Need help choosing a new car...

Asked by newcarplease Sep 18, 2012 at 02:51 PM

Question type: Shopping & Pricing

Hi all!

I need some help, and thought my question might be an easy one for all you CarGurus to answer: I need to buy a new car, but it's a bit complicated and I need some advice. Here's why:

Over the past several years, I've owned/driven cheap, old cars (an '89 Honda Civic Wagon, a '97 Honda CRV, and a '96 Nissan Sentra). I was happy in these cars (all mint-condition and well-maintained): I like imports and trust their longevity; they were reasonably compact and easy for both highway/city driving. I appreciated how cheap they were to gas.

Unfortunately, last month I was in a serious car accident. I was rear-ended really badly (by a driver going way over the speed limit on the freeway while I was stopped in traffic). Both our cars (and a third, I think) were totaled.

So I have to get a new car, but now I'm afraid to drive and most certainly not willing to drive an old, small car anymore. (Mine didn't have airbags and I took the full weight of the impact on my chest (steering wheel). Nothing like an accident to make you appreciate safety ratings!

My budget is still low and my budget moving forward (ie: for gas) will continue to be low. But I want something bigger and safer.

Here's my criteria:

Compact SUV/CRV-type vehicle
Top-safety (impact/collision - front & back) rating (including airbags)
Really good on gas

Any chance anyone here is able/willing to help with some advice? I'm trying to make my way through car-report info online, but it's hard for someone (like me) without any real knowledge of cars.

4 Answers


Well, if safety is your primary concern I would start here: If your looking for a reliable small suv, I would go with either Subaru Forester, Toyota RAV4 or Honda CRV.

1 people found this helpful.
Best Answer Mark helpful

Thank you so much, Jeffrey. Really appreciate your taking the time to read/reply. Funny --> I ask somebody else (another car guy) just now and he, too, suggested those three. Must be a good sign. Here's another one though: Based on my IIHS research, below are the years when the above cars start to get real "safe" -- 2007 or newer CRV 2004 or newer Rav-4 2006 or newer Forester Would you agree? Thanks again so much!


Yep, those years sound about right. If you live in a cold climate, I would go with the Subaru, the constant All wheel drive will come in handy, although fuel economy does suffer a bit...

1 people found this helpful.

Ah! Thanks again, Jeffrey. Didn't realize there was any real difference in fuel economy, so will def. stay away from the Subaru. (I need it to be really, really good on gas!) Have a great day!

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