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Shopping for a Used SUV

uberrtuberrt Member Posts: 3
edited August 2014 in General

Hey everyone,
I'm new to these forums so please forgive me if this is posted in the wrong section.
I'm currently in the market for a used SUV and I was looking for some suggestions as to which models to consider. Basically, my budget is around $15-16k and I'm willing to put $2.5 - 4k down. However, I don't really know where to start. Before I tell you what exactly I'm looking for, I want to tell you that I'm aware my budget is a little tight for my demands. My dad is a really good negotiator, so he can probably get the price down a couple grand (not kidding), that gives me a bit more wiggle room. Anyways, my must-haves include seating for 8, a backup camera, decent gas mileage, and a gear shift that's not located on the steering wheel (like in an Escalade or Tahoe - I hate the way they look). I'd like something thats not too old, but if it's a car that ages well I'll consider anything. Any help or suggestions are greatly appreciated.
Thank you so much in advance.


  • stickguystickguy Member Posts: 50,469

    well, you may have just described a unicorn. A few conflicting requirements it seems.

    not sure if the DP is part of the budget? so somewhere between 16-20K?

    anyway, next question. Does it have to be an SUV for a functional reason, because you would have a better shot at the seating/mileage in a Minivan (I know, evil word!).

    So, the gear shift is on the console on the GMC Yukon, but you really need the Xl (Suburban) version to seat 8. so forget low price or gas mileage.

    My first guess is a Chevy Traverse or a corporate cousin. Roomy enough, decent MPG, and been around long enough you might be OK on price.

    2020 Acura RDX tech SH-AWD, 2023 Maverick hybrid Lariat luxury package.

  • stickguystickguy Member Posts: 50,469

    the other option is probably a Honda Pilot. though I bet at that price point it will be either older or higher miles. If not both. And while it can hold 8, it will be tight.

    2020 Acura RDX tech SH-AWD, 2023 Maverick hybrid Lariat luxury package.

  • xwesxxwesx Member Posts: 16,775

    Seating for eight really limits the options. In vans, that knocks out any AWD possibilities, as all of those w/ AWD are 7-seaters. But, you're talking SUV anyway. There are good deals to be had out there in a Yukon/Suburban, but you stated before that you didn't want a column shifter. Looks aside, those are really the most practical shifter available for automatics.

    Expeditions do have a console shifter and can seat eight (comfortably, unlike the Pilot). I'm not sure about pricing vs. age, but you should be able to get vehicles in the sub 100K miles range at around MY 2008 for your price range, even those with pretty decent options on them.

    I'm not going to say they have stellar mileage, but they should deliver 18-19 mpg on the highway without any trouble.

    2018 Subaru Crosstrek, 2014 Audi Q7 TDI, 2013 Subaru Forester, 1969 Chevrolet C20, 1969 Ford Econoline 100, 1976 Ford F250
  • nyccarguynyccarguy Member Posts: 16,406

    Seating for 8 will be tight. I agree with @stickguy that Pilot might be a good option. I own a 2011 Pilot, well technically Bank of America owns it. With just over 53K on the clock, It is still tight as a drum. I wouldn't hesitate to buy a used one. Anything with the amount of size you need, "decent" gas mileage is a matter of opinion.

    If you are going to plunk money down & make payments, have you considered a used Toyota 4Runner? They run forever, but hold their value very well.

    There has got to be a ton of Armadas out there too. Not good gas mileage though.

    What do you need this SUV for? Have you considered leasing?

    2001 Prelude Type SH, 2022 Highlander XLE AWD, 2022 Wrangler Sahara 4Xe, 2023 Toyota Tacoma SR 4WD

  • qbrozenqbrozen Member Posts: 32,920

    yup, need to know why it has to be an SUV. Because if it is for towing reasons (the only reason I can think of to have one), that will change the suggestions.

    '11 GMC Sierra 1500; '08 Charger R/T Daytona; '67 Coronet R/T; '13 Fiat 500c; '20 S90 T6; '22 MB Sprinter 2500 4x4 diesel; '97 Suzuki R Wagon; '96 Opel Astra; '08 Maser QP; '11 Mini Cooper S

  • suydamsuydam Member Posts: 4,676

    Also depends on where you are. Why seating for 8? That knocks out an old Jeep Grand Cherokee, the most common SUV in many rural areas.

    '14 Buick Encore Convenience
    '17 Chevy Volt Premiere
  • uberrtuberrt Member Posts: 3

    An SUV is just the most practical option for me. I have a minivan right now and my mom just leased a 2014 Traverse.. after using it a few times to run some errands with my kids I came to the conclusion that I like SUVs much better. In addition, two my of kids have a hard time opening the doors to my minivan by themselves, but they can easily do a normal car door like you'd find on an SUV. Seating for 8 is so that I can cart my 4 (almost 5) kids around with a friend or two. I'm not really in the market to lease right now because of the insurance aspect of using a new car.
    I do love the Pilot but more so the newer body (I think from 2009-on?). Would it be possible to find one with under 100k for under $18k?? Probably incredibly unrealistic.
    I'm not that anal about gas mileage- as long as it's not 12/18 or something ridiculous like that I can live with it.

  • uberrtuberrt Member Posts: 3

    Oh, also, I'm not in a rural area at all. Bergen County, NJ, it's extremely densely populated. I won't need any off-road capabilities and FWD is fine.

  • stickguystickguy Member Posts: 50,469

    Based in that, and knowing you like a traverse, I would look there. Roomier than a pilot and more bang for buck. Not as functional as a minivan though. Which can be had with power doors, so easier to open.

    You won't find many FWD SUVs where you are but certainly a way to save.

    I did a quick look on cars.com. Lots of options. With a 18k max, dozens near year from 2009-2011, most with miles between 50-70k

    Also some 2008-2010 pilots with about 70k miles for high $17s.

    So stuff to look at. Just be prepared to be jammed in with 7 people in a pilot vs. a minivan. The back row is tight.

    2020 Acura RDX tech SH-AWD, 2023 Maverick hybrid Lariat luxury package.

  • qbrozenqbrozen Member Posts: 32,920

    OK, "the most practical option" for you is simply not true based on your criteria. Most minivans at least have the option of power sliding doors. Even my 4-year-old operates ours (and has been since he was 3).

    Now, since you have kids too small to operate manual van doors, they must also be in car seats or at least boosters. Therein lies the big problem with SUVs. You can't climb in the back without folding the middle row. So where does that leave you? Removing car seats to fold the middle row and reinstalling them after the passengers are in. Talk about impractical!

    However, if you simply WANT an SUV, then just face up to it, but don't try to kid yourself that it is the most practical option.

    Anyhoo... to answer your question, an '09 Pilot FWD would easily fit your budget. You could even step up to an EX. There was one that went through PA (as an example) at dealer auction with 72k miles for $14,800. That would put you at about an $18k purchase price.

    '11 GMC Sierra 1500; '08 Charger R/T Daytona; '67 Coronet R/T; '13 Fiat 500c; '20 S90 T6; '22 MB Sprinter 2500 4x4 diesel; '97 Suzuki R Wagon; '96 Opel Astra; '08 Maser QP; '11 Mini Cooper S

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