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Car recommendation

Hi - I’m in the market for a new (to me) car. I live in the mountains of Colorado, commute 60 miles M-F, and 5 of those are on gravel and dirt roads. I need space for 3 medium-sized dogs, too. I prefer a car/suv over a pickup truck and am considering a 2008 subaru outback (6 cyl), 2008 toyota highlander or even 2008 volvo xc. Which do you think would be best for the money? I hope to keep whatever car for at least 200,000 miles. Do I need to get over myself and get the toyota tacoma instead? Thanks!

The Volvo will cost the most to maintain, probably by far. You probably want to knock that one off the list.

I’d forget the Volvo. Maintenance and repair costs on them can be astronomical.

I’d say it’s a coin toss between the Outback and the Highlander. Either is good. How much does AWD or 4WD mean to you?

The Tacoma is a pickup truck. Dogs in the bed of a pickup truck have no heat. It gets really cold in Colorado. You don’t want a truck.

RE: AWD or 4WD - I guess I don’t have a strong preference. I currently drive an 04 outback and its been my first experience with AWD. It’s nice to not have to think about it, I guess. Have been mostly happy with the outback, but now am having an apparently rare head gasket issue. I would hope that wouldn’t be something I would have to deal with next time around. Mechanic says the 6 cylinder engine is a nightmare to work with.

Oh and thanks for the feedback about the cold for the dogs…we are in SW CO and when we’re out with the dogs, heat is generally the issue, but that’s a good point to consider.

In addition to the Highlander, I would highly recommend a Pilot if you can find one. They are actually better than the Highlander room wise, handle better and in my opinion, give you good bang for the buck.

Ford Escape would be another good choice