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Compact SUV for $20k?

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New User

May 16, 2016, 1:04 PM

Post #1 of 6 (910 views)
Compact SUV for $20k? Sign In

Hi all, I live in the UK and have always looked after my families cars. However, my daughter recently moved to Texas and now needs to buy herself a car there, I have only limited knowledge of the US so thought I would ask for help.

She's wants an SUV as she is quite small and feels intimidated in a smaller car. But not too large, probably the two that spring to mind are Honda CRV or Toyota Rav 4 - what do you guys reckon on these, anything to look out for? Or better suggestions? It needs to be reliable and not too expensive to run.

Many thanks in anticipation, Nigel

kev2 profile image

May 16, 2016, 1:22 PM

Post #2 of 6 (904 views)
Re: Compact SUV for $20k? Sign In

timing is everything...
My son in law is from Great Britain , Cambridge? - and the issue was almost the same, familiarity. My advice to him was the same -
Both good vehicles, you will need to consider automatic transmissions that and Air Conditioning is considered standard equipment here, avoid options will add cost and things to go wrong ie sun roofs, nav systems, auto park, etc.
Try this - non committal just consider as a resource, have her visit something like CarMax- they have most brands Toyota, Honda, jeeps, your beloved land rovers and she can drive them one then the other, they will line them up for you to try, untill she finds that comfort level then you can shop price.

PS might even google CarMax in her new town to shop - the resource is NOT an endorsement of car max just a one stop resource.

(This post was edited by kev2 on May 16, 2016, 1:23 PM)

Tom Greenleaf
Ultimate Carjunky / Moderator
Tom Greenleaf profile image

May 16, 2016, 1:36 PM

Post #3 of 6 (897 views)
Re: Compact SUV for $20k? Sign In

Hi Nigel: I'm from MA = Massachusetts (think Boston) and know TX = Texas fairly well but too much of it to totally know it all well. Remember it's 800 miles long and close to that tall!

There are so many major areas you should name the closest major city and look up that area. Try to comprehend the size of one state. It's lower and wetter on the East end (Houston) and hot and very dry on the West end (El Paso) and varies North to South as well. Good news is if looking for used the cars from there should have less rust than the Northern 1/3 of the lower 48 US States a big plus.

Here there's a thing called Carfax where for a fee you can find out with some credibility the history of a used car like accidents, used as a rental fine but price that in and other info on the thing. That's for used if going that way. New she just chooses what she likes and done with it.
Suggestions only for high end used or new is choose a lighter color. It's pretty hot for a lot of the year all over and color helps. You UK folks like your standard shift transmissions and think hard about that for resale as they are much harder to sell.
Texas also will have lower priced fuel than many states just a plus but depending on where you live can have to drive tons of miles for assorted things shopping wise.
Some major cities are Dallas, Austin (the capitol,) Houston, San Antonio, Midland, Brownsville and Corpus Christi just a few that come to mind.

So - if you need a car really fast you need time to choose well just what will be right. In that price range you should consider new car dealer for used IMO they usually only keep the best trade ins and you pay more for that but can be worth it. Fewer at those prices would be by owner which is fine, cheaper but you really risk warranty and laws will vary place by place throughout the state on buyer protection.

You can search out the dealers and peruse the inventory anytime from the UK or not. If you already know the make and model for sure and your daughter has driven one the only difference is the wheel on the left side not the right and drive it according to that or it will be a problemCool

Good luck with the hunt. You should be able to shop now and even discuss a certain car in stock new or used. If real soon can hold it no doubt with a small deposit for a short time but leave final price to negotiating when ready to buy right then. is a used car pricing guide and think another. There are many.
One last thing if used. Insist on known warranty that A/C works properly and needs nothing you really need it to live there.

Good luck,


(This post was edited by Tom Greenleaf on May 16, 2016, 1:45 PM)

New User

May 16, 2016, 1:38 PM

Post #4 of 6 (896 views)
Re: Compact SUV for $20k? Sign In

That's a really good idea thanks, I will suggest that to her.

New User

May 16, 2016, 1:42 PM

Post #5 of 6 (894 views)
Re: Compact SUV for $20k? Sign In

Thanks Tom, lots of good advice in there.

I probably should have said it's Austin in Texas so primarily hot and dry. She is fully used to driving an auto transmission these days and prefers them so that's no issue.

I will pass on your suggestions, thanks again.

Tom Greenleaf
Ultimate Carjunky / Moderator
Tom Greenleaf profile image

May 16, 2016, 1:52 PM

Post #6 of 6 (889 views)
Re: Compact SUV for $20k? Sign In

Austin should be easy hunting for cars. Have stayed there but family has lived in Houston area and Corpus Cristy (very South area) of the state.

I hear nothing but good living about TX in general. It's also VERY biz friendly so growing nicely with a good economy and "cost of living" is probably below the average for most states. NO VAT TAX - She'll love it!


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