Good in snow and reasonable fuel economy

Discussion in 'The Garage and Car Talk' started by coskigirl, Oct 14, 2017.

  1. coskigirl

    coskigirl Making fresh tracks Skier

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    Two and a half years ago I bought my dream vehicle when I bought my beloved 4Runner. It’s still a fantastic vehicle and i wouldn’t be looking at all if it weren’t for 4 years of commuting in the near future. Hopefully I will start law school at DU in August 2018 (while working full time in Boulder. This will create a 70+ mile commute for me 3-5 days per week 9 months of the year. As such, I’m starting to consider an alternat vehicle (withlikely plans to purchase another 4Runner after graduation).

    So, I’m looking for fuel economy, good in snow (duh!), spacious enough to carry camping and mountain biking gear at the same time but a roof box would be an option, under $25k. Used likely preferred, mileage depends on vehicle reputation. I’ve looked at the likely suspects of Subaru Outback, Toyota Highlander hybrid, VW alltrac. Not discounting any of those but looking for other recs.
     
  2. AmyPJ

    AmyPJ Let's go! Pugski Ski Tester

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    Mazda CX5 AWD. With good tires, it's a damn good snow commuter and gets between 25 and 29 mpg. Fun to drive, too. All the back seats fold down, but can also fold separately. I can fit my MTB in the back (standing upright) if I drop the seat and remove the front wheel.
     
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  3. Philpug

    Philpug The season is over when we say it's over. Admin Pugski Ski Tester

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    The Highlander is the worst snow (and rain) car I have ever driven, scary vehicle. You can get a new Alltrack for under 25K and I will say that it is the best snow car I have ever driven. But...will it have the space and clearance you are looking for? An Outback is always the safe choice. I know you had a Nisaan Rogue before, the new one is a different animal, bigger and a bit more rugged.

    How about this for "other recs"? You love your 4runner, you said you would replace it with another 4Runnuer after the 4 years anyway...There is the thought process, that "a car that is paid for is the least expensive car to own". If you are just trying to pick up better mileage, buying a new car and having a payment will end up eating any mileage savings. Or...keep the 4Runner and pick up in inexepensive car that gets in the 30's for MPG and use that for your commuter. If the weather is bad...you would still have the 4Runner if needed.
     
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  4. fatbob

    fatbob Out on the slopes Skier

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    As above why not just pick up something cheap and bombproof for the urban commute like a used Focus or Corolla?
     
  5. Jilly

    Jilly Lead Cougar Skier

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    I know a lot of people that do that. City car and weekend car. Something cheap and 4 cylinders for the city, then the weekend warrior for Friday night. If the weather's bad, then out comes the weekend warrior.

    I know you only have room for one in the garage, but....
     


  6. Jerez

    Jerez Getting off the lift Skier

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    I have a Jeep grand Cherokee diesel. Maybe more than $25K but maybe not used. It averages 28 mpg (real world driving over almost 3 years, including city driving) and is as good as your 4runner in the snow and off-road and carries a ton.

    I heard that Jeep was going to make the smaller Cherokee in a diesel and the gas one is in the $25 to 30 range new (at least when we were looking in 2015.) Oh. just checked and the smaller Cherokee diesel is available in Europe but not in the US yet. Figures...
     
  7. coskigirl

    coskigirl Making fresh tracks Skier

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    I am also considering a commuter car so that’s not out of the running. One of the issues with that is the 1 garage and HOA parking rules.

    The 4Runner isn’t paid for so if I don’t do the commuter then I’ll just swap one payment for another.

    Interesting comment on the Highlander as I know several people who have them and haven’t heard a complaint.
     
  8. scott43

    scott43 Making fresh tracks Skier

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    Honest question..just how much snow does that Denver-Boulder corridor get? Toronto, I don't know what people's impressions are, we really don't get that many destroyed commutes due to snow. Average year we get maybe 3 days where traffic is brutal because of snow. A bad year, maybe double that. And the major streets are down to bare pavement in 24 hours normally. So the idea of needing a snow destroyer really isn't' valid. A FWD with snows is fine..arguably all-season tires because a lot of people just write off a snow day and work from home.
     
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  9. Blue Streak

    Blue Streak Behind the Epic Curtain Skier

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    Did you name it Brad?
     
  10. johnnyvw

    johnnyvw Putting on skis Skier

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    I have a 2016 Mitsubishi Outlander GT, which has the V6. On the highway I get about 26 MPG, I have seen as high as 29. My niece recently purchased an older one, about 2012 IIRC. At 35K miles, I have had zero issues, and I have not heard anything negative from my niece about hers (I'm her sounding board for all things automotive LOL) The negative for these cars is there are not a lot of dealerships. The upside is they can be had cheap as they are not as popular as Honda, Toyota etc. I would have loved to have gotten a 4Runner, but they were almost 10K more than the Outlander. And I have a set of Continental snows on extra rims...great in the snow, of course...
     
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  11. Philpug

    Philpug The season is over when we say it's over. Admin Pugski Ski Tester

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    I was at a Subaru Ride & Drive and on the wet skid pad, it would not turn, it just went straight ..it was laughable. I will say that was a few years ago and two generations of models but since you said you were looking used, is why I brought it up.
     
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  12. Monique

    Monique bounceswoosh Skier

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    Except that she drives in the mountains regularly, and believe me, I-70 in the snow is no joke.
     
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  13. tch

    tch What do I know; I'm just some guy on the internet. Skier

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    I know you say you've considered VW AllTrack, but I'll stick in a vote for the VW Sportwagen 4Motion. Cheaper than the AllTrack by $2,000 in my case, and I'm averaging 34 mpg driving very regularly. On highway-only, we got 36+. I bought a box for my 5-week ski tour this winter, so we'll see how that goes, but I love the car for its utility, drivability, and ergonomics. Phil will vouch for the drivetrain's ability in snow.
     
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  14. pete

    pete not peace but 2 Beers! Skier

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    So if you're talking 70mi round trip, that's only ~11Kmiles more at 4 days a week. this apart from what you would normally put the vehicle so really I figure you're choices are pretty open even going with 2wd.

    Too, maybe you can luck out with car pooling, though that can be a hassle for timing but great if it does.

    If you can swing the Forerunner, cost wise it could be cheaper just to keep and pay the delta in fuel.

    I'd toss out the Mazda MX-5 too. Know several people with it and randomly spoke to some owners in parking lots just prior to my daughter buying one. They all said they loved it, good snow performance. Daughter was gonna buy a used one found several in good shape around 30K-40K miles in "grand touring" edition (she wanted leather heated seats which she uses in summer too after waterskiing) in low near $20K, certified. However bought a new 2016.5 at $27K which 0% made her happy. She loves the thing given it's pretty premium for being compact and around 30 on the HWY

    Depending on price range, the Outbacks too are right around here for end of year.

    Personally my cheapness would have me cheap out with your used dependable option, given in the 3 yrs you'll put ~40-50K miles ... most any newer used could work and one with drivetrain warr in effect or certified should mitigate the costly breakdowns.
     
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  15. Jwrags

    Jwrags Aka pwdrhnd Skier

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    I have a Highlander Hybrid and have not had issues driving in the rain. Since I live in Portland I drive in rain, a lot! It would not be my first choice as a snow commuter car though as it is not truly 4/all wheel drive.
     
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  16. scott43

    scott43 Making fresh tracks Skier

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    Yeah I was going to go back and say I was just looking at the Denver part, not her whole situation. You are correct though when the mountains are factored in.
     
  17. Monique

    Monique bounceswoosh Skier

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    It's kind of annoying. I burn through a lot of snow tire rubber on the nice days in the front range, but I feel I need it for some of the conditions in the high country. (Not driving up in bad weather - and missing powder days - is obviously not an option!)
     
  18. SBrown

    SBrown Steve Admin Pugski Ski Tester

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    What about one of those little Fiats as strictly a commuter car? Easy to park in the city, and the lease specials are pretty amazing. You have the 4Runner for bad weather, but otherwise hang onto it and keep its mileage down.
     
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  19. coskigirl

    coskigirl Making fresh tracks Skier

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    Ha! That would be fun. Not sure I can swing the finances though. You’ve seen me park which is another reason a smaller vehicle would be good for DU.

    Carpooling just isn’t going to happen. My days will most likely be a 12 mile commute to Boulder (west of my home) then 35 miles to University of Denver then 28 miles back home. It’s a convoluted commute that I doubt I’d ever find a match to. I may use bus/light rail some though.

    I forgot about Mazda and Mitsubishi. I’ll look at those.
     
  20. Monique

    Monique bounceswoosh Skier

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    What about Honda Element or Subaru Crosstrek?
     

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