Replacing the G – Round One

I know I am jumping the gun by doing a write-up about my “next ride” considering I have another 10 months left on my lease. However, my wife has began dropping hints about what my next ride should be. “Something practical, something bigger…something that will keep your paws off my Jetta” she says.  Sadly, it looks like my G37 has become rather impractical and the wife has finally put me on notice.

I can’t say I blame her because in recent months, her car has become the designated “airport shuttle”. If that wasn’t bad enough, we have also been using her car to haul some furniture from Office Depot and weekly trips to Costco. Unfortunately, it seems that life has finally caught up with me and I can no longer ignore the other “needs” in life.

So now I am faced with a dilemma….what exactly can I get that will fulfill the following requirements…

  • seating for at least five people
  • practical cargo space
  • above average performance
  • similar or better MPG than the 18/24 I am getting now
  • costs no more than what I currently pay ($1300/$424 per month), preferably, less!

After careful consideration over the past month, I’ve come up with a general “Wish List” of potential cars/SUVs that may satisfy my needs.

The Large SUV Group

Honda Pilot
Mazda CX-9
Chevy Traverse
Toyota Highlander
Ford Explorer

The Compact SUV Group

Toyota RAV4
Ford Edge
Infiniti EX35
VW Tiguan
Acura RDX

The Wagon Group

Audi A3
VW Jetta Sportwagen
Subaru Outback

The Sedan Group

Acura TSX
Acura TL
Hyundai Sonata
Infiniti G37
Nissan Maxima

For the next few months, I will take the time to do some test drives in order to narrow down the list some more. Keeping in mind the requirements listed above, I would love to hear your opinions and any recommendations you may have.

16 thoughts on “Replacing the G – Round One

  1. Seating for 5, practical cargo space, good mileage, mid-life responsibilities . . . hate to break it to you but it sounds like you need a minivan 😉

    Infiniti invited me to a media preview in Napa yesterday. If you can somehow swing a QX56, it would tick off all the requirements you state, save for perhaps the fuel economy. It’s just impossible to keep your foot from flooring the beast. I’ve never experienced acceleration whiplash from a full-size SUV like I did in the QX. I have to admit that at first I thought it was ugly, but it’s grown on me, except for the fender vents (of which only the left one is functional).

    Also drove the IPL G37 (coupe). Holy crap that’s a fun car: corners like it’s on rails and the exhaust note is fantastic. Firmer suspension isn’t harsh but is still compliant. The engineer who led the IPL program was there and said they spent about two years on the suspension to get it just right.

    The G25’s engine is very smooth unlike the bigger VQs. Can’t get nav in the G25 but that’s okay. I guess it’s a RWD Maxima with a proper auto transmission. Not fast but not slow, it’s decidedly a model for non-enthusiasts.

    EX35 is cramped in back. FX is the only Infiniti with double-digit decline in year-to-date sales (-10%); I think dealers are willing to do more to move them off their lots.

  2. Haahaa. I know right? Man, minivan just doesn’t work for me and the QX56 would kill my wallet. I guess a 5 passenger hatch/wagon/crossover would work for me, but if I could get my hands on something larger within my budget, I think I would opt for that. I’ve been tracking the rates for almost all of the rides listed here and the RAV4, Jetta TDI and Sonata Ltd are yielding the lowest payments. Of course, the RAV4’s numbers are a bit screwy since it’s hard to tell how Toyota residualizes their cars.

    BTW, awesome invite from Infiniti there. That sounds like a lot of fun. I was wondering how good of an idea the IPL G37 was, but it sounds like it’s pretty sweet. I was hoping for bigger HP gains though. As for the G25, I guess I could toss that one into my shopping list, but I’m not sure I am willing to go that route because I know the G sedan is a pretty heavy and I’m not sure that engine can provide an adequate driving experience. The EX is okay, not exactly standing tall on my list of wants right now and the FX is just out of my budget, but it’s nice ride in general.

    I don’t know if I’d go back to an Infiniti unless the deal exceptional. I got time though, so we’ll see how it all pans out. Wife’s was hinting once again as we were driving on the freeway yesterday…”ooh that one looks good (Murano)…”

    • Haahaa, that’s because I have the Outback in the list instead. Given a choice, I think I’d prefer having the wagon over a sedan since I can take it camping and stuff. That’s another reason why you don’t see a Jetta in there but you see a Sportwagen version instead. The only reason I have sedans listed there is because right now you can get a lot of car for little money for those models. That could change it’s time to pull the trigger.

  3. First thanks for the lease rates.. I love your site…. and of course you forgot the best option the x5 🙂 (3 liter turbo and room for 5 adults) you can swing a very well equiped model for 770/mo

  4. i say… 4 door GTI or the G37 sedan.
    Do yourself a favor g, just go ahead and cross off the large and small SUV categories off your list. I don’t think anyone would want to ride with g if he were to buy buy a Chevy Traverse. 🙂

  5. G, Outback is nice. But than I think you should have “Forester 2.5 X (or XT) Limited” on your list. Definitely more capable to do camping, roomier and cheaper than Infiniti EX35, VW Tiguan or Acura RDX.

  6. @Kevin. The X5 would cost me almost double what I want to pay. Sweet ride though.
    @B. But with a Traverse, I can have more people riding with me at the same time! Haahaa. I hear ya though, I just need the room. The good news is that unless something amazing happens, most of those SUVs probably won’t fall within my range. The more I look at it, the more I plan to keep it under $400 a month with just 1st month due at signing. Those are pretty stiff requirements I think.
    @ursus. Good point, I might take a look at the Forester when I test drive the Outback. A roomy AWD would be a plus if I want to take up to the mountain during the winter. Good call.

  7. My wife loves her 2.5X and we decided to buy her another after her current lease is up. It gets 22 miles combined commuting. I might look at XT though.

  8. BTW, Subaru’s (Chase) have high residuals on leases. Just played with September numbers 🙂

    2010 Forester 2.5XT Limited
    RES:57% (12k)
    $371 (including 9% tax)

    Not bad.

    • looks pretty good. the res and mf are not bad, good discount too. I’ll probably check it out when i visit my local subaru dealer. I’m probably going to do some test driving this weekend so I can narrow down my list a bit. will keep you guys updated on impressions.

  9. G,

    I know you aren’t a big fan of the Accord, but it fits all your requirements. The car is big and the back seat is huge with tons of leg room for adults. As you know, I leased a 2010 back in July. Opted for the top model – the EX-L V6 with NAV. Puts out about 271 HP and I average 22 city, 28 HWY.

    Now, that being said. The tech features and the interior in the Acura TL are definitely more high end. If I had my druthers, I’d lease the TL SH-AWD with Tech and 6spd manual. Most people don’t like the looks of the TL but if you get the right color it looks much better in person than photographed. Furthermore, if you get the front grill color matched to the car’s paint it looks even better. Check out — these guys know their stuff when it comes to Acuras.

    • It’s not so much that I don’t like the Accord…it’s more like I don’t like the Accord sedan’s styling. I like the coupe a lot, but I don’t think a I can get away with another coupe for the next three years. HAHA. But you make a very strong point here, the Accord would go fulfill all my needs quite well. And like you, I do prefer the TL a little more. I remember someone sent me pics of a painted grill on a TL. It looked nice. I hear Acura is changing the “beak” of a TL for the next model year. It might not be a complete redesign though, but I hear it’s not as prominent. Better than nothing I guess. I’m not 100% set on the list though, I do like the suggestions so far. I mean, I’m already going to look at the hideously design Pilot, so why not the Accord, right? Haha.

  10. I had 20% window tint applied to my Accord and I think it makes a world of difference. Plus, if you go for the EX-L, it has the chrome trim, door handles, etc. Also, the 2011 Accord is a mid-cycle refresh so they’ve changed some of the exterior styling including the front and rear bumpers, and slightly modified the interior console layout, added a rear backup cam, and a few other things… I’ll post pics of my Accord and my friends BMW when I get some time.. .

    IF Wisconsin had the better MF on the Acura TL like you guys get in SoCal, I would have pulled the trigger on that. I had an 04 TL and loved it. My dad has an ’05 with 120k miles and he’s had ZERO problems.

    Also, it seems that the TL sells for $1,000 to $2,000 lower in SoCal than in the Midwest. My best deal on a 2010 Acura TL Tech FWD was $34,400. I saw people saying they got them in Cali for $33k…

    Plus, like you said, Acura/Honda have the best lease programs – especially Acura’s Lease Loyalty and Mileage Forgiveness riders which I’ve posted about on here before.

    When my current lease is up in 33 months – LOL – I’m definitely going to go back to the Acura TL – They do a complete redesign every 5 years so we shall see what the 2014 model brings.

    Well, that’s my 2 cents.. I do like the Maxima but I haven’t driven it.

    • Yeah I’m considering 3 Acura models because of that reason alone, Acura/Honda simply have great lease benefits. As long as you take care of the tires, you will not pay a dime in wear-n-tear pretty much which can’t be said about many other brands.
      SoCal is great for cars in general I think, The base TL would probably run me about $30k this month, which is pretty sweet. I’m trying to stick with crossovers, wagons or hatchbacks as my first choices, with sedans as last resort since I really need the extra room to move stuff, so hopefully it all works out. I still need to go and get an appraisal on my G37 to see how much its worth as a trade-in. I’m thinking not as much as I’d like. Will keep you guys posted.

  11. Gti is practical and great to drive. However, the brakes are a fatal flaw in the car. My 2008 stops slower than my minivan.

    The rear brakes have way too much bias (look at the brake dust on the rear wheels compared to the fronts on gti, golf, and jettas)

    Brake hard and vw is kind enough to engage; hydraulic brake assist. The stupid car then assumes you don’t have the leg strength to push the pedal so it applies max hydraulic force. You can no longer modulate the brakes, it immediately skids for a second then triggers abs.

    However with rear brake bias the car stops like a sled.

    Look at some of the brake statistics in some car magazines.

    Great car, crappy brakes. Shame on vw

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