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MTechnically (Forum Supporter)
MTechnically (Forum Supporter) Reader
4/21/20 1:52 p.m.

 

So, it seems like I might have a buyer for my E39 M5. Instead of mourning its loss I’d rather focus on the future and figure out what I should get as a replacement. Please bear with me, I’m trying to make sure that the next car meets my needs a little better than my last two choices. Prior to the M5, I had a MK7 GTI w/DSG. It was a good little commuter, but it was cramped with only one little one. My wife is just over five feet tall and was pretty squished against the dash with a rear facing seat behind her, and it was a complete no go for me. I’ll admit that I also didn’t find the GTI to be all that compelling to drive. It was almost too composed and capable, if that makes sense, to the point of being pretty mundane unless you were doing things that were pretty silly for the public roads.

 

Then came the E39 M5. With the news of our second on the way, I figured I needed something a little bigger. I started looking at 530/540 variant E39’s, but rationality pushed me towards something like a Lexus GS350. Last minute I got cold feet, or had a quarter life crisis, and ended up with the M5. In my defense, it was one of my dream cars and it looked like they were about to be out of range for me to realistically own. I really liked the car. It met all of my needs, except for one. It was not really a suitable daily driver at this age and the amount of time I can commit to keeping up with maintenance. So, the M5 had to go. 

 

 

I’ll admit that my initial plan had me looking at LX470’s, because I have ideas of going camping, overlanding and off the beaten path with my family and friends. But reality sets in fast and even though Land Cruisers are notoriously reliable the newest 470’s are thirteen to fourteen years old and all of them have a good number of miles piled on to them. They also get abysmal MPG’s and while gas might be uber cheap at the moment, I don’t think that will be the case long term. The biggest knock against them is the reality that I live in the Chicago burbs and anything well and truly off the beaten path is many hundreds of miles away. Realistically, I’m not doing any big trips for the next few years, so it would be silly to get a LC/LX right now.

 

A similar train of thought comes to trucks. There is a part of me that would like a truck. As any good homeowner will rationalize, I could use a truck for projects around the house, and having the ability to tow a trailer or toss dirty stuff in a bed would be really nice for car related projects. But we have a Kia Sedona that can handle the majority of the Home Depot runs, and I’d probably only use a truck for truck stuff a few times a year at most. I'd be better served with a beater truck than daily driving a nicer one and eating the extra costs.

 

What does that leave me with? Well, my mind immediately jumps to wagons.  I’d like it to be around three to five years old, less than $25K, something that is still decent to drive, will be reliable for the next five years, fits the kids and some stuff, and a bonus if it can tow a decent amount. The sweet spot seems to be in the 2014-16 range. I’ve been looking at the usual suspects: Golf/Jetta Sportwagon (Alltrack), Subaru Outback, Audi A4/6 Avants, W212 E350 wagons, F31 328i/d, Volvo V60/XC70.

 

I think I would rule the VW’s right away since they have the same footprint as my GTI, and that was too small. From what I’ve seen, I don’t mind the Outback in it’s higher trimmed 3.6R guise. I doubt it will be dynamically interesting, but it’s likely to be the most reliable of the bunch and can be had for a few thousand cheaper than the other cars in my list. It’s a little light on towing capacity, 2700lbs, which isn’t a deal breaker but it is something to consider. The W212 is an interesting option. Almost certainly the most refined of the bunch. I’ve not heard many bad things about this generation in terms of reliability. Probably a step down dynamically to the BMW, and as the car gets older, there is less support for these cars on the DIY side. I like that these cars still have the rear facing third row, which gives me strong Buick Roadmaster wagon memories. Apparently in Europe, they also rate them to tow up to 4600lbs. I don’t think I would test that, but it’s nice to know that I could put a decent amount of weight behind it. The F31, especially with the diesel, has me interested as well. I like the increased reliability that the diesel brings, and the epic range is nothing to scoff at either. Steering feel is notoriously panned in this generation, but they still seem to get good marks on handling. I definitely prefer the exterior styling of the BMW over the Mercedes. Again, BMW doesn’t make a habit of tow rating their sedans for the US, but it seems like the 328d would be good for 4000lbs. Not that I’m going to be pulling horse trailers over mountains, but again it’s nice that I could feasibly tow my 2002 on an open trailer if necessary. Modern Volvos are a big question mark for me. I love the styling of their latest stuff, but I don’t think it’s old enough to be within my price range. An XC70 seems to be the choice that would compete with the others on my list. I’ve heard mixed things about their reliability, I would expect it to be more refined than the Outback, but pretty close when it comes to dynamics. Like I said, I don’t know much about them, is there a sweet spot choice for them?

 

So what have I missed? Any insights from the hive on any of the stuff I’ve mentioned?

KyAllroad (Jeremy) (Forum Supporter)
KyAllroad (Jeremy) (Forum Supporter) UltimaDork
4/21/20 2:14 p.m.

While the kids are little now, they are growing fast and will be school age before you know it.  Most all kid hauling road trippers will agree that the Grand Caravan is the tool for the job.  I tow more than that so Suburban was the answer for me.

Go big, the kids will appreciate the space.

MTechnically (Forum Supporter)
MTechnically (Forum Supporter) Reader
4/21/20 2:19 p.m.

In reply to KyAllroad (Jeremy) (Forum Supporter) :

The issue I have with the maximum progeny transporter is that I already have one. My wife drives a 2018 Kia Sedona. I do drop off my daughter at daycare, but I don't think I need to maximize my kid carrying capabilities with this purchase that much. I feel like a wagon is sensible while still being a little more enjoyable to drive.

mr2s2000elise
mr2s2000elise Dork
4/21/20 2:21 p.m.

Also started with one kid. Lexus CT200h dual stroller in back and then 2012 Mazdaspeed3 hatchback. CT200h was too slow. MS3 was crap quality.

 My wife same height as your wife. Driving dynamics and reliability important to me. 

2014 TSX Wagon, what we bought. Fantastic for family of 4. Excellent quality. Gimpomatic - but life isn't perfect. Short of a AMG Wagon/Jag Wagon/CTS-V Wagon, nothing in US wagons really speak to me. So TSX was the best compromise for us, as a family.

600miles easily on long road trips to Glacier National Park. Comfy. 

 Worlds better quality wise from Subaru. (ex Subaru Outback and Subaru Justy owner, and 2016 WRX owner)

 

Good luck.

 

KyAllroad (Jeremy) (Forum Supporter)
KyAllroad (Jeremy) (Forum Supporter) UltimaDork
4/21/20 2:26 p.m.

In reply to MTechnically (Forum Supporter) :

Fair enough.  My Suburban sits a good deal of the time anyway.  My DD is a VR6 Passat Wagon.  AWD, good power, big rear seats, wicked sound, fantastic brakes, comfortable for long trips.  It's the car I've owned longer than any other car in my life (8 years now).

MTechnically (Forum Supporter)
MTechnically (Forum Supporter) Reader
4/21/20 2:27 p.m.

In reply to mr2s2000elise :

TSX wagons are hard to find around here. I had originally planned to broaden my search, but with the COVID stuff I have to keep it pretty local.

mr2s2000elise
mr2s2000elise Dork
4/21/20 2:29 p.m.
MTechnically (Forum Supporter) said:

In reply to mr2s2000elise :

TSX wagons are hard to find around here. I had originally planned to broaden my search, but with the COVID stuff I have to keep it pretty local.

Bummer.

KyAllroad (Jeremy) (Forum Supporter)
KyAllroad (Jeremy) (Forum Supporter) UltimaDork
4/21/20 2:30 p.m.

I just bought a 2015 Volvo XC70 T6. Obviously I cannot speak to its reliability under my ownership, but it's an amazing wagon that I've put about 300 miles on so far. All of my research has led me to believe that they're pretty sturdy vehicles, especially in T6 guise.  2016 is the last year of the P3 XC70, and the later ones seem to be the best. 

Here's a picture because of course here's a picture:

dxman92
dxman92 HalfDork
4/21/20 2:56 p.m.

How about a Buick Regal TourX? You could probably get a good deal on one. They are really roomy inside. 

MTechnically (Forum Supporter)
MTechnically (Forum Supporter) Reader
4/21/20 2:59 p.m.

In reply to Jordan Rimpela (Forum Unterstützer) :

The T6 XC70 is definitely the sleeper of the bunch that power plant is pretty potent from what I've read. I'm just not all that familiar with Volvos in general, so I didn't know if there was anything to really look out for. How is the XC70 dynamically speaking? I'm not expecting the answer on stilts, but is it enjoyable to drive in a spirited manner?

In reply to MTechnically (Forum Supporter) :

I can tell from driving on some twisty roads that there's potential here. It's absolutely softly sprung/damped, but it's no slouch. Bilstein B6s are a common upgrade, as is the iPD 25mm rear sway bar. Both are on my list. 

parker
parker Reader
4/21/20 4:01 p.m.
MTechnically (Forum Supporter) said:

In reply to KyAllroad (Jeremy) (Forum Supporter) :

The issue I have with the maximum progeny transporter is that I already have one. My wife drives a 2018 Kia Sedona. I do drop off my daughter at daycare, but I don't think I need to maximize my kid carrying capabilities with this purchase that much. I feel like a wagon is sensible while still being a little more enjoyable to drive.

You already have a kid hauler, why do you need two?  Are you both going to be driving a car full of kids at the same time?  Get something you enjoy driving.

 

lnlds
lnlds Reader
4/21/20 4:15 p.m.

Since you already have a minivan you don't need a wagon/hatch. It certainly is nice but honda appliance sedan would do.  You can just go for a manual  2nd gen tsx, if more room with a 9th gen 4-cylinder accord (although these are rare in manual with heated seats).

As sad as it sounds a suv like the CX-5 isn't a bad choice. We haven't test drove a 2nd gen TSX wagon yet, but we test drove a 2016 cx-5. Coming straight out of my wife's 6-speed tsx (koni yellows, tein h.tech springs, and upgraded rear sway bar) I found that the cx-5 was more composed in transitions and felt surprisingly good. Not just good for a SUV but actually good enough that I questioned the TSX.  The 6-speed auto is also excellent in the cx-5.

Part of picking the right tool is also buying the right one for you. I really doubt any subaru product (excluding the brz) would not having me itching to switch to a different car in a couple years.

You can also try looking at a 2014-2015 MDX, can tow, older school honda v6, sh-awd, 6-speed auto over the--mixed reviewed 9-speed, and a bit larger to comfortably fit 2 rear facing seats  a big honking stroller, and all the other baby gear.

MTechnically (Forum Supporter)
MTechnically (Forum Supporter) Reader
4/21/20 4:39 p.m.

In reply to lnlds & parker :

Maybe it's a strange way to look at things, but I do like having the option to use either car comfortably as a family. I know it's not the popular view here, but I loathe minivans and see it as a necessary evil for having two little ones and a penchant for large dogs. For that reason, I'd like to have a car that we can use in all the situations outside of absolutely needing the extra space. So, while I don't need the extra space but I want it so I have the ability to use "my car" that I actually like driving.

We actually had a CX-5, and traded it in for the Sedona. A decent driving CUV, but it was dog slow with the 2.0. 

Generally speaking, CUV's are out, unless they have some feature that would put them well and above the wagon counterparts, they just do not spark any desire in me what so ever.

John Welsh (Forum Supporter)
John Welsh (Forum Supporter) Mod Squad
4/21/20 4:42 p.m.

Buy a 2017 Nissan Armada now for $25k and when it's paid off in 5 years you can wheel it off road. 

It's a budget Land Cruiser. It tows 8600 lbs with its nearly 400 hp 5.6L

 

I have been considering an Armada to replace my '01 Montero Limited. Yeah, for a lot cheaper you could have a 2006 (last year) Montero (another budget Land Cruiser.)

 

I am also considering a Ecoboost Ford Flex for some big power/big space combination. It will be awd but not off road awd. 

John Welsh (Forum Supporter)
John Welsh (Forum Supporter) Mod Squad
4/21/20 4:49 p.m.

If you more crave a big, powerful sedan, look for an Infiniti M56 (later renamed Q70) 

That's 5.6 liters and 420 hp of truck engine in a sleeper and responsible looking sedan. RWD or AWD. 

John Welsh (Forum Supporter)
John Welsh (Forum Supporter) Mod Squad
4/21/20 4:55 p.m.

If you're okay with the initial spend, a Tesla Model 3 would probably scratch your itch for speed and technology 

OHSCrifle
OHSCrifle SuperDork
4/21/20 4:56 p.m.

Love our 2016 Outback in limited trim. It ain't a race car but it's damn comfortable. 

MTechnically (Forum Supporter)
MTechnically (Forum Supporter) Reader
4/21/20 5:03 p.m.

In reply to John Welsh (Forum Supporter) :

Nissan and Infinity are definitely in my blind spot. Never been a fan of their design, but it's hard to argue against the value of the Armada. I think I'm backing away from the big SUV options because I can admit that I won't really use the capability of them 95% of the time.

I'm not trying to validate a specific choice, but I do think that a wagon is what makes the most sense while still being something that I actually want to drive. 

MTechnically (Forum Supporter)
MTechnically (Forum Supporter) Reader
4/21/20 5:06 p.m.

In reply to John Welsh (Forum Supporter) :

I've actually considered the Model 3. But I'm leary about them as well. Things I have seen about build quality really concern me, there aren't many chargers where I live, and I'm not willing to give up a garage space for and installed charger.

MTechnically (Forum Supporter)
MTechnically (Forum Supporter) Reader
4/21/20 5:09 p.m.

In reply to OHSCrifle :

I'm looking into 3.6R Limited Outbacks. Anything else to report on when it comes to ownership? I definitely want to test drive one to see if I would like it enough to hold on to it for awhile.

Dave M (Forum Supporter)
Dave M (Forum Supporter) HalfDork
4/21/20 6:16 p.m.

E Class wagon is amazing. So, so nice.... Not really in the same category as the other cars. If I could afford one I'd own one!

MTechnically (Forum Supporter)
MTechnically (Forum Supporter) Reader
4/21/20 7:29 p.m.

In reply to Dave M (Forum Supporter) :

Yes they seem quite nice from a distance. I just wonder if they are reliable long term, and if they are too far on the isolated side to be much fun. I also think they look better as a wagon than a sedan.

STM317
STM317 UltraDork
4/21/20 8:35 p.m.

As an out of the box option, that budget could probably buy an SRT Magnum with seriously low miles.

There's always the ecoboost Flex too.

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