability / Cargo capacity / Safety & braking / Fuel economy / Price or payments

Preferred Bodystyle(s): Wagon / Minivan / SUV

Car Needs: Daily commuter / Errands about town / Long trips / Towing or hauling

Primary Driver(s): Tall driver

Need minimum of 4 seats

Will consider both new and used cars
Maximum mileage: 110000
Maximum age: 10 years

Maximum price: US $ 14000

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Response from ahm1127

2:52 pm July 21, 2014

I currently have a 05' Chevy Suburban & a 11' Ford Fiesta. We have 4 children & 2 dogs & love the outdoors. The Suburban is great & does it all but good gas mileage (16 mpg) & the Fiesta will not fit family but gets great mileage (40 mpg). The Fiesta will fit 5 adults (tightly) & actually has a good amount of space in rear hatch but not enough for dogs.
There will little to no fuel savings going to the Tahoe over Suburban but will loose a bit of room inside. The Ford Expedition is very similar to the Tahoe.
We had the Toyota Sienna & will never go back after the Suburban, the minivan is just to limited.
Hope this helps


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Chevrolet Tahoe / Suburban
Suzuki XL7
Mazda CX-5

Response from mkaresh

5:49 pm July 21, 2014

Crossovers have gotten much more fuel efficient lately, but one from the current generation won't fit your budget.

A Honda Element might be a possibility. It only has rear-hinged half-doors to access the rear seat, but has an easy to clean interior that should do well for dogs and outdoor activities. It's based on the CR-V.

Subarus tend to be quite reliable for the first 100k miles, less so afterwards.

A 2009-2012 Ford Escape could also be worth a look. I'd also suggest the 2008, but initially those were troublesome, and though good lately I wonder if they'll become troublesome again.


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Honda Element
Ford Escape

Response from mwcten

12:02 pm July 23, 2014

A Mazda 5 might be an option depending on how much space you need for dogs. It's a 2+2+2 seating configuration, so if you take out the back seat you can fit 4 plus a good ammount of stuff in the back; probably even more than an Outback/Forrester. They're also pretty cheap; you should be able to get a '09-'11 on your budget.


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Mazda Mazda5

Response from mkaresh

12:53 pm July 23, 2014

A 2009 or later Mazda5 should be okay--check our reliability info. With earlier ones I'd worry about rust and suspension issues.


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Response from Member4448

5:55 pm July 27, 2014

A used Outback or Forester for $14K could have 100,000 miles on it, not a good value for money. Our Subaru experience matches Michael's statement on high expenses after 100,000 miles. A Rav4 or Sienna, or even a 2010-12 Ford Escape may be better choices.



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Toyota RAV4
Toyota Sienna
Ford Escape
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