a friend of mines is looking to get a suv, but want it to be as efficient as possible.
hes looking at the
02 - 06 honda crv
2006+ toyota rav4
maybe a 03+ matrix or a vibe, but prefers a suv more
is there any other small 4 banger suv's that get very good mpg? i think with the crv and the rav4 he could manage to get at least 23 mpg combined with a auto and 4x4
If he is in Canada, their is the NISSAN X-trail (from 2005 to 2007) and the newest model, the Nissan Rogue. Good thing about this suv is that you have 3 on command mode (2RW, AWD, or a complete 4x4 mode (under 32mph)). Thats in the Integral version, but their is a 2RW model also, is Front Wheel Drive btw. And the engine is the same as the Sentra SE-R, a 4 cylinder 2.5L with 165 hp (170 rogue) and 170lbs torque (175 rogue). I did tried it in winter and it as good awd ability, and when you lock the 4x4, its doing really good in snow (deep). Its kind of a XTerra but with a 4 cylinder.
The new Rogue is only offered with a CVT transmission, so its a good thing for FE.
I need AWD in the winter, so I opted for a Subaru Outback. Its a roomy wagon with OK gas mileage [26 hwy, 22 mixed] and a Consumer Reports favorite for safety. In hind sight I could have gone with the smaller Forester. I think the Outback has better utility than most SUVs, since you can actually reach the roof racks and loading and unloading the roof is a breeze. Not so easy with my girlfriend's Trailblazer. My VX is my daily driver, but in the winter the AWD is great around here. The city does NOT plow my road and there is no way the VX is making out it in 6-8 inches of snow. If your buddy is just looking for a high vantage point that most SUVs offer the Outback isn't a great choice, but it does feel a whole lot taller than the VX!
I get more than 30mpg easily in my Mazda5. Has the same if not more room than a CRV or Rav4, and certainly more versatility with the seating arrangement. If he can get keep his ego in check and look past the minivan'ish sliding doors (you have no idea how nice these are!), it's a versatile fun-to-drive car. Haven't regretted my decision for a minute. Just my completely biased $.02
Oh, and no offense but there's really no reason you need 4x4 for snow in Philly. We're further west where we get more snow than Philly (rain), and I don't remember the last time I couldn't get somewhere in a FWD. If you get ice which is common, you're SOL either way