Car-based Midsize SUVs

jrock65jrock65 Member Posts: 1,371
edited March 2014 in Toyota
Despite rising gas prices, this segment seems to be growing, possibly at the expense of the truck-based SUV segment. I'd like to discuss the following vehicles:

Toyota Highlander
Honda Pilot
Hyundai Santa Fe
Nissan Murano
Ford Edge
Mazda CX-7

Moderator, can you add the last three vehicles to this thread?


  • tidestertidester Member Posts: 10,059

    tidester, host
  • jmeitzjmeitz Member Posts: 15
    I think that the Pilot needs to be removed and add in the CRV since the Pilot is a large SUV for Honda. My wife currently has an 05 Murano and loves it, I am looking at a new vehicle as well for the 06 year but my choices are Rav4, CX-7 and RDX. I am looking for a vehicle that gets mid 20 gas milage and is comfy. i drove and the i4 Rav4 and it was nice, but not as comfy as the Murano.
  • jrock65jrock65 Member Posts: 1,371
    Thanks tidester. Can you replace the Escape with the Ford Edge? I think that the Escape is more of a compact SUV.
  • tidestertidester Member Posts: 10,059
    The Edge isn't available just yet but it's not that far off.

    tidester, host
  • driverdmdriverdm Member Posts: 505
    The Edge will not replace the Escape. Edge pricing is almost certain to start in the $20K with the folks at Edmunds, after taking two puffs of that good stuff, believing that it will be priced close to $27K to start. Looking at the Mazda CX-7, I'd say we're looking at either a $22K or a $24K price. The Escape will do battle with the Rav4 and start in the teens and when optioned might run up into the $24K price range. They can't drop the Escape because they need an entry level SUV and the Edge is definitely not one. I can't wait to see the New Escape. My thoughts are that we are not hearing anything about it because Ford likes to focus its marketing efforts on one product at a time. So while the Edge is being introduced, we'll hear or see nothing about the Escape. Just like when the Fusion was introduced (only three - four months ago) people would have said "Edge? What Edge?" save for us car nuts that knew it was coming but did not know what it would look like or where it would be positioned. I did see some spy pics but not much.
  • steverstever Guest Posts: 52,454
  • freealfasfreealfas Member Posts: 652
    "Despite rising gas prices, this segment seems to be growing, possibly at the expense of the truck-based SUV segment"

    That's the whole point, the CUV segment is designed to be efficient in its work hauling people and stuff around. If you do not need to tow anything this is the segment to be shopping in.

    SUV's have their roots in truck based, inefficient, poorly conceived platforms that have been bandaged to make them people movers. This is simply a long overdue design evolution that puts the priority on designing CUV's as a stand alone type.

    You might want to add the Freestyle to you list as well, it deserves consideration in this group and is quite capable.
  • ctxctx Member Posts: 50
    Anyone think the CX-7 will pull marketshare from the Murano and perhaps drive incentives on Nissan's end?
  • jrock65jrock65 Member Posts: 1,371
    I definitely think so. The Murano and CX-7 seem to be the most similar in terms of size, function, style and utility.

    The main difference is that the Murano is a naturally aspirated V6 and the CX-7 has a 4 cyl. turbo.
  • ctxctx Member Posts: 50
    Yes but even though I love the Murano I'm not too hot on the CVT. So we will see where this lands me in a few omths. :)
  • ctxctx Member Posts: 50
    Let's make that "months". :)
  • steverstever Guest Posts: 52,454
    Just so you know, after posting, you may edit your post for 30 minutes. :shades:

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  • ctxctx Member Posts: 50
    I began salivating over the Murano last year after 10+ years of driving a tiny 2 seater finally got to me ( a “paid for” two seater.. but a two seater none the less). A few months back I noticed the intro of Mazda’s CX-7. I did a decision-matrix between the two of them. For now it’s not looking good for the Murano so I hope someone here can help me see the light and change my mind. Here is what I came up with as the major deciding factors (all else being equal between the cars or not important to me). Feel free to chip in if I appear at all ignorant:

    1. Price - Based on MSRP, the CX-7 was 5 grand less than the comparably equipped Murano. Murano was 36909 with Touring pkg, Navigation and Dynamic Stability Control, CX-7 is 31,040 – same options. I do realize the Murano probably will not sell at MSRP.. obviously no data on the CX-7.
    2. Warranty – CX-7 is 48 mo/50K miles. Murano is 36 mo/36K miles.
    3. Transmission – I’m not a huge fan of CVT so CX-7 wins (for now..)
    4. Time on market – Murano wins here. Had plenty of time to work the kinks out. I know how the first years are..
    5. Looks – I’m tending towards the Murano.

    Anyone? Anyone? Bueller? I currently own a Mazda.. please help me back to the dark side. :)
  • gmhellmangmhellman Member Posts: 121
    Ok right off the bat I have no affiliation with GM. It just happens my initials make their name. I have owned Ford in the past and was happy with my purchase. (1990 Ford Ranger XLT 4x2 v6 with a 5 speed manual) Since then I have only owned GM....mostly due to a poor dealership in town for FORD. But, the 2007 Edge is a very intirguing vehicle to me. I have been anxiously awaiting the release of the vehicle so that I may test drive one myself. The features list is impressive and the styling is exceptional. I feel that this is the first mid-size suv that actually looks masculine and aggressive. The Trailblazer is a very nice vehicle, but looks more like a jacked up minivan. My cousin works for Visteon Corporation and the salesman here in town thinks that I would qualify for an x plan. I am somewhat skeptical since I thought Ford sold off Visteon or at least severed ties with the workers. Anybody have info on this subject? If this is the future of ford I say keep it coming, it is about time. I just hope the pricing is respectable. With foreign competition flooding the market with affordable products.
  • kbear2kbear2 Member Posts: 6
    Why you are against the CVT? If you are afraid of not having enough acceleration, don't. For a relatively heavy vehicle, the Murano gets up on the interstate just as quick as my little Celica did. And the CVT helps a lot in gas mileage. I run on regular gas and get normally 20-22 mpg in mixed highway and town driving. During a period of mostly highway driving I averaged about 24.5 mpg. Not too shabby for a car that size.
  • ctxctx Member Posts: 50
    I guess I'll have to drive the CX-7 to do an accurate comparison for that type of vehicle (CVT vs non-CVT). Again I have driven a very tiny sports car (manual) so the smoothness might just have to be a thing I get used to. :)
  • driverdmdriverdm Member Posts: 505
    I am really considering a Saturn Outlook, a Ford Edge, or a Mazda CX-7 for my next vehicle. This market is getting very very interesting. THe Saturn offers luxury and style. THe Fod offers a BOAT load of style and that's pretty much it, the Mazda is a performer with a great price tag that offers a good amount of everything. Can't wait to see the Outlook at NY auto show and see pricing.
  • thegraduatethegraduate Member Posts: 9,731
    Between the three, I'd go for the Mazda. The Ford doesn't appeal to me at all with its styling, though; I don't got for the Gilette look. that's just one dinky ole opinion though!
  • morey000morey000 Member Posts: 384
    The styling's a little quirky, but a nicely put together vehicle is the Subaru B9 Tribeca. It's a bit larger than the CX-7, but comes with more standard features and has a sharp interior. Also more room and a 7-seat option that's nicely executed such that the 3rd row folds flat into the rear floor as if it was never there. 5 yr 60K powertrain warranty as well. Having read through the forums, there doesn't seem to be any reliability issues. Subie's 250hp boxer engine has been around for a while. A fully loaded 7 seater B9 with Nav MSRPs for about $36K, and can be had for at least $3-$4K lower than that- so a competitive price to the field. Probably doesn't handle quite as well as the CX-7, but still pretty good, and more utilitarian (without looking that way).
  • driverdmdriverdm Member Posts: 505
    I'd take a CX-9 over the Tribeca. The problem with the Chewbacca is that I can't look at it. That is a big problem.
  • tom95tom95 Member Posts: 1
    I have an '05 Murano, and I love it. The acceleration is
    as good as my last car, an '02 Audi A-4 (3.2 engine). I just drove from upstate NY to Washington DC, and I averaged 25.3 mpg on the trip! For acceleration and fuel economy, you can't go wrong with the Murano's CVT............
  • driverdmdriverdm Member Posts: 505
    The Mazda CX-7 is the winner in this segment on looks. It is beautiful. It does not look cute and girly in person which had been my worst fear. It looks like it is ready to move and move hard. Sitting in it reminds me of siting in an Infiniti G35.

    The Hyundai Santa Fe's pricing is not out but it is very nice. The styling of the front is nicely done but the rest of the exterior isn't as nice. On the inside it doesn't look as upscale as the pics we've seen. But like I said it is very very nice.

    The MKX is one nice looking SUV as well as the Ford Edge. THey should sell well if priced effectively.

    For me the Mazda CX-7 is the only one. That and the Altima are the only two on the list after seeing everything in person.
  • driverdmdriverdm Member Posts: 505
    For my money, the Hyundai Sante Fe balances everything the best. I'll take a Mazda CX-7 over it but that is a personal preference. The Mazda is more sporting and looks absolutely gorgeous. The interior is on par with any VW and looks like they stole an Audi guy. I'd put the CX-7 above the Acura RDX (horrible execution, horrible). The Mazda slides on the sporting side but that is okay with me.
  • master1master1 Member Posts: 340
    I actually thought the Acura RDX wasn't bad - but I wouldn't buy it, I prefer cars like Highlanders/Pilot's. The only thing I feel Acura and Honda need to do is stop using so much black leather and black fabric. It makes the interior dark, and it feels smaller. I like the ivory colors - makes the interior feel bigger and brighter.
  • driverdmdriverdm Member Posts: 505
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  • suvhunter1suvhunter1 Member Posts: 5
    Hello, I am looking for a midsize SUV to replace the Mercury Villager Sport we currently have. We love the Villager's large cargo capacity and it has a great deal of power. Never any trouble in the mountains. The down side is it has a lot of road noise making conversations on the freeway difficult. So, I am looking for I believe a midsize SUV for the following reasons:

    1. We go camping a lot so we need good cargo space. Our Villager Sport had three rows of very configurable seats, plus an area to put our bags, groceries, etc. So I don't think a small SUV will give us the space and configurability that we need and have become use to.

    2. We like how it rode like a car, especially on long trips across different states and to Mexico. So I'm looking for something that will ride comfortably for long hours on the road.

    3. Not only do we do a lot of driving vacations, but our son is on a ski team so in the winter we are driving to the mountains every weekend. We need something with good power, and that is either 4WD or AWD for better traction control. Our Villager had the power, but was not AWD or 4WD.

    4. Needs to be able to tow a Waverunner and still have good power.

    5. Looking for good gas mileage. Have been considering a Hybrid, but the only one that will tow is the Toyota Highlander Hybrid. I'm not sure if it has enough power for mountain driving though. Plus, I just don't know if the amount we'd save in fuel we would lose in additional maintenance costs on a hybrid.

    Bottom Line:
    1. Economical or good gas mileage
    2. Comfortable riding with little to no road noise
    3. Can easily configure to hold a good amount of gear or cargo for trips
    4. Good power in mountains and towing capacity
    5. 4WD or AWD at least
    6. Really don't want to spend more than $26,000

    Had been considering the Mercury Mountaineer, but seems like a gas hog. Also thought about a Mercury Mariner, but I don't think it is big enough.

    Any advice would be so appreciated.
  • gasman1gasman1 Member Posts: 321
    Given the $26K limit you've placed on yourself, you may want to wait until this Fall when the Ford Edge comes out and then wait 3 or 4 months for it to cool off as prices are high when new models are introduced. However, if you look at the TOTAL picture (initial costs, ownership costs, and trade value) you need to investigate the Toyota Highlander and the Honda Pilot. The Toyota is quieter, but the Honda is larger and has more power. Edmunds has great information on these vehicles as does Intellichoice, Yahoo Autos, and MSN Autos. Read the professional and the Owner REVIEWS. And last, but certainly not least go on LONG test drives with all passengers.
  • suvhunter1suvhunter1 Member Posts: 5
    Thank you! It is really hard to know where to begin when you read one thing that gives something rave reviews and then something else that doesn't quite sing it's praises. We'll definitely be doing the test drives, but we were trying to narrow things down a bit.
  • lmn908lmn908 Member Posts: 34
    Not an SUV, but since you are used to the flexibility of your Villager, you might want to consider an AWD Sienna. The LE version can be had for about $26,500. Don't know about its towing capacity. The Highlander and Pilot are both good choices - but if you need the third seat, the Highlander's isn't really very useful. The Pilot is a little larger if you need the space, but IMO didn't handle as well and was not as quiet as the Highlander.
  • suvhunter1suvhunter1 Member Posts: 5
    Definitely time to give these few a couple of test drives and go from there. Thanks!
  • landdriverlanddriver Member Posts: 607
    Echoing gasman1 and lmn908 the Highlander and Pilot were the two that immediately came to mind -- not familar with the Villager Sport so can't say how these compare. (I have the Highlander.) Not sure how heavy a Waverunner is but the Highlander's towing capacity is 3500 lbs; get one equipped with the tow prep package (larger radiator and transmission cooler). The Highlander can hold quite alot of stuff as I do construction work (can fold flat second (60/40) and/or third row seats), but if it isn't enough then get the Pilot. Yes the third row seat on the Highlander is only appropriate for small kids or short trips. It's ride is quiet and the seats are comfortable; a V6 AWD base model should be just within your price range.

    (Forget the Hybrid -- while it has more power than a conventional Highlander (the electric motor assists the V6), for some reason I remember a poster or two on the Highlander Hybrid boards not being comfortable towing a heavy load(?) but you should verify this. Also the $33K entry price will kill your budget and it will take perhaps 10 years to recoup the savings in gas.)

    Real-life gas mileage on the non-hybrid V6 AWD will be 17-19 mpg city and ~22 mpg highway (EPA:18-22). The V6 Highlander should have enough power for you.

    (But then again if a waverunner is one of those light jet skis and mileage is important and you don't mind chancing the $33K/gas recoupment cost, you may still consider the Hybrid; post your question on the Highlander Hybrid board. The Hybrid is heavier (batteries and electric motor) but has better gas mileage (real world 25-30 mpg city) and more power (~equivalent to a V8).)
  • landdriverlanddriver Member Posts: 607
    Correction to previoes post: the Hybrid entry price I posted is MSRP; a better figure is probably $30K before TTL.
  • odie6lodie6l Member Posts: 1,173
    I did notice that the CX-7 requires Premium gas for the Turbo 4cyl engine, but the Edge (sister vehicle) will need only 87 grade for the 3.5 duratec V6. I guess it comes down to do you want to pay the extra amount at the pump for the Turbo?

    Odie's Carspace Garage"
  • aviboy97aviboy97 Member Posts: 3,159
    I would not call them "sister" vehicles. They are actually quite different. One is Japanese, the other is American. Although they are built on a version of the Mazda6 platform, they are not the same. Not even close.

    The Escape/Tribute are "sister" vehicles.

    The MKX/Edge will be "sister" vehicles.

    I would say the the CX-7 and Edge are more like "distant cousins".
  • choe13choe13 Member Posts: 348
    Oh my god, the new CRV looks so bad i can't believe honda did that. Man is it ugly

    I don't think the new crv nor rav 4 will be able to handle the much luxurious santa fe. Better exterior, interior and roomier, quieter ride, more value and still it will be cheaper by a couple of grand

    Hyundai is coming on the japanese furiously
  • twaintwain Member Posts: 185
    I am really considering a Saturn Outlook, a Ford Edge, or a Mazda CX-7 for my next vehicle.

    My preference of those three is the Edge. I like the CX7's looks but I think a turbo4 is the wrong choice for this segment. And it uses premium fuel. The Outlook looks good but it's bigger than the other two. I'd be more interested in the new Vue coming in 08. The Edge looks sharp, it's the right size and it has a strong V6...something Ford has been missing until now.
  • rcpaxrcpax Member Posts: 580
    Have you given the 07 Mitsubishi Outlander a thought? You might want to test dive that as well.I think it easily fits in your list of wants.
  • vbbuiltvbbuilt Member Posts: 498
    Isn't the Outlander a "Station Wagon Redux" ??? :P

This discussion has been closed.