I am a senior and currently drive a 15-year-old Audi A4. I am looking for a luxury-brand SUV, preferably something about the same size or smaller than my current vehicle. I don’t need a lot of cargo space but prefer something that will fit a set of golf clubs and push cart without having to drop down the rear seating. All-wheel drive is a must.
Gentile: It sounds like Doug knows what he wants when it comes to an SUV – small, luxurious and AWD. That’s a growing segment nowadays.
Richardson: “Premium compact SUV” is the fastest growing segment in the Canadian industry right now, and it’s especially popular with seniors. I wish Doug had given us a budget, though. You can spend a lot of money very quickly on these vehicles.
Gentile: It’s true, especially once you add the options. I always hate when manufacturers bundle many features together and make you pay a flat rate for them, because often you may only want one or two of the items.
Richardson: And then they let you know that the difference in cost is just the price of “a coffee a day.” Well, those cups of coffee add up, you know, when you’re committed for every single day over the next six or even eight years.
Gentile: So assuming Doug’s not thinking about a Rolls-Royce Cullinan or a Lamborghini Urus, what do you think?
Richardson: The Audi Q5 or even Q3 is the logical starting point. He probably already has a good relationship with his dealer, and the controls will be familiar. He can fit a full set of clubs sideways across the rear cargo area of the Q3 or throw them in any which way in the larger Q5.
Gentile: Sure it’s a logical starting point, but Doug has owned an Audi A4 for 15 years; maybe it’s time for a change. Maybe it’s time to think about another German luxury manufacturer - maybe a Benz or Bimmer to change things up?
Richardson: These days, I think it’s a given that if you’re considering one of those three German premium brands, you’re going to visit each of the three showrooms as a matter of course, unless you’ve heard something awful about one of them from your neighbour. Their vehicles don’t really stand out from each other – same pricing, same features, same reliability. It’s how well you like the looks and feel that sells it.
Gentile: Exactly. It’s all about personal taste. But it’s definitely worth it for Doug to check out the BMW X3 and cross-shop it against the Mercedes-Benz GLC. They’re about the same size and shape, but the ride and handling differentiates them. The Mercedes is a softer ride; the BMW is sportier and more engaging to drive. Wouldn’t you agree?
Richardson: Nah – it’s all about the electronic drive modes. All these vehicles can be set with the touch of a button to a “regular” feel or bumped up to Sport or Sport Plus, or down to Economical. They can be whatever you want them to be.
Gentile: Sure, you can adjust the drive modes, but even in the Sport Plus mode, I find the BMW X3′s steering tighter than the Mercedes GLC in that mode.
Richardson: If you say so. But I think the GLC’s Sport mode will be quite enough for Doug.
Gentile: Well, if you’re so quick to diss the Germans as all the same, what do you think is out there that’s any different?
Richardson: The Cadillac XT4 and Lincoln Corsair, right off the top. The Volvo XC40 as well, and the Lexus UX. Maybe even the Jaguar E-Pace. They all bring a different style to luxury compact SUVs, and they’re better value.
Gentile: There are a lot of choices, but one of my favourites on your list is from Lexus. The UX is luxurious with pleasant road manners, and the cargo area is large enough to hold a set of golf clubs. And you can get it with a hybrid powertrain and all-wheel drive. Everything on Doug’s wish list.
Richardson: It’s not really an SUV though, is it? It’s a crossover, and Doug might prefer something taller that’s easier to get into and out of.
Gentile: I’m 5-foot-6, and I didn’t have any issues getting into it. I love the egress/ingress – it’s the ideal position to slide into the front seats without any discomfort. But you’re taller; what do you suggest?
Richardson: I was impressed with the Corsair when I drove it recently. It’s the smallest of the four Lincoln SUVs, but it’s quiet and relaxed, and it was a bit of a sanctuary. I’m in my fifties now, but give me another 10 or 20 years, and I think I’ll really appreciate that dose of sanity on the road.
Gentile: Corsair wouldn’t be on the top of my list for Doug. Sure, it’s a bit of a sanctuary inside, but there’s no excitement in driving it. Maybe when I’m 80.
Richardson: Doug did say that he’s a senior. He’s not looking to impress young pups like you. Most older people would happily trade excitement for comfort and relaxation.
Gentile: You would know. Doug would probably like the space, comfort and safety features in the Volvo XC40. That would meet all of his needs, too.
Richardson: The XC40 is a lovely vehicle. If there’s a Volvo dealer near where Doug lives, he should take one for a test drive. He may or may not appreciate all the touch-screen controls. They’re designed for easier voice activation, but they’re not what older drivers are used to.
Gentile: Even younger drivers; I had difficulty with some of the technology, too. My top pick for Doug is the Lexus UX.
Richardson: And I’ll urge him to test drive the Lincoln Corsair. It’ll be a bit of sanity out there in the traffic.
What car should you buy? Write to Mark and Petrina at firstname.lastname@example.org and use ‘What car’ as as part of your subject line. Emails with different subject lines may not be answered.
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