Looking for recommendations for a used AWD for Tahoe winter trips

murphysf

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Hello

I average 5-6 winter trips from the SF bay area to Tahoe a year.

I currently have a 2000 Lexus (Toyota) RX300 AWD. It has close to 280k miles and won't last forever.

I also have a 2012 Toyota Sienna non AWD vehicle with a set of snow chains however I have not yet taken it to Tahoe in the winter. I take 80 to North Shore via 89 or 267.

Since the RX300 is getting up there age and mileage I am considering, if I was to replace it with another used AWD vehicle what would it be? I would like something that is on the fuel efficient side (thinking 4 cylinder) and something that is serviceable. I don't mind driving an older vehicle, I recently sold my 1984 VW GTI and still have a 1987 300E, howver don't want to get something that old. Am thinking something 5-10 years old.

I'm thinking something like a RAV-4 or CR-V maybe a Subaru? I first thought about getting a Nissan Rogue however heard the CVT transmissions in them have issues.


Ideas?

Or should I just use the 2012 Toyota Sienna van and put chains on it as necessary? I must confess the Sienna is my first and only vehicle that I have purchased new and I baby it even to this day. This is one of the reasons I haven't taken it to tahoe in the winter, I am a bit concerned that someone will spinout and hit me, or my kids will trash my fabric interior and carpet with muddy snow. Having the 18 year old Lexus RX300 AWD has been the perfect solution so far but know that it won't last forever.
 
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murphysf

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Here it is / was!!! The last few years I had it I would have all kinds of people on the road honking and waving at me!!!! About 350k miles original engine and transmission, went through two clutches... one was due to the pressure palte breaking and the other was due to the oil seal leaking all over the clutch lining... They don't build them like that anymore. For the car heads out there the first generation water cooled vws had Bosch CIS fuel injection in them starting in 1977 , same fuel system that Porsche and Mercedes used till the mid 90s... I could go on and on..

IMG_0385.JPG
 
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Mendieta

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Hello

I average 5-6 winter trips from the SF bay area to Tahoe a year.

I currently have a 2000 Lexus (Toyota) RX300 AWD. It has close to 280k miles and won't last forever.

I also have a 2012 Toyota Sienna non AWD vehicle with a set of snow chains however I have not yet taken it to Tahoe in the winter. I take 80 to North Shore via 89 or 267.

Since the RX300 is getting up there age and mileage I am considering, if I was to replace it with another used AWD vehicle what would it be? I would like something that is on the fuel efficient side (thinking 4 cylinder) and something that is serviceable. I don't mind driving an older vehicle, I recently sold my 1984 VW GTI and still have a 1987 300E, howver don't want to get something that old. Am thinking something 5-10 years old.

I'm thinking something like a RAV-4 or CR-V maybe a Subaru? I first thought about getting a Nissan Rogue however heard the CVT transmissions in them have issues.


Ideas?

Or should I just use the 2012 Toyota Sienna van and put chains on it as necessary? I must confess the Sienna is my first and only vehicle that I have purchased new and I baby it even to this day. This is one of the reasons I haven't taken it to tahoe in the winter, I am a bit concerned that someone will spinout and hit me, or my kids will trash my fabric interior and carpet with muddy snow. Having the 18 year old Lexus RX300 AWD has been the perfect solution so far but know that it won't last forever.
I think you would miss the convenience of the 4wd/AWf if you used the Sienna, honestly. Who likes messing with chains?

I really like my 6 cyl, 2010 Rav 4. It still drives and feels like new. Been to to Tahoe numerous times. I fold one of the back seats forward and put my skis in that side. Love it.
 

coskigirl

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I had a 2010 Nissan Rogue. It was fine in the snow but as soon as it got warm (not hot) at altitude I started having issues but not every time. I'd be climbing up I-70 in Colorado and it would just loose nearly all power. It was especially fun when it would happen suddenly with people on my tail. I could sometimes get it going at a normal speed again if I let it cool for awhile but usually that was hours not minutes. It was at Nissan several times. For a long time the Boulder dealership acknowledged the issue as I wasn't the only one having it but they were getting nothing from corporate.

Finally, a corporate bigwig sent his daughter to school in Gunnison and it happened to her with her Rogue. Apparently they all showed up at the Boulder dealership to figure out what was going on. In the end they determined that with the combination heat and high altitude the transmission was overheating and going into a fail safe mode. Fortunately, I had it happen again and got it in for service where they installed an aftermarket transmission fan of some sort. I later heard that those went on backorder because of so many people needing them. I'm guessing they've fixed that issue now but I would be cautious about buying a Rogue from that era. I didn't even consider the Rogue when I bought my new vehicle in March.

I currently have a 2018 Mazda CX-5 which was a redesign in 2017 but I've heard good things about the older ones as well.
 

jmeb

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I vote a 2nd Sienna you don't mind trashing a bit. AWD of course.

While in my dreams I'm building out a full size Euro camping van...I've begun researching Sienna AWDs as an eventual replacement for my AWD Astro. There are even a couple of cannuck engineers that are making a 2" lift for the Sienna that allows running decent rubber.
 

JohnnyG

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Would you be willing to get dedicated winter tires and wheels for the Sienna for the times you need them? Can you get away with a single vehicle?

FWD cars with proper tires will work just fine for when you need it.
 

Near Nyquist

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Would you be willing to get dedicated winter tires and wheels for the Sienna for the times you need them? Can you get away with a single vehicle?

FWD cars with proper tires will work just fine for when you need it.
Unfortunately or maybe fortunately depending on your opinion Caltrans makes you slap iron on 2WD vehicles when going over any passes in California when it's snowing.

That makes driving a 2WD a real pain in the ass if you drive when it tends to snow.

Still it's better to have snowflake rated tires for the Bay Area - Tahoe commute
 
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murphysf

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I had a 2010 Nissan Rogue. It was fine in the snow but as soon as it got warm (not hot) at altitude I started having issues but not every time. I'd be climbing up I-70 in Colorado and it would just loose nearly all power. It was especially fun when it would happen suddenly with people on my tail. I could sometimes get it going at a normal speed again if I let it cool for awhile but usually that was hours not minutes. It was at Nissan several times. For a long time the Boulder dealership acknowledged the issue as I wasn't the only one having it but they were getting nothing from corporate.

Finally, a corporate bigwig sent his daughter to school in Gunnison and it happened to her with her Rogue. Apparently they all showed up at the Boulder dealership to figure out what was going on. In the end they determined that with the combination heat and high altitude the transmission was overheating and going into a fail safe mode. Fortunately, I had it happen again and got it in for service where they installed an aftermarket transmission fan of some sort. I later heard that those went on backorder because of so many people needing them. I'm guessing they've fixed that issue now but I would be cautious about buying a Rogue from that era. I didn't even consider the Rogue when I bought my new vehicle in March.

I currently have a 2018 Mazda CX-5 which was a redesign in 2017 but I've heard good things about the older ones as well.
I stopped by the Nissan dealer a few months ago and spoke with the Service Dept Manager. I told him I was considering purchasing a new or used Rouge and asked him about the transmissions. He told me that all the Nissan vehicles with CVT have problems after around 60k miles. Even the new 2018 ones. Not sure what this is going to do for Nissan long term but it is not good.
 
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murphysf

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Would you be willing to get dedicated winter tires and wheels for the Sienna for the times you need them? Can you get away with a single vehicle?

FWD cars with proper tires will work just fine for when you need it.
I wouldn't mind getting a second set of wheels (steel) and snow tires however as someone mentioned Caltrans will require me to put chains on under R2 conditions. Yes I could get away with just a single vehicle.

Perhaps I should have bought a AWD Sienna. Its too late to sell or trade in my 2012, I would take a huge loss on it so plan to keep my FWD Sienna.
 
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murphysf

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Unfortunately or maybe fortunately depending on your opinion Caltrans makes you slap iron on 2WD vehicles when going over any passes in California when it's snowing.

That makes driving a 2WD a real pain in the ass if you drive when it tends to snow.

Still it's better to have snowflake rated tires for the Bay Area - Tahoe commute
What are snowflake rated tires?

As for driving in a heavy snow storm, I wouldn't do it no matter what vehicle I had. Travel with my 6 & 8 year old children is not that important to risk the hazardous road conditions.
 

Mendieta

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I stopped by the Nissan dealer a few months ago and spoke with the Service Dept Manager. I told him I was considering purchasing a new or used Rouge and asked him about the transmissions. He told me that all the Nissan vehicles with CVT have problems after around 60k miles. Even the new 2018 ones. Not sure what this is going to do for Nissan long term but it is not good.
Did you drive it, too? I drove the 2010, it was contender until the test drive. Boy. It felt weird to me. It felt like a really cute car with a weird transmission, it was a no go.

I wonder how @coskigirl likes her Mazda. I have it on my radar as a second car potentially in the future
 
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murphysf

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Did you drive it, too? I drove the 2010, it was contender until the test drive. Boy. It felt weird to me. It felt like a really cute car with a weird transmission, it was a no go.

I wonder how @coskigirl likes her Mazda. I have it on my radar as a second car potentially in the future
No I didn't bother to drive it as the CVT issues was a deal breaker.

Yes I heard the CVT has a different driving profile.
 

JohnnyG

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I wouldn't mind getting a second set of wheels (steel) and snow tires however as someone mentioned Caltrans will require me to put chains on under R2 conditions. Yes I could get away with just a single vehicle.

Perhaps I should have bought a AWD Sienna. Its too late to sell or trade in my 2012, I would take a huge loss on it so plan to keep my FWD Sienna.
Do this and add AWD: http://journeysoffroad.com/siennaliftkits.html

 
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murphysf

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How do those kits account for CV shaft angle changes by lifting? 3.5" seems like a significant change that would mean wearing through those parts quick.

Nothing the OP is talking about necessitates a lift. Snowtires + AWD should be plenty sufficient.
I currently have a FWD Sienna and don't plan to get an AWD Sienna.

What is meant by snow tires? Tires that have studs? Other? What makes a tire a snow tire? - Perhaps that is another thread?
 

jmeb

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I currently have a FWD Sienna and don't plan to get an AWD Sienna.

What is meant by snow tires? Tires that have studs? Other? What makes a tire a snow tire? - Perhaps that is another thread?
Snow tires -- or 3PMSF for "3 Peak Mountain Snow Flake" -- are tires that are test to a specific performance standard in a variety of winter conditions. They are required in many snowy parts of the world as they certified to perform to minimum standards.

More commonly you see M/S, M+S, M&S tires -- which are usually "all seasons". These tires are a design standard but do not specify any performance minimums in snowy conditions.

3PMSF tires can be studded or not studded. Some are suitable for year round use thanks to advances in silicia based compounds.

In short, ask @nay .

The AWD Sienna would just be a backup Sienna ;). The downside of the AWD is you're gonna be replacing the tires anyhow, and figuring out how to store a spare. Because Toyota stupidly made them with run-flats and no spare. And the run flats suck from a ride quality perspective.
 
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murphysf

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Snow tires -- or 3PMSF for "3 Peak Mountain Snow Flake" -- are tires that are test to a specific performance standard in a variety of winter conditions. They are required in many snowy parts of the world as they certified to perform to minimum standards.

More commonly you see M/S, M+S, M&S tires -- which are usually "all seasons". These tires are a design standard but do not specify any performance minimums in snowy conditions.

3PMSF tires can be studded or not studded. Some are suitable for year round use thanks to advances in silicia based compounds.

In short, ask @nay .

The AWD Sienna would just be a backup Sienna ;). The downside of the AWD is you're gonna be replacing the tires anyhow, and figuring out how to store a spare. Because Toyota stupidly made them with run-flats and no spare. And the run flats suck from a ride quality perspective.
Thanks but looking on Discount Tire direct and Tire Rack I do not see 3PMSF listed with any of the tires?
 

Mendieta

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Perhaps I should have bought a AWD Sienna. Its too late to sell or trade in my 2012, I would take a huge loss on it so plan to keep my FWD Sienna.
You know, while I don't tend to regret my purchases, I do regret not haven't gotten my 2003 Rav4 with 4wd at the time. We moved to a snowy area two years later, and boy, did we need the extra traction! I agree about the trade off. I tend to keep cars 10+y. Once they are paid off they are insurance plus gas, especially Toyotas. They are so reliable!

As for driving in a heavy snow storm, I wouldn't do it no matter what vehicle I had. Travel with my 6 & 8 year old children is not that important to risk the hazardous road conditions.
I think what you are saying is that you wouldn't seek a storm with the little ones around. But the storm might find you. Point in case: a couple seasons ago we left Tahoe WELL ahead of a storm. The chain control people, stupidly so, started the controls hours ahead of time, and forced us through the heavy storm. It took us over 4 hours to go through the control.
 
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