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Show & Tell: Car Shop

March 1, 2009

Today’s Show & Tell is titled Car Shop, a spoof off my favorite car radio show Car_Talk. After a fender bender in December that ended up totaling my 2000 Toyota RAV4, I was in the market for another car. I asked readers in a poll which car they think I should buy:

1) Same car as I’d had, 2000 Toyota RAV4
2) Toyota RAV4, Newer Model
3) Subaru Outback
4) Subaru Forester

Before you scroll down to the bottom and see what kind of car I ended up buying, read through this entire post. You might learn something about car safety!

I loved my old car, so my inclination was to purchase the same thing. Nobody voted for this one, which was a good idea. I decided to think like a mommy and check out what mother’s recommended for safe vehicles. I found this website called MotherProof that has all kinds of car reviews. This website doesn’t have any reviews of cars older than 2006, so it didn’t really help me there in the used car market I was looking at. It did educate me on car safety by watching this video on crash-testing. The video was produced by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS). I perused their safety ratings for my 2000 Toyota RAV4, and basically learned that it was a death trap. Had I been in a serious car accident, I could have been injured for life! I also learned by comparing ratings that the government organization that does crash tests, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, doesn’t have nearly as comprehensive testing or ratings for car safety. Lesson learned, if you want to check a car you are considering to purchase for safety ratings, go to the IIHS.

No one voted on my poll for the Subaru Outback, which was also a good idea. While the Subaru Outback and Forester have the best safety ratings out of all the compact SUVs I was looking at, I just plain didn’t like driving the Outback. The Subaru Forester got second in my poll. It was OK, but I didn’t like some of the features it had compared to the RAV4. I did like the 2009 Subaru Foresters, though out of my price range, probably because Toyota bought Subaru a few years ago. Foresters are lookin’ a lot like RAV4s these days!

Then, there was another compact SUV that I did not put on the poll, the Honda CRV. I wanted to love the Honda CRV, really I did! The 2005-2006 models I was looking at were nicely updated with lots of storage room and I could find it in a manual transmission. I no longer felt like I was driving a bus, as I did with the 2000 Honda CRV. It made perfect sense to buy this car as it was larger than my old RAV4, but still small enough to feel like a compact car. The problem was the seats. After test driving a couple of different ones, I’d always have a backache or buttache afterward.

The RAV4 won out in the end. I bought a 2005 Toyota RAV4. This was the last year of the older model before the RAV4s got bigger in 2006 and got rid of the manual transmission. I found one with a stick shift and low miles. The engine is upgraded from my old RAV4 from 2.0 liter 122 horsepower to 2.4 liter 144 horsepower. For a 4-cylinder engine, this car has pep and is much more fun to drive than my old RAV4. Upgraded safety features for this RAV4 include antilock brakes and side curtain airbags. To compare the IIHS safety ratings of my old versus new RAV4s (more detail can be found on their website):

2000 Toyota RAV4
Frontal Crash Test: Marginal
Side Impact: Poor

2005 Toyota RAV4
Frontal Crash Test: Good
Side Impact: Good

Reader’s Choice wins! “Toyota RAV4, Newer Model” got the most votes. The view of my new/used 2005 Toyota RAV4 from my driveway:

See what the rest of the class is showing off this week at Mel’s Show and Tell.

11 Comments leave one →
  1. Arian permalink
    March 1, 2009 11:28 am

    Super awesome! Thanks for the tips. Hubby and I are in the market for new wheels too. This will come in handy!

  2. infertilityrocks permalink
    March 1, 2009 11:36 am

    OOoooo, ahhhhhh! Congrats on your new purchase, it’s beautiful! Kudos to you for being so safety conscious, that’s the most important part of car buying in the long run!Eve

  3. Cara permalink
    March 1, 2009 12:33 pm

    There is nothing better than a GOOD purchase made on GREAT research!Well – done!!!

  4. battynurse permalink
    March 1, 2009 12:35 pm

    Looks nice. I had no idea Toyota bought Subaru. I love my scooby and would love to get another one. I have a forester and it’s great although I would love one that is an automatic as I’m sick of my stick shift.

  5. Queenie. . . permalink
    March 1, 2009 1:19 pm

    Glad you survived the car shopping. I totaled my car in August (well, the elderly woman who hit me from behind at 70mph did), and tried all of the cars you mentioned, but new (I do 30k miles a year). I hated all of them, and went with a Nissan.

  6. Kristin permalink
    March 1, 2009 2:14 pm

    Great job on the research and the purchase.

  7. Beautiful Mess permalink
    March 1, 2009 3:24 pm

    OOOHHH very nice! Good for you for doing a lot of research! Hate to find out the hard way your vehicle isn’t what you thought it was. Enjoy your new vehicle!

  8. the misfit permalink
    March 1, 2009 5:04 pm

    Now THAT is a spiffy-looking car. It’s not this year’s model – but it LOOKS new. Hope you got a great deal too. I wanted to thank you for your comment to my post. What you said – buying a house, but being sad because it didn’t come with a family – struck a chord with me. I tell myself that I want to buy a house now (unlike earlier when I was buying it for the babies) in part because I KNOW that it may be the only part of the deal I get, and it will be a consolation prize, sort of, and an anchor. But I think the truth is that at some level I must believe that the family will be hiding in the closets once I just have a home. How do we do this to ourselves?

  9. The Steadfast Warrior permalink
    March 1, 2009 7:41 pm

    Congrats on the new car. You obviously put a lot of thought into it and I’m sure that it will pay off.

  10. Lori permalink
    March 1, 2009 11:03 pm

    This is a bookmarkable post. I want to refer back to it the next time I’m in the market.Congrats on your new, well-researched car!

  11. Retro Girl permalink
    March 3, 2009 6:07 am

    Love the car, but what I am even drooling about more is the view from your driveway…those are mountains? Gosh – I am totally green :-). Can’t wait to get a taste of those mountains soon…

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