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Extra vehicle for winter driving

The Right Car for Me | TrueDelta

Member5907

I'm looking for a used 4WD or AWD SUV as an extra vehicle. I will be moving out to the country and we do get some snow. Roads are very narrow and curvy, so I need 4WD or AWD. I want something reliable and I want to spend around $15K.In my price range it would need to be a fairly high mileage or older car. I'm thinking that a Toyota 4 Runner or Highlander would be a good bet.

Preferred Bodystyle(s): SUV

Primary Driver(s): New driver

Need minimum of 4 seats

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

Maximum price: US $ 15000

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Response from mkaresh

10:23 am September 11, 2015

The Toyota 4Runner is among the most reliable models in our survey. My only concern is how old one will have to be to fall within your price range. Also, it's a large, heavy vehicle and doesn't handle well. Do you need a vehicle this large?

Unless you're planning to tow more than a small trailer or do some off-roading, I'd look for a better-handling, better-riding, more fuel-efficient car-based crossover. If you do need a fairly large vehicle, this would be the Toyota Highlander. But the smaller Toyota RAV4 might have plenty of space for you, and you could buy a newer one for $15k. I'd look at one of those first and only go larger if you determine that the RAV4 is too small. The only year for the RAV4 with iffy reliability is the 2006, first year of the third generation.

Honda's competitor to the RAV4 is the CR-V. It's also worth a look.




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Toyota RAV4
Honda CR-V
Toyota Highlander

Response from Member5907

2:42 pm September 11, 2015

Thanks for the information. I had a Rav4 at one point and it was a very uncomfortable car. I have a 45 minute commute to work and I think a highlander would probably be a better commuter. Plus it would give me more space for my dogs when I take them places. I was thinking that if I buy a higher mileage car, Toyota would probably be the best bet.

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Response from mkaresh

5:45 pm September 11, 2015

Probably, the hard part is finding one at a good price.

Since comfort has been an issue in the past, and you'll be spending so much time in it, I'd try to spend as much time driving the vehicle before buying. Too often people discover that a seat isn't comfortable for them after they buy a car. It's one of those things that is hard to fully evaluate in a brief test drive.

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Response from Member5907

7:49 pm September 11, 2015

Any Highlander year models to avoid? It looks like the 2008 had the most issues. I believe the model changed in 2008.

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Response from mkaresh

8:41 pm September 11, 2015

The 2008 does have a higher repair frequency than other years, probably because (as you note) it was the first year of that generation. Even it was still about average, though.

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Response from Member5907

9:20 am September 12, 2015

Would you avoid an older model with unusually low miles? Like a 2008 with 60K miles? That's less than 10K per year or the car sat for a long time.

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Response from mkaresh

6:33 pm September 12, 2015

It's smart to have anything that age inspected. Plus check the service records, if possible.

I wouldn't be worried about negative impacts of low miles unless they were under 4k/year.

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Response from Member5907

9:12 am September 22, 2015

I found a 2006 Highlander with 75K miles on it for less than $15K. It was a 1 owner immaculate vehicle with all service records kept and listed in Carfax. All service was done with a local dealer that I am familiar with. I think this was a great find!

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Response from mkaresh

1:36 pm September 25, 2015

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