Our `03 CRV was a great vehicle with a good dealer, so that was the car to beat. We considered many vehicles with similar MPGs and cargo capacity. 1) xB had good capacity and interior fabric quality, ...
Our `03 CRV was a great vehicle with a good dealer, so that was the car to beat. We considered many vehicles with similar MPGs and cargo capacity. 1) xB had good capacity and interior fabric quality, but was dark and noisy on the road. 2) FIT had sup rising capacity, great MPGs but even more road noise and slightly worse interior. 3) Soul had acceptable capacity but even worse interior fabric. 4) Rogue was very noisy with little cargo room. 5) Forrester had a harsh ride and a monotone int. 6) Mazda5, a nice pkg, slightly underpowered, but planned more as a people mover that sometimes carries cargo, but we mostly carry cargo and sometimes carry passengers. 7) RAV4, the most usable cargo capacity with the outside spare tire, but the light colored interior had too much contrasting dark trim for our taste, the V6 had too much power for FWD (didn?t want AWD). 8) Jetta Sportwagon, interior was cheap on the gas model and the diesel option costs more than any fuel savings. 9) HHR had terrible wind noise and otherwise was just so-so.
Also considered several high end vehicles but only drove the Audi A4 Avant at $40k. Even it had a problem with sharp metal edges on the back doors at the belt line that could scratch people getting in and out. We test drove the Rondo immediately after the Audi and while the two vehicles are not in the same price range, we were really suprised with the Rondo. Later we drove the '09 CRV and while it has better exterior styling than the `03, it looses some nice interior capabilities. Road noise is noticeable and the light colored interior lacks cohesiveness with large titanium colored door handles and too many different textures on the seat fabric. We drove the Rondo and Mazda5 again before making a decision.
The Rondo is quieter than the similarly priced vehicles and has the most upscale interior. The 7 pass. option provides lots of seating flexibility and plenty of flat-floor cargo space. Controls are within ez reach and there is an AC vent for the rear seat which many of the other cars lacked. The V6 and 5 spd is quiet with sufficient power. Ride is nice, softer than the comparables with some body roll since it is a `tall? vehicle, but we weren?t looking for a sports car. We don?t do any city driving, but urban mileage appears to be about 25-26 mpg and I expect highway only will be 28+ mpg. This fits our goals very well.