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Crossover over medium sized SUV, pull 4000 lb. trailer, factory installed tow pkg., RELIABLE, comfortable, quiet, don't like nav, do like upgraded sound system

The Right Car for Me | TrueDelta

ELIMINATED FROM CONSIDERATION: 1.) Nissan Pathfinder (CVT transmission troubles, reliability issues); 2.) GMC Acadia, poor interior design, cramped legroom, distrust of GM; 3.) Suburban V8, too big, too costly, poor mileage, GM distrust; 4.) Chev Traverse, cramped, poor interior, 5.) Honda Pilot, boxy, has the hated joystick for controls and nav 6.) Buick Enclave, GM distrust, high cost, snotty dealers.

What's left:

Ford Explorer, Toyota Highhlander, Toyota 4Runner, Hundai Santa Fe, Kia Sorrenta for 2016, yet to be introduced. Kia Sorrento complete redesign, and reported to tow 6500 lbs. Hmmm!

Reliability, and resale value uppermost.


Priorities: Reliability & durability / Towing / Ride smoothness / Quietness / Materials & workmanship

Preferred Bodystyle(s): SUV

Car Needs: Errands about town / Long trips / Towing or hauling

Primary Driver(s): Tall driver

Will consider new cars only

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Response from wcpowell12

3:26 pm October 30, 2014

I do not think you will be happy long term with the Korean offerings. As much as I had enjoyed my Hyundai Genesis and Sonata, within two years (even with no warranty dealer visits) they just did not ride the same as new. I deduce Towing 4,000 lbs will age them faster. And I agree with you on the CVT transmissions - always searching for something not there. The design was to improve the curve on federal fuel consumption requirements with no regard for driver frustration.

Here is a curve ball that before automatically elminating I would recommend you research and take a test dirve.

Take a look at the Jeep Grand Cherokee Eco Diesel. It offers 6,000 lbs towing with fantastice fuel mileage. I know of two people who have the exact same engine in their RAM 1500 trucks and they love them. Quiet, too. On the road they are happy to hum along. They are totally the opposite of the Cummins diesel that announces its arrival a block away. You get the Grand Cherokee ride (stick with 2WD if you don't need 4WD - suspensions are different with the 2WD and much smoother). Jeeps reliability, thanks to Mercedes input during their marriage, just keeps on improving. Now with Fiat financial backing, Dodge, RAM, Chrysler and Jeep will lead the pack soon.

Second option, as I often talk about, would be to consider a VW Touareg TDi. I have personal experience with them. They have the diesel torque to dry dock a battleship. The only way it comes is with AWD so the fuel consumption will never beat a 2WD. Still, however, expect 30 mpg when not towing. And not far off when towing. If you happen to find yourself offroad, not many SUV's are better it has such a fine drivetrain (check out YouTube and watch some of the videos of its capability). When you sit in a Touareg you will start smiling at the fantastic ergonomic design. Again, this is a very quiet engine. Even at idle, most will not realize it is a diesel. Diesel fuel is more expensive, but every time I did the math on expense vs mileage the diesel won.

Do some research on the new, clean diesels. You will be very surprised how far they have come. Standing behind the vehicle at the exhaust you will never smell anything that resembles the old smelly ones of years ago. They burn clean diesel fuel - so clean that they emit less emissions into the atmosphere than many gas engines of today. Both come with factory setups for towing.

Either one of these would be a win-win for your listed needs.


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Jeep Grand Cherokee
Volkswagen Touareg

Response from mkaresh

6:16 pm October 30, 2014

The Jeep Grand Cherokee and the related Dodge Durango are both excellent vehicles that are better suited for towing than front-drive-based crossovers like the Explorer and Highlander. My chief concern with both is whether Chrysler has fixed the reliability issues that have affected many 2014s.

Among upscale crossovers I really like how the Acura MDX handles, but it has also had more than its share of first-year issues. Most likely these will be sorted out before the 2015s reach dealers, but this remains to be seen.

The Santa Fe has the most car-like handling among semi-affordable three-row crossovers, but not everyone likes how it rides or the instrument panel styling.

I don't know much about the 2016 Sorento. 6,500 lbs towing capacity seems unlikely, as it would be well above any other crossover with a transverse powertrain (they tend to max out at 5,000).

The Highlander's styling is a matter of taste and it has a tight third row, but it rides and handles pretty well and reliability should be very good.

The 4Runner has almost always been very reliable, and it's well-suited for towin, but its ride and handling are the worst in this set. A good friend of mine really likes his 2014 Limited, but I didn't enjoy the one I had for a week (review soon).

The Explorer feels very large, and has unusually thick pillars. Though reliability of the 2011-2013 has been so-so to worse, the 2014 has been faring better so far.

The longer you expect to keep the vehicle, the more reliability will matter. If you'll have it for a while and third-row space isn't a priority the Highlander could be the best overall fit.


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Toyota Highlander

Response from willied

10:03 am October 31, 2014

I personally don't recommend any FWD-based vehicles. RWD or RWD-based AWD is much better suited for towing. I'd probably go with the Grand Cherokee or Dodge Durango, but the reliability may be iffy on those.

We have a 2011 Explorer that I've towed like 1,000-1,500 pounds with, but I don't think I'd want to tow 4,000 pounds with it.


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Jeep Grand Cherokee
Dodge Durango

Response from agog

10:42 am November 14, 2014

I ordered a 2015 Toyota Highlander limited with driver tech package, trailer hitch, and protetive body side moldings. I purchased it mainly because of Toyota's reputation for reliability. I was unimpressed with the offerings of autos produced in the USA. I checked them all out carefully at the Seattle auto show. Some of the design features in American cars mystify me as to where they came up with the ideas for them. One of the silliest I saw was power third row seats in the Ford Explorer. The GM products had a silly lift up hatch centered in the middle of the top of the dashboard. My Toyota is supposed to arrive at my dealer in late December. I purchased through Costco Auto Program at $300 over invoice. The purchase now hinges on what the dealer will allow for my trade-in. His ballpark figure seems fair, but unless it is near the higher end of the estimate I won't be able to comlete the purchase. We agreed to these terms. We'll see how it works out. thank you all for your communications. I hope I have not offended any "buy American" members but I've done that several times, always to my regret.


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Response from mkaresh

11:21 am November 14, 2014

Probably the right call.

For what it's worth, Toyota offers power-folding third-row seats in the Sienna and Sequoia. And while I don't know off-hand I suspect that some non-American cars have a storage area on top of the instrument panel. Our Ford has this feature. We've never used it for anything.

Good luck getting enough on our trade.


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Response from willied

9:06 pm November 15, 2014

What was wrong with the power third row seats? You can also get manual third row seats in the Explorer (though I imagine the come standard in the highest trim). Obviously none of this matters now, I'm just curious.


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