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straight cash homie
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3-Row SUVs: Best and Worst

9th Place Volkswagen Atlas

It's plenty spacious but has a ride that will make kids carsick. VW needs to improve its family SUV's suspension.

8th Place Ford Explorer
It's new to market, but the Ford seems like it was built ages ago. Its price ladder doesn't speak well to value.

7th Place Mazda CX-9
Great power, ride, and handling, but that's not why folks buy people haulers. It's short of the traits that make a true family vehicle.

6th Place Chevrolet Traverse
A strong SUV just three years ago, the Traverse has suffered at the hands of the newer players in the segment. A rental car feel at a high price.

5th Place Toyota Highlander
The segment sales leader arrived with a cool new design, but a cramped third row and a thrashy powertrain hurt.


4th Place Hyundai Palisade
A smart value, the Palisade raises eyebrows at school plays and soccer practice. Ride is stiff for kids, though.

3rd Place Honda Pilot
The smartly packaged Pilot scores highly with its responsive suspension and direct steering feel.

2nd Place Subaru Ascent
It's oddly styled, but once you see how spacious and capable it is, the Ascent checks many boxes. Plus: value.

1st Place Kia Telluride
Eye-catching design, an elegant interior, and excellent value. The Telluride doesn't disappoint. A class above.
 

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Read the article. Wouldn't put much value to it. Their rationales are lame and lack any kind of substance. This is the first time I have seen the Ascent and Pilot rated higher than the Palisade. Usually most critics have Palisade and Telluride one and two or vice versa. I have an Ascent. Its awful. Can't wait to get rid of it which will hopefully be soon. It sells because its cheaper, is discounted more than competitors, or low interest rate on loans. Go over to the Ascent forum and look at all the issues owners are having. And if you criticize the car the loyalists jump all over you. As for their dumb comments on the interior. Did MT know that the colored shelf on the Ascent comes in only one color? Yep look at the picture. Java brown seat w ivory colored shelf. I was looking at the Touring which only comes in Java Brown and saw how ugly the shelf looked. Instead bought the Limited w Ivory interior to match the seats. What was Subaru thinking only using one odd color shelf? Test drove the Pilot. That was first choice. Didn't like it at all. Ended up w Ascent because I purchased before Palisade, Telluride, and others were on the lots. Motor Trend obviously did not look at the issues each of these models has. Ascent is an awful car.
 

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2020 Highlander Limited, Moondust / Graphite, RAV4
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And not much to rest on yet, but ask me about these in 4 or 5 years, it may be a different story, maybe not, but I'm guessing it will be.
 

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Read the article. Wouldn't put much value to it. Their rationales are lame and lack any kind of substance. This is the first time I have seen the Ascent and Pilot rated higher than the Palisade. Usually most critics have Palisade and Telluride one and two or vice versa. I have an Ascent. Its awful. Can't wait to get rid of it which will hopefully be soon. It sells because its cheaper, is discounted more than competitors, or low interest rate on loans. Go over to the Ascent forum and look at all the issues owners are having. And if you criticize the car the loyalists jump all over you. As for their dumb comments on the interior. Did MT know that the colored shelf on the Ascent comes in only one color? Yep look at the picture. Java brown seat w ivory colored shelf. I was looking at the Touring which only comes in Java Brown and saw how ugly the shelf looked. Instead bought the Limited w Ivory interior to match the seats. What was Subaru thinking only using one odd color shelf? Test drove the Pilot. That was first choice. Didn't like it at all. Ended up w Ascent because I purchased before Palisade, Telluride, and others were on the lots. Motor Trend obviously did not look at the issues each of these models has. Ascent is an awful car.
I agree with you on the Ascent. I tried one out last month, and found it to be awful as well, and the infotainment had a problem on the test drive. It kept going blank, would reboot and go blank again. Never could get it to work right. It's amazing how well it is selling however ?
 

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straight cash homie
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Discussion Starter #7
Most reviews of the new Highlander have mentioned how smooth the powertrain is ...I don't get the Thrashy mentioned here.
I don't know if it is a correlation, but the 8AT in the 4 cylinder powerplant of the Camry and RAV4: I rented a 2019 RAV and I did find the programming of it kind of annoying. Not sure if the V6 one has similar symptoms, because I know it was bugging their owners.
 

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I don't know if it is a correlation, but the 8AT in the 4 cylinder powerplant of the Camry and RAV4: I rented a 2019 RAV and I did find the programming of it kind of annoying. Not sure if the V6 one has similar symptoms, because I know it was bugging their owners.
Got Rice.....I trust your judgement as you have tried many cars it seems...have you ever driven a Nissan Murano ?........many reviews are excellent on that SUV...was wondering how it compares to a Highlander. I know Highlander has the better resale, but the Murano is very luxury oriented inside, and does still offer a V6, but with a CVT. They have some great deals on loaded ones as well. As far as the RAV4, I recently tried the new hybrid one, and liked it, but they have the gas tank recall, so I stayed clear. I actually like the Passport too.....if they would make the interior a bit nicer, I wouldn't mind one. Guess I got a bit off topic, but since the above was comparing, I thought I would add a few more LOL
 

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Discussion Starter #9
I agree with you on the Ascent. I tried one out last month, and found it to be awful as well, and the infotainment had a problem on the test drive. It kept going blank, would reboot and go blank again. Never could get it to work right. It's amazing how well it is selling however ?
Subaru became one of those "brands" that people became loyal to, but has gotten more mainstream. Those that wanted to stay loyal to Subaru but outgrew their Foresters and Outbacks was their primary target audience. They tried before with something called a Tribeca but that was a failure, much like the Kia Borrego that came out a decade before the Telluride, which came out when gas prices went up (It remains in places like Korea, but it didn't sell long in America).
Got Rice.....I trust your judgement as you have tried many cars it seems...have you ever driven a Nissan Murano ?........many reviews are excellent on that SUV...was wondering how it compares to a Highlander. I know Highlander has the better resale, but the Murano is very luxury oriented inside, and does still offer a V6, but with a CVT. They have some great deals on loaded ones as well. As far as the RAV4, I recently tried the new hybrid one, and liked it, but they have the gas tank recall, so I stayed clear.
I've not tried a Murano but lately, Nissan products have been meh to me. However, I think the Murano is at least updated, more so than the Mallfinder. I think the Murano was always more of a Ford Edge competitor, where it seems the Rogue and Pathfinder are the core SUVs in their lineup.
 

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Wow, unfair loss for the HL. They didn't even use the Platinum or they would have a different opinion. There is no way the HL media is outdated. It's one of the things it has going for it over all the rest. Not sure what to think. I've been in the Kia, and it's cheap feeling all over. Thrashy drivetrain?! wtf are they smoking?
I agree ! Hard to believe that the Ascent would be #2, and Highlander # 5.
 

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20 Ruby Platinum HL, 19 Lexus UX200, 17 Yaris iA
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My main concern beyond the mostly superficial stuff is how long will the car reliably last?

I am a Subaru fan. I waited for a big one. I was turned off because they put in a turbo 4 where they should have just stuck with the tired and true 6 they have made. Big car with a highly stressed little turbo engine just is no good.....

The Koreans .... well let’s just say I do not have a warm fuzzy about their price leaders....

No car is perfect. I love a new Euro car, but having been exposed to their repair needs for decades, I decided to go off reservation a couple of years ago.

We’ll just wait and see how this experiment turns out......
 

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I have a friend with a Murano, he's diving to trade, and is looking at the HL, if nothing else then because of it's reliability.
 

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2020 Highlander Limited, Moondust / Graphite, RAV4
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A shit ton. He has hated it since 12,000 miles or so. Now I should point out, it is 4 or 5 years old now (he could afford to get rid of it), Hell he took a trip to Boston from the central Maine area and used my Avalon, and fell in love with it.

And did tell him, he can't compare an Avalon to a HL, but from reliability, it should as go. He is asking to use the HL for a short trip coming up (after this virus thing passes).
 

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My main concern beyond the mostly superficial stuff is how long will the car reliably last?

I am a Subaru fan. I waited for a big one. I was turned off because they put in a turbo 4 where they should have just stuck with the tired and true 6 they have made. Big car with a highly stressed little turbo engine just is no good.....

The Koreans .... well let’s just say I do not have a warm fuzzy about their price leaders....

No car is perfect. I love a new Euro car, but having been exposed to their repair needs for decades, I decided to go off reservation a couple of years ago.

We’ll just wait and see how this experiment turns out......
You are right ! I have the H6 Outback...wonderful ! I tried a new Outback and hated it. Don't like the turbo, and the 4 is just not enough power for that heavy vehicle. In addition, I don't like all the controls in the infotainment. You cannot adjust a fan speed or anything without going into several steps.
 

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20 Ruby Platinum HL, 19 Lexus UX200, 17 Yaris iA
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Mid sized SUVs need mid sized displacement engines. 6s and 8s, not 4s. Not to forget they run smoother. While the turbo 4 is a great hot rod motor, it is Ill suited for moving our big 7/8 seat boxes around. Maybe in Japan where the car is done at 60,000 miles, but not in the US of A. I think I will stick with my stodgy Highlander......

I guess the review revolves around soccer mom concerns more than real world long lived needs of us older folk.... I was happy to ditch our minivan that was trashed when our kids were younger. Guess that is the mentality.
 

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Discussion Starter #18 (Edited)
Wow, unfair loss for the HL. They didn't even use the Platinum or they would have a different opinion. There is no way the HL media is outdated. It's one of the things it has going for it over all the rest. Not sure what to think. I've been in the Kia, and it's cheap feeling all over. Thrashy drivetrain?! wtf are they smoking?
My main concern beyond the mostly superficial stuff is how long will the car reliably last?

I am a Subaru fan. I waited for a big one. I was turned off because they put in a turbo 4 where they should have just stuck with the tired and true 6 they have made. Big car with a highly stressed little turbo engine just is no good.....

The Koreans .... well let’s just say I do not have a warm fuzzy about their price leaders....

No car is perfect. I love a new Euro car, but having been exposed to their repair needs for decades, I decided to go off reservation a couple of years ago.

We’ll just wait and see how this experiment turns out......
Well, Toyota provided what looks to be an XLE trim, not even Limited, but like I noticed, where are all their press HL vehicles at? I guess they chose not to put the pre-production ones into service that they had at the press event late last year.

Magazines never factor reliability because they can only judge a vehicle on its merits as it stands there, and as compared to its competition. I would think only if the vehicle were to break down during testing then can they say something (Cough Alfa Romeo Giulia, which is very fun to drive but scary to own).

The Kia was not a surprise, and honestly, the Koreans finished at the top or near it, though I think the HL should've finished better than the Ascent at least, and the Pilot was seemingly ranked high when it now seems pretty old. I personally like what they're doing, when at times, Toyota has made me bored. Subaru will likely re-think the engine of the Ascent when they do a refresh, given that there have been a rash of new but unhappy owners.

Would I rank the Highlander higher, sure. But #1, I would say no, but that's my non-owner opinion, so it probably don't matter because we know they will sell, if Toyota could get more of upper models on the lots but is doing so slowly and Coronavirus.
 

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Discussion Starter #19
Mid sized SUVs need mid sized displacement engines. 6s and 8s, not 4s. Not to forget they run smoother. While the turbo 4 is a great hot rod motor, it is Ill suited for moving our big 7/8 seat boxes around. Maybe in Japan where the car is done at 60,000 miles, but not in the US of A. I think I will stick with my stodgy Highlander......

I guess the review revolves around soccer mom concerns more than real world long lived needs of us older folk.... I was happy to ditch our minivan that was trashed when our kids were younger. Guess that is the mentality.
Definitely in this segment, a V6 would be the minimum. A four banger might do better in certain places (like Colorado), but it is a concern for the long term for sure. Nevertheless, I think the HL is still a competitive vehicle, but the market for SUVs is even more competitive than it was 5 years ago.
 

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On a Toyota forum you know we are biased, but unlike other forums, the gripes are minor compared to other brands. I know my Highlander is not at the top of the scale for new frills. But this old dude wants a solid car and not something that will give me fits down the road. Build quality is fine or as good as many. We know the new HL is evolutionary verses revolutionary. That is what we buy into. We buy into owner retention, too. Subaru, Honda and Toyota seem to have many owners who keep their cars. But that survey is not about that. It is about the fine, working today things, which they nit pick to rank a tight field. Some car will be first, another fifth and one last. Proof is always in the pudding. For me, there is a lot of Toy in my Toyota. Ruby sleeps a lot in the garage. Ruby has not gone out the wet in the last few weeks. Ruby got wet one day on accident a month or more ago then detailed and now sleeps. We all are hanging home these days. Let’s hope we all get through this, the sun shines again and we all can get back to enjoying our Toy(ota)s.
 
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