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Reasonable repair costs, SUV, good acceleration, used

The Right Car for Me | TrueDelta


I'm trading my Mercedes E 550 fully loaded sedan (2008) because I need something less expensive to maintain. I have a grandson I like to haul around and want to take on vacation.
I am considering the Suburu Outback because it seems like it is reliable, will hold value and be more functional. I have read some reviews that are less than stellar, though. I should mention Safety is a primary concern. Lots of speeders and red light runners here.
I have read good things about Nissan Murano. I don't like blind spots and need a little pep to merge on the freeways or a truck will run me down.
Thanks for all advice!

Priorities: Safety & braking / Handling / Interior styling

Need minimum of 4 seats

Will consider both new and used cars
Maximum mileage: 25000
Maximum age: 4 years

Maximum price: US $ 25000

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Response from zcd1

11:25 am March 16, 2017

How about a used/CPO 2013/2014 Acura RDX? We just bought one, and it came in under your price limit.

Pros: IIHS Top Safety Pick, smooth, powerful, fuel efficient V6 engine, well-equipped even in "Base" form, comfortable seating, plenty of space for passengers and cargo.

Cons: Interior materials/design nice, but not up to German/Lexus standards, handles well enough for its intended mission, but not really "sporty".

It's a good-driving vehicle that's something of a bargain, both new and used.


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Acura RDX

Response from jasonmreece

3:15 pm March 16, 2017

I actually put this list together before seeing the first response, but the Acura RDX is one of my suggestions also.

Here are the SUVs/Crossovers that should be reliable, reasonable to maintain, safe and provide more than adequate performance.

Acura RDX- 2013+
Acura MDX- 2012+
Kia Sorento- 2015+ (especially the SX-L or Limited models, only V6 models)
Lexus RX350- 2012+
Mazda CX-9- 2013+ (most trim levels have an excellent Blind Spot Monitor standard)
Toyota Venza- 2012+ (6-cylinder models only, 4-cylinders are underpowered)

You didn't mention AWD, but if you don't 'need' it, I'd suggest skipping it. You'll save on the purchase price, maintenance and repair costs and improve fuel economy.

All of the cars are Japanese except for the Kia Sorento (which is a South Korean company, but the Sorento is built in West Point, Georgia). The Sorento was updated in 2014 (based on the model introduced in 2011) and the 2014 and 2015 models are essentially identical. It was redesigned for 2016. They have a 10yr/100k mile powertrain warranty when they're new, I'm not sure if that ransfers to subsequent owners....

You could also take a look at a Certified Pre-Owned (CPO) Volvo XC60 or V60 wagon. The CPO warranty is one of the best out there and should minimize any concerns about maintenance costs. Safety and above average acceleration are standard across both model lines.

I also included the Mazda CX-9 on the list, even though it is one of the most easily overlooked vehicles in the class. That's sad because it's also one of the best in class in many ways. I have a 2012 CX-9 Grand Touring that I bought new and currently have 68k miles on it. It's still a great vehicle. As a used (or CPO) model, it is an exceptional value.

Good luck and hope you find exactly what you need!


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Response from Member5018

10:27 pm March 18, 2017

Phideaux here, (Australian)

Lots of people 'like' the Nissan Murano (I was never one of them). First test of first iteration here in Oz found that the thing just shut down if the gearbox overheated. Ran okay a day later... If you live in Arizona or some such, might wish to think on this. They do have a nice V6, tolerable power-to-economy. If you do rough-road/off-road, the Murano is at the soft end of soft-roader.

The big advantage of the Subaru (any Subaru) is symmetrical AWD. This means if you're in snow or ice, you might just get-going/keep-going where all the other so-called 4WDs (Land-Rover/Range-Rover excepted) get stuck. If you live in Minnesota or some such, may with to think on this!! If you like power, and not too fussed about economy, the Outback and the Tribeca have 6-cylinder versions - thirsty but excellent motors. The 4cylinder versions also work. And there's a turbo version of the Forester, XT, I think, might be worth a look. I've driven one of those and liked it.

Faced with similar requirements (grandparents & distance travel) we chose a Land Rover FL2. The latest iteration is called a Discovery Sport. We got a diesel (not sold in US) and couldn't be happier. Zero reliability issues; they've been addressed (unlike Jeep, who are still poor - see JD Powers). An FL2 or Discovery Sport with that excellent (Ford-based) turbo 4cylinder might suit your needs. Most servicing can be done by a Ford dealer if no Land Rover dealer is handy.

One thing to consider (which probably influenced your Mercedes choice) is 'joy of ownership' - feeling that you got the right car, and enjoy ownership. A while back, wife looked at the (Mercedes) Smart car - but the servicing costs totally destroyed fuel economy cost savings. Wound up getting a Honda Fit - which does everything the Smart would have done - and a lot(!) more - and over a year, cheaper to own.


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Land Rover Discovery Sport
Subaru Outback

Response from benck55

9:37 am March 19, 2017

Hi Jackie, what I can advise is test drive the Murano first and then decide after that. Currently leasing a 2015, no issues so far except for the 2 recalls doen by Nissan, ABS/ Passenger airbag fix. Nissan's VQ engine is bullet proof. I still have my 1995 Nissan Maxima and the engine still purring along. I'm on my 2nd Murano as have leased a 2012 before. Both are good choices. I agree withPhideaux, the 1st generation CVT was problematic. Nissan fixed it on the 2nd and 3rd Gen (2015 and up). I got 28mpg on a long drive from the CVT which is not bad. All the recommendation here by the memberts are sound.

From my perspective the Murano, also based on reviews rides good and quite. But again Test drive it first and feel for the CVT. Its's a bit different from a stepped automatic. I know about the MB's. When my Dad was alive, he had 4 of them in the driveway, nothing like a driving a German Automobile, for me Driving Dynamics can't be be beat.
Whern they work, everything is fine but when it breaks , it's an expensive proposition.

If buying new, look at the CX-9, Murano, Outback, RDX and RX350.
On my next Lease, I'm getting a Jeep Grand Cherokee as I want to try a Jeep :)


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Response from jasonmreece

5:45 am March 20, 2017

I forgot to mention the Nissan Murano in my earlier posting. I've had the Murano as a rental a few times and, except for the CVT which I HATE!!!, it was a pleasant vehicle. The only concern I would have is the reliability rating here on TrueDelta shows the 2015-2016 models have had some issues.

Responding to bsam8c55- The Jeep Grand Cherokee is my "guilty pleasure", so to speak. I've rented a JGC numerous times and I'm actually driving a rented 2016 JGC Limited right now. I had a nasty run-in with a deer followed by a sign post last week and my CX-9 is in the shop. Honestly, I wish I didn't have to return the Jeep! The reliaibility issues would keep me from owning one, but leasing is a very good option to protect you from any post-warranty horrific expenses. Despite their flaws, they drive like a DREAM!


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Response from benck55

10:26 am March 20, 2017

This will be my last Nissan for awhile, to be Honest, I hate the CVT,but the wife likes the Murano, lol. Also considering the VW Touareg besides the GC. That thing is built like a tank. My Mom has a 2012, and so far just recommended maintenance and no issues to be frank. The key factor to German vehicles is maintenance. I'm familiar with the VR6, it'as actually durable. I like driving it more than my Murano lol, refined,quite and anice ride.

We had a 2013 Passet SEL VR6 and that thing is fast; in my opinion needs a AWD drivetrain to put that power to the ground.


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Response from Member6326

10:35 am April 9, 2017

The infiniti ex37/Qx50 is a very good reliable small suv with great safty and power exlent brakes and more refined intirior than the mdx/rdx


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Response from NormT

7:58 am July 12, 2017

Not many here will recommend Subaru unless it is under warranty. The oil consumption class action suit and growing too fast has led to a number of recalls.

Any of the all wheel drive based CUVs that disconnect the rear axle for highway cruising will be easy on gasoline.

Even with all of the electronic aides available today size does matter if you are concerned about safety. Buy the most advanced and newest model to get the most robust platform.


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Buick Envision
Buick Encore
Cadillac XT5
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