Help, Car Reviews

Lounge By TheCakerator Updated 10 Jan 2009 , 6:51pm by krysoco

TheCakerator Posted 7 Jan 2009 , 7:27pm
post #1 of 25

Ok so its almost tax time and that means for us, a new car!! *hopefully* we are wanting to get an SUV of some type, we have been looking at newer/used SUVs as we don't want to take out much of a loan if we don't have to ... we are keeping our eyes on the Jeep Commander, Jeep Grand Cherokee, Jeep Liberty, and Chevy Trailblazer. We are wanting 4wd so we can pull our camper with no problem and feel safe in the snow. We have been looking at 2005 and up with around 40-60,000 miles. These are in our price range. Now, are there any CC'ers who have these vehicles and would be willing to share the good and bad reviews of their cars? I am looking for any information that you think is helpful ... gas mileage, roominess, towing ability, safety features, worst features, best features, anything at all you can think of, as I'm sure everyone has been in this position before were money doesn't grow on tree's and you DON'T want to end up with a lemon!! Thanks for any help!!

24 replies
TheCakerator Posted 8 Jan 2009 , 3:56pm
post #2 of 25

ooooooooooooooooook, how about any person out there with any suv .. any advice?

CookieMeister Posted 8 Jan 2009 , 4:15pm
post #3 of 25

Stay away from the Jeep Liberty. Are they cute? yes. They are also rear wheel drive, and the tires spin and you'll fishtail just on wet pavement alone, unless you engage 4 wheel drive. Also didn't hold it's value at all when I sold it.

I had a Jeep Grand Cherokee (limited) for a long time and LOVED it. I drove that thing for 170K before I decided it was time to say goodbye. Mine was a v-8, so plenty of towing power. I never towed more than my jetski with it, but she had serious get up and go.

I now have a Mercury Mariner Hybrid SUV and love it too. 32 mpg in an SUV? And it's fully loaded, drives well, good size - can't get much better than that. I've had it over 2 years now and is wonderful! Don't know as I'd tow something with the hybrid variation, but you could check out the V6.

SS385Monte Posted 8 Jan 2009 , 4:34pm
post #4 of 25

My parents have an '03 Trailblazer that I've used several times. It does pretty well on gas mileage and I think it's comfy. I towed my car using the trailblazer for about 100 miles and didn't have a single problem. The car and the trailer weighed about 5-6000 pounds. I'm not sure how much your camper weighs, but I'm not sure I would want to tow much more than that with it. Hope this helps!

TheCakerator Posted 8 Jan 2009 , 6:43pm
post #5 of 25

thanks you guys .... HRmeister, that is to bad about the liberty ..that is the one I would really like to have since it is not as huge as other SUV's and I'm not looking forward to driving a bus if you know what I mean ... right now I am in a chevy prizm, so anything is going to be a big change for us ... I have read that a lot of people have problems with the cherokees which is what my dh is wanting to get if we can find one ... lots of problems with the trans and brakes/rotors. I don't know how true all of that is .... we have seen the mariner for sale and it is a gorgeous truck! Are you only getting that good gas mileage because yours is a hybrid, or all they all around that?
SS385Monte, my aunt has a trailblazer and while I only drove it for a short distance I felt as though I was a tiny ant in that thing even though I am tall, 5'7, everything felt so far away from me inside of it ... is that something you get used to?

dinas27 Posted 8 Jan 2009 , 6:58pm
post #6 of 25

Personally I would stay away from the Jeeps. The quality keeps getting more shoddy and gas mileage is terrible. We have a few at work - the handling is awful on them and have lots of road noise.

My parents have a Trailblazer and it has been great for them. If you can find an extended they do have an extra row of seats. I find it pretty good to drive and like the extra space. It has great towing capacity - they have even used to haul a stock trailer. Only issue has been with the air conditioning which is quite an enxpensive fix if it goes. The down side is that they don't have a lot of interior room. They are currently looking at buying another one.

I'm not sure how large/heavy your camper is but my husband (who drives a lot of cars for his work) loves the honda element. It has an enormus interior and is available in 4 WD, you would have to check out the towing capacity though.

TheCakerator Posted 8 Jan 2009 , 8:56pm
post #7 of 25

thanks dinas, we have never owned a Jeep as my family are all GM workers, therefore its always been chevy, pontiac, gm, etc ... we have seen the trailblazers with the third row but it is not necessary for us .. it is just me and my dh no kids .. we can do just fine with both of our cars but pulling our camper is taking a toll on the older car with the bigger engine .. it is just a small pop up so its do able, but not something we want to do forever ... We have not seen many honda elements for sale locally, but we can keep our eyes open ... we are hoping to stay around the 8-11,000.00 range if possible, used of course.

TheCakerator Posted 8 Jan 2009 , 8:56pm
post #8 of 25

double post

tx_cupcake Posted 8 Jan 2009 , 9:07pm
post #9 of 25

I would also advise you to stay away from Jeeps. Both my brother-in-law and mother-in-law drive a Jeep Liberty and Grand Cherokee respectively and they are ALWAYS in the shop. My BIL's Liberty had something go wrong in the first month he owned it. Sometimes we borrow my MIL's jeep (a 2000) to haul stuff and we are always amazed at how it rattles so much on the inside, and it always seems like there is something wrong with the electrical system because sometimes the radio doesn't work and other times it's the digital compass/thermometer.

I don't know anything about trail blazers, but I'm pretty sure anything is better than a Jeep!

tx_cupcake Posted 8 Jan 2009 , 9:08pm
post #10 of 25

I would also advise you to stay away from Jeeps. Both my brother-in-law and mother-in-law drive a Jeep Liberty and Grand Cherokee respectively and they are ALWAYS in the shop. My BIL's Liberty had something go wrong in the first month he owned it. Sometimes we borrow my MIL's jeep (a 2000) to haul stuff and we are always amazed at how it rattles so much on the inside, and it always seems like there is something wrong with the electrical system because sometimes the radio doesn't work and other times it's the digital compass/thermometer.

I don't know anything about trail blazers, but I'm pretty sure anything is better than a Jeep!

tx_cupcake Posted 8 Jan 2009 , 9:08pm
post #11 of 25

I would also advise you to stay away from Jeeps. Both my brother-in-law and mother-in-law drive a Jeep Liberty and Grand Cherokee respectively and they are ALWAYS in the shop. My BIL's Liberty had something go wrong in the first month he owned it. Sometimes we borrow my MIL's jeep (a 2000) to haul stuff and we are always amazed at how it rattles so much on the inside, and it always seems like there is something wrong with the electrical system because sometimes the radio doesn't work and other times it's the digital compass/thermometer.

I don't know anything about trail blazers, but I'm pretty sure anything is better than a Jeep!

MaisieBake Posted 8 Jan 2009 , 11:35pm
post #12 of 25

Have you checked the reliability reports at consumerreports.org? Before spending 8-11K it might be worth the ten bucks for a temporary membership to see what they've got.

Ohara Posted 9 Jan 2009 , 1:33am
post #13 of 25

I have an 05' trail blazer. I really like mine. I average 16-22 miles to the gallon (quite a bit of in town driving). I have the extended version. I haven't had any thing really go wrong with mine. I have had the forward and back button on the drivers seat go bad and had to have it replaced. Other than that, I haven't had any work, other than maintenance, done in the 3 years.
I hope that helps.

TheCakerator Posted 9 Jan 2009 , 3:48pm
post #14 of 25

thanks you guys ... txcupcake, is your BIL's liberty on the newer or older side? Do you think your mom's jeep rattles because of age? Or do you think it does that because it is a jeep? MaisieBake, no I have not checked out that site, but I have read reviews on these suv's at a different non-biased opinion site and it seems every suv we research we find 50/50 opinions so I was hoping to get some clearer opinions here if I could ... but maybe we will check that out anyways ... ohara, it seems like there are better reviews for the trailblazer then for jeeps ... is your's 4wd? Does it handle ok in the winter?

Ohara Posted 9 Jan 2009 , 4:13pm
post #15 of 25

Yes, mine is 4 wheel drive. It can be switched between 2WD and 4WD. 4WD has a couple different options as well. I really haven't had to use it in 4WD mode but a couple of times. I haven't had any problem with it in the winter. I used to drive a mini van, and my trail blazer seems much heaver in the snow and on icy roads....which I like.

TheCakerator Posted 9 Jan 2009 , 4:52pm
post #16 of 25

thank you ... as I said earlier, right now I am driving a small compact car so a trailblazer would be a huge change for me .... but I don't drive very often so I guess it won't be that bad ... I am nervous about driving such a large vehicle.

dinas27 Posted 9 Jan 2009 , 5:04pm
post #17 of 25

The trailblazer can feel a little bulky to start but you will get used to it. It sounded like you were pretty faithful to NA companies but if you are looking for something a little smaller you could try a Toyota RAV 4.

A Subaru is also a great choice - the Forester would probably suit you well although I'm not sure what pricing would be like in your area if there are not many around.

Kiddiekakes Posted 9 Jan 2009 , 5:28pm
post #18 of 25

I drive a Dodge Durango..It is very heavy and tough enough to go through 3 feet of snow and tow a trailer easy.Gas mileage probably wouldn't be any better than any other large size SUV but no worse either.I only drive mine around this end of the city since I am a SAHM..so up and down to the school ,grocery store etc...We have had more snow this year here than in 8 years..I live in Canada so it can get snowy and cold here in the winter but I have had no problems in 4wd going anywhere.It is also heavy and sturdy.I would check out the consumer reports also.

TheCakerator Posted 9 Jan 2009 , 5:29pm
post #19 of 25

thanks dina ... we have not seen many rav4's for sale in our area ... at least not used ... subarus would be great, but they are definitely out of our price range, unfortunately ...

TheCakerator Posted 9 Jan 2009 , 7:48pm
post #20 of 25

kiddiekakes, I did check out the reviews on the durangos and unfortunately all I have basically read are bad ones .... lots of talking about how cheap the inside is built and all the problems with things breaking, cracking, or falling off of where they are supposed to be .. lots of problems with the seatbelt area ... have you experienced any of these problems?

SS385Monte Posted 9 Jan 2009 , 8:01pm
post #21 of 25

I don't drive my parents Trailblazer very often, but I'm only 5'4" and it doesn't feel too big. I think I just got used to it pretty quickly. I can't think of any problems they've really had with it either. I know my dad just had new brakes put on and said how expensive it was...but this is the same person my cousins used (and probably still do) call Uncle Cheapskate (sp?)!

TheCakerator Posted 9 Jan 2009 , 8:31pm
post #22 of 25

monte, I have not heard very man bad reviews on the trailblazer, and after what I have read online and on here, it seems that Jeeps are not the way to go ... bummer cause we think the liberty and the grand cherokee are so nice looking .. but we would rather have a dependable engine/car then a nice looking/unstable car ... if you know what I mean ... we started looking at some trailblazers and envoys today in town more closely ...

SS385Monte Posted 9 Jan 2009 , 8:45pm
post #23 of 25

I did just think of one very minor problem with the Trailblazer...it's almost funny though. My mom and I took it to Home Depot one day, came back out to the parking lot and realized we had a flat front passenger side tire. Ok, no big deal. I pull out the jack and spare....only to realize that with a completely flat tire the bottle jack would not fit under the car! icon_confused.gif I don't know if it was just the angle of the parking lot or if it was a poor design. There is now a small floor jack in a case in the back of the Trailblazer though. Like I said, it's pretty minor, but definitely something to keep in mind if you change your own flats.

TheCakerator Posted 10 Jan 2009 , 12:56am
post #24 of 25

thanks monte, these are the tips I appreciate!

krysoco Posted 10 Jan 2009 , 6:51pm
post #25 of 25

From what I've heard, Jeeps are high maintenance vehicles but don't know personally.
I currently own a Yukon XL Denali and I loveeeee it. Planning to buy a another slightly used in about a year from now.
I previously owned a new Trailblazer. I liked that it was a small SUV but comfortable. My only reservation is about it feeling tipsy on uneven terrain, curves ,and such. I didn't realize this until after I drove my Yukon. I guess b/c its longer it doesn't feel as top heavy as the Trailblazer.
Trailblazer - good for small SUV. Yukon - good for large SUV.

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