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What is the Best SUV For me?



  • upcoming heavy maintenance on '02 Odyssey started me thinking on replacing it with a mid-size family suv/crossover. After older kid went to school, we are 2 x 2 family. I am planning on buying 2-3 y old car, and ere is what I am looking for

    - we tend to hike and spend weekends in places w/ no asphalt; however I do see commuting on this vehicle so HW mileage is important
    - since we are in Chicago, AWD is must
    - cargo area is something that Im used to in Odyssey; don't mind removing row of seats if needed.
    - I am 5'11" and 250lbs and can be claustrophobic in smaller cars
    - watching budget is important, so we stay away from Acura, Lexus, and Infinity.

    Here are some of my finds, feel free to add or dismiss them

    - Mazda CX-9
    - Buick Enclave
    - Jeep Grand Cherokee
    - Ford Explorer
    - GMC Acadia
    - Hyundai Veracruz

    - Subaru SUV is too small
    - Being tired of Toyotas and Hondas (we had couple of them), skipping Highlander and Pilot

    Thanks for suggestions
  • Ok most knowledgeable fellow forumers....this is the dilemma. I have an '04 Camry that I bought new. Just turned over 112K last day or two. It's always ridden a little rough for my liking but has been good car and still is. I have head wheel bearing "issue" in right front and it's been replaced twice. Have used the same local honest mechanic since beginning of time (yeh I know "honest and mechanic" in same sentence, what an oxymoron THAT is, but he really is great and I trust him). My younger daughter is almost 22 and working part/full time and attempting to get into a dental hygiene program. She is driving the '98 Accord EX I purchased for her to drive when she was 17. At the time it had 160K on it, now has 230300. She says it's running good, no issues, but STILL has orig timing belt on it. I got "the fever" again last week and this time actually spent lots of time doing research and even sent out some internet inquiries for Rav and CRV. I'd forgotten what a truly pain in the [non-permissible content removed] car hunting is. I consider myself quite the frugal shopper and don't buy anything on a whim. I just got an I-Phone last April and of course now wondered why I waited two phones ago!! :) Part of my motivation to look for new car was the incredible financing deals out there. Honda has 0.9% for '11 CRVs--of course there are NONE available in a 500mi radius of me! In fact the computer and one Yota internet guy said there wasn't ONE in the state of TX (live in Dallas suburb). So that puts me @ 2012 model which is redesigned. It is a nice car, only driven one and the dealer was irritating as hell. Wanted too much personal info for even a quote then ran off somewhere to "look for a color". I took that as a stall tactic so set the timer on my fancy phone for 5" (had already sit there for an UNTIMED amout!) and when Bad Romance sounded, it was time to haul my [non-permissible content removed] out of there. Of course within 10" I get a phone call and then the em with the requested "quote". I told him I wanted "drive out" as we say here, but appar on this forum the proper term is "OTD" so bottom line was EX=$26736 and ODT EXL=28964. A RAV4 Sport (which I haven't seen yet, they had none on the lot, it's coming from another dealership prob tomorrow) had OTD $27500. We here in TX pay 6.25% tax on new cars, better than most of you guys from what I read. SOOOOO all that being said, my dilemma is this....I really don't NEED a new car, I WANT a new car. Had planned to trade later in this year as my Camry would be 8 yrs old and I would've had 3 yrs of no pay'ts and banking the prev paid $362/mo. My other thought process was to give kid my car but make her pay me trade value for it, use the Accord as trade and give her that as "credit" on what she would owe me for my car. Both are in MY name and I bought the Accord outright. I would charge her the same interest rate I was paying on new car (1.9 from Toyota) and this would give her a good reliable car that had been properly serviced and cared for from the start and she could pay off in approx 24mo with pay't under $200. She made 14K last year working so think this is reasonable. Of course kids being kids, she seems rather laissez-faire in the whole thing, and thinks I should just GIVE her the Camry outright--think NOT!! As I said, my motivation was to trade up a few months earlier than planned because of the interest rates offered and to aid HER in having a better ride. Thoughts and input is appreciated! And if anybody foresees what will happen closer to the end of THIS model year in terms of price drops/perks etc., that would be appreciated. I am not in a crunch for anything new to drive right now. :)
  • CX9: Love the looks, but it's getting long in the tooth, time for a makeover.
    Enclave: Nice but gets pricey quick
    Jeep: Rented one last month, loved it but it feels a bit tight on the inside (for claustrophobia).
    Explorer: Had an '02, started falling apart at 80,000 miles. Wouldn't buy another one.
    Acadia: See Enclave (Although I like its styling better)
    Hyundai: Good value but to vanilla looking

    Just bought a 2012 Pilot Touring, I would really consider checking it out. Very spaceous inside and loaded with features.
  • I'm looking at buying a new car for college. My parents want me to get a small sized suv for safety reasons. My only worry about the CR-V is the stigma that it's a somewhat girly car. Thoughts?
  • Also, how does it compare to the Mazda cx-5 and rav4? I've heard mixed things.
  • solaratiasolaratia Posts: 1
    I have been eyeing the Mazda CX-7 for a while and I am finally in the market to buy an SUV however they are now being replaced by the CX-5. While I am sure there should be good deals since the 7 is on its way out, is it a wise idea to purchase a vehicle that is no longer produced. By the way I am also considering, Toyota Rav 4 and possibly the Acura RDX along with the CX-9 although it is at the top of my budget
  • oozboozoozbooz Posts: 4
    edited October 2012
    We are done with minivan phase in our life. Though I loved to ride Odyssey - it hauled more air than people. Right now, we own Honda accord coupe (my wifes car, since I am barely squeeze in), but since we use Metra to commute (work in Chicago, sleeping in Suburbs) it is not driven much.

    I am looking for SUV/crossover to haul 2Adlt + 2Kids + 1 dog. As I mentioned, it won't be a commute car (at least for now), most likely for short vacation, weekends excursions, occasional winter escapes. Honestly, I am tired of driving a miniature coupe, especially in winters. So plenty room for a driver and 4WD are desirable.

    I've checked out Mazda CX-9, but my knees keep bumping into the door panel or dashboard console. Looks like even large SUV/crossovers often do not offer enough room for legs so I can keep my knees w/out bruises.

    My semi-final list comprises of: Acura MDX, Honda Pilot, Jeep GC. Most likely I would purchase them 2 y old.

    Any fresh ideas, critic or suggestion are highly welcomes.


  • steverstever Posts: 52,683
    It's an orphan now but it sounds like a 2011 Honda Element would be a good fit. Great dog car and comes in AWD.
  • carteachcarteach Posts: 179
    I had posted here in a number of months ago asking which SUV people suggested. After doing a lot of test driving, I had planned to buy an Outback. Loved the size and feel of it. But I just finished reading a thread about the number of repairs that people have had to make to their Outbacks, and I was actually stunned. I just sold my Acura TL which at 87,000 miles has been care free. In fact, I haven't needed to replace even the brakes. I need a wagon/SUV for my two dogs and grand kids. If I could afford the Acura RDX I'd buy it in a heartbeat. Test drove one and it was amazing. So now I have a dilemma. The CR-V felt very light and small when I drove it. Plus it doesn't have the clearance I could use in the snow. Not sure what's next. I definitely want a car that is reliable and won't have issues early on. Suggestions?
  • nsbio1nsbio1 Posts: 75
    2012 Outback goes very nicely in a straight line, especially with 6-cyl, but make a turn and it handles like an old Buick. I would consider Honda Element (if you can get past the looks) or Mazda CX-9 (you can get close to $7000 of MSRP right now but gas mileage is not exactly the best).
  • l33_0hl33_0h Posts: 1
    Hello everyone,

    I am 20 years old and in college. I'm majoring in wildlife biology, which requires me to do internships in a variety of wild places. The thing is, some of these internships require me to be able to drive through some pretty rocky roads. Another thing is, most of them don't come with housing so there would be times when I would be sleeping in my car. Ahhh, the wonderful life of a wildlife biologist.
    To make a long story short, I'm looking to buy a used car, possibly by the summer, that is rugged enough to go through somewhat rocky terrain and be able to handle the wilderness, and have enough room to possibly kick back and sleep for a night. I have $2500 dollars currently, and I could save $1500 or so more by the time I'm ready to buy.
    So in summation, what would be a good car for someone in my position (a broke college student), who needs to be able to drive in some rough conditions?
    Any advice would be much appreciated.


  • You should really look at the Mazda CX 5, I live in Salt lake and replaced a Volvo cross country, with 205,000 miles, with the CX 5. This is a great car. lots of extras for the dollars and great gas mileage. look at the consumer comments and there are very few issues with the CX 5 and mileage matches the advertised MPG. I get 28 mpg in mixed driving with 2,000 miles and no issues. I do a lot of research on cars before buying and I work on my own cars. The Mazda CX 5 is solid and great technology. You can get a base AWD for about 23,500. The only other car I would suggest is the New Subaru Impreza or Crosstrek for good fuel economy and reliable. My suggestion for used is look at a Subaru Outback, Impreza or Forester. Stay away from Ford, GM, Jeep, Dodge, (just don't have the reliability for high mileage), and Nissan Rouge, transmission issues. Hope this helps.
  • kyfdxkyfdx Posts: 70,503
    edited March 2013
    He only has $4000...

    Late '90s Jeep Cherokee?


    Prices Paid, Lease Questions, SUVs

  • steverstever Posts: 52,683
    How about a pickup and a tent?

    Good ground clearance and you'd be the go-to guy for hauling drugged bears and photography blinds around. :D

    You can find late '90s RAV4s and Explorers and similar SUVs in your price range. I wouldn't be too brand picky - more important is finding a ride that's been maintained. Ask to see service records and find a mechanic now who can do a pre-purchase inspection. That's cheap insurance.
  • zeeyo987zeeyo987 Posts: 1
    i have 1000 down and will finance the rest looking to get a good dependable suv that will last me a while and can take messed up roads. I have narrowed it down to a 2005 4runner or 06-08 armada, any tips or suggestions? im open to pickups as well and was looking at the titan because ranked the silverado pretty low, thanks!
  • crux12crux12 Posts: 1
    We bought a Nissan Xterra April 13th and was first happy to have a new vehicle. Now we are wishing we never bought a Nissan. The Xterra has been in the shop for over 40 days now with no end in sight. Keep in mind this is a brand new vehicle. Working with the dealer they indicate Nissan is accountable for their vehicles, Nissan Consumer Affairs tells me the dealer can help and they are not accountable fixing or repairing defective product out of the factory. It really feels great spending $30K on a vehicle out of the gate with obvious and known defects.

    Thus far we are battling rust, paint issues, damaged roof rack, water leaking in, interior creaking and cracking, poor fit and finish, large splashes of adhesive on the body, missing OEM parts, Keys don't work, etc.... The rust issue the dealer just painted over it indicating it is to Nissan standards.

    Attempts at contacting anyone with Nissan has yielded no results over the past few weeks. Nissan is willing to send out survey after survey asking how you feel about your experience and how you lie the new vehicle. Nissan could do themselves a favor dealing with customer service resolving issues. I'm expecting another survey any day now all while we are out of a vehicle. If you in the market for a new vehicle please do your self a large favor and consider any other vehicle brand than Nissan. If Nissan wants to keep market share in the US then try resolving customer issues.
  • steverstever Posts: 52,683
    If this is a new Nissan, wouldn't you qualify for lemon law? They vary from state to state but 30 days out of service is a typical trigger. Or was it used or perhaps purchased out of state?
  • My wife and I currently have (2) leased GM vehicles that will be turned in next May and June, respectively.

    We have owned in the past (before we leased these vehicles) (2) Xterra's and a Pathfinder LE. We loved these vehicles but since we lived in TX when we bought them, we didn't have 4x4's only 4x2. Then we relocated to the east coast and needed to have 4x4. Otherwise, we wouldn't have gotten rid of them.

    Since we're turning in our leased vehicles in a year, we've been thinking about getting another Xterra (lease). I contacted one of our local dealers and he said they didn't have any available for us to look at and he wasn't sure IF the Xterra's were going to be discontinued or not. He said their dealership hasn't gotten any info on what Nissan is doing. When I checked with other dealerships (via internet) around our area, there weren't any on anyone's lots. :confuse: I emailed Nissan and asked if the Xterra was going to be discontinued and I got the standard, "Please contact your dealer....blah, blah, blah".

    Needless to say, we don't want to get a vehicle, especially a leased one, that may be discontinued and our residual would be worth nothing!

    Have you heard anything about this??
  • steverstever Posts: 52,683
    edited June 2013
    Sales are supposedly down and the last update was in 2005, but I haven't heard the discontinuation rumors. They just moved production from TN to MS last year and that would have been the logical time to phase it out in my mind.

    There's about 66 of them within 500 miles of LA and 170 within 500 miles of Chattanooga and about the same number within 500 miles of State College PA, using our inventory search tool.

    There's an abundance of 2012's showing up in that search.
  • glv2glv2 Posts: 7
    I am looking to buy my wife a CRV EX in Northeast Ohio within the next month or so. She is interested in the AWD because she wanted a Subaru. Is the CRV’s AWD recommended over the 2WD? We do have a fair amount of inclement weather in this area and she is not the best driver.
  • berriberri Posts: 7,967
    You live where it snows. People there want AWD. You'll get most, if not all of the price difference back at trade and the mileage penalty in a CRV is not very significant. Go for the AWD!
  • cuysecocuyseco Posts: 45
    I have a kid 3 years old and It is time to buy a SUV :)
    I would like to read opinions to make me decide which one I need to buy.
    These are the requirements I want from the car:

    Decent gas mileage
    Comfortable seating for 5
    and no more than 35,000 :)

    Any help will be really appreciate.
  • stevedebistevedebi LAPosts: 4,098
    "I have a kid 3 years old and It is time to buy a SUV
    I would like to read opinions to make me decide which one I need to buy.
    These are the requirements I want from the car: "

    If you are considering more kids, I'd get a van instead of an SUV. Way more practical and fuel efficient for the room provided.
  • Personally, I just love my Mazda CX 5. Great combined highway/city mileage 28, worst mileage was 25.5. Lots of great options for the price, great handling compared to competition. Have 7,000 miles no problems. You should test drive one.
  • cuysecocuyseco Posts: 45
    Thank you for your opinions.
    I am thinking about Honda CRV...what do you think about this car?
  • sparkndutchsparkndutch Posts: 31
    edited September 2013
    Coming from a 25 yr old male in Los Angeles, I must say this SUV, really has a youthful and sporty look. I WILL be buying one (holding off til 2015 model) once the new year comes out ASAP.

    When I test drove the Mazda CX5 GT, it's very awesome, good enough for day to day driving, especially driving on the freeway in the 2.5 engine model! I did not even bother test driving the other vehicles such as (RAV4, CRV, Escape and etc) they look like an "older person" vehicle, plain looking to me...
    Not to sound too conceited but much rather show off/be seen in this Mazda than any other competitor in this class. So to other "young drivers" like myself, this SUV is the way to go.

    I have so many ideas and mods to install once I purchase the 2015 next year. Hello to every CX-5 owner btw =)
  • A relative recommended the Ford Escape. I was looking at 2011, 12, or 13 SUVs
    made by Ford, GM, or Chrysler because they generally cost less than similar Asian
    models. I just finished reading a lengthy review about the 2013 Ford Escape. There
    are four versions: S-SE-SEL-Escape Titanium. The reviewer described the horrors of
    "MyFordTouch" and a verbally abusive voice command system. He suggested the
    basic "S" model as the only choice that won't make you crazy!

    If possible, I'd like a 4-cylinder engine. The price of gas could double or triple in the
    the next five years. (If I find a great deal on a 6-cylinder, I'm not going to worry
    that much about the price of gas.)

    A decent roof rack is important. I ocassionally buy small quantities of lumber. SUVs
    with a square (slightly curved) roof seem to have the most functional racks. Many of
    the sharply curved roofs have "faux" racks that appear to be added as decoration,
    like old fashioned hood ornaments.

    If you know a lot about SUVs, I need your recommendation for a medium size SUV
    that doesn't suck gas like an elephant's trunk. It must have a usable roof rack.
    My sister is devoted to Honda, so buying a foreign or domestic SUV is ok with me.
  • Hello,

    I have a shoulder issue with my right shoulder and am looking for a compact SUV with a comfortable center console. I was hoping to get a Ford escape, but the center console does not extend far enough forward towards the steering will, so I cannot rest my arm on it comfortably while driving.

    We also tried driving a Chevrolet equinox, and surprisingly found the steering to be a bit more stiff than the Ford. I would also like easy steering (so that it's easy to turn the wheel with my hurt shoulder).

    Does anyone have any suggestions for a 2013 or 2014 compact SUV with easy steering and a comfortable center console armrest? Your help is greatly appreciated.

  • sparkndutchsparkndutch Posts: 31
    edited September 2013
    So I read your post and kinda confused. You want a medium size SUV, yet you looked at an Escape?

    Escape falls under SMALL CUV/SUV category. Your best bet is to look into the "small" category if you want stick with a 4cyl engine.

    If you want Medium that's like Honda Pilot, Ford Explorer, Toyota Highlander, Nissan Pathfinder. (Also others out there and most are all V6s, except for Toyota Highlander 4cyl & Hybrid)
  • tinycadontinycadon Posts: 287
    edited September 2013
    You think "Medium" SUVs are Pilots, Explorers, Highlanders and Pathfinders!!??!!?? What do you call a "Large" SUV, a Sherman Tank???
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