After much help from fellow Oppos about the process of totaling a car and then working with the insurance company on a settlement, we’ve finally settled and have found a replacement for her poor 2012 Rogue.

Needless to say, the insurance company didn’t budge on their settlement offer, despite much complaining from me and getting the agency involved as well. Whatever - like I said, their initial offer wasn’t terrible, but after a bit of research on comparable cars, I thought it was a little undervalued. I thought the whole claim was handled rather poorly, so we’ll be taking our business (house, two cars and personal property policies) elsewhere once this is all buttoned up.

Having a short timetable to buy a car kinda sucks. I’ve usually taken my time in the past because I haven’t been under the gun like this. Not to mention having an unwilling participant in my wife, who was feeling a little sorry for herself about being in this situation to begin with.

Last Friday we both had to burn a vacation day to go out and test drive all the AWD CUVs - Nissan Murano SV, Subaru Outback 2.5i Limited, Mazda CX-5 Touring, Ford Edge Titanium, Hyundai Santa Fe Sport 2.oT and Kia Sorento EX V6.

The Murano was surprisingly nice and the CVT didn’t bother me nearly as much when attached to the big, torquey VQ. Nice ride, amazing seats, quiet and tons of features. The Outback was nice, but didn’t feel quite as well built as the Murano and suffered from a lot of wind noise from the mirrors at speed. Sadly (for me), we nixed it from the list. The CX-5 was up next and while I loved it and it drove spectacularly, my wife nixed it because of cargo space, saying she wanted something bigger than her old Rogue.


When the dealer pulled the Edge around it was really very attractive. It was finished in this beautiful blue paint, almost like Subaru’s WR Blue. I guess it was just Deep Impact Blue, but it really popped in the sun. The interior was especially nice with all the bells and whistles. However, it just didn’t drive very well. We both came away with the term “clunky” which I suppose isn’t surprising given the previous candidate was the excellent CX-5. I suppose it also didn’t help that the taillights were full of condensation like on an old BRZ.

Next up were the Korean cousins - the Santa Fe Sport 2.0T and the Kia Sorento. The Santa Fe Sport 2.0T was extremely nice - of course, part of that was to due with the fact that the dealer’s demo was in an Ultimate trim, which had all the bells and whistles. The 2.0T was strong and full of torque - I read somewhere that it hits peak torque as early as 1450rpms, which makes it feel great just bumming around town. Certainly not fast or anything like that, but it doesn’t struggle to move at all. Surprisingly nice ride and very quiet. I wasn’t a huge fan of the seats, but my wife seemed to like them.


Last stop was the Kia dealership - the only Sorento EX V6 they had in stock was FWD. The salesman assured us it would drive the same, so we took it out and it’s a very nice rig. With the V6 it has three rows, though the last one would be a pinch for anyone over the age of 8. With the third row down, it has tons of cargo space. The EX comes with a number of options as standard and this one had a package with some nice additional kit, which was all wifey-approved.

We went home that night and each independently ranked our favorites, then compared. We both listed the Sorento first, I had the CX5 second and she had the Santa Fe in that spot, so we fortunately had agreement without debate (those of you who are married will know how beneficial that is!).


I started digging on AutoTrader/Cars/CarGurus and sourced a nice CPO 2016 Sorento EX V6 AWD about 50 miles from us, so the next morning we went to the bank, got a check and headed over. We pull up, meet the salesman I set our appointment with and he had the car detailed and ready to roll. We get in - immediate smell of smoke. Dammit. We hop out without ever taking a ride and I silently curse myself for not asking. He assures us it can be taken out, but I tell him that it’ll never go completely away, and tell him that we have to regretfully pass. Problem was - that was my only option. These things are mostly FWD, at least in the South.

My wife hits up AutoTrader/Cars/CarGurus as I drive us back home. We stop at the Kia dealer in our town, they only had a new (2018) one and couldn’t get it where we wanted on price. Next stop was a used one a town over, but it was a base EX and only FWD, but the price was good, so we kept it in our minds. Last option as darkness was falling was a 2017 EX V6 that was better equipped but still FWD. We liked it and decided to try and work out numbers. Dealer refused to budge on price, their dealer-installed items (VIN etching, paint protection, all the usual garbage). I gave them the price I wanted to pay, they shook my hand and basically said “see ya.”


Defeated, we went home. Back at the house, I get back on AutoTrader/Cars/CarGurus and have a small realization - the V6 isn’t the only option on the EX trim (I had been sorting by it on a filter). The wonderful 2.0T like in the Santa Fe Sport 2.0T was an optional engine. I remove my filter and expand my search radius, finding a well-priced example about 300 miles away. I called them up yesterday, talked numbers and made a deposit. 2017 model, 2.0T engine, AWD and the equipment package we wanted (blind spot, rear cross traffic, power liftgate and some other stuff). Remington red over stone beige. I could’ve gotten a better deal if I had time on my side, but all things considered, I think we did okay, and we’ll make the trek to get it Friday-Saturday.

TL;DR - tested a lot of CUVs, decided on the Sorento. Got skunked locally, so I found one about 300 miles away, and we pick it up this weekend.