Edit: Disclaimer - I will have two small children (both under 3) in car seats in October so whatever I have to pick up has to handle family road trips including strollers which some how take up gigantic amounts of space.

Started at the Mazda dealer where I drove one of these as it is about the size of my JSW TDI and it was very much a drivers SUV (is that a thing?).

2016.5 CX-5 Touring

Then I noticed they had one of these in the lot as a CPO and I was really impressed.

2012 CX-9

I know they won’t have this one when October 18th comes but I’m definitely keeping an eye out for these as the dealership says they get most of their lease turn ins during the fall and most are the top trim.

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The one I drove today was the same color as the one above. It was a 2012 Grand Touring AWD with about 30k on it and it would have been cheaper to drive off the lot than a new CX-5.

On a related note the new CX-9 Limited is sweet and way way out of my price range.

Next stop was the Kia dealer to check out Sorrentos and Sportages.

Sorrento

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Holy D pillar Batman, it wasn’t terrible but was very meh for the price point. All the CPOs they had were the lower trims so they weren’t pricey just meh and not inspiring.

Now onto the Hyundai dealer to see if the Santa Fe Sport is any better than its Kia cousin (news flash: it is not).

Santa Fe Sport

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Some how the D pillar is different and just as terrible. I drove the 2.4 not the 2.0T so no idea how they compare to each other. The interior felt nicer than the KIA but given the trim I am looking at not super amazing.

The Tuscon wasn’t bad but is smaller than my JSW, I can’t deal with the new Sportage grill so I didn’t drive it.

Last stop the Subaru dealer.

Forester

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2017 Forester Premium with 5 miles on it. It felt like my JSW just lifted and I was surprised that I didn’t hate the CVT. I suspect that is because they have it programmed to feel more like like a regular speed gearbox instead of just mash on the gas and the revs just kinda go up, but the last CVT I drove was an early 2000s Saturn. I know Subaru lags on interiors but this was something I could not live with as it made my JSW look downright posh.

TL;DR Test drove a bunch of stuff and I will be buying a Mazda when VW hands me my check, unless they pay me to drive a GSW or hand me the keys to a new Allroad.