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Fuel efficient family vehicle with some testosterone

The Right Car for Me | TrueDelta


I currently have two vehicles; a 2003 Saturn Vue and and 2007 Ion. I love the versatility of the Vue, so I want to stay in that segment. The vehicle will be used as my daily driver, but also to take road trips for work and play. I'd like something reasonably fuel efficient (22-29mpg is fine), and has a decent amount of room in the rear seats for my 14 year old son (who's about as tall as I am at 6'0 to 6'1).

Winters are BRUTAL in Michigan, so heated seats and remote starts are definitely a plus, but not entirely required. It HAS to kick out good heat in the colder months; Dual Zone climate control is, again, a plus, but not required. All-wheel/4-wheel drive is a MUST, as well. I'd like a good amount of cargo space in the back; luggage for a family of four, groceries, and any computer equipment I need to take with me for work out of town.

Leather would be awesome (I will admit, I want this selfishly, but I'll concede if it gets too far out of my price range). I want a moonroof, as I currently have one. Navigation isn't required because I have a smartphone and a Garmin. I'm interested in the assisted safety features (lane departure warning/assistance, dynamic cruise control, automatic braking, etc), but these aren't required since I've never had them before.

ABSOLUTELY No Ford suggestions, please. Those are what I've test driven so far (Edge and Escape), and I didn't care for those at all.

My sincere appreciation to those who read and those who suggest vehicle for me.

Car Needs: Family transporter / Errands about town / Long trips

Need minimum of 5 seats

Will consider new cars only

Maximum price: US $ 28000

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Response from wcpowell12

8:38 am March 19, 2015

Take a look at two Subaru's - the Forrester and the Outback. AWD, heated seats, a lot of safety features but not all you are suggesting to keep it in the price range, they will meet your fuel consumption needs and are all around long lasting, great vehicles. To get Nav in either, you will exceed your price threshold so good on Garmin and smartphones. Also, with Bluetooth you can download Google Maps on your phone and turn by turn directions will transfer to your car speakers.

If onlyl Passat were selling a wagon (I had one with AWD). That would more than solve the back seat room issue for your son. If you could find a used one with low miles and in good condition, you would have to consider it. Yes, Maintenance cost will be a little higher for the German mantra, what a comfortable and safe vehcile on the road. Don't rule it out. The Jetta Sportwagon TDi will exceed 40 mph but back seat is tight.

Good luck with your search.


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Subaru Forester
Subaru Outback
Volkswagen Passat

Response from mwcten

4:46 pm March 22, 2015

I'd agree with the previous responder that you sound like you have some Subaru-ish requirements. The Mazda CX-5 may also be an option. Its various trims hit a lot of the stuff on your want list, they handle well for as tall as they are, and they are generally reliable. The Honda CR-V and Toyota Rav-4 don't get as good road test scores as the Subarus or CX-5, but they have a lot of your features in or very close to your price range coupled with great reliability.


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Mazda CX-5
Honda CR-V
Toyota RAV4

Response from mkaresh

5:53 pm March 22, 2015

If you do want the safety features, then it's going to be a Subaru. Nobody else offers as comprehensive a safety package in your price range. Unfortunately, these are in short supply, so you'll probably have to pay close to sticker.

Jeep offers about as many features on the new Cherokee, but you have to buy more other things to get them. So while the Cherokee might be worth looking at, I'm not sure you can get one with the features you want at a price you'll like.

I feel the most helpful safety feature is forward collision warning, followed by blind spot warning. You can get the first on the closest thing to your current vehicle, a Chevrolet Equinox. The Equinox also has a huge amount of rear legroom. It is a dated design at this point, and lacks some of the latest features (such as passive entry), but this should also make a big discount easy to come buy. So you can probably get one with all the features you want within your price range.

I haven't reviewed an Equinox recently, but did review the related GMC Terrain last year. The Terrain has a bit more testosterone than the Equinox, but also costs a bit more.


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Subaru Forester
Jeep Cherokee
Chevrolet Equinox

Response from Xerses82

4:34 pm March 23, 2015

Thank you again to everyone who took the time to respond.

So far, I've test driven the Honda CRV, Nissan Rogue, Chevy Equinox, Ford Edge and Escape (hated both), and the Toyota Rav-4.

My favorites are the Equinox and the Rogue. Both were a VERY comfortable drive, and have a decent amount of space in the rear for my son. The fact that the Rogue can recline in the rear is a bonus. The problems that I had with the Rogue that I had was a rattling in the back on the passenger side that wasn't the divine-n-hide shelves. It sounded like metal on metal. Also, the paint was cracked along the inside tract where the panoramic sunroof moves back and forth. I really hope that these two things aren't typical, as I enjoyed the car with the exception of those two problems.

The Equinox was also very impressive. The cabin was quiet on the freeway and streets to and from the dealer, and the riding was smooth. The interior was VERY spacious, and the seats were comfortable (the leather seats with the red stitching has me considering a Red/Black combo for any vehicle now). I noticed that the trim that I drove, the LTZ, did have some of the safety notification features (lane departure warning, proximity warning, rear camera).

Tomorrow (3/24) I have a test drive scheduled with a Jeep Cherokee Limited.

Bonus: I found out that I get discounts with the Detroit Three (GM/Ford/Chrysler), Volvo, and Nissan. I've resigned to the fact that Volvo is likely out of my price range. That definitely makes my choice a bit more interesting, as I can get pricing at around $200-300 under "invoice" before any incentives. In researching "invoice" costs, I'm noticing that there is only about a $500 difference between factory and MSPR on the Cherokee.


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Nissan Rogue
Chevrolet Equinox
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