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Old 02-02-2015, 09:16 PM   #1
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Default 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:

Honda CR-V

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.

Toyota RAV4

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.

Subaru Forester

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?
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Old 02-03-2015, 08:24 PM   #2
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Looking at the 2007 Toyota RAV4 V6 Limited tomorrow after work. 141k miles but in MS the whole time and looks well taken care of.
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Old 02-03-2015, 11:19 PM   #3
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You'd be surprised. I have a buddy who watches out for manual trans XTs for me. I've seen a couple for $6500 or so. Depends if your budget has a little flex in it but that will be my choice soon.
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Old 02-04-2015, 10:48 AM   #4
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Outback too large? They seem to be priced cheaper than a comparable Forester.
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Old 02-04-2015, 11:01 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by calteg View Post
Outback too large? They seem to be priced cheaper than a comparable Forester.
I've looked at them, but the years that fall into my price range are the ones that have chronic head gasket failures. I guess I just need to restrict the search to the H6 engine, right? Those are pretty sturdy?
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Old 02-04-2015, 11:26 AM   #6
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RAV4 and CRV will pretty much last forever if serviced regularly. I bought a '04 Highlander for my wife in the Fall and it is very well built as well. She wanted the extra space or we would have looked closer at the RAV4.
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Old 02-04-2015, 03:42 PM   #7
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HAHAHA this year.

So my wife just called me to say that the Sentra died. Engine cut off, all warning lights on, no overheating or broken belts, just driving along and then all power off.

Fingers crossed that this RAV4 works out tonight so we'll have at least one reliable vehicle to use, and that the Sentra is easily/cheaply repaired.
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Old 02-04-2015, 11:22 PM   #8
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Bought the RAV4. Great deal. Very happy. 2007 RAV4 V6 Limited, 141k miles, fantastic condition, $7500.

Shop says the Sentra's distributor is dead. That would be the reman distributor that I replaced last May. Not as happy about that.

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