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Posted: 7/8/2002 9:38:55 PM EDT
Hi guys – long time no see. Although I don’t plan on getting one any time soon, I wanted to see what you guys had to say about some of the different models that are out there. The main things I’m looking at are; small, storage capacity, ground clearance, passenger seating <4+>, tight turning radius and fuel efferent. It also would be a plus if the SUV worked well on streets and highways – but the main purpose would be for unpaved roads. I’ve been looking at a Jeep Wrangler for some time now; the only problem with it is the fuel efficiency and the storage capacity. Aside from that there is little wrong with the wrangler. At first I hated the Jeep Liberty, it just didn’t look like a jeep at all. It’s been some time now and the look has grown on me. The liberty seats one more than the wrangler and has more storage capacity as well. Although not as compact as the Wrangler the Liberty didn’t seam that bad as an all around SUV. Honda CRV, overall I like the looks but this SUV lacks ground clearance. I’ve heard that they do well on unpaved roads but not too much more than that. Landrover Freelander, I’m a little weary about Landrover – very expensive and I’ve heard that most landrovers spend lots of time in the shop. This particular model looks like it has potential, but I don’t really know much about it. Ford Escape – don’t know much about this one. Rav4 – Toyota makes good reliable products, but the Rav4 is more like the CRV, good for on road but not so good for offroad. I appreciate the help, - Sulaco
Link Posted: 7/8/2002 9:53:07 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 7/8/2002 9:54:24 PM EDT by BenDover]
I own an Escape XLT and I love it. It drives like a sportscar. I have always hated the truck feel to SUV chassis. We did a lot of research and the Escape XLT has the most options in the class. A comparable Xterra would be $9K more. We got the sport package and use it all the time to tow a popup camper. Earlier model years had some recalls but the 2002 was reengineered. We've had it since January and already have 12K miles on it. Not a single problem (well the rear defogger light was not working on the dash but the defogger was fine... easy replacement during an oil change) Do your homework. Hit the enthusiast sites. We did and I feel like we made a good choice for the money. I was set on the Xterra, but at the last minute we started digging on the Escape. Once we drove it, that was all it took. I don't think I would like it as much in the XLS model though. The Escape is almost identical to the Mazda Tribute. FWIW... the AZTEK is the only 4 star rated mini SUV, but I couldn't get past the frankencar, Buck Rogers look. That's one fugly car.
Link Posted: 7/8/2002 10:26:10 PM EDT
I love my '01 Cherokee.
Link Posted: 7/8/2002 10:33:52 PM EDT
My wife has a Honda CRV and while it is a wonderful little SUV with good ground clearance I wouldn't recommend it if you are going to use it off road a lot. Same with Toyota RAV4. Jeep Liberty may work okay for your purpose but they look too friggen ugly for me. Also, Liberty is not a Jeep... they are a Chrysler with Jeep name plate. Ford Escape and Mazda Tribute is same car from same factory with different name. My neighbor has the Escape and while it seems like a nice little SUV I'm not sure how they'll work off road. I think Nissan X-Terra is your best choice from this group. I got to use one for few days last year and it seemed like a solid car and price is not bad.
Link Posted: 7/9/2002 2:11:07 AM EDT
What are you going to use it for? There are only a couple in your list that can actually leave the road. The Rav4, CRV, Escape/Tribute, ML320, Outback and Sportage have better on road performance and ride. And their lower curb weights mean better mpg. The Escape/Tribute seems to get the best ratings overall for power and creature comfort. I read that the Freelander can do some off-road but not like the Discovery. That leaves the Liberty and the Xterra. With the new 210 hp/92octane engine for the Xterra, these two are very similar in performance. The only edge that the Xterra has is that it comes stock with bigger tires, 31x10.5s" giving it some extra height. Both are IFS and rear solid axle. The Liberty has better engine compression braking. Here's a couple reviews [url]http://www.rockcrawler.com/reviews/nissan/xterra_2002/index.asp[/url] [url]http://www.rockcrawler.com/reviews/jeep/liberty_2002/jenifer/index.asp[/url] And here's a pic of a bone stock Liberty on the Moab Trail. This guy went just about anywhere the lifted and locked CJ's and TJ's went. Clearance and small tires were the only thing that really kept him off of the really big rocks. Here's a cool story of a jinxed YJ and this same KJ that just kept on coming. Yes, it's a Jeep! [url]http://www.rockcrawler.com/trailreports/moabejs2002/chaz_lamar/index.asp[/url] [img]http://community.webshots.com/storage/1/v1/5/60/85/38556085ZNJKZK_ph.jpg[/img]
Link Posted: 7/9/2002 3:33:31 PM EDT
Originally I wanted to get a TJ with a roof rack, 3” lift kit and 33” tires. The only problem with this setup is that the wranglers don’t have much storage space, this is compensated by the roof rack but other than that it can’t hull much. Towing a small trailer would fix the storage problem, but that seams a little too excessive. I really wanted to go out using this rig for trails and for camping. I have an eclipse, which works well around town but has horrible ground clearance<5 inches is barley enough for city>, not so good turning radius but has good storage – which isn’t so good for camping and I wouldn’t even think about taking it on anything more than a dirt road. Because of my age group and income bracket<22 making less than 14k a year> it might be unrealistic for me to own two cars < mandatory insurance doesn’t help either>. So if I can only own one car, I need something that will replace the eclipse and still be able to take on some moderate trails. Not to mention that fuel efficiency is important if I only have one car to drive around in. The 3” life and the 33” tires might be a little implacable for city – but I’ve heard that this setup dose well with the TJ’s that are geared more for offroad but still need to be used as a daily drive. I didn’t really want a rig that could clime over boulders, just something that would do well on rough terrain, mud and city driving. - Sulaco
Link Posted: 7/9/2002 4:16:19 PM EDT
When I purchased my 2001 Xterra they were the largest SUV for the least money. The 4x4 version is quite capable off-road. Can't say for sure about the new models, but the 2000 - 2001 models get terrible mileage. [URL]www.xterraownersclub.com[/URL]
Link Posted: 7/9/2002 6:46:50 PM EDT
Have you thought about Subaru? I have an Imprezza WRX and it hauls ass, but it sounds like a Legacy Outback fits all of your criteria. They are dealing like crazy on the 2002 models now as well. If you are in northern california email me and I'll point you in the right direction.
Link Posted: 7/9/2002 6:53:23 PM EDT
How about Suzuki Grand Viagra? Oops, that should read Grand Vitara. It comes from the company that made Suzuki Samurai, wooohoooo! :)
Link Posted: 7/9/2002 6:58:32 PM EDT
Say..... Ford's supposed to be working on a hybrid Escape... ;) (and that's all I'm gonna say)
Link Posted: 7/9/2002 7:12:49 PM EDT
You say the main purpose is for unpaved roads. This removes most mini-SUV's from your list. The Jeep Liberty, Nissan Xterra, Land Rover Freelander, and Jeep Wrangler are about the only vehicles that fit the bill. Most others, such as the CRV and Rav4 are built for on road traveling comfort in mind, and will survive rutted dirt roads and other minor trails. If any mild+ off road work is in this vehicle's future, I would go with, in this order, Liberty, Xterra, Wrangler, Freelander. Freelander ranks last because of high price and low ground clearance.
Link Posted: 7/10/2002 3:07:32 AM EDT
I have the freelander, no unscheduled shoptime in 7K miles and I am very happy with it, I don't agree w/your take on it being expensive it compares $$ wise to the other models you have listed as it comes equipped as stock with what most other's list as options. Also remember this is not a new model, they were sold in Europe for years before coming to the US so they are a proven design.
Link Posted: 7/10/2002 6:57:13 PM EDT
I appreciate the info; it will be at least a year from now until I can seriously consider getting another vehicle – by that point I’ll be dept free and have some assets I can sell to help compensate the costs of a new or used car. In the meantime I’ll be looking at these various SUV’s and dome some more homework. - Sulaco
Link Posted: 7/10/2002 11:02:19 PM EDT
Go with the Jeep Wrangler! You won't be sorry. These things have a crazy "cult" following like you wouldn't beleive! They even have their own special wave that occurs between Jeep owners. I've had about 6 of these loud, impractical, gas-guzzling, no storage room, rough riding beasts, and I can't wait to get my next. Check out this site: [url]http://dirtroad.com/index.html[/url] -GM
Link Posted: 7/10/2002 11:20:05 PM EDT
Originally Posted By ganderman: Go with the Jeep Wrangler! You won't be sorry. These things have a crazy "cult" following like you wouldn't beleive! They even have their own special wave that occurs between Jeep owners. I've had about 6 of these loud, impractical, gas-guzzling, no storage room, rough riding beasts, and I can't wait to get my next. Check out this site: [url]http://dirtroad.com/index.html[/url] -GM
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Couldn't agree more!!!!
Link Posted: 7/11/2002 7:34:10 AM EDT
Need a Jeep with more storage? Here's an example of the my next Jeep, a CJ-8 Scrambler: [img]http://www.3jenvironmental.com/mit/jeep/front_side1.jpg[/img] [img]http://www.3jenvironmental.com/mit/jeep/straight_side1.jpg[/img] [img]http://www.3jenvironmental.com/mit/jeep/interior1.jpg[/img]
Link Posted: 7/11/2002 8:13:34 AM EDT
Most of these "BABY" SUV's are just that. You have to ask yourself , Are you really going off road? If not, buy a station wagon of your choice. Cheaper to buy ,operate and insure. If you want an off road vehicle , buy a real one that has a transfer case that will give you a low range gearing. Because you WILL get stuck with one of those so-called "toy" SUV's that don't have the low range option. Next thing is to look at the engine. Does it have ohc or dhoc cams? Are they belt driven or are they chains ? Belts are crap as they need to be changed every 60k miles or so. Neighbor just had his done to the tune of $948 ! Forget the belts... buy something with chain drive cams. Ford finally got rid of belts on their 2002 year trucks. My sons Ranger has a 2.3 L 4 cyl. 16 valve CHAIN DRIVEN DOHC motor. I'm impressed with the power it produces. Of course it all goes thru the bullet proof 8.5 " Ford rear end that ALL NASCAR stock cars MUST use (their rules). How much more reliable than that do you need? I think that General Motors got rid of their cam belts as well. Next look at the suspension systems. The XJ Jeeps are bullet proof. Rangers are ok, again don't know much about the GMC's. But there is no free lunch. If you want reliable off road capabilities, buy one. A real one ,not some pretender that is "affordable". You gotta spend some bucks and get something that will take the off road world with out breaking down. I finally bit the bullet and bought a Ford F-250 Super Duty with a 5 speed ,limited slip 4.11 rear ends & 5.4 liter V8. With 33.5" BFG muds I can still pull 17mpg loaded from Phoenix to Prescott Az. (all up hill) with no problem @ 75 mph. So don't get hung up on small 4X4s. My friends 4.0 Cherokee only gets 18.5 on the same run empty ! Neighbors Toyota Trundra only gets 17.5 mpg on same run (we were all in a convoy ). So ,save your money & do your homework. Smaller isn't always better.
Link Posted: 7/11/2002 8:53:31 AM EDT
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