24 and broke, but need a car with 4WD

I currently drive a 2009 Hyundai Elantra with 65K miles. I’m now back in New England and have had trouble getting up my driveway this winter (ok, I’ve been stuck and have had to have co-workers pick me up all winter). I NEED 4WD. My car is also having trouble starting and I don’t want to go figure out what the problem is or pay for it, I just want to get a new car.

I’ve had my heart set on a Jeep Liberty. I love the look, I love the feel, I love how safe I feel in it. I’ve found a few for around $15,000, but not totally convinced on purchasing immediately, as I have a father and a brother-in-law with differing opinions…and the gas mileage leaves a pit in my stomach.

I just found a 2006 Jeep Liberty in great condition for just $9500 with a clean carfax, one owner, but it has 11,000 miles more than my Hyundai and it’s 3 years older. My brother-in-law says this is a bad investment… But he also makes a decent living. I am just getting started in my career and know I will be making more in 3-4 years, so my thinking is that I buy this for basically a free trade-in and when I’m making more money in a few years, I can trade it in and get a better car…

What do you all think? Good idea? Bad idea? Do you suggest a different SUV for me? Any and all tips would be greatly appreciated!

Forget the Jeep Liberty. They have been prone to problems. Maybe all you need is better winter tires. Now 4 WD and All WD can be more expensive to operate and repair but maybe a Subie or something if you must-but the kind without the head gasket issues.

Your bros. in law is right. Things you can do that are cheaper. Winter tires, a must for your driveway. Drive up backwards and you will have much more traction. If you can’t back up, learn. Keep the car you have for now. Does it have the traction control feature ? . Learn how to use it if it does. If you have not put winter tires on your compact now, you are making a bad choice in getting a 4 wd and expecting it to replace them. It will get you up, but it won’t stop you going down.

@Bing is right. The Liberty is a poor car over all. No one knows what their financial situation for sure will be in three years. Plan on what you can afford in the here and now…,an Elantra with snow tires and friends. Keep them in beer, it’s cheaper. :wink: Plow and sand your driveway. That’s cheaper too.
Sorry to be blunt…but you did ask for “all tips”…oh, get a tune up and have your car serviced. These cars have decent reliability, and it’s practically “new” by today’s standards. It’s the lack of service it gets not the make that makes it hard starting.

I’ve never had a difficult driveway to drive up but I have lived in Northern Maine (5years) and Alaska (1 1/2years). I never needed 4WD or AWD and neither did my wife. We did, however, need winter tires. I not saying it wouldn’t be nice to have…but 4WD is certainly not needed in order to drive in winter weather. I loved all my Jeep Cherokees (2WD) but I would avoid the Jeep Liberty like a heart attack.

One more vote for GOOD winter tires (4). I had no problems in 12 years in Anchorage with my GTI. WAY cheaper than a newer car, and a Liberty is trouble-prone.

I would vote or a four wheeler with a plow. It can be fun in the summer without the plow!
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I’m with the crowd on this. Broke is not the time to be car shopping. Broke is the time to figure out a way to get up the driveway with your current car.

And I liked Texases emphasis on GOOD winter tires. They don’t have to be expensive, but once half the tread is gone winter tires lose significant traction. For an extreme situation like yours, you may want them on spare steel wheels to use them only in the winter and preserve the tread.

Maintenance of the driveway should be looked at too. Keeping it clear, salted, and sanded may be essential in your case. Two barrels of sand, one at the top and one at the bottom, each with a shovel in it, might be a big help. A plastic tub in the trunk with sand and a scoop might be a good idea too.

Broke is also not the time for these emotions: “My car is also having trouble starting and I don’t want to go figure out what the problem is or pay for it, I just want to get a new car.” Take this approach and you’ll not only be broke, but unable to make your payments and end up broke AND without a car!!! Then you’ll not only be unable to get up the driveway in the winter, you’ll have nothing to DRIVE up the driveway in the summer!

Which is better: having a Hyundae and NOT having a Jeep, or not having a car at all… AND owing the balance between what the bank sells the Jeep for and the balance on your loan?? Do NOT assume that because the bank repossesses your car you’re off the hook. If they cannot sell it for the full value of the loan AFTER their expenses, you owe the difference!

Winter is almost over so you really have about 9 months to make a decision. Your roads should be cleared by now and hopefully there won’t be any more major snow storms. You may get some more light snow but that should be cleared quickly.

I would also recommend the winter tires, but I would wait until next November to get them. In the meantime, concentrate on your career, save for the tires and ultimately, save for a new car several years from now.

But it really sounds to me like you just want another vehicle and you are not going to listen to us. Its hard to be heard over the “new car” bug.

Keith, I too get that impression.
It’s impossible to help someone who has already made his decision. But we’ll keep trying.

You’d be amazed at what good winter tires will do for a front-wheel drive car. If your driveway is particularly steep/icy you can even get studded winter tires that will give you incredible traction…if your state law allows studs.

But if you insist on AWD, a Honda CRV or Toyota Rav4 are good choices for New England.

I need to be convinced that you truly need AWD. Do you have winter tires with good tread? Is the issue with just your driveway or also with your road? How often did you really end up stuck? Are you clearing your driveway before driving on it? Can you go to work a little late if necessary?

This trade really isn’t free, as you’ll definitely spend more on gas and you’ll very likely spend more on repairs and maintenance. If you’re broke, this isn’t a great idea. Keeping your current car going while putting away money for the next car is the prudent thing to do.

What’s the warranty situation like on the Elantra? Hyundai did have pretty generous powertrain warranty going.

I am just getting started in my career and know I will be making more in 3-4 years

No you don’t. Things can change in hurry. Don’t count the money you don’t have today as being there tomorrow.

I agree with the others, I think its more financially prudent to fix your car and get some snow tires.

I suspect hat the OP, having not gotten the answer he’d hoped for, has left the building.
Happens often.

When someone starts the discussion with, “I love the look, I love the feel, I love how safe I feel in it.“
The check book is open and logic like…”.these cars in 2 wd are essentially rwd vehicles that fishtail at the slightest provocation” is hard to hear. . Except in the highest end model, you can’t drive it on the main roads in 4wd when the conditions aren’t slippery. And, can you afford the terrible gas mileage compared to your car in your present financial situation. I figure you could nearly double your present gas payment in town if it has a six.

There are two instances that I know of whose husbands bought these things for their wives, taken in by the Jeep mistique and not realizing they are more off road then on road vehicles. It took one winter of driving by these unsuspecting wives to hate them. One went off the road hitting a snow patch and the other was frightened to take it out of the driveway in snow. So, they will get you in your driveway, but they are a hand ful to anyone accustomed to fwd and suddenly hit a little snow or ice while in 2wd and you can’t shift in and out, quickly enough. I admit, Awd car alternatives are the very best in snow when equipped with snow tires but the finances don’t warrent it when there are less expensive solutions.

But, “I love the look, I love the feel, I love how safe I feel in it.” are strong words. I don’t argue against a purchase with my wife when she uses those words. ;=) I hope you take all the great suggestions by others including your brother in law to heart. Remember, you brother in law may be in a better financial situation because in part, he may have made good decisions about buying cars.

Possibly you now know to not rent or buy a place in snow country with a steep driveway unless it is very short and you have a large bag of salt or else you have the bucks to get the vehicle and tires needed and are willing to put up with such a restriction for the forseeable future. Can you park at the bottom of the driveway on the worst days?

  • 1 Wha Who?
    Can you park at the bottom of the driveway? You do not need to drive up. You are 24 years young, you can walk.
    I do not want to be mean, just rational.

Thank you 252525 for the affirmation. Walking is good and I am thankful that I can not just suggest it but can do it and uphill too. If you can walk, you must walk to keep on being able to walk. My dog always wants to go for a walk and I think that I will too, bye now, gotta go.

Strategies in dealing with slippery conditions are more effective then just over powering them by changing vehicles.

I am a “Jeep Nut” in Upstate NY and love them, BUT they are crude vehicles, best for occasional use & off-road or trail journeys. I love the '05 thru '07 Libbys for their modern handling dynamics due to the safety features added during the “Mercedes” ownership years. But I also like the crude, “truck-like” nature of them having owned two previous Cherokees back in the '90s. So I’m using mine as a “toy” & “grocery getter”, not everyday, primary transportation.
That said, four winter tires on a front-wheel drive vehicle, will take you almost anywhere you need to go. If you must have a “newer” car, go with the “Offical Car of New England”, a Subaru SUV; better gas mileage & everybody works on them.

Simple. Sell the elantra and buy a 4wd pickup with money. Don’t cost u a thing. But time.