New Car Buying advice

I drive a 2008 Scion Xb. It’s 3.5 years old with 30,000 miles. Soon I will be freeway driving 1.5 hours each way for work three times a week. The Scion blows in the wind or when a larger vehicle zips by; the brakes squeak (independent mechanic says they are good). I don’t want to be stuck on the side of the road in the middle of nowhere and don’t feel safe in the Xb in spite of safety ratings so I’m looking for a new, under warranty, safe, reliable vehicle.

I’ve driven a Subaru Outback that vibrated in steering column on test drive (TSB), VW Tiguan and Honda CRV. Will probably try RAV4 again too. Tiguan seems to be my favorite. Outback is second, but vibration problem is too big. Any suggestions? (The Accord Crosstour and VW Passat sit too low BTW.)

You are at an out of pocket trade in loss, can you deal with the wind and keep the car? That seems the most economical solution.

That’s the sensible response; just feel like road kill on the freeway.

Squeak does not mean bad brake. I would recommend taking your car to a good alignment shop. You may find that it needs some work there and that might improve the stability in wind. Replacing the car now is going to be expensive. Don’t look at it from the monthly payment, but from the total amount to be paid.

Some cars do feel like the wind is moving they around a lot and that can be discomforting but it is not likely to be an indication of a safety issue.  However it can be trying on a long drive.

Anything taller will get pushed a bit by the wind and trucks, though maybe not as much as your toaster. The Rav4 is a popular choice, but go try one on a windy day and see that it still gets knocked around. A shorter sedan or crossover won’t be as affected.

Yeah, we can get some really crazy seasonal winds and little tornadoes. The brake also made a low “thud” sound two times and seemed to depress further. I thought the brake pads might be shot and took it to be checked out. The mechanic took the brakes apart, drove the venhicle and said the brakes were good (no charge, neighborhood favorite mechanic) but in cheap cars they will make some noise. (He made money keeping my old Cadillac running.) I was wondering if it might be the ABS although it wasn’t a sudden stop. The brakes have actually been much better since he looked at them. At three years, I’ve always found that cars start to need work; Scion is great about town, never planned to use at for lots of freeway driving. Yes, it’s a girl thing about getting stuck.

Here’s a slightly less expensive, but not guaranteed, option: Replace the springs and shocks with the TRD (Toyota) sport springs, shocks, and rear sway bar. Costs about $1300 plus installation, will result in a much more stable vehicle with only a slight cost to ride.
Here’s a listing:

I agree with NOT keeping a car you will not feel safe in but: Compact SUVs RAVs and CRVs, aren’t the best thing around for freeway driving and wind sensitivity. The newer Ford sedan models have more upright seating. If you lived with the seating of a Scion xb, the Taurus/Fusion/Maxda/Camry/Accords aren’t much of a drop. Sedans are better freeway performers. The standard Subaru Legacy sedan, lower than the outback, with awd, will be less wind sensitive too. If you like the Outback, vibrations DONOT come standard with them; find one without.

I doubt that every Outback steering column vibrates. Try another one. VWs have a bad reputation on this board for reliability. But if you keep up with maintenance, you should be fine. And maintenance is free for the first 36,000 miles or 3 years.

I have a Tiguan, and find it great on the highway. Very stable ride with lots of power when you need it. It drives like a car. Cross-winds are no problem, and we get a lot of them here in Colorado. The 4Motion ones feel different that the FWD ones, I’d go with 4Motion for the handling (and I did).

I also tested other vehicles before buying the Tiguan. I decided on the Tiguan for several reasons:

  1. Much better handling.
  2. More comfortable seats.
  3. More pleasing and intuitive interior.
  4. Was considering Rav4, but didn’t want side-swinging rear door (wanted a lift-gate).
  5. Turbo was desired because I do a lot of high-altitude mountain driving.

Don’t let the others scare you away from VWs. If you maintain them, they’re great vehicles and a joy to drive. I can’t say the same for the Rav4 or CRV.

I can’t say as to how the Tiguan drives, but my awd CX-7 cost about 8 grand less than a comparably equipped Tiguan. About the only thing the Tiguan offers over the CX-7 is heated washer nozzles, chrome grille, adaptive HIDs(though mine has normal HIDs). And my CX-7 has a rear view camera integrated into the nav screen, which I don’t see the Tiguan having. And I have roughly 8 inches of ground clearance and the Tiguan has just over 6 inches.
With deposit/down payment, my CX-7 came to $34k out the door(sticker price is $34k on their website before tax and such). The Tiguan came to $41k sticker price on VW’s website

You may not be experiencing cross winds during your test drives, but the vehicles you are considering all are suspetable to cross winds. Perhaps not as much as a Xb but that is primarily because they are bigger and heavier vehicles.

Which brings up fuel economy. The SUV’s and mini vans you are considering will get much worse mpg than you are used to now. On you long commutes you are going to suck up a lot of fuel in a Tiguan. Just make sure you budget a bunch more money for gas in addition to your new higher car payment.

If you want a good car that handles cross winds, cruises comfortably at interstate expressway speeds and won’t kill your gas budget, perhaps a Honda Civic. You are going to pay a lot for that high seating position every time you stop for gas.

I’m sorry, I wasn’t trying to get into an argument about the relative benefits of the Tiguan and the CX-7. The OP didn’t list the CX-7 as one of the vehicles of interest. I have no doubt that you made the correct choice for your needs. It just doesn’t match my desires for a car. I live at 6,000 ft, and do a alot of driving in the mountains. A turbo charged engine was a must on my list (and I’m glad I went that route). I also wanted a shorter vehicle to fit in my garage with all the other stuff I have in there. The CX-7 is almost a foot longer. I’m glad you’re happy with your CX-7, it just wasn’t the vehicle I wanted.

BTW, the Tiguan you priced out does have the backup camera (it is standard with the Nav system.).

Funny. When I thought about the comments yesterday, I realized I was probably describing a minivan before I read this part of the thread - safe, reliable, cargo room and elevated seating position. I was thinking maybe a MAZDA5. Misses on higher ground clearance though. 'Course will never find it all in one at a reasonable price.

I was thinking the same thing Texases was…the TRD suspension upgrade.

There are also Hotchkis antisway bars and kits that can dramatically improve stbility without major compromise to the ride.

Either or both of these would be cheaper than trading.

We have a minivan (2003 Olds Silhouette Premium) and it has been terrific for us. We haven’t noticed wind buffeting, and we drive over the Nice bridge (Harry W. Nice, that is) several times each year. It spans the Potomac River south of DC, is a couple of thousand feet long, and is over 100 feet high. I can recall high winds and no unusual movement. If you an afford a new minivan the choice will be easy - there aren’t many of them left.

Wasn’t really slamming the vehicle, but was offering a similar alternative. And I do recommend a back up camera for SUVs and minivans when available, they can be life savers.

While the Tiguan has turbo on all it’s models, the base trim levels on the CX-7 have a 2.5L normal 4cyl which is supposed to get 28mpg high way and 20 in the city. If the user name is any indication, they live in Arizona and probably don’t need the AWD like either of us do(I live in Ohio and some streets don’t get plowed right away around where I live).
As for how it handles crosswinds, I haven’t had nearly as much trouble with that as I did in my Civic. Not sure if it’s how much heavier the Mazda is, or if it’s because it’s more aerodynamic, but with the higher ground clearance you’d think it’d get blown all over the place, but it doesn’t.