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  1. #1
    Join Date
    May 2006
    Location
    Hillsboro, OR
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    5,023

    Vehicle shopping...need opinions

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    We are a couple of weeks away from closing on our farm, so we will no longer need the pickup with camper to haul hay, animals, etc. It's overkill for our needs now and even though it is paid for, it gets lousy mileage and it's really inconvenient. It a model that is very much in demand right now, so we will get more for it than what we bought it for (not counting all the work we put into it, of course).

    We are thinking about a new car. We want something that will fit three large dogs in the cargo area with the seat still up, gets decent mileage and has AWD. Decent clearance for mountain/dirt/gravel/potholed/rutted roads would be a plus. Other than that, we don't really care about fancy features like Navigation, heated seats or rain sensing wipers. We have a newer MINI Cooper Clubman that is set up with a heavy duty roof rack to carry sea kayaks and bikes, so we don't really have to worry about that either.

    The new car will be primarily for transporting dogs (sometimes dirty ones!), towing a light dirt bike trailer and carting hiking gear and possibly additional hikers on trips. The MINI is also our daily driver, so this one won't rack up the miles either.

    We have narrowed it down based on price, MPG, horsepower, reviews and cargo space to the following 4 vehicles (prices are approx):

    Ford Escape Titanium I4 - AWD with towing package - 21/28 MPG - $32K
    Subaru XV Crosstrek 2.0i Limited - AWD - 25/33 MPG - $27K
    VW Tiguan 2.0T SEL $Motion - AWD w/ towing - 20/26 MPG - $37K
    Mazda CX-5 Grand Touring - AWD 25/31 MPG - $29K

    Anyone have any experience with any of these four vehicles and care to offer an opinion?

    We've only driven the Ford so far, and we were surprised at how much we both liked it. It is my least favorite in terms of exterior looks, but I can get over that if it ends up being the best choice for us. We hope to drive the other three this coming week/weekend.

    Thanks!
    My new non-farm blog: Finding Freedom

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2008
    Posts
    2,704
    Isn't the Crosstrek built on the Impreza platform? We can barely fit one large dog (80 pounds) in the cargo area of our Impreza Sport Premium. (Sorry to sound like a party pooper...)

    There was a really good discussion about the Crosstrek on the forums at MTBR.com if you're looking for more feedback.

    Good luck with the car search!

  3. #3
    Join Date
    May 2006
    Location
    Hillsboro, OR
    Posts
    5,023
    Becky - you are right! It's the Impreza but with more ground clearance. Hmmm, we only liked it better than the Forester for the better MPG, but yeah, the cargo space might be an issue. Thanks for pointing that out.

    Though, I should clarify, when I say 'fit all three big dogs in there with the seat up", I mean for super short trips like to the vet or the dog park. For longer trips, we'll put the seat down for them of course! ;-)
    My new non-farm blog: Finding Freedom

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Nov 2005
    Location
    Between the Blue Ridge and the Chesapeake Bay
    Posts
    5,203
    Any reason you are not looking at a Subaru Forester or Outback? Or a Honda Fit?

  5. #5
    Join Date
    May 2006
    Location
    Hillsboro, OR
    Posts
    5,023
    Tulip - we originally ruled out the Forester and the Outback in favor of the XV Crosstrek just because their MPG is so much worse. If we look at the Crosstrek in person and see that it is too small, we may consider one of the others.

    The Fit is too small and really, too close to the ground. I don't think it offers anything different than what we have in our Clubman (which we will be keeping).
    My new non-farm blog: Finding Freedom

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Nov 2005
    Location
    Between the Blue Ridge and the Chesapeake Bay
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    5,203
    Quote Originally Posted by GLC1968 View Post
    Tulip - we originally ruled out the Forester and the Outback in favor of the XV Crosstrek just because their MPG is so much worse. If we look at the Crosstrek in person and see that it is too small, we may consider one of the others.

    The Fit is too small and really, too close to the ground. I don't think it offers anything different than what we have in our Clubman (which we will be keeping).
    Oh, right, the Fit isn't AWD either. I'm partial to the Audi A3 Sportwagon, but I don't think I'd want to get it muddy...

  7. #7
    Join Date
    May 2006
    Location
    Hillsboro, OR
    Posts
    5,023
    I think we are also going to look at the Honda CR-V as well.

    We've owned 4 different Toyota's since we got married and we weren't enough impressed with any of them to want another one so we have ruled out the RAV-4. Besides, it's up for a redesign anyway.
    My new non-farm blog: Finding Freedom

  8. #8
    Join Date
    May 2006
    Location
    Hillsboro, OR
    Posts
    5,023
    Quote Originally Posted by tulip View Post
    Oh, right, the Fit isn't AWD either. I'm partial to the Audi A3 Sportwagon, but I don't think I'd want to get it muddy...
    Oh, yeah...I'm drooling over the Audi Q5 but we can't justify the price tag when it really is just our secondary car. Plus, I'd be terrified to take it on gravel roads...it might get dinged!
    My new non-farm blog: Finding Freedom

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
    Location
    Marin County CA
    Posts
    5,936
    We were just looking at those and ruled out the crosstrek because it was too small for our dogs (two 90 pounders). I think the A3 would be too small as well. The Escape wasn't flashy, but it did meet all our other needs - we had similar ambivalence as you seem to about the looks. The Tiguan seemed a little small as well, but would probably be my top choice of the ones you listed.

    We ended up with a Jetta sportwagon TDI which we LOVE (28k). The diesel gets great MPG (40), but it isn't AWD, which is the one bummer about it.

    I'm actually intrigued by the brand new BMW X1 which comes in AWD and the smaller engine gets great MPG. We looked at it for fun, and the rear is definitely large enough for dogs. It's more $ than the ones you listed, but not as much as I would have thought - I think you can do it for low 40k.
    Sarah

    When it's easy, ride hard; when it's hard, ride easy.


    2011 Volagi Liscio
    2010 Pegoretti Love #3 "Manovelo"
    2011 Mercian Vincitore Special
    2003 Eddy Merckx Team SC - stolen
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  10. #10
    Join Date
    May 2006
    Location
    Hillsboro, OR
    Posts
    5,023
    We hadn't considered the Jetta sportwagon because good friends of ours have one and we don't want to be copy-cats. ;-) Actually, perhaps we will. Our closest Mazda dealer is also a VW dealer, so we will definitely do some looking around when we are there!

    Off to investigate the BMW - maybe we can get a deal since we bought our MINI there?! ;-)
    Last edited by GLC1968; 04-02-2013 at 03:43 PM.
    My new non-farm blog: Finding Freedom

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Feb 2005
    Location
    Concord, MA
    Posts
    13,394
    GLC, I was seriously considering the A3 wagon, to replace my BMW 325X sedan. I could fit my (small sized) bike in the back of that, with the seats down, but it was a bit of a pain. So, we went to the dealer, where we get a special deal as DH's company supplies the software to help build Audi. I drove the A3 and the A4 wagon. While I liked the A3, it didn't feel that great to drive. But, the clincher was, they are not making them after 2012/13 and I didn't want to buy a car that was no longer being made. It also had a tiny rear space, not much bigger than the small sedan I had. The A4 wagon drove just like my BMW and has a huge rear space when the seats are down. We got a great deal and I bought it.
    So, it's been almost a year and my take is that it drives awesomely and the AWD works well on the steep hills I need to get up in the snow. But, there's some things about the way the car fits me I hate. Almost all of these things are in all new cars, especially luxury cars. The side panels obstruct my vision because I am short (extra space for the side air bags), and I gave myself a permanent lump on my forehead and 2 months of whiplash when I opened the door into my head, because the door is so much bigger than what I am used to. And, I can't remember how to operate half of the normal stuff, like the radio and the temperature controls, as it is so weird and unintuitive. I've been told all new cars have this stuff, but I wonder if Japanese cars are different.
    The car rides fine and my bike has lots of room in the rear. The gas mileage is OK. I had my BMW for 10 years and I do not think I will keep this car that long.... probably 5 years, as I drive so much now because of my job. So, whatever you get, take it for a long test drive. I made a big mistake.
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  12. #12
    Join Date
    Aug 2005
    Posts
    4,516
    MP - I didn't know you had a sportwagen too?? Funny!

    Another vote for the TDI Sportwagen. I'm perfectly happy with mine. It's fun to drive, and I really love the range (great mileage + big tank = 450 miles between fill-ups routinely). Don't know about ground clearance, but haven't run into an issue with it. I will say I took my FWD Golf a lot of places it probably shouldn't have gone without a problem. It's definitely higher off the ground than something like a Fit.
    Most days in life don't stand out, But life's about those days that will...

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Nov 2002
    Location
    the dry side
    Posts
    4,367
    Honda FIT is really an entry level car, especially with some of the other brands and styles being kicked around here. When I test drove one it was noisy as hell, and there really weren't any decent upgrades. I think it even had roll up windows.

    Mazda will give you a lot of nice features for less money than a Beemer.
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  14. #14
    Join Date
    May 2006
    Location
    Hillsboro, OR
    Posts
    5,023
    OK, I've been doing some comparisons. One of the main reasons for this new car is to allow my husband to tow his dual sport motorcycle on a light trailer instead of having to put it in the back of a truck bed. None of the sport wagons have available tow hitches, so they are out. I've seen the back of the VW sportwagon and I don't recall it being tall enough for Sara (our ridiculously tall and lanky Giant Schnoodle), so that just adds to the decision (and one of the reasons we are considering SUV's).

    The X1 looks very cool and with the options we'd want, would still be in our price range, but it also doesn't have a tow hitch as an option, so it's out too.

    That leaves us with the Escape, the CX-5, the CR-V, the Tiguan and a Subaru of some sort. Decisions, decisions!
    (Good thing I enjoy car shopping!)
    My new non-farm blog: Finding Freedom

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
    Location
    Marin County CA
    Posts
    5,936
    Quote Originally Posted by GLC1968 View Post
    We hadn't considered the Jetta sportwagon because good friends of ours has one and we don't want to be copy-cats. ;-) Actually, perhaps we will. Our closest Mazda dealer is also a VW dealer, so we will definitely do some looking around when we are there!

    Off to investigate the BMW - maybe we can get a deal since we bought our MINI there?! ;-)
    You need to look at the smaller engine BMW X1 that's AWD - there are a BUNCH of different versions, but the smaller engine one is cheaper and gets better MPG and I bet you anything that it's got plenty of power. It gets 30's MPG which is decent for a car that size. Dealer loyalty!!!

    Quote Originally Posted by Blueberry View Post
    MP - I didn't know you had a sportwagen too?? Funny!

    Another vote for the TDI Sportwagen. I'm perfectly happy with mine. It's fun to drive, and I really love the range (great mileage + big tank = 450 miles between fill-ups routinely). Don't know about ground clearance, but haven't run into an issue with it. I will say I took my FWD Golf a lot of places it probably shouldn't have gone without a problem. It's definitely higher off the ground than something like a Fit.
    Funny! Yeah we got it in December. Em had been driving DH's old Audi S4 which had over 200,000 miles on it and the (original) clutch was starting to go. We wanted her to have something safe that could also double as a family/dog vacation car. It's great. So many bells and whistles for a car in that price range.

    The lack of AWD is the only bummer, as putting chains on in the snow isn't fun. It really depends on how much time you think you will be spending in the snow. We spent the Christmas/New Year holiday week in the snow, and ended up leaving the chains on for most of the time. I'd have no worries about taking it on dirt roads, etc. The clearance is good.
    Sarah

    When it's easy, ride hard; when it's hard, ride easy.


    2011 Volagi Liscio
    2010 Pegoretti Love #3 "Manovelo"
    2011 Mercian Vincitore Special
    2003 Eddy Merckx Team SC - stolen
    2001 Colnago Ovalmaster Stars and Stripes

 

 

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