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WinterFox

Any Car Advice?

59 posts in this topic

I am finalizing my 2017 budget and need to factor in a car, which I will be acquiring some time around March.

I've been thinking I would like a crossover vehicle, something both dependable and versatile. At this moment I am looking at perhaps a 2011 Toyota Rav 4. Anyone around here had one of these or a similar vehicle and feel like sharing your experience?

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 I have never owned a Rav 4 specifically, but I am a huge Toyota fan in general. I hate vehicle maintenance, and I have never had any major problems with Toyotas. Simply change the oil on schedule, and they run forever. Can't say enough good things about them.  

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Just now, Manhole Eunuchsbane said:

 I have never owned a Rav 4 specifically, but I am a huge Toyota fan in general. I hate vehicle maintenance, and I have never had any major problems with Toyotas. Simply change the oil on schedule, and they run forever. Can't say enough good things about them.  

I'm a fan as well, I owned an MR-2 Spyder for 3 weeks before some asshole decided to park in my trunk. Then I bought a 2015 Scion TC that I uh... I no longer have it, read into that whatever you'd like.

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We had a 2007 Hyundai Santa Fe for eight years.  That model is bigger than the Rav4 but in the same general ball-park.  I guess the Tucson would be the direct peer.  The cross-over style was a much better drive than the domestic style of truck-based SUV.  Hyundai was underpriced relative to their quality and much improved design back then (are they still?) so it was a very good deal and inexpensive to upgrade to the SE with more horsepower, AWD, sunroof, interior fittings, etc.  It was a surprisingly good driving experience and perfectly reliable throughout, and we traded it in last year in perfect condition.

Back in 2007 I was comparing it to the Nissan Murano because my wife had owned a Honda Civic for the prior several years and I was fed up with the boredom of Honda & Toyota, both in styling and driving experience (they may have improved since).   

We had friends who bought a Rav 4 in the mid 2000's when it was a new model. They liked them well enough.

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3 hours ago, WinterFox said:

I am finalizing my 2017 budget and need to factor in a car, which I will be acquiring some time around March.

I've been thinking I would like a crossover vehicle, something both dependable and versatile. At this moment I am looking at perhaps a 2011 Toyota Rav 4. Anyone around here had one of these or a similar vehicle and feel like sharing your experience?

My partner and I have a 2010 Rav4 and its perfect for what we use it for. No issues to speak of. There was a factory fix in the last year to do with seatbelts in the back, I think. Toyota sorted that for free (not sure what the fix was but can look it up if you cannot find it on line). The clearance is a bit low if you want to go on soft sand like dunes or getting onto a beach, hard sand and unsealed roads fine.  The spare wheel on the back gives you more room in the trunk/boot but it limits what you can do for a bike rack if you want one of them.  There is more than enough room for a baby seat plus a booster but you would have trouble getting three kids seats in it. We have taken it camping on gravel, mud and dirt roads but never anything too difficult as I wouldn't trust it as a specialist 4WD (even though it gets close in many respects), ground clearance being the biggest issue for me. I've only crossed very shallow streams and never an actual creek. I've never towed anything with it either. Hope that helps.

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I just bought a 2016 Jeep Cherokee which is in the same small SUV/ compact crossover category as the RAV4. It is a good segment with lots of options: 

  • Toyota RAV4
  • Honda CRV
  • Nissan Rogue
  • Jeep Cherokee
  • Ford Escape
  • Mazda CX5
  • Suburu Forester

Hyundai and Kia both have options as well but the names escape me (Kia Sportage maybe?). If you are looking at a pre-owned model I would probably stick with the Toyota or Honda models. Nissan would be the next best option but some of the 2012/2013 models of the Rogue had transmission issues with the CVT Transmission. Most of the companies have worked out the kinks. I test drove the RAV4, CRV and Cherokee and thought the Cherokee was way nicer looking and offered just as many options and features. The downside of the Cherokee is the depreciation and market perception. It is not perceived as high a quality vehicle as the Honda/Toyota but that is never going to change so i went with what i thought was a better looking car. I've been with Hondas for 20 years so it was time for a change. Personally I dont think you can go wrong with any of these models. i think this segment has a great balance of roomy vehicles, gas milage and power. 

A couple of general reminders when buying a car - don't buy anything until you know exactly what model you want. Once you have that get your financing handled outside of the dealer (Credit Unions are generally the best options for rates). Getting pre-approved ahead of time gives you the power to let the dealers know you will buy immediately for the right deal. If you try to negotiate and tell them you'll get back to them tomorrow you will never get a true price. I generally negotiate over email and the phone and try to get prices from a few different places so i know what the range is. Used cars might be a little more tricky. I tend to buy new cars which is a little easy in respect to figuring out the market price for cars. If you are only driving 10,000 miles per year you may want to consider leasing. 

 

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Don't rule out Honda. I own a 2002 Accord and it's still purring along. Other than the problem with the Takata airbags (which took a year to fix), I've had no problems with this car outside of normal maintenance--tires, brakes, oil change, etc. 

If you want a crossover, a CRV would be a good option. 

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I have a 2014 Mazda CX5 which I bought new. Very satisfied with it. It might not be as comfortable as some of its peers, and possibly will less electronic capabilities, but still good. Good gas mileage, I get about 35 on the highway. When I bought it, I only test drove another vehicle, the Jeep Compass, and the Mazda definitely had better brakes.

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Rav4 is a good car. One thing to note is you must not turn at high speeds, it has a tendency to turn turtle. 

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23 hours ago, WinterFox said:

I am finalizing my 2017 budget and need to factor in a car, which I will be acquiring some time around March.

I've been thinking I would like a crossover vehicle, something both dependable and versatile. At this moment I am looking at perhaps a 2011 Toyota Rav 4. Anyone around here had one of these or a similar vehicle and feel like sharing your experience?

Why do you want a crossover vehicle? 

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31 minutes ago, Kalbear said:

Why do you want a crossover vehicle? 

Will return later, but addressing this quickly, I want something big enough to be versatile (carrying my stuff), decent fuel economy, and not too cramped.

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Just now, WinterFox said:

Will return later, but addressing this quickly, I want something big enough to be versatile (carrying my stuff), decent fuel economy, and not too cramped.

Consider not getting a crossover then. Things like the Toyota Venza might be better for you, or the Honda Fit if you can deal with carrying a bit less stuff. 

I like Toyota quite a bit - they are absurdly well-designed and engineered - but I also recommend against getting a crossover unless there is a specific need for a crossover. Rav4s are built on the Camry frame and then built up - they're not super stable. 

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On 12/18/2016 at 1:47 PM, WinterFox said:

I am finalizing my 2017 budget and need to factor in a car, which I will be acquiring some time around March.

I've been thinking I would like a crossover vehicle, something both dependable and versatile. At this moment I am looking at perhaps a 2011 Toyota Rav 4. Anyone around here had one of these or a similar vehicle and feel like sharing your experience?

Have you looked into a similar generation Subaru wagon or Forester?  Unless the slightly roomier interior and brand is important you may get the same thing for a lot less.  

I've also driven the Santa Fe Isk mentioned and a few other Hyundai's and they definitely made some nice vehicles from 2005 on.  A buddy has a Santa Fe with over 250k on it and hasn't had repairs beyond basic maintenance and a brake line or two.

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I have a 2009 Scion XD that I've never really liked. I'm also looking at a small SUV or crossover. My children are getting bigger and it snows a lot here so I would love AWD. I'm looking at perhaps a Forrester or some other Subaru. 

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I've never had a smaller SUV/crossover but I have a full size one and I'd not go back to a regular car now, the amount of versatility and safety they offer is well worth the large amount of fuel, particularly as I only do 4000 Miles per Year.

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6 hours ago, Kalbear said:

I like Toyota quite a bit - they are absurdly well-designed and engineered - but I also recommend against getting a crossover unless there is a specific need for a crossover. Rav4s are built on the Camry frame and then built up - they're not super stable. 

This is a real consideration.  I don't like clunky SUV's built on a truck base, e.g. Ford Explorer, but do make sure that the crossover feels stable driving at speed through curves like a freeway jughandle exit.  The combination of height-to-wheelbase, suspension, etc will vary and the smaller crossover models would seem most at risk. 

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7 hours ago, WinterFox said:

Will return later, but addressing this quickly, I want something big enough to be versatile (carrying my stuff), decent fuel economy, and not too cramped.

I've only had the Cherokee for 3 weeks but so far it covers every point you mentioned. Someone mentioned lack of stability, i have not noticed that with the Cherokee. I can only assume the Hondas and Toyota are equally or more stable in comparison. 

My other reason for looking in this category was the 4 wheel drive. New England winters can be tough and now that I am spending more time in New Hampshire and Maine on weekends it is almost a must to have 4x4. 

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Whatever you buy, buy a 3 year old.  There is no sense in taking the depreciation lose of a new car.  A three year old is still pretty cherry (depending on the original owner.) 

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On 12/18/2016 at 2:14 PM, Iskaral Pust said:

Back in 2007 I was comparing it to the Nissan Murano because my wife had owned a Honda Civic for the prior several years and I was fed up with the boredom of Honda & Toyota, both in styling and driving experience (they may have improved since).   

I've heard nothing but good things about Hyundai, but I've personally sworn off Nissan. I've had two Nissans in the past (a Sentra and an Altima) and neither one made it past 150k miles even though both of them had been maintained well. The catalytic converter failed on both cars.

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