02-02-2015, 08:16 PM
Crumple Zone Tester
Join Date: Jul 2009
Location: Jackson, MS
Total Cats: 365
Daily driver...but not for me
Mentioned in the other thread that my Mazda 3 hatchback got totaled. I kind of jumped back into the car search for myself, but it's finally sunk in that it just makes more sense for me to take over my wife's 2001 Sentra SE 2.0 (SR20DE overnight from Japan), and buy something for her. I will try to outline reasonable guidelines this time and not be a dick when someone points out that they are still unreasonable.
So, the criteria:
1. Small SUV/Tall wagon -- I want the open hatch area for large/bulky items, and the taller body style for ease of ingress/egress and getting a baby out of a car seat in the back.
2. Manual would be cool but a sturdy, reliable automatic is okay.
3. Not a dog? I don't know, 160 HP would be nice, 200 HP would be nicer.
4. 23-25 MPG combined would be great.
5. Safety ratings! Wife is very concerned about safety ratings so something that doesn't have a "poor" or "adequate" rating in the major categories would be good.
6. Budget is $6k.
My targets so far:
Great build quality, right size. Early models are underpowered, don't love the spare tire on the back but okay. Resale value makes it hard to find good deals.
Also great build quality, right size. Later V6 models are hot but not in the budget. Is the 4 cylinder good enough?
Ford Escape/Mazda Tribute
Plenty of them around, decently priced. V6 w/ timing chain available with good power and decent mileage. Early automatics had huge column shifters, later floor-shifter automatics might be out of the budget. Fords are more plentiful but would rather drive a Mazda, also Mazda got a stiffer suspension.
Non-turbos had head gasket issues, XT's are probably out of the budget. Not many down south, and northern cars have rust. Otherwise would be a top contender. If a rust-free XT popped up at the right price, I'd go for it.
So those are the obvious ones. What else should I be looking for?