Son needs a vehicle

Joined
Jun 21, 2012
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IA
Hi all, my son just completed his 3rd year at West Point as a cadet and is now allowed to have a car with him on campus. He has always driven one of our other cars until he started at school so he saved his money as he earned it from various summer jobs. Now is is starting to look at vehicles with a focus on SUV's so that he will have storage room in the car as he travels from one military base to another over the next 5 to 6 years. So, he is wanting to have a reliable SUV that gets good mileage but doesn't spend alot of time in the shop being worked on. He has put a cap of $25,000 all in for the purchase and wants to get about 24 or 25 mpg's combined for whatever he buys. Up till now, he has driven a CX-5, Highlander, X3, and XC90. He did look at the X1 (too small inside) and X5 (not comfortable). We have both been looking at CR for reviews and he was frustrated that the XC90 was rated poorly for reliablilty when that was actually the one he thought drove the best. I had him look at the CR-V but he didn't like the dash layout at all. Any thoughts from experience with these or other SUV's would be helpful. Thanks for any information you pass along.
 
Joined
Mar 2, 2013
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He could get a V6 Camry, have a class II hitch installed and rent an enclosed 5'X8' Uhaul trailer when he moves. But, this is North America, and you need an F150 or larger to tow anything while Europeans have no hang ups towing a travel trailer with a VW Golf.


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Joined
Feb 25, 2019
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Good luck buying a car with an msrp <25k that isn't being inflated well above that. It's difficult to buy a car so i'd just say to keep an open mind on the choices and to also look at dealers that are even as much 200 miles away. It's what a family member did to save over 7k on a new f350 kind ranch while it being just slightly better eqquipped as well. Drove like 170 miles away.
 
Joined
Jun 26, 2003
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A CX-30 might meet the $25,000 budget.

What happens to the car when he gets based overseas? Something to ponder.

Depends on where he's going. If he gets orders to Germany, he will probably get to ship his car with him.

Most anywhere else is a 1 year tour, save maybe the UK.

Let dad keep it, drive it for a short tour.

Or sell it while the market is still hot and hope to buy another when he returns to the US.
 

GON

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As someone who moved from military base to military base since the 1990s, very few lieutenants, or company grade officers for that matter, move themselves (called a DITY move- do it yourself). They have the military move them. DITY moves work well when one has a family, or in my case, my moves far exceeded the weight limits allowed by the government. For an unmarried company grade officer, let the government move them.

Being a new LT, he will be under great pressure to have a cool vehicle for many peer pressure reasons- hope he doesn't fall into that trap. I suggest a COA that gets him a super reliable vehicle, that he can report to Basic Officers Leaders Course (BOLC- formally known as OBC) in, and focus on his studies at BOLC, and then when he reports to his next duty station. A Honda Civic/ Accord, or a Toyota Corolla/ Camry would be my recommendation for a lieutenant right out of USMA and heading to BOLC then his first duty station. A lot will be going on in his life, and if he has a Toyota or Honda sedan, vehicle issues will be one less issue for him to worry about.
 
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I'll sell him my Touareg TDI for half his budget.

Just kidding. Or am I?

In any case, he should buy a used Touareg or Cayenne. They're awesome. Perfect even.
 
Joined
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As someone who moved from military base to military base since the 1990s, very few lieutenants, or company grade officers for that matter, move themselves (called a DITY move- do it yourself). They have the military move them. DITY moves work well when one has a family, or in my case, my moves far exceeded the weight limits allowed by the government. For an unmarried company grade officer, let the government move them.

Being a new LT, he will be under great pressure to have a cool vehicle for many peer pressure reasons- hope he doesn't fall into that trap. I suggest a COA that gets him a super reliable vehicle, that he can report to Basic Officers Leaders Course (BOLC- formally known as OBC) in, and focus on his studies at BOLC, and then when he reports to his next duty station. A Honda Civic/ Accord, or a Toyota Corolla/ Camry would be my recommendation for a lieutenant right out of USMA and heading to BOLC then his first duty station. A lot will be going on in his life, and if he has a Toyota or Honda sedan, vehicle issues will be one less issue for him to worry about.

And given the timeline, any assignment to something other than training is 18-24 months out depending.

He has a year at West Point and then 6 months + of his Officer Basic course. If he's going Infantry, there is a chance he would go Airborne and possibly Ranger school, so it might be even longer.

Of course, my experience seems to be 100 years ago, and I was commissioned via ROTC. I was a December grad and reported to Signal Officer Basic in March. Graduated in August IIRC, and went to COMSEC Custodian training and to Ft Benning for Airborne.

I didn't report to my first line unit until late October, so 7 months after reporting to Ft Gordon for SOBC.

He could have the car for a couple of years before even considering an OCONUS deployment.
 

GON

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And given the timeline, any assignment to something other than training is 18-24 months out depending.

He has a year at West Point and then 6 months + of his Officer Basic course. If he's going Infantry, there is a chance he would go Airborne and possibly Ranger school, so it might be even longer.

Of course, my experience seems to be 100 years ago, and I was commissioned via ROTC. I was a December grad and reported to Signal Officer Basic in March. Graduated in August IIRC, and went to COMSEC Custodian training and to Ft Benning for Airborne.

I didn't report to my first line unit until late October, so 7 months after reporting to Ft Gordon for SOBC.

He could have the car for a couple of years before even considering an OCONUS deployment.

Good points to bring up that his likely follow on training requirements post BOLC could easily delay his reporting to his first non TRADOC duty station for quite a long time.

If branched Infantry as a RA officer- he WILL be going to airborne and ranger school. And some LTs get recycled at these schools for medical and other reasons.
 
Joined
Jul 11, 2015
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The budget of $25k is limiting in current market coupled to a SUV that reliable and gets good MPG. I’d spend far less (like $15k sedan/hatchback) and wait out this market.
 
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Aug 20, 2003
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He could get a V6 Camry, have a class II hitch installed and rent an enclosed 5'X8' Uhaul trailer when he moves. But, this is North America, and you need an F150 or larger to tow anything while Europeans have no hang ups towing a travel trailer with a VW Golf.

of course you left out that towing is not the same in europe. Different gear, different hitch weight%, strict towing speed limits etc.

My grandpa when I was a kid would tow 3k of wood around in a trailer with his dodge omni on rural roads... the hilly windy kind.

Doesnt mean that it isnt safer to do it with a Jeep cherokee for example.
 
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He should 100% hold off or buy something way cheaper without any debt. He has absolutely no idea where he will be stationed (could be in another country) and once there when/if he will deploy. He should wait until he gets to his first command and gets settled before making large financial decisions like this.

I drove a paid for 2 door Honda until I was married and an E4. And it set in storage a good chunk of that time cause I was deployed and wasn’t there to drive it.
 
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