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what to get?

  • 4runner (probably new based on used pricing) $$$

    Votes: 6 14.3%
  • 08-09 LR3 (cheapest, these are the "reliable" Rovers, this will have lots of miles)

    Votes: 1 2.4%
  • GX460 (pre-predator face, this will have lots of miles)

    Votes: 2 4.8%
  • 18+ Grand Cherokee ($$$ to cheap depending on trim. I've road-tripped a base-ish V6 and liked it)

    Votes: 7 16.7%
  • 4-door Bronco $$$

    Votes: 1 2.4%
  • Passport (this just feels like a $40k HRV inside but I haven't driven one yet. 9spd worries)

    Votes: 11 26.2%
  • base 958 Cayenne

    Votes: 4 9.5%
  • Ridgeline

    Votes: 3 7.1%
  • Gladiator

    Votes: 1 2.4%
  • just use the HRV you dumdum

    Votes: 6 14.3%
1 - 20 of 81 Posts

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Giulia, HRV, Ranger
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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Although my heart wants a 2-door Bronco, I am realizing with 2 dogs that I would really benefit from a larger vehicle.

We are currently using my wife's HRV for road trips (2 dogs, 2 bikes, camping or snow gear, no kids now or ever). We don't do any "real" off-roading or crawling - something to handle rough-ish forest roads is fine. We've gotten by in Colorado and the UP with the HRV. The basic AWD (with good tires) has also been adequate for deep WI/MI snow so far.

We take 2 long trips each year (starting in SE WI): Canada, Asheville NC, Bentonville AR, Utah. Generally 12+hrs or more, all loaded up, mtn bike or ski trips.

I'd like more interior space. Mainly in the cargo area behind the rear seats. I'd be OK with a 3-row if the 3rd row folds completely into the floor, like the GX460. We've done the roof box thing and it sucks.

What I don't love about the HRV:
  • CVT
  • road/tire noise - it's pretty loud at 75mph on concrete highways
  • just-adequate power (~28mpg on trips doesn't seem worth the trade-off of having no real power)
Things I like:
  • it's 100% reliable
  • cheap to service/easy to DIY service
  • android auto (this is a must at this point)


For my choices - some of these are older but infotainment retrofits are available. I am not too concerned with MPG as I WFH 100% and still have the Alfa. We are keeping the HRV - this new vehicle would replace the old Ranger (which is honestly just a toy).

I'd like to spend under $40k but would entertain something in the 40K range if it's new. I am hoping to keep this next vehicle for 5 yrs.

This new vehicle is going to be street parked.
 

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217 Posts
You should add the Outback to your list, they are sublime.
 
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'23 GTI S, '18 Camry SE, '15 F150 XLT, '91 GTI VR6
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6,762 Posts
Grand Cherokee. Doesn't stand out when parked on the street, and has been the standard bearer for a while for having the right mix of highway manners, off road chops, and I'll say it...reasonable reliability. Is it a Toyota? No. But the Pentastar/8-speed is more reliable than people will give it credit for, and even if something does happen, you're more likely to find a CDJR dealer in BFE than you are a Toyota dealer.
 

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14,197 Posts
Grand Cherokee. You'll have some problems at some point but I think it fits within the "reasonable" category. Avoid the air suspension if you want a more carefree experience.
 

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28,113 Posts
2023 Highlander 2.4T will do well at high altitude

I also have a fascination with the Expedition XL STX that only has two rows of seats. Not sure what the used pricing is like on those but might be an interesting option.

Also think about a Tacoma/Frontier/Ranger "long bed" and a camper shell - bonus, you can sleep in the back (maybe wait for next-gen Tacoma or Ranger if you go this route). My 2.7L Taco is super simple and easy to service but kind of a dog at altitude.

I don't do any rock crawling, either, but it has been super nice to be able to take it a little off road on rocky/gravel roads without worrying about breaking or scraping anything. And being able to get to the dispersed camp sites with no one around is worth a lot. You can just pull up somewhere, get in and go to sleep.

Sky Cloud Light Leaf Nature


Escalator Wood Flooring Technology Art
 

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2023 Subaru Outback
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5,645 Posts
Came to post Outback or Forester. I wish the Forester had more power but it really is a great place to be if you like SUV/upright seating, GREAT visibility, and nice storage space.

The most expensive Forester available is still 10% under your budget.
 
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S2000, E320
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8,152 Posts
Family friend has a 2yr old Grand Cherokee that already has electrical gremlins with the alarm going off randomly.

I'm intrigued by a base Cayenne, not the quickest thing, but also haven't heard anything damning. Maybe the 6cyl Touareg too?
 

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1,245 Posts
You should add the Outback to your list, they are sublime.
Correct. Outback XT is 100% the answer. The Wilderness in particular has fully nailed the formula--the shorter CVT gearing from the Ascent finally makes the car feel as potent as that motor is. And the seating/general cabin ergonomics punch a solid $10k+ above its weight. I just bought another one, and finally got a Wilderness this time.

The 4Runner is so cool, and such a bad road trip car.

I also take tons of very long mountain bike oriented road trips every year, so I understand your use case well.
 

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2023 Subaru Outback
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5,645 Posts
Correct. Outback XT is 100% the answer. The Wilderness in particular has fully nailed the formula--the shorter CVT gearing from the Ascent finally makes the car feel as potent as that motor is. And the seating/general cabin ergonomics punch a solid $10k+ above its weight. I just bought another one, and finally got a Wilderness this time.

The 4Runner is so cool, and such a bad road trip car.

I also take tons of very long mountain bike oriented road trips every year, so I understand your use case well.
Oh snap!
 

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18,078 Posts
At the $40k range, used will be your best bet.

There's a possibility if you wait 90 days, you'll allow all inventory to turn, prices to drop, and MANY more vehicles become reasonable.
- If you wait longer, it's even more likely.

Toyota Highlander is 3 rows, but would fit the bill.

Grand Cherokee will work
 

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Giulia, HRV, Ranger
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3,926 Posts
Discussion Starter · #17 ·
I also have a fascination with the Expedition XL STX that only has two rows of seats. Not sure what the used pricing is like on those but might be an interesting option.
wahhh? I did not include the Ford/GM SUVs because growing up in a Suburban house, I know the 3rd row doesn't fold flat at all, and today is no longer removable. An ecoboost Expedition with just a 2rd row bench would be awesome but I didn't know that was a thing. What year was this available?

edit: I guess it's available right now but it's also $55k. woof
 

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'20 Forester Sport, '22 Tacoma TRD Sport
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792 Posts
Out of all of the choices you have on the poll, I vote for the Passport. But is there a reason you don't want to get the Pilot instead? It offers even more room with really no real-world penalty other than marginally larger footprint. The newer Trailsport models appear to actually offer more than just an appearance package, though I'm not sure if the gearing has been revised for a final drive better than 20:1.

The Outback with a turbo is a nice vehicle that is not lacking in power, though I'm still not convinced of the CVT, even if it is more or less invisible. I had an extended loaner Ascent with the turbo-4 and CVT that I had for nearly 11 weeks, no complaints at all at the handling and power. Test drove the Outback wilderness with the same drivetrain and I can candidly say that if I needed to haul less sporting equipment and/or the kids had moved out, I would be driving that instead of the Tacoma.
 

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wahhh? I did not include the Ford/GM SUVs because growing up in a Suburban house, I know the 3rd row doesn't fold flat at all, and today is no longer removable. An ecoboost Expedition with just a 2rd row bench would be awesome but I didn't know that was a thing. What year was this available?

edit: I guess it's available right now but it's also $55k. woof
Yeah, it started with the 2021s. Sorry, thought used ones might be a little cheaper, looks like they start at around $44k on cars.com

Example:
 

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Another vote for pre-owned. This is going to be an extra car mainly for playing in the outdoors. Go out and find the best used Passport, Highlander, Outback you can and call it a day.
 
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