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Get a real spare (takes up room) or run flat tires (expensive). The sealant kits kind of work, but be careful because it might come back to get you when you go get the tire properly fixed at the local vulcanizer. There's really no substitute for a real spare tire, especially if going off-road.
An alterante crazier option if you have very helpful friend with a 4x4, get a Garmin InReach and you can text for help. It's 15-20$ a month for the basic service you need. It links up to cell via Bluetooth and allows texting.
Have you actually fixed a flat tire with that sealant kit?
I would check out the AWD turbo Hyundai Kona. Pros are good reliability, very zippy around town with fast transmission. Cons are low noise shielding, lots of interior plastics.
Also, being in Europe, I would look at reliable local cars. A diesel Citroen would fit the fill nicely. French diesel Renaults are quite good as well.
If you're looking for build quality, then look for Japanese vehilces with VIN starting with J indicating Made in Japan.
Another "out there option" is GM-branded Daewoos. In America, they're small Chevies and it's easy to tell they are Daewoos made in Korea.
At 6'2, avoid the Miata, unless you go convertible.
Finally, small diesel MB available in EU are very efficient and may fit the bill. Check out the GLA and A-series hatchbacks. There are many good ones on mobile.de (I'm not sure how complicated it is to import now into the UK, but there should be local ones too)
Reliable, somewhat engaging, reasonably priced, and efficient.
We have a 2022 NX350H and love it. Very comfortable ride, great for long distance travel. Living in snow country, we've found this SUV to be competent in tough conditions. The NX450H is a step up that didn't pencil out for us, but if I'd had the resources would have been our first choice.
Finding a reliable car for under $3,500 is a tall order these days!
Toyota Camry, Honda Accord or Civic, or Mazda 6 would be a great car for you. But finding decent one for under $3,500 will be a challenge.
If not too small for you, consider a Mazda 3 hatchback or Honda Fit; both are extremely reliable & will be lower priced. Hyundai Elantra is also a reasonably good used car as is Ford Focus 2008- 2011 were good years and even had Bluetooth phone connectivity (a rarity back then) Avoid later Focui as they had had transmission issues.
You best bet is to find a private seller who can provide service and repair history for the previous 3-5 yrs. Then spend $100 to have a mechanic check it out.
Best wishes in your search.
Nissan and Subaru have the same CVT - but Subaru re-engineered it before Nissan did to make it more reliable. However Lectrofuel is correct - neither is great even through they are better than before. Honda's is better but they tend to last from 150,000 to 200,000, not over 200,000. The only CVT that lasts over 200,000 is Toyota because their design is different. They use a first gear, then the CVT takes over to reduce the strain and heat gernerated by the only CVT designs of others. That strain means they last not as long - that goes for Honda, Subaru, and Nissan. However Honda is second best on the CVT design compared to Toyota.
CVT Transmission Reliability with > 125,000 miles
This is not a normal problem, most Mazda Miata's don't have it. There is probably a short somewhere. It could be in the electrical harness of the car, which would be a bear to find. How often does this happen? Is it immediate (after you put a new battery in) or does it take a couple of years? If slow it could be an electronic board short. If fast it probably ha to do with the harness and then I would wish you luck in finding that.
The linkage could be bad, or an early sign of transmission issues. It is not how the car is supposed to work. Get someone to examine it to determine if it is the transmission or the linkage.
Trans shifts hard in manual but smooth in Drive
Sorry to say, but Porsche is not a very reliable car in the long term. Tend to have problems with the tranmission after about 100,000 miles. So if you want it for the short term (a couple of years, 30,000 miles) you may be okay except for some squeaks and rattles. Just after that point expect to have transmission problems.
Why not a Jeep Patriot. Lots of interior room and 25 to 26 average mpg. Nice to drive too.
Fuel-efficient AWD family hauler
I find this particular review both refreshing and confidence-building. The 2006 Matrix XR AWD is my first Toyota, having been a diehard Honda fan for many years. I purchased it about three months ago with 127K miles on the odometer, but not until I had the car thoroughly checked out by a very reputable service garage. I expected there to be problems, perhaps even to the point that would kill my initial favorable impressions and cause me to walk away from the purchase. I was pleasantly shocked to find that all the team at the service garage could find was a very slight leak at a transmission seal, and a need for a minor wheel alignment. When the dealer selling this car to me agreed to replace the seal and complete a full four-wheel alignment at his expense, I was sold. Three months later, and another 5K miles added on the "clock", and I still can't stop smiling! The car is a barrel of fun to drive, and fits the description in this particular review to a tee. Not the quickest car on the block, but quick enough. Not as quiet as a luxury car, but never claimed to be. But it IS the most solid, well-built, reliable, carefully thought out small utility car on the market, with features none of its competitors can match.
Considered the Dodge Caliper
I think either an older Lexus ES350 or IS350 or a 2014+ Mazda 3, 6, or CX-5 would be good for you. All are reliable. If you want to save money, never go to the dealer for repairs. Lexuses generally have comparable repair prices to Toyotas, as the ES is just a Toyota with more luxury features. The Mazdas will feel like newer cars and are more sporty, while the Lexus ES is cushy and will have the seating position you desire. The IS is a little more sporty and smaller inside. The Mazdas offered a lot more interior/safety tech than their competitors for the time. The Mazdas also have great crash test scores.
Generally, don't go with an American brand if you really want reliability. Even worse, don't buy a German car.
Not sure what you are looking for - a car or an SUV? Gas powered or electric (EV)? You left a very wide range with the question and money you are willing to spend.
Assuming you want a Luxury car with the money you list, I would say Lexus or Toyota as your best bet. There are plenty of Lexus models that are reliable but the ES which is a fancy Camry with the V6 engine might work for you. You should be able to get some of them new at that price (2023) and a 2022 or 2023 with less than 1000 miles on it would also be within that price range. They are durable, and if you need AWD the four cylinder can be had with that (the Lexus does sell the four cylinder if you want AWD). Or if you want to save money get the Camry instead. It is just as reiable but it is less fancy than the Lexus in a number of ways.
If you are more specific I can come back and visit with more specific answers instead of guessing like I am right now at what you are looking for. Best of luck.
Unfortunately at that price point, age, and mileage it is very difficult to find a car that fits your reliablity concern and needs to be a wagon or SUV. Wagons have been gone for some time now (at least any that are reliable as even Subaru now with its CVT does not last longer than 150,000 miles, and the throttle body on the CVT can fail as early as 80,000 which is about $1000 to fix).
Your best bet is a RAV4 with around 110,000 to 120,000 miles. Why would I say that? Toyotas are the best at long term reliabilty, and one with that milege will be about at your price point most likely (depends on where you live of course). Those cars the powertrain and electrical systems tend to last about 200,000 without too much trouble if well maintained. It should get you another 80,000 to 90,000 miles with repairs that won't kill you. No guarantees at the price point you want but it would give you the best chance. In my area RAV4s with the mileage I state and in the price range the newest I can find are 2012 models, and more 2011 models.
Best of luck.
Wagon or mid-size SUV
2013 Subaru Legacy with the 6 cylinder engine and five speed would be a good deal. I own this and although I spent about $4000 over the last two years it has been fine since then. Essentially, the suspension goes around 120,000 miles as did the master brake cylinder, but up to that point it was troublefree. Now has 135,000 and it has been fine after another 15,000 miles. The four cylinder is not such a good deal because the CVT transmission won't hold up.
2013 Toyota Camry would work. These things last 200,000 before major parts go on it. if you can find one in good condition it probably would be better than the Subaru.
Othes cars in that price range that year that could work include Honda Civic, Toyota Corolla, and Mazda 3. All are smaller, but cost less to operate and get better gas mileage. All five cars I list here you can get at 10 years old for less than the $10,000 you list. As long as the car was taken care of, you can get about 200,000 out of all five of these models.
Do not get a luxury car as you will just spend a lot of money keeping it on the road! This includes BMW, Mercedes, Audi, and Genesis. If you can find a Lexus for less than $10,000 steer clear as they have about 200,000 which is when things go wrong. The good ones with less mileage cost between $15,000 to $20,000 which is outside your price range.
Best of luck.
Fuel efficient, comfortable, 10K-12K, not too small
Good sedans not in the luxury segment are few and far between now. Good ones that are reliable long term in particular are a dying breed.
Having written this, you do have a few choices left. The Toyota Camry is a durable car well known for lasting 200,000 miles with minimum difficulty. Parts are expensive if something goes wrong but it is rare when this happens. If you want AWD the four cylinder with just over 200 horsepower you can get it. With the available V6 (10% of the cars they sell) it is only FWD.
Another car that will last you 80,000 miles without a repair is the Subaru Legacy. I say 80,000 becuase at that point, the throttle body fails usually on the CVT transmission costing about $1000 to fix. Then at 120,000 you have to replace suspension components. Then at 150,000 the transmission generally speaking goes and the car is scrap. I own an older 2013 Subaru Legacy H6 which came with a five speed transmission which lasts about 200,000 mles. I have 135,000 on it right now approaching 10 years and the only thing I have had to replace is a lot of suspension components and the master brake cylinder. This cost me about $4000 for all those repairs the last two years but now the car is fine for the last 8 months. Before this point nothing has gone wrong with my car.
Another sedan that is a little upscale but still in your price range with the 2.0L turbo is the Kia Stinger but at $36,000 on the bare bones car it is at the top of your range. It is a performance car designed by the same engineers who designed the BMW 3 series (Kia/Huyndai hired them for this car and the equivalent at Genesis which is more expensive). It is fairly reliable but won't last any longer than the Subaru as the engine tends to fail (literally blow up) around 130,000 to 160,000 miles. They don't have many issues before that point but once that happens the car is scrap.
Another sedan this size but I don't recommend is the Chevrolet Malibu. It no longer offers a decent engine (the 2.0L tubro was discontinued) and it is not as reliable as either of the two preceeding cars.
That is it for the larger sedans in your price range. For smaller sedans, the most durable is the Toyota Corolla. Probably the most durable car on the market. Easily can go 200,000 miles. Mazda 3 and Honda Civic are also good cars. If you want me to break down that market just respond and I can go through a few options in that smaller car market as well.
Unfortunately, despite what the computer says, you should replace all the fuel injectors and I hope all of the sugar is out of the system. Otherwise you will be back to replacing compoents again if it is not out of the system first. Since the gas tank feeds all the spark plugs, you cannot be sure that not all of them were impacted to some degree. Just one was impacted enough that your computer recognized enough. Having others not working well won't make the engine last longer. Best of luck.
Sugar in my tank. One injector has the sugar on it. Can I replace that one injector and be ok
According to everyting I read including Consumer Reports, the TLX since it was remodeled in 2020 has been nothing but trouble. Engine problems are frequent. Transmission is okay but some units have problems. Electrical systems are problematic. At this point unfortunately you are better off with an Audi if you want a luxury car. Acura's sedan is nothing to write home about. This is for a car that is less than three years old in production.
How unreliable has it actually been?
Generally speaking, they are reliable. The CVT fails earlier than the 5 speed transmission they used to have, but that means they fail around 150,000 miles. So if the car is not close to that you should get many years of good use out of the model.
Which trim level and color did you drive with the Ioniq 5? I'm going to have to take a closer look at both interiors.
Hyundai Ioniq 5 vs. Volkwagen ID.4 Comparison Review
Personally, I found the Ioniq5's interior to be inappropriately down-market for the price.
The iD4's interior quality seemed higher.
The iD4's DC fast-charging speed is th real a deal-killer for me though.
Hyundai Ioniq 5 vs. Volkwagen ID.4 Comparison Review
If you can find one within your budget, the Ford Maverick probably comes closest to what you are looking for. It and the similar Hyundai Santa Cruz (which might also work well for you) have a somewhat tighter turning circle than regular pickups along with more compact exterior dimensions. Next up the price and size scale is the Honda Ridgeline, which has been out for much longer so you might be more likely to find one within your budget. Honda's safety tech package has been standard on all trim levels since 2020, and on the upper trim levels since 2017. The turning circle is about four feet larger than those of the Ford and Hyundai.
For reliability it's probably hard to beat the Toyota Tacoma, but its ride will be bumpier. It's turning radius is the tightest of the conventional pickups, and nearly as tight as those of the Maverick and Santa Cruz. The Tacoma has included a package of safety tech since the 2018 model year.
The Ford Ranger should be about average in reliability and more comfortable than the Tacoma. It's turning circle is a couple feet larger, though.
Selecting my next ride
A highly reliable manual AWD wagon that's light enough to feel nimble might not exist. If it does, I'd like one myself.
E46s are too old to be more reliable than a recent Golf R.
Would be nice if the Volvo V70 R was more nimble and more reliable, but of course they aren't. A Saab 900 Turbo X is somewhat more nimble than the Volvo, but reliability and parts availability can't be counted on. And can one even be found?
I imagine a Subaru isn't upscale or refined enough.
A Ford Focus RS is nicer inside and feels more substantial than a Subaru, and they're certainly fun to drive, but I wouldn't count on one's reliability, especially considering how such a car tends to be driven.
Aside from the above your only options are German, or at least German-owned. So beyond the first few years reliability is a crapshot. Most are okay, but when they're bad they can be really bad. Any chance a Mini Clubman would do the trick for you?
Fun, manual trans, wagon or sedan, good power, efficiency
Current market pricing makes recommendations tough. I would hope you wouldn't have to go all the way to a 2013 or 2014 to get a CX-5 under $18,000. Looking around, it seems like you should be able to get a 2016 and maybe even a 2017 for that price. The 2017 was the first year of the somewhat more upscale second-generation CX-5.
If you don't absolutely require a crossover, the 2019 and up Mazda3 hatch is also offered with AWD. More fun to drive, but less interior space. It could also be very difficult to find one nearby.
Fuel-efficient AWD family hauler
Can you be more specifice about your needs and priorities?
Take a look at a Kia Niro HEV. Sort of a 75% scale model FWD Outback that gets 50+ mpg. Way more comfortable and "normal" than a Prius. Same can be said for the Ford Escape Hybrid. Unfortunately both are pretty hard to find, but there a few out there for under $26K.
Branded title can be a great buy for a 2nd car with approval of a trusted mehanic. Just realize that reselling it can be a challenge.