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Reliable, haul kids & dog, fuel-efficient

The Right Car for Me | TrueDelta


I have had a 2004 Accord sedan for 12 years, and loved it. Now I need something with more cargo space for a dog and kid equipment. I liked that my Accord was fuel-efficient, reliable, and responsive. I don't like tall or large SUVs because I am small (barely 5'3"). I live half-way up a small "mountain", so I drive up and down hill everyday. I care about function much more than form: my car always has food, drinks, kid stuff, and dirt/sticks/leaves/dog hair in it. I have test-driven:

2014 Subaru Outback - Really liked this, but wonder about reliability. I am accustomed to Honda. I expect my car to perform day-in, and day-out with minimal drama, for a decade. I am fine with regular maintenance and replacing electrical, A/C, audio over the years, but I want the engine to run well for a long time.

2012 Volvo XC 70 - Really liked it, except for heavy, tank-like drive. I guess the safety comes with significant weight.

2014 Acura MDX - Loved the first one I drove. Second one that I planned to buy had a funny hitch when changing gears. I looked this up and found that transmission in this model is known for this problem. Not interested in this anymore.

2016 Honda CR-V - This is what I'm driving as a loaner from the Honda dealership where my car was being repaired. I like the interior, the height for getting in and out, and the cargo space. I don't like the drive. It feels top-heavy on turns, and just rides a little high for my taste. Maybe I just miss the sedan maneuverability of my Accord.

2016 Honda Pilot - Overall liked this alright. Feels a little too large. Difficult to see out rear sides for lane changes. They have a camera for this, but . . . still. The rear cargo area was pretty high for me. I'd have to lift groceries and such above my waist.

Do I just need to stick with Honda if I expect excellent reliability? I would like to go with the Outback, but don't want to regret the decision in 5 years. I had a Dodge Stratus as my first car, and was pretty frustrated with the repairs, so I bought a Honda. Anyone ever switched between these two brands (Subaru and Honda)?

Priorities: Reliability & durability / Fuel economy / Cargo capacity

Need minimum of 5 seats

Will consider both new and used cars
Maximum mileage: 50000
Maximum age: 3 years

Maximum price: US $ 35000

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Response from LectroFuel

8:49 pm January 1, 2017

Actually, Honda's reliability has decreased a lot since you bought your Accord. If you really want good reliability, go with Toyota. The Volvo is unreliable. Usually, Subarus are reliable and the 2014 Outback is reliable. Most cars sold today will not have any problems with the engine; they'll have minor problems like windows and infotainment.


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Subaru Outback

Response from colin42

9:49 pm January 1, 2017

The Outback is a great choice. Look through these pages for model reliability stats. I think 2015 was the updated model and in my view looks much better than the 2010-2014.

Assuming you don't need AWD you could look at the Prius V. They have great interior space, are reliable and have the best fuel economy for interior volume.

Another idea is the Lexus RX. A 2014 hybrid can be had for under $35k and a none hybrid for under $30k


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Subaru Outback
Toyota Prius v
Lexus RX

Response from agog

5:47 pm January 5, 2017

Agree to above suggestions of Outback.

Add Subaru Forester and Honda CRV to the list of options.


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Response from bdilkes

11:10 pm January 9, 2017

I'm going to give you an off the wall suggestion. Stop and sit down before you continue reading ? I suggest you pick up a 2-3 year old used Dodge Grand Caravan that has been taken care of. ($13-15K) Yes ? it is a soccer mom van ? but they are fairly reliable and the repairs are reasonable if you don't go to a dealership. I am coming up on the end of life for our 2007 dodge grand caravan. (290,000 Kms) I am almost embarrassed to admit it, but I will miss it when it is gone. (yes I feel emasculated when I drive it) My sister is 5'2" and she had the same generation for 8 years, so although you are shorter, you will be fine in it. I am recommending it because you can pick one up at a reasonable price, you can beat it into the ground and junk it when you think it does not owe you anything anymore. Dogs and kids are hard on vehicles, and although the dodge minivan is not sexy ? it is very functional. It is big enough and heavy enough that you will not have a problem getting up the hills. Yes you need snow tires. It can truly haul a lot of kids and dogs to all the practices, events and vacations. You can put a lot of crap in the back ? skis, and all kinds of cargo, and don't forget a 4x8 sheet of plywood. They are cheap to buy used, reasonable to fix. They are a good deal for what you get. One last comment ? the dodge grand caravan is about the only good vehicle Chrysler has made in the past 35 years. Enough said. my next car will be an Audi A4.


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Dodge Grand Caravan

Response from NormT

7:31 am July 17, 2017

Your price target could be lowered by almost $10,000 to around $27,000 for a quiet, luxurious 2017 Buick Envision. For close to mid-$20's you'll have one of the most cuv's for the price along with the latest safety enhancements. Or pony up to a 2016 Premium l that is also $10,000 for $33,000 and you'll have the Hyperstrut front end that creates a direct steering feel in the turns and standard torque vectoring AWD that turns to 2wd/fwd after 44 mph. The latest Twin Clutch awd will send power to any single wheel that has traction. Something that is not even found in Acura(except MDX) Infiniti (only 50% power to the rear wheels), or Lexus(only 50% of power to the rear wheels).


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Buick Envision
Buick Encore
Buick Enclave
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