regfootball

RAV4 rental review

34 posts in this topic

SO, I got blessed with a RAV4 for a couple days on a work trip.

I was in no mood to try and negotiate what I really wanted this trip with all sorts of folks queued up at the rental joint, so I just let fate cast its ugly hand.

OMG, the irony. Me forced into a hoyotha. And a p*$$y ute nonetheless.

Well, let's just say I ain't buyin one by any stretch. And believe or not, this was one of the only Toyota's I've been ok with saying 'class leader' and 'I am fine with it'.

Just remember folks, try before you buy........

(more to come)

Edited by regfootball
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WHAT???? A Toyota that is not what we read in the magazine??????

Are you sure you are not anti-Toyota biased?

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Ok, first off, I am not against the notion of cute utes. But the style and aura of many of the entrants into this class, quite honestly, are either feminine or sexless vehicles. After driving this thing, I am guessing many of the buyers are, too.

I actually have driven quite a few crossovers, but not all of them in this smaller class. I have driven enough to know that the cute utes, feeling more smallish and carlike, are desirable by women because they are more managable and intimate than bigger SUV's.

But this smallness makes things like this RAV4 feel more like a bloated hatchback than any kind of truck. This is where I will note that in the past, I never felt the old Saturn Vue (which I test drove like 4 different times) had that sort of androgynous personality. The Old Vue felt like a truck to me, but I can plainly see the new Vue was morphed to be more like vehicles like the Rav4 and Honda's popular Crawling Recreational Vehicle.

In essence, these vehicles have an oddball feel to them that I am not sure I like. You sit more upright, but at the same time, the vehicle does not really have a wide truckish stable feel. You really get no glimpse of the hood out the drivers window.

So, if you think you like cute utes, go drive one and see if it's your cup of tea.

Ok, so, current gen RAV4, 22k miles on the odo, 4 cylinder AWD. Cloth. Aplliance white.

So specifically I will start out with the interior.

Edited by regfootball
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it was a tan cloth interior. in the past i have not been critical of the RAV4's cabin. I have sat in it and it has appeared pleasant if a bit odd with the way the center stack juts out and with its bizarre shaping. A design element I think is nice is the exaggerated door pulls on each door, very stylized and substantial feeling. The door panels had a nice design.

The center stack and console I determined I just did not like or agree with. The location of the radio and climate controls are fine. However, the radio has that same ugly generic asian look you see in many cars, with cheap looking face panel and buttons. But that was not as offensive as the climate controls. Arranged in three round pods or stations, one would think they may put twist controls there. Um, no, that would be logical. Instead, they broke the parts up into loose fitting and cheap feeling buttons, all of which needed you to take your eyes off the road to even have a chance of picking up on the mode of operation. Accompanying this dizzy cluster---k of nonsensical, non tactile buttons was a cheesy cheap display that was tough to read, especially in bright daylight.

Moving down, the cupholders occupy the spot in front of the shifter. In this vehicle it seems to be ok although I did not have a big gulp with to verify if you bang your knees on it. The cupholders were nothing special and maybe did not seem very secure, but certainly they seemed to invite big drinks into the cabin. I really have grown to like the cupholders to the side of the shifter like in my 500, but I would guess many buyers would be ok with this arrangement. The shifter itself was thin and cheap with an oddly shaped knob. The action of the shifter was an odd gated pattern which I thought was overkill for this vehicle. And it must be a 4 speed auto. Next to the D was the number 3. Altogether i felt the shift pattern was bizarre. The armrest was a bit smaller than I would like. I did not open the storage area under the armrest but I will assume it was ok.

There is cool sliding door on the second storage bin on the passenger side. Kind of an extra storage spot, that doesn't hold much, but the sliding action was somewhat slicker than I expected and for those looking for more cubbies it is useful. I don't recall significant storage in the doors.

So, I am seated now and looking at things directly in front of me. The 3 spoke typical Toyota steering wheel. I'll be honest with you, it looked kind of cheap. It had leather on it, which felt ok, and it was a nice size....but the controls built into it were cheesy and the plastic was cheap and glossy. There was very little range of height adjustment so I did the best I could to get it high enough to be usable but not block the gauges.....but the gauges are still way too low and have a cheap cartoonish korean feel to them. Plus, they are small. Give Honda credit, they do know how to make gauges that work. The gauges in this thing are last gen Hyundai. I felt the stalks off the side of the SW were in odd spots as well.

What really pissed me off was hunting for the power mirror controls. took forever to find! The had thembetween the shifter and the armrest in the CENTER CONSOLE! Not on the door AS GOD INTENDED.

The seats themselves, nicely firm, ok, maybe overly so. But what bothered me was the overshaping of them. They were not shaped for me, they try to contour them for each leg seemingly and all that jazz. Just a simple bottom cushion with some side bolstering is all that's needed. They try to creat a race seat or something and get it wrong. The backrest was supportive but again shaped wrong. I was at least able to adjust the depth and height and backrest to make it usable. Also, it had a power adjuster that worked well. The cabin also had easy ingress and egress for such a small vehicle and shoulder and hip room were good for this class of vehicle. Headroom too.

The rear seats appeared to have decent legroom and a supportive cushion, but the seat bottom seemed low. I did not try but if i recall the backrests recline in the rear of this RAV4 as well.

The trunk is what I really found disappointing. Very small. This unit in particular was very dirty and beat up in the back and maybe suggested to me cheap materials showing premature wear. And this leads to one of the biggest problems on this vehicle....the ridiculous rear door with the tire thing. It's awkward to open, has no key or unlock on the door itself, and is not sturdy. It shakes badly when closed and makes an awful slamming noise that i used to think only car doors from cheap 70's cars did. The glass panel above the door i think was frameless which is ridiculous if that's the case, it shook and flopped around making you think you'd easily shatter it at some point if you owned the rig.

The cheapness, sloppiness, and terrible function of that rear door alone is enough for me to not recommend this vehicle to anyone.

Another note.....the interior assembly quality of pieces is ok, and the plastics are low gloss, but they are hard to the touch and cheap looking once you fix on them. Certainly not any better than the Kia Sportage I had once for a rental. We are not talking bottom of the barrel Chrysler plastics here, but simply not that great. Nothing worth the mags praising at all. Al the interior trim seemed hard, cheap and insubstantial.

Overall, a very Korean aura to the interior. Lots of cost cutting must have went on. And its all weird shapes and forms. The new Vue's interior is much more agreeable.

I'll just capsule the ride and drive part tonight and expand on that tomorrow.

Driving it was ok, decent four cylinder power, certainly most folks would be happy with it. A few times, it would not kick down and it would bog down when i gave it hard gas. Lots of hesitation. Steering has a nice light touch and feel, but not much feedback. You don't really get any sense of what is going on on the road below. The ride was stiffer than I expected, I felt too noisy and stiff for a chick car. But I could see where it has a plain sedan feel to it. Shifting was quiet but the 4 cylinder had a buzz and drone to it that even though was slightly muffled, was rather annoying. The most troubling and annoying thing was all the engine vibration through the floor and the seat and such, especially idling in gear at a light. BUZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZ. DRONEEEEEEEEEEE. Refined? NO. then with the air on, the damn thing had trouble idling at times at the stoplight. Sad. And the whole vehicle felt insubstantial and light. Too light. Not secure and planted like the Edge.

Well, that's about it. I used to think this thing was a class leader, and maybe its better with the 6, but no way in hell do I spend money on this overgrown comact car that lacks finesse and finishing and any sense of class or luxury. This must be why the crawling recreational vehicle outsells it or something. I am going to have to drive the new Vue and Equinox now. To me, packaging and solidity wise, both those GM entrants would be more desirable. Anyone looking at the RAV4 at least needs to look at the Vue. I might be keen on a Torrent GXP if i was shopping this class.

All that is happening here is this. In the 90's the camry and accord dumbed down the larger more solid sedans into something tinnier and cheesier and cheaper in a form that women liked because it was smaller and lighter and more their scale. The cute utes is doing that now with SUV's. Turn them into small light tin cans that women feel comfortable drivng because they are nimbler and more manageable but at the same time they lose their stoutness and a bunch or real utility. JMO.

Edited by regfootball
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it was a tan cloth interior. in the past i have not been critical of the RAV4's cabin. I have sat in it and it has appeared pleasant if a bit odd with the way the center stack juts out and with its bizarre shaping. A design element I think is nice is the exaggerated door pulls on each door, very stylized and substantial feeling. The door panels had a nice design.

The center stack and console I determined I just did not like or agree with. The location of the radio and climate controls are fine. However, the radio has that same ugly generic asian look you see in many cars, with cheap looking face panel and buttons. But that was not as offensive as the climate controls. Arranged in three round pods or stations, one would think they may put twist controls there. Um, no, that would be logical. Instead, they broke the parts up into loose fitting and cheap feeling buttons, all of which needed you to take your eyes off the road to even have a chance of picking up on the mode of operation. Accompanying this dizzy cluster---k of nonsensical, non tactile buttons was a cheesy cheap display that was tough to read, especially in bright daylight.

Moving down, the cupholders occupy the spot in front of the shifter. In this vehicle it seems to be ok although I did not have a big gulp with to verify if you bang your knees on it. The cupholders were nothing special and maybe did not seem very secure, but certainly they seemed to invite big drinks into the cabin. I really have grown to like the cupholders to the side of the shifter like in my 500, but I would guess many buyers would be ok with this arrangement. The shifter itself was thin and cheap with an oddly shaped knob. The action of the shifter was an odd gated pattern which I thought was overkill for this vehicle. And it must be a 4 speed auto. Next to the D was the number 3. Altogether i felt the shift pattern was bizarre. The armrest was a bit smaller than I would like. I did not open the storage area under the armrest but I will assume it was ok.

There is cool sliding door on the second storage bin on the passenger side. Kind of an extra storage spot, that doesn't hold much, but the sliding action was somewhat slicker than I expected and for those looking for more cubbies it is useful. I don't recall significant storage in the doors.

So, I am seated now and looking at things directly in front of me. The 3 spoke typical Toyota steering wheel. I'll be honest with you, it looked kind of cheap. It had leather on it, which felt ok, and it was a nice size....but the controls built into it were cheesy and the plastic was cheap and glossy. There was very little range of height adjustment so I did the best I could to get it high enough to be usable but not block the gauges.....but the gauges are still way too low and have a cheap cartoonish korean feel to them. Plus, they are small. Give Honda credit, they do know how to make gauges that work. The gauges in this thing are last gen Hyundai. I felt the stalks off the side of the SW were in odd spots as well.

What really pissed me off was hunting for the power mirror controls. took forever to find! The had thembetween the shifter and the armrest in the CENTER CONSOLE! Not on the door AS GOD INTENDED.

The seats themselves, nicely firm, ok, maybe overly so. But what bothered me was the overshaping of them. They were not shaped for me, they try to contour them for each leg seemingly and all that jazz. Just a simple bottom cushion with some side bolstering is all that's needed. They try to creat a race seat or something and get it wrong. The backrest was supportive but again shaped wrong. I was at least able to adjust the depth and height and backrest to make it usable. Also, it had a power adjuster that worked well. The cabin also had easy ingress and egress for such a small vehicle and shoulder and hip room were good for this class of vehicle. Headroom too.

The rear seats appeared to have decent legroom and a supportive cushion, but the seat bottom seemed low. I did not try but if i recall the backrests recline in the rear of this RAV4 as well.

The trunk is what I really found disappointing. Very small. This unit in particular was very dirty and beat up in the back and maybe suggested to me cheap materials showing premature wear. And this leads to one of the biggest problems on this vehicle....the ridiculous rear door with the tire thing. It's awkward to open, has no key or unlock on the door itself, and is not sturdy. It shakes badly when closed and makes an awful slamming noise that i used to think only car doors from cheap 70's cars did. The glass panel above the door i think was frameless which is ridiculous if that's the case, it shook and flopped around making you think you'd easily shatter it at some point if you owned the rig.

The cheapness, sloppiness, and terrible function of that rear door alone is enough for me to not recommend this vehicle to anyone.

Another note.....the interior assembly quality of pieces is ok, and the plastics are low gloss, but they are hard to the touch and cheap looking once you fix on them. Certainly not any better than the Kia Sportage I had once for a rental. We are not talking bottom of the barrel Chrysler plastics here, but simply not that great. Nothing worth the mags praising at all. Al the interior trim seemed hard, cheap and insubstantial.

Overall, a very Korean aura to the interior. Lots of cost cutting must have went on. And its all weird shapes and forms. The new Vue's interior is much more agreeable.

I'll just capsule the ride and drive part tonight and expand on that tomorrow.

Driving it was ok, decent four cylinder power, certainly most folks would be happy with it. A few times, it would not kick down and it would bog down when i gave it hard gas. Lots of hesitation. Steering has a nice light touch and feel, but not much feedback. You don't really get any sense of what is going on on the road below. The ride was stiffer than I expected, I felt too noisy and stiff for a chick car. But I could see where it has a plain sedan feel to it. Shifting was quiet but the 4 cylinder had a buzz and drone to it that even though was slightly muffled, was rather annoying. The most troubling and annoying thing was all the engine vibration through the floor and the seat and such, especially idling in gear at a light. BUZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZ. DRONEEEEEEEEEEE. Refined? NO. then with the air on, the damn thing had trouble idling at times at the stoplight. Sad. And the whole vehicle felt insubstantial and light. Too light. Not secure and planted like the Edge.

Well, that's about it. I used to think this thing was a class leader, and maybe its better with the 6, but no way in hell do I spend money on this overgrown comact car that lacks finesse and finishing and any sense of class or luxury. This must be why the crawling recreational vehicle outsells it or something. I am going to have to drive the new Vue and Equinox now. To me, packaging and solidity wise, both those GM entrants would be more desirable. Anyone looking at the RAV4 at least needs to look at the Vue. I might be keen on a Torrent GXP if i was shopping this class.

All that is happening here is this. In the 90's the camry and accord dumbed down the larger more solid sedans into something tinnier and cheesier and cheaper in a form that women liked because it was smaller and lighter and more their scale. The cute utes is doing that now with SUV's. Turn them into small light tin cans that women feel comfortable drivng because they are nimbler and more manageable but at the same time they lose their stoutness and a bunch or real utility. JMO.

The whole cute-ute class is like this...the CRV and new VUE are nicer inside, but these vehicles have become replacements for compact/midsize sedans and people coming out of 'real' trucks so the expectations are not that high.

I can't stand any vehicle with its tire on the rear door. Too many light bumps result in shattered rear glass. But I can't find solace in the Equinox, which is awkward, inefficient and built with some glaringly substandard materials as well. The video game steering is what would make me completely avoid the nox/torrent twins.

I tell anyone shopping this class of vehicle to think about a CPO wagon for a similar monthly payment...get the warranty protection of a new vehicle and drive a car, rather than an econobox on stilts.

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you are right in what you say about this class of vehicle replacing sedans.

here is my beef. the cargo area in this thing was not great. taller, sure. But the trunk in my 500 holds way more than the trunk in this thing.

vehicles like the grand cherokee and blazers and explorers and such at least have an identity to them and have some sort of masculine feel. Not the androgyny or femininity of a lot of these crossovers. A the edge has a much more substantial road feel.

Now i get that those vehicles cost more.

I think to me, a Mazda6 hatch or wagon would be as fucntionally useful as one of these RAV4's. I know the previous Vue actually had a very usable cargo area.

I read the story on the HHR SS yesterday. That would even be something I would take over this RAV4.

The only reason I mentioned the equinox / Torrent was because of the available 3.6 package and sport handling.

Actually, now that I think about it, the Suzuki products here would hold some interest to me. The Grand Vitara has a nicer interior, even if its powertrain is not great. And the GV has better off road capability. The XL7 provides the 3.6 and usuable cargo room in a package that is not much bigger than the RAV4 and also is probably cheaper to buy.

I do like the Outlander in this segment too, although it has some of the androgyny of the CRV and RAV4. The Escape is old but does have the truckish feel.

I like the CX-7 because it is unique and sporty although the cheap interior and turbo four let me down.

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reg, you may have some extreme opinions that you won't let die down and you may be a Ford fan, and your breath stinks, but you're good for honest to goodness opinions on cars I've never tried. i understand everything you're saying about the RAV [so far, haven't gotten through everything]. that interior was lousy last time I sat in it. Okay, it was acceptable and okay, solid surfaces, solid materials, nothing that felt like it could be ripped apart, and the materials, dash, door panels felt like they had substance, a real heavy feeling [from what I remember] unlike many GM cars, which tend to feel hollow and underpadded/underprotected underneath whatever material/panel I'm touching including the new ones. but the design and materials quality overall wasn't impressive.

Merry Christmas!

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it's screwed together on the inside ok, it just is a weird design and is not at all pleasing or comfortable. It transcends dull typical but innofensive Japanese interior design and goes off in the creepy last gen Hyundai territory.

Edited by regfootball
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The whole point of a cute ute, IMO, is something light, economical, roomy, cheap, and easy to park, like a hatchback, but taller and with AWD. Think last-gen RAV4 or first-gen CR-V. The newer ones are too big (almost as long as a midsize sedan), too heavy (3300 lbs+), and too expensive ($22K+). They're replacing midsize sedans when, in fact, they should be a step up from an econobox.

Most small SUVs = econobox quality, econobox driving dynamics, midsize sedan room, midsize sedan price, and midsize sedan fuel economy.

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reg, you may have some extreme opinions that you won't let die down and you may be a Ford fan, and your breath stinks, but you're good for honest to goodness opinions on cars I've never tried. i understand everything you're saying about the RAV [so far, haven't gotten through everything]. that interior was lousy last time I sat in it. Okay, it was acceptable and okay, solid surfaces, solid materials, nothing that felt like it could be ripped apart, and the materials, dash, door panels felt like they had substance, a real heavy feeling [from what I remember] unlike many GM cars, which tend to feel hollow and underpadded/underprotected underneath whatever material/panel I'm touching including the new ones. but the design and materials quality overall wasn't impressive.

Merry Christmas!

....funny, that's what many people claim about Japanese cars: flimsy and unsubstantial. The Equinox may not be a lot of things, but it does ride and handle nicely, especially now that the rabble rousers convinced GM to can the electric steering. I've been driving an XL7 recently, and although it shares a lot of parts with the Equinox, it is what the Equinox could have been...if GM wasn't spreading itself so damned thin between 8 divisions.

I've also been driving a lot of Toyotas lately and my opinion has still not changed...WHAT'S THE BIG FRIGGIN DEAL?

The RAV4 is never going to be for true SUV drivers. It is for posers only. Let's call these vehicles what they are: station wagons, and not even good ones at that, and be done with it.

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my sister is shopping cute utes right now. she wanted to drop 25k on a Hyundai friggin tucson. OMG! the craziness!

well, i made sure i badmouthed the RAV4 to her.

i looked at an equinox sport on the lot this morning. fun looking vehicle.

i will try to steer her to an XL7 i think. Carbiz, does that thing move out nicely with the v6? Cheap price, big warranty. GM guts, and utility.

Edited by regfootball
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my sister is shopping cute utes right now. she wanted to drop 25k on a Hyundai friggin tucson. OMG! the craziness!

Although I don't dislike Toyota and Hyundai as much as most here do, I don't see the point to a Toyota that isn't decidedly more reliable or a Hyundai that isn't a true price leader.

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my sister is shopping cute utes right now. she wanted to drop 25k on a Hyundai friggin tucson. OMG! the craziness!

well, i made sure i badmouthed the RAV4 to her.

i looked at an equinox sport on the lot this morning. fun looking vehicle.

i will try to steer her to an XL7 i think. Carbiz, does that thing move out nicely with the v6? Cheap price, big warranty. GM guts, and utility.

I've always liked the Equinox just the way it is...3.4 and all. No one has ever complained about the lack of power with that drive train. Even the Toyota Star's truck guy wrote a glowing article about the Equinox when they first came out. As usual, however, the 'Nox's Achilles Heal has been the crappy seat fabric and door material, but that is slowly evolving out - and, of course, the leather fixes that issue altogether. The XL7's 3rd row is desperately needed at Chevy dealers. I didn't find the bigger XL7 engine all that faster, and I wonder what that will do to real world driving mileage: we are paying over $4 a gallon again here. The XL7 just has a better looking interior, IMO.

I mean, I drove the Acura home the other night and thought, OMIGOD - nearly double the price of a 'Nox. ARE THEY KIDDING?

BTW: there are certain advantages to working at a used car 'superstore:' I get to drive everything now, but I still want a '08 Malibu. :angry:

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my sister is shopping cute utes right now. she wanted to drop 25k on a Hyundai friggin tucson. OMG! the craziness!

well, i made sure i badmouthed the RAV4 to her.

i looked at an equinox sport on the lot this morning. fun looking vehicle.

i will try to steer her to an XL7 i think. Carbiz, does that thing move out nicely with the v6? Cheap price, big warranty. GM guts, and utility.

The Tiguan is worth looking at when it comes out. It was the most surprising vehicle at LAIAS... much better looking than I expected it to be. It has typical German car build quality -- thicker sheetmetal than Toyota, solid "thunk" door slam, etc -- and the interior is great for under $23K. Standard powertrain is a 200 hp direct-injected 2.0T, which is a nice compromise between performance and fuel economy, and it's supposed to be decent off road with 4MOTION. It can get pricey loaded up with leather, panoramic roof, nav, dual auto A/C, self parking, and 18s, but the base model has the same "bones" at a much lower price.

It'll have the Jetta's Bin 5 140 hp/236 lb-ft TDI and six-speed DSG optional.

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when does the tiguan come out? my passat buddy keeps telling me about it. sounds like its nicer than an RDX for about 10-15 grand cheaper.

my sister is not real hip on car culture although she did move out to CA and would likely get ridiculed for domestic, despite that she has had only 2 cars in the last 19 years. a beretta and a blazer. i'm sure it would be social suicide to get a chevy, although BIL has a neat ranger.

Edited by regfootball
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Sorry, but your 500 does not carry 36 cubic feet of cargo with the rear seats up like in the RAV4. Admittedly that volume is vertical, but then the same can be said for most SUVs/crossovers. The fuel economy in the 4-cyl model surpasses anything else that compares in terms of cargo/passenger volume and price. You're right: this is a station wagon - basically the new Camry wagon. I'm not crazy about the spare on the back either especially with the fem fiberglass cover.

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i am talking practical cargo space. Height is a component of that. But i can fit tons of crap in my trunk that i could not get in the rav's cargo area without having to resort to folding the seat down, because its width and depth are tiny. Like most cute utes. Anyways, the 36 cf is a useless stat in this instance if the floor area i can put somehting in is not big.

Edited by regfootball
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it's screwed together on the inside ok, it just is a weird design and is not at all pleasing or comfortable. It transcends dull typical but innofensive Japanese interior design and goes off in the creepy last gen Hyundai territory.

Agreed...completely.

The CRV is much nicer, but actually my choices for a small SUV would be Ford Escape first followed by the redesinged VUE.

My son Joel, the loyal 100% not gonna buy it unless the blue oval is on it thinks the Vue is actually better than the Escape.

My wife likes the CRV and loves the Element but has many of reg's complaints about the RAV4.

Chris

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I've always liked the Equinox just the way it is...3.4 and all. No one has ever complained about the lack of power with that drive train. Even the Toyota Star's truck guy wrote a glowing article about the Equinox when they first came out. As usual, however, the 'Nox's Achilles Heal has been the crappy seat fabric and door material, but that is slowly evolving out - and, of course, the leather fixes that issue altogether. The XL7's 3rd row is desperately needed at Chevy dealers. I didn't find the bigger XL7 engine all that faster, and I wonder what that will do to real world driving mileage: we are paying over $4 a gallon again here. The XL7 just has a better looking interior, IMO.

I mean, I drove the Acura home the other night and thought, OMIGOD - nearly double the price of a 'Nox. ARE THEY KIDDING?

BTW: there are certain advantages to working at a used car 'superstore:' I get to drive everything now, but I still want a '08 Malibu. :angry:

...then buy one. Like we told Paolino in another thread, you might as well drive a car you love.

Methinks the new Bu might just be worth your love...about 5 years worth at about $450 a month...

Chris

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...and really, if one wanted to buy an asian Utility type vehicle why not just buy a Mazda 3 wagon and be done with it? Much better handling and fuel economy than a cute ute, good looks, well built, well priced...

Or just piss off the naysayers and buy a HHR. The HHR is much more user friendly in my honest opinion than any of the cute utes.

Chris

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Agreed...completely.

The CRV is much nicer, but actually my choices for a small SUV would be Ford Escape first followed by the redesinged VUE.

My son Joel, the loyal 100% not gonna buy it unless the blue oval is on it thinks the Vue is actually better than the Escape.

My wife likes the CRV and loves the Element but has many of reg's complaints about the RAV4.

Chris

you know, there is so many entries in this class now but what is disturbing is the sheer amount of creepy asian models in this class. the CRV, RAV, hyundais and kias, new forester. I would say as half baked as the new escape's interior is, it's at least done with a macho character to it (mariner and tribute would apply here as well). The Vue, IMHO, has the interior style market cornered in this segment. I think if people become aware of the Vue and sit in it, I think they would be sold on the spot. But I also think the Escape products are nice enough. The CX-7 is a good entry and of the Asian upright cute utes, the Outlander to me is the one that makes the most sense from a tolerable and fucntional interior standpoint. And dang, the XL-7 and nox sport/torrent GXP are nice entries too.

My point is, there is so many good non Honda and Toyota entries in this class....Honda and Toyota absolutely do not deserve to sell the quantities they do in this segment. Especially the creepy overpriced underpowered CRV. Why anyone would actually spend money on the RAV4 or CRV is beyond me. The cheapness and flimsiness of them and the utter lack of style and taste and function makes me scratch my head as to why people pull the trigger on those things. The Vue is far nicer!

If Joel is diehard Ford, he'd skip the Escape and just go Edge. In certain trims the Edge is not costly and is a far more substantial vehicle than the escape. Although I know mpg will not match the Escape, it may get close. The Endeavor is another good 'can only afford small cute ute but really want a larger crossover' choice for those who do not want to get taken on the pricey entries, highlander, pilot, lambdas.

Lastly, even tho its BOF, the explorer is still a good buy, as is the trailblazer....although again mpg suffers.

Edited by regfootball
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you know, there is so many entries in this class now but what is disturbing is the sheer amount of creepy asian models in this class. the CRV, RAV, hyundais and kias, new forester. I would say as half baked as the new escape's interior is, it's at least done with a macho character to it (mariner and tribute would apply here as well). The Vue, IMHO, has the interior style market cornered in this segment. I think if people become aware of the Vue and sit in it, I think they would be sold on the spot. But I also think the Escape products are nice enough. The CX-7 is a good entry and of the Asian upright cute utes, the Outlander to me is the one that makes the most sense from a tolerable and fucntional interior standpoint. And dang, the XL-7 and nox sport/torrent GXP are nice entries too.

My point is, there is so many good non Honda and Toyota entries in this class....Honda and Toyota absolutely do not deserve to sell the quantities they do in this segment. Especially the creepy overpriced underpowered CRV. Why anyone would actually spend money on the RAV4 or CRV is beyond me. The cheapness and flimsiness of them and the utter lack of style and taste and function makes me scratch my head as to why people pull the trigger on those things. The Vue is far nicer!

If Joel is diehard Ford, he'd skip the Escape and just go Edge. In certain trims the Edge is not costly and is a far more substantial vehicle than the escape. Although I know mpg will not match the Escape, it may get close. The Endeavor is another good 'can only afford small cute ute but really want a larger crossover' choice for those who do not want to get taken on the pricey entries, highlander, pilot, lambdas.

Lastly, even tho its BOF, the explorer is still a good buy, as is the trailblazer....although again mpg suffers.

"Creepy Asians"???

You wanna hate on the two clear class standards (and sales winners), go ahead....but please don't use cheap interiors as the reason. The Escape, 'Nox trips and just about every other CUV in this price class has some interior issues.

I like the Escape, but only the Vue has a really quality look and feel in this class---at the cost of 500-700 lbs. and all pretense of economy. None of these vehicles are sporty in a real car sense, but if you must shop for one of these, I happen to think the Forrester or Outback are the most 'car-like' in performance---the Subaru quirks are just a bonus in a class with little personality.

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well car and driver sure know who write their checks. they have toyota one and honda 2 in their nine chick ute comparo this month.

i couldn't believe they were writing about the same vehicle. i guess if cheap tinny creepy vehicles are in, this is proof.

clearly the public has no discerning taste. a vehicle that struggles to maintain idle at a stop light and vibrates through the floor and (uncomfortable) seat like it does, with flimsy rear hatch and sheetmetal and no cargo capacity and creepy cheap korean plastic must be all king sh1t these days.

Edited by regfootball
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well car and driver sure know who write their checks. they have toyota one and honda 2 in their nine chick ute comparo this month.

i couldn't believe they were writing about the same vehicle. i guess if cheap tinny creepy vehicles are in, this is proof.

clearly the public has no discerning taste. a vehicle that struggles to maintain idle at a stop light and vibrates through the floor and (uncomfortable) seat like it does, with flimsy rear hatch and sheetmetal and no cargo capacity and creepy cheap korean plastic must be all king sh1t these days.

Or, more likely, the rest are just worse....have you even sampled the wide variety of mediocrity and cynical marketing-driven products in the small CUV sector?

There's a reason there are big profits to made in this class---mostly because these are economy cars on stilts, sold at $5-10k more than their car cousins....

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Or, more likely, the rest are just worse....have you even sampled the wide variety of mediocrity and cynical marketing-driven products in the small CUV sector?

There's a reason there are big profits to made in this class---mostly because these are economy cars on stilts, sold at $5-10k more than their car cousins....

Exactly. 21st century station wagons, plain and simple. What 'premium' did a Malibu wagon sell for over the regular sedan, 25 years ago? $200?

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