NFR Time For a New SUV

GAT

Dumbfounded
The absolute last source I'd use for recommendations of a product is Consumer Reports. Those guys are idiots and I've been burned by their recommendations more than once.

They rate anything from egg timers to hair dryers so they are not exactly experts in automotive vehicles.

If you want to check recommendations for a SUV check out a product review from a source that only rates vehicles. Kelly Blue Book and many others are much more reliable than Consumer Reports.
 

Tracker

Active Member
I've got an old 98 Chevy Blazer 4x4 that looks like it just rolled off the showroom floor. Great snow car, 26mpg, great back road river runner and a 5k tow capacity. I keep it meticulousy maintained. I'd really like to get one of the new subaru foresters, but spouse says not till the Blazer dies. Crap, that may be awhile.

Sent from my little square phone thingy...
 

GAT

Dumbfounded
My real job is in the automotive biz. I've been working in both foreign and domestic dealerships for 38 years. At first, yes, foreign vehicles where built much, much better and more reliable than domestic vehicles. That is no longer the case -- even if Consumer Reports is in love with foreign vehicles.

Most parts in any brand of vehicle come from the same supplier... they are simply made to the specs of the brand. If you buy a Toyota SUV, there is a high chance it is actually assembled in the US. It contains parts made in Japan, Mexico, Germany, Brazil, China and the US. Oddly enough, the same holds true for US vehicles.

The name brand on the vehicle may be different but the parts of that vehicle are made by the same suppliers. Originally, that was not the case but it is now.

It is difficult to claim one brand is built better than another. If you remove all the identifying badges of similar vehicles, a normal consumer would have a heck of a time determining that one similar vehicle is built better than another.

Some still believe that the name badge is the key. If the name badge is Japanese, they believe the vehicle must be better than one that has a US name badge. Genuine studies of consumer satisfaction indicate that there is very little difference these days between those happy with an import compared to a domestic vehicle.

And like I said, if the consumer was comparing the vehicles and had no idea of the company that built them, that difference would be even slighter.

The US vehicles of the 70s are nowhere near to the same US vehicle of 2014.

You can't go by recalls. Nowadays, all vehicles, no matter the brand, have recalls. Some of the recalls are downright dumb. But they are a fact of the automotive world and I deal with new recalls each week... you just don't read about most of them because the media only makes a big deal out of it during slow news days.

Most of the recalls I process for Ford and Chrysler deal with reprogramming a module. Big whoop. An update for a computer program. Half are not safety related in the least but deal with correcting an emissions concern.

Some recalls are justified for safety problems. The Chevy recall for the ignition switch is one. They were aware of the problem but because they were going broke, they did nothing about it because a recall would have cost millions for Chevy to fix. They are now trying to correct that mistake.

My wife purchased a 2013 Escape last year. She loves that vehicle and claims it is the best vehicles she's ever owned. And we've owned an Opal Manta, a Ford Galaxy, a Ford Mustang, a T-Bird, a Horizon (that one was a real piece of crap) three different Explorers, a Mazda 626, a Mazda B2000 and an RX7.

So we've gone through both domestic and foreign vehicles. And out all of them, she likes her Escape the best. She did like her RX7 a lot but it was a sports car and what was not to like... you can't really compare it to the others.

There were three recalls on her Escape. One had to do with reprogramming the seat belt control module. One had to do with adjusting the door latches. And the biggie was a real dumb one. There was a chance that if the front seal of the engine started to leak, it might leak oil on something that might catch fire. So the recall had us install a shield to keep any possible oil leak from leaking onto a hot engine part. It was all based on "possible" because out of the hundreds of thousands of Escapes sold, a couple of them somewhere leaked and the engine started smoking.

Safety and emission recalls are mandated by the Feds and some of those mandated recalls are just plain silly. Still, recalls are a fact of the auto biz these days so we take them in stride. ... they're job security for me as a warranty administrator.

Bottom line: If you're going to research customer satisfaction, check with an automotive dedicated research group. And if there is a satisfaction concern, find out what it is. A couple years ago, Ford products took a big hit in customer satisfaction because the stupid cell phone function (made and programed by Microsoft) had bugs. Everything else that actually mattered were rated very good.
 

LCnSac

John or "LC"
We all complain about the cost of new vehicles, but I'd bet the current cost per mile driven is less now than 20 years ago. I'm old enough to remember when 50K was about the end of most cars and trucks. Odometers back then only had five digits. The Sequoia is the first vehicle I've had where I drove it over 100K. Pre Y2K that was pretty signaled the coming end of the useful life for many vehicles. Now, even for some domestics, 200K isn't out of the question, and we all hear of some brands seeing over 300K and still in use. Some even have some value at those miles.

Oddly though, even with better longevity, they all look pretty cheap including the upmarket Germans. I have yet to see a vehicle with truly great fit and finish and materials, except maybe Land Rover and we know about their reliability.

What is making them last longer? My guess is the extensive use of plastic plays a part. No metal fatigue or rust and it doesn't bend or rattle--it breaks and gets replaced. Also, computer designed and processed components and robotic assembly must help?
 

JesseC

Active Member
Just curious. I'm in the exact same situation and was thinking about buying a 2010-2012 land cruiser over a new 4runner. The 4s seem super nice but the LC's are in another league.
 

LCnSac

John or "LC"
Drive one first, Jesse, you might not like it. You'll have less much usable storage space and really crappy rear seating. It rides ROUGH. What you will have is inarguable prestige, and a fine, classic, vehicle that will go anywhere and might even outlive you. It's also a good tow vehicle if that's a concern.

If you're really intrigued, consider not a 2010 but a 2000 or so. The 2010 with some miles on it will probably cost you more than the new 4R (mine will run about $36K, SR5 Premium), but for around $15K in our area you can get one with 100K which will be about the same vehicle as the new ones as they went heritage long ago.

I didn't look at them this time, but did when I bought the Sequoia. It wasn't the price--it was the ride and utility for my needs that put me off.

Edit: Well, maybe the ride has gotten better. Read a couple of reviews after I posted and they liked the ride. Last one I drove was a 2003 and it was very rough.
 

Robert Easterday

Active Member
I haven't read through the entire thread, so apologies if this is redundant. But to the OP, a Sequoia with 180K miles probably has at least another 120K (or more) safe, trustworthy miles on it if it has been maintained and hasn't been a lemon. I'm on my fourth Toyota since '83 in one form or another, all having had 250K to 320K nearly trouble-free miles. My current camry has 320K and NOTHING other than routine maintenance. Amazing.
 

Rick Todd

Active Member
I've been driving a 2014 4Runner w/V6 for nearly 3 months now. Averaging 19.8 mpg, and hitting 22 mpg on long road trips when I can set the cruise control and just flow down the freeway. Great power for a rig this size, and nice quiet, comfortable ride. Only knock I have on it is that the Toyota roofrack crossbars sit too close to the roof so I had to upgrade to Yakima/Whispbar crossbars.

Dn
Dan-I followed Ive's lead and bought a Dodge 1500. I've been a loyal GMC fan for about 15 years but I have to say, this truck is flat out awesome. I'm getting the same mileage as your 4Runner, but I can tow 10,800 lbs with 420 ft/lbs, torque an 8 speed transmission, 380 hp. Consumer Reports rates it a best buy, and with the car like ride, I don't think you can beat it! My wife bought a Chrysler 300C (luxury car) a couple years ago and it has bee flawless (replaced a Toyota Avalon with 120K on it and it is a so much better car!)! I think the Mercedes ownership (now gone) made a huge difference in the quality of Dodge/Chrysler products. I used to be a big fan of Toyota but come on-20 mpg from a V6-they should be 25 mpg at least. I used to have a prejudice toward US made cars, but take another look-they are beating the pants off Toyota, Nissan etc. I sold my 2007 Volvo XC 90 for the Dodge truck and I get better mileage, way better power, and I can tow any trailer I want with it! Now Ive got the V6, which gets about 3 mpg better than mine, but I have a recently purchased 30' Airstream that is GVW rated at 8500 and that is well below the GVW trailer rating of my new truck. Rick
 

JesseC

Active Member
I rented a 2013 LC for a week in vegas on business. I was really impressed by the power of that v8. It is kind of scary how fast that big ass vehicle can go. It feels like an elephant on fire. The around town handing was really nice, super comfy, and definitely in the luxury realm. I also voided the rental agreement and took it off roading. There's not much that can stop that thing. I thought the auto crawl mode was a joke. But, in practice it's jaw dropping. It just cruised over ice chest sized boulders with ease. They are insane vehicles. The only downside I see is the price - around 50k for one with 40k miles on it. But, once I'm done tricking out a 4 runner online with all the gizmos that I like I get to around 44k.
 

cuponoodle breakfast

Bigfoot is blurry
With my newly acquired 4runner I now have 3 Toyotas in the driveway with a cumulative total of 478,000 miles. I know the complete history on the runner and the truck. Not sure about the history of the car but I acquired it at 99k and now have over 200k on it. Total repairs? The car busted an a-arm bushing.
Enjoy your Dodges. The people I know with Dodges have had serious problems...4.7 liters with oil pumps shitting the bed, 360's with cracked heads, front end rebuilds on ALL the pickups. All common.My favorite is the guy that kept taking his new Ram 1500 with a 4.7 back for engine noise. The dealer eventually took it back as a lemon when they dropped the oil pan and found nuts and bolts in it.
Positive remarks from Consumer Reports might make you feel better, but it won't roll your odometer for hundreds of thousands of miles.
 

David A.

Upside down.
Does anyone pay any attention to the JD Power surveys ?
I've used them to bash Landrover owners for years, but now that Mitsubishi are nearer to the bottom I have to shut-up..:confused::D
 

Dan Nelson

Hiker, Fisher, Writer, Bum
Dan-I followed Ive's lead and bought a Dodge 1500. I've been a loyal GMC fan for about 15 years but I have to say, this truck is flat out awesome. I'm getting the same mileage as your 4Runner, but I can tow 10,800 lbs with 420 ft/lbs, torque an 8 speed transmission, 380 hp. Consumer Reports rates it a best buy, and with the car like ride, I don't think you can beat it! My wife bought a Chrysler 300C (luxury car) a couple years ago and it has bee flawless (replaced a Toyota Avalon with 120K on it and it is a so much better car!)! I think the Mercedes ownership (now gone) made a huge difference in the quality of Dodge/Chrysler products. I used to be a big fan of Toyota but come on-20 mpg from a V6-they should be 25 mpg at least. I used to have a prejudice toward US made cars, but take another look-they are beating the pants off Toyota, Nissan etc. I sold my 2007 Volvo XC 90 for the Dodge truck and I get better mileage, way better power, and I can tow any trailer I want with it! Now Ive got the V6, which gets about 3 mpg better than mine, but I have a recently purchased 30' Airstream that is GVW rated at 8500 and that is well below the GVW trailer rating of my new truck. Rick


All good news for you. Glad you found something that serves you well. But the original poster asked about SUVs and specifically referenced 4RUNNERS, so I tried to provide useful information to aid him.
 

LCnSac

John or "LC"
All good news for you. Glad you found something that serves you well. But the original poster asked about SUVs and specifically referenced 4RUNNERS, so I tried to provide useful information to aid him.
As the OP, I'm totally grateful for the variety of opinions and suggestions. Dodge may be getting more reliable, but it seems early to really know. I think Ram is the best looking truck on the road, and the Durango is the best value for size, power, and features on paper in the crossover lineup. We do have one in the family as I mentioned, and it's been anything but trouble free so I'm passing. What I DO know is that if the 4Runner doesn't work out after a couple of years I can off it and lose very little money, comparatively. It's a big step down in size for us, so I don't know, but other than the Taco its resale can't be beat.

I tend to keep cars for 5-10 years; I'm on year 11 for the Sequoia and if it were up to me I wouldn't sell it, but it's not. Wife wants me to get something new for road trips, so we are. Not liking the gen 2 Sequoias at all, the Runner seems like the best alternative at this point. If I can ever convince her that camping is actually enjoyable (not looking good so far), then I'd look for something with better towing capacity. For now, the little guy should be OK as it's pretty clear I'll be camping on my own for awhile. FWIW, Consumer Reports hates the 4Runner, loves the Jeep and the Durango, in spite of the reliability record, as does most of the automotive press. I think our priorities are different.
 

LCnSac

John or "LC"
Does anyone pay any attention to the JD Power surveys ?
I've used them to bash Landrover owners for years, but now that Mitsubishi are nearer to the bottom I have to shut-up..:confused::D
I think J.D. Powers is pay to play, so I would not pay much attention to them, and I don't think you need them to bash Rovers--you've got the owners for that. I can't own a Rover because I don't think our zoning will allow another accessory dwelling we'd need for the live-in mechanic ;)
 

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