recommendations for small suv

Discussion in 'Homesteading Questions' started by dot, Aug 5, 2004.

  1. dot

    dot Well-Known Member

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    Any one have any experience with any of these? I like the looks of the kia sportage but I don't think they make them any more and I've been reading that they had a lot of problems with them. How about a Toyota Rav4 or a Tracker? Or any other kinds?
     
  2. WanderingOak

    WanderingOak Well-Known Member

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    I have a friend who has a Tracker and he can't stop praising it. It has a full frame, maneauverable, gets great traction in snow, and is decent on gas. His is bare bones with a stick shift- the only options it has is 4 wheel drive and a roof rack. He said that he wanted something that was as close to a Model T that he could get. The only problem is that this year is the last one for it. I forget what they are going to call the replacement, but I know it is going to have a unibody frame and be more like a minivan :no: . I believe the Tracker is actually a Suzuki clone, and I think the Suzukis are staying the same next year.
     

  3. Herb.

    Herb. Well-Known Member

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    We bought a 99 Kia Sportage two years ago, my advise would be to get something else. Actually from past experience I would get something much older (before the electronic brain) and rebuild it. The newer ones just cost too much to maintain after the warrenty is over, even if you do the work yourself.
     
  4. Ravenlost

    Ravenlost Well-Known Member Supporter

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    My in-laws have had a Tracker for three years now and they love it. We plan to trade our car in for a Tracker as soon as the tractor is paid off. However, if this is the last year they're making it we may have to tighten the budget belt and get one sooner. They're terrific vehicles.
     
  5. RAC

    RAC Guest

    We are happy with our '99 Honda Passport (made by Isuzu, I think, and no longer put out by Honda). When the little ones are out of the car seats it won't be quite so bad for the third person in the back....LOL.

    What are you going to use it for? Hauling kids (in other words, a station wagon--I'd really rather have one of those anyway) around, or just for one or two adults?

    Make up your reason list, including fuel consumption, insurance costs, etc., and go from there. Remember that SUVs and anything with 4WD will cost more for just about every service visit than a car.
     
  6. farmmaid

    farmmaid Well-Known Member Supporter

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    LOVE MY FORESTER...Joan :worship: :) :worship:
     
  7. HermitJohn

    HermitJohn Well-Known Member

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    Yep, Geo/Chevy Tracker (went under both names depending on marketing strategy that particular year) is same as Suzuki Sidekick, just a different badge. Its a minimalist vehicle. If you stick 4 people in there, you need to strap any lugage on top. There is even an aftermarket kit to adapt a VW turbo diesel to this vehicle. If I needed a light duty 4wd to carry more than two people yet get good gas mileage, it would be between this and a Subaru wagon. If I only needed to seat two people, I'd be beating the brush to find an unmodified early eighties 4cyl Toyota pickup with carburetor and the solid front axle. If I just accepted crappy gas mileage, then I really liked the old Kaiser/AMC big Wagoneer. Even with 360 V8 and auto tranny I could get around 15mpg. Well one of the 3 Wagoneers that I owned only got around 12mpg. Still the CJ's didnt get much better mileage and were lot harsher riding and more tipsy. CJ's also bring a premium price anymore. The old style wagoneer is cheap. Anybody ever see one of the old Wagoneers with six cylinder and 4 spd? Manual said they existed, but I never ran across one. Did see an early sixties one with the overhead cam six and three speed once. Guess anybody who could afford a brand new big Wagoneer tended to want all the bells and whistles.
     
  8. Hogsubie

    Hogsubie Well-Known Member

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    We currently have a 2003 Suzuki XL-7. Basically it is a stretched version of their Vitara/Grand Vitara which is what the Chevy Tracker is based on. Ours is 2wd with a 180+hp V-6. It'll get up and go and gets pretty decent mileage as well. Ours has the 3rd row seating which is only good for small children, which does cut into the rear cargo area. You can get it with out the 3rd row to give you more rear cargo area. They come with alot of standard features that are optional on most others in it's class. It can tow up to 3000lbs. which is more than most in its class, because it is a body on frame design with rear wheel drive. It's got a good warrenty as well. Unfortunately they don't have as good of resale value as others, good if you're buying used. Suzuki redesigned the front end in 04, I don't really like it, but they redesigned the interior for 03, which looks better than the previous ones. It looks a little more upscale, has pretty good interior quality too. I've read the XL-7 (prior to 02/03 it was called the Grand Vitara XL-7) is made in Japan versus the shorter one being made in Canada (I think) and is said to have better build quality. I have nothing to support that claim, but have had no problems during a years ownership. My wife regularly drives to her parents, which is a 320+mile roundtrip and we took a 1700 mile roundtrip vacation a few months ago, it travels well. I'd buy another one if we were looking for a similar classed vehicle.

    Another vehicle I'd look at is the Subaru Forester. It has more cargo room than most and is a little better on gas mileage as well. Just depends on what you are looking for and what you want to use it for.
     
  9. RAC

    RAC Guest

    Another option, for only two people, is an extended cab pickup. I used to own a Toyota, and had a camper shell/carpet kit in the back. Very comfortable for long trips, and the mileage was comparable to the Passport, while being in some ways more useful as far as hauling stuff.

    I have looked at the Subaru line, and they are not made for tall people, or people with long torsos--the headroom is just not there.
     
  10. Paul Wheaton

    Paul Wheaton Well-Known Member

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    I currently have a Rav4. It's great.

    I had a subaru for about two weeks, but I drove it one time for five hours and could hardly walk afterwards.

    We can't get out of our place in the winter without 4wd. The Rav has that full time 4wd that is soooooo much better than the 2wd/4wd switch stuff. One time I was in seattle with it when it snowed and I drove right by a bunch of cars that couldn't make it up a regular incline.

    Since it is short, it can park in places that most cars can't.

    Since it is wide, it is comfortable inside.

    It sure seems to be able to hold a LOT of stuff!

    I have almost 50,000 miles on it. The only problem I've had is that the check engine light came on. It turns out that one of my sensors was too sensitive. I was past the warranty, but Toyota still replaced it for free.
     
  11. HermitJohn

    HermitJohn Well-Known Member

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    I am curious about what kind of real world gas mileage these vehicles get. Does any really get more than an honest 25mpg? I'll believe you if you say so, but I read about the transplant of the VW diesel into the Suzuki Sidekick and it only got max of around 35 mpg on hiway and people seemed pleased at the great increase in mileage. Think they said the engine that comes with it gets around 25mpg max. This is about the lightest or tied for lightest 4wd road vehicle sold in this country.
     
  12. I have a 2003 Hyundai Santa Fe and it's been a great car. Even if you get a used one (like I did) it still comes with a 60,000 mile warranty. Mine is 4WD and gets around 21-22 mpg, so it's not great but not awful either. It has side curtain airbags, antilock brakes and traction control and it tested well in crash test ratings so I am confident it is safer than most.
     
  13. RAC

    RAC Guest

    Our Passport gets 25 mpg freeway with 3 adults, 2 kids in carseats, luggage in the back on trips. Closer to 20 mpg in town. It was the smallest one we looked at that still fit everyone reasonably comfortably for longer trips. The carseats really cut down on space in the back, especially when one has to be in the center.

    I hear there is some sort of hybrid SUV coming, but I'd have to do a LOT more driving for it to be worth buying, unless it really is something special. I've looked at the Prius, for example, and it's fine if people are sitting in the front seats, but not so great for the backseat passengers.
     
  14. ajoys

    ajoys Well-Known Member

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    My vote goes to the suzuki XL-7.

    3rd row seat for kids if you need it
    full frame
    high and low gear in 4wd
    you can get a 5spd manual tranny if you want
    reliable
    Gets decent mpg for a v6 SUV

    you can buy a 2-3 year old one for A LOT less then new

    Transferable 7yr, 100k mile warranty
     
  15. CJ

    CJ Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Get a Jeep Wrangler! I LOVE mine! On my second one.
     
  16. WanderingOak

    WanderingOak Well-Known Member

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    Yeah, they've been talking about a hybrid Ford Escape for a few years now. I've been joking that they were going to change the name to <ctrl><alt><del>. It is going to cost about 3K more than a regular Escape, so you won't see any gas savings, although some people will think that the environmental bennifits are worth the extra cost. I wouldn't buy one myself, because the average mechanic is going to open the hood, scratch his head, and mutter "*** is that?". The more hi-tek a vehicle is, the harder it is to work on. In a few years, I wouldn't be suprised if you will need a computer password to open the hood to change the oil on a new car.
     
  17. Cabin Fever

    Cabin Fever Life NRA Member since 1976 Supporter

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    dot, my vote is for any SUV that you can readily get parts for. I assume that you live out in the country and are at least a backyard mechanic as most homesteaders are. There is nothing more frustrating then being told at the parts store that it will take a week to get the replacement starter for your "Hibatchi XL-5" and it will cost you $600. My advice is to stick with a small SUV from one of the "Big 3" car companies....the parts will be readily available and cheaper than the rice burners.
     
  18. Little Quacker in OR

    Little Quacker in OR Well-Known Member

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    :) I know nothing about them cars but I can tell you that I have two SUVs. A great '88 Nissan Pathfinder that was purchased new and has been in the family ever since. It is top-notch reliable with a great engine that has never given us any trouble. We are rural out here and milage averages 28 MPG. I keep track.LOL

    It's only serious drawback for me is that it's a two door. I hate that and would never impose that on anyone if I could help it!

    The other is a '99 Jeep Grand Cherokee and I'm just getting used to this one. It's from my son and I'm monitoring the gas mileage on it. Don't have an average yet. I expect it's going to be around 25 MPG. IT does have four doors though and that's a plus. LOL

    Good luck with your search...LQ
     
  19. chickflick

    chickflick Well-Known Member

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    My $.02 for my Ford Explorer Sport Trac!!!!! I LOOOOVVVVEEEE it!!! I have all the 'prissy' conveniences inside, can carry 4-5, fold down -to actually FLAT- back seats! THEN .. the back bed.. (yes, it's smaller) is 4x4 and w/tailgate down it is x6. BUT.. I can roll the back window down (push button of course) and put in 8 ft. boards at an angle with the tailgate shut to hold them in. AND (here's the 'kicker') the bed has these awesome little 'pegs'.. )like at a boat dock?) own both sides of it!! I don't have to be an Eagle Scout tieing knots til I"m blue in the face everytime I have a quick little hauling task! Just wrap around one.. then opposite around the next!! I looooove.. my little 'girly truck'!!!!

    I still have my big fat GMC Conversion van ('91) that can pull a HOUSE.. but my 'baby' is the Sport Trac!!! :):):):):) :worship: :worship:
     
  20. HermitJohn

    HermitJohn Well-Known Member

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    Do you know if your pathfinder has the 2.4 4cyl that they use in the pickups? I assume you have a 5spd manual tranny. That is rather amazing mileage for a gasoline 4wd especially with that big of an engine. Always liked the NAPZ 4cyl engines since they came out in 1980.

    Ok partially answered my own question. In 1988 they offered choice of the 2.4 I4 or the 3.0 V6 in the Pathfinder.