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Safe, dependable AWD for au pair

The Right Car for Me | TrueDelta


Our 1999 Jeep Grand Cherokee was rear ended and totaled. The Jeep didn't look too bad other than the bumper cover, but the frame rails were unfortunately bent. It was driven by our au pair for our two girls. Liked that it was 4WD, roomy, built like a tank and can take a beating, especially with the plastic cladding around the bottom. Not really knowing the driving experience of the next au pair, would appreciate a car that can get dinged up and not feel bad about it. Thinking of a direct replacement with another Jeep Grand Cherokee of similar vintage or a used Toyota 4-Runner. The Jeep was in the shop every other year for something. Maybe Toyota reliability will prove better. Like the idea of another AWD SUV, because of utility, the ability to get around on the handful of occasions it does snow, added safety in rain and the sense that the girls are safer in a bigger car.

Preferred Bodystyle(s): SUV

Car Needs: Family transporter

Primary Driver(s): New driver

Need minimum of 5 seats

Will consider both new and used cars
Maximum mileage: 150000
Maximum age: 12 years

Maximum price: US $ 9000

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Response from willied

3:29 pm May 9, 2015

If you're looking for reliability, you definitely want to go with a 4Runner over a Grand Cherokee. Also, AWD/4WD doesn't make it safer in the rain. And winter tires make a much bigger difference over AWD in the winter if that's a concern.


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Response from colin42

10:25 pm May 9, 2015

If it was my kids being drive around. I'd want then in the safest car I could afford.

Consider SubaruOutback - if you push your budget by $1-3k you could get a 2010 model. Michael had a write up on the 2010+ models being more reliable.


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Subaru Outback

Response from mwcten

8:16 pm May 11, 2015

I would look at a Toyota Rav4 or Honda CR-V. They're a little smaller than a Cherokee, but they should cost significantly less to keep on the road, between upfront cost, gas, maintenance and repairs. Plus, their lower costs should make it easier to get a newer vehicle that has Electronic Stability Control. Definitely get something with ESC - just that feature makes even a compact car safer than your old Cherokee - high center of gravity + no ESC = rollover risk. Think of all those Ford Explorers that rolled when their tires blew out. A Cherokee's driving dynamics aren't all that different.


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Honda CR-V
Toyota RAV4

Response from mkaresh

7:52 am May 19, 2015

I second the suggestion of the Subaru Outback, if you can find a 2010 or newer within your price range. A 2009-2010 Subaru Forester might also work well. We had some au pairs, and something like the Grand Cherokee or 4Runner tends to be far larger than they are used to. (As for their driving skills, these do vary widely.)


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Subaru Forester
Subaru Outback

Response from kwbuggy

11:27 am October 15, 2015

I agree that the Toyota 4Runner is the best choice. It will likely only be in the shop for oil changes. Depending on where the nannies are from, they will have experience driving Toyotas, since they are very popular in the Third World


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Toyota 4Runner
Lexus NX
Ford Explorer
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