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Any recommendations for a new ride?


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Heya folks here's an off topic post for y'all. My Equinox was recently killed by a puddle. Pretty crazy, but it hydro locked the engine and insurance wrote it off as a total loss.

 

I'm in the market looking for an SUV, new or used (but new enough that it still has some warranty coverage). I'm looking to keep the total under $30k. I'm pretty open to type of SUV but I don't need anything super large as it's just my wife, myself, the baby, and the dog for now.

 

What recommendations do you have towards reliable SUVs?

 

Thanks.

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The Equinox's are pretty nice. Comparatively there is the Ford Escape, the Subaru Outback, Crosstek, and Forester, the Kia Sportage, the Nisan Rogue, and the Jeep Ckerokee. All good reliable vehicles. You can go a little bit more into the luxury brands both those are just more expensive models of the basic Chevy, GMC and Ford stuff.

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On 8/4/2023 at 11:05 AM, SeraphimKensai said:

What recommendations do you have towards reliable SUVs?

 

I have a buddy who drives everywhere for work ... he was home inspector for a while but has migrated to doing site inspections for forest fire damage and other bigger stuff. He is still driving his Kia Sportage after putting baffling amounts of mileage on it. The SK makes (Hyundai/Kia) have really upped their game in the last several years.

 

Another friend drives a 2016 Outback and has had very good luck with it, but idk the pricing on those these days. Sort of depends on your market. Assuming US/Canada here since you're looking at SUVs and using dollar signs. 🤣

 

I had a Mazda, CX-5 I think, as a rental and it was a blast to drive, but those are less utilitarian than other makes. Less cargo space, less room in the back seats, etc than competitors. They are plush inside though and aimed more at a "driving experience" mindset. They're also prettier on the outside, imo. 😉

 

Pretty much anything Nissan/Toyota would be a solid choice as well. Toyota larger than a Rav-4 means a 4-Runner most likely, and those have a price premium these days because everyone wants to be a Toyota-Bro. 🙄 Maybe that's just here on the West Coast where buying any sort of capable truck/SUV means paying a whole lot more than it is really worth.

 

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I don't have an SUV, but when I was considering cars, I went to the family mechanic and had a talk, since I know little more than how to swap a car battery. I'd repeatedly heard "Honda" or "Toyota" and even occasionally "Subaru" from friends.  His summary was interesting. 

 

Toyotas have, for some time apparently, been chain driven, rather than belt driven.  That means you're unlikely to have a belt fail while you're driving.  As one who has had this happen multiple times on multiple cars, this was important to me.  He cautioned that this wasn't to say Toyotas would never have a chain break, but that it would be very unusual (and more costly to fix, probably).  He couldn't recall the last time he'd had to deal with a Toyota chain, and he'd been in the biz for decades.   He also stated that he'd actually never seen a Toyota transmission failure either.  Again, he cautioned that it didn't mean it wouldn't happen, just that they seem better built.  As one who had transmission problems and outright failures on most of their "American" cars, with bills up to $5,000 (and an even pricier one case that warranty covered that took a month due to replacement defects causing a month of rentals), this too was valuable info.   Plus most Toyota drivers I've spoken with say they get 250,000+ miles from their vehicles, assuming good maintenance.

 

I'm fine with my Camry, but were I ever to need an SUV, I'd personally start looking at Toyotas, even old ones.  In a group sense, they seem quite durable.

 

One other little tip: find a friend who is at least 6 foot tall and/or broad-waisted.  Have them sit in both back and front seats.  A lot of auto designs, even good-under-the-hood designs, fail to take body measurements into account.  If the foot space in the rear seats appears to be an after-thought or designed for 5-year-olds, cramping your friend to the point that even a minor accident might break a leg bone, you might want to reconsider.  If the tall person has trouble getting into the front seats because the curve of the door frame is too low, or they are bending their neck because the ceiling is too low, again, you might want to have a think on it.  I'm just over 6-foot and I eliminated a Subara at the time I acquired my Camry because what I thought would be a spacious back had me squished in to the point of needing a chiropractor.  I tried a few smaller SUVs and found these problems exist in that class as well.

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Posted (edited)

Thanks folks.

 

I ended up test driving a RAV4, a Trailblazer, Kona, an Edge, a Sportage, and a CX-5.

 

The trailblazer was pretty jerky on the stop and go which turned me off plus it's similar design to the equinox which dies in the puddle. The RAV4 was fine but a little higher priced than what I was hoping for the mileage. The Kona/Sportage I was afraid that someone would try a tictoc challenge and rip it off even though it had keyless start. The Edge seemed to handle alright but the dealership was pretty sketchy, I actually saw two guys from the service center get into a fist fight and a salesman get arrested by the police.

 

I went with the Mazda CX-5. I managed to get a 2020 with only 5k miles on it. Apparently it was owned by a senior citizen who only used it to get groceries, go-to the bank, etc and then their lease ended so they brought it back and got a new vehicle. I convinced the dealership to knock off $5,500 off the asking price and got the bumper to bumper warranty extended out for 5 years. It drives pretty smoothly and is roomy enough for my 6-foot frame even in the rear seats and the back has enough room to fit sparing gear, soccer cleats and groceries.

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One of the families I work for gave me a 2004 Honda Odyssey a couple of weeks ago.  Just gave it to me.  Actually, since they left $0.46 in change in the coin holder, they paid me $0.46 to take it.  It has 172,000 miles on it, the transmission warning light is intermittently active, the timing belt has never been changed and two of the tires have slow leaks.

 

The transmission is overfilled by at least 1.5 quarts, and when I took it for a drive in the rain, it didn't give me the warning, so I'm working on the theory that heat is causing the fluid to expand and causing a pressurization sensor to freak out, or the fluid loses viscosity as it expands and triggers another sensor (it's not red any more, so it's definitely old fluid).  A flush (drain/refill/drive, repeat twice more, then refill to proper level (the transmission holds 8 quarts, but only drains 3.5, so multiple drains and refills are necessary to circulate all of the old fluid out)) will resolve that problem, either way.  Ironically, the potential for transmission failure is why they gave it to me.  Apparently, transmissions are expensive now (last time i had to replace a transmission, it was $200), but after going over it, it looks like it just needs some basic maintenance.

 

The timing belt probably doesn't need to be changed, but the linkages and attached components would (they're more likely to fail than the belt is).  Can probably get around to that at my leisure (before 200,000 miles).

 

The tires will have to be replaced (pulled a piece of shale the size and shape of a .44 slug out of one and plugged it, but if that could puncture the tire down to the steel cord, it's overdue for replacement).  There's a tire shop ten miles away, and they do it cheap, so I can afford that.

 

Everything else is fine.  They took care of this van.  Slapped Farm Use tags on it (legitimately, since i work at two farms), yanked out the back seats (single, don't need room for 7 people and better gas mileage with less weight) and I'm all set.

 

Still rather have the Corbusian or Geoff.  Driving a Jeremy Clarkson original (for the mile it went before exploding) would be awesome.  But a free van is okay, too.

Get busy living... or get busy dying.  That's goddamn right.

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@Luminara that's pretty awesome to be given a vehicle. Hopefully the repairs are worth it on it. You might have a vehicle with another 100k miles or so as Honda typically makes a pretty good vehicle. Or perhaps you could sell it private party for a profit if it's something you don't need for yourself.

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10 minutes ago, SeraphimKensai said:

@Luminara that's pretty awesome to be given a vehicle.

 

I actually tried to refuse.  Twice.  They insisted.  They're good people.  There was also some self-interest motivating them, since there was a concern that my transportation situation might become untenable at some point.  That was what convinced me to accepted the offer.  A Japanese van that needs a little TLC is infinitely more reliable than a cheap Chinese motorcycle.

 

3 hours ago, SeraphimKensai said:

Hopefully the repairs are worth it on it. You might have a vehicle with another 100k miles or so as Honda typically makes a pretty good vehicle.

 

I don't estimate more than a few hundred dollars to take care of all of the things I listed (i can flush the transmission and replace the drive belt components myself... could do the tires myself, too, but i'm just not going to!  i'll pay for that labor).  Even if it only makes it to 200,000, that's still several years of use for the investment.  If it's still going for another 100,000 miles, it will have outlasted me.

 

Here's to hoping yours lasts as long!  🍻

Get busy living... or get busy dying.  That's goddamn right.

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6 hours ago, Luminara said:

  Apparently, transmissions are expensive now (last time i had to replace a transmission, it was $200)

 

😲 What kind of car was that??  A Hot Wheels?  I had my transmission rebuilt in May 1998, it cost me $2,000, and that was a 19-year-old car.  A rebuild under warranty 7 years later on another car cost $5,000.

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2 minutes ago, Techwright said:

 

😲 What kind of car was that??  A Hot Wheels?  I had my transmission rebuilt in May 1998, it cost me $2,000, and that was a 19-year-old car.  A rebuild under warranty 7 years later on another car cost $5,000.

 

Late 70's or early 80's Chevy Malibu.  4th gen, can't remember the year.  It was a long time ago.  I drove it from Florida to Missouri in... 1996, I think, and the transmission died a couple of weeks later.  Well, all of the forward gears died.  I drove it in reverse for about 5 miles to get it home.  Called a shop, $200 for a used transmission, installed.  The used transmission out-lasted the engine, which finally gave up and died in 2001 or 2002, which was after another long trip, from Missouri to Virginia.

Get busy living... or get busy dying.  That's goddamn right.

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On 8/9/2023 at 11:36 PM, Luminara said:

 

Late 70's or early 80's Chevy Malibu.  4th gen, can't remember the year.  It was a long time ago.  I drove it from Florida to Missouri in... 1996, I think, and the transmission died a couple of weeks later.  Well, all of the forward gears died.  I drove it in reverse for about 5 miles to get it home.  Called a shop, $200 for a used transmission, installed.  The used transmission out-lasted the engine, which finally gave up and died in 2001 or 2002, which was after another long trip, from Missouri to Virginia.

You got a swell deal for sure, used or not!

 

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Slightly late to the party... I'm not sure if the Nissan Juke is as big in the USA as the UK as a model, but I like it, and so do the nieces and niecelets.

https://www.edmunds.com/used-nissan-juke/

 

It's a quite dinky and discreet SUV/Crossover, at least by American standards. It's curvy not blocky, fairly economical (for an SUV), and a lot more responsive: handles slightly like a motorbike in the midranges (be a little careful if you're a leadfoot), and loves being thrown at corners. Unlike most SUVs...

 

 

BTW, strongly recommend getting the upgrade to the Tekna - for satnav, rear view camera... and da gogo button.

You can switch driving modes on it from Eco to Normal to Sport. And pushing Sport...

...kinda kicks the turbos up a tiny bit, gives the engine a little more juice, and makes the thing behave a little bit looser and growlier. Very good noise.

And turns your entire dash panel Enterprise-Red-Alert-glowy.

Because SPORTY AND RADICAL AND STUFF.

 

It's not much of a Turbo-Crazy-Mode, if we're honest. But it's enough that the niecelet always wants to ride shotgun so she can push da gogo button.

And I get to say "Punch it, Chewie".

She has absolutely no idea what that means yet, and it makes her laugh every time.

But it made the wheels worth every damn penny.

 

PS: if your local second-hand dealer happens to have the NISMO version kicking around and it's at a reasonable price... get it.

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On 8/4/2023 at 9:05 PM, SeraphimKensai said:

What recommendations do you have towards reliable SUVs?

Any Toyota or any Honda. There are certain issues concerning infotainment systems (they look outdated) in 2023 but overal reliability is legendary.

Si vis pacem.

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