RoadRash

Member
Sep 13, 2000
76
0
I'm in the market for a new SUV for my wife. So far she likes the Durangos, Grand Cherokees, and Toyota Highlanders. Others in consideration are the 4Runner and Pathfinder. We will most likely buy new but will have the SUV for 7 or so years so reliability is a MAJOR issue. I know the Nissan and Toyota's have good reputations but we are leaning toward the Durangos and G Cherokees. As you can see we are in the market for a mid-size ute. Do any of you have experience with these cars and would like to share your experiences? She only drives 20 miles a day to work and I would use it on the weekends to tow my bike. Thanks for the help!
 

CRGuy

Posts Too Much
Member
Nov 14, 2000
234
0
What about?

Why not the new Chevy Trailblazer. It will last just as long as any of those other's and maybe longer. If the Jeep's trany is like the Chrysler sebring Don't buy it.
CRG
 

scottyr

Member
Mar 12, 2000
272
0
If you buy a Durango DO NOT get the 5.9 V8 unless you own stock in a gas company! I owned one for 6 months and liked the truck, I just couldnt believe how BAD it was on gas. 12-13 mpg at the best. I have a Dakota Quad Cab with the 4.7 V8 and it is worlds better than the 5.9 on fuel. It has better performance in my opinion also than the 5.9. How much weight are you towing. The Toyota has the lowest tow rating by far (GVWR), but probably the best reliability of the bunch. The Highlander is just a minivan that sits up a bit higher.
 

RoadRash

Member
Sep 13, 2000
76
0
Scottyr - I don't think they have the 5.9 in the '01's, if they do I haven't seen one yet. Either way I won't be towing that much weight, at most 2 bikes on a trailer and not very often. The Highlander is probably the least rugged of the bunch, because it is built on the Camry's platform.

CRGuy - We hadn't even looked at the Trailblazer, my wife owned a '94 Blazer for a while and loved it. She never had an problems with it other than incompetant service techs (for some reason they always left plug wires off). Well now that I think about it, she had major brake problems, they finally removed part of the system and sent it to HQ for testing. Thanks for the input so far!
 

NVR FNSH

~SPONSOR~
Oct 31, 2000
1,235
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I've spent some time in a '94 GC - not sure if the new ones are significantly different. The problem I have with the '94 GC is the driver foot well is very narrow for my size 13 shoes & there isn't much room between the driver seat & the center console. Not very comfy for a 6'4"/250 guy. I also have the same complaints about my wifes Explorer......

Brian
 

zio

Mr. Atlas
Jul 28, 2000
2,291
0
I love my Pathfinder. 140k miles on all original equipment. That 3.0L (now 3.3) V6 is bulletproof. Plus- they'be bumped up to a whopping 270hp I think!!! They're a little on the sheepish-looking side, but that can be fixed with a wheel & tire upgrade

My dad's Chevy S10 Blazer ('91) is still going strong after 180k miles. Sure, it's on it's third tranny, and it's slowly falling apart, but the engine (4.3L V6) is a champ.

If you're going to buy American, just opt for the extended warranty as added insurance against the inevitable. American cars are getting better, but not up to Japanese standards yet.
 

Jeff Gilbert

N. Texas SP
LIFETIME SPONSOR
Oct 20, 2000
2,969
2
Ditto on the S-10 Blazer

I've owned two with the 4.3, each I bought new and drove for 140K miles. Defiantly the best vehicle I ever owned. The mileage is good and it has plenty of cargo space & will pull a decent load. I had a friend with a Honda SUV and I was always bringing something home for him that wouldn't fit in the back of his.

I have a quad cab Dodge truck now with the 5.9 and it gets worse gas mileage than my 69 Camaro did & it was a hot rod!
 

JuliusPleaser

Too much of a good thing.
LIFETIME SPONSOR
Nov 22, 2000
4,392
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GM BRAKES!

I checked out a new Trailblazer last week, and I couldn't believe what I saw. GM finally put 4-wheel discs on a truck! GM has catapulted into the 1980s! I didn't drive one, but the brakes looked like they were big enough. GM brakes have always sucked, but it looks like they've finally addressed the problem.
 

CRGuy

Posts Too Much
Member
Nov 14, 2000
234
0
Our Tahoe has disc's all the way around. We tested the brake's the second day. A 18 wheeler pulled out in front of us. We stoped way in time. 45ft of road left or so from 50mph. I would take a good look at those new trailblazer's. The trailblazer has a v6 but make's 8 power.
CRG
 

Jeff Gilbert

N. Texas SP
LIFETIME SPONSOR
Oct 20, 2000
2,969
2
Re: GM BRAKES!

I can 2nd the GM brakes, glad to hear that they made some changes. My 95 S-10 Blazer did require brakes every 20 - 30k miles but the worst was my 96 Tahoe, I hated that p.o.s.! Everything on the Tahoe sucked and parts aint cheap. It started with the A/C twice, the fan clutch, rattles that would drive you crazy, busted diaphram in the brake booster, transmission, starter, fuel pump (located in the gas tank) and that was all before 100k miles.

Oh yeah, the brakes always pulled one way or the other.
 

justql

Sponsoring Member<BR>Club Moderator
LIFETIME SPONSOR
Oct 23, 2000
2,874
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We own a 99 Durango 4 X 4 with the big motor and love it. Fuel mileage will dip down to 14-15 in town, a little better on the highway. It has the most room of anything we looked at.
 

WoodsRider

Sponsoring Member<BR>Club Moderator
Damn Yankees
Oct 13, 1999
2,812
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After my wife's '92 convertible Dodge Shadow turned into a car-b-q in rush hour traffic, I swore off ever buying another Chrysler product. And I was die-hard Mopar fan for many years. IMHO the only thing they make that's worth looking at is the 3/4-ton p/u with the Cummins Turbo Diesel.

That being said, we've been very happy with our '95 4-Runner Limited. Yes with 15-city, 19-hwy, mileage could be a little better. Other than the required timing belt at 60k miles we haven't had a single problem at 97k miles now.
 

justql

Sponsoring Member<BR>Club Moderator
LIFETIME SPONSOR
Oct 23, 2000
2,874
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I understand Woodsrider. Thats the way I feel about Fords. I won'y say that I'll never own one again but I sure don't plan on it.
By the way I just bought a new pickup. Yep it's a new 3/4 ton Dodge Deisel.:p
 

mtngoat

LIFETIME SPONSOR
Jun 12, 2000
314
0
I've got an 01 GC and so far I really like it. It's my third and prior models both had differential problems. All three have been leased by my company and up till now, I wouldn't buy one, due to reliability. I'm hoping Jeep has improved its reliability.

The newer GC models are much improved. Engine is now OHC and much more responsive, brakes are enlarged (much needed), suspension seems improved, spare is finally out of the cargo area and several small refinements in the cockpit have been added. It's very capable off-road too. I'm probably one of those rare SUV owners who actually go off road.

The GC is considerably lighter than the Durango (although not near as roomy), which was important to me for mountain driving/agility. Mileage is decent (15/16 mpg avg).

I also like the Pathfinder. Great motor with VVT and 240HP this year, but it doesn't feel like 240HP until it's rev'd. Light and a great handler. Great historical reliability and their US marketing guys are finally influencing more attractive body design. Not as roomy as the GC.

The Highlander looks like a Camry in SUV clothing. I'm sure it's well made and reliable, but I like my SUVs to look and be a little more "manly".

The 4Runner is un-questionably a great SUV, but it's lacking in power and has dated suspension and non-unit-body construction. It also commands a bit of a Toyota "brand premium" compared to what you can get for the same money.
 

RoadRash

Member
Sep 13, 2000
76
0
Thanks for the input so far. The more I look at the Highlanders the more they look like weinie-mobiles and sometimes minivans.
 

yarbonwick

Sponsoring Member
Mar 7, 2000
674
0
Have you thought about going with the new influx of four-door trucks? My 2000 Dodge Dakota QC (4.7 - multisecond auto) has pleased me greatly. The room is nice, the back seats sit well and there's the 5' bed that fits my bike with the tailgate closed. The new 4.7 (also in the Jeep) is work of art and you really feel it midrange as it suck you back into the seats. It's funny because I test drove a 2000 and 2001 R/T and this motor felt is only 15 horses lower in hp numbers. I do however like the looks of the Trailblazer as far as SUV's go. Incidently, nobody will leave plug wires off the 4.7.
 

longtime

Member
Oct 7, 1999
846
0
Yarbo's on the right track, at least in my view. I was this close to buying the new Tahoe, which I think is a great SUV, after owning a Pathfinder, Trooper, and Explorer. Then I saw the new F150 Supercrew. To me this is a Sport Utility vehicle. Not a big station wagon -- but instead, a vehicle that is classy looking, room for four comfortably, and yet with a bed for other things -- like bikes.

p.s. I was on a web insider group for the new Avalanche, which is the same concept, until I saw the SuperCrews. Both fit the same bill, but the Screws are so much nicer looking, IMO. :)
 

mtngoat

LIFETIME SPONSOR
Jun 12, 2000
314
0
Update

Just a little update. Popular Mechanics has a suv shoot-out this month featuring many of the suvs discussed.
 

Bill Hibbs

~SPONSOR~
Aug 25, 1999
537
0
I got my wife an Olds Bravada. It's a pretty toned down ute but the 4wd system is all automatic which I though would be good for the wife. It's a pretty cushy ride as well. The Vortec V-6 has been around for a while and is a pretty proven engine. We've had no problems so far. We also looked at some of the mini-utes like the Ford Escape. Mostly because I want a pretty user-friendly 4wd system.
 

Kawierider

Member
Jun 7, 2001
281
0
id go with the dodge

hey,
i look at it this way, if your gonna be takign this truck riding, especially if you trail ride, go with the durango, from comparing them at the autoshow this year the durango was more comfortable, and looks by far the best. looking at the running gear and all the major hardware the durango sports on the 4x4 it seems like would be the most of road capable, and the least likely to break. it also won 4x4 of the year a few years back. its also good in the snow. (my uncle owns one)
tim
ps, good luck
 

Ensign

Member
Oct 13, 1999
114
0
If you're tall (I'm 6'3"), the Durango can be a little tight. I think it's because of the vents in the ceiling. Alot less headroom when the seat is all the way back than the Dakota. Actually, I noticed the same thing with the Tahoe and Suburban.

I had a '98 GC and the area for your feet is pretty small. The powertrain tunnel really extends into the driver's area. I think the newer models ('99 and up) are similar, but maybe a little more room.

The Highlander drives really nice, but definitely does lack a little bit of the ruggedness of some of the other vehicles. I would consider it though if you don't need something totally heavy duty.
 

RoadRash

Member
Sep 13, 2000
76
0
Thanks for all the feedback. The wife is only 5'3 and I come in at a towering 5'10". My wife is back to loving the Highlander, at least it has decent fuel economy and amazingly feels pretty big on the inside. I really like the Durango and Trailblazer but it may be a bit larger than my wife wants. They weird thing is she wants a SUV but doesn't want a big one. Now here is where it gets more bizarre, she hates the Rav4 and Escape but really likes the Highlander. She wouldn't like anything bigger than Durango. It may actually be easier to get a new wife.:p I don't think I could talk her into one of the 4 door pickups but they new ones look great. One of these days, I think we will figure this out by then we will probably by looking at 2003's.
 

KWJams

~SPONSOR~
Sep 22, 2000
1,167
4
Oh-- this is a great time to find this thread

My wife will be here any minute and we are going to pick up our new Dakota Club Cab. (Extended Cab)
It has the 4.7L with 3:92 axle ratio.
I figure the mileage would be less if we try to drive it 100 mph all the time, hope it will be reasonable on gas mileage if we drive the posted limit--yeah right.

We bought a new Liberty last month and are taking it back!
It suxs big time for dragging a trailer with the independant suspension or doing simple things like putting an envelope with insurance papers in the glove box!

They designed so many flaws into them, that an envelope will block the catch on the glove box so the door will not latch!

We miss our old Cherokee Sport, hope this Dakota will be a good choice.
 

KDX1

Mod Ban
Jun 5, 2001
228
0
Which vehicle

In regards to Toyotas, I have had 2 4runners. My first was a 91' with the 3.0 liter V-six. It was very reliable and good on gas. I would still have it today had it not been for some dufus that rear ended me. At the time of that accident it had 130k mile on it. It was a standard 5 speed and still had the original clutch in her. I used this to tow a 19ft. boat around and it did ok. After this one was totaled, I was given a fair amount for my 91' and I put that money down on a new 99' 4 runner. This one has a 3.4L engine and it is an automatic. I love it. I still have my 19ft. boat and it tows greater than ever. Plus it has a rear locking diff. I haven't tried the locking diff yet, but will sometime. Although the Toyotas are pricey, they are well worth it and definately have a better resale value as I can attest to this as a result of my 91' that I was given $11K for by the guy's insurance co.

Good luck :D

00 KDX 200
Procircuit pipe & silencer
AMA
GNCC
 

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