VW Atlas or Subaru Ascent?

Discussion in 'Tow Vehicles, Hitch & Towing' started by StarSeven7, Oct 17, 2019.

  1. WrkrBee

    WrkrBee Well-Known Member

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    We settled on a 2013 Ford Expedition for our current tow vehicle. It was shorter than the Suburban by a little bit, but still is huge in the garage. Towing capacity is good, and if we want to move up to a small travel trailer later. Third row seats are usable, and folds down flush with the floor for cargo hauling and camping. It has too much chrome in the cabin to reflect the sun back in the driver's eyes. Chrome vent bezels, chrome part on shifter, etc. The older I get, the less I like chrome on anything. Really dislike the aluminum step plates on the Aliner.
     
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  2. WVhillbilly

    WVhillbilly Well-Known Member

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    Plastidip is cheap and covers the chrome stuff well.
    I also have some other coating for it that gives it a smoked tint.
    I'm not a fan of chrome either and don't know why so many new cars are still covered in it.
     
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  3. NavarWynn

    NavarWynn Member

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    I wouldn't buy a Hyundai or a Kia. I've had both before, and, while they typically do pretty well through their warranty period (since someone else is paying the repair bill), unless you are planning on getting rid of it the moment your warranty ends, you'll be paying back all of the costs they incurred under warranty. That's just my experience of course.

    Personally, we have a 4th gen Odyssey (2014), and it works fine for towing the pup (ours is about the same weight as yours). We were seriously considering swapping it for an Ascent when it came out, and, when we are done with the Ody, we likely will. Sadly, 4 kids meant we didn't have the luxury of waiting around till Subaru could be bothered to come out with a 3 row vehicle, else we would have bought an Ascent instead of the Ody. I've owned VWs before too... one of the prior who replied had it dead on: Hit, or miss - one was junk, the other was no problems until the wheels came off (in other words, ideal). My old outback OTOH is still kicking just fine 17yrs after it hit the road, and, even though it's a bit underpowered, it's been incredibly reliable - it also towed the pup just fine (on level ground). I'll happily hand it off to a kid...
     
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  4. mattlreese

    mattlreese Active Member

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    Payload is the max weight you can put in the car including people, gear, hitch weight, etc. Fuel does not factor into payload.
     
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  5. Minimalist

    Minimalist Active Member

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    Haven't read everything so excuse me if I am repeating anything. My wife has a 2015 Subaru Impreza and I drive a 2010 Jetta. Both manuals and both are pretty basic cars. The Subaru is by far the inferior vehicle. It is louder and cannot hold a candle to the handling of the Jetta. The Subaru has also developed some electrical issue that Subaru cannot seem to fix. The Jetta had a few things gone bad but nothing too crazy. Some shops thrive on the "German cars are super expensive to fix" stereotype and charge a premium.

    From your original post I'd look at payload and how the vehicle handles when packed to the max. A soft suspension will not be your friend. Towing (ie moving forward) the load will IMO not be your issue.
     
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  6. WVhillbilly

    WVhillbilly Well-Known Member

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    You got a good VW then, I'll never own another Euro car once it's warranty runs out.
     
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  7. Minimalist

    Minimalist Active Member

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    I did some extensive research 2-3 years back when shopping for a new car (I didn't end up buying) and looked at a lot of data (from secondary warranty providers to reliability numbers from other markets) There is no real difference in reliability between almost all modern cars. The differences in cost to own are negligible over the years. If I'd be shopping for a new car I'd focus on features/needs, safety and handling. Any hospital bill will be more expensive than any car repair. Look at the small overlap crash test results. It was/is eye opening.
     
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  8. 1380ken

    1380ken Well-Known Member

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    You could do something crazy and look at some American vehicles. Chevy has lots of new small SUVs.
     
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  9. rjhammetter

    rjhammetter Husband, Dad, Engineer & Camper

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    I agree with 1380ken on Americans except Chrysler. GM and Ford are both improving tremendously over the last ten year in quality/reliability and performance. I mean, you can google stuff and jokes like "Found of Road Dead" or "at least Ford can circle their problem." When I think GM cars, I think about the 90s and the rolling couches they called Oldsmobiles with the front bench seats. But I've driven their newer (2008+) cars and trucks through work and my parents company issued vehicles. The Taurus and Impala I rode in felt tight, strong and quiet, especially under the first 60k. Everyone I know who owns one loves them. Yukon, Suburban, Traverse and Explorer are great options for the OP's search.

    Fiat Chrysler, meanwhile, it churning out some great looking jalopies. Take time on the google machine to research before you buy. They are at the bottom of almost every quality survey, constant issues, lemon law and class action lawsuits. You don't need to watch news on TV very long to see another 500,000 to 1,000,000 Chrysler vehicles being recalled. I personally know two people with Dodges (one Journey, one Caliber) that the bodies rusted through within the first six years and both around 70k needed $3,000 engine rebuilds out of warranty. They are a disaster right now. Ram, Chrysler, Jeep and Dodge - I would avoid that ownership headache and tremendous loss of resale value with so many other quality, competent, capable options available.

    The Euro costs come from the parts, not the labor. My experience is the opposite of what Minimalist said. My Audi A4 repairs included new tie rods (both sides) for $1,800, a new airbag sensor for $900 and CV axles (both sides) for $2,200. My BMW motorrad needed a new $2,800 transmission and clutch after 28k miles when a rear seal failure allowed engine oil to mix with trans oil - that was a common failure with K1200LTs. This stuff absolutely does cost more than a hospital visit. My autos class teacher says it's all in the parts, most of which are made and shipped from Europe, so there is nothing your repair guy or shop can do to reduce those costs. Based on most research and first hand stories from owners, not only do Euros typically break more often, they also cost more to fix. Meanwhile, my American and Asian cars have never cost me more than $800 to replace stuff like to starters, window motors, seat heaters and struts (all wear items).
     
    Last edited: Oct 21, 2019
  10. Snow

    Snow Well-Known Member

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    See I'm at the other end of the spectrum.. I'd skip right over Ford and goto to a Dodge any day.. Owned two 93 Jeeps (Cherokee and a Grand Cherokee) loved them until the Grand spent a month in the shop, while they tried to source a new drive shaft (seems that in 93 they used 3 different ones, 2 could be had aftermarket, and of course the one mine had which was a discontinued factory part only). Had a 2008 Caliber the was still in show room condition and only had 180,000 km's on it when a deer took it out.. And both tow vehicles are Rams, the primary (2012) has been issue free and when a deer decided to try and take it out, all the happened was a broken license plate cover, currently it gets about 1200 km's put on it a week.. The back up Ram is a 2008, which was originally bought to do heavy towing (fully loaded tow package) but has ended up only towing maybe 10 times if that..

    As for European of Japanese .. as a tow vehicle.. Pass.. If GM trucks didn't look ugly with the square wheel wells, maybe a GMC .... ify on a Chev..
     
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  11. Minimalist

    Minimalist Active Member

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    What Audi do you have and where does your shop buy parts?
     
  12. Spridle

    Spridle Active Member

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    Nobody charges $1800 for tie rods, even at the dealer. My guess is you had control arms replaced, which on an A4 is an expensive process, at the dealer or not.

    Reliability and cost of ownership goes hand in hand with complexity.
     
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  13. rjhammetter

    rjhammetter Husband, Dad, Engineer & Camper

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    That was at a dealership. International Autos. So probably a price premium. This was indeed an A4 about 15 years ago, so I don't recall all the details, but it was to replace the entire control arm. One tie rod had worn down and recommended doing both because it was only a matter of time before the other went too. Euros make great cars regarding performance, luxury and comfort - no doubt about it. Their performance and complexity are at the expense of reliability and cost. I'm just shedding light on how expensive these vehicles can be. I've read that Audi has improved in reliability somewhat since then, but the whole lot of Euros are middle-to-bottom of the pack in quality.
    https://www.jdpower.com/business/press-releases/2019-initial-quality-study-iqs
    Dependability (after three years) is the more valuable study.
    https://www.jdpower.com/business/press-releases/2019-us-vehicle-dependability-studyvds

    Regarding tow vehicles, snow is right. Americans pickups do it best. F-150, Ram or Sierra 1500 through 3500 based on what you tow. Euro/Asian vehicles can get the job done, but they're not really designed for it, typically require tranny coolers, wiring, brake controllers and other upgrades that some trucks already have. TVs are a really lengthy discussion that I'm trying to simplify here. For OP, Ascent and Atlas are fine candidates for family vehicles that can tow as required, but there are always better, stronger, more reliable choices.
     
    Last edited: Oct 21, 2019
  14. Minimalist

    Minimalist Active Member

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    Dealerships for VAG vehicles are outrageously expensive. You can usually get the same part (same manufacturer) for half the price or less online.

    As to JD Powers, this is a good summary:
    extremetech.com/extreme/272595-which-jd-power-study-should-you-trust-the-most

    You are correct that TV are a very lengthy discussion that will not serve the OP.
     
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  15. Rik Peery

    Rik Peery Well-Known Member

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    I'm partial to Toyota in various models; wife has a Subaru Crosstrek, basically a buzzing beehive w/ great gas mileage but will never tow...pal has a small RV place, he recently purchased an Ascent as a family ride, biggest thing he'll tow w/ it is a 5' wide Nucamp Tag Boondock...
     
  16. WrkrBee

    WrkrBee Well-Known Member

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  17. Minimalist

    Minimalist Active Member

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    VAG stands for the Volkswagen group. In Germany it is Volkswagen Aktiengesellschaft (AG) whereas Aktien are stocks and Gesellschaft means company.
     
  18. WrkrBee

    WrkrBee Well-Known Member

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    Acronym List updated. That blew the 10,000 charters post limit.
     
  19. WVhillbilly

    WVhillbilly Well-Known Member

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    Anyone that doesn't think so just needs to buy a Volvo.
     
  20. StarSeven7

    StarSeven7 Member

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    My parents have an Explorer that we drive occasionally and neither DH or myself care for it because we don’t like the feeling of driving a truck. My sister and BIL have always bought GM vehicles (his uncle used to work for GM so they got their first car with his discount and have been very loyal) and they’ve had so many issues with their various cars that my BIL said last weekend that he would never buy a GM car again which completely shocked me because they’ve never looked at anything else. My sister currently drives an Equinox which she hates. I don’t believe Jeep has 3 row SUVs? And the Durango is also too truck-like for our tastes.
     

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