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Duckn66

Small SUV??

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Wet Dog

Every time I think about doing what you're thinking about, I find the few miles per gallon saved is not worth the comfort lost in going to a smaller vehicle. 

 

I bought my son an Xterra assuming that when he went to college I would sell my truck and keep the Xterra. It gets about the same mpg as my Sierra and I'm having a tough time justifying giving up the interior space, as well as the hauling and towing capability, for a smaller SUV.

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Flush

There are now MANY small SUVs offered in AWD that fit in this category.

Dog crates are all different sizes, most small SUVs will physically fit two "large" dog crates , but not all will fit them in the rear area facing rearward, some will require the rear seats to be folded down. You will have to check your exact crate sizes against the vehicle you are considering. Almost every manufacturer has an SUV that meets your basic requirements. They are "crossover" vehicles, meaning the are SUVs based on car platforms. Generally speaking they are all fuel efficient, they pretty much all get mid 20s on the highway, some into the 30s. Some are more powerful than others. Some more ground clearance than others, but they all probably meet your basic requirements.

Subaru somewhat specializes in this type of vehicle. I do like Subarus, but won't I don't like is they had a very common and long standing problem with head gaskets on their most common 2.5L engine  so if you do decide to go with Subaru, be aware of that issue and do your homework. I personally have some concerns with Chrysler reliability but in this segment Jeep offers several models that would offer the most off-road capability in this "car-based" class 

 

Here is a list of some fuel efficient SUVs with AWD, this is not a complete list of everything in the class, just the ones that I have considered over the years. Which one is "best" is a matter of opinion. Which ones can fit your two crates in, only you can determine

 

Ford Escape

Ford Edge

 

Chevy Equinox

 

Jeep Patriot

Jeep Cherokee (the new ones)

Jeep Renegade

Jeep Compass

 

Subaru CrossTrek

Subaru Outback

Subaru Forester

 

Nissan Rogue

 

Mazda CX-5

 

Honda CRV

Honda Pilot

 

Toyota  Rav4

Toyota Highlander

 

Kia Sportage

Kia Sorrento

 

Hyundia Santa Fe

Hyundia Tuscon

 

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Bede

 

Some of those SUVs Flush mentioned are actually large vehicles by nearly any standard. The Santa Fe, Sorrento, Pilot, and Highlander, are big. 

 

Of the compact crossovers, the Subaru Forester and Honda CRV (latest generation) lead the way in MPG. The Subaru leads the way in clearance, tied with the Cherokee in Trailhawk trim. The trailhawk is obviously a more dedicated off-roader, but the price new is much higher than that of the Subaru. The Subaru offers a more comprehensive safety package. 

 

Subaru and Honda have the best interior space. The Forester and CRV have impressive legroom front a back, and tons of cargo space, especially with the seats down. With the rear seat up, the new CRV edges the Forester. 

 

The Mazda CX5, it should be mentioned, is so far superior on pavement that it isn't even a competition. It struck me as the least off-road oriented in every way, however, opposite the Subaru. The Escape and Tuscon seemed the smallest. 

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blanked

My 2014 rav 4 gets 30 miles to gallon and can fit 3 intermediate crates. 2 crates side by side and one crate sideways

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Tony Moore

thought the Toyota RAV would have more fans?

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Brad Eden
43 minutes ago, Tony Moore said:

thought the Toyota RAV would have more fans?

 

My wife had one, nice enough rig but she never loved it like she does the Rogue for some reason. Still can't go wrong with a Toyota IMO. She was also lukewarm on an earlier Honda CRV. They were all pretty much apples to apples to me.

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River19

Regarding the Rav4.....we had both a 2013 and 2015 consecutively, very solid vehicle and really liked them.  Plenty of pep and surprisingly more room than the previous version.  I could fit 2 intermediate crates side by side in the cargo area without folding the rear seats down, which for us is a must have for any SUV type vehicle.

 

We would routinely get 24-28mpg on the highway.  We had studded snow tires on these rigs and they were fantastic in bad weather, and we would spend time every week in icy snowy mountain areas on both paved and dirt/glare ice roads.  The winter performance was equal if not better than our Subaru Outback with the same tires.

 

That being said, to me the Rav is a $20-22K vehicle......not the $26-30K they are asking for them......obviously they can be had for less.

 

I would recommend people drive one and check them out if shopping in that niche.  Toyota will also lease those for short money.......we did 2 consecutive 24month leases with 15K miles per year for ~$310/mo no money down.

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Dogwood

I don't know what your budget is but low miles previous generation Escapes (the boxy ones) can be had for cheap and have a very practical open layout for 2 crates etc.  You can even remove the rear seats easily and really open up a flat surface.  Can be had in a 4 cylinder AWD which won't win any races but is excellent on fuel.

 

Want mega cargo relative to size and fuel economy?  Honda Element. Pull up or remove the back seats and the thing just swallows stuff, even vertically.  I know 2 avid bird hunters (one being gunsmith Del Whitman) who gave up their trucks the last time fuel hit $4, bought used Elements, and will never go back.  They manage all the northern Michigan grouse cover 2 tracks with the right tires just fine.  Rubber floors you can hose out.  The Toaster!

 

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shoot-straight

the chevy equinox is the "biggest" of the "small" suv's it seemed. my wifes was pretty good, got great gas mileage and made several long trips to the wilds of NY, ME and even the greasy roads of KS with no issues. her new outback is nice as well, just different. 

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Duckn66
3 hours ago, Dogwood said:

I don't know what your budget is but low miles previous generation Escapes (the boxy ones) can be had for cheap and have a very practical open layout for 2 crates etc.  You can even remove the rear seats easily and really open up a flat surface.  Can be had in a 4 cylinder AWD which won't win any races but is excellent on fuel.

 

Want mega cargo relative to size and fuel economy?  Honda Element. Pull up or remove the back seats and the thing just swallows stuff, even vertically.  I know 2 avid bird hunters (one being gunsmith Del Whitman) who gave up their trucks the last time fuel hit $4, bought used Elements, and will never go back.  They manage all the northern Michigan grouse cover 2 tracks with the right tires just fine.  Rubber floors you can hose out.  The Toaster!

 

 

Really thinking about one of the escapes.  I don't care about the power as much as fuel mileage.  It will see more speeds in the 30 mph range than any.  I like hearing the rear seats can be taken out.  I usually hunt alone or sometimes my daughter goes when she's off work. 

 

Good info to know about the escapes.  I just wonder how many miles you could expect out of one that has been mechanically taken care of.  

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henryrski

MY 2014 gets 14mpg on a good day with a tailwind and keeping under70.:o

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Flush
15 hours ago, Bede said:

 

Some of those SUVs Flush mentioned are actually large vehicles by nearly any standard. The Santa Fe, Sorrento, Pilot, and Highlander, are big. 

 

 

The new versions of these are quite a bit bigger than earlier versions. If you are looking at used ones, from say the early to mid 2000s these aren't all that big.

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snapt
6 hours ago, Dogwood said:

 

 

Want mega cargo relative to size and fuel economy?  Honda Element. Pull up or remove the back seats and the thing just swallows stuff, even vertically.  I know 2 avid bird hunters (one being gunsmith Del Whitman) who gave up their trucks the last time fuel hit $4, bought used Elements, and will never go back.  They manage all the northern Michigan grouse cover 2 tracks with the right tires just fine.  Rubber floors you can hose out.  The Toaster!

 

Element owner here, love it save for the gas mileage, right around 20, a tad less with new snow tires at the moment. I'm right around 200K, it will probably turn into a beater someday for just local hunting/fishing/skiing stuff with dirty wet dogs. You can find them for cheap, and being Honda's they'll run forever. I was going back and forth with Del about his the other day online, he runs BFG AT's on his, I've had good luck with Hankook Dynapros.

 

With the amount of driving I'm doing these days I'm eyeballing the Mazda CX-5 AWD Diesel coming stateside in a few months.

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Dogwood
4 hours ago, Duckn66 said:

 

Really thinking about one of the escapes.  I don't care about the power as much as fuel mileage.  It will see more speeds in the 30 mph range than any.  I like hearing the rear seats can be taken out.  I usually hunt alone or sometimes my daughter goes when she's off work. 

 

Good info to know about the escapes.  I just wonder how many miles you could expect out of one that has been mechanically taken care of.  

 Kansas Big dog might chime in pretty sure he has an Escape.  I still see plenty of the last gen models tooling around northern Michigan so I think they're regarded as a pretty durable rig.  They also came in a 6 cyl. model.

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67diesel
4 hours ago, Duckn66 said:

 

 

Good info to know about the escapes.  I just wonder how many miles you could expect out of one that has been mechanically taken care of.  

Both the 2.3L and 3.0L are 200,000 mile engines easily.  There is an older 2.3L with a manual trans for sale near me that I would like to buy.  I don't super duper need it, but it looks very clean.  It would save the miles on my F-150 also.

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