Ugh, talk about your First World problems. After selling my beloved and obnoxiously complicated VW Phaeton, I have been technically carless. Well, not really. Between sharing my wife’s car, Zipcar, and generous friends, I have had no problems getting to appointments.
But eventually, I will need a car. My criteria– non-German, not too complicated, a gas sipper. I seriously considered a first generation Honda Insight. I bid on Lexus SC300s with manual trannies in Iowa and Philly. I took advantage of the local Buggy Bank and test drove a Saab 9-3 Viggen, a Saabaru, and a 271,000-mile Honda Prelude. I was even in a brand new Audi A8L and was absolutely non-plussed. The Phaeton will be the greatest car I have ever driven.
So, what to do? With the addition of a puppy to our family, I am leaning heavily towards a compact wagon. The Mercedes-Benz W203 is at the top of the list. I know, it’s German. To keep it un-complicated, I will forgo the 4Matic all-wheel drive system (I don’t ski in Tahoe anyway). And to keep it reasonably fuel efficient, I will opt for the 2.6 liter V6 C240 rather than the 3.2 liter V6 C320.
The alternates are the Lexus IS300 SportCross and the Jaguar X-Type Sportwagon. The SportCross would be nice, but it is so hard to find and people are asking for more than they are worth. The X-Type is even rarer. However, I drove my mother’s X-Type sedan on the Road to Hana once and it was thoroughly one of the worst cars I have ever driven.
The search continues….
Images source: Copyright 2013 Hooniverse/Jim Yu