When there are no vehicles you want to buy..


$50 Site Donor 2023
Jan 14, 2011
in Az where the Deer and Antelope play
What do you do? The '02 Xterra is getting long in the tooth, little irritating things are starting to happen that need fixed and I'm just not that interested in fixing random stuff anymore. We've had it for 8 years and it's been inexpensive and pretty trouble free. We've been casually looking, our wish list is used, $20k, 2013+ to keep it 10 years old max, AWD or 4WD with some clearance so we can get out and explore a little, get to trailheads to hike or ride. No sedans or trucks. I need to use a ramp with my 12 year old dog to get in so a liftgate is pretty necessary unless a passenger door will swing real wide. Really want to keep an open mind but there are some no-go cars. When wife bought the '14 RAV4 we also tried Foresters and Outbacks and didn't like the CVT or the seats in either. A Golf Alltrack caught our attention but the DSG tranny sounds like something to stay away from if you don't know it's service history. Not crazy about Kiahundie's spotty reliability especially buying used. A newer Xterra would work and I'm a closet Jeep guy so a Wrangler would work too, we're both ok with what Jeeps are but there are years and engines and trannies to stay away from. A Grand Cherokee would work but they seem to have issues. We're not seeing any CUVs that look interesting. We're in no hurry and with prices dropping waiting until summer at least is the smart thing to do. Looking is fun. I always prefer the newest low trim models with least miles in our price. Any suggestions on ones we should look into are appreciated. It's weird that nothing jumps out and says I'm the one.

And I know the smart thing is to get the stuff fixed on the Xterra and keep driving it but at 21 years old there's always going to be the next thing. Rather reset the clock.
Sounds about like the minefield that my wife is tromping through.

I'm a J-Series Honda guy, but she wants a 2014+ Pilot... VCM Ruined that motor to a certain extent.

Or a Wrangler, we already have one Stellantis vehicle in the family, and it is a pile, plus Wranglers are overpriced in this area and as much as she wants one, she's never driven one and I don't think she'll like it. We'll probably rent one at some point.

Ideally, she'd like a new Bronco, but we're not spending that kind of money on a car. Not even if they come back down to earth unless the market well and truly craters and I can pick up a super base model and throw my spare set of alloy Ranger wheels on it. I'm comfortable with the 2.3L and to a slightly lesser extent, the 10R60, I think I can make those last a long time.

In reality, I'm going to keep the 2003 Accord going for her until the wheels fall off and we're forced to make a decision on something. Even then it won't be an emergency as she'll just drive the Ranger and I'll daily the TL for a bit.
I would suggest a Grand Cherokee with the V6 and 8 speed. Lowest miles and newest you can afford. Laredo is the value trim, Altitude next step up.
My go to when I take a vehicle off the lot. I've brought in many on trade, they are about as solid as an SUV gets.

Yeah, the WK2 Grand Cherokee is a great vehicle especially after the 2014 refresh.
There is always the fear that today's stuff won't last. We thought the same things 10 and 20 years ago. What actually happened is that vehicles (except Hyundai/Kia) became ever more reliable.

Although I completely agree with the OP, many of today's offerings are uninteresting, almost to the point of being repulsive. Every once in a while, something stands out.
I would try the 2nd gen Xterra's. Everything is an upgrade - space, handling, drivetrain. Made a good vehicle much better.

I had a GC and really liked it - 2002 model, but everything I have read on the newer ones is lots of different little problems. That was the problem I had with my 2002, the vehicle fell apart around a decent drivetrain. Different years and models also had all kinds of problems.

I like Wranglers. However at $20K your looking at pretty old - maybe just as many problems as you have now - they hold their price well. Also getting in and out of the back with a softop is a bit of a PIB. And a Wrangler without a soft top is sort of a waste no?

I have yet to find a softroader I like, but a friend has a cherokee Trailhawk he really likes. He went from a Jeep TJ, so that says something. Not sure how much they are used at this point. They just announced there not making them anymore - which might make them a little cheaper still?
Grand Cherokee. Mine has been ok I guess. The suspension costs a fortune though. Either find a really low miles one, or get a good deal on a higher miles one and factor in a suspension refresh at some point.
We had an '06 GC 2wd with an OEM ground effects (?) package, different bumper covers and rocker skirts, it was a great road car, no problems and I've never seen another like it. Hate to admit a Wrangler would be a hardtop, less noise, more secure, and holds AC better. As long as the doors will come off all good. Also had a 2 door Cherokee that was fun but that's going backwards. Not looking for a project. Here rust isn't an issue if it's a SW vehicle but rubber, paint, interior all take a beating.

Looks like a Jeep GC, Wrangler, or 2nd gen Xterra are in the running. We aren't set on a true 4wd if there were something else to consider.
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I asked the family this weekend if we should get a Jeep Wrangler (pull behind the RV) or a bigger RV.. after 5 minutes of asking why we need either they chose the bigger RV. The old Festiva is good light weight tow vehicle but no AC (I could add it yes) and I guess it's more comfortable than I thought. I like you would like to get something and reset the clock, nothing major with our vehicles just small stuff. I guess all of them are clean and haven't left us stranded hence why they don't see the need for another vehicle. I like to get another Ford Escape hybrid but she doesn't like the looks, the Maverick would be second but we already have the Dakota. Jeep prices are laughable but good candidates as a toad. And no we're not getting a bigger RV.. I don't see spending around $75k for basically the same RV but more room.
Yeah, I feel you… I find it frustrating nobody makes what I want. For example, I want a new Explorer but it’s not available with the non-hybrid naturally aspirated 3.3 v6 unless you get the police version which does offer that. But, not a cop, so I’d be stuck with the 2.3 EcoBoost that I test drove and didn’t fall in love with. Perhaps I’ll go with the F150 as the base engine there is the 3.3 v6.

I’d say just keep the old vehicle for now. I’m going to keep my old Escape for a while longer. By then maybe I will decide whether I can find what I want used for a reasonable price.
I feel your pain. My Durango is 20 years old. I might like to replace it in another 3-4 years, but nothing out there apeals to me. That and anything near it]s size no longer has a full ladder frame under it.
Ladder frame isn't really necessary anymore with high strength steel. Technology advances...heck they even figured out Dodge's death wobble.
The regular Cherokee is very good once you get 2017+. My wife has a 2018 that's only had one issue and it was covered under warranty (service shifter light was on). These are very good cars but the first couple years hurt their reputation. Also, it's the most American made car obtainable if that matters to anyone.
Ladder frame isn't really necessary anymore with high strength steel. Technology advances...heck they even figured out Dodge's death wobble.
Your example is a good one. A prime example of not knowing modern tech made by the poster you responded to. A common issue on here BTW. You want a solid body? Or " the flex" that comes with a ladder frame?
I hear you. Basically stuck looking, and waiting for a break. Who knows what the future holds, but, often when one makes a rush decision, it seems to feel like a rash one later on, with the usual regrets.

IMO, it might not be money poorly spent, if you do a repair or two, just to tide you over. Buying the wrong vehicle has a cost of its own (ok the last couple of years, you could trade out for little loss, but those days might be coming to an end now?).
Mazda what?

We're not in a hurry and it makes sense to wait while the used market cools down or even tanks. I'm not set on old school body on frame or solid front axle 4x4, just nothing else in that $20k, 2013 up range seems like a fit. @Silverado12, we'll give the new Cherokee a look, I'm stuck on it's old rep.
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Still driving my 83 Silverado bought new, has one rebuilt eng/tranny. other car is the wifes 08 Malibu LTZ with the 3.6, great car, keeps running and running. Last car is our 17 Buick Regal GS with the 2.0T. This is our retirement car that we bought new and will be our last new vehicle purchase, she is a garage queen and only driven on weekend road trips. ;)