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Hey everyone,

I am looking to buy my first car and really like the RAV4. I have been looking on craigslist and found some options but some advice on how many miles is too many and how old is too old would be really appreciated. I have narrowed it down to 4 cars, but I am not sure if mileage or year is more important. Also I just moved to Minnesota from Southern California so I am not sure if I need AWD or FWD.
Option 1: 2008 RAV4 AWD with 82,000 miles for $9,500
Option 2: 2008 RAV4 FWD with 52,000 miles for $12,500
Option 3: 2010 RAV4 AWD with 98,000 miles for $12,400
Option 4: 2011 RAV4 FWD with 56,000 miles for $13,000

Right now I am leaning more towards option 3 because it seems like it was taken care of the best, but the mileage and price makes me weary. Any advice you have would be greatly appreciated.

Thanks!
 

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V6s or I4s?
 

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Jelbaz, since Minnesota will have substantially colder weather and snow, I would say go with a 4WD and a V6 if possible. I'm looking to get a new to me RAV4 too currently and I did SOME research and it seems years 08-12 are preferred when going with a gen 3. The 4WD and V6 is a powerful option, which is what I'm looking at getting right now, a 2011 to be more specific. The dealer here in Nebraska wants $16.5K for the 2011 4WD V6 with 71K miles, I think we can get that down to $15K with a 02 Mitsu Galant trade in...

Also, if you have access to the VI N number of vehicle, go to toyotaowners.com and add the vehicle to your garage so you can see the full service history, if it was done by the dealership. I did this when searching for my 4Runner as well as the Rav4.

Good Luck!
 

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What he said ^^^^
 

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Go with option 4.

The 4WD would be better but you need to decide if 42,000 miles difference and $500 less is worth it.
 

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Go with option 4.

The 4WD would be better but you need to decide if 42,000 miles difference and $500 less is worth it.
As someone who lives in that kind of climate, I would have to agree but ONLY IF you also get a set of dedicated winter driving ("snow") tires, which will probably set you back about $700 plus mounting and balancing. Plus you'll need to put the all-seasons back on the rims in the spring, so there would be a little cost every spring and fall in remounting the next season's tires.

I'd take a FWD-anything with 4 winter tires over an AWD-same-vehicle with 4 "all season" tires, which pretty much turn into hockey pucks in the cold.

Don't forget, driving in snow is every bit as much about stopping (and turning corners) successfully as it is about accelerating from a stop. AWD can help you accelerate, but nothing will help you stop or turn better than having winter tires. (I believe Minnesota doesn't really allow studded tires, BTW)

If you will instead only have 1 set of tires in that climate, I'd push very hard to get the Nokian WRG3 SUV tires. They're the best design I've researched for that environment, again if you're only going to use 1 set of tires. I have 2 sets, Michelin Latitude Tour HP for summer and Nokian Hakkapeliitta R2 SUV for winter in the snow.

As others have said, only go for a 2009 or later.

Best of luck.

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If you will instead only have 1 set of tires in that climate, I'd push very hard to get the Nokian WRG3 SUV tires. They're the best design I've researched for that environment, again if you're only going to use 1 set of tires. I have 2 sets, Michelin Latitude Tour HP for summer and Nokian Hakkapeliitta R2 SUV for winter in the snow.
Thanks for that tire suggestion, I'm also following this thread just in case... I looked at Nokian tires and the only dealers that have this locally are Discount Tire and on their website, the two models that fit the Rav4.3 are HAKKAPELIITTA 7 SUV and the STUDDED version, both are $105 per tire and you get $150 pre-paid visa if you buy a set of four. How do you feel about the above models?
 

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...I looked at Nokian tires and the only dealers that have this locally are Discount Tire and on their website, the two models that fit the Rav4.3 are HAKKAPELIITTA 7 SUV and the STUDDED version, both are $105 per tire and you get $150 pre-paid visa if you buy a set of four. How do you feel about the above models?...
What a coincidence, I bought the Nokian Hakka 7 from Discount Tire on a similar deal back in December and endured a historic winter in our area. You can add studs but most people don't, they still work great. They are fantastic snow tires at a great price, highly recommended. Paired with the AWD RAV simply amazing. I drive a really steep road to the ski hill multiple times, multiple tight turns--traction and handling is a hoot.

Back on the OP topic, I'd select option 3 for the 2010 AWD. Price seems a tad high though. Usually the price drops in the northern climes when the winter breaks.
 

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Thanks for that tire suggestion, I'm also following this thread just in case... I looked at Nokian tires and the only dealers that have this locally are Discount Tire and on their website, the two models that fit the Rav4.3 are HAKKAPELIITTA 7 SUV and the STUDDED version, both are $105 per tire and you get $150 pre-paid visa if you buy a set of four. How do you feel about the above models?
I can't really say, as I've never researched the Hakka 7s. I've had my Hakka R2s for 3 winters now, so haven't needed to research winter tires in a while.

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If you have decided on a certain car, call your insurance agent and ask him to run a C.L.U.E. report for you. It is a database that the insurance industry uses to maintain claims records on cars. It is the best source for crash data. CarFAX reports don't always show the best data. I bought a 2012 RAV4 that CarFAX said had been in a minor accident. It turned out that it had been in 5 accidents, totalling about $14,000 in claimed damage.
 

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If you have decided on a certain car, call your insurance agent and ask him to run a C.L.U.E. report for you. It is a database that the insurance industry uses to maintain claims records on cars. It is the best source for crash data. CarFAX reports don't always show the best data. I bought a 2012 RAV4 that CarFAX said had been in a minor accident. It turned out that it had been in 5 accidents, totalling about $14,000 in claimed damage.

Good info. Thanks. I wish I had known this before making our purchase this weekend. We just bought a 2006 $runner SR5. I know that CarFax reports one accident on it back in 2010, and my close personal inspection revealed no outstanding issues with it, so we made the purchase. I'll get the CLUE report just to put closure to the issue, even though it's a done deal at this point.
 
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