Favorite Small SUVs?

<p>Who has a small SUV and loves it? Does anyone have one of the new Volvos? Looking for advice /suggestions on which are easy to drive and park and are safe and fun!</p>

<p>I am hugely fond of my Honda Pilot, though I don't think it really qualifies as "small" (although it's much smaller than say, a Suburban). It is a great car, race car engine and a sewing-machine transmission. I know many people who love the smaller Honda CRVs. I've owned several German cars including Audis and Mercedes, but I always come back to Honda for reliability and value.</p>

<p>I also love my Honda Pilot</p>

<p>I love my Honda CR-V. It gets 21-24MPG, has more usable room than my Grand Cherokee (gas guzzling POS) drives and handles like a dream and has plenty of power. Add to that good crash test ratings and a stellar reliability rating in Consumer Reports. I can't say enough good things about it.</p>

<p>I think the volvo is very cool a neighbor has one.The Hondas were a little too small and my H doesn't like them-to work on
I have a Jeep Liberty and I am getting used to it- much smaller than my mini van- and it definitely does not drive like a car.
It has some cool bells and whistles though which make it easier to get used to ( Like changing the radio/cd player from teh steering wheel- very cool!)
Very heavy though- not so great with the gas milage- I would like to get a biodiesel when they are more common.</p>

<p>Consumer reports ranks the Suburu Forester as the top small SUV. We are getting a Honda CR-V in the early summer, as with two new drivers coming along we need to add to the garage--safe, AWD for the mountains in winter...Honda CRV seems to be the most popular here, along with the Toyota Rav4. In the mountains, Suburu seems the most popular but they do ofter special deals to ski/snowboard instructors.</p>

<p>We have done the Jeep Wrangler thing here - yup - believe it or not it is ranked as a small SUV lol - mom with 6 cyl and DD with 4 cyl - not that great on gas - but lots of great advantages and go pretty much any where at any time. Real easy to park too and easy to fix also - actually now ranked as safe vehicle - anything after 1997 and up.</p>

<p>Traded in our old Volvo sedan for new one. Wanted the SUV, but they go out the door the minute they arrive at dealer with a substantial increase in sticker price. H subsequently gave 98 Explorer to S and replaced with smaller SUV - Honda CRV. Absolutely love it. Without kids at home, perfect size for just us.</p>

<p>zagat, if by new Volvo you mean the XC90 yes, I have one. The gas mileage is poor, but not that much worse than on my old Volvo 850 station wagon and no worse, I think, than on other SUVs of that size; I guess it is mid-size rather than small, though. In any event, the XC90 is extremely comfortable to drive and ride in; even the back seat is comfortable enough so a college-age child can sit back there on long trips. I have had mine nearly two years and it has been quite reliable (I know there have been reports of problems, though). I like it because its rear section is large enough to transport just about anything, its back seat is spacious enough for those rare occasions when we travel with our not-so-childlike children, yet the verhicle overall is compact enough to be pretty maneuverable. It's also rather elegant for an SUV.</p>

<p>Just got a new hybrid, metallic sage, 4WD Escape. Traded in our 9-yr old Explorer, which we loved, but it was time for a smaller, more efficient vehicle. We still need a 4WD for the mountains, and we still need an SUV to haul our kid's college stuff. Got $4,500 on the trade-in for the Explorer and paid about the same for the Escape as we did for the Explorer 9 years ago. </p>

<p>It's spiffy to watch the read-out of the engine as it changes from batteries to all gas to a combination of both. It changes about once a second. I think we're getting around 28 mpg on the freeway and 34-36 mpg in the city. The reason, the car is using mostly electric around town. It is super-quiet, like a golf cart, when it's running on batts. Believe it or not, it is running on 250 "D" batts, flashlight batteries! The batts are constantly recharging when the car is running on gas, so we don't have to recharge the engine. </p>

<p>Another cool thing...a navigation system. I'm thinking about becoming one of those "voices" for my creative, second career, but with a little more of a mom edge..."Stay to the right, please. I said, 'STAY TO THE RIGHT, DAMNIT!'" :D </p>

<p>We gave 3 college students (our D, her bf, and a friend) a ride home last night & used the nav system to drop the boys off. We cracked up as the car told us where to turn and when to stop. The car took us on routes that neither guy had ever used to get home. We told my D's friend to GET OUT when the car told us that we were at his house. We were a couple of driveways off, but he said that he liked the neighbor's hosue better. Very entertaining!</p>

<p>Tons of room on the inside, and it's a better fit in our garage. We were on a waiting list for this car, and we were picky this time about the color. Our last 3 cars have been either white or blue. We really like the little leaf right next to the name of the car!</p>

<p>Yes, I just love those navigation systems. Rented a car with one recently and every time I went over a bridge, it told me to turn in the middle of it!</p>

<p>Mattmom, were you able to negotiate price at all or does the popularity preclude as someone else mentioned?</p>

<p>We had a BMW X5 for 4 1/2 years and it had some weird problems (the differential broke at 2000 miles, among other things) so when the warranty was up I persuaded DH to trade it in. (I should make it clear that our other BMWs have been rock-solid reliable (nothing but routine service in 8 years of owning BMWs), which is why I was nervous about this one.) I also didn't like how blind the back corners were when backing up.</p>

<p>We now have a Nissan Murano with 3500 miles on it--no problems so far (I should hope not!). The car has one spectacularly cool feature: a video camera for backing up. You can see REALLY clearly what's behind you! The navigation system is a bit clunky (the Mini Cooper has the best of our four nav systems) but otherwise the car is great. I don't know if you'd consider it "small" but we're getting 22 mpg consistently in a mix of highway and local.</p>

<p>We had a BMW X5 for 4 1/2 years and it had some weird problems (the differential broke at 2000 miles, among other things) so when the warranty was up I persuaded DH to trade it in. (I should make it clear that our other BMWs have been rock-solid reliable (nothing but routine service in 8 years of owning BMWs), which is why I was nervous about this one.) I also didn't like how blind the back corners were when backing up.</p>

<p>We now have a Nissan Murano with 3500 miles on it--no problems so far (I should hope not!). The car has one spectacularly cool feature: a video camera for backing up. You can see REALLY clearly what's behind you! The navigation system is a bit clunky (the Mini Cooper has the best of our four nav systems) but otherwise the car is great. I don't know if you'd consider it "small" but we're getting 22 mpg consistently in a mix of highway and local.</p>

<p>I just bought a new small, cross-over SUV and did a lot of test drives. I loved the Honda CRV but I was leaving behind an Infinit QX4 and couldn't get past the lack of a nice interior (I am, admittedly, a very spoiled girl!). But I loved the gas mileage, the pick-up and the price. But I knew I'd be unhappy every time I got in the car and flipped up that stupid plastic center table that should pass for a console. I know, I know - I am spoiled.</p>

<p>I ultimately picked a Nissan Murano. I love the car. A friend who's a car dealer calls it a Tonka Toy and I can see why - it's an unusual look that you either love or hate. Gets OK gas mileage (better than my QX4) and is positively cavernous inside. I can fit three large teenage boys in the back seat fairly comfortably. The rear cargo space is huge and when I put the back seat down (and they go down by literally pulling one little switch) I've got a ton of space for stuff. My son is a golfer and I could easily fit 4 sets of clubs in the back (w/o the seat down).</p>

<p>My H wanted me to look at the Volvo but it was just too much $$. I did spend a little more than I wanted to on the Murano but I'm glad I did (kind of sounds like a college decision, doesn't it?)</p>

<p>All of us love our Toyota RAV4 (4WD and the Limited version with a sun/moonroof). We've had it for two years and it got us through this past winter when we were socked with 80+ inches of snow and practically nobody else was on the road!</p>

<p>When we were shopping for SUVs, we looked at the Honda CR-V, Honda Pilot, Subaru Forester, Hyundai Santa Fe (replaced by the Tiburon this year), Toyota Highlander, and the RAV4. We used to drive Volvos (sedans and station wagons) but they were expensive to maintain (even at Good News Garage--run by Ray Magliozzi). We were replacing a 5-year-old Dodge Grand Caravan with 26,000 miles that was totaled when a Ford Explorer ran a red light and broadsided the car.</p>

<p>We went with the RAV4 because it handled well, both H and I (he's 6'1" and I'm 5') could drive it, and it was highly recommended by Consumer Reports. Also, we loved the design (highly endorsed by BIL who's an industrial designer), and we got a great price ($400 below dealer invoice) because it was the middle of the month and the dealership needed to increase its numbers to get more cars in the next shipment. It's roomy enough for four folks on a long driving trip, and it's even shorter than our '93 Geo Prizm and makes parallel parking a dream.</p>

<p>If I were to buy a larger SUV today, I'd seriously consider the hybrid Highlander.</p>

<p>I went from a '91 Chevy S-10 Blazer to a '99 Jeep Grand Cherokee to a '02 Honda CRV. Having driven the larger, heavier vehicles with "real" 4-wheel drive, I can say without reservation that they are far superior in the snow. Now, for me now living in flat south jersey where we don't get much snow, the CRV is perfect. But in mountainous, snowy areas, I would go for a Blazer again in a heartbeat. That vehicle could be driven through unplowed roads without hesitating. I used to work at a newspaper so I'd go to work when other people would probably stay home. A big snowstorm is after all, news. And the Blazer got me there. If you're hot to get a CRV, invest in a really, really good pair of snow tires.</p>

<p>my dad has a Subaru Forrester.. I have to say, even though i personally don't like SUV's, his is alright. I believe it gets like 27-29 MPG (i could be off.. but that's what I think), it handles great in snow, and it just plain drives nice. My only complaint is that the seats aren't that comfortable - but that's just me. My dad loves them.</p>

<p>I'm perfectly content with my little 02 Mitsubishi Mirage.. it drives fine in the snow.. and I don't have snow tires on it. I think the only reason for an SUV is if you have to drive through heavy back roads snow frequently, or if you live somewhere where it is always snowing.. but for someone in PA/MD/NJ.. i don't see why you would need a SUV. (My dad drives on backroads 80 minutes per day, so an SUV is something he needs to get to work.. a lot of times the back roads aren't even plowed.)</p>

<p>I drive an SUV because
I was used to my minivan and I like being up higher to see what is around me.
I drive in snow often ( although frankly I didn't have snowtires with mini van and rarely needed chains) I also drive off road- not that much but enough so that a minivan wouldn't be appropriate and a lower car could be damaged.( ok I really didn't drive in snow this year we didn't have much!- and I don't believe that even when it snows in Seattle we plow- don't have em)
I also like the height when driving- even if I didn't live in an area where explorer/Hummers/Navigators are common I would still like the advantage by being able to see more of the road.
Besides I admit it- even though I really wanted a subara outback - the jeep is stylin'
I would also highly recommend tirerack.com for tires and wheels
great prices ( better than costco) and very good selction
the tires that come stock are often notsogood, and upgrading makes a huge difference in handling and performance</p>

<p>zagat, we didn't negotiate the price but on the other hand it wasn't higher than the various research we had done suggested it should be. We felt it was a good (well, decent, anyway) value for the features it had. We did have to wait several months to get it; it is a 2004 model that came out relatively early in the preceding calendar year--we ordered it in late January of 2003 and picked it up at the dealer on the the Friday of Memorial Day weekend.</p>

<p>I run studded Cooper Weathermaster tires on my CR-V in the snowy mountains of Western MD in the winter and can go anywhere that you wouldn't need low range.</p>