Mon, 05 Oct 2009

Car Shopping, Continued

As Rus and Justin suggested, Christine and I checked out the BMW X5 and the Subaru Tribeca (still on our list, a stop to check out the Mercedes M class) this past weekend.

I wasn't particularly impressed with the BMW. The biggest downside was the molding of the rear of the front seatback. It's molded strategically to give about two inches of extra legroom, but the way the shoulder of the seat is molded, in a scalloped fashion, robs the rear of two inches of seat space. Meaning that when a rear-facing carseat is installed, it's as if there were no room there at all.

And, both Christine and I were expecting to find the Subaru to be cheap, plasticky, and quickly eliminate it like we did the Mazda CX-9. But we both found that Justin's description was spot-on. The second row seat is on rails that allows that row to push into 3rd row seat territory. This feature alone gives the car the same legroom (subjectively) as the Highlander, for substantially less, and in a smaller vehicle. Interior fit and finish had its quirks, but nothing objectionable that made us want to scratch it off the list.

It bears mentioning that we haven't driven any of the cars except the Highlander (it's the only venue where we had the time), and even then it was me doing the driving on the roads while Christine took it for a 5 minute spin in the parking lot.

So far all our research has been doing is including or excluding on tactile, instant gut reactions. The "can you see yourself in this car" sense, the "does it feel right" factor, and "are we physically comfortable/does it have enough space" concerns.

Next weekend we'll try to schedule some back-to-back test drives of the Highlander, RX 350, MDX, Tribeca and may even squeeze in the Cayenne and X5 (so far, lowest on the practicality equation, but highest in perceived sportiness).

Name/Blog: Rus Berrett
Title: X5 and resale value
Comment/Excerpt: You mentioned in your previous post that resale value is a consideration. I'm pretty sure I read somewhere that the X5 has the best resale value in its class. It used to be the ML resale value was top of its class, but MB released the R class and then the GL class which cannibalized the ML sales (and re-sales). To wit, my wife wants to replace the ML with a GL. Why? Because it seats 7! And how often do we need to seat 7? Maybe once or twice a year. Not a compelling reason for the extra cost and much lower mpg (IMHO), but there is no reasonsing with wives sometimes. *wink* Enjoy your test rides. cheers. --rus.

Khan Klatt

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