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Another car question

post #1 of 19
Thread Starter 
Unfortunately, I heard the news today that my mighty Honda Civic is on its last legs. So... time to think about getting a new (previously owned) car. I'm leaning towards a Subaru, but it seems like everyone and their mother has one in Seattle. Also, I'm a bit confused by all the different models that are out there.

Here is what I'm looking for:

Good snow car (obviously)
Cheap (under $10k)

I'm not so interested in performance or other fun features that will jack the price up. Just something that handles great in winter conditions, and will get me up in the mountains for some mt. biking/camping/hiking in the summer.

post #2 of 19
If you were happy with a Honda Civic, maybe the best answer is another Honda Civic?

In the used market, you'll likely pay a big premium for the 4WD/AWD feature of a Subaru. My mom and my sister have both owned them since the early 1970's. They're good cars but have never been as durable as a Honda or a Toyota.
post #3 of 19
Longevity, GREAT snow car, resale value, fun, SAFE as it get's. I'm thinking a Saab 900. Maybe a 95 or so.

Good luck
post #4 of 19
Thread Starter 
Thanks, I like the Civic, but I would like a bit more room. Also, sometimes I'm afraid I'll get squashed like a tin can if I ever get mixed up with one of those big SUVs.
post #5 of 19
Triva: Saab is the only car designed to protect the occupants in a collision with a moose. I have a friend that did get into a mixer with an SUV and came out on the winning end. JIC you were concerned.
post #6 of 19
Mecedes 300SD 1981-1985 (5cyl diesel)

nothing stops them (except a dirty fuel filter)
good tires (Conti CH95's) and they will go on snow better then most 4wd.
cheap... right now $3-5K
lots of room and anything that hits you is ignored unless it's a semi traving fast.

my two cents
post #7 of 19
This summer I picked up a 97 Subaru L sedan for my daughter who's commuting to college.
Its a 5sp, with 52,000 miles. Price $8,500. Runs great, body in perfect condition, and once she learned how to drive a stick shift, she was delighted.

Found this car through our swap sheet. Their out there, you just need to be diligent and keep on looking until you come across the car you want.

With a inexperienced driver, the 4wd was very important to me. I was trying to give her every advantage possible. Last year I had purchased a Subaru Wagon for my wife. She loves it, so that's why I went looking for another one.
post #8 of 19
If you want a good snow car, consider one that is front-wheel drive. Granted that a AWD one like the Subaru is a better choice, a front-wheel drive car has much better traction in slicky condition than the rear-wheel drive one.

I used to have a '89 Corolla with All-Trac (cheapest 4 wheel drive system avail.) and it drived awesome in the snow.

How about some old model compact SUVs? For 10k, you can get a pretty good condition Isuzu Rodeo or Nissan Pathfinder.

Most of the time, it's the tires that made a lot of differences in the snow.

Good luck

post #9 of 19
I would reccomend a 4-5 year old Subaru if you were looking for a reliable, relatively cheap used 4wd car. It's probably gonna be the best bang for the buck out there. But if you're gonna spend up to 10k, you should take a ride with Snack, and look at the new Subs. Namely the baseline Imprezas. They are REALLY very affordable these days....

If you are driving up those passes, do yourself a favor and make it awd. Then you don't have to worry about the chain thing...

Good Luck!

Have fun.
(wishing I could head up a snowy pass right about now....)
ski days in 02 "0"
post #10 of 19
<BLOCKQUOTE>quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by Chronic:
I'm leaning towards a Subaru, but it seems like everyone and their mother has one in Seattle. <HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

So what?
See if you can find a nice forester.
They're a wee bit bigger than the outback but for some reason they're cheaper.
post #11 of 19
Chronic, I too live in Seattle, own 3 Subaru's. '88 GL Wagon, '97 GT Wagon, and the Mrs. has a '97 Legacy L.
The GL is bar far the best snow car. Huge lack of power and comfort features, but when you slap the differential into 4wd you know you have all 4 wheels churning power at once. Never ever ever had any issues with traction or control in the GL. I have on occasion gotten my ALL WHEEL DRIVE Legacy stuck. But that was in pretty serious conditions on back roads.
In all normal driving conditions to a ski area, you slap Blizzak's, Alpine's, or Studs on that rig and you will have a fail safe venture. Even with a good all season you should never encounter any problems.
Personally I like the GT's better than the Outback's. It drives much nicer in the city and highways and handles ten fold better. For year round driving it is a better car (IMO!). Besides the Outbacks are abundant and every Bellevue housewife not driving an SUV is in an Outback.
The Outback has the advantage of pulling out of a snow filled parking lot that has not been plowed cause it has an extra inch or more of ground clearance. Given that it is also a better utility rig, better for logging roads.

If you want a car to get you to the mtn's you cannot go wrong with any Subaru.

<FONT COLOR="#800080" SIZE="1">[ January 30, 2002 04:31 PM: Message edited 2 times, by Argus ]</font>
post #12 of 19
My mom has a '99 Subaru Legacy Outback and it is pretty good in Snow. However, my 1993 VW Jetta is even bettter. I don't know if I'm just biased because I'm a vw fanatic [img]smile.gif[/img], but seriously, my front wheel drive Jetta is excellent in snow. You could definitely find one for under $10k.. Look for one between the years of 1993-1998 you won't be dissapointed.

I'll explain the difference a little more. My mom's subaru has a ton of standing start traction, almost no slip off the get go. But where it lacks is it moving handling. It seems to constantly get pulled by accumulated snow, and it doesn't seem to be as well balanced as my jetta. My jetta ( a turbo diesel) will not only get 40 mpg, it plows through snow, and never seems to get pulled on. It's really well balanced too.

Just my $0.02

post #13 of 19
Depending on what kind of room you need (people or cargo), you might want to consider something like a Toyota Tacoma 4x4 pickup that has some miles on it. But because of that Toyota reliability, they tend to hold a lot of resale value. In the same vein, but less expensive, a Chevy S10 or Ford Ranger (Mazda B4000) 4x4. Or possibly a 2DR, 4x4 Ford Explorer or Chevy Blazer. The Isuzu Rodeos were reliable enough for Honda to put their nameplate on it (Passport), but are a bit small in the driver's seat.
post #14 of 19
If your looking for AWD Subaru is your best bet. I personally think if your not going off road that front wheel drive is all you need. Therefore another Civic?
I have 40 years in the auto business and almost 30 as a shop owner/operator.
My wife has had 5 Subarus and 3 Saabs. The Subies are expensive to fix but don't break often. The Saabs are rediculously expensive to repair. They need a lot of expensive repairs and with the exception of clutches on 900s are unecessarily complicated. Mind you I specialize in Alfa Romeo and Jaguar so I think I'm qualified to make that statement.
Personally, the best snow car I've had was a Fiat 128 wagon with snow tires on the front and watershields on the ignition. Once on Berthoud pass, when a bus was "off" I sat while over 12" of snow fell. I was one of the few non AWD vehicles that turned around and drove away. I replaced that car with a Yugo(basically same mechanicals) but the shorter wheelbase made it not as stable. Still I put a lot of snowy miles on it. It would carry a pair of 210s, 20 training gates and all the rest of my gear for a weekend inside it.
Stay away from the big SUV types unless you need the space. They suck gas and can also be expensive to repair(as well as insure)

<FONT COLOR="#800080" SIZE="1">[ January 31, 2002 10:16 AM: Message edited 1 time, by SLATZ ]</font>
post #15 of 19
Thread Starter 
Thanks for the suggestions everyone. I was very happy with the Civic's snow performance, and agree that front wheel drive is adequate in most situations I would be in. AWD or 4x4 would be a nice luxury, but is not necessary. I could easily get another sedan-type car, but I think a bit more room would be useful, although I don't think I need all the capacity & bulk of a SUV. I've thought about a pickup, but it just doesn't seem right for me. The Subaru or other similar wagon type seems to be the logical choice, just want to be sure I'm not overlooking any other good options.
post #16 of 19
AWD Subaru is the way to go. They built them specifically for us. I've got a Forester and it's the best vehicle I've ever owned. I haul 1 to 4 13-year-olds with all their crap to the mountain every weekend in all kinds of weather and I don't worry about getting stuck. I have plenty of cargo space, I sit a little higher than a sedan and I have lots of glass to look out of. Off-season I put a different rack setup on top and load up the kayaks. Again, best vehicle I ever owned and my previous 2 were Hondas.
post #17 of 19
[quote]Originally posted by SLATZ:

"Mind you I specialize in Alfa Romeo and Jaguar so I think I'm qualified to make that statement."

Yes indeed, you are overly qualified to make that statement....

(quattro guy)

<FONT COLOR="#800080" SIZE="1">[ January 31, 2002 12:32 PM: Message edited 1 time, by Exit 154 ]</font>
post #18 of 19

If you own the civic sedan and want more room check into the hatchbacks. I am on my 2nd two door hatchback honda civic. I put studded snow tires on it and it gets me all over. Berthoud pass in a white out blizzard? No problem.

And they get great mileage, have very low emissions and last a long time, as you already know I'm sure.
post #19 of 19
Just a note on Toyota Tacoma Pick ups I own a 1995 and it is not a great snow car.The 4 wheel drive system is old and needs to be manually ingaged in order put it in 4 wheel high,once on dry roads you have to disangage. Like I said this is an old system so there isn't a tranfer of power from wheels that are slipping to wheels that aren't slipping.There are far better 4x4's for driving in the snow. For off road it's a good truck.It's over all a vary good truck with a Strong V6 engine and Toyotas are known for building vary reliable autos.The Ford Ranger/Mazda are much better in snow then The Tacoma.a ranger in 4 wheel high acts as a all-wheel drive system like the Subaru's You just leave it on and forget about it. there are a ton of used cars Now with all the lease returns There are some excellent deals to be Had.Good luck with your car shopping.

<FONT COLOR="#800080" SIZE="1">[ January 31, 2002 01:12 PM: Message edited 1 time, by Utah49 ]</font>
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