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Old 08-13-2010, 12:09 PM   #121
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I/We started looking at small SUV's about 3 years ago, in preparation for a replacement in the 2010 model year. No sense doing anything hasty

Did not look at the Saturn VUE at first, because they were going to replace it with a new design. Saw & sat in the new one at an auto show. It was just a rebadged Opel whatever. European design, all swoopy, no room. They wrecked the concept. RIP.

Toyota RAV4, dropped it out early on because of the wrong-swinging rear door to Japanese side of the street, and spare mounted on the back. More on rear-mounted spares later...

Honda CR-V, the intro of the 3rd (present) generation fixed my objections to the previous designs. They got rid of the wrong-swinging door with tire on back, and went to a hatch with tire inside. That was good, as cars with the tire on the back suffer severe damage with even a small tap on the back, if that tire gets hit. Talked with a Honda guy at an auto show, he agreed, said generation 2 design was minimum $4k damages with small hit in rear, would bend up the whole hatch opening area of the body, in addition to the obvious tailgate/window/tire mounting destruction.
So they fixed many of my don't likes, but still have the gotcha's on equipment that pushes one to the top of the line to get darkened rear glass, cruise control, intermittant speed windshield wipers. You have to check their package lists very carefully. Games.

But we dropped out the CR-V eventually. They have created probably the worst rear side window body design ever. It is ugly, and it doesn't get better looking at it in time. It also reduces cargo room. And reduces driver visibility. If you test-drive one, really see if you will be comfortable with that blind spot in traffic. One wrong move is all it takes to try out your umbrella insurance And with the reduced cargo area with the rear slanting in as compared to the generation 2. Consumer Reports even mentioned those in their review of the first year of the gen. 3. And it has to be bad for CR to ever say anything negative about a Honda at all. But see for yourself.

Our winner was a 2010 Ford Escape FWD 4 cylinder. The Escape has improved greatly, even though CR screwed up their reliability chart on it (those clowns) vs. their check-system. 2008 was an improved body design, 2009 brought improved 4 & 6 cylinder engines and a 6-speed automatic. A 2009/10 4 cyl. accelerates just as fast as a 2008 or before V6. The 4cyl. is fine, it goes when needed and doesn't sound like a 4-banger of old. Inside room is great for tall people, top of the windshield is well forward, top of side windows not near head, etc. It's boxy, and to us, that is what a SUV should be, or else just get a car instead. Even though it's boxy, a lot of attention was paid to streamlining little bits, so interstate travel is quiet at speed.
BTW, it has the highest US-content of any vehicle made in the USA, and is made not far from UncleMic!
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Old 08-14-2010, 09:17 AM   #122
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That car is just barely broken in. It has got another 100K mi to go. Don't we drive our car to the ground anymore? Am I the only one still doing that?
No, you're not the only one. I bought a 1985 Chevy pickup new and kept that for 18 years, replacing it with a new 2003 GMC pickup that I expect to keep for 20+ years. DW kept her '89 Olds Cierra for 14 years/140k miles and now has 106k miles on the 2003 Buick Century. Both have been very reliable but I'm meticulous (some say anal) about maintenance. Barring theft or accident I expect to get 200k miles or more from each mostly because we don't have the heavy stop-and-go traffic that we had in the DC area.

Then there's the 2008 Suzuki C90T motorcycle that I use if the temps are between 25 and the low 90's if the pavement is dry. There's just something "wrong" about taking a 2.5 ton pickup to pick up a prescription. I have 13k miles on that in 18 months.

When replacement time comes for DW's car we'll take a hard look at the Honda Fit and similar cars. And a neighbor has a Ford Focus that he's happy with.
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Old 08-14-2010, 09:32 AM   #123
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DW kept her '89 Olds Cierra for 14 years/140k miles...
I purchased my '89 Olds Cutlass Cierra new and ran it for over 18 years (100K+).

Never spent a dime on "strange stuff", other than battery, brakes, muffler/tailpipe a few times.

Funny thing about the muffler. After the first, the next three (we live in "salt country") were free. Still had to pay for the connecting pipes. At least these days (with SS pipes) the rust is not as much as a problem.

My "baby" is an '02 Mustang GT vert, which just turned 18k. I'm sure to pass before it does, but it's my "compensation car" (paid for with my VA disability check, and to compensate me for my "lost youth" due to the draft). Even if I can't drive it years from now, I'll be happy to be in it (parked in the driveway), with the top down, a good book, and a glass of wine to enjoy...
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Old 08-14-2010, 01:28 PM   #124
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Well the car search continues . I test drove the Honda CRV . Very nice car but I am not sure I want a SUV . I drove the Accord also nice but it's a little boring . They gave me a good price for the CRV . I like it a lot but I'm not in love with it . I then stopped at Nissan and test drove the altima . Also very nice and sportier than the Accord . All in all it's frustrating because I haven't seen a car I'm crazy about but the car buying experience is the same at every dealership whether you went through their Internet or not . Take a book and find the humor in it because they all do the same thing especially since there was no way I was buying a car until I was sure they had to bring out the big guns . Honda & Nissan both wanted me to take the car for a week to try it out . No way was I doing that . I was pretty much settled on the Nissan. I thought I got a great deal but it seems like there is still room for negotiations . I'm also going to check out the Accord coupe . I just like a sportier look . I looked at the Honda Insight ( a Hybrid ) . Nice car until I was going to take a test drive and realized you can not see out of the back window . It's so tiny you would be driving with limited visibility .
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Old 08-14-2010, 02:01 PM   #125
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Telly interesting that you passed over the CRV for an Escape. We went from an Escape to the CRV. Found the design of the CRV to be much more pleasing, better engine and it also offered better stability on the road. Isn't the base of the Escape more like a truck? I found if you went to fast on the freeway in the Escape it always had the sensation as if it could roll very easily.
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Old 08-14-2010, 02:13 PM   #126
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My car is 11 years old and just passed the 100,000 mile mark so I am seriously considering a new car . My last car was a Toyota Solara and I loved it but I'm still slightly wary of Toyota . I 'm looking for a small SUV or sedan ( Think Camry or the Hyundai Sonata ) . What would my fellow forum members buy and why ?
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Well the car search continues . I test drove the Honda CRV . Very nice car but I am not sure I want a SUV . I drove the Accord also nice but it's a little boring . They gave me a good price for the CRV . I like it a lot but I'm not in love with it . I then stopped at Nissan and test drove the altima . Also very nice and sportier than the Accord . All in all it's frustrating because I haven't seen a car I'm crazy about but the car buying experience is the same at every dealership whether you went through their Internet or not . Take a book and find the humor in it because they all do the same thing especially since there was no way I was buying a car until I was sure they had to bring out the big guns . Honda & Nissan both wanted me to take the car for a week to try it out . No way was I doing that . I was pretty much settled on the Nissan. I thought I got a great deal but it seems like there is still room for negotiations . I'm also going to check out the Accord coupe . I just like a sportier look . I looked at the Honda Insight ( a Hybrid ) . Nice car until I was going to take a test drive and realized you can not see out of the back window . It's so tiny you would be driving with limited visibility .
FWIW our Nissan Altima is 13 years old and has 108K miles on it. We got 10 years of wear on two of its tires. It even spun out and piled up on a guardrail with minimal (cosmetic) damage and drives just fine over five years later.

It sounds as if you're worried about your car dying of old age, but three days and over 100 posts later it also sounds as if nothing is really tripping your trigger. Maybe it's worth just keeping an eye on the market for another 6-12 months to decide on a car, and then giving it another six months to stalk that model and find a desperate seller?
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Old 08-14-2010, 02:19 PM   #127
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There was a mini car show in town yesterday.

Get on e of these:
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Old 08-14-2010, 02:45 PM   #128
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FWIW our Nissan Altima is 13 years old and has 108K miles on it. We got 10 years of wear on two of its tires. It even spun out and piled up on a guardrail with minimal (cosmetic) damage and drives just fine over five years later.

It sounds as if you're worried about your car dying of old age, but three days and over 100 posts later it also sounds as if nothing is really tripping your trigger. Maybe it's worth just keeping an eye on the market for another 6-12 months to decide on a car, and then giving it another six months to stalk that model and find a desperate seller?

I think you may be right . When I bought my Solara I just knew that was the car I wanted and most of the cars I've seen I like but am not crazy about so why rush .Heck my Solara I have lasted longer than my first marriage . Of course tomorrow my car may die and then I will have to make a decision so I want to have the choice narrowed down .
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Old 08-14-2010, 02:47 PM   #129
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There was a mini car show in town yesterday.

Get on e of these:


I like the blue coupe . It reminds me of my favorite car . A Carmen Khia !
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Old 08-14-2010, 04:32 PM   #130
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I like the blue coupe . It reminds me of my favorite car . A Carmen Khia !
Just for clarification - do you mean a Karmann Ghia or a Carmen Electra
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Old 08-14-2010, 04:36 PM   #131
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Telly interesting that you passed over the CRV for an Escape. We went from an Escape to the CRV. Found the design of the CRV to be much more pleasing, better engine and it also offered better stability on the road. Isn't the base of the Escape more like a truck? I found if you went to fast on the freeway in the Escape it always had the sensation as if it could roll very easily.
DangerMouse, what year Escape did you have? There have been a LOT of changes in the last few years. Ours has very good road holding, cornering and high-speed stability (and Texans are NOT known for dawdling along interstates!). I don't think the earlier Escapes had a rear sway bar. The Escape is probably the "truckiest" looking and proportioned of all the small SUV's. That is a plus for us. But it is still a cross-over-like vehicle, with unibody construction like the other small SUV's. A couple of repeat buyers have said how much better handling their new Escape was, compared to their old one. We've put on more than 1500 highway miles, always felt stable, even in some really strong winds. Pretty quiet at high speed, hear little to no road noise, which is usually a problem with some Honda's.
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Old 08-14-2010, 04:43 PM   #132
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Well the car search continues . I test drove the Honda CRV . Very nice car but I am not sure I want a SUV
snip

The SUV height is not for everyone. For DW, one requirement she had for the next vehicle was that she had to be up higher, just like her minivan. She did not want to be lower down. The higher ride height also makes it easier for some of us old, um, experienced people to get in/out of.

Around here, if you drive a small car, it is like driving it in a canyon... everyone is above you.
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Old 08-14-2010, 05:01 PM   #133
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Just for clarification - do you mean a Karmann Ghia or a Carmen Electra
Karmann Ghia ! Just seeing that picture of the car brings back great memories .
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Old 08-14-2010, 05:59 PM   #134
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Karmann Ghia ! Just seeing that picture of the car brings back great memories .
Yes, cars do often have a place of great significance in the American consciousness. For me, it’s a ’66 Buick Skylark. My first car. Great wing windows. Cruised around a lot with the posse in that fine machine. This isn't the actual car, but is very much what it looked like.
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Old 08-14-2010, 06:02 PM   #135
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Karmann Ghia ! Just seeing that picture of the car brings back great memories .
I had one, too. A convertible. Loved it, but the Michigan salt ate it relentlessly until the doors stuck when the top was down.
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Old 08-14-2010, 06:07 PM   #136
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I like the blue coupe . It reminds me of my favorite car . A Carmen Khia !
It is a MGA.

My first car was a Pontiac Bonneville. This is the actual car's photo.



Step on the gas and as the speedometer was going up the gas gauge was going down, nearly the same rate.

EDIT ADD: Gas was 28 cents per gallon + salt shakers and ginzu knife collections giveaways...
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Old 08-14-2010, 06:57 PM   #137
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I had one, too. A convertible. Loved it, but the Michigan salt ate it relentlessly until the doors stuck when the top was down.
I remember driving the Ghia in the winter and scraping the inside of the windows since the heat was minimal . Mine also rusted away after 159,000 miles .
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Old 08-14-2010, 07:10 PM   #138
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I had a fun afternoon test driving three cars!

Car #1: Volvo XC60 3.2 AWD: This was the most expensive of the three.....but they are offering 0% financing while the 2010s last! This is the first model year. The one I drove had all the bells and whistles: heated leather seats, moonroof, bluetooth, navigation system, outlets. You could live in it if you had to. City Safety system stops you automatically if you get too close to something in front. All the safety features you could possibly want. Airbags all over the place. Neat feature is a light that blinks when someone is coming from behind into your blind spot. Very comfortable, including the back. There is an optional manual gearbox which I would consider using on twisty roads, but was probably overkill. It's an SUV (so Moemg probably wouldn't like it) and it's very, very solid. I felt invincible, but it was a bit like driving a bus. Fuel consumption is the least efficient of the three.

Car #2: Honda CRV EXL Navi. This one was the cheapest. I found it easier to manoeuvre than the Volvo. Similar bells and whistles to the Volvo, but also a little less solid. The high position gives a good view. Feels open inside because there is no column going down the middle of the floor. As a Honda owner, I found the controls intuitive. Generally very comfortable. Blind spot not a huge issue. Best fuel consumption of the three. I did not like the hard rear seats. Definitely would require cushioning for a long journey!

Car #3: Honda Accord Crosstour EXL Navi. I think I'm in love.....
Ahem....Priced in between the others. Looks cool, except that I'm not crazy about the front grille (too much testosterone). This car is a V6 with >250 HP and it has zip, yet it's very responsive. I felt right at home, except with more luxury than I'm used to: leather, wood trim, etc. It had everything the Volvo had except the City Safety. The front passenger airbag senses the weight of the person sitting in the seat and does not deploy if nobody's there. I drove a white car with beige interior and all the communication features and it made me feel very pampered. I also like it in green with black interior. Both Hondas have a rear view camera that switches on automatically when you go into reverse. This rear view camera has an extra feature, guidelines to show you which space your car will be in when you reverse. One thing I don't like is the horizontal bar across the outside of the rear window, which splits the pane in two. Excellent storage with removable, washable bin for your muddy boots, etc. All three cars have split rear seats and these were very comfortable. Both Hondas have good fuel consumption.

Financially, this is complicated because Volvo has 0% financing, while Honda's financing and lease rates are higher. The salesman told me they avoid incentives, and they also do not sell cars to rental agencies, preferring to sell to owners, so that resale values stay up.

I'm waiting for some personal developments to fall into place before I make a decision. But, like Moemg, I have done the research and I will be ready. Last time I bought a car I waited till I fell in love (with the 1995 Honda Accord). This time I think I may have fallen in love with the Accord Crosstour. Stay tuned!
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Old 08-14-2010, 07:18 PM   #139
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I also like the Honda Crosstour but my buddy who sells them said they are not selling well. That can be good or bad I guess. If you like it the dealer may be more likely to give a great deal if they are not selling.

I also have a friend who sells Volvo and he says that they are total junk. Another friend of mine bought one a few months ago and hates it.
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Old 08-14-2010, 07:30 PM   #140
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I also like the Honda Crosstour but my buddy who sells them said they are not selling well. That can be good or bad I guess. If you like it the dealer may be more likely to give a great deal if they are not selling.

I also have a friend who sells Volvo and he says that they are total junk. Another friend of mine bought one a few months ago and hates it.
The dealership I went to has sold 150 CRVs since January and 45 Crosstours since April, when they were first released here. They said that the CRV has outsold the Civic so far in 2010 in their dealership.

Could you clarify what the "total junk" issues are with your friend's Volvo? I've heard complaints about the electronics, and I am slightly leery about having fewer dealerships to go to.
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