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I have $6k Budget, should I buy Subaru Forester or Honda CRV?

I have a hot pink ( I got it custom painted) Volvo 240 that is the love of my life, but the rear will drive put me in a ditch near a CLIFF last year due to rear-wheel drive + snow. So when a co-worker was selling her Audi Quattro I bought it to be my mountain/ snow/ roadtrip car. ( I live in Portland Oregon and love the mountains) Since I’ve had it it has been a fussy fussy baby. AND it is so low riding that I can’t even drive it on fire-roads with rain-ditches. So now I think I should get either a used Subaru Forester or a Honda CRV - and only have about $6k to spend - which will serve me better at that price point? I want VERY reliable, good AWD, enough clearance to go semi/ off-road. Can’t get stranded on the mountain where there is no cell service.

Jeep Cherokee, Think of it as a four wheel drive version of a boxy Volvo 240 wagon

Subaru has superior AWD over CRV. CRV is FWD with occasional AWD and not so good in deeper snow or off road.

The problem with $6k is it puts you into head gasket blowing prone Subaru years (1998-2003). If already corrected or you can find a newer Subaru wonderful.

I agree with americar. As an owner of several Jeep Cherokees and Grand Cherokees over the past few years I can attest to their reliability. They can go about anywhere and you should be able to pick up a nice one for 6K. I would suggest the Jeep Cherokee 4 door, 4WD that is equipped with the 4.0 HO engine.

I like Subarus but would recomend the CRV based upon the simpler (though less effective) drive train), the better motor reliability record, the better accomodations of older models, and the personal experience I’ve seen with several people who bought CRVs with 100k and run them to 200K plus with good success. Though a Cherokee is much better off road, it has the potential reliability expense of thousands more than a CRV and highway mileage is much worse. Unless you go to a used Toyota PU, “me thinks you ask too much” if the roads are too rough for a CRV. You should not have a problem with the CRV on roads you discribe as they have good approach and departcher angles for ditches…as long as not deep mud filled. Check utube offroad with CRVs to get an idea of what they can and can’t do.

Subaru head gaskets or possible CRV valve lash/cylinder head issues; pick your poison. I’d take the CRV IF it is verified there is no valve lash problem.

Also keep in mind that Subarus are not impervious to valve lash problems.

A Jeep is not a bad option if AWD and ground clearance is a necessity.

Ford Escape, Mazda Tribute, Rav4

Whatever you think about buying, have it inspected BEFORE you buy it. That sweet deal might just turn out to be like your Audi, or worse.

Neither; with that budget you should shop for a good econobox such as a Mazda Protege, Honda Civic, Hyundai Elantra,Corolla.

You should be able to get one with reasonably low mileage, well maintained, and enjoy many years of economical driving.

Reliable and $6,000 budget are contradictions. For $6K you have to get an older model of either and they will need repairs. So, does your budget include another $1,500 to $2,000 for repairs in the first year? If not, then you are really in the market for a $4,000 car with ample money available to fix it and make it reliable.

Perhaps the best set of 4 winter tires your money can buy put on the old Volvo you love so much would be something to consider?

Neither of the vehicles you are considering are really very good off paved roads. Yes, they have a bit more ground clearance, but you could use a few more inches and some good skid plates. The Subaru is just not up to it. The CRV with skid plates could work. The Jeep’s as others have recommended would be even better.

Pretty Pony, Keep Driving What You’ve Got Until You Can Save More Money.

Slow down in adverse weather, particularly when driving in hazardous terrain. Learn to handle a RWD so that you don’t have to blame the car for putting it in a ditch. FWD is not going to be the answer. You’ll probably think you can go faster.

I have driven RWD and FWD for decades and in poor weather and in mountains and have never left the roadway. Had I done so it would have been my fault.

At that “price point” you are in the “champaign taste - beer budget” category. As long as that Volvo’s running, keep driving it and keep saving. Don’t jump out of the frying pan and into the fire.


People almost kill themselves in AWD,4WD, and FWD cars too. Why get rid of the love of your life?

Food for thought: Back in the winter I had to have my car towed from out in the middle of nowhere after colliding with a deer. It was after a significant snowfall (significant in KY is like, 1"). I created small talk with the tow-truck driver and he said in passing that he had to dig out MAINLY people with 4WD.

I think Common Sense answer gave you literally the common sense answer!