So, I dunno, it's pre-season, I'm chomping at the bit wanting to ski ... what else to do but post on the forum?
Current vehicle: 2008 Outback XT, 2.5L 4 cylinder turbo, 97k miles, stick shift. My commute is 30 miles round trip every day, plus it's our gear-hauler to drive to Breck from Longmont, etc. I use snow tires in the winter, which in combo with the AWD has worked well for me through many a snowstorm.
This is the longest I've ever owned a single car, and it really is fantastic, but there are a couple of things ... or maybe I just have the itch again. I don't know. I do of course have some sort of budget, but a decked-out Grand Cherokee is acceptable if it meets my criteria, so it's not a tight budget. And I'm definitely not getting anything this year; we've already spent plenty on home improvements in the last few months. So I'm just ... exploring.
What I like about my car:
- Skis are protected in a roof box
- Hitch rack for my through-axle bike; we now use that rack almost exclusively, only using the roof rack if we have three bikes to haul.
- Turbo works well at altitude
- My roof box *just* fits in the garage with about 1" to spare.
Things I want in a new car:
- I don't do much offroad driving, but I want a car that can handle my occasional tricky trailhead approaches better. Think Grays & Torreys or Rollins Pass, if you're in the area. I can get up those, but it's stressful. (Although I suspect that even the same vehicle would be less stressful with an automatic transmission.) I know Outback claims the same clearance as a Grand Cherokee (at least that was true a few years ago), but I've heard Subaru goes by the highest point, Jeep by the lowest. True/False?
- 4wd or AWD.
- Maybe I'm getting old - I think I want an automatic transmission. Stick is fun, and it's nice to control traction in snow, but in traffic - on our weekly drive up I-70 - it's just one more thing to deal with.
- The seats in my car are built so that they kind of force your shoulders forward into a hunched position. It bugs me a little, but it actually hurts my husband, whether driving or passengering. So that's a pretty big deal for a new vehicle.
- A nice interior. Leather seats, heated seats, and for it not to feel "cheap." I like the interior of my Subaru, and I don't want a downgrade.
- Okay, fine, a nice exterior. That's one reason I like the Grand Cherokee. I found the new Outback really annoying at first, but it may be growing on me since I see it everywhere.
- I kinda want a taller vehicle, too. This is probably just aesthetics, or again maybe I'm getting old. I remember my mom saying she loved how she could see everything when she got her Explorer years ago; she almost immediately backed into what she only described as "a little blue car."
- But then again I want to be able to transport skis every winter weekend without exposing them to the weather, salt, etc. And we drive with dogs in the car, and I don't love the idea of having them sitting next to the ski edges, in case we need to swerve, etc, or they're just clumsy. So a taller vehicle wouldn't let me park in the garage with a roof box. Is there such a thing these days as a car where you can slide the skis under the seats?
- Plenty of miles to the tank. At least 300, for sure.
- Rear windshield wiper.
- Turbo sure is nice, but I gather it's not in vogue right now =/
I don't want a truck; just doesn't appeal, even with a topper.
Nissan Pathfinder? Toyota 4Runner? Other? What do you think?