Blogs Car Info Our Show Deals Mechanics Files Vehicle Donation

Recommendation for a ten-year 150,000 mile vehicle

I am considering buying a new car to replace a 2000 Toyota Corolla that is beginning to show its age. I would like a vehicle that meets the following criteria:

  1. It will run at least 150,000 miles and ten years with a low total cost of ownership (it will not fall apart at 75,000 miles or less)
  2. It has a comfortable ride
  3. It gets reasonable gas mileage
  4. It is in the $20,000 - $25,000 price range (or less)
  5. It is reliable
  6. The driver sits up higher than the 2000 Corolla

What do you recommend?

The length of the list depends on your desire to properly maintain the vehicle and your penchant for luxury/tech items.

I will perform factory-recommended maintenance and prefer a minimum of luxury/tech items.

Given all that and with your username taken into account, the Subaru Forester might be a good choice, but you need to drive one for an hour or so to see if the seat works for you. At least sit in it for an hour, nothing like an uncomfortable seat to make you hate a vehicle, and seats are so personal.

Edit: or Crosstek (sp?)

A new Mazda CX-5 Sport with the 2L engine is available for about $20,000 plus taxes and registration. If that is underpowered, the AWD Sport comes with the 2.5L and all of the Touring models have the 2.5L engine. Both Touring and AWD Sport start a main under $25,000 MSRP.

Stop by the bookstore, pick up a Consumer Reports New Car Buyers’ Guide, test drive the ones with the good ratings that look good to you, buy one, and then maintain it per the manufacturer’s recommendations. And don’t abuse it.

The comfort thing is purely subjective. But if you follow my suggestions you greatly improve your odds of getting one that you’ll have for 300,000 miles. Your 150,000 mile goal will seem to you to have been ridiculously low.

Lots of good cars at that price range. I would favor the Mazda. Great fun and very solid.

With proper maintenance any modern car should make 150,000 miles. Sitting up higher than a Corolla suggests a crossover, and the price and desire for low maintenance costs suggeats one of the more basic ones. If you are in an area with cold, snowy winters, get an AWD.model. Subarus tend to be complex, but good for people who need AWD. Not many are under 25k, but a very basic Forester or SV Crosstrek would come in under the wire. If you don’t need the extra room, I’d get the SV Crosstrek.

If you live somewhere with mild winters (as your name suggests) AWD should be avoided unless you like driving on poor roads. None of these crossovers is suitable for hardcore offroading. AWD adds complexity and weight, reduces gas milage slightly, and is one more thing to break. Excep for Subarus, almost all crossovers also come in a cheaper FWD version. For you, a Honda CR-V, Toyota RAV4 or Mazda CX5 would be suitable. The Mazda is likely to be the most efficient. Reliability should be good for all three. A cheaper alternative is the Kia Soul. It may not be quite as well made, but it might be, as Kia has improved dramatically in the last decade. It’s more of a tall car than a crossover, but it is very roomy and straightforward.

If you can drive a manual and one is available, that’s another money saver. They need simpler, cheaper maintenance and don’t often need repkacement, as automatics sometimes do as they age (often due to neglect).

Another Toyota. (Or Honda) There are plenty to choose from. Most new cars do offer more upright seating. A Camry or Accord (40mpg highway) will suit your needs with comfort to spare. If the price of a new one is little too much, look at an off lease one. They will easily met all your expectations. I always recommend them for high mileage, comfortable and reliable transportation. No brainiers. There are plenty of other good cars out there, but if you are going to make a recommendation to a stranger and be safe, I stay with Camrys, Corrollas, Accords and Civics ( and their derivatives ) and RAVs, Crvs etc. And, after 10 years and 150k miles, if not rusted, they will still be worth more then most comparable cars…

I think it depends on what you mean by “sitting higher than the 2000 Corolla”. The seats in that car have probably settled some and even a new Corolla would be sitting higher :slight_smile:

If it is for ground clearance and off-roading, then the smaller Crossovers mentioned above are great. But if that need is not there, the bigger sedans (Accord, Camry, Mazda 6, Sonata), would be much more comfortable on long rides.

You need to take a long test drive in a few of these cars. I bought a CRV in 2011 and we felt it met all our criteria. That was until we started taking one hour + trips in it and the noise and ride was getting uncomfortable. The driver seat also proved to be too tight for me. Thanks to the good resale value, we were able to sell it at a reasonable loss and get something else.

I went through a similar search with my mom after her 1990 Mazda no longer felt comfortable for driving (not to mention it was 19yrs old with 194,000 miles at the time) The Priorities were pretty much all of yours with a desire for a slightly higher seating position which could be had with a height adjustable seat. Dad’s 2007 CRV she decided had a driver’s seat that was a little too high for her tastes and the mileage at 25mpg in mixed driving wasn’t nearly good enough. Looked at a number of cars on the market and she could pretty much tell from one look if the seat was at the right height. A brand new Corolla might work just fine or if you want to sit even higher there’s the RAV4 or the CX-5

Mom got her new Prius which is what she really wanted in the first place, but everyone likes a different thing. Try out a few compacts like the Mazda3 and get an idea of what height you really need the seat to be. Buy what you like the best.

Most newer cars have greater head room, depending on your height. Most newer cars have better seat adjust ment. My vertically challenged wife likes the ability of our newer cars with seats that elevate to a much better degree then old Corollas. You need not buy a car make just because it has greater ground clearance when many cars allow to sit higher or high enough.

How about a Ford Fusion?

I think they’re a little underrated and overlooked

They’re midsized, so comfort might be better than that 2000 Corolla

Consumer Reports tends to rate them quite well, as far as reliability goes

Any new car pretty much gets better gas mileage than cars from the 2000 model year, due to technology advances

The Ford Fusion also has a much more sophisticated suspension and steering setup than that old Corolla, so it might handle better

I can attest to this. I’ve driven several Fusions as rentals, when they first came out, and been impressed with how they handled. My mom owned a hybrid, and even the LRR-tires handled pretty good…and much better when I convinced her to swap in a more performance-oriented brand when the originals wore out.

The Ford Fusion is one of the few Fords without major warts. I would worry about the instrumentaion though; there have been some problems with that, and out of warranty repairs on these can get pricy. The fact that the car is made in Mexico should not be a concern.

Just another global car . . . like those Toyotas made in Kentucky

The current Fusion is the European-designed Ford Mondeo. Before last year, the much squarer Fusion was based on the Mazda6 or 626, stretched a few inches and rebodied. Most of the work was done by Mazda, as is true of most smaller US Fords for some years. When they sold their controlling share in Mazda they put the European design and engineering groups in charge of all small Fords worldwide. That gave us the Fiesta, and a Focus close to the European models, and a new Escape that had been sold in Europe for some years. Also the C-Max. Ford has finally gotten serious about true global cars. And despite a few hiccups, they’re doing it right, with attractive, practical vehicles to sell. I wish GM would do the same, but so far they don’t seem very committed.

Question . . .

Why did Ford sell their controlling share in Mazda?

They were strapped for cash and Mazda was a desirable asset.

I wonder if they’re regretting it, because Mazda now has some enviable technology