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Compact SUVs
Old 02-25-2016, 03:38 PM   #1
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Compact SUVs

Did some checking via Google here, but most threads were outdated. DW needs a new vehicle, and we've settled on the compact SUV class for a variety of reasons. She's petite and I'm average sized, so we don't want nor need a big SUV. I think we've narrowed it down to the following four options:

Honda HRV
BMW X1
Subaru Crosstrek
Fiat 500x

We've also looked at and liked:

Mini Countryman (smaller capacity, prefer the 500x in the really sub-compact size)
Mercedes GLA (smaller, reliability issues with the brand)

We've also looked at:

Lexus NX 200t (don't care for the style, price tag, etc.)
Mazda CX-3 (less useful capacity, CX-5 is larger than we want)
Infiniti QX50 (poor gas mileage)
Hyundai Tucson (general meh)

We didn't look at Nissans, Audis, Range Rovers, Kia, etc. for various reasons.

Things that are important for this:

- Must be able to comfortably fit a car seat in the back seat (in case kiddos happen).
- Good gas mileage, preferably 25+ combined.
- AWD availability
- Adequate storage capacity, perhaps with seats folded.
- Heated front seats (ha!).
- Reliability.
- Style.
- Pricing (value - we're willing to pay a bit more for a significant upgrade in comfort/performance if it's warranted. Probably absolute cap at $40k, hoping to be under).

With the Honda, we'll probably wait until the 2017s come out in May/June to see if they upgrade the engine and fix the climate controls (the touch screen is balky and awkward).

The others are good as they are in 2016 models. Time frame for purchase is this summer.

Any thoughts from owners or other shoppers welcome/desired on any of the listed vehicles. We're open to taking another look! Thanks!
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Old 02-25-2016, 04:15 PM   #2
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We really like our ford C-max hybrid. Ticks all the boxes (including leather heated seats in SE trim!) except the 4wd option. With the current low gas prices hybrids can be bought much more cheaply than just a little while ago.
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Old 02-25-2016, 04:23 PM   #3
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Originally Posted by nash031 View Post
I think we've narrowed it down to the following four options:

Honda HRV
BMW X1
Subaru Crosstrek
Fiat 500x
Did you find a significant difference between the size and "feel" of the Honda HRV vs the CR-V? There's virtually no difference in the mileage (1 MPG), and there's considerably more room (esp front legroom and space behind the back seat) in the CR-V.
Between the two, I'd go for the CR-V now because 1) it's just as economical 2) has been around long enough to get the bugs out 3) still feels "compact" 4) has enough mass and crumple room to be a safer vehicle if hit. 5) car seat in the back is going to fit better with the front seats in a comfortable position. We have a 2011 CR-V and think it is great.
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Old 02-25-2016, 04:35 PM   #4
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I'm a true blue CR-V owner (I'm on my third one), so that's my bias.

But DW needed a new car recently and she spent nearly two months in the research phase, examining the specs online and test driving her short list (5 or 6 small SUVs) at local dealers.

Despite all my recommendations to get a CR-V like mine, she fell in love with the HR-V. Bought it about a month and a half ago, and she absolutely loves it.

When I asked her what made her mind up, she said it was absolutely the way it drove. Apparently, the handling is pretty remarkable for this class of car. I haven't driven it yet, so I can't offer my tuppence, but DW thinks she got a great car.
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Old 02-25-2016, 04:38 PM   #5
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Shameless plug here for the Forester, I've had about 5 of them.
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Old 02-25-2016, 05:09 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nash031 View Post

Things that are important for this:

- Must be able to comfortably fit a car seat in the back seat (in case kiddos happen).
- Good gas mileage, preferably 25+ combined.
- AWD availability
- Adequate storage capacity, perhaps with seats folded.
- Heated front seats (ha!).
- Reliability.
- Style.
- Pricing (value - we're willing to pay a bit more for a significant upgrade in comfort/performance if it's warranted. Probably absolute cap at $40k, hoping to be under).
I've had at least one SUV in my fleet for the past 10 years and have liked them all. Zero problems with any of them. The only mid size SUV I've had that I think might meet your requirements has been the Jeep Grand Cherokee. You can get one well equipped for under 40k but if you really want to load it up you can spend up to 70k for more stuff, especially if you want ultra high performance. (of course if you go ultra high performance you won't get that 25mpg)
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Old 02-25-2016, 05:46 PM   #7
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We are also pretty happy with our CR-V, but since we buy cars so seldom, I don't have a good basis for comparison. Others might be as good/better, but it fit our needs at the time (2011).

A couple other points based on a little research I've done for replacing my 2000 Volvo S40 (it has OMY syndrome!):

The HR-V sounded interesting, but I read a terrible review of its touchscreen interface. I'm far from a Luddite, but I really do prefer knobs and switches over menus for some things, and if the UI is bad, that's a deal killer for me. So check that out carefully.

I've also considered the VW Golf Sportwagen (non-diesel version). Have not test driven one, but the reviews look good. But smaller than a CR-V (which is what I want, since we already have the Cr-V).

http://www.vw.com/models/

-ERD50
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Old 02-25-2016, 05:56 PM   #8
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Thanks for the responses so far. Let me see what I can amplify:

- I haven't looked at the Fords nor Chevys. I don't think the Chevy looks appeal to her. To amplify, the more "car like" the small SUV, the better. The Chevys look more boxy/van-like, not sure about the Ford but I'll check it out, thanks for the recommendation!

- I like the CRV, but it's a size up from what she wants. She likes the HRV and I think if we can get good feeling for the engine performance and they fix the climate controls in the 2017s (as is rumored), that one will be the runaway winner. She's petite so a car seat will ALWAYS fit comfortably behind her seat anyway! But we might borrow a friend's and take it with us on the final shopping trips in a few months to see how it fits in the HRV. I really like all the seat arrangement options in the HRV too... it seems like a good vehicle.

- I like Subaru. Brother-in-law drives an older Crosstrek, mom has an Outback that I steered her towards. The Forester isn't her cup of tea, but I've test-driven a 2015 and it was surprisingly fun to drive! Just don't think it'll be her thing.

- Grand Cherokees, heck regular Cherokees, are non-starters based on size. See the above on "boxiness" regarding the Renegade. As the former owner of two Wranglers, I like the Jeep brand too.

Thanks guys, hopefully more responses coming!
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Old 02-25-2016, 05:59 PM   #9
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The HR-V sounded interesting, but I read a terrible review of its touchscreen interface. I'm far from a Luddite, but I really do prefer knobs and switches over menus for some things, and if the UI is bad, that's a deal killer for me. So check that out carefully.
Yes, we have. The climate control touch screen is awful. Neither of us would buy one with the current configuration, thus we'll wait until the 2017s and hope they replace it. It's really the single biggest drawback. We didn't have an issue with the main touchscreen and controls (there are steering wheel buttons for radio and phone), just the climate control on the higher-end models.

There are plenty of reviews out there about the HRV being underpowered. Neither of us is a drag racer, but Southern California highways demand at least a little bit of "zippiness". All of the other three options are likely better in that regard, unless the 17s upgrade.
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Old 02-25-2016, 05:59 PM   #10
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the thing I love about foresters is that they have no blind spot - you can see all the way around in them
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Old 02-25-2016, 06:29 PM   #11
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I've been pleased with my 2013 Santa Fe LWB version. Similar to the one in the below video. Advertised gas miles is 25 hwy but I get in the 27-28 range. Not bad for a v6. Hard to beat their warranty. I would buy another one.

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Old 02-25-2016, 06:48 PM   #12
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Rav4 not in the running?
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Old 02-25-2016, 08:25 PM   #13
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The CR-V is based on the mechanics of a Civic--the premier small car in the retail market. The HR-V is based on the Fit, a much smaller vehicle with relatively small motor and weak mechanicals (vs. the Civic.)

The resale prices on the CR-V are the highest of all the smaller SUV's as it's much more popular of a vehicle.

As someone that's had 24 years in the car business (not Honda), go for the CR-V. The new model has just been out a year or so, and it'll be current and look new for a long time.
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Old 02-25-2016, 08:34 PM   #14
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The new Volvos are really pretty.
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Old 02-25-2016, 09:41 PM   #15
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Rav4 not in the running?

Doesn't like the boxy look.
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Old 02-25-2016, 09:44 PM   #16
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The CR-V is based on the mechanics of a Civic--the premier small car in the retail market. The HR-V is based on the Fit, a much smaller vehicle with relatively small motor and weak mechanicals (vs. the Civic.)

The resale prices on the CR-V are the highest of all the smaller SUV's as it's much more popular of a vehicle.

As someone that's had 24 years in the car business (not Honda), go for the CR-V. The new model has just been out a year or so, and it'll be current and look new for a long time.

From what we've read, the 2017 may get the Civic engine. Resale isn't as much of a concern as we drive cars till they're dead, generally. I guess we will see on that. Part of the problem with opening the door to the CRV is then we get into RDX, CX5... Up a whole size in the class.
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Old 02-25-2016, 09:55 PM   #17
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It's not listed however we are pleased with our Ford Escape awd in snowy conditions. It's not huge but you can load a box or two

It gets 25 if you are driving all highway..course gas prices s 1.91 where I live..
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Old 02-25-2016, 10:25 PM   #18
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+1 The Ford Escape is probably worth a look... small sized... nice styling... good reviews (sister has one and loves it and other I have talked to do too).

We recently bought an Outback and love it. Good styling but perhaps a bit bigger than she wants but she needs to think 5 years from now. Better ride than the Forester. DD's SO has an Impreza and likes that and I have heard good reports from Crosstrek owners. Subaru's AWD is top of the line.
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Old 02-25-2016, 10:27 PM   #19
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Part of the problem with opening the door to the CRV is then we get into RDX, CX5... Up a whole size in the class.
Nobody should or can talk you into a CR-V, if you guys don't like it then that's all that matters. But the whole "vehicle class" thing is very arbitrary and more useful to car dealers than buyers. After all, at least one of the vehicles on your "top 4" list is bigger than the CR-V. For ref:
................................weight............ ........Wheelbase
BMW X1...................3660........................1 05
CR-V.........................3358.................... ..103.1
HR-V.........................2888.................... ..102.8
Sub Crosstrek..........3109 ......................103.7

Yes, the RDX would be bigger:
RDX...........................3737................ .......106
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Old 02-25-2016, 10:44 PM   #20
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From what we've read, the 2017 may get the Civic engine. Resale isn't as much of a concern as we drive cars till they're dead, generally. I guess we will see on that. Part of the problem with opening the door to the CRV is then we get into RDX, CX5... Up a whole size in the class.
Iirc, the US model of the 2016 HR-V already has the Civic engine. It's the models in other countries that have the Fit's engine.

We've actually recently bought an HR-V (needed another vehicle ASAP). Not really a car person so my only comment is me likey. Got the 2WD EX model which surprisingly does have heated driver and front passenger seats. I'm not a fan of leather seats since those can get really, really hot when parked under the sun in SoCal. Surprisingly decent cargo capacity given how compact it is, and much easier to park compared to my older Rav4. Noise insulation and suspension seems better than the Rav4, too.
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