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Picking an SUV

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N467RX

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Well, I'll be getting a new car in summer, and I'm considering two, the Jeep Patriot and the Isuzu Ascender, even though the difference in size is huge, Isuzu's webpage shows several offers bringing the price quite close to that of the Patriot (6000 vehicles sold in a year isn't good).

The Jeep seems to be nice for doing simple installs (3/4" holes are not considered) and has a nice engine (2.4L 4cyl). The only thing that I want to check is the space in the trunk and if 4 regular size adults fit comfortably in there. Although I'm not a tree-hugger or an environmentalist who goes to throw rotten eggs at GM for putting an 8.1L gas engine on a consumer vehicle, having a smaller engine would be nice, since I don't want to end up spending like $500 on gas every month.

The Ascender is really nice, it has been my dream car since 2004 or so, and getting one would be nice. What I'm really concerned about is how easy is it to make a non permanent install (under the seats, console, etc), and in that sense it seems to be easier on the Jeep, since the Ascender doesn't seem to have space available on the dash, console, etc. My other concern is the gas mileage, so if someone who drives an Ascender/TrailBlazer/Envoy with the 4.2L engine could help me on that, I would appreciate it. My dad also said something about the Trailblazer not being very good, but I want to check that (I suspect that the idea came from my uncle, who traded his minivan for a 7-pax Trailblazer with the V8 engine and I guess he isn't very happy). As for space I'm not worried, since it seems to be large enough.

Either way, I'd be getting the 4WD version, I don't plan to do serious off-roading, but having 4WD would be nice in case I decide to go somewhere and the road isn't very good, I'd consider ground clearance aswell, since I don't want a 4WD that is lower than the 2008 2WD Tacoma, but neither something that is extremely tall.
 

n9mxq

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#2
N467RX said:
Well, I'll be getting a new car in summer, and I'm considering two, the Jeep Patriot and the Isuzu Ascender, even though the difference in size is huge, Isuzu's webpage shows several offers bringing the price quite close to that of the Patriot (6000 vehicles sold in a year isn't good).

The Jeep seems to be nice for doing simple installs (3/4" holes are not considered) and has a nice engine (2.4L 4cyl). The only thing that I want to check is the space in the trunk and if 4 regular size adults fit comfortably in there. Although I'm not a tree-hugger or an environmentalist who goes to throw rotten eggs at GM for putting an 8.1L gas engine on a consumer vehicle, having a smaller engine would be nice, since I don't want to end up spending like $500 on gas every month.
DUDE! I build Patriots for a living.. And though I'd love to sell you one on all it's merits (I'd have one if I could) ease of radio installation WOULD NOT be one of them...

There's almost 0 space for a radio, except on the IP with the basic AM/FM/CD, there's a cubby right under the stereo.

Remote heads may be an option if you can put the body under the seat.. And as far as a trunk.. Uhhh that's called the spare tire well. There is a cubby on the right rear for storage if you don't get the woofer package.

I'm 6'2" tall and 247 pounds, and I fit comfortably in either front seat, and could tolerate medium length trips in the back seat. I have to move the drivers seat up to be in a comfortable driving position, so that frees up some leg room in the back.

If you're thinking about getting a Patriot, get a stick.. You'll like it better.. I think the other transmission is too whiny...It's nice, but just not for me.

And don't forget the $2.99 gas for 3 years (Some stipulations apply) when you buy a Chrysler/Jeep vehicle.

If you decide on a Jeep let me know, if I have any Friends and Family discount numbers left I'll get you one..

Happy Shopping
Buy American Built!

Gene

U.A.W. 1268
Chrysler Belvidere Assembly Plant
Home of the Caliber/Compass/Patriot.
 

SAR923

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Check out the Suzuki Grand Vitara. It has a 100,000 mile warranty, a V6 with plenty of power and comes standard with just about everything but 4WD, which costs about $600 more. My 2006 has 35,000 miles on it and it's never had anything but routine maintenance. It gets 22 mpg in the city and 26-28 on the interstate depending on how much I keep my foot out of it. :) The ground clearance is excellent and it does very well off road. It's not a CJ-5 but it will handle most things short of the Rubicon Trail. The center console behind the automatic shifter can be almost completely removed and you's have plenty of room to mount almost any configuration of radios you want. I just have a flexible mount that bolts right to the seat rail and a mag mount Valor antenna but I could stick a lot of radios and antennas on it if I wanted to start drillling holes.
 

N467RX

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Hey Gene,

Is there space under the seats? I wouldn't be getting the luxury version, so no heater or anything of that sort (not sure about electronic regulation), and it would be a max of 3 radios, one of them a CB, so it can probably fit in the cubby hole under the radio. If you're 6'2" and you say you're comfortable, then it's big, all of us are under 6', so there seems to be plenty of space. As for the transmission, it's 99% sure it has to be an auto, my mom doesn't drive manuals, so if she needs to drive, the auto is necessary.

If the trunk is large enough, I could also just place the radios with remote heads inside a toolbox (to hide them) somewhere in the trunk.

Jim,
I checked out the Grand Vitara, but apparently the 4WD is about $24k, and seems to be smaller than the others, about the size of the previous generation Rav4, which to me is too small for some things, great turning radius, but to haul stuff, you don't have enough cargo space.
 

n9mxq

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N467RX said:
Hey Gene,

Is there space under the seats? I wouldn't be getting the luxury version, so no heater or anything of that sort (not sure about electronic regulation), and it would be a max of 3 radios, one of them a CB, so it can probably fit in the cubby hole under the radio. If you're 6'2" and you say you're comfortable, then it's big, all of us are under 6', so there seems to be plenty of space. As for the transmission, it's 99% sure it has to be an auto, my mom doesn't drive manuals, so if she needs to drive, the auto is necessary.

If the trunk is large enough, I could also just place the radios with remote heads inside a toolbox (to hide them) somewhere in the trunk.
There's room under the seats, don't think I've seen one with power seats..

The tranny comment was personal opinion only.

With the driver seat all the way back I have to lean forward to adjust the mirror :D

As far as the trunk.. I repeat my earlier comment, that's where the spare is.. There's plenty of room on the load floor above the spare, and the cubby in the right rear could hold a good size radio for remote head mounting.

Getting power back to the radio would be a challenge. The main body harness comes in thru the left front A pillar behind the IP (dashboard) unit. It could be done, but it'd be a challenge.. I've never torn an IP apart to see what's there (they're built offsite and installed pre-built), but it's gotta be like any other system.. full of sharp edges and cramped spaces.....

Without drilling the roof, I'd recommend mag mounts.. I hate em, but you're not gonna mount to the front fender under the hood like some vehicles..open a hood, you'll see what I mean.

I always thought if I ordered one I'd try to take the day off the day it was built and drill it in body shop and install my antenna mounts when it came outta paint before the headliner and trim went in... Doubt the company would let me... but I can dream.. hehe
 

W9BU

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#6
N467RX said:
Well, I'll be getting a new car in summer, and I'm considering two, the Jeep Patriot and the Isuzu Ascender, even though the difference in size is huge, Isuzu's webpage shows several offers bringing the price quite close to that of the Patriot (6000 vehicles sold in a year isn't good).
If it were me, I'd scratch the Ascender off my list in a heartbeat.

The Ascender is Isuzu's version of the Chevy Trailblazer. The reason you are finding deals on the Ascender is because Isuzu has announced that they are leaving the US market soon. I'm guessing they don't want to be left with any inventory. If I were buying one, I'd be asking some tough questions of the company's customer service department, not the dealer, about future warranty support. Yes, you can probably get it serviced at a Chevy dealer, but some parts, like exterior and interior bits, are going to be Isuzu specific and who knows where you will be able to get them after Isuzu bails out.

If you are set on a car-based crossover SUV...A guy at work has a Ford Edge. It's really nice, but I haven't fully checked it out for radio installation possibilities. Also, a fellow ham's wife just bought a Pontiac Torrent which is the same as the Chevy Equinox and I think the Saturn Vue. It seems like a nice vehicle, too.
 
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#7
N467RX said:
Well, I'll be getting a new car in summer, and I'm considering two, the Jeep Patriot and the Isuzu Ascender, even though the difference in size is huge, Isuzu's webpage shows several offers bringing the price quite close to that of the Patriot (6000 vehicles sold in a year isn't good).
Might want to check on the Isuzu, They are leaving the US market after this year. Service and parts will get hard to find after a few years.

http://www.usatoday.com/money/autos/2008-01-30-isuzi-exits-us-market_N.htm
 

N467RX

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It bothers me a little that Isuzu is leaving, I know that the car is fixable with GM parts except for the steering wheel, front grille and lights and tail lights and some other little things, so yeah, I'll check about how long are they going to support those vehicles.

As for the Edge, that's too expensive, and I wouldn't get a Ford unless it's a Super Duty or a CV.
 

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The Grand Vitara is actually a lot bigger than the RAV4. The amount of space inside is deceiving from the outside. With the back seats down, you can pack an amazing amount of stuff in it. I went through Costco and got mine for a little more than $21K but even that price is deceiving since it includes just about everything you have to pay extra for on other vehicles. Do yourself a favor and check out one in person and take a test drive. I was looking at five or six different brands and the Grand Vitara was by far the best.
 
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SUV's

With todays gas prices, I wouldn't buy any Ford,Chevy,orChrysler products.They are inheritly the gas guzzlers.I would look at a small Honda,Nissan,Toyota or Iszulu model.
Most of them are American made also.
The Honda Pilot is made about 25 miles from where I live.
 

N467RX

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SAR2401 said:
The Grand Vitara is actually a lot bigger than the RAV4. The amount of space inside is deceiving from the outside. With the back seats down, you can pack an amazing amount of stuff in it. I went through Costco and got mine for a little more than $21K but even that price is deceiving since it includes just about everything you have to pay extra for on other vehicles. Do yourself a favor and check out one in person and take a test drive. I was looking at five or six different brands and the Grand Vitara was by far the best.
What about with the back seats up? since I won't need to move only passengers or only cargo but both, the most we can get in the Rav 4 is like 2 large suitcases and 2 backpacks plus 4 adults.

I'll probably check one anyways.
 

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I got a RAV4 V6. The gas mileage is only 2mph less than a 4 banger and it runs like a striped-ass ape. Also got the 12V for my 2 mobiles fairly easily to the back. If you are just running scanners it is already wired with 12V power outlets in the center console and rear storage area. Not much room for the radios except a remote head fits nicely in the cubbyhole under the stock radio, and a PSR600 fits in the center console.

Only problem is since they are popular, the Toyota dealers try to rape you.
 
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This is something I have been thinking about and alot of decisions to make! One of the vehicles I have been considering is the Honda Pilot. I'd just put a pic in with this entry, but don't have time to figure out how to do it...but...go to the Honda webpage and look at the Pilot and check out the [Interior] views.

On the center console where the dash and the console meet, from what I have seen, that is a rolling cover on that storage compartment. I don't know how deep it is but would imagine that there is enough room to put at least a couple of radios in remote head configuration...if you for go putting all your CD's, sunglasses etc in there... and you would be able to close it up and keep them out of view! There appears to be another slot further up that dash console that may accomodate your CB!

Just a thought...
 

N467RX

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The thing is that a 4WD Pilot starts around $29k, while most of the others are max $25k, same with the Rav 4, I find it kinda expensive (because of the 4WD + Auto trans). The new one is really nice and has lots of space, I already rode one, and has more legroom on the back set than a Land Cruiser 120.
 

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W9RXR said:
If it were me, I'd scratch the Ascender off my list in a heartbeat.

The Ascender is Isuzu's version of the Chevy Trailblazer. The reason you are finding deals on the Ascender is because Isuzu has announced that they are leaving the US market soon. I'm guessing they don't want to be left with any inventory. If I were buying one, I'd be asking some tough questions of the company's customer service department, not the dealer, about future warranty support. Yes, you can probably get it serviced at a Chevy dealer, but some parts, like exterior and interior bits, are going to be Isuzu specific and who knows where you will be able to get them after Isuzu bails out.
Short: The TrailBlazer is a heapin' helpin' of POS.

Long: Poor electrical system, ergonomics stink front and rear, loafy I5 engine with not-so-bueno fuel consumption and did I mention the bad electrical system?

We considered one before buying our Explorer and I was throughly underwhelmed in all aspects of the TB. I am by nature a bowtie fan and owner, but I wouldn't touch it a second time with a 10 foot pole.
 
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oldranger said:
With todays gas prices, I wouldn't buy any Ford,Chevy,orChrysler products.They are inheritly the gas guzzlers.I would look at a small Honda,Nissan,Toyota or Iszulu model.
Most of them are American made also.
The Honda Pilot is made about 25 miles from where I live.

My Camaro (96 with a 3.8L V6) gets 35 miles per gallon on the interstate with very minimal modifications. when I start putting serious mods on there I'll be pushing 40 or maybe more. even 35mpg is better than most import 4 bangers actually get in reality and parts are much easier and cheaper to find plus the way GM lays their engines out it's much easier by a long shot to do work on. and I don't have to work on it much either. very very reliable motor that's very efficient and very powerful for a V6 (i've outrun V8 mustangs and even the Z28s get close to 30mpg). so don't lump all "American" vehicles into the same catagory and for your information I've seen plenty of imports that don't get great gas mileage, very hard to work on, and not as reliable. Parts are also more expensive. That's my two cents. yeah my camaro is going to be tricky for my install but it's worth it for the ease to work on and the efficiency and ease to get parts.
 

N467RX

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stateboy said:
Short: The TrailBlazer is a heapin' helpin' of POS.

Long: Poor electrical system, ergonomics stink front and rear, loafy I5 engine with not-so-bueno fuel consumption and did I mention the bad electrical system?

We considered one before buying our Explorer and I was throughly underwhelmed in all aspects of the TB. I am by nature a bowtie fan and owner, but I wouldn't touch it a second time with a 10 foot pole.
What do you mean with the short thing? and about the poor electrical system? is it worse than on the older Explorers?
 
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I'd be checking out Consumer Reports. I was a bit surprised at what I found out about a lot of different SUV's when I bought mine. I ended up researching Ford, Chevy, Jeep, Toyota, Nissan, and Isuzu. Jeep and Chevy got ruled out right away because of reliability issues. I ended up with a Nissan Pathfinder. No matter what you get, finding room for radios will be a challenge. I ended up with an HF radio, a UHF Spectra, GPS, and XM with room to spare in mine.
 

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#19
... at GM for putting an 8.1L gas engine on a consumer vehicle...

What consumer vehicle are you talking about? I had to special order my pickup to get the 8.1!!!(which of course voided all supplier pricing discounts)
 

N467RX

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burner50 said:
What consumer vehicle are you talking about? I had to special order my pickup to get the 8.1!!!(which of course voided all supplier pricing discounts)
The Silverado/Sierra. Seriously, how much do you pay to feed that engine?
 
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