Okay, I so did the math. Apparently, the Lumbering Beast gets better mileage on the highway than I thought (closer to 24 than 20 mpg), which puts it at a real-world average of 15/24. Also, I did comparisons using Consumer Reports’ numbers (which are pretty consistent with mine for the XTerra), and buying a Subaru Forester would only net me a savings of about $50 per month.
Figuring what it would cost me in sales tax alone (insurance and monthly payment would be similar), it would take nearly a year to break even, then I’d be within a year of having the XTerra paid off. Even with regular unleaded running around $3.25 here in the Ozarks, I’m going to be losing money on the deal.
And, since I’ve had some wishy-washiness with vehicles in the past 5 years (the XTerra is the third car I’ve bought in the last 5 years), I’m going to stick with it for a while. Also, the options I want on the Forester aren’t available until the Summer, anyway. Plus, it’s the first year of the redesign, and they’ll invariably make some improvements in years 2 and 3 anyway.
So, getting a new ride is off the schedule… for now.