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Shopping for Midsized SUV 4x4

Discussion in 'Car Forum' started by PAPhil, Feb 7, 2006.

  1. PAPhil


    Feb 25, 2005
    I currently drive an 02 Explorer. I like the automatic 4x4 when traction is needed. The mileage is decent at 22 mpg in the summer on cruise control and flat hwy roads. It is around 18 in the winter. It has been reliable transportation and cargo carrier.

    THe seats are horribly uncomfortable. In fact, the leg room is crunched with the door handle shrinking my knee space.

    I am looking for another SUV in the next 2 days. I would appreciate all recommendations for a best-balanced offering from any of the manufacturers available:

    Hwy mileage 20 mpg or slightly better
    cargo room to hold 4-8 plywood sheet (seats folded down) or snowthrower (slanted rear ends really cut out cubic space)
    4x4, auto traction preferred (instead of having to stop and lock in lo or hi 4x4)
    Reliable performance mechanically and electrically.
    Not a big horsepower guy, but I guess 260 HP and similar torque are available on modern 6 cylinder engines. I do not tow anyhting bigger than a Uhaul utility trailer
    $32-33K price

    So, I am looking at a Pathfinder, 4Runner, Pilot, 06 Explorer, TrailBlazer, or Commanche.

    I think I have dropped the idea of the Pilot (short cargo space), Commanche ($41,000 for the thing. The Pathfinder is roomy, has nice styling, but gets 18mpg hwy with those huge tires. I may as well get a full sized Tahoe with that kind of mileage. I have no clue on a 4 Runner regarding cubic space, cost, ergonomics, or power. I hesitate towards getting another Explorer. I do like the independent suspension (Pilot has it too). The TrailBlazer is roomy, but looks pretty dated. In fact, it is not that much cheaper than a Tahoe.

    All feedback based upon first-hand ownership experience will be appreciated. I am really wondering whether the fullsized trucks are all that bad for fuel consumption? I drive a lot of hwy.
  2. vart


    Feb 17, 2000
    The Palouse
    All mid-size and full-size SUVs seem to get around the same hwy mileage of 17-20...Unless you are driving 40,000 miles a year like me, then the cost isn't really significant.

    I've owned 3 Pathfinders and the best any of them got was 20mpg; a Tahoe can get that;Q .

    So, if you decide to go full-size and import, that pretty much limits you to the Nissan Armada and the Toyota Seqouia. Both of those are going to be more than your $33k limit; the Armada starts at $34,700 and has a hwy rating of 18mpg.

  3. Three-Five-Seven

    Three-Five-Seven Señor Mombo Millennium Member

    Aug 8, 1999
    Great Southwest
    I was going to buy a Honda Pilot. I was sure of it. I had shopped and shopped and shopped. When I was finally getting serious, I test drove lots of cars. Glad I did. I ended up buying a Honda Ridgeline.

    It is the most comfortable, quiet, capable vehicle I've ever owned. Like you, I've owned Ford my whole life. This Honda is generations ahead of any dometic vehicle IMHO. I love driving it and hate to get out of it when I get home! Test drive one, you too will be amazed. I'm getting 18-19 city and 21 hiway now that it's broken in.

    The flexibility of the rear seating, the trunk, and the pickup bed make it possible to haul just about anything. >48 inches between box sides with no wheel well intrusion. It is easy to get stuff into, and out of, this thing.

    The AWD and stability control are fabulous. Each wheel is independently sprung, driven, and braked. Chassis is very stiff, which allows all this engineering to work incredibly well. Least likely SUV to flip over of all tested by the feds.

    Vtec engine is great, as is the transmission. I got leather, sunroof, and XM RTL package. I couldn't see paying the 3K for the computer. I sometimes wonder what I'm missing....

    Drive one.
  4. OUSooner


    Jan 22, 2004
    From the sound of things I think maybe a Chevy Tahoe would serve you well. Has everything you want and is a lot roomier than your Explorer.
  5. Norman

    Norman Non nobis CLM

    Oct 29, 2004
    I rented a Trailblazer for a few days.

    Was not impressed. And it felt a little cramped in the front.

    Maybe Three-Five-Seven is right, check out that Ridgeline. Compare it to a Tahoe and see what suits you better.
  6. OUSooner


    Jan 22, 2004
    The trailblazer is based off the Colorado mid size frame where as the Tahoe is based off the full sized Silverado. Much roomier.
  7. walkin' trails

    walkin' trails

    Apr 24, 2005
    On of the car magazines tested the new Tahoe with the 320 HP motor that's supposed to get 20 mpg on the highway. They recorded a good, solid 12. If you got relatively good gas milege out of an Explorer, go look at the new versions. They've supposedly been redesigned and are more powerful and economical. I've been driving a company furnished '04 4X4 lately with the 4.6 V-8. I drive it hard and average about 16 mpg. I'm not crazy about the seats, either, but the rest of the vehicle seems to be growing on me.
  8. mitchshrader

    mitchshrader Deceased

    Jun 14, 2005

    good hondas are worth more than they cost.

    i've not said that about a NEW RETAIL PRICED american vehicle since the 1969 boss mustang.
  9. thooks


    May 17, 2005
    Marietta, GA
    I'd run as far away from a Trailblazer as I could. And it's brothers and sisters (Envoy and that Isuzu thing).

    A complete Frankenstein by GM. A real fiasco.