2009 Toyota Venza - V6 AWD
Cons: poor interior quality look
Advice: Look at a Honda Crosstour first!Cheap plastic look inside and hearing about Toyota's bad reliability issues as of late, I wish I would of just waited for the new Honda Crosstour!
2009 Chrysler PT Cruiser - LX
Pros: Styling that's different, comfortable seats, even in the base version, interior room and color
Cons: relatively poor gas mileage
Advice: Weight the trade offs of gas mileage, price, and interior room between the vehicles you are looking at.I have the 2009 base LX model with automatic transmission. Easy to get in and out of. Seating is comfortable with good lower back support. Ride is firm but not harsh, handling is good, steering feel is excellent. Car is very quiet. Standard radio is good and gets good reception and has good sound. If you are familiar with the PT at all you know it has lots of room inside. That includes teh drivers and passengers seats - they are very roomy. The rear seats are also decent. One thing I like about the car is that it doesn't look like every other small car on the road. Another nice thing is that you can get a light color interior, not just the dark charcol that seems to be all that's availble in most cars. In fact, even though the PT is a fairly small vehicle it does not look small. The transmission shifts smoothly. The base engine is just adequate to propel the car. You have to be willing to let it rev up if you want to accelerate very fast. Figure 0 - 60 in about 10 seconds with the automatic. By todays standards thats not very quick but there was a time when that would have been considered better then average. In any case, it's enough power for any normal driving. The major issue with the PT is that the gas mileage by today's standards is about 4 mpg less then you'd expect for this engine size.
2008 Lexus RX 350 - FWD
Cons: Size of interior
Advice: Not for tall peopleCar rides smooth, handles curves great. You would not know that you were riding in an suv.
2010 Chevrolet HHR - SS
Pros: handling brakes speed
Cons: 18 in, tires are loud no dual exhaust
Advice: buy the ssthis is my second hhr ' first was a base 2007. this one now is a ss automatic. i just love this ss. lots of speed, great brakes,26 mpg all around driving,handles like a sports car,
2009 Hyundai Santa Fe - Limited (A5) FWD
Pros: 2nd row reclining seat backs
Cons: No auto locking door feature when shifted into drive
Advice: Put this vehicle on your list when shopping for a SUV/CUVGood looking and overall a nice vehicle. It's not perfect but for the price and the great warranty it is a very good value. I do wish it had a few more standard features such as automatic locking doors when shifted into Drive, back up sensor monitors and power passenger seat on Limited model.
2010 Acura RDX - FWD
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2009 Jeep Patriot - Limited 4x4
Pros: Low price for a usable 4x4
Cons: Road noise
Advice: Make sure you test drive at high speed on a variety of roadsJust a quick bit of info if you are thinking of buying one of these. Most of what you need to know you can get from the staff reviews. I was thinking of buying a Patriot 4x4 to replace my 92 ford explorer and get the 4500 rebate. So I rented a patriot for a day. Here's a few things I think the 'average' person should keep in mind when reading the reviews of the Patriot. With the current rebates, which can add up to $9000, you will get a heck of a deal for this kind of vehicle. Here's the good news - pay little attention to complaints that the engine doesn't have enough power or that the CVT is a drawback. I found that the power is adequate for any sort of normal driving. You can easily zip away from stoplights and merge into traffic, just give it the gas and let the engine and transmission do their thing. The engine noise isn't all that bad even at redline during hard acceleration. Here's the bad - as almost all the reviews say, you get a lot of road noise. It was just too much for me and it gets tiring after a while, you really have to speak up to be heard over the noise. Keep in mind that different road surfaces create different amounts of noise and it's mostly noticable at speeds over 50 mph. My old explorer has a full frame that really isolates the body from the suspension and it's a very quite vehicle, these new unibody, lightweight vehicles just don't have that kind of isolation without the car maker working at it. Chrysler needs to work harder in the noise area. If most of your driving is around town it may not be a big issue for you.