This is going to go in one ear and out of the other of folks that have drank the Kool Aid from Honda, but I went to the dealership to check out a new 2009 CRV. I know people love them, I went in with an open mind. And let me be honest, a couple of years ago I leased the last generation CRV for my mom. And I like that car, it was nice enough. But while I have been in the back seat of my friend's CRV for short trips (and hated it) I had not sat in the driver's seat of the newest CRV. And you know what? It's got to be one of the worst interiors I've ever sat in. And I'm not talking the base model, I sat in the CRV EX-L (with dealer installed wood trim.)
The arm rest, center console and door panes were just horrible. The seats were uncomfortable. The dashboard was ok, not horrible, but there's no way I could live with this. And again, I'll remind people that my honey drives a 2005 Honda Civic EX coupe and that's nice.
I have driven several competitors to the Escape, including the class leading interior of the 2010 Equinox. But the Honda CRV EX-L was a shock. For a car brand so beloved and hyped I really wonder how they sleep at night. And it's not limited to the front seat, it only gets worse out back. The back seat is like something out of the Inquisition and to flip and fold, while not difficult was just not what you'd expect after driving others in this field.
The Escape/Mariner twins may have rear drum brakes, but let me tell you again, how despite this handicap, it's still one of the best in class. I can say this safely after driving quite a few cute utes lately. My only complaint about the Ford/Mercury interior was the fact that you need to remove the rear headrests to fold the seat down. But I could sit in that back seat for a long drive if I had to.
My search for an Escape or Mariner continues. It seems that as soon as I find one on a local dealer's lot it's gone. Well, I had found one at a local dealership, but when I mentioned the X-Plan pin, he told me no way, he can get full price for it. I continue to search, with some luck.
I had considered an Escape without the leather, but then I sat in the cloth and wanted to puke.
That "Econ Friendly" cloth material is crap to the touch. I can find plenty of Escapes with leather and V6, but I4 and Leather seems to be a rare item. When they hit the dealer's floor their gone in 24 hours.
I'm checking dealers in my area on a daily basis. I know I'm not getting a Honda, my honey doesn't like the Chevy. Jeep dealers don't have Compass/Patriots with leather and moonroof. Jeep Liberty don't qualify for the Cash For Clunkers (so says my local dealer) because they don't get good enough economy ratings. Dodge is no better, Nissan ditto. I wouldn't buy a Toyota nor could you give me one.
I know I'm biased, but in all honesty I have to give the win the Escape/Mariner twins, if I can find one, that's where my money will go. I'm debating going for the V6, but that's unlikely.
One more week is what I'll give it. I'm not sure I'll have access to the Xplan Pin after that.
Cash For Clunkers money will more than likely be gone by September 1st.
It's an interesting adventure, I'll keep you posted.