BUYING A CAR IN 2015

BUYING A CAR IN 2017

(WITHOUT HAVING HEADACHES IN 2018)


SPECIFIC VEHICLE RECOMMENDATIONS - Small SUVs:

These are decent utility vehicles for single vehicle families with small kids and single people. All have decent space, but do not offer great gas mileage for their size, just better than larger SUVs. Can be taken off road, but are designed mainly for on road use. Smallness of these vehicles makes for a rather choppy ride. Regular gas. 4 wheel drive versions are great for snow covered states.

Toyota RAV4 - Probably the most ideal all around vehicle today. Car based. Excellent reliability and decent gas mileage (30 mpg on the highway), but has grown to almost midsize. Very high quality and reliability. Optional useless 3rd seat. Rear view is limited due to spare tire on back door. 4cyl, front or 4 wheel drive.

RATINGS:
Acceleration:
Braking:
Fuel Cost:
Seating:
Reliability:
Trunk space:
Towing:
Hauling:
Collision avoidance:
3 - Adequate for most situations
2 - Takes 125 to 130 ft to stop.  Average for today's cars.
4 - 25 to 29 mpg on regular or 28 to 32 on premium fuel
4 - Comfortable for 4 on trips
5 - Best there is.  More reliable used than many new cars
4 - Swallows large household items
3 - Can tow up to 3500 lb - outboard boat or 5X8 Uhaul
3 - Easy to load and handles TVs and lawnmowers easily
3 - Has a decent chance of avoidance


Honda CRV - Car based vehicle. Not as tippy as some other SUVs. Larger with more interior room than most small SUVs. View out back is somewhat blocked by rear seat head rests. Very high reliability and competence. Luxury takes back seat to utility. 4 cyl with front or 4 wheel drive.

RATINGS:
Acceleration:
Braking:
Fuel Cost:
Seating:
Reliability:
Trunk space:
Towing:
Hauling:
Collision avoidance:
3 - Adequate for most situations
2 - Takes 125 to 130 ft to stop.  Average for today's cars.
4 - 25 to 29 mpg on regular or 28 to 32 on premium fuel
4 - Comfortable for 4 on trips
5 - Best there is.  More reliable used than many new cars
4 - Swallows large household items
2 - Can tow a small trailer (4X7/motorcycle/jet ski)
3 - Easy to load and handles TVs and lawnmowers easily
3 - Has a decent chance of avoidance


Lexus NX - Based on the Toyota RAV4, this is the luxury small SUV in this bunch. Far more expensive that others here - twice as expensive as some, so practicality is not there, but it is a very high quality vehicle with odd choicces in drive train. You have a choice of a turbocharged 4 cylinder or a hybrid 4 cylinder. The hybrid is the better choice. Maybe the turbo is faster, but you will pay in gas mileage, which is true of the hybrid, but not nearly as seriously. To put it into perspective, if you punch the hybrid engine hard, you may be able to get the gas mileage down to what the turbo engine does when operated economically. Front or all wheel drive.

RATINGS:
Acceleration:
Braking:
Fuel Cost:
Seating:
Reliability:
Trunk space:
Towing:
Hauling:
Collision avoidance:
3 - Adequate for most situations
2 - Takes 125 to 130 ft to stop.  Average for today's cars.
4 - 25 to 29 mpg on regular or 28 to 32 on premium fuel
4 - Comfortable for 4 on trips
5 - Best there is.  More reliable used than many new cars
4 - Swallows large household items
3 - Can tow up to 3500 lb - outboard boat or 5X8 Uhaul
3 - Easy to load and handles TVs and lawnmowers easily
3 - Has a decent chance of avoidance


Nissan Rogue - Car based vehicle - specifically the Nissan Sentra. Not as tippy as some other SUVs. Larger with more interior room than most small SUVs. View out back is better than RAV4 or CRV. Very high reliability and competence. Luxury takes back seat to utility. 4 cyl with front or 4 wheel drive.

RATINGS:
Acceleration:
Braking:
Fuel Cost:
Seating:
Reliability:
Trunk space:
Towing:
Hauling:
Collision avoidance:
3 - Adequate for most situations
2 - Takes 125 to 130 ft to stop.  Average for today's cars.
4 - 25 to 29 mpg on regular or 28 to 32 on premium fuel
4 - Comfortable for 4 on trips
5 - Best there is.  More reliable used than many new cars
4 - Swallows large household items
1 - Don't do it
3 - Easy to load and handles TVs and lawnmowers easily
3 - Has a decent chance of avoidance


Subaru Forester - Difficult to call this vehicle an SUV, since it is closer to a station wagon with a tall roofline than an SUV. More room than the Legacy Wagon, but built on the Impreza platform and drivetrain. And same excellent reliability, although the interior is a little plasticy. 4 cyl, 4 wheel drive. Excellent choice for snow covered states.

RATINGS:
Acceleration:
Braking:
Fuel Cost:
Seating:
Reliability:
Trunk space:
Towing:
Hauling:
Collision avoidance:
3 - Adequate for most situations
2 - Takes 125 to 130 ft to stop.  Average for today's cars.
4 - 25 to 29 mpg on regular or 28 to 32 on premium fuel
3 - Seats 4, okay for around town, a little crowded for trips
5 - Best there is.  More reliable used than many new cars
4 - Swallows large household items
3 - Can tow up to 2400 lb - outboard boat or 5X8 Uhaul
3 - Easy to load and handles TVs and lawnmowers easily
3 - Has a decent chance of avoidance


Mazda CX-5 - Completely redone vehicle. Far better than previous versions. Higher quality and reliability than before, but probably lower than Honda and Toyota, so resale value may be low until it's reputation improves.

RATINGS:
Acceleration:
Braking:
Fuel Cost:
Seating:
Reliability:
Trunk space:
Towing:
Hauling:
Collision avoidance:
2 - Can keep up with traffic pretty well
2 - Takes 125 to 130 ft to stop.  Average for today's cars.
4 - 25 to 29 mpg on regular or 28 to 32 on premium fuel
3 - Seats 4, okay for around town, a little crowded for trips
3 - Decent reliability for long term ownership
4 - Swallows large household items
1 - Don't do it
3 - Easy to load and handles TVs and lawnmowers easily
3 - Has a decent chance of avoidance


Mazda CX-3 - New vehicle. Little brother of the CX-5. Good quality and reliability, but probably lower than Honda and Toyota, so resale value may be low until it's reputation improves.

RATINGS:
Acceleration:
Braking:
Fuel Cost:
Seating:
Reliability:
Trunk space:
Towing:
Hauling:
Collision avoidance:
2 - Can keep up with traffic pretty well
2 - Takes 125 to 130 ft to stop.  Average for today's cars.
4 - 25 to 29 mpg on regular or 28 to 32 on premium fuel
3 - Seats 4, okay for around town, a little crowded for trips
3 - Decent reliability for long term ownership
4 - Swallows large household items
1 - Don't do it
3 - Easy to load and handles TVs and lawnmowers easily
3 - Has a decent chance of avoidance


Honda HRV - Car based vehicle. Not as tippy as some other SUVs. Little brother of the CRV. View out back is somewhat blocked by rear seat head rests. Very high reliability and competence. Luxury takes back seat to utility. 4 cyl with front or 4 wheel drive.

RATINGS:
Acceleration:
Braking:
Fuel Cost:
Seating:
Reliability:
Trunk space:
Towing:
Hauling:
Collision avoidance:
3 - Adequate for most situations
2 - Takes 125 to 130 ft to stop.  Average for today's cars.
4 - 25 to 29 mpg on regular or 28 to 32 on premium fuel
4 - Comfortable for 4 on trips
5 - Best there is.  More reliable used than many new cars
4 - Swallows large household items
2 - Can tow a small trailer (4X7/motorcycle/jet ski)
3 - Easy to load and handles TVs and lawnmowers easily
3 - Has a decent chance of avoidance


Buick Encore - Stylish Buick entry built on their small car platform. Decent reliability and quality. 4 cyl front wheel drive.

RATINGS:
Acceleration:
Braking:
Fuel Cost:
Seating:
Reliability:
Trunk space:
Towing:
Hauling:
Collision avoidance:
3 - Adequate for most situations
2 - Takes 125 to 130 ft to stop.  Average for today's cars.
4 - 25 to 29 mpg on regular or 28 to 32 on premium fuel
4 - Comfortable for 4 on trips
4 - Very good vehicle
4 - Swallows large household items
2 - Can tow a small trailer (4X7/motorcycle/jet ski)
3 - Easy to load and handles TVs and lawnmowers easily
3 - Has a decent chance of avoidance


Nissan Cube - Car based vehicle. More like a small utility wagon with a high roof, but for its outward size, it has tremendous interior space. Very high reliability and competence. Luxury takes back seat to utility. Price is low compared to larger competition. Uses the Versa 4 cyl with front wheel drive so power is somewhat slow, but gas mileage is better than the Scion xB gets.

RATINGS:
Acceleration:
Braking:
Fuel Cost:
Seating:
Reliability:
Trunk space:
Towing:
Hauling:
Collision avoidance:
2 - Can keep up with traffic pretty well
2 - Takes 125 to 130 ft to stop.  Average for today's cars.
4 - 25 to 29 mpg on regular or 28 to 32 on premium fuel
3 - Seats 4, okay for around town, a little crowded for trips
4 - Very good vehicle
4 - Swallows large household items
2 - Can tow a small trailer (4X7/motorcycle/jet ski)
3 - Easy to load and handles TVs and lawnmowers easily
3 - Has a decent chance of avoidance