It's a bit late in the evening, but I had to hop on for a second to say that we found a vehicle to replace my old truck (which was recently totaled in a wreck ... thankfully the truck was the ONLY casualty ... all people walked away unharmed)! I scoped out the Consumer Reports commentaries online until my eyes felt as though they'd fall out of my head. For some reason, I kept being drawn to the Kia Sportage, specifically anything made in 2006 or later. Prior to that year, CR gave the Sportage really lousy marks, but in 2006 they got their act together and built a really good vehicle.
I located one not terribly far from where we live (maybe 50 miles?) ... a 2007 Kia Sportage, 63K miles ... a pretty green with a a black interior. Selling price $10,999. Which is right in line with what CR says this vehicle should sell for. We drove it and were sold. It drives well, the interior is in GREAT condition, lots of cargo space, and the Carfax report shows that the previous (and only) owner had the car serviced regularly at the dealership where it was purchased ... the only sticky wicket is that the previous owner was a smoker. Archer Kia in Houston promises me that they have a detailing technique that will get the smell out of the vehicle. So tomorrow around 1:00 p.m., I should be able to pick up my "new" vehicle and it should be smoke-free.
I will be sure to take some photos and post them for you. I'll be needing to think of a name for my new ride, too, so if you have any suggestions upon seeing her/him/it ... I'm listening.