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It is time to buy a new car

I am replacing an old 4x4 SUV (1998 Montero Sport purchased new). I have narrowed the list to three cars: Honda CRV, Toyota RAV4 and a Subaru Forester. Because I drive my cars on average fifteen years I am leaning towards the non-hybrid RAV4 which I am thinking will have fewer expensive repairs after ten years than a hybrid, or a turbocharged CRV or Subaru’s boxer engine head gaskets. Are these valid assumptions? I like the fuel economy of the RAV4 Hybrid but it looks like the cost replacement batteries is not coming down as predicted several years ago. Thank you for you time and info.

In my opinion, yes.

Be sure to take it on a decently long test drive though - some people find the ergonomics of the Rav4 to be very uncomfortable.

AFAIK this year Toyota extended their hybrid battery warranty to 10 years and 150K miles.

If you know how to work with a screwdriver and multimeter, I will share my expense refurbishing 15-years old Prius battery was under $200, although going with dealer replacement would be close to the car residual value.

That would be my choice among those three, but like every stock prospectus says. Past results do not necessarily predict future returns.

A friend went through the same process, and ended up with a Toyota RAV4. He liked the CRV but skipped it because of the CVT transmission. He skipped the Subaru for the same reason and the head gasket and transmission problems.

If you have lived with a Montero for 22 years you will find Toyota ownership almost boring in terms of reliability…

But as others say, drive the models you are interested in since personal comfort is as important as reliability.

Also drive the Mazda CX-5; it’s real fun and a very practical vehicle.

Happy shopping!


As a point of reference, we have owned three Subarus (Legacy wagons and Outbacks). Zero had the dreaded head gasket problems. We followed the maintenance recommendations in the owner’s manual. Daughter owns a 2011 Outback, so it has lasted more than eight years with no expensive repairs. Normal maintenance only.

My first Subaru was a '97 Outback that displayed oil seepage into the cooling system at ~110k miles. The dealership replaced both head gaskets for something less than $400 (likely because the vehicle had been maintained by them), and a year or so later, it was passed-on to a young relative who took it to college. Despite (probably) less than optimal maintenance on her part, my old Outback gave her faithful service for another 30k or 40k miles.

I replaced the '97 Outback with a 2001 Outback, and the only repairs over the next decade involved replacing an idler pulley bearing. The '01 model was replaced with a 2011 Outback, and its only repair–under warranty–was the replacement of the WW reservoir. I currently have ~105k on the odometer, and it drives like a new car. Even the dealership can find nothing wrong with it.

A plug-in hybrid is due this summer: RAV4 Prime. 302 HP, 0-60 under 6 seconds, AWD, can go 39 miles on electric alone. $36,000.

The Toyota hybrids have been among the most reliable and durable cars on the road for many years. This vehicle sounds like a real winner to me, if I was looking for that body style, liked the comfort and ergonomics, and expected to keep it for a long time.

I like the non-turbo, non-hybrid Rav 4 as well. All of those are reasonable to consider, but I think the Rav 4 is the best choice. You can probably further reduce future maintenance and repair expenses by choosing a manual transmission. If that’s an available option.