Car Reviews Archives

Nissan Quest

While I was looking at vehicles last year, I found a Nissan Quest. We walked in and it appeared to have everything I wanted in a vehicle. They made us a good deal so we bought it. I’ve been driving it now for about a year.

There are lots of pros and cons. The van is very comfortable and has a boatload of features. It has keyless entry, which I’ve come to love. You don’t have to look for keys, just walk up and touch the door and it opens.

The downside of that, is if you lose your key, it’s not easily replaceable. I did lose mine (or so I thought) We had to take the car into the dealership with our other key. The new key cost $120 for both pieces. I ordered 2 so I’d have an extra spare. It took about 4 hours for them to get the keys and reprogram the entire car.

On the good side, is without a key, your car can’t be taken. That’s a plus, but it’s sure a pain when you lose your key.

The doors all open electronically, and there is a great wheel well in the back that can store lots of thing. Traveling with a group you have plenty of room for 7 people with luggage to boot.

The car was advertised at 19 MPG in the city and 24 on the highway or one of the hight ones for a big vehicle. I have gotten as high as 25 or so on the highway, however the 19 in the city has really not happened. It’s more like 16 or 17 depending on traffic.

One thing I do like also is you can’t start the car without your foot on the break. Also if you leave on your emergency brake on, the car tells you. It has built in Blue tooth so you can sync your phone and answer without picking up a phone.

One thing we missed though in this car was the ability to have people listen to different music. The Buick we have prior had a way for people in the back to watch TV and there were 3 plugs for different music. On trips, someone could listen to the radio and someone else could listen to CD’s and and others watch a movie all at the same time.

Another thing I found is the Quest is much much bigger than my prior SUV. It’s great for the highway driving and trips but not to wonderful for around town driving when you have to park in tight spaces.

We also could not find a spare tire and had to take the car to the dealer. The dealer couldn’t find it either, they had to ask 4 or 5 people. We finally found out to get the spare, you have to pull up the carpet in the middle seats and then get a tool to lower the tire with a bolt. I’m hoping we never have to do that as if we did, after lowering it, it would be under the car in the middle and you’d have to crawl under to get it. Not too convenient.

Now that I have this vehicle, I’m considering looking around for a real small, compact that gets great gas mileage and can whip in and out of tight parking spaces. It would be convenient to have that for around town driving.


Toyota Prius

I haven’t had a small car in probably 10-15 years. I decided to take a look at one for a 2nd car to use for around town. I went to test drive the Toyota Prius because I’d heard how great they are.

I found there were 2 models a V and a C. One was smaller and got about 55 MPG. The larger one got about 50. They also just introduced a station wagon model.

I found the car to be extremely quiet. You couldn’t even tell it was running. It runs on both battery and gas. We were told that when you stop for a light no gas is used as it turns into electric.

It drove fairly smooth however, you could tell it was a small car. You could feel bumps a lot more than in a larger vehicle.

I was very disappointed to see there were not many of the cars that had leather. The dealership must have had 60-70 of these cars on the lot and only could find ONE with leather. I was very disappointed to see that while the seats were leather, the entire doors including arm rests were made with cheap material felt, much like the headliner. I would never want a car that had that kind of door.

Even the top of the line one with leather had that crappy type door. For that reason and also the fact that I’ve heard pros and cons about how you’d not save much on gas, when you have to replace that battery I ruled out this car.


Nissan Quest

I ended up buying a Nissan Quest.  I walked into the showroom floor and saw the car on the floor.  It was newly designed, and appears to have all the features I was looking for.  It also said it actually got 19 MPG around the city.  That was impressive to me with it being as big as it was.

After buying the car, I found that 19 MPG not to be true.   Around town actual mileage is about 16-18 tops.

I like the fact that the Quest has a lot of room.  After having owned it for a few months,  I think if I was looking for another mini van, I’d look for a bench seat in the middle as when I take 5 people with me, one has to sit on the bench seat in the back and there is only seating for 2 in the middle  Overall it is very comfortable for 7 adults to travel  but a little strange if you had  only 5.

If you have the back seat up, there is a deep well behind it that will store luggage or any thing you buy at a store and till have more room than  a small car.  Size and storage are excellent.   You do have to be extra careful driving though as it does have a big blind spot.

The car also is keyless, push button start and push button everything.  It really spoils you in not having to hunt for keys when shopping.  On the down side, if you lose a key, you can’t just go buy one.  You must order the shell from the dealer and go down and have the entire car reprogrammed.   I did that and decided to get a spare key at the same time…. it was a 4 hour wait and $300 plus to get the keys and car reprogrammed.

Should you have one of these cars, and you’re going on a trip, better take a spare key just in case since they only place you can get a key is thru a dealer, and if you lose a key in the middle of no where, you’re in trouble.  On a plus side, it would be hard for anyone to steal your car without a key it won’t work.  IF they went to the dealer, to get one, they have to give identification and have the car with them.

The Quest is fabulous on trips, but really is a bit much for puttering around town.  You can’t just whip into a parking lot as it takes a bigger space.   It does have a back up camera so you can see while backing up but still need to look around the sides.

If you’re looking for space,  it’s got a lot.  If you’re looking for short quick trips, it’s  probably not for you.



Chevrolet Traverse

I was looking for a car with lots of room, and someone suggested I look at a Cheverolet Traverse. The first dealership we visited, we looked a the car, but we couldn’t get anyone to give us any sort of pricing so we left.

A month or so later I was going on a trip, so I rented a Traverse. Unfortuntely, the one they gave me didn’t have very many features. I think the car rental place must have had the bottom of the line.

I found after driving it for a few days, I was not sure I’d like to own one. The gas mileage did not come close to the advertised mileage. Also since it was a low end car, it had cloth seats and they were not too comfortable.

This particular car had very few features. We stopped overnight at a hotel. In the morning, we came out and found we were parked next to a new Oddessy. The people getting in the Oddessy, had a baby with lots of equipment, and tons of luggage. The car really had some great room when they opened the trunk and had a deep wheel well. The Traverse didn’t hold near as much as their car.

Therefore this was a vehicle I ruled out.


Honda CRV

While waiting for the salesman to get out an Odessy for us to look at, we saw a really cute little car on the show room floor. It was a CRV, however, the one on the show room floor had cloth seats and not too many features.

When the salesman came back, we asked to look at this CRV, but one that was the top of the line with everything on it. He found one and brought it around for us to look at.

It had the look and feel of the Odessy, in that there was room up front to put your purse (one feature I DEFINITELY want). It had some nice features and was rated at 21 MPG city and 29 HWY which was not too bad.

On the down side, there was no 3rd row seat, and it would be a little small for traveling. If the grandkids came to visit it would make it rough without enough seating.

It did have a very unique trunk, with a panel that went across the back trunk area so you could put things out of site underneath or if you had a lot, you could stack it on top. I thought that was cool.

It also had a sun roof. Since I have melanoma, I’m not supposed to be in the sun, so to me that type roof is useless. I prefer to spend the time I do go in the sun at the beach, not driving.

The down side for Hondas is all of the top of the line ones do not come without sun roofs. You can’t even order one without a sun roof. The CRV we looked at appeared to be leaking in the roof, as the top was wet.

We had a lot of rain the past few days but that should have been no reason for a roof to leak

Anyway, if you’re not looking for that 3rd row and you want better gas mileage, the CRV might be what you’re looking for.


New Cars

Cars are evolving every day. New cards are totally different from cars of only 5 or 6 years ago. It’s amazing the way technology drives everything.

Many of the new cards don’t even have a key. Some we looked at start with a push button for off and on. They are so quiet you don’t know they are running.

A lot of them now come with televisions and/or DVD players. We bought one in 2004 and it came equipped with all that stuff. We found that we used our TV about 2 times in all the years we had it.
Obviously the driver would not be watching TV. It’s great if you have small children to take on road trips, but if you don’t, it’s really not a necessary thing.

Many new cars also have built in phones that you can answer from your steering wheel taking hands free to a whole new level. They also have doors that open on their own as you walk up and push a button.

Technology is really advancing. Wonder what happened to the good old days when people actually talked to you and did things together without all this technology? Life seems to have changed greatly. Today people ride in cars, with one on a cell one, others watching TV’s or listening to IPOD’s.

Sometimes I wonder what the future holds. Pretty soon new cars, will be driving themselves as you take a nap.


Honda Odessy

Still trying to decide what my next vehicle will be, we visited the Honda Store. We presently have the 2010 Pilot and love it. Hubby wanted me to get one too, however it seemed boring having 2 of the same car.

SO I looked at the new Oddessy. I really liked some of the features, like the power seats that fold themselves up, in the EXL and the CD machine that just copies in your CD’s so you don’t have to store them, plus the easy set up for your phone in the dash, and the push button doors that open automatically.

Still there was NO back up sensors in that model. To get the sensors you have to go up to the touring model for about $5,000 – 7,000 more. That model also comes with the navigation (which I don’t care about having anyway) Or they will charge you $800 more to install them on the other model.

I liked the style and room of it, yet, I’m not 100% convinced I see myself in a mini van. My kids are grown, and it seems like a car for a family with kids.

I’ll be looking at many other SUV’s and I guess minivans to see which have the best features. Some people tell me I should get a sports car, but I like being up high and having lots of room when I want to travel, or take 6 or 7 people with me. I think I’d be lost with a small 5 passenger anything. I like the 3rd row seats and features of the bigger models.

IF you’re reading my blog and have suggestions, feel free to contact me. I figure if I’m going to hand over $40-50K or more, I want the features I want. Since I really don’t have to rush, I can take my time, and look as I go along.

The funny thing about cars, is you think they look cool till you get in and drive them. You have to figure out if you really can see yourself in the model you’re looking at.


GMC Arcadia

The next car I looked at was the GMC Arcadia. It’s a bigger version of the Terrain. Gas mileage is lower, only 17 city and 24 highway.

The Arcadia has seating for 7, and had some good features in the upper end models. One thing I found though it they eliminated the adjustable seat feature for passengers, which is one of our criteria. The seat goes back and forth but NOT up and down.

After the manager went to check on the 2012 model to see if that was a feature there, he reported it was not. In order to get that feature, you have to go to the Denali which is loaded but the cost is about $5,000-6,000 more than the upper end Arcadia.

They then suggested we look at the Enclave. This vehicle replaced the RVD about 4 years ago. I never liked the fact that it looked like a lemon and didn’t have any of the features my RVD had. Still the high end Enclave didn’t have the seat features.

They also suggested we look at the Yukon, however, I found it MUCH too big. It was taller and looked like it would be a pain to get around in. I’m looking for midsize SUV’s with the features I want.

A few of the things I did like about the Arcadia was it had a better layout for those of us that want a place to put purses. The console shifted to the rear, and it also had AC adjustments, in the back seat as well as vents for the 3rd row.

It’s a good thing I’m not in any hurry for my car. I decided this time I would be sure to get all the features I wanted and have the layout I want as well. I’ll keep on looking until I find what I want to buy and then I’ll take it home.


GMC Terrain

Just rented a 2011 GMC Terrain to be able to take a longer test drive. We had it for a week, which gave us time to test and find the pros and cons.

Overall it was pretty decent. The car handled very well, and got some decent gas mileage. We drove all over New York State, and were surprised that when stopping for gas most of the time, we’d used only 6 or 7 gallons.

We decided to take the mileage and found it was getting 24-25 MPG in a combo of city and highways. We didn’t think that was too bad for a crossover, however, it was not the 32 MPG claimed on the websites. We’re used to our SUV where we get about 17-18 MPG so it did do better than we were used to.

We’re also used to a larger crossover, with the 3rd row seating. We found the trunk area a little small for our tastes. We normally travel with big luggage, and while it did fit, if we were traveling with the other things we bring, it definitely would not have the room.

We liked the drive, it was smooth and quiet, however we found the AC system not well laid out. There is no back air, because the vehicle is smaller. The front air vents are not well positioned. One blows right onto the steering wheel, so when driving unless you want freezing hands, you have to close that one off.

The radio/and DVD player, were difficult to figure out. It appeared they had satellite radio, but we were unable to get more than the advertising of the channels, so thought perhaps the rental agency had not subscribed.

The upper model shown on TV had a Movie player, however, the model we rented did not have that feature. It’s not a big deal unless you have children traveling with you, and then it might come in handy.

The cruise control was very tricky and not easy to use or figure out how to turn off and on. They had some strange looking buttons and they were hard to figure out.

The car had storage in the middle, however, the door panels were not laid out and you could not put a magazine or anything large in any of the panels.

Overall if you want a smaller SUV it would be a good car. We just found it too small for what we’re looking for so will keep on testing and looking.

It’s a good idea to rent the car you’re considering so you can give yourself a really good test. For us, we will pass on the GMC Terrain, as we’re looking for a bigger vehicle, with more features.


Chevrolet Traverse Review

Since I’m in the market for a new vehicle in the next 6-12 months or so, I’m doing some reviews of different cars. I’m looking for a crossover or something that is versitale . I like to have a car that seats 7 or 8 if I need it, or has room for anything I want to buy when I shop.

One of the ones I was considering was the Chevrolet Traverse until last week when I rented one for 4 days to take a good test drive. It drove very smoothly and was easy to handle. It also had seats that could be folded down or you could seat up to 8 people if you needed to. That was the end of the pluses.

The drive was the best thing about it. Unfortunately, it was a base type vehicle. It did not have good climate control at all. There was no way to adjust the passenger and/or driver air. That would have been ok for the trip, however, the air also had a mind of it’s own. When you got into the car and started it up, the air didn’t chose to start up for several minutes. It would blow hot air which was quite annoying.

There was no way to tell what mileage you were getting since there were no dials. The features were extremely sparse. I’ll have to go into a dealership and see if there are other ones with better features, however, I have ruled this one out so there is no rush.

Talking to the rental car manager at Alamo, he indicated that was a complaint the received a lot from the Traverse, so I guess it’s a design flaw.

We did park next to a group that were driving the new Honda Odessy. I was impressed after talking to them so may look to rent one of those and test drive it. I wasn’t really in the market for a mini van, but when I watched them load up 5 pieces of luggage, a baby stoller, a baby crib and lots of other things and still have the 3rd row seat up on one side, I was impressed. They had more luggage than us, and other things we didn’t have and they had a lot more room.

I asked how they liked the vehicle and they gave me rave reviews. They said the had come to the hotel thru the mountains with it loaded down and they got 28 MPG. They also said that there was no hesitancy on the mountain roads. To me it sort of looked more like a crossover than a mini van. We own a year old Honda Pilot which we love, so I may have to add that mini van onto my list of possibilites.

If any of you have any suggestions, I’d love to hear them.