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Need a car under $10k to move to Canada: Fit, CR-V, Rav4, Rondo, or Tucson

Hi Car Talkers!

I’m moving from the US South to Saskatchewan to start a new job. I’m going to sell the old beater I have now and buy a new-to-me car, which I will also be using to haul my stuff up there. I’m going to be on a 2-year temporary work permit, so I will be exempted from the Canadian importation rules and regulations re: cars that can be admitted.

I want to get the most reliable, low mileage, and low mpg vehicle that I can for $10k or less - but, because I need to fit my stuff in it, I also need to maximize the cargo capacity. I really like the Honda Fit, but I’m worried the cargo volume isn’t big enough.

Here’s what I’m looking at, with the specs of the years, mileage, and cargo volume I could get for ~$10k in my fair city. Which would you get?

Honda Fit: 2008-2010, 30-50k miles, cargo volume: 53 cu ft. Summary: excellent maintenance history but on the small side.

Honda CR-V: 2003-2005, 100k miles, cargo volume: 71 cu ft. Summary: older and higher mileage, but more space, good maintenance record

Toyota Rav4: 2002-2005, 90-100k miles, cargo volume: 70 cu ft. Summary: older and higher mileage, but more space, good maintenance record

Kia Rondo: 2007-2008, 80-100k miles, cargo volume: 74. Summary: lots of space, but high mileage and poor-average maintenance history

Hyundai Tucson: 2005-2007, 70-100k miles, cargo volume: 65. Summary: reasonable space, higher mileage and poor-average maintenance history

Thanks in advance!

Just Curious, Is Canada Part Of Asia, Now ? Why Are You Limiting Yourself To Japan/Korea Makes ? You’ll Be Losing Out On Some Of The Better Value Choices In That Low Price Range ($0 - $10,000).


Lots of choice there. How much stuff are you hauling? I would ship my stuff and buy a car I really wanted and fit my needs. Any car sold in the US will work well in Canada. You may have to install a heavy duty battery and make sure the antifreeze is good for -40. Winters are cold in Saskatchewan.

Ford Escape is another good choice

Thanks for the advice, Docnick and bscar2!

common sense answer: haha. In all seriousness, American-made cars generally are less reliable and have worse gas mileage. Consumer Reports rates the reliability history of used Honda Fits or CR-Vs as “Better” pretty much across the board, but, e.g., Ford Escapes as “Average” to “Worse”. Plus gas mileage for an Escape is ~6-10 mpg lower. But if you can name a good value American-made car that is also reliable, I’m all ears (or, err, eyes)

What do the “natives” drive up there in Sask.? That should tell you which vehicles to consider. Remember to factor in the additional expense of an engine heater. LOL

In your list, I would recomend the RAV and the CRV. Both of these makes have given 200k yeoman service in our family.

“common sense answer: haha. In all seriousness, American-made cars generally are less reliable and have worse gas mileage.”

I’ve owned Asian, European, and American-made cars for many decades. I’ve worked at European and Asian car dealerships. I’ve taken and passed mechanic certification exams, and maintain and repair our family fleet of cars as needed (7 cars, 4 drivers), and have subscribed to Consumers Report magazine for many decades. I currently own and operate 1 Chrysler, 3 Pontiacs, and 3 Chevrolets.

I could offer suggestions, but you’re better off sticking with cars from your list and leaving some of the best values to others. It seems as though you are convinced it’s the way to go.

P.S. Advice:
Trust me, take the CU advice with a grain of salt.
Buying used isn’t the same as buying new.
Also, $10,000 won’t go far for cars on your limited list.

Good Luck,

One additional piece of advice; If you are going to work in a small town in Saskatchewan, I would stay away from any slow selling or rare car. The local mechanic just won’t be able to deal with it.

I would avoid a Kia at this stage,and any Volkswagen, but a Ford Focus/Ford Escape would be acceptable. The “locals” strongly prefer pickup trucks, Jeeps, and US cars. They’re very conservative in their tastes. A foreign sports car would be you worst choice. Also, snow removal is spotty in smaller towns; make sure you have a vehicle with good winter tires and adequate ground clearance. The engine block heater mentioned by others is standard equipoment all all vehicles sold there. The block heater and a heavy duty battery would be my first outlay.

If I were going to move to that area where snow removal was the least bit questionable and had the buy the most reliable vehicle I could get for under $10k, this is what I would get. It may have been shot from that area.

I have had 5 of these babies bought used over 35 years and have NEVER been disappointed in their winter travel capability, their reliability and their bang for the buck.
A 4wd, 4cylinder Tacoma with AT tires for year round or change over winters on rims. These, and chains for good measure.

BTw, I disagree that American cars are not reliable. Three of the most reliable cars along with the best selling car of all time, the Corolla have at times, been made in America. Many Camrys and Accords are American made cars and are second to none, in long term reliability.

I agree with CSA, you can find reliable American made cars. These three are a sample.

Thanks, dagosa and Dacnick. I’m leaning towards the CRV, RAV4, or 4Runner at this point. I looked at the Toyota Tacoma, but there aren’t many for sale where I am now, and those available are either beat-up work trucks selling for 2-3k, or new city trucks selling for >20k. I seriously looked at the Ford Escape, but Consumer Reports gives all but the '05 model year bad reliability scores. I’m no mechanic, and don’t want to have to take my car into the shop all the time.

Good point, dagosa. I’m choosing based on the automaker’s reputation, not on whether the vehicles are physically made on US soil or not. Hondas and Toyotas are widely known to have better maintenance records. Consumer Reports says so, that’s why they have such high resale values, and the CW is backed up by my own years of experience.

CSA, as I’ve already said, I am open to other suggestions. I wouldn’t have posted here if I wasn’t! I haven’t yet found any cars made by American makers that meet my criteria (good reliability rating, lots of cargo space, good in snow/cold, high gas mileage, <$10k) - I’d love to hear of any I’m missing. But if you’d rather just rag on me for my preferences ::shrug:: so be it.

anything in the 10k range will depend on the previous owner’s care.
If an oil change or new tires were low priorities for the owner, you aren’t gonna have a very reliable car, regardless of who made it