I’m in a bind. Well, maybe that’s too harsh, but I’m not getting ahead financially as much as I want. Having kids has spurned me forth. So I’m trying to think of areas to cut costs so I can handle some other issues without turning to the Almighty Visa, as it were (couple of the windows in the house has broken seals, they’re all crap, that sort of thing.) I’ve worked on cutting costs almost everywhere else, except car payments. I tried that once, if you remember, with the Outback that was minutes away from eating it’s own engine when I traded it in in a super hurry for the R-Spec. I love the R-Spec, but it didn’t serve the purpose of reducing my car payment. I know the payment on the wife’s car is much higher (we’re looking at refi) but we bought it new for the warranty because she mostly totes the kids around and we wanted reliability, repairs covered, and roadside assistance.

I’ve tried to do this myself, and just get lost in things I really want, but not so much what I need. So I’ll have two lists here, needs and wants, and lets see what we come up with that I’m not thinking of.

- Four Doors (I know, ugh, but TWO rear facing car seats)
- Larger than a WRX (the car I really want) on this inside, because I’m a little over 6'4". 2010+ Outback or Legacy is the right size.
- Reliable for the next 3-4 years until I’m out of grad school and I get a nice raise. Or just really relaible and easy to fix if something does go wrong.
- Will need to put ~13k miles/year
- Commuter car to work and back, ~40 mi/day, all by myself. (MPG concerns?)
- Heated seats (though I can add these later)
- Some manner of aftermarket powertrain warranty available (if required)
- max $14,000

- Leather, though I can add this later if it’s a very common car.
- Manual (too much?)
- Some fun factor, which is really hard, I know. Trust me, I know...
- AWD if possible
- Love wagons!
- under $12,000

I know there are many threads daily here about this, but this is mine. My zip code is 45066 if that helps the search. A few cars I’ve looked at that almost sorta fit the bill, but I haven’t actually looked at in person ever, if you have thoughts on these:

2011 MINI Cooper Countryman ALL 4 (I had a 2005 MINI that I quite enjoyed)
Last gen Mazda CX-9 (the CX-7 rear legroom looks non-existent)
Ford Flex (they look cool to me)


Or there’s the camp of finding a nice Outback. You all know me, what do you think?