Tag Archives: CUV

2002 Honda CR-V

8 Nov

345This is the 2002 Honda CR-V. The Honda CR-V is typically heralded as the go to CUV to compare against for other manufactures. The reason is simple; this Honda is well rounded. From the engine to the trunk space, from the AWD to the comfortable interior. This CUV was what was desired in the late 1990s and early 2000s. This car was powered by a respectable 2.4L 4 cylinder which propelled this car with about 180 horsepower. This car was in no means fast, but the engine was lively and revy and made for a much more interesting drive then other cars in this segment. The trunk was low and flat and allowed for easy loading, with the opening starting just below waist level. The seats folded down to provide even more room if needed and the windows on the rear door could be left open. The car had a simple 4 speed automatic transmission that stayed out of the way and let the power down. The AWD was a passive system that would engage if the car computers felt like more grip was needed.

The CR-V was not without its flaws though. This specific CR-V had to have its AC replaced twice because both times, the compressor blew apart and shredded the hoses that fed the car AC. Another problem was a lack of sound insulation throughout the car. At highway speeds, the people seated in the back had to practically yell in order to be heard by the driver. This is more of a problem for all cars of this era. This CR-V makes up for its downfalls in just being a dead reliable vehicle. The transmission and engine are bulletproof and would probably keeping going long after all the other components failed. the reliability alone is what set this car apart from its competitors in this segment.


2003 Jeep Liberty

1 Oct

The 2003 Jeep Liberty is like a horse. Not because of its reliability or that it enjoys apples, but because of how rough the ride is. The car just goes over everything on the road with as little grace as possible. Every bump treats the passengers to being thrown around the cabin, as the body of the car pitches and rolls. The person unlucky enough to sit in the passenger seat will hit their knees multiple times on the dash every time the car comes to a stop. The strange part is that you will not really care how rough the ride is because it feels oddly appropriate for a Jeep.
This Liberty is the Limited Edition package, which adds pleather seats and a thirsty 3.7 V6. The engine is one of my favorite parts of the car because of how it sounds. It has a throaty rumble and create ample power at low revs. If floor the accelerator you will be treated to a slight hesitation as the transmission scurries to find the right gear. When it does hook up though, the car lurches forward quickly and with a roar that is very impressive for a V6. This car is great about providing the illusion of speed. The car always feels as if you’re going much faster than the speed limit. However when you glance down, you’ll usually notice that you are only going about 5 over. This is due to several factors: the airiness of the cabin, how loose the suspension is, and the lack of sound insulation. This car does not really hide any of its unrefined points and oddly that is what I like most about the LIberty. It knows that it wears a Jeep badge on its hood and it wears it proudly.


Sadly the Jeep Liberty was discontinued in 2012 and will be replaced with a quirky looking Jeep Cherokee that will debut for the 2014 model year. You can read the first drive review here: http://www.caranddriver.com/reviews/2014-jeep-cherokee-24l-first-drive-review

2006 Hyundai Santa Fe

18 Sep
2006 Hyundai Santa Fe

2006 Hyundai Santa Fe

Rice. A food that is a staple in diets around the world. Rice is nutritious and is a grain that is part of a balanced diet, but it’s not something you get really excited to eat everyday. Just because it’s good for you, doesn’t mean that you enjoy it. This brings us to the 2006 Santa Fe, a car that is the equivalent of rice. Its a Compact Utility Vehicle (CUV) that is inoffensive, besides the love-it or hate-it styling. The car does exactly what you ask of it, without standing too far from the crowd of other CUVs it shares the spotlight with, like the Honda CR-V or Ford Escape. This was the last year of the first generation Santa Fe before the redesign in the 2007 model year. This car is motivated by a 3.5 V6 that produces a modest 200 HP that propels the car to 60 MPH in about 9 and a half seconds. When you step on the gas, the car produces quite a bit of noise and goes nowhere. This observation is confirmed when you glance down at the speedometer.

Engine of the Santa Fe

Engine of the Santa Fe

The ride quality is smooth and the cabin noise is decent for a car at this price range. The steering has an artificial feeling, but is not unpleasant and makes turning at low speeds easy. The seats are comfortable enough for long drives with proper support to make driving less taxing. Driving position isn’t ideal for 6’4″ frame, but for the average American it seats you up high and gives a more commanding view point of the road. I like the trunk in this car because it loads so easily and has a nice flat surface to pack. It may not have the depth of some cars, but a flat loading surface without much interference from wheel wells is appreciated. The back seat is one of my favorite parts of the car because of how much room the back occupants have. I can comfortably sit in the back for extended periods and be able to stretch my legs out, which is rare in most cars. When comparing the back seats to the front, you realize how cramped everything is. This is largely because the center console eats into the front passenger’s area.

Steering Wheel of the 2006 Hyundai Santa Fe

Steering Wheel of the 2006 Santa Fe

Drivers Seat of the Santa Fe

Drivers Seat of the Santa Fe

That being said, I have to say I like this car. Its just the relaxed nature of this car makes it easy to drive and willing to go. The one part of the car that I didn’t initially like was the styling that Hyundai chose for this car. The headlights are the main culprit that throw off an otherwise shapely front end. This car is like a sweet, ugly dog that has a “go anywhere” spirit. Even with its quirks and polarizing style, it wins you over with a general sense of good intentions and a solid powertrain. I’m not the only one who likes this car however, because the Santa Fe is largely credited for securing Hyundai’s future here in America. The Santa Fe is now entering it’s 3rd generation and much of Hyundai’s continued success rests on the Santa Fe. The 3rd generation is more aggressively styled and has optional seating for 7. I have a feeling that the Santa Fe will continue to be a very profitable platform for Hyundai. The Hyundai Santa Fe is indeed very much like rice in that it fulfills basic needs without adding too much spice into the mix.

For anyone who is interested more in the 3rd generation Hyundai Santa Fe, here is the review from Car and Driver of the Long Wheelbase and the Short Wheelbase 2013 Santa Fe. http://www.caranddriver.com/reviews/2013-hyundai-santa-fe-limited-fwd-awd-test-review