Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Mid Week Match-Up: Wheels for the College Girl

It might be late on Wednesday night, but there is always time for a Mid Week Match-Up! Today's request for help comes from Powerhouse who writes:
Daughter is finishing her first year of college in Minnesota.  She's going to need a vehicle for the summer break, holiday breaks and occasional campus use.  Being here in the snow belt we would like her to have AWD.  She shared a hand-me-down Jeep Grand Cherokee with her brother and likes the SUV size and ride.  She will also be traveling across the Midwest for soccer stuff so we want something that can hold a bunch of girls and their gear.  Emphasis is on dependability - we don't want her breaking down hundreds of miles from home.  Decent gas mileage would be nice.  Has to be an automatic.  She views vehicles as appliances rather than performance machines or fashion accessories.  No funky colors or oddball shapes (We're looking at you Scion xB!)



DT E-i-C Vince: I'd recommend this 2006 Saab 9-7x bidding here on eBay for $2,601 located in Dallas, TX with 1 day to go.  The 9-7x was the Saab badged variant of the of the GMT360 platform Chevrolet TrailBlazer, GMC Envoy, Buick Rainier, Olds Bravada.  It is powered by a Vortec 5.3 liter V8 and has all-wheel-drive -- what more can you ask for in a car for your kid?

What do you guys recommend? Comments below.

17 comments:

  1. Lease a Subaru Crosstrek. Co-applicant the lease with her. This will give you dependable (new)and economical(2.0)USA-wide warranty, AWD, and a buy-out option upon graduation, or not, all while earning some credit history, or buy outright, zero down with monthly etc...

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    Replies
    1. And when she neglects to make the payments you can both watch your credit get flushed down the toilet. When I worked at a dealership I encountered this situation frequently when a parent was trying to finance a vehicle for themselves. Many were shocked that their credit was horrible because (unknown to them) their kid never made payments or was always late on the other car. Co-signing means you are responsible... even when the other co-signer is irresponsible.

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  2. No budget given, so...Toyota Highlander is a good appliance. Look for a 2008 + for the newer looking body style. Get the V6 if you want power. Here's an older style 2006 4 cylinder listed for $12,900: 2006 Highlander

    I have an 09 with the V6 and it has been absolutely bulletproof.

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  3. If you don't want her to be the person who always gets asked to help people move, drive on dubious cross country trips with other kids with poor judgement, the most practical car is Miata.

    Oh, she has a soccer team? never mind

    My little sister took a Jensen Healey to college, but that's because the even more practical Lotus Seven she wanted got sold to someone else while she was shopping around.

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  4. Dependability... Hey, why not a Saab?
    Decent gas mileage... How about a 5.3L V-8?

    Vince you make me laugh. Are you high? The answer is yes. You're posting while impaired. DTUI (Daily Turismoing Under the Influence).

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  5. I think that Saab is the GM Isuzu platform.
    No Jeeps please. They have to be the least dependable newer cars.
    I like the lease idea except for the mileage limit.
    When my daughter totaled her Mazda5 and walked away, she bought a 1 year old Ford Focus cheap, and HS put 20k miles on it this first year. It handles well with fantastic mpg. Good tires in the snow are always better tha 4 wheel drive for me, and much less expensive to run overall. The extra all wheel drive weight translates to longer stopping in the frozen weather.

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    1. Totally agree with the good tires vs. AWD comment. I live in Finland where we have snow and ice on the ground half of the year and almost nobody bothers with AWD. A good set of studded snow tires gets you around just fine.

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  6. "Has to be an automatic. She views vehicles as appliances rather than performance machines or fashion accessories."

    Does not compute. Recommend Matra Djet instead: http://www.hemmings.com/classifieds/cars-for-sale/matra/unspecified/1743098.html

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  7. I was just thinking about a Ford Flex the other day and now this question. I don't know how reliable they are, but if it's got a good history, you can pick up a high mileage example pretty cheap: http://www.ebay.com/itm/Ford-Flex-AWD-ECOBOOST-CHEAP-BUY-IT-NOW-/111948752671?forcerrptr=true&hash=item1a10aa671f:g:GhkAAOSwAvJW9u~Y&item=111948752671
    Plus it's big enough to hold half the soccer team and the boyfriends and a keg! What could be better?

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    1. That would certainly not be a fashion accessory.

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  8. I kinda like the flex. Hate the name but i like that its not pretending to be an offroad suv, its just a big ass wagon. With an optional turbo v6.

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  9. I kinda like the flex. Hate the name but i like that its not pretending to be an offroad suv, its just a big ass wagon. With an optional turbo v6.

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  10. Hmmm, I never would have considered a Saab but there is a 6-cyl version for sale near us http://minneapolis.craigslist.org/hnp/ctd/5496021034.html

    One of the local Highlanders for sale touts a new transmission - is this a problem area for these models?

    Surprised not to hear any love for the Honda Pilot?

    Arlow, I used to think a flex with blacked out windows was a great stealth vehicle, but a drive in one with the school bus turning radius convinced me otherwise. Oh and I don't consider the beer and boyzability a selling point!

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  11. Honestly, sounds like the perfect application for a minivan.

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  12. As a fellow Minnesotan I'll suggest considering a Volvo wagon -- plenty of them are for sale on our local Craigslist. I purchased a '99 Volvo S70 used a while back based on Consumer Reports rating of reliability (varies considerably year by year apparently). Mine proved to be fairly reliable and the crash test rating of a Volvo is hard to beat. They are built like tanks (and mine drove like one, too). And even though mine was FWD instead of AWD I can't remember ever getting stuck in the snow in the 7 years I owned it.

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  13. If she wants a reliable inexpensive appliance of a car I would suggest a Toyota Rav4 or a Honda Element in awd.

    The Element might be too boxy like the Scion for your/her tastes, but I drove one for a while and in my opinion it is about the perfect college car, which I think was kinda their target market when they designed it. Room for friends and mtn bikes and dogs and beer coolers, the interior is stain resistant, you can hose down the rubber flooring if you want.

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  14. I'm with MB. You know, a lot of Swedes settled in Minnesota and Wisconsin 'cause the climate and terrain reminded them of home. Volvos are built for Swedish conditions, and rust is therefore seldom a problem. Add the proven safety record and comfortable cabin, and it's a wise choice for a daughter. A V70 is front wheel drive, and the 5-cylinder turbo is the engine you want - mechanics love 'em and they've proven very reliable. My '97 960 wagon just turned 221,000.

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