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Old 03-18-2015, 07:59 AM   #1
Wildabeast OP
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Best AWD/4WD family car?

My '01 Toyota Highlander is at the point where pouring cash into repairs to limp it along a few more months just isn't making sense. It's been a great vehicle but at 160,000 miles is looking old and driving old. Yesterday the check engine light started flashing, the car started missing/bucking. I put $600 into it just two months ago to get it back on the road. I don't want to dump any more cash into this thing.

The deal: Two young children. Live in Vermont on a steep hill. Need all four wheels turning at a bunch of times during the year, but not all the time. One thing that frustrated me about the Highlander was the crap gas mileage. I got used to it so I don't absolutely need a fuel sipper.

What should I be looking into?

*Edit, I should add that my wife currently drives an '08 Toyota 4Runner, which is absolute awesome car, so probably wouldn't want two of those in the driveway.

Wildabeast screwed with this post 03-18-2015 at 08:08 AM
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Old 03-18-2015, 08:03 AM   #2
phillyrube
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We have a Ford Edge AWD. Does great in snow and stuff. Decent mileage, good ride, just looks like an old man's car or van.
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Old 03-18-2015, 08:06 AM   #3
A-Bone
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Wildabeast View Post
My '01 Toyota Highlander is at the point where pouring cash into repairs to limp it along a few more months just isn't making sense. It's been a great vehicle but at 160,000 miles is looking old and driving old. Yesterday the check engine light started flashing, the car started missing/bucking. I put $600 into it just two months ago to get it back on the road. I don't want to dump any more cash into this thing.

The deal: Two young children. Live in Vermont on a steep hill. Need all four wheels turning at a bunch of times during the year, but not all the time. One thing that frustrated me about the Highlander was the crap gas mileage. I got used to it so I don't absolutely need a fuel sipper.

What should I be looking into?
You live in vermont and you have to ask???

I thought the state car of VT was Subaru after Saab failed???..

My vote is for the Subaru Forester if you want something that gets better milage than a Highlander..
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Old 03-18-2015, 08:06 AM   #4
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Hard to beat a Subaru Outback or Forrester for stuff like that. I think they get mid 20's for mileage but are without equal when the roads get slick.
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Old 03-18-2015, 08:08 AM   #5
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My default go-to ride for that: Quattro. Love them torsen diffs. And quality control is on par with leaders these days, so I love it even more.

It gets alot of hate though... :shrug

Shares Subbie's crappy fuel efficiency, because it is indeed laying down power to all 4 wheels all the time by default. That's the trade off of high readiness.
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Old 03-18-2015, 08:12 AM   #6
Maggot12
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Escape, CRV.... or since you're a Toyota guy maybe a Rav4 or an AWD Matrix.

Oh and get yourself a code reader, plug it in under the dash to see why you have the check engine light. It could be a 3 buck spark plug....

Then use the code reader to clear the dash light.
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Old 03-18-2015, 09:20 AM   #7
MrPulldown
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Flashing CEL means stop driving and get it worked out.

We have a 2012 RAV, and love it. Had two Subi outbacks (96, 00) previous, and find the RAV to be superior. We have two young children as well. In fact like the size.
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Old 03-18-2015, 09:50 AM   #8
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Lots of options for sure. I'll agree that it's hard to beat a RAV4 for the stated mission. It's got an electronic locker up to 25mph or so that ought to get you up the driveway in dismal conditions.

For clarity, you said family car...do you want a car? Or an SUV/CUV?

Legacy is a nice car, but wouldn't have the ground clearance that some of the usual suspects have...but might do a little better on fuel.

I'm a big fan of our current 2014 Tiguan. Ours is FWD, but the 4Motion should be up to the task. Not as spacious as the larger SUVS, and not bad on fuel.
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Old 03-18-2015, 09:53 AM   #9
rocker59
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Chevrolet Suburban.

Best "family car" ever conceived.

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Old 03-18-2015, 09:58 AM   #10
Yooper_Bob
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Honda Pilot.

Boring and totally reliable. Handles our 200+ inches of snow a year with ease.

Tons of interior space on the new models. Third row option offers seating for 7 (and yes...that is 7 actual people...not two munchkins in the 3rd row).

I am 6'6" tall, and fit easily in the front and rear seats (I have not tried the 3rd row....yet).

Highway mileage is right at 24 mpg.

We have a 2014 sitting in the driveway.
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Old 03-18-2015, 11:00 AM   #11
FPGT72
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One more vote for Subie.....mine has 180k on the clock and still runs like a champ.
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Old 03-18-2015, 11:03 AM   #12
Earth Rider
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I'd get another Highlander.
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Old 03-18-2015, 11:25 AM   #13
12bridn
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You mentioned not wanting to pay to fix the Yota, so I have to ask, can you pay cash for a reliable newer car? If not, fix what you got. You aren't going to get into a new car with the insurance to go with it for less than $300 a month.
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Old 03-18-2015, 11:48 AM   #14
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I have an Edge, AWD is excellent in the snow and it's got ample room for people, dogs and stuff. Drives pretty good too, for a CUV.

It's probably the most practical vehicle I've owned.
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Old 03-18-2015, 12:59 PM   #15
allroadrider
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Nissan Rogue

The new Rogue is outstanding and gets decent MPG its quite and has great ride quality and is fairly priced and is more car like than truck like in its ride
we have a couple in fleet use now and the clients love them
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