New vehicle...GMC Acadia, Chevy Traverse, or Buick Enclave?

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bbrock
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New vehicle...GMC Acadia, Chevy Traverse, or Buick Enclave?

Post by bbrock » Mon Jul 14, 2014 1:01 am

Hi Bogleheads,
It has been some time since I have posted or been back at the site. Figured this would be good to bounce off of fellow Bogleheads.

I am looking for a replacement vehicle for our 2004 Honda CRV. The CRV has been great, but at 179K miles, it is showing its age and we need some more growing room for our 1 year old twins. I have been researching replacement vehicles such as the GMC Acadia, Chevy Traverse, Buick Enclave, Dodge Durango, but also the Toyota Highlander & Highlander Hybrid. Consumer Reports (CR) has given all recommendations, but personally I have concerns over the reliability of the GMC, Chevy, Buick, and Dodge despite + reviews from CR.

While I am less than thrilled w/ the gas mileage of all of them except the Highlander Hybrid, I guess it is a necessary trade off for the increase in size. Hence, that is why I lean towards the GMC, Chevy, or Buick (they all share the same platform) since they have the most cargo capacity; avg. MPG is 16 per CR. The Highlander is 20, while the Highlander Hybrid is 27. The Dodge Durango avg. is 18, with a cargo capacity between the Highlander and the GMC/Chevy/Buick.

I have considered the Chevy Tahoe for its cargo space and towing capacity, as CR has given it good reviews, but I am turned off by its avg MPG as it would be used for a daily vehicle, and that the 3rd row seats are not foldable, rather they must be removed. Due to that last fact and that the cargo capacity is acutally less than the GMC Acadia/Chevy Traverse/Buick Enclave, I figure that the sacrifice in towing capacity would be worth it. For heaven's sake, the towing capacity wouldn't even be needed at this time, rather for the future.

We have considered used, but I have given serious consideration to purchasing new as we will keep this vehicle for sometime. Not to mention, my wife and I would prefer knowing that we are the first owners of the vehicle and can account for the air quality in the vehicle vs. buying a used vehicle (certified pre-owned) which may have been a fleet/rental vehicle and there are no guarantees if the vehicle had been smoked in. We don't care to have any residual third hand smoke. Either way, the vehicle would be paid for in cash/no loan.

If anyone has anyone input on any of the aforementioned vehicles, please pass on your insight. I would really appreciate it. Tx.
bbrock

letsgobobby
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Re: New vehicle...GMC Acadia, Chevy Traverse, or Buick Encla

Post by letsgobobby » Mon Jul 14, 2014 1:19 am

welcome back,

I've researched all of these quite a bit and test driven all of them. Each has its pros/cons. At the end of the day you have to decide which feature(s) matter most to you because each vehicle has its strengths.

The Highlander is all about reliability and civility. It's safe. It will last. But it won't tow like the Durango and it doesn't have true off-road capability. The new Highlanders are bigger than the old but there is still not much room behind the 3rd row seat when it's being used. I would buy this one if I primarily planned to keep it around town and wanted the flexibility to carry 6-7 people sometimes.

The Highlander Hybrid is the Highlander, but more so. Even more of an on-road only vehicle. I couldn't make this pencil out financially without quite a bit of driving.

The Lambda models (Traverse, Acadia, and Enclave) are attractive and drive well and make good use of interior space. I think the transmission is good but a step behind the Durango in both power and smoothness. These are pretty good compromise vehicles - a little more rugged than a Highlander, a little more towing capacity. The rear deck is pretty high. Reliability on the Enclave hasn't been good, but the Traverse has been average according to CR. I liked this vehicle quite a bit... until I drove the Durango.

The 6 cylinder Durango is nice. More towing capacity - 6000 pounds. good off road performance except for the low front air dam. Drives really well, especially with the new 8 speed transmission which really does make the vehicle. The platform is shared with Mercedes and the Jeep Grand Cherokee which is why it feels so good, definitely like an expensive vehicle, not like 'a Dodge.' You get a lot for the money with this vehicle. However it's a new model year so reliability is unknown, and the Grand Cherokee reliability has been awful.

The 8 cylinder (Hemi) Durango is a beauty with brawn. It picks up and moves on the drop of a hat. It tows 7200 pounds. Very quiet inside despite all that power. I loved this vehicle and have been oh so close to buying. The reliability is the one big thing holding me back. I was hoping to see one year's worth of data on the new model before making a decision. I've never owned anything but a Toyota or Honda so I'm a bit scared to take the leap with a $50,000 American car. On the other hand this vehicle is really, really nice, and would meet *my* personal needs to tow, go off road, and carry 6-7 people with their luggage.

You have to decide what you'll use the vehicle for. If you're not off-roading, and not towing, and just want more space, Highlander's your vehicle, for the reliability and the civility of it.

If you want a little more power and at least average reliability, and some off-road capability, go with the Traverse.

If you want a lot of power and/or plan to tow regularly, and want the most authoritative driving feel, and the most sophisticated transmission and quietest ride, go with the Durango (Hemi V8 is my preference). Just know there's a bit of a roll of the dice with the reliability.

The Tahoe to me is too different from the Highlander to be in the same discussion. It's a truck, not a crossover. You get the Tahoe if you basically want a pick up truck with seating for more than 6 people.

If you want less of a compromise, look at a Toyota Sequoia. Big enough for 8, tows a house, great off road (based on the Tundra pick up), great reliability. But mileage is a dog.

bbrock
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Re: New vehicle...GMC Acadia, Chevy Traverse, or Buick Encla

Post by bbrock » Mon Jul 14, 2014 2:56 am

Letsgobobby, tx for the very informative post. While I gave not test drove them yet, ur post really gave me a 1st hand experience.

I was thinking the same thing u posted about the Tahoe. It definitely ranked the lowest as far being a true possibility. The Sequioa would be great, but there is no way I could justify it. Overkill and that MPG looks like awful.

As for the Durango, I was very excited when I discovered it, and through research it became an option. I would probably go for the V6 though. We don't own anything that would be towed, rather it would be for plans of wanting to rent/tow a boat to go wakeboarding/water skiing. For better gas mileage as it would be a daily commuter, I would settle on a V6 and subsequently the options for boats it could tow. Is this year, 2014, the first model year Dodge rolled out the 8 speed transmission? Is it 2014 u r saying is unknown/no reliability data for? If it is the same 8 speed engine in the Jeep or Mercedes, can we extrapolate/infer reliability from that?

There r two problems I have with the Dodge. It is a compromise in cargo space vs the Acadia/Traverse/Enclave, and the safety results are not as strong as the aforementioned. This is based on safety data per CR and the car buying guide of US News & World Report. If I recall correctly, I believe the Acadia was the safest out of all the vehicles I had listed in my 1st post, including the Highlander. If the Dodge has less than an excellent safety record, I infer that the insurance rates shall be higher. I shall have my ins. agent run some figures for my comparison. Since the vehicle will be transporting precious cargo, our twins, safety is quite important. Sure would be great if any of them had the safety record of my Subaru Outback.
bbrock

livesoft
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Re: New vehicle...GMC Acadia, Chevy Traverse, or Buick Encla

Post by livesoft » Mon Jul 14, 2014 6:09 am

How much do you expect to pay? What is your budget for this?

I'll be blunt, your excuse against a used car based on air quality is weird. I would think you would prefer a used car because of air quality. You know, all those plasticizers outgassing from the materials in a new car cannot be good for you. One can tell if a car has been heavily used by a smoker pretty easily in my opinion.

A colleague of mine had 2 Honda CR-Vs, but bought a used RX-400h recently. Cheaper than a new car. It's not a car I would drive because there are similar SUVs that are even less expensive and better than the cars you are considering … if you buy used.

You may also wish to consider that whatever you buy is the car that the twins will use to learn to drive and will be driving themselves. The used car we bought back in 2002 is the car that my kids were taught to drive in. It is also the car that my daughter drives to work nowadays and across the country on weekends.
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bloom2708
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Re: New vehicle...GMC Acadia, Chevy Traverse, or Buick Encla

Post by bloom2708 » Mon Jul 14, 2014 7:15 am

Are you planning on having a 3rd child or beyond in the next few years? One item you should consider is a rooftop cargo carrier.

With 2 kids (and their stuff) I would stick with something that gets better gas mileage and add a rooftop carrier to your stable of goods. Add the cargo space when you need it. When you get to 5+ passengers, that is when your vehicle choices are narrowed down quite a bit. Mini-van, an SUV like you mentioned (I would add the new Ford Explorer in as an option), large SUV (Tahoe, Yukon, Suburban, Expedition).

Putting or having the 3rd seat up on the mid-sized SUV like you listed is where the problems come in. Really only Mini-vans and large SUV can haul people and lots of stuff. Cargo space with the 3rd seat up is not great on any of the choices you listed. Our 2014 Explorer is slightly better as they made/included a partial sunken space in the rear like mini-vans.

We have 3 kids, a 2014 Ford Explorer and a Yakima Rocketbox rooftop carrier. When we are heading for a longer trip, the Rocketbox gives us the space needed. Thule also makes some nice cargo carriers.

With 2 kids you just need space for stuff and things, so if you need more space, add a rooftop carrier.
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letsgobobby
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Re: New vehicle...GMC Acadia, Chevy Traverse, or Buick Encla

Post by letsgobobby » Mon Jul 14, 2014 9:44 am

I agree with livesoft that for pure on-road, in-town use you might consider a used higher end option.

I agree with bloom2708 that for just 2 kids, a bigger car isn't necessary... however if grandparents visit more often, etc., you will find the bigger space nice. Plus if you plan to camp much with the kids - we started when our daughter was 3 months old - you will quickly appreciate the extra space of a midsized SUV. You'll have to weigh that against the gas mileage issue.

bbrock, yes 2014 is the first model year of the 8 speed transmission on the Durango. It is shared with the Jeep Grand Cherokee but 2014 is also the first year for that vehicle with the transmission.

Having been in both the Durango and the Traverse, I don't think the latter has so much more cargo room that you would notice a big difference. They're both basic mid-size SUVs, bigger than the Highlander, smaller than the next step up. I'm coming from a 2006 RAV4 so both look pretty big to me.

Keep It Simple
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Re: New vehicle...GMC Acadia, Chevy Traverse, or Buick Encla

Post by Keep It Simple » Mon Jul 14, 2014 10:52 am

bbrock wrote: personally I have concerns over the reliability of the GMC, Chevy, Buick, and Dodge despite + reviews from CR.
Your concerns are well deserved. There is always much debate over whether domestic car makers have caught up to the Japanese(Toyota and Honda). I believe the answer can be found in residual values of vehicles. The market knows more than all of us combined. I would suggest looking at used car pricing for the American made vehicles, then comparing them to the prices of the Honda and Toyota comparables to see what you find. What you'll find is that the Japanese vehicles retain their value much better than their American counterparts. Why is that? The reason for this is that the market knows that the Japanese cars will last far longer before major problems occur. Simply put they are composed of higher quality parts.

There is always much debate on American vs Japanese vehicles, but residual values cannot be debated. The market does not lie and is all knowing(remind you of another market?)

Having said this, I would highly recommend going with another Japanese vehicle, especially since you are used to the reliability of the Honda CRV.

I would recommend in this order:
1) Toyota Sequoia (you already ruled this out due to mpg, but it still is my number one choice)
2) Honda Pilot or Toyota Highlander
3) Subaru outback if the third row isn't a deal breaker

Any of these would be as close to bullet proof as you can get, and they will retain their value better than most vehicles. I find when it comes to car prices, you have 2 choices. One is to pay more now for a Japanese vehicle, or pay later with an American car which needs premature repairs and looses resale value faster. Keep in mind, while you pay more for the Japanese car upfront, you will see some of that extra cost back when/if you decide to sell it.

Good Luck!

K.I.S.

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LowER
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Re: New vehicle...GMC Acadia, Chevy Traverse, or Buick Encla

Post by LowER » Mon Jul 14, 2014 10:56 am

Keep It Simple wrote:
bbrock wrote: personally I have concerns over the reliability of the GMC, Chevy, Buick, and Dodge despite + reviews from CR.
Your concerns are well deserved. There is always much debate over whether domestic car makers have caught up to the Japanese(Toyota and Honda). I believe the answer can be found in residual values of vehicles. The market knows more than all of us combined. I would suggest looking at used car pricing for the American made vehicles, then comparing them to the prices of the Honda and Toyota comparables to see what you find. What you'll find is that the Japanese vehicles retain their value much better than their American counterparts. Why is that? The reason for this is that the market knows that the Japanese cars will last far longer before major problems occur. Simply put they are composed of higher quality parts.

There is always much debate on American vs Japanese vehicles, but residual values cannot be debated. The market does not lie and is all knowing(remind you of another market?)

Having said this, I would highly recommend going with another Japanese vehicle, especially since you are used to the reliability of the Honda CRV.

I would recommend in this order:
1) Toyota Sequoia (you already ruled this out due to mpg, but it still is my number one choice)
2) Honda Pilot or Toyota Highlander
3) Subaru outback if the third row isn't a deal breaker

Any of these would be as close to bullet proof as you can get, and they will retain their value better than most vehicles. I find when it comes to car prices, you have 2 choices. One is to pay more now for a Japanese vehicle, or pay later with an American car which needs premature repairs and looses resale value faster. Keep in mind, while you pay more for the Japanese car upfront, you will see some of that extra cost back when/if you decide to sell it.

Good Luck!

K.I.S.
+1

letsgobobby
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Re: New vehicle...GMC Acadia, Chevy Traverse, or Buick Encla

Post by letsgobobby » Mon Jul 14, 2014 11:07 am

Generally I agree with Japanese reliability but functionality matters, too. For example the Durango and Traverse fill a size/function niche that no Japanese manufacturer can: a mid-size, 3 row crossover SUV with decent off road capability, highway mileage 20+, and the power to tow 5000-7000 pounds. The Highlander and CRV and RAV4 don't do that. The Land Cruiser has a nonserious 3rd row seat (and costs $90k). The Sequoia is much larger and drives like a truck (since it is one) and mileage is much worse. The new Honda Pilot gets lousy reviews.

Getting a reliable car that doesn't meet your needs is no deal.
Last edited by letsgobobby on Mon Jul 14, 2014 11:28 am, edited 1 time in total.

livesoft
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Re: New vehicle...GMC Acadia, Chevy Traverse, or Buick Encla

Post by livesoft » Mon Jul 14, 2014 11:09 am

FYI, OP noted they have a Subaru Outback as well.
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anil686
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Re: New vehicle...GMC Acadia, Chevy Traverse, or Buick Encla

Post by anil686 » Mon Jul 14, 2014 11:20 am

I have had a Honda Pilot since 2008 and love it. I think it is the perfect blend of truck/SUV, functionality and price. For us - having a useable 3rd row was key. I don't know currently (since I have not car shopped since 2008) but at that time, the Pilot had the biggest leg room for the 3rd row. Reliability has been very good - gas mileage is about 18-20 mpg overall. What is great about it, though, is the pricing is simplified - they only have like three trims - base/middle/touring - or something like that.

I agree with the above comment that having a reliable car that does not fit your needs = not really accomplishing your mission :(

The only downside to the pilot is the boxiness compared to all the newer SUVs - but on the bright side - you can pick it out from a crowd!

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Kosmo
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Re: New vehicle...GMC Acadia, Chevy Traverse, or Buick Encla

Post by Kosmo » Mon Jul 14, 2014 12:27 pm

letsgobobby wrote:Getting a reliable car that doesn't meet your needs is no deal.
Right, so what do you value most? Cargo capacity, people capacity, engine performance, handling, interior/exterior styling, features, etc? I'm also considering a new vehicle and looking at some of the ones you listed. For me, it's cargo capacity followed closely by engine power. I need to carry 2 adults, 2 toddlers, a 65 lb dog, and all the stuff that accompanies that motley crew for 10 days. Based on experience, the new vehicle would need to be at least as large as, and more powerful than, my current vehicle (2005 Ford Explorer). As a personal preference, I like the feel of the truck based SUVs over the crossover SUVs. So I think part of your "dilemma" is that you don't have specific enough requirements.

Of the 3 you mention in the post title, I'd go with the Acadia. It doesn't have the Buick name and interior upgrades that (to me) only add cost and not benefit. The Acadia does have some interior features that give it an edge over the Traverse.The downside of this whole vehicle series is that there's only 1 engine available.

Spirit Rider
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Re: New vehicle...GMC Acadia, Chevy Traverse, or Buick Encla

Post by Spirit Rider » Mon Jul 14, 2014 12:59 pm

bbrock wrote:I am looking for a replacement vehicle for our 2004 Honda CRV. The CRV has been great, but at 179K miles, it is showing its age and we need some more growing room for our 1 year old twins. I have been researching replacement vehicles such as the GMC Acadia, Chevy Traverse, Buick Enclave, Dodge Durango, but also the Toyota Highlander & Highlander Hybrid. Consumer Reports (CR) has given all recommendations, but personally I have concerns over the reliability of the GMC, Chevy, Buick, and Dodge despite + reviews from CR.

While I am less than thrilled w/ the gas mileage of all of them except the Highlander Hybrid, I guess it is a necessary trade off for the increase in size. Hence, that is why I lean towards the GMC, Chevy, or Buick (they all share the same platform) since they have the most cargo capacity; avg. MPG is 16 per CR. The Highlander is 20, while the Highlander Hybrid is 27. The Dodge Durango avg. is 18, with a cargo capacity between the Highlander and the GMC/Chevy/Buick.
You are well advised to consider your concerns about the three GM platform SUVs. I am usually not one to place too much stock in anecdotal information. However, I know of three families with the GM platform (2 Acadias, 1 Traverse).

The mothers started together in the same play group with their kids. I guess that shows who controls the vehicle buying for families with young children. The moms love them, the dads hate taking them to the dealership all the time.

All with major repeated system failures in Steering, Transmission, Engine, and Liftgates. Both within and out of warranty situations. These are all 2007 - 2009 model years, so maybe they have improved the quality in the last five years.

texasdiver
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Re: New vehicle...GMC Acadia, Chevy Traverse, or Buick Encla

Post by texasdiver » Mon Jul 14, 2014 2:35 pm

We are going through the same decision process and have settled on a new highlander to replace our aging 2004 Sienna that has 260,000 miles. It seems the most reliable and fuel efficient option in a 7 passenger that will tow our 3,000 lb popup and be a pleasant and efficient commuter for my wife.

The GM offerings don't excite me and have reliability and fuel efficiency options
The Korean options are less robust in towing capacity
I just don't like the new Explorer so haven't considered it further
The Pilot is at the end of its model cycle. The Honda Pilot forums are rife with speculation and rumor about when the new redesigned Pilot will be out but no one knows for sure.

The Durango is probably the best option if you need to tow more without stepping up to a full size Suburban, Sequoia, or Expedition

If price is no object then the Mercedes GL350 7 passenger turbo diesel is your car with a 7500 lb towing capacity and 25-30 mpg. But you can get 2 highlanders for the price of one of those.

In the end we circled back to the highlander because my wife just doesn't want another Sienna for her daily driver and really likes the new highlander. Since it will be her daily driver it is her decision but I concur.

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HomerJ
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Re: New vehicle...GMC Acadia, Chevy Traverse, or Buick Encla

Post by HomerJ » Mon Jul 14, 2014 2:54 pm

bbrock wrote:For heaven's sake, the towing capacity wouldn't even be needed at this time, rather for the future.
Why do you need towing capacity in the future?

How often will you need to tow and go off-road? Maybe you need two cars... One for daily driving, and one for occasional hauling (this one could be an older used truck)... I bet it might be cheaper this way... Maybe.
Last edited by HomerJ on Mon Jul 14, 2014 2:56 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: New vehicle...GMC Acadia, Chevy Traverse, or Buick Encla

Post by bottlecap » Mon Jul 14, 2014 2:56 pm

Spirit Rider wrote:The moms love them, the dads hate taking them to the dealership all the time.
Yeah, GM makes a decent-driving, largely unreliable vehicle. We like our GM when it's not in the shop. Which it will be, yet again, in two days.

On that list, the Toyota is the only one for me. Pilot is worth looking into, as well.

JT

bbrock
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Re: New vehicle...GMC Acadia, Chevy Traverse, or Buick Encla

Post by bbrock » Mon Jul 14, 2014 3:25 pm

Livesoft, I have considered the outgassing already. Thanks for bringing this up. I'm glad that someone commented on that. I have a strong aversion to all things smoking, as I've already lost my mother when I was 20 d/t cigarettes. As such I would rather endure any health consequences and expose my family to plastics that may off-gas versus residual smoke. The CRV and Subaru are used. I am not completely opposed to used. Since the twins came along, I just thought that why not buy new if we are able to and this car is going to be kept for a very long time (hopefully the car will last that long especially if it is domestic). Yes they probably will be learning to drive in it. The nature of my post post really wasn't meant to discuss purchasing new versus used, as I already understand the benefits of purchasing used. But, for peace of mind, new is really appealing. Just a random thought, but maybe if I do end up going with a GM model, maybe I would purchase used as the reliability may be a drag. We shall see, but first I am going to look at new and a purchase through the Costco auto program.

We already have a Yakima skybox that we put on my Outback. It is wonderful to have that space. But, we have filled the outback and cargo box before, and had to leave some stuff behind. Maybe a Highlander with a cargo box up top would be enough space, but if we have to have more than four passengers I seriously question it's cargo capacity. If we decide to go somewhere and want to take grandma with our family, I see it posing a problem with the Highlander as the third row would have to be in use & the cargo capacity subsequently limited.

I agree that getting a reliable car is no deal if that's not the car that I really want/can use. Reliability is very important, but if I have to buy American I will have to expect and accept the potential headaches that come with it, as I will be the one taking it to the shop.

If I do go American, I don't believe that we would be able to keep the car long enough for the kids to learn to drive in it. It's not that we can't keep it until then, but rather at that point the car will have some serious mileage. Perhaps eventually my wife could start carpooling, but at this time if she's going to be the primary driver of the vehicle, we can expect to put 20+K miles a year on it. Serious commuting.
Last edited by bbrock on Mon Jul 14, 2014 3:49 pm, edited 1 time in total.
bbrock

bbrock
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Re: New vehicle...GMC Acadia, Chevy Traverse, or Buick Encla

Post by bbrock » Mon Jul 14, 2014 3:45 pm

Homer J, I definitely have already considered what you said. As we both commute, my wife more so, I have thought perhaps we should buy something small/fuel efficient and then an older used vehicle for hauling/cargo capacity/trips. But, I just don't know if I can wrap my hands around having three cars and the subsequent insurance costs. While I haven't calculated costs, my gut says that this option would cost us more ultimately.

I have thought that if I wanted to balance out the net MPG for our family, if we do go with a larger fuel inefficient vehicle, I can always replace the outback with something such as a Honda fit or toyota Prius V. The more fuel inefficient the replacement crossover/SUV is, the more I have considered this route. Doing this, it would avert having to have three vehicles. But if you have owned a Subaru, you will know how hard it is to want to give it up.
bbrock

Spirit Rider
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Re: New vehicle...GMC Acadia, Chevy Traverse, or Buick Encla

Post by Spirit Rider » Mon Jul 14, 2014 3:54 pm

You should check with your insurance agent. Having a third vehicle that is categorized as a non-commuting pleasure vehicle is likely a minimal increase in your total policy cost. No that doesn't include what your yearly registration/tax costs are. Still, you might be surprised.

TroutMD
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Re: New vehicle...GMC Acadia, Chevy Traverse, or Buick Encla

Post by TroutMD » Mon Jul 14, 2014 11:43 pm

I've driven all that you have mentioned... You need to determine what is most important to you.

With our first child, we went with a Tahoe (actually a Yukon... same difference). As out second came along, we wanted more space. We travel a fair amount plus have two dogs. We looked for a Suburban and ended up with and Escalade ESV (same length, just nicer equipped)...

Gas mileage isn't much difference in the short vs longs; and my wife feels like there has been no difference in drivability/manueavbilty.

We also looked at Expeditions as we are Ford people, but we liked the feel of the GMs better...

I also should mention we have three other vehicles and this is our 'nice car'...

Good luck!

ohiost90
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Re: New vehicle...GMC Acadia, Chevy Traverse, or Buick Encla

Post by ohiost90 » Tue Jul 15, 2014 1:28 pm

We have a 2009 Traverse that is my wife's daily driver. Appx 65k miles on the clock. We have had 1 problem that was taken care under warranty. 100k powertrain warranty is very nice.
Sometime in the future I plan to replace my daily driver with it and buy another Traverse(or Acadia) for my wife.

bloom2708
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Re: New vehicle...GMC Acadia, Chevy Traverse, or Buick Encla

Post by bloom2708 » Tue Jul 15, 2014 1:38 pm

A friend bought a Saturn Outlook with very low miles. It is the Traverse/Acadia/Enclave. About a 60% discount. With Saturn being defunct they might be harder to find with low miles.

How about a Boglehead car strategy of only buying "defunct" car brands? Mercury, Oldsmobile, Saturn, Nash. :shock:
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bubbadog
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Re: New vehicle...GMC Acadia, Chevy Traverse, or Buick Encla

Post by bubbadog » Tue Jul 15, 2014 1:42 pm

Have you considered the 2015 Acura MDX? My wife and I are considering purchasing one and it appears you can get a nicely eqipped one for around $46-47K (AWD middle trim /tech package).

killjoy2012
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Re: New vehicle...GMC Acadia, Chevy Traverse, or Buick Encla

Post by killjoy2012 » Tue Jul 15, 2014 2:32 pm

- Lots of opinions & undocumented claims in this thread - not a lot of facts.
- I find it funny that some are comparing a Honda CRV to a Toyota Sequoia & Chevy Tahoe - completely different vehicles, audiences and price ranges.
- Looking at residuals is 'interesting', but there's also several pitfalls that you need to be careful of. 1) it can be very hard to compare apples to apples. 2) how are you going to determine the residual factors, whose factors are you going to use, and then do they even reflect the true used market? 3) Supply & demand also affects residuals, which has nothing to do with the quality or reliability of that vehicle as has been suggested above. e.g. If Company A makes 500k units of vehicle that is directly comparable to Company B's vehicle that only makes 20k units, guess which one may have the residual advantage?
- If I had 1 year old twins & this was going to be the primary vehicle they are riding in, after determining the vehicle size/seating needs, safety would probably be my top concern. You can look up the NHTSA 5 star crash test results rating for all vehicles sold in the US on their website.
- I would go visit the various dealers and sit in these vehicles and test drive the ones that make the cut. Reliability and spec sheets are great, but you don't know what you're buying or how you'll like it until you actually see it first hand.

Acadia, Traverse, Enclave are very popular with young couples that have young kids for a reason, but go do your homework and go see all of the options yourself.

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Re: New vehicle...GMC Acadia, Chevy Traverse, or Buick Encla

Post by nchunter » Tue Jul 15, 2014 3:41 pm

I just purchased a 2014 AWD Toyota Highlander Limited. It's the wifes commuter car, all around family wagon etc. We have two kids 8 and 10. We had a 2013 Nissan Pathfinder repurchased due to the Lemon Law. That being said we test drove a number of the vehicles you are comparing. I drive a Ford Truck so I am far from the all Japanese cars are bulletproof, using my Nissan as an example. I buy what suits our needs.
If I had to sum up all the comparisons I have to be honest. The comparable Acadia or Buick to our Limited Highlander is about 15grand more expensive. Our highlander limited awd was exactly 40 grand out the door. Taxes, Tag, Title everything. No trade in etc. Honest to goodness write a check for 40k and walked out. Granted its slightly smaller then the Acadia, but to trim out a comparable Acadia you have to go up to an SLT2 or Denali which stickers at mid 50's. GM is also sticking to their guns to not take off tens of thousands. So negotiating was tights. Expect to pay high 40's low 50's. I could not see the value. The all new highlander is loaded with Tech and creature comforts. The Acadia was ok, but for the money it didn't feel like a luxury car to me. I shopped RX's but they were too small and to be honest the Limited HIghlander is basically a Lexus on the inside. The Lambda platform felt cheap for the amount they were asking.
I will warn you though. You have to step up to the Limited to have memory seats, heated and cooled seats, captain chairs etc. However, once I resolved to look at that trim level there was no comparison for the money. I don't need another tow vehicle since I have a super crew lariat f150 4x4(I know not very bogleheaded, but its paid for and we use like its designed for).

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Re: New vehicle...GMC Acadia, Chevy Traverse, or Buick Encla

Post by Carter3 » Tue Jul 15, 2014 4:00 pm

We have a traverse, with 4 kits and absolutely love it. Also have roof crossrsils with Yakima rocket box.

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modal
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Re: New vehicle...GMC Acadia, Chevy Traverse, or Buick Encla

Post by modal » Tue Jul 15, 2014 5:21 pm

Prior to purchase of a Honda Pilot, we were looking at the 4Runner, Sequoia, and Tahoe/Yukon.

Reasons the others were ruled out:

4Runner
-Smaller interior space in all rows
-3rd row wasn't standard
-3rd row wasn't available on the trim we wanted
-3rd row wasn't suitable for adults

Sequoia
-Small number sold each year
-Higher operating cost
-Higher purchase cost

Tahoe/Yukon
-2015s weren't priced right
-3rd row floor is fouled up
-Weren't able to find any of the lower trim options in stock (much higher purchase cost)

Next time, I think we'll probably end up with a fullsize SUV.

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Re: New vehicle...GMC Acadia, Chevy Traverse, or Buick Encla

Post by Browser » Tue Jul 15, 2014 6:05 pm

What about the Nissan Pathfinder? Have you checked that one out? Has some nice specs and the ride and interior is first class in Nissan SUVs. Good mileage figures as well. Wait for the 2016 Pilot unless you're in a rush. The current gen box will be outclassed by the new Pilot, which should be equivalent to the Acura MDX in many ways. Highlander is a much better vehicle than the current Pilot.
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Re: New vehicle...GMC Acadia, Chevy Traverse, or Buick Encla

Post by Browser » Tue Jul 15, 2014 6:13 pm

Check out this comparison by Motor Trend:

http://www.motortrend.com/roadtests/suv ... ewall.html

Winner: Dodge Durango
2nd: Highlander
3rd: Pathfinder
4th: Santa Fe
5th: Pilot
6th: Mazda CX-9
We don't know where we are, or where we're going -- but we're making good time.

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Re: New vehicle...GMC Acadia, Chevy Traverse, or Buick Encla

Post by sarahjane » Tue Jul 15, 2014 6:33 pm

Look at the Ford Flex if large towing capacity is unnecessary (2000lbs).

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Re: New vehicle...GMC Acadia, Chevy Traverse, or Buick Encla

Post by peppers » Tue Jul 15, 2014 7:38 pm

This might interest you

http://wot.motortrend.com/1402_u_s_a_to ... ntent.html

http://wot.motortrend.com/1402_top_10_t ... ntent.html

Percent of cars and trucks with American manufactured parts.
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Re: New vehicle...GMC Acadia, Chevy Traverse, or Buick Encla

Post by bbrock » Wed Jul 16, 2014 3:48 pm

Great info from these posts. Tx.

Looked at the Ford Flex, but besides not really digging the styling, the towing is rated up to 4500, with or without the eco boost engine. That tow capacity is probably good enough, but I can't get past the shape. If I can't, I know the wife can't.

Looked at and have ridden in a friend's old Acura SUV. Nice, but I sat in the 3rd row, and this was for a short drive, and hated it. I can't imagine having anyone besides kids back there. Not to mention the cargo space not appealing.

I thought over some of my priorities. Most likely it is this (descending from most important): cargo space, safety, reliability, fuel efficiency, towing. Following this list, that would then highlight the Lamda platform (probably would look at the higher end GMC or Chevy model), Highlander (most likely the Limited or higher model).

Whoever mentioned the Mercedes, I looked at that for S & G sake, and wow, very nice, powerful, great cargo, but I wouldn't spend that much. If I spend that much, might as well spend more and get a Tesla Model S and an old old large SUV. This won't be happening anytime though.

Lastly, how exactly do the higher end GMC Acadia (I think it is the Denali) and the higher end Chevy Traverse differ? Why would one want to spend more on the higher end GMC? Is it really that much nicer than the higher end Chevy?
Last edited by bbrock on Wed Jul 16, 2014 8:05 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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killjoy2012
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Re: New vehicle...GMC Acadia, Chevy Traverse, or Buick Encla

Post by killjoy2012 » Wed Jul 16, 2014 3:51 pm

peppers wrote:This might interest you

http://wot.motortrend.com/1402_u_s_a_to ... ntent.html

http://wot.motortrend.com/1402_top_10_t ... ntent.html

Percent of cars and trucks with American manufactured parts.
^ +1

And keep in mind, that doesn't factor in where the manufacturer's HQ & the majority of their white collar employees are located (engineers, marketing, finance, IT, etc...)

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Re: New vehicle...GMC Acadia, Chevy Traverse, or Buick Encla

Post by bbrock » Wed Jul 16, 2014 8:18 pm

I really don't know how to take that info re: the amt of cars/SUVs with the most American parts. So the Lamdas (Acadia, Traverse, Enclave), for example, r listed with having 72% American made parts, and the Durango as having 68% (not much difference). The Highlander is not listed. Again, not sure what I am supposed to gain from these as it isn't a reliability index.
bbrock

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Re: New vehicle...GMC Acadia, Chevy Traverse, or Buick Encla

Post by OnFire » Thu Jul 17, 2014 12:28 am

I looked at the cars you looked at. I am not against buying Japanese, but I have a strong preference for American made vehicles. I recently bought a Honda Accord Hybrid because they make them in Ohio, while the Ford Fusion Hybrid is made in Mexico. I work as a union firefighter and that's kind of high on my list.

I wound up assuming a lease from a guy on Long Island for a GMC Acadia SLT AWD. He had put down $5K to reduce the payments and then his wife passed way and he didn't need the car anymore. My payments, on a car that stickered for around $44K are I think $450 a month . It was one year old, and had a 4 year lease.It expires this December and so far (besides the recalls) it has been 100% reliable. I know it's anecdotal, but CR rates it as one of the more reliable of the full size SUVs. I plan on purchasing it when the lease is up, and getting the 7year/100K bumper to bumper warranty. I did that for the Accord and it was cheap. Something like $1700 for 7/120K. I plan on keeping it until the first major mechanical, and then selling it and doing the second hand lease again. I'll wind up paying something like $37K for 7 years 100K miles. Which, really, is as much as I expect. Safety is moving to fast to drive a 10+ year old vehicle in my opinion. I didn't get the navigation, technology packages, etc. with the hopes it would be more reliable.

It's super safe, with 10 or 12 airbags, super comfortable, and there is plenty of space. Mt wife has ridden in the third rode and I've hauled sheets of plywood in it. Overall, if you get 15 MPG or 20 MPG and drive 12,000 miles a year, it costs you about $600 a year for the less fuel efficient vehicle, or $50 a month. Not enough to get me to drive a CRV, RAV4 etc. The Accord routinely gets 50 MPG in the city. We use that for most commuter stuff and only use the Acadia when we really need the space. Good luck.
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Re: New vehicle...GMC Acadia, Chevy Traverse, or Buick Encla

Post by wallygator » Thu Jul 17, 2014 5:48 am

Howdy,

Just bought a 2014 highlander XLE (step below the Limited). Drives better than my Lexus LS400 or RX330. It gets 25-27mpg on the highway cruising at 70mph. Around town I can get 23-24mpg by driving it like there is an egg on the gas pedal and brake, lots of coasting. It tows up to 5000lbs. We pull at 3500 lb boat with no problem.

Take one for a test drive before you buy anything else. It really is amazing.

See ya,

Waly

nchunter
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Re: New vehicle...GMC Acadia, Chevy Traverse, or Buick Encla

Post by nchunter » Thu Jul 17, 2014 6:41 am

Heed my warning and stay away from the Pathfinder at all costs. The dealership I turned mine into had scads of repurchased Nissans going back to Nissan due to the lemon law. Its had numerous national recalls on the airbag sensors and catastrophic failures of its CVT transmissions. Look at Nissan Pathfinder's official Facebook page and you will see hundreds of unhappy buyers begging for Nissan to do the right things. In fact its so pervasive that they keep deleting the bad comments. Google Pathfinder Transmission Shudder or Airbag. Not to mention bunches of other problems. Stay away.

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Re: New vehicle...GMC Acadia, Chevy Traverse, or Buick Encla

Post by bltkmt » Thu Jul 17, 2014 7:02 am

My wife drove a 2007 Acadia for 3 years (lease) and it was a great vehicle. My brother owns a 2008 Enclave and it has been a nightmare - numerous lengthy trips back to the dealer including a new transmission. I liked the way the Acadia drove and the interior room, but would personally stay away. I really like the 4Runner.

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Re: New vehicle...GMC Acadia, Chevy Traverse, or Buick Encla

Post by bloom2708 » Thu Jul 17, 2014 7:48 am

sarahjane wrote:Look at the Ford Flex if large towing capacity is unnecessary (2000lbs).
+1 for a Flex if are OK with the styling.

Our plan is to stick with Ford from this point on. Most of our vehicles have been Fords. I wanted a Ford Flex, but my wife liked the new Explorer better. Since this was her car, we ended up with a 2014 Ford Explorer Limited. It is a pretty awesome vehicle. The Flex would have been a bit more car like and gotten better MPG. The Explorer gets 20-23 highway depending on mileage. I am looking at an Escape or Edge in 2 years to replace our 2007 Ford Edge.

Car brands are like your Asset Allocation. Very personal, lots of history behind. Our adventures with a Honda Odyssey and previous style Toyota Highlander were not good. But sometimes you just draw a short straw and once a car burns you it is hard to go back.
"We are not here to please, but to provoke thoughtfulness." --Unknown Boglehead

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Re: New vehicle...GMC Acadia, Chevy Traverse, or Buick Encla

Post by Keep It Simple » Thu Jul 17, 2014 8:50 am

bloom2708 wrote: Our adventures with a Honda Odyssey and previous style Toyota Highlander were not good. But sometimes you just draw a short straw and once a car burns you it is hard to go back.
I find this hard to believe. If you are saying that the Honda Odyssey and Toyota Highlander were unreliable, then you must have been one of the most unlucky people on earth as these are two of the most reliable vehicles on the planet. The facts do not support your claim that Ford has a more reliable lineup than these two Japanese cars. Honestly, this just sounds more like American bias no matter what the facts. Believe me, I would love to support the American auto makers, and I actually did for decades, but I can no longer do so when their products continue to fall short of the reliability that the Japanese auto makers produce.
OnFire wrote: I am not against buying Japanese, but I have a strong preference for American made vehicles.
Again, I believe this type of thinking, while noble, clouds the judgment of many people. Perhaps it is because their parents always bought American and they feel comfortable doing so also, and they mostly don't even consider Japanese auto makers. Thus, you become accustomed to the unreliable nature of the American made vehicles and never know what a difference there is in Japanese vehicle reliability. I've had both, and I can tell you they are night and day in favor of Japanese. Sure they cost more initially, but you will make it up in savings on repairs and also better residual values when it comes time to sell.

(please understand I am not saying you couldn't come up with a reliable American car model from year XXXX-XXXX which was reliable. I understand there are a few, but my point is that the majority of them are not on the same level as the Japanese. I think it has to do with the culture that permeates these companies. Look at GM.

Good luck to op.

K.I.S.

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Re: New vehicle...GMC Acadia, Chevy Traverse, or Buick Encla

Post by bloom2708 » Thu Jul 17, 2014 9:00 am

I didn't mention Ford being "more reliable" than anything. That is just my plan and yes, it has bias.

The 2007 Honda Odyssey we had was the most frustrating vehicle I've ever owned. The transmission was flaky from day 1, little surges when letting off the accelerator. The car had "front end noise" when hitting bumps from about mile 5,000. I had all my service work done at the Honda dealer. At 60k, the middle front spark plug fell out. This was about 2 weeks after an oil change and check. Chunks of the spark plug fell out and wrecked the engine. Bad situation? fluke? probably. But after it happened I read a surprising amount of "similar tales". Honda kept telling me this was the best vehicle I ever owned. Were they right? We probably got a lemon. Like I said that happens. I bought a Honda because I wanted the quality. Sometimes you don't get what you want.

Overall we liked the 2005 Toyota Highlander we had. We live in a cold climate and no matter what, the drivers feet were cold in the winter. We had it in 5 times. They could not fix it. The only way to get warm feet was to have the car at 90 degrees with the fan going fast. Fluke? probably? design issue? maybe. Something the "avearge" Highlander owner would run into? unlikely.

These are 2005 and 2007 and post experiences. Are the new Odyssey and new Highlander better? Probably. Most likely. Of course. Certainly.

I ended my comment that said cars are full of personal history, bias, flukes, lemons, bad luck. These things all form your car perception, your car story. I love that people love Honda and Toyota and Subaru. Do those loves "generalize" to everyone? Nope.
"We are not here to please, but to provoke thoughtfulness." --Unknown Boglehead

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Re: New vehicle...GMC Acadia, Chevy Traverse, or Buick Encla

Post by Browser » Thu Jul 17, 2014 9:41 am

Agree with others on the Highlander based on my test drive experience. Liked it a lot. Except for the looks. GM cars are a lot more appealing to me in terms of styling. That big, dumb grille on the Highlander bugs me and I don't like the sculpted metal curves much either. But I guess you have to follow the "beauty is more than skin deep" philosophy on these things. I just wish the Japanese knew how to design more attractive SUVs.
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Re: New vehicle...GMC Acadia, Chevy Traverse, or Buick Encla

Post by Boglegrappler » Thu Jul 17, 2014 10:10 am

I like Toyotas. I have great confidence in them. I've owned a celica, two land cruisers, an FJ cruiser, and a Lexus GX460. I've never had a delivery defect, and only one issue with any of them (electric door lock actuators required replacement after 70k on the land cruiser).

I think you should consider the 4runner, and highlander, but also a used Lexus GX or possible a land cruiser (It would have to be an older one, and LC mileage isn't going to impress you). The GX460 has a six speed transmission that will get 21-22 mpg on a highway trip. It's also full-time four wheel drive and will perform well in snow on hills. Cargo capacity is ok, but not with the third seat up. A GX from 2010 or later will probably cost near what a new highlander or 4runner would be, but they are rugged off-road vehicles derived from the land cruiser prado, which is only sold internationally, and not in the US. It's a vehicle of choice for countries where roads are bad.

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Re: New vehicle...GMC Acadia, Chevy Traverse, or Buick Encla

Post by Keep It Simple » Thu Jul 17, 2014 10:23 am

Boglegrappler wrote:I like Toyotas. I've owned a celica, two land cruisers, an FJ cruiser, and a Lexus GX460.
Wow! You've owned some pretty sweet vehicles...I'm jealous. I'm curious why no Sequoia added in there for even more variety?

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Re: New vehicle...GMC Acadia, Chevy Traverse, or Buick Encla

Post by KyleAAA » Thu Jul 17, 2014 10:49 am

Anecdotal buy my mother owns an Acadia and has had plenty of problems. Nice ride, though.

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Re: New vehicle...GMC Acadia, Chevy Traverse, or Buick Encla

Post by Boglegrappler » Thu Jul 17, 2014 11:45 am

I forgot to mention my Tundra double cab. It's been perfect too. :)

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Re: New vehicle...GMC Acadia, Chevy Traverse, or Buick Encla

Post by NHRATA01 » Fri Jul 18, 2014 2:04 pm

Regarding the Lambda's, we have a '10 Traverse. Reliability-wise '12 and up are much better.

'09 and earlier had issues with timing chain stretch and then failure. The warranty has been extended from 100 to 120K. Rectified in '10.

The '09 models had a specific issue with the transmission whereby the waveplate inside was not properly heat treated by the vendor, leading to failure of the transmission. Rectified in '10.

'09-'13's are susceptible to water pump leaks at the shaft seal - there is a recall campaign for this so even an out of warranty period failure should be covered. Ours had the w/p replaced last year as a result.

'09-'11 seem to have a high rate of steering gear issues. I replaced the rack last year only to have the pump go out a month ago and take out the new rack in the process. This was not covered by powertrain warranty. This was fixed in '12 with a revised rack and pump and using Dex 6 (trans fluid) instead of conventional p/s fluid.

I like my GM's but have a hard time recommending an '11 or earlier Lambda based on our experiences as well as what I've read on the forums over the years.

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Re: New vehicle...GMC Acadia, Chevy Traverse, or Buick Encla

Post by rallycobra » Fri Jul 18, 2014 9:30 pm

When I shopped these last year, the Buick had a longer warranty.

I purchased an ecoboost Flex :)
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Re: New vehicle...GMC Acadia, Chevy Traverse, or Buick Encla

Post by bbrock » Sat Jul 19, 2014 3:03 pm

Wallygator, did you consider any of the lambda platforms (Acadia, Traverse, Enclave)? I'm curious what was the deciding factor for you in choosing the Highlander. Do you have a family like we do; any kids? I ask that because I'm curious on your satisfaction with the cargo capacity.

Additionally, does anyone have experience with fitting/using convertible car seats in the lambda platform vehicles (Acadia, Traverse, Enclave), as well as the Highlander? Eventually we will transition to convertibles, possibly notably large ones such as the Britax Marathon. So just curious how these vehicles handle these.

Bogglegrappler, have given too much thought to a Lexus GX460 or any Lexus for that matter. I have seen this vehicle before as a former neighbor had one, but just never really considered it. I will say that if it takes premium fuel, I can pretty much rule it out right there as I can't justify that purchase when there are other vehicles that are good enough.
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Re: New vehicle...GMC Acadia, Chevy Traverse, or Buick Encla

Post by amking » Sat Jul 19, 2014 5:43 pm

The Kicking Tires blog on cars.com has a lot of great real world car seat checks from an editor of theirs who has multiple children: http://blogs.cars.com/kickingtires/car-seat-check/

looks like the last Acadia they checked was the 2013 model: http://blogs.cars.com/kickingtires/2013 ... check.html

There are also several car seat checks out on Youtube if you are searching for a video review of a specific model.

I hate to say this or even be the one to bring it up (since i don't want one myself), but have you considered a minivan? They are arguably very safe, can't be beat on cargo & passenger room, the kid-friendly features are undeniable, and several of the models can tow a pop-up with the right prep package. The Sienna for example uses (from what I understand) mostly the same powertrain as the Highlander... there even is an AWD version, but it has no room for a spare and only comes with expensive run-flats. The current Odyssey is tough to beat though as an overall package (or so I'm told by my wife).

My wife and i are expecting our first child in less than a month and expect to try for a second one within a couple of years. We watched her sister go through from a sedan (pre-children) to a previous gen Highlander (1st child) to now an Odyssey (2 children under the age of 5 with maybe another in the future). Not a smart path from a financial perspective. As a somewhat self-described "car guy" that comes from a family that has an interest in racing and sportscars, I never thought I would say this but after watching my sister-in-law and her kids go through this I can absolutely see the value in a minivan. I would just have to remind myself all the time that it was the financially smart decision and I am essentially driving an appliance that serves a purpose for a season of life.

The bad thing is I actually really like the new Highlander and know it would meet our needs for a couple years.... but know that inevitably I would need to get a Minivan and then I would have TWO $40k +/- cars in the driveway depreciating away!

Would it be weird to have one kid and a minivan, knowing you will have more and will be taking longer roadtrips to visit both sets of family?!?

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