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Reliable, comfortable gear/people hauler with good visibility.

The Right Car for Me | TrueDelta

Member2828

My 1995 Camry Wagon has been hit, and my insurer wont fix it. So I need a reliable replacement gear hauler. I really like wagons, but would be happy with a small SUV. Reliability and good driver visibility are my 2 main priorities. I've got about $10,000 to spend and need to get 5 reliable years (just 7000-8000 km per year) out of it. Needs to be able to seat at least 5 comfortably.

My first thought is a ~ 2007 Honda Element, but the selection around here is very slim. What else should I be looking at? What are the most relialbe 2006-2008 haulers?

Thank you.

Priorities: Reliability & durability / Driving position & visibility / Safety & braking / Ride smoothness / Handling

Preferred Bodystyle(s): Wagon / SUV

Car Needs: Family transporter / Errands about town / Long trips

Primary Driver(s): New driver / Senior driver

Need minimum of 5 seats

Will consider both new and used cars
Maximum mileage: 120000
Maximum age: 8 years

Maximum price: US $ 10000

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Response from mkaresh

11:47 am July 7, 2015

The Honda Fit often gets recommended for people seeking a reliable car with good cargo hauling capacity. But you might not want something that small and light.

The Toyota Matrix / Pontiac Vibe might also be a good match.

I'm unsure about the reliability of the pre-2010 Subaru Outback, and a 2010+ would probably be too expensive. With any Subaru reliability after 160k km can be iffy.

Reliability of the Hyundai Elantra Touring has been so-so, but otherwise it could also be a very good match.

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Honda Fit
Pontiac Vibe
Hyundai Elantra Touring

Response from Member2828

11:57 am July 7, 2015

Thanks for the reply Michael. Both Fit's and Elantra Tourings have shown up when I search for newer (2010+) used cars with less mileage on my local Craigslist. But I was hoping for something bigger.

Some of the cars that show up in the 2007-2008 range with around 100,000 km are:

Suzuki XL-7 (several of these for sale locally)
Suzuki Grand Vitara
Nissan X-Trail
Chevrolet HHR
Dodge Journey
Kia Sorento
Volvo XC70
Ford Escape

There is also a 2006 Ford Focus ZXW wagon (cheaper).

Would you consider any of these relaible for another 5 years and ~ 40,000 km?

Thanks for your help.

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Response from Member5528

11:19 am July 9, 2015

Stay away from Kia and Hyundai. After a few years the repairs get costly and the powertrain (100k) warranty does not transfer to new owners unless it's certified. They also tend to change feel and performance after about 2 years from purchase which indicates quick deterioration.

If you are looking for something long term with really low maintenance, look at VW Sportwagons of any sort. Be it passat, jetta, or the new golf sportwagon. Really long term took for the TDI diesel for best fuel economy and the engines will run for about 600k. Stay away from anyt VW pre 2006 as they were known to have gremlins. Any SUV type will also increase your fuel usage and should be taken into account. Use Fueleconomy.gov to compare mileage both of window stickers and reported from actual owners to determine this expense. Vw's also only need to be serviced every 10k miles.


Also consider a Mazda5. They are a cross between a wagon and a minivan with the fuel economy of a car. Sits lower to the ground so no need for AWD (better fuel economy) and it can seat 6 or just be used for 4 people and lots of stuff.

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Volkswagen Jetta SportWagen
Subaru Impreza / Outback Sport
Mazda Mazda5

Response from mkaresh

2:16 pm July 9, 2015

I wouldn't get a Journey older than the 2011. They've never gotten great reviews, partly because the interior is pretty tight given the exterior dimensions.

The Suzuki XL7 was a cheaply made seven-seat variant of the first-gen Chevrolet Equinox. The Grand Vitara is more solidly engineered, and likely to be more durable. But they're not very large.

Older Volvos can get very expensive to maintain.

I know very little about the X-Trail.

The HHR can be pretty functional. So-so reliability. They can be cheap because many people don't like the retro styling.

First-gen Sorento, like the Grand Vitara, is a conventionl truck-type SUV.

I like how the Focus drives. Reliability is best with the 2008 through 2011, but then no hatch or wagon. These aren't large cars.

The 2008-2009 Escape have good reliability scores lately, but didn't earlier. Owners might be deferring repairs. The 2010-2012 continue to have so-so scores.

The Mazda5, suggested above, crossed my mind. The first-gen Mazda5 often has suspension issues (struts, not terribly expensive) and can rust around the rear wheel openings in areas where the roads are salted. The 2012 and up have been more reliable.


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