By on March 18, 2014
Yummy Food + Fire Hydrant Red = A Dog's New Best Friend

Yummy Food + Fire Hydrant Red = A Dog’s New Best Friend

We own a pet supply delivery business and use two vehicles. A 1995 Toyota Tacoma with 360,000 miles, and a 2004 Chrysler Pacifica with less than 20,000 miles.

Guess which one has given us more problems?

In fairness, the Pacifica wasn’t intended to be used for our business. However my dad no longer finds the Tacoma to be comfortable for the 150+ mile daily journeys, and the Pacifica has us a bit scared thanks to multiple high cost repairs.

We are wanting to save money on fuel, and have the ability to trade in a vehicle (or both) to save money on insurance, fuel, and downtime. With my dad’s age, he wants something much more comfortable than the truck.

We’ve looked at various models of Prius, Scion xB (1st Gen), Transit Connects, and lately have thrown in an Insight (2nd gen) and Escape Hybrid. He doesn’t like German (due to threat of high repair costs), though I’ve tried to convince him a diesel could be an option. Other than that, he has no brand loyalty.

Total cost should be under $10,000 – and we are able to do driveway fixes. The fewer miles the better. It does not need to be comfortable for passengers. We do haul about 300 to 400 pounds of product in our travels. So we want something that can handle that load without any issues.

Steve Says:

I would start with the seat. No, I am certainly not joking about that.

With all that driving, you will eventually prioritize that throne over all other considerations. Even those you already mentioned. What is different now versus nearly 20 years ago is that the Toyota/Honda quality dominance is no longer an absolute when it comes to cars. Every manufacturer can offer a durable product these days. However seat comfort seems to run the gamut. Some cars are wonderful. Others I can barely stand.

There are also so many vehicles that offer sold fuel economy, that it will be hard for me to say that one vehicle will equal out to more dollars and cents than another over the course of time. All that traveling for a mature person requires a supremely comfortable seat, a well constructed interior (a.k.a. avoiding Tonka level plastics)  and an overall environment that will allow for low stress.

My top pick for a $10,000′ish wagon like vehicle with good fuel economy? A Hyundai Elantra Touring wagon.  Like this one.

These models have plenty of room inside. A nice smooth suspension, plenty of good lumbar support… well, I’m not the review guy. So visit here, here and read the comments left by several owners and renters.

I’m sure there are other folks here who will recommend everything from a Dodge Magnum to a (gulp!) Ford Ranger. But if I were looking for a roomy economical transport vehicle for about $10,000, a late model Elantra Touring would represent the bullseye within a bullseye.

 

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69 Comments on “New Or Used : Go Fetch!...”


  • avatar
    KixStart

    If your delivery involves a lot of urban-cycle driving, you might check to see if a Ford Escape hybrid is available in your price range. Do check CR and other sources for reliability information (I’m not on top of that) but it’s likely comfortable enough, will conveniently hold enough and will return pretty good fuel economy, In fact stellar fuel economy compared to the Pacifica in urban driving.

    • 0 avatar
      MrFixit1599

      My company has 3 2005/2006 Ford Escape Hybrids, and other than routine maintenance, very few issues. Mine has 294k, another 315k, and the 3rd 260k. All 3 had a water pump fail around 100k, and mine had the fan in the battery pack fail.

      • 0 avatar
        golden2husky

        We have more than several at work as well, none with that kind of mileage, but all over 100K on 2009 models. All have proven reliable, only repairs were front sway bar end links on most of them. Interior is a bit cheap however.

  • avatar
    qest

    The thing about buying used is that the used market is better at pricing fairly than the OEMs. I imagine you can’t get much more than a Scion in Japanese due to their reputation for reliability, and you’ve crossed off European already, so that leaves the Americans. I agree with Steve that the Americans have vastly improved in reliability.

    Your Chrysler may be akin to a lemon. Every manufacturer makes lemons. I have such a Toyota.

    I might look at minivans and trucks. They might be more than you need space-wise, but they generally offer more comfort. Plus, minivans depreciate faster. They’re also built to handle loads rather than a car that might spend its life riding on its bump stops.

    I would definitely bring a heavy load along for the thorough test drive before buying.

  • avatar
    sportyaccordy

    A 2004 Pacifica with 20,000 miles? Sounds like things started to break and someone gave up on it. Just doesn’t add up. My Z is an 04 with 170K miles and it runs like a damn top.

  • avatar
    Beerboy12

    Don’t like German because of the high repair cost… and the Pacifica was what and did what?
    Reality is, I don’t think the Germans sell a suitable product in the US for a delivery business.
    Invest in suspension upgrades to the Tacoma and a few seat cushions. You would be surprised at how a decent set of shocks and good tires will improve the ride.

    • 0 avatar
      330iZHPguy

      +1 to suspension/tire/seat upgrades.

      But if you’re going look for something different minivans and small SUVs are probably your best bet for an acceptable mix of ride quality, utility, and gas mileage. I’d avoid the Chrysler/Dodge trio of minivans (in general) and early 00s Honda Odyssey (transmission failures), but otherwise it’s a wide open market.

      If it turns out that smaller cars can take the weight well enough a Toyota Matrix/Pontiac Vibe could work well (consumer reports just endorsed them as some of the best used cars in your price range). The xB should also lead you to the obvious and popular alternative of the Kia Soul… Though I doubt the ride quality of either would be all that good under weight. I’d rule out the Prius and Insight because they’re really optimized for commuting loads, not 600ish pounds of people and stuff.

      I’d also consider various Subaru wagons, the Mazda 3 hatchback, and the Mazda 6 wagon. Honestly I’d seek out the 6… It just seems like a perfect fit imho.

      I’d recommend making a list of 3-5 different vehicles of different types, and using your experience with those to narrow down to the desirable configuration. Then go from there. :)

  • avatar
    raresleeper

    I agree with the response in that a wagon would be a great choice.

    But when it comes to wagons, there is Volvo, then there is everything else.

    And to date, the most comfortable seat I’ve ever experienced was in a V70. Just the right amount of support. Just about perfect.

    He would likely feel the same about the Swedes (Volvo) as he does about the Germans when it comes to maintenance (although the 3-Series and 5-Series Wagons are a good looking sonovabitch).

    A poster above mentioned an Escape. I’d have to go with a CR-V, if you’re going CUV route. Get a lightly used one. You’ll get 250k+ miles without a hitch; however, you will pay a premium for a used Honda. Well worth it, though.

    You’ve been kind of spoiled by your Toyota. 360K. Good God.

    Yet, an Elantra Wagon could be a good choice here. Really affordable, to boot. I agree this isn’t a bad choice; however, this is a value-based car, so I can’t recommend it over the long haul in comparison to say- your Toyota or a Honda.

    Oh yeah, and your pre-bankruptcy Chrysler Pacifica is a complete disaster? Several repairs in 20k miles?

    I’m wearing my shocked face.

    • 0 avatar
      wbwarren

      Haha, yeah. We bought it used in ’05-’06 to replace the aging E150, and to save on gas. It paid for itself in less than a year (we only paid $3500 for it, give or take – had 180k at time of purchase). It’s had it’s issues here and there, but relatively bullet proof. Sadly, he rear-ended somebody shortly before this article was published, and it therefore doesn’t represent that change in circumstances.

      Re; Swedes – he’s not as dead-set as the Germans, but when I was looking at my car to take to college, he wasn’t too keen on Volvos, but he was willing to learn…and CERTAINLY not a fan of SAABs (he and his dad had a machine shop and parts store back in the 70s/80s which gave him a bad taste in the mouth for them).

  • avatar
    Chaser

    My 1st gen xB just turned 7 last month and hasn’t had a single repair so far. Lifetime fuel economy is about 32 mpg (manually calculated) with a 5 speed manual and mostly suburban driving. On the highway I can knock down 40 pretty easily. Maintenance is cheap and easy for a driveway mechanic and there’s a surprising amount of room under the hood to work. Wheels are 15″ so tires are inexpensive, as are the brakes.

    With the back seats folded this car will swallow up an enormous amount of stuff. A few years ago a friend of mine called me to haul a 50″ plasma TV for his parents. He has a fancy $30k pickup truck but the TV was an hour away and it had been raining for several days, so he was worried about getting the TV wet and also it being stolen because he had some other stops to make. We flopped the seats down and stood the TV up in the back, then went for a nice lunch. No worries. Also, the back seat has oodles of passenger space as well and depreciation is excellent. Being a business owner, you have plenty of space to do a nice vinyl sign on the sides. Parking is a cinch thanks to the small size and great visibility.

    The downsides to the car are road noise and a stiff suspension. These can be mitigated somewhat with quality tires. The suspension tuning does make the car handle a bit better than you would expect from a box on wheels and it doesn’t bottom out when loaded up. Still, it wouldn’t be my first choice for road trips. The seats are very comfy at least. There isn’t much power to be had from the motor but it has a decent torque curve and isn’t peaky like some small 4s. With a manual it’s adequate but I haven’t driven an auto. Oh, and of course it’s ugly but at my age I couldn’t care less.

    Safety is a mixed bag. Side impact results are bad thanks to no side airbags, but all models do come with ABS, traction and stability control.

    The 2nd gen xB is better in almost every way except fuel economy. I know, it’s sacrilege for a 1st gen owner to say this. The 08+ models have more power, more cargo space, and a quieter, smoother ride. The gas mileage is pretty poor though. Reliability is still outstanding.

    Be sure to check the Consumer Reports article just posted here. The xB is a top pick for under $10k. It really is a great little utility vehicle.

    • 0 avatar
      DavidB

      My service technician drives our 2005 xB (automatic) and it now has 190K miles on it. We had to replace the front brake rotors at about 90K miles because the prior tech didn’t alert anyone to the worn pads/screech. That’s it. The dealership changes the oil every 5K and puts new tires on it as needed. Consistently returns 27-31 mpg driven from house to house in suburbia/urban highway driving, mildly overloaded with repair parts. We got dedicated steel wheels mounted with Blizzak winter tires and it also does admirably well in the snow and slush. Seating position is great, kinda stiff suspension, and buzzy at highway speeds, and the seat is pretty comfortable. The vinyl wrap makes it a cute little billboard parked in our customers’ mansion driveways. Most reliable vehicle we’ve owned. Period.

    • 0 avatar
      Syke

      Pretty much going along with what Chaser’s had to say. I’ve had my ’05 xB for four years now, 29-32mpg with 5-speed on the commute, wonderful errand runner, fun on the back roads.

      However . . . . . it’s not fun on the interstate, in the slightest. The car desperately needs a 6th gear and cruise control for long haul trips. This alone is why I’m looking at replacing it this summer.

      • 0 avatar
        eggsalad

        I’ve had my ’05 for 5 years now, just passed 75k. I did add the factory cruise to mine, which does make it a bit more tolerable on trips, but it’s still not happy towing my 500lb micro-camper.

        I get 33mpg in the summer and 36 in winter. Yes, the a/c has a 10% mileage penalty. Sometime soon I will get a CX-5 – it is rated to tow and has almost the same economy as my xB.

  • avatar
    PonchoIndian

    can you go wrong with a used Caravan?

    Maybe a used Ford Transit

    How about a HHR

    Although I hate to suggest it, maybe a used Honda Element.

    It probably wouldn’t hurt to explore the used pickup market too.

    The real issue will be making a list and getting Dad to go sit in them and see if they are comfortable for him. Seat comfort is a very subjective thing. I’ve sat in cars that are supposed to have seats as comfortable as sleeping in the hands of Jesus himself, but I wasn’t impressed. I’ve also sat in cars that are supposed to have crappy seats and I thought they were pretty good.

    I don’t think you can go wrong with the reliability of most used body on frame pickups. Dirt simple and cheap to fix.

  • avatar
    baconator

    I also run a delivery business. Our two vehicles are a GMC Envoy and a Volvo 960. A later-model Envoy / Trailblazer with the inline-6 gets reasonable gas mileage, about on par with your Tacoma or Pacifica. It’s not been 100% perfect but has never failed in a way that left us stranded, and all of the problem components (squeaky alternators, rattling suspension end links) have all been cheap and easy to replace.

    The 960 is very comfortable and carries a lot of cargo; although ours has been problem-free, for maximum durability I’d recommend a 740 or 940 with the red-block 4 cylinder motor rather than the 6-cylinder cars.

    There is a pet supply delivery business in my neighborhood that runs a Porsche Cayenne as their delivery vehicle. This seems like a poor choice, but it does get a lot of attention with a full vinyl wrap!

    • 0 avatar
      28-Cars-Later

      I agree with this assessment. GMT360s, Volvo red block wagons or possible sedans, Toyota RAV4, Subaru Outback/Forrester. I think you’ll get better bang for your buck from the first two than the latter though, Subbies are stupid expensive used and most RAVs I see are as well.

      • 0 avatar
        raresleeper

        There is only one GMT360 I will speak of… a little something called the Saab 97X Aero.

        This may be just a tad too much overkill for your delivery business, but the customers would likely get their goods on time.

    • 0 avatar
      wbwarren

      GMC Envoy/Trailblazer is out – we’re wanting 25+ highway, preferably 20+ city – from what we’ve seen the Envoy/TB/etc all are about the same as the Pacifica.

      Volvo might be an option;

      • 0 avatar
        CoreyDL

        Volvo, at the $10k range IS going to have high miles, and WILL nickel and dime you to death with sensors and trim issues, headliners, transmission stuff, etc. It will be just as bad as a German, except less prestigious.

        For Steve’s recommendation of the Elantra Touring – the woman who cuts my hair complains consistently about how small it is inside. Her husband is 6’3″ and cannot adjust the seat enough to even drive it, nor sit in the front or back. So if either of you are tall, beware!

  • avatar
    johnhowington

    Second gen Scion xB. It has a better engine, its more comfortable and the suspension is better for older folks. Damn what the reviewers say, it is an excellent commercial vehicle.

    • 0 avatar
      55_wrench

      Dittos on the Gen2 XB.

      We have two in the family, one with 60k+ and ours is 30k with ZERO problems.

      Flip down the rear seats and 3-400 lbs of cargo will actually improve the ride. It’s sprung a little stiff for just two occupants.

      Fuel economy is not as good as the Gen 1, but you also have the power needed to not worry about freeway onramps especially when carrying a full load. We’ve gotten 25-26 on road trips.

      Ditch the Goodyears that came with it, and try some Pirelli P7′s. it really helped reduce the road noise.

      The local Budweiser distributor bought a fleet of these in ’08 and has yet to replace them.

      As for capacity, I hauled a 60″ x 32″ x 22″ credenza home in it last year–with the tailgate fully closed.

      Try that in a Soul.

  • avatar
    morbo

    What about a Taurus wagon? Either the last of the oval sleds (2005/2006) or the newer ‘freestyle/Taurus X) ones. I remember the Vulcan iron block V6 in my Ranger being unbreakable, and I think it was offered in the oval Taurus’s. Not too familiar with the newer generation Taurus X wagons but I’m sure the forums can fill in the blanks.

    Mazda 6 wagons, Ford Focus wagons, Dodge Magnums wagons, maybe the old BOF Explorer/Trailblazer/4Runner? Or the ‘unibody’ Grand Cherokee/Pathfinder/Ridgeline.

    Pretty much anything within your price range that the forums agree on and your butt finds comfortable.

    • 0 avatar
      koreancowboy

      Best suggestion here.

      Very comfortable seats, good ingress/egress, most come well-loaded, good fuel economy, and best of all, they’ll swallow up most anything that they’ll need to haul. I’m keeping my eye out for a Freestyle/Taurus X myself…you can find those all day long for under $10K.

      • 0 avatar
        raresleeper

        “Good ingress/egress…”

        Such a nice choice of words there, KC. Ingress. Egress.

        Makes you want to grab a cane and a pair of those lovely orthopedic shoes with the velcro straps on them.

        What… no one else’s gray roots are showing?

    • 0 avatar
      troyohchatter

      Mazda6 wagons have their issues and the Taurus (not the Taurus X) wagon, for it’s size and weight, has absolutely no room in it to speak of. Also ours was junk by 125K.

    • 0 avatar
      wbwarren

      Taurus wagon might be an option – we’ve had experiences with Tauruses (my mom had a ’95 Wagon, grandmother still has a ’93 Sedan…only 69k miles)…and they’re cheap to fix.

      I’ve mentioned Focus wagon/hatch to him numerous times – since my Focus sedan has been relatively trouble free (did have to replace transmission around 100k, but it was bought used, so no idea what went wrong).

    • 0 avatar
      pdieten

      Freestyle is available for <$10K but all of them have a CVT. I'd find out if previous owners did a fluid change in it before buying.

      Taurus X is a little harder to find at that price point unless you get a high-mileage example, but those cars are sturdy, reliable, roomy, and very comfy for elderly drivers as long as your legs are mobile enough to step over the rather wide sill.

    • 0 avatar
      CoreyDL

      The BOF or GC/Pathfinder aren’t suitable for the highway MPG’s they want though.

  • avatar
    Felis Concolor

    I’ll second the Elantra Touring recommendation as long as there aren’t a lot of supra-70 mph runs made in it. The lack of a tall overdrive ensures that vehicle will become a used car classic for city drivers but not for the OTR set.

    After reading Mr. Karesh’s article, I test drove several and rented one for a week. I haven’t driven a small car which gave me the feeling of a mid-80s Japanese small car since – well, the 80s – but the Elantra instilled in me the same feelings as dad’s ’86 Toyota Camry, my brother’s ’86 Tercel and a friend’s later Corolla FX16GT: tight, nimble, good seats and just a general joie de route I have not encountered in the modern Japanese offerings.

    And make certain your new ride is shod with 60 series or taller tires for additional comfort; anything at 50 or lower is going to add unnecessary harshness to the ride.

  • avatar
    troyohchatter

    300-400Lbs of cargo? This is easy. I’d go with a Honda Fit. The Honda Fit has almost 60 cubic feet of storage, the seats are nice, and the automatic is a 5spd. It’s one of the few bright spots in the current Honda lineup and while a $10K may have a few miles on it, the cars, per my buddy, a Honda service writer, are damn near bulletproof

    • 0 avatar
      wbwarren

      I’ve had the Fit on the high end of my recommendations for a while; just trying to find one without the “Honda Tax” (that ubiquitous price bump because of the H badge on the front/back) has been the issue. Are they as fun to drive as the commercials say? He did like the Pacifica when he got it because of the handling, so a good handling car is a plus…but not a requirement.

      • 0 avatar
        raincoaster

        I have a 2011 Fit and regularly haul that much or more cargo (Me + girlfriend + 150 lbs of dogs + 150+ lbs of misc) every weekend to my cottage. It’s a 400 km round trip that the car makes no problem at all. I’ve had much more than that (a brand new in box dishwasher and several bags of garden soil) in the Fit and it didn’t break a sweat. Up to 40000 km now and nothing other than oil changes.

        The seat may be the deal breaker though. It fits me perfectly and comfortably but my girlfriend hates it. Make sure to take one on a long test drive if you can.
        It is fun to drive (I have the 5 speed) and the magic seats flat-folding trick will make for some nice cargo space for your business. I bought mine new because gently used ones were going for only 3k less than new. The Honda Tax may ding you when you buy, but it will also help you if/when you sell.

  • avatar
    Mandalorian

    How is a Ford Transit Connect not ideally suited to this job? Plenty of interior space, proven and reliable design and fuel efficent.

    • 0 avatar
      wbwarren

      It fits the criteria perfectly, but finding a good one for our price range is tough.

    • 0 avatar
      baconator

      The Transit Connect rides and drives pretty poorly compared to car-based things. It’s got the ride of a half-ton or 3/4-ton pickup and is quite tippy and underpowered. If you need that kind of room it’s more nimble than a full-size van, but I wouldn’t want to drive one 150 miles a day if I didn’t absolutely have to. And for the price point mentioned here, you’d be buying a used one, which gets 23 MPG combined – not so fuel efficient as to knock it out of the park.

      Also, they’re not that cheap or plentiful on the used market.

      I looked at one for my business and really, really wanted to like it, but it’s not something you’d drive voluntarily.

  • avatar
    slow kills

    One great thing about a 1995 is that the seat is not loaded with airbags, so it can be torn down and rebuilt be a local auto upholstery place. They can surely adjust cushioning to suit.

  • avatar
    packardhell1

    I may be off my rocker here, but if I were in the poster’s position, I’d take a Mazda 5. It won’t touch the gas mileage of the suggested Scions, but they still get decent mileage. I’ve never owned one but I have driven a few and I liked the seats. I think it would do well at hauling the cargo since it is set up to haul 6 people. I’m not sure how tall the cargo will be, so that could be an issue, but the seats should fold flat to accompany something flat enough.

    There have been a lot of great suggestions. I wish you luck! I’m sorry you have issues with your Pacifica. We bought our 2007 Touring in 2009 and have put 50k miles on it with no issues. It seats 6 (not much cargo with all seats up though) and hauls my utility trailer with aplomb. That stinks :(

    • 0 avatar
      packardhell1

      I also suggested the 5 because of ease of use. It is a bit higher up than a car, has sliding doors on the side, and a big hatch in the back. It may make cargo easier to load/unload. Just a thought!

    • 0 avatar
      wbwarren

      Yeah, I’ve been thinking a 5, as well!

      But yeah, transmission problems, trim pieces, electrical gremlins, etc…downfall of being an Early adopter! Ours was one of the first built (Built October ’03, purchased Feb ’04). We have loved it, but hated it at the same time.

      • 0 avatar
        packardhell1

        I’d agree with the love/hate relationship. Having that many issues would get to me also. We have since sold our 2007, but I keep in touch with the people who bought it and they still love it. It was the first year of the 4.0/6-speed auto combination. I drove earlier examples, but I didn’t like the 3.8/4-speed combo.

        Well, whatever you choose, happy driving!!

  • avatar
    Scoutdude

    The Elantra Touring likely won’t be found in your price range if you can find them at all since they were never big sellers.

    In that price range you can find an Escape Hybrid which should give you the lowest operating cost. A Taurus Wagon with the Vulcan 3.0 is another good choice you can likely find a low mile version and bank the money saved to put to the extra fuel it will use compared to the Escape Hybrid. A Ranger with the 3.0 Vulcan is a good choice too but your dad likely won’t find it as comfortable as the Taurus or Escape. Either way there is a reason that Ford is number one in commercial fleet sales and that is because they have been proven to have the lowest total cost of ownership and the best up time on average.

    • 0 avatar
      Steven Lang

      The one linked in this article has about 60k miles and an $8500 Buy It Now price.

      • 0 avatar
        Scoutdude

        Around here the bottom end of the asking prices seems to be $11K unless you are willing to take one with a branded title. However I wouldn’t trust a Hyundai for a delivery vehicle.

      • 0 avatar
        Grumpy

        I second the Elantra Touring–but only if your Dad doesn’t mind a standard–the 5 speed is very good but the old 4 speed auto is a bit of a dog.

        Otherwise I might try to find a nice old 2WD 2.7L 4 cylinder 4 Runner from the late 90′s early 2,000′s. Overbuilt for your needs, but bulletproof. Lots of tire for a reasonable ride, especially when loaded and the seats should be good. The 2WD 4 runners were ignored by off road hooners, and many have spent their lives in cities, shuttling back and forth to work from nice covered garages. Best with the 5speed manual and with patient driving should get 20/24 mileage or close.

  • avatar
    readallover

    Honda Element. Hauls more than you think it can and easy to get in and out of. Reasonably priced and it is a Honda.

    • 0 avatar
      packardhell1

      I think that would last quite a long time and loading cargo would be really easy. Plus, if something spills, it’s easy to clean up. However MPG isn’t as good as other options, though.

      http://www.fueleconomy.gov lists the 2008 Element (manual) at 18 city/23 highway. The 2008 Scion xB and 2008 Mazda 5 (also manual) are 22/28. I realize that isn’t a huge difference, but it could add up over time.

    • 0 avatar
      KixStart

      I should have thought of the Element, too. A friend had one and really liked it; very practical vehicle.

      It’s also a car that Click and Clack have recommended to callers.

  • avatar
    MrFixit1599

    I will have to second (third?) the Ford Escape Hybrid. As I said above, we have 3 of them, 2005/2006 era, all have well over 250k miles on them, other than brakes and suspension work which is to be expected, the only repairs have been water pumps at 100k on all 3 oddly enough, and a battery pack fan. The transmission is a CVT, but apparently is the planetary gearset type, and is a sealed unit that requires no maintenance. No power steering pump either as it is electric. Synthetic oil changes every 10k miles and that’s about it. I find the leather interior in mine has held up much better than the fabric interior in one of the other ones. I also haul around 500 or so pounds of tools and parts at all times, and still get around 25-27 MPG.

    • 0 avatar
      Scoutdude

      Actually the transmission fluid is supposed to be replaced every 100K on the Escape Hybrid.

      • 0 avatar
        MrFixit1599

        Yeah well, it’s a small company so vehicle maintenance is basically, when it breaks, then they will pay to fix it. The spark plugs and wires were replaced around 150k I think. They had some guy come in the shop and do new tie rods on the side and on the cheap I am sure. Supposedly he did a tune up which I assume would be new plugs and wires, but as far as I know, it could still be on the original plugs and wires. Other than that neither the engine nor transmission have been touched. Well other than oil and air filter changes. All 3 of them have been remarkably reliable.

        I was told when Ford designed it, they envisioned it would be used as taxi’s, so they over engineered the whole thing, which I have found to be very likely. I drive the hell out of it, floored a lot, which you have to do with the de-tuned 4 cylinder.

  • avatar
    brandloyalty

    Since I have one, I’d also suggest an Escape Hybrid. You won’t believe the mileage, and you will no longer be stressed by traffic jams.

    Just avoid an ’08 or ’09. They both have multiple sources of water leaks through the back hatch into the interior, and they are by far the most likely to suffer Ford’s electric power steering boost failure. (Which is expensive to fix and Ford won’t recall.)

    The Escape will have a power driver seat and pull/drift technology to aid comfort on long drives.

    Escape Hybrids are used as taxis in several US cities, and rack up 300,000 miles before being sold. There’s an ’08 Escape Hybrid in business use the US with 500,000 miles on it. The hybrid batteries have proven to be good for the life of the vehicles.

  • avatar
    Acd

    My first choice would be a 1980 Cadillac Seville (black over black) but I understand if some people might not find this to be terribly practical…..

    • 0 avatar
      28-Cars-Later

      Very nice taste, although personally I’ll go Eldorado over bustleback Seville. Steve Lang may sell you a very clean ’80 black on black Seville if you make him an offer he can’t refuse.

      http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/03/hammer-time-rediscovering-my-inner-jersey/

  • avatar
    CoreyDL

    Based upon el commentos here, I would say an Element, or a Taurus X would suit you nicely. Taurus X benefits from looking newer than it is, on account of early adoption of the Gillette front end grille, and pre-popularity LED’s out back. Saw one this morning on my way to work and took notice.

    Someone here said theirs had 150k+ miles, and didn’t have any squeaks or rattles to speak of, and had been very reliable. You could get a good later version one with decent miles within your price range.


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  • Re: 2015 Opel Corsa Revealed

    CoreyDL - Speaking of things which won’t age well – that seat fabric pattern. And the fuel cap is in the WORST possible place, and in horrible black plastic, which...
  • Re: While You Were Sleeping: July 15, 2014

    Vulpine - Yeesh! I’m glad to see news about the auto industry, but today’s writers are really hurting this board. The prejudicial, belligerent style of...
  • Re: Junkyard Find: 1986 Buick Somerset

    28-Cars-Later - Years back my old mechanic had an entire steering column from an Olds Ninety Eight sitting upright near his desk and I inquired. He had a customer with a...
  • Re: Toyota May Kill V6 Camry

    brettc - After reading the headline I realized that Toyota has virtually no turbo charged engines in any of their North American lineup. I thought maybe the FR-S had a turbo but...
  • Re: EPA Mandates Real-World Testing For All Automakers

    redav - EPA numbers are not intended to have anything to do with what real people get in real service. EPA numbers are supposed to be the result of...
  • Re: While You Were Sleeping: July 15, 2014

    kvndoom - “Volume at all costs” is taking the industry in a most boring direction. And then when companies do take risks, you get the Murano convertible....
  • Re: While You Were Sleeping: July 15, 2014

    Flipper35 - I was thinking more 510 in spirit. Though I might rather have a 510. Like this one maybe. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v =6IOJOwZomUU
  • Re: Junkyard Find: 1986 Buick Somerset

    CoreyDL - I don’t get this car in their lineup then. It’s far too similar (especially as a sedan) to the other stuff they were already selling. I had to look...

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