Two Elements?


#1

I’m thinking about selling my much loved Toyota Tundra pickup truck because of the high gas prices, and I’m debating what to get next. We live out in the country where we get lots of snow, so all wheel drive is a must. My husband has a Honda Element that he’s crazy about, do you think it would be silly to just get another one? I was thinking about getting a Subaru, then I looked at the reviews on cars.com and didn’t really like what I read. I’m a returning (okay, I’m 42) student, so we’d like to keep the cost down, so that’s another reason why I’m leaning towards another element instead of a RAV4 or CRV.

Thanks,

Jen


#2

If the Tundra is in good shape and otherwise meets your needs, you need to carefully do the math. Even if gas prices continue to skyrocket, purchasing a new (or even used) car rarely pays off in the near term.


#3

Agree with previous poster on doing the math first. You then really have to decide if you need All Wheel Drive (AWD) first of all. Any 2 wheel drive vehicle gets better mileage than its 4 wheel drive version.

If you live in a SEVERE snow area, and MUST HAVE AWD, the Suzuki SX4 is the most economical. It gets very good mileage and has an all wheel drive or 2 whell drive setting, so you can have your cake and eat it too.

I agree that a student does not really need a truck, and I’m not going to ask you what made you get a truck in the first place.


#4

Are you really sure about that AWD/4WD thing? A front wheel drive car with winter tyres (not the old snow tyres that were not nearly as good) will get thought most any thing with the possible exception ground clearance issues. Unless that new car has better grand clearance, I would not think it is going to do much better. Remember that AWD is good for getting your car out of the ditch, but winter tyres (all four wheels) will likely keep you out of the ditch.


#5

Thanks for the comments, very thoughtful. We live in northern lower Michigan, so my husband gets snow tires for his Element along with the AWD. I’ve had small front wheel drive cars in the past, even with snow tires they were pretty lousy in the winter. I’m thinking it might be better to just wait a year until I’m done with school.
Thanks again,
Jen


#6

I read an article in the newspaper over the weekend that dealt with this subject. They said that if you bought the truck new, it would rarely make sense to sell it until it is at least 5 years old, despite gas prices. I believe that the article originated in CR. They also said that if you buy a used Element that is nearly the selling price of the Tundra, the change might make sense. I think that I’d wait until school finishes, too.


#7

if you’ve only got a year left, you might as well wait, especially if the truck is in good running order.
How good are the plows about coming around your road? If they’re pretty good, you might reconsider the FWD with snow/winter tires.
Do you really need a truck? Do you haul a lot of things? tow stuff? if you tow a boat every other weekend, you should consider keeping the truck, if you tow a boat twice a year(offloading then reloading spring/winter), consider renting a truck for those times.


#8

[/quote]If they’re pretty good, you might reconsider the FWD with snow/winter tires. [/quote]

The problem with the Great Lakes region is the plows many times can’t keep up. And there are some very very isolated lake effect snow bands. I’ve seen a snow band that was less then 1 mile wide. Within that snow band over 16" of snow was dumped…and outside that band…NOTHING…dry pavement. And you can’t predict these bands…they just happen. As cold air crosses over the great lake and picks up the moisture from the lake…Then it goes over the land and dumps the snow. For this area I recommend 4wd or awd. fwd will probably get you around most of the time…but when those lake effect snow bands come along…you may have a tough time with fwd and 4 snows.


#9

it would rarely make sense to sell it until it is at least 5 years old, despite gas prices.

It makes even less sense when the truck is only 5 years old. By now the truck is paid for. Unless it’s in real bad shape it would be far better to keep it then buy a new(er) vehicle that gets better gas mileage.


#10

Thanks again, the Tundra is an '02, and paid for. My husband keeps saying that it’s just going to continue to depreciate and we should just sell it, but I’m finding your points more persuasive. Since we’d have to get something almost as old to avoid debt, I’m thinking we should just wait until I can afford to pay for something newer. MikeinNH, you are right on about the snow bands. Snow also blows across the fields in spots, and the plows tend to be irregular.
Jen


#11

Drive it until it’s not worth anything. It’ll easily be far cheaper then buying a new vehicle now.

Lets do a little math…A $20k car over 5 year loan will cost you $450 or MORE per month. If you drive the national average according to AAA (25k/yr) and gas is at $5/gal…it’ll take you close to 9 years before you break even. If you drive less then 25k/yr it’ll take you a LONGER.


#12

Whoever has the shorter commute gets the Tundra.


#13

MikeInNH:
the husband chiming in here. Your math only works if you don’t consider the truck in question. Sell it for $12k or better, find something more economical in a similar price range, keep it until the 50+mile per day college commute is done and trade up to something newer when the new paycheck kicks in. You’re essentially swapping 1 to 1, dollar-wise, and getting a more affordable, newer vehicle. Cheaper to insure, cheaper to keep fed. The Tundra rarely does any hauling, off-roading or other truck-like stuff. Waiting for a year or two only lets the Tundra depreciate further, and more economical vehicles become even more desirable. Oh, and squirrels have made a nest in the “squirrel cage” fan, seriously, so now the blower spits out chopped bits of squirrel nest on the dashboard.


#14

I don’t know what you read about Subarus that made you think they are a problem. Sure they have had some problems, like headgaskets for one. The issues have been addressed with better gaskets. The newer ones don’t have this problem.

I have owned Subarus since 1983 and I can say they are a very reliable car to own. When it comes to driving in the snow with one, it will get you anywhere you want to go on the road.


#15

IF, and really IF you get top dollar for your truck, and can find a used comparable priced economical car here are some numbers to think about.

it will cost around 320 bucks a month to drive the tundra (16 MPG) the 50 miles to school and back.

say you find a car that gets 36 mpg. this will cost you around 145 per month in gas.

so the savings will be around 175 per month.

BUT if you have to pay more than 175 per month in a new car payment you are actually going backwards. it doesn’t really matter how you spend the $$. it either goes to the saudi arabian prince, or to your local bank. but you ARE going to spend it unfortunately.


#16

the husband chiming in here. Your math only works if you don’t consider the truck in question. Sell it for $12k or better, find something more economical in a similar price range, keep it until the 50+mile per day college commute is done and trade up to something newer when the new paycheck kicks in.

Of course, this math only works if you can really get $12K for the truck. I see an awful lot of trucks sitting around with “For Sale” signs on them right now. Anything you buy will depreciate also. In fact, you might find it easier to sell the truck in a year or two once the panic selling has calmed down.


#17

You’re essentially swapping 1 to 1, dollar-wise

Very very doubtful you can do that. Trucks these days are selling a LOT LESS they were just 1 year ago.


#18

Two additional comments:

  1. I don’t think the Subaru is a bad choice. Overall they appear to be reliable. You may hear a lot about them, in great degree because there are a lot of them to have problems and because there have been a lot of people buy them who know nothing of AWD and have done things like mismatching tyre sizes.

2 Having two of the same car can be an advantage. You get to know the problems and the fixes. The dealer can’t use that old They all do that thing.

  1. Take whatever you are considering for a test drive and then decide.

#19

You might get as much as $12,000 if it’s an extended cab limited with 4WD. The base model resells in your area for between $6000 and $7000.