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Midsize SUV Shopping/Research

  1. #1
    is not wearing pants Point37's Avatar
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    Midsize SUV Shopping/Research


    so i'm beginning to research a new vehicle...i have a '13 subaru legacy 2.5i premium with 177k miles...i like my cars somewhat simple (in my book more electronics = more problems)...and the wife has a '14 nissan maxima sv with 124k miles...hers is loaded which i hate but she seems to like...we have a 3 year old and 2 dogs and it's tight when we are all in the car...i usually have a 65lb pitbull in my lap in the front seat most of the time...the plan is to sell or trade in my car and we get a probably used midsize suv with under 30k miles for her and i take over her maxima since i drive farther to work...thinking a carmax offer for my car would be my best option...at the moment i'm looking at everything just to see what features i like but what features should i be looking at?...any advice is appreciated...thanks

    needs (i'm sure this will expand):
    -reliability
    -3rd row seating
    -leather (because dogs)
    -towing package with decent capacity (would like to buy a small bowrider boat in the future)
    -be able to fit in the garage have about 18’ of space would like to have 2’-3’ of that to walk around the front or back of an suv and her car is 15.9’ long and 6.1’ wide (may have to rearrange some things in the garage to make more room)
    -awd or fwd (not even sure what the options are yet as i haven't looked)
    -not a cvt transmission
    -decent fuel mileage

    wants (i'm sure this will expand):
    -dual driver memory settings
    -dual bluetooth phone connections

    list of 3rd row midsize suvs grouped in order of my preliminary liking:
    i left some manufacturers off that i don't consider options either due to cost or reliability but let me know if you think i forgot any...

    after the oil consumption issues with my subaru i'm very hesitant to go with a subaru again...also not a huge fan of hyundai or kia cause they weren't reliable in the past but i don't know how far they have come

    1
    -toyota highlander (hybrid option is CVT)
    4cyl 1500# v6 5000# (3500#)
    -honda pilot
    V6 Fwd 3500# v6 awd 5000#
    2
    -acura mdx (hybrid option)
    V6 Fwd 3500# v6 awd 5000# (none?)
    3
    -mazda cx9
    3500#
    -lexus rx350l
    3500#
    4
    -nissan pathfinder CVT
    6000#
    -buick enclave
    V6 Fwd 1500# v6 awd 5000#
    -subaru ascent CVT
    5000#
    5
    -chevrolet traverse
    5000#
    -gmc acadia
    V6 4000#
    -ford explorer (hybrid option)
    5000# (5000#)
    -ford flex
    4500#
    6
    -kia telluride
    5000#
    -hyundai pallisade
    5000#

    i will update this post as i acquire more info or narrow my list

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    Backwoods lobster boy number9's Avatar
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    Re: Midsize SUV Shopping/Research

    My in-laws have a Buick Enclave and it's really pretty good. I just drove it from OH to MA and got 23mpg the whole way... they prefer to buy American but I've been pleasantly surprised I've driven it. Has been trouble-free for the 60k miles they've owned it, with the exception of smashing the rear hatch glass into a garage door...

    It's built on the same platform as the Traverse and the GMC Acadia, but I didn't see the Acadia on your list.

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    is not wearing pants Point37's Avatar
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    Re: Midsize SUV Shopping/Research

    Quote Originally Posted by number9 View Post
    My in-laws have a Buick Enclave and it's really pretty good. I just drove it from OH to MA and got 23mpg the whole way... they prefer to buy American but I've been pleasantly surprised I've driven it. Has been trouble-free for the 60k miles they've owned it, with the exception of smashing the rear hatch glass into a garage door...

    It's built on the same platform as the Traverse and the GMC Acadia, but I didn't see the Acadia on your list.
    thanks...i've heard good things about buick and i have a dealer in my town...but they are pretty luxury so i'll have to see if they end up in our price range...that gas mileage is really good...i'm getting like 27/28 with my legacy...added the acadia to the list

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    Re: Midsize SUV Shopping/Research

    Quote Originally Posted by Point37 View Post
    -toyota highlander
    -mazda cx9
    -honda pilot

    Highlander
    Pilot
    CX9

    I'm a Yota whore when it comes to plebian vehicles. They simply take a pounding and keep coming back for more. Worth the money IMO.

    Edit: Also check incentives on new stuff as well. Lightly "used" cars have a huge premium right now and the manufacturers have cars to move.

    A Highlander Hybrid will probably get better mileage on your commute then the Maxima and she could keep what she likes. Might be worth considering.

    I also think the Ascent has a CVT.

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    Backwoods lobster boy number9's Avatar
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    Re: Midsize SUV Shopping/Research

    Quote Originally Posted by Point37 View Post
    thanks...i've heard good things about buick and i have a dealer in my town...but they are pretty luxury so i'll have to see if they end up in our price range...that gas mileage is really good...i'm getting like 27/28 with my legacy...added the acadia to the list
    If you don't buy new, I bet the Enclave depreciates pretty badly.. might be able to find a good deal on something lightly used?

    Quote Originally Posted by e30addict View Post
    A Highlander Hybrid will probably get better mileage on your commute then the Maxima and she could keep what she likes. Might be worth considering.
    I don't think my wife or I will ever have a normal, Monday-Friday commute again. Makes mpg a lot less important...

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    Re: Midsize SUV Shopping/Research

    I'm in the same spot right now, going to get wifey a new car here shortly and she wants an SUV again. Highlander holds the top spot for us followed by an RX350 (we don't need the third row) then the Pilot/Passport and then possibly an MDX. All of those are nicely appointed and have pretty decent power. The Lexus and Acura have better interiors than their counterparts, which makes sense they cost a whole bunch more. But I think all around low cost of ownership, we'll get the Highlander. It has a nicer interior than the Pilot (personal preference) and rides nicer (personal preference). We have Toyota and Lexus now, can't see veering from that bloodline.

    The RX350L on your list might be difficult to find used. It doesn't appear that many were sold.

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    is not wearing pants Point37's Avatar
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    Re: Midsize SUV Shopping/Research

    Quote Originally Posted by e30addict View Post
    Highlander
    Pilot
    CX9

    I'm a Yota whore when it comes to plebian vehicles. They simply take a pounding and keep coming back for more. Worth the money IMO.

    Edit: Also check incentives on new stuff as well. Lightly "used" cars have a huge premium right now and the manufacturers have cars to move.

    A Highlander Hybrid will probably get better mileage on your commute then the Maxima and she could keep what she likes. Might be worth considering.

    I also think the Ascent has a CVT.
    great info thanks!...highlander is my top pick at the moment without doing any research honestly...a lot of people i know have them and like them...i haven't really looked into the hybrid version...how long do the batteries last?...we usually try to drive into high mileage (over 200k)...i'll check about the ascent...but anything with a cvt i will probably just knock off my list...

    at some point i will put a number/order ranking on them too...i like toyota/lexus, mazda and honda/acura as i've owned 2 of the 5 brands so those are probably my top 5 but i'm assuming lexus and acura would have to be older and used for us to buy as well as the buick...nissan would be somewhat high on the list as she has had 2 nissans but i wasn't a fan of her 350z and not a huge fan of the maxima...subaru, the rest of the american brands and hundai and kia would be near the end of my list

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    is not wearing pants Point37's Avatar
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    Re: Midsize SUV Shopping/Research

    Quote Originally Posted by number9 View Post
    If you don't buy new, I bet the Enclave depreciates pretty badly.. might be able to find a good deal on something lightly used?

    I don't think my wife or I will ever have a normal, Monday-Friday commute again. Makes mpg a lot less important...
    yea that's a good point about the buick...

    a hybrid would be nice for longer rides

    Quote Originally Posted by Falko View Post
    I'm in the same spot right now, going to get wifey a new car here shortly and she wants an SUV again. Highlander holds the top spot for us followed by an RX350 (we don't need the third row) then the Pilot/Passport and then possibly an MDX. All of those are nicely appointed and have pretty decent power. The Lexus and Acura have better interiors than their counterparts, which makes sense they cost a whole bunch more. But I think all around low cost of ownership, we'll get the Highlander. It has a nicer interior than the Pilot (personal preference) and rides nicer (personal preference). We have Toyota and Lexus now, can't see veering from that bloodline.

    The RX350L on your list might be difficult to find used. It doesn't appear that many were sold.
    yea i don't imagine we will go with newer models with lexus or acura just due to cost...she buys cars based on all looks and says she needs to like it if she's going to drive it but she's talking all about looks not features or anything else...if it were her choice she would be wasting money on a range rover or something stupid expensive so i need to talk her into something more reasonable

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    Re: Midsize SUV Shopping/Research

    Quote Originally Posted by Point37 View Post
    great info thanks!...highlander is my top pick at the moment without doing any research honestly...a lot of people i know have them and like them...i haven't really looked into the hybrid version...how long do the batteries last?...we usually try to drive into high mileage (over 200k)...i'll check about the ascent...but anything with a cvt i will probably just knock off my list...

    at some point i will put a number/order ranking on them too...i like toyota/lexus, mazda and honda/acura as i've owned 2 of the 5 brands so those are probably my top 5 but i'm assuming lexus and acura would have to be older and used for us to buy as well as the buick...nissan would be somewhat high on the list as she has had 2 nissans but i wasn't a fan of her 350z and not a huge fan of the maxima...subaru, the rest of the american brands and hundai and kia would be near the end of my list

    Modern hybrid batteries can last several hundred thousand, but it seems time is a better indicator of durability. It comes down to usage. They don't like to sit. A battery in 10 yr old car that saw light usage with 50K on it could be weak, but one in with 200k could still be strong.

    Warranty on them is 10 yr/150k in MA so reliability shouldn't really be a concern anymore. There's also so many of them out there now that replacing the battery is significantly cheaper then it used to be. Replacing cells is also a thing now as well. Sometimes you can "fix" them for $50.

    For reference, the battery in my 2011 with 98k on it estimates 85%, so only degraded 15%. They'll throw codes around 50%.

    Outside of the Prius, modern hybrids boot around too. A Camry Hybrid is faster then the 4 cy gas only model. They aren't always a snooze fest now. Worth a look, especially for high mileage drivers.

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    is not wearing pants Point37's Avatar
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    Re: Midsize SUV Shopping/Research

    Quote Originally Posted by e30addict View Post
    Modern hybrid batteries can last several hundred thousand, but it seems time is a better indicator of durability. It comes down to usage. They don't like to sit. A battery in 10 yr old car that saw light usage with 50K on it could be weak, but one in with 200k could still be strong.

    Warranty on them is 10 yr/150k in MA so reliability shouldn't really be a concern anymore. There's also so many of them out there now that replacing the battery is significantly cheaper then it used to be. Replacing cells is also a thing now as well. Sometimes you can "fix" them for $50.

    For reference, the battery in my 2011 with 98k on it estimates 85%, so only degraded 15%. They'll throw codes around 50%.

    Outside of the Prius, modern hybrids boot around too. A Camry Hybrid is faster then the 4 cy gas only model. They aren't always a snooze fest now. Worth a look, especially for high mileage drivers.
    thanks...we def are high mileage drivers...hybrids have come a long way since i was last car shopping in 2013...good to know about the batteries...i guess it would come down to cost of the hybrid vs the gas version...i mean i usually hope to keep a car 10 years if i can...my '03 mazda 6 lasted 10 years and had about 230k miles...i just want a car to be reliable and get me to where i need to go without having to carry extra quarts of oil in the trunk at all times...i don't need anything fancy

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    Re: Midsize SUV Shopping/Research

    Quote Originally Posted by Point37 View Post
    thanks...we def are high mileage drivers...hybrids have come a long way since i was last car shopping in 2013...good to know about the batteries...i guess it would come down to cost of the hybrid vs the gas version...i mean i usually hope to keep a car 10 years if i can...my '03 mazda 6 lasted 10 years and had about 230k miles...i just want a car to be reliable and get me to where i need to go without having to carry extra quarts of oil in the trunk at all times...i don't need anything fancy
    Easy enough to run numbers on them.

    I bought one end if 2018 and I put 50k on it in 2019. Paid for the price premium already. The rest is gravy now. Stupid low maintenance too.

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    Burns retinas nhbubba's Avatar
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    Re: Midsize SUV Shopping/Research

    Quote Originally Posted by Point37 View Post
    needs (i'm sure this will expand):
    ...
    -towing package with decent capacity (would like to buy a small bowrider boat in the future)
    What kind of weight are you talking here? A number of the options you listed have pretty low tow ratings. This is my problem with most SUVs; terrible towing capacity.

    I guess a Highlander is good for about 5k lbs. Pilot is only 3500 lbs I think though. So on and so-forth.

    The CRV/Rav4 class is usually like 1500 lbs.

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    Re: Midsize SUV Shopping/Research

    When buying fleet cars we referenced Edmunds TCO: True Cost To Own.

    https://www.edmunds.com/tco.html

    There are a number of simplifying assumptions: trim level changes price, you may drive more miles or less, insurance costs vary wildly, etc.

    Here’s an example: Ford Explorer XLT Hybrid.

    https://www.edmunds.com/ford/explorer/2020/cost-to-own/

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    Re: Midsize SUV Shopping/Research

    Quote Originally Posted by nhbubba View Post
    What kind of weight are you talking here? A number of the options you listed have pretty low tow ratings. This is my problem with most SUVs; terrible towing capacity.

    I guess a Highlander is good for about 5k lbs. Pilot is only 3500 lbs I think though. So on and so-forth.

    The CRV/Rav4 class is usually like 1500 lbs.
    Boats are stupid easy to tow. Lighter trailers and much more aerodynamic. You don't need much vehicle for one.

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    is not wearing pants Point37's Avatar
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    Midsize SUV Shopping/Research

    Quote Originally Posted by e30addict View Post
    Easy enough to run numbers on them.

    I bought one end if 2018 and I put 50k on it in 2019. Paid for the price premium already. The rest is gravy now. Stupid low maintenance too.
    good to know...thanks

    Quote Originally Posted by nhbubba View Post
    What kind of weight are you talking here? A number of the options you listed have pretty low tow ratings. This is my problem with most SUVs; terrible towing capacity.

    I guess a Highlander is good for about 5k lbs. Pilot is only 3500 lbs I think though. So on and so-forth.

    The CRV/Rav4 class is usually like 1500 lbs.
    well i haven't picked out a boat but i would imagine 5000 lbs would be in the realm of a ~20' bow rider w/trailer...it wouldn't be anything huge

    edit: maybe something like this...but used and older...so really nothing like this...
    https://www.searay.com/us/en/models/...s/spx-190.html

    Quote Originally Posted by Garandman View Post
    When buying fleet cars we referenced Edmunds TCO: True Cost To Own.

    https://www.edmunds.com/tco.html

    There are a number of simplifying assumptions: trim level changes price, you may drive more miles or less, insurance costs vary wildly, etc.

    Hereís an example: Ford Explorer XLT Hybrid.

    https://www.edmunds.com/ford/explorer/2020/cost-to-own/
    thanks...i'll check this out

    Just found this feature in the edmunds app

    Quote Originally Posted by e30addict View Post
    Boats are stupid easy to tow. Lighter trailers and much more aerodynamic. You don't need much vehicle for one.
    i wouldn't even be leaving town with it so i'm not even worried about highway driving

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    Lifer
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    Re: Midsize SUV Shopping/Research

    If the goal is 200k without major problems than the Japanese trio (Highlander, Pilot, CX-9) likely have the edge. The Pilot is much roomier in the third seat and slightly shorter than Mazda, but less fun to drive. I second the Enclave, 1-2 years old should be taking a major hit. Although luxurious, Buicks tend to be reliable compared to other American brands like Cadillac. Less electronics. They all are rated for 5000 lbs and should tow a boat ok. I'm with you - I hate CVT. Though, Nissan's 3.5 liter V6 makes it somewhat tolerable. Pathfinders are dirt cheap but my impression is that CVT's don't last as long as regular automatics (100-150k?).

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    is not wearing pants Point37's Avatar
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    Midsize SUV Shopping/Research

    Quote Originally Posted by dankatz View Post
    If the goal is 200k without major problems than the Japanese trio (Highlander, Pilot, CX-9) likely have the edge. The Pilot is much roomier in the third seat and slightly shorter than Mazda, but less fun to drive. I second the Enclave, 1-2 years old should be taking a major hit. Although luxurious, Buicks tend to be reliable compared to other American brands like Cadillac. Less electronics. They all are rated for 5000 lbs and should tow a boat ok. I'm with you - I hate CVT. Though, Nissan's 3.5 liter V6 makes it somewhat tolerable. Pathfinders are dirt cheap but my impression is that CVT's don't last as long as regular automatics (100-150k?).
    Thanks...thatís good to know about the towing...The Mazda is a 4cyl with turbo I think...I would favor the Mazda over the pilot and the highlander over both...not sure my wife will see things the same...Iím sure sheíll pick an Audi or infinity or something

    I was looking at the pathfinders and I didnít realize that they were cheaper than the others...the cvt in my Subaru is at 177k and this was my first cvt car...Iím not a huge fan and after finding out how much a replacement costs that doesnít give me the warm fuzzies...the pathfinder and the ascent are the only 2 on my list that have cvt transmissions...I donít want either of them


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    Re: Midsize SUV Shopping/Research

    Excluding the towing, the Pilot and CX-9 check all the boxes and are incredible vehicles. Just pick whichever you d like better. They are stylist, reliable and about the same price. Hold resale value and are very good daily drivers.
    I don’t enough about the Toyota but I’d say both the Honda and Mazda are and feel more luxurious and updated.

    Forget the pathfinder. The Acura and Lexus are more expensive to buy and maintain and not necessarily as reliable. Good 0% / low rate deals out there.

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    is not wearing pants Point37's Avatar
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    Midsize SUV Shopping/Research

    Quote Originally Posted by tsorfas View Post
    Excluding the towing, the Pilot and CX-9 check all the boxes and are incredible vehicles. Just pick whichever you d like better. They are stylist, reliable and about the same price. Hold resale value and are very good daily drivers.
    I donít enough about the Toyota but Iíd say both the Honda and Mazda are and feel more luxurious and updated.

    Forget the pathfinder. The Acura and Lexus are more expensive to buy and maintain and not necessarily as reliable. Good 0% / low rate deals out there.
    Thanks...the Toyota, Mazda and Honda are my top 3...hoping I can steer her towards something reasonable...otherwise she can keep her car and Iíll buy the suv and maybe pick the hybrid highlander so I can save a bit on gas...Iím not sure if there are any other hybrids on my list other than the highlander, mdx and explorer

    Edit: hybrid highlander has a cvt


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    Re: Midsize SUV Shopping/Research

    If you don't need the third row, the new Venza is coming out. I'm waiting for that to make our decision. But our rugrat is learning to drive now so much room is not overly needed.

    I'd avoid anything from Nissan with a CVT. There is a class action lawsuit brewing against them because they are so bad. I have an Armada that has been a great vehicle, but it isn't CVT and does have some downsides like fuel consumption. It is going to the boy to drive.

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    is not wearing pants Point37's Avatar
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    Midsize SUV Shopping/Research

    Quote Originally Posted by Falko View Post
    If you don't need the third row, the new Venza is coming out. I'm waiting for that to make our decision. But our rugrat is learning to drive now so much room is not overly needed.

    I'd avoid anything from Nissan with a CVT. There is a class action lawsuit brewing against them because they are so bad. I have an Armada that has been a great vehicle, but it isn't CVT and does have some downsides like fuel consumption. It is going to the boy to drive.
    Thanks...We would like the 3rd row...but the old venza only had 1000 lbs towing

    Good to know...hopefully my wifes maxima doesnít become an issue


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    Re: Midsize SUV Shopping/Research

    Quote Originally Posted by Point37 View Post

    Good to know...hopefully my wifes maxima doesn’t become an issue


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    Fresh fluid is your friend. A buddy used an Altima as a rideshare car for a few years. Every 50k it would start to act weird when hot. Fresh fluid and it was as good as new. Thing almost made it to 280k before it gave up.

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    is not wearing pants Point37's Avatar
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    Re: Midsize SUV Shopping/Research

    Quote Originally Posted by e30addict View Post
    Fresh fluid is your friend. A buddy used an Altima as a rideshare car for a few years. Every 50k it would start to act weird when hot. Fresh fluid and it was as good as new. Thing almost made it to 280k before it gave up.
    Just checked the mileage in her car...she is at 124k miles...I thought she was under 100k for some reason...never changed the trans fluid in either car


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    Point37s Garage Sale Thread

  24. #24
    BMW track whore e30addict's Avatar
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    Re: Midsize SUV Shopping/Research

    Quote Originally Posted by Point37 View Post
    Just checked the mileage in her car...she is at 124k miles...I thought she was under 100k for some reason...never changed the trans fluid in either car


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
    Rideshare is brutal on transmissions. It's not something I'd consider "lifetime" in any case.

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    2012 Tiger 800 XC

  25. #25
    Awesomeness, Inc. MattR302's Avatar
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    Re: Midsize SUV Shopping/Research

    Yeah from my research, it seems to be that people are unaware that the CVT fluid needs to be changed. My wife’s CVT Altima is at 160k. I did a drain and fill with the cheapo HF transfer pump at around 100k. Will probably do it again soon. The fluid isn’t cheap but it’s cheaper than a tranny rebuild and a drain and fill is easy for a DIY’er.

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    -Matt

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