Wednesday, August 3, 2016

Mid Week Match-Up: A Daily For Vance's Lady Friend

Todays Mid Week Match-Up request comes from Vance who writes: So my girlfriend is on car number two for the year, a 2007 Subaru Forester that replaced her 2001 Chrysler Sebring which blew a head gasket back in January. Now the Forester (approx. 110K miles) is showing signs of a bad head gasket, despite her "trustworthy" family mechanic who keeps telling her there is nothing wrong and that she's worrying too much (despite me having towed this car to his shop twice while on the verge of overheating). She really wanted a Subaru and I tried to steer her away from Subarus for this reason. Instead of totaling yet another car, I'd like to find her something more reliable. She really likes small suv's and wagons. I really just need something reliable that will stand up to the Texas heat because I'm tired of trying to put band aids on the gunshot wound that is the bad Subaru head gasket. 4WD/AWD would be a plus. Something in the 5-6k range, 7k at the most.

E-i-C Vince: How about this 2013 Mazda 5 here on eBay bidding for $6,900 with a few hours to go?  These little Mazda mini-minivans seat 6 people and get decent fuel economy.

What do you guys suggest? Comments below.


  1. I'd be inclined to point you towards a Jetta/Passat Wagon, but the Mazda 5 (Protege version) would probably appeal to her more. If you dig deep you might find a reasonably priced older (oldest) Mini-Clubman, which would give her a little flashier ride but it may come with a maintenance premium which it sounds like you want to avoid. I always star my searches for older cars with uber low miles. We should always ask for zip codes or market area to make it easier to search out options.

  2. Not super reliable but not terrible either: Volvo V50 (2005-2010)

    1. I have had a 2007 V 50 for 10 years and at 150k miles I needed struts, wheel bearings, one brake job at 100k, and an air conditioner clutch adjusted . Not bad.
      My kids have the 2008 2.3 Mazda 5s with great and better gas mileage than the newer ones. They suck on interior cheapness but they don't care as long as it gets them there. One year ago my daughter totalled hers into a highway divider and walked away. What concerned me is the right rear locked up so hard at 60 mph it wore through a decent tire as the car went sideways down the highway. Those rear brakes I wonder about...

    2. I have had my 2006 Volvo V50 T5 AWD for two years. Trailing arms, struts, motor mounts. 100K miles, reliable car. Quick, 26.5mpg highway, comfortable, looks good. I bought it after much research into 4WD or AWD wagons. This is the best option in that price range.

  3. You can get a Honda Element with plenty of life left in it for that price range. Plus you have AWD.

    1. or the CRV. I also like the older Pilot - bigger than it looks but still comfy, reasonable power, AWD and seats 7 (aka carries the equivalent of a small garage). Or go Toyota Matrix/Pontiac Vibe AWD. Or Scion xB. Or Mazda3, or A4, or 3 series wagon - ok going away now! Adios Forester. Oh yeah - '04-05 Rav4...


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