Which Small SUV for 15 Year Reliability?

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steadyeddy
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Which Small SUV for 15 Year Reliability?

Post by steadyeddy » Tue May 16, 2017 4:51 pm

I would like to buy a new 2017 or 2018 small SUV, and keep it until the year 2030 and beyond. I recognize that some repairs will be required to keep a car running this long, but I'd like to minimize expensive repairs, and I certainly don't want to be regularly stranded on the side of the road as the vehicle ages.

Four vehicles interest me:
  • 2018 Subaru Outback (open to either engine)
  • 2018 Honda CR-V (turbo)
  • 2017 Subaru Forester (non-turbo)
  • 2017 Toyota RAV4
I like the Subarus best, but worry about oil consumption and head gasket failure. Are these issues fixed? I don't want to be topping off my oil once a month...or even checking it that often! I like the CR-V quite a bit, but worry about the new turbo engine. Do these fail often and/or consume oil? Are they expensive to replace if they fail? The RAV4 offers the least features for the most money, but I generally trust the uncomplicated drive train to last for 15 years. Is my trust misplaced?

I know all these vehicles are popular among Bogleheads, so basically I'm looking for reassurance that the average Subaru or Honda can make it for 15 years and my concerns are overblown. Either that or reassurance that it's worth paying more for a RAV4 that feels a bit outdated compared to the others if very long term reliability is at the top of my priority list. Those of you that are mechanically inclined, please help me out. I am getting lost in analysis paralysis as I spend hours reading reviews and anecdotal comments about each vehicle!

livesoft
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Re: Which Small SUV for 15 Year Reliability?

Post by livesoft » Tue May 16, 2017 4:53 pm

There are not enough Bogleheads to give you a statistically meaningful answer. That is, your quest for Reassurance is a false one.
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smitcat
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Re: Which Small SUV for 15 Year Reliability?

Post by smitcat » Tue May 16, 2017 5:06 pm

" I like the CR-V quite a bit, but worry about the new turbo engine. Do these fail often and/or consume oil? Are they expensive to replace if they fail?"

No way to know as there have not been an appreciable amount of units out there with enough miles to validate that engine and new trans combo.
We did not want to be part of the learning curve so we went with a one year old model at a discount with the known non-turbo non CVT package.

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Re: Which Small SUV for 15 Year Reliability?

Post by radiowave » Tue May 16, 2017 5:10 pm

I have a 2004 CR-V with 163K miles, still going strong and getting 24-25MPG. I'm hoping for 200K. The only thing that went wrong other than routine maintenance, tires, batteries, etc. was the A/C compressor - local dealer only charged labor even though it was a few thousand past warrantee. I like the flexibility of the CR-V, it has plenty of interior space when you pull down the back seats, good visibility but not a enormous as the bigger SUVs. Now this doesn't ride as smooth as a BMW X3 but you could probably get 2 CR-Vs for the cost of one of the BMWs.
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dbr
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Re: Which Small SUV for 15 Year Reliability?

Post by dbr » Tue May 16, 2017 5:13 pm

It isn't possible to project that one of those make/models will turn out better than another on a criterion of fifteen years without an expensive repair and no breakdown. I don't think there is a vehicle manufactured that can offer assurance on that count, though most vehicles sold these days have a reasonable expectation of fifteen years of useful life.

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William4u
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Re: Which Small SUV for 15 Year Reliability?

Post by William4u » Tue May 16, 2017 5:20 pm

The 2017 RAV4 has many more safety features standard than the others, including the Pre-Collision System with Pedestrian Detection & Vehicle Detection, Lane Departure Alert with Steering Assist, Automatic High Beams, and Dynamic Radar Cruise Control. You would need to get upper trims on the others (e.g., Limited Models with added options) for much more money to get the same safety features.

orlandoman
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Re: Which Small SUV for 15 Year Reliability?

Post by orlandoman » Tue May 16, 2017 5:36 pm

Subaru oil consumption and head gasket failure issues (2014) have been fixed. Subaru is know for longevity. Check out the users forums for the models you are considering.
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keaton
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Re: Which Small SUV for 15 Year Reliability?

Post by keaton » Tue May 16, 2017 5:55 pm

A projection like that is almost impossible for a new vehicle as many changes can happen from one generation to the next.

This is why I always buy 8yr or older vehicles with a few years into the generation with a fallowing on forums. Parts are cheaper, you can get used items, and most of the common issues have been well documented.

Don't be scared of turbos! They are not that complicated or much of an issue IF it's a reliable year make, model. Although again, that goes for any wear item.

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Re: Which Small SUV for 15 Year Reliability?

Post by adamthesmythe » Tue May 16, 2017 5:56 pm

Today you can get a good reading of the 15 year reliability of models built in 2002.

All of the brands you mention have good to very good reputations for reliability. All of them have had known issues in particular models and particular years.

You are never going to get the assurance of reliability that you seem to want. I suggest you buy the car that you like. Maybe you get to drive it for 15 years, maybe not. Maybe you have an accident. Maybe we all die.

michaeljc70
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Re: Which Small SUV for 15 Year Reliability?

Post by michaeljc70 » Tue May 16, 2017 6:15 pm

After considering those, I got a Mazda CX-5. I much prefered the way it drove. I think it looked better too. We'll see on the reliability. Probably won't match Honda or Toyota, but I drive 6k miles a year and probably will keep it 10-12 years only. 2 1/2 years into it, I still really like it. The RAV4 and CR-V are everywhere (for good reason). I wanted something a little less common (and wasn't going to buy a Bentley).

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tcassette
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Re: Which Small SUV for 15 Year Reliability?

Post by tcassette » Tue May 16, 2017 7:39 pm

The 2017 Subaru Outback and Forester are well into their current generations, so most problems associated with new generations of vehicles should have been addressed. The choice between them hinges greatly on how much room you need (the Outback of course is larger and more expensive). The 6-cylinder engines on the Outbacks have been pretty reliable (I am in year 11 on mine with no engine problems; oil consumption between changes is miniscule). The Outback is large enough that going with the 6 is warranted despite the extra cost and slight gas mileage penalty compared with the 4. The CRV and RAV4 are closer in size to the Forester.

The 2018 Outback will have some nice refinements like better ride and quieter interior, along with higher capacity A/C. They won't be available until the June-July time frame.

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Re: Which Small SUV for 15 Year Reliability?

Post by lazydavid » Tue May 16, 2017 8:11 pm

The current-generation Outback/Legacy seems to be significantly less reliable than previous ones, resulting in the whole brand taking a bit of a tumble in CR's reliability rankings, even though their other models (including the Forester and Impreza) are still quite good in that regard.

That said, the Outback is still my favorite of the bunch by a substantial margin, and I'd choose the H6, no question. Be aware that it is not small by almost anyone's definition. The backseat is significantly roomier than a Tahoe or Expedition.

However, if reliability is your top priority, the RAV4 might be a better fit, and I would probably pay the extra $2100 for the hybrid.

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jharkin
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Re: Which Small SUV for 15 Year Reliability?

Post by jharkin » Wed May 17, 2017 6:51 am

In addition to getting our inputs you can also look at Consumer Reports and TrueDelta ratings (though neither is perfect) and ask around at the various car forums.

All 4 of those choices should be solid and better than average reliability. Though I think that Honda and to a lesser extent Toyota have slipped a bit in reliability recently as they have gotten more complex and are not as completely bulletproof as they where in the 90s/2000s (And I say this as an unashamed lifetime Honda fan).

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CyclingDuo
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Re: Which Small SUV for 15 Year Reliability?

Post by CyclingDuo » Wed May 17, 2017 7:01 am

steadyeddy wrote:I would like to buy a new 2017 or 2018 small SUV, and keep it until the year 2030 and beyond. I recognize that some repairs will be required to keep a car running this long, but I'd like to minimize expensive repairs, and I certainly don't want to be regularly stranded on the side of the road as the vehicle ages.

Four vehicles interest me:
  • 2018 Subaru Outback (open to either engine)
  • 2018 Honda CR-V (turbo)
  • 2017 Subaru Forester (non-turbo)
  • 2017 Toyota RAV4
I like the Subarus best, but worry about oil consumption and head gasket failure. Are these issues fixed? I don't want to be topping off my oil once a month...or even checking it that often! I like the CR-V quite a bit, but worry about the new turbo engine. Do these fail often and/or consume oil? Are they expensive to replace if they fail? The RAV4 offers the least features for the most money, but I generally trust the uncomplicated drive train to last for 15 years. Is my trust misplaced?

I know all these vehicles are popular among Bogleheads, so basically I'm looking for reassurance that the average Subaru or Honda can make it for 15 years and my concerns are overblown. Either that or reassurance that it's worth paying more for a RAV4 that feels a bit outdated compared to the others if very long term reliability is at the top of my priority list. Those of you that are mechanically inclined, please help me out. I am getting lost in analysis paralysis as I spend hours reading reviews and anecdotal comments about each vehicle!
Solid choices! We're a Honda household, so can vouch for the longevity. We have two Honda SUV's that are 12 years old.

The new CR-V turbo would win our vote.

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Strayshot
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Re: Which Small SUV for 15 Year Reliability?

Post by Strayshot » Wed May 17, 2017 8:56 am

The turbo motor in the Forester has a long pedigree in the WRX line and has demonstrated reliability. I would honestly be more wary of the non turbo motor. We have a loaded Forester XT 2017 and love it. Subaru head gasket issues were on their line of non-turbo motors.
Don't exclude the Hyundai vehicles (Tucson and Santa Fe). The Santa Fe 2.0T AWD was an excellent vehicle and is significantly cheaper for the same feature set, but the visibility in the Forester won out for us. You will be impressed at the Hyundais. The RAV4 is also a great choice and was our #3 pick.

onourway
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Re: Which Small SUV for 15 Year Reliability?

Post by onourway » Wed May 17, 2017 9:05 am

I would avoid Subaru for long-term reliability. I have been listening to people claim that their headgasket/engine issues are 'now fixed' for nearly 20 years. All that really means is this current generation doesn't have a critical mass of vehicles past 100k where the failures become common.

Subaru is consistently near the bottom in long-term powertrain reliability. http://dashboard-light.com/reports/Subaru.html

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Re: Which Small SUV for 15 Year Reliability?

Post by Jack FFR1846 » Wed May 17, 2017 9:09 am

I am a huge Subaru fan, have had somewhere near a dozen of them and I would not recommend any Subaru with a CVT transmission. These are maintenance free transmissions that have one solution to any problem. Replacement to the tune of $8,000. We had our 13 Crosstrek transmission go just before the powertrain warranty expired. We're now wondering whether we should pay the $1600 for a 7 yr/100k mile Gold warranty from Subaru or chance it and dump it at 90k miles.

For the same reason, I would not buy the Honda. Their CVT is the weak point in the car.

So that leaves the Rav4 with what appears to be a "real" automatic, shifting transmission.

On other issues, the FA and FB engines used in Subarus except STi are completely new and have not had head gasket issues. They have, however been subject to a class action settlement for oil usage. Even this is small and for anyone who has owned a Porsche, the oil use is nothing by comparison. They test by doing an oil change and seeing if the level goes down 10 ounces in 1200 miles. If it does, you get a new engine. The engine warranty has been extended because of the lawsuit settlement to 100k miles. Along with the engine, the problematic Subaru steering pump is replaced with an electric assist which to me, feels exactly the same but is no longer self destructive when turned all the way to one side.
onourway wrote:I would avoid Subaru for long-term reliability. I have been listening to people claim that their headgasket/engine issues are 'now fixed' for nearly 20 years. All that really means is this current generation doesn't have a critical mass of vehicles past 100k where the failures become common.

Subaru is consistently near the bottom in long-term powertrain reliability. http://dashboard-light.com/reports/Subaru.html
Wrong engine unless you're buying an STi with an EJ25. The current Subaru/Toyota engine is brand new, has a timing chain and I have not seen a single report of a head gasket issue in the FA or FB engines (2.0L Crosstrek and Impreza with a turbo in the WRX and 2.5L in the rest of the lineup H4 coengineered by Subaru and Toyota) since the Impreza started using it in 2012. There are tons of Subaru F engines well over 100k miles including the WRX which started using this engine in turbo direct injection form in 2015 and the BRZ/toyota FRS that started using the N/A direct injected version in 2013.
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onourway
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Re: Which Small SUV for 15 Year Reliability?

Post by onourway » Wed May 17, 2017 9:15 am

Jack FFR1846 wrote: Wrong engine unless you're buying an STi with an EJ25. The current Subaru/Toyota engine is brand new, has a timing chain and I have not seen a single report of a head gasket issue in the FA or FB engines (2.0L H4 coengineered by Subaru and Toyota).
The link I posted was Subaru as a brand, not any particular engine.

Your comments further back up the link.

Maybe they have a new engine that is better. Like I say, I'll wait until they are 10+ years old to reserve judgement because I've been told the same thing over and over again about each new engine for decades.

It's not just headgaskets. It's oil consumption as you say, or ring land cracking or CVT issues. The list goes on. Subaru does not make a reliable powertrain for 100k+.

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Re: Which Small SUV for 15 Year Reliability?

Post by Jack FFR1846 » Wed May 17, 2017 9:24 am

onourway wrote:
Jack FFR1846 wrote: Wrong engine unless you're buying an STi with an EJ25. The current Subaru/Toyota engine is brand new, has a timing chain and I have not seen a single report of a head gasket issue in the FA or FB engines (2.0L H4 coengineered by Subaru and Toyota).
The link I posted was Subaru as a brand, not any particular engine.

Your comments further back up the link.

Maybe they have a new engine that is better. Like I say, I'll wait until they are 10+ years old to reserve judgement because I've been told the same thing over and over again about each new engine for decades.

It's not just headgaskets. It's oil consumption as you say, or ring land cracking or CVT issues. The list goes on. Subaru does not make a reliable powertrain for 100k+.
While I agree with your conclusion to not buy a Subaru, I don't agree with some of the reasons. Cracked ringlands was a turbo EJ25 issue (not a single EJ20 from 02-05 WRX has occured to my knowledge). There was a "supposed" piston slap issue that Subaru solved by replacing the short block back in the mid 2000's that's now thought to have been a non issue.

Subaru has a really good factory warranty program for extension up to 7 years/100k miles that I'm considering. Mastria Subaru is known nationwide for selling these at a discount (I priced at one dealer for $2k, Mastria was $1600). And if the CVT "goes", the dash lights up like a christmas tree but the car drives fine. Make an appointment at the dealer for a free loaner car, go in and swap out cars and let them replace the tranny.

I am very detail oriented and look into what exactly goes wrong with a car. I've noted several times here that while the Ford Focus dual clutch automatic is THE least reliable thing any car has had in it ever, bringing the Focus reliability rating into the toilet, the manual transmission Focus is as reliable as a Corolla. Taking advantage of the huge depreciation of all Focus, one can purchase a one year old one for barely more than half original MSRP. Knowing what exactly goes wrong with a Subaru helps make a choice. My next car is going to likely be a new Subaru Impreza 2.0 sedan with a manual 5 speed transmission on the new world chassis and upgraded 152hp 2.0L engine.

Don't even get me started on Nissan CVT's.......
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onourway
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Re: Which Small SUV for 15 Year Reliability?

Post by onourway » Wed May 17, 2017 9:32 am

Jack FFR1846 wrote:
While I agree with your conclusion to not buy a Subaru, I don't agree with some of the reasons. Cracked ringlands was a turbo EJ25 issue (not a single EJ20 from 02-05 WRX has occured to my knowledge). There was a "supposed" piston slap issue that Subaru solved by replacing the short block back in the mid 2000's that's now thought to have been a non issue.

Subaru has a really good factory warranty program for extension up to 7 years/100k miles that I'm considering. Mastria Subaru is known nationwide for selling these at a discount (I priced at one dealer for $2k, Mastria was $1600). And if the CVT "goes", the dash lights up like a christmas tree but the car drives fine. Make an appointment at the dealer for a free loaner car, go in and swap out cars and let them replace the tranny.

I am very detail oriented and look into what exactly goes wrong with a car. I've noted several times here that while the Ford Focus dual clutch automatic is THE least reliable thing any car has had in it ever, bringing the Focus reliability rating into the toilet, the manual transmission Focus is as reliable as a Corolla. Taking advantage of the huge depreciation of all Focus, one can purchase a one year old one for barely more than half original MSRP. Knowing what exactly goes wrong with a Subaru helps make a choice. My next car is going to likely be a new Subaru Impreza 2.0 sedan with a manual 5 speed transmission on the new world chassis and upgraded 152hp 2.0L engine.

Don't even get me started on Nissan CVT's.......
If I was more interested in owning a Subaru I'd be more up to date on the details. My personal experience has been a failed engine on a test drive of one of the early WRX's, and an '05 Forester that we sold when it began to consume coolant at 85k. I have no issue with vehicles that require maintenance - we mostly own older European cars, often the speciality models - so I'm well aware of maintenance costs - but my own experiences, buoyed further from a number of friends who have gone down the rabbit hole with their older Subaru's, plus years spent following the industry generally, leads me to feel the need to speak up when I hear Subaru and reliable uttered together!

Funny you should mention the Focus - again, I don't know the exact details because I'm not interested in buying one but my father has a manual transmission Fiesta that has given him a great deal of transmission trouble since he drove it off the lot brand new.

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Re: Which Small SUV for 15 Year Reliability?

Post by rkhusky » Wed May 17, 2017 9:35 am

Dodge offers a bumper-to-bumper lifetime extended warranty.

badger42
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Re: Which Small SUV for 15 Year Reliability?

Post by badger42 » Wed May 17, 2017 10:48 am

Subarus are mostly reliable, generally fun to drive, and have great aftermarket support. They do, however, have their Gremlins.

We've had two so far:
2001 Outback - sold at 10 years / 150k within the family - needed a head gasket around 90k (covered by Subaru, did the timing belt at the same time, probably net saved us $$), Head Gasket went again around 200k. Still on the road sans A/C. Also liked to eat wheel bearings.

2010 Forester - at 7 years / 64k, nothing but routine maintenance and some time rod ends. Since it has an EJ25 I expect it will eventually need a head gasket. So much of the labor is common with the timing belt that I'll have both done at the same time when either is needed. Also subject to the Takata airbag recall, front passenger only.

Would I buy another one? Absolutely. Are they as reliable as a Toyota? Not really, but they're a hell of a lot more fun. The TCO isn't that far out of line, particularly if you work with a good independent Subaru shop.

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Re: Which Small SUV for 15 Year Reliability?

Post by jeff1949 » Wed May 17, 2017 11:26 am

I drive a 1998 RAV-4 and it has been the most dependable ever for me. No repairs except for a seat belt light that would not go off............still have the original brakes too!

PowDay
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Re: Which Small SUV for 15 Year Reliability?

Post by PowDay » Wed May 17, 2017 11:41 am

2018 Subaru Outback (open to either engine)
2018 Honda CR-V (turbo)
2017 Subaru Forester (non-turbo)
2017 Toyota RAV4
These are all great reliable choices, if you had some BMWs, Land Rovers, or Audis, mixed in we could give you better advice, but you have already chosen four of the most reasonable practical small SUVs.

My recommendation is to buy the car you want to spend the next 15 years with, for me it would be the outback, but for you it could be something else. If you love your car it will be easy to put money into it at the 10 year mark in order to get you to the 15 year mark. If you don't like your car, you'll probably ditch it at the 10 year mark and get something new.

Some will argue cars are nothing but appliances to be evaluated on paper, but in reality that is rarely the case, it's ok to allow your emotions to make the final decision between 4 practical options.

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Re: Which Small SUV for 15 Year Reliability?

Post by runner3081 » Wed May 17, 2017 12:40 pm

Lexus RX.

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Toons
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Re: Which Small SUV for 15 Year Reliability?

Post by Toons » Wed May 17, 2017 12:45 pm

Honda
Toyota
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Re: Which Small SUV for 15 Year Reliability?

Post by ThankYouJack » Wed May 17, 2017 12:50 pm

I would sign up for 1 month of consumer reports and check the ratings. But can't go wrong with the ones you listed.

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Re: Which Small SUV for 15 Year Reliability?

Post by orlandoman » Wed May 17, 2017 1:56 pm

Here’s Forbes’ list of most likely vehicles to run for over 250,000 miles with their Consumer Reports Reliability Rating from 10th place to number one. Toyota Sienna (55), Lexus RX 350/450h (57), Mazda6 (57), Volkswagen Passat (59), Audi Allroad (61), Subaru Forester (62), Toyota Prius/Plug-In Prius (63), Lexus ES 350/450h (63), Toyota Camry/Camry Hybrid (66), and Scion xB (81).

Maybe look at a Subaru Forester.

https://www.torquenews.com/1084/forbes- ... les?page=2
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Re: Which Small SUV for 15 Year Reliability?

Post by rkhusky » Wed May 17, 2017 2:10 pm

According to JD Power, the most dependable small SUV's after 3 years are the 2014 Buick Encore, 2014 Chevrolet Equinox, 2014 GMC Terrain, 2014 Toyota FJ Cruiser, and 2014 Volkswagen Tiguan (http://www.jdpower.com/cars/articles/ca ... small-suvs).

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Re: Which Small SUV for 15 Year Reliability?

Post by JonnyDVM » Wed May 17, 2017 2:12 pm

Year 8 for my Rav without a problem. A couple friends drive CRVs and no complaints from them. I don't think you could go wrong either way.
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Re: Which Small SUV for 15 Year Reliability?

Post by victorb » Wed May 17, 2017 2:16 pm

Strayshot wrote:The turbo motor in the Forester has a long pedigree in the WRX line and has demonstrated reliability. I would honestly be more wary of the non turbo motor. We have a loaded Forester XT 2017 and love it. Subaru head gasket issues were on their line of non-turbo motors.
Don't exclude the Hyundai vehicles (Tucson and Santa Fe). The Santa Fe 2.0T AWD was an excellent vehicle and is significantly cheaper for the same feature set, but the visibility in the Forester won out for us. You will be impressed at the Hyundais. The RAV4 is also a great choice and was our #3 pick.
We have a Santa Fe & a Santa Fe Sport. Both have been excellent vehicles and they come with a 10 year/100,000 mile powertrain warranty. They cover the entire vehicle for 5 year/60,000 miles for the best warranty in the industry. I would highly recommend them or the Tuscon. The newer Santa Fe Sport is very quiet and the 2.0T is a great engine. The 360 degree view cameras and all the safety features made it an easy decision for us.

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Re: Which Small SUV for 15 Year Reliability?

Post by talzara » Wed May 17, 2017 3:58 pm

steadyeddy wrote:I know all these vehicles are popular among Bogleheads, so basically I'm looking for reassurance that the average Subaru or Honda can make it for 15 years and my concerns are overblown. Either that or reassurance that it's worth paying more for a RAV4 that feels a bit outdated compared to the others if very long term reliability is at the top of my priority list.
If reliability is your top priority, then buying an outdated car is a good way to stack the deck in your favor.

The Long Term Quality Index tracks defects in cars over almost 20 years. Here are the reliability scores for each model. Be sure to look at the graph that shows the defect rate for each model year.
Whenever Toyota introduces a new design, the RAV4 defect rate spikes. The best time to buy a Toyota RAV4 is in the last model year before the redesign.

Honda doesn't has as much of a problem with CR-V redesigns, but they have problems with mid-cycle refreshes. The best time to buy a Honda is in the 3rd or 5th model year of each design cycle.

Both Subarus have a poor track record. The newer models seem to be more reliable than the older models. Maybe they've actually improved, or maybe Subarus just start to fall apart after five years. Buy a Subaru if you feel lucky.

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Re: Which Small SUV for 15 Year Reliability?

Post by rkhusky » Wed May 17, 2017 7:41 pm

talzara wrote: Be sure to look at the graph that shows the defect rate for each model year.
Thanks for the links. The defects have really come down over the years. The total score doesn't seem very useful, but the graph shows if the quality is increasing or decreasing as you approach this year's models.

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Re: Which Small SUV for 15 Year Reliability?

Post by tcassette » Wed May 17, 2017 8:08 pm

talzara wrote:
steadyeddy wrote:I know all these vehicles are popular among Bogleheads, so basically I'm looking for reassurance that the average Subaru or Honda can make it for 15 years and my concerns are overblown. Either that or reassurance that it's worth paying more for a RAV4 that feels a bit outdated compared to the others if very long term reliability is at the top of my priority list.
If reliability is your top priority, then buying an outdated car is a good way to stack the deck in your favor.

The Long Term Quality Index tracks defects in cars over almost 20 years. Here are the reliability scores for each model. Be sure to look at the graph that shows the defect rate for each model year.
Whenever Toyota introduces a new design, the RAV4 defect rate spikes. The best time to buy a Toyota RAV4 is in the last model year before the redesign.

Honda doesn't has as much of a problem with CR-V redesigns, but they have problems with mid-cycle refreshes. The best time to buy a Honda is in the 3rd or 5th model year of each design cycle.

Both Subarus have a poor track record. The newer models seem to be more reliable than the older models. Maybe they've actually improved, or maybe Subarus just start to fall apart after five years. Buy a Subaru if you feel lucky.
Why is it that I have never seen dash-light.com mentioned in any forums as a reliable gauge of reliability until this thread? I agree that buying a particular model well into its typically 5-year generation life usually will increase your chances of better reliability. However, past performance does not guarantee future performance in vehicle reliability (or investments), especially if the vehicle reliability is compiled over 3 or more generations.

protagonist
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Re: Which Small SUV for 15 Year Reliability?

Post by protagonist » Wed May 17, 2017 9:41 pm

My Honda Element is almost 12 years old.

I have never had to pay for any service other than routine maintenance.

Unless something goes wrong, the only thing I do is change the oil.

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Alexa9
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Re: Which Small SUV for 15 Year Reliability?

Post by Alexa9 » Thu May 18, 2017 12:02 pm

Toyota for sure. Lowest cost to maintain as well.
Honda I would say 2nd. The CVT is reliable but the turbo is somewhat unknown past 150k miles.

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Re: Which Small SUV for 15 Year Reliability?

Post by tim1999 » Thu May 18, 2017 12:05 pm

I don't know that it's even possible anymore, but I'd try to find something that's non-turbo and non-CVT for long-term reliability.

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Re: Which Small SUV for 15 Year Reliability?

Post by Dottie57 » Thu May 18, 2017 12:16 pm

badger42 wrote:Subarus are mostly reliable, generally fun to drive, and have great aftermarket support. They do, however, have their Gremlins.

We've had two so far:
2001 Outback - sold at 10 years / 150k within the family - needed a head gasket around 90k (covered by Subaru, did the timing belt at the same time, probably net saved us $$), Head Gasket went again around 200k. Still on the road sans A/C. Also liked to eat wheel bearings.

2010 Forester - at 7 years / 64k, nothing but routine maintenance and some time rod ends. Since it has an EJ25 I expect it will eventually need a head gasket. So much of the labor is common with the timing belt that I'll have both done at the same time when either is needed. Also subject to the Takata airbag recall, front passenger only.

Would I buy another one? Absolutely. Are they as reliable as a Toyota? Not really, but they're a hell of a lot more fun. The TCO isn't that far out of line, particularly if you work with a good independent Subaru shop.
What makes the Subaru's More fun?

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Re: Which Small SUV for 15 Year Reliability?

Post by jharkin » Thu May 18, 2017 12:24 pm

tcassette wrote: Why is it that I have never seen dash-light.com mentioned in any forums as a reliable gauge of reliability until this thread? I agree that buying a particular model well into its typically 5-year generation life usually will increase your chances of better reliability. However, past performance does not guarantee future performance in vehicle reliability (or investments), especially if the vehicle reliability is compiled over 3 or more generations.
I was thinking the same, I've never heard of that site before today... The data format and the way they break it down is intriguing, but its odd that their charts include a number of long out of production models and even brands that folded. Where are they getting data from?

I used to like TrueDelta a lot but I know many question their validity because of the small sample size (just 100k members) and I dont really trust CR anymore... so another good source would be welcome if its legit.

EDIT: I dug in a bit. whois shows the domain has been registered since 2012, but poking around the oldest page with a datestamp I can find in the site is a blog post form last December.... all of the individual car reliability pages - even for defunct models like a Saab 900 are dated May-8-17.... Must be the last time they did a mass update. Looking wider, I dont see a reference to it in a number of car forums I browse, and googling for third party references to it only dug up a single news article form an obscure site and one reddit thread from January where people where similarly questioning if it was valid.

Its like the site just appeared overnight with seemingly years of data. I smell something.......
Last edited by jharkin on Thu May 18, 2017 1:10 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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Bylo Selhi
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Re: Which Small SUV for 15 Year Reliability?

Post by Bylo Selhi » Thu May 18, 2017 12:27 pm

steadyeddy wrote:I would like to buy a new 2017 or 2018 small SUV, and keep it until the year 2030 and beyond.
I think you'd be fine with all four models you listed. As with investing, the challenge is to know now what the reliability record will be in the ensuing years. Even makes/models that have great records sometimes stumble. All makes, including the best like Honda, Toyota and Subaru have had their share of problems. (Don't get me started about my Toyota Camry lemon.) So all you can do is choose among the more reliable makes and hope for the best.

But my primary concern isn't with reliability. It's with the notion of keeping a car for 15 years. The technology now changes very rapidly. It's likely a new model today will be obsolete in just a few years, especially with respect to important safety features. How much is that worth to you?

A secondary issue is that all this new, rapidly-changing technology also seems to have reliability issues of its own. And when it fails it's very expensive to repair since the tendency is to replace the entire sub-system rather than an individual part.

As a result of those two issues I wouldn't plan to keep a car more than 5 to 7 years.

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Re: Which Small SUV for 15 Year Reliability?

Post by jharkin » Thu May 18, 2017 1:16 pm

Bylo Selhi wrote: The technology now changes very rapidly. It's likely a new model today will be obsolete in just a few years, especially with respect to important safety features. How much is that worth to you?
This idea comes up here over and over lately so I want to challenge it: Why are cars obsolete in just a few years all of a sudden?

Is it because after 3 years suddenly that CR-V wont get you to the office anymore, or is it because we are being programmed to think we need all these whiz bang features by marketing departments?

Young Jedi, resist auto industry marketing spin must you do . Just as resist finance industry spin, taught by bogleheads where you :beer
- Jedi Master Bogle

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Re: Which Small SUV for 15 Year Reliability?

Post by Bylo Selhi » Thu May 18, 2017 1:47 pm

jharkin wrote:Why are cars obsolete in just a few years all of a sudden?...
Because of the technology. The "infotainment" (your "whiz bang features by marketing departments") stuff I can live without. But the safety-related stuff I may not be able to live without, both figuratively and literally.

I do appreciate that the "car" stuff will last more than a few years, i.e. it will still get me to the office, etc. However without some of the new driving assist technologies in a few years it may be significantly more dangerous to do that drive.

Hence my question, "How much is that worth to you?"

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Re: Which Small SUV for 15 Year Reliability?

Post by jharkin » Thu May 18, 2017 1:59 pm

Bylo Selhi wrote:. But the safety-related stuff I may not be able to live without, both figuratively and literally.

Im not just thinking the infotainment. I mean the safety stuff too. Maybe your younger than me but Ive managed to survive over 40 years on this rock, for over half those years riding in cars that did not even have airbags, anti-lock brakes or rear seat shoulder belts... much less all the systems that try to drive the car for you now (which in another thread somebody pointed to an article that over half of owners that do have such systems turn them off in frustration).

Why have they become so critical, so suddenly?

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Re: Which Small SUV for 15 Year Reliability?

Post by onourway » Thu May 18, 2017 2:02 pm

jharkin wrote: I was thinking the same, I've never heard of that site before today... The data format and the way they break it down is intriguing, but its odd that their charts include a number of long out of production models and even brands that folded. Where are they getting data from?

I used to like TrueDelta a lot but I know many question their validity because of the small sample size (just 100k members) and I dont really trust CR anymore... so another good source would be welcome if its legit.

EDIT: I dug in a bit. whois shows the domain has been registered since 2012, but poking around the oldest page with a datestamp I can find in the site is a blog post form last December.... all of the individual car reliability pages - even for defunct models like a Saab 900 are dated May-8-17.... Must be the last time they did a mass update. Looking wider, I dont see a reference to it in a number of car forums I browse, and googling for third party references to it only dug up a single news article form an obscure site and one reddit thread from January where people where similarly questioning if it was valid.

Its like the site just appeared overnight with seemingly years of data. I smell something.......

It's a pretty straightforward big data analysis. There are all sorts of industries where this kind of thing is happening.

http://blog.wolfram.com/2017/01/13/auto ... -language/

The site is relatively new, but the data they have amassed thus far is certainly generally in line with what the industry as a whole reports as far as reliability goes generally. Toyota/Lexus/Honda/GMC generally near the top, and brands like Isuzu, Kia, Mitsubishi, VW, Fiat, etc near the bottom in most categories.

I really like this site because I almost exclusively own cars older than 10 years where previously there has been very little data monitoring the reliability of such vehicles.

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Re: Which Small SUV for 15 Year Reliability?

Post by Frugal Al » Thu May 18, 2017 2:29 pm

tim1999 wrote:I don't know that it's even possible anymore, but I'd try to find something that's non-turbo and non-CVT for long-term reliability.
The Mazda CX-5 would fill that bill--a very nice compact SUV (maybe too compact). Another reasonable alternative, albeit getting a bit dated, is the Acura RDX. Despite being based on the last generation Civic/CR-V platform, it holds it's own with that super smooth V-6 and conventional 6 speed automatic. Some dealers are offering good deals on them. The major model change for the RDX isn't until the 2019 model, and rumor has it that it might drop the V-6. The only problematic part of the RDX is the VCM, which Honda has reasonably well sorted out now. If the RDX has an issue it is with the convoluted two screen infotainment system on the upper trim models--some people don't mind it.

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Re: Which Small SUV for 15 Year Reliability?

Post by dbr » Thu May 18, 2017 2:33 pm

I am not sure I would place the ultimate in 15 year reliability higher than owning a car that I really like or at least don't find hateful in some way or another. The other side of that 15 year coin is a fifteen year sentence to living with your choice.

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Re: Which Small SUV for 15 Year Reliability?

Post by CyclingDuo » Thu May 18, 2017 3:00 pm

jharkin wrote:
Bylo Selhi wrote: The technology now changes very rapidly. It's likely a new model today will be obsolete in just a few years, especially with respect to important safety features. How much is that worth to you?
This idea comes up here over and over lately so I want to challenge it: Why are cars obsolete in just a few years all of a sudden?

Is it because after 3 years suddenly that CR-V wont get you to the office anymore, or is it because we are being programmed to think we need all these whiz bang features by marketing departments?

Young Jedi, resist auto industry marketing spin must you do . Just as resist finance industry spin, taught by bogleheads where you :beer
- Jedi Master Bogle
Bingo!

Cars are like bikes. With bikes - it's not about the bike! It's about the rider. Same with cars.

Outside of cosmetics, more plastic, more computer chips on board - it still gets you from point A to point B. The "experience" may get updated every decade of so, but it's still just a car. If it was no longer able to operate on a road/highway/street - then we can talk about it being obsolete...

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Re: Which Small SUV for 15 Year Reliability?

Post by inbox788 » Thu May 18, 2017 3:44 pm

CyclingDuo wrote:Outside of cosmetics, more plastic, more computer chips on board - it still gets you from point A to point B. The "experience" may get updated every decade of so, but it's still just a car. If it was no longer able to operate on a road/highway/street - then we can talk about it being obsolete...
IMO, the 2000's were about safety, where ABS, airbags and TCS became standard, but since then, little truly effective measures have been standardized (don't know when the safety cage was drastically improved, but the offset test is making new demands on the safety engineering). The last decade was about fuel economy. I'm still impressed by the larger cars that get nearly 30 mpg that used to get only 20. Now there was the fake mpg and the more real mpg eras, and we may be entering more fake mpg rather than real mpg gains, but it's worth a look if you drive a lot, especially highway miles.

I'd also consider the RDX as an alternative/upgrade to the CRV. The biggest fault I have with the CRV is the lack of engine power, and the RDX solves that and more for a price.

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Re: Which Small SUV for 15 Year Reliability?

Post by forevernaive » Thu May 18, 2017 4:58 pm

Past performance is not a predictor of future reliability.


As others have noted, even if a 2006 WhizBang Motors Model X was super reliable, a 2009 WhizBang Motors Model X might be terrible due to a new generation of engine/transmission/etc. With a new car you cannot really know the answer to your question.

Basically you are going on brand reliability. All of those brands have good reputations, though Subarau is the one that has taken a hit lately.

Anecdotally, I owned several wonderfully reliable Subarus and then gotten bit by the head-gasket problem with a '02 model. I'm currently very happy with the '09 Rav4 I replaced that with, but I wouldn't buy the new generation for a couple of reasons (design and a lack of power for mountain driving).

As I've gotten older I've grown more partial to safety and comfort, so the most recent addition to the stable was my wife's '14 Volvo XC60. It's too soon for me to be sure about reliability, but my brother has a '02 Volvo XC90 he says has never needed anything besides gas/oil/tires/brakes/light bulbs. I used to make fun of his armored kid-carrier, but then I bought the compact version. Incidentally, the XC60 cost only 4K more than the (Limited) Rav4--and that was about five years later.

In short, look for a deal on a brand/model that meets your needs.

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Re: Which Small SUV for 15 Year Reliability?

Post by lazydavid » Thu May 18, 2017 9:30 pm

jharkin wrote:Maybe your younger than me but Ive managed to survive over 40 years on this rock, for over half those years riding in cars that did not even have airbags, anti-lock brakes or rear seat shoulder belts...
Just wanted to point out that this is the literal definition of survivorship bias. :mrgreen:

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