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What car should we get?

My '96 Honda Civic LX is on its deathbed. My thieving insurance company decided after my accident that the car was repairable, and so it was fixed. But all the little things that keep going wrong have convinced us to just let nature take its course. A council has been formed consisting of myself and my wife to determine which vehicle should replace it. Any suggestions? We're looking for value, a bit of cargo space, good gas milage, safety, and reliability. All-wheel drive would be useful, though not essential.

Should we buy used or new? Import or domestic? Green or orange? We need ideas, people. Mama and I are butting heads over this right now and we need calm, sensible voices to take us through this stressful decision. Any clever advice or links to useful pages would be appreciated.


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The new Caravans are great if you have kids

I found this Web site ayer and it seemed interesting.

Are you interested in buying my 1986 Dodge Colt? Or take your brother in law's car since he's moving to Fredericton.

Almost forgot -- one criteria that should be there is... no minivans! Sorry, it's not that I have anything against them, but the missus has not been able to imagine owning one. It gives her the shivers. I don't think we need that much room anyway, we can probable get by with a wagon or mini SUV. Maybe even a mid-sized sedan. The debate continues.

The '86 Dodge Colt is definately on the list of possibilities.

That Winton's World site is great -- or would be if I was trying to pick between a Renault Modus and a Citroen Sharpens C5.

I think a Toyota Matrix should meet your requirements. It's basically a Corolla wagon or hatchback, and it's available in either 2WD or 4WD versions.

2001 honda odyssey

Rides like an accord/acura
lots of power
awesome comfort and space
hideaway seats
not cheap but you get what you pay for

note: the 2000 and older engines are too weak

95-97 Toyota Previa supercharge AWD is awesome but hard to find. People who upgraded to the siennas often lament giving up their previas.
I loved our 95 but it got written off one snowy winter day in 02 [no bruises or injuries to mum]

Caravans are good value and come AWD but like gas

if you hate minivans, try driving one or better yet rent one for a weekend. You'll be surprised...

My wife hates the chevy astro AWD i got her to replace toyota. got it in a hurry cause it can tow our camper and was AWD and fully loaded. but it rides like a chevy truck.

She loves taking my 92 525 to work [when chevy is in shop]. If you can find an early 1990s bmw 5-series wagon you'll never regret it [assuming you have it properly checked out by a mechanic].

I have driven nothing but 5-series bimmers in the 7-10 year old range when i get them. I hope to drive my beautiful 92 for many more years.

hope this helps


P.S. longtime carsalesman friend says his rule is: 2 or 10. 2 years old can still have factory w less max depreciation. 10-yr olds - if in good shape - are keepers and cheap. THINK CHEAP. Less taxes paid that way too.

If space is not a huge priority (As in Minivan large), IMHO, the best car to get for your area is a Subaru. A used Legacy wagon 95-99 is amazingly reliable. If you want newer, the Imprezza TS 2002-2005 (Small wagon) is a wonderful machine. If you want to go larger, the 05 legacy wagon is a great vehicle. Sube has the best AWD system, because everything is in line (All other AWD systems have to divert the direction of the power flow, which is less effecient, more complex, heavier). The flat four Sube engine goes under the floor in a head on crash. This is why they have such great crash test numbers in a frontal impact. Don't bother with an Outback. More money, no additional engineering goes into them. Handling is not as good as a Legacy. (Outback is from the marketing dept) The 95-99 Legacy had amazing corrosion resistance. The best I have seen other than Audi. I suspect the 2000-2005 was less corrosion proof, as Subaru made sure the 95-99 did not have the rusting issues the 1st gen Legacy had. If you buy a new Subaru, the base model is always the way to go. All the engineering goodies are in the cheapest models. They also are equipped with all you need in terms of features. Once you think you need power seats or a sunroof, the price goes up a the point that they are priced like Volvos. As an added bonus on the Imprezza, the base model is engineered to take the power of the 300 HP STI.

Bob . (I am a certified car junky...owning a 98 BMW M3, 95 VW Corrado, 2005 Legacy Turbo, 1966 Corvair...and many more if I had the space. We sold our 95 Legacy wagon with 260,000 KM and original exhaust, rad, hoses, not a spec of rust.). If you get an AWD car, be sure to get 4 dedicated snow tires, can't stress how much extra margin of control you have over the rest of autodom.

Good points from Bob on Subarus. A friend swears by them and in Maine and NH you see gazillions of them. With all those tight road, hills and snowy winters, you gotta wonder.

Ditto re: snow tires. I have ALWAYS put on a set of 4 snows on my bimmers and AWD vans. After 10 years in Yukon you learn to appreciate the superior tread and cold weather rubber compound.


Thanks for all the advice, people. The Subarus are going to be looked at, though I'm a little hesitant because every second person in Chelsea drives a Subaru wagon. They're replaced the Volvo as the country-living-city-people's car of choice. I'd never be able to find mine at the grocery store. But I also hear from many people telling me how good they are.

I think we'll pass on the Odyssey. It looks great, but our family size has been capped at four, so we won't need that much room. And we're worried about price.

We're also going to a Toyota dealer to look at the Matrix and the Camry.

Other possibilities include the Honda Accord, the Dodge Magnum (the perfect anti-Chelsea name), and the Volkswagen wagons. Developing...

"Capped at 4" plus the dog, all the toys, bikes, strollers, groceries, Michelle's special groceries...

Size may matter...There is also a camry wagon that was out for a few years.

Hey aren't you supposed to be in Fredericton by now? Leave the blog alone.

You do know about , right? They have reviews, pricing info (well, at least US pricing info, dont' know how it compares), and specs on both new and used cars.

There are several crossovers/wagon-esque models on the market (at least in the US), including the Chrysler Pacifica and the Ford Freestyle, if you want a little more room than a sedan offers, but aren't really looking for a minivan.

OK, I can't resist.

1.No AWD (and safety, reliability, fuel economy, etc plus reasonable aesthetics):

Mazda6 wagon (red)
Mazda5 (aka flexa) (blue)--but have to wait a bit
(very cool design though--sliding doors and seats 6, but small)
any japanese sedan (I think they only come in silver and gold)

2. AWD and all the right stuff except ugly and cheerless:

Matrix (go for black)

3. Same as 2 but much cuter:
Pontiac Vibe (it really is the same car, just better dressed)

4. Same as 2, acceptable aesthetics, reliability unknown

Malibu Maxx (not white)
Freestyle (blue)

5. AWD and good on all counts except fuel economy

Subaru, (Impreza probably adequate and better pickup, handling and economy) (red)

Then there's the gorgeous Volvo V50, with/without AWD (and you can go get it in Sweden for free, tour of the Volvo factory and rye crackers included).

THe element is funky, puke-proof, and can't be confused with a Subaru.

You have to at least consider the Prius, if you can find one.

PS Forget the Magnum, it's big, oogly (photogenic, but wait till you see one), and gets horrendous mileage.
Don't get a Jetta, but a Passat would be OK.

Wow! So much information! I don't know if I'm more confused or less. But thanks to all that wrote.

We've been using the Auto Consumer Guide and Edmunds for info on the cars as well, and they've been pretty helpful. But I think we have to go have a look before we limit ourselves too much. We'll be bouncing around Gatineau tomorrow afternoon to look at what we like and what's available.


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