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Suzuki Grand Vitara vs Subaru Forester vs Hyundai Santa Fe vs Jeep Liberty vs Ford Escape vs Saturn

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  • when I bought a Ford-made Mazda truck. CR preferred the Ford Ranger over the Toyota pickup. Why? CR got huffy over the price of the Toyota. It was found to be more reliable, but CR thought it was too expensive, so the Ranger was recomended over the Toyota. The Ranger was found to have "Average Reliability". Well, Average really was one tick from Below Average Reliability, and boy was the Ford/Mazda nearly below average. What a royal pain in the backside. I will follow the CR data for reliability -- I've found that to be right-on. And I'll always consider the CR evaluation of a car. But I will take into consideration the CR perspective: the Mazda Miata was fould to have a harsh, sports car like ride -- go figure! And I will never, ever, EVER buy another American manufacturer's car as long as I live. If CR predicts a car will have poor reliability, it's probably so. It's a sucker bet if it's a car produced by an American manufacturer. American manufacturers do not respect their customers and try to rip them off at every opportunity.
  • baggs32baggs32 Posts: 3,213
    goldencouple1,
    You had better watch what you say. If your little Forester gets stuck in some deep NM sand, you may very well need one of those "unreliable" American vehicles to tow you out. Not many foreign models out there can do it. You never know who's reading... CR, and any other magazine for that matter, are not fact books. The only real authority on what you should buy is your own brain. If you need a vehicle that will last for years to come, then by all means use the mags as a guide. You may get lucky, and then again, you may not. There are no guarantees. My family has had nothing but great experiences with Ford vehicles, and I am going to continue to buy them no matter what CR says because I really like the way they look, and drive. I still test drive everything else, but the Escape won my wife and I over by a large margin. She's a Honda lover, and I thought for sure I'd be driving a CR-V. I'm curious. What's the reliability rating on the BMW X5, and the Mercedes M class? The X5 has had about 12 recalls in the past three years, and the M class, along with the C class (USA Today last week), have been rated as two of the most problematic vehicles you can buy. If CR gives them high, or even mediocre, reliability marks, something is amiss. If not, maybe they actually are on to something.
  • speterson1speterson1 Posts: 228
    I don't understand why there's all this bickering about the reliability of CR (or for that matter, Edmunds). We all know that any manufacturer can make a lemon, just like there are many people out there with perfectly flawless 'unreliable' models.

    But the law of averages is what counts. CR polls a large number (I personally don't know their sample size) of auto owners and gets feedback on problems for the different makes and models. The result of these averages makes up their data and recommendations. If you don't trust their information because you think there is some conspiracy and foreign manufacturers are paying them off or whatever, fine. But really, what else are you going to do? Drive 400 different Toyota Camrys yourself, log the problems, and then move on to your next choice for a family sedan?
  • scape2scape2 Posts: 4,119
    Many manufacturers use outsourcing to lower costs of parts. Some parts in a Toyota are also found in a Ford and vis/versa throughout each manufacturer.
    I too have had nothing but great reliability/quality and value with Ford products throughout the years. If you visit other web sites/chat rooms around the net you will find plenty of unhappy Toyota/Honda owners out here. People who were swayed into buying and then finding out every Toyota/Honda built is not perfect as we are led to believe from the Press.
  • baggs32baggs32 Posts: 3,213
    I guess you didn't see the humor then?. Here's the USA Today article I mentioned above.

    http://www.usatoday.com/money/autos/2002-03-12-crcars.htm CR doesn't always get a large sample for every vehicle. I don't agree that everyone knows any manufacturer can produce a lemon. If you read around these boards, you'll see people that think some manufacturers can do no wrong. I never said there was a conspiracy at CR, I just can't believe that people heavily rely on their opinions when deciding what to drive. I guess I just care more about the driving aspect of owning a vehicle, rather than the value. Besides, we're just going with the flow here. I really don't care what you drive. I'm just here to offer some advice that stems from my experiences, whether anyone likes it or not, that's up to them.
  • speterson1speterson1 Posts: 228
    Very interesting article, baggs32. Thanks for posting, indeed I had not read that article! How strange that in 2001 they didn't get 100 surveys back for the Pontiac Grand Am, that's amazing.
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    The PT Cruiser has the highest possible reliability score. Domestics are recommended (Taurus, Intrepid).

    Sample variance doesn't make their data wrong. They publish an average, so of course your mileage may vary. Honda makes some lemons, but most are reliable and on average you'll tend to do better than you would at Ford.

    More about Honda - they have a buy-back program, so I read that after arbitration they often take those cars out of circulation. With a new car, the owners likely has better results, and this makes their numbers look better. I saw lemon law vehicles for one state, and Honda didn't have a single one - because they were bought back. They were the only manufacturer to have zero lemons in that state that year. It may bias the numbers, but if you're an owner, who cars, you don't end up with the lemon.

    baggs32: I've driven my Forester on sand, and it was excellent. It's very light and performs admirably in the sand. Driver is the biggest factor, of course.

    X5 has actually had 14 recalls, and the reliability scores are equally awful. M class also gets awful scores. So they seem to be spot-on.

    -juice
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    You don't have to rely on CR, ask any Ford executive - they simply botched the Focus and Escape launches, there is no way around that fact. They know quality fell behind GM and Chrysler, and they didn't wait for CR to announce it. Many articles in Automotive News talk about how Ford plans to turn this around.

    Yes, BMW messed up the X5 launch, too, but I guess owners like them a lot so they're more forgiving?

    -juice
  • and while I found strengths in both vehicles, I selected the Santa Fe and after 1200 miles I am still very happy with my decision. I don't have anything to say negative about the Trib...Geeeeeesh. I loved the looks but I am one of the people that also liked the looks of the Santa Fe and preferred the ride , price, and warranty. I purchased the LX with FWD (living in Va not much need for AWD) and had the dealer install the moonroof. So far, no problems and couldn't be happier with my decision.
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    Congrats. My lil' bro loves them. He's much younger (16) than I am.

    -juice
  • And after much research and testing I bought the LX Santa Fe with FWD and with 2400 miles couldn't be happier. Had to have the sun/moon roof installed after market but through the dealer. Don't know that many can compete with my success with vehicles. Seriously, My first purchase was a Plymouth Duster in 73.. After 13 yrs.. purchased a K car(still in use) and 2002 just got our Santa Fe 3/1/02. My best purchase yet.. trust me lol... I have the track record to prove my past decisions.. I love my Santa Fe!!
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    Sounds like you take pretty good care of your cars. Congrats on the new one.

    -juice
  • thor9thor9 Posts: 26
    Here is a link I also posted on the Edmund's Hyundai Santa Fe board, to a story from the Detroit News regarding sales of the Hyundai Santa Fe & Jeep Liberty. I thought this might be of interest to everyone who reads this board.


    http://detnews.com/2002/autosinsider/0204/06/autos-458536.htm


    Interesting that they note that Hyundai has only one-sixth or one-seventh as many dealers as Ford, but sold HALF as many Santa Fe's as Ford sold Escapes.

  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    That isn't as significant as it sounds - Ford has many SUVs, while Hyundai has only one. So someone shopping for an Escape might buy an Explorer or even a Taurus wagon.

    Still, Hyundai is doing well.

    -juice
  • scape2scape2 Posts: 4,119
    side to this is the 10yr/100000 mile warranty sways people. Along with the Santa Fe sells for about 1K less than a comparable Escape. But, I guess if you are paying Yon Lu $2 an hour with no health benefits, 401K, or medical benefits you can cut the prices of your vehicles..
  • txsantafetxsantafe Posts: 25
    Come on Scape2,

    Everybody knows that Yon Lu makes $5 an hour not $2
  • carseeker4carseeker4 Posts: 228
    And its amazing how those unmotivated workers can make a better car. Your constant defense of the Escape, in the face of all its problems, along with this last post, are very revealing. I'm an American, but am quite ashamed of the level of quality American labor is turning out (and service for that matter - has anyone had an appliance repairman over lately?) - Anyway, regarding the low wages, we need to consider that the bulk of work is probably done by robotics anyway! (They don't have a union, I can see it now....). Maybe Hyundai shouldn't open a plant in the US.... I actually expect an attack on Hyundai from organized "labor" and other groups like that, since they can't stand success at their expense!
  • suvshopper4suvshopper4 Posts: 1,110
    Foreign labor rate doesn't come down to absolute dollars, but to what is a decent living wage in that part of the world.
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    Well, forget about Yon Lu or whoever, pretty soon it'll be Billy Joe in Alabama. Hyundai announced that'll be the site for its US plant.

    Escape and Focus launches were botched, Ford employees and dealers readily admit that. I think they have good basic products, but just need to dot a few more "i"s and cross a few more "t"s.

    -juice
  • carseeker4carseeker4 Posts: 228
    Juice:
    Sorry, I have to disagree a bit about the "i" and "t"s on the Tribscape.... I still read the Escape/Tribute problems board. Every other day there is someone NEW out there. And every time I read it, it reinforces my SantaFe decision. Is the Tribscape a good vehicle? Yes, well-designed and it was my choice up until I picked over BOTH the SF and Trib parked next to one another in the parking lot and test drove both (yes, all in broad daylight too!). And, I picked the SF only at the very end of that process when I discovered the interior quality was better, the tolerances were better, the doors closed more "solidly" and everything from the engine compartment to the retractable cargo cover were more thoughtfully designed and had better materials! I thought that if Hyundai could build a car like this, that it was worth taking the Hyundai plunge. Time will tell. Anyway... I think failing engines/transmissions and the incredibly nagging stalling problems are MORE than dotted i's and crossed t's. Ask any Tribscape owner who has been through those problems. (Sorry for venting, scape2 got me going with the "Yon Lu" post, revealing a number of issues there, not the least of which is being blind to the failures of the American automobile industry in the past 20 years).
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    I think Ford is close, and has a good basic product that just needs some more quality control.

    The SF is a heavy vehicle, so maybe that's why you feel it's more substantial. Still, Hyundai ought to look at ways to make it lighter, so that it's quicker and more fuel efficient. The Sedona has the same problem.

    -juice
  • carseeker4carseeker4 Posts: 228
    Ford is good on the design, but got a ways to go on quality. You've heard of the ignition key sticking in the ignition of the Focus, I suppose!
    You're right the SF is a heavy vehicle and that helps its solid feel - and probably its GOOD IIHS saftey rating (as opposed to the Tribscape's Marginal rating). I don't think Hyundai will want to give up that safety rating to lighten the SF. The solid doors may have had to do with the steel crossmember in the doors (which adds weight). But so much of the SF had more quality, and that had nothing to do with weight. Everything from the smartly-styled interior to the MUCH better design and quality of the retractable cargo cover.
  • scape2scape2 Posts: 4,119
    to get someone spun up about my Yon Lu comment. But, its the TRUTH.... You just sent 19,000 U.S. dollars overseas never to be seen again.. Now, I know I am going to get hammered on my so called blind American loyalty.. OK I am loyal to my fellow American, I don't want to see him or her out of a job, whats wrong with that?? Besides, South Koreans are extremly loyal to their workers and UNIONS, yes they have unions in South Korea. There was an article in a Business week about a year ago about how closed Korean markets are to U.S. goods, and how it is a big no no to buy anything other than a Korean car or product, no Japanese, Euro, or American, or Russian... Its status quo and a social norm NOT to buy imported goods. This article was educational and I will not touch a Korean vehicle until they allow free and fair trade with ALL countries.
  • mad0865mad0865 Posts: 176
    Sorry, can't agree with anyone on the Ford quality issue. I own a '98 Taurus 3.0SE (wife's car), and man, that is one solid vehicle. Been to the dealer once for an a/c hose, and that's it besides usual maintenance. Ford really botched the TriScape issue, but look at their other vehicles. Edmunds just rated the Explorer the #1 off-road midsize SUV. They make good cars, just think that the Escape was a little 'rushed' in my opinion (yeah Juice, dotted i's and crossed t's).
  • steverstever Viva Las CrucesPosts: 40,555
    This thread (the politics/open borders/union part) is better suited for the News and Views Board. Thanks,

    Steve
    Host
    SUVs, Vans and Aftermarket & Accessories Message Boards

    Moderator
    Need help navigating? stever@edmunds.com - or send a private message by clicking on my name.

  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    Yes, that's what I meant. 200hp, light weight, good space, value price...there are close IMO.

    Forester also got a good rating, and it's much lighter. Lots of light, compact cars do well (Beetle, for example). To me it's a bigger accomplishment to be light and still score well.

    Hmm, Ford was run by European bosses for a long time (Alex Trotten IIRC). They even trained employees to use English spelling, i.e. colour instead of color. Customers' money paid for that labour, even though it was your neighbour working on the assembly line.

    Then Jac Nasser (another non-american) had his stint. Clay Ford Jr. takes over and basically battles with his own maternal great-grandfather's american-owned company Firestone, and you're supposed to feel patriotic?

    Jeep is german owned now. Subaru's biggest shareholder is GM. And it looks like DCX has a small stake in Hyundai that might be increased. So tracing where the money goes is extremely difficult.

    -juice
  • tincup47tincup47 Posts: 1,508
    Firestone is owned by Bridgestone, a Japanese company. Before John Lampe took over as CEO of Firestone (after the bandini hit the fan) the CEO was Japanese. Firestone as it exists today has nothing in common with Harvey Firestone's company except the name. There are no Firestone's involved in the company.
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    Thanks, but that just goes to prove my point - tracing the ownership of a company is extremely difficult.

    -juice
  • p0926p0926 Posts: 4,423
    It's been my experience that the auto review industry in general pays little or no attention to reliability when rating a new vehicle. Consumer Reports is the notable exception and even CR rarely criticizes but merely withholds its coveted "recommended" designation until a model's reliability can be established.

    -Frank P.
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    True, they're not owning it long-term or paying for repairs. Plus they have dozens of "loaners" if it needs service. They're also not paying for gas most of the time, so mileage is only a tiny factor.

    -juice
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