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· Registered
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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Been looking for a new car for about six months now and I have taken a ton of cars for test drives. So I thought I would share and perhaps get some help making a decision.

First the stats I am 31 years old 6'-1" 190 lbs with a 32" inseam. So long legs big feet. This means I dont automatically fit in every car. I have a one year old and another on the way so car seat fitting was taken into account. I am looking for a vehicle to get me to and from work and get me and 2 adults to my surf fishing spots driving on the beach. Must also haul the kid/kids when I have to.

I started with mid size trucks.

2015 Nissan Frontier Crew Cab 4x4 SV with value package.

I loved the idea of this truck. Had one in the past when I was baby free.
First impressions sitting down...its cheap. You could reach out and wiggle pieces of the dash. The seat was okay. I could live with it for short drives but wouldn't want to spend alot of time in there. The drive was actually really really good. It has a car like drive 1st gear is super low and it has a ton of low end torque. Acceleration was very good. It is a little loud but hey its a truck. I was ready to buy it after the test drive till I started thinking about the price for 30k thats a lot of money for a mid size pick up. At the time there was only 1k worth of rebates. So then I thought about the back seat. It is tiny and the way the seats are shaped you can't put a car seat in without moving the passenger seat all the way forward.

2016 Tacoma crew cab 4x4 SR5

Same as frontier I wanted to like this truck but it never got beyond me sitting in it. I could not get comfortable in this truck. My knees with the steering wheel all the way up and seat all the way back were literally touching the wheel. People that say they are six four and drive a tacoma are lying or drive spread eagle. If your smaller than me it is a nice truck on the inside.

2015 Cherokee Latitude v6 4x4 active drive II no other add ons

Its way smaller than I thought it would be. The ergonomics are awful they waste so much space on the inside of this thing. That said I fit in the front fine and can sit behind my front seat set to where I am comfortable. The front seat is good not great. I was comfortable and I think it would be fine for long trips. The inside design is also very good, it feels premium. My baby seat and convertible both fit fine without moving the seat forward. On the road it drives very well. It absorbs bumps with just a little bit of a shudder because of the off road suspension but over all not a bad highway cruiser. Acceleration is good not great. I had hoped for more but it just weighs too much. The 9 speed transmission didn't give me any trouble and seemed to respond well. Yes, it takes some time to down shift but not as much as I have seen claimed in reviews. Over all I liked it. That being said it is very much IMHO over priced but makes for a good buy used. I wouldn't pay 30k for one but at 23 or 24 certified used I'd be all over it.

2015 Cherokee Trailhawk v6 no options

Much like the above Latitude the interior was good. The seats were good. I really like the way the trailhawk looks compared to the Lat. The ride was a little rougher thanks to some more aggressive off road tires. The stock tires have alot of bounce in them going up on ramps and broken pavement. I much preferred the latitude trim to the trailhawks ride, which is to be expected. I don't mind the bounce since most road in my area are smooth and well maintained. Its a hard choice between the trailhawk and latitude active drive II. I don't recommend the 2.4 cherokee to anyone. It is sloooowwww and I couldn't stand it.

2015 Renegade Latitude 1.4L 4x4 Manual

I loved this engine in the renegade. Manuals love low end torque and this thing has plenty of low end torque. Is it fast? NO. Is it fun to sling around the block? Heck Yeah. The clutch and shifter has a good feel. Not honda good but good. For a jeep I was really impressed. The interior was good kinda fun but after that wears off it is just kinda okay. The seats are super firm but supportive so they are comfortable. I fit fine in it and much to my surprise I can fit behind myself. The baby seats also fit fine with the front seat having to be inched forward ever so slightly but I could still sit infront of the infant seat. I love the way the Lat. looks in most of the colors with the wheels that come on the 1.4l and the sport with alloy wheel upgrade. I did not care for the 17 or 18s on other trims except trailhawk. On the road it had a little bounce but was really well composed and can take a corner with surprising agility. It is loud at highway speed but they radio easy drowned it out and conversations were still possible. Overall I liked this set up. I just wish you could get some extras with the 1.4L. I love me some auto ac and passive key. At about 23k these are a good deal with incentives that will almost certainly be on all new ones.

2016 Renegade Lat. 2.4 4x4 auto no options

Much of the 1.4L review carries over. I hated the wheels on this version. The ride was noticeable rougher with less sidewall. The 2.4 feels really slow unless you put your foot in it. It does fine when you get on it but feels tuned way too much on the fuel economy side. The torque doesn't come in till much higher in the rpms than the 1.4L making it feel slower even though it is a more powerful engine. 9 speed behaved ok. It was way too quick to go up gears or maybe I am just spoiled by the 6 speed auto in my skyactiv mazda 3. For around town it is adequate but not as fun as the manual. My wife said she liked it but she can't drive a manual.

2015 Renegade Trailhawk Premium package

First off I love the way the trailhawk looks. It just seems to fit the car very well. The leather seats though I'm not sure about. It was high 80s outside the day I drove it and I felt like I was sticking to the seats. Most of the review carries over from the other reviews. Upgraded radio was great but the radio in the other trims was not bad either. Bigger screen was cool but I am not big on that sort of thing. On the road the Trailhawk seems faster than the Latitude some how. I guess the gearing is different. It drove much better IMO. Yeah it was a little bouncer and year the off road tires don't grip as well but its not like the 2.4 is going to over power them anyways. I would skip the premium package and the upgraded radio just to help get the price down. The sticker on this one was an eye watering 33.5k. The first time I saw it I LOL.

So for the renegades I think they are a little overprice when you start going up in trims and adding options but I think a lat with the 1.4l manual and 4x4 is the sweet spot price wise. Trailhawks are popping up used for less than 24k certified preowned in my area making them very attractive.

2016 Subaru forester 2.5i w/alloy wheel package

I drove an auto and a manual so I will just combine the review. The cvt in this car is fantastic. I am ashamed to say that but its very very good. They manual is well... a subaru manual it is notchy and the clutch travel is vague and long. Neither is really that fun. The interior is very simple and well layed out. Everything is well just kinda right where it needs to be. The radio in the base model is acceptable but not good. A trip to get some speakers is in order if you are really into music but I try not to let stuff like that ruin cars because it is an easy fix. The seats are ok and I fit really well. The interior feels huge. The large windows and upright seating arrangement give the illusion of a much bigger car. The storage space in this thing is amazing. Room behind the rear seats is great. With the seats folded down its borderline ridiculous. The baby seats fit great no need to move the passenger seat at all. On the road acceleration is adequate. Its not fast. In the cvt it feels like it wants to jump off the line and feels strong at most speeds but your just not going as fast as it feels. At highway speed this thing is loud. Louder than the jeeps, louder than the trucks. Even still I was able to keep up conversation and not be overly bothered by it. Absorbs bumps well without much shudder or bounce. Feels very well planted thanks to a low center of gravity due to the flat four but never really felt fun to drive. The price for the base 2.5i with alloy package is 25k but any dealer will sell you one for invoice which is low 23k. Comes with enough goodies to not really feel like a base model. The base without the alloy package just makes me feel sad to look at it. It looks naked without roof rails that come in the alloy package.

2016 subaru outback 2.5i no options

The interior is almost identical to the forester. Same engine same cvt. The outback is definitely more of a car and the forester an suv. The extra space at the back of the outback comes at the cost of height in the trunk area compared to the forester. The radio also meh in this base model. Where the outback shines is ride. It has a smoother more refined ride than the forester. The steering is tighter and over all the whole package feels more upscale. The outback is noticeably slower than the forester when driving due to the extra weight but never really feels under powered. The cvt does a good job of giving you what you need to merge or pass but its no sports car. At around 26k for the base its some what interesting but at invoice which any dealer will sell you one for 24.5k it is borderline bargain.

So there you have it I will add more as a drive them. If I feel like it. Feel free to ask me questions. I've done a ton of research on pretty much all the cars listed. Also help me make a decision. It is almost fishing season here.

· Super Moderator
3,715 Posts
Seems pretty spot on. Except for the "don't fit" thing. Reality is that most people in the 6'4" + crowd deal with having to put their knees to the side of the wheel in most vehicles. It's just the way things are. I'm shocked I don't have to do that in the renegade at just shy of 6'7" (not super leggy though).

As for the forester, if it makes your short list and you go back, you should test doing a k-turn in the thing. My office mate got a '15, and the one thing that he doesn't like that he didn't find during a test drive was the lag in the CVT going from reverse to forward motion. It's literally like a 1.5 second lag. He has to back out onto a fairly busy local road every time he leaves his house though, so it bother's the heck out of him. I'm 100% with you on how loud the sucker is though, especially decelerating without brakes applied.

· Registered
214 Posts
A good discussion .... let me give you a little background on my own situation. Two kids, 3 and 5. My wife has a '15 Forester, I'm driving a '16 Renegade, 1.4L Latitude. I absolutely love the Jeep - it's a ton of fun to drive. But, it's the second car. If you plan to haul the kids around, it's not gonna work. Even though you can get a car seat in now, trust me - the back seat is not as spacious as the Forster. What really kills it though - the back storage/trunk area. The renegade's is tiny.

You're going to have a second kid - that means you'll be hauling a lot of stuff. In a year or so, you'll need either two strollers or a double stroller. There's no way it will fit in the Renegade. And, this isn't just a problem for long trips either. Just going to grocery store, you'll need room for groceries and the strollers. The renegade just doesn't have the space. If you don't believe me regarding this - try taking some things to the dealership and packing them in the back - it fills up quick.

I love, love, love my renegade. But if we only had one car - Forester all the way. Like you, I really like the CVT. It takes a lot of crap online- I don't know why. Our has been very responsive. I would agree, the sound system is just "acceptable". But the things needed for a family - good drive, AWD, dependability, tremendous visibility (lot of glass), and lots of trunk space - the Forester kills it.

Bottom line - you're gonna need the space. As a "drive to work" vehicle for me, the Renegade is great. For hauling around two kids and their stuff - no way.

If you have any specific questions, just let me know.

· Registered
214 Posts
We have a dodge journey that is the baby hauling car. The second car would just for every once in awhile hauling of the kids if the wife has the dodge tied up.
Sorry, I just misunderstood the first part of your post. If you don't need to haul the kids and are just getting it for yourself, then by all means, get whatever you enjoy driving the most! If kids are involved, then considerations change...
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