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In the market for a Small SUV or Crossover

nightmare_moonnightmare_moon Member Posts: 1
edited October 2014 in General
Im a recent graduate who found his first job and is happily living life as a member of society. My scion tC has lived its life to the fullest, I loved it while I had it, but it has to go. It has 140k miles on it and I feel I'm due for a new car.

After constant struggle between this and that, black or white blah blah blah, I came to the conclusion that I wanted a compact-SUV or a crossover as they are referred to sometimes.
I have been doing research for about a month using kbb, NADA, youtube reviews, edmunds and consumer reports. Note, I am not rich and I am looking for a car in the 25,000 range give or take. I would highly prefer a manual transmission, however im flexible.

My lifestyle: I commute to work and sometimes on the weekend I like to go to Mexico ( I live in San Diego). This means I need the car to be able to handle Mexican roads (they're not bad, but they have their rough patches).
I really like camping and rock-climbing, however I've never gotten into it (outdoorsy things) due to lack of time and money. I do have my own climbing gear now that I have a job, and hopefully soon I'll be stacking up on camping gear, if I like my first couple of trips.

I am possibly purchasing my car in January or February. This is no easy task and thats why I'm starting my research early, I want to make the best decision and have no buyer's remorse.

My original List with the reason for dropping:

- Honda CRV - Do not like the design, feels like a mom's car. Boring overall
- Mazda CX-5 - Same as above, mom car. However I am aware this one has one of the best features packaged into it.
- Jeep Patriot - Possible contender, however after I learned about the renegade, I decided to drop this one out.
- Jeep Renegade - Finalist
- Kia Soul - Finalist
- Mini Countryman - Finalist
- Subaru Forester - Design is mediocre (mom-ish looking car). Interior feels outdated
- Nissan Juke - I dont like the design at all
- Toyota Rav4 - doesnt seem like anything special, nothing really caught my attention.

So my finalist are the Mini Countryman (I am still debating whether to get the S or the base). the renegade and the kia soul (this being my cheaper alternative if whatever goes wrong with my credit).

Things that I am really looking for are (IN ORDER):
- Reliability
- Modern features (Bluetooth, maybe iOS/Android compatibility)
- Coolness, Radicalness and Awesomeness
- Fun/enjoyable/comfortable to ride. (I'd like to road trip on this)
- Cost-to-own.

I have been researching these 3 cars intensely, however (like everything) people give them great and terrible ratings and reviews. So I am kind of at a confusing crossroad. I would appreciate your opinions on these 3 cars, or if you have a really strong argument for any of the previously listed (even something not listed that I overlooked) please advise.

NOTE: I am an engineer, so keep that in mind when giving your opinion, as much as I welcome points of view, I'd rather have them with something to back them up.


  • steverstever Guest Posts: 52,457
    edited October 2014
    Bigtime road tripper and camper here. Thinking of finally downsizing from a minivan maybe next year (spoiled by the ease of hauling camping stuff and bikes in minivans).

    So far on my list, the Soul is leading. Lots of bang for the buck, some tech stuff and I like boxy styles. Of the rest crossed off on your list, I liked the CX-5. The MINI would be a hoot, but reliability is still a bit suspect.

    The Cherokee may be worth a look too. Better clearance I think on the Jeeps, and that would come in handy on the topos.

    Good luck finding a manual - as I recall, one was only available in the base Soul.
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