Small SUV $20-30k range

My wife has a 2006 X3 with a month left on warranty. Our BMW service dept has been nothing but headaches and high bills, so we are looking to sell and move her into a different vehicle. Our neighborhood mechanic prefers the asian brands or Ford. Can anyone recommend preferred for: first reliability, second comfort(leather+nav) and third fun to drive. She totes 1 Baby and sometimes a lab(dog not chemistry set).

Rav4 - Should we wait on the 2012 models?
Rogue - Boring to drive, any owners satisfied after several years of having?
Forester - AWD overkill for Central Florida?
Outback - Have not looked at.
Escape - Worth looking at? We have yet to drive.
Sante Fe or Tucson - Prices are great, how do they hold up?
MINI Countryman - Fun for her, but will we be in same spot as her BMW with repairs?

Any advice from owners of these models would be appreciated. We have gotten some solid numbers from dealers but I have not felt comfortable enough yet to purchase one over the other. Have we overlooked any models?

I’d wait for the new CRV, it’s quite a bit better looking to me. I’d skip awd (even though I like the Forester), and the Mini would seem to have similar upkeep to the BMW. I didn’t think the Rav4 was in for much of an update, but with the V6 it would be the sportiest of the bunch, with decent mpgs. I just don’t like the outside-mounted spare.

The CRV look too much like a mini-van for her, but the newer model might fix that. Also, does anyone like the KIA Sorento?

Are you totally against Chevy or GMC products. Try looking at the Chevy Equinox or GMC terrain. We test drove a new KIA before we purchased a 2008 Equinox and we felt it felt a little tinny (if that’s a word).

We did not try GMC vehicles simply because we shot straight to what brands our mechanic recommended. I was planning on taking a look at the equinox. Are you happy with yours?

Mazda CX-7.
2 engine options available for 2010 year and later; 2.5L I-4 and a a 2.3L I-4 turbo. The 2.5L only comes in FWD and is rated 20/28mpg. The 2.3L comes in FWD or AWD and is rated 18/24 and 17/21mpg respectively.
The base starts at $22k. The GT model with AWD can be had for about $34k, but you get quite a lot for your money: backup camera, sat-nav, Bose stereo, HIDs, fog lights, sunroof, blind spot monitoring system, LED signals in the mirrors, heated leather seats, bluetooth hookup, phone, audio and navigation controls on the steering wheel, keyless entry and start, and a front arm rest you could fit a laptop into.

Yes, but our’s is a 2008 which came std with a 3.4 V6 the new models come with a 4. It’s my wife car and she loves it. The back seat should have enough room for car seat and the cargo area should be large enough for your dog if you put him back there… We put my wheelchair in back and still have room for luggage and the rear seat pushes back for plenty of legroom.

Just about everyone you named has it’s advantages. I feel the keys are, driving all enough to see which one matches your needs and wants the best, and the dealership you feel the most comfortable dealing with including the best deal. We all here have made our choices and our recommendations may not suit you. I see little need too for awd in Central Florida if I read you correctly. Waiting for a 2012 RAV ? To me it would depend upon how cheaply I can get a gold or silver v6 2011 for a lower price.

“MINI Countryman - Fun for her, but will we be in same spot as her BMW with repairs?”

Not at all. It will be far worse. Replace it on your list with the Chevrolet Equinox. None will be fun to drive. C’mon, they’re SUVs.

As far as reliability is concerned, almost all of them (except the Mini) will be reliable. The real cost is maintenance. The Rav4 will costs about the same as the Equinox and the Escape will be about $700 less over 5 years. The CRV will be $1000 less. All of these cars are expected to be less than $1000 in repairs over the first 5 years. But even the CRV will be more than $3000 in maintenance over the first 5 years.

I really appreciate the feedback. Thanks for taking the time, we have a few new models now we will check out then in the escape, equinox and crv.

Is the juke ridiculous? We like the styling but wonder if the repairs will be similar to other nissan model prices.

Personal taste trumps anything I might say about the Juke. But it does get pretty poor mpgs from the turbo motor, and it needs premium. I’d prefer the Rav4 v6.

Here’s a long term test on the Juke: