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Crossover SUV Comparison

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Comments

  • mdphotogmdphotog Posts: 5
    Greetings everyone...I'm new to this discussion. I've looked at the following:

    1. RAV4 Limited
    2. CRV EX
    3. Nissan Rogue SL
    4. 2010 Equinox LS
    5. Jeep Patriot Limited
    6. Subaru Forester Limited

    Prices are all pretty close. They all have some minor differences. RAV4, CRV and Subaru are all top rated...any thoughts?
  • robm2robm2 Posts: 53
    My wife was all set to purchase a 2009 Subaru Forester Limited. I talked her into test driving the 2009 Forester XT Limited. For just a little bit more ($2000), you get a SUBSTANTIALLY higher performing engine. Once she test drove it, she was sold, and purchased the vehicle that day.

    I would highly recommend test driving a Forester XT, before deciding on the base model.

    Original Message:
    >I've looked at the following:
    >
    >1. RAV4 Limited
    >2. CRV EX
    >3. Nissan Rogue SL
    >4. 2010 Equinox LS
    >5. Jeep Patriot Limited
    >6. Subaru Forester Limited
  • mdphotogmdphotog Posts: 5
    Thanks for the info, but unfortunately, my only Subaru option is what they have left on the lot for the 2009's, offering low finance rates on the 09's that I would like to take advantage of. Also, the dealer knocked off $2100 the MSRP, which is well below invoice.
  • fushigifushigi Posts: 1,253
    I'm looking as well, although my time-line is sometime before end of year. I think our criteria may be different as I'm looking for a fairly loaded AWD V6 in the $29-33K range (MSRP before discounts & rebates). 5 seater required; 3rd row not really necessary.

    RAV4: Eliminated from consideration due to hatch design: spare tire impedes visibility, hatch opens to the [wrong] side and not up.
    CR-V, Rogue, Forester, Patriot: No V6. But even without that qualification, I just haven't warmed to the CR-V's styling, my wife hates the look of the Murano/Rogue, the Forester XT requires premium gas, and I don't care for the old fashioned Jeep styling.
    Equinox: On our list to drive. I'm really hoping I like it, too.

    Also under consideration for us are the Mitsu Outlander & Hyundai Santa Fe. We've driven both of those so far. Here are my comments about the Outlander. If hatch usability is important, take note of my comments on the Mitsu hatch design.

    We did test drive the Outlander this morning. Nice ride overall. There's a bit more road noise than I would prefer, however that's balanced by it actually having a smoother ride than my sedan. I went over some road that's due for resurfacing to compare. The stereo is, well, rather more than enough. That's an understatement; it kicks a**.

    The engine could use a little more low end torque but once it gets moving acceleration was fine. I can live with it. You can switch between 2 & 4 wheel drive at any time; just twirl the selector knob.

    Ergonomics were good. With the front drivers seat all the way back there's plenty of leg room in the rear seats (which also slide forward/backwards and recline). It has 3rd row seats but they're really only good as torture devices; they'll stay folded flat into the floor. Oh, slide the 2nd row seat back and the front passenger seat can recline fully prone making it into a single bed more or less.

    Speaking of the flat floor, the second row seats fold flat (standard 60/40 split). That's expected nowadays. What's nice, though, is that the rear hatch is split about 85% upper & 15% lower (see image #2). Open the upper hatch and liftover is fine; not too tall at all even for my 5' tall wife. But lower that bottom 15% and it extends the flat floor outside the car. This give you something to stand on (almost 500 pound weight limit) to put things on the roof rack or you can close the upper hatch with the lower open so you can haul home 2x4s and other long items.

    There's a 115V outlet & plenty of other accessories. Good storage although the rear cupholders are in the door and as such probably won't hold Super Ultra Mega Gulp cups.


    And on the Santa Fe:

    I drove the Santa Fe this afternoon and it was .. fine. Good power off the line; better than the Outlander. But the ride was boring. The suspension not as composed as the Outlander. The interior was not as nice. Things we, again, fine but nothing stood out. The Outie has better storage bins up front and placement of things like the cupholders was better.

    So far, I've given the Outlander a rating of 85/100 and about a 72/100 to the Santa Fe. We'll be doing more research and probably more drives over the coming days.


    I'll add that I'll probably keep it for 8-12 years so resale value isn't an issue. Also, my current car is a Mitsu and my wife's is a Hyundai so we're already comfortable with the brands and local dealers. Both vehicles have had no reliability issues, including 10 years and 150K miles on my Galant.

    The Outlander's recommended by CR as are the RAV4, CR-V, Rogue, Santa Fe, and Forester. The Jeep & Chevy are not.

    Also, most of these get good crash test scores but the Jeep doesn't. You might also check with your insurance agent to see which ones are most/least expensive to insure.
  • mdphotogmdphotog Posts: 5
    Thanks...I'm going to a dealership on Monday that also carries the Outlander. I'll take a look at it. I drove the Equinox and it's nice. I thought it didn't shift as smooth as the RAV or the CRV. The only thing that bothered me was that GM still doesn't quite get it. They have this cheap, hard plastic spacer to fill in the space when you slide the backseat forward(about 8")...why it couldn't be carpet, who knows. Also, the rear seat backs do not fold down all the way.
  • fushigifushigi Posts: 1,253
    Thanks, that's something to look for when we drive the Equinox. Do you think a cargo mat would cover the plastic easily enough?

    The second & 3rd row seats do fold flat in the Outlander. And in the model we looked at, anyway, the whole surface was carpeted.

    Good luck and let us know how your searching goes!
  • loachloach Posts: 246
    I've eliminated the Rav4 due to the hatch and external spare as well. I'm eliminating the 2010 Equinox and Journey because I refuse to buy a car from the government. Looks like Murano is still my front-runner. Santa Fe was OK but just felt a little blah and boring to me. I haven't warmed to CRV styling either. Venza, Edge and 2010 Outback are still possibilities that I haven't driven yet. I haven't thought much about Outlander because the Mits dealer here went belly up a few months ago, but now I see the local Infiniti dealer has picked up the Mits line.
  • fushigifushigi Posts: 1,253
    I dislike the government bailout as well, but that has actually encouraged me to give the domestics more consideration than I would otherwise. After all, if GM and Chrysler can recover, then we get our tax dollar investment back. If not, it's lost.

    But that's a discussion for another thread. I'd much rather discuss the merits of the vehicles.

    We will probably look at the Venza as well but it gets expensive fast. The Edge was a consideration but I think I'd like the Taurus X better.

    Mitsu's dealer network can be a concern, I admit. But so can Subaru's. I'm in the Chicago suburbs, though, so it's not much of a concern to me. I drive by 2 Mitsu dealers and a Subie dealer on my daily commute. I also drive by the area Lamborghini dealer, but I haven't stopped in for a test drive. :blush:
  • mdphotogmdphotog Posts: 5
    I don't see cargo mats as a option for the Equinox but the way the seats fold, I don't think a cargo mat would work. Check out the interior photo gallery...http://www.chevrolet.com/vehicles/2010/equinox/gallery.do
    Will let you know about the Outlander.
  • fushigifushigi Posts: 1,253
    I see what you mean now. Don't think there's much you can do about that. I'm also not pleased that those back seats don't go any flatter. That means a lot less flexibility for trips to IKEA and other places where you encounter long, flat boxes.
  • coldcrankercoldcranker Posts: 877
    2010 Equinox 4-cylinder gets 32 MPG highway with automatic tranny on the newly stiffened Theta chassis. Much better than the competition, and even beats the Ford Escape Hybrid's highway MPG, by the way. Beats everybody in the small-to-midsize SUV category. And I wonder if GM was using the new Goodyear Fuel Max (low rolling resistance, high traction) tires on it to get that. If they didn't use those in the EPA highway cycle test, then you would be able to add another 1 MPG to that already-good total.
  • baggs32baggs32 Posts: 3,221
    And I wonder if GM was using the new Goodyear Fuel Max (low rolling resistance, high traction) tires on it to get that. If they didn't use those in the EPA highway cycle test, then you would be able to add another 1 MPG to that already-good total.

    Yeah, if you bought them and put them on your Equinox you would be able to up it by ~1 mpg. I doubt anyone will do that though.

    Why all the fuss about the highway mileage only? The EPA says combined mileage is 26 mpg for the '10 Nox and 32 mpg for the '09 FEH ('10 numbers are not out yet). Now that's a big difference and truly worth noting given the fact that most people's miles are city miles these days. I know mine are.

    GM should have just said it's better than the gas Escape because that is 100% true. Their ad has way too many footnotes next to that comparison to the FEH to be taken seriously IMO.
  • festivusfestivus Posts: 9
    We test drove the rav4, the crv and checked out the equinox. Couldn't find a 4 cylinder equinox to test drive.

    We went with the rav4 since we could get 4wd and a very fast 6 cyl engine without taking a big mileage hit. The crv was ok but acceleration wasn't great. Not horrible but nothing like the rav 4 with a V6. Also loved the color that we got with the rav4. Didn't like all of the chrome in the equinox. Heard from an acadia owner that the chrome is really bad when sunny.

    The ride of the rav 4 surprised us too. We thought it was going to be really rough. Turned out to be about the same as the crv, maybe even better.

    The swing gate is a pain, but not a deal breaker for us. We like the outside spare since it allows for a hidden storage area under the main cargo area. Great for laptops, etc.

    Do yourself a favor and test drive a rav4.
  • coldcrankercoldcranker Posts: 877
    Yep, the fun factor of the Rav4 with a V6 is the best. I doubt if any other crossover or SUV anywhere near that price range beats the acceleration with one of those.
  • coldcrankercoldcranker Posts: 877
    Granted, a hybrid is always going to get better MPG in a stop-n-go environment compared to a non-hybrid like the Equinox. Thats already well known and should go without saying. However, its notable that the Ford Escape Hybrid does get a little help from its electric motors on the EPA highway cycles, and the latest Equinox still manages to beat it there. The Equinox is already demonstrating the ability of a good direct injection system to help car makers meet the new tough EPA MPG CAFE standards. You can take nearly all the vehicles on this comparison list, add direct injection to them, and add about 2 MPG to the city and highway MPG figures just by doing that (which allows the compression ratio to go up a bit). As for the direct injection already on the Traverse/Acadia/Enclave, GM needs a little more time to develop control algorithms and bump the compression ratio up a bit for them to add a little more MPG.
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    Interesting comments, plus nice catch on the RAV4's wrong-way hatch. Though at least now you can get one without the spare blocking the rear view, though it means you'll get a donut instead. People who have been around for a while know I looked at the RAV4, fell in love with the 2GR V6 but not the rest of the car, and ended up driving away in a Sienna, which I felt had none of the shortcomings that the RAV4 had.

    I find it a bit odd, though, that you rule out the Forester XT since it uses premium fuel, when it gets 2mpg better (EPA combined) than the Outlander you rave about. That should more than offset the extra cost, in fact per EPA estimates you'll actually spend less to fuel up the Subaru.

    The Forester XT should also have a lower gas bill than the Santa Fe V6, which is nice but has fuel economy as one of its weaknesses.

    If you can stay out of the boost, you should do really well. The XT is geared taller than the non-turbo models. Drive it like a WRX and you should worry more about speed cams than gas prices.

    FWIW the 2010 Equinox looks great from the outside. Haven't checked out the inside yet. Is it a clone of the Vue? I test drove that but hated the numb steering, plus it was just too heavy.

    Beating a hybrid in highway MPG is pretty meaningless since hybrids are optimized for city driving. Commute in both and the Escape will kill the 'nox, hands down.

    Having said that 32 mpg is great for trips. Must be super-tall gearing. Sounds good to me. I wonder if real-world mileage will be that good, to be honest.
  • abbotsburyabbotsbury Posts: 10
    For what it's worth...

    My wife and I are going to get one of these three (RAV4 / Forester/ CRV) by the end of the year.

    We test drove all three yesterday and today after having thoroughly looked at and test-driven the CRV & RAV4 in March 2008. Took our five-year-old daughter along, too. We drove each car by ourselves with no salesman for an hour each.

    Observations...

    Not interested in the Forester XT (turbo) model... not comfortable with long-term performance and temperament of turbos. Regular Forester model in premium trim is boxy and feels cheap inside even after massive revamp this past year (esp plastic used on dash and doors.) Engine labors when accelerating on even small hills. You sit low. Neither of us were impressed. Massive sunroof though. Full marks for that. Otherwise... blech. Unattractive car. I just don't understand the Cult of Subaru.

    CRV... wife liked it a lot. Handles nimbly. V4 engine labors on acceleration upon hills and on entering freeways and accelerating to pass. Road noise and engine noise prominent @ above 50 mph. Same observations I made driving the same CRV in 2008.

    We looked at the top-line CRV trim with leather seats and power everything. Rear visibility fine; side visibility on driver's side when turning to look before passing is OK but not nearly as good as our present Acura CL. We like the open floor without the transmission conduit between the front seats.

    However, what's with the toy shifter on the dashboard partially obscuring the rear-window defrost button when car is in PARK? Bizarre.

    RAV4... Wins hands down. Here's why... the V4 we tested v. the CRV is a 2.5 liter v. the CRV's 2.4 liter. It yields 179 hp v. 166 hp for the CRV. It also has 172 ft-lbs of torque v. 161 for the CRV. The CRV is also slightly heavier (30 lbs) than the RAV4.

    The incremental increase in power for the RAV4 means it can take steep hills easily without laboring. We tested both in the same hilly neighborhood. No comparison. Even my wife noticed how much more easily the RAV handled the acceleration and climb.

    And yet the 4-cyl RAV4 gets better mileage.

    Also, the CRV air conditioning is noticably weaker than the RAV4's. This is a common observation we're noticed in owner reviews. We live in D.C. where it is scorching this time of year. We drove both cars on 90-degree sunny days after the cars had been sitting on the back lot for hours. With similar dark interior leather the RAV4 cooled down much faster than the CRV.

    In addition, it's the little ergonomic things...

    RAV4 has normal shifter in between front seats. Feels substantial. Has a tiptronic feature to downshift from 4th to 3rd gears with a flick of the finger. CRV's shifter, as noted above, is a farce.

    RAV4 power mirror controls are right next to the cargo box at your fingertips next to shifter. CRV has them on the dash at the far left, partially obscured by steering wheel. You have to lean forward to access them.

    Emergency brake on RAV4 is at driver's right hand, as it is on manual cars. CRV's requires you to find it with your left foot near the floor. Annoying.

    RAV4 rear seats fold down with just a touch on a lever as you stand at the back hatch. In CRV you have to lean forward through the cargo area to pull the cords (and get your trousers dirty rubbing against the bumper as you lean in the back) or you have to walk around to the back door and lean into the cabin.

    CRV's rear seats need to fold forward (down) and then forward again to collapse flush into the floor of the car. RAV4's fold forward once and they're flush with the cargo area floor.

    Per Consumer Repts the RAV4 has 38.5 cu.ft. of cargo space. The CRV (partly because of it's tapered back end) has only 25.5 cu.ft. That's 50% more cargo space for the RAV, which is incredible in a car that gets better mileage than the CRV and has just as much legroom in the front and back seats.

    The RAV4 cabin feels roomier. The visibility through the windshield and to the sides of the driver is noticeably better and feels airier than the CRV. Perhaps the CRV pillars angle down a bit more, which reduces the aspect ration through which you view the road. Anyway, both my wife and I noticed this. Also, the RAV4 has better visibility to the side and back when the driver turns to pass.

    And it's the cosmetic differences (a matter of taste, of course)...

    The CRV has a plastic faux-brushed-metal finish on some of the surfaces that is harsh. The other plastic on the door handles is shiny and made me feel as though I were on the set of on of the "Alien" films. The outlines of the tach and speedometer is in shiny silver plastic that looks tacky. The black-on-silver readouts for the odometer,etc... feels a bit harsh.

    The RAV4 is not exactly luxuriously appointed on the dash but the the faux-brushed metal plastic is tastefully done and unobtrusive. The outlines of the tach and speedometer is in matte finish plastic that is subtle and tasteful, not garish like the CRV. The several tones of plastic on the doors and dash work well... they aren't polished walnut but this isn't a Lexus. They work and they're not annoying. And the black-on-amber digital readouts feel warm, though in direct sunlight the dash clock is harder to read than the CRV's.

    The RAV4 side-opening hatch seems to be a deal-breaker for some people. Not for us. I'm baffled why Toyota continues to market this car in the US with such a daft feature like the hatch. Honda fixed this with the latest CRV redesign a few years ago. Still, I don't find that the spare impairs rear visibility while driving to any meaningful extent. My wife and I also don't have to load the car while parallel parked very often (if ever) so that's not a big issue.

    As far as color schemes go, the CRV's are more subtle and interesting. However, that's minor. Let's be blunt... the CRV is designed and marketed for women. The RAV4 isn't. However, my wife clearly prefers the RAV4 because of the points I've mentioned. As for me, I am clearly happier with the RAV4.

    Many people will say the differences are a matter of taste. Some are; however, most of the items I have mentioned here are objective differences that make the RAV4 superior to the RAV4. 18 months ago the 4-cyl RAV4 had the same anemic performance on hills as the CRV. We would have gone with a V6 RAV4 costing much more. After the increase in hp and torque last year, however, the V4 RAV4 is clearly a great buy.

    In conclusion, the RAV4 wins easily over the other two. It's not even close. My wife and I have been lifelong Honda/Acura owners. She was ready to buy the CRV yesterday. However, after 20 minutes in the RAV4 this morning she volunteered that it was clearly the better car.

    It's all over but the buying...

    Hope this helps some people. And to all those contributors to these forums.. thanks. You have really helped us.

    Happy hunting!
  • loachloach Posts: 246
    Nice comprehensive review. Did you also consider any of the following competitors? Why or why not?

    Nissan Rogue or Murano
    Hyundai Santa Fe
    Toyota Venza
    Mitsubishi Outlander

    How about the 2010 redesigns?

    Subaru Outback
    Chevy Equinox
  • fushigifushigi Posts: 1,253
    Regarding the Forester, I'm not buying a turbo. Too much added complexity. Love the idea but not willing to take on the potential for more expensive repairs. Also, I've been spoiled by smooth V6 engines for the past 16 years so I'm not looking at 4 cyl equipped models from anyone. My wife's car has a 4 banger and while it's adequate it is far from a ride I find emotionally satisfying. Ditto the ride in virtually every other 4 cyl equipped vehicle I've ever driven or rode in for the past 20 years.

    And my current car takes premium. I've noticed the price gap between regular and premium growing. It used to be 16-20 cents a gallon, now it's 20-30+. I didn't mind paying the extra for premium when I bought my car but I grow less tolerant of it over time.

    Final strike: Dealer network. Subaru is just barely represented in the area with 2 dealers within about 30 miles of my home in the Chicago suburbs. To compare, Mitsu has 7 dealers within 30 miles.

    While fuel economy matters, it isn't everything. I work from home 3-4 days a week currently so my annual mileage is down to something around 7K a year. All other things being equal I'll lean towards the more efficient vehicles but it isn't the #1 factor. Which is another nod towards a good V6; I'll take the extra 60-100HP in exchange for 1-2MPG any day of the week.

    Seeing that the 2nd row seats on the Equinox doesn't fold flat, it's dropping in position on my list. I will still drive it to compare but I'm doubtful it'll prove a winner.

    GM has done tall highway gearing in the past so I wouldn't be surprised if that's the case in the 'nox. It works, so I won't knock it, but I wonder how well it'll stay in the tall gear with a full load or while towing.

    Anyway, we're still looking but are definitely taking our time. Since I don't have a $4500 "clunker" to trade in the finances bear closer scrutiny. And my employer is in the real estate industry so there's the minor issue of long term job stability. We may not buy until year-end.
  • baggs32baggs32 Posts: 3,221
    Having said that 32 mpg is great for trips. Must be super-tall gearing. Sounds good to me. I wonder if real-world mileage will be that good, to be honest.

    Not exactly just the tall gearing. There is an "Eco" button that must be pushed to achieve that EPA rating of 32 MPG. With it off the EPA rating drops to 31 MPG. I haven't figured out if it stays on when you shut the vehicle down and start it back up though. That could make a big difference in what people actually get.

    Here is a somewhat better explanation of the "Eco" button.
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    It's not just Subaru Cultists that like the new Forester, it won Motor Trend SUV of the year, comparos in Automobile, MotorWeek Driver's Choice best small utility, and the XT model is Consumer Reports highest scoring small SUV as well. Forester won over the press, big time.

    An early congrats on the RAV4. What color?
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    I hear you, same thing here, premium is an extra 30 cents or so per.

    We got the PZEV 2.5i X Limited model. For some strange reason, the PZEV Forester actually makes 5 horses MORE than the non-PZEV. Plus it's probably the lightest model in its class, so power/weight ratio is probably the best among the base 4 banger engines for the class.

    I'd like to say I did it for the environment but the truth is I'll take the 175hp version of the engine. :D

    If you like sixes check out the new Outback 3.6l H6 models, EPA is 18/25 and they're smooth and powerful (same engine as the Tribeca in a lighter package). Plus it's actually tuned for 87 octane, the press materials say even the power outputs are rated with cheap gas.

    Toyota's 3.5l V6 is a great engine but I do wish they would let Subaru engineers tune their automatic transmissions. Toyota owns a portion of Subaru now.
  • fushigifushigi Posts: 1,253
    As I would equip it the Outback is just a bit too expensive. A 2010 with V6, the better stereo, moonroof, NO nav comes in at $33-34K+ (Limited-Premium). That's around $6K more that the Outlander loaded w/everything but nav. That's TMV - rebates for both (no rebate on the Subie). Using Invoice prices for both narrows the gap but it's still over $4K more.

    I'll grant the better fuel economy in the Subaru but it'd take a lot of years to earn back the higher price. And during those years, the Mitsu would have more warranty coverage.
  • robm2robm2 Posts: 53
    Re: the cost of premium fuel, too much?

    Let's say you drive your vehicle for a total of 160,000 miles over the next 10 years. That means an average of 16,000 miles per year. At a combined average of 22 MPG (which is what I get in the F-XT), that means you will consume 727 gallons of gas, per year. If the price difference between 87 and 91 AKI is roughly 30c, then that means it will only cost you $218/year extra, in fuel.

    Is that too much?

    The turbo's are very reliable on these machines. If you head to some of the Subaru enthusiast websites, you'd be hard pressed to find an OEM turbo failure.
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    Careful, though. 2 things to consider:

    1. Will Mistubishi be around to honor that warranty? They were down 42% last month and some analysts are suggested they should leave the US market:

    http://www.autoblog.com/2009/07/10/report-analysts-urge-mitsubishi-suzuki-to-exi- t-u-s-market/

    Will they be strong enough to survive for 10 years, the length of that warranty? Something has to change.

    2. Resale value. Subaru shines here. The residual for a Forester on a 3 year lease is 59% even with 45,000 miles. With 12k miles per year it's in the 60s, which is class best. ALG also gives them 5 stars:

    http://www.autoblog.com/2009/07/10/report-analysts-urge-mitsubishi-suzuki-to-exi- t-u-s-market/

    Outlander gets 3 stars, but think about it - if Mitsubishi bails out of the US, your residual will plunge immediately. ALG dropped residuals on Chryslers by 8% the minute they went in to bankruptcy.

    So that's one risk if you keep it a long time (warranty), another if you don't (residual).

    If they give you big enough discounts to make the Outlander a bargain it may not even matter to you. $6 grand is $6 grand. You may get that much less when you sell it, but you won't have to pay the cost up front either.

    Mitsu is hurting, though, so there's no way they can sustain a business here in the US giving away their cars.

    Subaru is financially strong - sales are only off 0.8% this year, #1 among manufacturers. Plus IMHO the Outback is a lot nicer (in a higher price class so it should be).
  • I noticed that (raves in the press.) Baffles me. I took the car on very hilly, windy roads. It handles well but, again, the acceleration on inclines is sluggish and loud. And, BTW, this was a 2010 we were driving. Sluggish incline acceleration is a substantial pet peeve of mine.

    Frankly, I simply don't understand the rave auto press reviews. It's certainly a dramatic improvement, in terms of interior appointment, on the former Forester model but we weren't taken with it. Perhaps the turbo delivers far better performance. In any event, my cousin has an Impreza and his feelings about it are "meh." I was predisposed to like the Outback and Forester. Zero-for-two on that count. For the money RAV4 and CRV deliver more room for the same (or fewer) $.
  • Good question. Yes... we looked at quite a few of these:

    Outlander... my brother's colleague, a former CRV owner (from the period when Hondas were having reliability problems), currently has an '07 Outlander and likes it a lot. We didn't get past the showroom with one, however. The V6 probably rocks; however, the 4-cyl has the same hp as the CRV (so probably the same sluggishness on accel.) and the cargo volume is midway between the RAV and the CRV. The '07 redesign dramatically improved reliability, according to Consumer Repts. In the showroom, what turned us off was the interior materials... cheap like the Subarus. The RAV4 and CRVs felt much nicer inside... and that's where we spend our time while driving :>). CR says lots of road noise and stiff ride... still, CR recommends this model.

    Santa Fe... a little bigger than we wanted... it's in between the RAV4 and Highlander in size. Lower mileage and only comes in a V6. Again, the performance of the upgraded RAV4 4-Cyl won us over. Gives us the juice we need and great (relative) mileage. Also, Hyundais have good reliability reputations recently; however, Toyota and Honda are just money in the bank (even with the recent Toyota stumbles.) We concluded no reason to buy a Hyundai when we can get a CRV or RAV4. Finally, (although I didn't research it thoroughly) my impression is that the Santa Fe and Tuscon don't hold their values as well as the CRV and RAV4.

    Nissans... not big fans of either the Rogue or the Murano. The Murano is a bit heavy (4100 lbs.) and it's fuel economy not great c/w the RAV and CRV. Then there's the premium-gas-only issue for the Murano. For the money CRV & RAV give more room and better mileage. The Murano seemed a little squat when we looked at it.

    Toyota Venza... chasing the Murano in concept and marketing. Comfy and posh inside. We liked the RAV4 better for our $. Weren't really interested in driving it so can't comment further. In the showroom we noticed dramatically less legroom in the back seat c/w the RAV & CRV. Less cargo room. Just didn't interest us.

    Chevy Equinox... Consumer Repts rates the '09 model as having rock-bottom customer satisfaction, below avg reliability and fuel economy, and terrible body integrity. Also poor handling, poor ergonomic design in cabin, unstable rides at hwy speeds. I can't imagine that GM, having plunged into bankruptcy, magically fixed all of that in one swoop.

    Frankly, Detroit has lost us, probably for the remainder of our driving days. I see no compelling reason to look at any of its cars, redesign or no. Only Ford seems to have gotten its act together reasonably well. Was admiring a Fusion on the road yesterday.

    Really, I kept coming back to a bottom line... we saw no reason (in terms of reliability, cost, performance, safety and resale value) given that we liked the RAV and the CRV to venture beyond Toyota and Honda right now, both of which my wife and I and many in my extended family have owned during the past 20 yrs. (Our most recent cars have been an Acura CL and a Honda Civic.) The RAV & CRV are neck-and-neck at the top of the chart in reviews of this car category.

    Hope this helps. Anyone please correct me if I've missed something. We've been mulling this purchase for more than three years (we were living in Canada for a while, where cars are very expensive and the retail sector is like the US' was in the 70s, and wanted to wait until we moved back to the US to buy a new one.)
  • tenpin288tenpin288 Posts: 804
    Santa Fe... a little bigger than we wanted... it's in between the RAV4 and Highlander in size. Lower mileage and only comes in a V6.

    Depending on when you are looking to purchase your vehicle, the 2010 Santa Fe is due out at the beginning of the year. There will be some styling changes, new options and trim levels, a few minor suspension and steering tweaks, and a direct-injected 4cyl good for 200hp and much improved fuel economy over the current 3.3 V6 (which also gets direct injection, a bump to 3.5 ltr and more power and economy). Might be worth checking out if you haven't purchased by then. ;)
  • ateixeira:

    "It's not just Subaru Cultists that like the new Forester, it won Motor Trend SUV of the year, comparos in Automobile, MotorWeek Driver's Choice best small utility, and the XT model is Consumer Reports highest scoring small SUV as well. Forester won over the press, big time.

    An early congrats on the RAV4. What color? "

    Sorry, ateixeira, in my earlier reply I didn't address color. Actually, this is the big shortcoming of the '09 RAV in our opinion compared with the CRV. The '08 had a sort of greenish-gray color we both liked a lot but the '09 model didn't offer it.

    The CRV's colors are much more appealing to us. The Glacier Blue and Green Tea especially appealed to my wife (savvy marketing by Honda!). In the RAV we liked the Pacific Blue but that's the color of our Acura and we'd like something different. The red with the tan interior is OK, too. We're going to wait until October to see if the '10 RAV color schemes offer something we like better.

    We sold the Civic but right now we don't need a second car for a while. We'll buy at some point during the fall when inventories kick up. I notice a big drop in RAV4 inventories on lots this past week compared with when we looked in April. Was hard to find a Limited 4WD 4-banger to drive.

    One final note about the rear gate on the RAV (the left-hand-side-opening door.) I noticed that the three or four RAVs we looked at last week were all built in Japan, not in the U.S. I found that odd (since nearly all the Hondas I have seen are built in Ohio.) Perhaps Toyota hasn't tooled a US factory to build the RAV, so it has one set of tooling for the Japanese market (driving on the left-hand side of the road) and uses those cars for export to the US. Does anyone know whether the RAV is built in the US?

    When we lived in Ontario Toyota was building a new factory there to open in '08. I wonder whether it will build RAVs for the North American market.
  • fushigifushigi Posts: 1,253
    robm2, the decision is simple and final. I won't consider a vehicle that requires premium fuel this time around. That $218 a year means I will have spent $2180 in 10 years. Is the Forester _at least_ that much cheaper up front?
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