Sean’s wife commutes into Philadelphia from the suburbs and is looking for a luxury four-door that is comfortable in traffic, can handle bad weather, but isn’t the same old thing. They have a pretty healthy budget and a lot of options on the table. What car should they buy?
(Welcome back to What Car Should You Buy? Where we give real people real advice about buying cars. )
Here is the scenario:
My wife is looking for a new daily driver. She commutes into Philadelphia from the suburbs every day. Due to her job, she needs to be able to get there as needed: in a snowstorm, at 3 AM, or in rush hour traffic. We have two grade school kids who complain about the rear seat space in her current ride (2016 Infiniti QX50).
We are past the need for a fifth door car and have an obnoxious SUV that I drive. We are looking for a four door that is fun to drive, is reliable, and will be able to handle the sporadic snow/ice in the Northeast. I like the Alfa Giulia and the new Merc CLA 35AMG, but her father has raised her as a Japanese automaker believer.
No BMW or Audi. Looking new but could possibly be convinced to look at a 1-2 year CPO. We are looking to spend between $40,000 - $50,000.
Budget: Up to $50,000.
Daily Driver: Yes.
Location: Philadelphia suburbs.
Wants: AWD, reliable, nice to drive.
Doesn’t want: A BMW or Audi.
After a few weeks of WCSYB topics covering more affordable rides, it’s nice to change it up a bit. Now let’s look at this piece by piece, if your kiddos are complaining about the back seat space in the QX50 perhaps another compact car isn’t the best idea. Granted that Infiniti was a little tight for its size, but looking into something a bit larger isn’t a bad idea. Also, as much as you like the idea of a Giulia or AMG series Mercedes, with Philly traffic, your wife isn’t really going to get to enjoy the performance those cars have to offer. I would suggest you focus on something stylish, with loads of luxury, comfortable seats, a little bit of punch for those merge zones, but respectable gas mileage.
That car is the Volvo S90. No, it’s not the largest sedan but your kids will be happier in the back, and it’s not too giant where it’s unwieldy to park in the city. Something like this CPO S90 T6 Inscription will come loaded with a slew of advanced safety tech, fantastic seats for long commutes, and the twin-charged four-cylinder will give you enough boost when you need it while returning up to 31 MPG on the highway. Volvo’s CPO program will cover you for five years and unlimited miles from the original service date.
It wasn’t that long ago that if you suggested someone buy a Korean car, they’d laugh so hard they’d probably pee themselves. But Korean cars have improved exponentially in the past few years and sitting at the top is Hyundai’s luxury brand, Genesis. And Genesis has been kicking ass lately. To suit your wife’s needs, Sean, I’d recommend the Genesis G80.
The G80 is a great and comfortable cruiser. I found the steering a little numb when I drove it, but other than that, it was a fine and powerful sedan. In all-wheel drive guise and for under $50,000, your engine option is the 3.8-liter V6, good for 311 horsepower. This is new and from the dealer, by the way.
But if you don’t want a brand-new car, used is also good. Then you can get an AWD G80 with the 5.0-liter V8. Here’s a 2018 one on Autotrader with 3,162 miles for $48,632.
That Genesis is fine, sure, and that Volvo is a comfortable car, too. But each of them have their compromises. And why settle for some compromise car when you don’t have to?
When it went on sale in 2007, the Lexus LS600h L was Lexus’, no, Toyota’s most expensive car. This was a six-figure machine, built as a prestige project for Toyota, which was owning the world in terms on hybrids at the time. But a Prius this is not: the LS600h (the L is the extra-spacious, almost-too-good-for-children long wheelbase model), got a whisper-quiet 5.0-liter V8 assisted by hybrid drive that can run the car completely silently on its own.
Normally I’d recommend something much older and more stylish, like a Toyota Century or Nissan President from the Bubble Era. But this Recession Lexus is a lot of car. It’s maybe the most car. And one is for sale just a quick ride up to Brooklyn from you for under your budget. The seller is asking $43,000. I’d nab it.