Although my next vehicle is some way off, my eyes have predictably started to wander over some of the nicer metal that I see out on the roads on a daily basis; I’ve repeatedly attempted to get some sort of clear list in my head but I think for my own sanity I need to write one down. Rather than try to guess how prices may look in 2 or 3 years time it’s probably simpler just to look at the current values and assume that the pricier choices will still be pricier in the future.
As before all of my potential wants are SUV’s, as the ownership experience of my BMW X5 so far has done little to dissuade me from my passion for this type of vehicle. Admittedly if my circumstances change it may give me cause to look at the sensibleness of driving a car which struggles to best 30mpg, but unless my new job involves a lengthy commute (or a company car) I can’t foresee me giving up a high riding driving experience for love nor money!
Although I’ve gone off the Q7’s smaller sibling (the Q5), the larger model always manages to pull at my heart strings despite the fact it is approaching 10 years old – a lifetime in the car business. The car’s main appeal is it’s looks, something which has been enhanced with the LED lights front and rear…this is a mean looking car in the dark! The only problem is that Audi have not given the car’s interior much attention, and so the Q7 lags quite far behind more modern rivals – USB connectivity is pretty much non-existent in all but the latest cars! Still it’s hard not to stare at a white S-Line Q7 (a tad chavvy I’ll admit), and I guess many others agree with me because used values hold up pretty well, around £32k for a nice example.
Kind of the underdog in this entire list being the only ‘compact’ SUV, the X3 admittedly loses out in terms of prestige and presence thanks to smaller dimensions and only a 2L diesel engine under the bonnet in most models. Still it is pretty much the same size as my current car, and seeing as though that can be a pain in parking spaces the X3 could be the smart choice here. The interior may not be as plush as the more expensive cars here but it is amongst the most modern and so a well specced X3 will have all of the features I want, plus that smaller engine (and smaller weight) mean that it should easily return over 40mpg in everyday driving. I was pleasantly surprised to see that ‘just’ £26k would secure an M Sport X3, which is quite a chunk cheaper than the other options here.
The second generation X5 should be pretty much everything I want in a new car – it’s pretty much an improved version of my current car with more aggressive looks, a more tech-filled interior and faster performance. Aside from fuel economy which fails to meet the official figures there appears to be little criticism of the big Beemer but I am personally a little concerned that I’ll find getting the same model twice in a row pretty boring. Ideally I’d want a white M Sport which seem to sell for around £30k, but if I’m willing to compromise a little on colour and wheels then a well specced SE can be found for under £28k.
Maybe the way to solve my problem of a potentially ‘boring’ X5 would be to buy it’s racier brother; it shares all of the X5’s good points but has the added benefits of appearing a lot more distinctive and won’t be mistaken for my current car. However with prices a good £2k higher than equivalent X5’s I would find it hard to shell out the extra cash for what amounts to a significantly less practical vehicle which is harder to park!
Land Rover Discovery 4:
The Discovery is a vehicle that pretty much everyone loves; it’s a family workhorse which still manages to cut the mustard for image conscious buyers and off-road lovers alike (well for the most part anyway!). In face-lifted guise with 8 speed ZF gearbox (the same that’s in every other car on this list so far actually!) it gets pretty livable fuel economy and the uprated SDV6 engine means good performance too…for a square box on wheels anyway. My main bugbear with any Land Rover product will always be reliability, or potential lack of, plus the fact that values are sky high for what the car is; £33k for a nicely kitted HSE model, although road tax is still damn expensive!
Range Rover Sport:
Essentially the same car as the Discovery yet with 2 less seats, a more premium cabin and image plus higher prices; the facelifted Sport didn’t win me over initially and with a new version launched these cars are now looking very updated despite being just 3 years old. Surprisingly prices for the Sport are similar to those of the Discovery, but when pushed I am still unsure where my £33k would go.
The third generation Range Rover is one of my all time dream cars and as such remains a very strong contender on this list; admittedly the last of this line don’t look quite as modern as it’s replacement but to these eyes it is still better looking. Under the bonnet the faithful ZF gearbox powers a 4.4L V8 diesel which massive performance and an attainable 30mpg, which when combined with the stately driving position and image makes me very tempted. Still there are negatives surrounding the poor infotainment system, reliability issues and the fact that this car still shares major components with my current one…kind of embarrassing considering my 2005 is one of the later examples of the first gen X5. Prices for the Rangie remain high at around £39k, but look at examples a little older and prices drop off sharply for face-lifted cars but with the earlier 6 speed ZF and 3.6L V8.
Mercedes offer a variety of SUV’s across the world in various shapes and sizes, yet it is the middle-of-the-road ML which has been it’s only real sales success in the UK. The third generation car has proved to be a success with buyers but to me it looks pretty awkward unless the AMG-inspired 20” wheels are optioned; that rear ¾ view is horrendous! Still inside is very nice and it really shows that this is the newest design of vehicle here, being introduced in 2012 – it’s not as cutting edge as newer BMW and Audi systems but COMAND in the ML is more advanced than in the other cars on this list. Running costs should be good too, as this ML250 has a 2.1L diesel engine which should return nearly 45mpg (aka 37-40 in real life), and although not cheap by any means, the fact that this is a 2012 car offsets the high-ish price of this £32.5k car.
The Cayenne is bar none the best SUV for sale at the moment; although the first generation was pretty fast and badass it still had some major weakpoints, so Porsche completely revamped this successor with a fantastic driving experience, interior and very good fuel economy in diesel models. Yes the looks really need larger wheels to really set off the look, but overall it is a lot more cohesive than Cayennes of the past – it even looks pretty compact compared to rivals here. However all of these positives are recognised alongside that Porsche shield, meaning that a 3 year old example will still set you back a massive £41k – which for a model that starts brand new at £49k is rather stunning.
There are of course many other cars which I take a second look at in traffic, but realistically I think I will end up narrowing things down to the old faithful German trio of the X5/ML/Q7 if truth be told…the Q7’s age and interior may see it swapped out for the X3 because of it’s very cheap running costs, but unless they become a real issue I can see myself in a nice X5 again…watch this space!