Skip to main content
car review

Lexus UXHandout

I am a single senior, no kids, no pets. I am looking for a new SUV, not a crossback. Sitting up high is a priority. I want a small-as-possible footprint as I will normally not have passengers. A comfortable luxurious interior is important to me – I am not looking for “no frills”. My price would up to $75,000. I plan to keep to keep it long term and reliability is important to me. It will be a second vehicle as I have a Mazda MX-5 that I park for the winter. – Linda

Richardson: Luxurious and reliable and a tall seating position. Not too much to ask for, but when you look at the JD Power ratings for reliability, many of the most luxurious brands don’t rank too high.

Gentile: True. But a luxury brand did come out on top of the list if you look at the 2021 JD Power Dependability ratings, which ranks three-year-old vehicles based on responses from real owners with problems ranging from connectivity and infotainment issues to powertrain and design flaws. Lexus was the best brand with the fewest problems.

Richardson: The first vehicle I thought of for Linda was the Lexus UX. I’m not really sure if she’d call it an SUV, but it does seat the driver higher up off the road than a sedan. When she says she doesn’t want a “crossback,” do you think she means a crossover, or a hatchback?

Gentile: I think she means hatchback. If that’s the case, the UX crossover is a good option to start – it’s a nice compact size, easy to park and drive. It has an upscale interior and it comes with a hybrid powertrain. But the seating position isn’t too high. Think that’s a deal breaker?

Richardson: It might be, but almost everything’s higher than Linda’s MX-5 roadster so the UX might be enough. There aren’t too many SUVs that are genuinely small, so maybe we have to go up in size to a more traditional vehicle with a tall seat. The BMW X4 is lovely, and won JD Power’s award for quality among premium compact SUVs.

Gentile: Linda would probably like the sporty handling and the upscale interior of the X4, but I don’t think she’d like the sloping rear roofline – at least I don’t. I find it hampers rear visibility and it reduces headroom in the rear seats and cargo space.

BMW X3Uwe Fischer/Handout

Richardson: I don’t think she cares about that. Maybe the X3 instead? It’s a less sporty approach to the same platform, and it’s not a recent vehicle. The key when you’re looking for reliability is to consider only vehicles that have been around for a while, so they’ve had a chance to prove themselves and have had minor issues corrected.

Gentile: X3 is definitely a better choice – it’s spacious inside, even for rear-seat passengers. It’s powerful, fuel-efficient, and fun to drive. And it has good outward visibility and a high seat position.

Richardson: There’s a newly-refreshed version of the X3 for 2022, but the mechanical parts are mostly the same. This normally means a better deal on a 2021 model, but these days, with shortages everywhere, don’t hold your breath for that. Because we’re thinking German, do you prefer the Mercedes or the Audi as an alternative?

Genesis GV 70Handout

Gentile: If you look at JD Power’s Dependability ratings, Mercedes as a brand was slightly below average, and Audi wasn’t ranked because it didn’t meet the criteria of having enough respondents. But in the JD Power 2021 Initial Quality Study, which measures the problems experienced during the first 90 days of ownership, Audi was the worst performing luxury brand. It came in second last out of 32 brands. But in fairness, Mercedes and BMW were also ranked below the industry average. Only two luxury brands – Lexus, the top luxury brand, and Genesis – were above average. So maybe Linda should consider a Genesis GV70 instead of a Benz or Audi?

Richardson: That’s a really nice vehicle, but my problem with Genesis is that you need to live within 50 kilometres of a dealership to take advantage of all the free maintenance and services that you pay for in the fixed price.

Gentile: So, since we don’t know where Linda lives, you’d prefer to skip the GV70 in favour of something else?

Lincoln CorsairHandout

Richardson: No, I’d definitely recommend the Genesis IF she lives close to a dealership. And I’m sure they’ll stretch the 50-km limit a bit if she asks nicely. If she’s too far away, however, then skip it. and I’d really suggest she looks at a Lincoln Corsair. Lincoln was right behind Genesis in those JD Power rankings, and its small SUV is such a pleasure to drive. Lincoln offers a similar concierge service to Genesis, too.

Gentile: I didn’t care much for it.

Richardson: That’s because you’ve still got a few years to go before the seniors’ discounts kick in. I really liked the relaxed feel inside, if I set the drive mode to Comfort and the digital display to Calm. Lincoln calls it a sanctuary. It’s the opposite of her MX-5, but I think she’d like that.

Gentile: Well, you’d know what a senior would like. But I think she’d be happier with the Lexus UX – that’s my top pick for Linda.

Richardson: It’s my top pick too, and the obvious first choice because of its renowned reliability. But any of the other three should also make her happy, and they’re all comfortably in her price range.

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.

Shopping for a new car? Check out the new Globe Drive Build and Price Tool to see the latest discounts, rebates and rates on new cars, trucks and SUVs. Click here to get your price.