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Buying a new SUV - need opinions

PerpetualPerpetual Registered User regular
edited July 2010 in Help / Advice Forum
I'm giving my Honda civic to my sister, and need a new car. Trying to decide between the following:

Subaru Forrester
Nissan Rogue
Hyundai Santa Fe

The reason I want an SUV is because I do lots of outdoors stuff and carry lots of equipment, so I need the cargo space and the AWD. I don't want something gigantic though, so looking at these compact and mid-sized ones. Also considered others, like the Mazda CX7 and the Honda CR-V, but some of the reviews made me shy away from those.

Perpetual on
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    tektek meh... WARegistered User regular
    edited July 2010
    Perpetual wrote: »
    I'm giving my Honda civic to my sister, and need a new car. Trying to decide between the following:

    Subaru Forrester
    Nissan Rogue
    Hyundai Santa Fe

    The reason I want an SUV is because I do lots of outdoors stuff and carry lots of equipment, so I need the cargo space and the AWD. I don't want something gigantic though, so looking at these compact and mid-sized ones. Also considered others, like the Mazda CX7 and the Honda CR-V, but some of the reviews made me shy away from those.

    My personal first choice for a SUV are the Jeep lines.. Grand Cherokee for me, but the smaller models are just as nice.. Out of your list a Subaru by far.

    tek on
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    Donovan PuppyfuckerDonovan Puppyfucker A dagger in the dark is worth a thousand swords in the morningRegistered User regular
    edited July 2010
    Forester. But only if you really need a soft-roader. Otherwise a Liberty (I think Legacy in the US?) wagon is probably better.

    Donovan Puppyfucker on
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    BlindZenDriverBlindZenDriver Registered User regular
    edited July 2010
    Subaru would be my pick. It may not be the most sexy but anything from that company comes out on top in those buyer satisfaction surveys and they know their stuff. They even like it on Top Gear :-)

    BlindZenDriver on
    Bones heal, glory is forever.
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    FelixFelix Registered User regular
    edited July 2010
    From that list I'd probably go with the Forrester. The Santa Fe is also decent. I didn't like the visibility out of the Rogue.

    Now that you've got it narrowed down to what you are interested in, I'd go test drive them all and see how they feel. We were in a similar situation and dead set on getting an Xterra; after test driving ended up with a RAV4 V6 (built in Japan, no recalls).

    Felix on
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    WezoinWezoin Registered User regular
    edited July 2010
    Forrester would probably be the best off-road/in bad weather conditions if you care much about that. Personally of those three I prefer the Hyundai's looks, and Hyundai's reliability and general quality have improved alot in the last few years.

    Have you considered the Mitsubishi Outlander? Personally I think it is the best looking SUV on the market, has a sporty feel, plenty of room, and since it's based on the Evo10 (rally car) platform is great offroad and in bad weather conditions.

    Wezoin on
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    A BearA Bear Registered User regular
    edited July 2010
    I'll also throw in a recommendation for the Subaru and the Hyundai, both for the reasons stated before (Subaru drivers love their cars, Hyundai is fast becoming a really great automaker for a good price).

    Also, +1 for the test drives. If you know you will be hauling specific things a lot, bring them to the car lot if you can and try loading and unloading them. I have a relative who loves his car, except for the fact that hauling his golf bag in the trunk is a huge pain--its pretty much wrecking a wonderful car for him. You sure don't want to find you actually need about 3 inches more in a specific dimension to really get that [whatever you enjoy] to fit right.

    A Bear on
    [SIGPIC][/SIGPIC]
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    Iceman.USAFIceman.USAF Major East CoastRegistered User regular
    edited July 2010
    I had a Wrangler for a while, and if I needed an SUV I wouldn't hesitate to go the 4-Door Wrangler route. They're awesome, and fun! And you can't stop them, they're 4wd chariots of Hades!

    Iceman.USAF on
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    PerpetualPerpetual Registered User regular
    edited July 2010
    Wezoin wrote: »
    Have you considered the Mitsubishi Outlander? Personally I think it is the best looking SUV on the market, has a sporty feel, plenty of room, and since it's based on the Evo10 (rally car) platform is great offroad and in bad weather conditions.

    Huh, I don't know how that escaped my notice. Reading the review right now and I might add it to my list to test-drive.

    Thanks for the suggestions guys, I really appreciate it. Subaru seems to be the top-pick right now, but like Felix says I think the final decision will come after test driving.

    Perpetual on
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    RuckusRuckus Registered User regular
    edited July 2010
    I bought a GMC Terrain about four months ago, and it's all puppies and candy so far.

    And I transitioned from a Nissan Pathfinder.

    Ruckus on
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    underdonkunderdonk __BANNED USERS regular
    edited July 2010
    My Toyota FJ Cruiser has served me well.

    underdonk on
    Back in the day, bucko, we just had an A and a B button... and we liked it.
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    PerpetualPerpetual Registered User regular
    edited July 2010
    underdonk wrote: »
    My Toyota FJ Cruiser has served me well.

    I test drove one of these today and I really liked it, but it's out of the price range I'm looking at.

    Very stylish car though. Maybe my next one...

    Perpetual on
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    Iceman.USAFIceman.USAF Major East CoastRegistered User regular
    edited July 2010
    Perpetual wrote: »
    underdonk wrote: »
    My Toyota FJ Cruiser has served me well.

    I test drove one of these today and I really liked it, but it's out of the price range I'm looking at.

    Very stylish car though. Maybe my next one...

    What about used? I hate to see people not get the car they really want when they just haven't found the right one.

    Iceman.USAF on
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    underdonkunderdonk __BANNED USERS regular
    edited July 2010
    Perpetual wrote: »
    underdonk wrote: »
    My Toyota FJ Cruiser has served me well.

    I test drove one of these today and I really liked it, but it's out of the price range I'm looking at.

    Very stylish car though. Maybe my next one...

    What about used? I hate to see people not get the car they really want when they just haven't found the right one.

    I'd certainly say go used if you want one... it's a Toyota - not like you'd be buying a used VW. Only bad thing is that the FJ's seem to hold their value better than most other current production vehicles I priced out. I guess it's because every year is supposed to be the last year they're going to build them - it is a halo vehicle after all.

    underdonk on
    Back in the day, bucko, we just had an A and a B button... and we liked it.
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    Iceman.USAFIceman.USAF Major East CoastRegistered User regular
    edited July 2010
    underdonk wrote: »
    Perpetual wrote: »
    underdonk wrote: »
    My Toyota FJ Cruiser has served me well.

    I test drove one of these today and I really liked it, but it's out of the price range I'm looking at.

    Very stylish car though. Maybe my next one...

    What about used? I hate to see people not get the car they really want when they just haven't found the right one.

    I'd certainly say go used if you want one... it's a Toyota - not like you'd be buying a used VW. Only bad thing is that the FJ's seem to hold their value better than most other current production vehicles I priced out. I guess it's because every year is supposed to be the last year they're going to build them - it is a halo vehicle after all.

    Toyota trucks (and most cars) are holding value pretty well right now in general, not just the FJ. Look at prices for a Tacoma or a Camry, for example.

    Iceman.USAF on
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    HeirHeir Ausitn, TXRegistered User regular
    edited July 2010
    underdonk wrote: »
    Perpetual wrote: »
    underdonk wrote: »
    My Toyota FJ Cruiser has served me well.

    I test drove one of these today and I really liked it, but it's out of the price range I'm looking at.

    Very stylish car though. Maybe my next one...

    What about used? I hate to see people not get the car they really want when they just haven't found the right one.

    I'd certainly say go used if you want one... it's a Toyota - not like you'd be buying a used VW. Only bad thing is that the FJ's seem to hold their value better than most other current production vehicles I priced out. I guess it's because every year is supposed to be the last year they're going to build them - it is a halo vehicle after all.

    Toyota trucks (and most cars) are holding value pretty well right now in general, not just the FJ. Look at prices for a Tacoma or a Camry, for example.

    My brother has a FJ while I have a 4Runner. While yes his truck is definitely more of an outdoorsy vehicle, it gets atrocious gas mileage (if that's something to consider for you). My 4Runner (v6) gets around 21 mpg...which isn't great...but isn't terrible. It has plenty of space, is pretty good for camping and hiking excursions, and you can get a used one for a decent price. I got a 2006 a year ago for 13,000.

    Heir on
    camo_sig2.png
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    underdonkunderdonk __BANNED USERS regular
    edited July 2010
    Heir wrote: »
    My brother has a FJ while I have a 4Runner. While yes his truck is definitely more of an outdoorsy vehicle, it gets atrocious gas mileage (if that's something to consider for you). My 4Runner (v6) gets around 21 mpg...which isn't great...but isn't terrible. It has plenty of space, is pretty good for camping and hiking excursions, and you can get a used one for a decent price. I got a 2006 a year ago for 13,000.

    Yeah, this is something that bears mentioning. My FJ is a 2008 6-speed (which is full-time four wheel drive, opposed to the automatic which is not and gets better gas mileage). Combine this with the car-sized gas tank they put on the thing (I think it's 16 gallons) and I can only get about 200 miles between fill-ups in the city and about 250 on the highway.

    underdonk on
    Back in the day, bucko, we just had an A and a B button... and we liked it.
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    illigillig Registered User regular
    edited July 2010
    have you checked out a Honda Element? I just got one (wooo!) and it's a great mini-SUV... if you're concerned about size, it's actually shorter than a Civic :)

    It has a huge side entry (normal front doors + suicide rear half-doors), a large hatch with a flat loading floor, seats that fold up and away very easily, and a rubber floor in case you bring a little of the outdoors back with you

    Out of curiosity, what bad things did you hear about the CR-V? It's a decent car (although it's loud inside compared to a Rav4 for example)

    As for opinions:

    The Forester apparently loves to eat head gaskets apparently, and that's not a cheap fix on a boxer engine. Otherwise it gets great reviews for offroad ability (it has more clearance, and wheel travel than other cars in its class), and mediocre reviews for interior.

    Haven't heard much about the Santa Fe, although if you buy it new, that 10yr/100K warranty should cover anything.

    illig on
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    PerpetualPerpetual Registered User regular
    edited July 2010
    Things I am looking for:

    - has to be a non-american brand
    - has to have very little road noise
    - has to have some great options and features (element has like none, right?)
    - has to have a roof rack pre-installed
    - has to have AWD
    - has to have good acceleration

    I test-drove a Nissan Rogue and it was OK. Rear-visibility was awful, although it made up for it somewhat with rear-view camera (but that only works when you're backing up). Going to drive a Mitsubishi Outlander next weekend.

    Perpetual on
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    SmurphSmurph Registered User regular
    edited July 2010
    I'm just curious, is there a reason you are avoiding the US brands? They keep their value like crap, but that can be a good thing if you buy one used and drive it until the wheels fall off. The unreliable thing is a stereotype and not really true for all models.

    Smurph on
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    RuckusRuckus Registered User regular
    edited July 2010
    And if you say manufacturing quality, I'm going to slap you, because Rogue's are built in Canton, Mississippi.

    Ruckus on
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    PerpetualPerpetual Registered User regular
    edited July 2010
    Ruckus wrote: »
    And if you say manufacturing quality, I'm going to slap you, because Rogue's are built in Canton, Mississippi.

    Manufacturing quality is one thing, but it's also a matter of design. Asian car makers just "get" design, in my opinion. American car makers don't. There are exceptions of course - I like the new Mustang a lot, for instance. But that's neither here nor there.

    Perpetual on
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    IrohIroh Registered User regular
    edited July 2010
    Perpetual wrote: »
    Ruckus wrote: »
    And if you say manufacturing quality, I'm going to slap you, because Rogue's are built in Canton, Mississippi.

    Manufacturing quality is one thing, but it's also a matter of design. Asian car makers just "get" design, in my opinion. American car makers don't. There are exceptions of course - I like the new Mustang a lot, for instance. But that's neither here nor there.
    This is purely a matter of perception nowadays. Dire financial straits for all of the Detroit automakers has forced them to be competitive again in terms of quality design and materials. Unfortunately it's just starting to show in the 2011 model year, so it probably doesn't matter for someone buying right now like yourself. A few months down the road, however, would be a different story.

    Bottom line is that you shouldn't avoid domestics anymore based on things seen previously. Test drive them and then judge.

    Iroh on
    [SIGPIC][/SIGPIC]
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    Dr. FrenchensteinDr. Frenchenstein Registered User regular
    edited July 2010
    I have a Nissan Rogue, it's quite nice. I guess the new models have the backup camera? Mine doesn't. Unless you are thinking of the Murano.

    I don't have the AWD version though, if you are looking for an actual SPORT Utility Vehicle, you should probably look elsewhere. It's got fine acceleration but i wouldn't take it off road even a little bit.

    Dr. Frenchenstein on
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    John MatrixJohn Matrix Registered User regular
    edited July 2010
    Perpetual wrote: »
    Things I am looking for:

    - has to be a non-american brand
    - has to have very little road noise
    - has to have some great options and features (element has like none, right?)
    - has to have a roof rack pre-installed
    - has to have AWD
    - has to have good acceleration

    I test-drove a Nissan Rogue and it was OK. Rear-visibility was awful, although it made up for it somewhat with rear-view camera (but that only works when you're backing up). Going to drive a Mitsubishi Outlander next weekend.

    It has to be the Subaru Outback. I don't know if you're familiar with car shows and magazines, but Top Gear voted it their car of the year in 2007, and it is one of only three vehicles that all the hosts can agree upon loving. It also just won Motor Trend magazines Sport/Utility of the Year Award for 2010.

    But because it's not an SUV, it actually meets every one of your requirements better than an SUV. The handling, acceleration, and ride noise of a road car, but it has Subaru's excellent AWD, a higher ride height for rough/dirt roads, and has a roof-rack. Finally, it actually has more cargo room than the Forrester.

    Be honest with yourself about your "outdoorsy" activities, do you really need an SUV? Please, please don't be one of those people who buy a big SUV just because you drive up a lane that sometimes has grass clippings and leaves on it. ;-) No offense intended there.

    No I don't work for Subaru, but you should seriously examine the Outback. For the money, reliability, performance, capabilities, and features - you really can't beat it.

    John Matrix on
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    jefe414jefe414 "My Other Drill Hole is a Teleporter" Mechagodzilla is Best GodzillaRegistered User regular
    edited July 2010
    Perpetual wrote: »
    Things I am looking for:

    - has to be a non-american brand
    - has to have very little road noise
    - has to have some great options and features (element has like none, right?)
    - has to have a roof rack pre-installed
    - has to have AWD
    - has to have good acceleration

    I test-drove a Nissan Rogue and it was OK. Rear-visibility was awful, although it made up for it somewhat with rear-view camera (but that only works when you're backing up). Going to drive a Mitsubishi Outlander next weekend.

    I drive a Nissan Xterra off road. There was a thread on here where someone also had one and recommended it to someone looking for a SUV. To your points above:
    - It is non-American
    - Road noise: The all terrain ones I had on my 2006 were quiet, the off-road ones I have on my 2010 aren't
    - What do you mean by great options? Rear locking dif? KC lights? Fog lights? Awesome stereo? Then yes.
    - Roof rack is standard AND the rear seats can be used as flotation devices in case of a water landing (I'm not kidding)
    - 4WD
    - Acceleration is good.
    Have to get it in a manual or you suck (J/K - sort of)

    jefe414 on
    Xbox Live: Jefe414
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    FatsFats Corvallis, ORRegistered User regular
    edited July 2010
    Iroh wrote: »
    Bottom line is that you shouldn't avoid domestics anymore based on things seen previously. Test drive them and then judge.

    The truck and SUV lines never really had the issues that the car lines had, anyway.

    Fats on
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    GungHoGungHo Registered User regular
    edited July 2010
    There are several people here at work who have Nissan Rogues and they speak of them highly. There are also some who have Subaru Foresters, but it's hard to make any inference out of that... Subaru ownership is cultish around here.

    GungHo on
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    dispatch.odispatch.o Registered User regular
    edited July 2010
    Perpetual wrote: »
    Things I am looking for:

    - has to be a non-american brand
    - has to have very little road noise
    - has to have some great options and features (element has like none, right?)
    - has to have a roof rack pre-installed
    - has to have AWD
    - has to have good acceleration

    I test-drove a Nissan Rogue and it was OK. Rear-visibility was awful, although it made up for it somewhat with rear-view camera (but that only works when you're backing up). Going to drive a Mitsubishi Outlander next weekend.

    I have a Santa Fe (2002). It comes standard with a car alarm. It's got 120,000 miles, runs like a champ and can actually move very quickly when it needs to.

    dispatch.o on
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    HeirHeir Ausitn, TXRegistered User regular
    edited July 2010
    Perpetual wrote: »
    Things I am looking for:

    - has to be a non-american brand
    - has to have very little road noise
    - has to have some great options and features (element has like none, right?)
    - has to have a roof rack pre-installed
    - has to have AWD
    - has to have good acceleration

    I test-drove a Nissan Rogue and it was OK. Rear-visibility was awful, although it made up for it somewhat with rear-view camera (but that only works when you're backing up). Going to drive a Mitsubishi Outlander next weekend.

    I would go with a used v6 4Runner then. Mine has all of what you're asking (I have a 2006). It's a smooth ride, good acceleration, comfy, roof rack (at least mine does), 4WD, and the features aren't too bad (heck mine has an audio in jack for my ipod).

    Heir on
    camo_sig2.png
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    RayzeRayze Registered User regular
    edited July 2010
    My boyfriend has a Subaru Forrester. Good car, able to carry a lot and it has pep. More than I like but it's what you're looking for

    Rayze on
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    wmelonwmelon Registered User regular
    edited July 2010
    Perpetual wrote: »
    Things I am looking for:

    - has to be a non-american brand
    - has to have very little road noise
    - has to have some great options and features (element has like none, right?)
    - has to have a roof rack pre-installed
    - has to have AWD
    - has to have good acceleration

    I test-drove a Nissan Rogue and it was OK. Rear-visibility was awful, although it made up for it somewhat with rear-view camera (but that only works when you're backing up). Going to drive a Mitsubishi Outlander next weekend.

    Aside from the non-american brand requirement, your requirements are just screaming Ford Escape. Would you consider it's sister vehicle the Mazda Tribute? It doesn't get all the fancy features that the Escape gets, like Sync, but it's a solid cute-ute with real usability.

    wmelon on
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    ScalfinScalfin __BANNED USERS regular
    edited July 2010
    Fats wrote: »
    Iroh wrote: »
    Bottom line is that you shouldn't avoid domestics anymore based on things seen previously. Test drive them and then judge.

    The truck and SUV lines never really had the issues that the car lines had, anyway.

    That's probably because both have been manufacturing those classes for the same amount of time. The foreign manufacturers tend to be really tight because they tend to expand regional lines that they've been refining for the past few decades while American manufacturers have to start from scratch. America happens to be the oversized behemoth region, so all the foreign lines are already here.

    My family has an old first-year Honda CRV. It hasn't been the same since the tree fell on it.

    Scalfin on
    [SIGPIC][/SIGPIC]
    The rest of you, I fucking hate you for the fact that I now have a blue dot on this god awful thread.
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    jefe414jefe414 "My Other Drill Hole is a Teleporter" Mechagodzilla is Best GodzillaRegistered User regular
    edited July 2010
    Does the transmission matter? I only drive standards because I love off-roading and, well, I don't like automatics. If that is a requirement, your options drop down to almost nothing (Xterra and FJ pretty much).

    jefe414 on
    Xbox Live: Jefe414
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    Donovan PuppyfuckerDonovan Puppyfucker A dagger in the dark is worth a thousand swords in the morningRegistered User regular
    edited July 2010
    You know what's a damn shame?

    America doesn't get the Subaru Outback in a diesel.

    30.5 MPG city, 42 MPG highway.

    A damn shame...

    Donovan Puppyfucker on
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    FatsFats Corvallis, ORRegistered User regular
    edited July 2010
    You know what's a damn shame?

    America doesn't get the Subaru Outback in a diesel.

    30.5 MPG city, 42 MPG highway.

    A damn shame...

    We don't get diesels in anything, unfortunately. I'd love a little 2 or 3 liter turbocharged lump in my Ranger.

    Fats on
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    DjeetDjeet Registered User regular
    edited July 2010
    Sure we do, only they're all either pickups, german sedans/wagons, or the sprinter. They also command about a $6K premium over their gasoline counterparts.

    Djeet on
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    Donovan PuppyfuckerDonovan Puppyfucker A dagger in the dark is worth a thousand swords in the morningRegistered User regular
    edited July 2010
    Fats wrote: »
    You know what's a damn shame?

    America doesn't get the Subaru Outback in a diesel.

    30.5 MPG city, 42 MPG highway.

    A damn shame...

    We don't get diesels in anything, unfortunately. I'd love a little 2 or 3 liter turbocharged lump in my Ranger.

    Ford Ranger ute?


    They have two choices of diesel in Australia. They don't come in petrol variants here...

    Donovan Puppyfucker on
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    PheezerPheezer Registered User, ClubPA regular
    edited July 2010
    I've never driven the Santa Fe, but I'll tell you that of everything I've ever bought, I still feel that one of the best purchases I ever made was an '04 Elantra GT. It's never given me an ounce of trouble and it came with better equipment at a lower price than anything else. The resale isn't great, but that's less true of newer models.

    It's worth repeating: There's only one car company that Toyota considers a strategic threat and it's Hyundai. They figured out the quality game, and they can undercut on price and pull a profit. The only thing they don't have yet is positive name recognition, but it's getting closer every day.

    They make great vehicles with some of the best quality and value you can find in the market. You'd be a sucker not to at least give it a test drive.


    At the end of the day, it's all about which car you're happiest with once you've driven it. That's the only way you'll avoid buyer's remorse. But at least try the Santa Fe, if for no other reason than to prove to yourself that it wasn't the one for you.

    Also, if you really want a rad small SUV, I'd also give the Kia Soul a test drive. Again, not the best resale, but incredible value for the price, solid reliability (they're Hyundais now), and a very different looking vehicle. Just go drive one. It won't hurt.

    Pheezer on
    IT'S GOT ME REACHING IN MY POCKET IT'S GOT ME FORKING OVER CASH
    CUZ THERE'S SOMETHING IN THE MIDDLE AND IT'S GIVING ME A RASH
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    PerpetualPerpetual Registered User regular
    edited July 2010
    Pheezer wrote: »
    I've never driven the Santa Fe, but I'll tell you that of everything I've ever bought, I still feel that one of the best purchases I ever made was an '04 Elantra GT. It's never given me an ounce of trouble and it came with better equipment at a lower price than anything else. The resale isn't great, but that's less true of newer models.

    It's worth repeating: There's only one car company that Toyota considers a strategic threat and it's Hyundai. They figured out the quality game, and they can undercut on price and pull a profit. The only thing they don't have yet is positive name recognition, but it's getting closer every day.

    They make great vehicles with some of the best quality and value you can find in the market. You'd be a sucker not to at least give it a test drive.


    At the end of the day, it's all about which car you're happiest with once you've driven it. That's the only way you'll avoid buyer's remorse. But at least try the Santa Fe, if for no other reason than to prove to yourself that it wasn't the one for you.

    Also, if you really want a rad small SUV, I'd also give the Kia Soul a test drive. Again, not the best resale, but incredible value for the price, solid reliability (they're Hyundais now), and a very different looking vehicle. Just go drive one. It won't hurt.

    Thanks, I'll try the Santa Fe.

    Kia Soul does not have AWD unfortunately.

    Perpetual on
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    Donovan PuppyfuckerDonovan Puppyfucker A dagger in the dark is worth a thousand swords in the morningRegistered User regular
    edited July 2010
    Also the Kia Soul drives like crap. Remember old Hyundais, 15 years ago? Very little steering 'feel', engines felt like they were struggling all the time etc. etc. etc.

    Donovan Puppyfucker on
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