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Good used cars for family of four

I’m looking for a good used family car for a family of 4. I can always find this years reccomendations but how about some reccomendations from 2004, 2005? I’d like an SUV, something with cargo and leg room - I’ve 2 growing and active little boys. Any suggestions?

You need to buy a copy of the Consumer Reports Used Car Buyers Guide.

It is available in the magazine section at Barnes & Noble, Borders, and some large news stands. Rather than random suggestions from the well-meaning folks on this forum, you need a publication like this which addresses all possible factors that you might be considering in the purchase of a used car.

I agree. However, if you still want us to recommend vehicles, we need to know your price range and intended usage of the vehicle.

There’s far too many recommendations to list but with any vehicle doing a lot of homework in advance of the purchase can help a lot.

My wife’s side of the family is pretty large and 2 of her sisters have SUVs; one Trail Blazer and the other a Tahoe. Both have been rock solid reliable vehicles and the last time I saw the Tahoe it had close to 200k miles on it with nothing ever needed other than maintenance items, a set of brakes, etc.

I’ve driven both of those and my preference is the Trail Blazer as it’s a bit smaller and more manageable.
Keep in mind that’s only 2 vehicle suggestions out of many.

Honda CRV or Toyota Rav 4 if you are looking for any kind of decent mpg. Both have been very reliable and hold up well as used cars.

If you want to get a lot for a little money, lots and lots of Ford Explorers are for sale. Poor mpg but otherwise they are good.

I think the back seat of my '03 Honda Civic has plenty of room. The trunk is very large for a small car and can carry lots of stuff. Are you sure you need a gas hog SUV, when you can get 38 mpg with a Civic? The best mpg you’d get with a CRV is about 25, and a Ford Explorer is 15mpg.

Gas isn’t going to stay at $2.50 a gallon, $3.00 to $4.00 a gallon will be the norm once the gas companies can find a way to jack up the prices again. Any up tick in the economy is all they need to pop the price up $.10 a gallon.

Having a famly doesn’t mean you have to drive a mini van or SUV. What good is a big roomy SUV that you can’t afford to take on a trip?

How old are the boys? Is either in a car seat?

Keep in mind that larger cars will use more fuel.

I agree that Consumer Reports is a good source of information. With the small cost.

The Chevy Equinox has rear seats that move forward and back. The total recurring cost for 5 years is almost identical for the Equinox and the Rav-4. The Rav-4 needs fewer repairs, but is more expensive to maintain. Expect to spend about $25,000 for gas, insurance, maintenance and repairs over 5 years on either. But the Equinox will cost 20% less to buy. Check them both out and see if the Rav-4 is worth an extra $2000.

Minivan is the best choice(remove the 3rd row seats for excellent cargo). They also have high depreciation in general especially Dodge/Chrysler.

SUV’s, I would skip small SUV’s as suggested in your years since the cargo/rear seating is cramped. But look yourself. I would look at the midsize SUV’s if you don’t drive lots of miles(poorer MPG) as domestics midsize SUV’s are inexpensive in today’s used market.

A lot of people have these weird hang ups about minivans, but I’m with andrew_j. For sheer practicality & comfort w/ kids you can’t beat them. (And they even have good cargo room even w/ the rear seat - but amazing without - remove all rear seats and you nearly have a pickup bed).

Bonus since you’re shopping used - they can be had really cheap.

You want inexpensive and reliable? Do you dare to be dull? If so, buy a Grand Marquis or Crown Victoria.

Wow! I never even thought of that! Thanks - I’ll go out and get one ASAP - I didn’t even know there was a CR Used Car Buyers Guide. Thanks.

My price range would be about $10 - $12 K, and the use is to drive it every day, every where - errands, outtings, etc.

I am 67, and most of the time there are just two of us. But, I live my Sienna and hope it lasts a long time. Roomy, powerful, gets 24 mpg or better at a steady 70. There is a long stretch in Mexico that the speed limit is around 50, which is insanely slow. I have no idea what the mileage is at that speed because the gas gauge doesn’t move enough to know. 157,000 miles and everything is solid and tight.

I’m also 67 and drive a minivan–a Chevrolet Uplander. I think that we need to make the minivan a cult vehicle just as the VW Microbus was back in the 1960’s. The hippies back then either painted flowers on their VW Microbuses or applied flower decals. We need to think of something to put on our present minivans that represents the times.

Don’t downsell the car completely. Very comfortable.

“Don’t downsell the car completely. Very comfortable.”

I disagree. I find them to be quite uncomfortable. I’ve driven a lot of rental cars, and these are among the lease comfortable for me, but apparently not for you.

I am not downselling them at all. They are great cars, but dull. You can’t say Grand Marquis without grandma.