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Old 09-08-2010, 11:30 AM
Location: Moon Over Palmettos
5,975 posts, read 17,147,909 times
Reputation: 4989


We are in the market for a 2010 compact SUV in the 20-23K range. We are not set on any brand. I have been looking at various online review sites but not sure which one of those sites is the most reliable. Which one should I go look at, as most posters in this forum appear to have a bias against Consumer Reports.


ETA: Brands under consideration currently: Hyundai Sante Fe, Mazda CX-7, Honda CRV, Toyota RAV4, Subaru Forrester
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Old 09-08-2010, 11:36 AM
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The best bet is to really look at a variety of sources just google the year/make/model your interested in and add "review" at the end and you will get a ton of sites. If I'm researching a car I'll usually start off by reading some of the major reviews from CR, Motor Trend and Car and Driver. I also look at sites like epinion, thetruthaboutcars, edmunds and thecarconnection. Some of those sites contain owner reviews and those are also real useful for pointing out the little things that a lot of the bigger reviewers miss. After that the best source is to go to a forum for the specific model or brand and see what people are saying about the car.
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Old 09-08-2010, 11:53 AM
Location: Mtns of Waynesville,NC & Nokomis, FL
4,116 posts, read 7,606,621 times
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NJGoat is right on, as usual...
I would add the Hyundai Tucson to your list; more in size with RAV-4, CR-V, et al.

Also, if you like to noodle/GOOG the web, you might plug in those brands/models
individually and hunt down enthusiast sites/forums, as suggested. Many are lightly
posted, but some good info, imo.
GL, nD
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Old 09-08-2010, 11:58 AM
Location: Los Angeles
255 posts, read 688,653 times
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TrueDelta Car Reliability and Gas Mileage Information Their data comes from actual owners.

Edmunds.com has reviews for cars from consumers also.
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Old 09-08-2010, 12:38 PM
Location: Moon Over Palmettos
5,975 posts, read 17,147,909 times
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Would you autophiles trust JDPower.com? I've gone to Edmunds but their reviews are very brief. I will check Car and Driver and Motor Trends next.
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Old 09-08-2010, 12:56 PM
Location: Central Texas
13,720 posts, read 24,623,427 times
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I do not trust JD Power. I think their entire methodology on vehicle reliablity is flawed. For starters their sample size is way too small - around 60,000 vehicles total to cover all brands. JD Power also sells its services to automakers so they are not completely influence-free.

I think Consumer Reports is a good source for car reviews, especially if you are interested in practical issues and reliablity. Their reliability survey is based on > 1,000,000 respondents and the methodology simply asks if the reader had a repair in X category or not in the past year. CR also has no dependency on advertising revenue.

I like Road and Track for more performance oriented testing. But they don't care about trunk space or the location of car seat anchors. So they miss many things CR reports on. They also have no real data on reliablity. Their long term tests are interesting, but statistically meaningless since it is just one vehicle.
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Old 09-08-2010, 01:17 PM
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Another site, that believe it or not has good reviews, is MotherProof.com. It's a bunch of mom's who contribute reviews to the site and they review a lot of different makes/models with an eye towards family friendly features and conveniences. In addition to the normal stuff, they also take the time to point out the little things like cup holders size/location, ease of installing car seats, LATCH anchor positions, ease of using the entertainment system, etc.

Given the market segment you are looking at, they should have some really good reviews that will talk about more than braking distance, acceleration, etc.
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Old 09-08-2010, 02:16 PM
Location: Moon Over Palmettos
5,975 posts, read 17,147,909 times
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Thank you all for your input...the more sites, the higher my comfort level. I will be the primary user of the vehicle, a middle aged woman with teens. I will use it primarily to go to and from work and will be our family vacation vehicle (when our kids stop kicking and screaming as we drag them with us. ) We have been a Honda family for as long as I can remember and had between hubby and I, 2 Civics, 2 Accords and 1 Odyssey. We are replacing the Odyssey as it is old, we don't need that much passenger space, but are reluctant to completely lose the payload it had provided us all these years. We are comfortable with the reliability of the Honda name over the years, although in our experience, the trim and electrical system (lights, fuses, clocks, gaskets, etc.) have been the first to show wear. I know the bare minimum on cars but would not want any of the big headaches...trannys, engines, brakes...would love the best mileage possible but the CUV's run all about the same. Of those I have read on so far, the Santa Fe appears to be in the running, but am concerned about one site giving it a low mark on Powertrain. I would like a vehicle that is comfortable both for myself as the driver, but for the passengers as well for those occasional family road trips. I hate blind spots on the vehicle and want a dashboard whose gauges ergonomically make sense to me. Safety is of prime importance, but it seems that all of the brands I've looked at scored high on front and side crash tests. I guess it all boils down to long term reliability and cost of maintenance. Power and oomph would be nice but not a deal breaker since I'm not that kind of a driver, and my commute does not allow for joyrides anyhow. I'd like absolute vehicle control, less fishtailing and quick response to avoid deer crossing the highway kind of stuff. Hope this is a good description of what are important to me. Thanks again for your input.
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Old 09-09-2010, 04:34 PM
Location: Shelby County
279 posts, read 853,812 times
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I like to watch car reviews on Youtube. You can see what they are talking about and watch them drive the vehicle and use its features.

Cars.com has customer reviews, and you can click on them after you find a vehicle you are interested in. I was looking at the new Pathfinders for a while and I started noticing a trend of customers mentioning transmission problems on Cars.com so I diverted away. I also like Edmunds and Consumer Reports.
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Old 09-09-2010, 06:13 PM
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Reviews will only take you so far, since different experts (even from the same site/magazine) give weights to preferences which may or may not match what you consider important. So don't get too caught up in scores or grades or rankings.

If you're in a large city, call around to rental agencies to see if they have various SUV's to rent. Here in So Cal you can practically rent any kind of car before you buy. And driving a car is the true test of any potential purchase: to see whether it suits your driving patterns, passengers you carry & stuff you haul.

Oh, US News compiles summaries of reviews on their site: Best Car, Truck and SUV ratings, pictures, and reviews from U.S. News - U.S. News Rankings and Reviews So this may help somewhat.
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