Would prefer these -
1. Good mileage - So not going for large SUV. Anything comfortable for 5 people should be good enough.
2. 4WD/AWD with some hauling room in the back. So hatchback sedan is also fine. For eg:, Kia Soul might be ok but felt room in the back is little less to put a large box when back seats are not folded.
3. Good safety rating. Not too worried about horse power.
4. Currently I am looking at Subaru Forester, Suzuki SX4 or similar.
Would prefer these -
My mom has gone through 2 Foresters and loved them, however she probably won’t get another as they’ve gotten more bloated with each version and the mileage has taken a considerable downturn.
We have a Toyota Matrix, may be a bit small from what you’ve described but it has been a willing, if bland, car and does the work of a pickup truck for us.
Thanks…Will consider Matrix as well.
The Suzuki SX4 meets all your needs, but I would ask myself if I really needed AWD, since it lowers gas mileage and in most locations is not needed. Good winter tires are all one needs these days.
The Forester has become a bigger, thirsty, expensive machine. If you want really good interior space the Hyundai Touring is a great machine at a good price.
I would suggest the RAV4…
Thanks for tip on RAV4 and Touring above as well…Anyone know how is Hyundai Tuscon? Any other recommendations are most welcome too.
Be careful about how the rear hatch opens, and if it will actually meet your long term needs. For example, the RAV4 opens to passenger side, not up, so you need more room behind the vehicle if you need it open the whole wsy. Rear gates that open up require less room behind the vehicle.
I like the CRV and the RAV 4 best for your need. The RAV and may be others do as well, have a feature that tumbles the entire back seat flat from a lever at the tail gate. The side open rear door is also preferred by many. The CRV I feel is a better people hauler in back and the difference of the two is personal preference. They are more practical gear haulers feature wise IMO than the Forester or Suzuki.
If you’re certain about the awd, the Forester would be at the top of my list. It’s a little bigger than before, but not much. The Impreza hatchback would be another option. I just saw ‘comfortable for 5 people’. That could be a real problem with most all smaller cars, depending on how long 3 people have to be in the back seat. Is this a major requirement? If it is, you may have to look at something bigger.
Ford Escape/Mercury Mariner with or without the hybrid system.
My wife and I are very happy with our Jeep Compass.