I own an Audi A7, and I prefer and appreciate a stylish design. My next vehicle has to be higher off the ground for easier entry as I’m aging, but I dislike the typical boxy look of an SUV.
The BMW X4 and Mercedes Benz GLC are starting to look dated. The Lincoln Corsair, when fully loaded, creeps into the upper $60,000s. On the other hand, the Mazda CX-5 (or soon to be CX-50) is probably the best value but lacks the image/brand I want. I’m also wondering if the Genesis GV70 (I prefer the compact version instead of the GV80) or Crossover/Coupe version of the Audi Q5 might be worth the wait for early 2021, when I intend to make the purchase.
Ideally, I would like to spend around $60,000 to $65,000. Any recommendations for a soon-to-be 70-year-old driver? – Tom, Toronto
Richardson: Well, we can tell Tom what we know about vehicles that are coming up, like the rumoured Mazda CX-50, but we can’t actually recommend anything we’ve not driven, right Petrina?
Gentile: You got it, Mark. And Tom needs to keep in mind some very new vehicles might experience delays in deliveries, because many manufacturing plants were closed temporarily due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Richardson: It shouldn’t be too long a wait, but delivery timing isn’t as predictable as usual.
Gentile: At nearly 70, Tom is looking for style and comfort, especially an SUV with a nice ingress/egress so it’s comfortable and easy to slide into the front seats without any issues.
Richardson: While I can’t recommend it, I would expect the Genesis GV70 will be worth considering when it hits showrooms, but that won’t be till sometime next year. Maybe even later in the year.
Gentile: I’ve seen the GV80, Genesis’s first SUV, which is larger than the GV70 and can seat up to seven passengers. It’s stunning in its design and loaded to the nines. I haven’t driven it yet, though.
Richardson: I don’t think anyone has, but it’s too big for Tom, and Genesis won’t even confirm the GV70 exists. I think Tom’s getting a bit ahead of himself here. What can we actually recommend from experience, not from conjecture?
Gentile: I’m actually thinking he should go with a domestic – maybe a Cadillac. The XT4 is luxurious and starts around $35,000, and the seats are as comfortable as sitting on a living-room sofa. Even for the top trim, the price tops out at around $44,000, so after taxes, he’s coming in way below his budget.
Richardson: I would definitely recommend the Cadillac, but it’ll be a quick yes or no from Tom – those angular, wedgy looks are very polarizing, and you either love it or hate it. Underneath it all, though, Cadillac’s come a long way in the last decade.
Gentile: I actually love the design of Cadillacs. If Tom likes technology, he’ll love the infotainment system for the navigation and audio features. Mind you, I know many people aren’t a big fan of the infotainment system because it’s a bit confusing to use and requires multiple steps to perform some functions. Mark, you’re almost in Tom’s age demographic. What do you think of the infotainment system?
Richardson: I’ve got a few more years to go yet, but you’re right behind me! To be honest, I rarely drive any Cadillac for more than a few days at a time, and the infotainment is still a mystery at the end of it. But the Cadillac owners I know like the system and have it all set to recognize their voice commands.
Gentile: I’m not right behind you! But it takes time and patience to set up, and if he goes with a Caddy, I’d recommend getting the salesperson to set up everything before he drives off the lot. It’ll save him a lot of time, energy and frustration. But once it’s up and running, it works well.
Richardson: That’s true for any vehicle from any maker. It’s one of the advantages of buying from a dealer, that they’ll be sure to set up and explain your vehicle to you. And they offer so much these days that most people need an explainer. Too many people drive around without realizing half the stuff their cars can do now.
Gentile: Many people never even use all the safety technology, like the adaptive cruise control, which monitors the distance between your vehicle and the vehicle ahead and automatically applies the brakes or throttle as needed so the driver never needs to touch a pedal. Speaking of vehicles with safety technology, the Volvo XC40 might be another good option for Tom.
Richardson: I think the XC40 is much better looking than the XT4, in a more open, airy way. It’s smarter inside, too. There are even little hooks in the rear cargo space for hanging shopping bags. There are lots of little Swedish touches like that.
Gentile: And if he’s buying next year, he should check out the new Volvo XC40 Recharge plug-in hybrid. Another vehicle Tom should test drive is the often overlooked, Lexus UX. It’s stylish, luxurious, comfortable, and has excellent road manners. It comes in two versions: the base UX200 FWD, which begins at $37,450 plus taxes, and the UX250h (hybrid) all-wheel-drive – that’s definitely the one to get at $40,000-plus.
Richardson: I wasn’t impressed with the UX250h. It was a dull drive and reminded me of a bumped-up Prius. And again, like the Cadillac, it’s very polarizing. You either love that face or you hate it.
Gentile: I love the exterior design on the Cadillac and the Lexus. I especially like the interior layout of the UX – everything is positioned ergonomically, all within the driver’s reach. And it doesn’t feel like a bumped-up Prius. It feels like a Lexus. It’s a nice, plush ride. I think Tom would love it.
Richardson: To each their own. At least the transmission lever on the Lexus is a proper lever and not that horrible little wobble-stick of the Prius. But if Tom shares your rosy view of the sharp-edged Caddy and the big-mouth Lexus, then they have the image and prestige he’s looking for, and they’re right on the money.
Gentile: Tom’s top spend was around $60,000, so these three will be very well equipped and the taxes paid comfortably within his budget.
Richardson: It’s really just a question of whether he likes the looks. But Tom, do yourself a favour – go for the Volvo.
Gentile: And before you sign on the dotted line, take the Lexus UX250h for a spin first.
What car should you buy? Write to Mark and Petrina at email@example.com.
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