General Question

mowens's avatar

I need advice on a new (probably used) LARGE SUV.

Asked by mowens (8387points) November 10th, 2011

So I want a new SUV. The larger the better. I will use the room. I currently have a 98 Mercury Mountaineer V8 AWD.

It is too small. I often do not have enough room to cart all of my friends around. It is paid off, needs new tires and a the balljoints replaced.

I’ve decided that is my sign to get something different, it has 110k Miles on it. Other than that, for the last 40k miles, it has been paid off and repair free!!!

I want something with a hitch, I have a boat and it needs towed. I also want a third row seat.

Gas mileage: I realize with this kind of car I will get low gas mileage. However, I would prefer to have the best fuel economy possible. This will also be my daily driver. I currently get 13 City, 17 highway.

I was looking at Suburbans, Tahoes, and Ford Excursions.

I was hoping to find something that had lower mileage that I could drive a long time. I like used, because I can get more options cheaper.

I can afford a new car, I just choose not to. I bought my current one for 7k cash. It had 60 thousand miles on it. I liked that. I do not enjoy payments. But again, I may be able to get talked into them again.

Ideally, I would like something that costs 7–15k with lower mileage. (I don’t care if it is old)

The other part of this:

Diesel or gas? I like everything I have read about the powerstroke in the 2004/2005 excursions.

However, they are the only SUV that I am aware of which has a diesel engine. Also, I read they are not good if you do a short commute every day. My question to you is, How short?

My questions:

What other SUVs have third row seats AND can tow that are in my price range?

Diesel vs gas – reality check! How do they hold up in real life? Is the gas mileage actually better?

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15 Answers

JLeslie's avatar

From what I know diesel is better for towing usually. We tow a trailer to car races and I have heard my husband talking to the guys about diesel having more torque and I think and much better gas mileage when towing.

Hopefully you will get good answers here, but if the Q is slow, I can ask my husband tonight, he knows thos stuff.

mowens's avatar

@JLeslie Thank you! I heard that as well, and everything I read says the same thing. However, my commute to work is 2 miles, but it takes 15 minutes. Is that too short of a distance? I dont want to kill it too fast!!! :)

Tropical_Willie's avatar

@mowens 15 minutes is not a good commute for a diesel. But the Excursions had the V-10 gas monster, that was good for towing. Do you need something that BIG? Have you driven in traffic and parked a land barge like the Excursion or Suburbans ? They are a different vehicle from the Merc Mountaineer, Excursions can feel like they are twice as big a Explorer/Mountaineer—THEY ARE !

Coloma's avatar

Go to and research the make and model year of the vehicle you are considering. Then, be SURE to take it in for a diagnostic pre-purchase if buying from a private party.

gorillapaws's avatar

Another option is to buy a fuel efficient daily driver, and then get something to use for towing the boat and driving your friends around. You could have the best of both worlds (fuel efficiency and the size/power/room that you occasionally need). I personally expect gas prices to become pretty ridiculous in the not-so-distant future (maybe going above $10/gallon in the next decade), the world oil supplies are being tapped, and all of the cheap/easy to find stuff is gone already.

mowens's avatar

@Tropical_Willie Only about 4000 lbs. My 20 ft SeaRay. But still. :) And yes, I used to drive my friends F250 all the time. It is huge, and a bit of a pain, but easily gotten used to. With the exception of my daily commute, the majority of my driving is long hauls.

@gorillapaws True. If that is the case I might just keep the Mountaineer, spend the 1500 to fix what needs fixed, and get like a mini cooper or something.

john65pennington's avatar

So, you are the taxi for all your friends? How did this happen? You must be loaded with money if the gas mlieage makes no difference to you.

Why not buy a good, used sports car from CarMax?

Then, pick your favorite girl from your friend list and show both of them off to the world.

You will get better gas mileage, your girlfriend/boyfriend will love your for it and your friends will have to find a better mode of transportation.

Your insurance rates will be cheaper and I will thank you for keeping another gas guzzler off the road. jp

mowens's avatar

@john65pennington Haha Nice. I mispoke before… I like gas mileage to be higher… but with cars this size… you are not going to get 40 mpg.

And since I have the boat, I normally take all my friends with me when we are going boating on a road trip. On road trips, I sometimes end up profiting off of the gas donations!

WestRiverrat's avatar

How many friends? It may make more sense to get a crew cab pickup like an F150 or a Chevy 1500 with a towing package.

Adirondackwannabe's avatar

My stepfather has a big pickup he uses in his work. He thought he liked what diesel would do for him until he got one. A little better mileage at a very steep price. He got rid of it in a hurry. On the other hand it does give you the biofuel option.

jrpowell's avatar

If your commute to work is 2 miles why not ride a bike when the weather permits. I can bike 2 miles easily in under 15 minutes.

mowens's avatar

@johnpowell I would agree. However, this is not a safe 2 miles. The 3 options to get to my office are too filled with traffic and people who dont pay attention.

kb12345's avatar

My family has been ford believers forever. Try a ford expedition. I mysel have an escape and love it. Perfect for me. My mother has the expedition and loves it. It’s a v8 that’s about 80 to fill but it’s a great ride. She had an 05 fully loaded Eddie Boure expedition with 70k and traded it in for 13k so it might be a bit higher range but remember it was fully loaded ( heated seats, air conditioned seats, 2 DVD player etc.)

mowens's avatar

I decided to drive this one until the wheels fall off. (and until I can pay cash for a new car.) :) When I get something newer, it will most likely be a Ford.

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