Traveling vehicle what would you buy?

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3,435
Location
FL
I am considering changing jobs ( same field ) and putting myself in the situation where I could travel to a new destination up to every 13 weeks if I wanted to. I could travel to any of the 50 states. So if I decide to do this I will need a new vehicle. My requirements would be: 1.) It would have to be 4 wheel drive. 2.) It would have to be big enough to carry me and 2 to 3 70 to 90lb dogs, I won't have to worry about much of my stuff however. 3.) Pretty reliable and I would like a warranty. Now things I would like would be a navigation system. I know I could get if aftermarket so thats no a priority. I would like to be able to take this vehicle off road but I guess I wouldn't have to. Some vehicles I have thought about are a 2003 or 2004 Jeep grand cherokee, Chevy suburban, tahoe etc, a 2500 sierra, or a used Ford excursion with a diesel. Thanks for your help and I look forward to seeing what you all suggest.
 

mcrn

Thread starter
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3,435
Location
FL
I forgot to add and I guess this part is important. The most I could afford would be about 30K. And I obviously would like to keep it under that. Thanks again.
 
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3,094
Location
Metro Detroit
This is a little smaller than the vehicles you've listed, but how about a Saturn Vue V6 AWD? You've got the Honda 3.5L powertrain w/ 250 HP, 28 mpg highway, AWD, 100,000 mile powertrain warranty, a long list of nice features, 3500 lb towing if you need it and a good looking vehicle IMO.
 
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4,118
Location
Olathe, KS
I wouldn't consider a used Grand Cherokee if you are looking for reliable. Don't get me wrong, I love them. However, I've heard bad things about the reliability of used ones. Wouldn't you want to buy new -- so you have a warranty? I'd suggest one of the smaller SUVs -- better mileage. The Grand Vitara is pretty cheap, great powertrain warranty, and isn't bad off road. (Four Wheeler named it the top choice for small SUVs). Would your job be paying for all expenses (gas, mileage, car allowance, etc.)? That would make a big difference in your decision. If you don't need to go off road, I'd consider a new Rav4. There's quite a few new promising SUV models arriving soon: CRV, Sante Fe, Patriot, etc.
 
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40,609
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Great Lakes
Would something like a Subaru Outback (wagon) be too small? It should handle better and give you better mpg than an SUV, if that matters, while still having a decent ground clearance (8.4 inch).
 
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167
Location
NE Pennsylvania
quote:
Originally posted by JTK: [QB] A 2007 Tahoe could be an option. 4x4, decent size, decent MPG, 5/100 warranty. /QB]
I doubt whether he would get into a 2007 Tahoe for under $30K, as that is his stated limit. I am being biased here because I own one, but I would consider a Toyota 4Runner. The dependable 4.7L V8 model is full-time 4WD, while the V6 has the "multi-mode" selectable 4WD that can be used as full-time 4WD - even on dry pavement. The vehicle is very capable off-road for all but serious rock crawling, and if you ever decide you want to do that, there is plenty of after-market support to turn the vehicle into a serious off-roader (e.g. lifts, lockers, sliders, bumpers, etc.). I have a 4.0L V6, and I average about 18 mpg mixed city/highway. On trips, I usually average about 22 or 23 mpg when fully loaded down with gear. The vehicle has 11,000 miles on it and has needed nothing but routine maintenance. The 4Runner is about as bulletproof a vehicle as you will find in your price range, although no vehicle is perfect. I paid less than $30K for my brand-new 2006 back in December. I believe it stickered at right around $33,500. It is an SR5 (base) model, but it did have some pretty nice options (larger wheels, side/curtain airbags, moonroof, rear spoiler, roofrack, etc.) Not to mention, the standard equipment list is pretty impressive for a base model (skid-plates, auto climate control, rear air, running boards, stability control, traction control, keyless entry, power windows/mirrors, fog lights, auto-down rear window glass, etc.) Navigation is available, but I don't have it, and so I am not sure whether you would need to upgrade to a higher model or opt for a more expensive stereo or whatnot in order to get it. If you could go to $30K, as you indicated, I would suggest buying new because the resale value on these is very high. With rebates and potentially lower financing available on new models, you don't really save a lot of money by buying used. It seems to meet all of your stated requirements, and it is likely to be as or more reliable than any of the other vehicles you mentioned. Plus it will retain its value better. If you have any questions about the 4Runner, I will be glad to try and answer them.
 

JTK

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13,363
Location
Buffalo, NY
Good call on the 4-runner. A neighbor of mine just got a loaded 2006 4.0L 4x4, not sure of the exact model, but he paid around $33K, so I'm sure one with fewer options can be had for less. Joel
 
Messages
167
Location
NE Pennsylvania
quote:
Originally posted by Schmoe: Honda Pilot.
I had a 2004 Honda Pilot before my wife totalled it, and we replaced it with the 4Runner. The Pilot is a great vehicle, but, IMHO, I don't think it was built with quite as much quality as the 4Runner. The Pilot definitely is roomier. The 4Runner feels cramped in comparison, which is why my wife liked it. Shortly after her accident with the Pilot, she test drove a new one and felt very uncomfortable (almost like a post-traumatic stress reaction). The closed-in feeling of the 4Runner made her feel as if she were driving a smaller vehicle, and so that is what we ended up with. The vehicles are very comparable, and I would be extremely happy with either. The 4Runner definitely gets the nod for off-road capability, however. Surprisingly, the truck-based 4Runner provides a very acceptable highway ride as compared with the uni-body Pilot. I believe these vehicles are close, but I would give a slight edge to the 4Runner unless I needed the extra space and greatly superior third-row seat of the Pilot. The Pilot probably gets a slight edge in safety, though.
 
Messages
269
Location
NJ
If you are the one that will be paying for fuel and doing a lot of travel I would go with a wagon. Jagur XTYPE Wagon can be had new for under 30k.( been looking at them) Subaru Legacy Wagon ( coworker just bought a new one for under 20k) VW Passat Wagon What about a crossover? FORD Fusion Chrysler Pacifica ... ... All you have to do is the math. If you are paying for fuel I would go with something smaller that can still fit all your stuff.
 
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23,709
Location
CA
It's hard to beat the Saturn VUE AWD for the reasons Matt_S mentioned. It's simply the best bang for the buck SUV on the market right now, given its package, in the low 20s. It should be able to fit a few dogs if you keep the seats down. V6 RAV4 is worth a look (New Model) but will be a bit more, but under $30k.
 
quote:
Originally posted by mcrn: I am considering changing jobs ( same field ) and putting myself in the situation where I could travel to a new destination up to every 13 weeks if I wanted to. I could travel to any of the 50 states. So if I decide to do this I will need a new vehicle. My requirements would be: 1.) It would have to be 4 wheel drive. 2.) It would have to be big enough to carry me and 2 to 3 70 to 90lb dogs, I won't have to worry about much of my stuff however. 3.) Pretty reliable and I would like a warranty. Now things I would like would be a navigation system. I know I could get if aftermarket so thats no a priority. I would like to be able to take this vehicle off road but I guess I wouldn't have to. Some vehicles I have thought about are a 2003 or 2004 Jeep grand cherokee, Chevy suburban, tahoe etc, a 2500 sierra, or a used Ford excursion with a diesel. Thanks for your help and I look forward to seeing what you all suggest.
The Ford Five Hundred is essentially a repackaged Volvo S80 (for a lot less $$ but unfortunately the excellent Volvo straight-6 is not an engine option) and is available with the same Haldex AWD used in the Volvo XC90. It is a BIG car. Test drive by FamilyCar.com
 
Messages
1,856
Location
PA
I'd buy an AWD Subaru Legacy Outback GT wagon. 250hp turbocharged, 25+mpg hwy, lots of rear room capability for the doggies, and plenty of ground clearance. Also, a nice ride to boot and plenty of getup and go.
 

mcrn

Thread starter
Messages
3,435
Location
FL
wow thanks guys. lol I'm more confused now than before [Smile] . But thats kinda why im here. I can explain a little more, the job would pretty much pay all my other bills other than my vehicle, however they might give me some money to help move from one destination to the other. So gas is not as big of a factor since that will be one of my only bills. As of right now im leaning more towards the suburban and the 2500HD. I love the way bigger chevy's drive. I mean I really like them. I do want a 4x4 and not a AWD like in the Saturn even though that vehicle is a very good idea. And I thought about the 4runner and I still consider that one as well as a seqoui. I just need to go test drive some more vehicles. If I was going to get a AWD and not a 4 wheel drive vehicle I believe the Subaru would be at the front of my list. Please keep the sugestions coming. Thank you all for the quick replies. This will be months out before this happens if it happens so I have time to make my decision.
 
Messages
36,408
Location
ME
Too bad the sprinter van doesn't come in 4wd (apparantly?). Nice diesel and tons of space for the road office. Jeep libertys come in diesel too, though they were discontinued, you might still find a new one.
 

mcrn

Thread starter
Messages
3,435
Location
FL
LOL no lynching here but no minivan either [Smile] . I really do want something that is capable to go almost anywhere and keep me safe. I could be driving through Canada to get to Alaska. I just think that could be a dangerous drive and no matter what I would really like knowing I have 4 wheel drive and even a rear locker if its possible. Thanks for the thought though.
 
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