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Small SUV (RAV4 vs CRV vs Forester vs Audi Q5 etc.)

The Right Car for Me | TrueDelta


We currently have a 2010 RAV4. It's great for visibility and inside comfort and the v6 is very smooth. Gas mileage is terrible, even with careful driving and road handling in the winter is the worst of any car we have owned (live in the snowbelt and the AWD is pretty much useless for city driving and highway, except when stuck in snow). Repairs on the RAV4 are very high, lots of electrical & suspension/steering problems since day 1. We had hoped the vehicle was going to last to at least 400,000 km, but it clearly wont (we are at 200,000 km). We probably will get rid of the RAV4 when the next major repair takes place (our mechanic is already warning us that we will have steering and supsension problems within the next 20,000 km).

So we really like the visibily and the cabin size and layout of the RAV4 and its pulling capacity with the v6 but realiability is a big issue for us (probably 6-10 days per year in a garage for repairs since the second year of ownership ... we take really good care of the car and do all the recommended maintenance). AWD is a must for us, given winter driving condtions in a rural area.

Thinking of looking at a Forester (having owned Subaru before, its very reliable and great in the winter) but the audio and nav systems included in the packages are really behind the times. It's a bit of turnoff for us as we had hoped that it would have the Apple carplay, but it seems that wont happen anytime soon.

Advice and suggestions much appreciated.

Priorities: Powertrain performance / Reliability & durability / Audio & nav systems

Preferred Bodystyle(s): SUV

Car Needs: Daily commuter / Long trips / Towing or hauling

Primary Driver(s): Short driver

Need minimum of 5 seats

Will consider new cars only

Maximum price: C $ 40000

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Response from Bigdubs40

8:00 pm October 7, 2016

We have different experiences with our 2 Subaru's as have many others with head gasket, warped pistons and excessive oil consumption. Gravity won with the horizontal boxer engine for us! With the suspension issues might consider sizing up. Drop the Forrester, CRV and consider a Kia Sorento and Ford Edge which both have apple CarPlay for 2017. Apple has an excellent CarPlay web page that includes the vehicles by manufacturer that have Car Play.


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Response from mkaresh

11:23 pm October 13, 2016

It's unusual to have such a troublesome RAV4. But you can't get one with a V6 anymore anyway.

The Toyota 4Runner is probably the most reliable SUV. But if you think fuel economy was bad with the RAV4...

The current Subaru Forester has been reliable so far. The records of past generations have been spotty once they pass the 160,000 km mark, though. It's too early to say how the current Forester will fare when it's that old. For what it's worth, while the current Subaru engine had oil consumption problems its first few years, it doesn't seem to share the old engine's head gasket issues. Visibility is a strength, and the XT is very quick.

I like how the current Kia Sorento drives, but first-year reliability has not been good, and I have no idea how it'll fare when well out of warranty.

If you think a Toyota RAV4 has been too expensive to maintain, you should avoid anything European, including the Audi.

Overall, of the vehicles that fit your criteria the Forester XT is probably your best bet, but getting one to 400,000 km is far from a sure thing.

The Toyota Highlander is larger and more expensive, you can't see out of it as well, and fuel economy will be worse, but among quick crossovers it probably stands the best chance of remaining reliable for the very long haul.


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Subaru Forester
Toyota Highlander

Response from NormT

1:31 pm July 18, 2017

The best deal under C $40,000 would be a 2016 Buick Envision Premium l. Here in the US the $43K Envision can be found for $10,000, or well below you budget brand new. This model includes Twin Clutch AWD with A torque vectoring rear to help turn suv around turns by sending more power to the rear wheels. The Twin Clutch system sends power to as little as a single wheel when the other three are slipping.

If you want the full kit suite in the Envision but not the $49,320 price of a new one with Driver's Confidence Package (includes all parking aides, full stopping front and rear, cameras surround...) a used 2016 Envision Premium ll was $35,000 with 3,000 miles on it.


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Buick Envision
Buick Encore
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