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  daefulton

AcuraT- I do see that reliability has improved with the 2014 generation of X5. So now I put it back on the tip of the list. I do also like the Highlander, especially 2014 and later. Legroom is good and it is very reliable. These to vehicles are the top choices I just have to pro and con it to see which one wins overall. Thanks for the response.

Midsize SUV for Tall guy
  AcuraT

The Mazda, Kia, Hyundai, and Buick are all good options. It just depends on the end of year discount you can get and what you like. Best of luck.

Dependable SUV or passenger car with power front passenger w/lumbar and heated second row seats
  NormT

Motor Trend's longterm CX-9 was showing consider wear, so bad it showed up in their photographs. Aside from piano black center console scratches at 27,000 miles zooming in on the leather seats and center console elbow are shows noticeable wear.

"...The one glaring exception to this observation, though, is the heavily scratched piano black finish on the center console and door armrest. As good as piano black may look in a design sketch, it just doesn't make sense to use it on a surface that takes so much abuse..."

The CX-9 also was called out for it's lackluster AWD by Motor Trend. YouTube videos of diagonal incline test had it overload the AWD to shut it off.


2017 Mazda CX-9 Touring AWD Long-Term Update 5: How the Interior is Holding Up - Motor Trend
  danlisahall

Ditto what LectroFuel said. No car car is perfect but you are likely to have fewer issues with a Mazda than most. CR rates Mazda's among the best and CX-9 is no exception. I wouldn't let reliablity worries steer you away for the CX-9 if that one best meets your needs.
https://www.consumerreports.org/cars/mazda/cx-9/

Dependable SUV or passenger car with power front passenger w/lumbar and heated second row seats
  LectroFuel

Mazdas since the 2000s have almost always been very reliable. About as good as Honda. Toyota/Lexus still beat Mazda, but only by a little bit. They don't have the sales numbers of the big automakers but they know how to build great cars. I don't really have any bias for or against any brand, by the way.

The Sorento is also a great SUV. You get a 100k mile 10 year powertrain warranty with Kia and Hyundai. Kia is pretty reliable, though Toyota and Mazda are usually a little better. Kias and Hyundais depreciate more than the average brand. I would skip the 3 row Sorento and go with the new 2019 Hyundai Santa Fe. People seem to really like it. You will have a lot of cargo space because there is no 3rd row in the new Santa Fe.

Dependable SUV or passenger car with power front passenger w/lumbar and heated second row seats
  bs0755

Thanks everyone for taking the time to give such detailed responses! I have to admit, that Buick was never on my radar--I always thought that they were for old people (even though I am 63...) However, they do make a good looking vehicle, and the discounts are incredible. So, I owe it to myself to at least take a look at an Envision.

Just to clarify what I am looking for: I do not need a SUV/Crossover for the passenger capacity, because it is just the two of us. What I like about them, is a roomy second row for when we have 2 passengers--and also, my wife likes to ride in back during trips, so that she has room to spread out. The cargo room is nice for the times I need to haul a piece of furniture. lawn mower, etc--but to be honest, that probably does not happen more than a dozen times per year...

So, I have added the Envision to my list, as well as the Sorrento--in addition to the Mazda CX-9 and Genesis G80. At this point, I keep coming back to the Mazda--but still have some lingering doubts regarding quality/reliablility. Although, as with any other major purchase, if you do enough research, you would probably not buy anything--You are always going to find naysayers...

Dependable SUV or passenger car with power front passenger w/lumbar and heated second row seats
  NormT

We, as tuners, do not recommend Aisin in GM cars as they are not supported with most tuning software as there is little demand to exu/TCU tune those vehicles. There is nothing wrong with their higher torque applications from what I have heard.

By 2023 GM will have release 20 EV so there probably won't be much more development in automatic transmissions for smaller passenger cars.

Dependable SUV or passenger car with power front passenger w/lumbar and heated second row seats
  danlisahall

When your gonna be laying out around $36 grand for your next car and most certainly don't want buyer's remorse a month after you do so. As others have said, give em all long test drive. A 30 minutes test drive simply isn't going to give you enought time to figure out if the car is comfortable for those long road trips your looking forward to. You need to spend a couple of hours in the car, better yet have it for a day or two. Your derrier may vary!

If you're a serious buyer and presentable, most dealers can be talked into letting letting you take out new car go alone for several hours perhaps even an overnight. Another great options are rent one for a week. Outbacks and VW Sportwagens are available at some rental agencies. If you live in a major city you might try Turo. Turo is a neat group of people who rent their personal cars -- usually for about 30 - 50% less than the rental companies. Here in Seattle I can rent any thing from a Honda Fit for $20/ day to a Bentley Flying Spur for $1,300 day.
Here are some great comparative reviews of OB, TourX and Golf Sportwagon.https://www.motortrend.com/cars/buick/regal/2018/2018-buick-regal-tourx-vs-2018-subaru-outback-3-6r-vs-2018-volkswagen-golf-alltrack/ https://www.usatoday.com/story/money/cars/2018/06/01/sport-wagons-edmunds-subaru-outback-buick-regal-tourx/654726002/ https://www.coloradoavidgolfer.com/face-off-2018-buick-regal-tourx-essence-vs-2018-subaru-outback-3-6r/

medium size station wagon for long road trips
  NormT

An older A4 Avant or 3-series wagon would be mid-sized and powerful, the base engine in the Outback 2.5l would be the slowest. Going to a Outback 3.6l is $9,000 more than a Regal TourX at $23K on autotrader. You can option it up there.

With the prices dropping on the TourX that would compliment my 2004 Saab 9-5 Arc wagon, the feature content on our current 2016 Buick Envision Prem ll is better optioned than the TourX can be for the price. So we're keeping the Envision.

We like the slightly higher seating position of the Envision for ingress/egress and view of the road and the heads up display show speedometer. The Envision is smaller than the TourX but the sliding and reclining back seat in the Envision makes up for the size difference. Plus sliding the back seat forward is better for the dogs riding back there.

Buick Encore is even smaller but is comfortable on 6-hour drives, our 2013 Emcore had a ecu tune and it was fairly quick to give it "Squirt" nickname, and quiet with Active Noise Cancelation. All Buicks offer 4-year 50,000 mile warranty.

medium size station wagon for long road trips
  AcuraT

Danlisahall gives you a very good overview of the market, but just test drive the cars both he and Lectrofuel recommend. Personal prefernences are fine, but you should determine what you like based on the reliability given to you by TrueDelta and to a lesser degree, Consumer Reports.

The Outback is a cheaper car and lower cost than the Regal, so you can get nearly a loaded car from Subaru but the mid-tier from Buick with your budget. This past April when a tree fell on my car and I had to get a new one I did test both of these models.

The Buick was more comfortable on the highway, with the same handling as the Subaru. The turbo four in the Regal had more power than the four cylinder in the Outback. The size of the trunks are very similar but the Outback is a little smaller than the Regal. Gas mileage is about the same with the turbo four Buick and Outback four cylinder. The six cylinder Outback was not available for me to try out.

The Regal went more into luxury than the Outback but that makes sense as it costs more at the high end. They both have good AWD systems. Both are good cars and you probably can live with either - it depends on what you want. I would say test drive both and go on that.

Me? I went with neither. At the time, last April when the tree fell on my car, I also looked at midsized SUVs and looked at a few of them. I ended up with the Buick Envision because I could get a loaded SUV for less than $38,000 when it lists for more than $50,000. At that huge discount, I wanted the luxury that came with it. I don't regret the decision as now I have almost 13,000 on it after 7 months of troublefree operation. I have done a number of long trips in it and it is quite comfortable on the highway. In April Buick launched the 2019 model (new 9 speed transmission from a 6 speed which had been used in mulitple GM models for almost 10 years) so the older 2018 was heavily discounted -and if you can find one you can get the same huge discount now.

Good luck, let us know what you try.

medium size station wagon for long road trips
  AcuraT

daefulton - your comments are pretty much accurate. BMWs do have issues over time in durability. Some are electrical in nature. However, since the 2014 redesign they have been better over the last four years than past models which were much more problematic. This is according to TrueDelta and Consumer Reports which the data is always suspect at CR but when they don't show issues it means no one is reporting issues as their tolerances are very low to showing issues in their ratings (as low as 1% on small, statisically insignficant numbers).

Acura, Nissan, Jeep - all out - got it.

You will have to test drive these options I suggest for comfort but they are all fairly relaible with what is known up to now.

Lexus RX - durable. Space could be an issue for you. Price as well.
Toyota Highlander - durable. Space is probably okay but price will possibly be an issue.
Buick Envision - only on the market in the USA for three years, but pretty reliable in that time. Made in China but designed in USA. Heavily discounted - up to $15,000 off on the 2018 model, less off on the 2019 model. Probaby too expensive as that means on a loaded model it is $35,000. Base model as low as $25,000 which you may not like as it lacks the turbo engine.
Mazda CX-5 - fairly reliable again. Also durable and in your price range. This maybe your best bet of all the above if the space works for you.
Subaru Forester - the car was redesigned this year so reliablity is unknown but in the past Subarus are generally reliable from the start. Not particularly expensive. The last generation besides some engine burning oil issues has been reliable (about 10% of the owners experience some engine oil burning - add oil and monitor it and you are fine). They are known for lasting as long as 200,000 if the engine is maintained with oil.

Perhaps others will have some other alternatives. This is my list. Best of luck.




Midsize SUV for Tall guy
  AcuraT

Buick Regal may replace the 8 speed with the 9 speed from GM, Norm, but not guaranteed. Why? Because sedans don't sell and GM does not control the plants that the Regal is built in. Opel was sold to Citrogen and GM contracted them for a four year contract to build the Regal. The cost and coordination of replacing an engine for a three year (remaining) model is not worth it. So some Buick Regals will use the Aisen transmission, and some will use the 9 speed from GM probably to the end of the contract.

If they spend the money to upgrade I am wrong but for the reasons above (limited timeframe for car being built, lack of control over Opel anymore, cost for changing over) I doubt they will do it. We will find out quickly as 2021 is probably the last year of its production at most.

Dependable SUV or passenger car with power front passenger w/lumbar and heated second row seats
  danlisahall

Wagons that fit your description ofcomfortable, quiet and powerful wagons for long road trips.You have at least three good options; especially if you are willing to purchase a used one. Interestingly most of them have AWD standard

Starting with new one in your price range you could get a Buick Regal TourX. This is a car fit your description quite well although some might say it is a large rather than a medium size wagon (it is big!). The intermediate model ("Preferred") is reasonably well equipped at #33.6K but unfortunately the most desirable safety features are only available on the top model("Essencence") stickers at $36K and it will cost another $1.2K for the desirable safety features including Adaptive Cruise Control - Advanced, Forward Automatic Braking,Front Pedestrian Braking,Lane Keep Assist with Lane Departure Warning,Forward Collision Alert, andFollowing Distance Indicator. Also there is the usual delivery charge of $925 plus for any color other than red they ding you another $400. So basically you would be looking at 39.4K before taxes and license. It looks like average market price is $5-6K below MSRP so some deals can be had. Bear in mind this is a new model in the US so some teething problems are to be expected

Next would be a Subaru Outback with the 3.6L H6 motor. It also fits you desires quite well. The Limited model with full safety suite stickers for about $1,000 less than the Buick but has a number of features either not avaiable on the Buick or only available as options. Generally speaking the Subaru has been quite reliable but the 2019s have had some issues with navigation head unit. $2-$4K discounts off MSRP are common.

Last but not least in the new category is the VW Sportwagon (FWD) or Alltrack (AWD). They are pretty much identical other than the difference on how many wheels are engaged. The VW is smaller than either the OB or Buick, but it is a very space efficient package that drives more sportier. You could get either model fully loaded for less than your max price with change. VW reliablity can be spotty with some having a lot of niggling problems. On the plus side it will cost the least to purchase and operate and has the longest warranty (6 yrs / 72,000 miles).

Both the Buick & Outback compare quite favorably. The Outback is leans a bit more toward the SUV mold while the Buick is more of an urban cruiser. Similarly equipped the Buick is likely to cost a few grand more (depending on market demand and your negotiation skills) but if you are not concerned about any dirt roads or high clearance, the Buick may fit your needs better as it is marginally more comfortable, faster, uses less gas.

Here are a couple of links for comparison reviews of the above models.
In the used realm you have the Volvo Cross Country 60 and 90 and the Audi A6 wagon. Both are capable and comfortable cars with Audi being more sedan like while the Volvo definitely leans in the SUV directions . Of these I'd opt for the Audi A6 as it is generally the more reliable of the two. For the record, we had an 2002 A4 that was flawless for 4 years and 45,000 miles. Nice car but I prefer hatchbacks

Personally, given the complexity and potential for issues with any of the above cars, I go new or at least get Certified used model for the extended warranty. Honestly, I'm a Subaru fan having owned 1 Forester and 2 Outbacks. The Forest and 2010 models were flawless for the 5 years I owned each of them. My 2015 2.5L OB model has had a couple minor problems but the gasket leak require pulling the engine. I also own a 2017 Golf 4 door which is a very fun car to drive, very comfortable (for a small car, but not in the same way as the larger cars) and very fuel efficient (I get 25 mpg in town and 36-40 highway). I've had a couple minor trim issues with it. All the issues with VW & OB were didn't render them undrivable were easily resolved under warranty. I've driven the Buick and have to admit it was a very nice car & a very formidable competitor for the Outback. For me, if I didn't have grandchildren to haul nor a vacation home that sometimes requires hauling large items, I'd get the VW Sportwagon as it has offers the most fun and bang for the buck. Between the OB & Buick it would be a tough call. But I'd take the OB again because has a nicer interior IMO, I prefer the smaller size (drives easier and I have a small garage) plus I simply have never been a GM fan. Very personal call.

Others are likely to chime in, perhaps with some other options, but any of the above five would do the job nicely for you.

As always we would appreciate hearing what end up with and why. Happy shopping!

medium size station wagon for long road trips
  LectroFuel

Buick Regal TourX. The Subaru Outback would be the second best. There are only 4 wagons on the market I think. The VW ones have firm rides.

medium size station wagon for long road trips
  NormT

I have a 34" inseam and can easily stretch my left leg in our 2016 Buick Envision. And that is with panoramic sunroof providing plenty of head room as they tend to eat up vertical space.

Our Envision Prem ll has driver side adjustable thigh extenders and a cushy leather seat for long drives. The cooled and heat seat is a must for me.

Midsize SUV for Tall guy
  NormT

From a friend who drive a Volt in the Great Lakes area.

"If you run the heat and it's too cold outside it'll run the engine. There is a software hack for it. Volt FB page has posted about it.

I put mine in Hold mode to run on gas for a 4-5 mile uphill stretch to get heat and extend battery range."

Winter range
  NormT

If the size is palatable the Buick Emvision Prem ll is running a year end special that is $15,000 off MSRP. That is a $50,000 loaded SUV for about $35K and the best deal in the segment, and segments below and above it.

GM has sold transmissions to BMW and Volvo in the past as it is not uncommon to use a transmission from another manufacturer than in house.

Aisin is used, aside from Cadillac XT5 and CTS Vsport, as a stop-gap for discontinued models like the LaCrosse and the now PSA owned Opel/Buick Insignia/Regal AWD. The Regal FWD versions get the GM 9-speed.

But soon there won't be a need for tranmissions as EV take over as witnessed by the almost two dozen EV's GM is to introduce by 2023. Even Toyota has dropped the Synergy tag line from Prius models going forward.

GM bread and butter 9-speed is used in almost all new, front wheel drive model.

'The documents show how many gears theRegal will use to get power to the ground. GM'snew9T50 nine-speedtransmission jointly developed with Ford looks to be the only choice on front-wheel-driveRegals equipped with the four-pot, while all-wheel-drive models will seeanAisin AF50 eight-speed automatic ? for now. The made-in-Mexico Hydra-Matic 9T50 will evidently be shipped from GM's San Luis Potosi plant in Mexico across to Opel's manufacturing facility in R?sselsheim, Germany, for install in North American-spec Regals. GM had said switching to a house-made transmission would save the company money instead of sourcing the AF50 from Aisin, making this initial overlap odd, especially considering GM ditched the eight-speed in favor of the 9T50 in 2.0T-equipped Malibus. Buick is likely to replace the Aisin-built slusheracross the model range at some point. Well placed internal sources revealed the Regal will gain a V6 engineto keep it in line with competitors, while a diesel is also under consideration for later in the Regal's lifecycle ? but the CARB documents make no mention of either motor. GM plans to use the 9T50 in at least 10 models before the end of '17, but has only confirmed the Chevrolet Cruze with the 1.6-liter diesel, Chevrolet Equinox with the 2.0T, and new GMC Terrain sporting a 1.5T. Neither GM or Ford has announced an application linking the 9T50 with a V6 engine." The Truth About Cars

Dependable SUV or passenger car with power front passenger w/lumbar and heated second row seats
  LectroFuel

The Envision is probably the definition of what you are trying to find. I forgot about that one. Long term reliability is not really known. So far, reliability has been decent and the same powertrain in other GM models has been good. The 6 speed in the pre refresh model should be more reliable. I have read somewhere that GM sources their transmissions from Toyota (Aisin) for their first few model years of a given car. This improves GM's reliability ratings and then they come out with the new transmission (9 speed) and sell them to the guinea pigs. Pretty smart.

Dependable SUV or passenger car with power front passenger w/lumbar and heated second row seats
  AcuraT

Back in April when a tree fell on my car, I went and looked at cars and SUVs. I don't disagree with what Lectrofuel wrote, but there were some other SUVs I looked at as well which are fairly reliable but may be out of your price range if you insist on new.

The three reliable SUVs I looked at in addition to the above are the Lexus RX (new and used as they are really reliable), the Buick Envision (only new as it has been out for only three years in the USA and they are not available used - and can be purchased at a great discount), and the BMW X3 series (not quite as reliable as the preceeding two, and more expensive).

In the end I ruled out the BMW due to the reports of some of the concerns it has. I ended up with the Buick because I got a huge discount of 28% off MSRP because in April, they went to the 2019 model year and from a six speed transmission to a 9 speed transmission. I have the heated rear seats and loaded model for just under $38,000 (MSRP $53,000). If you can find a 2018 you probably could get the same deal for very little money as I would imagine with the 2019s out since April, while the selection is probably not great they are proabably trying to dump them now.

Overall however Lectrofuel did not steer you wrong. For reference, here is a link to cars discounts publically available on the latest model year as of right now. Note that you probably can find more discounts on specific models but this is a starting place. Best of luck.

https://www.edmunds.com/suv/car-incentives.html

Dependable SUV or passenger car with power front passenger w/lumbar and heated second row seats
  LectroFuel

The updated 9 speed in the 2019 Pilot is having significantly less problems than the 2016-2018 Pilot. It is smoother, too.

A minivan will almost always be more practical than an SUV. They are more spacious in the cargo and passenger areas. However, a minivan seems like overkill for two people. Switching from an Odyssey to an SUV is big. You will notice the backseat is a penalty box most of the time. Your Odyssey has a much more comfortable 3rd row than most SUVs. The CX-9 and Atlas are completely different-feeling SUVs that compete in the same class.

Addressing the problems with the CX-9: The rust was a problem with Mazda model years from the early 2000s to about 2010. Rust problems are about as common as any of the other brands now. I have not heard of the weak A/C or especially broken tie rods. There were problems with the infotainment system. If it wasn't fixed with a software update, they usually replace the system. This was a problems with the 2016 model year, but the recent ones seem to have much less issues. Because of this, I would avoid the 2016s.

The CX-9 is definitely one of the more reliable 3 row SUVs. Unfotunately, the 3rd row in the Mazda is virtually useless. They went with a small interior to improve the styling. I like almost everything else about the CX-9, though roominess is one of the most important features in an SUV. It is much more fun to drive than its competition and handles almost like a sedan.

I have driven an Atlas and I really didn't like it. Maybe it is because the only big car I am used to driving is a 2002 Odyssey, which feels much lighter. The Atlas just feels too big. It is heavy, so the engine feels underpowered and the handling is like a boat. Maybe of more importance: the interior does feel almost as large as a minivan. The Virtual Cockpit is nice. The interior feels worse than some modern GM SUVs, which is bad and unusual in a VW.I wish VW made it feel more German and not American.You get poor German reliability with American cheapness in my opinion. Consumer Reports gives the Atlas a Poor reliability rating.

There are many other good SUVs to look at, such as the Kia Sorento, Toyota Highlander, the new Hyundai Santa Fe 2 row, and 2019 Honda Pilot. The Acura RDX is having problems, but is otherwise a great SUV.

I'm not a fan of SUVs and probably will never buy one because you don't get as much car for the money and everybody "needs one" now, so I like the idea of a Genesis G80. It is a good car. I have heard there are some problems with the dealers right now and something about an inventory issue. You buy them through your Hyundai dealer. Depreciation is a problem with Genesis. I feel like a Honda Accord Touring 2.0T would be a little better. It feels very premium, spacious, and drives great. When deciding which rear seat is the best in every auto show I have been to in the past few years, I always think the Accord and Civic are the best. Genesis is in the top five. Cadillac was comfortable, also. The Accord and Civic have heated rear seats in the Touring trim. Accord has heated and cooled front seats.

Feel free to ask more questions and please tell us what you buy!

Dependable SUV or passenger car with power front passenger w/lumbar and heated second row seats
  mkaresh

The July round was probably the last for which we'll send emails. It will remain possible to get to the survey form by using the menus in My Garage.

Update procedure?
  AcuraT

Please look at your other post, we all posted answers there.

Best of luck

Tall family, needs something like 2016 Tahoe, but don\'t need to tow anything
  mkaresh

Those U.S. News lists are probably based on specs, and specs don't always match reality for various reasons. Nothing beats actually sitting in cars to see how well you fit.

Tall family, needs something like 2016 Tahoe, but don\'t need to tow anything
  LectroFuel

If you don't need to off road or tow, a minivan is better than an SUV in every way. The seats in a minivan are at about the same height as a crossover, which makes it easy for parents to buckle up the kids and kids to get into. The sliding doors mean your kids will never ding someone's door in the parking lot. The Toyota Sienna is the most reliable and is the only minivan available with AWD. The 2014-2017 Honda Odyssey is also pretty reliable. These minivans have bigger 3rd row seats and get better gas mileage than the SUVs. The 3rd row seat in the Tahoe is virtually useless because it is so small. The overall interior volume in minivans are usually larger than the large SUVs such as the Tahoe. The Traverse, Suburban, and Expedition EL are the only SUVs that have comparable space to a minivan.

If you don't want a minivan, the 2010-2014 Tahoe and Suburban are OK. Some of them burn oil, though. The 2013-2017 Chevy Traverses, GMC Acadias, and Buick Enclaves are pretty roomy, but not as spacious as most minivans. These three GM crossovers are not trucks like the Tahoe and Suburban are, so they have a nicer ride and don't consume so much gas. They are pretty reliable, but not as good as the minivans. About the same as the Tahoes and Suburbans.

I could be wrong, but I think the body on frame SUVs such as the Tahoe and Suburban have a higher floor and only a slightly taller roof. When I am in a body on frame SUV, I always feel like they were meant for short people because my knees are usually in my chest when in the 2nd or 3rd row. I'm only 5'9". Minivans have low floors, high roofs, and elevated seats.

Tall family, needs something like 2016 Tahoe, but don\'t need to tow anything
  danlisahall

Never having been a mm over 5' 8" and having average size children, your concerns have never been mine and I have never shopped your segment. So basically I have vitually no personal experience to share.

Your basic question is: "what else should be be looking at?". Below is a link that provides an abundance of detail in a compact fashion that I think you may find helpful. I notice that about half of them sticker for $31,000 new or less new. So, if you don't need all the bells and whistles, you may be able find a new model in your price range.

https://cars.usnews.com/cars-trucks/best-3-row-suvs-for-families

As always we would love to hear back from you regarding your final selection and why you chose that particular model.


Tall family, needs something like 2016 Tahoe, but don\'t need to tow anything