SUV Maybe?

This is the third in a series of posts starting almost two years ago about vehicle choices to someday replace our car.

The first post was Electric Car Options in October of 2019, the second was Hyundai Kona EV – Too Tight a Squeeze and after that whole thing, I decided to temporarily open up my search into non-electric vehicles as a replacement for our car someday.

What Do We Need?

Ideally, something with some space in the second row! I am over six feet tall and many of my family members are too, and so having some more space over our small Kia Forte would be really helpful going forward, and as such, we will likely be looking at sports-utility vehicles, the most popular type of vehicle right now.

The main goal is to make sure the front and back leg and head room end up being better than what we have today, and if it has the option to tow a small camper trailer, so much the better.

Here are the numbers to beat:

ModelFront Head Room (in)Front Leg Room (in)Back Head Room (in)Back Leg Room (in)
Kia Forte39.142.237.335.9

I should mention that I know it isn’t just raw numbers that matter, there are features, comforts, and how it drives, and so no matter what we pick, it’ll have to fit our budget and do well in a test drive. Most of the vehicles we could potentially afford in this category currently are either full gas or hybrid SUVs and not full electric like we’d love to own, but my hope is that when we go to buy a vehicle, we will be able to get an all-electric one, but it depends on how long our Kia lasts and what our budget looks like at the time of purchase. For this comparison, we are keeping the as-configured cost under $50,000 as that seems somewhat reasonable.

Oh, and I can’t forget that it has to come in paint that’s not black, white, silver, grey, beige or red… preferably a nice blue or green. I know that shouldn’t be important, but if we are going to get a new vehicle we are going to get it in the colour we want for once!

Honda CR-V Touring

A good looking vehicle, the Honda CR-V appeals to me on many levels, coming from a well respected brand with a history of decent quality. As configured it was around $48,000, meaning payments would be around $732 per month for 72 months.

ModelFront Head RoomFront Leg RoomBack Head RoomBack Leg Room
Honda CR-V40.141.339.240.4

I feel like that additional leg room in the back and the head height would make this much more comfortable for me or someone my size to be in the back seat of for an extended trip.

For intelligent driving systems, it has adaptive cruise control, blind spot information, rear cross traffic monitoring as well as lane keep assist. To save fuel, it has a turbocharged 4-cylinder engine and an idle-stop system.

Kia Telluride EX

Near the top in terms of price, the base model Telluride was around $48,500 configured, so it doesn’t have some of the features that come with the higher end models like the SX or the SX Limited, and Kia doesn’t sell this car in a blue, but their Dark Moss green looks pretty good and stops this one from being excluded based on paint colour availability.

ModelFront Head RoomFront Leg RoomBack Head RoomBack Leg Room
Kia Telluride39.541.440.242.4

Look at all of that rear leg room! It leads the list in rear leg room and rear head room, so that should be plenty comfortable enough for people my height to sit in the back seat for extended periods of time.

It has many of the same safety features as the Honda, but with it’s bigger V6 engine, it can tow up to 5,000 pounds behind it.

VW Tiguan Highline

With the Tiguan, we can start at the upper end of the model versions with the Highline and configure it from there to have the highest price in this list coming in at just under $50,000. This means it comes with all-wheel drive, which could be nice in the winter time, and a heated steering wheel, a requirement for my wife.

ModelFront Head RoomFront Leg RoomBack Head RoomBack Leg Room
VW Tiguan39.640.239.136.5

Losing two inches of front leg room, and gaining a little over half an inch of back leg room doesn’t seem like a good trade-off. I’d have to sit in it to see, but it seems like this vehicle might not feel much like a step up in comfort.

It does have many of the same safety features as the others on this list with adaptive cruise control, lane assist, blind spot monitor and more.

Nissan Rogue SV AWD

Near the upper end of the model line, the SV AWD has all-wheel drive, all of the latest safety features, and even kitted out, it was near the bottom of the price range at a little over $41,000.

ModelFront Head RoomFront Leg RoomBack Head RoomBack Leg Room
Nissan Rogue41.64338.537.9

More in every column, the Nissan Rogue doesn’t seem like it would be much bigger than our car, but it gives between half an inch and two inches on these main four size areas.

It comes with a 4-cylinder engine using a continuously variable transmission meaning it is probably pretty reasonable on gas. Overall, it seems like a very feature filled vehicle at a competitive price point with a nice interior size.

Toyota Rav4 XLE AWD

While Toyota has a hybrid version of this vehicle, I’m not completely sold on hybrid technology, so I configured an XLE AWD which seems to be their mid-range model and it came out to a middle of the pack price of around $43,750.

ModelFront Head RoomFront Leg RoomBack Head RoomBack Leg Room
Toyota Rav439.54139.537.8

The Toyota website is a real pain the in the butt to use, and it doesn’t provide as much information as I’d expect on the model features, safety features and more. It ends up feeling like a conversion funnel rather than an opportunity to gather information and make comparisons.

It does provide some good head room in the back and two inches of leg room in the back over our car, and as such, it might be worth doing a test drive with to see if it would fit our needs.

Mazda CX-5 GT

We have family members that are Mazda lovers, but every company goes through cycles where they make great products, and where they make products that aren’t as great. I don’t know where Mazda is on that cycle, but the CX-5 looks like it could be an interesting option. I selected the near upper-end trim and added some configurations to it to get the price to around $44,000.

ModelFront Head RoomFront Leg RoomBack Head RoomBack Leg Room
Mazda CX-539.7413939.6

One of the features I love about this vehicle is the ventilated front seats. As someone that runs hot, having a cooling fan hit your back while driving means less air conditioning which makes my wife happier and thus makes me happier.

And look at all of that back leg room. Three and a half more inches than our car. Over an inch and a half of additional back seat head room.

The CX-5 also has some towing capacity with around 2000 pounds, so we could take an ultralight camper if we wanted to and interestingly enough, the length of the CX-5 is about the same as our Forte, so it would fit in our garage and likely be easy to drive when it comes to knowing the length of the SUV.

Hyundai Tucson Luxury

The new 2022 Tucson looks amazing. The redesign has a sporty look to it and it feels modern and high-tech. I built out a Luxury version of the vehicle before they dropped the 2022 model line, where the Luxury version only comes as a hybrid. With my selections, I built out a Hyundai that was just under $42,000. Today, while writing this post, I quickly built out what a Tucson Luxury Hybrid AWD would cost, and it came to $46,275, so making it a hybrid added some cost, for sure, but it comes with all of the safety features you’d expect and has my ventilated seats too!

ModelFront Head RoomFront Leg RoomBack Head RoomBack Leg Room
Hyundai Tucson40.141.139.541.3

The good news is that the new Tucson design is a bit bigger on the inside adding some more front head room, and back leg room over the previous 2021 model. I am always weary of buying the first release of a redesign as you never know what kind of issues they might not have found yet, so I’d want to wait to look at the 2023 Hyundai Tucson, and I still think I’d prefer to not have a hybrid until I do more research about how it contributes to long-term repair costs and the additional cost versus fuel savings over the lifetime of the vehicle, but overall, I think this is a SUV worth looking at for our needs.

Full Data Table

ModelFront Head RoomFront Leg RoomBack Head RoomBack Leg Room
Kia Forte39.142.237.335.9
Honda CR V40.11.041.3-0.939.21.940.44.5
Kia Telluride39.50.441.4-0.840.22.942.46.5
VW Tiguan39.60.540.2-
Nissan Rogue41.61.5430.838.
Toyota Rav439.50.441-
Mazda CX-539.70.641-1.2391.739.60.7
Hyundai Tucson40.11.041.1-

The Winner: Nissan Ariya

Wait? This wasn’t even in the list!

Annie and I really still want to get an all electric vehicle and while it’s been delayed and I don’t have a ton of details on it yet, I think that the Nissan Ariya might be a strong contender when we go look at our next vehicle. It’s an electric SUV with up to 482 km of range, can fast charge a few hundred kilometers in half an hour, and looks amazing. We should know more about the Ariya around the forth quarter of this year.

The pricing might be well outside of our budget, and so it might not be feasible, but I am hopeful that we can get the Ariya or something like it to replace our gasoline vehicle when it comes time.

Are there any SUV’s you think we missed out on? Are there any electric vehicles you think I should take a look at? Let me know in the comments!

2 responses to “SUV Maybe?”

  1. […] 2021 – Starting in 2021, I started thinking about non-electric vehicles. I am not a huge fan of the idea of hybrids, as it seems like it puts two underpowered engines in a vehicle and adds a ton of complexity for some fuel savings, so I looked at what the most efficient gas SUVs might be in a post called SUV Maybe? […]

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