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.

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.

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? :slight_smile:

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.

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.

@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).

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

Here looked it up.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.