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Discussion Starter #1
Guys,

I need someone to talk me out of this. My wife currently owns a 2003 Pontiac Grand Am that is an absolute piece of crap. We were thinking of terminating the lease early and picking up a 2006 Saturn Vue Redline. GM is offering a 3 month early lease termination so the penalty would not be too high, still have 11 months reminaing on the lease.

I like the Vue because it has a powerful Honda engine and solid transmission, but am concerned about safety, we have a 2 year old and another on the way.

Should I purchase the RAV4 instead? Would Toyota take my Grand Am even though it's not leased through them and would I lose the early termination bonus? I really love everything about the RAV4, good power and safety. But if the cost is riducously higher, I just can't do it.

Any thoughts?

Dave
 

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I've traded in leased cars early on other brands. Yes, Toyota will take the Pontiac as a trade. Either they or another dealer will buy out your lease at the current payout value. Yes, you will lose the 3-month early termination bonus, because that's only offered if you trade it in on another GM.

Either way, you'll have to cover any negative equity on the vehicle, so if Toyota will only give you $9k as a trade value and the payout is $10k, you're on the hook for the difference.
 
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Discussion Starter #4
I'm planning on driving both. Has anyone here done so? I'd like to weigh the strengths and weaknesses of both vehicles before doing so. In particular, I'm trying to determine whether or not the RAV4 is so much better that it's worth the penalties and extra cost to get one. I know the old adage is 'you get what you pay for', but I need someone to prove it.

Saturn Vue Redline

Pros - Honda Powertrain, low cost, options reasonably priced

Cons - Mixed safety ratings, no vehicle stability control, quality issues, (most seem to be from the pre Honda powertrain or 4cyl Vues), AWD system slow to engage and problematic

Toyota RAV4

Pros - Excellent reviews, even more power, excellent safety ratings, vehicle stability control, good AWD system

Cons - Expensive, options even more expensive (DVD system is $1700CDN!), Side airbags only availbale on upscale Limited edition here in Canada.
 

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The cons on the Vue use to be that it is under power and the cheap interior. The new Honda engine fix the under power problem and the interior also have gotten better.
 
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Discussion Starter #6
I have owned a 04 & 05 Vue AWD V-6. Car is very inexpensive & the drive train is the deal maker. I drove the 06 4 cyl rav 4 today. It is a lot more truckish then the Saturn which drives more like a car. I will try the V6 rav next week when it arrives. I buy a new vehicle every year due to the fact I travel & put on a lot of miles. Both my Honda/Saturns have been perfect. Wicked power & great on fuel but I expect the same from the V6 Rav 4. Rav has a better finished interior but rides a little more like a SUV then a car.
 
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Wow thanks. I was surprised to hear such an unbiased response on a RAV forum.

Buying a GM product can really be hit and miss. My car is a 2002 WS6 Trans Am. It now has 110,000K on it and everything except the tires are still stock, including the brakes! I've never driven a more solid and reliable car.

My wife's Grand Am on the other hand, feels like it's gonna fall apart every time I turn a corner, and the brakes and rotors were completely gone at only 40K.

It's truly unfortunate Toyota Canada doesn't let you mix and match your options. I would love to get the Sport with side air bags. The only way to get the air bags is to order the Limited B package, which bumps the price to almost $40K CDN!
 

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Vue Redline

+ Excellent V6 Honda engine with good acceleration
+ Good Handling (for an SUV)
+ Better Exterior looks than RAV4 (from rear and side)

- Stiff Ride
- Terrible Interior
- Questionable Reliability (other then the engine of course)
- Depreciates like a Saturn
- Dont Expect to do any off-roading unless you like replacing bodywork
- OK AWD system (This aint no Audi or Subaru system)


RAV4

+ Excellent V6 Toyota engine (slightly better acceleration than Vue)
+ Good Handling (for an SUV)
+ Excellent ratio of exterior size to interior space (More Space and seats than Vue)
+ Rock Solid Reliability
+ Much Better interior than Vue
+ Depreciates like a Toyota

- Mediocre Ride (But still better than Vue)
- OK AWD system (This aint no Audi or Subaru system)


In my book, this is an easy win for the RAV4 V6, but the Vue is a worthy contender, if only because of the Honda engine.
 

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Re: RAV4 Sport vs Saturn Reline Vue

Davey68 said:
Guys,

I need someone to talk me out of this. My wife currently owns a 2003 Pontiac Grand Am that is an absolute piece of crap. We were thinking of terminating the lease early and picking up a 2006 Saturn Vue Redline. GM is offering a 3 month early lease termination so the penalty would not be too high, still have 11 months reminaing on the lease.

I like the Vue because it has a powerful Honda engine and solid transmission, but am concerned about safety, we have a 2 year old and another on the way.

Should I purchase the RAV4 instead? Would Toyota take my Grand Am even though it's not leased through them and would I lose the early termination bonus? I really love everything about the RAV4, good power and safety. But if the cost is riducously higher, I just can't do it.

Any thoughts?

Dave
The only good thing I have to say about it is at least they gave up on that CVT transmission idea. You could have a Rav4 limited and still go home with change for the price of a Red Line.
 

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good comparison.. but do you own an 06 rav or are you just guessing at its attributes?

ex: how or why do you feel the Rav awd system is just okay? Whats makes .. say a sube Forester automatic transmissioned awd system better if it is too fwd that brings in the rear wheels upon slippage exactly like the rav? Whats makes one better then the other? and the mediocre ride? How did you come to this conclusion?

97itr153 said:
Vue Redline

+ Excellent V6 Honda engine with good acceleration
+ Good Handling (for an SUV)
+ Better Exterior looks than RAV4 (from rear and side)

- Stiff Ride
- Terrible Interior
- Questionable Reliability (other then the engine of course)
- Depreciates like a Saturn
- Dont Expect to do any off-roading unless you like replacing bodywork
- OK AWD system (This aint no Audi or Subaru system)


RAV4

+ Excellent V6 Toyota engine (slightly better acceleration than Vue)
+ Good Handling (for an SUV)
+ Excellent ratio of exterior size to interior space (More Space and seats than Vue)
+ Rock Solid Reliability
+ Much Better interior than Vue
+ Depreciates like a Toyota

- Mediocre Ride (But still better than Vue)
- OK AWD system (This aint no Audi or Subaru system)


In my book, this is an easy win for the RAV4 V6, but the Vue is a worthy contender, if only because of the Honda engine.
 
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Discussion Starter #11
Actually, a RAV4 limited B option will run close to $40K CDN. A Vue Redline fully loaded will come in at almost $5K less.

No question the Toyota is more expensive. However, if the quality is that much superior, and the depreciation that much less, it may justify the additional price tag.
 

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Davey68 said:
Actually, a RAV4 limited B option will run close to $40K CDN. A Vue Redline fully loaded will come in at almost $5K less.

No question the Toyota is more expensive. However, if the quality is that much superior, and the depreciation that much less, it may justify the additional price tag.
I didn't notice you are in Canada, we get screwed by Toyota in Canada. If you look at the US prices on Toyota vehicles and do the exchange you can see there is a conspicuous gap between the two markets. I haven't seen one of these new Vues yet so I can't really make a comparison, I thought the previous one was pretty terrible though.
 
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Discussion Starter #13
We are getting screwed by Toyota. I wanted to get the side air bags in the Sport model, because I think the vehicle comes alive with the 18" rims. Unfortunately, the only way to get the air bags is to step up to the Limited B option, that's almost $6K more!

Come on Toyota, when it comes to safety, make the option available to all trim levels. Safety shouldn't be reserved for the Elite.
 

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that makes NO sense.. If ya ask me side bags should be standard on every model.. and I agree the sport wheels make it.. Id love to get a set..

Davey68 said:
We are getting screwed by Toyota. I wanted to get the side air bags in the Sport model, because I think the vehicle comes alive with the 18" rims. Unfortunately, the only way to get the air bags is to step up to the Limited B option, that's almost $6K more!

Come on Toyota, when it comes to safety, make the option available to all trim levels. Safety shouldn't be reserved for the Elite.
 

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Agree with most except on the ff:

97itr153 said:
Vue Redline
+ Better Exterior looks than RAV4 (from rear and side)


RAV4
- Mediocre Ride (But still better than Vue)
- OK AWD system (This aint no Audi or Subaru system)
I guess it's a matter of personal taste, but INMHO I can't see how the Vue would have a better looking exterior than the RAV from any angle....

As for the the RAv's ride & AWD system, I'll have to agree with flyingn on that .... show us a little more basis....
 

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flyingn said:
good comparison.. but do you own an 06 RAV or are you just guessing at its attributes?

ex: how or why do you feel the RAV awd system is just okay? Whats makes .. say a sube Forester automatic transmissioned awd system better if it is too fwd that brings in the rear wheels upon slippage exactly like the RAV? Whats makes one better then the other? and the mediocre ride? How did you come to this conclusion?
I dont own one but i just got to drive a v6 sport a couple of days ago. Still in running in stage so I didt press it too hard.

The keys to a good AWD system are that it needs to engage instantly and that it needs to be ready to transfer power to any wheel if two or three other wheels lose grip. The forester auto (i'll just use the Forester XT for comparison), like all other subarus has a full time AWD sytem that is always on. This means that unlike in a RAV4 or another part-time system, there is no lag between wheel slip and power transfer. Also the Forester XT's center diff is an electronically controlled clutch type unit and the rear diff is a viscous limited slip. In contrast the RAV4 has an open rear and open front diff which will not be as effective when both wheels on one side lose grip.

Of course, the FOrester's XT's AWD ssytem is no where near as good as say something found in a Subaru STI of a Mitsubishi Evo which have Helical LSD up front, A Electronic Clutch-type center diff and a Mechanical Clutch type rear diff. Now that is a lethal combo that will make sure the car get traction even 3 out of 4 tires are losing traction.

As for RAV4 ride, to give you an extreme example, it is nowhere near as smooth as a new Mercedes S-class nor is anywhere near as bad as my Mitsu Evo. So on a really wide scale that includes all cars, the RAV4 ride is parhaps a 6/10. Certainly not bad, but just OK. Pot holes that may not be quite noticable in something like a Camry, are more noticable in a RAV4. I'm sure a (non-sport) RAV4 without the lower profile tires rides better but there will always be a ride/handling trade-off. As with any vehicle with a high center of gravity, in order to control body roll, the manufacturer is forced into making the suspension stiffer to compensate. All else beign equal, the vehicle with a lower center of gravity will be able to achieve a better ride/handling compromise through the use of softer springs, less rebound & compression damping, smaller anti-roll bars, etc.

Personally I like the fact that the New RAV4 sport has somewhat stiff suspension when compared to some of the softie SUVs out there. It allows the RAV4 to handle better than the opposition, which is exactly what appeals to an enthusiast driver like myself.

All in all the V6 version of the RAV4 has raised the bar so high that it pretty much makes all other smallish SUVs like the CRV, Escape and VUE completely pointless.
 

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Maybe they changed it on the 06's but the 06 Forester automatic ones have part time awd just like the Rav's. ONLY the manual trans ones have full time 4wd. soooo Automatic Foresters are not better then the Ravs..

and your forgetting that the Rav has traction control. Let me go thru this for like the 15th time:) With an open rear and traction control its is actually a computer controlled limited slip. The second a tire looses traction the brake is applied and ALL the torque goes instantly to the other wheel with the MOST traction. Thats the inherent operation of an open rear. Its a foolproof way to get the absolute best tractiion in any condition. so theorically the rav has limited slip front and rear..
And I can attest to how well the awd traction control works in the Rav.. Its quite amazing on glare ice and low traction snow..
 

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[[And I can attest to how well the awd traction control works in the RAV.. Its quite amazing on glare ice and low traction snow]

I tend to agree. I have not driven the 2006 RAV yet. However, if the RAV's 4WD system works as well as it did on our Matrix, it will be great. The Matrix V-flex/On Demand system was seamless and flawless. Although the Matrix system was different, it was every bit as good (effectively speaking) as what we had in our 1998 RAV (ground clearance was the only noticable difference).
 

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flyingn said:
Maybe they changed it on the 06's but the 06 Forester automatic ones have part time awd just like the RAV's. ONLY the manual trans ones have full time 4wd. soooo Automatic Foresters are not better then the Ravs..

and your forgetting that the RAV has traction control. Let me go thru this for like the 15th time:) With an open rear and traction control its is actually a computer controlled limited slip. The second a tire looses traction the brake is applied and ALL the torque goes instantly to the other wheel with the MOST traction. Thats the inherent operation of an open rear. Its a foolproof way to get the absolute best tractiion in any condition. so theorically the RAV has limited slip front and rear..
And I can attest to how well the awd traction control works in the RAV.. Its quite amazing on glare ice and low traction snow..
Flyingn, you are right that the Traction Control in the RAV4 will help pull it through in a situation where the only wheel that HAS traction is one of the FRONT wheels. In this case, the Forester will remain stuck because it has an open front diff and no TC. I rushed through my analysis and consequently used the wrong example to illustrate my point :)

However, keep in mind that traction control is not all that effective when all four tires are in low traction conditions like deep snow, Gravel or Mud. In this situation you want wheelspin rather than traction control to get out. Similarly, on an uphill icy drivway, a TC system will try to prevent power from going to all four wheels thus impairing forward movement especially if you are starting from a dead stop.

Also, I suggest you recheck your facts regarding the Forester's AWD system. The Subaru AWD has always been full-time. Here is a link.
http://www.subaru.com/shop/overview.jsp?model=FORESTER&trim=25_XT_LIMITED&command=overview

Now click where it reads " AWD Technology". This will open a new window. You will now have to click near the top left of this popup to get the info. (Their website is not exactly intuitive)
The manual Forester's system is called "Continuous AWD" while the Forester Auto uses the "Active All-Wheel Drive", both of which are permanent. The best Subaru AWD ssytem however, is called "DCCD" which is used only on the STI.

An excellent source of info on all kinds of LSDs can be found at the following link:
http://www.gti-vr6.net/library/transmission/Ians_diff_page/differentials.htm#EDL why

As far as the pros and cons of the AWD systems, I think we simply differ on the definition of a good AWD system because we may have different driving needs. For someone like my self who likes to drive fast especially around corners, traction-control systems using ABS will never substitute for a proper mechanical LSD. ABS enabled AWD is like an on/off switch and does not lend to enthusiastic driving. The fastest technique through a corner requires a little tire slipping and some slip angle, which, ABS-based TC will not allow. However, a Mechanical LSD will allow as much tire slippage & slip angle as the driver wants, while transferring power to the out wheels for best traction. So for an experienced driver, Mechanical LSDs are clearly the better choice.

I do a lot of Ice Driving events during the winter and I have had numerous opportunities to test cars with different AWD systems on the Frozen lakes. The vehicles that typically get around the Ice quickest are the ones with Mechanical LSDs rather than TC. Every driver i know disengages the TC unit for best lap times.

So while traction control based pseudo limited slip is perfectly fine for safety reasons because it prevents you from going faster, it is definately not the enthusiast choice. Note that in the sport of rallying, where optimum traction is essential in order to win, all cars use electronically operated mechanical LSDs instead of ABS-derived systems.
 

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That full time awd is ONLY for the manual trans cars... Thats why I wrote AUTOMATIC trans ones have the fwd with the rears coming in as needed. Heres the cut and paste..



Continuous All-Wheel Drive: Models equipped with 5-speed manual transmission utilize a viscous-type locking center and limited-slip rear differential. Torque distribution normally configured at a 50/50-split front-to-rear. If wheels speed differs between front and rear axles, center differential forces both front and rear driveshafts to rotate at the same speed restoring 50/50 apportioning of torque front-to-rear. Active All-Wheel Drive: Models equipped with 4-speed automatic transmission utilize an electronically controlled variable multiplate transfer clutch and limited-slip rear differential to distribute power to where traction is needed. Sensors monitor parameters such as wheel slippage, throttle position and braking to help determine torque distribution to the wheels with optimum traction

got yourself a dealer brochure which explains it better. The automatic one have FWD until they slip then the rears come in..
 
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