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What reviews to believe? Just trying to buy a crossover or SUV

The Right Car for Me | TrueDelta


Currently I have an awesome 1994 Toyota Corolla with never a problem I will be on a fixed income, everything I drove yesterday was computerized tripe in it which I HATE. I realize that whatever I get will have some and would really prefer a manual as is my Corolla. I would like to keep it at $25K or under. Mazda CX's were slugs, HRV was really slow to get going and the GMC Terrain had reasonable get up but apparently the wiring is soy based and creatures love to eat it and it is not covered under warranty, somewhat large for just me. Then I did the Crosstrex, manual and it was less hoopla but I somewhat liked being in something simple. I then go to all these review sites, one lists hundreds of complaints, another one people say they are great, this site shows major issues with engines and tranny's which I cannot afford to replace. Some say these years are great, look it up on another site and major problem. How do you know which site is correct. Whatever vehicle I get at my age has to last until I die. I want simple, lasting a long time realizing that nothing will outlast my Corolla. Thanks for your help and consideration.

Priorities: Reliability & durability / Materials & workmanship / Warranty, maintenance cost

Will consider both new and used cars

Maximum price: US $ 25

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Response from AcuraT

10:30 am April 22, 2019

Honestly, if you are buying new then the best bet you have is going to be the Toyota Corolla again. It is simple and essentially trouble free. However, I will say the new Corolla has a CVT automatic transmission and not everyone loves how it works, so you should test drive it first. A used Corolla with the older 5 speed automatic would be a sure thing and probably even a better bet for long term reliabilty.

Subarus are solid cars, and do last a long time which is why they have their commercials stating over 97% are on the road after 10 years. The only thing about Subaru's is they use the boxer engine design which gives the cars better handling (like Porsche which uses the engine design) but also creates two issues. One is that the main engine seal goes after 8 to 10 years as you approach 200,000 miles. That will cost a few thousand to fix at that point. Also, about 10% burn oil so you have to watch the oil level for the life of the car.

My parents have owned two Forresters and now two Outbacks. One Forrester had the regular engine and it lasted close to 200,000 miles when its main engine seal went and they sold the car. The other was a turbo model and it had problems at 120,000 and they sold that one as well. The turbo burned oil the other one burned a little but did not burn enough to need to add it between oil changes. Those were 2007 and 2008 models. They now have a 2015 and 2016 Outback and neither has burned oil yet but they are still too new to know (most mileage is about 25,000 miles so far, on the 2015).

I own one Subaru, a 2013 Legacy that at 40,000 started burning oil (H6 cylinder engine). Now approaching 90,000 it burns less but still burns it as it used to burn a quart every 4000 miles (changed the synthetic oil at 5000 regularly) and now burns about 1/4 a quart after 4000 miles. Is is a pain to check? Not really, just check the dipstick and if it is low, add oil (I keep some in the garage). Otherwise zero problems.

Subarus do need more maintenance than Toyotas. I know for example the suspension wears out faster and suspect I will have to replace parts of it around 120,000 which I have not had to do on my Saabs, Hondas, or GM cars. I regard Subarus as solid cars however.

This site is pretty good but they don't really monitor maintenance anymore as that was dropped last year. Consumer Reports is probably the best out there as they do their surveys regularly. Looking at its data (I am a member) from 2010 on every Corolla rates above average in reliability in every catagory. Brakes in 2013 is slightly below average and average in 2012, but that is to be expected and they are the only things mentioned as below average in all 17 catagories and the overall catagory in addition. So for reliablity and nothing else, the Corolla is still king. But, no manual is avaialble anymore. For that you will have to go with the slightly less reliable Subaru.

You see different comments on the Subaru for the very reason of the oil consumption. Some face it (about 10% according to Consumer Reports) and some do not, so people are all over the place about the cars. For the 90% who don't have a problem, they really don't have any issues at all. For the 10% who do have the oil burning issues, they do complain about it. I don't complain about it but expected it so when it happened I just accept it. Adding oil is cheap. Replacing a transmission or engine is expensive - Subaru's don't have to do that but you do have the main engine seal go before 200,000 that is expensive - but people fix that as well for a few thousand dollars. So you see a lot on the road for a long time. Probably why you see so many different opinions on Subaru.

Best of luck.


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Toyota Corolla

Response from qblitz

2:24 pm April 24, 2019

My friend, if you are on a fixed income, i would suggest you stay with companies that put their money where their mouth is. Look at the warranty. if they won't bear the risk of something going wrong after 36 months, why should you.


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Response from LectroFuel

2:37 am April 25, 2019

It doesn't seem like you need a new car. Why get the latest technology with a newer car when you hate technology? I think an older RAV4 V6 is your best bet. Fast, reliable, and it is an SUV without much in terms of tech.

For reviews not involving reliability, I go to YouTube to watch Alex on Autos, Redline Reviews, KBB, The Fast Lane Car, Engineering Explained, Throttle House, Driven Car Reviews, Matt Maran, and savagegeese. The YouTubers are rarely biased and it is entertaining for someone that loves cars. These people typically review new cars only. The more informative channels are Alex on Autos, Redline, KBB, Engineering Explained, and Driven.

For used cars and reliability, you should go to Consumer Reports, TrueDelta, and maybe CarComplaints.com. There isn't one website that has 0% error, so I would try to find a trend with what cars are good and bad. Every website has their problems. As AcuraT said, tracing powertrains back to their roots helps you identify what powertrains are reliable and trusty.


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Toyota RAV4

Response from mowermutt

7:46 pm April 27, 2019

Thank all of you for the input. I do not want a new model anything so with advice here I have eliminated some of the ones I wanted and starting over. This is whole SUV thing can be frustrating. The ones I really want have reviews that make mange look good.


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Response from AcuraT

8:20 pm April 28, 2019

If going used and you want an SUV that is most reliable then you have basically no choice - the RAV4 is the way to go from Toyota. After that close behind is the Honda CRV and Subaru Forrester with the comments from above on Subaru still holding true. Those Japanese brands are pretty much better in reliablity compared to everything else.

Note, at $25 dollars you want to spend you are not going to get anything but a used bike. If you up that to $25,000 you can get a three year old (2015) RAV4 with 44,000 for $13,000 - way below that price and it should give you about 160,000 miles without too many issues.

Best of luck.


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