Which car to replace?

we have 2 aging cars. One, a 2000 Outback that has never really been the most reliable car we thought it would (94,000 miles) and a 2003 MPV that’s been our trip car but now has 112,000 miles. With two kids and a large dog to transport, we worry that the MPV won’t last another 3 years should we replace the Outback. If we replace the MPV, we worry about dumping a lot of cash into the Outback, too. Which to replace? (We’d like one to be AWD as it gets slippery in PA in the winter).

I would not replace either, unless they need a new engine or transmission. Drive them till they die!

Agree; the MPV has a lot of life left in it if maintained properly. A friend of mine just junked a 21 year old Mazda 6.

Maintain both well and repair all the things that normally come at this age. As mentioned, engine and drivetrain would be the most expensive; if those occur scrap the cars.

Keeping both is an option. If you have the new car bug, then take a look at the new Ford Explorer. If you like it, I’d replace the Outback. I’m not a Subaru fan and it seems you are less sure about this car.

After a few years if the Explorer has become your family trip car, then you can give up the MPV and get a small car for max mpg when the whole family isn’t involved. If you have 2 cars one should be smaller and very good on mpg (like around 35 to 40). The other is the larger family hauler when you need space for kids, dog, and baggage.

As gas prices go up I appreciate my Civic more and more. It is nice to have a 35 mpg car in the stable and with higher gas prices likely perhaps a necessity.

If you feel like a new car, then keep the one you like most. If you want reliability, you already have 2 reliable cars. They aren’t unreliable until a lot of things go wrong. There’s no sense in guessing about it.

112,000 miles is not much for a Mazda if you keep up on the maintenance. Aim for 200,000 miles without a major engine or transmission problem.


The Outback.

If the MPV has been reliable so far and it’s properly maintained and not abused, there’s no reason it shouldn’t last another 3 years.

The Outback has already shown itself to be unreliable. Dump the unreliable one.

I would lean towards the MPV as a far better family vehicle. A set of decent winter tires/steel rims will make it far safer than any 4wd/AWD vehicle except one with winter tires.

The Subaru will likely be much easier to sell yourself and is likely worth the same as MPV even though 3 years older. Subaru’s command a premium in many parts of the country.