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What is the Best SUV For me?



  • So much of this is personal taste.

    We have two kids, and we just went through the same process you are going through. What we felt, and this is only our opinion:

    - Mazda CX-9 was too small, especially the third row and driver seat (with that huge, elbow-high console in the center)
    - Highlander was too small, and wife just didn't like styling
    - Armada we liked, but just to big and expensive
    - Pathfinder was OK
    - Acura MDX was nice to drive but too small
    - Head good things about Buick Enclave, but given inherent questions about reliability and a price that started too high we never looked at it
    - Same for Chevy Traverse
    - I suspect Hyndai might be the value play, but couldn't get wife to look at it
    - Already owned a CR-V and love it

    We bought a Pilot. A little bit truck like, but has a servicable third row for visitors and handles well for its size. Good luck.
  • chickorychickory Posts: 1
    I have 4 large dogs & a husband & would like something that I can fit them all in if needed. I also would like one that has lower emissions but could actually get off the road if necessary. I looked at the GMC Terrain & the 2010 Chevy Equinox but they are both low riders. I don't often need to go off road but I do sometimes. I was all excited about the Jeep Patriot 'til I actually saw one & saw how small they are. No 4 large dogs in that. The Jeep Wrangler looks cool but reviewers seem to really dislike it. I have a Prius now & can deal with so-so gas mileage but I really want at least to have low emissions. If I had been thinking about never being able to fit my family in my car & knew what a low rider the Prius is, I would not own it. Otherwise it is great. Does anyone have any ideas?
  • denver5357denver5357 Posts: 319
    Given your priority seems to be ultra low emissions plus some off road capability, I suggest the Subaru Outback or Forester. They might even have a hybrid version.

    I would stay away from Jeeps unless you like to do your own repairs. They consistently come out at the bottom of the list when it comes to reliability, and a couple of them have even been named "worst buys." Jeeps are largely an image play.
  • ask420ask420 Posts: 5

    I am expecting a baby in september and we are planning to buy an suv sometime soon. We are expecting our parents too. Initially, we were thinking of buying toyota highlander ltd model but the problem is the 3rd row seat...its not spacious enough for an adult to be considered for a long drive. Our next option would be Honda Pilot, which has much better room in the 3rd row. But have heard some break issues with the Pilot. Anybody who owns a Pilot if they can throw some light on this would really be appreciated.
    Also, is the third row safe for infants??? and is it ok to put a child in the 3rd row seat as per the law??? Have no idea about this...

    Any suggestions on other suv with a great mpg and with a safe infant seat would really help. Not really interested in buying a minivan.

  • mtairyordgemtairyordge Posts: 144
    I owned four Toyota Highlanders all Limited, a 2001, 2003, 2004 and 2008. I got rid of the 2008 for a 2011 Pilot because I noticed the quality on toyotas's had slipped markedly. Other reasons I got the Pilot nice room in the 3rd seat compared to HL. Neither 3rd row is SAFE for baby, so forget it, the 3rd row is okay for smaller adults. It is not a full size row.

    The real reasons I like the Honda over the HL:
    Navigation - the passenger can manually adjust the navigation while the car is moving.
    Bluetooth - So much better than Toyota system. Better voice recognition, better sound, easier to control volume, etc.
    Windows: On hot days push the key fob button 3 time hold it on 3rd time and windows open letting heat out of car. LOVE IT.

    Breaks are better than HL. I always hated the HL breaks they are too mushy. On the Pilot I recently had to hit the breaks hard and stopped with enough room and control to be safe. Given the same situation on the HL I would be dealing with insurance company now.

    I know what I speak about the HL I drove the 4 over 350,000 miles. I won't drive one again.

    There are drawbacks to the Pilot that I know the mileage is not the greatest. I have 10K mile on my 2011 and love it so far.

    Hope this helps.

    I purchased a 2011 Touring with Nav and RES for 36K
  • ask420ask420 Posts: 5
    Thanks for the reply. We are looking for Honda Pilot considering the spacious 3rd row room. Also, the middle seat in the 2nd row looks much better to put a child seat (i am not exactly sure if it ok to put child seat in the middle, but it is 100% better than Highlander).

    Do you mind if i ask you was $36K total price, inclusive of tax and everything. where did you buy your pilot from? I live in WA. and here just for 2011 EX-L with Navigation(RES not included) they are giving estimate of 37K (inclusive of tax etc.,) or so.
    I think they are asking too much.

    Thanks Again.
  • mtairyordge

    I was also wondering if that 36K touring with RES and Nav was the drive out price, if so that is a great deal. Been looking to get a drive out of 37K with no success. I also am only trying for front wheel drive, was your front or all wheel drive and if you dont mind teling where you got or even the state would be appreciated.

  • jezmiajezmia Posts: 36
    I am looking for a small compact SUV or a mid size suv. My main concerns are gas/mill, performance and reliability. There just doesn't seem to be many cars with decent miles and the hybrid versions don't seem to make sense for the price difference. So far I am considering the nissan rougue because of the slick shape, mileage and interior is pretty decent. We ruled out the rav4 and the crv because of the interior. My family is basically 2 people, so we don't need anything too big, I am also thinking about the murano, but it is much more expensive and the millage is not too great. We've owned only foreign cars, but I am slightly considering the equinox, it has pretty decent reviews and the price is ok. I basically haven't come up with other cars that offer somewhat of a good mileage look good and have good reviews. Maybe I am overlooking other great cars, so if you have any suggestions I would be glad to hear them.
  • tinycadontinycadon Posts: 287
    Take a look at the Escape 4cyl., Ford is practically giving the 2010s away right now. They're roomy, great gas mileage and Consumer Reports gives it a Best Value award.
  • broken7broken7 Posts: 1
    Buying my son his first car, he'll be driving it to college and in this area of WA the roads get pretty snowy in the winter. So we're looking for a smallish 4WD or AWD, and auto transmission. He ruled out Subaru because it doesn't have the higher driving position and better visibility of the others. Since this is his first car and our limited budget, these SUVs will be older and all well over 100,000 miles. Which would be the best pick? I like the CRV(a '99 or newer because of improvements) because better gas mileage than Escape with the V6 (4 cyl underpowered, and most for sale are V6). Is the Escape as durable/reliable as the CRV, would the fuel economy be drastically worse than the CRV? We ruled out Jeep because of poor gas mileage. Or is there some other vehicle we should consider?
  • vtrn09vtrn09 Posts: 1
    Which vehicle will be the best value? A 2006 Nissan Armada with 56,700 miles that costs $18,900 or a 2007 Mazda CX-9 that has 52,000 miles that costs $19,500.

    I like the Armada, but I am uncertain if the gas will last a while when full traveling like an average of 200 miles a week. I see the Mazda has better mpg than the armada, but the bigger fuel tank seems to make up for that.

    Can any owners or car experts please help? Looking to buy this week.
  • I don't want a third row seat, we've got a minivan if we are hauling a lot of people. Needs to fit 3 comfortably in the back seat, as I have 3 kids and don't want to hear too many complaints.

    I need AWD, as we will be taking it to the mountains. Since my wife is 10 inches shorter than me, I have to have memory seats. I am really tired of banging my knees on the steering wheel.

    Needs some guts. I'm currently driving an Accord with a 3.0L V6, and that amount of power works.

    Mostly I will be driving in commuter traffic in Los Angeles, but weekend trips to the mountains (year round) makes me think of an AWD SUV.

    I think I want to stay away from Honda, as both of our Hondas had transmission problems at 50k miles and I don't like the way we were treated by Honda and the local dealership.

  • steverstever Posts: 52,683
    A Women’s Health magazine reporter is interested in speaking with women on the appeal of SUV’s and Minivans. If you previously owned a minivan and currently own an SUV or other crossover utility vehicle and are interested in speaking with this reporter about why you chose it and what you like about it, please respond to with your name, email address and day time phone number by Wednesday, August 3, 2011.
  • Currently drive a Honda CRV, first generation style.

    Used it will have to be. Small SUV or small-to-mid size.

    Manual transmission. I know that limits me more and more as time goes on but I'd rather shift than ride the brakes, especially if snow or ice is involved. Better control, too.

    I get 24 to 27 mpg in the CRV, depending on whether the AC is on or not, and that does not include much freeway driving. I usually get better mpg than is listed for the car. I'd like to keep that mileage but I'd also like more oomph, so maybe a little give there to get a 6 cylinder.

    Would love to keep the dependability of the Honda, but Honda seems to be abandoning manual transmissions like other makers and the CRV does not come in a 6 cylinder.

    Any suggestions? I did a search and came up with:

    Mitsubishi Outlander
    RAV 4
    Mazda Tribute

    Any input on those? Can I buy a used one, around 45,000 miles, and keep it another 10 years? We take very good car of our cars.

  • kyfdxkyfdx Posts: 70,273
    If you have a 1st generation CR-V, why not upgrade to a 2nd gen? Last year was 2006, but that will be at least five years newer than yours...

    As a former owner of a manual 1st Gen and an automatic 2nd Gen, believe me, the difference in power will blow you away!

    If you want AWD and manual transmission, maybe a late model Subaru Outback Sport? It's more of a hatchback than an SUV, but still has a lot of utility..... easy to find in a stick, too....


    Prices Paid, Lease Questions, SUVs

  • kyfdxkyfdx Posts: 70,273
    What is your price range? 2008 BMW X3s are wholesaling for around $18K-$21K.... you can find those in a manual.. 255 HP!!


    Prices Paid, Lease Questions, SUVs

  • kyfdx, thanks for the replies.

    I'm AC shy of any but late models CRV's and those don't come with a manual transmission and I'm not inclined, at the moment, to patronize Honda for that AC dust up.

    I'll take a look at the Outbacks but those seem more car sized? (Height especially?)

    The Outlander seems to get good reviews.

    BMW- When I looked on Edmunds, MPG seems a little low compared to others. I know, wanting more ooomph and MPG at the same time may not work.

    I just, time and again, think of the times where the manual has gotten me out of trouble or been easier to handle a situation with, that it's hard for me to consider an automatic. The only time the automatic seems better is in constant stop and go and I'm not in the kind of traffic enough to warrent the trade off.

    I've got about a year to sort this out so I can try and think on the options for a while.

    What about the RAV 4 and Mazda Tribute, along with the Mitsubishi Outlander? I'd like a car that returns minimal trouble for good care.
  • I am a single mother of a set of 13 year olds and will soon have my nieces who are both in car seats come live with me. What SUV can I get that will best fit my needs. I prefer a 4 Cylinder
  • kyfdxkyfdx Posts: 70,273
    A Mazda 5 will seat six.. and, has a 4-cylinder..


    Prices Paid, Lease Questions, SUVs

  • Hello All,

    I'm new to the forum and have a dilemma. I bought a 2011 Kia Sorento about 5 months ago and now....well, I am sort of not thrilled with it. Can't really put my finger on it but the more I drive it, it just seems cheap and not very durable. I had a 1999 Passport with 160,000 miles on it (gave to my mom to replace her 200k Crown Vic) and loved it. I don't see this Kia getting any where near that age. I'm willing to suck it up and trade in the car, have read pretty good things about the RAV4, but I have a question: is the acceleration during passing and merging that much better than the CR-V? I would imagine it is since the RAV4 has a V6 option. My job requires that I make a major relocation every 3-6 months and that usually requires driving around Texas (high speed drivers) and through New Mexico (up and down mountains) I'm also considering a CR-V and maybe an XTerra. All answers and opinions appreciated and sorry so wordy!

  • steverstever Posts: 52,683
    A reporter would like to interview anyone who has used's Car Match.

    Please email by November 4, 2011 with your daytime phone number and a comment about your experience.
  • Hello,

    I need some advise on buying SUV.
    I have two sedans (wife's and mine). We love doing home improvement, gardening and such. I got tired asking friends or renting BORG trucks for hauling bulky things and considering having something for the tasks.

    I poked around and saw many old large SUVs in 2k-5k range. I could spend that amount to get decent vehicle. My requirements/thoughts

    * Able to haul 4x8 goods (plywood, sheetrock ...) inside;
    * Strongly prefer 4x4/AWD for those tough days when we have snow storms;
    * Reliable and cheap to repair/maintain;
    * not going to drive daily, will use for couple thousands miles per year;
    * not much concerns about cosmetics;

    What should I get?
    I mentioned that I made quick check and it seems that there are some cars matching my criteria, like Ford Expedition, Chevy Tahoe, GMC Yukon, maybe Toyota Sequoia, but they are VERY high millage. Do those cars may serve me? In my price range they are going to have more than 100K on odometer, more likely around 150k, are they capable still going well for another 20-30k? What you thoughts? I've never had an SUV before.
  • steverstever Posts: 52,683
    edited November 2011
    A reporter is interested in talking with someone who considered buying a small car, but instead bought a Ford, GM or Chrysler SUV or truck after deciding that the size sacrifice wasn't worth the savings at the pump. If your experience fits this description, please send a brief overview and contact information to by Sunday 11/27.
  • currently shopping for a suv, for the wife who had trucks mostly switched from a canyan this spring to the new regal so she could get better gas milleage we both hate the car gas milleage no better then truck and seats rock hard have it narrowed down to a pathfinder and a xterra we want rear drive not front any one have either and what about nissans reliabity ? or are there any other choices out there ,dont need 4wd has we live in the south thanks
  • Hello all, just wanted to mention my frustration about Edmunds review of Honda Pilot. The whole review is based on pure statistics about the car and nothing about how a driver would use the car daily.
    I been shopping for an SUV for some time and there is no comparison with Honda Pilot.
    Here is my take on competitors:
    Toyota Highlander -small, third row is useless if you want anyone to sit there, might as well get a Sorento. Interior is really bad quality and not to mention that all of the interior is made for seniors, and not for a family. Once you drive it, you will feel as if you are in a Buick.
    Mazda CX-9 is a great car, but once again, its a bit smaller than Pilot. Also, if you get all the features that you get in 2012 EXL Pilot your CX-9 price goes much higher and given CX-9 worse fuel economy there is no reason to choose CX-9 unless all you care is its looks (it does look very nice).
    Ford Flex - so cheap inside I didn't even test drive it.
    Ford Explorer - much smaller than Pilot (about the size of European Chevy Captiva), and for its price its just not worth it.
    Chevrolet Traverse - first of all, are people selling this car at these prices mad? Almost 2k over Honda Pilot, its crazy! Second row - have you tried folding it with one hand? Don't even try to have your wife do it; flimsy, cheap plastic handles, and if you do get one, hope your kid never sticks their hand while you are folding the seats - it will hurt. Pretty good driving dynamics but the second row folding procedure turned me away - and I am not willing to pay more than for a Japanese car - sorry.
    Now about the Pilot it self - yes the looks are not the best but it has way to many positives to forget about that; the new grill fixes many issues about its style.
    Main reason, its a people hauler - fits people on all rows with room to spear. Soft and quiet.
    Breaking that Edmunds keeps talking about - brakes just like any other car. Do you really plan to emergency brake every block? I mean, sure its a good thing if it braked like a sports car, but its not a sports car.

  • steverstever Posts: 52,683
    edited November 2011
    Edmunds' 2012 Review seems to fall in line with the Consumer Reviews here.

    Today's numbers for the consumer reviews are:

    2011 Mazda CX-9 gets 5 stars (22 reviews).

    2011 Highlander gets 4.5 stars (39 reviews).

    2011 Ford Flex gets 4.5 stars (11 reviews).

    2011 Chevy Traverse gets 4.5 stars (26 reviews).

    2011 Ford Explorer gets 4 stars (45 reviews).

    2011 Honda Pilot gets 4 stars (79 reviews). (2012 gets 4.5, 4 reviews).

    Past years of the Pilot get 4.5 stars, so it looks like Honda dropped the ball a bit in 2011 and is getting back to where they were, but there aren't many 2012 reviews yet. And it looks like there's still room for improvement.
  • Need some help!

    I am currently leasing a 2010 Jetta- long story short, moved, waaaay over milage. Need to purchase something soon before trade in value goes down even further.

    Looking to purchase a midsize suv/crossover. I spend a lot of time in my car, fairly long commute each day.

    I can't spend a lot, would like to keep it under 27,000 and REQUIRE, leather/leatherette heated seats.

    I have look at everything under the sun, but nothing seems to stand out to me. Would like to hear from others what they think, Safety? smoothest ride? Comfortable cabin? Excellent Technology? Etc...

    Would really like to hear what others recommend.

  • drumsdrums Posts: 17
    I am looking for a suv with great gas mileage and awd for snow. live in Northeast and we get our share of snow.

    both have zerop percent financing for 36 (rav4) and 60 months (nissan rouge).

    which is better buy and has better value?

    looking for higher end model of either one.

    any rav4 or rouge owners out there - your advice will greatly be appreciated and valued.

    I am also wondering about resale value for both
  • carteachcarteach Posts: 179
    Like everyone else on this thread, I could use some input. Right now I'm driving an '06 Acura TL and a '95 Subaru wagon. The wagon is on its last legs. I have two golden retrievers and two grandchildren (don't usually take all four around at the same time.) But, I want a car with a "way back" for two large dogs. I will have to sell the Acura to get a new car. :cry: The cars I'm considering either seem too small or too big. The Toyota rav4 ( I hate the back tire), the Highlander, the Subaru Outback, the Honda CRV. Like everyone, I want a car that's reliable with a little bit of class. Can't afford anything in the BMW class. So those are out. And most of the crossovers don't offer much room in the back.

    Any thoughts? I'm especially interested in a problem free car. The Outback would be my first choice because of size and looks, but I keep reading about problems with it.
  • steverstever Posts: 52,683
    A reporter is looking to speak with consumers who are in the market right now for a car loan or a car lease or who just recently secured a loan or lease. Is/was it easier or more difficult than you expected? Please send a quick note discussing your experience and your preferred contact information to by Friday, January 6, 2012.
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