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New car buying advice

I’m looking to buy a car (95% sure a new, compact or small midsized SUV) and I’m curious to hear which car you feel would work best for me:

Not a car guy at all (know nothing), but my 14 year old car got stolen about a month or 2 ago few weeks back, so I’ve been researching like crazy from Consumer reports, Edmunds, Car and Driver, UsNews, etc.

? Live in the city and will mostly drive in the city (parallel parking friendly)

? I’m a single 36 year old guy

? 90% of the time it will just be me and a 110lbs dog, no kids.

? Ideally want dog to sit in the way back, with the back seats up

Will that be an issue getting cool air back there?

? Want heated seats, and sunroof

? Want AWD or 4WD for Chicago winters

? Drove a small cars (Toyota Celica and Acura Integra) my entire life and want more roomy

? Not really so outdoorsy, so not taking the car through tons of mountains

? Drive about 6000 miles/year (not many)

? Want something that will last for a long time

? Narrowed it down to the following cars:

- 2011 Chevy Equinox ( the leader, but maybe 2 big and worried about chevy resale)

- 2011 ford escape (worried about buying a new car with a very old framework)

- 2011 Subaru forester (don?t love the looks and don?t see many men driving this)

Thanks a ton,



Stu

Single and living in Chicago. My pick would be a Hyundai Elantra Touring, a spacious hatchback with a good reputation. Tons of room for your dog with the seats down. In Chicago you don’t need the expense and complexity of AWD, just a front wheel drive with good winter tires. You can get all that for around $20,000 loaded.

Forget what Edmunds says about maintenance and operating costs. Buy the car if you like it after driving it; take the pooch with you! The Toyota Matrix fills the bill well too. I rented one this summer and found lots of room to carry bulky objects.

Some cars that may be recommended, but I would not., are the VW Jetta station wagon, or any other European car.

I’m a Toyota lover through and through and have had a 1998 Toyota Corolla bought new with never a power-train problem. I’ve been thinking about a small SUV or cross over vehicle as well. Does anyone have anything to say about the 2011 Ford Edge? The style’s nice but I’m more concerned with reliability.

If you like Toyotas, why aren’t you considering a Rav4 or Highlander? I wouldn’t worry too much about Edge reliability, or Equinox reliability for that matter. Any will provide long life at reasonable cost as long as you take care of them properly.

If you’re gonna be parallel parking a lot, you should seriously consider one of those back up cameras on whatever you get. Of those 3, I’d go with the Escape. I went with a Mazda CX-7 myself for my new car and love it. Get a lot for the money I think.