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New SUV - reliable but with a few more modern touches

The Right Car for Me | TrueDelta


I currently have a Honda CR-V ('09-EX model with about 140k miles). Can't lease, need to buy as I drivearound 18-20K miles a year. Looking into the following (in no particular order - all 2016 models):

  1. Honda CR-V
  2. Mazda CX-5
  3. Hyundai Tucson
  4. Toyota RAV4 (hybrid?)
  5. Subaru Forester
I like the CRV style and I'm familiar with it, but don't like the CVT transmission/drive so much vs the one I already have. It appears to have less overall features than some other choices. The '16 CX-5 has gotten rave reviews and I like the car's styling outside/inside but don't know anyone that has a Mazda and dealership / repair shops are not conveniently located near home vs the other brands. I worry about the repairs / reliability on this brand as I don't know all that much about it (goes for the Subaru as well). I like the Subaru as a whole, great visibility, comfort (for me), and road clearance, but don't really need the AWD as I live in Florida (just have to deal with standing flood water after downpours). The RAV4 didn't appeal to me at first, but it has grown on me (not crazy about the interior styling, but do like the exterior). I was looking into the hybrid model due to the gas mileage, but it only comes as an AWD w/CVT vs the regular gas only models (regular transmission, I believe). I like the reliability on the Toyota and I did know someone with a Camry Hybrid who loved it.

Any suggestions, experiences would be welcomed.

Edit - forgot some notes on the Tucson. I like the styling both inside and out, but not to crazy about how the features are packaged as far as the 'package options' are concerned. However, I realize that most of the other cars/makers aren't that different. My wife had a Sonata and we had no issues with it so I'm somewhat familiar with the brand.

Priorities: Reliability & durability / Warranty, maintenance cost / Feature availability

Preferred Bodystyle(s): SUV

Car Needs: Daily commuter / Family transporter / Errands about town

Primary Driver(s): Short driver

Need minimum of 5 seats

Will consider new cars only

Maximum price: US $ 30000

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Response from jasonmreece

1:44 am January 5, 2016

I'm with you on CVTs, I hate them!!! I travel for work a lot and rent cars quite often, so I've sampled a lot of them and haven't found a single one that I would buy. I've heard that Honda has done an impressive job of making their CVT mimic a conventional automatic, but I haven't driven one yet....and it's still a CVT!

The Subaru also has a CVT (and it stinks, based on my experience in a Forester and Legacy rental) and there have also been some oil consumption issues with them that aren't definitely resolved. I also wouldn't want to pay the penalty in price, complexity and fuel economy for AWD if I didn't need it.

The Hyundai Tucson has been getting very good reviews. It looks good and seems pretty competitive, but the fact that it's a first year of a new model would worry me.

To be honest, I'm not a big fan of the RAV4, but that's solely based on my own tastes and not any flaws in the car. It is fundamentally a very good vehicle and I doubt many have ever regretted buying one. My biggest issue is, as with most Toyotas, it is "dull as dishwater"! On the plus side, there is a new SE trim level for 2016 that helps in the looks department. Still, it wouldn't be my pick.

Without hesitation, the CX-5 would be the one I would buy! I own a 2006 Mazda3 that I bought new in late 2005 and a 2012 CX-9 and love them. The CX-5 was the first vehicle solely designed by Mazda after they were freed from Ford's control. It was introduced in 2013 and has been very reliable so far. The same is true of the 2014 Mazda3 and Mazda6. Mazda's small dealer network (comparatively speaking) is probably their weakest point. The two dealers closest to me are a full hour away, but I have only needed to return to the dealer for two recalls on the CX-9.

The CX-5 is the best handling and most enjoyable to drive compact CUV. It has great fuel economy but still has some guts when you put your right foot down.

The CX-5 is also a great value and available feature content is impressive. You can get a CX-5 Grand Touring 2WD with Tech Pkg (LED headlight/fog lights, Nav, Smart City Brake Support, Homelink) for about $28k. For another $1500, you can add the 'i-Activsense Pkg' which includes Radar Cruise Control, Auto High Beams, Fwd Collision & Lane Departure Warning and several other features.

Mazda is also offering some sweet financing deals right now- 0% for 36mos or 0.9% for 60mos.


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Mazda CX-5

Response from mkaresh

12:27 pm January 5, 2016

If you don't need something as large as the CX-5, Mazda now also offers the CX-3.

If you don't really need a high seating position the Mazda3 is also worth a look.

Both Mazdas and Hyundais have been reliable even in their first model year lately, so I personally wouldn't be concerned about the reliability of either. The main point of concern with the new Tucson would be the dual-clutch automated manual transmission paired with the turbocharged 1.6-liter engine in the upper trim levels. The more conventional engine and transmission in the Mazdas are less of a risk.


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Mazda CX-3
Mazda Mazda3

Response from drb_1966

4:34 am January 6, 2016

The Toyota and the Honda are historically the most reliable on your list. Of the two, the Toyota does have a more conventional six speed transmission vs. the CVT in the Honda, making it more reliable and less expensive to repair out of warranty. I would avoid a hybrid based on the increased entry cost and, being a more technically sophisticated system, more prone to failure. Simpler is better, so try to avoid any options/accessories that you don't actually need.


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Toyota RAV4

Response from timothyscole

8:29 pm January 6, 2016

I have a 2014 Cx5 GT 2.5 AWD that I bought new. It now has about 60 k kilometres (say 45 k miles) and it is an excellent vehicle. I love the way it drives, it is adequately powered by the 2.5 litre, and I like the size. I have two small children with car seats and we always haul a stroller. I have done nothing but scheduled maintenance in the nearly 3 years I have owned it. The Awd system is incredible but if you don't need that, great! I average about 8.5 litres per 100 km in 50/50 city and highway. FWD would be even better. I would note that a rear facing child seat makes the front a little squishy in the knees on the passenger side. Also since you mentioned the tranny, the one in the Mazda is very slick. Smoothest conventional tranny I have ever driven hands down. And the sport shift mode actually feels sporty.

As for Mazda's reliability, this is my second Mazda. I also had a 2009 Mazda 6 GT that I bought new. It had 60,000 miles on it and never had an issue except one set of brakes and rotors in the front. But that is common here in my climate. I would still have the car but it got hit in the rear and was written off. I replaced it with an Acura TSX which is not nearly as good.

I rave about my CX5 to all of my friends. Highly recommend!


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Mazda CX-5
Nissan Rogue
Honda CR-V

Response from fuster

11:16 pm January 11, 2016

Thanks everyone for all the responses so far. I plan on going to see the Mazda this upcoming weekend to test drive it and get a better 'feel' for it. I have to take my current CRV in for an oil change in about 2 weeks, so maybe I'll take to a dealership for the service and take a CRV for a drive. Let's see how it goes...


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Mazda CX-5
Honda CR-V

Response from fuster

10:23 am October 11, 2016

Hi. Had some unexpected personal issues as far as getting a new car is concerned so the search has been postponed. Hopefully should start up again soon.

Thank You Everyone for your comments/help.


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