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What used car to buy?

Driving through Mexico. Want a car I could sleep in if needed.

Am looking at Subaru Forrester. 1998-2003. Is there a year that has held up better than other years. What other small SUV’s would you recommend. Don’t want to spend over $10,000. Certainly milage is an important factor.

I would suggest a 2 wd 4 cyl compact pick up extended cab with a lockable cap on it. Much more roomy and the extended cab could hold gear while you used the back. Get cap with screens and crank out or slider windows for ventilation. For 10K you could do very well price wise. They will do as well as Subaru mileage wise. You can get a newer one for price of an SUV. Put 2" receiver hitch on back and you’ll have lots of storage rack and bike rack options as well…rack on the top of cap for even more possibilities. They are very flexible vehicles and inexpensive to buy and set up.
I’m partial to Toyota, but Nissan, Dakota and Rangers will do also.

I gotta ask - is this something you’ve done before? Are you fully acquainted with your security needs?

Either you are completely out of the loop or have been ignoring all the news regarding drug cartel murders in Mexico. 18,000 people have been killed over the past couple of years. And you want to sleep in your car? Save your money, fly to Mexico and stay in safe hotels.


The model years you’re looking at are notorious for head gasket problems. I have no idea how easily you could get a Subaru serviced in Mexico. Something like a Ford Explorer might be a better idea from the angle of getting it serviced. Smaller SUVs are probably not large enough to sleep in (neither is the Forester, in my opinion).

I’d worry more about durability and ease of service than mileage for this trip. Good luck.

I second that opinion!!!

I third that suggestion. The perception that you’re as safe sleeping in the car in Mexico as you would be sleeping in the car in most U.S. areas is erroneous.

In addition to the drug cartel problems, kidnapping is a major problem in several areas.

I appreciate your thoughtful reply. I will look into cars that are readily serviced in Mexico. I see by some other replies that I have the fear-mongers riled. I am no foreigner to Mexico.

An F150 with a topper, a Ranger with a topper, a Toyota 4cyl with a topper. FORGET the Subaru. ZERO repair and parts availability…

“I am no foreigner to Mexico.” If that is true, then you Know the situation. If you drive down a 10 year old 4 cylinder stick shift truck (any flavor) you can SELL it in Mexico for 2 or 3 times what you paid for it in the U.S. and pay for your trip…Bring the title with you…

Sleep in the vehicle… Are you nuts?? EVERY little town has some sort of hotel or guest house for very little money. Civilized people don’t sleep in the back of trucks…

Hence my question about your familiarity with Mexico, not hinted at in your (outwardly concerning) question. And ‘fear mongers’ is a strong term for folks concerned about your safety in an obviously risky area. I’ve spent a fair amout of time in Bogota, I’m not just repeating headlines.

“Sleep in the vehicle… Are you nuts?? Civilized people don’t sleep in the back of trucks…”

With all due respect Mr. Caddyman…I “resemble” that remark, Did this occasionally while touring as well…we just like the out of doors…call me nuts too.
So maybe an “up-armored” Tacoma :slight_smile: Besides, I know my own cooties in the bed in my truck and not the foreign ones in some “other” flea bag motel.