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Thanks for those thoughtful responses (though I think Heidi Klum is out of my price range)...

AWD/4WD costs money to buy, to operate, to insure, repair, and maintain. If you skip that, there are lots of comfortable cars that can achieve 30 mpg on the highway.

well, I'm considering the 4/AWD a fairly serious requirement because I live in Colorado and expect to do more driving as I age, due to advancement in my profession (more local business travel).

Don't even think of getting a Baja, Subaru is killing it for a good reason. ... why have the chopped off useless cargo area when you can have the utlity of the wagon configuration.

Our attractiveness to them was (is) based on the fact that we find ourselves in need of a truck from time to time to carry trees or a large appliance (we have a rental and might be getting another) that don't fit or load well into our minivan. Of course, my wife wants a truck, or truck-like thing, so we can pull a horse trailer. I was hoping if I get a Baja I could put off the horse discussion, since a Baja couldn't pull one. Ability to carry lumber wasn't a huge consideration, since the minivan can hold 4x8 sheets with the hatch closed if the seats are taken out.

Both of the subaru dealers I've talked to have said they're discontinuing the Baja because of surprisingly poor sales, not because of any particular defect. Of course, that's the reason you talked about... truck bed is too limiting for most people to pay extra for it.

Maybe a Subaru Impreza or Legacy? A 3 YO one would probably meet your requirements (except that the legacy gets ~28 MPG).

Yeah, I didn't see any Subarus over 30. Not that that's a magic number--I won't say 29 is no good--but AWD is a natural ding against mileage. That's why I was hoping I could find a 4WD something.

Pontiac Vibe or its twin the Toyota Matrix.

I'd much rather have the Toyota, I think. I hadn't thought of that, either. And maybe I can even find a used one later this year. Never bought a new car, I hain't.

-n8 ('89 Accord needs new/rebuit carb before I can sell it. crap. making me re-think my stance on new cars.)
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