As anyone who knows me in real life knows (aka nobody who reads this blog…I think), I have been pretty desperate to get a new car since, well before I could even drive. My 2 vehicle choices so far have been more or less forced upon me; my little Ford Fiesta was a gift from a family friend, and my current car, which I have yet to review/introduce, belonged to my Mum until I bought it off of her in an attempt to get a car whose history I knew. In many ways I have been lucky, as despite a few mechanical mishaps and general wear & tear, my 5 years of motoring have been relatively simple and in the case of my current car, pretty damn fast. But for a car lover like me, my inability to have chosen a car myself is pretty much torture-especially given my constant reading of car reviews. Happily though, I am very much nearing the point where I can afford to buy new (well…different) car of my own choosing, but yet again there are several factors conspiring against me in regards to choosing what I want to.
Basically this comes down to my taste in cars; luxury SUV’s are where my passion lies, and so therefore I HAVE to have one sooner rather than later, otherwise I will regret spending £000’s of my hard saved cash on something like a Honda CRV or a BMW 330Ci, both great cars in their own right but ultimately ones which won’t satisfy my desire to be able to look down on other cars AND make them envious with my cars badge (well in my head at least haha).
Although there are many potential options in the market for this type of car, my budget and also list of requirements narrows it down somewhat. £8000 is not a small amount by any means but equally it does somewhat restrict available cars both age and mileage-wise. I am sure I will eventually get around to detailing some of my other options, but one car which stands head and shoulders above the rest is the BMW X5.
In late 1999 the German giant launched its new Sports Activity Vehicle to compete with Mercedes Benz’s ML Class and to a degree Lexus’ RX300. All 3 cars became success stories thanks to varying factors, but the BMW being based on the 5 Series sports saloon as opposed to a ladder chassis (ML) or dull family car (RX300) got by far the best reviews press-wise, and in the UK at least sold the most. Handling and the prestige of the BMW badge are not the only reasons why the car is such a favorite though; the car’s styling was a perfect mix of aggressive detailing with rugged bulk, and inside too the cabin still stands up against more modern options despite the fact that the oldest cars are well over 10 years old. Under the bonnet too the X5 proved to be the measure of its rivals, with a range of V8’s and classic inline 6cyl’s which gave strong peformance, and in the case of the diesel engines’ fuel economy which usually tops 30mpg on the combined cycle.
All these positives then might suggest that the car is pretty faultless…and from a non-owners perspective like mine it honestly is. But from a more objective standpoint I can concede that practicality is lacking a tad, 30mpg is by no means economical and post March ’06 models incur the dreaded £440 road tax figure which has ruled out many newer SUV’s for me. More worryingly for me are the reported reliability issues; no luxury SUV of this age is likely to be entirely faultless, but when looking at higher mileage examples there is increased danger that one of the well known faults such as worn CV joints (no idea what they are but they sound important) or even worse turbo or gearbox issues might create an unexpected repair bill well into the £000’s. But for me personally, the problem which I am unable to overcome is the extortionate insurance quotes which I have gotten as a potential owner of an X5. I know that these are large cars with the potential to do serious damage, and possibly they are more likely to be stolen than some rivals, but the fact it would cost me almost double to insure an X5 when compared to a similarly fast/sized Jeep Grand Cherokee is ridiculous, £2,000 would be too much to pay out each year on top of any other running costs the car may have.
Anyone who is not 22 and looking for a luxury SUV would do well to choose the big Beemer, but by the time my insurance quotes come down to a reasonable price I will (hopefully) be able to afford a much newer car, and so my chance to grab a slice of the original X5 will have passed by.