Which would you buy '91 4Runner or '02 Focus...

...if they were the same money? The 4Runner has 85k and the focus has 55K. It's for my 20 year old son who is in college. I want it to last another 4
years @ ~ 12k per year.
Apologies for the cross post, need an answer soon.
--
-Jim


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I owned a 1991 4Runner - sold it with 150k on the clock, never had a problem. With gas prices where they are I would probably go with the Focus although you could have an expensive repair bill in the next 4 years. I drove a Tercel all though college up until it hit 260k when I bought the 4Runner. Focus for mileage - Runner for reliability. Good luck

55K.
4
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Focus
By 2002 the Focus bugs had been worked out. Starting in that year the Focus has a very similar reliability rating to the Corolla and Civic. Plus it costs less to fix when repairs are needed.
As to the title of this thread, the idea that a 13 year-old Toyota needs fewer repairs than a two-year old Focus is just silly. Look it up.
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Focus
I certainly loved my old Corolla GT-S, but I agree completely. There is no way I would take any 13 year old car over a newer, relatively bug free Focus. Never mind also that the Focus has much better active and passive safety. By the way, unless this is the west coast or Arizona, that 4Runner has terminal rust hiding in every unseen crevice.
Stephen
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Personally for someone that will be generating bills rather than a real paycheck, go with the focus. It should have lower operating expenses (gas, insurance, maintenance, etc). Also, I remember seeing Ford's Focus has consumer reports recommended car pick(for small sedans).
hth,
tom
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like:

Under normal circumstances this would be a no brainer. A low mileage Toyota truck vs. a Ford econobox. However with the $$$ of fuel threatening to hit $3 by Labor Day you might consider the Ford as the more practical choice.
Just don't tell your son about the Toyota suv he could have had.
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It depends on how well each were maintained during the miles they have, and how much they are asking for both of the vehicles.
If that 4runner is in really nice condition, it would likely be a good deal as far as being able to haul his stuff back and forth between his college residence and home (I've two younger brothers doing the college thing now, so I can understand the whole drill.) It might give you more peace of mind that he's in a truck vs a car, especially in high traffic area like a college town. Mileage will depend on engine size and condition and his driving style, but probably around 16-20mpg. Consider it more incentive for him to use a bicycle for local trips, and drive less to save money for the junk food he will inevitably live off of. Toyotas are fairly reliable if maintained regularly (VERY, actually, my 96 4Runner has had NO problems during our owning it over the last almost 5 years.)
The Focus is newer, but past the warranty (30K I think?) so either get it WITH an extended warranty or have it checked by a good mechanic. We bought a 2 y/o Mercury (ford) with only 22K and it has been nothing but a pain. We wish we'd got an extended warranty/service agreement because it needs it! The dealers at the time were calling their new Focus something which sounds similar but is less nice (as in, you're screwed if you buy one.) Focus would get better mileage, but your son will also be driving it more as a result- no real savings. It's small, so he can carry less friends (less liabilities in a wreck) but also less college junk. It's also sportier. Fords can also be fairly reliable if maintained. My parents' 92 Escort wagon had/has 350K miles on the original engine using synthetic oil changed infrequently (often forgotten about,) and had only had a few repairs (oil pan/gasket I think, at 230K- but my parents are heinous car abusers.) It now sits parked, but only due to an exhaust manifold leak. It was running fine on last use.
Things to think of: insurance costs, cost of possible upgrades he will want to do to it (if he's anything like my brothers, he'll have a wish list for stereo, tires, performance parts, etc.) resale value even if it's in a non-operating status. Also, whatever you get him, make sure to get a manual for it so you or he can troubleshoot anything that might go wrong. It's so much easier to have a little extra knowledge when you're both trying to figure out how much it'll cost to get X repair done 200+ miles away from you. Best of luck to you and your son!
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Dee
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How so? A light truck with worse handling, decade older crumple zone design, and much less other safety equipment doesn't seem like the best "peace of mind" idea versus a modern car.
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Well, maybe I'm going off personal opinion and what my brothers have told me of their own experiences (and what I recall of mine) driving in a major metropolitan area: 1. it sits higher, making it easier for other traffic to see him and vice versa 2. it's older, so if it does get dinged in a busy college parking lot or in transit, there's not nearly as much heartache involved 3. it's older, so less likely to attract car thieves who prey upon the newer popular vehicles (including break-ins, especially if it has a stereo) 4. being a truck, it isn't as 'cool' to drive it fast/aggressively, and often what you drive often influences how you drive
Those are just a few of the reasons I'd choose it for my own kids. Another would be that it IS a Toyota and I'm familiar with them as well as with Fords. I would definitely choose an older, tried and true design over a newer one regardless as to whether the 'bugs' have been worked out in that model, especially if there's been good record keeping by the prior owner(s). I'd also want something easy to work on, multi-purpose, and with a decent resale value. The Mercury Mystique/Ford Contour (what the Focus replaced) dropped so drastically in resale value that the car we bought in 2001 (only 2 years old) is now worth LESS THAN HALF what we still owe, even with a VERY good interest rate on the loan (the price was quite reasonable when we bought it, well below blue book.) The Focus is showing the same trend in resale values, if you check Auto Trader you'll see it's dropping fast (how else is it as cheap as a 13 year old 4Runner???) Mass marketed vehicles like that (and you might want to check the safety ratings on that Focus, not nearly as good as you might think for a new car) are a dime a dozen, and about as worth it.
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Although if the stereo is OEM, it is hard to imagine any thief trying for it, since there wouldn't be much of an underground market for such a thing.

I've seen a lot of trucks and SUVs being driven aggressively, though more often in a "bullying" manner rather than a "speed contest" manner.
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