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Bleg: Large SUVs

My last vehicle bleg worked well so I figured I would ask. For the Mrs. and her people-hauling adventures, she wants something larger than the Honda Pilot. What do you recommend? Requirements:

Nothing from GM or subsidiaries. I will not drive a government car ever.

Same for Dodge, Chrysler, Jeep, etc. No bailout company will get my money.

Enough towing for mulch and household stuff on a trailer.

For price range, I don’t really know where these things start. So help me out there. (I like my Infiniti and checked out Infiniti’s Earthfuckertm. But at $60K, no thanks.

Bonus points for annoying hippies.

57 Responses to “Bleg: Large SUVs”

  1. anon Says:

    @KCSteve “I went with the Volkswagon Routan.”

    FYI: The Routan is a re-badged Chrysler, hence ineligble.

    Go with a Ford Explorer or Edge.

  2. Blackwing1 Says:

    +1 for @35:

    A Toyota Tundra Crew Cab, with the small V8 (the new, all-aluminum 4.7L) in 4WD. Plenty of room for 5 people, and squished-in for 6. Add a topper to keep stuff dry in the back. More towing power than you’ll probably need.

    I just bought a 2010; took it out to Wyoming last fall. Averaged 20 MPG on the freeway at 72 MPH. 6-speed auto tranny turns around 1500 RPM at 63 MPH. My wife refuses to drive it, saying it’s too big, but loves to ride in it for the comfort. And I bought a bottom-of-the-line model.

    Best of all it’s a Toyota, so it’ll run for ever. My previous truck was a (hawk, spit) Ford Ranger…I put as much into it in maintenance as I did to buy the thing over 10 years, got worse mileage than the full-size truck, and will NEVER buy a Fix-Or-Repair-Daily again.

  3. old fart Says:

    No one has mentioned the Toyota 4Runner, so I will. Mine is an 01, bought used in 03 and I love it. Room for 5 and seats fold down for cargo. Mine has the V6 but newer (bigger) ones have a V8. They’re pricey though and hard to find used because people don’t generally get rid of them.

  4. KCSteve Says:

    @KCSteve “I went with the Volkswagon Routan.”

    FYI: The Routan is a re-badged Chrysler, hence ineligble.

    Go with a Ford Explorer or Edge.

    Actually not. I had a Chrysler and liked it but was not going to replace it with a new one. The Routan is very similar in style but has a different frame (larger, wider and longer wheelbase) and other significant differences. There does seem to be a Dodge version / clone built cheaper (in all respects).

  5. GayCynic Says:


  6. Tony Says:

    I’ve had a Sequoia for 8 years and I really like it. It’s rugged and handles our 7 member family well. It’s a little short of cargo space when all the seats are full, but a hitch mounted cargo container gets us through long trips with extra gear. I’d get another one in a heartbeat.

  7. N.U.G.U.N. Blog Says:

    A couple of thoughts…

    I know you’re against the bailout companies. But remember, these were companies that were encouraged by .gov to make ungodly agreements with the unions, give unbelievable packages, and take care of their retirees. On the basis that .gov would protect the domestic auto industry. .gov did it’s usual breaking of promises.

    Granted American cars sucked in the late 70’s. But after they improved quality, .gov should have restored tariff controls. Heck, GM got dicked over by .gov with the EV1 when California dropped their 0% emissions requirement in lieu of hybrids. GM found themselves go from ahead of the game to behind.

    And GM is trying to move forward with new technology with things like the Chevy Volt.

    I’m really of the opinion that .gov is much to blame in the auto companies failure. If GM had been allowed to unshackle itself from the union 20 yrs ago. It’d probably not have needed a bailout.

    If you find yourself choosing practicality over ideology. The Dodge Durango offers a nice middle ground between mid and full size SUVs.

    It also has one of the most comfortable 3rd row seats. I really liked mine, wish I still had it. Also was great towing. I towed a fully loaded trailer, up a steep hill covered in ice and it didn’t even flinch. The traction control countered the ice and it kept going. Blew my mind away.

    When I test drove back in 2006:

    – Toyota Sequoia most comfortable, somewhat sucky turn radios. Best 3rd row seat

    – Chevy Tahoe, nice, but 3rd row seat didn’t have much leg room. Probably second nicest vehicle after Sequoia

    – Ford Expedition felt a little cheaper. 3rd row seats hard and uncomfortable but leg room was okay.

    – Dodge Durango drove better than most of the above, a little sportier as it wasn’t quite as large. 3rd row seat had was the most comfortable after Sequoia. But considering it was half the cost – much better deal.

    – Nissan Armada – they named this one right. It’s boat. It drove like a boat. Felt twice as big as any other SUV, even if it was only slightly bigger. Worst 3rd seat of them all. Seat was so shallow my knees were in my chin and I am a VERY short person.

    Granted new model revisions have come out. But that gives you some of my experience.