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Reliable Small SUV

The Right Car for Me | TrueDelta


I'm looking for a reliable ride for mostly short commutes and occassional long highway trips. Off road capability would be a big plus, but must have some capability for bad weather - AWD or 4WD. Would like a safe, reliable ride with a high seat and good visibility, minimal blind spots. Extras such as backup mirrors and navigation are nice, but not necessary. Thanks.

Nissa XTerra- Like:Great visibility, mechanical feel, feels like driving a truck, real 4x4 capability. DisLike: poor gas mileage, basic feel in cabin, questionable reliability.

Honda CR-V- Like: handling. Dislike: very poor rear visibility, too low, cloth seats.

Ford Escape - Like:nice cabin, rear view mirror, good visibility, smooth ride, adjustable seat. DisLike: not real 4x4, can't off-road, questionable reliability.

Mazda CX-5- Like: Handling, spacious driver's seat. DisLike: didn't feel powerful, sits low.

Nissan Versa- Like: tight handling, easy to park. DisLike: low power, no AWD, small gas tank.

Preferred Bodystyle(s): SUV / Pickup

Car Needs: Errands about town / Family transporter

Need minimum of 4 seats

Will consider both new and used cars
Maximum mileage: 40000
Maximum age: 7 years

Maximum price: US $ 24000

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Response from mkaresh

5:57 pm January 7, 2015

A Subaru Forester seems the most obvious option. The 2014+ is more fuel efficient than the 2009-2013, but might not be available with the features you want for $24,000. For strong acceleration you'll want the turbo, which means used previous generation at this price. The turbo is oddly also the best choice for reliability--some owners of the non-turbo 2011-2013 report problems with oil leaks and oil consumption.

You might also check whether a 2014 Jeep Cherokee with the features you want can be purchased for $24k. Possibly, since the 2015s are out. With the Jeep you'll want the V6. Reliability in our survey has been okay (if not great) so far--but they're still young. Visibility isn't as good as in the Subaru.

An Xterra is an ancient, fairly crude vehicle. A Toyota 4Runner would be a much better choice, though as with the Xterra one I'd only suggest if you'll do some real off-roading. And it doesn't sound like this is a top priority. Reliability is outstanding, but $24,000 probably won't get you a recent model year.


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Subaru Forester
Jeep Cherokee
Toyota 4Runner
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