1 2
toconn
toconn New Reader
11/27/22 8:23 p.m.

So I've been wanting to change up my garage for a little while and struggling with what to do. I live on the side of a mountain and it snows here in the winter, so AWD / 4WD is essentially a necessity on snowy days and I'd like to have something to rely on year-round without much risk (or better yet, a backup vehicle I can drive in the winter when one of my e36m3boxes inevitably breaks down).

 

Currently driving an '08 BMW 135i, '06 Nissan Frontier, and '00 Honda S2000. So I find myself for 4-5 months out of the year stuck with just the truck that I have to hope doesn't break down and I figure... if I have 3 vehicles, atleast 2 of them should always be driveable right? The Honda is staying. The BMW I'm not crazy about if I'm honest. The car is only fun on paper and nowadays I'm constantly anxious of maintenance costs on a car I don't really like or have a passion to work on. The Frontier has been good for me but is getting old and rusty (16 yrs / approaching 200k miles). I go mountain biking, dirt biking, and skiing so something to haul my equipment (truck or able to haul 1500-2000lb trailer) will always be necessary. 

So I'm toying with these options:

1. Ditch the BMW and replace it with something year-round driveable. Maybe an Audi S4 or some kind of Subaru. Keep the truck.

2. Ditch the Frontier and replace it with a nicer, newer truck or SUV. Truck is still sole winter vehicle but more reliable. Look into flipping the BMW for something more fun to drive in the future.

3. Ditch the Frontier AND the BMW and replace them with... what?

 

I could swing about $15k cost plus whatever I get back in sales... maybe squeeze to $20k out of pocket for the right fleet. I figure $6k for the truck and $8-9k for the BMW. Financing is an option too, part of me has been tempted to get into a new impreza / crosstrek since the used market is so wild and you can still scoop one of those up brand new with a manual for $25k. That said, I'm patient and don't mind waiting to see how the used car market cools off in 2023.

 

Curious what the GRM'ers would do in my situation?  

 

BoxheadTim
BoxheadTim MegaDork
11/27/22 8:33 p.m.

I don't think an S4 would fulfill the part of being one of two vehicles that is always going to be drivable. Plus if the maintenance costs of a BMW annoy or bother you, a VAG product isn't going to be an improvement.

Given that you live in an area where they chuck a lot of salt on the roads, you probably want a winter beater truck or SUV (or keep the Frontier up mechanically) unless you get one of the Volvos that are known to be massively rust resistant. Oh, and Subarus have the same problem with rust, although you get to work out if the engine or body least longer. 

Sonic
Sonic UberDork
11/27/22 8:49 p.m.

You just need a newer/nicer truck.  I was in a similar situation this past year when we finally started to physically go back to work.  Her DD is a 17 MB E400 wagon, which is awesome.  I had an 05 NSX or an 03 Suburban 2500, the sub was only good when towing a medium load, terrible otherwise.  We sold the Sub and got a 16 Escalade ESV (the big one) and it has been the perfect solution.  Better power and almost as hood suspension for towing, 4x as nice to drive every day especially as the NSX and Corvette just went into winter storage.  If you don't hate driving your truck for 6 months then all is well.  

Opti
Opti Dork
11/27/22 9:57 p.m.

I dont live in the great white north, but I recently have been going through similar changes.

I wanted a capable and reliable truck. I tow a trailer a couple times a month. I wanted something i can keep for a long time, so parts availability was a big concern. I also wanted comfort and decent fuel economy.

So I sold my newer Dodge and bought an older GMT400. I get it, most people dont think reliability and older vehicles, but I think its true. I can get pretty much any part, definitely any service part for a GMT400, and they are easy and cheap to fix. It gets decent fuel economy ,about 18 on the hwy, which is better than my 4.7 2WD Dodge. I didnt pay much for it and they are actually pretty hot right now so values are rising, which is nice. It seems newer trucks seek fuel economy and technology at the expense of reliability. Id be looking at a similar vintage or slightly older truck if yours is worn out. If rust is a problem in your neck of the woods this may not be an option.

4th gen Fbody - this is my S2000. It will be a staple in the fleet for a long time. Fun car, drive on nice days.

3rd car. Probably a blend of the first two, capable (dd type stuff) and fun. Something along the lines of miata. Would serve fine as a DD or DD back up, good fuel economy, reliable, and fun. This is probably the only car in the fleet that will get turned over, so it will lean towards stuff I dont mind using up and selling. My changes in taste and needs will influence this car the most, so if in a couple years if I care less about having 2 fun cars and maybe i just want crazy fuel economy the miata leaves and becomes a prius.

My wife is the opposite and drives something new as her only car and it has to do everything. It depreciates and I hate it, but different strokes.

Id take 2 or 3 older vehicles that are cheaper and specialized each better at their jobs, than 1 that has to do everything.

AnthonyGS (Forum Supporter)
AnthonyGS (Forum Supporter) UberDork
11/27/22 9:59 p.m.

If I had to do just 3......  I don't think I can given my current work situation.  If I worked close to home, our Tahoe Z71, a Miata and the Subaru rallycross car.  Having my long commute throws a big wrench in the works.

toconn
toconn New Reader
11/27/22 10:55 p.m.

In reply to Opti :

Yea up here everything old is rusted out and nothing kills my drive to keep a vehicle in good shape more than rust. Turns every small job into a trial of patience. So old stuff is pretty much out of the picture for that reason. I guess I would travel for the right vehicle but I've walked away from more than 50% of the vehicles I've gone to look at so I'm a little hesitant to roll the dice on a car I've got to get on a plane for.

I wish a miata was in the cards but I literally won't get out of my street during the winter without 4wd/awd. I'm at the bottom of a long dirt hill that usually spends most of the winter with 1-2" of hardpack snow on it. I dailied an NA miata for 8 years and just got rid of it last year so I'm usually the first one to plug their winter capability, but even with snow tires and the torsen they won't climb the hill... I tried. 

 

And I'm with you on not wanting just 1 car. I've had 2 or more cars for over 15 years now. The idea of only having 1 car makes me nervous... there's something satisfying about always having a backup, hence why I'm feeling anxious about having to rely on just the truck for the next 4-ish months and starting to eye a changeup of the fleet. 

 

pres589 (djronnebaum)
pres589 (djronnebaum) UltimaDork
11/27/22 11:01 p.m.

AWD swap a G-body El Camino using Olds Bravada parts.  Sell everything else.  Then buy a VFR800.

Caprigrip
Caprigrip Reader
11/28/22 12:16 a.m.

Ok not sure if Frontier stays or goes  - it works and it's rusty so maybe keep it and drive till you can't.   BMW sounds like it's time to go.  You don't love it so take advantage of the used car market and dump it.   Now to replace it:   That's the tough part.  Fun hot hatch FWD like a  Fiesta ST?  Or a sporty Civic sI?  In your budget, fun and daily drivable?  Would that work in your winter and your driveway?  

Puddy46
Puddy46 New Reader
11/28/22 8:22 a.m.

There's something to be said about having at least one "normal" vehicle on the fleet, that's just dead nuts reliable.  If I were in your shoes, I'd move on from the Frontier, and take a hard look at late model F-150s.  They just work.  If you still need a little flair, a Wrangler, Gladiator or Bronco (if you can find one) would work well, too.  Or wait and see what the new Rangers and Colorados feel like.

93gsxturbo
93gsxturbo UltraDork
11/28/22 11:55 a.m.

I would go buy a brand new 3.5 Ecoboost F150 XLT 4x4.  Yeah its 60k but it will last 10 years at least and the resale is such it doesnt make sense to get a used one that someone else overloaded and farted in for its whole life.    That's your daily driver/comfort car.  Sell the Nissan and the BMW and finance the rest.  The F150 will get as good or better mileage than a Subaru or an S4 on regular fuel, its faster (yeah for real, will beat both a Forester XT and an S4 in the quarter mile), and its roomier and it has a warranty.  Its a win/win/win/win.

Keep the S2000 or get another "fun" car.  Enjoy your extra parking space and roll the registration on your 3rd car into a tune and an intercooler for the F150 if you wanna go 12 flat in the quarter.  

 

Apexcarver
Apexcarver UltimaDork
11/28/22 12:13 p.m.

A ford maverick may be a better fit than a F150 if you can wait for one. (I ordered one in september and have no idea when I will actually get it).  A tow optioned XLT ecoboost with AWD and the XLT lux package that adds heated seats and steering wheel is only about $30k if you can hold out for awhile.  

AWD sporty options are getting better these days, I just havent been watching the newer market in a long time. 

 

Tom1200
Tom1200 UberDork
11/28/22 12:57 p.m.

I bought an Outback for this exact reason. It doesn't suck to drive (I hate daily driving trucks because they driver like trucks) and it will tow smaller loads. Mine is a 6 speed manual so it's rated at 2700lbs.

Note I also have a Ford E250 van which tows the race cars most of the time so the Subaru only ever does really light loads like the Lowes runs or hauling bicycles. 

If the Outback won't work for you I'd sell the BMW and the Frontier and just get a nicer newer truck or truckette.

pres589 (djronnebaum)
pres589 (djronnebaum) UltimaDork
11/28/22 1:00 p.m.

The new Maverick does seem quite appealing.  Seems quite outside the stated budget, though.  Also wish there was a two-door extended cab with a 5.5 or 6 foot box available.  The available body/box config seems kind of long to me.

A hybrid drivetrain option in the Ranger would interest me.

dannyp84
dannyp84 Reader
11/28/22 4:40 p.m.

Sell the 1 series and the Frontier and pick up the most interesting/entertaining truck your budget allows? I'm thinking a newer V6 manual Frontier with the Pro 4x package, which gets you an LSD rear and a fairly potent engine. Or an early F150 raptor if they're not a ton of money. I've had my 2010 Frontier almost a year now and I'm really happy with it, other than mpg. Or just sell the BMW and test drive a Mk6 Golf R or something similar, a nice daily that's 4 season capable.

rustomatic
rustomatic HalfDork
11/28/22 5:04 p.m.

One of the best vehicles I've had was a 1998 GMC 2500 4x4 (always regular cab) that I paid $2500 for (before the used car bubble--timing sucks now).  It smelled, but everything but the a/c worked great.  It towed just as well as a 2006 F250 Powersmoke I had (and was an excellent firewood target), but without all of the random breakage and depression.  Definitely aim for a safer combo than Nissan/BMW.

fornetti14
fornetti14 Dork
11/28/22 6:03 p.m.

I just did a bunch of work on my kid's '09 Forester and the others '07 Outback wagon.  I can honestly say the are both a bit of a bore to drive and have been rather expensive parts wise, and that's me doing the work.

If I were in your shoes I'd sell the truck and Bimmer & buy a decent half ton truck.  Nicest one the budget allows.  

Maybe a Tahoe or keep your eyes open for a good deal.   Just take your time.

Javelin
Javelin MegaDork
11/28/22 6:35 p.m.

Option 3. Ditch the Beemer and the truck. Buy a Cayenne and an S4. 

toconn
toconn New Reader
11/28/22 7:55 p.m.
Caprigrip said:

Ok not sure if Frontier stays or goes  - it works and it's rusty so maybe keep it and drive till you can't.   BMW sounds like it's time to go.  You don't love it so take advantage of the used car market and dump it.   Now to replace it:   That's the tough part.  Fun hot hatch FWD like a  Fiesta ST?  Or a sporty Civic sI?  In your budget, fun and daily drivable?  Would that work in your winter and your driveway?  

This is what I keep bargaining with myself.  Even with the LSD and snow tires, they probably won't get out of my street in the winter. But it also doesn't snow everyday and the snow doesn't last forever after a storm. Those handful of days per year I truly need it - I could drive the truck. Something like a civic si would be a lot more fun than a subaru and it'd still be fully drivable for the majority of winter days to get me to work and back. The flip side is that I'm either skiing or mountain biking basically every weekend and something in a hatch or wagon format fits the bill there a lot better. 

 

This has been the big debate I've been having with myself... and quite literally with a K-engine Civic Si as the counterpoint.

 

 

toconn
toconn New Reader
11/28/22 8:08 p.m.
dannyp84 said:

Sell the 1 series and the Frontier and pick up the most interesting/entertaining truck your budget allows? I'm thinking a newer V6 manual Frontier with the Pro 4x package, which gets you an LSD rear and a fairly potent engine. Or an early F150 raptor if they're not a ton of money. I've had my 2010 Frontier almost a year now and I'm really happy with it, other than mpg. Or just sell the BMW and test drive a Mk6 Golf R or something similar, a nice daily that's 4 season capable.

My Frontier is v6 / manual / nismo package. So I basically own exactly what you're suggesting haha. I wouldn't necessarily be opposed to a newer version of the same truck - it's perfect for my use case - but there's a warm fuzzy that comes with having a second vehicle I can drive in the winter. 

 

The Golf R is a good suggestion. I am tempted by those. I've had 2 friends with EA888 engines (or whatever they're called) and they both had massive reliability problems which has me nervous, otherwise I probably wouldn't have made this post and gone after one of those. 

toconn
toconn New Reader
11/28/22 8:09 p.m.
Javelin said:

Option 3. Ditch the Beemer and the truck. Buy a Cayenne and an S4. 

TWO vag products in one garage? How could I look myself in the mirror...

Javelin
Javelin MegaDork
11/28/22 8:12 p.m.
toconn said:
Javelin said:

Option 3. Ditch the Beemer and the truck. Buy a Cayenne and an S4. 

TWO vag products in one garage? How could I look myself in the mirror...

I dunno, I have 5 and haven't had to walk... yet.

Opti
Opti Dork
11/28/22 8:17 p.m.

In reply to Javelin :

You trying to put him in the poor house? I thought he atleast wanted one reliable car

rich911s
rich911s New Reader
11/28/22 8:36 p.m.

In reply to Opti :

I second the Cayenne.   Get a Turbo!  I got my son a '08 Cayenne Turbo for $10,995.00 (no joke, at a BMW dealership no less) with 115K miles and it's been very reliable and WAAAY more fun and capable than most vehicles we've ever owned.  Tows 8,000lbs like it isn't back there... AND you can take it to the track... AND drive it through snow!  500HP from the factory, 600HP with a tune, full time AWD, 4 levels of air suspension, locking differential with low crawl, Porsche stability management, leather, alcantera headliner, Bose sound system, sunroof, the list goes on and on.  Sticker on his was over $100K.  As far as maintenance goes, DON'T buy one if you aren't a DIYer as labor is $180 hr where I'm located.  So far all I've done is new coils, new plugs, oil changes, and I had to replace a leaky coolant pipe.  Did the water pump as preventative while doing that (forums said do it). The headlights are a PITA as the insulation on the wiring cracks under heat and falls off, but that can be fixed or replaced.  One vehicle to replace 3 ...      

rich911s
rich911s New Reader
11/28/22 8:37 p.m.

In reply to rich911s :

Forgot to mention the biggest downside... gas.  It gets about 13 mpg combined according to our driving. Your mileage may vary. smiley  

Caprigrip
Caprigrip Reader
11/29/22 8:48 a.m.

Can you just use a rack for mountain biking and skiing and bypass the hatch idea?  I use a Seasucker suction type and love it.   Then drive the truck only when needed.   

1 2
Our Preferred Partners
kStexZKNkPUonyfEhHTr184yREj6NPz7WZWmsD8ydyP5VX7YT1mHuSQd9LLWQBeF