Car reviews for your growing family with Paul Karchut
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Paul, have you done an review on the VW Touareg? Do you know how VW is doing after the emission-rigging scandal?
Hi Winnie… we haven’t reviewed the Touareg yet but I’d love to so please check back in as I try to get my hands on a tester for you. In terms of the emission scandal, VW has been pretty sheepish with the re-release of its diesel engines. I will say that as a VW stock holder I’ve been watching the company’s financial performance closely and they’re rebounding nicely. I certainly don’t think VW is going to vanish!
Couple vehicles I would be interested in
2017 Honda RidgeLine
Dodge Ram 1500 Ecodiesel
Very informative site.
We’re in the Ridgeline next week, Colin. Keep your eyes peeled!
Since you have logged time in both the Audi Allroad and the BMW Sport Wagon, I’d be interested to know which of these two you would favor- judging not so much from a practical standpoint (because in that regard, either would be more than sufficient for my purposes) but in terms of driver satisfaction and overall enjoyment? Thanks.
Hi JM… I think the BMW felt sportier and more eager with an even more paired down traditional European interior. The Allroad was no slouch, however, and gives you extra ground clearance for snowy conditions (the BMW is quite low) and a better all wheel drive system. It’s also a much more spacious interior, if you’re tall. I found the BMW a little claustrophobic. Hope that helps.
Paul, thanks for the additional feedback. I had a chance to take (all too brief) back-to-back test drives today- I envy your extended time with each vehicle. I can’t say there was a clear winner for me today- each vehicle had its strong points.
Seeing them in the flesh- contrary to my impression from viewing them online- I slightly preferred the Allroad. Certainly it’s interior has a far more up-to-date appearance, even in the lower trim that I tested which lacked the new “virtual cockpit.”
I expected to prefer the driving dynamics of the BMW but- at least on my short drives- I would say it was pretty much of a draw. FWIW though, the BMW I tested did not have the adaptive suspension which I would want if I were going to proceed with a purchase.
What I did like like about the BMW was the lower driving position. As you pointed out, the trade-off is less ground clearance- so maybe it can’t traverse “all-roads”. But the ones where I would be driving wouldn’t be an issue. And the seats- while not objectively more adjustable or more comfortable- just seemed to fit and support in a more glove-like fashion and really glued me in to the driving position.
I also admire what they have done with the tailgate and cargo area. And contrary to what I expected, its cargo area is marginally larger- I was specifically checking that out because I wanted to make sure I could pack golf clubs without any special effort or trouble.
I did not examine the back seat at all- I’m sure this is an area where the Audi would win.
The one thing which disappointed me about both vehicles is how much more compact and, consequently, how much less useful they would be in comparison to our 2003 Volvo XC70. I had not been wanting to consider another Volvo at this point (because we also already have a 2016 XC90 T8 and have not been satisfied with the quality of the service we receive from the dealership). But now I wonder if I should take a look at the V60 and the V90.
Anyway, thanks for the service you provide with your detailed reviews. Best wishes!
I really like your reviews. Very informative for family.
I would be interested in a review of the Ford Explorer (particularly Sport or Platinum with the big ecoboost engine).
Keep up the great work.
Hey Paul, can you please review the new Murano? The pricing on the Murano is very similar to the small SUV’s and on book, it appears, that i’ll get much better car.
Hi Paul, Thanks for your reviews. They’re great!
We are a family of 5 and are trying to decide between the Chrysler Pacifica and the Honda Pilot. The Pacifica is more expensive with more cargo room but we also liked the pilot foregoing the extra legroom. We aren’t minivan people either but were impressed by the Pacific. Due to our garage size, we have to go with the highest trim level for both vehicles if we want the option to park in the garage -which we do with our Canadian winters. Knowing this, If you had to choose between the two, what would you choose? PS. We prefer the 7 seater Pilot over the 8 seater because the 3rd row is more accessible with our 5 year old with carseats in the 2 captains chairs.
Hi Natalie. Thanks for your question. Both of these cars have their drawbacks. I like the Pacifica a lot, too – and we’re not minivan people either. But if you feel like you don’t need the extra space in the Pacifica (it is much bigger), I think you’ll ultimately be better off with the MDX for a few reasons: it comes with all wheel drive for those Canadian winters you’re writing about, it’s a bit more interesting to drive, its likely that the MDX will do better mechanically over the long run and its resale value is going to be far better when the time comes to sell it. I think the Pacifica is overpriced to begin with and domestic minivans have a reputation for plummeting resale. Hope that helps!
Excellent review!!!,Thanks for posting it.Appreciate all your good work!!
I live in Mississauga and am planning to buy CRV in next 2 years.I’m also thinking about redesigned forester.
I’ve have 2007 Accord and its been really reliable.I plan to own my next SUV for 10-12 years so do you think CRV is better than forester( aka engine oil issues) as its more reliable.I also don’t plan much off road driving
How would you rate the AWD in CRV is the snow ?You think its good for our winter weather here in Ontario.
Thanks for writing, Ganesh. Without a shadow of a doubt, the fulltime AWD in the Subaru or Audi lines is the best option. But the CRV’s ability in the snow was also quite good. As an all round package, the Honda will probably be a better fit for you but I’m also always a little hesitant to buy a brand new redesign of a car (especially with a new engine) in its first year. There are often bugs that need working out. So I’d weigh that into your decision as well. Let me know what you decide upon! Paul
Thanks, Ganesh. The full-time AWD systems in the Subaru and Audi brands is pretty unparalleled but the CR-V also did quite well in the icy conditions we had it on the road. Both would be solid choices but I was really impressed with the new CR-V as an all round package: value, drive quality, efficiency, fit and finish. My only hesitation would be that buying a car in its first year after a redesign with a brand new engine can be a little risky. There are often bugs that need working out. So I’d weigh that in your decision, too. Good luck and let us know what you decide upon!
Thanks a lot for your prompt response!! Sure I’ll buy CRV in 2019. Hopefully,it will be better with all the issues resolved. We will be having one child who doesn’t need car seat & grandpa and grandma in rear seats .
Do you think CRV will be comfy for 2 adults and child in the 2nd row seats? Please let me know.
Sorry to ask again .Do you think CRV will be comfortable for 2 adults and child in the 2nd row seats? Please let me know your feedback.
It’ll be a squeeze, Ganesh. While the CR-V has been widened for 2017, it’s still quite narrow.
Hi Paul. Great site! It was helpful when I was car shopping a little while a ago for a family hauler.
My wife and I are expecting our first soon, and we were looking to buy either a Jeep Cherokee, a Ford Escape, or a Hyundai Santa Fe Sport. We ended up buying the Hyundai. We found your video for the Ford Escape really helpful, especially when you were referring to the amount of rear-seat and cargo space. The rear seat seemed fine when one of us was sitting back there. However, we wouldn’t have thought about a rear-facing child seat until you talked about it in your reviews. The Hyundai was far more spacious, although not quite as sporty to drive as the Escape.
It can’t affect our decision, but are you able to look at the Hyundai Santa Fe Sport? They’re incredibly popular and revised for the 2017 model year, but there were relatively few reviews for them online. A good family-orientated review would have been appreciated when we were car shopping.
Thanks, and keep up the great work.
Thanks, Cameron. I’ll see what I can swing.
HONDA CRV – Paul, I enjoy your reviews. I’m exactly your height [used to be 6’3″ – just wait my friend – 240 pounds], mid 50s, no kids; girlfriend with petit dog; live in mid-Atlantic, USA]. So, my girlfriend traded her 2011 CRV in on a 2017 CRV EX AWD cloth. She loves it! I too need a car. As you commented, my hesitancy with purchasing a CRV for myself is leg room and the drone of the engine under load. A 2.0 turbo IMHO would have been a better choice. I have a 100 mile commute twice a week. What do you think of these other choices: 2017 Highlander FWD LE Plus? 2013 – 2014 Certified Lexus RX 350 [under 20K miles], 2017 RDX FWD base . Obviously I gain some power but lose some economy with the V6 engines and more importantly give-up some safety features with the base RDX or used RX 350. I’m trying to stay under $35,000 U.S. FYI, I find the Outback somewhat underpowered with the 4 cylinder, too expensive with the 6 and the Forrester a bit bouncy and not my personality though I have to say it appears well put together. RAV4 seems a little old in the tooth. I won’t consider a European car. Suggestions? Is there a new RDX coming out soon?
Hi Gee, I don’t know what resale on a Highlander with FWD would be like in your neck of the woods but it would be hard to sell up here in Canada. Personally, I’d splurge and bump into an AWD model if you go that route. But it sounds like it might be too much vehicle for you. If you like the Toyota brand, there is a new RAV4 coming. What’s your time line? Thanks for writing.
I love your site and videos, with the detail review and also stand on the family side’s view.
Just want your opinion between the new CRV and Sportage.
I have a small family one 2 years old and wife and I. Since our lease is ending in 11months, I been doing vehicle research. And finalize between the CRV and sportage.
What i like about is CRV the reliability, fuel efficiency, the new panoramic roof and the low noise level
Sprotage i like the pricing for the european like upgrades, wireless charge, bigger panoramic roof, welcome lights and yes your are right, the ventilated seats. But dislike the noise level.
We are leasing a 2014 civic, just wondering what is the noise level on it.
Hi Ken, I don’t have any numbers on the noise level in the older Civics. These are both good choices. You’ll get more pep out of the larger turbo in the Sportage. The standard features are better, too. But you won’t get the resale value you get from the Japanese manufacturers. I really like the new CRV a lot. I think that its interior has taken some big leaps, Honda has really improved on its standard features and it was quite peppy for such a small engine. Let us know what you decide on!
Do you have a 2017 Nissan Armada Platinum review scheduled ?
Nothing at this time. But the Pathfinder will be our review next week.
Fantastic reviews – they are exactly what I was looking for now that my husband and I are hoping to get a more family-friendly vehicle. We are planning on getting a crossover in a few months’ time and have narrowed down our search to: Subaru Forester 2.5i Limited, Subaru Outback 2.5i Limited, and Mazda CX-5 GT with AWD. I read that the 2017 CX-5 will be coming out at the end of March. Would you be able to review it after it becomes available?
We haven’t done our test drives yet, but so far I’m leaning a bit more towards the Subarus, particularly the Forester due to its higher riding height (I’m short and will be the primary driver), visibility, panoramic moonroof, Eyesight system, and reputation for AWD. Outback would be my second choice for the longer/larger cargo room.
My husband is drawn more to the Mazda CX-5 for its sportiness and attractive design. However, I wonder if it would be roomy enough for a rear-facing child seat and a 6′ tall to sit in the front passenger position compared to the Subarus. It also seems a bit less abundant in cargo volume and safety features.
I would appreciate your thoughts on the Subarus vs the Mazda. Thanks so much.
Hi Rach. Thanks for writing! Well, there are loyal followers to either brand and both have their merits. I imagine I’ll be getting into the new CX-5 pretty quickly after its release but don’t have any dates for you, unfortunately. The Outback has upped its game on refinement and some prefer its more wagon like styling. It also has a far more roomy back seat than the Forester which is more in line with the CX-5. But it’s not very much fun to drive and surprisingly thirsty. If you’re not in a rush, wait til the Mazda comes out and throw a car seat into it to see if it will work!
Hello from Kingston, Paul
My wife and I (both seniors) have been trying to decide between the 2017 Honda CR-V (Touring) and the 2017 Subaru Forester Turbo (Limited). They are both the same price, within a few hundred dollars, and the dealers we’ve contacted have quoted the same for trades. We’ve watched your excellent reviews of the Honda and Subaru, and noted that you’re very positive about both cars. Could you offer any comments comparing them with respect to safety, driving comfort, reliability, overall quality, handling (driveability), resale value, et cetera? In some respects they’re very similar, and in other ways different – so, it’s been hard for us to choose between the two excellent vehicles. Any help that you can give will be most appreciated.
Also, a major concern relates to comments we’ve found on the internet regarding oil consumption issues with Subarus in the past – have you any knowledge of that problem?
Thank you for the videos, and congratulations on the quality of your very solid reviews.
Thanks for writing. Both are very good cars with excellent safety ratings.
The AWD system in the Subaru wins out, if you’re doing lots of winter driving. Both options you mention have peppy turbos. In the case of the CRV, I’m always a little wary of the first year that an engine is rolled out… sometimes you see growing pains. With the oil issues in the Subaru line, I have owned three of them now and two of the three had this problem but they were older models. I have heard from a couple people on the YouTube channel with current Foresters who’ve said they’re seeing this in their cars, too. But it seems less common.
I think the CRV wins out in terms of its interior, though. Subaru has improved but the CRV has had a huge leap forward. It’s also quieter and the seats are more comfortable.
You’re not going to get a bad car with either of these options, Alan. But, while I can’t quite believe I’m saying this as a three-time Subaru owner, I think the Honda is an overall better executed car.
Thank you very much for your rapid and thoughtful reply, Paul. It will certainly help us to make a decision. Alan
Again, Paul, thanks for your help. We ended up choosing the CR-V Touring and finalized the purchase today. It was hard to choose it over the Forester, but your reviews and comments helped us through the process. Fingers crossed that we’ve made the right choice.
Cheers – and please continue the good work!
Recently discovered your channel and love the reviews! I am from Europe and really miss the station wagon options that most of the cars offer back there. The only one here in Canada seems to be the VW sportwagen (in my price range).
Would love to hear your review of Nissan Rogue.
I live in Edmonton and I’m currently driving a 2011 Santa Fe Sport after our 2006 Santa Fe was written off in an accident in 2014. My primary passenger has a chronic back injury as a result of the accident and we’re finding the the ride of the current of our vehicle way too rough, so we’re looking at updating to a new SUV. My primary concern for a new vehicle is ride comfort and safety features and I’m wondering if you have recommendations based on your test drives? I’ve been thinking about the Subaru Forester or Outback, but have you found the new CRV, or other vehicles to have a better ride? I’m not really concerned with ‘fun to drive,’ or peppy or whatever.
Just to clarify, when I say safety, I would be looking at the models with Subaru Eyesight, or Honda Sensing, etc. Also, I’m hoping I’ll be carting around kids in the not too distant future, so that’s a consideration as well.
I’ve been enjoying your video reviews, and it’s especially nice to get feedback from a fellow Canadian, living in the same climate. Car reviews from Arizona or somewhere often don’t help me much.
Hi Sandi. Thanks for watching and writing. It seems like the trend is for companies to stiffen up their suspension a little to make for a sportier drive in the corners. Yes, I’d take the CR-V and the Outback out to see how they compare to each other. On the more expensive end, you could also try the Acura MDX. But that’s a pretty big car. Another larger car that seemed to ride quite smooth was the Pathfinder we were testing a couple weeks back. These would all give you the space you need, if kids wind up coming on the scene! Hope that helps and let us know what you decide on! Paul
Hi Paul. I know it’s been a long time, but I thought I’d post and update in case this information helps anyone else that watches your videos and reads your comments in the future.
After A LOT of different SUV test drives, we ended up buying a Buick Envision. We found it provided the best passenger comfort by a noticeable margin. It’s easy to find vehicles where the drivers seats are super adjustable, but passenger seats often much more limited. As I mentioned, my main passenger has chronic back problems as a result of a car accident over 3 years ago, and we found the Envision offered the most adjustable and comfortable passenger seat, as well as the nicest ride quality. Buick’s reliability has been getting good reviews in the last few years too, so hopefully that works in our favour.
The price was higher than we’d initially wanted to pay, but the vehicle comfort was good enough that we found it was worth the cost.
I know you’ve mentioned that GM doesn’t seem to offer media vehicles for reviews, but if you ever do get a chance to drive one, I recommend checking it out. We’ve had ours for about a month now and so far it’s working out really well.
Thanks for your reviews. Even though I’ve purchased a new vehicle, I’ve continued to watch some of your videos because it’s nice to see a Canadian perspective, and one that focused on family functionality.
Having found your videos a few weeks ago I’ve been watching lots of them and you’re doing a great job. Keep it up!
I’m a big fan of Subaru and am seriously considering the Legacy. Please review it! In particular I’m looking at the Touring model (2.5L).
I’ll see if I can arrange that, Alain. Thanks for the note.
hi I am looking to purchase an SUV this year for my growing family. I am debating because I am not a big fan of a CVT. I like the 2013 Audi Q5. I like the look of the nissan murano 2015 model, and i like the pricing on the newer models of Nissan Rogue. I wanted to know what is your opinion for what I should go with? thank you
Hi Robert. I’ve driven the 2013 Q5 quite a lot because we have one in our family. I really enjoy that car and Audis have become much reliable in recent years. The older Q5s will go down in value as of 2018 because a brand new redesign is being released. You could use that as a bargaining point.
The Murano will give you more space than the Rogue but I have a friend who owns the Rogue with two kids and says he’s able to make it work and really likes that car for size to efficiency ratio. But it’s not going to be as interesting to drive as the Q5.
Hope that helps,
I really like your site as it reviews from a family prespective .
I live in GTA and am planning to buy a SUV in the next 1 year .My requirement is that I want to seat 3 adults in rear seats( need spacious rear seats).
Most of my passengers are 65+ and have lower back pain related issues so I’d prefer a comfortable ride. I’ve short listed Subaru Outback,Honda CRV and Acura RDX(RDX is a bit expensive for me though)
I plan to own my next SUV for at least 10 years; which of this is a reliable vehicle. Subaru outback seems value for money but is it as reliable as Honda /Acura and does it have good resale value?
Would it be a good idea to lease an outback so that I can try it out for a few years and then buy a new one after 2-3 years. Do I get credit to buy a new Subaru outback if I already leased one and am returning it? Should I take extended warranty on outback as I’ve ready of the engine issues they’ve being having lately
Thanks, and keep up the great work
Hi Reka, thanks for writing. Three adults in the rear seat of the vehicles you mention will be tight. The larger Honda Pilot or Acura MDX or Mazda CX-9 would give you more space but come in at a higher price point so you’ll have to weigh that. Subaru has been given top marks in the last couple of years for resale in Canada and reliability has gotten much better. But some Subarus have issues with burning engine oil as they get older. I’ve had this issue with previous Subarus I’ve owned and have heard from a few viewers who say their newer Subarus are still doing this. You’ll have to ask your dealers about leasing deals and crunch the numbers. That’s not my area of expertise!
Was wondering if what your thoughts were on the 2017 civic hatchback? I’m looking for a 4 door sporty car in manual transmission that could have a rear facing car seat that won’t make the front passenger seat absolutely useless and the Civic hatchback sport looks to be the best compromise on performance, cargo space, and price.. on paper at least..
Hi Mark, I haven’t had a chance to drive it yet but it looks good on paper. I was really impressed by the new Civic sedan. Another review that I’m doing next week that you might want to watch is the Elantra GT. Keep your eyes peeled!
Hiya! Please ignore my earlier post to your About page by accident. I’ve been watching your vids lately. Very helpful. Would love to see a review of the new Kia Niro. It ticks lots of boxes for me, but I’m worried about the cargo space. We’re looking to upgrade from a Honda Fit 2007 as our only car with two boys in elementary school, but the Niro’s boot seems not much bigger. Too bad as the mileage looks outstanding and passenger space seems quite good. Thanks!
Hi Guy… there’s no Niro coming through my region on Kia’s media fleet for a little while but I’ll see what I can swing. Thanks for watching!
Any chance you’ll review the Mazda CX5 soon? We’re considering a new vehicle and would like to know how it compares to the Forester, Honda CRV, and RAV4 hybrid.
We really enjoy your reviews!
Hi Byron. Thanks for writing! I believe the next Mazda I’ll be in is the MX5. That’s not much good to you, is it? I’ll see if I can get into an MX5 in the months ahead. Keep your eyes peeled.
Do you have a ranking system based on your reviews? Based on the SUVs you’ve tested, what would you recommend for 50k budgets? And why?
Hi Nate…. we don’t have a ranking system, no. I did put together a best of the year list back in December. What size of SUV are you after? Any brand loyalties or brands you just refuse to look at? How many seats do you need? Do you have any kids? Are you in the states or Canada? Let me know and I’ll try to come up with a short list among the cars we’ve tested.
Wow quick reply .midsize. 5 seats. No kids now but future family SUV. No brand loyalties currently have Honda and Toyota sedans both great. Canada.
Hi Paul, love your reviews! We are looking at the 2018 Chevy Equiniox – i swore off ever buying a GM, but after driving this one (it was between this and the CRV) I really enjoyed the drive, its gas mileage is really good for the size of vehicle (i know its a 1.5L) and felt like a bit smoother drive than the CRV (and you get more bells and whistles for less money in the higher trim levels).
Are you planning on doing a review on this one?
Hi James. Thanks for writing! I would love to review the Equinox for you but for some reason, GM doesn’t supply us test vehicles. It’s the only company at this point that isn’t supplying vehicles for us. That may change but for now, I’m afraid we can’t help you out!
Your videos are fantastic, arguably the most real-world and objective stuff on YouTube. A bit of info that I think would be helpful to point out is whether it is possible to install a child seat in the center position. While not as accessible, it is safer than the outboard positions and for smaller cars it is the only way to fit a rear-facing child seat without pushing the driver and the front passenger into the dashboard. However, many cars do not have center LATCH anchors and in some the seatbelt design and the shape of the center rear seat prevent proper installation of a child seat. A typical rear-facing seat requires 28″ (70 cm) between front and rear seatbacks while most compact cars have 20-24″ (50-60 cm) when set up for a 6-foot tall driver.
That’s a interesting point. Thanks for writing. I know most parents don’t like it because it’s much more awkward for placing your kid in the car seat but, especially on small cars, this could be a good thing to explore.
I would love a review of the VW golf gti. It seems like a fun car that could be passable as a family car
Hi Michael… I would LOVE to review the GTI. VW doesn’t send many media cars out this way but I’ll put in a request and see what happens. Thanks!
Have you or will you do a review on the Nissan Frontier pro-4x crew cab? You mention it in the ridgeline review and I’d love to see you compare it to that truck plus the usual suspects in the mid-size truck category. I’m seriously considering one in the near future.
Hi Rafal… I doubt that Nissan will put a Frontier into its media fleet until it has been redesigned. It is a very old, untouched, unrefined design. But loyal buyers like that about it!
Love your reviews ! Currently deciding between 2017 Honda CRV (Touring) and the Subaru Outback (Limited with nav) 2.5 or 3.6.
We are both tall and have one car seat potentially 2 in the future.
Really struggling between the two. Mainly for city driving however a few road trips back to BC in the winter.
Curious to know your thoughts.
Thanks so much
Hi Jen! Thanks for writing. These are two good choices for you. I REALLY like the new CR-V but if you plan on using it for mountain highway driving, take both the CR-V (with its smaller 1.5 litre turbo) and the 2.5 litre Outback out on a hilly highway to make sure they give you the power you need. I didn’t find the 3.6 L in the Outback was a peppy as the extra hit in fuel economy and power should suggest. For my family, even though we’ve owned multiple Subuaru vehicles over the years, I would probably lean toward the CR-V. Its new interior is fantastic, city fuel economy is impressive and standard features are really competitive. Let us know what you decide on!
Thanks so much Paul !
We decided on the CRV and hope it can keep up in the mountains:)
Appreciate your feedback !!
Since my family is going, I need to turn in my 2015 GTI for something bigger.
I am looking for an SUV that has enough room to accommodate an infant car seat (facing the back) and that will leave enough leg room to the front passenger. Also would like something that has a sport feeling/performance (tried the 17 Rogue last week and steering was so numb).
I saw your review of the SQ5 but it seems that there’s not leg room, What about the Volvo XC60 R design 2015?
Do have other models that you recommend?
Good to have you watching. The new SQ5 will be roomier for 2018 and might be worth looking at. You’ll discover that the Volvo is tighter than the Audi, I think.
If you like the European models, the XC90 is gorgeous and very competitively priced in the luxury segment.
Really enjoying your thorough and thoughtful reviews that focus on the reality of living with these cars. Any chance you’ll see the new Jeep Compass soon?
Hi Parker… I’m not sure what Chrysler is sending out this way. I just have to wait and see what they offer for testing, really. Keep your eyes peeled and thanks for watching.
Hello there. Thank you so much for your reviews!!
We are thinking about getting a 7 passenger SUV ( but we want a small one). One that we are heavily considering is the new 2018 VW Tiguan. We like it because it is a smaller 7 passenger option. We were thinking about going with another Subaru Forester because it was so reliable ( we currently have a 2004 Impreza) but it’s not a 7 passenger and I want a car that has an interior with all the fancy technology (ex. heated steering wheel, etc) without having to go to the highest trim.
The 4 things that I value are:
– Good gas mileage
– Good in snow ( we live in Ottawa)
-Fancy technology interior
– Reliability (we have current car 13 years with rarely any issues)
Our budget is 40-50k.
If you have any suggestions/ insight/recommendations that would be much appreciated.
Thanks for writing. I would suggest adding the Mazda CX-9 and the Kia Sorrento to your list as well. Both would likely fulfill your list of requirements. The Tiguan is going to be very tight in that third row so I’m not sure if it will be entirely practical for most people. Hope to get into it within the next couple of months. Keep checking.
Any update on reviewing the new Mazda CX-5? Looking at that and the turbo Forester. Wondering which would be more fun to drive and the most practical to live with. I thanks for all the reviews.
I’m not sure when I’ll get into a CX-5. Mazda sends cars out west sparingly so I just have to wait and see.
I really enjoy your episodes! Keep up the good work!
Have you ever test driven the BMW 328D wagon? Wondering what your thoughts are on that car for my family which is about to have a 4th member join us shortly.
I’ve reviewed the 3-series wagon but never in a diesel. It’s not a very big car. A family of four might find it a bit tight – especially if you have a pooch. But I’m sure you could make it work. Great car!
Thank you for your vehicle video critiques (…we click the ads as a thank you). We are a family of three, expecting another, and we are looking to acquire a vehicle. We have avoided buying (or leasing) for quite some time, choosing to rent when we needed a vehicle instead. But now, I think we kind of need to buy (or lease).
We would like your opinion on several questions:
1. Should we buy or lease (we have 25K saved for a vehicle, looking to finance the rest)?
2. If we buy, should we buy new or used?
3. If we buy new, should we buy the new 2018 VW Tiguan*? (*Comfortline Trim, 4Motion All Wheel Drive, ‘5+2’ Seating, ‘Real’ Panoramic Roof, clean interior composition, reclining and retracting 2nd row seats, etc….)
We have test driven the Honda CR-V, the Mazda CX-5, the Toyota Prius V, and the VW Golf Sportswagen & Tiguan. The CR-V ride is very responsive, but the vehicle is so…unattractive. The VW golf Sportswagen is a lovely vehicle (…lovely), but it is too small for me (I’m 6’3″), and I feel with the winter conditions the lower portion of the vehicle would suffer. The taller Tiguan, on the other hand, has such a smooth and comfortable ride, almost like a well fed Audi; with its matching german interior and exterior aesthetics, and hard plastic protective bottom line I think it would last, hopefully, as long as the wagen would.
I think we’re torn between the Stationwagen make and the Tiger Iguana comfort.
Hi John… thanks for the clicks!
1. If you don’t always want the latest and greatest, I’m all about financing because you’ll have a car that’s YOURS at the end of it all rather than something you’d either have to buy out or give back. Also, there are often mileage limitations with leases with penalties if you go over.
2. Financing also opens up the option to buy used. Buying a 1 or 2 year old car that’s been well cared for (not from a rental fleet company) can really take that initial hit of depreciation away.
3. I’d avoid the new Tiguan for a year to let the company iron out any wrinkles in the design and powertrain. There are often growing pains
I really like the new CR-V and don’t mind the looks but that’s going to be a personal preference thing! The CX-5 is also widely liked – although we’ve yet to test one.
Please let me know how the decision making process goes. Hope this helps!
Hi Paul –
When are you going to review the CX-5? I think it’s one of the only small crossovers yet to be reviewed.
Love the reviews 🙂
I’m surprised that Mazda hasn’t sent this one out to us yet. It’s high on my list of cars we’d like to test. I’ll put a bug in their ear.
Thanks for writing. Paul
Ever thought of doing up a review on your XC70? You get to drive all these new cars around, I’m interested in your opinion of your own car – how it compares and why you stick with it.
Hi Blake… I’ve been asked about this a few times. It’s an interesting idea but I just don’t think an 8 year old car would get a lot of views! Good car, though. A bit thirstier than we’d like. Thanks for watching. Paul
We like your reviews from a family perspective ;they are excellent and informative . Keep up your good work.
We were wondering when you’d be positing a review of the upgraded Subaru Outback 2018.
Hi Ram, I don’t have the 2018 Outback coming up for a bit but please keep your eyes peeled!
Thanks for all the detailed reviews! My husband and I are currently looking to maybe switch to a new car, as we are expecting our first child and your input has been very helpful. I did have a question for you though, I noticed in one post that you own a Volvo XC70, which is one of the cars we were looking at purchasing. Any chance you would be willing to share your opinion on it?
Hi Caitlin! Thanks for writing. Glad the site has been helpful! OK, my thoughts on the XC70:
– It’s a great size with plenty of trunk space
– Cool wagon styling
– Fantastic winter driver
– The leather is pretty tough for family abuse
– The T6 engine has got pretty good pep but not as much as you might expect
– The 6 speed automatic can be a little harsh while shifting at times
– Decent body roll through the corners but that’s to be expected with a taller car
– Fuel economy is pretty poor (especially if you have a lead foot!)
– Can tow a small trailer (3500 lbs) really well
Hope that helps!
Hey Paul, I’m down to choosing between a 2017 Sorento SX+ or a Mazda CX9 GT w/ Tech Pkg. With current incentives the SX+ would be slightly less money in the end than the GT Tech. I like the styling, handling, LED headlights and fuel economy of the CX9 but the Sorento has the 360deg camera, ventilated seats, apple car play/android auto and a better warranty. Having a hard time choosing. Thought?
Thanks for writing! Well, both have their positives. I like the styling and ride/sportiness of the CX-9 more. But the warranty and features of the Kia are certainly better.
If it were my coin, I’d be leaning toward the CX-9. But if you plan on doing any towing the V6 in the Sorento will be far better for you.
Let me know which way you wind up going!
Love your YouTube Channel!
I’m in the market for a new whip. We just got a Great Dane puppy. My heart wants an Audi Allroad, as, like you, I really like wagons. However I’m concerned it’ll be too small to take the pooch once he’s full grown.
The alternative I’m looking at is a VW Atlas. That behemoth will definitely fit the pooch, but I only have one kid. Do you think it’s overkill?
I’ve looked at an MDX and CX-9 as well, but I feel the cargo height on both is short (for a full grown Dane), and if that’s the case, I might as well get the AllRoad.
Thoughts? Appreciate your insight, as you have a dog and have driven them all.
Thanks for writing and congrats on the pooch! Yep, I think the Allroad would get pretty tight pretty fast. The Atlas would be overkill, though… unless you really want that much space.
The CX-9 has a pretty high load floor for the cargo area so it would be a big jump for your pooch but it could work. The Toyota Highlander would also do a good job, I think. Or, if you want to go European, the XC90 from Volvo is another great vehicle in that size category.
After much thought, test-driving, and contemplation, I pulled the trigger and ordered the Allroad. I figured, for the amount of time we’ll need to throw the pooch in the car, he can fit in our 2017 CR-V. looks like January is when the Allroad is ready, can’t wait! Thanks for your advice and for all the work you do!
Cool, Matthew! Thanks for letting us know and please send us your feedback on the car once you’ve been driving it for a while.
My wife and I are interested in a 2018 Subaru outback. Do you think we can fit 2 forward facing carseat (kids 1 &4) and a booster seat in the middle??
It depends on the car seats but I think you could swing it, Rich. You’d need to do a dry run at the dealer. And if it doesn’t work, there are also more narrow car seats made that you could look into. Let me know how it goes! Paul
Hey Paul. In your opinion can I fit 3 kids in the back of a 2018 outback? 2 in forward facing seats and one in a booster???
Hey Rich… it’ll be a squeeze but depending on the size of the seats, you should be able to make it work.
I am a regular reader of family wheels cars reviews.
I have seen that you always give Subaru Outback/Forester very good ratings
I was thinking of buying a Subaru but I am apprehensive because of the recent quality management scandal that subaru has been involved :see Link below .
Do you think its safe to buy subaru ?Subaru Forester exported to Canada is manufacted in same plant that has been hit by this scandal.
Hi Machat… I need a Financial Times subscription to see this article but I imagine it has to do with the quality of metals used. I’m afraid I’m not in a position to say how this will play out or what vehicles will ultimately be affected. But after the airbag saga, dieselgate and countless recalls, it’s a shame to have another issue arising in the industry.
Love your site. Thank you! I’m 6’7″ and struggling to find anything smaller than a mid-sized SUV that I can squeeze into. Two small boys in child seats now who may be 6′ by the time we’re done with the new car. Currently leaning toward a 2017 or 18 CRV or Forester. As a fellow tall guy, any other vehicles you’d recommend we try out?
Hi Garrett… wow, you’re going to have quite the tall crew soon! I imagine you’ll feel the pinch in any smaller compact SUV by the time your kids are reaching 6 ft! I was impressed by the space and headroom available in the CR-V, though. The new Tiguan is VERY roomy as well and might be worth a look. Should have that review posted within the next few weeks. Paul
Thanks for your great, informative, relatable videos! I just found out your channel a few weeks ago, and have been loving it.
Any chance you’ll get your hands on the VW Sportwagen/Alltrack some time soon?
I currently have a Mazda 3 5-Door that I’ve loved the last few years, but my wife and I will be starting a family in the next year, and so we will need a little more cargo capacity in the future, along with AWD (we have a family cabin up in the Sierras). I’d like to stay with a wagon if possible as opposed to SUV, and the VW seems to hit our price point, along with the obvious Subaru Outback option. Any other options I should seriously be considering? I do put more miles on my car with commuting and road trips (20,000 miles a year about so far), so comfort and longevity are considerations for me too. Thanks, and keep up the good work!
Hi Tony. Thanks for checking out the channel! I actually tested the Alltrack last year so make sure to check that out. Wagons are (unfortunately) hard to come by in the North American market these days. Volvo is also making some beautiful options but I’m not sure if that would stretch your price point too much. Let us know what you decide on! Paul
In your opinion, how does Honda Sensing compare to Subaru’s Eyesight system, especially the aspect of adaptive cruise control (ACC)?
We have a 2015 Subaru Forestor with Eyesight and I have been very pleased with the smoothness of the Eyesight ACC.
We are looking to replace our 2nd car and have been considering the 2018 Honda Civic Hatchback and the 2018 Subaru Impreza. I just want to know what your opinion is with both systems, which of these ACC system is smoother and better?
Thank you very much.
I’ve been really impressed with the Eyesight system. The stereo image creates a very smooth, very seamless adaptive cruise system. Honda has also done a good job but I think that Subaru edges it out.
Can you get your hands on a redesigned honda odyssey for review? I currently drive a 2015 subaru outback, but with a new baby (our second), we’re starting to feel squeezed with all the *fun* stuff that comes with small kids (strollers, boosters etc). We love our outback, and are curious to know your thoughts on the yet to be announced, re-designed Forester, stick with the outback, or the new Subaru Ascent vs a traditional honda minivan. We also like the looks of the Mazda CX-9. (I’m a bit all over the map, i know). We travel to the cottage a lot with lots of family ski trips for good measure.
We should be in an Odyssey within the first week or two of January. I’m looking forward to spending some time in that van. Shame, though, that it’s still not available with AWD! That’s something I’m sure you’ve gotten used to with your Subie.
Details are very scant about the new Forester. I gather it will have more second row room, though. For our family, I’d go with the Outback over the current Forester because of its refinement and more spacious back set. The CX-9 is also a stellar car with some good value.
Not too sure if that helps but those are my two cents!
Thank you for your reviews Paul, I really appreciate an Alberta perspective. When you review the Legacy/Outback the following may be of interest, especially from owners wanting more of the “utility” that Subaru is known for. We are on our sixth Subaru and currently have a 15 Legacy and an 18 Outback. If you push the passenger seat bottom all the way forward, tilt the back all the way down and remove the headrest, then flip the rear seat down, again remove the headrest, and the two seats line up to carry long objects inside the car. We had an 8 foot rolled up area rug in the Legacy, and after I put a tarp to protect the upholstery, I brought home six, 8 foot 2×4’s inside the Outback. Might not be a huge deal for some, but it makes the vehicle more useful for others.
No, the dealer did not know of this feature!
That’s a really helpful feature! Thanks for writing, Nigel. I’ve seen similar systems in Mercedes and Hondas as well. Enjoy your Subies. P
I’m trying to decide on a 3 row SUV and found your reviews very helpful. If I may suggest, you should also review the storage in the console since the focus is “family wheels”. As you know there’s always something else to tote on a trip and having access to essentials in a front row console is important.
Thanks and keep up the great reviews.
Thanks for writing, Joe. There’s always more to mention! What have you decided on for your SUV?
Can you/have you done a review on a Jeep Wrangler Unlimited?
Hi Evan… I don’t get a lot of Jeeps to review. The company just doesn’t send a lot of them out west. But I’d like to see the new Wrangler so I’ll see what I can swing!
Just watched your review videos on the 2017 Forester XT and the 2018 Audi Q5. I am looking at getting one of them. In your estimation, is the extra money for the Q5 worth it (in light of having to give up the safety tech items that are would be in the eyesight package on the Subaru). It would probably be a 10-15 thousand dollar jump in price to go to the mid-trim line on the Q5. This is probably a longer term vehicle for me, so I wondering if the upgrade to the Audi is a good one? I would appreciate you comments. Thanks.
Hi Neal… Just getting back to all my comments now after some time away. This is a question that I get asked a lot! I love the Q5 but it’s a big price jump with generally more expensive upkeep and a larger dive in resale value. If you have the extra cash, the new Q5 is impressive but you won’t be disappointed by the Forester either.
In the market for a new vehicle and been watching all your great reviews. I’m torn between the 2017/18 Civic sedan, 2017/18 Civic hatchback and the 2018 fit. What are your thoughts as a family car? There will be one forward facing car seat installed.
Thanks in advance for your feedback!
Hi Pete… thanks for note. Sorry not to get back to you sooner but I’m just back from some time away. I was not very impressed by the Civic hatch. It didn’t seem to offer much more utility and I think it’s rather ugly. The Civic sedan is a great choice but if you want more of a hatch, the Fit is a great choice. Build quality isn’t as good as you’ll find in the Civic but it does come in at a cheaper price point. Let us know what you decide on!
I really enjoy your reviews. I have been trying in vain to find current “real ski reports” from you on the web. Do you no longer do these? If you still do them, where can I find them?
Hi Ron… the ski report got cancelled! I was sad to see it go. It’s fun to talk about skiing on the radio! But after 10 years, my producer wanted a change.
Hey Oh! Love the channel and the real life reviews. Would love to see a Golf R review. I’m a dieselgater and have been looking at hatchbacks to replace the Passat. Love the idea of a speedster that can haul the family. Again, really like your reviews and honest opinion from a family point of view.
Hi Jake! I’d love to get into the Golf R but I’m not sure if it will come through Calgary as a media vehicle any time soon. I’ll keep trying. You keep watching! Thanks for writing.
I have a 2017 Golf R with the DSG transmission….and I am 50. My neighbour also has one with the manual. I love the car. Its a lot of fun and gets great mileage. It melts the drive from Calgary to Vancouver. I drive more in race mode than anything else. It took some time to get used to a smaller car going from a Volvo xc60 R design but it is with it!
If you do buy one (just do to), make sure that you get winter tires.
I’m very jealous, Mark. The Golf R is a gorgeous car! Happy driving.
Wish I had found your site/Youtube channel before leaving AB. I’m looking at trading in my leased F-150 this fall. Realized we don’t need a truck but looking for an SUV as the biggest thing we transport is a canoe. Leaning toward a Subaru Forester XT for the blend of sportiness and practicality (would really like a WRX STi).
Just looking at your thoughts on getting a 2017/2017 Forester XT or the redesigned 2019? I’m usually hesitant on a first year redesign but I don’t believe the engine is changing, mostly frame, body style, and tech.
Appreciate any insight or opinions you could offer.
Hi John… glad you’re digging the reviews! I don’t know much about the 19 Forester yet. I tend to agree that a first year in a next generation vehicle can be a bit of a gamble. It sounds like it will be a bit bigger so if you want more room, it could be worth the wait. But you can always get a better deal on an outgoing model, too. Let me know what you decide on. And happy canoeing!
HELLO! I’m sorry if you’ve already answered this but what’s the vehicle, or vehicles, you’ve found has the most legroom with a rear facing car seat? My husband is 6”7’ and this is so hard to figure out without testing them all!
Hi Ashlyn… I’m not sure what style of vehicle you’re most interested in. But here’s a blanket answer with the best results we’ve seen:
– Ford F-150 with the SuperCrew cab
– Honda Accord (new 2018 model)
– VW Atlas
– Subaru Outback
– Honda Pilot
– Audi Q7
– Toyota Tundra with the CrewMax cab
– Lincoln Continental
Hope that helps! Thanks for writing. Paul
Car help for three kids!
Help Paul, I currently drive a Honda Odyssey that’s been terrible in Alberta winters I’m looking for AWD and high ground clearance but I’m having trouble finding a midsize or large SUV that gives me good access to the third row with a car seat on the 2nd row (or captain chairs with no center console) AND a latch system on the third row so that the high back booster in the third row doesn’t keep moving around. I was very close to getting the VW Atlas but turned off by the lack of third row LATCH.
Hi Anahy! Thanks for writing. I was going to suggest the Atlas until I saw your last note. That vehicle has the best third row access, for sure. I seem to recall the MDX had decent access but it’s going to be a tighter third row than you’re used to in the minivan. I cannot believe that the Toyota Sienna is the only minivan available in Canada with AWD. This is a serious oversight by the car companies.
My name is Brad. I am a big fan of your channel. I would like to bring something to your attention and maybe you could look into it.
I bought a brand new 2017 Silverado 1500. I have 11,000 miles on it after 1 year and have hundreds of paint chips all over the front, hood, sides, etc… I took it to my dealership and discussed with GM corporate. The dealership service manager agreed it was excessive but after discussing with corporate they told me these chips are caused by my driving conditions and are not covered under warranty and they would not fix. I live in Fort Worth, Tx and drive on normal freeway conditions. The truck has never been off-road. I did some research online and found several others with 2017’s who have had the same issues on forms and youtube. The deanship told me due to new EPA restrictions they have weaker paint and clear coat and this is the standard for GM vehicles from now on. I can’t believe Chevy/GM would put out a product like this and then refuse to fix it. After 1 year my $40K+ truck looks like trash. I know I am not the only one with this issue.
I trust your channel and your advise on vehicles as I’m sure many others do.
Please take a look into this so others don’t waste their money.
Thank you for your time
Hi Brad! Thanks for writing. This is really interesting. I’ve been hearing similar complaints from Toyota owners. From run flat tires to paint, companies are cutting corners on quality in favour for weight and efficiency. It’s a problem. Perhaps I can do a feature story on paint
We’re looking at buying a new vehicle and it comes down to the Forester 2.5 Touring or the Nissan Rogue SV tech and moonroof packages. Have you had the chance of driving the Rogue? I’m curious to hear your thoughts on it.
We have 2 big dogs to haul around and I’m going to the mountains around AB and BC for skiing and biking on a weekly basis.
We are typically driving our vehicles in the ground and I’m looking for something that would be able to withstand our lifestyles for years to come.
Any info you can share would help.
Hi Patrice! We’ve never tested the Rogue but I’ve had lots of questions about it so perhaps I should start shaking some trees! Thanks for watching and stay tuned.
Paul, what is the cabin heater like with the 2.0L Honda Accord?
The reason I ask is my wife will be buying a 2019 Acura RDX and it basically will have the same engine as the Accord, but she currently has a V-6 RDX which has an extremely good heater. She’s concerned that she may give up the excellent heating performance.
I didn’t make a note of this, Scott. But I guess that means it’s pretty darn normal… and we were driving the Accord in some pretty frosty weather.
Our family had been to Toronto Auto Show last weekend. I was very impressed with friendlines and also the display at Subaru stall. We own a 2007 Honda Accord and were interested in Forester 2019. We heard that Forester is in for complete overhaul for 2019 model year. May I please request you to share with me if you have heard anything about the release date of Forester 2019( NY auto show??)
Do you think Subaru will increase the rear seat width and leg room(for Forester in 2019) to seat 3 adults comfortably like Volkswagen Tiguan,Honda CRV or Hyundai Santa Fe Sport who are their direct competitors.
Since Crosstrek 2018 rear seats have been made bigger to give more rear leg room, do you think Subaru will take a similar approach for Forester 2019?
I would be very surprised if the new Forester doesn’t get a bigger back seat. It’s just the trend we’re seeing across the board. But there is a new, larger Subaru SUV coming to market as well. So perhaps the Forester will tow the line and stick with its current size. All speculation at this point!
Just came across your channel and your review of the 2017 Audi Allroad. I have a 2015 Lexus RX350 and am looking to replace it with something a bit smaller and more importantly lower, so that my wife can scrape the top of the windshield when frosty. I have looked at and driven the 2018 Volvo V90 Cross Country as well as the 2018 Audi Allroad. I prefer the V90CC but my wife prefers the Audi. I am fully aware that the Volvo is quite a bit more expensive than the Audi. I would appreciate any comments you can make in comparing those two vehicles, thereby helping me make a decision. Key points would be AWD, seat comfort, noise level, reliability, cost of repairs, etc.
Hi Kevin! We drive a Volvo XC70 as our daily driver and love it. It’s been reliable, comfortable and fun to drive. And the new V90 CC is perhaps the most beautiful wagon I’ve ever seen. I haven’t had a chance to drive this new version, though. But based on my test of the Allroad, all of the points you’re asking about were stellar. But both a Volvo and an Audi will be spendy when something goes wrong. So far we’ve been very lucky with our Volvo. It has 200,000 kms on it now.
Thanks for your reply. One last question … the other choice I was going with is the 2018 Subaru Outback. I would appreciate your thoughts on the 3.6R Premier with the Eyesight package, re: all the above mentioned points, including overall maintenance costs.
Hey, I am from Calgary as well! I had a question about your rs3 video. You mentioned the power seats were an option on the vehicle if you were willing to sacrifice the Nappa leather. Do you have any references for this info? I’ve been looking everywhere for details on this to no avail.
Hi Tanner… I’ve since recycled all the literature I was given on the RS3 but it was in the info I was supplied. If you’re in the market, this was an incredible car!
Really enjoy your car reviews – great work!
We are currently shopping for a 3 row suv and wondering if you could do a review on the new 2018 Chevy Traverse. We really liked it when we saw it at the auto show this past weekend however have concerns that no upper level trims come with a bench (which we prefer). Wondering if you think the captains chairs can be serviceable in this vehicle. Also disappointed that you can upgrade the lower trims with the far superior dual clutch rear end (only on high country trim).
Once again thanks for all the good videos on your channel!
Hi Kris… great to hear from you. I’m working on getting GM vehicles but they’re a little slow to respond to my ongoing requests. Stay tuned! In terms of captain’s chairs in the second row, I don’t like this configuration. It limits passenger capacity before you have to dip into the third row and makes groceries/dogs/etc more likely to come flying into the forward cabin if you have to brake quickly. Not a fan.
Hello Paul and visitors,
Monthly payments being almost identical for the same term, would you choose 2018 Crosstrek Limited with eyesight or 2018 VW Alltrack with driver assistance and light packages…essentially both loaded?
Looking forward to your feedback.
Hi Mark… decisions, decisions. I would personally choose the Crosstrek for its more comfortable second row and superior all wheel drive. But I did find the cabin quality to be better in the Alltrack. So it’ll depend what you value more. Let us know what you decide on!
Hello Paul. First of all, awesome reviews!
Question is, do you think that the price bump and the power of the Outback with the 3.6 engine is worth it over the 2.5 flat 4? I heard that the flat 6 is not as efficient (obviously), but it also is higher to maintain. Of course, it’s for daily driving with the occasional 4 – to 6-hour travel once or twice a month.
I’m hoping they update it with the newer engines and the newer architecture platform, though.
Hi Diwa… sorry for the delay. I’ve been away. My conclusion on the Outback was that the 3.6 wasn’t worth the jump in price and drop in economy. Have you made up your mind?
Hello Paul, thanks a lot! 🙂 I’ve made up my mind for the 2.5. 🙂
You’ve got to get your hands on the new Subaru Ascent. I’m really curious to see how the 2.4T performs compared to the 3.6R in the upper Outback/Legacy trims. It’s highly speculated that the 2.4T will eventually replace the 3.6 H6 engine in the next year or two once the Outback and Legacy moves over to the global platform.
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