We are 109,000+ car owners sharing real-world car information.

Join Us

What We're Talking About
at TrueDelta

  Dnslater

For your price range, any vehicle that you select is likely to have north of 100,000 miles, so be on the look out for deferred maintenance and make sure the timing belt (if applicable) has been changed, spark plugs aren't too old, etc.... I agree that an Odyssey or Sienna are your best bet. Some Odysseys had transmission problems, but most were fine. Make sure you test drive it and make sure it shifts smoothly. Minivans are more efficient and easier to access due to the sliding doors than SUV's.

As far as SUV's go, the Pilot, Mazda CX9 and Highlander are good choices. Less roomy than the Minivans though, and the third rows don't leave much space.

If fuel mileage is not a concern, consider a used Suburban. They are huge, body on frame vehicles, but they are comfortable and the V8's are fairly bulletproof.

reliable 7 seater family car
  LectroFuel

The CX-9 drives great, but reliability hasn't been that good. I would only consider it if you really want a big SUV that handles well and has a very nice interior that belongs in a $60k SUV. If I was looking for a midsized crossover, this would be the one I would buy. However, there are other more reliable and practical options. Infotainment is the main problem area. CarPlay is not available on the Mazda.

The Highlander has the most HP of the three, but it doesn't feel like it. It is the most reliable midsized crossover and has every safety feature standard on every trim. It has the most practical interior in my opinion. It handles better than the Pilot, but still isn't that nimble. Resale value is really good, about the same as the Pilot. I would put the Highlander in your top 3. CarPlay isn't available on the Highlander either.

I like everything about the Pilot except it has an unreliable and rough 9 speed transmission in the top two trims and a buggy infotainment system. It is one of the faster SUVs in the class and the interior is practical and more luxurious than the Highlander. It has CarPlay and Android Auto.

I suggest you test drive the Kia Sorento. It rides very well, is reliable, has a nice interior, and has a lot of standard safety features. It has CarPlay and Android Auto. I was impressed with this car when I drove it and auto journalists like it, too. It has a 10 yr/100k mile powertrain warranty. Resale value is less than average. It is on the smaller side, so, as with all of these SUVs, try to fit your kids/adults in the 3rd row before buying.

Some advice:Minivans are SO much better at fitting things in the trunk. 100% of the time they have a larger and easier-to-access 3rd row of seats compared to SUVs. They get better gas mileage and handle just as well or better than SUVs (depending on which one). If you are looking for an AWD minivan, the Sienna is the only one. SUV prices are inflated right now because everyone wants one (gas prices are low-ish). Dealers will be more willing to discount minivans. Minivans are built in with more family-friendly features. You miss out on a lot when going with an SUV. The only benefit of an SUV is people like the exterior look of them more. SUVs are just impractical minivans underneath the sheetmetal.

7/8 Seater SUV
  KilgoreTrout53

I had a 2007 Vibe and it was the most reliable car I've owned. Wonderful vehicle with lots of cargo space. The Vibe and the Matrix are tops on my list.

reliable suv
  LectroFuel

If you want a minivan the 2007+ Toyota Sienna is the most reliable. The 2008+ Honda Odyssey is a little less reliable, but still pretty good. Minivans are much more practical thatn SUVs because they use their space efficiently. SUVs are smaller on the inside and larger on the outside (at least, they feel larger to drive).

I'm assuming you want an SUV because no one wants a minivan anymore. The 2008+ Toyota Highlander is the most reliable midsized SUV. After that you should look at the 2009+ Honda Pilot.

reliable 7 seater family car
  LectroFuel

The Element and Prius are great choices. My friend has an Element he uses to load surfboards in and camp in. He also has a Soul EV. They are great underrated cars. My two Prii have a lot of space especially with the seats down. Two Costco trips worth of stuff can fit in the back and it still seats 5. Unlike a lot of cars, much of the space is usable. All of this while getting over 50 MPG. If you haul tall things, think about visibility out the rear windshield. The Element and Soul will allow you to stack taller things without blocking the window.

Vehicle with Cargo Room
  AcuraT

I like the responses both Lectrofuel and Dnslater gave. Your old car has 12.5 cubic feet of capacity. I am a little surprised neither recommended a 2013 Toyota Prius. There is one near me costing $10,300 with only 63,000 miles on it which is only $300 over your price limit. This will make it up in gas mileage quite quickly. It has a capacity using all the seats for passengers of 21.6 cubic feet, a lot more than your old Civic. Not sure if you are interested in a hybrid, but that is an option as well. As I said, you won't go wrong with the above choices either.

Vehicle with Cargo Room
  Dnslater

Look for a used Honda Element. You get the reliability of a Civic, while cargo space far exceedes a CRV. Great camping vehicle. Floor is rubber and easily cleaned. Back seats can fold flat against the sidewalls leaving a flat floor you can sleep on. Very flexible interior.

Vehicle with Cargo Room
  LectroFuel

I would look into a Honda Fit. It provides a lot of room and is reliable while maintaining small exterior dimensions. Any year is reliable, but 2015 and newer Fits were nicer because of a redesign.

Another possible candidate is the Kia Soul. You can get a newer one with more features than the Fit because Kias depreciate a lot. Perhaps a Kia dealer will have a CPO Soul in your budget. If so, you'll get a 10 yr 100k mile powertrain warranty. The Soul provides a lot of space like the Soul but feels more substantial and it was available with more features than the Fit. I suggest a 2014 or newer, but any year is reliable.

The Mazda3 Hatchback handles well, is reliable, and you can fit a surprising amount of stuff in the trunk despite having a tight interior. Look for 2012 or newer ones.

Since you need space, I would avoid sedans. Hatchbacks and wagons have the best ratio of more interior space and smaller exterior. SUVs often provide more space than hatchbacks, but they are much larger on the exterior. For example, a Mazda CX-5 may have 20% more interior space than the Mazda3, but it may be 40% bigger. Just something to think about if you want something that handles well or is easy to park.

Vehicle with Cargo Room
  LectroFuel

It is boring and the steering is numb, but it is one of the best and most reliable point A to B cars on the road. One that has been regularly maintained can often go to at least 300k miles. If you want a little more fun consider the 2009-2011 Civic or 2011 and newer Mazda3. Both are reliable. The Honda Fit is a good value and is spacious. Over all of these I would consider a Prius because it is more interesting than a Corolla, gives you better gas mileage, and is more comfortable. The price is only a little more than the Corolla. I'd get a 2010 or newer.

Good or Not Good?
  AcuraT

Just out today - watch out for engine fires on some Hyndai and Kia models. Fortunately, not the small SUV market except for the Santa Fe which is impacted. No response from the manufacturer as of yet:

https://www.msn.com/en-us/autos/news/hyundai-and-kia-models-suffer-alarming-number-of-fires-watchdog-group-says/ar-AAyyC3x?li=BBnbfcL

Fuel-efficient family hauler for tall family
  LectroFuel

Of the 7 2018 small SUVs tested, only the Escape got a poor rating on the small overlap passenger test. I thought they were supposed to be focusing on their SUVs...

Fuel-efficient family hauler for tall family
  AcuraT

Another reason not to get the Explorer - it does very poorly in crash testing.

https://www.msn.com/en-us/autos/news/ford-explorer-jeep-grand-cherokee-get-poor-score-in-new-crash-test/ar-AAywDqm

Fuel-efficient family hauler for tall family
  danlisahall


Assuming you anticipate towing 3,000 lbs or more, Lectrofuel's suggestions are sound.

While I am not a pickup fan, you might want to consider a one if your back seat passengers are on the small side and if you could use the pickup utility.
https://www.caranddriver.com/reviews/2017-chevrolet-colorado-in-depth-model-review-2017-chevrolet-colorado-l-interior-review-car-and-driver-page-5

Also, if you're likely to be towing less than 3,000 lbs there are some other smaller, more fuel efficient options that may be worthy of your consideration. What is the maximum weight you anticipate towing?

Gettin my first trailer
  LectroFuel

Any year Toyota Sequoia 5.7L (bulletproof reliability), 2010+ Ford Expedition (mostly reliable), 2010-2014 Tahoe/Suburban (mostly reliable).

Gettin my first trailer
  LectroFuel

I wouldn't do it... There's no reason to buy an Explorer over any other reliable midsized crossover like a Toyota Highlander, Honda Pilot, or Kia Sorento.

Fuel-efficient family hauler for tall family
  AcuraT

If you are only looking at a Ford Explorer, I wish you luck. It is not one of the reliable cars at Ford, getting bad reviews on Consumer Reports and on TrueDelta. TrueDelta says its average reliablity is at 171% - or well over average for the number of issues it has (2011 on).

It is only slightly better in 2016 and 2017 at 149% for average repair frequency.

Going to Consumer Reports, it gets the red circle of double arrow down for overall reliablity in 2012 and 2016, one arrrow down overall for 2011 and 2013, average overall for 2014 and 2015, and slightly above average in 2017 because the car is too young to have issues yet.

If you are bent on getting this car no matter what the slightly better years are 2014 and 2015, where you only have to deal with issues on the climate system, suspension, brakes, exhaust, paint and trim, body integrity, power equipment and in car electronics.

Want something more reliable? Consider the Toyota Highlander where you only have to avoid the 2014 model year which has some real problems with the electrical system as the other years from 2011 on are pretty good. Even the Chevy Travese is better as it shows up as average in Consumer Reports for most years from 2013 on, and above average reliablity for 2016. Toyota is the best in this size of class however.

Fuel-efficient family hauler for tall family
  LectroFuel

Since you are considering a car that isn't available with AWD, I assume you don't need it. As danlisahall said, I would check out a Sienna as that van has virtually zero problems. It is available with AWD.

I would eliminate the Forester from the list unless you like them for a specific reason. They make you pay for the AWD and it is the #1 reason why people buy them. If you don't need AWD it is kind of a waste and there are some better options. They are pretty good cars though. The Outback is a great wagon (mainly because there are only three mainstream wagons now), but the Forester is a kind of average small SUV.

The Odyssey has been less reliable than the Sienna, but still OK. On the 2011-2017 they had premature brake wear and 2014-2015 had transmission problems.

The 2013-2017 Acadia and Traverses are the only ones that have been reliable. Be careful not to get a previous rental car. They aren't as practical as a van no matter what people say.

The CR-V is a great all around SUV, but is not a good replacement for a van. It is too small like the Forester.

van replacement
  LectroFuel

The M should be reliable. I've looked at three websites and they all rank reliability highly, though there are not many people surveyed in each one. Since you are concerned about reliability you should look at the Lexus GS and ES and the Buick Regal.

What do you think about this vehicle?
  AcuraT

Danlisahall - thanks for sharing. That black bear video was fascinating to watch and actually proves my point. When the climb gets that severe it pushes the Subaru to the limit and gets stuck a few times. The Jeep gets up no problem - of course it might break down on the way :-).

Could the Envision do that? Probably, with the same difficulty of the Subaru. Although it does have more power (the Subaru has less than 200 hp with that boxer engine (like 180), the Envision has 252 hp and is not much difference in weight (3624 to 4025).

Your other question, would a Buick owner take it up there? Probably not. Most Buick owners are not as adventurous as Subaru owners - I have no problem admitting that. Would I take mine up there if I went to that mountain? Probably - because as I mentioned I paid less for my Buick than that owner did for that Subaru most likely. I hope to take my Buick up a mountain next summer when I take my kids camping again. Don't know if I will bother filming it, however.

First time owner looking for a long term commuter/hunting vehicle
  NormT

Those examples have off road mudder tires. The first video has white lettered tires and petersout in typical Subaru Asymetrical fashion with the wheel turned then he turned it straight and it went forward.

The second one has knobby tires and a 2" lift and obviously lacks power where the V6 Jeep just keeps going.

First time owner looking for a long term commuter/hunting vehicle
  danlisahall

Since this post has gone to UTube proofs:

www.youtube.com/watch?v=WuG1yivsXGc https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YcAB85kXEFQ

Black Bear Pass at Telirude CO, 13,500'https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YcAB85kXEFQ

Mudding in a Subaru Outback. Anyone willing to try this in their Buick - any Buick?

First time owner looking for a long term commuter/hunting vehicle
  NormT

I've had very good luck with Michelin in the past as it seems to be the best in ride quality and noise. Until it come time to fork over $1,000 to replace them.

My current vehicle, Buick Envision 2.0T , has Hookook Nolble S2 (or some long name like that) and find them a very good performance all-season tire for a 19" size. What makes them great on summer days doesn't make them great on snowy days. But thanks to great AWD system it can cover any winter limitations of the tire. I'll be going with a dedicated snow tire in the future winters.

Tires
  NormT

The Envision Premium has 19' wheels with max all season tires that work good on the dry or wet, not sure about rock climbing but the Buick has 8" of ground clearance .

First time owner looking for a long term commuter/hunting vehicle
  danlisahall

I long been a fan of late 90s, early 2000 Escorts. Can't match a Honda or Toyota for reliability but they are great little undervalued cars for basic getting around.

If you chose reliable rather than fast...
  danlisahall

WOW! Did Sharkfan know what a debate he would ignite? I'll bet he got way more info than he bargained for - at 27 posts this may be a True Delta record!

I suggest that we arrange to have a little face off of the Outback and Envision at some mutally argreed location. Could be a fun way to settle this ongoing debate. Pick your site here: https://www.adventuresportsnetwork.com/sport/moto/5-best-places-go-off-roading-u-s/

First time owner looking for a long term commuter/hunting vehicle