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More re Compact SUV's

Since these are what have replaced station wagons for hauling kayaks... if anyone is thinking about making a swap to a new car imminently it would be a good idea to get to a car lot and see what the 2019's look like. While some 2018's may still be around if you prefer them.

I was looking for accessories to spend a coupon on for my Rav4 and there is a giant redesign in the 2019 models, regular and Adventure versions. Mixed bag going on - the rails look better, but are designed in a way that could shorten the length of the run. The ground clearance is 2 inches higher but head room is less and the specs seemed to be silent on the cargo capacity. Etc.

The 2019 Subaru Forester has some body changes and a new edition of the Boxer engine. As in first year of the redesign. Later add, just noticed they also added reverse automatic braking in the 2019's.

I didn't check all of them but the creep is to get taller.

Overall gas mileage is running better in the 2019's, and for those who like the car to make decisions for you the ramp up in technology is significant. If you don't like that the 2019's really take it over the top, at least in the middle tier of packages. Hyundai puts some basic driver info, like speed, in driver's line of site looks like projected on the window. I assume that you can click something on the steering wheel to make it go away. Others are reducing the accessibility of the options like the pseudo-standard gears -which I do find useful in the winter - and Sport setting that gets you real 4 wheel drive with settings for road conditions instead. For ex Toyota has settings for Snow as well as for Mud and I think Ice on a knob. The computer then uses an algorithm specifically for each of those conditions to manage the traction control and wheel slip.

Anyway - worth a stop to check this stuff out if you are on the hunt for a new new car.

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Comments

  • Anyone thinking about getting a new SUV should do a whole lot of research. A lot of vehicles now days have the constant variable transmissions. They drive nicely, but I'm still skeptical about their longevity.

    Hyundai offers the dual clutch transmission as well as a 6 speed automatic. Be very careful about selecting the 7-speed dual clutch. These transmissions have some very pertinent quirks. They don't like stop and start traffic situations (hey might overheat) and they don't do well at extended backing situations.

    I am also not a fan of the all-wheel drive unless you really need it. For most driving, the all wheel factor is never needed, but all of the extra elements still have to be working. I prefer the simplicity of two-wheel drive and the better gas mileage.

    Another thing is the engine selection. Several brands and models offer turbo charged engines these days. If you're into jack-rabbit starts and squealing tires--have a ball, but there is a price to pay. A turbo charger is just one more expensive item to go bad and the extra maintenance on some vehicles equipped with turbos is another consideration. According to the owners manual for the Hyundai, the valve clearance must be checked every 7000 miles.

    I recently bought a 2018 Hyundai Tucson for my wife. I insisted that it be 2 wheel drive with the 6 speed automatic and the standard non-turbo engine. If I had to do it again, I would be even more insistent that it be exactly that. It wasn't easy finding the right vehicle, because almost all the dealerships carry only the all-wheel-drive versions and they like to push the high end stuff I was told by dozens of dealers that what I wanted was just not available without going out of our region and that would require extra shipping charges. I did a little shopping on the Internet and found exactly what I wanted at a dealer about 60 miles away.

  • RexRex
    edited November 2018

    I'm a dinosaur and I'm not ashamed. I'm not ready to give up my manual transmission. Subaru still offers it. Thanks Subaru.

    (It doubles as theft protection as not many young folks can do the clutch thing.)

  • @Rex said:
    I'm a dinosaur and I'm not ashamed. I'm not ready to give up my manual transmission. Subaru still offers it. Thanks Subaru.

    (It doubles as theft protection as not many young folks can do the clutch thing.)

    I've never owned a car that wasn't a manual tran. No dinosaur, just a savvy driver 'cause my six-speed manual is the best thing going for driving in snow or icy conditions. Why use the brakes when you can downshift? :)

  • Above was re automatic transmission cars, manual packages are different.
    I drove manual and manual only until I was older than several who are active on this Board. Until I lived in a more urban environment. Shifting thru at least second gear at a stoplight every several blocks gets old.

  • Excellent point, Celia, about the PITA of a manual when you have lots of stoplights. Luckily the few I encounter can be timed so I get green all the way through town. At least most of the time.

  • I'm beginning to look for a new vehicle, but my 2009 Rav4 runs like new. Have 146K on it and everything works. Mine has a V6 and 4wd. I've been looking at the Hybrid Rav4 and Honda CR-V.

  • edited November 2018

    The real trick for someone who wants to talk wayback is manual transmission without synchro mesh. Few under the age of 70 are likely to have encountered a car without it. I was first taught on one of these old clunkers with at best marginal results. Speed shifting came easily to me later on as well as trucks with extra gears for towing horse trailers. But double clutching another matter, probably couldn't do it now.

    My progression in my own cars with manual transmission has been from three speed manual on the column to up to five speed boxes; included US made, German and Japanese brands.

    I agree with a lot of the car guys I have heard on talk shows. Current cars are safer than what I started driving. I am glad that I learned on cars that made me work a little harder to handle bad driving conditions, and yeah my current car is really a computer with wheels and a transmission. But if you look at what these vehicles are really doing over the course of driving a few miles - the constant monitors for traffic on three sides and the rear cameras that practically and see around corners when trying to back out of a spot - they are pretty impressive.

    There were parts on the older cars that were simpler and so they lasted longer, but it wasn't an even situation. The body on my first Plymouth was rotting out long before the engine gave its last gasp because it was before anti-rust coatings were so good, After the first couple of years it required a piece of cardboard to hold the the butterfly valve open for the carburetor when temps were under 20 degrees because the spring was only reliable up to about 40000 miles. And I wasn't going to buy a who;e new carburetor for one badly designed spring. The simplicity of these older cars made workarounds more feasible than in the current computerized versions. I am not ready to equate that to better.

  • edited November 2018

    @Andy_Szymczak I'd be curious to hear your take on the 2019 Rav4.

  • The only car I ever had with a manual transmission was a 1980 Subaru, and I absolutely did NOT mind driving it in congested city traffic, with or without stoplights. The key lifesaver with that car was that first gear was quite a bit lower than it is in normal cars, so for practical purposes, you almost didn't have to slip the clutch when starting from a dead stop. The other lifesaver for me was behavioral, because one can upshift at very low RPMs when not accelerating, which makes shifting much more relaxed and un-bothersome, but plenty of people rev a lot more than they need to when barely going anywhere in traffic. Anyway, with that car's low first gear, just like with a heavy-duty truck, getting it into motion was a snap, and even though I did a lot of city driving, when the pilot bearing went out at about 180,000 miles and I pulled out the engine for access, I found that the clutch still had more than 4/5ths of its lining remaining, so it was in no danger of ever wearing out during the life of the engine. I've driven a bunch of different cars with manual transmissions, and never cared for the substantially higher ratio of first gear that all of them had. Who cares if you have to make that first shift a little sooner when their are other benefits to having the first-gear ratio nice and low? And for my old Subaru, that low first gear was a lifesaver off-road too. (for what it's worth, in those days, Subaru put a higher first-gear ratio in their two-wheel drive cars and a lower ratio in their four-wheel drive cars, and I bet all their cars have rather high first gears now that are designed for street/sport performance).

  • edited November 2018

    Regarding cars being so much better these days, some of the new improvements in cars make me crazy. My current work truck (2015 GMC pickup) has the worst headlights of any vehicle I have ever driven, by far, and there is no excuse for that kind of flaw these days. Anyway, I had a headlight burn out, and both high and low beams failed. I looked at the bulb and there's only a single filament and two connectors. I asked a guy at the auto parts store what's up with that (how the hell does it work?) and he said that by some miracle of modern science which he does not understand, computer control of the power going to the bulb determines whether it's high or low beam. Seems like one more unnecessary feature to fail, but he said to be glad that I didn't have a 2018 truck, because in that case, simply replacing a burned-out headlight costs $2,200 (and I bet it would cost twice that much to get it done by a GM dealer)!

  • I call the 2200 bill for headlight BS

  • edited November 2018

    I read an article year or two ago how headlight technology was way behind other patrs of car development. DOT has limits I am sure they could make blinding headlights.

  • RexRex
    edited November 2018

    I had to rent an Altima one time and it had that continuously variable transmission. It felt like the poor engine was being lugged most of the time. I hated it. Do all cars with that transmission have that feel?

    Oh yeah, "Improvements". I know Subaru has had it forever but the 'hill assist' they put on cars with manual transmissions works as 'hill hindrance' for me. I went on YouTube and found instruction on how to disable it. Thanks YouTube! Another "improvement'... there's no coolant temperature gauge; just an idiot light. Wonder if Subaru's head gasket problems are due to folks driving around overheated and unaware? %$#@* engineers give me a little mpg needle but no temperature needle. The world would be such a great place if everyone would just do what I tell them to do.

  • edited November 2018

    Guideboatguy
    Gear ratios matter. I never used the lowest forward gear in the 6 wheeler set up to haul a horse trailer unless I had a load of hay. And my recall is that I went directly to second gear in all or most of the four speed and up manual transmission cars to get out of a snowed in spot on the street. It is a place I still use the fake second gear on my auto transmission cars. But I am talking about continuing to have a standard transmission thru 12 years of daily city driving. It got to where I minded.

    Headlights are a complaint I have in current cars. I look for replaceable halogen bulbs and open the hood to see if I can get my skinny hand in there to replace them. Hoping I can still. get away with it in this 2018 but it looks close. If you don't like what the dealer puts in, you can often get better (brighter and with more range) bulbs from places like Advance Auto. I always carried replacement bulbs that were the first level upgrade from the basic ones in my 2007 Subie.

    Rex
    The lugging with CVT's seems to depend on the manufacturer. Ford went to it early and the later model years I have rented are much better than the first year cars with it. I hear no complaints from current owners of Subarus with it. Toyota has been introducing the CVT in steps, they put it into the Corolla earlier and in the hybrid Rav4's for 2018. In 2019 it is in all the Rav4's. Car and Driver had complaints about acceleration in the 2018 Rav4's but it was more on the HP than the transmission that was driving things. They are happier with the 2019's there.

    I agree about the hill holder thing. As my last standard transmission Subaru GL station wagon aged it got to be trickier to disengage the damned thing so I could move.

  • @Andy_Szymczak said:
    I'm beginning to look for a new vehicle, but my 2009 Rav4 runs like new. Have 146K on it and everything works. Mine has a V6 and 4wd. I've been looking at the Hybrid Rav4 and Honda CR-V.

    I looked at both. Really liked the CRV.

  • Celia, Comparing a Subaru with a 4-speed to a 1-ton truck with a 4-speed misses the point. I've never seen a compact car or any passenger car with first gear being a "granny gear" needed only for starting a heavy load or off-road. My Subaru was no exception, and starting out in 2nd gear on level ground in that car would have been mighty hard on the clutch, and doing so on any uphill slope would not even have been possible. First gear was not meant to be skipped. My point was that having a first gear that's a little bit lower than normal eliminates the difficulty most manual-transmission cars have with stop-and-go traffic.

    When it comes to getting out of a tough spot in snow, I've found that using low gear works best IF you have really good control of your throttle foot to keep the wheels turning dead-slow in spite of their tendency to break traction. Starting in second gear in any normal car (not a truck with a granny-gear low) means that the natural speed of the output is far too fast unless you slip the clutch, but the clutch isn't made for that. In my experience it's far better to prevent tire-slippage with precise throttle control at a dead-slow speed of tire rotation than by using the reduced torque of the next-higher gear as a crutch, though you can get away with that with an automatic. This might be one case where modern cars with fancy computer control of wheel-slippage have an advantage.

    For that example I gave of $2,200 for a headlight in Chevy/GMC pickups, that's not a case of an inaccessible bulb, but a case where the bulb is not replaceable in the first place. As to getting brighter bulbs, sadly, the lights on my company truck are designed so badly that making them brighter doesn't even address the worst of the problems, which include a minimally-effective high-beam pattern that puts most of the additional light at an angle that's far too high above where the low-beam shines to be of any use, and failure to provide any side-lighting to illuminate the places where a deer might run from, or where you might need to turn sharply into (on that truck, turning sharply means driving blindly into blackness).

  • At least manuals are offered in more cars than they are pickups. I’m hanging onto my manual Frontier as long as I can. It is far better for mountain driving, not to mention just plain more fun.

    I drove a new F150 with the 2.7L Ecoboost and 10-speed auto with “manual mode.” While it gets surprisingly good mpg for a fullsize 4WD truck—and the dual turbo makes it accelerate really fast—I would still prefer having a true manual tranny with a clutch.

  • edited November 2018

    Pikabike, ain't it amazing that we are at a point where manual trannies are easier to find in passenger cars than trucks? I would have never envisioned that happening.

    Guideboatguy, you just confused the crap out of me. In your higher up post it sounded like you were saying that city driving was not a problem because you could go right into 2nd of needed. In the one replying to me you said that was a bad idea. Unless you are saying a shift into 1st can be less gentle and harder on the driver if it is set higher? I will have to take your word for it, I never noticed an issue there across any of the cars.

    Of course you would never try that on a hill. I don't see where l advocated for that.

    My truck thing was responding to what you said in the higher post, that there were cases where the gears were set lower and it impacted how you used then. Not sure l shouldn't apologize for agreeing with you, but I won't.

    As to how to drive a manual, l am reminded of my experience on car lots trying to get a guy to take me seriously. I drove various standards for over a decade and my clutches were never the weak link in the car. I used them with minimal wear, enough to get comments from mechanics about it. I am still often the only one in a group who can get into any standard transmission car and figure out how to drive it, unless I have to double clutch. Had to do that three years ago when there was a medical emergency at a dinner gathering.

    The headlights you are talking about then are the ones l have thus far avoided, like in the Prius, that cannot be dealt with by popping in a new bulb. Friends who have ,Prius have been hit with a 300 tab when one light goes, though they also say it takes a long time to get there.

  • Thank god for hill holder. In Quebec City traffic in snow and slush you need all the help you can get. When I first drove manuals ca 1967 in Ithaca NY there was no such help at all and you just hoped the dude in back of you would not pull to your rear bumper on one of the many hills.. Of course then bumpers were real.

  • RexRex
    edited November 2018

    Hills... I was taught to use the emergency brake as a hill holder. It works great when the brake control is at your right hand. Trickier if it's at your left foot. I disabled the dumb 'hill assist-hindrance' on my Crosstrek after it caused my car to stall. Cars behind me honking. Me swearing. It was unpleasant.

    Trucks with manuals... my son drives a Toyota Tacoma because it has a manual. We weirdos who like station wagons and manual transmissions just get fewer and fewer choices.

  • Rex, I had forgotten until you said this, but me too. I was forced to improvise with such a tactic on my road test for my license, the examiner took me to a Stop sign at the top of a short but steep hill with lousy sight lines in winter. Some snow was down. I tried once to handle it normally and had to immediately abort, was risking falling back. So I vamped and experimented with toggling the brake with the gas, can't remember now what brake I used. It worked but I was also certain I had failed the test for trying something out of bounds. Was utterly surprised when we got back and I had passed.

    I never disabled the hill holder but my recall is I had to have it reset at least once as the car got older.

  • edited November 2018

    I've never heard of a hill holder but my last manual was in the 80's.
    Remember driving my mom around San Francisco in a stick Mercury and her asking why I ever bought that stick shift.
    I bought that car in Roswell, New Mexico and back in those days unless it was a high end loaded model the dealers didn't stock automatics.
    When I traded it in (in Florida) the salesman call everyone around to look at a Monterey with a clutch.

  • I too was taught to use the hand brake on hill starts and had to demonstrate it during my DL road test. That was a standard requirement even with automatics.

  • Hey grayhawk. I think Subaru has had the hill assist for a long time. The car senses when you're stopped on a hill and it locks the brakes so you don't roll into someone. The brakes are SUPPOSED to release when you take off. Sheeeit. The car stalled. I disabled the thing as soon as I got home. I just continue to use the parking/emergency brake lever at my right hand if I feel like I need it. The computers and sensors aren't as good as me yet. Not in the car I got.

  • If someone is too close behind on a hill, you could always shift into Reverse while holding the brake down...BACK OFF, IDIOT!

  • I don't know if anyone has already mentioned it, but some vehicles have now done away with the parking brake handle and the parking brake is foot operated (it takes a foot to set it and release it). So the geniuses added the hill holder. Well at least that is the case on some brands on some models. There is supposed to be a 2 second delay between the time that you remove your foot from the brake and press the accelerator. If you fail to hit the gas in that time delay, you will roll back unless you hit the brake again--I guess.

    I thought our new Tucson had this device, but after thinking about it, I don't believe it does, because we have the regular automatic transmission, which still has a torque converter. The models with the dual clutch 7-speed, do not have a torque converter--thus the hill holder. This is why I prefer a stick. But these days even that can be a PITA. In some vehicles, the whole engine assembly has to be dropped out of the vehicle to change the clutch.

    There really needs to be a car/truck maker who believes in the KISS principle.

  • My last manual was a german 5 speed, I liked it.
    What I didn't like was the front wheel drive under hard acceleration.

  • I had just gotten my '98 F-150 with a 5 speed when I went paddling with a friend. The put in was just off a 4 lane intersection with a steep drop to the river.
    I was a bit spooked about getting back on to the highway. I got caught by the light on the slope and someone pulled up right behind me. Now I was a bit more spooked.
    The truck had a foot brake . I revved the engine, popped the brake and burned rubber across the highway.
    I eventually got better with the clutch.

  • My 2015 Mazda CX5 has the 6-speed stick, same transmission as in the Miata sports coupe. And it has the right side hand operated parking brake so I can easily set it when stopped uphill (and in Pittsburgh we have some of the steepest hills in the country, many of them of brick or Belgian block -- check out YouTube clips of the infamous Pittsburgh "Dirty Dozen" annual bike race).

    I like the gear ratios on the CX5 -- I can easily start moving in second, also can shift smoothly between the gears without the clutch at many speeds and can coast through neighborhoods with a lot of stop signs in second gear, rolling to a 99% "stop" and then accelerating across the intersection without stalling it out. Compared to the old Outback it shifts like butter. Also gets 10 mpg more than the Subaru did: 27 around town and as much as 36 on highway trips.

  • edited November 2018

    Willowleaf, from what I can see on the CX5, they have a flush rail on both sides to attach a rack, what rack do you use to carry your boats?

  • edited November 2018

    @string said:
    I had just gotten my '98 F-150 with a 5 speed when I went paddling with a friend. The put in was just off a 4 lane intersection with a steep drop to the river.
    I was a bit spooked about getting back on to the highway. I got caught by the light on the slope and someone pulled up right behind me. Now I was a bit more spooked.
    The truck had a foot brake . I revved the engine, popped the brake and burned rubber across the highway.
    I eventually got better with the clutch.

    I did something like that on the hills of SF in a manual RWD pick up. I was on a road trip and rolled into that unknowingly. I was quite decent with a stick but not decent enough for that. Practiced a few more times after and got used to the feeling of sitting in a rocket ship about to launch.

    Totally don't mind driving my 99 Prelude in stop and go. Very friendly transmission.

  • @Celia said:
    @Andy_Szymczak I'd be curious to hear your take on the 2019 Rav4.

    Celia, the primary reason I'm looking at the Rav4 is my experience with the current one I have. My 2009 runs like new, the v6 is powerful and the selectable 4wd has been a bonus. I'm looking hard at the 2019 Hybrid Rav4, the MPG rating surpasses any other compact SUV. All Rav4's now come with 4 cylinder engines, but the hybrid puts out more HP than the non hybrid Rav4's. One caveat in all this is that as long as my current ride holds up, I don't see any reason to replace it. Also looking at the Mazda CX5. It is one of the highest rated compact SUV's in all the reviews I've read. The Honda CR-V is on my radar as well. But as long as my 2009 holds up, I may be looking at 2020 vehicles.

  • I used to race cars several years ago and at the end of the day the modern vehicles are built to such high minimums as set by the federal government that the cheapest 2018/19 vehicle will not only run rings performance wise around the most top end car from 30 years ago, but it is also inherently far safer and more comfortable. Compare a Chevy Equinox with a 1989 Ferrari or SEL 600 Mercedes, the former is so much better in every way there's no comparison.

    Sadly some marques remain unreliable, Chrysler/Fiat is awful and Subaru has had a lot of powertrain issues in the last ~10 years which has been unlike them. I mean serious stuff like ringland cracks, spun bearings, PCV flow, head gasket issues, exhaust valve springs to name a few with recalls and class action lawsuits resulting. These problems have not just been on the high performance turbo motors either, also their run of the mill naturally aspirated engines as well.

    In the end it's hard to get a "bad" car in today's market. Think of all the ****boxes we used to drive not that long ago and be thankful!

  • @Andy_Szymczak I like some of what I am seeing in the 2019 RAV4's, but there is other new stuff that I would rather someone else experiment with it first. The cargo capacity is a major question mark for me if it has been reduced. I am wasting a lot of space with just me in the car. But when I start hauling most of a string quartet or make the long trips to Maine including a crate with two cats, I want decent space. The higher clearance also an issue, I am already partly lifting my very frail 96 yr old stepmother into the seat to get her to doc appts. Not sure it'd work with 2 more inches added.

    I get holding on. As you said, when these cars run well they do so with astonishingly little out of pocket costs compared to anything else I ever owned. Whatever other complaints anyone might have, their lack of fussiness is quite wonderful.

  • I can't quite make sense of this small SUV world we are in right now. I am sure they are wonderful cars to drive but I just can't see them as spacious and they are tall enough to make boat loading an issue. in my mind a good old minivan would do better.
    As far as a solo boat hauler a lower car makes more sense to me but none of the modern sedans and hatchbacks are low enough to load a heavyish boat solo unassisted very easily. My Prelude is very low but it's about the highest I am willing to do with a 50lb boat on regular basis. Even a Corolla would be tall enough for me to get a load assist so might as well do it with a van which would be so much more practical.

  • Agree with the minivan by the way, much better for space.

    That said the best are the full size pickups, you can get them in 4 door full size everything, throw on a bed cap and then you have tons of room and before you know it 10,000, even 15,000lbs of trailering capability which admittedly was overkill but for me became the answer to all my Kayak transport problems.

  • @CA139 said:
    Agree with the minivan by the way, much better for space.

    That said the best are the full size pickups, you can get them in 4 door full size everything, throw on a bed cap and then you have tons of room and before you know it 10,000, even 15,000lbs of trailering capability which admittedly was overkill but for me became the answer to all my Kayak transport problems.

    Not for me for sure. I considered a full size quad cab many times (mostly cause I like them :)), but realistically they are way to big to even fit on my driveway. To me it's more about a good roof rack and lift assist system. I can fit my entire family with my boat and a cargo box on top for a cottage trip and the van does perfectly fine (especially after I added airbags to the rear suspension).

  • Celia, just for clarification the 2019 RAV 4's have a conventional 8 speed automatic transmission except for the hybrid which uses a CVT. Also, Ford was never big into CVT's so I think you meant Dual Clutch Transmissions (DCT's) since only Ford hybrids use CVT's. I had a one year lease on a 2005 Ford Freestyle when I worked for Ford and that one had a CVT but I think Ford went away from CVT's largely to avoid maintenance complexity for their dealerships. So with a significant horsepower bump plus the 8 speed automatic the new RAV4 should be plenty peppy and also quick off the line which Americans love. I was disappointed to see the very small horsepower increase in the new Forester when they added direct fuel injection...which implies that it's more of a retro-fit technology and marketing buzzword since direct fuel injection should enable a big horsepower increase while also improving fuel economy.

    Dual clutch automatics are very popular in Europe and in sporty cars because they offer the control of a manual yet shift faster and more consistently than any other transmission so they can be a great option in sporty vehicles (like every Ferrari) or even the new little Hyundai Kona. The DCT is an awesome option in the VW GTI and it's also getting rave reviews in the new Honda Gold Wing motorcycle. CVT's do not have the control of a manual or DCT but they can work really well in the real world...my 2017 CRV is calibrated to feel eager and peppy and it feels more effortless driving through mountains than my V8 Mustang did. Many manufacturers may be forced to tune CVT's for fuel economy so I can understand why some folks feel like they let the engine lug...the Nissan Murano feels a bit sluggish even though it has a very powerful engine and goes just great if you put your foot down. Hondas are usually a bit lighter than their competitors and they also often use slightly smaller engines so they can then calibrate the vehicles to be fun to drive and still get good fuel economy. The CVT in my Honda also gives more engine braking than a conventional auto and I like that.

    All the new models have different personalities and different pro's and con's and one can make a good argument for any of them being "best". I think the new RAV4 will be bigger and that's one reason we liked the CRV...at the time it was the only small crossover that had a real double-wide armrest between the front seats just like grown up vehicles...plus it has way more rear seat legroom than our 4Runner!

  • @PaddleDog52 said:
    I read an article year or two ago how headlight technology was way behind other patrs of car development. DOT has limits I am sure they could make blinding headlights.

    They already make blinding headlights, many of which are likely blinding oncoming drivers without being of much use to the driver of the car.

    The lights down low on the bumper are some of the worst offenders - many are brighter and more dazzling to oncoming traffic than the main headlights and probably do very little to aid the sight of the driver, since they're located close to the pavement and are aimed into the eyes of oncoming drivers.

    My impression is that the federal government doesn't actually test new vehicle model headlights to see how detrimental they are to oncoming drivers. If they do, then they need to reconsider the acceptable parameters for the test.

  • edited November 2018

    Andy_S: I use standard square Thule bars with the lateral clamp mounts made to fit the "aerodynamic" side rails on the Mazda. Main problem is the close spacing -- those factory bars (though the were an add-on when I bought the car which the dealer had to install) is so short that the space between the crossbars is only about the length of the cockpit coaming on any of my boats. That does make for a slippage-free placement when I carry them hull down but it means there is an awful lot of overhang. I lucked out the week I bought the CX5 -- a poster on local Craigslist had just returned his own leased CX5 and had a two year old complete rack that he sold me for $150, good as new and adjusted to fit my vehicle. I like the car pretty well but wish it was more squared off and not egg-shaped. Can't complain about quality, comfort or drive-worthiness but it's lacking in space to haul stuff easily. I was spoiled by minivans and big ole' Volvo wagons....

  • TomL
    I am certain I was told by the Enterprise folks that the Fords I was renting had CVT. For a bit I was driving two major beaters, because I needed them as junk haulers for some cleaning up work. But they would not have been wise to take on long trips. I was generally renting Ford Focus's because I long ago learned that Ford had the knack of a comfortable seat for my tastes. The young men at Enterprise may have been wrong.

    I went back thru the various reviews and found the rather misleading sentence that had led me to think the non-hybrid version of the 2019 Rav4 had a CVT. Found another one that was clearer.

    I also ran into a plethora of conflicting height measurements, and anywhere from half an inch to two inches estimated change in ground clearance. If I can get clear of some holiday prep stuff that is chewing up my time, I might try to get to a lot to look at one of these things. Just for information, I am quite good with my 2018.

  • edited November 2018

    @TomL said:
    Celia, just for clarification the 2019 RAV 4's have a conventional 8 speed automatic transmission except for the hybrid which uses a CVT. Also, Ford was never big into CVT's so I think you meant Dual Clutch Transmissions (DCT's) since only Ford hybrids use CVT's. I had a one year lease on a 2005 Ford Freestyle when I worked for Ford and that one had a CVT but I think Ford went away from CVT's largely to avoid maintenance complexity for their dealerships. So with a significant horsepower bump plus the 8 speed automatic the new RAV4 should be plenty peppy and also quick off the line which Americans love. I was disappointed to see the very small horsepower increase in the new Forester when they added direct fuel injection...which implies that it's more of a retro-fit technology and marketing buzzword since direct fuel injection should enable a big horsepower increase while also improving fuel economy.

    Dual clutch automatics are very popular in Europe and in sporty cars because they offer the control of a manual yet shift faster and more consistently than any other transmission so they can be a great option in sporty vehicles (like every Ferrari) or even the new little Hyundai Kona. The DCT is an awesome option in the VW GTI and it's also getting rave reviews in the new Honda Gold Wing motorcycle. CVT's do not have the control of a manual or DCT but they can work really well in the real world...my 2017 CRV is calibrated to feel eager and peppy and it feels more effortless driving through mountains than my V8 Mustang did. Many manufacturers may be forced to tune CVT's for fuel economy so I can understand why some folks feel like they let the engine lug...the Nissan Murano feels a bit sluggish even though it has a very powerful engine and goes just great if you put your foot down. Hondas are usually a bit lighter than their competitors and they also often use slightly smaller engines so they can then calibrate the vehicles to be fun to drive and still get good fuel economy. The CVT in my Honda also gives more engine braking than a conventional auto and I like that.

    All the new models have different personalities and different pro's and con's and one can make a good argument for any of them being "best". I think the new RAV4 will be bigger and that's one reason we liked the CRV...at the time it was the only small crossover that had a real double-wide armrest between the front seats just like grown up vehicles...plus it has way more rear seat legroom than our 4Runner!

    If you want to be truly fast and responsive drive your car as if it were a motorcycle if you've ever driven 2 wheels and that's how racing works. You don't give it tons of gas, especially quickly, no never! Approaching a turn you get somewhat off the throttle, or if you really need to slow down for a curve, brake before the turn. Then when you are releasing the brake or as you are just backing off the throttle start to turn the wheel into the direction you want to turn. You can sometimes rotate the car by releasing the brake a little quicker and you tune it to the curve but again, smoothness and slowness and deftness is key. Turn in slightly early and then as soon as you reach the amount of steering input desired you want apply throttle very gradually whilst unwinding the wheel. Maximum steering should be initially with a goal to unwind the wheel as you apply gas, both slowly and smoothly. Now it should be so smooth that someone in the passenger seat should not be able to tell the exact moment when you let off the throttle, applied brake, were braking maximally, applied steering or started to apply throttle. But once you apply throttle start undinwing the wheel and straightening out and the car will start turning by itself. It's magical. Did you know that high power front wheel drive cars can be tamed and rotated just like AWD or RWD?

    You see throttle, when applied slowly, turns into grip because by forcing the wheels to turn forward it applies downforce on your car so it increases grip. But you don't want to give too much throttle too quickly because that will essentially quickly lift the front tires and it's like picking up the rudder out of the water. So you just keep feeding more and more throttle while you take away steering. If the car doesn't point where you want you probably gave it too much gas too quickly, too little gas, or are giving it too much steering, or a combination of all three.

    Once you know this principle you start to pick the line in a curve that is not the line that needs less steering. You pick the line in the curve that allows you to turn in and get on the throttle while unwinding the wheel the soonest and that's different. Doesn't matter how much gas you give it, the important thing is giving a tiny little bit as soon as possible. Usually you start on the outside, turn in a bit early, gas and start unwinding as soon as possible, get on the inside relatively late, and end up on the outside at the end but it's not linear like that. Each curve is different and it depends on the car, the surface, conditions, lots of stuff. When faced with a slalom situation or multiple curves set yourself up so that you get on the gas the soonest on the last curve as that is the longest straight where speed is most important, which means in a series of 4 turns the first 3 should be sacrificed in order to put yourself in the position to maximize your speed coming out of the last. Watch these slaloms transitions, that's when you are most likely to spin out on the 3rd turn or 3rd twist of the steering wheel!

    Do this smoothness thing feathering wheel and throttle and you can drive around at 1.5-2x the speed limit all the time without anyone ever noticing. You can keep up with luxury and high power cars that are flooring the throttle and the brake all the time burning traction and you're basically barely feeding in gas, just keeping momentum and using all your available grip as efficiently as possible.

    Driven this way all modern cars are so well engineered they all start to feel the same.

    That said I love heel-toe downshifts and prefer the manual over the sequentials, especially with cars that have very short final drive ratios or high torque, turbo motors or V8's. But more than 100hp is unnecessary because most people don't know how to drive and just use it to break traction because they jam on the throttle too much even if they are not spinning the wheels.

  • Not many are racing to a paddle spot.

  • edited November 2018

    @PaddleDog52 said:
    Not many are racing to a paddle spot.

    Doesn't matter. Drive like this and all cars feel like they have infinite grip and behave like supercars at all speed limit levels.

    If anything being so deliberate and smooth in this grip-driving technique works going double the speed limit, at 10mph over the speed limit driving to work, 5mph under the speed limit driving your kids to school in the rain, anywhere. You are basically raising the car's limits by utilizing physics on your side by being smooth and deliberate.

    If anything such a driving style is very desirable when going paddling because with stuff on the roof you want to avoid hard shocks so this would definitely be the best way to drive. Basically it keeps the car happy and grippy so that you wear the drivetrain less, wear the tires less, don't experience hard shocks, everything lasts longer and you're safer and less accident prone regardless of car or condition.

    On a motorcycle you have to drive that way or you'll fall. On a car you can get away with it most of the time but if you just point, add throttle, and unwind the car will be so much happier and you will too, slow or fast regardless. Try it out going the speed limit on a curvy road. Don't break any traffic laws but stop having a constant amount of steering in a curve. Be dynamic, feel the car, add throttle after you point and slowly unwind the wheel as you keep adding gas. Slow in, faster out, smooth always, you'll see!

  • I liked those 2005 Legacy wagons, had a 2002 wrx wagon that I loved, but at the end of it's lifespan I had trouble spending more than 45 minutes in that thing. I was thinking about a used Legacy wagon in 2012, but got a new Outback instead which I absolutely hated, and traded for a used Ford Flex only a year or two later. Hated to get a crossover, bloated and slow, but still drives better than the Outback and incredibly comfortable. Was also the closest thing to a "wagon" I could find, evenif the roofline is almost 6 feet tall. And what's the old saying about if you can't beat them join them?
    What happened to the full sized wagons? Did the mini-vans kill them off, then the suv became cool, but the cuv more practical? I guess they just don't sell in this country, a few domestic manufacturers made them, Dodge Magnum comes to mind, but they didn't last. Still a lot of hot hatches, like a Mazda 3 wagon, but you have to go European to get a full sized wagon. And you can still get a full sized wagon in Europe that isn't a bloated cuv. I still like the last of the Saab wagons whenever I see them, great format, too bad GM killed Saab. Would love to get the modern equivalent of a '69 Cutlass wagon, or even a Country Squire, a low slung cruiser that holds a lot, will carry 4-5 comfortably, big old rack on top within easy reach, and will eat up highway miles. I suppose with the demise of the domestic sedan, more cuvs and suvs will be built and sold, probably little chance of a big wagon coming back, unless we get some crazy gas crisis that hits hard.

  • Celia, Ford Focus uses a Dual Clutch Transmission (DCT), not a CVT. If you google it, it looks like they paid a high price in consumer complaints...although I also rented one a few years ago and the execution was pretty good. I know the manager responsible for that transmission and I bet he has more gray hair than last time I saw him.

    CA139, I basically agree with you. One thing I remember from Bondurant training was "turn in, trail off (the brakes), accelerate, unwind". For sure one can be fast and smooth (and safe) by paying attention to some basics. I also love manuals and leased three different Miatas when I worked for Ford. My Miatas had a 4.18 axle and turned 4200 rpm at 80 mph. My Miatas had the sport package with summer tires and limited slip differential with no electronic traction control so they were totally unusable in the winter. My friend worked for Audi and one year he leased an S4 with 6 speed manual (NICE car) and the next year he leased an S4 with 7 speed DCT. The DCT made it a better luxury car and also took the performance to a significantly higher level but overall I might still take the manual. Just FYI I've had about 15 motorcycles but I never really thought about bike skills transferring to cars although I do think bikes made me much more aware of the importance of good brakes.

    My main point around CVT's, DCT's and other technologies like turbos is that none of them are universally good or bad...customers don't drive transmissions they drive vehicles with lots of integrated technologies and all vehicles and technologies have trade offs so it's really a matter of personal preference (just like boats!).

  • Dodge Magnum with hellcat motor dropped in would be my choice.

  • Doesn't matter. Drive like this and all cars feel like they have infinite grip and behave like supercars at all speed limit levels.

    If that was true then there wouldn't be any supercars.

    Junk is junk and the more you drive it at it's limitations the more it shows.

    Never really drove any small crossover vehicles or small SUV models.

  • edited November 2018

    @Celia said:
    The real trick for someone who wants to talk wayback is manual transmission without synchro mesh. Few under the age of 70 are likely to have encountered a car without it. I was first taught on one of these old clunkers with at best marginal results. Speed shifting came easily to me later on as well as trucks with extra gears for towing horse trailers. But double clutching another matter, probably couldn't do it now.

    My progression in my own cars with manual transmission has been from three speed manual on the column to up to five speed boxes; included US made, German and Japanese brands.

    I agree with a lot of the car guys I have heard on talk shows. Current cars are safer than what I started driving. I am glad that I learned on cars that made me work a little harder to handle bad driving conditions, and yeah my current car is really a computer with wheels and a transmission. But if you look at what these vehicles are really doing over the course of driving a few miles - the constant monitors for traffic on three sides and the rear cameras that practically and see around corners when trying to back out of a spot - they are pretty impressive.

    There were parts on the older cars that were simpler and so they lasted longer, but it wasn't an even situation. The body on my first Plymouth was rotting out long before the engine gave its last gasp because it was before anti-rust coatings were so good, After the first couple of years it required a piece of cardboard to hold the the butterfly valve open for the carburetor when temps were under 20 degrees because the spring was only reliable up to about 40000 miles. And I wasn't going to buy a who;e new carburetor for one badly designed spring. The simplicity of these older cars made workarounds more feasible than in the current computerized versions. I am not ready to equate that to better.

    I saw the butterfly comment which brought back an old memory for me. I assume you mean the choke blade on the carb? I had the same thing. Went to a junk yard got the spring out of another carb and was fixed up. my 1974 AMC Gremlin, green color 3 speed on the floor manual steering manual brakes AM radio, plus before electronic ignition had points that I changed a lot. . the good old days. Paid 300 bucks for it. in 1981 so it was old.

    Anyone going back before syncro transmissions is really old. I believe semi trucks are still that way?

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