Shopping For A New Car

With apologies to anyone who reads the forums at Edmunds.com, here’s a thumbnail of my search for a new car.

I need to replace my 2002 Chrysler T&C Limited minivan. Important background info: my 3 sons (13, 10, 7) are very tall. Wizard is 6′ tall, and all the boys are predicted to be well over 6’2″. WineGuy is 6’4″ and 300+ lbs. I do an equal combination of city and highway driving here in SW Florida … at least 16K miles/year. We tend to keep vehicles for a long time, usually 7 years or more; our Volvo 850 is 13 years old. I need a vehicle with 3 rows to keep the boys from fighting on long trips.

I narrowed my search down to 2 vehicles whose prices differ by tens of thousands of dollars:Ā  2010 Ford Flex Limited or a 2009 Mercedes-Benz GL320 Bluetec??

2009 Ford FlexUntil last week, I was absolutely certain I wanted the 2010 Flex Ltd. I like the style, the specs, and the features. Fully loaded, It has lots of great features for a reasonable price — less than $40K; I even have a contact for X-plan. I test-drove a 2009 and liked it. However, we need to have a tilting/telescoping steering wheel, and this won’t go into the Flex build until Job 2 (fall-late fall 2009). Additionally, the second row bucket seats do not have armrests; you must use the optional console (which blocks easy access to row 3) or do without. Dumb design.

A gorgeous diesel.

Last week, the local MB dealer sent me a letter saying they were offering $7000 off any GL320 Bluetec (diesel) in stock. I test drove a gorgeous black/black 320 and fell in love. The SUV had plenty of pep, thanks to a turbo-charged diesel, had great stopping power, great turning radius, and good pick-up. The car felt like a rock when I closed the door and was temptingly luxurious. I’m hooked, except I don’t want black-on-black. I can find a better color combo, but who knows if they’ll deal down as low as the local dealer. The Bluetec will qualify me for the Alternative Fuel Tax Credit ($1800) this year.

I’ve been driving mommy-mobiles for 13 years, and I’m done. I have always wanted an SUV. The Benz fits the bill … of over $70K MSRP. The Flex’s boxy body really appealed to me. Yes, I’m a little car-crazy, but I come by it honestly. So was my dad.

What’s a woman to do? Speak up and give me your 0.02!

Thanks!

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7 thoughts on “Shopping For A New Car

  1. I honestly don’t care at all for the Flex. We were disappointed to see it come along, because we were Taurus X fans (our Freestyle is the precursor to the X). Then again we’re at the point where we need less room, now more. Our Freestyle also has the ridiculous design of no armrests no the middle bucket seats—we didn’t even notice it until we all took our first long vacation in it last summer. Oh well, I don’t sit back there…lol.

  2. Well, you know what I love šŸ˜‰ I swear once you get into a Benz it is so hard to think of driving anything else! They feel so darn rock solid and drive like dreams. However, I know nothing about their diesels. I know I could consider one where I live since there are plenty of stations with diesel all around me – I gather same with you? Now, I will say that repairs are killer $$ once you get past that standard warranty period. But again, I do love that the dealers are open 6 days a week and that they give you a loaner benz so that I never again have to figure out how to juggle logistics when putting my car in the shop.

    Because you do stay in your cars for so long, I say that you have to pick the one that has no ‘deal breaker’ issues with it in functionality.

    I think both SUV’s are rather beautiful! Different looking which is what I like.

    Good luck šŸ™‚

  3. Not to throw another SUV in the midst, but I am, have you looked at the Volve XC 90? We just got one, an ’08 used one with only 17K miles on it, this past spring and absolutely love it. It’s sturdy, I feel safe. It has three rows it it which we don’t need anymore but they’re there. Given the reputation of Volvo’s it’s my plan to keep it forever. They’ve also come out this year with a little smaller one, the XC 60 which has a real cool colission avoidance system built into its front bumper; it’ll start breaking in urban slow traffic if you’re too close. Looked interesting but just came out and we weren’t looking for a new one.

  4. The Volvo XC90 is too small. The front seats lack legroom and headroom for large people. The second row seat is uncomfortable, and the third row seat is uninhabitable to all but toddlers. Plus, there’s no cargo space.

  5. Good points. You can tell I really haven’t looked much at the 3rd row in terms of really being usable, but you’re right, there isn’t cargo space once it’s up. Good think I’m no longer dealing with growing kids, just one young adult left who has boomeranged back after college as unemployed!

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