Chris is from Minneapolis, and despite being a regular reader of this website, he doesn’t really care for the act of driving. He’s looking for a comfortable cocoon for about $40,000 that can maybe handle some outdoor gear. What car should he buy?
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Here’s the scenario:
I’m looking for something used that’s super comfy and solid. I’m never going to the track, nor am I going to drive fast on the freeway. I rarely even drive off the paved road. Gimme comfort. I would guess ~4 times a year I road trip it to see some family in other states. No kids so no need for back seats really. I don’t own a fishing boat like the rest of the Minnesotans, so I’ll never need to tow a trailer, but I like to put my kayak/bike on top and paddle/pedal around. I’m not a big fan of driving, so I’d like the experience to be as pleasant as possible. That means bells and whistles. I wanna be swaddled in comfort and have touchscreens and moonroofs everywhere.
I occasionally need to haul things. Like when I buy too much stuff at Ikea or the home improvement store, nothing messy but bulkier. I also like to tote my kayak around sometimes. Plus I live in Minnesota where the roads get terrible sometimes. I like wagons and hybrid or electric is a big plus.
My budget is up to $40,000
Budget: Up to $40,000
Daily Driver: Yes
Location: Minneapolis, MN
Wants: Comfort, Features, Cargo Space
Doesn’t want: RWD, something too big
Expert 1: Tom McParland - Swedish Massage
Chris, despite what some folks in the comments are going to say about your lack of passion for driving, I can understand where you’re coming from. There are times when I want to zip around in my manual hatchback, and there are times when I would rather be in a luxury car that would make my cruise more relaxing.
If the day came when I felt the need to give up the GTI, I think I would probably replace it with a Volvo wagon. While I prefer the V90 for the extra cargo space, those tend to be difficult to find in your sub-$40,000 price range. However, the smaller V60 should fit your needs and budget just fine. These Volvo wagons have some of the most comfortable seats in the class, are loaded with safety tech, and of course have a super nice panoramic sunroof. Given the rarity of wagons in general you will need to cast a net outside of your metro area, but this 2020 example already has the roof-racks installed for the kayaks. You can find lower-mileage examples if you nudge the budget up a bit.
Expert 2: Bob Sorokanich - Go Class-E With an E-Class
Chris, I get it. Driving is a hobby for some of us but a chore for everybody else. Even the most hardcore enthusiast among us has groaned at the drudgery of a long freeway haul or a slog through traffic. Treat yourself to some class — E-Class.
You’re a wagon enthusiast, and you should be rewarded for your good taste. This 2014 Mercedes-Benz E350 4Matic wagon has the heated and cooled seats, the sunroof, and the Harman/Kardon stereo you deserve. It’s roomy, plush, and, thanks to it not being a dumb SUV, you won’t have to climb a ladder to get to the roof rack. Nothing eats up highway miles with the hushed comfort of a Mercedes, and this one has less than 38,000 miles on it. It’s a baby!
This particular model is listed on Carvana, which means you might have to pay a fee to get it delivered to your neck of the woods. But once it’s in your hands, it’ll give you a long life of comfortable, luxurious, world-class driving. Plus, it’s all-wheel drive for those Minnesota winters. Show all your SUV-driving friends what the good life is all about.
Expert 3: Steve DaSilva - Wouldst Thou Like to Live Deliciously?
Chris, your asks are reasonable. Practical. You want room for a kayak, for Ikea trips, something that makes the act of driving sufferable. You’re a reasonable, practical guy.
But what if I could offer you more?
What if I could offer you the kind of luxury you’ve only dreamt about? The softest of leather, the smoothest of suspensions, an engine that is unnoticeable from the passenger compartment. What if I could offer you layer upon layer of paint, hand-applied and buffed to a perfect mirror finish?
What would you give up to live the good life?
Do you need a long roof for those Ikea trips, or can you make do with a trunk and back seat? Do you need roof racks for a kayak, or can you work with protective foam that keeps the hull off your roof? Do you need touch screens, or would you rather float over the most broken roads like a cloud?
What I’m offering is the Toyota Century, a car too nice to ever see American shores straight from the factory. The company ships one Century to the U.S. — one. This car makes you exclusive, it makes you someone. What if you could have the absolute apex of luxury? What’s that worth to you?
Expert 4: Andy Kalmowitz - I Can’t Believe I’m Saying This, But Buy a Buick
My friend, I have for you a reliable wagon. It’s the perfect car for you, dear Chris. It’s got literally everything you need. Lots of space? Check. Comfy? Check. All-Wheel Drive? Check. Compact-ish size? Check. A hot piece of ass? Check, Check and check.
It’s got all the gizmos and gadgets you could really want, but unlike those Europeans jawns, the TourX will work.
The Buick Regal TourX is the exact car you need. It’s certainly not the most fun thing in the world to drive, but that’s not what you’re looking for. On top of all that, Most TourXs with reasonable mileage come in UNDER $30,000. It’s a steal!
This 2018 TourX Preferred has fewer than 15,000 miles on it, and is still under $30,000. Think about what you can spend $10,000 on. You could go on such a nice vacation and still have money to spare.
Chris, don’t be a goober. Buy the Regal TourX.
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