Help me buy my first car?


#1

Hello all

So I have finally gotten a job that doesn’t pay in monopoly money or beer. The short version is, I will be traveling all summer and early fall and when I come back I am hoping to pay cash for a car. I need some suggestion on what I could look for in coastal Oregon.
My requirements:

  • Big enough to sleep in the back (I am 6’3")/ room for equipment
  • able to put a canoe/ kayak on top
  • 20mpgish highway
  • cheap to repair/ durable
  • less than $10g

I am looking at the ford ranger, any other suggestions?

Update: Thanks everyone. I will keep looking around, my former car (registered to my parents) was a 05 sienna and that worked pretty well. The problem is that it did not do very well in the snow or in rough roads. I do a lot of hiking and climbing and the Tacoma is always in the parking lots so I figured a small truck with a “floor” in the bed (raised platform in the bed for sleeping with room underneath for storage). Anyone have experience with modifying minivan interiors?


#2

Go to http://tercel4wd.com/forums/viewforum.php?f=15 when ready. There are still some good ones left in your area and they won’t cost you $10k, but you will need to keep some money aside for repairs. But repairs are relatively cheap for a DIYer and the cars are legendary for their durability and for their off road capability.


#3

^
Can a Toyota Tercel fulfill the OP’s stated needs of…
…being able to accommodate a 6’3" man (plus “equipment”) in the back…
…being able to haul a canoe or kayak on its roof?

Having driven a Tercel, many years ago, I somehow doubt that one of these sturdy little cars would fulfill those needs, but…perhaps my memory is cloudy.

I think that a Ford Ranger (or the identical Mazda truck clone) would be a good fit for the OP.


#4

What about a full size pickup like an F150, Ram 1500, or Silverado 1500? You can get an 8 to 10 year old low mileage truck for $10,000 from a dealer.

Edit: the Chevy and Ford get 19 mph highway with the small V8 and auto trans. The Dodge gets 18mpg with the same configuration. I used the 2008 model year.


#5

@VDCdriver, yes, this is the wagon and it is quite long from the back of the front seat to the tailgate. More room than many if not all the small and mid sized SUV’s out there. About 6.5 feet. Too narrow for two though, unless…


#6

I would lean towards a minivan with foldaway seats. If you get cold in the night you can always turn on the engine and blast some heat.
You might enjoy this read
http://community.cartalk.com/discussion/2307249/reasons-to-get-a-minivan/p1


#7

Folks have said here that some versions of the Toyota Prius make for good car camping vehicles. Can’t speak to how well they’d fit comfortably for sleeping a 6’ 3" persons though. The common way to do this would be a truck w/a shell or small camper. That would work, maybe an older Ford Ranger truck? Or olderToyota Tacoma?


#8

Even the Prius V would seem to be tight. A minivan would work great.


#9

A minivan sounds great. Used Dodge Caravan/Chrysler version of them are pretty cheap used and if the OP is a bit handy could fix/maintain the car well. Should be able to get one for $5 and pocket the difference for insurance, repairs and cool beverages.


#10

Most minivans have 8’ of space behind the front seats and you can sleep two. Most small pickups only have a 6’ bed so he would have to sleep diagonally.


#11

My 2002 Sienna, parked in McAllen, due to Mexico changing import laws, gets 24 mpg at 70 mph, 26 at 65. Over 30 the one trip where I drove to the border at only 50 mph. Yes, plenty of room for two to sleep. You can in fact on the generation 1 Sienna take out all the rear seats if you have a place to store them. Generation 2 gets harder, though more convenient.

Market value around 2,500 with high mileage You would have to get one that was as well maintained as mine was

By the way, if you are going to run the motor while parked buy a household CO detector and put it in there. Yes, CO can kill you with no warning if you have no detector.


#12

My 2002 Sienna, parked in McAllen, due to Mexico changing import laws, gets 24 mpg at 70 mph, 26 at 65. Over 30 the one trip where I drove to the border at only 50 mph. Yes, plenty of room for two to sleep. You can in fact on the generation 1 Sienna take out all the rear seats if you have a place to store them. Generation 2 gets harder, though more convenient.

Market value around 2,500 with high mileage You would have to get one that was as well maintained as mine was

By the way, if you are going to run the motor while parked buy a household CO detector and put it in there. Yes, CO can kill you with no warning if you have no detector.


#13

@irlandes, it was worth repeating your post twice to remind us about the dangers of carbon monoxide.


#14

Abandon Ford Ranger search. They used to be unstable. In Maine, whenever it snowed, somebody we knew would roll one. The word gets around on the air base. The Bronco II was worse.


#15

I can recommend the Subaru Forester. I’m about 5’10" and I have about 6" of headroom with the seat raised all the way, and the seat can be slid back a good 4 inches more.

MPG varies from 20-30 city and 30-35 highway. Plenty of room in the back with the rear seats folded down.

edit: compare to my previous car, a Passat wagon. I had 1-2" overhead clearance, and the seat was all the way back.