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You sound like a practical person looking for a beater type car that you can take to the woods or beach. In this price and mileage range you will be looking at car that will probably need some parts wrenching to make it reliable and keep it that way. I'll give you a brief list of suggestions in my order of preference with a nod toward practicality:

Ford Escape Hybrid 2005-2012
: This early and well thought out hybrid rig that will average over 30 mpg. It was so reliable that taxi companies started to snatch them up and apparently some have gone for 200,000 - 300.000 miles. Parts and even reconditioned batteries are widely available at a reasonable cost.

Tarus Wagon or Ford Freestyle (aka Ford Tarus X): These are what you want if lots of space is important. Lots of FWD Tarsus out there and parts relatively inexpensive. Freestyle a bit rare but lots of room, avail in FWD & AWD.

Ford Focus Wagon:
On the smaller side, a reasonably reliable rig.

Saturn Vue:
Another rare but relatively good choice. No worries about rust with these!

Subaru Wagon (Legacy or Outback): Could be a good choice but these demand a premium price and older models commonly had head gaskget and wheel bearing issues.

Best bet is to find a private party sale from an honest owner that has had it for 3 yrs or more. That way many of the parts that commonly need replacement may have already be replaced and you can get pretty good idea of what may or may not need attention. As always, a $100 mechanical check may help avoid a major issue.

Would love to hear what you decide on.

fuel efficient , station wagon for camping, maybe I'll remove rear seats. around 5-7000

I loved the styling of this car when I chose it, and I still do, 14 years later. When the car is working well, it has such a civilized and refined ride. It has a 6-speed manual transmission which is like butter going through the gears. Very easy to drive, and the seats are as comfortable as advertised. Volvo seats are the best.

However, the front suspension is just plain lousy. With only 86,000 miles, this car has buried me in repair costs. I have now replaced the struts and springs three times, and these have all occured once the car was out of warranty. The control arms have been replaced, as have the front axles and wheel bearings. I needed new brakes at 35,000 miles! What does this say about the vaunted Volvo engineering? I have no doubt the engine will operate for hundreds of thousands of miles. I've never had a problem with the engine. It's everything else that is attached to the front end of this car!

I am not an aggressive driver. My daily commute to work is a total of 10 miles! How can this be so bad? The car is not a sport version and I do not have low profile wheels. It's configured about as domestic as you can get. I'm flumoxed!

Member Vehicle Review

The Quest isn't nearly as reliable as a Sienna. The transmission will likely fail at a low mileage unless it was babied. Also, the most recent Quest had safety ratings that I remember being quite bad compared with the competition.

The Toyota Sienna Woodland Edition has .59 inches of increased ground clearance compared to the other trims. Also gets 35/36 MPG since it's a hybrid. MSRP is $45k. the e-AWD system isn't as capable as a mechanical AWD system, but it is enough for most cases.

If you need a better AWD system or if that is too pricey, I'd get a Honda Odyssey or Kia Carnival. I rented a 2019 Odyssey on Turo for 1000 miles, and I couldn't have asked for a better minivan or car for the job.

Scotty Kilmer is one of the worst people to listen to in the automotive world. He has old ways of thinking and does not know what cars are reliable and not reliable.

You shouldn't worry about the CVT in the Civic. Replace the fluid on time and you should get over 200k miles. They have some of the best CVTs. Don't go with a Nissan CVT. Subaru CVTs aren't that reliable either.

Toyota also makes a reliable CVT, and their e-CVT (in their hybrids, has nothing in common with a traditional CVT) is likely the most reliable transmission of all time.

All the cars you listed are good. I think the 2016-2021 Honda Civic might be the best because it's fun, reliable, efficient if you go with the turbo, and holds it's value. Mazda 3 would be my first choice for you, but its resale value isn't as high as a Honda or Toyota. They are very reliable, efficient, and fun.

I would suggest buying new because cars that are a couple years old are almost as pricey as new ones. 2022 Civic is way nicer than 2021 and older. 2019 and newer Mazda 3 rides better than 2014-2018 Mazda 3, but is not nearly as fun as the 2014-2018. 2019 and newer Mazda 3 is more luxurious.

Mazda 6 or 3, Camry, Honda Accord???Basically these are all great cars.
Accords consistently win most praise / are winners in comparisons. Lots of folks like the M6 but it falls short of mpg & space compared to the other two but then there is the Zoom Zoom factor. Also, Mazda has long lagged in popularity compared to the Accord & Camry. The result is they are hard to find, but often sell for less of a premium.

Since you said you'e a Mazda gal, that probably what you would like best.

Regarding sourcing your car, I always prefer purchasing from an orignal owner who has properly maintained the car & can back that up with serice records. Otherwise, CarMax, CarGuru ... are pretty equal in my estimation. CarMax does offer a nice 7 day return policy & a 90 day/4K warranty on most later model cars! https://clark.com/cars/carvana-vs-carmax/

Reasonably efficient, reliable, pleasant sedan/hatchback

I have a 2018 Kia Nero Hybrid. Bought it new. Love it! I average 55+ mpg. I've found its better suited for a city car. MPG is higher in town than highway.
Handling is very responsive. Riding comfort is decent.
No maintenance except oil change.

Electric car

I have a 2015 Chevy Silverado with 57000 miles and the rocker panels on both sides are rotted through I contacted GM and they denied me help
my warranty ran out at 6 years
could it be possible this thing could go so bad in that short period of time
does anyone else have problems like this


Thanks for the support. I hope to keep this car for many years. It's a 2012, I bought it in 2015 with 37,000 miles on it. Turning 89,000 miles this month (July) 2022. The Xenon bulb took a while, had to figure most of that out myself, but the 2 (of 4) VVT valves on bank 1 were not too difficult after seeing a youtube video. The car runs better than when I bought it. Less hesitancy and fewer rough idle episodes.

Water under rear cargo area

Boxters are great, fun cars, I've had 5 of them from 2000 to 2007.
I was very "lucky" and did nto have the IMS problem.
I now have a 2013 which has another not as serious problem wth the inside door material glue failing!

Are you happy with it

The Sequoia is a thirsty beast but most SUV's of this size are. What are your options if you have a family of 8? Vans this size and other large SUV's have similar mileages but not enough better to sarifice the reliability of the Sequoia for the difference.

Member Vehicle Review

Completely agree with your assessment. I am leasing a 2022 GT1 AWD (Ceramic silver, Red leather interior). I went with the 300hp 4 cylinder model as new cars were hard to find in early 2022. Very impressed with the power and handling. Average mileage (5k driven) is 25mpg, a combo of highway and city. I moved to Kia after having two Audi's (A5 and A3). The Stinger is a better car, in all aspects.


I would up your asking price too. A decent compromise for the V6 would be a turbo'd 4-cyl. Since you are looking at some of the smaller VW and Audi's, I would recommend looking at used VW GTI's. Some of the older gen golfs also had the R32 or R in a V6 configuration and a manual. These fetch higher prices though. The GTI's are a nice middle ground. The turbo will help it not feel like a dog past 40 mph. If you want, you can look at the older Subaru WRX's that came in a wagon. There was also a time when Saab also sold their version of the Subaru WRX wagon called the 9-2X Aero. Both of those came in a manual. The STI wagons might still be above 20k. Lastly, you can also look at Mazda 3 hatchbacks. Some of the lower/mid level trims came in a manual. I would recommend at least the 2.5L engine vs the 2.0L. The 2.0L was OK. The 2.5L is the better engine and should be sufficient for getting up to speed. Only FWD is available with the manual for the 3's.

sporty WAGON

Just an opinion but with the Chevy's higher reliability rating and the current price of used vehicles, I would try to patch up your current truck and keep it alive for a couple of years until the used car market returns to sanity. Buying the Ford which is already 10 years old gets you no promise of more reliability for a lot of additional expense. Better to keep the devil you know even if he's an ugly rusty devil. As long as it passes State Safety Inspection, you are better off.

2008 Silverado vs. 2012 F-150

140,000 miles isn't great, but depending on your driving style and where you drive it can happen. My wife does a lot of city driving including fast food and bank drive throughs so our last two cars had transmission problems with less miles than your.



Reliable, fun to drive awd suv

I wonder how the Taos would fare compared to the Mazda CX-30.

2022 Volkswagen Taos Review
  Michael London

My Tesla Model Y is now 18 months old.

What has gone wrong with it? Let me think a while. Nothing.

It now has crossed 34,000 on the odometer. Nothing has been changed out or repaired.

On May 29, my wife and dog and I took off for a 4000 mile road trip. What did I need to do to get the car ready for that? I pumped up the tires.

My average consumption of electrical energy per mile with all travel included has been 280 watt hours per mile. That is about 3.4 miles per kilowatt hour. My home Tesla Wall Charger delivers 45 miles of range added per hour of charging. My cost per kwh at home is about 15 cents, so a bit over 4 cents a mile.

On the road trip (Austin-California-Washington-Montana-Wyoming-New Mexico-El Paso-Austin) I used Tesla Superchargers all the way. Planned each stop for recharge, motel, sightseeing, or whatever we needed to do. My target distance was a range of 130 to 150 miles between charges. I would charge it up to about 280 miles of range, run 70-80 mph, (my wife's minimum is about 84 mph and sometimes 90!) and by the next planned recharge, we would be down to about 40 to 80 miles of range left. Charging would usually take about 25 - 30 minutes and Tesla charged my account about 12 cents for each mile added.

Now that we are back home from the trip, there is nothing to do to the car. My tires have only been rotated once long ago, and the tread is still good in my estimation for maybe another 15 or 20 thousand miles.

Just looking at used Teslas like mine, I see asking prices well above what I paid in Dec 2020.

Terrible Experience, Tesla Doesn't Care

Thanks for your reply. Was just going through this site again after a long hiatus. I heard that he was getting ready to shut it down. Do you still have your Jag? I got rid of mine, but I wish I would have kept it.

I have a 2003 Lexus ES300 which is just starting to have engine trouble. I like the car okay. It is almost as nice as the Jag, but the Jaguar had crisper handling and much sharper looks. I certainly miss it.

Member Vehicle Review

The combo of manual tranny and $5000 max to spend really limits you. I think your list covers pretty well covers your options. The $5,000 car with 200,000 miles is likely to be an project car -- and expensive unless your good at wrenching - I'm thinking at least $5K to make it comfortable, safe, and reliable. Hopefully you can find a Jetta wagon that meets your desires.
My only suggestion would be up your ante to $20,000 (if possible) and look for a used Golf Sportwagen (had manual thru 2019 I believe).

sporty WAGON

We had this issue on our 2014 GC and it was past warranty and had about 55000 miles on it . Local dealer photographed the area and they paid for a new hood and painting . It is a common problem with them not prepping the aluminum hood right at the factory . Have not had an issue with the hood the dealer painted probably 5 years ago now .

Paint bubbling on hood of Grand Caravan

I dont know if you care where cars are made but the Envision is made in China and shipped here . Myself will send no money to China specially with everything that has gone on the last 2 years .

Smallish SUV

Hopefully some owners will chime in.

Based on their responses to TrueDelta's survey, these have been reliable cars. That said, many of them are not daily drivers, so some of the good score could be due to their not being driven as much or in as harsh of conditions as the typical car.

Porsche Cayman Reliability?

It looks like this was intended for the My Next Car section.

I'm personally wary of the CVT transmission in the Nissans. The new Rogue is certainly an improvement over the old one, though. The prices of Nissans might be attractive, since they often sell based on price.

I have not yet driven the new Envision, but think they nailed the styling and expect the comfort and quietness to be there.

The Mazda CX-5 has been very popular with the site's members, so it's probably also worth a look.

Smallish SUV