What's the best and cheapest to maintain AWD car I can buy?

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  #1  
Old 12-09-17, 08:20 PM
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What's the best and cheapest to maintain AWD car I can buy?

I have a 2003 Forester and don't have a ton of money. I want something used with preferably under 100k miles. I like Foresters, but to me they cost too much to maintain. I've had them for the last 15 years I think. My 2003 cost me $8000 and I think was 6 years old at the time I bought it and I dumped over $7-8k into it over the years for a total of $15k or better! That's a lot of money on a used car!

Anyways the Foresters also have the $2500 Head gasket jobs that you usually have to do and I'm kind of getting tired of it. I recently did mine on this one for over $1800 and now they're telling me a year later that the car is too rusted to pass inspections and I'm basically wasting time and money on this car and should basically junk it. It runs excellent, but it's rusty on the frame I think.

Should I buy another used Forester? lol ......
 
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Old 12-09-17, 09:52 PM
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Does it have to be a car?
 
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Old 12-09-17, 10:24 PM
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Originally Posted by Gunguy45 View Post
Does it have to be a car?
yeah i need something small
 
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Old 12-10-17, 12:20 AM
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Well, they do make small trucks ya know. You might be able to find something like a Ranger for a pretty good price and they've been around forever.

Otherwise, in the way of cars, I think your options are very limited as 4WD is normally a pretty expensive option on many cars...except Subies of course. Now, if you move up to SUVs you get a much wider range, some of which can be had relatively cheap if a few years old (like 5-7). Honda, Toyota, Jeep could come into play then.
 
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Old 12-10-17, 03:22 AM
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Not all Jeeps are 4 wheel drive and the 4x4x models do tend to hold their value. Used Toyotas also retain their value. There are a number of SUVs in the same size range as your Forester. You might want to see what's out there in your price range and then research those vehicles.
 
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Old 12-10-17, 08:18 AM
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1. You MUST have AWD? Or, you can be Ok with 4WD? Or, with an 'on demand" AWD, when car normally goes in 2WD mode and transitions to AWD only when drive wheels slip?
2. Do you need a passenger car or you are Ok with a truck? Yes, above mentioned Ranger is about the most reliable car I ever owned. Same time, it's about the most uncomfortable and retarded vehicle also. There is a Ford Explorer Sport Trac, which is basically Ranger based SUV with seating for 4. It's still retarded. Ford/Mazda never put any effort into making those cars modern, but reliable they are.
3. If you must have a passenger AWD car outside of Subaru realm, you will end up with on demand AWD system. That said, you can't go wrong with Toyota, followed by Honda. There used to be AWD Toyota Matrix. Otherwise, you are destined to go into SUVs, like RAV 4 or CR-V. That said, I owned CR-V and, outside of off roading that I did not do with it, I could take on literally any adverse road condition: storms, deep water, iced roads, snow wheel hub high.
4. Are you talking new or used?
 
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Old 12-10-17, 09:58 AM
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Hi Brian,
I saw your state and had to comment. Whatever you decide on look as far south as you can to buy, way south. That liquid salt they are using here is eating up bodies, fuel lines, and break lines, all of which will knock you out for inspection. With the online shopping approach we have available today good chance you can get a good price and a good vehicle. But be careful. When I did some online searching my justification was, online you at least get the power of feedback in your favor. Locally, a used vehicle is sold as is with all faults. I bought locally and just retired that 05 because of all of the above costing more than it would be worth, my bad.

Bud
 
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Old 12-10-17, 10:29 AM
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We have owned 3 AWD Ford Edges and never spent a dime for repairs on any of them.
When traded in at 75,000 miles there was not a speck of rust anywhere, paint still looked brand new.
 
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Old 12-11-17, 12:35 AM
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I'm kind of used to awd or 4wd for the snow, but I guess maybe I could live without it.

I'm wondering if I should get something like a Ford Fiesta with low miles? I can get a newer one with low miles under or close to $10k, which is about as much as I really want to spend.

Would a Fiesta be able to go 200,000 like my 03 Forester almost has? Is it as sturdy?

I am also slightly interested in Hyundai ACCENTS or ELANTRA. I don't like sedans also, I'm a kind of "utilitarian" so I want some type of hatchback.
 
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Old 12-11-17, 01:06 AM
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most cars can go 200k without any major issues and with good tires front wheel drives do ok in a few inches of snow but when it gets deeper you really benefit from more ground clearance and awd or 4wd, not sure I would want to live without it with as much snow as you have.
 
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Old 12-11-17, 01:10 AM
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To answer the Fiesta questions...

Highly unlikely unless it's a newer model and no, not IMO. All depends on model, options, and prior owner. Unless he changed fluids and had maintenance done as needed, well, it's in not so good shape and no way to tell til you drive it a while. Maybe he did take pretty good care of it but his 16 y/o daughter doesn't really know how to drive a manual and the clutch is almost gone.

Sure, most newer cars can go a lot longer than before, but people look at anything less than 200K as poor lifetime nowadays. How soon we forget.

Here's a couple of places that may give you some thoughts. And as Bud said, I'd be looking out of state and down South or out West for one in good condition.

https://www.consumerreports.org/used...cars-by-price/

Older page...but that means lower prices...
7 best used all-wheel-drive winter cars for under $10,000 - NY Daily News

https://www.kbb.com/car-reviews-and-.../2100000586-0/

I'd forgotten what a Matrix/Vibe looked like, but that's a very viable option.
 
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Old 12-11-17, 05:46 AM
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FWIW, I wouldn't recommend a Fiesta to my worst enemy. My sister bought one over my suggestions.
 
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Old 12-11-17, 01:42 PM
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Xv

The Subaru XV Crosstrek would be an interesting alternative. The main reliability issue that is arising is the CV transmission, but Subaru is extending its warranty significantly to allay the concern. Otherwise, its the same platform as the Imprezza, which in turn is the same platform for the Forester. But the Crosstrek is lighter than the Forester, has a lower hp engine, so the whole design is less stressed and seems to have high reliability. Many cars reliability scores are low due to stereo and electric control type problems, one should be most concerned about mechanical failures that strand or cause driver risk.

The 2013-2017 models years are the most recent platform, the new Imprezza and related Crosstrek is out for 2018, but lots of carryover in the redesign. You should have good parts availability for many years to come on this generation of vehicle. 2015 added some better sound deadening, so a high mile 2015 would be the best value I would think. They go for about $16,000 with about 75K miles on them. Higher miles and earlier years go for about $12,000, so again the 2015's look like best value.

You should get the annual (or at least every couple of years) rust proofing sprays like Krown if you are in a tough environment. Once a unibody rots, its beyond repair, even a full on welding restoration can not renew the original crash crumple protection such structure provides. With a good body, anything mechanical can be repaired almost indefinitely.

The Krown type clear sprays really do work, so a southern car is fine but the interiors take a beating from the sun and heat, while a rust sprayed northern car would be fine and more where you are likely to find a broader choice of these awd cars, that's who buys them. Factory rust proofing should be holding up for a 5 year old or less car, and you can start the rust spraying to good effect on a well kept used car.
 
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Old 12-11-17, 02:45 PM
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The main reliability issue that is arising is the CV transmission

Ditto on the Fiesta.
 
  #15  
Old 12-11-17, 03:12 PM
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cvt

Subaru has extended the CVT warranty to 10 years/160,000km, so most cars in the age bracket I noted
will still have some coverage protection for the issue if it arises.

Personally, I do not like the feel of the CVT's and wish they had stayed with the conventional technology. But the fuel economy benefit seems to drive the manufacturers decision, and I must say the fuel economy of the Crosstrek is excellent.

Many companies have had CVT's for some time. None seem to be as reliable as the conventional transmission, and the Subaru's is viewed as one of the better designs (Nissan being among the worst). Seems odd to me that with the installed base and experiences this should not be a problem at this point. I think it is failing solenoids on the valve body, which can then lock up the transmission and cause the car to stall, not sure it is mechanically failing outright. Maybe software problems too. It is interesting that Subaru did a warranty extension rather than a recall for things that can scare a driver with stalling out. Maybe the failure rate is low enough to be within some unspoken industry standard. I think automated manuals that are all the rage now also have the solenoid control problems. Maybe the solenoid technology is just not ready for prime time. To replace the faulty part you need a whole valve body, but at least its reasonably accessible.

I suppose it also just shows how we take for granted the perfected conventional technologies in our cars. The only reason I sold on my spouse's
20 year old car was it is so small in the sea of SUV's and distracted drivers that I wanted her in a larger, safer modern car with the air bags, crumple zones, and the camera based devices on the Subaru for low speed pedestrian and crash avoidance.
 
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Old 12-11-17, 03:31 PM
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Anybody have good or bad thoughts about the Nissan (Datsun) Juke ?
 
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Old 12-11-17, 03:33 PM
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FWIW... I owned a Ford Fiesta and loved it! It did OK in the Buffalo, NY winter. A fun car to drive. But I would not recommend it for your purposes. My daughter just bought a Ford Escape AWD. She loves it. And has just admitted that with out that car this past week end would have been a disaster.

Having just bought a new 2017 Chevy Travisty, I will never buy a GMC ever again. I should've stuck with my Ford. Big mistake on my part. My wife's car is a 2014 Focus. Drives well in the winter. Never got stuck. Handles great. I'm hoping to dump that Travisty within a couple years and go to a Ford escape or the next level up.
 
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Old 12-11-17, 05:19 PM
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Anybody have good or bad thoughts about the Nissan (Datsun) Juke ?
Other than it's uglier than sin? Never even sat in one or knew anyone who had one.

I would take a Focus over a Fiesta any day.

I had a 2001 Tribute (yeah yeah, I know...never buy first model year) which was basically the same as the Escape with some suspension tuning differences and a nicer interior (IMO) and except for the damn tranny (which had to be redone twice before the last shop actually did what was needed to beef it up correctly) it was really a trouble free car. Wound up selling it in WA state for $2500 in 2015 with 125K miles...guy got a steal. I see the new Escapes and can't believe they are even related...sooo much bigger.
 
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Old 12-12-17, 11:10 AM
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Juke takes premium fuel and you don't seem to be one willing to pay for that (neither am I). FWIW, I have a buddy with one and he's not overly thrilled with it.
 
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Old 12-12-17, 03:06 PM
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Just because one Subie was expensive to run doesn't mean that all Subies are. Consumer Reports puts them in the top 5 of all auto manufacturers for reliability. Their Achilles' heel, as was your misfortune to find out, is head gaskets. But that's the nature of the beast, all boxer engines whether Subie, Porsche or VW, tend run to problems with head and valve cover gaskets. Not all Subies are doomed to head gasket problems but once they start they tend to be difficult to cure. But I love the boxer layout because I do as much maintenance and repair as I have the skills and tools to perform, and most of the stuff that you have to crawl under a 'V' or inline engine to get to (with the exception of fluid changes) is on top of the Subie engine.

Everybody builds a lemon now and again and just because yours was not a glittering jewel, I would not throw out the baby with the bath water. Subaru would not have built such a fierce brand loyalty if the majority of their care were not as reliable as an anvil. I bought mine specifically because I wanted off-road-ability but don't care for trucks. I am convinced it is the most sure-footed automobile you can buy this side of a HumVee. There were independent tests of all the Japanese SUVs that showed the Subies were in a class of their own when it came to climbing a steep incline when only one wheel could get traction, and the Subies didn't particularly care which corner it was they got grip on. The last set of tires I had on my OBW, I ran almost down to the cord and I still was able to go places offroad that no sane individual would try to drive anything that didn't have a Warn winch on the front bumper.

I live in the south where we have measurable snow about once every other year, so no one bothers to be prepared for snow. Or learns to drive in it. But I'm only half-joking when I say that whenever there's snow enough to cover the streets, my 160-bhp Subie is the fastest car in town.

Something else I would note is that 2003 was the first year for the second generation Forester. I'm one of those who believes that it's a bad practice to buy the first model year of anything with moving parts. The 3rd gen Forester was built from 2008-2013, and I *think* a regular automatic transmission was available right up to 2013. I'm thinking I'll switch to the Forester (because of extra ground clearance) when the wheels fall off the OBW I have now, and I'll be looking for around a '12 or '13 model to avoid the dreaded CVT.

Subie's CVTs by and large aren't problematic. They've been building them non-stop since 1984 (far longer than any other auto mfgr) when they put it in the 3-cylinder Justy (because at that stage that was all the torque their CVT could tolerate). All 2015 CVT models had belt problems but that was fixed by 2016. I just don't like the way they drive because they have a mind of their own and you can never predict what "gear" they'll be in at any point in time. And I think it's an answer to a question nobody was asking. When Mercedes went to 7-speed automatics (which was more than 10 years ago), they shifted so smoothly that their power delivery was indistinguishable from a CVT but they were easier to live with because they behaved predictably. I think Subaru's CVT today still isn't where Mercedes was ten years ago but Mercedes has moved even further ahead with 9-speed automatics. So Subaru now is throwing bad money after good continuing to chase CVT development. It's pretty obvious (to me anyway) that they're ignoring the fact that the stepless multi-speed automatic is a better mouse trap.
 
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