Our trusty 1999 Mercury Sable station wagon has developed a leak in the power steering system, and we’ve been quoted over $1000 to fix it. We think it’s time to look for a new car, instead. We can afford to shop around a little, but since my husband is getting to work by filling up the power steering fluid once or twice a day, we need to get a new one soon.
We could buy either new or used, but we’d prefer something no more than a few years old. He uses the car to drive to work, occasionally to haul lumber or other equipment, and to take the kids to daycare (2 kids, ages 4 months and 4 years, so we have several years of carseats ahead of us still - Washington state requires a booster until age 8). We don’t want a car with a high center of mass and a high rollover risk, and flex fuel would be nice, but not by any means essential.
We don’t really care about most luxury car features. We can afford to spend a fair amount, but we want it to be for function, not for “styling” or features we don’t really need. We’re not interested in a rear-seat DVD player, for example. We don’t camp, and I can’t envision circumstances where we would need an off-road vehicle. But we would prefer a four-door, because that has a big functional advantage when you’re trying to get a baby in and out of the car, and we do want something big enough to haul around big boxes, crap from Costco, etc.
What models would you suggest that we look at?