SUV recommendation

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Elysium
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SUV recommendation

Post by Elysium » Fri Oct 09, 2015 12:11 pm

This is yet another "What SUV should I buy question?" We are in the market for a seven passanger SUV / Crossover. We don't need off-road capabilities but don't mind having it. We do need AWD and must have 3rd row, although we will only use the 3rd row occationally.

I have 50K to 60K to spend on it. Here are the vehicles that I did test drive:

1. Volvo XC-90
2. Audi Q7
3. Toyota Highlander Hybrid
4. Infinity QX60
5. Lexus GX460 (going to see this weekend)

I will keep it for 10+ years and like to keep maintenance cost low.

I am not looking at any more vehicles, don't want Pilot or MDX, and don't want Ford, GM, Subaru, Kia, so on.

#1 is all new and very nice, but I have never owned a Volvo and so have no idea on reliability, someone told me this is a money pit once warranty gets over. Like to hear from Volvo owners.

#2 is nice, typical German functionality, but have concerns regarding post warranty cost to own and the recent scandal don't help.

#3 is nice, efficient, lowest cost to own and operate possibly, but don't like the cheap materials inside even on a Limited Platinum I saw.

#4 is really nice and comfy inside, don't like the exterial look, could live with it though. No idea on maintenance post-warranty, assuming same as Lexus/Toyota?

#5 looks very nice, typical Lexus quality, but based on truck platfom and meant for off-roading mainly. V8 engine guzzles gas I heard. But won't mind if maintenance and re-sale value are enough to compensate.

3rd row is manageable on all of the above, with Audi Q7 being the tightest and Infinity being the best, but I could live with 3rd row on all five, suits our need. It really comes down to combination of comfort, convenience, build quality inside and outside, and reliability.

A-Commoner
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Re: SUV recommendation

Post by A-Commoner » Fri Oct 09, 2015 1:07 pm

Just curious why you removed the Acura MDX from consideration. That would have been at the top of my list in that price range, value for money. The MDX has been called "BMW x-5 lite" for its sporty driving dynamics, minus the X5's price tag. Of course the Highlander's price undercuts the MDX's, but the latter does have a more upscale interior than the Highlander (which is already very comfy in its own right). I have the same reservations as you with regards to the XC90's reliability and maintenance cost, though the XC90 is elegant-looking inside and out. The Audi Q7 has the same knock against it in my opinion....not even counting VW/Audi's current emissions scandal. The Lexus GX is very solid and reliable...could easily last more than 10 years..... but like you said, it is a truck based off the Land Cruiser Prado. You pay a penalty in gas consumption. Like you, I also don't like the aesthetics of the Infiniti QX60.

A-Commoner
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Re: SUV recommendation

Post by A-Commoner » Fri Oct 09, 2015 1:12 pm

BTW, a top of the line, fully loaded Highlander Limited should not cost you more than 50k.

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knpstr
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Re: SUV recommendation

Post by knpstr » Fri Oct 09, 2015 1:24 pm

Seems like you have the same question for every vehicle: post warranty concerns

Can you find these vehicles in consumer reports - reliability testing? It would be a more impartial source being that people tend to like the vehicles they have purchased, and that may not translate to you. Any car company is capable of a lemon at any given time.
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Elysium
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Re: SUV recommendation

Post by Elysium » Fri Oct 09, 2015 1:31 pm

I don't like the MDX anymore, just too plain for my liking, otherwise I agree it is good value for money. Highlander is cheaper than most, but I am looking for some refinement inside and I just don't see it has same quality compared to others in my list. If money wasn't an issue, I would have purchased a Mercedes Benz GL-Class, but I can only spend up to $60 grand without feeling guilty about over spending. In short, I want some nice refined luxury and comfort but without the guilt.

Maintenance: that is a top concern obviously because who really wants to spend time and money on repairs, plus I have been burn before on two cars that we owned. I already know about German cars, a lot unfortunately through bad experience. That is why I tend to gravitate towards Infinity / Lexus / Toyota, although I would like hear more on the Volvo from owners.

mnsportsgeek
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Re: SUV recommendation

Post by mnsportsgeek » Fri Oct 09, 2015 1:33 pm

A-Commoner wrote:BTW, a top of the line, fully loaded Highlander Limited should not cost you more than 50k.
The hybrid is around 50k.

ubermax
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Re: SUV recommendation

Post by ubermax » Fri Oct 09, 2015 4:06 pm

We're also in the market for an SUV and are zeroing in on the Q5 ( just the two of us & so don't need 3rd row) ; all I can say is "silky smooth" and I imagine the Q7 is the same ; we also have an X3 and it's very responsive , peppy , and handles New England weather well but it's a bit trucky and the 2016 comes with run-flat tires and no spare , a couple of deal breakers for us .

Don't think there's any comparison between the Q7 and the rest on your list ; just drive each one and you'll know immediately .

Boglegrappler
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Re: SUV recommendation

Post by Boglegrappler » Fri Oct 09, 2015 7:50 pm

I am a Toyota/(lexus) fan based on my personal experience with six vehicles. I currently own a GX 460, Fj Cruiser, and a Tundra. I've also owned two Landcruisers and a 1981 Celica Supra which was the vehicle that got my initial attention.

The GX will get 21-22 mpg highway. High teens in town, depending on how heavy your foot is. The 6 speed automatic helps on the highway re: mpg.

The GX is the Landcruiser Prado internationally....driven in the desert and outback where there is not much service available. The appearance of the truck belies its ruggedness and reliability. I have 58k on mine, with only oil changes. This is standard for Toyota vehicles. Snow performance is as good as any you'll find. The ride may not agree with some, even with the Lexus softening, because it is, after all, a truck.

You can see where this is going.

sambb
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Re: SUV recommendation

Post by sambb » Fri Oct 09, 2015 7:56 pm

The infiniti is amazing due to the unique method to enter the 3rd row - nice.

tim1999
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Re: SUV recommendation

Post by tim1999 » Fri Oct 09, 2015 8:07 pm

The QX60 has a rock-solid engine in terms of reliability (3.5/3.7 V6, basically the same engine across several models that has been proven for years). No turbochargers, superchargers, CVT transmissions, or other crap in the name of fuel efficiency that will likely fail early.

Infiniti routine maintenance is generally reasonable, though oil changes are recommended every 5,000 miles on most cars vs. higher intervals on other brands, even the worst Infiniti dealers only usually charge $50-60 for this including a loaner car.

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ram
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Re: SUV recommendation

Post by ram » Fri Oct 09, 2015 8:16 pm

For me reliability was most important and so I recently got a Lexus LS 460 sedan after comparing with other non Japanese competitors.
Ram

pedsEDdoc
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Re: SUV recommendation

Post by pedsEDdoc » Fri Oct 09, 2015 8:21 pm

Even though you said you didn't want to consider GM, I would recommend the Buick Enclave. It has all the luxury interior aspects you desire, the 3rd row that adults can sit in (I am 6'1''), decent gas mileage, a 4 year warranty and low cost of ownership after the warranty runs out. Very smooth ride.

Elysium
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Re: SUV recommendation

Post by Elysium » Sat Oct 10, 2015 12:05 am

Audi is fine, it drives well, the main problem I have with Audi / BMW is that 1. their value drops faster than you can drive out of dealer's lot, and 2. after 50,000 miles maintenance cost add up.

Infinity is fine as well, no complaints with interior, driving is smooth but they do have the CVT in 2016 model so that is a bit anooying, the real problem I have is with how it looks outside.

Volvo looks great, they have rave reviews from everyone so far, looks very stylish inside and outside, drive well although a bit low on power because of the 4-cylinder engine. I just don't want to be the one taking chance with the longevity of their newly re-designed platform.

Lexus seems like the best option so far, I like the GX 2016, haven't driven one yet. Going to do that this weekend and figure out whether I like the way it handles, no other complains with it. I know Lexus will hold value, reliable, solid, and well refined inside and outside. No complaints so long as the driving and handling matches up.

Thanks for the suggesion on Buick, also I think Ford Explorer is worthy, but again 10+ years of troublefree operations is what I want, so sounds like will have to Japanese.

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Re: SUV recommendation

Post by Alex Frakt » Sat Oct 10, 2015 2:53 am

It really comes down to combination of comfort, convenience, build quality inside and outside, and reliability.
You should at least take a test drive of a Chevy Suburban/GMC Yukon XL. By all accounts, the interior is really impressive and comfort and convenience (assuming it fits in your garage) are unmatched. They should be more reliable than the Europeans and will be quite a bit cheaper to fix if something does go wrong.

And, while I'm sure you'll ignore this advice, it sounds like the best solution for your actual needs would be a AWD Toyota Sienna Limited. It meets all your requirements and would have saved you at least 10k over whichever SUV you eventually end up buying :-)

letsgobobby
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Re: SUV recommendation

Post by letsgobobby » Sat Oct 10, 2015 3:10 am

Lexus gx seats don't fold into the floor, a deal-breaker to me if we rarely used them. The top Dodge Durango Citadel is very nice, very capable, refined, powerful, and has been reliable. It also tows more and yet the 8 cylinder gets reasonable mileage.

gator15
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Re: SUV recommendation

Post by gator15 » Sat Oct 10, 2015 5:18 am

I'm also in the market for a new SUV and considered some of the vehicles you listed. I test drove the GX 460 recently and thought it was alright. While the luxury was fine, I couldnt get over the fact that it felt like I was in a truck meaning I wasn't a big fan of the comfort level. I'm also not a big fan of the exterior look. I test drove the Toyota 4Runner and sequoia as well and didn't like those vehicles. I've heard good things about the Infiniti QX but I'm not a fan of the exterior look so I eliminated it from my list. If i could deal with the maintenance cost I would get a BMW X5. Since I can't I eliminated that vehicle. I haven't driven the Q7 but if it's anything like the Q5 it's an impressive vehicle. The Q5 has been the best vehicle I've driven. I just wasn't sure if that vehicle was a 10 to 12 year vehicle. I love the new XC90 but I priced the version I wanted and it blew my budget. The Acura MDX is nice and I tried to convince my wife to get one a couple of years ago but she chose the RDX and loves the vehicle. All this said, if I purchased today I would go with the Ford Explorer Sport. I was quite surprised at how impressed I was with vehicle. I loved the power, exterior, interior and price point. The interior was really comfortable and spacious. The 3rd row seat could actually fit an adult. I thought the seats were extremely comfortable. The search continues to see if there is a better vehicle than the explorer.

CT-Scott
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Re: SUV recommendation

Post by CT-Scott » Sat Oct 10, 2015 5:25 am

Boglegrappler wrote:The GX will get 21-22 mpg highway. High teens in town, depending on how heavy your foot is. The 6 speed automatic helps on the highway re: mpg.
According to the Lexus website, the current gen GX460 is rated for 15 city / 20 highway MPG.

I'm curious why the OP is focusing on the Highlander Hybrid, and not also considering the regular Highlander. Is it just because the Hybrid is closer to that same $50K+ price range? The Hybrid is rated for 27/28 MPG, while the non-Hybrid is 18/24 MPG, which is still quite a bit higher than what the GX460 is rated for. I haven't checked how the other brands/models compare.

I am a little bit surprised that with all of the trucks/SUVs that Toyota makes, they don't have a more equivalent Lexus-branded version of the Highlander. As letsgobobby stated, the 3rd row on the GX460 may not fold down as flush as the Highlander's (though the gallery on their website seems to suggest that they have made improvements to how it worked on older GX's).

As for me, I usually like to buy used vehicles so as to save a huge chunk of money. Whether or not it completely works out for me as the better choice, I'm not completely certain, as when you buy used you're not certain what problems you might be inheriting. But when I buy used and focus on a brand like Toyota/Lexus, I usually don't concern myself much with the mileage, and can save a lot of money on a high-mileage Toyota/Lexus.

A couple of examples:
1) In 2008 I decided I wanted to get a convertible in the sub-$25K price range. I didn't love any of the new or recent-year car options I'd have. I really wanted a BMW 3-series, but worried about reliability and maintenance cost. Ended up getting an '02 Lexus SC430 with about 60K miles on it for about $22K. Overall, it's probably been the most reliable car I've ever owned. Now about 120K miles on it, and some issues have popped up, though a few of them have actually occurred as a result of someone working on the car to fix something, and they end up breaking something else in the process. I don't love the way it drives (would much prefer the handling of a sports car), but it still looks beautiful, and is rare/unique.

2) In 2013 we replaced my wife's vehicle with a 2010 Toyota Highlander Limited (V6) AWD. Again, I think it was around 60K miles. Paid about $24K. We got this one from a Toyota dealer and it was "Certified", but I'm not sure if that really bought us anything extra (see rant below). Overall, this one has been very reliable, as well.

Rant about our Toyota experience:
Right or wrong, I felt like while it was under the extended-warrantee period, I should bring the Highlander to the Toyota dealer for everything, because I worried that if anything major went wrong, and I had been bringing it to local shops for minor things (oil changes, brakes, etc.) that they might try to avoid covering something. Unfortunately, this meant paying top dollar for the oil changes and them *always* finding something that they recommended we do. It seemed like we couldn't bring it in for an oil change without somehow leaving with a $200-400 bill every time. Maybe it was all legit and the various fluids, etc. that they were always wanting to replace really should be replaced at those intervals...I don't know.

My one thing I do miss about the newer vehicles is that they get the latest electronic gadgets. Our '2010 Highlander has Bluetooth for a speakerphone, but not for stereo integration. I think the next model year got that. Ours has a very tiny video screen for the backup camera, but the newer models got a much larger screen with overlays which aid in backing into spaces.

When we were test driving the Highlander, I really loved the look of the FJ Cruiser. We test drove that as well as a recent-model-year 4Runner. Part of me liked the idea/look of both of those more than the Highlander, but the Highlander had much better visibility and a much more useful/large hatch storage area, and 3rd row seats that weren't completely unusable by a not-too-tall adult. I still think the FJ would be a fun one for me to get for myself someday, but it was on the opposite end of the spectrum for pracitcality/visibility as the Highlander, and my wife seemed to agree, and she appears to love it.

Hypersion
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Re: SUV recommendation

Post by Hypersion » Sat Oct 10, 2015 6:33 am

I like my GX460 but it's fairly truckie for lack of a better word. If I didn't keep my cars for 10+ years I would have gotten a Q7 or an X5.

ResearchMed
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Re: SUV recommendation

Post by ResearchMed » Sat Oct 10, 2015 6:46 am

That new Volvo XC90 is beyond amazing.
Yes, we are Volvo groupies (from way back when no other cars came close in terms of safety).

The auto writers' reviews were astonishing, from many countries.

Then we finally had a chance to see/test drive one.
LOVED IT, far beyond what we had expected.

Put our refundable $1k down and specified exact car we wanted.
... and are still waiting.
No, TomatoTomahto, this wait is nothing compared with your Tesla wait! :happy
Some extras do come into the dealer occasionally along with the pre-orders, but they fly out the door.

But in drooling over it on additional visits to dealer (we *wanted* a car more like "now", because we were down to one car and getting very tired of that), we realized it is seriously larger than our current 2004 XC90.
Wish they had done all the goodies in the same size vehicle, but no one asked us...

And then a nice 2014 XC60 Turbo with 10k miles (and all of the 'necessary' features, and almost no unwanted $$ extras) on it showed up when its owner's new XC90 arrived, and we happened to notice it the night they posted it on their website, at a good price (we had been studying pricing on 2013 models for some time; there weren't any 2014's showing within 200 miles previously). Texted our (unusually nice) sales rep (he won't last; too nice!) who put a "hold" on it, and we saw it the next day.
Bought it the day after that.

There are just the two of us, and maybe 3-5 times a year there is an additional passenger for a short distance.
Don't really need a large 7-seater; the size/mass was/is a safety feature, plus height/visibility.

We figure in about 2-3 years the next iteration of XC60's will have very similar look/features as the new XC90 (which IS a beauty inside, regardless of whether folks think that matters; DH got a bit seduced by a car for the first time - check out the interior of the Inscription model!), although the new improved S80 (?) is coming first.

Anyway, when "our" new XC90 arrives (oh, say, 2018 or whenever!), we'll probably sigh, and just ask for our $1k back.
And replace the older XC90 with a new/improved XC60 in a couple of years.

One other thing: I try to avoid "first year new model" cars on principle.
So *maybe* we'll get seduced by another XC90 in a year or two.

I DEFINITELY prefer the visibility of being up that bit higher.

NOTE: Even if you don't get one, do have the demo of the self-parking feature. The car will search for a spot or spots until you select one you prefer, and then it will do its thing. That was weird. Fun weird. :D

Nope, I don't get any sort of commission... :( although we are both admitted cheerleaders.

But for a 3 row SUV, *nice*.

You can definitely get one for under 60, but just barely if you go with the Inscription model. (Momentum model seems to be ~5k less, but it's not a perfect match, given different included/extra options.)
Easy to hit $60k, but not necessary. Tops out at about $72k, until the hybrid arrives, *starting* at $20k more.

We still haven't seen one "in the wild" (on the streets), but they are trickling into the metro area.

RM
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Ron
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Re: SUV recommendation

Post by Ron » Sat Oct 10, 2015 7:47 am

pedsEDdoc wrote:Even though you said you didn't want to consider GM, I would recommend the Buick Enclave. It has all the luxury interior aspects you desire, the 3rd row that adults can sit in (I am 6'1''), decent gas mileage, a 4 year warranty and low cost of ownership after the warranty runs out. Very smooth ride.
+1

I just purchased a leftover '15 GMC Acadia with the Denali trim, trading in my 10 year old Caddy SRX. The Buick, GMC, and Chevy share the same components with just changes to the exterior sheetmetal stamping.

I'm quite pleased with the vehicle, especially the improvement of "surrounding awareness" that I didn't have with my two previous SUV's, including the forward look ahead function (similar to Subaru's Eyesight, without the auto-braking).

- Ron

Elysium
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Re: SUV recommendation

Post by Elysium » Sat Oct 10, 2015 8:24 am

RM, Thanks for all the rave reviews on the Volvo :D It will be very helpful if you could answer one question I have for dedicated Volvo owners, how reliable are the Volvo's over time, specifically after 50K miles and up to 100K miles. I am surprised to hear you have to wait that long to get the XC-90, in my neck of the woods, they had 5 in stock and the salesperson told me they could get one for me pre-order in 2 to 3 months. We can wait as long as we wish, because we have solid reliable cars now, but they are sedans, the reason we need a new one now. This is their new platform that they are calling SPA, reportedly it cost them $11 billion in R&D, all funded by their Chinese owner. XC-90 is the first one to be built on this platform, and all their future models are going to be built on top of this.

I will check out other options as well. The pricing for Volvo is going to be steep by the time I add everything I need, and I found out that the optional air suspension is a must have on this if you need decent ride quality, that cost around $1800 on top of everything else. Audi Q7 and Lexus GX460 comes with air suspension and doesn't cost same as Volvo when priced with similar options.

Someone asked by why the Hybrid Highlander, it is a unique situation for me, because we have a Clean Fuel plate car that comes in more than useful in my area where I can use restricted car pool lanes. So, I have the option to get a hybrid and retain the plate. But, I have given up on that idea and keeping my hybrid commuter car.

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Re: SUV recommendation

Post by yukonjack » Sat Oct 10, 2015 9:04 am

You seem to be leaning towards the Lexus so I would consider waiting for the redesigned RX350 that is due out at the end of 2015. It reportedly will have a third row of seats. It would certainly fit in the 50k to 60k range. Although given the RX's popularity you would probably be in for a wait. Also I would recommend researching CR rather than seeking anecdotal evidence from a small sampling of bogleheads.

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Re: SUV recommendation

Post by ResearchMed » Sat Oct 10, 2015 9:14 am

Dieharder wrote:RM, Thanks for all the rave reviews on the Volvo :D It will be very helpful if you could answer one question I have for dedicated Volvo owners, how reliable are the Volvo's over time, specifically after 50K miles and up to 100K miles. I am surprised to hear you have to wait that long to get the XC-90, in my neck of the woods, they had 5 in stock and the salesperson told me they could get one for me pre-order in 2 to 3 months. We can wait as long as we wish, because we have solid reliable cars now, but they are sedans, the reason we need a new one now. This is their new platform that they are calling SPA, reportedly it cost them $11 billion in R&D, all funded by their Chinese owner. XC-90 is the first one to be built on this platform, and all their future models are going to be built on top of this.

I will check out other options as well. The pricing for Volvo is going to be steep by the time I add everything I need, and I found out that the optional air suspension is a must have on this if you need decent ride quality, that cost around $1800 on top of everything else. Audi Q7 and Lexus GX460 comes with air suspension and doesn't cost same as Volvo when priced with similar options.

Someone asked by why the Hybrid Highlander, it is a unique situation for me, because we have a Clean Fuel plate car that comes in more than useful in my area where I can use restricted car pool lanes. So, I have the option to get a hybrid and retain the plate. But, I have given up on that idea and keeping my hybrid commuter car.
Don't be so sure about that air suspension. We got sucked into it (not literally!), and then learned more about it.
It is in good measure for off road, *IF* I understand it correctly yet [and I'm not sure I do; we'd do more research if we seriously consider getting the ordered XC90, and maybe even change the order], to give more clearance. And supposedly it can lower for ease of entry/exit.
NOTE that we did not "study it" (we knew we'd have a choice when the car arrived, with refundable $1k deposit), but on the test driveS we took, including over our "favorite bumpy road for test drives", there did not seem to be a major difference. Not even sure I could have passed a blind fold test there. On the other hand, I'm not sure anything short of a Bentley or such would really smooth over that one road section. Nasty section of a short public road. Or maybe a sort of hovercraft would be needed.

Definitely test drive the same model with and withOUT the air suspension. You might be surprised.
We preferred the Inscription a lot more than the Momentum, and it wasn't the air suspension feature that made the difference.

We've driven our cars for years in the past, but with VERY low mileage, so repair history is weird. Some things are actually worse with ultra-low mileage.
At age 14, the Volvo sedan before the now-old XC90 had starter problems. Now reminds me of the ignition snafu at GM, except that it would just decide not to start. Including late at night. It could not be reproduced at will. After the second "late at night", I traded it for the 2004 XC90, which we loved.
DH's S80, also very low mileage, got totaled by a teenager who admitted to the police that he "only looked in the other direction" as he floored it to get across 4 lanes of traffic, right into DH & car. Right front headlight ended up embedded in the engine, etc. DH had some minor injuries, but we were sure happy he wasn't in a MiniCooper or such! That car was 11 years old, with no major repairs, but we never liked the suspension on it. My 2004 XC90 is starting to need pricey repairs, and as an only car (temporarily) we were sort of stuck. Dealer gave us a loaner for a week to decide whether to repair or buy (and not necessarily from them, obviously!)

And that's when we saw the first of the demo 2016 XC90's :D

We grit our teeth and got the repairs and decided to wait.
But we still didn't like the 1-car situation, so even if we hadn't gotten the repairs, but bought a car right then and there, we'd still be in need of another car, one way or the other. So that helped a bit with the decision; didn't really want to buy *2* cars just then. We just hope there is NOT another "big repair" coming up soon!

I got the first Volvo back when the first child was born, decades and decades ago, and never looked back.
(Actually, my then MIL *insisted* upon giving us one at that point, and wouldn't take no for an answer. We were then driving a hippie VW bus, and if we hit something, we were going "first", with those literal front row seats.... She apparently wanted to minimize the risk she'd be raising her first grandchild :shock: )

RM
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Tamales
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Re: SUV recommendation

Post by Tamales » Sat Oct 10, 2015 10:49 am

Nissan is to Infiniti as Toyota is to Lexus. So you might have a look at the Nissan Pathfinder and Armada. Another I can think of that you didn't specifically rule out is the Jeep Grand Cherokee.

From some video reviews I've seen, this year's crop of CVTs are allegedly greatly improved over past years. So I wouldn't necessarily rule out any vehicle just because of having a CVT. DCTs were similarly shunned some time back but they are arguably the cream of the crop in transmissions these days (not sure if any 2015/16 SUVs use a DCT), but no denying they are costly if they have problems.

In general it's best not to have preconceived notions or stereotypes about brands (but it's often easier said that done). Past problems can be eliminated, and the market is very competitive so they are usually (but not always) motivated to fix them ASAP. Previously solid vehicles can have problems/bugs/recalls in newer models just because there are 3rd party manufacturers in the loop on all these vehicles, and all manufacturers are forever trying to cut costs including changes of 3rd party manufacturers.

Consumer Reports weights their ratings too much on past years (or at least that used to be the case), so I found CR is best for finding models with good recent history, but sometimes they overweight things that are solved problems and no longer a consideration. I think it might be Edmunds that has a decent "cost of ownership" database. Truedelta.com is another to check out. Some model/years have few responses, but others are pretty well-represented.

Just like with stocks, past performance is no guarantee of future performance on cars as well.

Another thing often worth doing is to find the busiest online forums for the specific models you like best, and join those. Although you have to be aware of the fan-boys who will never mention any negatives, there are always more reasonable, neutral owners, and a lot of history on new model problems and how the company has dealt with them.

edit: one other thing to consider: some SUVs have truly awful 70-0 stopping distances. The better ones can stop more than a car length shorter than the worst ones. That can make the difference between serious impact and no impact. Few people look at that specification but I consider that pretty important. If you're looking up stopping distances, try to use the same source for comparison so that the test conditions are relatively similar. Car and Driver's "instrumented tests" are a pretty good source for that, but they don't do the full instrumented test on every model. They use 70-0 while some other sources use 60-0 so you have to watch for that.
Last edited by Tamales on Sat Oct 10, 2015 11:08 am, edited 1 time in total.

tibbitts
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Re: SUV recommendation

Post by tibbitts » Sat Oct 10, 2015 11:00 am

Your decision will mostly come down to:

1. how much legroom / headroom and cargo capacity you require.

2. how much weight you want to tow.

ubermax
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Re: SUV recommendation

Post by ubermax » Sat Oct 10, 2015 11:07 am

Dieharder wrote:Audi is fine, it drives well, the main problem I have with Audi / BMW is that 1. their value drops faster than you can drive out of dealer's lot, and 2. after 50,000 miles maintenance cost add up.
To each his own as they say but it still baffles me why someone with a 50-60K budget would be concerned about possible excessive maintenance and associated costs after 50K miles ; I mean if you're worrying about the bucks why not go with a high end van to start with ?? I think some of them come with AWD ?? , maybe the Honda Odyssey ? Another thought , you say you must have a 3rd row but will only use it occasionally , maybe you really don't need that 3rd row unless you need more cargo space for most of the time ???
Last edited by ubermax on Sat Oct 10, 2015 12:33 pm, edited 3 times in total.

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Bustoff
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Re: SUV recommendation

Post by Bustoff » Sat Oct 10, 2015 11:15 am

Tamales wrote: ... Consumer Reports weights their ratings too much on past years (or at least that used to be the case) ...
Not according to Consumer Reports:
Consumer Reports operates the largest and most sophisticated independent automobile testing center devoted to the consumer interest anywhere in the world. Situated on 327 acres in rural Connecticut, the Consumer Reports Auto Test Center is home to more than 20 staff members, including automotive engineers, technicians, and support staff. Consumer Reports buys, anonymously, all the cars it tests, about 80 per year, and drives each for thousands of miles.

Formal testing is done at the track and on surrounding public roads. The evaluation regimen consists of more than 50 individual tests. Some are objective, instrumented track tests using state-of-the-art electronic gear that yield empirical findings. Some are subjective evaluations-jury tests done by the experienced engineering staff. These videos will provide further insights into the ways that Consumer Reports evaluates new cars to help its readers make smart, informed choices. (Watch our car-review videos.) See our Guide to Consumer Reports Ratings.
http://www.consumerreports.org/cro/abou ... /index.htm

Tamales
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Re: SUV recommendation

Post by Tamales » Sat Oct 10, 2015 11:27 am

Bustoff wrote:
Tamales wrote: ... Consumer Reports weights their ratings too much on past years (or at least that used to be the case) ...
Not according to Consumer Reports:
Consumer Reports operates the largest and most sophisticated independent automobile testing center devoted to the consumer interest anywhere in the world. Situated on 327 acres in rural Connecticut, the Consumer Reports Auto Test Center is home to more than 20 staff members, including automotive engineers, technicians, and support staff. Consumer Reports buys, anonymously, all the cars it tests, about 80 per year, and drives each for thousands of miles.

Formal testing is done at the track and on surrounding public roads. The evaluation regimen consists of more than 50 individual tests. Some are objective, instrumented track tests using state-of-the-art electronic gear that yield empirical findings. Some are subjective evaluations-jury tests done by the experienced engineering staff. These videos will provide further insights into the ways that Consumer Reports evaluates new cars to help its readers make smart, informed choices. (Watch our car-review videos.) See our Guide to Consumer Reports Ratings.
http://www.consumerreports.org/cro/abou ... /index.htm
I'm not seeing how the part you quoted disproves what I said. I subscribed to it a few year ago (last time I bought a new vehicle) and simply observing their data tables and results showed there was no possibly way they could get their result without overweighting data from past years. Reliability is not about samples of one anyway, so the testing they do in a given year on a sample of one is hopefully not a big part in that rating.

CR is one of the better sources out there, but it's not without its flaws. It's best to find multiple sources for an expense this large.

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Bustoff
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Re: SUV recommendation

Post by Bustoff » Sat Oct 10, 2015 11:53 am

Tamales wrote: I'm not seeing how the part you quoted disproves what I said.
Not trying to prove or disprove anything.

I've been in the market for a new vehicle for some time and I remember looking into the methodology used by CR awhile back.
Just thought I would share the info.

This link describes in detail how they rate new vehicles.
http://www.consumerreports.org/cro/2012 ... /index.htm

shawcroft
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Re: SUV recommendation

Post by shawcroft » Sat Oct 10, 2015 12:42 pm

Subaru Outback.

close enough to an SUV to make it a very good choice.

Shawcroft

Ron
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Re: SUV recommendation

Post by Ron » Sat Oct 10, 2015 12:49 pm

Dieharder wrote:Audi is fine, it drives well, the main problem I have with Audi / BMW is that 1. their value drops faster than you can drive out of dealer's lot <snip...>.
If you truly do drive your cars 10+ years (as stated in your first post) your short term depreciation (e.g. < 5 years) means little. Now if you know you're the type of individual that trades on a more frequent basis, I would think that depreciation would be more of a factor in your brand/model decision IMHO.

- Ron

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TomatoTomahto
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Re: SUV recommendation

Post by TomatoTomahto » Sat Oct 10, 2015 1:15 pm

ResearchMed wrote:Put our refundable $1k down and specified exact car we wanted.
... and are still waiting.
No, TomatoTomahto, this wait is nothing compared with your Tesla wait! :happy
Some extras do come into the dealer occasionally along with the pre-orders, but they fly out the door.
In the "life is a circle" file, some Tesla waiting list members dropped off the list to order/get XC 90s (some because of feature changes and some because they hoped to get a car during their lifetime) . I only sat in one, but it seems to a special kind of vehicle.

I am also a fan of the XC60s and S60s, and when shopping with my older kid discovered just how appealing the Volvo CPO deals are.

I am close to 6 Volvo owners, including one old XC90 owned for high mileage over many years. Their experience has been very positive.
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ResearchMed
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Re: SUV recommendation

Post by ResearchMed » Sat Oct 10, 2015 1:53 pm

TomatoTomahto wrote:
ResearchMed wrote:Put our refundable $1k down and specified exact car we wanted.
... and are still waiting.
No, TomatoTomahto, this wait is nothing compared with your Tesla wait! :happy
Some extras do come into the dealer occasionally along with the pre-orders, but they fly out the door.
In the "life is a circle" file, some Tesla waiting list members dropped off the list to order/get XC 90s (some because of feature changes and some because they hoped to get a car during their lifetime) . I only sat in one, but it seems to a special kind of vehicle.

I am also a fan of the XC60s and S60s, and when shopping with my older kid discovered just how appealing the Volvo CPO deals are.

I am close to 6 Volvo owners, including one old XC90 owned for high mileage over many years. Their experience has been very positive.
Hi TomTom,

Perhaps you noticed that we finally "caved" and got an XC60, despite previous concerns and comments about the rough ride.
We began to realize that with the streets here, including occasional major potholes, it was an exercise in futility to try to have "comfort over the nasty road areas" as such a key factor, because in reality, *nothing* was really doing a good job (nothing in our price range, including a pricey MB, which really was a surprise).

We'd had nice new XC60 loaners whenever our cars were serviced - clever and sly "trick" on the dealer's side :wink:
And we hadn't ever commented about harsh rides then.

And last we heard, someone on the wait list ahead of us was just told that car was delayed until... *February*. Say what!?
Okay, it seems to be a specific part for a specific option we didn't order, but still.... No date estimate in sight yet for us.
And the new XC90 was just bigger than we needed, and can no longer even be ordered without the third row of seats (but not to worry, we may still get one eventually, unless the new XC60 has similar glory).

And then... this CPO 2014 XC60 Turbo with 10k miles showed up...
With the CPO, we've got full warranty til 2020 (transferable if we sell to a private party).
The price was WAY lower than a new 2015+ models, surprisingly so, and just very slightly more than the 2013 with more than 2x the mileage, and not a Turbo.
Deal Done!

I've had sports cars before, but DH never did.
Let's just say like in the <what car model has the ad where the little boy says> "VROOM VROOM" ad, DH really likes the peppy drive.

(We've made a pact: First one to get a speeding ticket, which neither of us has had in over 20 years, is required to drive only the old 2004 XC90 for a month :( )

But *IF* we needed the larger capacity, there is ABSOLUTELY NO DOUBT WE'D GET THE NEW XC90.
The only question is whether we'd still want to wait for the second model year.
... which might happen anyway.....!

The 2004 XC90 came with a half-day of "training to see what the car could REALLY do", from Skip Barber staff.
That was wild, and also extremely impressive in terms of car performance. Too bad they don't offer that anymore.

RM
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TomatoTomahto
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Re: SUV recommendation

Post by TomatoTomahto » Sat Oct 10, 2015 3:18 pm

RM, I was shocked at how good the warranty was on the CPO, and pleasantly surprised at the low prices. There was some improvement in features over the years, but a 2014 had just about everything the later models have. I've always been a new car buyer, because I don't have a mechanic I trust, but I'm a convert to CPO.

If I didn't want the Tesla X so damned much, I'd seriously consider doing a used Tesla S. Someone on this forum (don't remember who) bought one for a very affordable price, and you can't beat Tesla's warranty in any case (8 years and infinite mileage). When I think of how much extra time and money I'm spending because I really want the elevated seating, ... oh, no, better not think that way :D
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killjoy2012
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Re: SUV recommendation

Post by killjoy2012 » Sat Oct 10, 2015 4:32 pm

Unless 2/3'rds of your 7 people are petite women or kids, I would not want to ride in any of the vehicles you've listed with 6 others. You said you didn't want to consider other vehicles, but as others have pointed out, the domestics have much better / more functional large SUVs.

Elysium
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Re: SUV recommendation

Post by Elysium » Sat Oct 10, 2015 5:09 pm

Unless 2/3'rds of your 7 people are petite women or kids, I would not want to ride in any of the vehicles you've listed with 6 others. You said you didn't want to consider other vehicles, but as others have pointed out, the domestics have much better / more functional large SUVs.
2 kids, 2 occasional passengers, one is petite women, so it fits the criteria I guess :D

GX is too big and 3rd is completely unusable, ruled out.

Volvo again is absolutely fantastic, now it is between that, Q7 and QX60.

Personally, I like domestics, but DW doesn't, don't want to pick that fight :D

Sourc3
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Re: SUV recommendation

Post by Sourc3 » Sat Oct 10, 2015 6:21 pm

Dieharder wrote:
Unless 2/3'rds of your 7 people are petite women or kids, I would not want to ride in any of the vehicles you've listed with 6 others. You said you didn't want to consider other vehicles, but as others have pointed out, the domestics have much better / more functional large SUVs.
2 kids, 2 occasional passengers, one is petite women, so it fits the criteria I guess :D

GX is too big and 3rd is completely unusable, ruled out.

Volvo again is absolutely fantastic, now it is between that, Q7 and QX60.

Personally, I like domestics, but DW doesn't, don't want to pick that fight :D
I owned a Volvo S60 until last year and their reliability + service has been fantastic. XC90 is a relatively new vehicle and since it's a total re-design from the previous years, it may make sense to wait another iteration and see if you can get the 2017 models in 6-7 months. They must work out a lot of issues that they observe until then.

ResearchMed
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Re: SUV recommendation

Post by ResearchMed » Sat Oct 10, 2015 6:40 pm

TomatoTomahto wrote:RM, I was shocked at how good the warranty was on the CPO, and pleasantly surprised at the low prices. There was some improvement in features over the years, but a 2014 had just about everything the later models have. I've always been a new car buyer, because I don't have a mechanic I trust, but I'm a convert to CPO.
If I didn't want the Tesla X so damned much, I'd seriously consider doing a used Tesla S. Someone on this forum (don't remember who) bought one for a very affordable price, and you can't beat Tesla's warranty in any case (8 years and infinite mileage). When I think of how much extra time and money I'm spending because I really want the elevated seating, ... oh, no, better not think that way :D
Yup, really so much the same here.
And very funny: I really do miss the height/visibility, so I get that.

I/we had *never* - as in *NEVER* - considered anything other than a new car.
Just did NOT trust "why" someone else sold it, and like you, no trusted mechanic (for evaluation *or* repairs).
(Well, I think that DH, back in grad school or something, may have had an oldie-but-not-so-goodie thing that got him from A to B, but I didn't know him then. But I married him anyway. :) Everyone has a "history", right?)

We really sort of just slid into this CPO thing.

Had there been a new XC90 in stock, or arriving reasonably soon, I'm quite sure we'd be driving it now (and be very happy, we assume).
Um, at least we did think to try to get it into our garage (old homes have very small garages, alas), and we need to have both cars squeeze in during blizzard days or we'd never, ever get plowed out. Tight fit, but okay. (Someone at the dealer actually returned one on Day 2 because it couldn't fit in their garage, and dealer asked if we wanted it, but not a close enough fit re features, so someone else got a nice surprise.)

So while hanging around, taking turns driving the 3 demo XC90's (yes, they should have used the old bakery style numbered tickets at times!), we obviously wandered around the showroom for some refreshments, and to stay cool.
Started to ask about what CPO *really* meant, and included or didn't, and same as you... we were stunned.

As long as we were willing to trade it back at the end of the warranty [and we had already decided "no more 10+ yr old cars due to safety features"], then... why ever were we so worried about "someone else's lemon"? The dealer would presumably not want us to keep bringing it back (with liberal and new loaner cars), although it's actually an insurer (I think) who eats the costs, not the dealer (?). But most of the used cars, primarily Volvos, were NOT CPO, so it wasn't a total rubber stamp.

[Okay, time for all the CPO nay-sayers to pounce about now. Pounce away. We are happy as it is.]

And the price difference between a *very* newish CPO and a virgin-type new car :!: (That was a LOT of SERIOUS vacation time there for us!)

We started thinking: If we play "leap frog" with our 2 cars and every ~3 years get a 2-3 year old car (and better yet if a plum of a one-year-old car shows up), then we have almost new cars at a considerable savings, and no (or very little) worries about "someone else's problems". And never any old car with seriously out of date safety features. And no major repair bills again, either! Nice thought after that repair bill we just swallowed on the 11 yr old XC90.
And better yet, we noticed that the models just 2 or 3 years older (everywhere within 200 miles) were not selling for very much less. Very surprising, but great from our little "recycling plan" perspective in terms of resale.
That "hit" driving a NEW car off the lot seemed relatively humongous, given the price of the almost new models. Stepping down the age ladder wasn't making all that much of a difference. (SHOCKINGLY high prices, relatively, for a couple of 2008-2010 models, even.)

OK, we admit it, we are safety nuts, and both actually *used* those features in two different Volvos, about a dozen years apart, when even the police commented about how fortunate we were. Those weren't fender benders. Our town is infamous for nutso drivers.

Yes, we'll report back on this strategy as time goes on.

For now, if we don't look VERY carefully at a few key buttons on the dashboard, it's hard to tell this isn't a brand new 2015/16.
Most of the features are identical/almost identical.
I found a tiny scratch on the leather steering wheel. Very tiny.
We kept trying to find "problems", but this car was seemingly cared for as well as any of ours (no children/no pets/etc., apparently). Leather seats hardly looked used, even the driver's seat, which was just barely about the only sign of any previous usage.

RM
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Elysium
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Re: SUV recommendation

Post by Elysium » Sat Oct 10, 2015 7:02 pm

Buick Enclave looks very interesting, have to check it out.

BogleBoogie
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Re: SUV recommendation

Post by BogleBoogie » Sat Oct 10, 2015 7:09 pm

Alex Frakt wrote:
It really comes down to combination of comfort, convenience, build quality inside and outside, and reliability.
You should at least take a test drive of a Chevy Suburban/GMC Yukon XL. By all accounts, the interior is really impressive and comfort and convenience (assuming it fits in your garage) are unmatched. They should be more reliable than the Europeans and will be quite a bit cheaper to fix if something does go wrong.

And, while I'm sure you'll ignore this advice, it sounds like the best solution for your actual needs would be a AWD Toyota Sienna Limited. It meets all your requirements and would have saved you at least 10k over whichever SUV you eventually end up buying :-)
Agreed...Yukon here and wouldn't change a thing.

ResearchMed
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Re: SUV recommendation

Post by ResearchMed » Sat Oct 10, 2015 7:12 pm

Someone mentioned the Subaru Outback.

Despite our Volvo history (and cheerleading), when we are renting a car in the mountains, we usually try for an Outback (Volvo's either aren't available or are priced like gold).

We did test drive one recently while doing our rounds.

It IS a very nice car, and we know they handle well in snow/ice conditions.
But we found the seats uncomfortable for regular use, and in reading, found we weren't alone in that.

But especially for the price, probably a great car, though probably not large enough for your needs.
It's not really an SUV, of course.

If the seating comfort changed, I could see one of those some day as a second car, especially given the price :happy

RM
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tibbitts
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Re: SUV recommendation

Post by tibbitts » Sat Oct 10, 2015 7:24 pm

BogleBoogie wrote:
Alex Frakt wrote:
It really comes down to combination of comfort, convenience, build quality inside and outside, and reliability.
You should at least take a test drive of a Chevy Suburban/GMC Yukon XL. By all accounts, the interior is really impressive and comfort and convenience (assuming it fits in your garage) are unmatched. They should be more reliable than the Europeans and will be quite a bit cheaper to fix if something does go wrong.

And, while I'm sure you'll ignore this advice, it sounds like the best solution for your actual needs would be a AWD Toyota Sienna Limited. It meets all your requirements and would have saved you at least 10k over whichever SUV you eventually end up buying :-)
Agreed...Yukon here and wouldn't change a thing.
It seems like Ford and GM lost some of their advantage when they dropped their 250x (3/4t) models, which were clearly unique in the marketplace. It wouldn't have seemed that there would have been that much development cost in retaining them.

soupcxan
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Re: SUV recommendation

Post by soupcxan » Sun Oct 11, 2015 8:31 am

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Last edited by soupcxan on Wed May 18, 2016 8:40 am, edited 1 time in total.

Elysium
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Re: SUV recommendation

Post by Elysium » Sun Oct 11, 2015 10:10 pm

Audi Q7 is off my list now, 3rd row is totally unusable for adults. Volvo is nearly ruled out due to concerns with 4-cylinder engine with turbocharger and supercharger functoning over time, that plus too new to trust. Buick is too old fashioned interior. GX 460 is too truckey and 3rd row is complete waste. Still not interested in the MDX or Pilot. Highlander is too plasticky inside. Lexus is likely to release the RX with 3rd row in 2017, which should come out in year, but that is likely close to 60K with cramped 3rd to begin with and no discounts initially. What is left is the Infinity QX 60, nice interior comparable to Audi and roomy 3rd row seat as well as smooth ride overall. Drawback is that it is a minivan with normal doors. If we could get adjusted to the fact looks are temporary and overlook the mini van "ish" styling then this could be a nice reliable low maintenance and comfortable ride.

reisner
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Re: SUV recommendation

Post by reisner » Sun Oct 11, 2015 10:40 pm

Six years ago we bought a 2001 Toyota Sequoia with 45K miles on it for $14,700. It cost over 50K new. I shopped for an older model but with low mileage. The car has been a brick. It has crossed the country 4 times,now has 135K on it, and will probably run to 300K. It gets 20 mpg on the highway, burns no oil between changes, and nothing has broken except two door latches. We don't need the third row seats, but without them it is a rolling kennel for two big dogs. Go Bogle and buy used.

dbr
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Re: SUV recommendation

Post by dbr » Mon Oct 12, 2015 8:58 am

Dieharder wrote:Audi Q7 is off my list now, 3rd row is totally unusable for adults. Volvo is nearly ruled out due to concerns with 4-cylinder engine with turbocharger and supercharger functoning over time, that plus too new to trust. Buick is too old fashioned interior. GX 460 is too truckey and 3rd row is complete waste. Still not interested in the MDX or Pilot. Highlander is too plasticky inside. Lexus is likely to release the RX with 3rd row in 2017, which should come out in year, but that is likely close to 60K with cramped 3rd to begin with and no discounts initially. What is left is the Infinity QX 60, nice interior comparable to Audi and roomy 3rd row seat as well as smooth ride overall. Drawback is that it is a minivan with normal doors. If we could get adjusted to the fact looks are temporary and overlook the mini van "ish" styling then this could be a nice reliable low maintenance and comfortable ride.
It might be that a vehicle actually designed to accommodate three rows of seats for adults is a better idea than a vehicle that isn't designed for that purpose. Sometime a person starts out with a particular vehicle type in mind and in the end it turns out what is really needed given the designs on the market is something different.

Browser
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Re: SUV recommendation

Post by Browser » Mon Oct 12, 2015 9:42 am

Perhaps you noticed that we finally "caved" and got an XC60, despite previous concerns and comments about the rough ride.
We began to realize that with the streets here, including occasional major potholes, it was an exercise in futility to try to have "comfort over the nasty road areas" as such a key factor, because in reality, *nothing* was really doing a good job (nothing in our price range, including a pricey MB, which really was a surprise).
Been shopping SUV's forever and the ride of the XC60 over rough roads has been the deal-breaker for me so far, but I still haven't found the one vehicle that checks all the boxes for me. The other nitpicky thing that bugged me was that there doesn't seem to be anyplace on the console to put stuff like my spare sunglasses or smartphone; the thing doesn't even have a standard sunglasses holder in the roof like every car on the planet. Why do they do dumb things like this? Then of course there's the question of what the heck you do if it breaks down in the middle of nowhere. The dealer tells me you have to haul it into a Volvo dealer to have it fixed under warranty even if the nearest one is 500 miles away (and it might be). At least with a Lexus or Infiniti or Acura you have half a chance to have it hauled into a Toyota, Nissan, or Honda dealer if you're in the hinterlands and there are a lot more of those around than Volvo. I don't even want to image what TomatoTomahto is going to do with his Tesla -- but he probably never leaves the metro confines. :)
We don't know where we are, or where we're going -- but we're making good time.

Browser
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Re: SUV recommendation

Post by Browser » Mon Oct 12, 2015 9:51 am

yukonjack wrote:You seem to be leaning towards the Lexus so I would consider waiting for the redesigned RX350 that is due out at the end of 2015. It reportedly will have a third row of seats. It would certainly fit in the 50k to 60k range. Although given the RX's popularity you would probably be in for a wait. Also I would recommend researching CR rather than seeking anecdotal evidence from a small sampling of bogleheads.
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Keep It Simple
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Re: SUV recommendation

Post by Keep It Simple » Mon Oct 12, 2015 10:04 am

reisner wrote:Six years ago we bought a 2001 Toyota Sequoia with 45K miles on it for $14,700. It cost over 50K new. I shopped for an older model but with low mileage. The car has been a brick. It has crossed the country 4 times,now has 135K on it, and will probably run to 300K. It gets 20 mpg on the highway, burns no oil between changes, and nothing has broken except two door latches. We don't need the third row seats, but without them it is a rolling kennel for two big dogs. Go Bogle and buy used.

I second this. I am surprised that when the question comes up about what the best 3 row suv is, the Toyota Sequoia often gets overlooked. It is extremely reliable, the engine is bulletproof and very powerful, and the leg room is ridiculously spacious...even in the third row. In my opinion, there really is no reason to pay an extra $20-$30k for the Lexus when the Sequoia has everything the Lexus has and has way more room. The seats all fold flat giving it an incredible amount of space. It is a perfect tow vehicle as well. The Lexus will have a smoother ride, but that's about it. If you want a more "plush" interior like the Lexus, you could opt for the Platinum version of the Sequoia.

The Sequoia and the GX 460 are both great vehicles, but the Sequoia can be had for far less without giving up anything but a more "cushy" suspension.

I'd recommend taking the Sequoia for a test ride...you won't be disappointed.

Good luck!

K.I.S.

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TomatoTomahto
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Re: SUV recommendation

Post by TomatoTomahto » Mon Oct 12, 2015 1:29 pm

Browser wrote:I don't even want to image what TomatoTomahto is going to do with his Tesla -- but he probably never leaves the metro confines. :)
There is a Tesla service shop within 3 miles of my house. i have not left the Northeast via auto in many years, and there are loads of service and charging opportunities in the Northeast. Additionally, there is less to go wrong without a complicated internal combustion engine, transmission, driveshaft, radiator, etc. involved.
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