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I think crac0018 had a good suggestion with the Infiniti G. They were fun and pretty reliable. I wouldn't get either the Dodge or BMW because they are likely to be less reliable. With a budget of $7k you need to decide if you should reserve money for repairs if you buy a BMW. You could easily spend more than the BMW is worth just on maintenance alone. I don't think a RWD Charger would perform well on snow, but the BMW should be pretty good. I think a Hyundai Genesis could also be fun, but more in a straight line than the turns. If I was in your position, I would probably get an Accord V6. They had precise steering and powerful engines and do pretty much everything well while being reliable and cheap to fix. More fun than a Camry and won't rust out like some old Mazdas.

Need support to decide: BMW 3 328Xi 2011 or Dodge Charger 2008-2012

I probably wouldn't consider an older BMW in that price range if maintenance costs/reliability are a concern. Unless you don't mind doing the work yourself. I've never owned a BMW so I can't comment on actual experience, only what I hear/read.

I have a cousin who lives in Michigan who owned SRT Charger until it went down an embankment one snowy night. He mostly loved the car with the exception of having to drive it during the winter (rear-wheel drive). He replaced it with an all-wheel drive R/T Charger and still loves it and never mentioned anything other than maintenance being needed. I should note, however, that part of my family has employment ties to the auto industry and their thoughts on American cars are probably biased. I guess my only comment on a Charger would be to get an AWD model. Reviews here show a mixed bag as far as reliability goes - looks like it is dependent on the model year.

I don't think you meant to say you're interested in driving "boring" cars. If you did, you should definitely consider other makes/models. Maybe an AWD Infiniti G? There should be plenty in your price range. I've owned Infiniti in the past and found it to be enjoyable and relatively trouble free.

Need support to decide: BMW 3 328Xi 2011 or Dodge Charger 2008-2012

I don't think you should be worried about the oil dilution. The problem pops up usually when you have short trips in cold weather, but since your engine will be warmed up throughout the entire trip you should be fine. It is otherwise one of the best engines in the segment. Tons of people have this engine in their cars. The Accord, Civic, and CR-V all use it.

If you still are worried, look at the other SUVs like the RAV4, CX-5, and Subaru Forester. The RAV4 should be best for most people.

2.4 L Reliablilty - Specifically Oil Dilution

The Equinox AWD 9-speed 2LT with cloth seats can be had for upper $20's discounted if you wanted a stripped 250 horsepower hot rod compact SUV. The Equinox AWD Premier 2.0T with leather and other features is low $30's. None of them will have a near-luxury interior but are quiet and ride very smoothly.

The Buick Envision 2.0T with torque vectoring AWD is the bargain at low $30's discounted offering crisp traffic alert, leather heated seats and steering wheel. The Envision offers sliding and reclining rear seat and tri-zone climate control which is hard to beat at this price.

2019 Mazda CX-5 Signature Turbo Review

I can only speak to the standard Stelvio, which I had a few times as a loaner. It was a very nice car to drive around in, not really a useful SUV. Cargo area too small and too high for my big lazy dogs who wouldn't jump in. But the four seats were very nicely appointed and PLENTY of room for four adults. I would say they compromised the cargo area for rear sit comfort a bit.
I enjoyed sitting in it more than my wife's Guilia. Much roomier and more comfortable. I enjoyed driving the Guilia more. The dig on Alfa interiors is that they're not up to BMW or AUDI quality, and that may be true, but I don't think the interiors of the GErman cars are that great, or as good as they were, I guess. I'd agree, though, the Alfa seems be a little cheaper; that the QF doesn't seem upgraded is an oversight.

One thing I really likes was the big shift paddles on both the Stelvio and the Guilia. I'd love to try to drive the QF and that neat 90 V-6. I'd also like Alfa to succeed here and bring something like the Gulietta over here, but that will never happen even if they do pull this out.

2019 Alfa Romeo Stelvio Quadrifoglio Review

If you want reliability, fuel economy, and good overall quality, you should look into the Lexus ES 300h. There are also slightly used cars like the BMW 530e plug-in and Mercedes GLC 350e that are good if you care less about reliability, but want the German feel and fuel efficiency.

The Tesla Model 3 is also a good choice, but isn't for everyone. It fulfills your requirements. I haven't heard of many reliability problems with it lately. Quality has improved A LOT since they first went on sale. You'll also be using no gas at all and have instant torque.

If you could provide more information it would be helpful because most cars fall in your requirements.

Reliable Car for Retiree

Pretty much any SUV can tow 1600 pounds. I would get a Hyundai Palisade or Kia Telluride. Those are the top two midsized SUVs right now. They thought of everything with those SUVs. The Jeep feels less modern than the Kia and Hyundai and probably will have more reliability problems.

Tow Vehicle

I think the Mazda CX-5 should be at the top of your list. It gives you some luxury and won't break the bank in the purchase price or maintenance costs. As long as you go 2017 or newer it should be quiet inside. I recommend going for the Grand Touring or Signature trims even if that means going used.

The BMW will likely have some problems down the road and the Lexus hybrid should be very reliable and efficient.

I am not a big fan of the NX because it is based on the old RAV4. Not a very dynamic car and it feels old inside. The infotainment system on Lexuses are the worst in the industry also.

small SUV, good MPG, premium

Don't buy a Jaguar if you are looking for reliability. Any other brand should be more reliable. My parents used to have Jags and I had one. I had a 2000 3.0 S-Type and something would break on it every few months costing $500 for each trip. Mostly water pumps and the windows would fall into the doors or get stuck. Mine got to 150,000 miles across 4 years because my commute was longer. My dad's 2003 S-Type got to 140,000 miles across 11 years and had a few major problems ending with a transmission failure. My mom's 2002 XJ8 was the least reliable of them all, but was a true Jag and not a Lincoln LS rebadge. That car had a lot of major problems also ending its life in the failure of the transmission.

Of course this is not something to keep in mind since I'm only one person that used to have an old Jag. You should research Jaguar as a brand and see that they are garbage quality.

All of your priorities would be fullfilled in a Genesis or Lexus. They all have smooth rides and good reliability.

Jaguar XF 2018 Reliability Search

A 2016 or newer Mazda 6 with the Mazda Connect infotainment system is what you should be looking at. Very efficient compared to cars in its class, looks good, handles great, and it has a 6 speed auto. They depreciate more than Hondas and some other brands, so it should be easy to find a loaded model in your budget. If you get that Connect infotainment system, there is a retrofit available to add CarPlay and Android Auto.

The new Accords are too expensive for a decent trim and the previous gen IIRC didn't handle as well as the new ones.. A Stinger won't be much better on gas than a Mustang, but you might like it. A used Acura TLX might be more your style. I'm not a fan of the car, but it is a cheap luxury car on the used market and that makes it appealing for a lot of people.

Economical Sporty Sedan

I loved my Crosstrek. Bullet-proof reliability for 48000 miles. Never felt it was underpowered and rarely felt left behind at a changine light. Power was totally adequate for day-to-day use, if you want a race car get something different.

My only reason for getting rid of this car was the need to haul seven people on a long trip. I miss my fuel economy and maneuverability!

Only gripe: voice commands for phone were painfully slow to load. Three times nav glitched and required restart of car (to reboot the system).

Subaru Crosstrek??

Congrats on the good choice danlisahall. I hope you get what you want out of that choice, thank you for sharing.

I have a friend with a Volt who changes his oil every 7500 miles with limited engine use and it works fine after 100,000 miles. He owns the 2013 so now it is 6 years old and still going strong. I have another friend with a newer Volt (2017) who changes it at the same interval as recommended and has no issues. I don't take chances delaying the oil change on any car I own, but then again, I have never owned a full hybrid. I also don't feel the urge to replace any car before 10 years and 140,000 miles at minimum, unless it is having severe problems.

Is the Kia Niro a hero?

Just note the Prius C due to lack of demand will end with the 2019 model year. If you don't care about that, buy it as it will be cheap at the end of the year (now) as it won't be made anymore. The Prius is not selling either but Toyota just redesigned it and added AWD with electric motors (not selling either). I assume Toyota will offer it for a couple of more years before throwiing in the towel on it if it continues not to sell.

The future is self-driving cars but I think we are still at least 5 or 6 years away before we see what happens next with that.

Next tech investment - electric or plug in hybrid? Or???

To be more exactly, those before 2010 had head gasket issues. Those 2010 and later have oil consumption issues, but not head gasket issues due to the redesign of the head gasket. On those later model cars the head gasket can last up to 200,000 with no problem.

I own a 2013 Subaru Legacy which is the sedan twin of the car you are considerin since it was redesigned in 2010 at the same time the Outback was (and redesigned again in 2015). The only issue I have had after 91,000 starting at 44,000 was limited oil consumption. So now I add one quart of oil before I change the oil every 5000 miles and it runs fine. Note I have had ZERO issues besides that on my loaded 3.6R Legacy. It is great in the snow.

Now if a constant oil consumption would drive you crazy, steer clear. Otherwise I would say buying a 2010-2012 Outback should be generally speaking a good car to own since the gasket issue is non-existant on those model years.

Finally, they are not terribly hard to work on but note, they do have a boxer engine so the cylinders are on the side, not in the V pattern orline inline pattern. Also note particularly on the H6 and less on the H4, the rear spark plug on the driver's side is hard to replace - because you have to replace it by feel and a rachet wrench that has a 90 degree angle joint to reach in and get the spark plug out - every 100,000 miles.

Best of luck.

Questions for Outback owners

Jaguar is not known for building quality. Even Consumer Reports with the limited data it has gives it among the worst rated brands. BMW, Audi, you name it, ranks higher even though those are not necessarily reliable. It is just they are better than Jaguar.

Personally, I would steer clear but maybe someone, somewhere, can say something good about it. I cannot in all honesty. Best of luck.

Jaguar XF 2018 Reliability Search

Probably the most sporty, relialble mid-sized sedan is the Mazda 6, hands down. The Honda Accord with the two liter turbo is probably the second most sporty. These are the best of the normal family sedans as far as sporty goes.

If you are willing to deal with a five door hatchback I can do a little better at a higher cost. That would be the Kia (yes, the Korean brand) Stinger. The 2.0 L engine is quite sporty and gets good gas mileage, and the car has excellent handling. Downside? Backseat is really small. My 13 year old kids hated it back there when I went to the auto show and has them sit in the backseat. Only reliablity issue so far is some rattling - from hard driving.

Better in the backseat and about as reliable? The Buick Regal made by Opel in Germany. It has good handling but not as sporty as the Stinger (but more sporty than the Honda and maybe marginally more sporty than the Mazda 6). It is also a five door hatchback so like the Kia they both carry a lot more than the Mazda and the Honda in the trunk. It is the most luxurious of this group and is the same price as the Kia in the 2.0 L turbo mode. Front wheel drive is less sporty than the AWD version, and the V6 version is more sporty as well (just like the V6 Turbo Kia Stinger is a very sporty car). However once you go to the V6 on both the Buick and the Kia you are paying a lot more for the car and are outside your price range.

On the Mazda and the Honda you may have to go a couple of years old to get under $25,000 if you want them optioned up. For the Buick and Kia you would have to go back to 2018 and see if you can find any in your price range as you may not be able to as they are very popular cars used.

Best of luck, any of those four are probably your best bets.

Economical Sporty Sedan

There is a site that actually tracks these issues. Mostly minor problems so far such as noise and jerky movements. I have not heard of multiple failures as of yet.


CVT transmission

Congrats on you choice and decision. Some times it is just so hard to decide on such a major purchase knowing that there is no perfect one. I suspect your RAV4 will be rolling down the Richland roads for a long time.

Car for long drives and gravel roads

Alright, one last post. I bought a car! It was a RAV4, just not one of the ones listed, but it was a 2011 with only 88K miles and the same sort of clean 1-owner Carfax. I overpayed a bit because they said it was no haggle and being dumb I didn't try. But it was much more within budget anyway. Thanks so much for the help guys!

Car for long drives and gravel roads

The Toyota 4Runner is one of the lowest ranked SUVs in it's segment according to Consumer Reports.


Tool cart

Thanks Electofuel. It is true that Hybrid owners whose use is mostly short jaunts use their ICE very little. Some Kia Niro owners have estimated that their ICE miles account for only 25 -50% of their total miles driven.That leads to the quandry of when to change oil & whether or not one needs to put a fuel preservative in their gas tank as they may go for months without refilling.

My take is that oil changes are highly overrated except for keeping the engine warranty in effect. Most cars less that 20 years old can go 6,000 -10,000 miles between oil change (6K with dino oil, 10K with synthetic). That is backed up by multiple fleet endurance tests, manufacturer's waranties, and engine oil analysis. The length of time the oil sits in the crankcase is not an issue. For the past 20 years I have changed my oil once a year (I average about 8,000 miles/ yr and never experienced any engine issues. Actually, I think that may be overkill!

The fuel deterioration issue is a little bit less certain. My impression is that with modern, top tier gas, 6 months (perhaps longer) should be no problem.

Is the Kia Niro a hero?

If you are only "tooling around town," it might be a good idea to check whether you will actually save money by going electric or PHEV. SDG&E has some of the highest electric rates in the country unfortunately. I don't know about SC Edison or LADWP. Some companies like SDG&E have the time of use (TOU) plans that drastically cut your rates per kWh at night and raises it during the day. That would help a lot only if you drive a lot because if you don't charge your car often, you won't be saving much money at all because you will be paying extra $$$ during the day when your rates are high. Otherwise, I'm not so sure a car that you plug in would help in your situation. Find out this stuff before you buy the car and you'll be fine.

Most of the apartments around me only have a few ChargePoint stations each it seems like. If you only have a 120V outlet and you buy an EV you will probably be screwed. 240V is the only way to go. "The next big thing in 2020 or 2021" in my opinion will still be Tesla because their cars are always updated over the air. Several companies have come out with luxury EVs costing way more than the Model 3 and there is still a certain charm in that well-thought-out Tesla that makes it very enjoyable to own. It will feel fresh 10 years later which you can't say about any other car. I would probably avoid an old Model S, but a used Model 3 might be a little cheaper now and is worth a look.

Some of the better EVs and PHEVs are the Kia Soul EV, VW Golf EV, Kia Niro EV/PHEV, new Nissan LEAFs, Prius Prime, and Honda Clarity PHEV.

The Volt is discontinued, but may still be on dealer lots. Since the Volt is gone, I think the best PHEV would be the Clarity PHEV or Niro PHEV.

For regular hybrids, the regular Prius liftback is excellent and the Honda Insight is a new one that is said to be pretty good. Honda Accord Hybrid and Toyota Camry Hybrids are good as well. The Prius C is a miserable car and I agree with your thoughts. It is the old Yaris with the powertrain of a 2004-2009 Prius. It doesn't have the special feel of the Prius either. I have a 2016 Prius and (at least when it was new) it felt pretty cool and futuristic inside. Now, I regret that it doesn't have CarPlay. Everything else I like about it though. I had a 2005 Prius that went to over 260k miles and thought I could do it again in this car.

The only thing to do is test drive. Sep. 22 is the last day of National Drive Electric Week when all the test drive events are held. I guess dealers are the next best option!

I'm really interested to see what you get. Please respond!

Next tech investment - electric or plug in hybrid? Or???

Congrats danlisahall! Good choice. Hopefully with more and more hybrids and EVs coming out we will see more tires focused on fuel efficiency while preserving ride, handling, quietness, etc. I have a friend with a 1st gen Volt and he didn't change his oil for the first 50k miles because he uses the engine so rarely. I told him he should change it because it isn't good for it to sit for too long (hence why we have 6 month intervals typically), but I could be wrong. I wouldn't recommend it.

Is the Kia Niro a hero?

Wow, you got your money's worth on your Prius! Not surprising given their exceptionally high reliablity -- there is a reason they have become the predominate taxi in many areas.

I just did a similar exercise and purchased a Kia Niro PHEV. It is also available as a non plug in HEV or full BEV. The Niro Hybrid has some advantages over a similar Prius, but the P would probably top the Niro in terms of overall cost to own & reliablity based on its past.
You might want to take a look at my thread here on True Delta regarding purchasing a Niro:https://www.truedelta.com/Is-the-Kia-Niro-a-hero/next-car-Q1158&b=mr

lex on Autos has a couple of excellent review of the Prius vs Niro.

Also there is a excellent Niro forum here:https://www.kianiroforum.com/index.php?page=active_topics

Living in a condo and considering an EV, I assume you have easy access to a place to plug in. Whether you can you easily access a 120 or a 240 outlet will make a big differnce in the car you might purchase. Larger battery = longer charging times. Is the condo associate concern that you might be using an outlet that the condo association pays the electric bill on rather than your personal electric bill? If that is the case it is pretty easy / inexpensive to get a watt ready that attaches to your outlet & records amount of KW used that could calculate how much energy you're vamping from the association.

Love to hear how you sort things out and what you get. No matter what is it, you may be shocked how much cars have changed / generally improved since 2001, especially the electronics and safety features

Next tech investment - electric or plug in hybrid? Or???

Thank you all for suggestions. Everything I read about Tesla says its amazing (well, except for reliablity), but it just isn't the form factor I want. Honestly, I'm more into form factor & utility than speed, luxury, or cache. Great car for some folks, but not my style!

In the final analysis, the Niro is my hero -- at least for now -- ask me in 3 years! I purchased a 2019 PHEV Ex Premium w all bells n whistles.

Because of my low annual miles there is no way I am I gonna save money or getting a similar ICE such as a VW Gold Sportwagen. But I decided the Niro is my Goldilocks car for now. Not big, not too small, comfortable, practical (actually very much like a VW Golf Sportwagen with a little less sport, a little more passenger comfort and amenities, and whole let less gas). I confess that I am probably still scarred by the long lines & skyrocketing fuel prices from the 1973 Arab oil embargo and like really the idea of rarely stopping at the gas station. So far I have about 400 miles on my Niro including two 90 mile trips and have still have an estimated 390 miles of range on an 11.4 gal tank. Some owners report whose daily miles are less than 30 report getting over 900 miles / tankful.

Tire: I agree LectoFuel: I plan to replace the OEM Michelin Energy Saver AS tires with Continental TrueContact Touring for quieter, better ride, & improved wet weather (Seattle) performance. Another Niro owner who closely tracks his mileage swapped his OEM Michelins for the Contis and said noise was noticably reduced and he hardly noticed any mpg loss.

Is the Kia Niro a hero?
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