Do what I did and make a big 'ol spreadsheet. List some of the hard-specs (ie, length, width, height, turning radius, mpg, etc.)
Then make a section for your "must-have" features.
Make a section for the "nice to have" features.
Make another one for the "misc" (ie: It's there, but you could take it or leave it).
Rank/score the items according to *your* preferences.
Take lots of tests drives (not just one). I'd also suggest sitting in the car for 30-45 minutes (even if in the dealer parking lot) playing with the console/instrument panel. That'll also see how well your butt and back like the seat for "longer" periods.
I took a sound meter with me for measuring quietness. Mainly because I can't remember that well and unless you can get one back-back for test drives, it's the only way to have concrete proof as to which vehicle is more quiet, and if so, by how much. I strongly suggest taking the same route for the test drives for an apples-apples comparison.
Yeah, lots of work, but if you're like me, it's my hard-earned money and I wasn't about to spend $40k on a vehicle on a "gut" reaction and regret it.
For *me*, the CX-5 is too short (shorter than the SFS), so that's why I ruled it out. But again, I was looking for a very specific size range.
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