So far so good
By Professor on Thursday, December 26, 2013
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 450
overall rating 9 of 10rating details
- Overall Rating
Pros: "Great visibility, comfortable driver's position"
Cons: "Somewhat awkward nav system"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 9
"I owned a 2003 Toyota Highlander that I purchased new that had a little over 100,000 miles on it. I had been wanting to replace it for a while if only to get something that gets better gas mileage and because I don't need something as large as the Highlander. I started looking at Hybrids and EVs, but at 6'5" tall I didn't feel comfortable in any of the ones that I tried. I also need to carry a tuba or 2 in my car, so I need something with a decent sized cargo space. Based on this I decided to check out all of the new smaller crossover SUVs.
I tried out the Mazda CX-5, Nissan Rogue, Ford Escape, Toyota RAV4, Honda CR-V, and the Subaru Forester and outback. My wife bought a 2013 CR-V last year, so I had already driven that quite a bit and was seriously considering getting another. Then I drove the Forester. Of all of these the Forester far and away had the best driving position for my size. It also had to be something that my wife (5'3") would also be comfortable driving. With the power seat in the Forester she could adjust the driver's position to a perfect height for her. I didn't like the visibility in the Nissan and Mazda. It felt like the roof-line was too low for me, even with their seats all the way down. I liked the RAV, but not as much as the Subaru, while the Ford felt cramped to me.
Now that I have had it for a week or so and have driven it over 400 miles I still think it was the best choice for me. I decided to get the 2.5i Touring model. I initially considered the premium, but I wanted some of the features that were only available in the touring trim level. From a practical perspective I don't think that the Touring is worth the difference in price for what you get vs. the Premium, although I think it is worth it vs. the Limited. For the extra money I got the Navigation system, which isn't as bad as some have indicated in the reviews. The touch screen buttons for the radio portion of the entertainment system are a little small, but it seems to work fine. It also adds leather seating, dual automatic climate control, power back lift gate, and the X-Drive mode, which I haven't had a chance to try out yet, plus a few other bells and whistles. None of these are things that I couldn't live without, but they are nice to have. It isn't the plushest of fanciest car in features of finishes, but everything works well for what I need. We tried a 2013 Forester last year when my wife got her CR-V and it felt much cheaper and was significantly less comfortable and had worse visibility. The 2014 seems like a major improvement over last year's model.
So far I have no complaints about noise or ride. Some have said that the right is very rough, but to me it just feels like a little more road feel rather than being rough. I also don't find it noisy at all compared to my Highlander.
I have averaged 28.8 MPG so far on one and a half tanks of gas, driven about 60% highway, 40% local roads. I expect to get very close to the EPA estimates in my normal driving based on my experience so far.
Another thing that sold this car for me was the visibility. The large windows all around give me what feels like a commanding view of the road. I find it significantly better than on my wife's CR-V, especially out the sides towards the back and out the rear window. Overall, I haven't seen any cars this year that I would prefer for my specific needs."
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