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The Right Car for Me | TrueDelta


must be reliable and durable, good in snow and ice, quiet, comfortable seats, good ground clearance

Priorities: Reliability & durability / Front seat support & comfort / Fuel economy / Powertrain performance / Quietness

Preferred Bodystyle(s): SUV

Car Needs: Daily commuter / Family transporter / Long trips

Primary Driver(s): Senior driver

Need minimum of 5 seats

Will consider both new and used cars
Maximum mileage: 75000
Maximum age: 3 years

Maximum price: C $ 25000

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Response from jasonmreece

9:10 pm October 8, 2015

Your list of Priorities in conjunction with your mileage/age limits and your budget make it tough to suggest a vehicle that meets ALL of those parameters.

One that comes the closest is the Mazda CX-9. No mid-size or larger SUV has good fuel economy and the CX-9 is no exception. But there are plenty of smaller, less powerful and slower SUVs that are a lot worse on fuel than the CX-9.

The CX-9 is considered a "full-size CUV or Crossover" and 3-row seating for 7 is standard. Most CX-9 drivers tend to keep the 3rd row folded down most of the time, making it a very roomy 5-seater with a huge cargo area.

It has a great AWD system for all-weather traction, powerful 3.7L V6 and the most 'car-like' handling of any SUV or CUV around. I have a 2012 FWD model that I bought new here in the U.S. and it is the top-of-the-line Grand Touring model. In Canada, there are only two trim levels- GS and GT. The GS can be FWD or AWD and has cloth interior standard. A Luxury Package is optional on the GS and adds Leather, Moonroof, Keyless Entry and Ignition, Pwr Passenger Seat and Power Tailgate. The GT only comes with AWD and is loaded to the gills with Xenon headlights, Navigation, sharp 20" wheels, 10-spkr Bose Surround Sound, fog lights and backup sensors.

I would suggest test driving a 2012-2013 GS AWD and GT back-to-back to compare. The 18" wheels and tires on the GS are a little quieter than the 20s on the GT. The large wheels and tires also give the GT awesome handling but the ride is a tiny bit stiffer. I managed to eliminate both the noise and ride stiffness on my GT when I replaced the factory tires at 28k miles.

Also be aware that the CX-9 was significantly revised for the 2013 model year. The front fascia was redesigned, rear end updated and the center controls were redesigned. A neat bit of info about 2013-2015 models- you can add Navigation to models which don't have it for less than $600!

The driver's seat is extremely comfy for my 6'2" 240# frame and I can still stand upright after 8-10 hours behind the wheel! I love the performance from the 272hp 3.7L V6 and (the real superstar) the 6-speed Aisin Sport A/T. It's very quick and there's always reserve power available with the press of your right foot.

Take a look, you won't be disappointed!


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Mazda CX-9

Response from mkaresh

11:13 pm October 8, 2015

The only thing I'm not sure of with the Mazda CX-9 is whether it has the desired ground clearance.

I don't personally care for the ride and handling in the Toyota 4Runner, but whenever someone wants an ultra-reliable true SUV it's at the top of the list. They last forever. But they're definitely trucks. A CX-9 is far more car-like.

With seats, there's really no substitute to sitting in them yourself.

As you probably know, living in Canada, for good traction on snow and ice you want winter tires. (I know that at least some provinces mandate them.)


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Toyota 4Runner

Response from Member6483

10:58 pm October 21, 2015

I own a 2011.5 Volvo XC60 T6 AWD and absolutely LOVE it! It meets all of your requirements. We got 16'' of snow where I live and the XC60 was like snow plow pushing through snow drifts thanks to it near 9'' of ground clearance even on Continental All Season Tires. All the while I was sitting the most comfotable heated leather seats EVER. You also wish to use it as a family transporter which means safety will be a concern. The doors on my Volvo are like a bank vault and it scored highest in the new Small Overlap crash test which is very difficult and the Toyota 4-Runner and Mazda CX-9 would both have killed or seriously injured the driver/passengers. After the test the door on the Volvo still opened!! (Go to www.iihs.org to check ratings) I also average good mpg. I have a 304bhp Turbocharged beast under the hood and still manage to easily get 20mpg city and 25mpg highway using 93 octane. (I could only get 18.5mpg city and 24mpg highway on 87 octane.) I've also had the car up to 120mph on a 105 degree day in July with the family and all of our luggage in the car up a hill in rural Oklahoma and the car wasn't even working hard. The car is very quiet due to it's thick laminated side windows and lots of sound absorbant materitals. I have 75,000 miles on mine and it is problem free and runs like it's brand new! Mine has the neat Active bending Bi-Xenon headlamps which is a great safety feature at night time making it easier to spot deer off of the side of the road. Not to mention all XC60 models come standard with City Safety a Intelligent Emergency braking system designed to prevent low-speed collisions.
I say you should go for the XC60. You definately won't be disappionted.


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Volvo XC60

Response from mkaresh

1:45 pm October 22, 2015

^ If you havan't already, you might consider posting a review of your XC60.

Good point on the crash test performance of the CX-9.

Assuming an XC60 can be bought within the specified price range, the largest question is reliability. We don't have a sufficient sample size for many years. Of those we have good sample sizes for, the 2013 looks good so far, the 2012 has a moderate repair frequency, and the 2010 is on the edge of high. All but the 2010 could be okay for someone who doesn't mind a repair every year or two. The 2013 and up could require few repairs, but it's not yet possible to tell how they'll do after the warranty ends. They could end up doing very well, but they're not virtually a sure thing the way a Toyota 4Runner is.


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Response from Member6483

6:29 pm October 22, 2015

Response from jasonmreece

2:30 pm October 28, 2015

I just had another idea- what about a 2012 Nissan Pathfinder? The 2013-2015 Pathfinder is a car-based Crossover and it hasn't been very reliable. But the 2012 and prior years were truck-based and more robust. Just an idea.


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Response from mkaresh

4:33 pm October 28, 2015

I didn't suggest the Pathfinder myself because it's not nearly as reliable as the 4Runner. The first few model years had transmission cooling systems that could rupture, letting coolant into the transmission and ruining it. While it's possible that these have all been corrected at this point, reliability was still probably about average. Not bad, but not in the same league as the Toyota.


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Response from JimRoe

9:17 pm December 30, 2015

Thank you all for your suggestions and comments on these SUVs I appreciate your suggestions and comments. For my requirements and experience owning a variety of vehicles over my 50 years of driving the 4-Runner is very truck-like with a ladder frame making it very rugged which has significant advantages but which makes it heavy and results in high fuel consumption, I also much preferred the styling of the older style 4-Runner. I have never owned a Mazda but fiends who do are very impressed, I do like the styling of the new series of Mazda vehilces. I like the Volvo it catches my eye on the road and I was very satisfied with a 242 I owned in the '80s and drove from Ontario to Alaska and back, I think it had 400,000 miles when I sold it, what I remember about the Volvo in particular was that the car did not change much between summer heat and winter cold it was a very consistent in the way it handled and drove, compared to the big 3 cars was a vey reliable and solid car which inspired confidence. I personnaly have never used the crash-test results as the final arbitrator in car buying decisions, I always consider it and would shy away from a poor crash test performer, also I like the Volvo ground clearance. Thanks again everyone for your comments and suggestions.


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