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Crossover SUV Comparison



  • volkovvolkov Posts: 1,306
    I'd go for the Rav4 if you want the excellent, high fuel economy, 3.5L V6 with 6-speed automatic, since it has great acceleration and smoothness. If you go 4-cylinder, the Subaru is my choice.

    I don't see the big mileage difference
    Forester X gets 20/26
    Rav4 - 6 gets 19/26
    Forester XT 19/24

    Seems a dead heat really unless you are driving very high mileage. There is no doubt that the V6 and 5EAT in the Toyo are a very smooth combination. If it is only about FE and you don't need AWD then the FWD Rav becomes an even better option. If you really need AWD the Subaru set-up is much smoother in loose traction than the Rav.
    Another thing to consider is the Rav's swing gate. Will you be doing much loading of the trunk while parallel parked? If so, I'd avoid it like the plague. Not such a big deal if you are always in a parking lot situation, but it is still heavy, and my boys couldn't reliably close it. We know folks who own the Rav and love the vehicle with the exception of the hatch.
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    Yes, we got a 2009 Limited PZEV, which makes 175hp. EPA says 20/26 mpg but we're getting *much* better than that, more like 22-25 around town and 27-30+ highway.

    Square front cup holders are very dumb but the vehicle has given me several pleasant surprises:

    * mileage better than expected
    * throttle/engine is responsive with no lag at all
    * LED lighting in center bin, console, and even rear cup holders
    * both lights and radio fade out rather than cutting off abruptly
    * cruise control says "cruise" and "cruise set" so no guessing
    * fade the dash lights and the trip computer and radio also fade, nice
    * steering wheel has all audio and cruise buttons, even a mute button
    * hood struts lift the hood for you

    We liked it when we bought it but since then every week or so I discover one new feature that I like that I didn't even know about.


    1. square cup holders are made for another planet, where drinks come in square cups.

    2. passenger seat is too low, basically matches the driver's seat at the very lowest setting.

    3. It's not mine. It's my wife's. :D

    I'd ask for a 5th ratio but to be brutally honest this transmissions is actually better then the 5EAT in our Sienna, which is the same powertrain the RAV4 gets.

    Subaru is now selling a diesel Forester in europe with a 6 speed manual - sweeeet!
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    I think those are 3 good choices, each with pros and cons.

    All the Santa Fe needs is a more fuel efficient drivetrain and it would have made my short list for sure. For us gas mileage was high on our list and that knocked it out, but there's not much else to complain about. Warranty is a plus. In Brazil Hyundai sells these for more than $90,000 USD and people happily pay that much, so it's a great value with USA pricing. Just get a gas card that has rebates.

    The RAV4 has arguably the best powertrain, at least on paper. I like the 2GR-FE engine enough that I bought a Sienna with that mill. The transmission is only good, though, not great, with no manual controls. I found visibility was poor while backing up. You can get one without the spare on the tailgate, but that forces in to the miserable Run Flats that give Sienna owners nightmares. Plus - that tail gate still opens the wrong way, blocking any curb side loading. This is pure cost cutting because it's the correct way in their home market. Best engine but I was shopping for a complete vehicle, not just a great V6.

    Forester was our choice. Right away people will say the 4EAT is a con, but honestly, it's better than our Sienna's automatic, plus SportShift gives you manual control. It is smaller than the Santa Fe and RAV4. Visibility is best in class, and so is mileage for the 4 banger. The XT is very quick but prefers premium fuel, and while it's technically not required I think you should just get the base engine if you really want a low fuel bill. PZEV is an option and you gain 5hp, plus you can actually still get a manual transmission, the only 1 of the 3 that offers one, with the base engine.

    Bottom line - I felt the Forester is the best compact crossover, period. RAV4 and Santa Fe both try to act big, or at least mid-sized, offering tiny little 3rd rows, but in all honestly if you really need 3 rows you'll be better served by the bigger crossovers often discussed here (CX9, Lambdas, etc.)
  • volkov said: "I don't see the big mileage difference
    Forester X gets 20/26
    Rav4 - 6 gets 19/26
    Forester XT 19/24 "

    The point is that you get the fuel economy with the performance in the V6 Rav4. Getting a 4-banger in the sluggish Forrester makes you feel cheated on fuel economy compared to the V6 Rav4.
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    We own a 4 banger Forester (one "r" BTW) and it doesn't feel sluggish at all. It's not fast but actually it's pretty responsive to throttle inputs in normal driving conditions.

    The RAV4 V6 will have plenty of reserve power, so if the buyer plans to haul a big payload or tow a trailer, it will be the better choice.

    We have that exact same V6 in our van.
  • For people who like 0-60 in 6.5 sec, the Rav4 V6 is a fun rocket ship. "Adequate" power is just not good enough for some folks. I like the Rav4 V6 because it sips fuel and drag races like a sports car. The Forester sips fuel about the same, and is not very fast. Also, 4-bangers are not as smoothe.
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    Best engine, no doubt. That V6 is both quick and efficient. Amazing. You're preaching to the choir, here. That is what led me to my Sienna.

    It's other parts of the vehicle that I had issues with.

    Poor rear visibility. Look at the massive D-pillar, and high rear window.

    Wrong-way rear gate blocks the curb (duh!).

    Spare on the rear blocks the view even more, and even for 2009 to get rid of those you have to accept an even bigger problem - run-flats. This poor guy is the latest victim:

    The RAV4's interior is also half a step behind the others in its class, and well behind the Sienna IMHO.

    Plus when you evaluate the handling, body roll, AWD system, etc, that's where Subaru really wins.

    Who was it, Lotus? One of those exotic brands is building a new car and they are using the 2GR-FE V6 engine. That's no surprise. In the RAV4, it's a great engine looking for a better host vehicle.
  • About the Rav4 not having the best handling, I wonder if Toyota is really deficient in that area in multiple models. I rented an Avalon with the Rav4's 3.5L V6 engine for a few days about a year ago. It was very fast. However, the steering felt loose, and body roll might have been a little excessive. I've read some magazines discussing the deficient handling/steering feel of the Camry and Sienna as well.
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    I would not say it's good or bad, it's really a matter of preference.

    Toyota simply puts a priority on isolation and comfort. Period. The job of the suspension is to absorb bumps and keep the vehicle on its intended path, quietly. Isolation is a priority over feedback, so the steering is novacaine-numb.

    I like my Sienna but I'll admit, the steering has less feedback than my Nintendo Wii Remote. Seriously. None.

    Some critics say it's too light, that's actuall not true - it is well weighted. It's just not connected, the feel. Like you operate a joystick or a video game, one without the force feedback feature.

    This is good in some ways - you don't feel jolts, speed bumps, irregularities in the road. This can reduce fatigue. Your passengers nap peacefully in quiet comfort.

    Ok, what do you trade-off for that quiet isolation?

    Feel and feedback. You can't tell when the tires are about to break traction, they just do, then the intrusive traction control nanny raises the red flag and ends the party. There will be no exceeding this limit, and we're not going to tell you where it is, nor when you are getting close.


    That's the best way I can put it.

    Funny thing is, ultimately they do handle well, albeit with more lean. Grip is fine. It's just you have no feedback to know what the tires are doing. True for the brakes as well, even for the throttle-by-wire for that matter.

    That's just how Toyotas are. Isolated.

    Basically think BMW-style feedback, where you can see the limits coming, even feel the texture of the road, then think the exact opposite. That's Toyota.

    Note that in the C&D comparo the Sienna actually matched the lateral grip of the Odyssey, but read the text of the article and you'd never know.

    Sorry if my explanation is hard to understand. A Toyota can be driven fast, perhaps even just as fast as car B, but it will not really reward you with driving fun the way a (insert your favorite car here) will.

    So, why did I get one? Because the Sienna is a phenomenal vehicle for the other 7 passengers. Plus you don't drive your family vehicle the way you'd drive a BMW.
  • I took the Forester XT for a test drive today. The interior blows the Rav4 away- it has a moonroof, 6 cd changer, radio controls on the steeling wheel, compass on the mirror etc. I am worried about the premium fuel recommendation (which btw the dealer didn't mention). What damage would be done if I filled only with regular?

    The lease price I got was exactly the same as the 6cyl rav. Actually one quote I got was substantially lower but the reviews for this dealership are very negative so I have a feeling they won't honor that quote:
    36 month lease/ 15k miles
    $0 down / $337 which includes tax.

    The other quote I got seems more realistic:
    $0 down / $339+ tax
    Does that price seem fair? I'm in the Denver area. thanks!
  • If premium is only recommended, and not required, then it will run OK on regular 85 octane gas (Denver high altitude octane) just fine. You will just lose about 5-10% power or so.
  • Note that in the C&D comparo the Sienna actually matched the lateral grip of the Odyssey, but read the text of the article and you'd never know.

    Sorry if my explanation is hard to understand. A Toyota can be driven fast, perhaps even just as fast as car B, but it will not really reward you with driving fun the way a (insert your favorite car here) will.

    So, why did I get one? Because the Sienna is a phenomenal vehicle for the other 7 passengers. Plus you don't drive your family vehicle the way you'd drive a BMW.

    For those who only have one vehicle, the Odyssey is a good compromise. It doesn't ride as quietly as the Toyota or as smoothly either, but instead, its a lot like a big Accord; a benefit to many (especially me, an Accord driver :)).

    How many miles do you have on the 'yota now, a-t?
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    tigerlily3: residuals for the Subaru Forester are fantastic. Something like 59% for 3 years 45k miles, 61% for 3 years 36k miles, depending on the model. Ask car_man, but they're best in class. Most competitors are around 52% or less.

    I would stick with premium fuel, though. They recommend it for a reason. See if you can get Costco gas, or get a Shell gas card to offset the difference.

    The XT gets taller gearing, so at highway speeds the RPMs are kept low, lower in fact than the base engine. I believe Toyota does the same with the V6 (taller than the 2.4l 4 banger). That's why you don't see a big mileage penalty in either case.

    Our Sienna is close to 14k miles now but it's in the shop because a Chipmunk chewed up our wiring harness. :cry:

    Our Forester only has 1400 miles or so.

    We like them both, each definitely has its own strengths. We plan to keep both cars for the very long term. I'm quite pleased with our fleet, actually, probably the most satisfied I've ever been with my cars.

    Our 3rd car is a 1993 Miata and it just keeps on going. I'm thinking about trading it, but I ask myself why? It's perfectly fine. It is the slowest of our 3 cars, but it's just for my commutes.

    Miata is a great city car.

    Sienna makes a great highway/trip car.

    Forester is a good compromise if you do both. :shades:
  • America's economy is bad now. Food price is going high, factories are closing and poeple are losing their jobs. What I want to say is, try to buy American made if you can. For the ones were born in this country and the ones who moved in, do it if you think you've been having good life here. I am not begging money for American auto manufactures, I am just a normal immigrant from mainland China and I believe more or less, we've affected by the economy situation, especially people around us are losing their jobs. So move on, give American a chance, and leave ourselves chances.
  • volkovvolkov Posts: 1,306
    Well lessee, if the recent poster buys a Hyundai Sante Fe, it will be built by Americans in Alabama. Whilst many GM vehicles are manufactured in Mexico. (I will leave it to your own politics to decide if that is un-American or not)
    Subaru produces Tribeca, Legacy and Outback vehicles built by Americans in Indiana.
    The country of origin for a manufacturer now has less and less importance to the economy of that country and its workers than ever before. If people are buying more Camrys over Malibus, that's bad for workers in Detroit, but good for the workers in Indiana where Toyota produces them for the NA market. If you are feeling left out, buy the stock and bring the profit back home too.
  • volkov said: "The country of origin for a manufacturer now has less and less importance to the economy of that country and its workers than ever before. "

    You are just counting who assembles the vehicles in factories, not where they were engineered. I am a mechanical engineer, and I can tell you, the best jobs are the ones where the vehicle is engineered, not necessarily just the factory jobs. Both are important, but don't you think a large number of high-paying $90,000 per year jobs in vehicle engineering are important? I do. Do you know how much income tax is collected on those income levels compared to lower-paying factory jobs? My family pays 4 times the income tax to the Feds/state than a factory worker's family, due to non-proportional progressive tax rates. ( As a side note, I once saw a county refuse construction of a new microchip factory in Oregon because the jobs were all low-paying factory jobs and they could not collect enough state/county income tax to pay for the huge influx of low-paying worker's public services at those low income levels!)

    That being said, I understand John Q. Public just looking at the best performing, best value vehicle for them personally, without noticing who makes it. It is market competition. Just give American-designed vehicles a fair shake. Those vehicles are most Ford, GM-brands, Chrysler/Dodge. Japanese makes do some engineering here, but not the toughest engineering work in the U.S., mostly just styling exercises and corporate espionage ( I personally know of one Honda Research Labs engineer in Colorado whose job it is to steal any available tech from the U.S. aerospace and auto industry for possible applications in Japanese Hondas, but that is another novel.)

    By the way, for myself and many other mechanical engineers I know, we are proud of vehicles such as the Ford Freestyle/500/Taurus and Ford F150s, the two vehicles I own, as thoroughly engineered and tough competition. Very well built vehicles, especially for the money (no expensive BMW comparisons pa-leeze!).
  • nimiminimimi Posts: 249
    There are, however, instances where the vehicle is engineered, designed, and built in the USA (e.g., Toyota Avalon).
  • I knew I would see some replies like this.

    My concern is that money goes to which headquarter office and who controls that amount of profit. For example same American workers, but different bosses, to me it is a big difference; Getting paid by an American boss is different from a Japanese, there are also many other aspects would be affected by that....When amount of money belongs to someone and in his pocket, it doesn't matter where he is traveling to.
  • Tigerlily3

    Also keep in mind that if you use regular gas you will also loose gas mileage. But what is critical since the XT is a high performance engine you may damage the turbo and you could void the warranty.

    I have owned a 2001 Forester and you will discover it is a solid well build vehicle. IMO it has one of the best AWD systems in the industry. Just ask any of the members on this board that owns a subaru what they think.

    best of luck to you on your choice.
  • Please take this political discussion elsewhere, this is a wrong forum for it. Next you guys are going to tell me what to think...
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    I agree, take that crap to the Domestic vs. Import threads.
  • Ok got it. it's not even that much more to put in premium for the amount of driving I do.
    Thanks for all your help!
  • tidestertidester Posts: 10,059
    The topic is comparing crossover SUVs. We are not comparing political theories, imports vs. domestic or pet conspiracy theories. Let's stick to the designated topic. :)

    tidester, host
    SUVs and Smart Shopper
  • Might comparing them take into account who they were designed and built by? Patriotism is a motivation for people comparing vehicles. Granted, product attributes may be the deciding factor for some who just don't care. People need to make up their own mind about who they want to buy a product from, regardless of pressure from people who pretend the world is simple and level.
  • tidestertidester Posts: 10,059
    Patriotism is a motivation for people comparing vehicles.

    That may be so but patriotism is still not the topic here. I think most people know where the cars are being built and can weigh the domestic versus import factor for themselves. Clearly, there may issues regarding who is building the vehicles, say Toyota vs. GM vs. BMW but the issue here is not Japan vs. U.S. vs. Germany etc. It's CUV vs. CUV.

    tidester, host
    SUVs and Smart Shopper
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    Also, this is the World wide web, not the America wide web. ;)
  • "Also, this is the World wide web, not the America wide web."
    ateixeira, You can be patriotic toward any country of your own choosing. I'm not restricting you or anybody. I personally know of one person who will choose the CX-9 over the Acadia simply due to the fact that the CX-9 is Japanese. Since both vehicles are good ones, in this case, they can't go wrong.

    Of course, nothing today equals the combination of roominess, handling, and fuel economy as my '05 Freestyle, including the current TaurusX (Freestyle descendant) that gets worse fuel economy in the same body. Smaller CUVs get worse or equal gas mileage as mine. To me, the fact that it is a Ford is icing on the cake. In the end, most of us will take the best vehicle for our needs/wants and just live with the country-of-origin issue if we don't like it. With the Freestyle, I didn't contribute to the trade deficit at least.
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    Not too many crossovers sold here are made in Brazil. ;)

    Ford makes the EcoSport there, though, but it's not sold here.
  • Besides the EcoSport, Brazil will be making crossovers and other vehicles soon. They already have Embraer, an aircraft manufacturer, and Brazil also just discovered a huge quantity of oil off the coast, so money will be pouring in to help an auto manufacturer build another plant there.

    Does Ford market the Freestyle/TaurusX in Brazil? That EcoSport looks like it would do well in the U.S., similar to Ford's Escape, a least a little bit. Wikipedia says the EcoSport is selling well inside Brazil. A lot of countries like Australia I know, and maybe Brazil, place a lot of value on body-on-frame tougher vehicles like what Jeep does in the U.S. instead of the expensive unit-body vehicles.
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    No, I think it would be too big to do much volume there.

    The Fiesta does well, and the Focus. The Fusion is very low volume but it's offered. That gives you an idea what's in demand, mostly subcompacts and compacts.

    The EcoSport was a break-out hit, though. It's the best-selling "utilitario", which basically means any thing that isn't a car. It's based on the Fiesta, so it's pretty tiny. It looks like a scaled down Escape.

    I think a crossover the size of an Escape would stand a chance, but the T-X would just be too big and costly.

    I did the math last time I visited, and gasoline comes out to roughly $6.12 per gallon. Diesel is just $4.83 per, but it's not the low-sulfur variety.

    They sell Ethanol for just $4.14 per gallon, so vehicles capable of running on flex-fuel, i.e. gas or ethanol, are in demand now.

    It's a very different market, obviously. Cars are priced much higher, as is the fuel, so you can choose between two sizes: small and smaller. ;)
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