We are 102,000+ car owners sharing real-world car information.

Join Us

Fun, comfortable compact/mid-size SUV. Good for long road trips.

The Right Car for Me | TrueDelta


Right now it is just my wife and me as well as our 80 pound dog (Mac). We love going on road trips and usually drive 12+ hours at least 10 times each year.

I am looking for something that we can take to the river. I don't need something that can go offroad persay, but we do want to easily drive down a hard dirt or gravel road. It also snows about 15 inches each year so something that can handle a little snow would be good.

Need to have room for Mac in the back seat while also carrying chairs and cornhole boards in the cargo area.

Right now we are looking at 2014 - 2015 Mercedes GLK, Audi Q5, BMW X3, Grand Cherokees, and Lexus RX. But any suggestions and positive/negative reviews would be more than welcome!

Priorities: Reliability & durability / Price or payments / Interior styling

Need minimum of 5 seats

Will consider both new and used cars
Maximum mileage: 75000
Maximum age: 5 years

Maximum price: US $ 22000

« Return to results

Sign in or join TrueDelta to post your own thoughts.

Sort responses by likes

Response from LectroFuel

12:50 am August 28, 2019

Out of all the SUVs you mention, the only one that will likely be reliable is the Lexus. The others are so-so. The Jeep will be cheaper to fix than the German cars, but will likely break down just as often, if not more. You'll also need to go pretty old to get one of these within a $22k budget. Hold off on some money for future repairs with the SUVs that are not the Lexus.

The Lexus will do everything well, except for the "fun" part. It just doesn't handle that well and is meant for long road trips and comfy and quiet cruising. The other SUVs will have a more firm ride, but handle better.

The only other similar car to add is the Acura RDX. It is a little less refined than the Lexus and a little more sporty.

Snow tires with FWD is much more effective than all season tires and AWD at getting through snow. I would get some all-weather tires because they are supposedly good to leave on year-round and are great at everything.

2016 and newer Kia Sorento, Toyota Highlander, Honda Pilot, Subaru Outback, 2016 and newer Mazda CX-9, and 2017 and newer Mazda CX-5 are all good choices.

Note that SUVs are expensive right now as everyone wants one, including the used market.


Link to this reponse

Lexus RX
Acura RDX
Mazda CX-5

Response from AcuraT

8:02 am August 28, 2019

I have little to add to Lectrofuel as usual as he really got it right. The only slight quibble I have with his response is the FWD comment and snow tires for 15 inches of snow athough he is correct in saying they are better than summer tires and AWD. When the roads are not well plowed, 15 inches on the ground is a lot of snow. I would stick with AWD in that case as you are going to need power to all the wheels with that much snow on the ground and the bottom of the car rubbing against the snow. We have simiilar situations here in CT when they plows don't get out and the FWD cars with snow tires get stuck. Add that to our mountain and then you have no hope getting home.

I have tried previously on my older cars with FWD and snow tires when I moved to CT and I got stuck if I waited too long to leave work and get home. If not getting stuck on the flat roads to close to my home, it would definately happen on the climb (I climb about 550 feet every day as the mountain base is at 100 feet above sea level - a total of 650).

If you only drive on flat surfaces and get a lot of snow you might get by with FWD and snow tires in 15 inches of snow as I have not really tested that (the most I could get through in a Saab 9-3 was 6 inches of snow on flat surfaces).


Link to this reponse

Response from LectroFuel

2:11 am August 30, 2019

I was just adding my two cents on the snow thing. I really have no experience in the snow except on some snowy mountain vacations. All that info I gave regarding snow and tires was just a consensus of some articles and videos.


Link to this reponse

Response from Member4787

10:51 am August 31, 2019

Looking at Consumer Reports and this site as well, the BMW X5 and X3 as well as Mercedes M-Class and GLK all seem to get solid reliability ratings. I am leaning towards a V6 because the 4 cylinder turbos don't seem to hold up. These vehicles are in my $20K price range:
2013 - 2014 BMW X5
2015 BMW X3
2013 Mercedes ML 350
2015 Mercedes GLK 350

I have always been concerned with the $150 oil changes and premium gas usage that I hear about... But I watched some YouTube videos and routine maintenance (spark plugs, oil, etc.) seems relatively straight forward. Mercedes still "requires" premium gas, but BMW has said that it is not a requirement for their vehicles.

Any thoughts on these vehicles?


Link to this reponse

Response from LectroFuel

12:55 pm September 1, 2019

For the X5, the 2013 and older had bad reliability ratings and the 2014 and newer had good ratings. I wouls still doubt the longevity of the German cars however. It is definitely a risk. The 2015 X3 was the first "good rating" year. 2013 ML ratings were OK and improved in 2015. The 2015 GLK seemed to be its most reliable year.

I think the Mercedes would be a little easier for DIY maintenance since it is a more traditional engine. I'm not a big fan of the GLK just because I think it is ugly. I would probably get the ML or either BMW.

The Acura and Lexus have similar reliability ratings, but have a history of long term reliability. Old German cars have a poor history for reliability. They are also more expensive to fix.

Of course you should test drive these as they are all equally good in my opinion.


Link to this reponse

Sign in or join TrueDelta to post your own thoughts.

Return to top