Which car to sell

I have two cars and need to sell one and need advise on which one. My wife drives a 2000 Suburban 1500 4 wheel drive with 92,000 miles. Our daughter just graduated from college and has moved to a city where she does not need a car. So we can keep her 1999 Lexus RX 300 4 WD with 94,000 miles for my wife to drive and sell the Suburban, or sell the Lexus.

I live in Anchorage Alaska with most cars on the road being SUV?s or pick ups and lots of snow in the winter. The Suburban being much bigger than the Lexus seems safer because it has more mass, but the Lexus has side air bags and the Suburban does not. So, which is safer?

With lots of snow the Suburban has the advantage of higher clearance which is very helpful in snow conditions and I think safer.

I think they are good cars and plan to drive it until it drops, hopefully another 50,000 miles. The Lexus is more expensive to maintain but may require less maintenance than the Suburban. Which one will go the furthest the cheapest?

The Lexus gets much better gas mileage, but I am more concerned with safety. So I am putting that aside for the moment.

Which car do you recommend and why?


Chris Stephens

Chris, I lived in Anchorage 12 years, and would be inclined to go with the Lexus. It has AWD, and, as long as you have a separate set of snow tires and wheels, it would have no problem with driving in the snow. This all assumes you have no need for the extra space of the Suburban (a vehicle I recently sold after 13 years in Anchorage and Dallas). I had no problem in the snow in Anchorage for 12 years withs a VW Rabbit that had snow tires.

The Lexus has a subpar AWD system. Basically it occasionally engages(only 10% torque) the rear wheels in a feeble effort to get extra traction. It shares this cruddy system with the Toyota Highlander.

Call it front wheel drive +.

The Subaruban will get you through the tough conditions(if you venture then) not only due to better clearance but a more effective four wheel drive system for those ones.

Ask yourself which one would you buy if you owned neither. Both should serve you well and I would not put one ahead of the other based on safety. They are different, but not better or worse.

I’m going to hate myself in the morning, but since you live in Alaska (can you see Russia from your porch?) you should probably keep the Suburban and sell the Lexus.

If you can afford to own these two vehicles you can obviously afford to feed them, but I have to ask; isn’t there SOMETHING that can handle the snow but not be so thirsty?

From a strictly financial point of view, you’ll be much better off selling the Lexus because you are going to get a lot more for it. This is because the Lexus is far and away the better vehicle, including most measures of safety. The fuel consumption issue is pretty much moot because the difference in selling price will make up for many many years of increased fuel costs with the Suburban.

The Lexus’s AWD system is probably better around town, but the Suburban is probably better in really deep snow and off-road situations. I’m assuming since you’ve driven both you’re probably familiar with their capabilities and shortcomings. Really it’s mostly a matter of your own personal preference.

This is somewhat a matter of opinion, of course. How often does your wife go out of control? If the answer is “well, never,” then maybe you need to think more along the lines of someone else going out of control. In that case, the side airbags may be the things that save her life one day. Or maybe it will be the added height and mass of the Suburban. The Lexus had a good IIHS offset frontal crash test.

Regarding AWD, Motortrend magazine said this of the 1999 Lexus RX 300 AWD system:

Its AWD system uses a viscous limited-slip center differential coupling to vary engine power between the axles. Normally, torque is split 50/50 front and rear, but when wheel slippage is detected, the system can instantly transfer up to 95 percent of the power in either direction. An optional limited-slip differential can further control torque to the left and right rear wheels.

Good luck with your decision!