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6000+GVWR SUV; fuel-efficient as possible; small as possible; reliable

The Right Car for Me:

This member has purchased a 2014 Jeep Grand Cherokee.

Member6064

Considering the following:

  • Jeep GC, limited, diesel
    • Pros: fuel efficiency, good size, good looks, nice interior features
    • Cons: reliability, pushing my budget
  • 4Runner, limited
    • Pros: reliablity, most "affordable"
    • Cons: interior fit/finish -eh, not good fuel efficiency
  • Explorer, limited, AWD or FWD, w/Ecoboost
    • Pros: appearance, interior features, kind of acceptable fuel efficiency, good deals ($) available
    • Cons: reliability, actual fue-efficiency, getting a little big for everyday use (city living)
  • Flex AWD w/Ecoboost
    • Pros: interior features, style (i.e., interesting/different), a little more 'sporty' in road performance, eh - fuel-efficiency
    • Cons: pushing price limit, reliability, actual fuel-efficiency, call it what it is: a station wagon
  • GMC Yukon
    • Pros: reliability is good (per my mechanic, easy to work on), heard to be good fit and finish, quiet cabin (haven't test driven yet)
    • Cons: too big, not good fuel-efficiency
Any (constructive) suggestions or comments are appriciated.

Priorities: Powertrain performance / Fuel economy / Reliability & durability / Materials & workmanship / Interior styling

Preferred Bodystyle(s): SUV

Car Needs: Long trips / Client-facing / Towing or hauling

Primary Driver(s): Senior driver

Need minimum of 4 seats

Will consider new cars only

Maximum price: US $ 45000

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Response from mkaresh

10:05 pm May 14, 2014

Here's a list of qualifying vehicles:

http://www.alphaleasing.com/businessaspects/over6000gvwr.asp

The 4Runner is the clear winner in reliability. Very few vehicles hold up as well. You've driven the Limited? A good friend just bought one.

Among the others, the Flex has been pretty reliable from 2011 on in our stats. If this is a vehicle you'll only have for three years or so, it should be fine. Drives BIG, though. As does the Explorer, but in a different way. We own a 2008 Ford Taurus X, which shares some components with both. At nearly seven years of age various bits are clearly less than robust.

The Grand Cherokee is probably the best fit, except for reliability concerns. Note that even with the Jeep your odds of no repair in a given year aren't bad (we have odds stats for the 2011 and 2012). How long are you likely to keep it?

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Toyota 4Runner
Ford Flex
Jeep Grand Cherokee

Response from Member6064

8:38 am May 15, 2014

How long will I keep it? Yeah, not so easy to say.

I think this will be a 7-9 year purchase. If this were a pickup truck then easily a 10 year+ thing. If I were considering a car, probably 5-8 years. It'll depend on how useful a multipurpose, heavier, vehilce can be for meeting clients, moving tools, making occasional road trips and generally living with it in the city (San Diego). Truely terrible MPG would be as bad as consistent visits to the repair shop, both would drive me to trade it sooner (and force a greater $ loss than generally keeping a new vehicle, longer, might).

I've owed, and kept long term, Ford trucks, but only because I had a small car to use when I didn't need to drive a truck. I like Fords but I too see them as "big" (again, for everyday use in the city). Of more concern is their new (to me) dependency on the turbo6, and the necessary complexity of this engine type, to provide compelling mpg and power. I'm less concerned with their reported buggy infotainment system.

For me Jeep is the huge unknown, followed by the concern over a turbo diesal's longevity. Small fit and finish repairs would be annoying but managable. Major system failures...not so much.

Thanks for your input

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Response from mkaresh

5:26 pm May 15, 2014

If you're likely to own it that long, the Fords and the Jeep really are crapshoots. Major mechanical problems aren't likely, but as you note the diesel is new this year. I also don't have a huge amount of confidence in the transmission used in the Fords, as it wasn't originally designed for an engine as strong as the EcoBoost. No widespread transmission failures so far, but they're also only approaching five years old. Wish I could report otherwise.

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Response from Member6064

6:54 pm May 15, 2014

Thanks Michael.

I'm not making any decisions yet but your input has me giving the 4Runner preference now.

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Response from mkaresh

7:10 pm May 15, 2014

The best indicator of how the Fords will hold up for 7-9 years could be the Ford Freestyle, since it's now that old. Solidly yellow for the 2005 and 2006, then green for the 2007. Different engine and transmission, though, with the latter a CVT.

The current transmission was first used in the 2007 Edge, which otherwise was on a different, Mazda-derived platform. The 2007 and 2008 Edge are both green.

To view specific repairs, click the links in the right column (and be signed in).

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Response from Member6064

3:30 pm June 30, 2014

Been driving the Jeep Grand Cherokee (deisel) now for about a month. No issues to report.

One oddity: the audio system is apparently so interconnected with the NAV/SAT/Apps system that you can only "mute" the stereo, not turn it off. So, unless you turn the volume to zero before shutting it off, the next time you start it up it's playing the radio again where you last left off.

I really like the deisel: the fuel economy is really pretty good (all I've been doing is mixed city/hwy, 70%/30%, driving). I'm consistently at about 23MPG with ~1,300 miles. I have a few road trips in the next few months where I hope to see the manuf'ers hwy ratings.

Out of concern for the reliablity I purchased a USAA extended warrenty.

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Jeep Grand Cherokee
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