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Thread: Auto Eye for the Family Guy

  1. #1
    Cyburbian SGB's avatar
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    Auto Eye for the Family Guy

    Ok, so our trusted '95 Subaru Legacy wagon is not gonna be safe to drive on the road this winter. Well, it could be - but I'm not gonna dish out over 50% of it's retail book value to get the needed work done. (Trade in value recently hit the negative numbers.....)

    So..... into the auto market we go.

    Here's our thinking thus far:
    - The car will need to carry 4 family members comfortably, plus have room for all our stuff when we travel. Said stuff will include all the equipment/paraphanalia that go with an impending arrival of #2 in early April.
    - This will be Mrs. SGB's commuting car, plus our travel car.
    - Given the climate and roads we deal with locally and at sites visited frequently, all wheel drive (AWD) is a must.
    - We'd like to avoid an SUV for fuel efficiency issues, but could be convinced otherwise.
    - The nonexistent budget pretty much mandates purchasing a used car - preferably a late model w/ low to moderate mileage.

    I could use any and all suggestions and/or advice The Throbbing Brain (tm) has to offer. HELP!
    All these years the people said he’s actin’ like a kid.
    He did not know he could not fly, so he did.
    - - Guy Clark, "The Cape"

  2. #2
    Cyburbian Seabishop's avatar
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    Not a big change but - Forester?

    Isn't AWD only available on Subarus or luxury cars like Audis?

  3. #3
    Cyburbian SGB's avatar
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    Originally posted by Seabishop
    Not a big change but - Forester?

    Isn't AWD only available on Subarus or luxury cars like Audis?
    I'd love to hear of anyone's experience with Foresters. My wife, however, may be Subie'd out. (They are the only car model I've ever owned.)

    I know that there are some minivan models w/ AWD. (Pontiac Montana, for example) Luxury cars are out of our range right now.
    All these years the people said he’s actin’ like a kid.
    He did not know he could not fly, so he did.
    - - Guy Clark, "The Cape"

  4. #4
    Cyburbian martini's avatar
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    hmmm. If you search carefully, you MIGHT be able to find a decent Volvo XC70 AWD on the used market for a good price. Same goes for Mercedes and thier 4matic. On the more affordable scale, I'll bet you could find a Volkswagon Passat 4motion used for a decent price. I know what you mean by afforable and AWD though. They are hard to find. Unless you look for Subies(of which I'm a huge fan. We've got two in our family) that is. Minivans with AWD are things like the GMC Safari, the older Mazda MPV's, some Chrysler Caravans, and of course the 4motion(or quattro?) Volkswagon Vanagons from the mid 80's to mid 90's.
    You're more boring than you know.

  5. #5
    Cyburbian el Guapo's avatar
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    Of course the 93 Volvo 245 wagon meets none of your criteria for AWD or newness, but I shall recommend it none the less.
    It is cheap, built like a tank, and will haul your stuff anywhere in the snow. You can pick up a really nice one for no more than $6K. A decent one will fetch $4500. A beater (ugly but reliable) should cost $3500. Volvos scoff at low millage. I'd buy one a 180K if it passed a compression test knowing I'd get another 100K out of it before an engine rebuild.

    PS. It will never be stolen by anyone ever.


    Getting "Groceries" if ya know what I mean!


    PS - It would help if we knew what your budget was and how mechanical you were.

  6. #6
    moderator in moderation Suburb Repairman's avatar
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    Two of my friends have Foresters and love them! I think one of them told me he gets about 27mpg, but I'm not sure on that. They're fairly comfy and you can pack a fair amount of crap in them.

    If it's in your taste, the Honda Element is available with AWD and gets fairly decent gas milage. I drove one for the hell of it a couple of weeks ago and was surprised by the comfort. It has one of the most flexible interiors I've seen in a while.

    I can tell you from my experience that Pontiacs can be a nightmare. My Grand Am goes into the shop every few months for non-routine repairs. As soon as I get enough $$$ together it's turning into something else. My mom had a hell of a time with her Grand Prix, too.

    Oh, you might look at the Pontiac Vibe AWD. It's basically a Toyota underneath, so you shouldn't have many repair issues. They get like 30 mpg on the highway, too. I don't know much about price though. I don't know if the Toyota Matrix comes in AWD, but it will have a higher resale value.

    Hope that helps!

    "Oh, that is all well and good, but, voice or no voice, the people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. That is easy. All you have to do is tell them they are being attacked and denounce the pacifists for lack of patriotism and exposing the country to danger. It works the same way in any country."

    - Herman Göring at the Nuremburg trials (thoughts on democracy)

  7. #7
    Cyburbian SGB's avatar
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    Originally posted by el Guapo
    PS - It would help if we knew what your budget was and how mechanical you were.
    Our budget has yet to be firmly determined (read: negotiated w/ the wife), but right now I'm thinking +$16K (U.S) is our upper limit.

    My mechanical ability is limited to:
    - checking oil levels & tire pressure
    - recognizing a noise as "out of the norm"
    - calling AAA for a towtruck when I break down

    Mechanical reliability is a must.
    All these years the people said he’s actin’ like a kid.
    He did not know he could not fly, so he did.
    - - Guy Clark, "The Cape"

  8. #8
    Cyburbian el Guapo's avatar
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    At 16K I suggest 4 Volvo 245's.


    naw...I'd get a XC70 with that kind of cash.

  9. #9
    Cyburbian martini's avatar
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    Originally posted by el Guapo
    naw...I'd get a XC70 with that kind of cash.
    ditto. With that kinda chig available to spend, a good XC70 is with in your budget.
    You're more boring than you know.

  10. #10
    Cyburbian ilikefish0's avatar
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    Originally posted by martini
    We've got two in our family) that is. Minivans with AWD are things like the GMC Safari, the older Mazda MPV's, some Chrysler Caravans, and of course the 4motion(or quattro?) Volkswagon Vanagons from the mid 80's to mid 90's.
    First off, I must say that Chrysler needs to shut up because VW realy invented the minivan when it introduced the Vanagon 1in 1983. Caravan/Voyager/Town & Country didn't come out until 1986. (rant over) The 4-wheel drive system on the Vanagon was called Synchro. I think the synchro system was offered on other models, but I am not sure of this. Incidentally, I think the last Vanagons were made in '92 or thereabouts. Good Luck on the car search.
    Off to Zanzibar--To meet the Zanzibarbarians!

  11. #11
    Cyburbian
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    Saabs will also plow through the snow as if they had AWD (they're FWD) and will hold lots of stuff, especially the hatchback models. You can get a really nice newer one for that much. And they usually don't break down.
    I don't dream. I plan.

  12. #12
    Cyburbian Mud Princess's avatar
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    SGB, go for the Forester.

    I have one and I love it. I'm at about 85k. OK, I'm a little biased because my significant other works on Subies for a living. But it has far fewer problems than Volkswagens, IMHO.

  13. #13
    Cyburbian
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    How old are the kids and how long do you plan on driving the new vehicle? Do you also take your kids' friends in the car with you and/or your whole family?

    We just bought another vehicle. Our considerations were safety, reliability, leg and cargo room. We keep cars for a long time, so the new vehicle needed leg room, and room for kids' friends, too. Before that, we sometimes needed both of our vehicles just to get everyone somewhere. These reasons are why we chose a Suburban.

  14. #14
         
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    Chevy Venture. The short wheelbase version is "sporty".

    Plenty of room for stuff, and a nice, comfortable road car. Beware of transmission problems though.

  15. #15
    Cyburbian SGB's avatar
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    Originally posted by kms
    How old are the kids and how long do you plan on driving the new vehicle? Do you also take your kids' friends in the car with you and/or your whole family?
    The kids are 4yo and -5.5 months and counting.

    We would drive the new "previously owned" vehicle until it was either paid off (probably looking at 60 mo. financing), or until it dies - whichever comes first.

    Yes, we would like room for other kids inside. Although we would not be above placing nuisance children on either the bumpers or a roof rack.
    All these years the people said he’s actin’ like a kid.
    He did not know he could not fly, so he did.
    - - Guy Clark, "The Cape"

  16. #16
    Cyburbian Cardinal's avatar
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    Let me chime in on behalf of the Subaru (Forester or Legacy). I've owned Pontiacs, Fords, and Buicks, and had too many problems with all of them. I just replaced my 1999 Legacy with a 2004 Legacy (less than one week old). The milage is about 26-27 MPG regardless of model. The Forester is a bit more rough on the inside, while the Legacy is plusher. Either is reliable, and it is a car that retains its value.

  17. #17
    Cyburbian Rem's avatar
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    Originally posted by Seabishop
    Isn't AWD only available on Subarus or luxury cars like Audis?
    Australian made Mitsubishi Sedans (called Magnas here) are AWD. I understand they are exported but have no idea if they go to the USA.

  18. #18
    Cyburbian Greenescapist's avatar
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    I'll also chime in for Subaru. I have a 2001 Legacy and it's been a great car. I've put 44,000 on it in two years and have never had a problem. The new Foresters look nicer than ones a few years ago, I think. Maybe look at those.

  19. #19
    Cyburbian Mud Princess's avatar
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    Here ya go...

    (Warning: post will expire 23 hours from now...)

    http://cgi.ebay.com/ebaymotors/ws/eB...tem=2435888848

  20. #20
    Cyburbian boiker's avatar
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    Originally posted by SGB
    I'd love to hear of anyone's experience with Foresters. My wife, however, may be Subie'd out. (They are the only car model I've ever owned.)

    I know that there are some minivan models w/ AWD. (Pontiac Montana, for example) Luxury cars are out of our range right now.
    honestly, if you look minivan, look foriegn..

    i poop on american minivans.
    Dude, I'm cheesing so hard right now.

  21. #21
    Cyburbian martini's avatar
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    Ohhhh, I'd steer away from Minivans in general though. Even If I suggested a few above. I thought about it last night, and I can 't honestly push another male torwards the Satan spawn that are Minivans. They are absolute soul crushing machinations of the devil himself! Sure they officailly take away your manhood as soon as you sit in one, but that fact that 'ol Satan hisself has a part in this is scary. Just look at how many of them are on the road. All those soulless zombies, zipping about, oblivious to the carnage that has happened to thier potential afterlife. Poor folks.
    You're more boring than you know.

  22. #22
    Cyburbian SGB's avatar
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    Originally posted by martini
    Ohhhh, I'd steer away from Minivans in general though. Even If I suggested a few above. I thought about it last night, and I can 't honestly push another male torwards the Satan spawn that are Minivans. They are absolute soul crushing machinations of the devil himself! Sure they officailly take away your manhood as soon as you sit in one, but that fact that 'ol Satan hisself has a part in this is scary. Just look at how many of them are on the road. All those soulless zombies, zipping about, oblivious to the carnage that has happened to thier potential afterlife. Poor folks.
    I've considered these very thoughts, too. I think we could get a minivan without selling both my soul and manhood, since this car would primarily be my wife's commuting car. I'd only have to be in it on weekends, vacations and when I need to take it for maintenance.

    As I understand it, as long as a man is not driving a minivan alone but instead has it packed with family and the assorted stuff that goes with it, he can remain intact.
    All these years the people said he’s actin’ like a kid.
    He did not know he could not fly, so he did.
    - - Guy Clark, "The Cape"

  23. #23
    Cyburbian Cardinal's avatar
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    Originally posted by SGB
    As I understand it, as long as a man is not driving a minivan alone but instead has it packed with family and the assorted stuff that goes with it, he can remain intact.
    Yeah. Whatever you want to believe, Mr. Mom.

  24. #24
    Cyburbian el Guapo's avatar
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    If volvo made a minivan I'd drive it and still consider myself a rugged gun nut. More room for the Ma Duce.

  25. #25
    Cyburbian SGB's avatar
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    Update: The purchase

    We pick up our '03 Chevy Venture LT minivan this evening.

    AWD, seats 7, leather seats, fully loaded, 19K miles.

    We feel like we got a good deal on this one, and it pretty much meets all of our criteria.

    Plus, I can remove all the rear seats when needed to use it as a mini cargo van as necessary.
    All these years the people said he’s actin’ like a kid.
    He did not know he could not fly, so he did.
    - - Guy Clark, "The Cape"

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