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Anonymous asked in Cars & TransportationBuying & Selling · 1 decade ago

What is a good small SUV that will do well in the snow and has leather for under $12,000?

I am looking for more space in the rear seat, enough for three teenagers. i am 6' tall, so i need as much legroom and headroom as possible in both the front and the back. leather is absolutely required, and since i live in the north, i need something with ABS and some form of traction/stability control. and because gas prices are on the rise [and i have a 30 minute commute to work], the higher the gas mileage, the better. thank you for any help!

5 Answers

  • Ryan B
    Lv 4
    1 decade ago
    Favorite Answer

    This is a rather tough question.

    Finding a vehicle with leather isn't a problem since nearly every SUV made since the 1980s was availble with leather (our 1979 Jeep Grand Wagoneer had it).

    If your're looking under the $12,000 mark, you're looking at a large, older SUV. Unfortunately, going for an older SUV makes traction and stability control hard to find. Up until about the year 2000, stability control was only available on top-line SUVs like the Mercedes-Benz ML-Class and Land Rover Range Rover. Traction control was a little more available, in the form of a limited-slip differential or a locking rear differential. The limited-slip is the best bet, since a true locking differential will destroy your tires if left engaged on dry pavement.

    From the description you've given me, the following two vehicles are all I could find that fullfill all of your needs:

    Isuzu Trooper - Larger than a midsize vehicle, but smaller than a fullsize. Acceptable gas mileage, good power and towing, and very roomy inside. Also, interior is near-luxury on top-of-the-line models, and off-road ability is excellent. In addition to this, the Trooper offers three-row seating for more people. Was available with traction control, but not stability control until the last model years.

    Mitsubishi Montero - Very close to Isuzu Trooper, but a little taller and narrower. Similar in size, price, gas mileage, interior amenities, and off-road capability. Traction control was also available, but not stability control.

    If you're willing to sacrifice a little interior room in favor of better gas mileage, consider a true midsize SUV. Go for a 6-Cylinder model, since they get better gas mileage and are generally more reliable. You can pick from the following:

    Chevrolet Blazer

    Dodge Durango

    Ford Explorer

    GMC Jimmy

    Honda Passport

    Isuzu Rodeo

    Jeep Grand Cherokee

    Mitsubishi Montero Sport

    Nissan Pathfinder

    Oldsmobile Bravada

    Toyota 4-Runner

    If you're willing to go the other way, and can afford a little more gas in favor of a bit more room, consider a fullsize SUV with either a 6-Cylinder or a small 8-Cylinder engine. Also, diesel is a good idea, since they get better gas mileage and are easier to maintain and very reliable. Contenders in this area include the following:

    Chevrolet Suburban Diesel

    Chevrolet Tahoe

    Ford Expedition

    GMC Suburban Diesel

    GMC Yukon

    Land Rover Range Rover

    Toyota Land Cruiser

    You can search for any of these models on this web site:

    This site has more listings than any other. You just have to narrow your search to within the distance you're willing to drive to get a new vehicle.

    As for the snow, ABS is not the way to go. ABS only shortens your stopping distance on wet and dry pavement. On snow, sand, mud, and gravel, locking brakes work much better because they're able to build up resistance by piling the road surface in front of the tire in addition to the friction of the tire against the road surface. As for ice and hard-packed dirt roads, pumping the standard brakes will allow for just the right combination of friction and grip to stop quicker than ABS. ABS will allow the wheel to continue traveling when you need it to slow the car down because it senses the wheel's slippage on the loose surface.

    However, if most of your driving takes place on pavement or very well-plowed roads, ABS isn't all that bad either. Plus, on newer models, ABS is generally standard, so you're stuck with it either way.

    If you have any more questions, please feel free to ask.

  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago

    What is a good small SUV that will do well in the snow and has leather for under $12,000?

    -A good used SUV. Oh and one that is small could be one that is similar to a Ford Bronco, GMC/Chevy Blazer or a GMC/Chevy Yukon. Any diesel from Dodge that happens to be a suv is good also. There is not really a small SUV, especially one that is good.

    leather is absolutely required,

    -Any SUV can have leather.

    i need something with ABS and some form of traction/stability control.

    -ABS aren't that good. As for stability control, get the smallest big SUV you can find from GM, Ford or Dodge.

    and because gas prices are on the rise [and i have a 30 minute commute to work], the higher the gas mileage, the better.

    -Diesel most definetely. Ford Bronco 7.3L, Chevy Blazer 6.2L or 6.5L or a Chevy Yukon 6.2L/6.5L diesel, just for example. The GM 6.6 duramax SUV would be well over $12,000

  • 1 decade ago

    You have one problem...not many so-called 4wd cars do that well in the snow. Most are actually "all-wheel-drive", which will do okay in light snow but are bad if the ploys haven't been by in 10 minutes. All of the ones that I know of that get any kind of mileage are all wheel drive, not 4x4, so mileage will be an issue with you if you want snow performance.

    If you want a great snow car, either get a good pick-up, a Jeep (either Wrangler, Commander or Grand Chrokee will do GREAT in the snow), a Toyota 4-Runner is top-notch (the RAV-4 is AWD and not good in snow), a Nissan Pathfinder etc. An Audi IF it's the real QUATTRO (ask the dealer, Quattro is now a brand but there is a tier-1 quattro 4x4 system which is what you want).

    DON'T get a Subaru. Many people will tell you they do great in the snow, but they don't. I lived in the mountains for years and every friend who ever bought a Subaru ended up with fenders crumpled in a snowbank. They just don't stick to the road.

    For 12k, you will have to buy used.

    Source(s): 15 years of living above 8000ft elevation.
  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago

    Find a 2-3 year old model. If there is a new one for that price, the quality won't be very good.

    Look to Honda, Toyota, or Subaru. Test drive before you buy!


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  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago

    1999 Lexus RX300.

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