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Crossover SUV Comparison



  • Listen, I understand where you are coming from - American made is not at all the same as American assembled.

    However, I lived in Flint Michigan all my life (recently moved to Portland OR) and on both my side and my wifes, our fathers and grandfathers worked for GM.

    We get really good deals on GM cars, but I would not buy a GM car if I had to walk instead.

    What they did to their own workers in Michigan is unpardonable. Miles and miles of buried toxic waste under homes, scrapped quality vehicles, you name it.

    I feel differently about Ford, but I otherwise cannot and would not suggest supporting full American made vehicles. This is coming from a guy who helped his dad flip foreign cars onto their roofs as a kid, back in the 90s - when there were NO foreign cars in Flint.

    You cannot support em just because they are American. They treat Americans with pure contempt. Only way they will learn is to lose.
  • skeksis,
    I mainly say to people to just buy the vehicle that gets good crash test ratings, best-in-class fuel economy, handles well, steers well, quiet enough, rides smoothe enough, is roomy enough for them. Regardless of where its made. Fact is, for all those factors, I don't see anything that beats my '05 Ford Freestyle, which is part Swedish (Volvo initially designed the chassis), American (Ford changed the chassis design quite a bit), and German (Porsche originally designed the engine and ZF the transmission). Its assembled in Chicago by people who have health insurance, and I'm proud to help fund that. Consumer Reports says it has above average reliability (no trouble with mine, too.). Bottom line: Great car! The EPA MPG is 18 city and 25 highway in a 200" by 75" footprint vehicle. I've gotten as high as 27 MPG on very long highway trips. Not bad at all!
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    Ford just announced they're stopping Taurus X production.

    Though that might mean some bargains can be had.
  • 313313 Posts: 7
    I am looking for compact SUV and the target is either RDX or RAV4 V6 (Sport or Limited one). RDX has better outlook and great interior design especially with TECH package, it has everything I want (leather seat, bluetooth, NV) but I am worry about the noisy, gas millage, turbo issue and soft suspension (felt all the bumps) that other people mentioned. I know RAV4 is reliable and fuel economy but it really looks too simple. After check with several dealers, I can get 08 RDX TECH and 09 RAV4 V6 4x4 with very similar pricing (only 2K difference) if add some options on RAV4 such as leather seat, bluetooth, & smartkey. Please let me know which car will be the good choice? At the beginning, I really want to pick RDX since there is only 2K difference between Acura (higher class) & Toyota, but I don't want to have a trouble car after several years. Please let me know your comments. Thanks a lot.

    BTW, I am surprise that Toyota didn't drop their pricing a lot while the economy is so bad, especially in SF bay area. The 09 RAV4 SE V6 4x4 (w/leather seat, bluetooth, & smartkey) still need $28K + tax & fees.
  • I say don't get a turbo engine unless the engine has direct injection (not multiport injection). Therefore, the RAV4 is the best choice.
  • Kirstie_HKirstie_H Posts: 10,828
    A reporter from a national newspaper would like to speak with consumers who have been frustrated by some manufacturers’ tendency to place safety related vehicle options into expensive packages. Have you ever wanted to equip a vehicle with specific safety features that required the purchase of an entire package? If so, please respond to with your daytime contact information no later than Friday, December 12.

    Need help navigating? - or send a private message by clicking on my name.
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  • volkovvolkov Posts: 1,302
    Well, I don't agree with that statement at all...being an owner of my second non DI turbo. DI is an nice bonus but it would be on an N/A engine too. The plus for the turbo is that when driven very conservatively and keeping it "off-boost" one can get excellent mileage because essentially it's like driving a smaller engine, but the power is still there when needed or wanted.
  • volkov, Wrong. The problem is that adding a turbo forces the engine designer to lower the compression ratio, which hurts fuel economy. Direct injection allows the designer to keep the compression ratio at a normal high level while allowing the turbo to work.
  • coldcranker, I somewhat agree with you.

    I remember a couple decades ago when Turbos became all the rage. You could theoretically get more power from a smaller more efficient engine. But the quoted high power only comes in a narrow range at the highest RPM, so you just just get a tiny kick before shifting down again. The hot compressed air also meant less compression and less efficiency, as mentioned. Add to that the turbo lag in spining up and down, and turbos again became history, as they should have been.

    Since then, several things have changed. Dual gate turbines allow them to spin up and stay at speed once you get off idle, over 1000 RPM. Better air coolers mean you can keep some of the compression. But these advances still wasn't enough to make them worth considering.

    But the recent discovery of combining the turbo with the direct fuel injection into the cylinder (not the air stream), made a magic synergy (that Ford calls EcoBoost). First, through direct gas injection, you can boost or cut off the gas and power instantly without waiting for the turbine to change speed, giving fast throttle response. Next, the direct gas injection cools the air mixture as it expands, allowing good compression even with use of standard 87 octane gas. Finally, the torque curve is nearly flat over all RPM, unlike previous turbos that just had the torque spike at high RPM. So this EcoBoost technolgy gives an even FLATTER torque curve than normal gas engines. This means you'll get pushed back into your seat from the instant you hit the pedal. Also, your acceleration times will be better because the power is more even across all RPM as you accelerate.

    EcoBoost means you can get 3.5 liter V-6 power out of a much smaller I-4 engine, simultaneous with up to 25% or more better fuel economy (like over 30 MPG instead of 24 MPG on my big Taurus X crossover.) Furthermore, EcoBoost will feel even racier with more uniform torque, and be very responsive. It's a fantastic engineering combination that can't get to the market fast enough, IMO.

    More on EcoBoost here
  • I have heard about Ecoboost, which is a new spin on the current direct-injected turbo gas engines out there now (GM, Mazda, VW, etc.). I do tend to advise people that a good small displacement, low internal-friction, non-turbo 60 deg V6 is a smoother way to go than a shaky 4-cylinder. Direct injection benefits any engine, either turbo or not. Actually, I think you have to go to the approach VW is using, with direct injection, a turbo, and a supercharger, all on the same engine, to really get the performance out of a small-displacement engine without sacrificing fuel economy. VW Twincharger engine concept Popular Science article click here
    I think you have to go that direction based on the current evidence we have with the GM and Mazda direct injection turbo 4 cylinders out there now. For example, the Mazda CX-7 has an Ecoboost-style engine right now and doesn't get very good fuel economy at all. In comparison, my 4,000 lb Freestyle with a low-internal-friction small smoothe V6 (10.1:1 compression ratio), making 205 HP gets better fuel economy than the small, lighter Mazda CX-7 with its Ecoboost-like 4-banger engine. The proof is in the pudding.
  • Here's a comparison of power and fuel economy between an Ecoboost-like 4-cylinder direct injected turbo vs. a non-turbo V6 crossover:

    '09 Mazda CX-7 I4, 244 HP, 17city/23hiway MPG, 3700 lbs, 4 cylinder
    '09 Ford Escape V6, 240 HP, 18city/26hiway MPG, 3600 lbs, V6
    '05 Ford Freestyle V6, 205 HP, 18city/25hiway MPG, 3900 lbs, V6
    (all front-wheel drive 2WD only here)

    So where is the big advantage from direct injection combined with a turbo in a smaller 4-cylinder engine, vs. a good solid smoothe V6?
  • If you read through the fine details, you'll see EcoBoost is a bit different from either the VW or Mazda approach, although it's similar in the base concept. Most of the radical improvement simply involves much better engineering for way better results. The better engineering includes designing an even better Turbo boost curve versus RPM, where and how the fuel is injected for maximum cooling and efficiency, much better use of modern computer control, among many other items.

    Ford is putting the EcoBoost on the Flex next year, a car similar to my Taurus X and your Freestyle. The Flex, my T-X and your Freestyle get mileage of 17/24, 17/24 and 18/25 respectively. (The T-X has 260 HP versus 205 HP of the Freestyle, but only looses 1 MPG). In practice, I do much better than the standards with my T-X if I do slow starts and stops, and stay below 65 MPH, with Freeway at 26 MPG and combined 22-23 MPG.

    When the new EcoBoost comes out on the Flex next year. I suspect you'll see amazing numbers like 21/30 MPG for the same power and better performance. This will be a major breakthrough as Ford applies this low cost technology across the line. EcoBoost helps everywhere - Crossovers, economy cars, trucks, and even Hybrids get more than a 20% mileage improvement across the fleet, while keeping the same power and better performance (via a flatter torque curve).

    It's true that a V-6 is smoother and quieter. There's now an effort to add weights and muffler tuning to make the smaller I-4 (with the power of a V-6 now) feel and sound more like a V-6. We'll see how this works in the next few years.

    Combining their new EcoBoost with their new totally redesigned modern fleet coming out in the next year or two, Ford could easily start to dominate the market. They're already starting to regain market share with their new improvements that now put Ford at the top of the market in safety, fuel effiency, reliabilty, and use of modern electronics (like SYNC for one).
  • You're assuming Ford can do something with direct injection (DI) and turbo in a gas engine that GM, VW, and Mazda have been unable to do. Not likely. In fact, MIT engineers have been saying you need ethanol boosting to get a 20% gain in efficiency from a DI/turbo (aka, Ecoboost) engine. Ethanol Boosting -- click here. Basically, ethanol boosting is Ecoboost with added alcohol injection to eliminate engine knock at mid-to-high engine loads, requiring about a 3 gallon separate ethanol tank to go with a regular 20 gallon gas tank. As far as I've heard, Ford says you can get a 20% gain in fuel economy without ethanol injection. Yeah, right.

    Bottom line is that Ford's claims are hyper-inflated. Doing clever things in the engine control software to an Ecoboost (DI/turbo) 4-cylinder engine might get you 5 or 10% greater fuel economy at the same power levels as a decent V6 you're replacing, but nobody yet knows how to get a 20% gain.

    All I've heard about the Flex is that it will eventually go to direct injection on its 3.5L V6, adding a turbo, calling it Ecoboost, and then marketing it as getting better MPG than a 4.6L V8 if it existed in that application. What I'd like to see them do is put a 1.5L 4-cylinder Ecoboost in the Flex and get at least 215 HP out of it, with a fuel economy gain. Granted, 215 HP is not as much as a non-turbo 3.5L V6, but they would at least get a significant fuel economy gain.
  • coldcranker, you say "You're assuming Ford can do something with direct injection (DI) and turbo in a gas engine that GM, VW, and Mazda [and MIT] have been unable to do. ... As far as I've heard, Ford says you can get a 20% gain in fuel economy without ethanol injection. Yeah, right."

    Yes, that is indeed what Ford has done. Took years of hard work and engineering. Yes, it's amazing and unbelievable. Among many awards surely to come, EcoBoost already won the Popular Science "Best of What's New" award this year. See here.

    Ford has scaled back their projections from 25% MPG improvement to instead 15-20% now, just to be conservative across the fleet average and account for some use instead towards increased power. But it could be up to 25% MPG improvement in many cars, if desired.

    For example, Ford is replacing the Freestyle/Taurus X by the Explorer America next year (2010 model). This new Explorer America will have a similar but improved appearance to the Taurus X and Explorer (rather than Flex appearance) and is based on the same unibody chasis as the F/S, T-X, and Flex. The capabilty will be the same or improved - more ground clearance and towing capability for instance.

    Ford states here about the Explorer America engine options:
    A powertrain lineup that includes a 4-cylinder 2-liter engine with EcoBoost technology delivering 275 hp and 280 lb.-ft. of torque or, as a premium engine, a 3.5-liter V-6 delivering about 340 hp. Depending on engine selection, fuel-efficiency will improve by 20 to 30 percent versus today’s V-6 Explorer

    There's also a nice diagram in the same link above showing how EcoBoost works. This isn't hype. It's working, and it's coming to market soon. Yep, truly amazing.
  • Sounds good, but there is some marketing hype in there crediting the Ecoboost tech when it doesn't deserve 20% credit. Don't get me wrong, I do think Ecoboost alone should get around a 5% up to 10% fuel economy gain if done right. And thats optimistic, since there might be some innovation in doing VVT with direct injection + turbo. Not big gains. DI alone might give up to 5%, and maybe another 3% or so from downsizing the engine and adding a turbo to make up for the loss in displacement.

    For example:
    larrygw says: "Depending on engine selection, fuel-efficiency will improve by 20 to 30 percent versus today’s V-6 Explorer " In reality, half (10%) of the gain in fuel economy of the Explorer America over the current Explorer is due to the new Explorer America being a unit-body, front wheel drive based, lower friction drivetrain (D3 platform based), with a newer 6-speed tranny over the old Explorer's body-on-frame, 4-speed tranny, rear wheel drive, and heavier platform. All that has nothing to do with Ecoboost. In fact, we might see 5% to 10% gain in fuel economy from going to Ecoboost, which is direct injection + turbo. I believe MIT, GM, Mazda, VW, and my own mechanical engineering experience over Ford's claims.

    I recommend not swallowing the marketing hype. Ford's real accomplishment appears to be in the Fusion Hybrid, out in 2 months, as its already getting 40 MPG in real-world, 3rd party tests recently.
  • coldcranker, I agree with you, that for sure other factors help the Ford Explorer get up to 30% better fuel efficiency. It's becoming more of a car than a truck, which is how people really use it. I don't know either how much of that mileage improvement is EcoBoost, but they're repeatedly claiming 15-20% mileage improvment and I'm sure they have a LOT of test data to back that up, opposed to random speculation by us, who are not in their engineering team.

    Ford has been conservative in their projections more recently. So I tend to believe them. They also claim the EcoBoost is of much greater value than Hybrid technology as it helps the gas mileage of ALL cars and trucks of all types (including Hybrid) across the board, which also makes sense to me.

    As for Ford hype and claim versus reality, we'll all know in a few months when the EcoBoost vehicles come out and get properly rated for fuel economy by an independent firm. Till then, we just got opinions.
  • Sounds good, but there is some marketing hype in there crediting the Ecoboost tech when it doesn't deserve 20% credit.

    I think you are EXACLTLY right in this cc. 5-10% is a good estimate. The boys and girls over on Blue Oval News who are working on the project and have some knowledge about it personally I've read saying that the 20% figures that Ford put out early on were best case scenarios as compared to V8 technology!

    WELL NO WONDER!! I completely understand how it would compare that favorably in that light. Makes sense, huh?!

    I personally can't wait to see what the real 'boost' ends up being. I decided after I heard where they pulled that 20% figure from that it wasn't worth waiting for. It's just more of the same kids. Soon enough we will see. Personally, I've gotta believe that if it was a true 20% boost, they'd have rolled it out sooner that this.
  • baggs32baggs32 Posts: 3,210
    I decided after I heard where they pulled that 20% figure from that it wasn't worth waiting for.

    All of the Ford Media literature I've read on EcoBoost claimed UP TO A 20% increase in FE. Never have I read that 20% was guaranteed across the board.
  • baggs32, It depends on what is compared to what. For example, my '05 Freestyle has 205 HP in a 3.0L V6, so a meaningful comparison would be to an Ecoboost 1.5L 4 cylinder, since you could get the same power out of that engine. Doing that, it is possible I could see better fuel economy. Its doubtful if the gain would be 20% based on all the evidence I've seen so far, without using alcohol injection of some kind to keep the compression ratio high and knock absent. Alcohol injection was used in WWII on the P-38's Allison V12 engines to get rid of knock while being supercharged at a high compression ratio for efficiency. Allison Engine Link -- click here MIT's Sloan labs are now investigating new twists on this old idea, needed to get 20% efficiency gains.
  • baggs32baggs32 Posts: 3,210
    It depends on what is compared to what.

    Exactly, and that's why they never guaranteed 20% across the board. They did a blanket statement for the tech as a whole stating that 20% gains were possible but when you actually read the literature they tell you that the gains will be a good bit less in some applications. I'm guessing that going from a 5.4L V8 to an EB 3.5L V6 will net larger gains than going from the 4.6L V8 to the EB 3.5L V6 for the F150 for example.
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