Looking for a compact SUV or AWD vehicle

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azrael99
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Looking for a compact SUV or AWD vehicle

Post by azrael99 » Mon May 26, 2014 2:09 pm

I am the owner of a Jeep Liberty 2003 , while the comfort of the vehicle, the driving capacity and the power of the engine ain't a problem, i find my jeep quite annoying when i fill it the Thursday.

i live far from work and moving in the city ain't a option right now. so i seriously start to think about getting a more suited vehicle.

my job don't offer me enough fond to get a brand new vehicle so the terms can't be too high.

so here what the vehicle need to be

-affordable (nothing more than 10 000 $ )

-recent ( old vehicle are a b*tch to take care and can end up being expensive )

-can have either 4x4 or awd,

-i'm a fairly large guy (6.1 for 270 Lb ) so i can't fit in a Aveo or any sub-compact vehicle (i wish i could, they cost a lot less in fuel)

-sorry for the discrimination but no Kia (got a bad experience with a Rondo)

-part must be easy to find (that why i got the liberty, after market part were easy to find )

-must be reliable (can't afford to have a vehicle in the garage every 2 weeks )

by the way, for the prices and else, i live in Canada, used vehicle price is different than in the US where they could be cheaper (if only i could get a car in the US but it not possible )
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Re: Looking for a compact SUV or AWD vehicle

Post by Confucius » Mon May 26, 2014 2:16 pm

In before Subaru Forester...

Really though, a pre-2009 Subaru Forester ticks all the boxes. After 2009 if you can find one cheaply...

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Re: Looking for a compact SUV or AWD vehicle

Post by azrael99 » Mon May 26, 2014 2:25 pm

i checked the specs, and it interesting.

i have to check the availability of it in my area and to see if the parts are available and if expensive.

and you say the durability is good ?



i really check for a vehicle that don't consume much fuel, and don't break. yeah i know, ''In a perfect world...........''
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Re: Looking for a compact SUV or AWD vehicle

Post by Stercutus » Mon May 26, 2014 2:29 pm

Confucius wrote:In before Subaru Forester...

Really though, a pre-2009 Subaru Forester ticks all the boxes. After 2009 if you can find one cheaply...
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Re: Looking for a compact SUV or AWD vehicle

Post by ineffableone » Mon May 26, 2014 2:37 pm

Subaru's are great, they keep running and running.

Another option might be the Honda CRV, which uses many of the same parts as the Accord, making parts extremely easy to find.

It was between a Forester and CRV when I bought my "new to me" vehicle. I ended up with the CRV due to many little features it had that Forester didn't and the Forester I was looking at was a bit older and ran a little rougher.

But either one is generally a good choice. Decent gas mileage, dependable, easy to find parts, etc.
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Re: Looking for a compact SUV or AWD vehicle

Post by jeepinbandtrider » Mon May 26, 2014 2:58 pm

Ford Escape? Front wheel drive based but you can find them with AWD. Guy at work has one and it's went everywhere the "real" trucks have went out here on our camping trips.

You can even find them with a Manual Trans if you look hard enough.
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Re: Looking for a compact SUV or AWD vehicle

Post by azrael99 » Mon May 26, 2014 3:14 pm

i sure hope not all CRV are made equal, the last CRV i tried didn't had any space for my leg. quite non-comfy even with the seat backed up
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Re: Looking for a compact SUV or AWD vehicle

Post by Evan the Diplomat » Mon May 26, 2014 5:57 pm

Expedition Portal makes these suggestions for a compact car with expedition potential.

Since you are in Canada see if the come in diesel.

1. Toyota RAV4 Two Door AWD 1996 - 2000

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This car is far cooler than given credit. Look at the approach, departure and break-over angles. It is available in AWD and some even had a center differential lock (CDL). If you wanted to spend some money, install an LT tire and a few skid plates. You would be shocked where this car can go.

Challenge #1: Drive the Alpine Loop in Colorado. Park it at the top of Engineer Pass and ask the local Jeep guys where the nearest Starbucks is. “I think my GPS might be broken. . .”

Challenge #2: Ship it to Morocco and drive the high Atlas into the Western Sahara. Be sure to stop and ask all the Brits if they need help setting up their roof tents.

4. Honda Element AWD (preferably with an e-camper, because we want one)

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This one is a bit of a guilty pleasure. We have liked the Honda Element since it was first released, and for a bunch of reasons. Features like AWD, traction control (later years), hose-out interior, boxy shape and decent clearance (for a car). Plus, it looks funky and the e-camper is available for it.

Challenge #1:

Drive to Mike’s Sky Ranch in Baja and watch the Baja 500 go by. Finish the trip by going back north to Laguna Hanson and on to Mex 2 via the old road – it’ll make it – promise.

Challenge #2:

Drive the White Rim trail and ask all the guys how to put the Element in 4wd. You get bonus points if this exchange is caught on video.


5. Suzuki Grand Vitara 4WD with low range (second generation)

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This vehicle is cheap, efficient and completely legit. Pick any major overland route in the world and this little truck can do it. Wakhan Corridor? No problem. Atacama Desert? Easy. There are tons of aftermarket accessories for these trucks, including locking differentials, skid plates, lift kits, etc. It can all be done on a budget and you can laugh as you actually see the world instead of paying the credit card bill on that fancy 80 series with every modification known to man—sitting in the driveway.

Challenge:

Pick the trail or route and the little Vitara can do it.

Don’t think these cars can go anywhere? Here is a little inspiration!
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Re: Looking for a compact SUV or AWD vehicle

Post by azrael99 » Mon May 26, 2014 6:04 pm

i think that the grand vitara is a strong candidate
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Re: Looking for a compact SUV or AWD vehicle

Post by feedthedog » Mon May 26, 2014 7:51 pm

Used wrx wagon!

It's a bit smaller than a forester but it hauls ass with the turbocharged engine, and it is super fun to drive in the snow.

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Re: Looking for a compact SUV or AWD vehicle

Post by williaty » Tue May 27, 2014 2:35 am

Subaru Forrester if you want something a little more boxy, Subaru Impreza wagon if you want something a little more fun to drive. HUGE parts availability, good reliability if you do the scheduled maintenance, MUCH MUCH more capable in adverse conditions and offroad than anyone expects.

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Re: Looking for a compact SUV or AWD vehicle

Post by Impus » Tue May 27, 2014 8:32 am

Another vote for the Forrester. The only drawback I can think of is that the back seat is a little cramped, but fold those seats down ant there's a surprising amount of cargo space. Towing capacity, if I remember correctly, is 1500 lbs. Find a shop that'll install a class 3 hitch and brake controller, get a trailer with brakes, and you can tow 2400 lbs.
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Re: Looking for a compact SUV or AWD vehicle

Post by azrael99 » Wed Jun 04, 2014 9:38 pm

what about the Jeep patriot and compass ? they seem well rated and seem affordable, not true outdoors suv, but they can still drive on trails, that all i ask for now
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Re: Looking for a compact SUV or AWD vehicle

Post by Confucius » Wed Jun 04, 2014 10:15 pm

azrael99 wrote:what about the Jeep patriot and compass ? they seem well rated and seem affordable, not true outdoors suv, but they can still drive on trails, that all i ask for now
It was a toss up between the Patriot and the forester for me. Test driving both and reading reviews saying the Patriot roofs leak like mad made the difference for me...

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Re: Looking for a compact SUV or AWD vehicle

Post by williaty » Wed Jun 04, 2014 10:20 pm

One big thing to think about is how much you intend to use this vehicle for "normal" driving vs mad-max style badlands cross-country-without-roads driving. The Subaru lineup, including the Forrester, has fantastic crash safety ratings plus the VERY LOW center of gravity created by their engine placement and drivetrain makes them VERY resistant to rollover and gives you a lot of ability to drive around accidents stupid people on the road are having. The American offroad-ish SUVs are the exact opposite of that.

If you're crawling across the landscape without roads a 10mph, that doesn't make a lot of difference. If this thing does the school run but might someday be asked to drive around a downed tree post-tornado, then the every day safety the Forrester (or any Subaru except the Tribeca) offers is a compelling issue.

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Re: Looking for a compact SUV or AWD vehicle

Post by azrael99 » Wed Jun 04, 2014 10:30 pm

i would say that i drive in urban scenario and highway 90% of the time. and when i go in the field is often on maintained dirt road, never extremely rough road but can be quite bumpy at the worse.

so all i need is a fuel efficient vehicle with 4x4 or all wheel drive that durable...............the rest depend.
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Re: Looking for a compact SUV or AWD vehicle

Post by williaty » Wed Jun 04, 2014 10:36 pm

azrael99 wrote:i would say that i drive in urban scenario and highway 90% of the time. and when i go in the field is often on maintained dirt road, never extremely rough road but can be quite bumpy at the worse.

so all i need is a fuel efficient vehicle with 4x4 or all wheel drive that durable...............the rest depend.
Fuel efficient and 4WD/AWD do not go well together. The extra drag of running the power to the 2nd half of the car never turns out well for efficiency. You can go buy a stock 2WD car that'll get 50mpg combined but you'll find that even the best 4WD/AWD cars struggle to do 30mph combined. That being said, there's a BIG cost difference between a Jeep with a big engine getting 12mpg (one of my friends has one that he gets that in) and getting 30mpg out of one of the Subarus.

My all-time highway record with my non-turbo Subaru is 38mpg. I average 25mpg in mostly errand running in town driving. My wife, in the exact same car, averages 30mpg pretty much no matter what she does. In competition, the worst I've gotten out of that car is 8mpg, but it was also almost entirely above 110mph and never was more than 1,000RPM below redline :lol:


EDIT: also, the use you describe is MUCH less challenging than what I do with my wagon. You'll be fine with any Subaru except the Tribeca. Here's what I'm talking about doing the major off-road stuff in:
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2nd picture, see how the driver's side tires are almost up into the fenders? That's because we're doing around 70mph through a corner caution signed to 10mph. We had just passed a sport bike because he was slowing us down. Yes, with the boats on top :lol: Try that in a SUV!

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Re: Looking for a compact SUV or AWD vehicle

Post by azrael99 » Wed Jun 04, 2014 11:21 pm

subaru are well rated overhere.................maybe ''too'' much since they keep their value even used. so it would depend of the price asked for them too and the average price of parts


the CRV was a strong competitor but they have that negative quality of keeping their value, so they are expensive even used.
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Re: Looking for a compact SUV or AWD vehicle

Post by RonnyRonin » Thu Jun 05, 2014 1:39 am

If you are a big guy definitely check out the Ford Escape. Its no subaru for speed or off road prowess but what it does have is the closest thing to full-sized leg room in a small footprint. Me (6'2") and 2 other 6' guys drove from Oregon to Colorado non-stop in relative comfort. Oh yeah, and we also averaged over 30MPG going 80MPH pretty much the whole time. the AWD version will knock you down to 25MPG but that seems to be what a lot of subarus average, and you will have a lot more room then a forester.

the 2WD version would probably do alright in the snow and mud but the traction control is pretty crippling, we couldn't figure out how to turn it off either :(
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Re: Looking for a compact SUV or AWD vehicle

Post by Mikeyboy » Thu Jun 05, 2014 8:01 am

My list would be

Toyota Rav 4
Honda CRV
Jeep Patriot or Compass (not as nice as the Liberty, but cheap)
Subaru Forester or Outback
Ford Escape
Nissan Xterra

I also agree with azrael99 dislike of the Kia, everyone I know who had one had problems.

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Re: Looking for a compact SUV or AWD vehicle

Post by Mrselfdestruct » Tue Oct 28, 2014 12:29 pm

Biased element owner here.
Mines a 2wd model and had no trouble with any of the snow nw arkansas has thrown at it in the last two winters, even though the highway dept here only scrapes the snow off and leaves the ice alone. Stopping on a hill here and watching a tow truck yank a pickup out of a ditch i only had to slip it into 2nd and ease onto the throttle to drive away. Tires were almost at the wear indicators at that time as well.

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Crazy amount of head room, im 6ft tall and could easily wear a tophat in the car. Hard to explain how comfortable it is to drive, i just went to florida in it, 20hrs straight through solo, ive done the trip many times in 3-4 different cars and always had to stop. Back seats recline flat, fold against the windows like jump seats or come out completely to leave a 4×8ish flat floor in the back. Kids cant kick the back of my seat, too much leg room. Still have plenty of room in the back as well.
Gas mileage has averaged 24mpg over the 2yts ive owned it. Just passed 180000 miles with only normal wear items to replace.
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Re: Looking for a compact SUV or AWD vehicle

Post by Drunkengunner » Tue Oct 28, 2014 4:42 pm

I'm going to throw something different out there, Nissan Rogue, and they have an AWD version. I just got one and it's a good little car. Good amounts of space, I'm 5'11 and have to move the seat in when in most cars it's all the way back. Fold flat second row, depending on the model you get there can be seats. Really good gas mileage, even with all the day to day driving I do, it's still averaging about 26 mpg.

Just a suggestion. Good luck.
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Re: Looking for a compact SUV or AWD vehicle

Post by azrael99 » Tue Oct 28, 2014 9:10 pm

thanks !! seem interestings !!

totally worth to check them
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Re: Looking for a compact SUV or AWD vehicle

Post by JeeperCreeper » Wed Oct 29, 2014 12:32 am

williaty wrote: The Subaru lineup, including the Forrester, has fantastic crash safety ratings plus the VERY LOW center of gravity created by their engine placement and drivetrain makes them VERY resistant to rollover and gives you a lot of ability to drive around accidents stupid people on the road are having. The American offroad-ish SUVs are the exact opposite of that.
Sorry Sir, but I will agree to disagree. The whole center of gravity and symmetric all wheel drive is all Subaru marketing. Now Subies are excellent vehicles, but there is a lot more to a vehicle's capability and handling characteristics than what Subaru likes to advertise.

To the OP, this advice is from an American, so it might not all apply. Here are some considerations:
-All used cars are a gamble, and a lot rides on maintenence by the previous owners. This is why you should try to buy from a private seller where you can scope out their property and how well they take care of their things, as opposed to a dealer who normally gets used cars from and auction and basically sells them anonymously.
-If you aren't offroading it, then don't worry about the "ruggedness". Most modern AWD/4wd systems will do anything you need them to and then some. Tires go a long way in this department.
-Buying a new car to get better gas mileage may cost more in the long run. I bought a $3500 XJ Cherokee as my daily driver instead of a $10,000 gas sipper, because the money I saved is years worth of gas. Make sure you do the math on this.
-It is rare for an AWD/4wd car to get 30 mpg in real world driving. If you're getting 20 mpg, it might be worth running that Liberty til it dies.

To repeat what everyone else said, here are my suggestions for options to research:
1. Subaru: resale is high, so it may take a while to find a good deal. Also, see if you can get a deal on the XV Crosstrek
2. CRV/RAV4: I consider these almost the same due to equal features/performance. Resale can also be high because they are Honda and Toyota
3. Saturn Vue: the 2004-2007 V6 used Honda's J35 engine and tranny. You can get them cheap cheap cheap
4. Patriot/Compass: great little cars even though I don't trust the CVT tranny
5. Ford Escape: generally good cars, but gas mileage can be rough in the 4wd versions
6. Nissan Rogue: great quality and value. Not sure how their resale is, but I also believe you have the CVT tranny (I'm too old school)
7. Suzuki Vitara or SX4: only issue is Suzuki America (mabe North America) went bankrupt so parts may be tough in a few years
8. Honda Element: versatile but harder to find in AWD for cheap
9. Pontiac Vibe AWD: I believe it used the same guts as the Toyota Matrix IIRC... might be able to get cheap
10. Wildcard: pick up an old SUV on the cheap and run it til it dies and save money in the end. I got 9 trouble free years out of my $4000 YJ wrangler, I'm at 1 trouble-free year for my $3500 2001 XJ cherokee, and I had 3 years on a $3000 ZJ grand cherokee until my brother destroyed it. Or just get a beater commuter car for about $2000 and get good tires for canadian weather and keep the Liberty for non-commuting.
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