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Greetings …we just were in an accident that totaled our PT cruiser so we are looking for another and would love your suggestions and why. We need a car that is good in the snow (we live in upstate NY) and is safe (we walked away from the last accident luckily). We do some long distance traveling…would like the car to be able to accomodate 4-5 although most of the time it is just myself and my husband. We also need some room for carrying luggage. We would like really good mileage. We actually liked our PT cruiser …right amount of room but in looking over Consumer reports …we must have been lucky with it. We would like to spend between $8000 and 10000 …although we would negotiate. Any suggestions and why would be greatly appreciated

Ignore CR.

If you like the PT Cruiser, then look at the 2006 or 2007 model year. There are no significant problems with PT Cruisers from those years and the prices will be under $10,000. The source is Intelefix with information posted at MSN Autos and Edmunds.

Why ignore CR? Because their ratings are unusually severe. They rate a subsystem awful if there are 3% or more problems with it. But they never estimate how much it costs to repair or maintain a car. You can get that information at Edmunds. The 2007 PT Cruiser should be about 15% more to repair in the next 5 years compared to a Toyota Matrix. It will be about 7% more to repair than a Chevy HHR. All have a 5 year estimate of around $2000; we aren’t talking about a lot of money. And you can get a PT Cruiser or HHR for thousands less than the Matrix. The Pontiac Vibe is a twin of the Matrix, but a 2007 will be over $10,000. Again, it’s thousands more than the PT Cruiser you like.

Not sure we want another PPT cruiser but may still look at them…thanks for the encouragement. What about this Pontiac Vibe? We are really concerned about safety, roominess and good mileage.

GM in general and Pontiac in particular, are history…Find a Chevy HHR and see what you think. Or another PT-C…I agree with Mr. Sanders, Ignore CR for the most part.

The Pontiac Vibe is a Toyota Corolla in station wagon form, and is mechanically identical to the Toyota Matrix. The Corolla/Vibe/Matrix is one of the most reliable vehicles on the planet. Check it out for yourself.

If you have access to Consumer Reports you will see. I don’t think CR should be ignored. They compile their ratings carefully, and they’re not biased. They tell it like it is. I don’t always agree with them, but I respect their ratings.

You didn’t tell us how many miles your PT Cruiser had accumulated, so it’s hard to tell whether you were lucky, or whether you were REALLY lucky.

If you really liked your PT Cruiser maybe you should buy another one, but I think there are better vehicles to be had.

Early 2000s Forester. Similar fuel economy (slightly better if you had an auto), AWD, better crash performance, in your price range, reliable. Just make sure that if you get a 2.5 liter, the head gasket has been replaced, and recently. 2.2 liter is bulletproof.

Impreza or Legacy would be just as good. (The Forester is sort of half Impreza, half Legacy, with a taller body.)

An early 2000s Honda Accord would be at least as good as your PT cruiser in all respects but cargo capacity…or at least access to cargo capacity. For half your budget you could get a late 90s Accord wagon which would stomp all over your PT cruiser in all respects. But you’d probably want to get one from outside New York.

The PT cruiser had 98000 miles…we put on 80000…so I think we were really lucky. We do have access to Consumer Reports . You said “but I think there are better vehicles to be had.”…may I trouble you for what those would be.?
Thanks a bunch.

I think we would want more room than the Honda Accord…I will try to look at the Forester and other Subaru’s …I have heard good things about them.

I will look at the HHR…my husband likes the idea of the American car…but is not wedded to it.

Hey, maybe you’ll be lucky twice, and another PT Cruiser might be just the thing for you.

How do you feel about the future of Chrysler Corporation?

Consumer Reports can recommend vehicles better than I can. There is a “Used Cars to Avoid” section, just as there is a “Best Bets” section.

Look around and see what works for you. A vehicle I like may not be good your you. Take your time, drive anything and everything that interests you, and then decide which vehicle suits you.

Buy the one you like best, regardless of what anyone says.

I’m a Subaru owner, and a Honda owner. The Honda will give you better mileage and lower overall maintenance costs. The Subaru excels in winter conditions, but can’t deliver the mileage of a Honda. How important is winter traction to you?

Just re-read your original post. You’re in upstate NY, which is snow country. I suggest you give serious consideration to a Subaru.

Once you experience the Subaru AWD system in snowy conditions you won’t want to go back.

Just be careful when looking at a used Subaru. Their AWD system is known to be very picky about tire differences. If you look at one, check to make sure all 4 tires match, if not, walk away from it.

The Pontiac Vibe has AWD and good gas mileage and reliability as well.

I agree on CR. However, at the same time, there may be other factors. For example, my 2002 Sienna is by far the best car I have ever owned. Yet, Siennas do cost considerably more than, say, a Dodge Caravan. It’s worth it to me, because I plan to drive that Sienna until I can’t get new parts for it, or it gets wrecked.

I left our home in Mexico Oct. 1, drove 875 miles to the border in two days. Then, after several days, in which I changed the oil and filter (this is the 8800 miles I drove to have my oil tested as a learning experience) we then drove 1700 miles in 3 days, to northern Ohio. Visited there nearly a week, then to western Illinois in one day, two days later into Iowa to visit my “foster daughter”, then back to McAllen in two days. Another few days, and back to our home in Mexico, a total of 5400 miles, with no failure whatsoever and
I expected that to be the case. I would not feel secure if I had a Caravan with 158,000 miles that I could do that. Of course, it might do it, but I would not feel confident that it would. So, I pay the extra money.

If people know they like to trade well below 100,000 miles (there are plenty of people like that, or at least there were, before the recent economy problems) then a Dodge Caravan would be an excellent choice, even if it does take a few more repairs.

So, I would say look at CR reports as part of a complex formula, with a number of factors to help make your decision. To completely ignore CR would not be a good idea. Over many years I have noted that those who sneer at CR almost always simply think they know better, which says more about their self-image than CR.