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Car Shopping - Mazda and Toyota


Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Today we are going to take about Part 2 of our car shopping experience. More specifically the Mazda CX-9 and the Toyota Highland and Rav 4.

We had considered other SUVs, but something always came up that stopped us from looking at them. Maybe it was the miles per gallon, the rating, the price, etc. We also thought about looking at the Hyundai Santa Fe, GMC Denali and Ford Edge, but in the end did not.

The Mazda wasn't even on my radar, but it was definitely on my husband's. He got a hold of his dad's (with permission) Consumer Reports account and started reviewing all SUVs. He looked at everything. He looked at the sizes of each of the vehicles we were looking at, the safety standards, the ratings and compared all features.

I didn't know much about Mazda's, but had never even thought of purchasing one. But I told him we could test drive one.

Mazda CX-9 Grand Touring
Mazda CX-9 Grand Touring
Mazda CX-9 Grand Touring

PROS: Turbo engine, sport mode for targeted use of the turbo, hologram feature about the steering wheel on the window that shows your speed, lane departure, speed limit and navigation. It also has bigger wheels, chrome styling on the outside, LED head and tail lights, rain sensing windshield wipers, Bose sound system, rear seat retractable window shield, adaptive cruise control, lane departure warning, heated seats, keyless start and cross traffic alerts.

MPG: 28/22
Cost: Starts at $42,000

CONS: Aggressive front end (my husband loved this and I didn't. Maybe it's more manly this way), afraid the turbo would highly decrease the MPG that is stated and it did not have ApplePlay or any of those options that almost all other SUVs had.

Toyota Rav-4 Limited
Toyota Rav4 Limited
Toyota Rav4 Limited

PROS: The Toyota name. My husband drives a Tundra and we love how well they hold their values and the quality of them. It has LED headlights, a rear spoiler, front and rear parking sonar (makes sure you don't run into things), sunroof, eco and sport modes, lane departure, automatic high beams, automated cruise control, and blind spot monitoring.

MPG: 28/22 (which seems low for a crossover/compact SUV.
Cost: Around $33,000

CONS: It has lower gas mileage for its size and not much bigger than my Subaru Legacy.

Toyota Highlander Limited
Toyota Highlander Limited
Toyota Highlander Limited

PROS: Again, the Toyota name and quality came into play. At first, we thought this might be too big for us, but then after getting inside of it, it was a great size. It has all the qualities of the Rav4, but heated and cooling seats in the front, ventilated seats on all rows, three rows of seats, better sound system and captains chairs in the second row. These captains chairs have an opening in between them so that kids can walk through to get to the back or move the seat forward. You don't lose the center console area as one folds out and allows for two drinks and a tray area. It also has the rear window shields, roof rack and Toyota all weather floor mats.

MPG: 26/21
Cost: $46,000 (but we got a screaming deal on it)

CONS: The Toyota Entune program has glitches and it did not come with a cargo cover as other models with the same trim did.

Ultimately, I loved the Highlander after the first time I test drove it. It was rated #1 or #2 on almost all mid-size SUV sites and it is built to last. I had a Toyota Tacoma in high school and college and I LOVED that thing. It held its value very well. When I bought it, I got a great deal and then I sold it about 8 years later and made $500 more than I bought it for. Total win. So now we are a Toyota family.

If I had to rank the mid-size SUVs (so not the Rav4 or the CR-V) in my preferences, I would go with the Highlander, tie between the Nissan Murano and Honda Pilot and then the Mazda CX-9.

I hope this helped if you are in the market for a SUV or maybe are thinking about one for your future.

12 comments:

  1. The Highlander is a great car! My in-laws have one and you're right, it doesn't feel super big, but it has space. We have talked about that potentially being our next car when we're in the market. I felt like the Mazda CX5 was too sporty of a drive for me. It wasn't as comfortable either, especially when compared to the Nissan seats. I'm glad you guys found one that you liked. The Hyundai's are reeeeeeeally nice--I think you would have liked it if you'd tried it, but they aren't very negotiable on anything with their price which is a downside.

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  2. I agree, I do not like the front end of the Mazda CX at all - must be a guy thing. The Highlander is gorgeous!!! So glad your research and searches paid off :)

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  3. Yay new car! And hey, how ya been? Sorry I have total MIA the last few months. Promise I have been keeping up with yall. Can you believe how big the girls are getting? They are just as gorgeous as ever.

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  4. My husband is so FORD loyal..but I am loving that highlander!!

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  5. Yes to the Toyota name, and I couldn't agree more about the front end of the Mazda. Plus that price on a Mazda is craziness! Love love love your final choice, and yay for a screaming deal <3
    Green Fashionista

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  6. Way to go! Love the one you got and I've heard great things about them too!

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  7. Using Consumer Reports is the best idea for car shopping! My coworker has a CX-9 and just loves it. This size of small SUV is my favorite.

    Meg, Borrowed Heaven

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  8. One of my friends had a Rav-4 and she didn't like it very much. Hers was an older model, though, so that may have had something to do with it, but she didn't keep it long. My other friend has a Highlander and she LOVES it. I think she's had hers for like 7 or 8 years already and it's still going strong!

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  9. My sister had a highlander for a while and she absolutely loved it!

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  10. My coworker has the highlander and I love it, good choice! I like the front of that mazda, but that is because it looks like the front of mine!

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  11. The mazda has a very interesting front - almost looks like a Mercedes! Love the interior of the Toyota! xo, Biana -BlovedBoston

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  12. Our family vehicle is a 2011 Toyota Highlander and we love it! At the time my husband insisted upon the base model. He even asked if the windows had to be powered. *face palm* LOL! Ours is the most basic model you can buy, but it does it's job and it does it well. I'd love to have all the bells and whistles some day, but since Toyotas last forever, I'm thinking it'll be at least another five years until I get those extra little gadgets. Haha!

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