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Suzuki Grand Vitara vs Subaru Forester vs Hyundai Santa Fe vs Jeep Liberty vs Ford Escape vs Saturn



  • p0926p0926 Member Posts: 4,423
    I seriously doubt that you're going to find an AWD Escape Hybrid in a municpal or taxi fleet. In fact I'd be surprised if total production of the AWD version reached 10%.

  • scape2scape2 Member Posts: 4,123
    There is a name I recognize! Sure we did! You don't remember all those jabs from the Toyota/Honda crowd? I wouldn't call over 70,000 miles "short term" by the way. I used that Escape like an SUV if you remember. I feel pretty confindent to say it worked harder than many of the CRV/RAV4's out there. Now with the wifes Tribute V6 hitting about the 50,000 mile mark with again some great reliability, comfort and good service... ;)
  • thegraduatethegraduate Member Posts: 9,731
    There is a name I recognize! Sure we did! You don't remember all those jabs from the Toyota/Honda crowd? I wouldn't call over 70,000 miles "short term" by the way.

    Haha, when you put over 25,000 miles a year on a car, I do! ;) I know that I've never said a "Ford won't last" or anything like that! Heck, I've been trying to put my folks in a Taurus. Dad can't get past the chromey grill though. Oh well - it's a great value vehicle; maybe he'll like a Sable!
  • smudgejetsmudgejet Member Posts: 11
    My Escape (2005) is already toast....Decelerated from 65 to zero in about 8 feet. The Escape did a great job of protecting me. Now air bags are high on my list of new car features.

    I see the new Escape has side air bags. Tempting. :sick:
  • thegraduatethegraduate Member Posts: 9,731
    Oh no! I hope you (or anyone) were not hurt!

    The good thing is that there are lots of tempting options to choose from in this market, some are not included in this forum, however. The Subaru Forester is a Top Pick for safety, I think, something that you'd find worthwhile I believe. :)
  • smudgejetsmudgejet Member Posts: 11
    I have some sore ribs and a few cuts/scrapes. No broken bones.

    The other driver was able to run away, though eventually caught. The police report is not yet available.

    I have seen the Forester and I like it. It has virtually the same ground clearance as the Escape, slightly better MPG (4-cylinder AWD), better towing capacity, more horsepower and I can get it a 5-speed manual. I took a test drive, and found the interior to be acceptable and good visibility. I cannot afford a top of the line vehicle (Escape Hybrid or Turbo Forester) so I am looking at the "value" end of the lines.
  • thegraduatethegraduate Member Posts: 9,731
    Many people who have driven a 4-cyl Escape find it anemic when compared to the 4-cyl competition. And, there's nothing wrong with buying from the lower trim levels. You get the same basic vehicle as people that sometimes pay 50% more! :)
  • alamocityalamocity Member Posts: 680
    The 09 Escape seems to have addressed the lack of power in previous versions and fuel economy should improve slightly as well.
  • thegraduatethegraduate Member Posts: 9,731
    Yep - for now, since they are needing a replacement immediately I presume because of the car accident, the 09 Escape is moot. If it isn't here, it's hard to choose it for purchase! :P
  • jeepboy08jeepboy08 Member Posts: 49
    Well, I honestly don;t know if this is the right forum to be asking this question, but I will anyway.

    I am looking for a new exhaust on my libert (3.7L V6), but I am torn between the 40 series flowmaster, and the 60 series flowmaster. If you guys could help with answering which exhaust system would work better in the long run, that'd be great. :]
  • thegraduatethegraduate Member Posts: 9,731
    Good news for Suzuki, which outside of the SX4, seems to be fading fast here in America.
  • lostlost Member Posts: 64
    Check auto Trader for new 09 Escapes, most dealers have one or two, some have 5 0r 6 including hybrids.
  • ateixeiraateixeira Member Posts: 72,587
    The engine should be a nice upgrade. I test drove the old V6 and it was neither quick nor smooth.

    Escape now gets the 2.3l, right? Is it the PZEV 2.3l that used to go in the Focus?
  • explorerx4explorerx4 Member Posts: 18,927
    '09 escape has 2.5 I-4 and 3.0 V-6, plus 6 speed autos, now.
    2023 Ford Explorer ST, 91 Mustang GT vert
  • ateixeiraateixeira Member Posts: 72,587
    2.5l, cool, I stand corrected.

    I just got back from Brazil, and there they sell a Ford EcoSport, a tiny little crossover based on the Fiesta. It looks like an Escape that was left in the dryer too long and shrunk! :D

    Found a pic:

  • explorerx4explorerx4 Member Posts: 18,927
    i can't tell the scale, but from the windshiled back, it sure looks like an escape!
    2023 Ford Explorer ST, 91 Mustang GT vert
  • ateixeiraateixeira Member Posts: 72,587
    They're pretty tiny, think Suzuki SX4 sized, only taller.

    It's like...

    Honey, I Shrunk the Escape!

  • mellou1mellou1 Member Posts: 2
    in need of a truck. gmc has good deals on their pricing. but still have loan on vue.?lossing $ for trade in.. 1st x new owner... what to do ? or just get a used cheap work truck ?
  • ateixeiraateixeira Member Posts: 72,587
    What is the loan balance and the residual value? Ask in the Real-world trade-in values thread to find out what you could get for your Vue.

    If you are upside down, I would wait, if possible.

    Consider keeping the Vue and getting a beater truck, used. Values have plunged with the high gas prices.
  • mellou1mellou1 Member Posts: 2
    we have half the loan pd in 3 yrs. another 3 will be pd. still have xx warr. & maint.package on it. ? trade in possible half the price ? unsure.. thinking of getting 4 or 6 cy. gm still has aniv. sale still on. ? unsure cheap truck would cost more in repairs..
  • scape2scape2 Member Posts: 4,123
    to get a new 2.5 4cyl producing about 177HP. However, the new 2.5 will get BETTER MPG than the 2.3 with the option of a 6spd automatic. The 3.0 will get a power boost to 240HP and will come standard with the 6spd automatic. Plus, the new 6cyl will offer better MPG too! Ford is listening and delivering.
    The wifes 04 Mazda Tribute ES V6 is approaching 56,000 trouble free miles. We are waiting for the 09/10 Tributes to hit showrooms and then we will test drive a 4cyl model with the 6spd automatic. :)
  • ateixeiraateixeira Member Posts: 72,587
    I read about that, too, and it's a huge improvement for the 4 cylinder powertrain.

    I was sort of expecting that with the redesign, but I guess they redid the powertrain a year or so later. Better late than never.
  • blizzard4blizzard4 Member Posts: 2
    Well ! I believe your right and I did by a Santa Fe for my wife, She loves it !
    I would have added the hyundai is using the Borg-Warner all wheel drive system

    Given high marks by all the reviewers I have researched and read
    many reviews claim it equal or better then subaru's drive system
    please do your own research don't believe me please .

    far more quite, better fit and finish the most.
    we have taken the Santa Fe high into the rocky mountains in storm conditions 45+ miles per hours winds, heavy rain hail, 2 +inches of water on the road
    it performed perfectly with out a flaw
    MY wife had 2 Toyota Prius before the new Hyundai, :)
    gas mileage is exactly what the window sticker claimed
  • ateixeiraateixeira Member Posts: 72,587
    You can't just list a supplier name and declare an AWD system superior and call it a day, without even providing a reference.

    Here's a reference:

    They say it is "designed to meet the growing front-wheel-drive-based crossover, sport-utility and passenger car vehicle markets", which means it's not built from the ground up, but rather made to add on to an existing FWD platform. Compromise from the get-go.

    They also say "Born from BorgWarner's experience in producing over 1,000,000 AWD clutches since 1998" yet Subaru has produced many more than that for the US market alone, and the US is not even Subaru's #1 market. So Subaru has much more experience than what they're bragging about.

    Lastly, they write:

    the NexTrac® system is controlled by an ECU that manages driving torque and is able to detect loss of traction to prevent wheel slippage, assuring instant response in nearly every driving situation

    Clearly that is a reactive system. They argue it reacts instantly, but that's still not the same as providing full-time traction 100% of the time, nor can it be proactive if it's waiting for a detection of loss of traction.

    Sounds like an improvement over the old system Hyundai used, which could not even use the traction control and AWD systems simultaneously, but this is far from matching Subaru's much greater experience with full-time pro-active systems.
  • explorerx4explorerx4 Member Posts: 18,927
    bubbled up.
    i would like to point out that having an 04 escape v6 and an 09 also, the mileage for the 09 is much better.
    over 75+k with the 04, it has averaged 19.2 mpg. the 09 with 40 more horsepower, is averaging 22.7. that translates to about a 15% improvement already!
    the 04 is part time 4WD and the 09 is full time AWD.
    2023 Ford Explorer ST, 91 Mustang GT vert
  • xostnotxostnot Member Posts: 232
    Anyone sweating the details of fwd/awd slip&grip systems should also bear in mind the Grand Vitara's full-time AWD. With a low range commonly installed.

    I'd be interested in hearing how a pro-active traction control system works.
  • ateixeiraateixeira Member Posts: 72,587
    I'd be interested in hearing how a pro-active traction control system works

    Happy to...

    Subaru has several AWD systems, at least 4 I can think of off the top of my head, so let me first specify that I am talking about their VTD (variable torque distribution).

    How is it proactive?

    VTD takes several inputs, including throttle position, for starters. So when you hit the throttle, the VTD can adjust the torque spread pro-actively, even while the engine revs up, well before tire spin occurs.

    Borg Warner's web site stated pretty clearly that after slippage occurs, it can react instantly, but that's still reactive, after you've lost traction.

    The coefficient of friction of a slipping tire is much lower than a tire that has not yet slipped. Subaru's VTD can spread power evenly and potentially prevent that traction loss before it ever happens.

    Another example:

    VTD also uses all the inputs from the stability control system, including yaw sensors, steering angle sensors, wheel speed sensor, steering position sensor, lateral G sensor, longitudinal G sensor, and brake pressure sensor.

    So let's look at a fairly common occurence: drop-throttle oversteer.

    You enter a turn a bit too fast in a reactive AWD crossover, which is in 100% FWD mode because you have traction (for now). Suddenly you let off the gas to slow down, and all of the engine braking is being done by the front wheels alone.

    VTD wouldn't be in FWD to begin with, but the throttle position sensor would let it know you let off the gas abruptly. The longitudinal G sensor tells it you are slowing down, and the lateral G sensor tells it your are turning. To top that off, the steering position sensor tells it your intended path, so it would have shifted power to the rear so the engine braking would not compromise your stability.

    If all that fails, only then does the stability control kick in and apply the brakes. Subaru's philosophy is that the AWD should act first.

    Similarly, if you're going down a steep hill, it would know most of the weight is on the front tires and could shift power bias to the front. Going up that same hill, power would go to the rear axle.

    The Borg Warner system would try to climb that hill in FWD first, and once it failed, the rear axle would kick in and try to save it.

    The Subaru is smarter and would have known that already.


    That's VTD, if we look at Viscous Couplings they default to 50/50 and react from there. So while they are reactive, at least the power split starts out balanced. Still better than 100% FWD reacting and sending some power to the rear axle.
  • ateixeiraateixeira Member Posts: 72,587
    Suzuki deserves kudos for offering a low-range, very rare in this segment, perhaps the only one?

    Plus you could get a V6+manual trans combination. Very nice.

    I test drove one a while back, before they updated the engines. I think back then it was on-demand part-time 4WD, I don't recall.
  • rshollandrsholland Member Posts: 19,788
    I've always liked the Grand Vitara, and yes, it's the only small SUV (discounting the Wrangler) that offers a low range. As far as I know, the current generation GV always offered full-time AWD, but with (or without) a low range, depending on trim level.

  • ateixeiraateixeira Member Posts: 72,587
    Back then the V6 really only offered 4 banger power. They've fixed that, so I should go take another test drive.

    Any excuse to go look at new vehicles. :D
  • xostnotxostnot Member Posts: 232
    ateixeira, thanks for the sensible explanation. I don't know if the GV's system is that sophisticated. Seems to me it would be cheap to do, since all it takes is some extra software. Suzuki does license the traction/stability control system from Mercedes. But the Subaru system can't bias power side-to-side on the same axle, can it? I know some high end suv's/cars can do that.

    There is another cuv that has a low range. The Patriot can be spec'd with a single low gear on a cvt, plus raised suspension and skidplates. Were it not a generally inferior vehicle, it would make a serious alternative to the GV.

    The GV's 2.7L V6 engine may be underrated, or biased more for durability than power. On a recent trip over the major highway with the biggest climbs in North America, and in over an hour's driving over many climbs, it gradually became clear our GV, even with 3 people and full load of cargo, could outclimb a brand new Highlander. Hill after hill, it became obvious they were racing us uphill. On the last big one we left them behind at 120kph, and I still didn't have it floored. That's enough power for me.

    On that same highway and similar ones in winter conditions so bad most people are either down to 50kph or stopped, the GV can travel in control far faster than virtually every other type of vehicle. Much of this is due to having a perfect weight distribution of 25% on each tire. The Rav4's, CRV's, and frankly, the Subarus, creep along with the fwd sedans.
  • explorerx4explorerx4 Member Posts: 18,927
    how often are you planning to use low range? 99.99% will never need it.
    2023 Ford Explorer ST, 91 Mustang GT vert
  • ateixeiraateixeira Member Posts: 72,587
    the Subaru system can't bias power side-to-side on the same axle, can it?

    No, as far as I know only Acura and BMW do that as of yet.

    Acura's SH-AWD does that, but only on the rear axle, and only part-time. The basic system is still FWD-based. So it has pros and cons.

    BMW's active differential works on the rear axle but I think it works full-time. It's the front axle that is only engaged part of the time, when needed.

    The 185hp V6 felt adequate when I test drove it, but not quick. It may be tuned more for torque than horsepower (edit: 184 lb-ft, so not really), but Toyota's V6 makes 269hp. The Highlander is bigger and heavier, so I woudn't really compare those.

    Suzuki updated it, though, right? Isn't it over 200 now? (edit: per Wiki it's 164hp for the 4 banger and 221 for the V6, a little less than each Subaru engine offers)

    Plus with the low range the mechanical advantage will let it climb just about anything it's ground clearance will allow it to.

    Subaru engines vary a lot. Our PZEV Forester makes 175hp, but it's light for its class. You can get a turbo Forester or an H6 Outback if you want more power, both well over 200hp.

    To me the Liberty is too trucky to be considered a CUV, it's a regular SUV IMHO. GV stands alone as a car-like CUV with a low-range.
  • xostnotxostnot Member Posts: 232
    Even fewer people would need a bulldozer, or a car with 500 horsepower. I agree most car users don't have any need for a low range (not to mention a lot of other stuff people get on their cars these days), and I don't think Suzuki expects more than a small percentage of car buyers to consider the Grand Vitara.

    But for those like us who do use the low range regularly, it allows us to go places where only a low range will get you. In places not quite so difficult, using the low range reduces wear and tear and damage. In some cases, like descending dangerous slippery mountainous logging roads in the winter, using engine braking in low range, as opposed to using the brakes, has proven to be an important safety advantage.

    For those who may occasionally find low range useful, like going to cottage country, the low range may be worth having for the small increase in cost and weight to have it.
  • rshollandrsholland Member Posts: 19,788
    Gotta remember most people who buy SUVs (and many who comment here) live in more urban/suburban areas where low-range use is rare. If I lived in a rural area—or especially if I lived near the beach—having a low range would be especially useful.

    We used to vacation a lot at the Outer Banks of North Carolina. If I lived there or near there, a low-range equipped SUV or pickup would be a must-have for me, as beach driving is done by the "natives" all the time.

    Also remember that the Grand Vitara is a world-car, so in other markets (Australia, Africa, Mid-East, Asia, South America, Polynesia, etc.), where roads are often non-existent or miserable at best, low range is often used.

  • explorerx4explorerx4 Member Posts: 18,927
    you don't have to convince me. i have a vehicle with low range and have needed it a few times. i went places i would not have gone without it.
    it helped me to not look stupid when buried up the axles in the sand at the outer banks with 40+ lbs of air in the tires. i didn't realize the locals drive around with their tires at low pressure all the time. :blush:
    2023 Ford Explorer ST, 91 Mustang GT vert
  • ateixeiraateixeira Member Posts: 72,587
    The sign at the beach I drove on recommended 18psi. Worked well for me. :shades:

    The problem is where to air up when you leave. Luckily there was a station near by.
  • ateixeiraateixeira Member Posts: 72,587
    Just read about this new addition to the S4 and S5 models, so they're catching up to Acura and BMW.

    I'd still pick the BMW or Audi system over Acura's, both of which are rear-biased.
  • kdshapirokdshapiro Member Posts: 5,751
    Low range is very tough on the tranny because it locks the diffs.I would rather have more brake wear than more tranny and drivetrain wear. My former Jeep had quadra-drive. It could send 100% torque to any one wheel during slip conditions. I used low range once, but didn't really need it.
  • ateixeiraateixeira Member Posts: 72,587
    Yet another such system - I read that Cadillac has one for the new SRX, supposedly. Haven't read about how it works, yet.
  • dwesterdwester Member Posts: 2
    You are lucky. I just replaced the entire drive-shaft at a cost of over $1,500. GM would not cover it. I will never buy another G.M. product again. All my life I have always bought G.M. but never again. They really have gone to the dogs. They do NOT build a quality vehicle any more. Buy American? I would if they could build a decent vehicle! And don't diss me because of this comment. I am 60 years old and have owned many vehicles....all American built, but never again..we have lost the auto market due to low quality, high cost and horrible service.
  • dwesterdwester Member Posts: 2
    :lemon: I hate to write this but I feel I have to. I am 60 years old and have always bought G.M vehicles, one was a Ford. I have a Saturn Vue now and that vehicle is the worst I have ever owned. Sad to say American built vehicles no longer have the quality they used to. On top of poor quality, they are too expensive and the service is horrible. I am a Vietnam Vet so don't even question my patriotism. The bottom line is that American built vehicles SUCK. My next vehicle will be a Toyota or any thing not U.S. built. Sorry, but things have changed and I need to change with this reality.
  • ateixeiraateixeira Member Posts: 72,587
    I'm pretty sure the RAV4 is built in North America as well. The Forester is built exclusively in Gunma, Japan, FWIW.
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