3rd Trimester

Small SUV opinions please

DH and I are thinking of trading my car for a small SUV like the CR-V, Forester, etc.  If you have a smaller SUV, can you tell me what you and do not like about it?  I'm really curious to hear how each handles in the snow because I hate driving in winter weather :(

I have a Civic right now and hate that it's so lightweight!  A stiff wind will blow that thing across the highway if I'm not careful. 

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Re: Small SUV opinions please

  • We have a Jeep Grand Cherokee that I really like driving. It does good in the snow and has enough space for all our stuff. It might be bigger than you were thinking though. It was pretty affordable and has not given us any trouble so far.
  • We are going for a Honda Fit.  Have you checked them out?  My uncle loves his Forester though.
  • We have a Forester and we love it!  We just got it this fall and haven't had more than a couple inches of snow so I'm not totally sure about it's handling in the snow.  It is great on the ice and we were pleased with it's performance with the small amount of snow we've had.  I love all the cargo room and although we'll probably upgrade before we'd ever need to do this, I'm told it can fit three carseats across.  
  • I have an 07 Honda CRV and I LOVE it. I really can't say anything bad about it. I have heard the older models have a lot of road noise, but mine doesn't so I would make sure to get an 07 or later. There's plenty of room and it handles great in the snow (I am in WI so we need that). I love that it maneuvers better than our Saturn Sedan too.
    Child #1: 6 yo DD Child #2: 2yo DD
  • I bought a Hyundai Santa Fe last night. It's mid size but their Tuscon is smaller and nice! They are so affordable, reliable,and  they got great reviews on their safety =)
  • I should add that I don't think Suburu makes a bad car. I would drive almost any Suburu, especially the new Legacy! Not an SUV, but still has AWD and looks pretty sharp!
  • I just got a CRV after having a Civic.  I love it!  It's not so big that it's hard to fit into spaces, but you're up higher like a SUV.  The backseat also has SO much room.  DH has an Envoy, and I have more space in my backseat than he does.  My dad's wife has a CRV up in NH, and they say it handles awesome in the snow, too. 
  • We have a Rav4 & love it.  She's been a life safer this winter with all the snow we've been getting, too.  Neither of us has anything bad to say about the Rav, we're extremely happy with our purchase!!

    We did check out a CR-V but didn't even go for a test drive because I just felt like it was too uncomfortable sitting in it.  It felt very small inside compared to the Rav.  My preacher & his wife have a CR-V & they don't like it very much.  After we bought our Rav, they kept saying they wished they had looked at more suv's before getting the CR-V.

    Our BIL has a Forester & he likes that too.  DH drove it once & still preferes the Rav but the Forester is nice.  I think when we were looking last year, the Rav & Forester were the top rated small SUV's on Consumer Reports.

    Dylan Gabriel 04/29/10 Aiden Drake 04/28/12
  • We just bought a Honda Crosstour its AMAZING. Handles great and it still feels like your driving a car and not a bus. I love this thing, It has tons of room in the back seat too...
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  • I have a Pontiac Torrent (sister car to Chevy Equinox) and I love how comfortable it is!!! I am also a nervous driver in bad weather and it makes me feel really safe and held up amazingly when a guy rear-ended me on 12-22!

    If you want SUV space with car feel, my DH has a Pontiac Vibe AWD. It is also another fabulous vehicle with great gas mileage! With both cars I like how the trunk it pretty even to my body and I am not lifting too high or reaching really low to get items out (such as the stroller). Both have ample trunk space.

    FWIW - Pontiac while may be going out in brand, is a GM Product = parts available. They are trying to liquidate the line so you are likely to get a good deal on a car, but you wont be able to special order.

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  • I have a Nissan Murano and love it so much, I'll probably replace it with another when the lease is up without car shopping again.

    The Murano is a crossover - which if you don't know (I learned when I was car shopping) is an SUV built onto a car chassy.  The result is a small SUV that drives like a car.  It is finished nicely & has great amenities (especially LOVE my rearview camera and the electric gate opener so I don't have to lift the rear gate up or push it closed).

    If you're interested in spending even less or going even smaller, test drive the Rav 4.  Very similar.

    We're having twins and I'm confident we have plenty of room for the whole family, but I never feel like I'm driving a big truck.  And it handles beautifully in the snow.  :) 


  • I have a Jeep Patriot. It's front wheel drive so we've gotten around well in the snow. The gas mileage is great for a SUV, 26mph average. Bought it brand new for 20K, so it's not too expensive.
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  • I've got a Kia Sportage, I love it!!!!!  We've had it since November and it was wonderful in the snow.  We drove it across the state after my husband assured me the roads were all fine (liar.)  I couldn't even see the lines on the interstate, but we never even skidded. 

    Make sure whichever one you get that it had ETC, or a snow button.  I had a terrible scare 2 years ago during a winter snowstorm and I'm no longer terrified of the white fluffy stuff.

    The only thing I don't like about my Sportage is the headrest.  We put in heated leather seats and it was soo worth it, it was the only thing we really splurged on.  It paid for itself after the dog lost her stomach twice in the backseat, there was no way I could have handled cleaning that out of cloth.  I feel all powerful driving it, I'm used to small cars, I like not having the annoying person who has decided to tailgate me when I'm already going 7mph over the speedlimit, be able to blind me in my rear view mirror.

    It also has a 10 yr/100,000 warranty, which is great since we aren't close to my dad, and my husband is not car handy.

    Have fun picking out your car, don't settle, because you'll be stuck with it for a while!

  • DH and I have a Hyundai Santa Fe and LOVE IT!  It is really great in the snow.  We even went out on Wednesday in the midst of the blizzard we were having and had no problems.  It has a lot of trunk space, is very comfortable and handles quite nicely.  The back seats fold down completely making it easy if you will be moving furniature or anything big.  The price isn't too bad either.  We did not get the top end model...I didn't really see the point in NEEDING leather seats...especially since the winters here in NY can be quite cold.

    I honestly can't think of anything that I don't like about the Santa Fe.

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  • I love the CR-V but when I was buying I ended up going with the Kia Sportage. I live in a snow belt and trust me, even with just front wheel drive, it handles amazingly well! Its made for a woman and is very comfortable and roomy. I can haul around lots of junk too since the back seats fold down and I have that whole trunk/back seat area combined then. In addition, the roof on it is tall giving me lots of room that way as well. I really love my car. However, if I had to do it again, I'd get 4WD but I just like it better...front wheel works great so far and this is the second winter :)
  • *Sneaking over from 2nd tri* I have a BMW X5 and absolutely HATE it. Everything that can go wrong is going wrong and it's all too expensive to fix, especially since everything is electric. I will never buy a BMW again. But, I used to have a Jeep Grand Cherokee and I loved it. As for the whole driving in the snow thing, it hardly ever snows in Georgia, but my Jeep did perfectly fine when we got 8 inches here last year (which is like 3 feet for people up north).HTH!
    DD {6.13.10} & DS {5.19.12}
  • I have a Forester. I LOVE it. WE've had no trouble of any kind with it (have had it for 3 years), it's great on winter roads, takes a lot of wear and tear (until last month, my daily commute was 160 miles through bad winter driving conditions) and, even when I hit a deer, was solid and stable and safe. I can't say enough good things about it. Oh, and there's plenty of space for kids and dog and stuff...
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  • We got a Mercury Mariner last Spring.  It gets great gas mileage, has plenty of leg room in the back seat and lots of cargo space.  I've had the car seat installed and everything fits perfectly.  Also, we went with the V6 front wheel drive.  We've had alot of snow and ice this winter and it's handled really well.
  • I just got a 2005 Santa Fe after my 09 Nissan Versa was totaled in an accident.  It took me a while to actually get it; we were working with a dealer who buys things especially for the client at auction.  It was a GREAT route to go and we ended up getting it for less than retail, which was not too bad anyway.  I LOVE my SUV!  Even though it is an 2005, it looked and felt brand new (defintiely no different than my 09 Versa) and I feel so safe driving it.  I am terrified of big cars and blind spots, and this handles like a car, but makes you feel safe.  You sit up high and can totally see the front, so parking is easy.  The trunk space is great too.  I would definitely reccommend that whatever SUV you get, make sure it has 4wd or AWD- a great feature in my opinion.  I wish it had a 3rd row of seats as I am sure we will have to upgrade in size again if we have more than two LOs, but for now it is perfect. 
  • We have a RAV4.  I love it!!!  Granted, there is the whole recall thing going on right now, but ours was not affected.  It's interesting though, because the back seat is quite roomy and used to fit 3 adults comfortably.  However, now with the baby car seat it's squishy for 2 adults.  If I were to buy a new car at this point I think I'd just go ahead and get an SUV with a third row because I think we're going to have to upgrade in a couple of years.

    DD february 2010 | DS october 2011

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  • I have a Chevy Equinox now - it's 3 years old and I still love it!  It gets great gas milage for a SUV (and the new ones I hear do even better) and it got great safety ratings.  It's a crossover so it handles similar to a car - lower center of gravity instead of being a bit top heavy.

    Before this I had a Mazda Tribute and really loved that as well.  I was in a bad accident where I was sandwiched in between two trucks and it was totalled, but the inside of the car was completely fine.  I thought about getting another one but when I would sit in another one I would have flashbacks of my accident so I just couldn't do it.

  • I have a Jeep Liberty and love it!  It's their smaller SUV, but still big enough to hall things around.  It also does great in the snow and gets decent gas mileage...probably not as good as your Civic, but not bad for an SUV.
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  • I am on my 2nd Ford Escape and I LOVE it!  I have a 4 cyl and 4 wheel drive.  So, I get great gas mileage and it's great in the snow!  It comes with a great pricetag too.  It also comes in a hybrid too.  It has plenty of space and drives great! 
  • I traded in my 04 toyota corolla for the exact same reasons (it was SO LIGHT it would slide all over the road and w/ a strong wind I felt like it was going out of control lol) we originally looked at foresters and santa fes but actually ended up w/ a Mitsubishi endeavor which I LOVE!

    Its a little bigger than what I thought I would want (Ive always been a small car kinda girl) but it drives great, has awesome visibility, is AWD (which was the biggest thing for us we wanted something that would be good in the snow) and it gets really good gas mileage--plus with the backseat folded down there is SO MUCH cargo room and the backseat (when upright) has a ton of room ( I am 5'9" with long legs and my knees almost always touch the seat in front of me when I sit in the backseat of vehicles but in the endeavor there is TONS of room) I would highly recommend at least test-driving one, you might be surprised with how much you like it, I was!

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  • We rented a Ford Explorer with traction control to take to Minnesota and loved it! When we hit bad weather I was driving and it was 3 AM in the morning and I had absolutely no problems driving it thru the ice! The traction control was amazing when I would hit icy patches on the road becuase it would automatically kick in and I never even slid! I personally am not a big Ford fan ( the last one I owned had alot if problems) but this car seemed amazing and my mom actually owns one and loves it. We personally are looking into either a Jeep Grand Cherokee or a GMC Acadia to purchase here in the next couple of months but we don't really ever have bad weather. For icy/snowy co ditions I would have purchased that Explorer in a heartbeat!!
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  • We have an Audi Q5 and a BMW X5. I like them both a lot... the X5 more though b/c it is a little bigger and you sit up higher. All in all I am in love with having an SUV but one thing is that we won't be able to put LO in the middle seat. I would have to try to climb in with the car seat and it just isn't really safe (I am only 5'2")... also, if you put the carseat in the middle you can't use the seatbelts on the side b/c they are blocked by the seat. Other than that I love having SUVs. Good luck!
  • I have a Saturn Vue Hybrid and I love it! It's considered a small SUV and very sporty. They have Vues that are not Hybrids as well. Also, I know your main concern is that the Saturn line is ending with GM but our dealership has been wonderful and still do regular oil changes and cover the warranty and everything for free.

    It's perfect for our little family....2 dogs and our future LO. One of the features that I love is how safe I feel! They have a 5 star crash rating and I love how the doors auto lockwhen the car is in drive and they have air bags in the the front and back.

    GL on car hunting!

  • i have a ford escape & i like it for the most part.  it's good on gas for the size (V6), handles well in the snow which is important here in ohio and doesn't have that huge SUV feel (feels more like a car-- easy to maneuver).  things i don't like: i've had to have a decent amount of minor repair work on it (all little things like the sunroof motor, back window wiper motor...) and the latches on my back hatch and doors sometimes stick which can be a little annoying at times.  all in all it's been a good car! :)
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  • We have a Nissan Pathfinder and I looooove that car!  It's small enough to drive and has enough space to fit larger things in (our great dane loves it!)  I alsolike the fact that the back seats are easy to get in and out of (i'm thinking with carseats!)
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  • I have a Ford Edge and LOVE it.  We've had it almost a year with no complaints.  The gas mileage isn't great, but I'm a commuter...  Though I can't speak for the snow, as I live in Southern California, it handles great in the rain and wind!
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