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AWD, or 4WD, daily driver, good handling, good mileage

The Right Car for Me | TrueDelta


Want it all: family driver (obviously safety is factor), daily commuter for stop and go 10 mile each way commute. Good handling, decent gas mileage.

Require AWD or 4WD options for inclement weather, road trips, light towing capability.

Looking at wide variety of options from compact, extended cab pickup to wagon to awd sedan to small-mid SUV.

Looking for best overall value, prefer American-made but have owned and enjoyed many foreign vehicles including: Nissan Pathfinder, Subaru wagon, Honda Odyssey & Civic, Acura TSX and TL.

Recently owned Chrysler Town and Country and engine/tranny just did not compare with Honda Odyssey, although price difference was significant for similarly equipped (T&C was $3-$4k less).

Some contenders in no particular order and thoughts:

Subary Forester: looks like most versatile, reliable option, but would require the larger engine, and well it is not exactly "inspiring" and not domestic.
Jeep Cherokee: looks good, concerned about reliability, handling.
Toyota Highlander: larger, lower gas mileage.
Ford Escape/Honda CRV

Priorities: Reliability & durability / Safety & braking / Handling / Off-road capability / Fuel economy

Preferred Bodystyle(s): Sedan / Hatch / Wagon / SUV / Pickup

Car Needs: Daily commuter / Family transporter / Errands about town / Long trips / Towing or hauling / Off-roader

Need minimum of 5 seats

Will consider both new and used cars
Maximum mileage: 50000
Maximum age: 4 years

Maximum price: US $ 25000

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Response from mkaresh

12:26 pm January 25, 2015

If reliability is a top priority, then among the domestic brands the 2012 and up Chevrolet Equinox and GMC Terrain are probably your best bets. The Cherokee started out well but has been getting worse, and the current Escape has been and remains iffy. With the GM products you will need the 2013 and up 3.6-liter V6 if you want strong acceleration, and then mpg is among the lowest for a compact SUV. Strengths are a lot of rear legroom and a smooth, quiet ride.

A 2013-2014 Ford Edge might also work. The basic design dates to the 2007 model year, and the Edge will be entirely redesigned for 2015. So the Edge doesn't drive as well as more recently designed competitors. But aside from the 2011-2012 (first years of MyFord Touch) it has had good reliability scores. Deals could be very good on left over new 2014s. Marginal fuel economy, though.

The Forester could be the best all-around compact SUV, especially if you also want quick acceleration. Or, for more of a wagon shape, the Outback. Or, for a sedan, the Legacy. With any of the Subarus the latest versions drive better and are significantly more fuel efficient, but they'll be over your $25,000 limit. We also have reports of oil consumption problem with the 2011-2013 Forester, 2012-2013 Impreza, and 2013 Legacy Outback. So those are a bit of a risk.

The Mazda CX-5 also stacks up very well. But if you feel you'd need (or at least want) the turbo engine in the Subaru, then the engines in this Mazda and in the Honda CR-V won't be sufficient.

It sounds like you don't need the additional size of the Highlander, though fuel economy with the V6 should be about the same as the Equinox / Terrain and Edge. Toyota did offer the smaller RAV4 with the same V6 through the 2012 model year.

Finally, Nissan offers the Murano midsize crossover. From 2009 on these have been reliable. Not everyone is a fan of the feel of the CVT transmission.


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GMC Terrain
Ford Edge
Subaru Outback

Response from Member6294

8:28 pm June 30, 2015

Thank you very much. I am leaning toward the Subaru Outback, or Forester if I can't swing the payment or find I enjoy it driving better. Have not driven either one yet.

The Crosstrek looks interesting, but its price point seems higher and it is a smaller vehicle, so may not be for me.

Still researching...


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