Test Drove 6 Vehicles - Narrowed down to CR-V and Equinox

Discussion in 'CR-V' started by Avery, Oct 25, 2004.

  1. Avery

    Avery Guest

    Searching for an SUV, over the past three weekends my wife and I test
    drove several models. We haven't come to a final decision yet and
    would appreciate some input. We want a new small to medium sized SUV
    below 25k (us dollars) (below 23k is preferable). My wife and I drive
    aggressively, plus where we live, highways have short on-ramps so
    acceleration is a must. Safety ratings must be five stars, it must
    have a usable back seat and it needs to have a mechanical rating.
    We've narrowed our choices down to the CR-V, Chevy Equinox and the
    Liberty as a 3rd option. We ruled out testing the Toyota Rav 4 because
    the interior looked too small.

    I've included a summary of our experiences for each. We tested only
    automatic models that came in under 23k.

    Honda CR-V
    - Impressive acceleration for a four cylinder engine. Why is that?
    - Good mechanical and safety reviews
    - Fully functional back seat that folds down nicely
    - the cargo door swings sideways making it problem when parked two
    feet from another car. This makes it useless 90% of time. This is
    necessary since the spare is on the back, but there's cargo space
    under the back compartment that's the same shape and almost the size
    of a spare tire.
    - cloth interior looks cheap.

    Mitsubishi Outlander
    - Good acceleration for a four cylinder engine but not as good as the
    CRV. This bumped the CR-V up on our list.
    - Back door hinges upward (the proper way)
    - Interior is rather boring for the price-range model we looked at.

    Chevrolet Equinox (my wife likes this vehicle above the others)
    - 6 cylinder engine. Best acceleration of what we've tested.
    - Fully functional back seat that folds
    - First-run model so there's no history to research. Yes, it's build
    on all existing parts, but still.
    - Seems rather big to me for some reason. Maybe psychologically when I
    think "Chevy", I think "big"
    - Seemed like a lot of vehicle for its price
    - Instead of a curtain to cover anything in the back, there's a
    plastic shelf. This is a nice thing. But it's not quite big enough to
    fully obscure anything back there. No big deal though.

    Subaru Forester (vanilla four cylinder model)
    - Tight cockpit.
    - Bad acceleration
    - Expensive to add a decent engine
    - We didn't feel it was worth the price

    Hyundai Santa Fe
    - A friend of mine had access to some research that made us consider
    - Weak acceleration on the six cylinder (non V6) model. Much less then
    the four cylinder CR-V
    - tight cockpit. My arm was pinned against the door.

    Jeep Liberty
    - One of my favorites
    - Good acceleration (tested 6 cyl model)
    - I like overall aesthetics
    - The backseat is useless. It doesn't adjust for comfort and there's
    no leg room.

    We'd go with the CR-V in an instant if it had six cylinders. The fact
    that it has four concerns us.

    Any advice is appreciated.
    ~ Avery
    Avery, Oct 25, 2004
  2. Avery

    Chris Guest

    Did you tried Honda Element?
    Is a CRV based engine and trans, less expensive, more space inside,
    more cargo, etc.

    Chris, love my Element!
    Chris, Oct 25, 2004
  3. Avery

    dold Guest

    I don't know what it is about the "SUV" that has you in that market.
    What about the Ford Escape, or the new Ford Freestyle? (The Freestyle
    might be out of the price range).

    I just ordered an Escape Hybrid, but that's out of the price range.
    I'd go for the Chevy in that group. The CR-V isn't really in that group
    except by pricing, is it? Watch out for the type of 4wd/awd. The Liberty
    comes with several different styles, and only the most expensive is
    comparable to the CR-V.

    has a "comparison" in the top right, where you can select several models
    for a multiple comparison.
    dold, Oct 25, 2004
  4. Avery

    Avery Guest

    The Escape has a rating of 2 out of 5 for mechanical quality at J.D.
    Power. :-(


    The Freestyle is out of our price range.
    Avery, Oct 26, 2004
  5. Avery

    Keith J Guest

    I was where you are a few weeks ago. Here is what I thought of my

    Saturn VUE V6
    - the engine is a 3.5L Honda built engine (250 hp)
    - 2004 model has a $3000 rebate which the Tallahassee Saturn rose to $3750
    which puts the FWD model under $20k with the option of 17" alloy wheels.
    - more standard feature than most vehicles out there, including safety
    - very impressive power, not as agile as the Ford Escape. Has the feel of a
    larger vehicle

    Honda CR-V
    - it was ok, unimpressive power, pricey

    Honda Element
    - "different" look, not sure if I would like that look a year from now.
    Better prices than the CR-V and essentially the same vehicle.

    Ford Escape V6
    - avoid the 4 cyl... WAY too under-powered
    - the V6 had lots of power
    - agile handling

    Chevy Equinox
    - I didn't even drive it after driving the VUE as the VUE has 250 hp and the
    Equinox has 185 hp, less standard features (including safety features) plus
    it is about $2k more than the VUE before options

    I skipped the Jeeps all together as they are not very impressive with gas

    I suggest taking 30 mins and going for a spin in a Escape V6 and a VUE V6.
    I wouldn't worry so much about car ratings, though they are worth looking
    into. I had a '95 Neon that only had one trip to the dealer for warranty
    work (broken O2 sensor) and they were (and probably still) rated VERY POOR.

    Get the vehicle that excites you the most! Best of luck!

    tallahassee, fl
    Keith J, Oct 26, 2004
  6. It's a Honda.

    Not sure why this is a "concern." I don't know if it is as fast a the
    6 cyl. competitors but I certainly wouldn't worry about
    reliability/durability compared to a Chevy.

    If you are 'aggressive drivers' and you think it had impressive
    acceleration, then it must be OK. Fully loaded with AC on it will be
    slower of course. Is that likely to be how you use it? Maybe need
    another test drive with some friends.

    I personally would always get the MT if it is available. Faster,
    better control and more durable if you are 'aggressive.' Then again,
    I wouldn't be too aggressive driving any of these truck-like vehicles.
    Gordon McGrew, Oct 26, 2004
  7. Avery

    dold Guest

    Having been a member of the crack J.D.Power survey population, I have less
    than no regard for the results they tabulate.
    It is absolute crap. The questions are phrased the way the sponsors want
    them phrased. The mantra associated with each brand continues unabated,
    fueled by J.D.Power results.
    dold, Oct 26, 2004
  8. Avery

    Avery Guest

    Caveat: When I say "aggressive" I don't mean insane, we like to get to
    the speed reasonably quickly. :)

    We considered the Vue, but we drive a Saturn now and it's falling
    apart (1995 L2). There have been problems for years that the mechanics
    have never been able to fix. There's something wrong with the
    automatic gear shifting. We took it to Saturn and they replaced some
    chip to fix the problem, but only temporarily. Then small things like
    a rattle under the dash, windows suddenly fog up in the rain or cold
    (imagine dealing with that on a wet, snowy highway) and as a result we
    ALWAYS drive with the AC on, not enough windshield wiper speeds,
    there's a leak in the door that has never been properly fixed, and
    wind noise. I've had parts replaced more often on this car then any
    other car I've owned and it only has 75k miles.

    We have no confidence in their repair department. Aside from their
    failing to fix the ratting dash and the leaking door, we had an
    over-heating problem during the summer. The first time the mechanic
    charged us $300 to replace the water pump. That wasn't what was wrong.
    They gave it back to us without testing it. The next day they replaced
    another part for more money. When I picked up the car it still
    overheated AND the temperature gauge stopped working! This day they
    never called to tell me it was ready. Probably because they didn't
    want me to rip another hole in them. When I called them the repair
    shop had already closed. I had to deal with a very kind salesman who
    waited an extra hour after closing for my wife to pick it up. The
    third time they got it right with a replaced fan, but it was still
    $500 later. Now the over heating problem has started again. That
    Saturn repair shop we dealt with has since closed. So I can't
    negotiate based on their poor job the first THREE times. So Instead of
    taking it to a dealer, renting a car for the day and possibly paying
    for new parts that weren't replaced the first time, we've decided to
    get something else -- but not a Saturn. The I'm sure things have
    changed with them, but the stigma is still there and we wanted
    something else.
    Avery, Oct 26, 2004
  9. Avery

    Lee Florack Guest

    My wife's car is a 2003 CR-V. It's a 4wd model with a manual
    transmission -- which helps the acceleration and probably the gas
    mileage. She is a landscaper and uses the vehicle to haul around
    a lot of tools, etc for her business. So far, the CR-V has been
    absolutely flawless. It is reliable, fun to drive and cheap
    (everything is relative) to purchase and maintain. The back seat
    is quite large and useable. When the rear seat is down, it does
    well carrying her tools around.

    In a nutshell, I'd buy another one in a second when the time
    Lee Florack, Oct 31, 2004
  10. Avery

    Dave Guest

    Just one piece: remember to shop actual price, not MSRP. For
    better or worse, american cars come with big incentives. I think
    there is a $1500 one now on the Equinox if you finance through
    GMAC, maybe more? And they update those all the time.

    Good luck!
    Dave, Oct 31, 2004
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