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I’m 75 years old and live on Vancouver Island so driving is essential, though I don’t drive long distances. Trips to Vancouver would be the longest.

I am driving a 2011 Subaru Forester. I paid $25,000 for it in Calgary and drove it out here in 2011. It’s a basic model. The replacement will likely be my last car, but I want more “luxury:” Leather heated seats, sun roof, mobile phone charger, Bluetooth for phone and music, automatic rear trunk opener, back-up screen, non-black interior details.

I bought an SUV to be higher up off the road as we have an over-population of deer and because I believe an SUV is safer. I could be wrong. My Forester has 86,000 kilometres on it so I’m not a big driver, preferring city driving to the highway. Also, I golf, so room for clubs is essential, and I garden, so am usually hauling dirt and plants, and I have a dog, but a small one.

I live in a condo and there are no EV charging stations, though a hybrid is a possibility as I could install a dedicated outlet.

Budget? Not more than $50,000. – Nancy

2022 Subaru ForesterHandout

Petrina Gentile: First off, Nancy, at 75, you deserve to own a luxury vehicle. I’m impressed you want all the bells and whistles like leather seats, a power liftgate and the latest technology, including phone connectivity and wireless charging.

Mark Richardson: And if Nancy has a budget of up to $50,000, she can afford all those things on a new, fully loaded Forester. Its top trim level comes out at $48,000 after all the taxes. She seems to love her Subaru, so why change it except to upgrade?

Gentile: You think she’s a Subaru salesperson, wanting to promote the car? It does seem the clear choice.

Richardson: Maybe. We’ve had that before. So let’s agree the new Forester is her best choice, but if she wants to get away from Subaru, what are the alternatives?

Gentile: I’m thinking more upscale than a Subaru, like a Lexus UX 250h all-wheel drive – the small luxury crossover. It’s stylish, upscale and filled with technology, including a conventional hybrid so Nancy doesn’t even have to plug it in. And the hybrid with all-wheel drive starts at $40,750.

2023 Lexus UXSEBASTIEN MAUROY/Handout

Richardson: That works out to about the same as the loaded Forester for Nancy to drive it away, after the taxes and all the other charges. It’s well equipped at that level, but doesn’t have a powered rear door. If she wants that, she has to spend another $5,300 on a package that includes Navigation and a heads-up display.

Gentile: I hate those bundled packages. They’re so expensive and often there is only one item you want out of the four or five listed. It’s a cash grab. Nancy, skip the powered rear door – it’s not worth the added price.

Richardson: It might be important for her as she is thinking of this as her last car. How about the Cadillac XT4? She’ll need to upgrade to the Premium Luxury trim for the powered rear door, and that will come out around $50,000 after taxes. A sun roof will put it over the top, but I think it’s an ideal size for her.

2019 Cadillac XT4 SportCadillac

Gentile: It is. It’s also very spacious in the cabin and cargo area, which she needs. But I find some of the controls, like the multimedia knob and infotainment system, while attractive, are confusing to use. Wouldn’t you agree?

Richardson: I didn’t have a problem with them. There’s so much possible with vehicles these days that most people only use a fraction of their potential. Any Cadillac dealer would be happy to show Nancy what she needs to know to get what she wants from her car. It’s part of the premium experience.

Gentile: We can’t talk about Cadillac without mentioning Lincoln. I think Nancy would love the ride and handling of a Corsair. It’s so comfortable and quiet – it feels like you’re driving on your living room sofa.

2022 Mazda CX-5Handout

Richardson: I really like the new Lincolns. They call their vehicles “sanctuaries” and they really do seem to calm you down on the road. I think the Corsair is too expensive, though. It’s a size up from the XT4 and will ring in at about $55,000. So how about forgetting the premium brands and considering a Mazda CX-5? The better trim levels have a premium feel to them.

Gentile: True, the CX-5 GT trim has all the features she wants – power liftgate, moonroof, wireless charging, leather trim – for about $41,000 plus taxes, but it’s not a “luxury” vehicle.

Richardson: Different people have different ideas for what constitutes luxury. The CX-5 GT ticks every one of Nancy’s boxes.

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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