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Safe, reliable, lasting suv for college student

The Right Car for Me | TrueDelta


I'm am a college student. I have saved up about $4000 and would like to get a decent small suv because the snow at my school is kind of bad. I want something that will last me 2.5-3 years so I can finish our school with it. I really need ideas for reliable and long lasting SUVs with a $4000 budget. Please help!

Preferred Bodystyle(s): SUV

Car Needs: Daily commuter / Errands about town / Long trips

Need minimum of 5 seats

Will consider both new and used cars

Maximum price: US $ 4000

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Response from tom.forhan

2:06 pm June 19, 2015

RAV4 and CR-V come immediately to mind. Both are options in your price range, but I think with the Toyota you might be able to get one with fewer miles.

How about a Pontiac Vibe/Toyota Matrix with AWD?

I'd stay away from Subaru, friends start having problems when they exceed 100K miles.


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Toyota RAV4
Honda CR-V
Pontiac Vibe

Response from mkaresh

2:27 pm June 19, 2015

I second the idea of a Vibe or Matrix with AWD. The RAV4 and CR-V are really larger than you need, and you'll have to get one with quite a few miles to only spend $4,000.

I'd also suggest a Suzuki SX4, but am not sure you can find one for $4,000. You might be able to.

Also realize that proper tires are at least as important as AWD. You should consider spending only $3,500 for the vehicle, and then $500 for a set of wheels and winter tires from somewhere like tirerack.com.


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Pontiac Vibe
Suzuki SX4

Response from Member5528

11:52 am July 9, 2015

Look into leasing a base SUV. A $4000 SUV is going to lead to many and expensive repairs. You can lease most base SUV's for a grand total of about $11000. So with your $4000 down your payments would be about $150-250 a month with no repair bills or concerns of breaking down.


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Response from tom.forhan

1:39 pm July 9, 2015

I don't think getting a college student into leasing is a good idea. When the three years are over there is no equity at all for a total expenditure of $8-10K. It's can lead to falling into the leasing trap for the next cycle as well.

It might cost a grand or maybe even two to maintain a Vibe or the like for three years, but well maintained it would still be worth $3K or something, and there would be money in the bank if the lease payments could be put into savings instead.

There are some situations where leasing makes sense, but not for a struggling college student that has put together a modest bankroll. With the lease you are just kissing that bankroll goodbye.


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Response from Member5528

2:43 pm July 9, 2015

Leasing keeps the output low. A used car for about the same money witll need brakes, tires, could need additional work, be high mileage, could be close to needing a timing belt.

At the end of the lease they can sell it, trade it, drop it of. And move to Manhattan, and never have negative equity. Never have major repair output, and gives you and them peace of mind. Most cars for the same money output are old and high mileage and won't be worth 3k after 3 yrs. I sell cars for a living, I see it every day. Plus the newest safety features are worth their weight in gold to me.


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