Friday, January 20, 2012
I need some car advice, please
Miss D.'s car is getting on in years and mileage, and is costing us more than we can afford in repairs and maintenance. We're not flush with cash, but the time has come to replace it. The problem is deciding what to buy, and what's a reasonable amount to expect to pay. I've been looking at used car guides such as those published by Consumer Reports and Edmunds, but since many of our readers know more about cars and personal transportation than we do, I thought I'd throw the question open to all of you, and ask your advice.
We need a vehicle that's not too expensive, and mechanically sound; one that will give several years of reliable service taking Miss D. to work and back, and taking us both on occasional excursions to neighboring states (and perhaps further afield now and then). We need something that a large, partly-disabled man (i.e. yours truly) can enter and exit without too much difficulty - bending and twisting are painful for me. We also need it to be as economical as possible within the foregoing parameters, both in terms of fuel consumption and as regards maintenance and reliability.
I'm looking at alternatives such as a larger compact or mid-size car, or a small SUV (e.g. Honda CRV/Subaru Forester/Toyota RAV4/Ford Escape class), or a small van. The final decision will be Miss D.'s, of course. A four-cylinder engine is a likely choice for economy, although we'd be happy to have the extra power of a six-cylinder (if it's affordable). I'm guessing that our budget is unlikely to reach five figures.
So, readers, given those general parameters, what would you suggest as likely choices? Obviously, the specific vehicle we buy will have to be carefully checked out, but are there brands or models we should avoid on principle? Are there other brands or models that stand out as particularly good choices? Please let us know your opinion in Comments. (Feel free to recommend something outside the above parameters if you think it'd be a better choice.)
Thanks in advance for your help.