Leasing a small SUV?
March 5, 2015 9:51 AM   Subscribe

We are leasing a new SUV (I don't need any discussion on leasing -- it's the option right now). Looking at the Volvo XC60, the Hyundai Santa Fe, and the Acura RDX. Any insights?

Relevant details:

We don't need anything huge.
We have a baby (only one and likely only one). Baby is still rear-facing.
It's mostly town driving, with maybe a trip once a year (800 miles one-way).
We live in a biggish city and people drive like they are insane (oh ok, it's Miami).
I'm the main driver. I'm about 5'4. My husband is 6'.
Safety is the main concern (see above).

Our budget is in the 300-400/month range. The Volvo is about $379, depending on features. I test-drove it today and it seemed great, but I'm interested in any first-hand accounts.

Other suggestions welcome. Tried the Forrester and I don't like it. Other than that, I'm open.
posted by mrfuga0 to Travel & Transportation (12 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
The Subaru Outback is really nice.... I eventually went for a more off-road capable vehicle, but I would have gone with the Subaru.
posted by Huck500 at 9:58 AM on March 5, 2015

We had an older Santa Fe and it was an incredibly dependable vehicle. We had it for ten years. It was fun to drive, well-thought out, and spacious.

We also have a Honda (a Civic) that is the opposite. In fact, Honda just replaced the entire engine on it for us because it had a cracked cylinder at 60,000 miles. So, between the Acura and the Hyundai, I would say go for the Hyundai!
posted by Ostara at 10:05 AM on March 5, 2015

I had two Acura MDXs (just a bigger RDX) over 15 years and they were both super reliable. I never had to do anything to them other than routine maintenance. I would have gotten a third when I replaced the last one last year, but I was ready for something different. Small side note, I have used a lot of car navigation systems and Acura's leaves everyone else's in the dust. I miss it!

Edit to add: also the resale value was terrific.
posted by cecic at 10:31 AM on March 5, 2015 [2 favorites]

I have a 2012 Santa Fe Limited. Overall, it's OK.

However the poor quality materials of the interior are enough to make me shy away from buying another Hyundai, unless something has changed significantly in this regard in the last three model years.

The leather on the seating surfaces is fine, but the vinyl side of the driver's seat started cracking almost immediately after I bought it. There's some dull silver painted and woodgrain trim which seems to scratch or scuff at practically nothing. The vinyl (or some kind of plastic) used on the dashboard, door panels, and elsewhere seems like it's simply impossible to clean without streaking.

Before I bought the Santa Fe, I had a 2002 Ford Escape, and aftere three years my Santa Fe interior almost looks worse than the Escape did when I got rid of it after 10 years.

Also, the tension of the springs holding the windshield wipers against the windows seeem to be too light. Because of this, and despite a couple of sets of brand new Bosch wiper blades, any little piece of foreign matter on the windshield ends up between the wiper blads and the glass, so more often than not I have a streaked windshield.
posted by imjustsaying at 10:36 AM on March 5, 2015 [1 favorite]

I'm not sure about the particular cars you mention, but have you thought about the Lexus NX 200t? It was just released this year. It's on my short list for my next car.
posted by parakeetdog at 10:36 AM on March 5, 2015

Have had an Acura RDX for a while now, and Mrs. Killaseal loves it. Acura is the luxury division of Honda, so that might give you peace of mind. Drives very smoothly, lots of power when needed, well appointed interior, handsfree Bluetooth, and we just feel it's been a great car to have.
posted by KillaSeal at 10:37 AM on March 5, 2015

I have the Acura MDX as well, LOVE it.....traded in a mercedes suv for it and the Acura is a much better car. I would get the Acura in a heartbeat.
posted by pearlybob at 11:09 AM on March 5, 2015

I rented a Hyundai Santa Fe last week and it was... fine. It felt cheap on the inside, and for $300-400 a month you could definitely get a nicer SUV with more luxury features.

Also, the Volvo XC60 was one of the most highly rated picks for SUV safety in the latest Consumer Reports (as was the Acura MDX, not sure how much that compares to the RDX).
posted by joan_holloway at 12:54 PM on March 5, 2015

If you're considering the Santa Fe, I wonder if you've looked at the Toyota Rav4? I drive a 2008, and it is humming along problem free at 90k miles. Great safety features, comfortable suspension, plenty of power even with my base model 4 cylinder engine. I drive about 1,000 miles a month just for work, and I plan to continue driving this Rav4 until it won't go anymore. I bought mine, but I imagine it would be well within your desired budget to lease one.
posted by little mouth at 4:45 PM on March 5, 2015

I looooove my Ford Escape. Love it. Good size, good price, , safety ratings I can live with, good mileage. It is a 2012 with all the bells and whistles and drives like a dream with nearly 90k miles on it.
posted by mibo at 6:59 PM on March 5, 2015

Between those three, I'd pick the Volvo (and my second choice would be the Acura). A friend of mine owns an XC60, and it's been very reliable and has very nice interior materials, controls, etc.

A couple others you might consider: Nissan Murano, VW Touareg.
posted by box at 8:18 AM on March 6, 2015

We own a 2013 Volvo XC70, which is built on the same platform as the XC60, and quite like it. Even though it's technically a wagon rather than an SUV, it provides more usable cargo space than the XC60 because it's longer. You should give it a look. We opted for a T6 turbo and it gets pretty mediocre mileage, but it's a champ in the snow (the latter point may not be relevant to you, but we're in Vermont a lot in winter and feel super safe). My previous car was a BMW 3-series and the Volvo is just as nice inside, and makes more sense with a family. After two years and 20,000 miles there have been no maintenance or quality issues.
posted by bassomatic at 9:34 AM on March 6, 2015

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