Looking for an SUV

My husband and I need a new SUV since ours was totaled in a car wreck. Our budget says we cannot spend over 11,000, so we are in the used car search. We have looked into Ford Escapes, Toyota Rav-4s, and Mazda Tributes. Any suggestions from anyone? Anyone recommend one of these cars we’ve looked at or warning against any of them?

It really going to depend on how well the used vehicle was maintained and/or abused. If all things are equal…I’d get the Rav-4. But because of the Rav-4’s high reliability they also ask for a higher price. A comparably priced Rav-4 may have much higher mileage then the Escape.

Since you say you “need” an SUV, in order to help with the question, what we really need to know is what you intend to do with the vehicle. You’ve listed a bunch of “crossover’s”, none of which I would actually consider as an SUV.

Well, we don’t need a huge vehicle. Just one that is comfortable for us to have a dog in the back and go camping. We had a Honda CR-V that worked nicely before.

Also it is nice for picking things up at the hardware store. My little Yaris doesn’t quite cut it.

Camping. Do you tow a trailer? Or, do you just stuff your things in the back, and hit the road?

Stuff things in the back and put a Thule on top

Like Mike said, all of those vehicles you list will do well. You can also consider the Hyundai and Kia equivalents. You can get a much newer one for the same money as your Honda’s and Toyota’s. I also hear the Suzuki SX-4 is a good all-a-rounder. I have no personal experience with either one. Try using consumer reports and edmunds.com. They often have owner inputs as to how well the vehicle has performed after a couple years, rather than just how it was “out of the box”, as it were.

I don’t have anything against Ford, Chevy or Dodge, either. Basically, they’ll all do what you want. The only thing you really have to figure into the equation at this point is if you’ll be staying on roads or not (will you need 4X4 to reach the camping grounds you’re heading to?). Most likely not, but you never know.

Having said all that, all things being equal, I’d prefer a Toyota. I’m biased, what can I say? See the picture? Toyota. :slight_smile:

We purchased a 2008 Chevy Equinox in 2010 and we are happy with it. The back rear seat pushes back so that anyone sitting in back has plenty of legroom. rear cargo area is decent, older model years come with a V6 with avg MPG. I think it has a little more cargo space than the RAV4 and CRV. Most have a luggage rack, It’s not too big or too small. Like the Escape and Tribute the roofline is squared off and not slanted like RAV4 and CRV.

For 11k you may not be able to get a newer Rav which is larger. The older, and smaller pre 2006 model means that for 11k, the larger and much more refined for that year, CRV becomes the better choice. I also suggest the lower priced Rogue. It is a little smaller, but I find my son’s Rogue is quiter and smoother on the road then either my RAV or my daughter’s CRV.
If you can get a much newer Escape for the same price in better shape, it may be worth a look., the Mazda and Subaru Forester too. I’m still not ready to recomend older Hyundais or Kia’s.

None of these cars are true SUVs, only by definition. They are compact cars in wagon form with awd optional and better clearance and higher rooflines. They are not capable of towing or carrying much more then an ordinary car. IMO, that makes them awd cars, not true SUVs.

Don’t leave out the Mercury Mariner. It’s just like the Escape and Tribute. They are basically the same SUVs.

You might find a 2007 Chevy Trailblazer LT for $11,000. MSN Autos says that 2007 Trailblazers have few problems. It is certainly large enough to carry anything the other SUVs you mention can, and then some. I drove one and found it quite comfortable. A 2004 CR-V EX is below $11,000, but you can get a 5 year old Trailblazer for the same cost as an 8 year old CR-V. Test drive one and see if you like it.