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  LesOrmes

Strongly agree. Our 2015 Malibu is much mproved over our 2009 Malibu. Significantly more power and way fewer RPM's at highway speeds means less travel time. And the highway gas mileage is also much better even though we averaged 34 MPG with the 2009. Just took a trip and if the gas mileage reported on the DIC is accurate, we averaged 41 MPG. Sportier handling and firmer ride although more interior noise. Could be the factory Goodyears?

Member Vehicle Review
  Timpenin

I did look at CX-9s on one of the lots, didn't actually drive one. They also seemed too big--we just don't need that much space more than a couple times a year and it doesn't seem worth it to me to buy based on that. However, I've never had anything biger than a compact before. Maybe I just am underestimating how much we'll need as the kids grow? The small-ness is what drew me to the 5, since carrying one or two extra kids is all I really foresee. But again perhaps I'm naive? I'll take another look for CX9s too.

The safety ratings did make me glance twice. Thanks for putting them into a little context for me.

Mazda 5 for kids/carpooling without being a boat?
  LectroFuel

The Mazda5 is the sportiest of minivans since it's so small. Take note that when your kids are older they will probably want to bring friends with them in the car. The Mazda5 has 3 rows of 2 seats, so if you carry 5 or 6 people you will need to open up the tiny 3rd row seats. With a small SUV like a CR-V you have a lot cargo space and you can carry 1 less person than the Mazda5 minivan but you only use 2 rows of seats. When one backseat is up in the Mazda (to carry 5 people) there will be less cargo space compared to carrying 5 people in a CR-V. For this reason I would not recommend the Mazda5 for carpooling. It's really small inside, especially in the third row. You give up utility and practicality for nimble handling. It has less than 6 cu.ft behind the 3rd row whereas the 2011 Honda Odyssey has 38.4 cu.ft behind the 3rd row.

Other than that and road noise, the Mazda5 was underrated. They should have sold more of them. The Mazda5 only got a "Marginal" rating in the side crash test and a "Poor" rating in the small overlap. It was rare for a car to score that low in the side test. There were much safer options.

I'd suggest the 2008-2009 Mazda CX-9. It's an agile SUV with 3 rows, which is rare. Consumer Reports said the "Agile handling that masks its size is a nice surprise, as a run down a twisty back road will attest." Has much more space than the Mazda5 and is still more fun to drive than most SUVs. 2007 had an engine sourced by Ford and was not as good as the years after when Mazda made their own engine.

Mazda 5 for kids/carpooling without being a boat?
  GJA_164

i second the honda pilot. we have a 2006 awd with 198,000 on it with no problems but regular maintenance.

4x4 low maintenance cost for business and family use
  LectroFuel

The reason I said that was because one of my family members owned a early 2000s Suburban and they had a lot of problems with it. The car would randomly stall when turning the steering wheel. This somehow made the steering wheel lock up, so it was a death trap. You could only use your brakes if you were driving head on into something. Around the start of that the transmission failed, so they were done with Chevy. It didn't have many miles either and was only 8 years old, probably a lemon. They actually ended up buying a 2010 Honda Pilot Touring which has been reliable to them since. The Suburbans are probably cheap to fix but you'll need to fix them more often. Beware the 2007-2010 Suburbans had many engine failures because of oil cosumption with the 2007 making up the majority of these reports.

4x4 low maintenance cost for business and family use
  Dnslater

Do you have a question? Sounds like you have settled on your car choice??

Sports Car
  Member4966

My 2014 Sonata had a failed actuator and would only blow out the defrost. I noticed because my feet were really cold in winter! Luckily mine was replaced under warranty.

blend door lazy
  LectroFuel

Thank you danlisahall! You offer great advice too!

2004 Subaru Outback vs 2005 Volvo v70 2.4
  danlisahall

I suggest LectoFuel consider changing his handleto "Right-on Man, as he so consistently offers great car buying advice!

Like your uncle & LF, I'd definitely take the Subie over the Volvo, especially if the head gasket change was done less than 50K miles ago.While many (not all)Subies have had the headgasket issue, butthat is a relativelyinexpensive fix.Beyond that & wheel bearings, they don't have a lot of issues.

The Kia Soul is a great alternative suggestion. It is our favorite rental car, comfortable, roomy & can consistently get over 30 mpg on highway. The only negative is that the ride is a bit jaring especialy on highway tar strips & frost heaves.Equipping aSoul with soft riding tires such asMichelin Defender, Goodyear Assurance Comfort Tread, General Altimax RT-43,or Bridgestone Assurance in 60 or 65 series size could temper the ride issue somewhat.

2004 Subaru Outback vs 2005 Volvo v70 2.4
  danlisahall

LectroFuel offers great advice asusual.

In general I am not a GM fan. However, in regards to longevity, the Suburban and it twins are recognized as several of the rated as one of several of GM "trucks" that made the Top 10 list of vehicles on the road after 300,000 miles.Soyou may wanttoadd that to your list.

4x4 low maintenance cost for business and family use
  proav

Thanks for the input. I finally made up my mind and made a purchase. Instead of trying to find something that was in between the Sienna and a Prius and ending up with a compromise, I just purchased a used 2011 Sienna. I got a good enough deal on it that I can buy an older Prius or maybe a older VW Bug diesel for the fuel mileage. That was the setup we had previously and it worked well for us. I know having an extra car negates the fuel savings to a point but it also has its advantages for my family. We didn't need anything that can go off road (I have an F250 if I need to get dirty) so the Sienna fits the bill for us.
Again, thanks for all the comments.

Fuel efficient family car with occasional need for 3rd row seating.
  LectroFuel

Isn't 50:50 the best torque distribution you can get? Having a more even torque distribution gives better traction. The 4Runner, a well-respected off-road SUV, has 53:47 under lowest traction conditions. 47% to the rear. Body on frame trucks are usually RWD if not 4WD, so that's why no more than 50% goes to the rear. RWD fairs the worst in snow.

Fuel efficient family car with occasional need for 3rd row seating.
  LectroFuel

Those head gaskets that were just replaced on the Subaru will probably need to be replaced again soon. They are notorious for that. That car has mostly engine problems. When I go to a place that snows, it seems like everyone has that generation of Outback. They are great in the snow and apparently last forever with proper maintenance. The 2.5 4 cyliner is more prone to blown head gaskets.

The 2005 Volvo V70 had some electrical issues and the earlier ones had some transmission failures, which is a $4k fix.

They are both unreliable, but the Subaru has lower repair costs so I'd go with the Subaru. Of course, an engine will be expensive to replace any way you go.

If you are willing to expand your research, test drive a Kia Soul. You could probably only afford a 2010, the first model. It has proven to be very reliable and much cheaper to fix, but it won't be as comfortable as the Outback or V70. It's very practical and will get better gas mileage than the other wagons. Doesn't have AWD, so that may be a deal breaker but you didn't say you needed it. It will probably be safer than the Outback with an added level of safety you get with a newer car. Plus, you will get much more mileage out of the Kia.

2004 Subaru Outback vs 2005 Volvo v70 2.4
  LectroFuel

The 2009-2015 Honda Pilot is a good option. 4WD, rugged, spacious interior, doesn't look like a mom-mobile. It isn't uncomfortable like the body-on-frame SUVs are. It can seat up to 8.

If you have the guts to drive a minivan, the 2011-2017 Toyota Sienna AWD is worth a look. It'll be more comfortable and practical than the Pilot. I don't know howtreacherous your ranch is. I think it would handle some mud, but not up a steep hill. It's the only AWD minivan. More practical than an SUV, except with reduced towing. Many unibody (car-based platform) SUVs don't have any better off-road capability than the Sienna. It seats 7 with AWD, 8 for FWD depending on trim. I wouldn't go with the Chevy Traverse, Suburban, Tahoe, GMC Acadia, or Yukon because you won't have the same reliability and with the Suburbans/Yukons, you won't have the same comfort.

It beats a Jeep Grand Cherokee in the snow in this video:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?time_continue=133&v=JzF22l2yM0A


4x4 low maintenance cost for business and family use
  NormT

Looks aside, the Volt is the winner vs the Prius Prime for the first 100 miles. The bigger battery provides much better acceleration and is 2-5 seconds faster than the slower Prius with much better handling and braking.

http://www.hybridcars.com/what-make-more-sense-chevrolet-volt-or-toyota-prius-prime/

fuel efficient and reliable
  NormT

Even Toyota says the Sienna AWD is designed for light Offroad duty. But neither Sienna or RAV4 AWD send more than 50% of the power to the rear wheels.

http://toyotanews.pressroom.toyota.com/releases/toyota+sienna+rav+4+awd+cures+winter+blues.htm

Fuel efficient family car with occasional need for 3rd row seating.
  NormT

My Mom bought a couple of years old Buick LaCrosse with the 2.4l. It is actually quick to turn and fun to toss around with the lightweight engine up front instead of the heavier V6. Still looks the part when valet in too. She sees right at 30 mpg in mixed rural driving with no costly, complexity of hybrid batteries.

They have a Jack Russell who can be tough on leather and plastics with his quick moves and long nails. The interior has held up well except for his white hair on the black interior.

Durable, reliable grown-up car
  NormT

MT figure eight test measure not only grip but accleration, braking power, along with shock dampening, sway bars, spring rates. It's the recipe that has the 2018 GMC Terrain one full second ahead of the 2018 CX-5 in that test. You see, the Japanese cook the books in making a lightweight, small, and great handling cuv that journalist rave about and get fuel economy as a result. When the buying public review the Mazda it is loud and rough riding and a turn off with just a ride around the block. So 2018 Mazda adds to the CX-5 missing sound deadening and adds heavier acoustic glass. Now the suspension is taxed with sway bar and spring rates from the previous updates along with shocks that need revalving.
Braking performance has suffered with the extra weight with longer stopping from 60 than a 2018 Terrain by over 10 feet. And if you want to compare real world economy, fuelly.com-which are owners reporting, has the new 2018 Equinox 1.5T besting the CX-5. Sorry to burst your Japanese bubble but most everyone is on the same playing field today and many have passed them up and especially on the cost to buy front thanks to dealerahips advertising on places like cars.com. It is public perception that lags because of you and the journalist want to protect their internet clicks and keep inflated resdiuals as the prices are higher to buy than non-Japanese, negating any excellent resdiuals value. The auto auctions thank you guys. This is especially the case for the Honda CR-V.
Regarding pricing and value the 2018 Terrain and CX-5 are dead even today and 3 year, 36,000 miles from now. The Subaru is $2,000 less today and $2,000 less in the same time period. This all based on info gathered from cars.com. It favors the Terrain if I used 2017 values as it is an out going model and the best deal here.
Though the base 2018 Terrain doesn't have dual zone climate control it does have rear seat upper vents. The Mazda does not until you go up to the Touring model. The Terrain SLE has dual zone and the CX-5 Touring has rear seat vents starting the last two years or so. Both cars are the same price on cars.com Early Mazda models do not have rear seat venting.
The 2018 Honda CR-V is the most expensive at $2,000 more than comparable 2018 Equinox. The Honda still offers the old 2.4l and is $5,000 more than a 2017 Eqyinox 2.4l. It is just over priced at all levels. And at 3 years, 36,000 miles later the CR-V cost less than a Equinox. Which means the more expensive, new Honda has dropped more in value than the Equinox.
The Terrain 1.5T receives the 9-speed transmission and has not been tested. Only the Equinox 1.5t 6-speed has been timed.

Subaru Forester 2018 or Mazda CX5 diesel 2018
  LectroFuel

@sashea77

My mom bought a 2017 Toyota Avalon Hybrid Limited this year and she loves it more than her old Jaguar XJ. Consider going with the Avalon Hybrid over the Lexus ES 300h. It does almost everything just as well, but without the Lexus badge. It's close to the same car, but with different styling. I could see the badge impressing clients though, but I'd rather save $10k and stick with the Toyota badge. The Avalon and Lexus have all the Safety Sense features standard and are SUPER comfy. They don't handle well, but they ride like a cloud and will impress your clients. The hybrid powertrain is pretty quiet not having much horsepower. With dogs though you might want a hatchback or small SUV.

So test drive the Avalon and ES 300h back to back. An Avalon Limited Hybrid would be more comparable to the ES 300h. Note: These cars are popular with the old folks ;)

Durable, reliable grown-up car
  LectroFuel

The minivan is only limited with off-road capability, looks, and towing. Most people rarely do those things. proav didn't sound like he wanted to off-road. A van does everything else better than an SUV.

I don't think all Toyotas are good. In fact, the ones they haven't redesigned in 6+ years are old and behind everyone else. Most of them are boring, but reliable and comfortable, and that's fine for many people, especially for those that don't care about driving dynamics. Almost all of their body on frame products are way behind the Americans in everything but reliability. And for most people it matters if the engine starts when you turn the key.

Fuel efficient family car with occasional need for 3rd row seating.
  LectroFuel

The Terrain, which is an economy SUV, is just another GM rebranded Equinox, their other economy SUV. It's good to have economy SUVs because that's what most people buy.

The figure-eight tests are just a measure of grip. Steering feel in real world conditions is more important to the owner. In the CX-5 the ESC is over sensitive and that's why it got a lower score in the test, but in the real world it handles very well (probably better than the Terrain) when not pushed to the limit of the ESC kicking in. drjohn can't afford the base GMC Terrain which has 170 hp and manual climate control. All gas CX-5's get to 60 mph a full second quicker than the volume selling 1.5L in the Terrain, get better mileage, and have a nicer interior. The diesel Terrain 0-60 time is 10.6 seconds. The 2018 Terrain is a huge improvement, but if drjohn bought one it would be a base rental car model (GMC really strips the SL), which I'd avoid. The CX-5, CR-V, Forester, etc. will be a much better value, even with a base model.

Subaru Forester 2018 or Mazda CX5 diesel 2018
  LectroFuel

You can't compare the mileage of a plug in to a standard hybrid. The plug ins have much larger batteries capable of running in EV only for over a mile, unlike a standard hybrid. Prius Prime has 77.5 mpg on Fuelly while the Volt gets 86.8 mpg. The Volt has a battery giving you close to twice the range of the Prime and only gives 9 mpg more. It shows the inefficiency of the gas engine in the Volt. Also, the Volt's gas engine has had problems in its first year as well as loss of power steering.

fuel efficient and reliable
  NormT

My wife's Aunt traded in here 15 year Camry for a new Forester. The seats are too firm, it rides like a truck, and it is noisey. Could have asked how the 2012 Forester was...very utilitarian.

Member Vehicle Review
  NormT

Here is a picture of one of two dogs packed in our Buick Encore from a few years ago. You can see they, 70 & 40 lbs, have plenty of space with their dog beds, luggage packed near the back and gifts on the cargo shelf.

https://pasteboard.co/GOETq4q.jpg

Durable, reliable grown-up car
  LectroFuel

He or she actually gave a better decription than most people but they said they wanted a hatch or SUV. No enclosed trunk I guess. The description still is not very detailed though.

Durable, reliable grown-up car