I’m taking a serious look at small SUVs to replace my Passat, which is getting rusty and leaky. This is about practical car shopping, not fun car shopping, and I want your help.

Calm down, this one is not on my list...

Our requirements are pretty simple:

  • A flat, simple rear bench that seats 3 comfortably and as equally as possible
  • All-wheel drive that really works
  • Shorter than the Passat wagon (188") and with a better turning circle (35.8')
  • 2016 or newer
  • Under $20k (Canadian dollars, please)

If parking wasn’t such an issue here, we’d just go buy the nicest Toyota Sienna we could afford and be done with it. The kids want a minivan, and I agree that they’re supremely practical. Unfortunately, that would be too much trouble on a daily basis. I’d also like to import a Mitsubishi Delica or other JDM minivan in RHD but they’re not street-legal here.

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Cute but forbidden.

So, I’m looking at the following:

  • Toyota RAV4
  • Honda CR-V
  • Mazda CX-5
  • Subaru Crosstrek
  • Added: Nissan Rogue
  • Added: Kia Sportage
  • Added: Acura RDX
SO MUCH “MEH”, but reliable.

Ideally, I’d splurge on a proper SUV like an LR4 HSE with the third row and the fancy sound system and the reliability... but I don’t want to end up poor, and I’m too tired to fake it ‘til I make it.

* insert drooling sounds here *

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What else should I be looking at? Maybe I’m doing something wrong, and you can enlighten me?