Welcome back! Today’s bacchanalia of beaters takes us to the front range of colorful Colorado, where we’ll be looking at a pair of all-wheel-drive SUVs. But first, let’s see which Wisconsin rustbucket you chose yesterday:
Get on your Pontiac and Ride! The W-body takes the win. And I know a lot of you felt these were both overpriced, and you might be right, but that’s where the market is. I don’t price ’em, I just write about ’em. So don’t shoot the messenger, okay?
Today’s choices are from Pueblo, Colorado, a town on I-25 a ways south of Colorado Springs. The weather on the front range can be unpredictable, with snow one day and seventy degrees the next, so 4WD/AWD vehicles are popular. For your consideration, I’ve got the evergreen (and in this case very green) Ford Explorer, and a bit of an outsider in the form of a Mitsubishi Outlander. Which one makes its case better? That’s for you to decide.
1999 Ford Explorer Eddie Bauer – $2,500
Engine/drivetrain: 5.0 liter overhead valve V8, four-speed automatic, AWD
Location: Pueblo, CO
Odometer reading: 175,000 miles
Runs/drives? Currently driven daily
The Ford Explorer, of course, was one of the most popular vehicles in the country throughout pretty much the entire Clinton administration. You couldn’t go anywhere without seeing at least one of these things, and a surprising number of them are still on the road, especially considering Ford’s propensity for making transmissions out of some form of hard cheese. Most Explorers were powered by a four-liter V6, but Ford’s long-lived 302 cubic inch small-block V8 found its way into some of them, usually in the upper trim levels like this Eddie Bauer edition.
The Eddie Bauer package probably impressed a lot more people in 1999, but more than twenty years later it mostly means everything is green and tan and the car has a few more gizmos in it. The interior is leather, and I imagine the seats are pretty comfy, from what I know of even the standard-issue Explorer’s seats. The interior of this one isn’t trashed, either.
Let me rephrase that: it isn’t trashed if you disregard the spare tire sitting in the cargo area on a garbage bag, instead of being suspended on a chain underneath the floor like it’s supposed to be. Maybe the chain thingy is broken. But hey, maybe you can find a janky overpriced “factory” spare tire carrier for this one, too.
The seller says this Explorer runs and drives well, and is their current daily driver. It doesn’t have too many miles on it, and it looks fairly well cared-for. The biggest drawback I’ve heard of with the V8-powered Explorers is fuel economy: Don’t expect to ever see a number that doesn’t end in “-teen.” Unless it’s twelve.
2007 Mitsubishi Outlander – $3,800
Engine/drivetrain: 3.0 liter overhead cam V6, six-speed automatic, AWD
Location: Pueblo, CO
Odometer reading: 163,000 miles
Runs/drives? Doesn’t actually say, but I’m sure it must
Oh, right: Mitsubishi. It exists, and it makes cars, too. It has been easy to forget that for the past twenty years or so. But forgettable or not, Mitsubishi’s products are consistently good, and often a fair bit cheaper than some other Japanese brands. It’s just that if you tell your friends “I got a 2007 Mitsubishi Outlander,” not a one of them could tell you what it looks like.
This one looks, well, kinda not so great, at least from one angle. It appears to have side-swiped something, and someone tried to pound the dents back out from the inside, and it didn’t work so well. It’s not hideous, but you can tell it suffered some trauma. Perhaps that’s why the previous owner decided to donate it to Habitat For Humanity rather than try to sell it.
That’s right; this forgotten SUV’s proceeds are going to charity. You get a new old vehicle, and a warm fuzzy feeling, all at once! The ad doesn’t actually say anything about its mechanical condition, although I’m sure it runs and drives. If it didn’t, I imagine that would be the first thing they mentioned. It only has 163,000 miles on it, so it should have some life left.
Apart from the damage on the passenger’s side, it’s in nice condition from what we can see. The styling looks like Mitsubishi was trying to make it look like a RAV4, but not too much like a RAV4. It’s inoffensive, but certainly not exciting. Maybe that’s an argument in favor of the body damage: you can find it in a parking lot more easily.
So there they are, two ways of doing the all-wheel-drive SUV thing. One is a traditional body-on-frame truck with a V8, and the other is a unibody transverse-engine crossover. Which one is the better deal?
(Image credits: Craigslist sellers)
Ford Explorers of this vintage are absolute garbage and will continuously break in the most expensive ways possible. I voted for the whatever the hell the other thing is without even reading the article.
Outlander for me as I know for a fact that Explorer will have awful fuel economy… we’re talking about 14mpg for the Explorer vs around 20mpg for the Mitsubishi.
Ford made transmissions out of hard cheese?! That seems a bit extreme, my experience showed they durable as room temperature mozzarella at best…