T Nation

SUV Owners, Chime In!


Chime in if you own an SUV of any kind. Let me know the usual stuff (make, model, year). How it is on gas? How's it on quality? Do you regret getting it?

The lease on my BMW is up in 2 months and I want to get an SUV. I'm gonna buy it out right. Looking for something $10,000 and under. There are plenty available. Looks like it will be an Explorer from 1995-2000. I was thinking of a Wrangler but there is no room for my golf clubs. I havent seen the trunk in person but from pictures I have seen golf clubs wont fit ( I have 2 bags that I alternate with). If I'm mistaken somebody correct me.

If I decide to really screw with the environment a Lincoln Navigator is the 2nd choice. Followed by a Grand Cherokee.


GF has had 2 Blazers and her mom has a Tahoe.

Both are ok on gas for what they are.

The Tahoe is a very smooth ride and good pickup to it.

The Blazers were ok, nothing special, or wrong either.

They handle great in inclement weather though, then again I've had nothing but RWD V8 cars that suck in the rain.


2002 Grand Cherokee... V8... The gas mileage difference between the 6 and 8 cylinder was so small (1mpg) Id rather have the power... I fill up every 2 weeks and it has been the best purchase Ive ever made...


i have an 03 gmc envoy. the gas mileage is kinda crappy, around 16 mpg especially for a six. the power is great though. it's a straight six, dohc with gm's version of vtech. 280 hp. and tow's 6,000lbs. i have not had many problems, only minor transmission issues, sensor, filter, fluid, etc. and that's after 60k miles in a year. it's about to hit 100k. it's pretty nice, the onstar is cool to. slt is the way to go.


I don't have an SUV at the moment, but down the line may get a Mercury Mountaineer. I drove my brother's 2004 4wd premier edition and it is awesome. Actual mileage is 12mpg. Not great, but when I get a kid I don't wanna have a regular sedan during upstate NY winters. The ride is very smooth and I like the rear back up sensors for parking. The turning radius is great too.


I own a few SUV's, and I am happy with them for the most part, most of the ones that I have owned over the years have been decent, here is my experience with SUVs

Currrently Own:
2006 Lexus RX330: Love it, great on gas, very comfortable, and good around town or in inclimate weather.

2000 Jeep Cherokee: This is my camping truck, other than an off road weekender, don't waste your money

2004 Range Rover: It isn't really great on gas, and the V8 is lacking in the power department, however it is comfortable.

2005 Toyota 4Runner: This is a great vehicle. It is pretty good on gas, has decent power, and I have had no problems with it what so ever...however it is new so I'd better not have any.

Previously Owned:
2004 Mitsubishi Endevor: For a "Car Type" SUV this little guy rocked. I only had it for about 18 months, but in that time I put 65,000 miles on it, and it was a champ, good on gas, good in the snow, comfortable ride, and no major problems.

2003 Ford Expidition: Horrible gas milage, but comfortable and powerful

2003 Toyota 4Runner: Again, loved it, no major problems, and decent on gas

2002 Toyota Sequoia: Horrible on gas, has a huge blindspot behind the driver seat, good power and very comfortable.

2002 BMW X5: Loved it, great SUV in every way.

2001 Mercedes ML350: I had more problems with this SUV than any other I have ever owned. In the 6 months I owned it, it was in the shop for about 2 of them total.

2000 Toyota 4Runner: Again Loved it.

1996 Toyota Rav4: Hated it, small, horrible brakes, no power, great on gas though.

1996 Range Rover: Not too bad, horrible on gas but had great power and had no real problems with it.

1994 Ford Explorer: Great truck, worked hard and decent on gas.

1991 Isuzu Trooper: Hated it, POS!

1982 Full Sized Chevy Blazer: Loved it, horrible on gas, but fun as hell to drive, especially with the top off.

Anyhow, I hope this helps, good luck finding something!


The Explorer is middle/upper of the road as far as SUV's go. The Navigator is one of the worst, only worse ones are GM's/Chevy. I love the look and size of the Navigator as well as the Expedition. Hmmmmm.....decisions, decisions!


Honestly bud, I think your gonna have a hard time finding something under 10k that won't give you problems.

Most of the full size suv's get similar gas milage, figure 13-17. My mom has a 98 explorer, only 56k and she hasn't had any major problems. However, the 4wd system is a big problem in used explorers with over 50k. If you drive one, make sure you put it in 4wd and make a tight turn. You'll know right away if there is a problem.

From my experiences, Jeeps aren't that great. Lots of problems as they age. I would stay away.

Toyota, honda, nissan, etc I don't know much about, but I know there re-sale value is much lower than other comparable models for a reason.

I would try to find a used tahoe, more than likely it's your best bet. Whatever you buy, pay for a good inspection if it's under $15,000, it's worth the money. Best of luck!



2003 Chevy Suburban. All leather, second row captain's chairs. OnStar and XM radio. No trouble, and the 327 makes it a peppy little ride, despite it being a tank.

Gas mileage - 18 on the road, 15 in town if you are lucky.

I like it. We live a million miles from a decent grocery store, and we can put $700 - 800 worth of groceries in it and still have room to go to Wal Mart.

not really a ride for looking cool in but I am marrie with two teenagers. Cool went out a long time ago.


Good Lord! Do you work for a car dealership? If not, why do you own 4 SUVs? Sorry... the curiosity was getting to me.


Thanks for all the replies. Keep them coming! Hopefully there is a Navigator driver out there who can chime in!


i personal have had bad luck with the ford explore(went throught two engines) have had friend that love them. had a 2002 chevy tahoe nice SUV not bad on the MPG if your not towing anything. the wife drives a 1995 jeep grand Cherokee AWD it has 166000 miles on it and still going strong.

i think there all pretty much the same when you weigh them out. Its all personal preference

good luck
buying a car is never fun


I guess I'll be the first SUV dissenter. Environmental concerns aside, SUVs have always seemed kindof...stupid, to me. That is especially true of todays high-end models (BMW, Benz, Lexus, Porsche [are you fucking kidding me...a Porsche SUV]) with low profile tires and the ground clearence of a Honda Civic. What are you gaining? You can't take anything like that "off road" without bottoming out and dinging your wheels and they have a high center of gravity so they handle like shit compared to any similarly priced sedan.

The first time I sat in my friend's new Escalade all I could think about was what a poorly made POS it was. Cheap plastic interior and drove like shit. For that price he could could have bought a nice Audi that could drive circles around it in the snow.

The other thing I hate is the misconception that SUVs are safer than sedans. SUVs roll over. Sedans usually just spin or slide. Traction is another thing. Any car with a good all-wheel drive system and appropriate tires will drive well in snow. You might want to look into those features if you are buying a 1995-2000 Jeep or Explorer as most of them were actually RWD (ie bad in snow) unless you engage the 4WD system. This locks the front differential and you would only want to use it to get around town with a good amount of snow on the ground, not on the highway.

Note also that car enthusiests will probably make fun of you. I personally think that the Rover and Jeep families are the only acceptable SUVs (excluding the current Grand Cherokee with the low front air dam that looks like it would catch on a 6" curb). I guess some people might have a need for an SUV but most, I think, just have poor taste and are being trendy/yuppie. A person does not need a Navigator to drive to work alone in the suburbs. And there is no such thing as a high performence SUV. In fact, "sport" and "utility" are pretty much mutually exclusive when it comes to vehicles. Most SUVs posess neither.

Anyway, sorry for the rant. Good luck.


I've got a '00 Durango. Love it. 14 MPG in the city, which sucks, but I'm still not getting rid of it :slightly_smiling:


Beware of the Ford 'Exploder'.

I've got a 2000 Chevy Blazer - it's a nice ride, and it has aged well thus far. I bought it used 3 years ago - you should be able to get one for $10 or under.

One of my ex-GFs had a 2000 Grand Cherokee - it was pretty nice - had an 8 instead of a 6 - more HP was a nice touch, plus, when it was really cold out, that thing would heat up quick.

That's about it - I wouldn't plan on going much bigger with an SUV - if you do, you just as well get a nice truck with an extended cab.




We finally traded in my wife's mini van for a 2000 Ford Expedition. We took it on a road trip, and I think it got 17 mi / gal. In research, I found that there isn't that much difference in gas mileage between our 5.4 liter and the smaller engines - we chose this one so we don't have to worry about horsepower when towing. The expedition seats 8 comfortably, but watch the headroom in 3rd row seat on older models. Newer models have a 3rd row that will fold into the floor like the 2nd row. All wheel drive is cool, and the clearance is pretty good.

I love it a lot more than the wife's mini van! We did a lot of reading, comparison, and test driving ...and the Expedition is what we landed on. Cargo space and 4wd were big issues for us, and gas mileage was a minimal issue(I walk to work).


Nah,I just like cars. I buy one keep it for 6 months to a year and then get something new. The longest I have ever owned a car is 2 years.


I just recently traded in my 2002 Dodge Ram for a 2006 Ford Escape. I love it- it's easy to park, the 3.0L v6 has lots of power, rear seats fold down, and I can put at least 2 golf bags in the back without folding the seats down. As for gas milage, I'm hitting 24-27mpg on the highway, and about 20 in the city( I mainly do highway driving). I am commutting daily, and put about 5-600 miles on it a week, and only spend about $60/week on gas. With my RAM, i was spending about $130-150/week on gas. -Starkdog


My sincerest apologies to Dorso for my silly purchase, but I own a 2001 Lexus RX300 and love it. I've taken it "off-road" many times, and it does just fine and dandy.

Anyway, I find it to be a flawless vehicle, but my next purchase is going to be a Toyota 4Runner or a Highlander, the latter basically being just a dressed down Lexus RX300. I just don't need as much luxury as I paid for, considering they would pretty much "perform" the same...


Navigator=expedetion, it's a ford product. You can expect the same probs with a navi that you can an explorer. Hope this helps.