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Old 01-22-2012, 12:08 AM
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Choosing the Perfect SUV

Since I have NOT traded my 2009 Mitsubishi Outlander in for anything new YET, I thought I'd report the result of my research and findings in the search for the perfect SUV. Our needs are: A SUV with good luxury level for extended road trips, top notch snow ability and some off road as well.

Land Rover LR4
I so wanted to like this thing. Or at least the snob in me wanted it! We found it ugly on the outside and road manners were mediocre at best. We liked the interior room and fit & finish was excellent. But the horror stories about even the latest Land Rovers are just too much. A 2nd trip to a dealer ended any chance of buying when the dealer's car wouldn't start and locked him out!

Audi Q7
Okay, this really wasn't in the running. It's not going to hack it in the way a Jeep can, but it's beautiful inside and the handling was better than I expected. Still, it's barely better than what we have now, so we moved on.

Toyota Land Cruiser
We liked everything about this monster...except for the size! It just seemed too big for us and the price was hard to swallow. I'd call it too much of a good thing. We did not test drive it.

Toyota 4Runner
Though we did not consider it initially, we ended up test driving the Limited when we walked away from the Land Cruiser. Just as I had read and seen on Youtube the handling was near awful. It may be great offroad, but who'd want to drive on the road for a long trip? The interior along with fit & finish was on the cheap side. This surprised me because it's not the case with the Land Cruiser or Highlander. Outside of the 4 wheels, the 4Runner is really in a different class once you get behind the wheel. The 4Runner is in dire need of some fresh thinking.

Mercedes ML350
We liked everything about this car, though the handling was a bit soft and vague. Different tires would have helped I think. It's much more of a road car though, so we crossed it off the list. Great price!

Jeep Grand Cherokee Overland
This is a Mercedes SUV, but with better handling. At least that was the impression behind the wheel. Fit and finish was ALMOST at the level of the Benz, but not quite. In spite of how nice the Jeep's seats are, the LR4 and Benz seats feel a bit more accommodating and supportive. The Jeep was also Lexus quiet. We couldn't believe the ride and interior isolation. Add to this the advanced 4X4 system, quadra lift and the seriously good off road ability...I just don't see anything that competes on all of those levels. The reliability is already looking good. Someone posted in a forum that it's currently on par with the 4Runner from JD Powers. Now if they'd add a small folding 3rd row....

And so....looking for a Spring or Summer purchase of the Overland. Unless someone can show us a better alternative that hits the luxury/4X4 target so well!


Cheers,


Robert B
NY
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Old 01-22-2012, 12:12 AM
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Re: Choosing the Perfect SUV

if you really want 3rd row, get the Durango?
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Old 01-22-2012, 12:15 AM
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Re: Choosing the Perfect SUV

The Durango does not have the suspension set-up nor the luxury factor of the Jeep. The 3rd row is not a deal breaker. We use it maybe twice a year on the Outlander. But I do like the feature. I may even look into an aftermarket solution at some point.
But like I said....not the end of the world.

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Old 01-22-2012, 12:20 AM
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Re: Choosing the Perfect SUV

Great choice. They really did a great job with the new Jeep. I am very happy with mine I am sure you would be to if that is what you decide to go with. Good luck with your purchase.
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Old 01-22-2012, 12:26 AM
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Re: Choosing the Perfect SUV

Capt, agree with your assessment. My short and long term review of the WK2 linked below:

Short-Term Review 2011 JGC

The BMW X5 and Acura MDX have smaller third row seats. Both are really road vehicles only, but my wife's MDX has been top notch.
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Old 01-22-2012, 06:04 AM
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Re: Choosing the Perfect SUV

CaptRB,

I have to agree with you on your assessments of all of those vehicles... Better alternatives?... It's really subjective...

FYI, A month ago I just bought a 2012 JGC Overland True Blue/Saddle Hemi after doing a few months worth of new SUV research like yourself.

Speaking in terms of Toyota, I have only owned Toy's trucks/SUV's for the last 28 years since 1984... In total, 5- 4Runners, a Sequoia, & a Landcruiser, not to mention the many multiple Toyotas by family members as well.

I personally drove my 1997 Landcruiser for the last 15 years and to say that it was a fantastic vehicle in all categories would be a huge understatement as it served me very well with unmeasurable reliability for many, many miles...
However, the 4.5L 220HP straight six with Full Time 4x4 did leave a lot to be desired as far as performance along with 13mpg for both city & highway.

And yet recently, when the time came to upgrade to a new vehicle after all that research, I made the decision to buy the Overland... Mainly because of this all new WK2 overall luxury, refinement, & engineering at a reasonable price point.

To me, the new L/C is overpriced, made in Japan with poor yen to dollar ratio & hard to get, + dealer marked-up because of that.
Yes, it is fit & finished, solidly built, & the overall monster that you mentioned, but it was not going to make it for me this time at well over a $65-70K list.
And forget about that new 4Runner... It truly has gone down-hill in a bad way... It is horribly ugly inside & out with very poor fit & finish and cannot hold a candle to the JGC in those categories, let alone the Quadra-Trac II & -Lift.

Having said all of this, I believe that I made the very best decision for my money spent over the next 5-10 years of JGC ownership just as I am sure that you will as well, if you do indeed go the JGC route...

Hope This Helps...
Best of Luck to You This Spring/Summer


P.S.- I will most likely be purchasing the Chrysler Jeep Lifetime Warranty shortly to further solidify my piece of mind.
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Old 01-22-2012, 07:16 AM
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Re: Choosing the Perfect SUV

If you want the Grand Cherokee, but wish it had a 3rd row, then wait for the Grand Wagoneer due in 2013.
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Old 01-22-2012, 09:27 AM
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Re: Choosing the Perfect SUV

http://lmgtfy.com/?q=2012+jeep+grand+cherokee
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Old 01-22-2012, 01:27 PM
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Re: Choosing the Perfect SUV

No third row = great second-row seating. You just have to decide whether the tradeoff is worth it.
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Old 01-22-2012, 04:04 PM
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Re: Choosing the Perfect SUV

Quote:
Originally Posted by bigjgcfan View Post
CaptRB,

I have to agree with you on your assessments of all of those vehicles... Better alternatives?... It's really subjective...

FYI, A month ago I just bought a 2012 JGC Overland True Blue/Saddle Hemi after doing a few months worth of new SUV research like yourself.

Speaking in terms of Toyota, I have only owned Toy's trucks/SUV's for the last 28 years since 1984... In total, 5- 4Runners, a Sequoia, & a Landcruiser, not to mention the many multiple Toyotas by family members as well.

I personally drove my 1997 Landcruiser for the last 15 years and to say that it was a fantastic vehicle in all categories would be a huge understatement as it served me very well with unmeasurable reliability for many, many miles...
However, the 4.5L 220HP straight six with Full Time 4x4 did leave a lot to be desired as far as performance along with 13mpg for both city & highway.

And yet recently, when the time came to upgrade to a new vehicle after all that research, I made the decision to buy the Overland... Mainly because of this all new WK2 overall luxury, refinement, & engineering at a reasonable price point.

To me, the new L/C is overpriced, made in Japan with poor yen to dollar ratio & hard to get, + dealer marked-up because of that.
Yes, it is fit & finished, solidly built, & the overall monster that you mentioned, but it was not going to make it for me this time at well over a $65-70K list.
And forget about that new 4Runner... It truly has gone down-hill in a bad way... It is horribly ugly inside & out with very poor fit & finish and cannot hold a candle to the JGC in those categories, let alone the Quadra-Trac II & -Lift.

Having said all of this, I believe that I made the very best decision for my money spent over the next 5-10 years of JGC ownership just as I am sure that you will as well, if you do indeed go the JGC route...

Hope This Helps...
Best of Luck to You This Spring/Summer


P.S.- I will most likely be purchasing the Chrysler Jeep Lifetime Warranty shortly to further solidify my piece of mind.

I would love to see that color combo, got pics?
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Old 01-22-2012, 10:41 PM
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Re: Choosing the Perfect SUV

We purchased 2011 Overland/V8 in November after considering a 2012 ML350. You are spot on with your assessments. The ML is nice, but the price premium ~15k comparably equipped and the Road vs. True capability made it a pretty easy decision. The Snob in you just has to come to grips...
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Old 01-22-2012, 10:47 PM
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Re: Choosing the Perfect SUV

Good reviews, but the LR4 is much better looking on the outside than the new 4Runner. Every time I see one of the new 4 runners it makes me cringe. They really messed those up.
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