As some of you know, I drive a 2014 FIAT 500 Abarth Convertible GQ Edition as my nice weather car, and in February of this year, I bought a 2016 Subaru Forester XT as my winter car and dog transportation.

Due to some life circumstances (we got a third dog that will grow up large, my wife is opening her own law firm and it might be us striking it rich or it might be a bust, and the fact that I kept the FIAT in the garage whole winter long while the XT stayed outside and I got sick of cleaning snow and defrosting the car before I go to work), I have been toying with the idea of something different, and going back to one car only.

I don’t have much equity in either of the cars - Forester XT was bought with zero down and my trade-in was my lease return, and my FIAT was purchased with the idea of driving it for a while, plus I spent $2000 or so one the new wheels and Abarth bits.


What I am looking for:

  • I want to stay under $500 per month on a 60 or a 72 month loan, so my upper maximum on a car is $35000
  • It needs to fit the three dogs and 4 adults - most of the time it is just me and the wife and three large dogs, but sometimes I have my parents in the car too, so Golf sized cars won’t work. They sort of fit in the Forester now, but the little girl dog will double in size in no time.
  • If I am to get rid of my Abarth, I want a car that is somewhat fun or cool - reasonably fast, decent horsepower, maybe manual transmission, maybe a special edition of some sort
  • If I go used, it needs to be close to new, under warranty, under 20k or maximum 30k miles.

Based on these parameters, I am not presented with many choices.


I found a used 2016 Ford Flex Limited 3.5 TT eco-boost with the appearance package and 20k miles or so. I might go test drive it, although it is on the very top of what I’d spend on a car. It would be awesome for three dogs though, especially if I remove the third row seats. It would be like having a minivan almost, but one that accelerates like a banshee.

Another option is Golf Alltrack with the manual transmission to wring out the most out of those 170HP. I can have a new one for $25-30000.

I like the idea of a Jeep Grand Cherokee TrailHawk, but they are too pricey. Jeep Cherokee TrailHawk is probably too small.

I love the Toyota 4Runner Trail Edition, but they cost too much new and they have way too many miles when they are used and around $30k - people sell them for $30000 with 80k+ miles which is just silly.

Other cars to consider: Ford Explorer Sport with eco-boost. 4 door pick up with a topper and a lot of HP, although I am not excited about the idea of DD a pickup.

I can’t think of many cars that would fit what I am after. Oppo, your thoughts? 2 out of 3 dogs for your time