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Fuel efficient, reliable, comfortable SUV/Crossover/Wagon

The Right Car for Me | TrueDelta

Michelin

Looking for a later model midsize SUV/Crossover/Wagon (2014 or later) with fewer than 40000 miles. Budget is around $30000. Should be able to do light towing, and accommodate taller male. Will be used for commuting and road tripping. Leather is a plus, as is CPO, and Apple CarPlay. Should be able to accommodate a hitch for light towing. (Mostly racks). Interested in reliability, since I will be keeping this for the long haul (10+ years). Would like decent fuel mileage (combine 20+ or so MPG). Have checked out the latest model of Toyota 4Runner. Love most everything about this SUV except the roof line and driver leg room. Head is close to the liner, and not a huge amount of leg room for the driver (makes for a little awkward driving position to accommodate). Also, checked out the 2016 Highlander. Love the leg room, driver seating position.Not crazy about the rear visability or the third row seats and the room behind them. What other suggestions should I check out?

Priorities: Reliability & durability / Fuel economy / Warranty, maintenance cost

Need minimum of 4 seats

Will consider both new and used cars
Maximum mileage: 40000
Maximum age: 3 years

Maximum price: US $ 30000

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Response from NormT

6:44 am May 16, 2018


You won't ever get much over 20 mpg in a Toyota truck or SUV, so I'd mark them off the list. Toyota large trucks are the inefficient because of their age. The Regal TourX wagon comes standard with torque vectoring AWD and efficient 2.0T engine. It has the lowest roof rails for ease of access to roof rack. They offer a full line of Thule accessories.
2018 Buick Regal TourX Essence For Sale In Fishers | Cars.com

2018 Buick Regal TourX Essence For Sale In Fishers | Cars.com

New 2018 Buick Regal TourX Essence for sale at Andy Mohr Buick GMC in Fishers, IN for $32,409. View now on Cars.com.

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Buick Regal

Response from AcuraT

2:58 pm May 16, 2018

You mentioned you wanted light towing, and unfortunately, the Regal does not provide that - no version has any towing as part of its specfication.

If you want a wagon, the one to get that has light towing is the Subaru Outback. About 10% burn oil, but that is about all that goes wrong. This vehicle can tow 2,700 lbs. The late model ones have Apple car play and leather seats (2017 and later).

The Toyota Rav4 can tow up to 3000 lbs depending on configuration. That may be your best bet. It is quite reliable but it does not have Apple Car Play (coming in 2019). These have some concerns as well, but are best in class quality wise.

Honda CRV also can tow up to 1500 lbs, and has Apple Car Play. Also quite reliable, almost what Toyota offers. People are going to mention a few concerns, but they are about the best for used cars in this case.

Mazda CX-5 are more fun to drive but can also tow 2,000 lbs. Also reliable and will fit your need.

Chevy Equinox also will meet your need and can tow up to 3500 lbs. Fairly reliable and will meet your needs again.

Outback is the only wagon I would consider. All those mid-sized SUVs can also meet your need and are fairly reliable. Some will say the Equinox is not reliable - it may not be a Toyota, but it is not bad either. Best of luck.


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Response from danlisahall

4:35 pm May 16, 2018

Michelin: Your question has been asked a number of times over the past two months. You would do well to in the list of "My Next Car" posts for more details although you will probably get similar info in response to your post.

I agree with AcuraT that the Outback ticks off all your boxes. The Forester would as well. These two Subies are exceptionally fuel efficient for an AWD rig, comfortable for tall folks & generally quite reliable - although there is some debate about that:

Regarding the question of oil burning/gaskets:This is where I disagree with AcuraT. Historically this has been an issue for some Subies, mostly overcome with the 2015 models. AcuraT's assertion that 10% burn oil is excessive in my opinion - at least when looking at 2015 & later models.

There are two long discussions on the Subaru Outback Forum: OutbackForum:www.subaruoutback.org/forums/138-gen-5-2015-present/184530-any-excessive-oil-consumption-your-2015-2-5-engine-5.html
AND
http://www.subaruoutback.org/forums/138-gen-5-2015-present/487409-how-many-2015s-actually-have-oil-consumption-issues.html
Folks on this forum are quick to holler if they are having issues. But if you take the time to read the posts the percentage of hollers is definitely below 10%

Also see this Consumer Reports article: https://www.detroitnews.com/story/business/autos/2015/06/30/consumer-reports-oil-burners/29501437/
AND
https://www.consumerreports.org/cro/magazine/2015/06/excessive-oil-consumption/index.htm?loginMethod=auto This article cites oil burning issues for Subies after 2013 as between 2-4 %, way less than 10%. Furthermore, to my surprise, the 6 cylinder H6 engine had significantly more oil burners than than the 4 cylinder H4

Folks on this forum are quick to holler if they are having issues. But if you take the time to read the posts the percentage of hollers is definitely below 10%

The consensus seems to be: "In Subaru's case with the current 2.5 it was a ring issue which was corrected in 3rd quarter of 2013. Note that the CR report focused on 2010 to 2014 models. The 2014's produced after the later part of 2013 have the new rings and hence no major oil consumption issues."

I hate to step on AcuraT's toes, he provides has a lot of great response here and is a smart guy. But his 10% number doesn't have any factual support that I have uncovered. If I recall correctly, I think he has stated that he owned a Subie that burned oil & that may have burned him too.

Disclosure: I have owned 3 Subarus w 2.5 engine. Total miles of mixed driving on engines has been 90K on 2004, 51K on 2010, and 29.5K on 2015. None have used any oil between changes. I changed oil every 6-7.5K miles the 1st 50K miles and between 8-10K after warranty ran out. Never had oil go below half quart on dipstick on any of them - ever!
My 2015 did develop a very minor oil leak (cam follower gasket) that was only perceptible from under the car. Subaru replaced that under warranty. I would have no fear in purchasing another Subaru!

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Subaru Outback
Subaru Forester

Response from AcuraT

6:29 pm May 16, 2018

There is a reason why I stated the 10% number. The #13 car on that oil burning list from 2015 in Consumer Reports is the Subaru Outback 6 cylinder at 14% after 5 years of ownership. The Legacy 6 cylinder is just a little higher at 19%. Imprezia 4 cylinder is 13% after three years of ownership. Subaru Forrester is 8% after four years. No car should burn oil after two or three years after ownership so I don't count 2015 or 2016 yet, but the Impreza after just three years is above 10%

I cannot back down on this claim. It impacts far more people than it should. I own one, and I put oil in (it started at just over 40,000 and now at 70,000 it still does it at varying rates as it started at 3 years old and is now 4.5 years old). My parents have owned four, and three of them have burned oil. My next door neighbor owns one, and he has borrowed oil from me when it started to burn oil this past year (the newest, a 2015). My family has bad luck with them but keeps buying them - they don't have any other issues. I stand by my statement, as much as I respect danlisahall. He has been fortunate - my famly, not so much (but like I said, we do buy a number of them and put oil into them).

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Response from NormT

7:04 am May 17, 2018

One of the Buickforums member's thoughts and shares my thoughts too.

"

BahamaTodd

3.8L Member
#2
The TourX has the same 2.0T and 8 speed transmission as the Opel version. All AWD Regals with the 2.0T have the 8 speed. FWD 2.0T and V6 GS have the 9 speed. The Commodore in Australia only comes with the 9 speed for all 2.0T and V6 versions and has towing capacities ranging from 4000-4600 lbs.

So the vehicle is capable of towing, but GM chose not to rate it for towing in the US. Maybe if GM realizes how many sales they will lose out on, they will change their mind about the tow rating. I think a 2500 lbs rating similar to the Outback is more than reasonable."

https://buickforums.com/forums/threads/tourx-is-neither-designed-nor-intended-to-tow-a-trailer".47907/

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Response from AcuraT

10:59 am May 17, 2018

The problem Norm is actually what you say - and you void the warranty if you use it for towing. On this question I used the chat at Buick and they said you void the warranty and it is not permitted in the USA. I asked about Europe and they said the four cylinder is is only 750 kg unbreaked so only 1600 lbs, no large amount unless you add brakes to the trailer then it rises to 1600 kg or a reasonable 3500 lbs. For the V6 it only rises a little bit on the braked trailer or 1800 kg or 4000 lbs.

So it is very limited for towing a trailer no matter how you look at it and voiding the warranty, why would you consider doing it?

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Response from NormT

2:08 pm May 17, 2018

if it is designed for hauling down from high speeds on the autobahm fully loaded or trailered it should have enough braking for the same here. As long as the brake pads are good and fluid fresh I hauled 4,000 of car and tow dolly with my 2000 Saab 9-5 with 2.3t and a ecu tune over the hills of GA,TN, and KY without over heating the engine or brakes. Of course I drove conservatively and was able to maintain 65 mph and got 23 mpg.

Sounds like the lawyers are too involved or they set the bar low so you just pony up another $15,000 For an Enclave.

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Response from LectroFuel

7:29 pm May 17, 2018

The Subaru Outback is a good choice. CarPlay requires buying a 2018 model and older models can't have a software update performed to get it. Subaru only recently got into the CarPlay game. To be honest, not requiring CarPlay opens up your options a lot.

The oldest car available with CarPlay is the 2014 Kia Soul. Since I regularly see Prii driving with small U-Haul trailers loaded with lumber, I think the Soul can definitely "tow" a bike rack or a very small trailer. Most cars can if you have a hitch already. Most people really like the Soul, although the ride could be a bit softer. It can haul a lot of cargo with the seats down and you could get a new turbo model (it is actually pretty quick) with a 10 year warranty. There are several reasons why the Soul is better than the Outback in your situation:

1. Much faster than the Outback 2.5L when you buy the 1.6T
2. Has lots of cargo room with the seats down
3. Can tow a small trailer or rack
4. A base Outback is $1500 less than a fully loaded Soul
5. Soul is more maneuverable and fun to drive
6. You didn't need AWD, which you pay extra for with the Subaru
7. You won't have to worry about the oil consumption with the Soul

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Kia Soul
Subaru Outback

Response from danlisahall

1:32 am May 18, 2018

AcuraT is correct about the Soul vs Outback. Haven drive both extensively I find that the Soul will bet better mpg (2-4 more) and feels more nimble / parks easier. The Outback is more comfortable (Soul is a bit stiff & gives more of jolt on pavement irregularites) and has considerably more space. None of the above should be a surprise given the difference in overall size.

Regarding the Subaru oil burning issue. AcuraT and I are both right! We are looking at the same CR article but focusing on different numbers within the report.

He is looking at the old numbers - models before 2104. Based on his statement his family has had incredibly bad Subaru karma with ~ 80 percent of their Subies burning oil while none of the published reports are higher than 19% and most much lower. No wonder he is has his doubts!

I on the other hand have had incredibly good luck (or not kept my Subies long enough) with Zero oil burners. I look at the 2014 and more current models and say, there is no significant problem.

In Subaru's case with the current 2.5 it was a ring issue which was corrected in 3rd quarter of 2013. Note that the CR report focused on 2010 to 2014 models. The 2014's produced after the later part of 2013 have the new rings and hence no major oil consumption issues."

That said, maybe it will take a couple more years for new oil burners to show up. But based on the statement below, I'm gonna be the optimist and say, I think Subaru has put that problem behind them.

Perhaps the reason AcuraT's snake bitten family (and 100,000s of thousand others) keeps purchasing Subies despite some excess oil use issues is that they are incredible good cars in so many ways, especially for snowbelt areas. So if you drive 12K / year and have to add a quart of oil every 3,000 miles, that is 4 quarts or less than $20 a year. Hardly a major expense -- as long as one is faithful about checking their dipstick.

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Response from NormT

8:27 am May 18, 2018

Where are you buying 0w20 synthetic oil for $5/quart? Someone who doesn't dotheir own oil changes? :)


It is not the cost of the oil but the cost of an engine when you forget to check or the oil usage rate changes. There was no low oil level warning on the then girlfriend's 2012 Forester when I added 2.5 quarts, the damage was already done. Cold start piston slap and a puff of blue smoke were the norm. When her non-technical Father heard it start even he knew something was wrong. So we just traded it on a GMC Terrain and it was the best car she ever owned.

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Response from AcuraT

9:22 am May 18, 2018

danlisahall you are correct, I am looking at older Subarus as even on those models it takes a few years for the problems to develop. The newer cars you are looking at are too new and low mileage to get those higher rates of oil burning yet. There is no evidence that this has been improved, and the last engine redesign of signifcance to impact the problem was in 2010 (they have made some modifications to increase engine power slightly, but no substantial redesign since that year on the four cylinder model). Before 2010 the engines were much worse in their history - they had engine seal issues. Those were removed in 2010 but the engine burning after a few years of ownership has continued. The ring issue was mostly corrected then, and fully corrected in 2013 (but I still have oil burning on my 2013 as it is not the ring issue).

Consumer Reports recommends those cars and call them reliable because with good maintenace, they do hold up. I can attest to that as my family does like them despite this oll burning issue on older cars (note, the one car that does not burn oil is the newest with the lowest mileage - the 2015 with only 36,000 - we will see what happens in the next two years when it is predicted to start burning oil based on other cars we have owned).

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Response from LectroFuel

12:47 pm May 19, 2018

Response from NormT

1:58 pm May 19, 2018

That link to Amazon is showing $21.xx with Prrime membership or have to pay $25 and buy something else too. A good deal regardless as Bob the Oilguy website likes it too last year when it was $15.99 A jug.

But I got it on eBay for $19.84 with no membership. Thx!

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Response from danlisahall

12:17 am May 21, 2018

NormT: Tis true I no longer change my own oil. When I turned 66 I decided that now that my cars only need 1-2 oil changes per year t age 67, I'd take a break after forty years DIY oil changes!

Thus I haven't kept close track of the cost of synthetic oil the past couple of years. But thanks to Walmart you can still get a quart of Penzoil Platnuim Fully Syn 0W-20 for $5.00 and all weights of Mobile 1 for $22.88 for 5 quarts. Therefore I still maintain that adding a quart or two between changes doesn't represent a sigificant expense in the overall scheme of driving a comfortable, capable car such as a Subaru.

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Response from LectroFuel

2:45 am May 21, 2018

Have you tried a thinker viscosity or maybe even a high mileage blend with your Subaru to lessen the burning? The 5 quart oil link I posted went up in price by $3 by the time Norm saw it. I went to O'Reilly today and their oil is more expensive than Amazon and especially Walmart.

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Response from AcuraT

10:53 am May 21, 2018

I have tried everything to lessen burning. The mechanic I am using (as I rarely do work on my cars anymore) has tried conventional (from synthetic) and thicker oil to no avail. It just burns its usual small amount and I add to it. I am sticking with synthetic now to hopefully get more out of the engine. My parents tend to keep their Subarus about 120,000 and dump them for new ones. I will try to make it to 200,000 by adding oil from 41,000 on. Indiactions are I will make it if I take care of it.

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