After four years with my 1999 Toyota Camry, it was time to move on. I’d had a great run with it repairs-wise but when it was time for a $2000 repair to replace some of the belts and various other disintegrating bits, I decided it was time to upgrade to a newer used car instead of sinking more money into the Camry than it was worth.
I knew I wanted to get a small SUV for my needs of moving, camping and generally adventuring. I wanted something that I could sleep in the back of comfortably, but still got decent gas mileage. My price range was around $4000-7000, and I wanted to keep this car for the next 4-5 years.
After spending a lot of time reading articles and browsing craigslist and other used car sites, I narrowed my search down to the Subaru Forester and Toyota RAV4, both around the 2000-2004 range. I have never bought a car entirely on my own before, so learning all of these things was a great process for me.
In the end I ended up buying a 2003 Subaru Forester with 135k miles for $6500. With my mechanic’s thumbs up, I was pretty proud of myself for pulling off the entire process. I feel like an adult.