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New small SUV

The Right Car for Me | TrueDelta


I currently have a 2006 Forester (not driveable- needs new engine at 157k miles). I always thought I would get a new forester, however I did have many issues with the head gasket and oil consumption (most recently). I am hesitent to go with Subaru again as it seems they have a lot of engine problems (however could this just be a small percentage?). I am looking for a small SUV that is good in the snow (I live in New England and I know Subaru is hard to beat in the snow), reliable and handles well. Currenlty I am looking at the Forester, RAV4 (hybrid) and CX-5. I am unsure how I feel about the "intelligent" AWD systems, has anyone heard of the sensors failing or being an issue? While I am willing tospend $28k, I would love to spend less and I an not opposed to buying used as long as it is 2014 or newer and I can get a good warranty. I plan on having whatever car I get for another 10+ years and put over 150k miles on it so I am looking for something for the long haul. Which of the above cars do you suggest? Any other suggestions besides these 3?

Priorities: Handling / Safety & braking / Reliability & durability

Need minimum of 5 seats

Will consider both new and used cars
Maximum mileage: 30000
Maximum age: 3 years

Maximum price: US $ 28000

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Response from jasonmreece

1:17 am April 11, 2017

Like you, I would also be apprehensive about buying another Subaru. They have claimed that the issue was fixed and that certain year models weren't affected?until those years started consuming oil! So I'm not confident that the problem is completely fixed. I also don't like CVT transmissions, which the Subaru uses (along with Toyota RAV4 and Honda CR-V, among others).

If I was in your position, the Mazda CX-5 would be an easy decision for me. But I also must admit that I currently own two Mazdas- a 2006 Mazda3 and 2012 CX-9. I like their cars and I've had good experiences with them. The CX-5 is newly redesigned for 2017. Dealers still have quite a few of the 2016.5 models remaining, so the opportunity for a good deal exists.

The 2016.5 Touring AWD can be had starting at around $24,500 ($27,415 base sticker). The 2016.5 Grand Touring AWD (leather, 19" wheels, moonroof, Bose audio) should come in just under your $28k budget (MSRP of $30,770).

The new 2017 CX-5 Touring AWD has a sticker price of $28,155. The $780 Preferred Equipment Pkg (Power moonroof, navigation, 10-spkr Bose audio, power liftgate, rain-sensing wipers, Homelink remote) is the deal of the century and brings the MSRP up to $28,945. Buying one for well under $28k should be no problem.

An alternative that would tempt me, but I tend to like a little luxury and performance, is a 2014-2015 CPO Acura RDX. For $28k, you'd get a nice luxury compact SUV with a 7yr/100k mile powertrain warranty and 1yr/12k miles added to the basic 4yr/50k warranty. The vast majority of the ones I found online were 3-year lease returns, so they're in pristine condition and have been very well maintained.

The Toyota RAV4 is a little too 'vanilla' for my taste. The Hybrid version you mention, even in the lowest XLE trim level, starts at $29,990 before any options. Getting one within your $28k budget could be difficult and there are simply better values out there.

I'll toss out one other possibility- the Hyundai Tucson. For starters, you get a 5yr/60k Basic (bumper-to-bumper) warranty and 10yr/100k powertrain coverage. So any problems with the engine, transmission or all-wheel-drive system would be covered for 10yrs/100k miles. The Tucson rates highly in most comparison tests (although the CX-5 tends to win them) when equipped with the 1.6L turbo engine. The 2.0L SE/SE Plus are simply too weak to recommend. They are very nice vehicles and worth an hour or so to take a quick look and a test drive.

To answer your question regarding 'intelligent' AWD systems, they seem to be VERY reliable across the board. I wouldn't be concerned about them failing within the 10yr timeframe you expect to own it. The beauty of most of these systems is that they function as FWD until additional traction is needed. That translates into better fuel economy and less wear on the AWD system components since they're only used a small percentage of the time.


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Response from LectroFuel

7:09 pm April 15, 2017

Although jasonmreese doesn't like CVTs (which I agree with), but CVTs work well in the snow because you are always in the right powerband.

I'd say the perfect car for you is the 2017 Honda CR-V EX at $27,995. It has Honda Sensing, their active safety features standard on the EX, the upgraded 1.5L turbo engine, a touch screen radio, and smart keyless entry.

The 2017 RAV4 XLE is a little more expensive and doesn't have all the same features, but is still good but boring.

The Forester is known for engine problems with their boxer engines and for too much oil consumption.

If you can get a great deal on a 2017 Hyundai Tucson Limited, go for it.


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Honda CR-V
Hyundai Tucson
Toyota RAV4

Response from NormT

12:44 pm July 11, 2017

Used 2016 Buick Envision Premium are $28,000-29,000.. It'll have standard AWD with torque vectoring, leather seats, 2.0T 250 horsepower, and be a much luxurious ride than the entry level cuv.

We cannot recommend Subaru either just because my then girlfriend's 2012 was just tinny box with good visibility and AWD. Ours fell to the fate of oil consumption and we traded it on a GMC Terrain that has been trouble free for 43,000 miles.


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Buick Envision
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