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Suzuki Grand Vitara vs Subaru Forester vs Hyundai Santa Fe vs Jeep Liberty vs Ford Escape vs Saturn Vue
Last post on Sep 15, 2011 at 10:43 AM
You are in the Hyundai Santa Fe
What is this discussion about?
Subaru Forester, Hyundai Santa Fe, Jeep Liberty, Ford Escape, Suzuki Grand Vitara, Saturn VUE, SUV
#1 of 4943 Comparison of small utes
Nov 27, 2000 (7:39 pm)
I've started this topic after reading the topics
on other small SUVs. I've found there to be a lot
of comparisons, and I think it makes sense to have
a few on your shopping list before you fall in love
with one of them and sign away your check. Lucky
us, we have several choices today.
Personally, I favor the Santa Fe because it has
the most bang for the buck. It also feels the most
upscale among the three models, in terms of NVH
damping, sophisticated exterior and interior
styling, ride comfort, and lots of gizmos. In
short, it feels more expensive than what you have
to pay for; the sound of the door thud resembles an
upscale German sedan for example.
The Tribute is definitely for the sporting crowd.
Corners, accelerates, stops well for an SUV. But
at the same time stiffer ride and subpar
fit-and-finish penalize its advantages. Also
reliability is a question mark, with numerous
recalls since it hit the market. Room and utility
are comparable to the Santa Fe.
Finally, the Forester is also a good choice
although it is definitely a 'box on
wheels'(translation: homely). The Forester sits
lower than the other two models, giving it an
advantage in handling, but frankly I think it
defeats the purpose of owning an SUV if you have to
do without the commanding view offered by the
higher stance. There are better choices out there
if you opt for an AWD wagon (VW Passat, or even
Subaru's own Outback) that sits low, handles
better, and is more sophisticated. Also the
Forester cannot be had with a V6.
To wrap it up, I'd choose the Santa Fe for
comfort, value and a dose of luxury, or the Tribute
for sporting light off-track duties on the
weekends (although I'd keep a cellphone handy in
case of mechanical failure), or the Subaru for its
proven reliablity and longevity.
#2 of 4943 Re: carczar
Nov 27, 2000 (9:14 pm)
So, in other words, the ultimate small SUV would be made by Hyundai (to include all the bells and whistles, outstanding warranty, and "upscale" look for a small price), it would have the suspension, steering, and brakes from the Tribute (for the sporty handling and great braking numbers) and it would have the engine, transmission, and AWD system from the H6 Subaru Outback (for proven reliability and power).
I think I would buy a car with that composition as well!
#3 of 4943 Forester and performance
Nov 28, 2000 (4:23 am)
Note that "commanding seating position" is not a virtue. I have rolled a truck with a "commanding seating position" while avoiding a deer on the road, and can attest that it is NOT a fun experience. Or do you think that spending a week sore and bruised, with a wrist in a cast for six weeks and with cracked ribs for three months (for the first month I could not even sleep through the night without heavy pain medication, because every little movement in my sleep would make my cracked ribs hurt and wake me up, leaving me exhausted for the next day), is "fun"? Thank god for seat belts, and thank god that my Ford Ranger's roof was stronger than average for pickups and SUV's!
Any tall, boxy vehicle with a high seating position will roll over if you ask it to do energetic accident-avoidance maneuvers. That is why the Santa Fe and Tribute have stickers on the driver's side sunvisor saying as much. That is also one reason why I bought my Subaru Forester. In crash tests it out-performed every competitor, and with its low center of gravity it is unlikely to roll over when doing energetic maneuvers (and in fact does not have said sticker on its sun visor). Its performance off-road is mediocre -- it isn't going to run the Rubicon anytime soon -- but my Forester has proven quite capable at taking me up rough forest service roads to trailheads, which is as off-road as I (or most people) get with an SUV.
If you want REAL off-road capability, buy a Jeep Cherokee. It does not have the "commanding tall seating position" that you mention, but has off-road capabilities that make all such cars look ridiculously pretentious. A stock Cherokee, properly equipped, will run the Rubicon without a problem, despite the seating position not being 20 inches above the ground, and despite a low center of gravity (due to the unibody construction) that makes it unlikely to roll (and in fact the Cherokee has very good rollover ratings in the Insurance Institute's statistics).
Of course, you give up on-road ride and handling with the Cherokee, plus a lot of gas mileage (the I6 is powerful but very thirsty), but you gotta decide what you want. Personally, I decided I did not need such extreme off-road capabilities, and bought an SUV that was what I needed -- something to get me to a trailhead, without the sacrifices in on-road capabilities of a REAL off-road vehicle.
#4 of 4943 Re: e l green
Nov 28, 2000 (7:37 pm)
I am sorry to hear about your personal ordeal. I hope you've fully recovered.
You are absolutely right in saying that any car with a lower center of gravity can be a much safer choice than a top-heavy SUV.
However, it is also a reality that many buyers of SUVs choose it because it has that "commanding view" enabled by the high seating position. Just imaging getting stuck in traffic with a behemoth SUV or minivan in front of you while you're sitting in a Honda Civic. It's unfortunate that America's become an SUV nation, but that's a reality. And I am not here to promote people to snap up the SUVs and abandon their cars.
Nor do I condone the ever-growing size and thirst of the behemoth SUVs that are driven by a single driver during commuting hours.
But the marketing reality is that the mainstream SUV buyers favor the high seating position as well as the all-weather versatility and utility. Add to that the fervent pitch by manufacturers to project the romantic image of an active lifestyle of their potential customers.
Given the circumstances, we should push for safer, more frugal SUVs cause SUVs will be around as long as people will buy them and gas is affordable. And in this context, I think small SUVs, driven with care makes a lot of sense.
And ofcourse people who are concerned about the rollover potential have the choice to go for the likes of Forester or other AWD wagons. People vote with their checkbooks in this market economy, and as long as SUV's are "in" it's not easy to tell them otherwise. Under the circumstances, i think the Santa Fe and Tribute/Escape are viable options; not too big, thoroughly modern, relatively good MPG, smooth V6. I like the Forester as well.
By the way the Jeep Cherokee is aimed at a different category of customers altogether. It's more of a down-to-earth, hard core SUV that attracts different crowd than the mainstream buyers who opt for crossover vehicles.
Finally, it's important that the public be educated on the risks associated with driving SUVs. I've seen too many devil-may-care reckless driving by SUV owners who think they're invincible. Unless the federal law mandates that SUV drivers need to go through a series of tougher driver ed courses and training to obtain a separate drivers' license, we have to share the road with some of the idiots.
The educated buyer however has a choice in terms of safety, economy, fun factor, etc., and we should honor that freedom of choice.
Nov 28, 2000 (9:06 pm)
First off I'll admit that I'm biased since I'm a Forester owner. However, here's my take on the Forester:
Handling: Best of the 3
Accelerating & braking: comparable even though the Forester is the only one with a 4-cylinder
Interior room: The Forester has as much as or more front seat room than either the Santa Fe or Tribute
Appearance/Styling: This is a purely subjective field but I'll grant you that many people find the Forester's looks less than exciting.
Reliability: Subaru has established a reputation of building extremely reliable vehicles. On the other hand, both the Santa Fe and Tribute are first year models with all the inherent potential design flaws. As an example of this, the Tribute/Escape is all ready on recall #6. While Hyundai has a completely deserved reputation of building junk. Of course they are working diligently to change that as evidenced by the length of their warranties.
Cost: Equipped comparably, all are in the same ballpark.
Just my .02
#6 of 4943 One more thing, P0926
Dec 22, 2000 (4:23 pm)
I was on the IIHS web site today trying to find any kind of onfo on the Santa Fe, (None), but I came across a link to statistics on injuries and thefts.
I thought it nice that Forester is much better than average on injuries. I must admit I giggled when I saw its MUCH better on theft! No kid wants to go joyriding in something that looks like that I guess. I think in both cases that is a great plus. It must be good on insurance costs.
Had my first Sube in '76. A DL I believe. And so far it looks like the only one to get for safety and bumper durability...... and theft resistance.
Dec 22, 2000 (5:39 pm)
The reason the Forester does better in terms of injuries, is the fact that it is a car (according to the EPA) and not an SUV or truck, and, unlike the Escape, Tribute and Santa Fe, must meet the tougher safety standards that all cars must meet.
#8 of 4943 Drove all SUV's in the market....Tribute won
Dec 24, 2000 (10:26 pm)
Tribute with a few recalls which by the way mine has zero pending...is loved by our family...glad we got it. Last Mazda gave us 188K of great service.
#9 of 4943 As for our Forester
Dec 25, 2000 (6:52 am)
We purchased our Forester in 99. Unlike the other sites that people sugar coat the Forester, I tend to be frank about ours. We have had nothing but problems with ours since the second week of ownership. The auto tranny went and had to be dismantled and bebuilt, you think they would have given us a new tranny. The brakes squeal, moan and growl, they are soft and spongy feeling which does not give a re-assuring feeling when stopping. Many other Forester owners have noticed this as well. Our Forester not only pings when accelerating but there is a nasty pinging, rattling sound when we de-accelerate, funny I had the service manger take a ride and he heard it but when I brought it in for service they could not duplicate it so no service was done. The gas milage is terrible. Grant you the sticker said 23/27 but we average 16-17 in the city and 19-21 on the highway and we are not heavy footed drivers. Right know I am doing a gas survey for Subaru, they want to gather info, but from my central CT. dealer I get that its normal. I have tried different octanes as well as brands but the result is always the same. I bought this vehicle for the AWD that its known for and for my wifes assurance while driving in foul weather. Right now as it stand that if this problem continues we might purchase a Santa Fe after the warranty expires.
#10 of 4943 Bought the Sante Fe -- and Very Glad I Did.
Dec 28, 2000 (12:03 am)
I buy a car about every 7-10 years, so I am certainly not an impulse buyer. Therefore, before buying the Sante Fe, we researched ... and researched and researched. Bottem line: If you want a car-based SUV that looks and feels great, is well equipped, looks compact on the road but mid-sized from the inside, and is moderately priced, the Santa Fe is a very good choice. But, you must be able to live without a hard charging engine (but one that is adequate enough). We came mightly close to buying the Tribute/Escape, but after just a little internet research, the multitude of horror stories scared us off. On the other hand, both the professional and consumer reviews of the Santa Fe were universally strong. We were (and are) somewhat concerned about the "first year model" factor, but Hyundai's bold warrenty got over that hump. Price? We got a heck of a deal - about $19,500 +fees & tax for the GLS V-6 two-wheel drive model, with a few added accessories. (and like I said, it comes well equipped anyway - cruise, CD player, split rear seats, etc). We are getting a lot of compliments, noticing a few turned heads -- and the best part: we are very happy with our decision. My two-bits....