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car review

2021 Ford Mustang Mach-E.Jeremy Au Yeung/The Globe and Mail

I am a 75-year-old who loves cars and used to drive sports cars – an MGB, a Triumph TR6, and several BMWs and Audis. I am also an artist and occasionally have to carry fairly large framed pieces in the back.

I bought a loaded 2020 Hyundai Santa Fe at the start of the pandemic and it is a nice and practical SUV, but I am getting bored and miss the excitement of a more stimulating vehicle. I do keep a 2005 Audi S4 Cabriolet in my garage but it is getting a bit long in the tooth (as am I!). At one point I even thought of buying a used Dodge Caravan to carry my art and also get a “fun” car.

Electric is probably out at the moment (rural area, no chargers). And finally, although I am not a reckless driver, I like good acceleration and a bit of exclusivity. My budget would be in the $75,000 range. I realize this is not an easy fix, but any ideas? – Steve, Campbellcroft, Ont.

Mark Richardson: Actually, I’m going to go out on a limb here and say that electric is most definitely NOT out of the question. Steve can probably have a charger installed easily at his rural home and his budget will buy some nice vehicles.

Petrina Gentile: Forget about electric. He’s 75 and in a rural area. If he’s picking up artwork, he doesn’t want to deal with public chargers and waiting hours to charge on a Level 2 charger because the DC fast-chargers are few and far between in rural spots. Good old-fashioned gas is the way to go.

Richardson: Campbellcroft is about 30 kilometres from my home in Cobourg, Ont. and there are plenty of public chargers along the nearby Highway 401. If he plugs in at home, he won’t even need a public charger – Toronto is a close enough round trip for most longer-range EVs. Electric cars offer such astonishing acceleration that they shouldn’t be dismissed for him so casually.

Gentile: That’s if the charger is working. But I’ll entertain your idea – what are you thinking?

2022 Porsche Macan.Matt Bubbers/The Globe and Mail

Richardson: The new Ford Mustang Mach-E. It’s a crossover and not really a Mustang, but it’s terrific to drive and probably spacious enough to suit his needs well. He should at least test-drive one.

Gentile: Well, it’s in his price range. The 2023 model starts at $56,995 – the 2022 model was $51,495, but they’re all spoken for. But I still think he’s better off with a gas-powered vehicle. He doesn’t need the hassle of charging at a public station and the frustration of downloading a different app to access the charger and pay for charging. Not to mention, if it’s a slow charger, it’ll take him hours.

Richardson: Okay, I’ll move on, but Steve, don’t dismiss the Mustang Mach-E, even though it has poorer range in the winter because it doesn’t have a heat pump. There’s a $5,000 federal rebate available and you may never need a public charger if you install one at home. Give one a test drive, I think you’ll be surprised.

Gentile: So, for gas models, where do we start?

Richardson: I like his idea of buying an older van for carrying big items, then sell the 2005 S4 and get a vehicle he can really enjoy in all weather. I’d suggest a Genesis G70, but he needs to live within 50 kilometres of a Genesis dealer to get the free collection and delivery every time it needs maintenance, and he’s too far away.

Gentile: I’d skip the older minivan. He can lug plenty of stuff in a sporty SUV. I like the idea of a Genesis GV70 SUV, but you’re right – he’s too far from a dealer for that extra benefit. I’m thinking a Porsche Macan. It’s in his price range, there’s room in the trunk for framed art, and it’s fun to drive.

2023 Volvo V60 Recharge T8.Handout

Richardson: It also has that bit of exclusivity Steve’s looking for. His $75,000 will only buy the base models with their 6-plus-second acceleration to 100 kilometres an hour though, after taxes and other charges.

Gentile: I think that’s good enough for Steve. But let’s give him some other options. What else is on your radar?

Richardson: The commenters on this column will surely recommend the Tesla Model 3, but I’ll dismiss that now as not being exclusive enough – which is a good problem for Tesla. Instead, how about a Volvo V60? Volvos are lovely cars, they drive well, and they’re safe and solid. It’s in his budget, starting at $59,950, and he may never need to replace it.

Gentile: The Volvo V60 is a nice, safe, practical vehicle, but let’s face it, Mark, it’s not exactly fun or spirited to drive. Compared to the competition, like the GV70 or the Macan, it’s rather dull in ride and handling. Steve is used to driving Audis and BMWs – I don’t think he’d like the road manners of a Volvo.

2022 Acura MDX Type S.Handout

Richardson: The Volvo handles beautifully and it’s quick, but yes, it’s not really a performance car. I’d like to recommend the new Acura MDX Type S as a performance SUV with some space in it, but it has a price of $79,000, which means about $90,000 out the door. Frankly, I prefer the idea of two vehicles – one bigger one for hauling art and the other quicker one for hauling Steve.

Gentile: I don’t. But I’ll humour you – if he went that route, what would you recommend?

Richardson: Easy. Eight-year-old minivan and a Mustang Mach-E, or at least a sporty coupe. The best of all worlds. I don’t think Steve should be compromising the size and capacity of his sporty vehicle just because he “occasionally” needs to carry some larger items.

Gentile: I think Steve should buy a Porsche Macan and hang on to his Audi S4 convertible for extra fun in the summertime.

What car should you buy? Write to Mark and Petrina at globedrive@globeandmail.com and use ‘What car’ as part of your subject line. Emails with different subject lines may not be answered.

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