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Vehicle Question - small SUV fans - please chime in
Old 03-03-2007, 01:21 AM   #1
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Vehicle Question - small SUV fans - please chime in

I'll be in the market for a vehicle that will carry the kayaks on top, the mountain bikes on the back - and the camping gear inside with 2 adults - and maybe little people later....not to mention concerns about mpg - have to commute to work for a while too...

I am researching the Honda CRV, Toyota RAV4, Jeep Liberty, and the Ford Escape - possibly hybrid through Consumer Reports....

Chime in with your likes, dislikes, pros, cons, etc...

Tips for buying previously owned (aka USED) also welcome!

BTW, have more fire departments made the grounding gear for the hybrids? (in case of an accident - they had to wait for the electicians with grounding gear before rescuing the passengers - this fact has been keeping me at bay regarding hybrids)
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Re: Vehicle Question - small SUV fans - please chime in
Old 03-03-2007, 08:27 AM   #2
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Re: Vehicle Question - small SUV fans - please chime in

You cant go wrong with either the rav4 or the crv.

The liberty is possibly one of the worst vehicles made in recent history. My MIL has one and its awful to drive, gets poor mileage, and seems to be the recipient of a never ending stream of dangerous recalls.

The escape has nice size and power, but some comparatively bad reliability issues.

We've got a pair of ravs in the family. Good power, great mileage, lots of room if you remove the rear two seats (leaving a flat floor), can be equipped with a roof rack and bike rack, carries four people very comfortably.

Havent been in or driven the newest Rav or CRV incarnations, but they're getting good reviews.

Only other ones I might look at is the Subarus, although you'll pay more for those. Anyone else notice that subaru spelled backwards is "U R A Bus"?
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Re: Vehicle Question - small SUV fans - please chime in
Old 03-03-2007, 08:31 AM   #3
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Re: Vehicle Question - small SUV fans - please chime in

Nisan Xterra
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Re: Vehicle Question - small SUV fans - please chime in
Old 03-03-2007, 08:43 AM   #4
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Re: Vehicle Question - small SUV fans - please chime in

I love the X-terra, but buying a "matching" vehicle to my dear boyfriend's would be too weird for me...would have been fine if I "came" with it when we met...but just too copy-katty Thanks!
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Re: Vehicle Question - small SUV fans - please chime in
Old 03-03-2007, 08:49 AM   #5
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Re: Vehicle Question - small SUV fans - please chime in

Consumer Reports ranks the top small SUV's this way:

1. Toyota RAV4 (V6)
2. Hyundai Santa Fe*
3. Toyota RAV4 (4)
4. Subaru Forester 2.5 XT
5. Honda CRV
6. Subaru Forester 2.5 X
7. Mitsubishi Outlander*
8. Hyundai Tucson


* New model - no reliability numbers
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Re: Vehicle Question - small SUV fans - please chime in
Old 03-03-2007, 08:59 AM   #6
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Re: Vehicle Question - small SUV fans - please chime in

Currently own 2 Escapes. Have a 2001 (first year ). It has 86K and had its' problems during the first 30K All fixed under warranty and since has been trouble free. I'm getting ready to sell it and am very impressed with the prices they are fetching in the used market.
The 2007 looks about the same, but has had tons of improvement. A much better built vehicle in many ways and from my research the reliability of the last 3 years is much better.
The 08's are now out, but I have not looked at them. As far as hauling all that gear, I see many people around here doing just that with their escapes and apparently not having any trouble.
I considered the new CRV, but at the time they were selling slightly above sticker which is a game I don't play. Nice vehicle though. The fully loaded Escape was $19300, about 4K less.
Their are some serious deals out there on the Liberty, but I've heard way to much bad about them. One dealer even told me to wait for the new models :

So far as the escape goes, I would just say don't let the early model problems scare you and bargain hard.
BTW, all my Escape comments are based on the XLT V6. I would not get the 4 cyl.
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Re: Vehicle Question - small SUV fans - please chime in
Old 03-03-2007, 09:12 AM   #7
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Re: Vehicle Question - small SUV fans - please chime in

If you want to go a little bit bigger, Carsdirect is offering good prices on the base Honda Pilot, which is what we bought last year.

$23, 384+tax out the door on a sticker of 27,690. 20MPG, lots of storage, fold down 3rd seat for hauling lots of people.

CD also has the base 2007 Escape for $16,541+tax on a sticker of 19,985. Pretty spartan compared to the Pilot, so you might want to move up to the XLT...$20,046 on a sticker of 23,795.

The hybrid escape is a decent deal too, at $22,941+tax on a sticker of 26,320. Although the only thing that scares me more than buying a Ford is buying a Ford hybrid :P Bad recent experience with an Expedition...
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Re: Vehicle Question - small SUV fans - please chime in
Old 03-03-2007, 12:30 PM   #8
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Re: Vehicle Question - small SUV fans - please chime in


I love my Subaru Ouback. Plan to buy another soon and am not really
considering anything else. If snow/ice is an issue, I think the Subaru
will be better than anything else. I would not touch a Ford. For used,
I think edmunds.com has good advice; also, of course, taking it to a
good mechanic for a once-over is a great idea.

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Re: Vehicle Question - small SUV fans - please chime in
Old 03-03-2007, 01:01 PM   #9
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Re: Vehicle Question - small SUV fans - please chime in

Yes, Outback (or legacy wagon).

Mine is always loaded and runs great -- 2.5L 4cyl 5 speed manual. The AWD system is the best and the little boxer engine has plenty of power. It's unbelievable in the snow.

For me a good roof rack was important. Many of the small SUVs I looked at had flimsy racks mounted at two places per side. The Outback's rack is strong aluminum and is bolted down in 3 places on each side. Give the car a shake by the rack and you'll see what I mean.

A wagon is nice because the roof line is lower allowing easier access.

Another think to look at is how the rear seats fold down. The Outback's fold flat which is nice--other's don't.

You should also check out the Honda Element.
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Re: Vehicle Question - small SUV fans - please chime in
Old 03-03-2007, 01:27 PM   #10
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Re: Vehicle Question - small SUV fans - please chime in

If you want to be cool, the Toyota FJ Cruiser is the small-SUV to buy.

If it were me, I would get a used late-model V6 Ford Explorer and forget the "small." Plenty of room, so-so gas mileage, very reliable, and it'll only cost you $5000-$6000.
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Re: Vehicle Question - small SUV fans - please chime in
Old 03-03-2007, 01:40 PM   #11
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Re: Vehicle Question - small SUV fans - please chime in

Here are a couple of good sites to help select a car:
The first is reliabitity ratings. http://www.partsamerica.com/VehicleS...tyRatings.aspx

This site has reviews written by owners. http://www.carsurvey.org./

Pretty good info in both.
Hope this helps.
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Re: Vehicle Question - small SUV fans - please chime in
Old 03-03-2007, 01:44 PM   #12
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Re: Vehicle Question - small SUV fans - please chime in

2006 Equinox purchased new model yr start in 2005 - post Katrina before the passing of three women - although we generally ran never more than three people.

No comparison shopping - step daughter in spare room's son worked at the Chevrolet dealer at the time.

No problems so far - last trip over the Holidays about 3000 miles - Kansas City to Chantanoga to Orlando to Diamonhead(near Biloxi) to New Orleans to home.

Boring - it's a Chevy - lacks sex appeal and probably a few other things - never read the ratings.

Chevrolet - middle America - ho hum - about 23 mph on trip - even put the XM radio on the 50's channel.

heh heh heh
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Re: Vehicle Question - small SUV fans - please chime in
Old 03-03-2007, 01:57 PM   #13
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Re: Vehicle Question - small SUV fans - please chime in

If you want something smaller and a bit different, take a look at the Mazda 5. It has similar storage space to the CRV:

- It's a tall wagon that is more like a small minivan
- Seats six in 3 rows of two - with almost no luggage space, *or*
- Seats four with a lot of luggage space, rear seats folded
- Has sliding side doors, provides big openings and no door swinging out in parking lots
- Based upon Mazda 3 engine and chassis, probably the best small car out there
- Agile handling
- Good mileage
- Available with manual trans if you really like to drive sporty
- Inexpensive, we got factory Nav/auto climate control/foglights/6 CD/Auto trans for about $21K
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Re: Vehicle Question - small SUV fans - please chime in
Old 03-03-2007, 03:20 PM   #14
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Re: Vehicle Question - small SUV fans - please chime in

Quote:
Originally Posted by JB
Yes, Outback (or legacy wagon).

Mine is always loaded and runs great -- 2.5L 4cyl 5 speed manual. The AWD system is the best and the little boxer engine has plenty of power. It's unbelievable in the snow.

For me a good roof rack was important. Many of the small SUVs I looked at had flimsy racks mounted at two places per side. The Outback's rack is strong aluminum and is bolted down in 3 places on each side. Give the car a shake by the rack and you'll see what I mean.

A wagon is nice because the roof line is lower allowing easier access.

Another think to look at is how the rear seats fold down. The Outback's fold flat which is nice--other's don't.

You should also check out the Honda Element.
I have a honda element and am pretty happy with it so far (i have not had it too long
though).

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Old 03-03-2007, 04:07 PM   #15
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Re: Vehicle Question - small SUV fans - please chime in

We are on our 3rd Ford Escape and are happy with it. We have not had any problems at all with any of them. However should add that we are low mileage which might be why. The seats in the back do fold down flat and we regularly lug our bikes around in the back. We did look at the RAV and CRV but both felt small to us.

Would we buy a Ford Escape again - probably not, there is another Ford SUV, the Freestyle, which would probably be our next purchase.

As to getting the Ford Escape hybrid, it is probably a waste of money as it's mileage is not much better than the regular model.
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Old 03-03-2007, 05:41 PM   #16
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Re: Vehicle Question - small SUV fans - please chime in

Quote:
Originally Posted by wab
If you want to be cool, the Toyota FJ Cruiser is the small-SUV to buy.
Ugh, they're AWFUL. I drove one just before we bought the pilot while I was checking out highlanders. Felt like a 1920's buggy, no room at all, and huge blindspots the size of nebraska at all four corners.

The good news is that the dealer only wanted 2500 OVER sticker for it :P :P :P
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Re: Vehicle Question - small SUV fans - please chime in
Old 03-03-2007, 05:57 PM   #17
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Re: Vehicle Question - small SUV fans - please chime in

Last fall when I was looking for a 'new' vehicle, I looked at KIA, Honda, Chevy, Ford, Toyota, Suzuki, and a couple others. I narrowed things down to the Honda CRV, Honda Element, and the Chevy HHR. Between the two Hondas, the Element won hands down for size, capacity, versatility, etc. I was just about to buy one, but got a REALLY good deal on a pre-owned '06 HHR. Had it not been for the good deal, I definitely would have went with the Element.
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Old 03-03-2007, 07:47 PM   #18
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Re: Vehicle Question - small SUV fans - please chime in

Quote:
Originally Posted by Cute Fuzzy Bunny
Felt like a 1920's buggy, no room at all, and huge blindspots the size of nebraska at all four corners.
That's simply crazy, I looked at it also and those blindspots were not one inch bigger than South Carolina.
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Old 03-03-2007, 11:14 PM   #19
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Re: Vehicle Question - small SUV fans - please chime in

Quote:
Originally Posted by Goonie
Between the two Hondas, the Element won hands down for size, capacity, versatility, etc.
We looked at RAV, Element (and the similar the boxy SCION thing) and ended up with a CRV. For sure the Element is much better on capacity. We just preferred the more car-like interior finishing on the CRV. We've been quite happy with it as a car. It's taken a little getting used to on gear space for family of four on beach vacation, etc., particularly when compared with the minivan it replaced. But it's really quite manageable in that regard. Road noise is a little high for listening to CDs with subtle tracks.

One suggestion I would make to OP is to get a good bike rack (the kind that bolts onto spare mount plate or trailer hitch if you get one). We got a one that basically friction fits over spare tire and, while it's nver failed us, I always feel like I'm waiting for it to do so. Just doesn't seem all that rugged.

I'd also suggest the dealer option rear stoarge rubberized floor liner thing. Great protection for throwing all kinds of stuff in the back, but really east to lift out to dump out accumulated dirt, etc.
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Old 03-04-2007, 12:26 AM   #20
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Re: Vehicle Question - small SUV fans - please chime in

The best deal depends significantly on how long you will keep the car. I have a Saturn VUE with over 90,000 miles on it. It's taken DW and I along with Bubba the black lab and all our camping gear across the country several times. So far we've put gas and oil in it -- no problems. We get about 27 mpg on the open highway and more like 22 - 23 mpg in city driving.

When I was shopping for it in 2003, CRVs were in short supply and, as a result, significantly overpriced. The Honda dealers in Arizona wanted $400 put down to reserve the right to test drive and bid on the next CRV that was delivered. The bids went up from list. Screw that. RAVs and most other small SUVs were more available, but had really poor clearance -- which I thought mattered to me. As it turns out, small SUVs don't really have adequate clearance for a lot of the places I go. If I need clearance because of the roads I'm going to drive, I drive my Dodge RAM and cringe a little when I pump gas.
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