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SUV Shopping - What do you recommend?

Discussion in 'Off Topic [BG]' started by bassguppy, Mar 8, 2013.

  1. I've always owned sedans but now i'm finding the need for an SUV so why not ask my TB peeps what they drive. :)

    My criteria: buying used, decent load and towing capacity (5,000lbs), 4WD, I don't need anything huge like a Ford Excursion. Preferably not older than 2008 and reliable. I've investigated and read up on the Toyota Highlander, GMC Acadia, GMC Yukon, Nissan Pathfinder & Armada, Ford Explorer, Honda Pilot, Jeep Grand Cherokee. I've also considered a few discontinued models (Jeep Commander, Chrysler Aspen). So...any opinions on what they like or don't like? Anything I've missed? Mileage is not a huge concern to me as I will be relocating and more than likely wont be using more than a couple gallons a day assuming I get around 15 miles per gallon. I would also like to keep it $28,000 or below.
  2. maybe I'll add the Ford Expedition, Nissan Xterra, & Toyota 4Runner to my list.
  3. Baer


    Jul 8, 2008
    Subaru Forrester
  4. P. Aaron

    P. Aaron Supporting Member

    Outback is slightly larger. I am enjoying my 2012. Fits lots of gear, nice stereo, and get the bumper guard for the back gate.
  5. bmc


    Nov 15, 2003
    The Forrster has higher fuel consumption than advertised, from what I've been told by friends that own both new and older versions.

    I went through this exercise in 2011. My criteria was:

    1. Must be more spacious than our previous car, a Mercedes A class.
    2. Must be comfortable and have good rear seat leg room ( for tall kids)
    3. Must have real off road capability: an offroader, not soft roader
    4. Must have good fuel consumption
    5. Good reviews
    6. Relatively cheap to maintain.
    7. Good towing ability
    8. Four wheel drive that I control, not just the computer onboard.

    Our first choise was a CRV until I took it off road and realised it's a car that looks like an SUV. Plus, it had less room than our A-Class. Very disappointed because we really liked the CRV. My favorite of the bunch was the Landrover Freedlander 2. The new one that was redesigned. Too small inside. Bummer.

    We settled on a Nissan Xtrail. I don't believe it's offered new anymore in North America. I think it's butt ugly. But it ticked all of the right boxes. It hauls an impressive load. It's excellent offroad up and down the hill we live on. I average 35 miles per gallon.

    So based on m recent experience, I'd suggest looking Nissan's. Regular maintenance visits are around $300. I have putt 49,000 miles on it in 18 months and have had no snags at all. Great fun in deep snow too.

    Good luck.
  6. tplyons


    Apr 6, 2003
    Madison, NJ
    Only reason I didn't recommend the Forester is towing capacity, only at 2,400 lbs. Up to 3,000 with the Outback.

    What will you be towing with these?
  7. OldDog52

    OldDog52 Gold Supporting Member

    Jan 1, 2011
    Pacific Northwest
    The Nissan Pathfinder circa 2007-2010 is a really nice SUV. Lots of room, very comfortable and quiet ride, lots of cargo capacity, 3-row seating (you can just fold down the 3rd row to gain cargo space). Based on a truck chassis so very rugged. Mileage is not great. My recollection is premium gas is recommended for best performance.

  8. I'm relocating this June to Fairbanks, AK. :rollno:

    Not thrilled with the move (wife's work is bringing her there). So will be doing a partial move hauling some of the household.

    That's why I was looking at 4WD although 2WD with good snow tires may be OK for most highway driving in winter. Once there I was considering picking up a small trailer for PA/bass gear to avoid loading/unloading and just back the trailer into the garage.
  9. jmattbassplaya

    jmattbassplaya Supporting Member

    Jan 13, 2008
    All I'm saying is it doesn't snow much in Arkansas. Unless you're towing a lot of stuff on a regular basis I'm not sure why you think you need such a powerful vehicle. The south isn't all backwoods, you know?
  10. Morning Beer

    Morning Beer

    Oct 2, 2009
    Thinking maybe he meant Alaska
    I have a Chevy trailblazer nothing but problems. I worked for a car rental company and always found the Nissans very nice and roomy. The traverse/Arcadia/enclave are very nice and would be great for hauling gear.
  11. jmattbassplaya

    jmattbassplaya Supporting Member

    Jan 13, 2008
    Ah! That makes much more sense :D

    *note to self - don't post immediately after waking up*
  12. When buying a car used, I always go through a long but important ritual and so far I haven't gotten a rotten egg yet.

    Car buying is a big financial decision and ending up with a $20,000 hunk of metal is hard.

    Usually applies to For Sale by Owner but can also work with a dealer.

    -Tell the seller to shut up and let YOU look at the car. If they keep butting in, tell them to go get a drink or something.
    But as always, let them tell you what, if anything, is wrong with the car first.

    -Always look at car history. Carfax, ect.

    -When you go to look at the car, make sure it hasn't been started in 7-8 hours. You want to see how it acts when you cold start it. You can check if its been run by putting your hand on the exhaust manifold. If its hot or just slightly warm, it's been started. Be careful though, you could burn yourself.

    -Make sure maintenance records are consistent (every 5,000 - 7,000 Mile oil change, ect.) and match up with the miles. (Dealerships will not have maintenance records. They trash all that when they get the car.)

    -Check all the fluids.

    -See if wear is the same on all the tires.

    -Check for any fading or chipped paint (usually on the top and hood of the car.) discolored panels (these hint to a repair job, although good ones are hard to notice.) check to see if the body lines are consistent along the doors, hood, hatch and fenders (I can go into more detail if needed). Look for dents and dings and make mental notes of these. They tell how well the car was cared for.

    -Check to see if all the weather stripping is there and snug.

    -See if the doors give a good solid thump when they close. Not a rattle. Your looking for that 'Buick' sound.

    -Get to a shop that has a lift and if you are not mechanically inclined, asked the chief or head mechanic to look over the car. I can go into more detail if you want. Just ask.

    -If its got a mech. Odometer, hit the dash above it hard, if it jumps or moves, the milage has been changed. If it does change. Stop looking and leave. A dishonest seller might not tell you about other problems with the car. It's not worth it.

    -Drive the car, but make sure you hate it at first. If you drive a car you love, you won't notice the small things.
    Start the car and take note of if it fires right off or takes a couple seconds.
    Start driving the car slow and feel for the trans. Shifting. Is it smooth or did it lurch a little bit or make a sound? Do this w/ all gears. Drive it for a good 30 minutes.
    Then get to a flat and straight piece of road and accelerate fast. Does is respond well or take a minute? It might even die. (Don't go over the speed limit and tell the owner what your doing) and
    SIT IN THE BACK SEAT. People never seem to do this and it makes it hell for passengers.

    If you like the car and something is mechanically or physically wrong with the car. Get a quote on repairs. But be smart. There where millions of those damn things made. You'll find the right one.

    Try to make yourself hate the car your looking at. At the end, if you haven't found anything wrong with it, you'll definitely like it.
    Emotions get in the way of good car buying.

    I hope this helps. If you have any questions. Just ask!

    EDIT: I drive a 2005 Chevy Trail Blazer. It's got 125K miles on it and I have NEVER had to take it to the shop. Never once had a problem. Starts every time, stops every time and does anything I ask.
  13. Ziltoid

    Ziltoid I don't play bass

    Apr 10, 2009
    Bmc, the xtrail was never available in the US I think. If I'm not wrong it sold in Canada for only 3 years ('05-'07). My parents have a 2005 running happily with 110K km. Hand controlled 4wd and manual transmission make this little jeep pretty cool.
  14. I was in your shoes about 3 months ago and ended up with a Mazda CX-9. I love it.

    It's a 2011, was less than $25k, under 20k miles, Mazda certified used, leather interior, 3rd row seat, peppy V6 (275hp), AWD, and gets about 22mpg. I couldn't be happier.
  15. Thomas Kievit

    Thomas Kievit Guest

    May 19, 2012
    No trolling, but I'm surprised people still drive SUV's these days, with all those efficient and enviroment friendly cars..

    But I love to see them on the roads though :) Can't help you with any recommendation, but I do wish you all the best with finding the car you are looking for! :)

    Hopefully I can see pictures if you bought one! Cheers :)
  16. MJ5150

    MJ5150 Moderator Staff Member Supporting Member

    Apr 12, 2001
    Olympia, WA
    We really like our Ford Edge, but I don't know about the towing capacity.

  17. skychief


    Apr 27, 2011
    South Bay
    As long as theres soccer, and as long as there's Moms with kids who play soccer, there will be a market for SUV's.
  18. Thomas Kievit

    Thomas Kievit Guest

    May 19, 2012
    Hahaha, only for that? :p:eek:;)
  19. Also,

    If you add an Excursion to the list, your asking for big, and if your going that big, I would get a diesel. Nothing less. It's just a Ford F250 with 3rd row seating. I mean, it's in the Super Duty class...

    Also, 2005 was the last year for the Excursion.

    But the Powerstroke is an amazing machine.
  20. malthumb


    Mar 25, 2001
    The Motor City

    Now having said that, the Chevy Traverse / GMC Acadia / Buick Enclave triplets have hauling / towing capacity of 5,200 lbs. All are available with AWD and are reasonably priced, have a 3.6L V6 that is consistently listed on Ward's 10 Best Engines list and a 6-speed auto trans.

    All three were recently redesigned for 2013 with new front and rear fascias and new interiors. The engine and transmission are carried over from 2012.

    As for non-GM, I would also consider Ford Explorer and Jeep Grand Cherokee. The Jeep and the Buick are both likely to swing outside of your stated price range unless you opt to buy used. The top end of the Acadia, especially the Denali version will also bounce above your stated range.

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