Here’s the latest reader question, along with my reply!
James asks: Hello Eric, Enjoy your site very much. Lots of great info & a refreshing & honest political view. Anyway, I would like your opinion… My youngest son is in the market for a used car, he needs AWD for the winters in NJ and has about 10K to spend. I’m leaning toward a Mazda CX-3 or CX-5, maybe a Honda or Toyota. Any help would be appreciated.
My reply: Any of these would be a good choice – assuming the particular car being considered is a sound one, in good shape mechanically, etc. The main thing with used cars – any make or model – is condition. Which depends on how it was cared for – and driven. The best (when new) Honda or Toyota can be turned into a veritable Yugo by abuse and neglect. Ergo – as those old Romans used to say – you want to focus at least as much on things like overall condition, a track record of regular maintenance – and so on – as on the price of the vehicle.
That said – and all else being equal – there are some differences between the models you mentioned. The Mazdas are much sportier in terms of looks as well as how they drive; they are also a bit less practical, being slightly less space-efficient. On the other hand, the Toyota (RAV4, I’m assuming) and the Honda CR-V/HR-V (the latter is basically the same thing on a smaller scale) are as blue chip as its gets and while stodgy, they have top-notch reps for reliability and very high resale value.
You might also have a look at the Subaru Crosstrek, which is a similar vehicle but unlike the others it comes standard with AWD, is available with a manual transmission and has the most ground clearance of the bunch.
Hope this is helpful!
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