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The Genesis GV70. Genesis has tried to carve out a premium, luxury identity.Mark Richardson/The Globe and Mail

My wife and I are considering condensing our two-car fleet down to one after moving to the inner city 10 years ago. We walk to work and usually drive about 12,000 to 15,000 kilometres annually between two vehicles.

Our 20-year-old Honda CR-V (which we bought vowing to drive into the ground) serves as a weekend errand-runner, but is on its last legs. Our 2010 Mercedes E350 has become the two or three times a year road-trip car for when we visit family in Saskatoon, which is six hours away. We rarely drive it more than 5,000 kilometres a year now.

We would like to sell both vehicles and buy a luxury SUV. We are resistant to a full EV, but would consider a hybrid or plug-in hybrid. Mercedes GLC and Mazda CX-50 (not luxury I know) are on the radar, but I’m wondering if we are overlooking something, or if we’d be better served sending the Honda to the boneyard and driving the E350 until new options come on the market in the next few years. Joel

Mark Richardson: Well, the best advice these days is almost always to keep what you have until the market loosens up, but I’m driving the Mazda CX-50 this week and I can’t recommend it highly enough. I took my mother-in-law on the two-hour drive to Kingston in freezing rain, and the car was terrific. Pirelli winter tires made all the difference of course, but she commented on the comfort of the drive.

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The Mazda CX-50 is comfortable with nice road manners, and it has an unexpected premium feel inside.Emily Atkins/The Globe and Mail

Petrina Gentile: I recently drove the CX-50, too, and loved it. It’s comfortable with nice road manners, and it has an unexpected premium feel inside.

Richardson: I was impressed with the wipers, which shoot fluid from beside the blades and really did keep the windshield clear. It’s already on Joel’s radar though, so I’m guessing he’s looked into it. He should keep it on the list – especially the more expensive edition with the turbocharged engine, which won’t feel strained on those six-hour road trips.

Gentile: The Mercedes-Benz GLC is also on his radar. That’s a good choice, too – it has nice, clean lines, an upscale cabin and well-balanced road manners. But I prefer the Genesis GV70, which might not be on Joel’s radar. What do you think?

Richardson: We recommend Genesis a lot because it’s a well-built and well-designed luxury brand that’s good value for money. It works hard to distance itself from Hyundai, its parent company.

Gentile: Genesis isn’t going to like that comment about Hyundai or the fact you said it’s “good value for money.” Even though both statements are true, Genesis does try hard to carve out a premium, luxury identity rather than the value proposition often associated with Hyundai.

Richardson: Time will tell if it keeps a better residual value than the German competition, but the resale values on those European vehicles can’t be much worse. If Joel wants new, though, to benefit from a warranty, the BMW SUVs are all made in the U.S., and they’re available as plug-in hybrid electric vehicles.

Gentile: A BMW X3 PHEV might be a good way to go. It doesn’t have a long range on electric power alone, but most PHEVs don’t. It’s luxurious and has a respectable starting price at less than $55,000.

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The BMW X3 is luxurious and has a respectable starting price at less than $55,000.Uwe Fischer/Handout

Richardson: My concern is we don’t know Joel’s age. I’m sometimes hesitant to recommend German vehicles to senior drivers who aren’t used to them because they offer so much. There’s a reason why BMW dealerships employ “genius” advisers to spend an hour talking buyers through the many features of their new cars.

Gentile: He has a 20-year-old CR-V. Chances are he’s older than 40. He’d be fine with an X3. But I’ll entertain your concerns. What would you recommend instead?

RIchardson: Don’t get me wrong – there are many senior drivers who embrace and thrive on the sophisticated features and options of complicated cars. Joel may not even be a senior. I just have a concern that many of the expensive options that get chosen by buyers in the showrooms end up never being used. I’d recommend Joel be realistic when it comes to choosing the options for any BMW, Mercedes or Audi.

Gentile: You’re overthinking it. And you dodged my question. What would you recommend for Joel instead?

Richardson: I didn’t dodge it – I built up to it. I would recommend the Lexus NX. Joel has an option of the conventional engine or the hybrid engine or even a plug-in hybrid. It gives that luxury feel that goes above the rock-solid Toyota RAV4 it’s based upon. It’s reliable, comfortable, enjoyable to drive and it’s built in Canada.

Gentile: That’s a good suggestion. But keep in mind, the Lexus NX isn’t as engaging to drive as some competitors like the Genesis GV70. But it’s solid, smooth and luxurious inside.

Richardson: The base NX 250 and NX 350 hybrid are relatively dull and dependable, but the turbocharged NX 350, with 275 horsepower, is far more engaging, if Joel values that. The 304-horsepower NX 450h PHEV is even more so, though it’s the sole NX that’s built in Japan. There’s less of a wait for delivery of the plug-in Lexus compared to its RAV4 Prime stablemate, too.

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The Lexus NX isn’t as engaging to drive as some competitors, but it’s solid, smooth and luxurious inside.The Globe and Mail

Gentile: But there’s still a wait. So what’s your final pick for Joel?

Richardson: There’s a wait for everything, but less of a wait for BMWs. In a perfect world, I’d recommend the Lexus, then the Genesis, then the BMW, but Joel should visit those local dealerships and decide which brand can deliver best for him. And if he wants to spend less money, the Mazda CX-50 is the smart choice.

Gentile: Out of those options, my pick is the Genesis GV70, hands-down.

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

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