*edit: I am fully aware that meeting all of these criteria will not be possible. I am curious to hear from owners of said models to see how they rank on the criteria below, so that I may have a more informed way of comparing and contrasting while determining where to compromise. Specifically, would a Subaru Outback or Forester with 100-150 thousand miles and a replaced headgasket likely last another 100,000 miles or so, or does it really depends on how bad things got when the original head gasket issues came up? Other than the HG issues, ate they otherwise fairly reliable? Could a tall person sleep in a Forester? Are the CRVs or RAV4s just as good for snow/mud/Off road adventures, should we choose to just stick with tenting? If anybody could share actual experiences, rather than advice around changing our lifestyle/percieved expectations, that would be most helpful. Thank you!
Looking to buy a used car for around $4000, to replace my crappy Hyundai and enable more of the lifestyle I want. I am looking for something to use for regular errands, weekly commutes, plus a few extended camping trips per year, on which I hopefully won’t have to spend too much on gas, but will be able to get to very remote places. I also live on a dirt road in VT, and need something super reliable for snow/ice/mud/rocky back roads, especially as I have my kid with me almost everywhere I go. So far, I’ve been looking at these models:
I can’t seem to decide between being able to potentially sleep in the back of a Subaru, which would be amazing for the kind of extended camping/traveling we do in the summer, and the reliability factor of the CRV/RAV4s. I am on a low income, so frequent car repairs would be a major stress, and I know with my budget I’ll already be gambling with whatever I choose. The 4runners and Pilots are intriguing, but I’ve never had such low gas mileage before, and that could be a financial stress as well/limit travel options. Up until now I’ve had an Echo, a Camry, and now an Elantra. Any insights/suggestions/advice for weighing all of these factors would be so helpful!! I need to find something fast, too, so it’s a bit hard to organize my decision making process/sit with it as I’d normally like to.
Here’s my list of potentially contradictory priorities:
WD or AWD-Good in snow, mud, off-roads
High ground clearance
Driver’s seat accommodates good body mechanics for tall person
Reliable, doesn’t require much maintanance
Good gas mileage-not less than 20mpg, preferably more like 25-30
Ability to tow/carry decent load weight
Able to sleep one 5’10" adult and one small child as needed
Cargo space for gear for extended trips
Mileage below 100,000, 150,000 max
If Subaru, new head gaskets
2005 or newer
Maintenance records available
I guess I just want to have my cake and eat it too!