1 2 3
Adrian_Thompson
Adrian_Thompson MegaDork
9/12/18 10:02 a.m.

OK, so the youngest is finally on the cusp of independent driving.  I expect she'll take her test sometime in November or early December so no immediate hurry, but it's always best to give oneself some time in these things.  She's seriously not a car person.  Cars are puerley a necessary evil to get from point A to point B.  She'd be far happier if we all road horses to work every day.  Requirements, auto, CUV ish.  She hates driving my Boxster that I offered to give her and she doesn't even like the sedan she drove in drivers ed.  She feels most comfortable in our Edge or similar size vehicles.  I'm thinking the perfect vehicle would probably be Ford Escape size. 

What is sort of on my radar right now is:

2008-2012 Ford Escape.  Must be AWD with SYNC (Bluetooth)

2nd or 3rd Gen Subaru Forester

Late 2nd gen CR-V

 

Not on my radar before people start suggesting them is the RAV-4.  I have an (admittedly possibly irrational) dislike of Toyota's from this century as our 01 Highlander (bought new) was hands down one of the worst vehicles I have ever owned from a reliability point of view, let alone it was so boring I sometimes got confused and started taking things out of the refrigerator and putting them back in the car thinking it was the refrigerator beings so hopelessly boringly and appliance like.

So, talk to me about these vehicles and others similar.

The Escape is a great solid platform, We've had a couple in the past, an 01 and an 08.  Great vehicles although I had some random electrical cut out issues that concern me.

Scoobies. Seem perfect, but what are the good and bad years/spec for engines?  IS this timeframe ripe for head gaskets issues or not?  How hard are the head gaskets, being a flat four? it seems hard to get access and twice the work of an I4.  I also assume this age will all be real auto's not CVT's?  correct?

Honda, I've always admired Honda's for the mechanicals, but they do carry a hefty price premium.

I'm thinking of the $3-$5K band, certainly no more, less is always good.  Remember that I'm solidly in the rust belt.  A car you Southerners would consider a rusty wreck is basically concourse condition up here.  

TIA

alfadriver
alfadriver MegaDork
9/12/18 10:05 a.m.

Slow, 4cyl, two seat pick up truck.  

No real chance of taking friends.  No performance to really worry about.  And so ugly that it's just transportation.  

Tom_Spangler
Tom_Spangler PowerDork
9/12/18 10:11 a.m.

Dude. You're a Ford employee, living in SE Michigan where used American cars are plentiful. Just find the nicest, newest Escape you can for your budget. Done.

Adrian_Thompson
Adrian_Thompson MegaDork
9/12/18 10:13 a.m.
alfadriver said:

Slow, 4cyl, two seat pick up truck.  

No real chance of taking friends.  No performance to really worry about.  And so ugly that it's just transportation.  

Foolish as it may sound, I'm not worried about a back seat.  She's not really interested in boys..........yet.

Also, I have a strict no pick up truck policy as they are generally the most useless form of transport this side of an al-dente pasta flying broom.  If it wasn't for the fact I work for the best pick up manufacturer on the planet, I'd call for banning the stupid things altogether.  I've yet to find something other than towing a 5th wheel that a van can't do better than a pick up, and yes I grew up in farm country with horses.  Vans are still better.  But now you mention it I will have a look at the prices on early Transit Connect wagons.

AngryCorvair
AngryCorvair MegaDork
9/12/18 10:13 a.m.

came here to say Focus.   now i say Escape.

Adrian_Thompson
Adrian_Thompson MegaDork
9/12/18 10:13 a.m.
Tom_Spangler said:

Dude. You're a Ford employee, living in SE Michigan where used American cars are plentiful. Just find the nicest, newest Escape you can for your budget. Done.

Well yeah, that's what I'm planning on, just keeping a look out for other deals.  

 

akylekoz
akylekoz Dork
9/12/18 10:17 a.m.

Subaru head gaskets are a part of ownership, they have either been done already on a car in that price range or will eventually.  Don't worry about it just be aware of it and use it as a bargaining tool.  There are a few guys in the GR area that perform this service for $700.

I find them easy to work on or even change motors in.   

They are truly like nothing other in the snow and ice.  My favorite feature was how on glare ice you can take you hands off the wheel and accelerate with no torque steer, it just goes straight.

Sonic
Sonic UltraDork
9/12/18 10:19 a.m.

My in laws have an 05 escape and it is really unimpressive in every way except that it continues to run despite a neglect based maintenance program.  

Similar era CRVs just seem so much nicer to drive and with better material quality and NVH.  They are also about as reliable as an anvil.  

How about a late Mazda CX-7, but only the 2wd base model with the 2.5 non turbo.  It avoids all of the issues with the 2.3t, but still suffers from the same depreciation.  

Adrian_Thompson
Adrian_Thompson MegaDork
9/12/18 10:27 a.m.

In reply to Sonic :

Good points.

Much as I love Mazda's and have had many, their rust protection is a joke.  Around here a mint 10 year old Mazda has crusty rear arches.  Most have superleggera weight reduction of the rear quarter panels and rockers.  Not sending my baby girl out in a rust trap.

John Welsh
John Welsh Mod Squad
9/12/18 10:28 a.m.

So Many Escapes in your market.  So hard to go wrong with.  

I had a '10 Escape as a company car back when new.  4cyl awd.  There was really nothing not to like about that car.  

 

Don't overlook the Mercury Mariner or Mazda Tribute too!

Hal
Hal UltraDork
9/12/18 10:45 a.m.
Adrian_Thompson said:
  But now you mention it I will have a look at the prices on early Transit Connect wagons.

NO.  I had a 2010 TC wagon for 5 years.   Loved the utility of it, wife liked it for the seat height/vision.  But it was useless in the winter.  Traction control implementation made it useless in the snow/ice combo we get here in MD.  Even with the best Blizzaks I would get stuck in unplowed parking lots after 2" of the snow/sleet/ice combo.   After the first winter it spent most of the following winters in the garage while we drove the wife's Legacy.  Now I drive an Outback.

alfadriver
alfadriver MegaDork
9/12/18 11:22 a.m.
Adrian_Thompson said:
alfadriver said:

Slow, 4cyl, two seat pick up truck.  

No real chance of taking friends.  No performance to really worry about.  And so ugly that it's just transportation.  

Foolish as it may sound, I'm not worried about a back seat.  She's not really interested in boys..........yet.

Also, I have a strict no pick up truck policy as they are generally the most useless form of transport this side of an al-dente pasta flying broom.  If it wasn't for the fact I work for the best pick up manufacturer on the planet, I'd call for banning the stupid things altogether.  I've yet to find something other than towing a 5th wheel that a van can't do better than a pick up, and yes I grew up in farm country with horses.  Vans are still better.  But now you mention it I will have a look at the prices on early Transit Connect wagons.

It's not about the opposite sex, it's about friends. and that distraction.

Also, the truck thing being one of the most useless forms of transportation is the entire point.  It very much puts a limit on what can be done with whatever vehicle.  And it really has no affect on being an enthusiast- as my first real driving vehicles were a pair of trucks- and I still got into Alfas.

chaparral
chaparral Dork
9/12/18 11:44 a.m.

That sort of budget and use screams "Fiesta" rather than "CUV" to me - much newer, less rusty, easier on gas, tires, and brakes. 

1988RedT2
1988RedT2 UltimaDork
9/12/18 11:55 a.m.

I'm not far behind, as my oldest son is in his second year of high school and is taking Driver's Ed right now.  He is totally a car guy, but he understands that his first car will be more about dependability, safety, and economy than performance.

Things he likes:  Mazda 6, Acura TL, Saab 9-3

Things I like:  Crown Vic, Toyota Avalon, Acura RL, BMW 5-series

Strangely, he doesn't want to be "that kid with the BMW" because of the stigma associated with the brand.  Kinda bummed about that, since I like them.

No mini-trucks.  I can think of no other vehicle type that better qualifies as a "death-trap".  I've known a fair number of people who have met their demise driving one.  Full-size truck a possibility, but not likely feasible from an economic standpoint.

 

John Welsh
John Welsh Mod Squad
9/12/18 12:00 p.m.

In your market, in your price range and in your profession, there is also a near endless supply of Ford Focuses.  The '08-'10 generally have the most updated interior.  There is nothing special about the cars but from a transportation only perspective, there is little wrong with them either.  

Sample

pirate
pirate Reader
9/12/18 12:35 p.m.

We had a early Ford Escape we bought new and drove for 165K before selling to a friend for their daughter who put another 50K before selling. Our son has two a ford Escape and Mazda  Tribute which is same vehicle. Both are used by his sons. Still going strong with relatively little repairs. We also know a couple whose wife had a roll over accident which she walked away unhurt. Great vehicles and plentiful so pretty cheap.

The0retical
The0retical UltraDork
9/12/18 12:50 p.m.

I'll be the odd one out.

Newest Nissan Sentra you can find. Reliable as gravity, completely unremarkable in every way possible, drops in value like a rock, cheap to run and fix. Same goes for a Rogue if you want to go a touch higher.

GameboyRMH
GameboyRMH MegaDork
9/12/18 12:54 p.m.
Adrian_Thompson said:

She hates driving my Boxster that I offered to give her

Whoa, she's way beyond "not a car person," I think this counts as being anti-car. I mean my dad's "not a car person" and would complain about how hard a Boxster is to get into, but then he'd at least say it "feels sporty" and "sounds good."

pinchvalve
pinchvalve MegaDork
9/12/18 1:08 p.m.

When my daughter turned 16, she was offered my parent's 1995 Jeep Cherokee from Florida.  Old, 120,000 miles, but rust-free and well maintained and in great shape generally other than sun-dried rubber.  I figured she would never want such a tank, but she loved it the moment she saw a photo. I had to fly to FL and drive it home and to my surprise, it drive 75+ for two days without incident.  I did the basic safety stuff of new belts, hoses, brakes, shocks (still on the originals) and tightened up some slop in the suspension.  (Someone put an axle on BOTH ends of this thing!)  And of course I had to upgrade the stereo.  

She drove it for two years of high school. She was one of only a few kids in her circles with a car an drove often, but that meant that I knew that the vehicle she was in was safe and that the driver was well trained, sober, not texting, etc. I'd rather her drive than be in a car with morons behind the wheel. (My son will get an Uber account based on how he acts at 6...)   

Cherokees are cheap, rugged, reliable and you won't cry if she takes out a pole or fence or small church with it.  And parts are practically free.  

 

John Welsh
John Welsh Mod Squad
9/12/18 1:10 p.m.
The0retical said:

I'll be the odd one out.

Newest Nissan Sentra you can find. Reliable as gravity, completely unremarkable in every way possible, drops in value like a rock, cheap to run and fix. Same goes for a Rogue if you want to go a touch higher.

I have concerns of the CVTs in these Nissans.  All Rouge are CVT and auto trans Sentra of '07 and newer are all CVT.  These Sentras and newer: 

However, the '07 and newer Versa (which is about the same size as the Sentra) offered a traditional 4 speed auto trans in the entry model know as the "S" model.  If you got the upper model "SL" then it too got a CVT.  

So, my recommendation is pass on these Sentras above and focus on a base model Versa.  The easiest way to distinguish is the Versa SL got aluminum wheels and the S got hub caps.  

Versa like this: 

pres589
pres589 PowerDork
9/12/18 1:15 p.m.

3rd gen Camaro, bonus points for an IROC.

frenchyd
frenchyd SuperDork
9/12/18 1:20 p.m.

In reply to Adrian_Thompson :

I bought both of my daughters new cars.  That is I used my credit and put a down payment. The monthly payments of around $125 a month were their responsibility.    

I was on the road 12-16 hours a day back then and didn’t have any time to repair things.   What little time available I wanted to relax  

We helped with the payments when justified.  OK too often,   But they had to come to us and pay what they could. Etc  the idea was to teach them the burden of credit.  

One learned beautifully and has acted very responsibly. The other?  Well she’s finally figuring things out.  

 My oldest I bought a 2001 Saturn Ion. ( manual ) yes she learned how to drive on it and almost 300,000 miles later the original clutch is still fine.  

The youngest I bought a new Toyota Yaris. Automatic, I knew she’d kill a clutch.  She totaled it before it was half paid for.( texting )   With the insurance money she bought a replacement and a year later drove over a Chunk of Concrete which pulled her transmission out. Insurance paid for the repair but it shifted funny from then on so a year later she traded it in on a Ford Focus but had it repossessed when she failed to make her payments. 

 

 

G_Body_Man
G_Body_Man UltraDork
9/12/18 1:29 p.m.

Based on the Escape idea I'm gonna suggest a Ford Edge or Lincoln MKX. A bit bigger than an Escape, a bit nicer than an Escape, a bit safer than an Escape (the Escape flipped in NHTSA side impact testing) and doesn't suffer from the same magnitude of rot often seen in Escapes.

jstein77
jstein77 UltraDork
9/12/18 1:37 p.m.

I bought my daughter a 10 year old  Hyundai Accent for $2500 for her first car.  She still has it, 3 years later, running fine as well.

dean1484
dean1484 MegaDork
9/12/18 2:12 p.m.

RAV4

1 2 3
Our Preferred Partners
yBfJTcYbSbo9omPwmog8QKds5OcdzlSHru0kuAdiX90L4uqooFX5mDFkxGWA5gEG