A New(er) Car

So, my 2003 Hyundai Elantra served us well, but a). had 107,000 mi on it; b). needed extensive brake work; and c). needed new tires.  Rather than drop $1000 on various repairs on a car with that many miles on it, and a car that probably wouldn’t perform well in the Iowa winters, we were considering getting something a tad bit newer.

We’d been discussing a 2010 Subaru Forester for awhile, largely because they hold their value substantially longer than other vehicles, they’re reliable, and they have all-wheel drive standard.  However, considering the value of our trade-in (which wasn’t much…), it just wasn’t going to be feasible anytime soon…  Therefore, we expanded our options to look for something closer to what we were paying on our Elantra (i.e. relatively little, compared to what it would be with the Subaru…).  The options are rather limited with those kinds of restrictions, but we were able to find this 2006 Kia Sportage at a local Ford dealer.  It had a few more miles on it than we were initially considering, and it didn’t have 4WD or anything, but it did improve road clearance over our Elantra (let alone Brooke’s Scion xA) and it had more safety features than the Elantra did (e.g. ABS, traction control, ESC, curtain airbags).  Honestly, for the number of miles on the car, I’m shocked the exterior of the car is as pristine as it is. To be fair, the interior isn’t too shabby, either. 😛

Anyway, we’ve got another car now.  This one should get us through winters here, and will certainly be more comfortable traveling on the gravel roads of Iowa (and there are many…).  I’m pleased with it and think it’ll serve us well.  Maybe it’ll end up being Meg’s first car… 😛

6 Replies to “A New(er) Car”

  1. Everything I’ve ever heard on this topic says that the point at which getting a new car is the most economical is the point at which repairs cost more than the car is worth.

    Further – 107,000 miles? Pff. My Outback’s coming up on 200,000 and is working just fine (the engine would likely have lasted until around 250,000 if not for my little experiment with driving it with no oil). But it is a Subaru.

    All that being said, I’m actually pretty impressed with the Sportage. We had one as a rental in Costa Rica when I was in high school, and it was a whole lot more rugged than we had any right to expect. It even handled a road that was a road only nominally – a more apt description might be “gully” or “system of ditches.” They’re good vehicles.

  2. Yeah, the repairs would have cost 33%-50% of the value of the car, I imagine. I think that’s a good enough benchmark for me! And keep in mind that a Subaru is more likely to make it to 200,000 mi…which is why we wanted one. 🙂

    For the record, you should always make sure you drive a vehicle with oil. Cars like oil.

    The interior of the Sportage isn’t exactly “spartan,” but it doesn’t have a lot of features, either. That said, it rides much, much better than the Elantra (the car platform on which it’s based), so it ends up making for an improved overall driving experience. On the gravel roads around our place, you’ll find many a pothole, and the Sportage is able to navigate around/through them quite handily.

    Consumer Reports listed the vehicle’s reliability at “Much Better Than Average,” so I fully anticipate it making it beyond 100,000 mi. And we’ll have it under warranty until then, so I’m not to worried about it.

  3. My 1999 Ford Mustang just turned over 200,000 miles. It’s actually my dad’s now, but you’ll remember it as the vehicle I drove part way through college. He repaired the fender and what not (nothing mechanical) after it was hit by a deer (you’ll recall that I did not hit the deer, but vice versa). To this point, it has needed no major repairs. It has a new starter ($50) and I think perhaps an alternator rebuild ($100).

    My Ford Escape (the one I got after the deer hit my Mustang) Is just turning over 180,000 miles. It has had one repair in which the windshield wiper motor needed replaced and I got the tie rod ends and sway bar replaced and the car realigned. This was $500 total. I also replaced the fuel filter as is recommended at 100,000 miles.

    I think cars are capable of much more than people give them credit, and American cars are still great quality.

    Of course, if I was faced with the decision to repair my car for several thousand dollars or sell it off and buy a new one… I’d have to think about it.

    Additionally, it looks like you could fit what- two more kids in that thing? 😉

  4. Well, last weekend when we went to Amana, we fit Mom and Brooke in the back seat with Meg (in the carseat, of course). So, to be safe, I think we could fit one additional carseat…two more might be a stretch… 😛

    Glad to hear the Mustang and Escape are both doing well. I still mention to people how well your Escape rode on the way out to Tennessee, in that it drove very much like a car, but just a few inches higher off the ground.

    I filled up the gas tank for the first time yesterday. I only added 12.8 gal (I thought it had a bigger tank) and went about 310 miles on it, coming out at 24.2 mpg. While I would have liked the V6 version of the Sportage, I don’t think my mileage would have been that reasonable.

  5. We should go on a hike again sometime.

    I was also surprised by the small gas tank in the escape. I usually put just below 13 gallons in the tank also.

    Ford is putting a 4 cylinder in their 2011 Explorer. It apparently gets 27 more horsepower than the Explorers old 6 cylinder. Amazing.

    My Escape doesn’t normally get as good of gas milage as your fancy new car. I say normally because I once hypermiled from Kirksville to Carbondale, IL and got 34 mpg. That’s right… 34mpg.


    You should hypermile for a gas tank and see what you can squeeze out of it.


    When I do this I don’t push start my car- I basically drive as efficiently as possible. I try to mostly keep my rpm’s down, go around corners a little faster- up hills a little slower, etc.

  6. I really want to hit up the Buffalo River Trail in northern Arkansas again, yo. And I can guarantee they’ll have drinkable water, just in case you forget the iodine tablets again. 😉

    I heard about the 4-cyl Explorer. They’re using an “EcoBoost” engine in it, yes? I think that’s how their achieving anything useful out of it.

    I’ve heard of HyperMiling, especially in small cars and hybrids. We squeezed 37 mpg out of our old Elantra heading up to Iowa for Justin and Melissa McAninch’s wedding a few years ago and only got it because we took back-Iowa roads, where the speed limit was 55 mph. Going that speed, it’s relatively easy to get better mileage, as that’s what your engine is designed to work most efficiently: 55-65 mph.

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