Author Topic: Solid SUV/Crossover choices for retired couple  (Read 943 times)

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Offline dodgerammit

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Solid SUV/Crossover choices for retired couple
« on: April 16, 2017, 08:09:26 PM »
Thought I'd post here. I trust ya'll.  ;D

Back story: My parents are looking at replacing their old fleet (97 4.0 5sp Ranger, 96 4.0 2wd Grand Cherokee).

Both vehicles have served their time well, but are beginning to nickel and dime my parents. They have asked my advice as they seek a replacement.

I have purchased my late-Grandfather's old truck and given to them. -88 Chevy 1500 with 305 or 350 and 112K miles.

Solid machine, but they also tote grandchildren, so want a replacement for the Jeep. The Chevy will suit my dad just fine.

They never drove the D350 crew I had gotten them, so I ended up selling it this winter.

Requirements are awd or 4wd capability for inclement weather. SUV style with liftgate/hatch. Seating for 5-6 max (probably will only be 4 max) and room for groceries/dog in back.

Looking to keep with a friendly budget for them, so probably sticking to around 2010 as the newest date.

I have advised them to avoid Ford due to the crappy quality of their transmissions (cvt) as of late.

Some contenders I have considered:
Nissan Murano or Rogue CVT issues
Nissan Pathfinder-separate the radiator and trans cooling system/no probs later
Nissan xterra-Same as pathfinder, though pathfinder has fewer complaints elswhere
Toyota Rav4
Honda CRV (Pre 08 due to rack and pinion and A/C issues)
Jeep Grand Cherokee-up to 04 avail with 4.0
Jeep Liberty-08-up, avoid skyroof
Jeep Commander
Chevy Equinox/GMC Acadia garbage reviews
Chevy Trailblazer
Dodge Nitro-3.7 good, but garbage electronics that fail
Kia Sportage/Sorento size/electrical issues galore
06-up Explorer Still have radiator/trans cooling issues  >:(
Toyota 4 runner
                              > -Both pricey, but good reviews
Toyota Highlander
Subaru Forester-Only wagon with decent height, other Subies sit too low for them IMO
Others?

I will begin to pour over user reviews of these vehicles myself, but as stated, I trust and value your opinions on these models.

 I have been told the 4.7 from Dodge is a 50/50 shot at reliability, but have witnessed the 3.7 v-6 go well over 200K with very minimal issues.

This vehicle will honestly probably be the last vehicle my parents will need to purchase.

Both are retired (well, mom will at the end of this year, but drives a school bus) so, neither will rack up the miles on anything they have, and will drive whatever they have till it falls apart (They've had the Jeep and ranger for about 15 years). However, I want them to find a very reliable and safe vehicle for their golden years..

What are your inputs?
Pros/cons about what I've listed?
Something that should be on the list?
Something to avoid like the plague?

Thanks!


« Last Edit: April 17, 2017, 10:53:29 AM by dodgerammit »
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    Offline flyfish

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    Re: Solid SUV/Crossover choices for retired couple
    « Reply #1 on: April 16, 2017, 08:28:38 PM »
    Rav4 and CRV are very small...too me at least. and the ones I drove felt like I was driving in a tin can with a sewing machine motor. Not that they are looking for massive horsepower or anything but they were both severely anemic in power. Space would be the main concern with those two based on your description. I would add 4runner to the list. I don't think you can go wrong there in terms of reliability. I have one.
    I am also interested in any feedback you get on grand cherokees because I've had a couple of them and my understanding is there are years that were very good and years that were not...not would include the newest versions with all the trans problems-computer related but I'm not sure exactly when that issue started.

    I like subaru too. Good quality in my experience. 2000 legacy with horiz opp motor.
    « Last Edit: April 16, 2017, 08:36:24 PM by flyfish »
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    Offline dodgerammit

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    Re: Solid SUV/Crossover choices for retired couple
    « Reply #2 on: April 16, 2017, 09:20:31 PM »
    Yeah, I've been doing some consumer reviewing and am disappointed in the Murano. CVT transmission issues galore.
    CRV seems to be a decent vehicle before 08. After has lots of rack and pinion failures and A/C problems.

    I am editing my original post and omitting what I have found to be problematic vehicles.

    Will check out the Subaru listings. Main concern is a comfortable ingress/egress height for them.
    When you find yourself in a hard spot, pray first, then select 4-LO
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    Offline ToxicDoc

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    Re: Solid SUV/Crossover choices for retired couple
    « Reply #3 on: April 16, 2017, 09:35:01 PM »
    Ford Explorer - no CVT transmission. 2006 and newer use the R6 transmission
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    Offline dodgerammit

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    Re: Solid SUV/Crossover choices for retired couple
    « Reply #4 on: April 16, 2017, 09:50:06 PM »
    Ford Explorer - no CVT transmission. 2006 and newer use the R6 transmission
    Does it use the crappy all aluminum internals that other explorers are known for? When failing, the only fix is machining and bronze inserts to a tune of $3K?

    I've known countless people with these issues from an Explorer
    When you find yourself in a hard spot, pray first, then select 4-LO
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    Offline ToxicDoc

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    Re: Solid SUV/Crossover choices for retired couple
    « Reply #5 on: April 16, 2017, 10:01:33 PM »
    Does it use the crappy all aluminum internals that other explorers are known for? When failing, the only fix is machining and bronze inserts to a tune of $3K?

    I've known countless people with these issues from an Explorer

    I don't know the newer models well, but the 6R tranny is used across their entire fleet for RWD vehicles. I would think if you pick one of the later years in that generation (that model went from 2006-2010) with low miles you would have a decent vehicle. Look up info about that tranny.
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    Offline dodgerammit

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    Re: Solid SUV/Crossover choices for retired couple
    « Reply #6 on: April 16, 2017, 10:27:05 PM »
    I'll check them out. I know 02-03ish exploders were an owner nightmare.  :-X
    When you find yourself in a hard spot, pray first, then select 4-LO
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    Offline RXT

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    Re: Solid SUV/Crossover choices for retired couple
    « Reply #7 on: April 17, 2017, 07:37:59 AM »
    Budget is always going to be the problem with these things, remember as of the last few years, SUVs are considered the most popular type of vehicle sold in America and they usually tend to sell at a premium. If you can push the budget, there are plenty of great choices.

    My personal pick and suggestion for your retired parents is the Toyota Highlander Limited AWD. My wife drives a '13. It is very dependable, and the AWD works great and this vehicle meets all your requirements. The Limited model also comes with heated leather seats and dual climate control.

    (wow! I sound like a used car salesman)

    Ed
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    Offline dodgerammit

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    Re: Solid SUV/Crossover choices for retired couple
    « Reply #8 on: April 17, 2017, 08:44:08 AM »
    Budget is always going to be the problem with these things, remember as of the last few years, SUVs are considered the most popular type of vehicle sold in America and they usually tend to sell at a premium. If you can push the budget, there are plenty of great choices.

    My personal pick and suggestion for your retired parents is the Toyota Highlander Limited AWD. My wife drives a '13. It is very dependable, and the AWD works great and this vehicle meets all your requirements. The Limited model also comes with heated leather seats and dual climate control.

    (wow! I sound like a used car salesman)

    Ed

    I actually looked at the highlanders last night. They can be pricey. I would probably recommend a v6 over the 4 banger for power. Those, along with 4 runners seem to be a decent vehicle. The bad is, their price reflects it. I know Jeep GCs to 04 still had the 4.0 I-6, and can be had in good shape with lower mileage for about $3-5K, so it will stay on the list.

    List is edited again
    When you find yourself in a hard spot, pray first, then select 4-LO
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    Offline dodgerammit

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    Re: Solid SUV/Crossover choices for retired couple
    « Reply #9 on: April 17, 2017, 08:55:15 AM »
    OK, 6R transmissions from 06-10 are a go. Exploder's have been put on the list
    When you find yourself in a hard spot, pray first, then select 4-LO
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    Offline RXT

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    Re: Solid SUV/Crossover choices for retired couple
    « Reply #10 on: April 17, 2017, 09:37:09 AM »
    OK, 6R transmissions from 06-10 are a go. Exploder's have been put on the list

    Oh, you'll be sorry.

    Ed
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    Offline dodgerammit

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    Re: Solid SUV/Crossover choices for retired couple
    « Reply #11 on: April 17, 2017, 09:51:38 AM »
    Oh, you'll be sorry.

    Ed
    I did some more reviewing. Radiator/trans issues galore. Removed from list again. 

    What happened with vehicles that would hit 200K with basic maintenance?  ???   I guess most people have to have the newest, latest, greatest to keep up with their neighbors.  Must not have the vehicles for long, so car manufacturers dropped the ball on reliability past 8-10 years.
    When you find yourself in a hard spot, pray first, then select 4-LO
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    Offline flyfish

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    Re: Solid SUV/Crossover choices for retired couple
    « Reply #12 on: April 17, 2017, 09:54:39 AM »
    Yep. I should have mentioned the highlander when I suggested a look at 4 runner. My wife drives a 2008 highlander 6cyl and we bought it when it had about 30k miles it has 200 now and have only had to do maintenance...and it'll spin the tirest on asphalt too :). It's a solid vehicle but that my only experience with one.
    Budget is always going to be the problem with these things, remember as of the last few years, SUVs are considered the most popular type of vehicle sold in America and they usually tend to sell at a premium. If you can push the budget, there are plenty of great choices.

    My personal pick and suggestion for your retired parents is the Toyota Highlander Limited AWD. My wife drives a '13. It is very dependable, and the AWD works great and this vehicle meets all your requirements. The Limited model also comes with heated leather seats and dual climate control.

    (wow! I sound like a used car salesman)

    Ed
    '78 D150 w/ '68 440- street machine. Edelbrock RPM heads & intake. Edelbrock 800 performer carb. 8.75 rear.

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    Re: Solid SUV/Crossover choices for retired couple
    « Reply #13 on: April 17, 2017, 10:02:30 AM »
    Subaru Outback w/ 2.5L 4 cyl.  IMPO best AWD SUV/crossover vehicle you can buy, and best value for the money.  Again, just my personal opinion...
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    Offline dodgerammit

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    Re: Solid SUV/Crossover choices for retired couple
    « Reply #14 on: April 17, 2017, 10:10:18 AM »
    I agree Subies are a solid vehicle, but I'm concerned about their height. Mom has specifically said "nothing she has to bend over to load groceries into."

    How high do outbacks sit, primarily back hatch area?
    When you find yourself in a hard spot, pray first, then select 4-LO
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    Offline RXT

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    Re: Solid SUV/Crossover choices for retired couple
    « Reply #15 on: April 17, 2017, 10:16:20 AM »
    I actually looked at the highlanders last night. They can be pricey. I would probably recommend a v6 over the 4 banger for power.

    In this class of vehicle, the only real option is the V6.

    Quote
    Those, along with 4 runners seem to be a decent vehicle. The bad is, their price reflects it. I know Jeep GCs to 04 still had the 4.0 I-6, and can be had in good shape with lower mileage for about $3-5K, so it will stay on the list.

    Yeah, our story was, my wife had an '03 Toyota Avalon which ran great. Never a problem with that car for many years, but sadly one day it was totaled. To replace it, we actually went and bought a used '11 Cadillac SRX after weeks of shopping. My wife knew the saleswoman and she gave us a nice deal on the vehicle. In all honesty, I'm not a fan of GM, but I liked the car. However after a year or so, it started racking up little issues. I noticed after a long trip the distinct sound of a wheel bearing going bad, on another occasion, the retractable sun cover for the glass top failed to retract, causing the cover to flop down like an old headliner. On every occasion the dealer fixed the issues under warranty and gave us a courtesy car every time, but my wife was longing for the reliability that she enjoyed with her old Avalon. She and I made the decision to trade in the SRX for a new Toyota SUV. We looked at the RAV4, too small and she doesn't like 4 cylinders. The 4Runner, too large and she doesn't want a truck. The Venza, too car-like (although it kinda reminded me of the old 80's AMC AWD Eagle) After her Goldilocks moment, the Highlander was "just right". My insistence and contribution was that the next SUV we got had to have AWD. We were planning to move at the time and our new home would be off a dirt road which gets muddy and sandy at times. We also ended up keeping the SRX. The Toyota dealer just didn't want to give us what it was worth, we decided rather than lose out, we keep it and use it. Turned out to work for me, because my Dakota was in the shop a lot longer than I anticipated.

    I would have maybe suggested the Cadillac SRX, it's really a nice car. It has a great stereo system, (Bose) comfy heated leather seats, nice infotainment system, Onstar (a  feature I liked for my wife if she broke down or got in an accident) looks bad ass IMO and they did offer an AWD version, but they are not cheap and there are always minor issues. The good side was the dealership was always accommodating and we always got fantastic service, but I got to know them a little too well. These days, we don't drive it as much as the warrantee is about to expire and the Toyota is simply a better car overall.

    Ed
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    Re: Solid SUV/Crossover choices for retired couple
    « Reply #16 on: April 17, 2017, 10:19:12 AM »
    Subaru Outback w/ 2.5L 4 cyl.  IMPO best AWD SUV/crossover vehicle you can buy, and best value for the money.  Again, just my personal opinion...

    Sadly Subarus are also the choice of transportation for liberal greenies and tree huggers trying to get into the forest  ;D

    Ed
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    Re: Solid SUV/Crossover choices for retired couple
    « Reply #17 on: April 17, 2017, 10:24:15 AM »
    My wife drives a 2008 highlander 6cyl and we bought it when it had about 30k miles it has 200 now and have only had to do maintenance...and it'll spin the tirest on asphalt too :). It's a solid vehicle but that my only experience with one.

    Ours won't spin the tires on asphalt,, it's AWD…however, it will throw rooster tails at all 4 corners when pulling out brush with it  ;D

    Ed
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    Offline dodgerammit

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    Re: Solid SUV/Crossover choices for retired couple
    « Reply #18 on: April 17, 2017, 10:28:21 AM »
    Sadly Subarus are also the choice of transportation for liberal greenies and tree huggers trying to get into the forest  ;D

    Ed

    Not true. My former neighbor loved them and still has them. As conservative as they come.  ;D

    As far as creature comforts like premium sound, navigation, heated/cooled leather, etc, my parents couldn't care less.

     I found a base v-6 awd Highlander sans 3rd row that would fit the bill perfectly. Cloth interior (they aren't a fan of leather).

    Seems if you find non 3rd row and cloth interior, the selling price really takes a hit. Not that I'm complaining.

    Also found some decent deals on Foresters.
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    Offline flyfish

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    Re: Solid SUV/Crossover choices for retired couple
    « Reply #19 on: April 17, 2017, 10:47:20 AM »
    HAA HAA!!..rooster tails with a highlander..love it!  yea, when I floored it all the groceries in the back slammed against the wall, the milk spilled and all the baby stuff went flying to one side of the car. Then I got the evil eye from the wife when it was all said and done  ;D

    Ours is front wheel drive. It has some type of Snow traction feature..I used it once.. but I never looked into exactly what it is as it's pretty much pointless for us around here anyway.

    Ours won't spin the tires on asphalt,, it's AWD…however, it will throw rooster tails at all 4 corners when pulling out brush with it  ;D

    Ed
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    Offline dodgerammit

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    Re: Solid SUV/Crossover choices for retired couple
    « Reply #20 on: April 17, 2017, 10:52:59 AM »
    Trailblazer added to list. Will do some reviewing
    When you find yourself in a hard spot, pray first, then select 4-LO
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    Offline R!bcracker

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    Re: Solid SUV/Crossover choices for retired couple
    « Reply #21 on: April 17, 2017, 12:06:28 PM »
    I say look at the Toyota Sienna XLE AWD.  it has the Toyota durability, plenty of space, all the creature comforts, and about half the price of the 4runner.
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    Re: Solid SUV/Crossover choices for retired couple
    « Reply #22 on: April 17, 2017, 12:36:17 PM »

    How high do outbacks sit, primarily back hatch area?


    ....about the same as a minivan.  Best way I can describe an Outback is it is an AWD minivan without the helicopter doors.

    My DD is an 03 Outback, and my wife's is an 11 - both exceedingly good cars.  I can also fit several 10' long sticks of lumber or tubing in mine and close the doors.  IOW, in certain ways they have more interior cargo room than a long bed pickup.  Couldn't ask for a better driver/beater, and for sure they're outstanding road trip cars.  Easy to park, great mileage, and very reliable.
    « Last Edit: April 17, 2017, 12:43:39 PM by Mad Max »
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    Offline RXT

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    Re: Solid SUV/Crossover choices for retired couple
    « Reply #23 on: April 17, 2017, 03:57:41 PM »
    Not true. My former neighbor loved them and still has them. As conservative as they come.  ;D

    No one said he was stupid, the best way to blend in is drive what they drive (Only works if theres no Trump stickers on the back…lol)

    Ed
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    Re: Solid SUV/Crossover choices for retired couple
    « Reply #24 on: April 17, 2017, 04:19:43 PM »
    No mention of the Durango?
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    Offline dodgerammit

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    Re: Solid SUV/Crossover choices for retired couple
    « Reply #25 on: April 18, 2017, 12:33:19 AM »
    Durango is a contender, however, given that most Durangos here are high mileage, I'll probably not have that luck. I've actually been searching Durangos and GCs for about 4 months to be a potential driveline donor for my Waggy. Sadly, most Durangos are 4.7s here. The few 318s are scarce and usually about 180K+ and 360s command a premium. 5.7s command even more. If one could be found when it comes go-time, it would be a worthy contender. 

    As far as minivans, I've been explicitly told "no".   ;D

    So, Primary contenders are (In no order):

    Grand Cherokee 4.0 up to 2004
    Chevy Trailblazer/ GMC Envoy
    Subaru Forester (this model chosen over others for the height)
    Dodge Durango (if available)
    Toyota Highlander





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    Re: Solid SUV/Crossover choices for retired couple
    « Reply #26 on: April 19, 2017, 08:44:02 AM »
    My DD is an 03 Outback, and my wife's is an 11 - both exceedingly good cars.

    In honesty (and despite my political comment) my wife and I did look at Subarus. There was one in particular, I did see that was intriguing. The Crosstrek, particularly one in burnt orange. Like the Toyota Venza, it kinda remind me of the old AMC Eagle AWDs. But the wife didn't like any of them.

    Looking up Subarus on various reviews and in Consumer Reports, their quality rates really well and apparently they have a very good AWD system.

    I know that with our Highlanger, AWD is accomplished by tapping off power from the transaxle (after the ring and pinion) and directing it to the rear axle which contains a 1:1 gear ratio. An automatic clutch is used to keep the rear axle disengaged until wheel slip is detected at the front tires, then the clutch engages, sending power to the rear. There is a "snow mode" button which apparently changes the engagement time and duration of the clutch. The downside is, after a few years of normal engage/disengage cycles, the clutch will wear out and make AWD ineffective. Some testers and reviewers which have tested the Highlander off road have stated that under extensive off road conditions, the clutch can get pretty hot, causing clutch fade and causing AWD to be less effective. This doesn't just apply to the Highlander, but to many other brands using a similar AWD system. Sadly, these vehicles aren't intended for off road use. Vehicles like the Eagle and Brat are things of the past.

    Ed
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    Re: Solid SUV/Crossover choices for retired couple
    « Reply #27 on: April 19, 2017, 12:57:48 PM »
    Unless you find a particularly bad design, all vehicles have wear points. This one has transfer case failure, that one has bad engine, that one has bad transmission. You'll drive yourself crazy. Look up the longevity reports at Edmunds or JD Powell and use that. Then pick as low a mileage vehicle as you can get within the budget.
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    Offline dodgerammit

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    Re: Solid SUV/Crossover choices for retired couple
    « Reply #28 on: April 20, 2017, 12:31:24 AM »
    Unless you find a particularly bad design, all vehicles have wear points. This one has transfer case failure, that one has bad engine, that one has bad transmission. You'll drive yourself crazy. Look up the longevity reports at Edmunds or JD Powell and use that. Then pick as low a mileage vehicle as you can get within the budget.

    I've been using Edmunds owner reviews for my info.

     I look at it this way, I pick the vehicles that have the highest satisfaction rating. I also pay attention to the reviews from several years past vehicle manufacture date.

    ie: 03 trailblazer. I don't give much thought to reviews from 03 or 04, but pay close attention to the ones from 2010 and 2011 where the reviewer has actually owned the vehicle for a decent length of time.

    I do this with every vehicle I consider for purchase for a DD.
    When you find yourself in a hard spot, pray first, then select 4-LO
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    Re: Solid SUV/Crossover choices for retired couple
    « Reply #29 on: April 20, 2017, 07:58:44 AM »
    you owe it to yourself to test drive an Outback.  We just got our 2011 model and we like it more than the 2016 - the transmission seems 'smoother', otherwise the same car, and half the cost of a new one...and they last for freaking ever.  Everything requires 'maintenance', but Subaru maintenance is very...'predictable'.  We can't say enough good things about them {2cents}
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                    ....there is no box

    Offline Elwenil

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    Re: Solid SUV/Crossover choices for retired couple
    « Reply #30 on: April 20, 2017, 12:30:10 PM »
    Why is this a sticky?  ;D
    L.Clemons

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    Offline maachine

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    Re: Solid SUV/Crossover choices for retired couple
    « Reply #31 on: April 20, 2017, 05:55:22 PM »
    wipe nissan's off your list. since i've started my mobile mechanics business last august, i've worked on too many of them. the engine swap i did on a 2010 frontier, the owner's mother had a 2015 murano or something like that, transmission went out around 50k miles. they also had another nissan car that severely broke on them. thats 3 different nissans in that family alone that had major problems.

    i vote for toyota. although pricey, totally worth the money. i've owned 2 tacoma's in my life and loved them both.
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    Offline dodgerammit

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    Re: Solid SUV/Crossover choices for retired couple
    « Reply #32 on: April 21, 2017, 01:08:17 AM »
    you owe it to yourself to test drive an Outback.  We just got our 2011 model and we like it more than the 2016 - the transmission seems 'smoother', otherwise the same car, and half the cost of a new one...and they last for freaking ever.  Everything requires 'maintenance', but Subaru maintenance is very...'predictable'.  We can't say enough good things about them {2cents}

    It's not my decision. It's my parent's choice. I can only make recommendations since I was asked for my input. I'll pass the word along, but realistically speaking, the Forester has the height they are looking for over an Outback.

    I'm more of a LS1-T56-T/A guy, myself. Although I now own the American Range Rover of the eighties. A Jeep Grand Wagoneer.  ;D I prefer 4wd over awd anyway. I like a big stick coming through the floor that lets me choose.  ;)
    When you find yourself in a hard spot, pray first, then select 4-LO
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    Offline dodgerammit

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    Re: Solid SUV/Crossover choices for retired couple
    « Reply #33 on: April 21, 2017, 01:08:57 AM »
    Why is this a sticky?  ;D

    I'm not seeing it as one.  :P
    When you find yourself in a hard spot, pray first, then select 4-LO
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    Offline dodgerammit

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    Re: Solid SUV/Crossover choices for retired couple
    « Reply #34 on: April 21, 2017, 01:11:57 AM »
    wipe nissan's off your list. since i've started my mobile mechanics business last august, i've worked on too many of them. the engine swap i did on a 2010 frontier, the owner's mother had a 2015 murano or something like that, transmission went out around 50k miles. they also had another nissan car that severely broke on them. thats 3 different nissans in that family alone that had major problems.

    i vote for toyota. although pricey, totally worth the money. i've owned 2 tacoma's in my life and loved them both.

    Reply #25 has a finalized list of recommended contenders. Nissans were ousted pretty quickly once I discovered they also used CVT transmissions for the Murano and Rogue. Transmission troubles also ousted Ford from the list.
    When you find yourself in a hard spot, pray first, then select 4-LO
    Radio Flyer-84 Jeep Grand Wagoneer
    85 crew project --Intercooled 93 Cummins, 518, D70
    00-Pontiac T/A LS1-T56-10 bolt that manages to survive

    Offline Elwenil

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    Re: Solid SUV/Crossover choices for retired couple
    « Reply #35 on: April 21, 2017, 03:35:52 AM »
    I'm not seeing it as one.  :P

    Well it's not now, but it was for a while.  Seriously, I'm not crazy!   {stupid}
    L.Clemons

    1988 Ramcharger-Mil-Spec AW450 Project-318EFI-NP435 4 speed-NP205 Transfer Case-Front & Rear Dana 60s-Braden Wormdrive Front Winch
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    Auribus Tenere Lupum

    Offline RXT

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    Re: Solid SUV/Crossover choices for retired couple
    « Reply #36 on: April 21, 2017, 12:10:31 PM »
    Well it's not now, but it was for a while.  Seriously, I'm not crazy!   {stupid}

    I saw it…. it didn't last long…Moderator error??

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    Offline KThaxton

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    Re: Solid SUV/Crossover choices for retired couple
    « Reply #37 on: April 21, 2017, 12:35:38 PM »
    Moderators don't make errors!  :P
    STOP PLATE TECTONICS!

    You're absolutely correct, Kendall. My mistake  ;D

     

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