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Old 02-12-2011, 07:54 AM
 
532 posts, read 1,843,012 times
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I am getting near the end of life for my current rig and was looking for input on my next purchase. Drive around a few hundred miles daily so comfort is a big factor. These things would be helpful: awd or 4wd, good gas mileage, room for equipment, reliable for a couple hundred thousand miles... What would you recommend, make model and year (if used). How much are they selling for right now? Let me know. Thanks
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Old 02-12-2011, 08:48 AM
 
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I've used Subaru Outback wagons for exactly this purpose ... as a manufacturer's rep of industrial products, which required taking sales samples, literature, computer/projector, and my gear ... throughout the Rocky Mountain West. 400-600 miles per day is not uncommon for my travels.

The AWD is a super performer in our inclement road conditions, the cars have been very reliable, and the fuel economy was reasonable given that it was full-time AWD (27-30 mpg).

I started with a bare-bones basic model, and have worked up through to "limited" editions, which have upgraded interiors, and the cold weather package (heated seats, mirrors). I'm not a fan of the leather interior ... I prefer cloth ... but that's standard on the Limited. While I use the sunroof now and then, it's not a prime consideration in these cars ... and it's not missed on my older ones that don't have it.

Comfort, of course, is an individual decision. I'd suggest you try out one of these cars (or any other under consideration) for an extended road test to satisfy yourself that it fits you.

An alternative car that might work for you would be a Nissan Murano. Somewhat larger, but still with the comforts and AWD. Of course, there are a host of other suitable AWD cars out in the marketplace today, and you haven't mentioned a price range that you'd want to spend. If you need a "prestige" car to impress your clients, then there's cars that are in that end of the spectrum ... at a price. One of my associates uses a Buick Rendevous, and he's pretty happy with it ... I don't like the seating and the size, but it may also be a vehicle that fits your requirements.

Unless you're heading off-road, I would not advise any 4x4 vehicle for your sales car.

I used Audi 4000CS Quattro's for this for years, and was highly satisfied with these cars. Unfortunately, Audi quit building these series of lower performance cars to favor much more complicated stronger running cars ... at a price point that put them out of reach for me to justify. But they were also superb durable AWD cars that delivered a lot of comforts and excellent gas mileage. You may also want to look at their offerrings in this area, if you can justify the price. The consideration for me was that these were by far and away yet more comfortable for a day's drive, very reliable, and were a lot of fun to drive, too ... that "fun" factor is definitely missing in the Subie's ....

Last edited by sunsprit; 02-12-2011 at 09:09 AM..
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Old 02-12-2011, 09:18 AM
 
Location: Michigan
114 posts, read 228,464 times
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As the previous response said, get as long a test drive as you can. Seat comfort varies a lot from person to person, so only you can properly evaluate it.

AWD and fuel economy don't really go together. But if you need AWD, then you'll just have to take the 1-2 MPG hit. Among AWD vehicles you'll get the best fuel economy in hybrids like the Ford Escape and Toyota Highlander. Hybrids make the most sense if you're often in stop-and-go traffic. If most of your miles are highway, then not so much.

My main concern with Subarus is that they seem to require quite a bit of upkeep after they pass the 100k-mile mark. At least this is what I'm seeing from the car reliability survey I conduct at TrueDelta.com. But maybe this is also a matter of age, and 100k miles put on the car very quickly won't have the same effect.

If you didn't need AWD I'd suggest a look at the VW Jetta TDI SportWagen. Great fuel economy, the powertrain should last for many miles, and good space for stuff. This and the Prius have the highest average odometer readings among the cars in my survey. People who drive a lot tend to buy both of these cars because the payback on their extra cost is quicker.
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Old 02-12-2011, 11:52 AM
 
Location: Woodland Park, CO
3,133 posts, read 9,101,058 times
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Do the math if a diesel is worth it, takes a lot of miles just to break even.

I'd go the Subaru route as well, assuming you sell things to people that don't care if you are driving a Japanese car. I know some sales guys that cater to blue collar clients, guys that drive American trucks and would look down at them if they didn't drive a big 3 vehicle.

I personally can't stand a sales guy that drives a $50k+ luxury car and wears a $10k Rolex. Just tells me they are making way too much $$ selling me their crap.
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Old 02-12-2011, 11:56 AM
 
Location: Victoria TX
42,668 posts, read 71,523,609 times
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Remember the 1950 Plymouth "Business Coupe"?

http://www.allcarcentral.com/Plymout..._Venice_Ca.jpg

Huge trunk for sample cases, hidden from view, and no back seat.
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Old 02-12-2011, 12:15 PM
 
Location: U.S.A.
3,306 posts, read 9,006,224 times
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Really depends on the details of what your looking for. What are you hauling? What do you consider "comfortable"? My personal choice would probably be an old ('95/'96) Caprice estate or Roadmaster wagon for a few grand. Certainly not better in inclement weather than the Subaru but is far superior in utility for carrying/hauling and much, much, MUCH more comfortable, in my opinion of course. Reliability of those old wagons is phenomenal... and absurdly inexpensive when something needs replacing/repair. With a big RWD wagon expect MPG's in the mid 20's for highway driving.

Again... need to know more about what you need/want.
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Old 02-13-2011, 07:09 AM
 
532 posts, read 1,843,012 times
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Her is more info on the "OP". Don't want to show up in high end vehicle because of image. Also don't want to show up in the family truckster (Clark Griswald). Have had an outback and highlander and both were excellent awd's. The subaru was very low to the ground and stiffer riding, but handled excellent in all weather. Highlander is close to 200K and done well. Any thoughts on an awd minivan? Any thoughts on a Honda Pilot? Not interested in a hybrid. What is the main difference between a forester vs. the outback? Out west here brand isn't as pro american as in Midwest. I would love to buy american if they made a vehicle that would last like the aforementioned. Lastly, I seem to like the taller profile vehicles for ease of getting into and out of cars throughout the day. Any more feedback is appreciated.
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Old 02-13-2011, 07:24 AM
 
10,139 posts, read 22,404,584 times
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Well, you gotta go even if the weatherman has nixed it, so you are gonna have AWD, right? And then you want a good view of the world so it is probably a mid sized SUV. But it has to be economical to operate but the original purchase price doesn't make much difference with 200-300k miles going on the clock. So I'm seeing a MB M350 Diesel (Blue Tec).
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Old 02-13-2011, 08:16 AM
 
Location: Woodland Park, CO
3,133 posts, read 9,101,058 times
Reputation: 2463
The redesigned Outback has 8.7" ground clearance, the Highlander has 7.8". You might be surprised how high you sit up. Forester is smaller inside but has 8.9" ground clearance. Forester has a 2.5 4cyl 225hp turbo (XT trim) or 2.5i 4cyl 170hp engine. Outback has the 170hp 2.5i and a 3.6R 256hp V6.

I'd also check out the new 2011 Jeep Grand Cherokee. Decent mileage with the 292HP V6 (25 highway) and a great 4x4 system. New model and engine, so it's not proven yet. But could be worth it GMC Terrain/Chevy Equinox might also be worth checking out.
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Old 02-13-2011, 12:14 PM
 
Location: Harrison, OH
910 posts, read 1,386,489 times
Reputation: 368
A diesel Jetta wagon maybe? Not AWD, but great MPGs and long life.
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