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Usede car advice

I pregnant and am looking for a safe, AWD, used vehicle under 15,000. I am interested in 2003-04 XC volvos or a suburu outback, mainly for safety reasons. Any suggestions, guidance?

The maintenance and repair costs on Volvo vehicles are very high, and thier reliability has not been the greatest of late.

Subaru’s AWD system is one of the best, but you have to be careful of used Subarus that have not been properly maintained. They don’t respond well to neglect.

There are LOTS of safe vehicles out there, some with AWD and some without. I suggest you consult Consumer Reports Magizine’s Annual Auto Issue for some really great, unbiased information on vehicle safety, reliability, and cost.

$15K should buy you a pretty nice vehicle if you do some research and choose carefully.

I’d definitely go with the Subaru. Just make it’s 2005 or newer, the prior years’ models had engine (head gasket) problems.

Suggestion: Don’t Buy An AWD Vehicle. With Just $15000 To Spend, You’d Be Better Off Buying A Newer FWD. Chances Are You Don’t Need AWD. Why Do You Think You Need AWD ?

I just wrote about a 2009 Chvrolet Impala (14 months old), GM Certified, with 10,000 miles on it. It included 48,000 mile / 48 month bumper-to-bumper and 5 year / 100,000 mile drive-train warranties. The Car Was $15,000 asking price.

I’ll betcha that’s a lot of almost new, safe car, and warranty protection, compared with a “used” AWD Whatever.


For $10k you can get a very nice 2007/2008 Hyundai Sonata with under 30k miles. Spend $500 on four real winter tires and you are good to go. Don’t waste your money on AWD unless you live in the mountains and drive up five miles of unpaved roads or ski every weekend. AWD does not offer as much safety as do the proper tires.


My advice is if you are going to buy a Volvo or a Subaru, marry a mechanic. If you are already married, consider something more reliable, but still safe. I would feel pretty safe in an Accord or a Camry. You might also enjoy a Ford Taurus, Chevy Malibu, or a Chevy Impala.

I’ve lived in Minnesota almost my whole life. I’ve never needed, nor wanted, All-Wheel-Drive or 4 wheel drive. Except for pickup trucks, AWD is a complete waste. It’s more expensive, reduces your MPG, makes the vehicle more susceptible to mechanical problems, and ends up costing more to maintain and repair.

The safest 4WD/AWD vehicles for you and your passengers will be trucks. the IIHS maintains a database that shows crash details and normalizes it to 100. Lower than 100 is better; higher is worse. Medical injury deals specifically with injuries in your truck. The mid-size SUVs that fare best: 4Runner, Jeep Wrangler, and GMC Envoy are all under 60. Between 60 and 70: Xterra, Santa Fe, Explorer Sport Trac, FJ Cruiser, Grand Cherokee, H3, Pilot, and Edge. The best rated 2WD is the Explorer Sport Trac at 70. The most affordable are likely to be the Hyundai Santa Fe, Ford Explorer and Explorer Sport Trac.

Try to get a non-AWD wagon like the Mazda 6, Dodge Magnum, or VW Passat.

Honda CR-V, Ford Escape, Toyota Rav4, Hyundai Tuscon, Mazda 5, Chevy Equinox.
Whatever you’re looking to buy, take it to a mechanic(not a chain store, nor the dealership you’re going to buy from) and have them give it a used car inspection before you buy it. The money you spend there can mean the difference between a $15000 Honda ready to keel over and die, or a meticulously maintained Ford or Chevy that the owner just got tired of or brought back a lease.
Also, since it’s the end of a model year, you MIGHT get lucky and find a dealership willing to take a good chunk of cash off a left over 2010 model whatever and put you at, or near, your budget. In fact, if you got the normal Tuscon with 4wd and the popular equipment package, you’re at $24k, add any rebates available at this time, plus trade in, and a little bit of negotiating due to model year ending, and you might just be able to get it for around $15k

AWD isn’t a safety feature in my mind. I see plenty of AWD and 4WD cars off the road all the time. The drivers of AWD and 4WD misjudge the capabilities of their cars, they are overconfident. This leads them into more trouble rather than less.

Safety features like side airbags, traction control, stability control, are available on a wide variety of cars. Focusing on AWD will lead you to cars that are more complicated and more expensive to maintain. Subaru’s for instance are very tire sensitive. You blow out one tire that it 1/2 worn and you really should buy 4 new tires to make sure you don’t damage the AWD system.

A new baby means easy access to the back seat to put the baby in and out of the car seat. It means more storage space in back, especially for the giant sized strollers everyone seems to have these days. Your best bets are a mini van, small or mid size SUV or a decent mid size sedan (ie Ford Fusion). Perhaps a Toyota Venza (available in AWD or FWD and I’d go with FWD) a cross over or basically a marketing word for station wagon.

AWD is more trouble and expense than it is worth. If you live in snow country or the mountains where it snows get winter tires on all 4 wheels and you’ll be the safest car on the road.

"Except for pickup trucks, AWD is a complete waste. It’s more expensive, reduces your MPG, makes the vehicle more susceptible to mechanical problems, and ends up costing more to maintain and repair. "

We do this AWD vs fwd thing regularly. ONLY those who really have experienced both types of drive trains in the environment they live and work in can make that kind of a decision. I live where 2wd is a complete waste of money in the winter time. Subarus have as good mileage as most other comparable fwd cars, cost NO MORE to operate with less repair than most fwd cars on the road.

Flatlanders should actually live with one (AWD) for a while on hilly snow covered roads that don’t bare up most of the winter before they conclude they are a waste.

The idea that a good set of snow tires makes a fwd car as capable as an awd car with a good set of snow tires is the most misinformed winter traction statement I’ve ever heard.