60 owner seeks advice for daily driver

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Jun 1, 2006
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Hi all. I've owned a MB 240D for over 8 years now. Rust-free southern car (I live in the rusty north-east), it's my summer car and garage queen. Since I commute to work and need a car for winter driving, I've always had 2 cars (3 now, if I count the 82 Land Cruiser BJ60 I bought for occasional off-road driving).

For the last 3 years I've driven a 92 Volvo 240 station wagon and it's generally been good to me (prior to that I had a low mileage 90 Corolla but it was rusting, not roomy enough, and didn't have AC). It's starting to rust and getting up there mileage wise, and will need some maintenance soon (the AC failed last year), so I'm thinking of ditching it and getting something else (a little newer).

I'd want something comfortable (I'm 52), easy to get in and out of (don't like HOndas because I find them too low to the ground), dependable and reliable (do enough wrenching on my 60 and MB!), able to get 25mpg highway, fairly rust-aversive since I'll be buying one from around here, and would have about $8-9K to spend. I have a bias against N-A cars, so am leaning toward Japanese. I'd want something that can last me a good 4-5 years before I have to consider something else. I thought about the Honda CRV but they are pricey!

Suggestions?
 
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Just because your 52 doesn't mean you have to get 25 MPG. You should be smarter than those half your age, and should have twice the funds, but if you are looking for that kind of MPG, you are on the wrong forum. Go to the prius forum, or go for the gusto and drive the 60!
 
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Honda Element...All day long...i've seen 2003's for under 10k....

I have an 05 AWD EX...love it...great car and I get about 20-24 MPG...you'll be looking at 25 MPG with a 2wd and an automatic...super comfy!
 
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most of the retired folk up here like the explorer's or escapes. easy to get in and out of and decent mileage.
but not built like a toyota. as far as a import for under 9K, i would say a 90's 4runner might fit the bill.
but it would be funner if you would throw some new seats, a turbo, maybe a newer suspension in the cruiser and drive it and enjoy it. they have so much more character.
 

Ducks

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You should fix your land cruiser. That said. We have a 2003 Toyota RAV4 that gets 30mpg and is very easy to get in and out of. (I have severe back problems.) It has a surprising amount of room although it is on the small side. The newer RAV4s are larger. We have 140,000 miles on it and there has not been one single thing (big or small) that has gone wrong with it. That would be my vote. We have the 4-banger but you can get a V6. They get around 25mpg or so. They also handle well in the snow.

P.S. All you guys that suggested things other than Toyota are heretics! :flipoff2:

:beer:
 
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Canada
Hi all and thanks for the suggestions.

82 BJ60 as daily driver? If I was younger I might consider it, but I prefer keeping it stock and using it to explore marginal roads around here, do some camping, etc. Plus I'd rather not expose it to the ravages of winter salt etc. And for commuting, the BJ60 doesn't fit in the underground garage at work.

Toyota Cressida? I've been looking for a good specimen for a couple of years, they are quite scarce. A decent one came up last Fall, but by then I was committed to the Volvo for this winter. Definitely well built, but in the Canadian context, rust is the killer. Plus they are getting long in the tooth, parts may not be easy to get, etc.

RAV4? Thought about them, but I do get the impression that the older ones are a bit cramped, and at 6ft/230lbs I need breathing room... Sounds like they are quite reliable though.

Explorers/Escapes? As I said, I have a very strong bias against N-A cars and trucks. I find it hard to contemplate buying something like that in used condition, with little or no warranty coverage. I'd rather stick with Japanese if I can help it.

90's 4Runner? I haven't been in one of those in a long time, but do recall feeling a little cramped. Plus from what I recall they don't get great gas mileage either. Probably bullet-proof though.

Subaru Forester/Outback? THat car is very appealing to me, for many reasons. However, I've heard some bad things about reliability and repair costs (boxer engine). But I do like the versatility of the car, no doubt.

Honda Element? A colleague of mine has one, and really likes it. It does have a lot of appeal, from a practical level, so I may be tempted to consider one if I can get a good deal on one. They seem to be cheaper than the CRV, which holds its value extremely well.

About 25MPG: I suppose I've been used to driving cars for several years that get that kind of mileage (or more) - one of the reasons I like diesel vehicles. Even though I can afford a more thirsty vehicle, I don't think it's necessarily environmentally responsible, nor financially smart, if alternatives exist. And for reasons of space/comfort, I can't see myself going down the Prius/SmartCar path...
 

nastav

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Ignore the others that did not actually read your post.......you want a decent mpg, reliable winter car to compliment your 60 and classic MBZ; you do not want to DD the 60, but not because it needs work or gets bad MPG; but because it is your off-road vehicle.

I'd second the Element. Based on my own driving impressions, and having a few friends that own them.
Decent mileage.
Good ingress and egress (except for the back seat)
AWD option.
Good cargo capacity.
winter friendly interior surfaces.
I don't think plastic can rust...so at least that body cladding will be ok.
I have seen some pretty scary (rust) 1990-1997 4Runners in the Midwest.
I would say that your overall running costs will be lower with a Element than a Subaru Outback. My mom has a Outback as her winter car, and while safe and dependable.....I wouldn't buy one with more than 40K on it.
I'd say a Tdi VW...but that would mean telling someone with a good German car (240d) to buy a bad German car (any >1992VW). IMHO

If you do test drive an Element you'll freak out when you realize that they make zero torque......that is the most annoying aspect of the modern Honda engine....all rev's, no Torque......think of it as the anti-diesel.
 
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Ignore the others that did not actually read your post.......you want a decent mpg, reliable winter car to compliment your 60 and classic MBZ; you do not want to DD the 60, but not because it needs work or gets bad MPG; but because it is your off-road vehicle.
Hi Nastav, indeed, you read the post and understand my situation.:)
I'd second the Element. Based on my own driving impressions, and having a few friends that own them.
Decent mileage.
Good ingress and egress (except for the back seat)
AWD option.
Good cargo capacity.
winter friendly interior surfaces.
I don't think plastic can rust...so at least that body cladding will be ok.
Thanks for seconding the Element. I'll have some discussions with my colleague, who's driven across the continent twice with it and often takes it out on marginal roads for fishing excursions. The utilitarian nature of it is of great appeal to me.

The only bad thing I've come across about them is an apparent issue with cracking windshields (some people claim they have had to replace 3 windshields in a year!). Something to do with the angle and height, susceptibility to rocks from cars ahead. Also, they have very limited towing ability (but for towing my small fiberglass trailer I have the BJ60;))

I have seen some pretty scary (rust) 1990-1997 4Runners in the Midwest.
I would say that your overall running costs will be lower with a Element than a Subaru Outback. My mom has a Outback as her winter car, and while safe and dependable.....I wouldn't buy one with more than 40K on it.
Thanks, that's the impression I'm getting to, they are susceptible to serious mechanical issues when the mileage starts adding up (and especially if the owner has not kept a keen eye on maintenance).

I'd say a Tdi VW...but that would mean telling someone with a good German car (240d) to buy a bad German car (any >1992VW). IMHO
If I was doing a LOT of highway driving for business etc., the Tdi could make some sense, if only for the great fuel efficiency! But my commuting is around the city. As you say, not the greatest example of German engineering though...

If you do test drive an Element you'll freak out when you realize that they make zero torque......that is the most annoying aspect of the modern Honda engine....all rev's, no Torque......think of it as the anti-diesel.
Sounds interesting, I will indeed take one out for a spin.

Thanks again for the thoughts and advice. Much appreciated. :cheers:
 
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Man, I rented an Outback whilst vacationing in Montana and was sorely impressed. Fun to drive, economical, sure footed, roomy. Thought at that time that if I ever had a reason for an airport car in some exotic location, or had a bald 52 yo guy asking me for advice, I'd recommend it hands down
 

Ducks

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RAV4? Thought about them, but I do get the impression that the older ones are a bit cramped, and at 6ft/230lbs I need breathing room... Sounds like they are quite reliable though.

I'm the same size and I don't feel cramped. There is lots of head room. You might want to sit in one just to see. Although it has apparently the same problem as the Element with cracked windshields.
 
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Ottawa, ON
I think any Subaru would do you just fine. I needed a dd for my wife and son and shopped around for months trying to decide what to get. Really wanted to buy another Toyota but not really too impressed with their current lineup. Although for us it had to be AWD or another 4x4 for all the driving we do in the Gatineaus.

:cheers:
George
 
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I'm the same size and I don't feel cramped. There is lots of head room. You might want to sit in one just to see. Although it has apparently the same problem as the Element with cracked windshields.
Thanks, I definitely will go check one out then!

I think any Subaru would do you just fine. I needed a dd for my wife and son and shopped around for months trying to decide what to get. Really wanted to buy another Toyota but not really too impressed with their current lineup. Although for us it had to be AWD or another 4x4 for all the driving we do in the Gatineaus.
George
I suppose I shouldn't let one bad shopping experience and some negative online reviews detract me from considering the Subaru wagons. I'll hunt for a good used specimen with good maintenance records. Thanks!
 
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Proud owner of a MY04 Forester XT - love, love, LOVE this car. It's hands down the best snow car I've ever driven - absolutely plows past the AWD Audis, BMWs, and their ilk. Plus, the XT is VERY peppy - faster than a boxster! Throw a roof box on there, a rack system, and you're good to go for extended road trips. Also cruising right on past 90k, without a hitch. Super-reliable cars. Just impossible to work on yourself....
 

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