My friend and frequent guest blogger Ray Link is not only a financial whiz, but he is a serious car guy. So when he heard I was in the market for a new SUV (Ray and I are probably the only two people in the United States actually shopping for SUVs), he emailed me to tell me he was shopping too, and had come to the following conclusions:
The five new SUVs that Ray liked best and his analysis are:
New Audi Q5. Very cool, great gas mileage, fast, good handling and has 4,400 pounds towing which is good for my boat. I think this will be the best in class. It will be at the auto show and available for sale in March. Price mid to upper $40’s. I am leaning towards getting this one.
New Mercedes GLK – similar in size to BMW X3. Very good looking and high quality. Slightly smaller than the Q5 and can tow only 3,500 and slightly less MPG. I drove one last week and it drives great.
Acura MDX – still the gold standard in this class. Extreme comfort, quality, and reliability. Larger than the two above and can seat 7 and tow 5,000 pounds with slightly poorer MPG. If you want class and need a larger SUV this is a great choice. Mine has been a terrific SUV but I am looking to get a sportier and smaller SUV.
Honda Pilot – totally revised for 2009. Great quality and good MPG and it is only one that runs on regular gas. Larger and boxier but good looking. For the value-oriented person who needs more room, 7 passenger seating and 5,000 pounds towing, this is the one to buy.
BMW X5 twin turbo diesel – this is new for ’09. Same size as Honda and Acura but more powerful and better handling and great MPG but diesel costs more. Also, costs about $60k. I originally was going to buy this but I prefer both the Mercedes and Audi.
Ones not to consider: BMW X3 – last year for model and values will decline. Also stay away from Range Rover Sport – heavy, clunky, really bad MPG and really poor quality ratings.