What do you drive?

iVillage Member
Registered: 06-27-2013
What do you drive?
Fri, 07-19-2013 - 11:52am

What do you like about it? What do you dislike about it?

I'm car shopping. Going from a minivan to midsized SUV. I've done so much internet research over the last few days that my head is swimming. I know what I liked driving but am curious about feedback from people who are driving/have lived with what I'm considering.  

I have to say that the Highlander and Pilot are already out of the running. Highlander felt cheap--the seats, the finishes--I drive a loaded Sienna now expected similar comfort from the similarly quipped Highlander. Yeah, no. It reminded me of my first car, and not in a good way. The Pilot is too boxy for my taste. So that leaves the '13 Mazda CX-9, '13 Nissan Pathfinder (CVT transmission issues give me pause, but it is pretty and plush) and the '14 Kia Sorento. That list is in reverse order of preference...

Also, since I'm prying about cars, are there any features you find to be a must-have? Anything you thought you may not need but now can't live without? That sort of thing. Like, I'd never go back to cloth upholstery or unheated seats after having a toasty bum for five years. But, after 10 years of a built in entertainment system in my vehicle--I'm giving that up. I'm actually looking forward to listening to music instead of hearing DVD dialogue...and I'll buy a portable DVD player for long trips.

Anyway, just curious about your experiences...


iVillage Member
Registered: 11-22-2000
Fri, 07-19-2013 - 12:47pm

I have a 2012 Nissan Versa.  So far, I love it.  For a car of its size, the cargo capacity is phenomenal.  In fact, I knew long before I was car-shopping that I would one day want one, based on our experience taking Joel to camp in my brother's Versa. We were able to fit a full drum set, 2 guitars and an amp, several tool boxes and bags of accessories, 2 suitcases, pillows and bedding, the wheelchair and transfer board, and 3 adults in there with no problem.  And the back seat has tons of leg room, so my mother is happy.  :)

I'm not particularly thrilled with the gas mileage (28 City, 33 Hwy, compared to my 15-yr-old Sentra that got 30-35 even in its old age) but other than that, it's been great.  

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Avatar for savcal2011
iVillage Member
Registered: 10-06-2010
Fri, 07-19-2013 - 12:42pm

I drive a 2007 RAV 4 (with almost 100,000 miles on it now. yikes!).   4 cylinder, no third-row.  It's not perfect, but I've enjoyed it.  I have no regrets.

When I bought it, I *really* wanted a Subaru Forester.  But there are no Subaru dealers here, and I really wanted to keep my shopping and service local.  So I *settled* for the RAV 4. 


My next car will be a two-seater convertible.  

"I don’t mind a banshee, that’s fine. 2 banshees? I HATE you. I actually wish bad things upon you." -- Day[9] Daily #459 P1

iVillage Member
Registered: 03-22-2013
Fri, 07-19-2013 - 12:38pm

Oh!  I know you and I have already talked about my Sorento--which I love--but I forgot to mention the Chevy Traverse, which is bigger than the Sorento, has 3rd row seating (with fold back 2nd row seating on both sides--Sorento is only on the right although you can fold the front of the left down and a kid could climb over) and seats 3 in the back row as well as the 2nd row. And 3 actual people.

We got one as a rental car in Disney in 2010 and LOVED it.  All 8 of us fit in the car, including DGS in his car seat in the 2nd row.  (5 adults, 3 kids).  And still enough room for the stroller in the rear and a fair amount of gear.

Also my brother works for a Chevy dealer as a mechanic and thinks really highly of the Traverse.  If money had been no object when I was looking for mine, I would have put it high on the list.  And likely it would only have lost out on gas mileage which isn't as good as the Sorento, but that's because I don't believe it comes in a 4 cylinder, and it's heavier.  It's just pricy, but I think it's still worth a test drive at the very least.

iVillage Member
Registered: 12-07-2003
Fri, 07-19-2013 - 12:37pm
Do you think a minivan is better for 3 kids than an SUV?
iVillage Member
Registered: 06-27-2013
Fri, 07-19-2013 - 12:30pm

Jambles, I drove the 2013 Highlander yesterday. The next model down from the Limited. I've test driven the Mazda CX-9, Kia Sorento, Nissan Pathfinder & Highlander. Which means I can absolutely state that from an interior comfort perspective, the Toyota is simply not competitive with its peers. At all. My 2012 F150 offers a smoother ride. Seriously. The seat was not comfortable (my sciatica is acting up) at all--it reminded me of a low-end model bench seat. And the interior was so plastic-y. Honestly--the interior was what I expected in the Kia. And I was stunned by how much nicer the Kia was compared to the Highlander. STUNNED. I knew the newer Siennas weren't finished as nicely as mine (too much plastic in the interior) but I can't believe how cheap that car felt. Esp. compared to the others. And I've driven them all. Some of them, I've driven twice. My top choice would be the Pathfinder, but there is a known issue with the CVT transmission. I will buy one if they extend the transmission warranty to 120K mi AND offer me a guaranteed buy back if my car has the transmission problem. My dad had an '07 Altima and that year is also known for transmission issues. Nissan extended the transmission warranty to 120k mi. Dad never had an issue. My sister drives it now and she's also never had an issue with it. So not EVERY vehicle is affected, but enough are to give me pause about buying it. We'll see what the dealer says. Otherwise I'll likely go with the Kia. Their warranty is amazing--5 yrs/60k bumper to bumper, 10 yr/100k powertrain. Plus, I'd be getting a '14 instead of a '13. I liked the Mazda but the other two have panoramic sunroofs and outlets for electronics in the back, so they're beating the Mazda at the moment.

If I had three kids, I'd buy another minivan. But since we've aged out of strollers and primarily use the first two rows, I just don't need all that space anymore. I do want the ability to haul 7 people, but I just don't need the van anymore.

iVillage Member
Registered: 01-08-2009
Fri, 07-19-2013 - 12:25pm
2010 Ford Escape Hybrid. It's got 102K on it. Been very happy with it.
Avatar for jamblessedthree
iVillage Member
Registered: 10-23-2001
Fri, 07-19-2013 - 12:07pm

I went back to a minivan recently b/c I find it has far more room than the suv.  Before the van, we had transitioned to a volvo xc90 with a 3rd row seat.  DH drives it now.  I liked it but it certainly eats up more gas than a minivan and I missed all the room too.  I carry a lot when I take the kids places and it's also a bus for them and their friends, Lol.  I may actually grow old with this one even as my kids get older and leave the nest.  I love the room. 

BTW, I've heard just the opposite about highlanders esp the newer ones, but it depends on what you like I suppose.  I think limited models are over-rated.  Good luck.