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Car advice

Discussion in 'Anything goes' started by CradleRobber, Nov 29, 2006.

  1. CradleRobber

    CradleRobber Active Member

    With one Tahoe resort already open and the other one opening Friday, I feel like I need to hurry up with a decision. But at the same time, I can't rush this.

    Situation: I currently drive a 99 Honda Civic. Bought it with 57,000 miles in August 2005 and it now has almost 91,000. I drive 60 miles each way to work three days a week, which equals 360 miles per week paid for out of my pocket. Fortunately I get about 25-30 mpg even at my speeds, but it's always kind of like the first hour I work is to pay for the opportunity to work.

    I'm pretty serious about my snowboarding, and finally decided to shell out for season passes to Sierra and Northstar, the two Tahoe resorts.

    My Civic isn't going to get me there. One of my friends who I planned to go up with through April made a decision a couple weeks ago to transfer to Montana, but even if he wasn't, I had kind of realized I shouldn't always be bumming rides from the same three people. Not only would it be nice to be able to drive them and others for a change, but a lady friend whose company I REALLY enjoy also got a season pass and doesn't like borrowing Daddy's super-expensive SUV.

    I've looked into used Honda Passports and Nissan Pathfinders. I'm sold on the designs, size and reliability of both. I paid 11K for my car last August, but I've driven the hell out of it. It's still in excellent shape, cosmetically and mechanically. My mom is convinced if I sell it back home where I bought it I can get almost 8K, even though it Bluebooks for mid 6Ks (before the aftermarket wheels, tires, tint, lowering springs, air filter, etc). Maybe she's right.

    In any event, if I do sell it quick I know I can't continue working at the wonderful rag I do if I had to pay for 360 miles at 15 mpg instead of 30 mpg. I've sent in a resume and gotten very positive feedback from my ultimate goal at the time being, but they're under a hiring freeze. I could just take a clerk job at the post office a mile away or something for six months. I mean, I've been getting paid to write since I was 12. Never worked in a restaurant, grocery store or movie theater. It practically feels not normal.

    So if I did quit my current job and took something non-journalism but local until I could get on at the ultimate goal paper, my car question is this: do I go for a 98-2000 with 100,000-120,000 miles for 5-7 grand or do I take out a loan and get a 2001-2002 that gets better gas mileage and has 40,000-60,000 miles? An auto loan is the only debt I would have at graduation.

    If you've read this mammoth rambling, thanks and please share your thoughts. I'm really happy at my job and my current car is doing just fine, I just think it might be time for a small SUV. But I want to make sure I'm not considering these changes for the wrong reasons.

    Oh, and since you're all 15 minutes away, who wants to join me on the slopes this weekend?
  2. sportschick

    sportschick Active Member

    As the Montanan on the board, I recommend a Honda CRV. Smaller SUV, all-wheel drive, pushes 30 miles per gallon. Get a rack for your snowboard/skis/shoeshoes and you'll be hell on wheels.

    Plus it's cheaper so you'll be able to get something with fewer miles that'll last longer.
  3. buckweaver

    buckweaver Active Member

    A car's an important commodity, so I would say get something that's going to last you a while. If you can get an '01-02 with ~50K miles on it, for $8-10K, you'd be doing real good.

    Three years ago, I got a '99 Tacoma with then-60K miles on it for $8K. Just passed 107K tonight and got about a year left before the loan's paid off. And this thing still seems like it's going to be last me a couple years after that, barring a crash or catastrophe. ... But then, it's a Toyota so I like to think that's expected. :D

    So yeah. Get something that'll last you. Nothing better than a reliable ride.
  4. Dirk Legume

    Dirk Legume Active Member


    The Honda Passport is an Izuzu Rodeo with Honda emblems on it. It was a way for Honday to get into the SUV game before the Pilot was ready. Consumer Reports is not thrilled with the reliability of used Passports.

    Sportschick, you're getting 30 MPG from your CRV? My daughter drove a 2000 CRV for about a year (just crashed it and totaled the car) and never did better than about 21.

    Granted, she drives like a 17 year old whose parents are paying for the car and gas ;)

    She loved the car and I did too. I would think that it would be agreat solution to CradleRobber's auto problem.

    Since we had to replace the car after the accident, I am pretty familiar with what good used cars cost these days. And it seems everything you would want to drive (safe, good mileage, etc...) is crazy expensive. We saw 2000-2001 Hondas and Toyotas for 15-17 thousand. And that was with 60K on them.

  5. I'll never tell

    I'll never tell Active Member

    If you can do it, keep the car you have and get a toy ...


    For your location, I recomend an international scout, in the 70s. they run like a tank, you can get them cheap and they're 4x4. The perk is the top comes off for summertime play.
  6. Ace

    Ace Well-Known Member

    What about a subaru outback or something? Aren't there several vehicles you could get that would get you and your gear to the slopes and still get 25 to 30 mpg?
  7. Madhavok

    Madhavok Well-Known Member

    I was just going to suggest that. My friend just bout a '97 Outback to drive back across the country to Stevens Pass where he works in the winter on the park crew. My other friend bought a 06 Subaru Outback Sport or something like that and he works at Jackson Hole.

    Both are killing the conditions (so I've been told).

    Cradle--What resort are you near? Northstar, Heavenly...? I'll be up that way in March for Nationals.
  8. I also like a CR-V*. Seems like your best option, homey.

    *Only if a Lamborghini Gallardo is too expensive.
  9. CradleRobber

    CradleRobber Active Member

    My parents test drove the CR-V before deciding on a new Mazda Tribute back in 2001. They weren't impressed with it at all.

    Buckweaver, I appreciate the words on the Tacoma. I often let that vehicle slip my mind because 4Runners are so damn overpriced, but I've found a few Tacoms I'm going to look into.

    Thanks all for the advice.
  10. patchs

    patchs Active Member

    Craddlerobber, just don't visit the old car after you sell it.
    OK, I couldn't resist that. Sorry.
    My wife has a 1998 Subaru Legacy sedan with AWD and 60,000 miles on it. Runs like a champ.
    I'd look at one of those or a used Honda Element.
  11. kleeda

    kleeda Active Member

    My area has used Pontiac Vibe AWD wagons for as low as $13K.

    Got a friend with one and he loves it. Gets up to 35 MPG with it. It's a re-badged Toyota Matrix, so you could look at a Matrix as well, but the Vibe is every bit as good and dependable as the Toyota or any Subaru and with the advantage of being the most economical to drive long-term.

    Here's the best application I know of to judge what a car will really cost you over 5 years:

    Hope that helps.
  12. MacDaddy

    MacDaddy Active Member

    If you go the Subaru route (which is a good way to go) Legacys are typically less expensive used than Outbacks, and they're essentially the same.
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