Catch My Ride – Part Two

There are all kinds of consumer reports and ratings out there. Now Lady Boomer is adding her own rating to the melee with the “Boom or Bust” report!

As I mentioned in my previous posting, I road tested six small SUV’s; they included the Ford Escape, Jeep Liberty, Honda CR-V, Hyundai Santa Fe, Subaru Forester and the Toyota RAV-4. With the exception of one truck, all of them ranked well on the various consumer reports in terms of performance, mileage, customer satisfaction and reliability.

My personal criteria included:

  • Feel and Handling: The vehicle needs to handle like a car but give me the height, visibility and all-wheel drive capability of a truck. I live in the country and take back-roads on my frequent trips to urban civilization. Come to think of it, a truck that thinks it’s a tall car summarizes what I am looking for!
  • Road Ride and Comfort: Bone-jarring potholes and speed bumps should not prompt whiplash or teeth-clacking. Shocks, suspension and whatever else is responsible for a comfy ride (I’ll leave all that technical stuff to people who know what they are talking about) should be sufficient to prevent me spilling my Tim Horton’s coffee while I drive.
  • Acceleration and Power: Oops. This one will get me into trouble, I know it. But I like a vehicle that has the pep and power to let me pass someone without worrying if the engine is going to blow up in the process; it makes for a bad afternoon when that happens.
  • Sound System and Interior noise: What is the use of a good stereo system if the road and wind noise interfere with the woofers and tweeters? My preferred vehicle will be able to blast out sound with the best of the roadside rappers, yet be as silent and serene as a hermetically sealed bubble if I decide to turn off the radio.
  • Side-swinging rear door: Picture this – I am five foot tall; with my arms raised I can reach something about ten feet up. Raised hatchback doors on many small SUV’s are about ten feet high. Can’t you see it?…real sophisticated for women my size to be hopping up and down trying to reach the handles on the hatchback to lower the door. And men wonder why some of us wear high heels? I may be crippling my feet but at least I can reach a hatchback door. Or, I can find a vehicle with a side-swinging rear door and continue to wear my new, flat PF Flyers.
  • GPS: Ah – the answer to a prayer for the navigationally-challenged. While I do not look forward to someone in my own vehicle telling me what to do (I have an authority problem), I can swallow my pride and take orders if they will get me to my destination without the typical twenty mile detour I take because I am lost. After all, the GPS has my interests at  heart and only wants the best for me….and I can turn it off if it really bugs me.

Boom or Bust Ratings:
Where 1 is a bust, 5 is fantastic and yes or no is self-explanatory!
(Please note that the Jeep Liberty was a 2007 vehicle. All others were 2010’s. I drove the 2007 Jeep Liberty because it had all the cosmetic attributes that I wanted…I confess – I must be a closet off-roader with fantasies of mud up to my axles.)

2007 Jeep
Handling 4 2 4
Road Ride and Comfort 4 3 4
Acceleration and Power 4 3 4
Sound System and Interior Noise 4 3 4
Side Swinging  Rear Door No Yes No, but does have a strap for the vertically challenged
GPS Yes No Yes
Santa Fe
Handling 4 5 5
Road Ride and Comfort 4 5 5
Acceleration and Power 4 3: the Forester is only available in a 4-cylinder. You can get it with a  turbo which should help with the acceleration but it takes premium gas to give it the zip 4
Sound System and Interior Noise 4 4 5
Side Swinging  Rear Door No No Yes
GPS Yes – and it even found country addresses! Yes Not available. If you want it, you have to buy it “after sale” from a third party supplier

Having gathered all my facts, road tested the vehicles as well as my husband’s patience, it was decision-time. As you can see, there was really no clear-cut winner. With the exception of the Jeep Liberty, (which was really disadvantaged in all the comparisons because it was a 2007 while all the rest were 2010’s), all of these small SUV’s were essentially comparable in the “Boom or Bust” ratings. This was really fascinating to me – in the world of small SUV’s – the choice was large and the differences were small.

So how did I decide? Ultimately, it came down to value for money. Right now, Ford has some tremendous discounts available, and with the government’s help, they will also give me $2000 for my 12 year old Mystique. Although it breaks (or is it “brakes”?) my heart to see her go to the scrap yard in the sky, Ford is offering great values for taking old vehicles off the road.

At the end of the day, I couldn’t get the colour and options I wanted in any of the available 2010 Ford Escapes, so we ended up ordering a 2011. And in the meantime, if my Mystique breathes her last bit of exhaust, the dealership has offered to give me a courtesy car until the new car comes in. How utterly customer-focused!

See what I mean about the difference between the old days of car-buying and the new attitude of service? No longer combatants in a fighting ring, buyers and sellers today are more like partners in a value-proposition exchange. The internet and on-line demand for information have dramatically changed the way we do business; business relationships are less about retail combat and more about customer satisfaction.

So, come September, I will be heading out in my new Escape. Who knows, maybe it was just the name that convinced me to buy a Ford again….after all, who doesn’t want to ESCAPE?!


About Lady Boomer

A voice for lady boomers, Bette Hodgins is a writer, life enthusiast and navel-gazer. Unfortunately navel lint keeps cluttering up her path to enlightenment, but she is nothing if not persistent in her journey of life!
This entry was posted in Favourite Things, Pursuit of the Perfect Car, Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to Catch My Ride – Part Two

  1. Mary says:

    You did a lot of research and thanks for sharing it with us.

    We just bought a Ford Fusion and I love it. Ford seems to be on a roll.


  2. Kristine Tilley says:

    Great article. Glad we here at Brandon Ford could be of help to you in such a big decision.

  3. Pingback: A Great Escape And Her Two Accomplices | Lady Boomers

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