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I have an 87 Silverado on 35s that started life as an offroad rig and wound up as a work truck for side jobs and a tow rig for hauling the ATVs. It's also been a daily driver for the last 6 months. As gas continues to creep back towards $3 a gallon, it's around-town 8 mpg has me eyeing something smaller for regular driving duties. I had an 05 Corolla that was a great car, just not at all what I needed for the places I go and the things I like to do.

My shopping specs:

$10,000 or less
Must be 4x4
At least 15 mpg
Auto tranny preferred substantially but a manual is acceptable on a sweet deal

My current train of thought is a small 4-door SUV like a Liberty, RAV4 or CRV. I don't know anything about them though, if some years were better than others, etc. Any suggestions?
 

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I've heard the newer Suzuki Grand Vitara are actually pretty good vehicles. Resale should make them real cheap too.
 

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Jeep Grand Cherokee (WJ, so 1999-2004) should be easy to find in that price range. I have a '98 (ZJ), but they both used the I6 4.0L engine and are very similar. I got 14 around town, 22 on the highway. Find one with the Select-Trac 4wd system, great vehicle.
 

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Isuzu Trooper. I think they stopped making them in 2002. My '95 Trooper gets around 16 miles/gal. Mine is a 5-speed manual. This thing just doesn't stop. I have beaten it to no end on the trails, and it keeps going. Got stuck only once, in a huge mud hole. Give one a look. :supergrin:
 

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4x4 Ranger or Cherokee. The Cherokee has the advantage of a good inline 6 cylinder. Mine gets about 20 mpg. Not perfect, they have some issues with small accessory type parts, but the engine, transmission and running gear are solid.
 

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Ford Ranger - I'm on my third Ranger 4X4 and have been pleased with each one (and I actually use them like a truck should be used).
 

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XJ Cherokee circa 1996~2001 would be right on. Cost is about $3000 ~ $9000 depending on mileage and options. I traded mine on a JK Wrangler, but still miss it.
 

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used CRV?
 

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FTW...




 

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I've had two Rangers die before they hit 30,000 miles, and the best gas mileage you will get out of their 4.0 V6 is about 17, with averages right at 15 in town.

the Liberty is in the 15-16 category in real world driving, I had an 06, and it was fine; except that little things kept breaking.

The Rav4 is a POS...stay away, it is not a real 4x4, and it has a weak tranny.

Get a used Tacoma if you really want a smaller truck. A 1500 Silverado with the 4.8 L V8 will get you 18 in town and 21 on the highway, it will still be big enough to haul those ATV's, and would be great off road if you needed it.
 

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ive had a 87 Wrangler, couple Grand Cherokees (93 and 03), and a 92 Explorer that were smaller 4x4s. i would get any of them again. i know it will be hard to replace the K-series truck. i miss my 82 on 38s
 

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ford escape or mazda tribute.
same suv but you may find the mazda for a bit less.
 
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