An SUV that earns its keep - under $10000

#1

I need an SUV and can’t find anything post 2000 that I can get really excited about.

I used to have a 1998 Ford Explorer and LOVED it. My parents used it when they built their house, it drove the AlCan, traversed many forest roads (in snow), pulled trailers of hay and tools across raw land, and when the seats were down we could camp in it. At 257,000miles the engine was still strong but everything else was keeling over so it was easier to donate to NPR. I drive a 1999 Honda Odyssey which I like for its roominess and comfort but it is lacking the 4x4 and off-road things I need.



Gas mileage isn’t a huge concern - I live near town and can, and do, walk or bike to do my shopping and to work. But work often includes private catering which means I will need to drive and park it downtown, the back needs to lay down flat, and be able to transport food over highways, cities, and rural, unpaved easement roads high in the hills (even in winter).



On weekends it needs to carry 4 tall adults and child comfortably on long trips (lasting days) as well as on unpaved forest and primitive roads and in snow (we XC ski).



In two years (or less I hope to move from catering to farming) this means I want to haul stuff in a trailer across land and primitive roads, and someday add a wench.



Oh yeah, and I would love it if the seats layed flat enough so I could sleep in it.



For bank and insurance reasons I sort of have to look post 2000, but I also would like something simple so I can fix basic things, and where one bell or whistle won’t stop everything. Is there a SUV to fit the bill? Of course I looked at the newer Ford Explorers but really not loving them as much as the old one (they seem more boxy and clunky)



Any thoughts?

#2

Toyota 4Runner? Versatile, not too huge.

But sounds like you need a Chevy Suburban. The national truck of Texas.

Don’t know how flat the seats fold in them, though.

/Mr Lynn

#3

Maybe you should be looking at a 98 explorer and a different bank and insurance company.

#4

Somewhere around the 2000 model years, the Explorer line split. Since Ford realized they were selling most of the Explorers to soccer moms and were having all the legal problems from the rollovers, they made the regular Explorers into bigger boxier vehicles that have better on-road handling. But they also kept making the older style ones under the name “Explorer Sport” which they sell far fewer of, but they’re still around and they’re still making them. They’re very similar to your '98 and I think they might be just what you’re looking for. They also sell a “Sport Trac” version which has a small pickup bed in the back.

I’d also suggest an Isuzu Trooper might be a good match for you-- very roomy, very capable, relatively simple because the design didn’t really change all that much since the late-90’s remodel and they can be had for very cheap used.

#5

My vote for the older, pre 04 Nissan Pathfinder. Bullet proof and cheaper than a 4 Runner. Explorers will NEED more fix’n.

#6

I was looking at the fact he loved that car and was being redirected by the insurance companies and banks, I know if my wife likes something so well I will eat the potential costs to keep her happy, to a point, she loves my trailblazer and wants it but I won’t let it go so she is stuck with the minivan, as when shopping for cars she picked it.

#7

Don’t Be So Sure. The Owner Got 257,000 Miles Out Of His Ford And Loved It Enough To Look At Them Again.

We operate only American cars and get unbelievably good service from them. I don’t buy into this Japanese car Myth, at all. They’re OK. I have worked for both Volkswagen and Mazda and have lots of automotive experience.

#8

Instead of the Explorer, why not up-size to an Expedition?

#9

I can believe that…Explorers/Blazers will provide service for that many miles. But according to post,“everything else was keeling over”. I would recommend considering other makes as well with CU in mind.