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New car for long commute

Hey car folks. So I am a 200k miles Subar Forester owner with a lifetime of issues big and small. I love hate relationship that may soon be on its end So I’m looking into new cars Despite all their issues with certain models I do love Subaruz so I’m considering an outback but also curious about Honda CRV and they’re great reputation. But the kicker is I drive over 100 miles a day (3 days a week) with my commute So whatever car I get it’s going to rack up some miles fairly quickly ( which is why I’ve been breathing life into my Forrester for so long ) I really don’t want to get a hybrid car like a Prius because my need for cargo space as well as my preference for AWD. I looked into the Kia Niro as well but not sure how I stand on that. If I go with outback I read a lot of issues with oil consumption or others with certain years. Any advice on best year Outback?

A Prius V may be pre-owned car worth considering. It’s a bigger version of the Prius. A RAV4 Hybrid may also be worth considering, particularly if you have a winter commute with bad weather. I’m a Subaru owner and have had 4. The oil consumption and now CVT issues are driving me from the brand I love. Sounds like I’m not alone reading your post.

I don’t consider Hybrid vehicles the thing for long commutes . Do you really need AWD ? A Subaru AWD is just too sensitive to tire wear differences for me to even think about one. All you can do is look at the manufactures build your own sites and then go see the ones you like in person.

I drive over 100 miles a day four or five times a week. In 2017, I sold my 2005 V6 Accord and replaced it with a 2017 Accord EX-L with the 4-cylinder engine. I went from 26 mpg to 36 mpg. I’m very happy with the new Accord. I miss the extra power, but it is primarily a commuter car and I like the big improvement in gas mileage. I do not consider the new one underpowered, just not as powerful as the old one.

What’s the breakdown of high vs city/town miles in the 100 mile+ commute? How bad are your winters? Depending on where you live you’ll do better with a set of winter tires on steel rims for a FWD car vs an AWD…

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The Subaru Crosstrec is one the top reliability according to Consumer Reports. You’ll have to go with Toyota/Lexus to beat it.

Hi, I’m on my 5th Outback and I swear by them, never really had to swear at mine! I had some small oil consumption issues in my 2010 3.6R about a quart every 5,000 miles almost from when it was new. Never got any worse and never was any better. I always use Mobil 1 15,000 mile oil. Even though I change it every 7,500+. I am now driving a 2015 3.6 Limited that is a great car, good performance, nice ride, reasonable mileage (with your mileage you might want a 4 cylinder). I drove both the 4 and the 6 and preferred the feel of the 6 made the Outback feel more solid and luxurious. The 2015 has not burned any oil to speak of in almost 100,000 miles. Again I still use the Mobil 1 15,000 mile oil. I bring it with me to the dealer at every oil change. At 100,000 miles I am still using the 5W-30 with no oil consumption to speak of. I have never had to add a quart between oil changes. In all of my Outbacks I have only had 2 warranty claims over the life of 5 vehicles. I think you should consider the 2019 Forrester that is just being introduced looks good to me, although I think the Outback is a bit more luxurious by design.

Test drive some econobox type sedans first, Corolla, Civic, Accord, Camry, Mazda, Nissan, etc. You may discover the sedan ride is so much better than an SUV you’re willing to give up on the AWD preference. If your concern is commuting on snow covered roads sometimes, FWD alone (with the engine weight directly over the drive wheels) is pretty good for that. I much prefer the lower center of gravity ride a sedan brings.

One of the best-kept secrets in the world of winter driving is how well a FWD car does with snow tires all around on steel rims.


Just curious, why would steel rims make a difference for snow-driving?

Good question! It doesn’t! I just added that for all those folks out there who don’t have unlimited resources. They buy a new car with a higher trim level including alloy rims and now they’re going to shell out for 4 snow tires and are they going to put them on alloy rims? Not me. Are they going to swap them every spring and fall on the stock alloy rims? Not me.

But not as good as an AWD vehicle with winter tires all around.

Not all vehicles have steel rims available for their vehicle. The smallest rim my Mazda will take is 17"- according to and I’ve not seen steel rims in that size, let alone any bigger sizes.

I put my winter tires on cheap alloy rims, separate from my factory alloys. I keep my cars forever and switching to winter tires doesn’t make my car look cheap. I tried steel wheels with plastic wheel covers, but I end up replacing the covers every three years. One set of steel wheels and two sets of wheel covers is about the same price as a set of cheap alloys.

I drive front wheel drive sedans. I can tell you from my experience that a FWD sedan with winter tires in snow country is much better than AWD with all season tires. All winter long I pass many, many SUV’s and trucks with AWD and 4WD sitting in the ditches next to the highway while I tool along safely in my car. Lack of winter tires and overconfidence in their vehicles just because they are AWD causes drivers of these vehicles to lose control with alarming frequency.


Good point. One of the reasons for purchasing AWD here in Calif is to avoid having to install chains on route to the ski resort. But when chain control is in effect, AWD with all season tires may not be enough.

Requirement 2 (R2): Chains or traction devices2 are required on all vehicles except four wheel/ all wheel drive vehicles with snow-tread tires on all four wheels.

Snow-tread Tires: Snow-tread tires can be identified by examining the sidewall of the tire where the letters MS, M/S, M+S or the words MUD AND SNOW have been stamped into the sidewall.

Well here we go again. Of course it isn’t as good as 4WD with winter tires and chains on all four but you have to choose what makes sense. I’ve never had winter tires and drove 40,000 miles a year in Minnesota and South Dakota. FWD was a great improvement but posi traction was also an improvement from standard. Yeah a few days when it would have been nice but most roads clear out in a day or two after being plowed and treated. I always just set aside a week of vacation to use as snow days when the weather was bad and ended up spending those days cleaning out everyone else’s driveway. I’ve got AWD and FWD now and good all seasons with the snow emblem on them. Only once in the last two years have I had a chance to try out the AWD and in the FWD, I made the mistake of staying an hour too late on Friday the 13th and struggled for 10 miles before the plows came out. So at any rate suit yourself and your own level of tolerance but unless you live in the hills or out in the boonies, good all season tires and FWD or AWD should do fine. Some folks even carry chains but again this isn’t Sweden (at least where I’m at).

When I lived in Colorado ski country I got along fine in winter driving with snow tires (studded) and front wheel drive, never needed chains on my VW Rabbit. On my rear wheel drive truck I’d still have trouble even with snow tires when in 2WD mode, but I could switch to 4WD mode for that problem. Never needed chains on the truck either. In Calif however if you don’t have chains when required, even if your car can make it ok, you’ll likely get a fine.