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      02-26-2021, 08:12 AM   #1
spazzyfry123
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2011 BMW E90 M3  [5.00]
New Vehicle for Wife - What Am I Missing?

Bought my wife a Jeep Grand Cherokee Overland 4x4 a little while back. We enjoy the truck for its features and comfort and size, but... this thing has been turning into a problem child here lately. Back story below. Fast forward to the red to get to the actual point of this thread.

The transfer case grenaded (full time 4wd) which required a month to get a replacement delivered. This happened right before the birth of our daughter, so the timing was "fine" since we weren't going anywhere as it was. Had it happened pretty much at any other time, this would have been disasterous as the dealer/corporate were unwilling to provide a loaner despite it being under warranty.

The rain sensing wipers just stopped working in the middle of a rain storm recently with an error on the dash indicating as such. Don't really need to explain why that's not okay, but seemed like a fluke as they have worked well otherwise.

Twice in the past week while I was driving it, I noticed the transmission started to slightly slip when leaving out of the neighborhood.

I stopped at the local grocery store to pick up a few supplies for dinner. When backing out of my parking spot I got about halfway out and the thing just stalled. My wife wouldn't have known what to do in that scenario.

I could go on with a few other things, but you get the point. Clearly the issues aren't just happening while I drive - what's going on when she drives that she just doesn't necessarily know is a problem? A 2017 in really nice shape with ~40k on the clock is having some issues - some of which are outside of the only remaining warranty - powertrain. Funny enough, the verbiage of the warranty looks to only cover the mechanical bits of the powertrain. So if an electronic bit that tells the transmission to shift fails but the box also holds a function for something else in the vehicle, it wouldn't be covered per my dealer (of which, I actually do trust - they're a great bunch over there).

Buying another Jeep just isn't in the cards. I've probably had a dozen from the brand, but the newer ones have been giving me headaches, and I've learned my lesson. Ended up getting rid of my Gladiator Rubicon due to some safety issues that no one could resolve, and now I'm getting rid of this Grand Cherokee we had no intention of ever getting rid of for fear of taking a financial bath on something that "should" be reliable.

What should we get?
  • I'd say budget is ~$40k, but I am ALL for spending less. But I'm done dicking around with stupid problems. I need some reliability as I just want my wife to do what she needs with no concern.
  • Something that can hold its value. I don't mind buying new, but I don't want a 50% depreciation in a couple years. That said, I certainly don't mind buying used if we're getting good for the coin.
  • I'm not a brand snob, but I think we also enjoy flying under the radar.
  • An SUV seems to make the most sense - one kid with her already talking about another. It will be the vehicle of choice for long trips as a family. But open to other options (wagon?).
  • I still want a little bit of a cool factor to it as I'm a car guy at heart. Can't have my wife driving an appliance!

At this point I'm leaning pretty heavily towards a Toyota 4Runner TRD Off Road Premium or a used TRD Pro. The lack of depreciation, utterly proven reliability, and still some cool factor checks a few boxes. That said, I already have a Land Cruiser that is effectively the same size, but it's a pure toy. I'm afraid of too much "overlap." Worried that I'll be spending a good chunk of change on a vehicle when I've already got a paid-for one sitting in the driveway If I had the scratch (or the justification really), we'd be picking up a 200 Series Land Cruiser. They're just too much damn money.

I've also been looking at the F31 diesel wagons. Get a hell of a lot of car for <$30k. Just concerned with repair bills/reliability.

Should I revoke my cool card, just accept the need for the vehicle for what it is, and go minivan or something? I have a company car that I drive, my Land Cruiser for the fun, and then this vehicle will be hers (works from home) but also the primary family vehicle for trips, going to restaurants, etc. What vehicles am I missing? I feel like I've got tunnel vision. Hell my wife even said we could go get another E90 M3; she loved that thing. As much as I want to say yes, I don't think our primary family hauler should keep rod bearings and $250 oil changes in the back of our mind.

Final thought and this novel can be over... Should we consider a lease? I've never done one and don't like the idea of pissing money down the drain, but we may get a lot of the creature comforts we "want" without fear of failure later on in its life. I just truly do not know enough about them.

Thoughts?

Last edited by spazzyfry123; 02-26-2021 at 08:18 AM..
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      02-26-2021, 08:31 AM   #2
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Not sure how you went from minivans to M3's but I'm gonna assume what you are looking for is an SUV/Wagon for daily driving needs as well as decent reliability and features. A little unsure of size as you go from 3-series to 4Runner to Minivan, but I'll assume you are looking for Compact to Mid-Size.

I think the 4Runner is too much overlap with the LC plus buying a new or slightly used 4Runner is pretty much buying a 15-year old car.

My recommendations:

New Rav4/Highlander - Gas, Hybrid, or PHEV new Rav4 and Highlander is really nice. It won't excite you but it also will be dead reliable, and give you piece of mind.

New Mazda CX-5/9 - Some of the best vehicles on sale are from Mazda. Premium interiors, athletic handling and feel, as well as great reliability and decent resale, recently named the #1 Brand in reliability as well as overall brand by CR.

Used Lexus - Piece of mind with some luxury, terrible infotainment though.

If you are willing to take some reliability risks, the S212 E-Class Wagon is the best wagon for the job. Incredibly spacious and practical while still very luxurious, but it is German, so expect expensive maintenance compared to the Japanese.
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      02-26-2021, 08:35 AM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by stein_325i View Post
Not sure how you went from minivans to M3's but I'm gonna assume what you are looking for is an SUV/Wagon for daily driving needs as well as decent reliability and features. A little unsure of size as you go from 3-series to 4Runner to Minivan, but I'll assume you are looking for Compact to Mid-Size.

I think the 4Runner is too much overlap with the LC plus buying a new or slightly used 4Runner is pretty much buying a 15-year old car.

My recommendations:

New Rav4/Highlander - Gas, Hybrid, or PHEV new Rav4 and Highlander is really nice. It won't excite you but it also will be dead reliable, and give you piece of mind.

New Mazda CX-5/9 - Some of the best vehicles on sale are from Mazda. Premium interiors, athletic handling and feel, as well as great reliability and decent resale, recently named the #1 Brand in reliability as well as overall brand by CR.

Used Lexus - Piece of mind with some luxury, terrible infotainment though.

I will second the Rav4/Highlander, you can buy these new with incredible financing deals currently (with really good maintenance packages) ..Toyota used market is incredibly competitive, depreciation is less for Toyota SUV's than most others .. and I will also second the New Mazda CX-5/9 .. dependable and you get a ton for your money.
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      02-26-2021, 08:36 AM   #4
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As an owner of a Tacoma TRD Offroad, make sure she enjoys the ride of the TRD Offroad/Pro. The Bilstein shocks on my Offroad are pretty rough. Much better than when I first bought the truck, but if I was to do it all over again, I would have gotten a different model with more street compliant shocks.

That being said, if you are in FL based on your location description, not sure why a 4Runner appeals to you when you have a Land Cruiser already. Land Cruisers are pretty bullet proof already so I would just drive that.

As for me, with any amount of kids, if I was to buy a new SUV, 3 rows of seats with 2nd row Captain's chairs would be at the top of my priority list. Being able to have one parent in back especially in the baby's first 12 months is so incredibly useful. And 2nd row Captain's chairs never become unpractical.

I get the not wanting a minivan thing. My wife refuses to drive one as well, even though for what they are, there is no better car that does what they do, not even close. But there are other options like the RX350L with 2nd row Captains and the GM SUV trio. The shorter models like the Tahoe are actually pretty easy to maneuver around, and the more recent model years have pretty much any feature you'd want in a modern car.
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      02-26-2021, 08:37 AM   #5
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You say this is your wife's car and then you talk about what you like and want in a car. It is a good thing that Florida is not a community property state!

What does SHE like in a car? Apparently, from your one reference, she likes your M3 so she may be looking for something sporty and you want to put her in a box.

Remember that old saying: happy wife, happy life.
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      02-26-2021, 08:39 AM   #6
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4Runners are quite a bit smaller on the inside than a Grand Cherokee, not that it can't fit two adults and two kids, but it will be more cramped if either of you are tall. Ride will be harsher due to BOF vs unibody, but if you are into offroading it hard to beat and it will hold it's value very well.

At $40k you have a lot of SUV options, off lease X5s and GLEs, upper trim Explorers. I'd say check out the Telluride & Palisade but they for over MSRP if you can even find them.

My wife has an Explorer Sport with the 3.5 ecoboost and loves it. We haven't had any big issues. We have two small kids that are both in rear-facing seats still, and two big dogs and found it to be an acceptable size even for a mid-size SUV.
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      02-26-2021, 08:55 AM   #7
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I'll vote RAV4 hybrid or highlander hybrid. The gas ones are very fuel efficient as well in case you don't want to go the hybrid route. Especially if she's working from home.

Minivans are hands down the best for kids and long distance travelling but I assume you'll blow your brains out (like I would) before ever getting one LOL. Captains chairs in the middle row are a must IMO.
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      02-26-2021, 09:26 AM   #8
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For the wife: 2019 Audi Q5 or 2019 Volvo XC60
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      02-26-2021, 09:29 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by stein_325i View Post
Not sure how you went from minivans to M3's but I'm gonna assume what you are looking for is an SUV/Wagon for daily driving needs as well as decent reliability and features. A little unsure of size as you go from 3-series to 4Runner to Minivan, but I'll assume you are looking for Compact to Mid-Size.

I think the 4Runner is too much overlap with the LC plus buying a new or slightly used 4Runner is pretty much buying a 15-year old car.

My recommendations:

New Rav4/Highlander - Gas, Hybrid, or PHEV new Rav4 and Highlander is really nice. It won't excite you but it also will be dead reliable, and give you piece of mind.

New Mazda CX-5/9 - Some of the best vehicles on sale are from Mazda. Premium interiors, athletic handling and feel, as well as great reliability and decent resale, recently named the #1 Brand in reliability as well as overall brand by CR.

Used Lexus - Piece of mind with some luxury, terrible infotainment though.

If you are willing to take some reliability risks, the S212 E-Class Wagon is the best wagon for the job. Incredibly spacious and practical while still very luxurious, but it is German, so expect expensive maintenance compared to the Japanese.
I can understand the confusion. That was one of those posts that was typed up in between phone calls, so I apologize for jumping around. The skinny of it is I think we need an SUV.

I'm glad you also see the overlap. I push towards it because the depreciation is so low and the reliability is so high. Something I have come to love with my Land Cruiser.

Great recommendations. The Highlander has been on our list (0% financing right now, too). Cool factor goes out the window, but pragmatism may prevail.

Interesting to hear the CX recommendation. I've always had the assumption that they were unreliable and had the depreciation of a rock in water. Good to hear they've turned it around!

Quote:
Originally Posted by bngcruiser View Post
I will second the Rav4/Highlander, you can buy these new with incredible financing deals currently (with really good maintenance packages) ..Toyota used market is incredibly competitive, depreciation is less for Toyota SUV's than most others .. and I will also second the New Mazda CX-5/9 .. dependable and you get a ton for your money.
Thanks!

Quote:
Originally Posted by ntg44 View Post
As an owner of a Tacoma TRD Offroad, make sure she enjoys the ride of the TRD Offroad/Pro. The Bilstein shocks on my Offroad are pretty rough. Much better than when I first bought the truck, but if I was to do it all over again, I would have gotten a different model with more street compliant shocks.

That being said, if you are in FL based on your location description, not sure why a 4Runner appeals to you when you have a Land Cruiser already. Land Cruisers are pretty bullet proof already so I would just drive that.

As for me, with any amount of kids, if I was to buy a new SUV, 3 rows of seats with 2nd row Captain's chairs would be at the top of my priority list. Being able to have one parent in back especially in the baby's first 12 months is so incredibly useful. And 2nd row Captain's chairs never become unpractical.

I get the not wanting a minivan thing. My wife refuses to drive one as well, even though for what they are, there is no better car that does what they do, not even close. But there are other options like the RX350L with 2nd row Captains and the GM SUV trio. The shorter models like the Tahoe are actually pretty easy to maneuver around, and the more recent model years have pretty much any feature you'd want in a modern car.
Great comments on the Bilsteins. If we went the Pro route, we would be buying a 2018 more than likely (Bilstein). Can't justify the cost of the newer ones (Fox shocks which are apparently a big improvement in ride quality).

The Land Cruiser isn't a real option for her to use. It is bullet proof, no doubt, but I've done quite a bit to it. Not to say she can't drive it, but lifted, 35 mud terrains, winch, sliders, drawer system, Scheelman seats...you get the picture. It's the exploration vehicle. While comfortable for what it is, it's a dedicated toy.

Also great comment on the captains chairs. I hadn't even considered that! That alone may be shifting some focus towards the GM lineup...

Quote:
Originally Posted by SteveinArizona View Post
You say this is your wife's car and then you talk about what you like and want in a car. It is a good thing that Florida is not a community property state!

What does SHE like in a car? Apparently, from your one reference, she likes your M3 so she may be looking for something sporty and you want to put her in a box.

Remember that old saying: happy wife, happy life.
In all honesty, while I'm buying it for her, she also gets that I'll be driving it a lot. While I buy it with the intention for her, she's going to treat it as if it's my car that she gets to drive. The M3 comment was more to appease me, but I know she would prefer an SUV. While she liked my M3, she loves the Grand Cherokee.

Quote:
Originally Posted by jmack View Post
4Runners are quite a bit smaller on the inside than a Grand Cherokee, not that it can't fit two adults and two kids, but it will be more cramped if either of you are tall. Ride will be harsher due to BOF vs unibody, but if you are into offroading it hard to beat and it will hold it's value very well.

At $40k you have a lot of SUV options, off lease X5s and GLEs, upper trim Explorers. I'd say check out the Telluride & Palisade but they for over MSRP if you can even find them.

My wife has an Explorer Sport with the 3.5 ecoboost and loves it. We haven't had any big issues. We have two small kids that are both in rear-facing seats still, and two big dogs and found it to be an acceptable size even for a mid-size SUV.
Thanks!

Quote:
Originally Posted by VChenz View Post
I'll vote RAV4 hybrid or highlander hybrid. The gas ones are very fuel efficient as well in case you don't want to go the hybrid route. Especially if she's working from home.

Minivans are hands down the best for kids and long distance travelling but I assume you'll blow your brains out (like I would) before ever getting one LOL. Captains chairs in the middle row are a must IMO.
Another vote for the captains chairs. This is our first kid, so this is all new to us. I hadn't even considered it, but it certainly makes sense. Her sister has whatever the biggest newer Tahoe is and loves it.

I'm convinced if we pull the minivan trigger, she'll be locked in to three kids. Don't think I'm prepared for that...
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      02-26-2021, 09:42 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by spazzyfry123 View Post
Quote:
Originally Posted by stein_325i View Post
Not sure how you went from minivans to M3's but I'm gonna assume what you are looking for is an SUV/Wagon for daily driving needs as well as decent reliability and features. A little unsure of size as you go from 3-series to 4Runner to Minivan, but I'll assume you are looking for Compact to Mid-Size.

I think the 4Runner is too much overlap with the LC plus buying a new or slightly used 4Runner is pretty much buying a 15-year old car.

My recommendations:

New Rav4/Highlander - Gas, Hybrid, or PHEV new Rav4 and Highlander is really nice. It won't excite you but it also will be dead reliable, and give you piece of mind.

New Mazda CX-5/9 - Some of the best vehicles on sale are from Mazda. Premium interiors, athletic handling and feel, as well as great reliability and decent resale, recently named the #1 Brand in reliability as well as overall brand by CR.

Used Lexus - Piece of mind with some luxury, terrible infotainment though.

If you are willing to take some reliability risks, the S212 E-Class Wagon is the best wagon for the job. Incredibly spacious and practical while still very luxurious, but it is German, so expect expensive maintenance compared to the Japanese.
I can understand the confusion. That was one of those posts that was typed up in between phone calls, so I apologize for jumping around. The skinny of it is I think we need an SUV.

I'm glad you also see the overlap. I push towards it because the depreciation is so low and the reliability is so high. Something I have come to love with my Land Cruiser.

Great recommendations. The Highlander has been on our list (0% financing right now, too). Cool factor goes out the window, but pragmatism may prevail.

Interesting to hear the CX recommendation. I've always had the assumption that they were unreliable and had the depreciation of a rock in water. Good to hear they've turned it around!
Yes they've done a huge amount of reworking since their split from Ford and have totally revitalized the brand. Excellent cars and they drive extremely well. They've been working at increasing reliability and have succeeded I would say, and their resale while not as high as Toyota/Honda is still decent and has been improving.

My eldest son has an all Mazda house. An NB Miata, 6-Signature, and a CX-9 for the wife. They have twins so they mainly use two rows, but before covid would use the third row in "in a pinch" situations. They loved exterior/interior design as well as the fact that they aren't dreadful to drive. For 2020, all the models (except for the 6 and Miata) have received the new infotainment (which is very similar to iDrive) and the CX-9 received a new 6-seat configuration with captain's chairs and a center console.
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      02-26-2021, 09:42 AM   #11
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We have one kid, and migrated my wife to a F15 X5 (we had a W204 C63 for her, she LOVED it but fueling up every 3 days, and sliding around when there is even a light layer of snow gets tiring quick)

I do not see the need for captains chair (they are deeply desirable, but it opens a can of worms of a third row), even now that my kid is 3 and a half.

I find the bench is useful, gives the kid the ability to climb into the seat themselves, and I have a bit of room to prepare the kid to leave the car (put on the parka, hat, mitts, boots, etc.), can't really do that with a single seat. Things may change once I put the kid forward facing but until then I do like the bench seat.

I am also suprised no one has suggested Honda's portfolio of RDX/Pilot/Passports

Eco conscious suggestion, Mustang Mach E.
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      02-26-2021, 09:47 AM   #12
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Highlander or MDX, this isn't that hard.
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      02-26-2021, 09:52 AM   #13
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Originally Posted by Matt 335is View Post
For the wife: 2019 Audi Q5 or 2019 Volvo XC60
Too small, OP is shopping next size up.
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      02-26-2021, 09:59 AM   #14
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And no don't lease unless you buy new, I always buy used, the numbers are the numbers. I understand the WANT and desire to buy new, that is fine, but numbers say used.
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      02-26-2021, 10:08 AM   #15
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I needed a three row suv and didn't want to spend a ton because kids ruin every car's interior. I bought a two year old Chevy Taverse thinking it would fall apart and it's been really good. Zero issues, and the captain chairs in the second row make it really easy to car pool. It has zero sportiness to it, but the leather interior is pretty nice, and it's comfortable on long drives.

You really should not get a nice suv when you have young kids. Trust me.
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      02-26-2021, 10:16 AM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Alfisti View Post
Too small, OP is shopping next size up.
Ah gotcha, reading comprehension is my friend ha. Well, I'm sure you know my answer....

2019 Audi Q7 or 2019 Volvo XC90

but those are probably out of the price range so I'll go with a used Mazda CX-5/9

Last edited by Matt 335is; 02-26-2021 at 10:27 AM..
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      02-26-2021, 10:21 AM   #17
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Honestly the answer is Highlander, kids will destroy anything nicer and it will be more reliable than domestics. With 2 kids, no need to go minivan.
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      02-26-2021, 10:23 AM   #18
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Can you wait a while? The new 4-door Bronco with the marine grade interior and hose out floors will be about what you're looking to spend.
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      02-26-2021, 10:46 AM   #19
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I needed a three row suv and didn't want to spend a ton because kids ruin every car's interior. I bought a two year old Chevy Taverse thinking it would fall apart and it's been really good. Zero issues, and the captain chairs in the second row make it really easy to car pool. It has zero sportiness to it, but the leather interior is pretty nice, and it's comfortable on long drives.

You really should not get a nice suv when you have young kids. Trust me.
My company car is a 2020 Equinox and I've been really disappointed with the interior quality. I've had it since zero miles and the interior rattles started on the drive home. Albeit, it's a lower end trim like LT or something, but still. It's because of that that I haven't really considered anything GM. I like the looks of the Yukon as an example, but I'd hope for a little better quality. I say that with zero first hand experience with a Yukon.

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Originally Posted by Alfisti View Post
Honestly the answer is Highlander, kids will destroy anything nicer and it will be more reliable than domestics. With 2 kids, no need to go minivan.
Great point. Why Highlander and not something like a CX9?

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Originally Posted by BEM-S4 View Post
Can you wait a while? The new 4-door Bronco with the marine grade interior and hose out floors will be about what you're looking to spend.
Gotta hose out the Cheerios! I personally would love something like that, but I think you spend the money on something like that or a Wrangler to take the doors and top off - neither of which we'll do. And this is coming from someone that's owned many, many Wranglers (and Gladiator actually). I very rarely would take the doors off and never took the top off. Clearly we can always just leave them on...

This isn't something that we have to do immediately, but we will be doing. Time isn't a huge crunch, but that powertrain warranty will be expiring this year. I don't want to own this vehicle outside of warranty, and the push is now we are seeing a few things that aren't covered by warranty. With a Bronco and its ultra hype, I would think we wouldn't see one for another year as we don't have a preorder. But man... that would be sweet!
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      02-26-2021, 11:06 AM   #20
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Great point. Why Highlander and not something like a CX9?
Bulletproof and high resale but I understand the want for something different, my mrs drives a Stelvio.
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      02-26-2021, 11:23 AM   #21
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Originally Posted by spazzyfry123 View Post
Great point. Why Highlander and not something like a CX9?
Bulletproof and high resale but I understand the want for something different, my mrs drives a Stelvio.
Off topic but, how you liking the Alfa, considering adding one to my garage.
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      02-26-2021, 11:34 AM   #22
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Originally Posted by spazzyfry123 View Post
The transfer case grenaded (full time 4wd) which required a month to get a replacement delivered. This happened right before the birth of our daughter, so the timing was "fine" since we weren't going anywhere as it was. Had it happened pretty much at any other time, this would have been disasterous as the dealer/corporate were unwilling to provide a loaner despite it being under warranty.
This exact thing happened to my wife's 2018 overland with 26k miles right before a retreat to an icy cabin.. Safe to say we were blessed that it happened in town.

We traded it for a GX460 (which is what we wanted to begin with) and she absolutely loves it. It's from a different era but we haven't cared one bit.
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