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Reliable, eficient, capable, comfortable, do-it-all vehicle for mid-30's single guy

The Right Car for Me | TrueDelta


Currently have '13 Honda Accord Coupe and love it but tired of the coupe's limited cargo space. I'm a homeowner who does projects quite frequently. I also take my road bike out a fair bit and go hiking some, too. No real off-roading thought. Thinking about SUV/CUV, Wagon, Hatch or even new Honda Ridgeline. Don't need a trck but maybe 1-2 times a year though. New car needs to be built well, very reliable, have high-quality leather interior, sunroof (highly desired), get good MPG and be able to carry project materials from Home Deot/Lowes, other misc cargo from time to time. I value reliability and quality construction over styling. Would like to have HID/LED headlights, Nav, Sunroof, Smart Entry (must have), driver assistance (LKAS, FCW, ACC, etc) but not required.

Vehicles I'm considering:
'17 Subaru Outback 2.5i Limited
'16 Mazda CX-5 FWD
'17 Honda Ridgeline RTL-T or RTL-E (If I splurge!)
'17 Ford Escape Titanium FWD

Do not want:
- Traditional mid-size or full-size pickup due to poor ride and normally cheapish interiors, and poor MPG
- Large three-row SUV as I have no need to transport more than a few people at any time.
- Vehicle without proven reliability

Priorities: Reliability & durability / Materials & workmanship / Cargo capacity

Preferred Bodystyle(s): Hatch / Wagon / SUV

Car Needs: Daily commuter / Errands about town / Long trips

Need minimum of 5 seats

Will consider new cars only

Maximum price: US $ 38000

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Response from samuel.bethune

3:37 pm August 18, 2016

Before I read the list of cars you were considering I thought the Outback was probably the car you should be looking at. The Forester also deserves a look. The Mazda is also a good pick. I like the Escape but the only thing that would stop me from recommending it is that all four of my brothers owned first and second series Escapes and two of them had major transmission problems. I don't know if this was fixed with the current model but it is a very attractive car. Hyundai has really stepped up their game in terms of quality and reliability and the Santa Fe or Tucson may be worth your attention as well. Avoid the Volkswagen Tiguan and the BMW X3/X5.


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Subaru Outback
Subaru Forester
Hyundai Santa Fe

Response from S2000

10:51 am August 19, 2016

The kiiller requirement is for a recent model RELIABLE vehicle. See Consumer Reports June 2015 EXCESSIVE OIL CONSUMPTION IS NOT OK. To improve fuel economy auto makers went to combination of low tension (loose) piston rings and low viscosity (watery) oil. This lets watery oil get sucked past loose piston rings where it's not only gets burned in excessive quantity but oily crankcase vapors get sucked through crankcase gas recirculating system which results in carbon deposits on intake valves and oil control piston rings. Net result - piston rings get so gummed up that they fail and oil consumption skyrockets while intake valves get deposits that a) sharply reduce efficiency to the point of erratic running and b) engine stalling at low speeds.

Most people don't check oil level and so are very surprised when their engine fails because they have run out of oil.

Google excessive oil consumption and class action lawsuits for engine repairs for all car brands. It's an epidemic that is not yet fully in the public awareness. Check TrueDelta for reliability and owner reports on cars like Suburu Outback and you will see what I'm talking about.

Bottom line - very few cars made post-2000 are reliable.


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Response from colin42

11:12 pm August 19, 2016

S2000. The data doesn't support your claims. Yes cars use thinner oil for fuel consumption and some engines do suffer with high oil consumption but to claim that most cars since 2000 are unreliable is just untrue.


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Response from Member66

11:48 pm August 29, 2016

Of the vehicles you have on your short list, my personal choice would be the Mazda. It's got a good amount of interior room for your occasional hauling, returns decent fuel economy, and is a bit sportier than your average crossover so it's a bit more interesting to drive. The Outback would be my second choice, but that could just be my soft spot for boxer engines talking. I like the Outback's slightly smaller form factor and more carlike stance, and the AWD is a boon in bad weather (though this may not be an issue where you live).


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Mazda CX-5
Subaru Outback

Response from NormT

1:58 pm July 19, 2017

At 30,000 limit I recommend the 2016 Buick Envision Premium 2.0T. This Audi, Mercedes, BMW'esque but used at $29,XXX it will be quieter than a Lexus RX and $10,000 less than a Lexus NX200T and include more features in the Premium l trim.

The Buick Accessories include a full line of Thule products for the Envision. But the Envision Premium includes standard AWD with Twin Clutch system that allows power to a single wheel if others are slipping and torque vectoring allow power to the outside wheel in a turn unlike some systems that brake the inside wheel.

You won't find those economy cuv's listed above for this price with this luxury content, nor will they ride as quiet and smooth and put out the power the 2.0T does.


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Buick Envision
Buick Encore

Response from TNTA2

12:12 pm October 1, 2018

Well, here it is over a year since I first posted and I'm still driving an Accord, just not the same Accord. I ended up buying a 2017 Accord Touring V6 since it was going to be the last of its kind and I wanted the extra power. I looked at the Ridgeline at the time, but it was so new there weren't many deals to be had and stock was very limited. So I bought the new Accord and sold the 2013 to my brother for his kids to drive to school/college. After a year and a half, I think I've settled on moving to a Ridgeline, but am waiting for the probable 2020 refresh to get new front end styling, better infotainment (with a volume knob!) and whatever else Honda adds from the 2019 Pilot refresh. I think I'd prefer to drive a sedan everyday, but the capability of the Ridgeline would come in handy quite often, and the ride comfort would be at least as good or even better. I'd take a little MPG hit, but not too bad.

I test drove the Tacoma, but decided against it almost immediately. The ride is bouncy, the wind noise is bad, the rear seat config when folded eats up cargo space, it doesn't have the Ridgeline's in bed trunk, there's no Apple CarPlay, no remote start, etc.

i also became interested in the 2019 Acura RDX, and took a brief test drive as soon as they hit the local dealer lot. It's a very nice vehicle and I think I'd enjoy owning a SH-AWD Tech package model, but it would not do well with the hauling duties like dump runs, Home Depot and Lowe's purchases, etc. That and the tow rating is very low. I do like the vehicles a lot, though and it would provide enough of the luxury touches I value.

The Ridgeline would be the best of both worlds for me. Sedan-like comfort and ride quality with more than enough pickup capability for my needs. That's my thinking at the moment at least. Any other reccomendations?


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Honda Ridgeline
Toyota Tacoma
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